IF Adolf Hitler thought he had seen the last of the 1st Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment when the majority of its men were captured in the Allied disaster at Tobruk in 1942, he was very much mistaken. 

Because back in England the few who managed to escape were bolstered by members of a disbanded 11th Battalion and two years later the re-formed 1st returned to the fray soon after D-Day to sock it to the Nazis in the fierce fighting around the French town of Caen.

In fact, its very first action, the battalion’s capture of the village of Mouen, was described by the divisional commander as “one of the slickest attacks of the war”.

On Saturday, June 15, at St Helen’s church in High Street, Worcester, there will be a free event charting the Worcestershire Regiment’s part in the Normandy Campaign that followed D-Day and also its vital role in the fight against the Japanese in the Far East. 

Lasting from 10am until 4pm, the day will be titled “The Worcesters Push for Victory” and will include talks on key battles, display stands, re-enactors, a book stall and children’s activities, plus various other attractions.

It is a fund raiser for the Mercian Regiment Museum (Worcestershire), which is custodian of the collections of The Worcestershire Regiment.

 In the build-up to D-Day, the re-constituted 1st Battalion had been posted to the 43rd (Wessex) Division and was in training at Hythe, near Southampton, where it celebrated the 250th anniversary of the raising of the Regiment in 1694.

The Normandy bridgehead having been established, the battalion was sent to France a fortnight after the invasion and immediately found itself involved in fierce fighting for the strategically important Hill 112 near Caen. 

The position was heavily defended by elements of four SS Panzer divisions and there were more than 2,000 Allied casualties.

Although the hill remained a disputed position for quite some time, the pressure of the attacks, with the 1st Battalion in the vanguard, forced the Germans to reinforce their ranks with units that were urgently needed elsewhere and proved a tactical success for the Allies.

The 43rd Division was then redeployed as part of the breakthrough battle nearby at Mont Pincon and spearheaded the subsequent thrust to the River Seine, where the 1st Battalion was  first across the river at Vernon.

This bridgehead became one of the main crossing points for the Allied armies as they advanced across northern France towards Germany.

The Worcestershire Regiment lost 152 men killed during the Normandy campaign.