9th Kings

It would appear that the War Diary for the 9th Kings has been lost as it is not at TNA, Kew. However it is possible to get a substantial amount of detail about this battalion from the 55th Division and 164th Brigade War Diaries.

Troops of 55th Div began arriving in Suffolk in April 1940 – 9th Kings concentration area was Aldeburgh-Tea House (Sizewell) -Leiston-Theberton. Defensive areas were to be initially established at Aldeburgh and Tea House to Goose Hill. Headquarters at first were:

Battalion HQ – Westfield House, Belstead School, Aldeburgh (had moved to Stone House, Aldringham by July)
A Coy – Tea House, Sizewell
B Coy – Dill House, Leiston (had moved to Belstead School, Aldeburgh by July)
C Coy – Darsham House, Darsham (had moved to Knodishall Whin by July)
D Coy – Theberton House, Theberton
HQ Coy – as fro Battalion HQ (had moved to The Cupola, Leiston by July).

Work was begun immediately on construction of defensive sandbagged and concrete positions, the work carried out under the supervision of 558 Filed Company, R.E., as well as Dannert wire obstacles. Plans were also drawn up to construct concrete anti-tank blocks on the beaches to prevent enemy tanks exiting the beaches.

Instructions were issued to prepare road blocks, at first to be improvised until more permanent work could be put in place. Improvised blocks were to consist of any suitable material, which was to be stored at the road side with a guard mounted (by a Special Constable). Blocks were not to be put in place until instructed by Brigade. No blocks were to be placed on the route Wickham Market-Saxmundham-Leiston (designated a local essential route by 11 Corps). All road blocks were to be closed on Invasion, issue of the code word Cromwell (Invasion imminent) or on issue of special instructions. Blocks must be capable of being opened within two or three minutes.

Minefields were also laid by 558 Field Company at Aldeburgh and Sizewell. Preparations were also made to block all exits from Aldeburgh by firing road camouflets. The responsibility of firing was to be the local infantry commander. 9th Kings also had to provide one other rank for a demolition party, along with a Royal Engineer, to destroy the Snape Bridge and Benhall Green Railway Bridge.

Local Defence Volunteers/Home Guard in the area had the role of defending villages, observing and obtaining information, guides for the regular forces, traffic control and patrols. Home Guard units in 9th Kings area were located at Saxmundham and later, Leiston. The Leiston Home Guard had the use of six 12 pounder guns for defence, provided by Garrets of Leiston which manufactured the guns.

Two Coastal Defence batteries were in the 9th Kings area (Aldeburgh and Sizewell). Personnel form the battery would come under the command of the local infantry commander if they could no longer fore fill their coast defence role. Also in support of the 9th Kings was an armoured train which could operate along the Saxmudham-Leiston-Aldeburgh branch line if the 9th Kings front was threatened.

The Corps Stop Line E-F switch (later incorporated into the Back Line) ran through the rear area of the battalion sector. This was to be manned by troops from 55th Division reserves in the event of a break through on the 9th Kings front. In the early days, the 55th Div Defence Scheme notes that its reserves were not sufficient to mount counter-attacks. Two nodal points were in the battalion area – Leiston and Saxmundham. These were to be defended in the event of a break through in order to disrupt and delay any enemy advance along key routes. HQ of 164th Brigade was responsible for road blocks in Saxmundham and static garrisons comprising of troops from 50th Suffolk Regt were at Saxmundham and Benhall. The 9th Kings were also supported by two platoons from 2nd P.L Kensingtons.

  9th kings: Thorpeness to Sizewell 9th Kings: Aldeburgh to Thorpeness

  9th kings: Artillery Fire Plan 9th kings: Rear Areas

References:
164th Brigade Papers, TNA
55th Div Papers, TNA

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