The assault on Anzio by the British 1st Division was virtually unopposed by the German forces. My granddad, Edgar Frank Hallam, was a private in the 2nd North Staffs who was part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. The 2nd North Staffs war diary does not survive for this period but the war diary for the 2nd Infantry Brigade that the battalion was part of does and is in the National Archives. The 2nd Infantry Brigade was made up of the 6 Gordon Highlanders, 1 Loyals, 2 North Staffordshire battalions
The first War Diary entry for 22nd January reads:
0200hrs - 2 Infantry Brigade Group made an Assault Landing on Beaches RED and AMBER of Sector PETER on coast NORTH of ANZIO (area M 82), No opposition was encountered on the beaches, but 2 N. Staffs lost one killed and four wounded by mines. After making slow progress through the close country immediately behind the beaches 2 N.Staffs and 6 Gordons reached their FUPs [Forming Up Point] and adv to their first objective. Surprise was complete and the only opposition was offered by a few Armoured Cars of 129 Panzer Recce Unit, which quickly withdrew.
A search of the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website for men from the 2nd North Staffs killed on that day and commemorated in Anzio gave 6 names so it looks like those four initially wounded by the mines succumbed to their injuries:
Shocked and horrified to see a 17yr old on the list: Victor Morley Peter Dawe.
Victor was born in 1926 and as 18 was the minimum age for enlistment in the British Army he must have lied about his age when he joined up. In the end, he never reached the official joining up age. He was serving with B Company of 2nd North Staffs when he was killed. He, like Edgar Hallam, is buried in Anzio War Cemetery.
To read more about Edgar please see an article that I wrote on the 70th anniversary of his death.
The photograph below is of Edgar (middle row, far right) before going off to war. If anyone knows the names of anyone else in the picture I would love to hear from you.
Our research into Anzio, particularly in the first month on the beachhead, is ongoing. If anyone has stories to share please get in touch.