With The East Surreys in Tunisia and Italy 1942 – 1945

With The East Surreys in Tunisia and Italy 1942 – 1945

Fighting for Every River and Mountain

Bryn Evans

Publication date:
December 2012
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
No associated books available.


The East Surreys were in near continuous action from November 1942, when they landed in North Africa (Operation TORCH) through to May 1945 Armistice. By that time they had cleared the Germans from Tunisia, taken part in Operation HUSKY, (the Sicily invasion TORCH) and fought up through Italy as far as River Po.

Trained as mountain troops, the East Surreys saw bitter action in the Atlas Mountains, on the slopes of Mount Etna and Monte Cassino, and in the unforgiving hills and valleys of the Apennines. They were called upon to cross many rivers, often opposed by a determined enemy, culminating in the River Po and its huge exposed and waterlogged valley.

Veterans’ stories illustrate the horrendous nature of the East Surrey’s task, whether in set piece formation battles or patrol actions.

Especially interesting is the part played by Lieutenant John Woodhouse who commanded the Surreys’ Battle Patrol. His experiences enable this fine officer to revolutionize SAS training and tactics in the 1950s and 1960s in Malaya and Africa and he is credited with revitalizing the SAS when in grave danger of being disbanded.

This story of the East Surreys shows how a single battalion can make a huge difference. It also gives the reader a better understanding of the campaigns involved.