THE 43RD WESSEX ASSOCIATION
( THE 43rd
HERITAGE TRUST ) WESSEX
( This information has been gratefully received from this association in relation to the forth coming visit to Exeter
See website “hill112.com/index2.htm” for background info. Albert Figg is famous as the chap who obtained
the Churchill tank that sits beside the 43 Wessex Division Memorial on Hill 112.er on th 9th July 2011 )
During the past 100 years the counties of the West Country have played their part in the defence of
“new” Territorial Army. The Division`s part time soldiers were recruited from the counties within the
boundries of the ancient Kingdom of Wessex
Following distinguished service in World War 1 the Division was reformed as a West of England Territorial
Unit and in 1935 adopted the heraldic emblem of the Kings of Wessex, The Wyvern.
The Wyvern symbolized the ferocity of the dragon, the cunning of the serpent and the swiftness of the eagle; characteristics which the now named 43rd Wessex Division displayed to the full.
At the outbreak of World War II, in 1939, the Division was mobilized and set to the defence of
deployed along the south coast.
In 1943 a new commander, Major General Thomas, set an intensive training programme leading up to the
Now a full Division spearheaded by a Reconnaissance Regiment from
Wessex Division was set for its finest hour.
Over 10 months; from the beaches of Normandy to the dock yards of Bremerhaven the Wyverns fought
many epic battles suffering some 12400 casualties (2200) killed in action which represented the highest
rate of casualties of all Divisions engaged in the North West Europe Campaign. At the moment of “cease fire”
soldiers of the 43rd were the furthest forward of the British 2nd Army. The Fighting Wessex Wyverns had
truly done more than their fair share. In the words of the Corps Commander, Lt General Horrocks “ I doubt
whether any other Division has had so much hard fighting during the campaign and been so successful”
In 1995 The 43rd Wessex Association was formed to provide an Old Comrades organisation. The Association
was inaugurated at Wyvern Barracks,
it grew rapidly to over 500 members. During the following 16 years the Association has facilitated the
transfer of the Divisional Role of Honour from Salisbury Cathedral to Exeter Cathedral, organised many
Pilgramages to its battle sites and conducted ceremonies at its Divisional memorial site in
The 60th and 65th anniversary ceremonies were both attended by HRH The Earl of Wessex.
Alas the time has come to disband the Association but, at the same time , to revitalize the 43rd
Heritage Trust. The Trust is a registered charity devoted to the care and maintenance of the Divisional
Role of Honour and other memorials and to the continuation of the historical heritage left by the men of the 43rd Wessex Division. THE FIGHTING