Concerning the emblem of the Alfa detachment, Courrier International , 13 May states that it shall not be used in Iraq in order to respect the local population. The association of the swords and the crescents could have upset the Iraqis. Ivan Sache , 15 May The central upright sword, is, according to the official grant, only to reproduce the main charge in G. This flag was used: it was displayed in a parade that took place before the unit left Lisbon. Jorge Candeias , 16 May Depiction differences has mostly to do with detail of the heraldic charges.
While on the square flag these seems to be lined in black incl.
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According to the paper, the Alfa detachment of the National Republican Guard men was integrated in November to the 3, men Italian contingent based in Nasiriyah. The Portuguese arrived in Iraq on 12 Novenber, the day when the Italians were attacked and lost The local population is mostly shiite and very hostile to the Italians. One of the Italian hostages was murdered on 10 April. Consequently, the Portuguese heads of the Alfa detachment believe that the integration of their troops into the Italian contingent increases the risk of attack.
When identifying the Italian colours, the inhabitants of Nasiriyah, and especially the children, became so aggressive that the Portuguese had to go out of the vehicles and show their national flag to calm down the mob. The Portuguese shipped very big green and red stickers to be placed on the vehicles they used. The Italian colonel Carmelo Burgio was upset by this attempt to hide the Italian colours. Finally, the Portuguese were only allowed to place small stickers on the vehicles.
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Those stickers were quickly covered with mud and sand and were no longer visible, compared to the big Italian flags. Apparently a guidon of the Cavalry Regiment [R. The only source I have for this is a miniature flag my grandfather had, so this should be treated as quite dubious information. Early in May , Santiago Dotor came to Lisbon and we met in a pub with flag-covered walls and ceiling!
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He told me he'd seen a strange Portuguese national flag with a wide green border all around. On 21st April they occupied Hill 60, which had been captured on 17th April. Counter-attacks and heavy shelling cost them more than casualties.
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On 31st July they moved to the Somme. When the offensive began on 1st July the Devons were at Arras but returned to the Somme, to consolidate the line around Longueval. Shellfire and German counter-attacks cost them casualties. In September they made two very successful advances near Guillemont at a cost of casualties. In the Battle of Arras, in April and May , their losses in four attacks nearly wiped out the Battalion.
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Near Passchendaele in early October they attacked Polderhoek and suffered casualties. A month later, supporting another attack at Polderhoek, a single company lost another killed and wounded.
Here they held the line near Vicenza and served on the Piave front before the German onslaught in France in March caused their return to the Somme. In mid-April the 1st Devons held a salient near Nieppe, successfully defending their positions against repeated German counter-attacks. They remained around Nieppe until late July. In August the German army began to fall back and the Devons took part in the rapid Allied advances that characterised the rest of the war. Between 21st and 31st August they attacked and captured German positions, repulsing some fierce counter-attacks.
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But those ten days cost the Devons casualties. In September and October they suffered fewer casualties in successful attacks near Beauchamp and Ovillers, where despite a gas attack and terrible weather, they were the first battalion in their division to reach their final objective. Their last action was in the final week of the war beyond the Sambre Canal, when they advanced under heavy shell and machine gun fire, losing 19 killed and more than 60 wounded.
Except for their five months in Italy, the 1st Devons served continuously in France from August until November and earned them 26 battle honours. The war had cost the Battalion — whose total strength at any one time should have been men — more than 1, killed and three times that number wounded. Any enquiries sent to the Museum will not be looked at until week commencing 6th January when our team return from a well-earned break!
Wishing you a happy festive period!
From Monday 6th January , you can still contact the Museum: Through the website Via email: info keepmilitarymuseum.