Street names and the Battles
When the Ministry of Defence sold the site, in the 1980s, a housing estate was built around The Keep.
Wychavon District Council were keen to keep some connection with the Worcestershire Regiment. The regiment suggested the names of some of their battle honours.
“So when we’ve left here, and this place has finally been knocked down, there will still be some sign of the fact that the regiment once occupied the place.”
The street names are from battles the Worcestershire’s fought in:
Cambrai Drive. There were two major battles near the French town of Cambrai in which six battalions of the regiment took part. Cambrai is noted for the first use of tanks in significant numbers. During the battle they successfully supported the infantry assault and severely affected the morale of the defending German army.
Corunna Close. In 1809 the 36th Regiment retreated over 250 miles of mountainous country in Spain and stood to fight at Corunna. After having to repel repeated attacks the French were defeated and most of the British troops were able to embark safety for England, though their commander Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore was killed.
Dunkirk Drive. The 7th and 8th Battalions of the regiment took part in the retreat to Dunkirk in France in 1940. In the face of sustained German pressure during which many were killed or captured, many members of the British Expeditionary Force along with thousands of other allied soldiers were famously evacuated from the port and surrounding beaches by an armada of small ships.
Gallipoli Drive. From the spring of 1915 until January 1916 the 4th and 9th Battalions of the regiment fought in the bitter nine-month campaign against entrenched Turkish forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Darndanelles, before finally being evacuated to Egypt.
Gazala Drive. The 1st Battalion occupied and held a defensive position along the coast road in a bid to hold up the enemy during the battle of Gazala in North Africa in May and June 1942. Against Field Marshal Rommel’s famed German Afrika Corps they fought a spirited action before withdrawing into Tobruk.
Keren Drive. After two previous battles had resulted in stalemate, the 1st Battalion was part of the 29th Indian Brigade which captured a strongly held Italian position in the mountains of Eritrea after bitter fighting during the Third Battle of Keren in March 1941.
Kohima Drive. The 7th Battalion was heavily involved in the successful defence of the Indian town of Kohima against strong Japanese forces at the start of the Burma campaign in 1944. Noted as the turning point of the Japanese offensive into India, the battle led to the abandonment of the Imphal Ridge by the Japanese and the relief of Imphal. The National Army Museum voted this as Britain’s greatest battle.
Mandalay Drive. During the British drive into Burma in 1945, the retreating Japanese army were strongly entrenched in defensive positions in and around the Burmese city of Mandalay. The 2nd Battalion of the regiment was instrumental in expelling the Japanese from and liberating the city and, along with the 7th Battalion, played a major role in both the defence of India and the campaign in Burma.
Mons Drive. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions having landed in France and advanced into Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914, took part in the fighting retreat from Mons in the face of the German advance in August and September 1914.
Nive Gardens. After the battle of Nivelle in late 1813, towards the end of the Peninsular War, the French General Soult had formed his defences around the town of Bayonne. The 36th crossed the River Nive in southern France from west to east to attack the French army defending the town. Amid fierce fighting they were forced to re-cross the river to frustrate an attack threatening their left flank, a daunting manoeuvre at that time.
Nivelle Grove. After the British had taken the town of San Sebastian, the 36th helped to secure Wellington’s right flank by capturing a key fortification in southern France during the battle of Nivelle in November 1813. This led to the defeat of the French and the retreat of their army.
Peninsula Road. This honour was awarded to both the 29th and 36th in recognition of their contribution during the Peninsular Was fought in Portugal, Spain and France from 1808 to 1814.
Ramillies Drive. This was the regiment’s first battle honour. Farrington’s Regiment, later the 29th, was part of the Duke of Marlborough’s army which took part in the attack on Ramillies during this battle in the War of the Spanish Succession in Flanders in 1706. It was later said to be the battle which decided the fate of the Netherlands.
Regiment Close. Most of the houses in this street were built for married men on staff of the depot.
Rolica Fields. The 29th and 36th were involved in this, the first battle of the Peninsular War in Portugal in 1808, a battle in which both regiments were destined to play a major part. The 29th Regiment led the attack on the heights of Columbeira on 17 July during which Lt-Col George Lake, their commanding officer, was amongst those killed. With additional forces brought up in support, this action was instrumental in defeating the French.
St. Helena Court. Not a regimental battle, but the willow tree in one corner is alleged to be a cutting taken from the tree near Napoleon’s grave in St. Helena.
Salamanca Drive. The 36th fought at the battle of Salamanca during the Peninsula War under Wellington in 1812. Arriving on 17 June 1812 they immediately commenced operations against the forts at Salamanca. Meeting fierce French resistance the battle lasted until 22 July when the enemy finally fled.
Seine Close. In August 1944, following the allied advance from Normandy Operation Neptune, the crossing of the River Seine began. In XXX Corps the 43rd Division was given the task of crossing at Vernon. As part of that formation the 1st Battalion was the first complete unit to cross the river against stiff German opposition and secured their objective by reaching Vernonnet. By 28 August they had consolidated their position and were able to resupply and attend to the wounded.
Sobraon Crescent. The 29th fought in this battle against the entrenched Sikhs during the conquest of the Punjab India in 1846. The 29th supported by two native battalions, dashed towards the ramparts which the Sikhs had erected. After two unsuccessful charges, the 29th succeeded in reaching the first Sikh trenches. The enemy suffered terrible carnage and by the end of the battle had lost some 10,000 men and 67 guns. The British losses were also heavy, suffering 2,383 killed or wounded, among which the 29th casualties numbered 186 out of a total strength of 552.
Somme Crescent. Ten battalions of the regiment were involved in the many battles fought along the River Somme in France during 1916 and 1918. The battles of the Somme saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war with the British suffering some 60,000 men killed or wounded on the first day 1 July 1916.
Talavera Road. The 29th under Wellington captured a strategically important hill in Spain from the French in this battle in the Peninsular War in 1809. During the battle both sides lost about a quarter of their men, causing Wellington to say, ‘Talavera was the hardest fought battle of modern times’.
Toulouse Drive. The 36th were participants in the battle of Toulouse, the final battle of the Peninsular War and fought on French soil. After fierce fighting in which the British and French suffered combined casualties of nearly 8,000 men. General Soult, the French commander, signed an armistice thus ending the war on 17 April 1814. Toulouse proved to have been a tragic waste of life and a battle that need never have been fought as, after the battle, news was received that Napoleon had abdicated four days earlier.
Vimiera Close. This was the second battle in the Peninsular War in 1808 following which Sir Arthur Wellesley, later Lord Wellington, wrote of the 36th, ‘the regular and orderly conduct of this corps throughout the service, and the gallantry and discipline in action have been conspicuous. The 36th is an example to the army’.
Ypres Close. Ten battalions of the regiment were involved in the numerous battles around the Belgium City of Ypres. Forming a salient surrounded on three sides and heavily shelled by German forces throughout. Ypres did not fall during the First World War. The regiment was involved in battles around Ypres in 1914, 1915, the notorious third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) in 1917 and again in 1918.