Exercise Judy: Lessons learned from the war in Sicily

In September 1943, members of the British Army based in Northern Ireland conducted Exercise Judy, a large-scale operation based on lessons learned in Sicily.

Exercise Judy was a British Army training manoeuvre conducted in Northern Ireland over the course of seven days in September 1943. Officers recreated conditions faced by the invasion force in Sicily as best they could in the Ulster countryside. This was an example of changing training techniques. Lessons learned on the battlefields were now quickly brought home to train the troops.

Many of the British troops based in Ulster took part in Exercise Judy. Newspaper reports refer to the training as “severely taxing”. Of course, the weather in Northern Ireland also played a part, perhaps a little colder and wetter than Sicily. Despite the rigours of the exercise, and the Ulster weather, morale of all involved was high.

Among the training exercises, particular heed was paid to mine clearance and the skills required to cross rivers by night. At the end of the seven days, General Officer Commanding Lieutenant General Sir Alan Gordon Cunningham, K.C.B., D.S.O., M.C. sent a message of congratulations to all those who took part.

Dry Bailey Bridges

On 7th September 1943, Lieutenant J.R. Bainbridge photographed Dry Bailey Bridges constructed by the army near Newferry, Co. Antrim as part of Exercise Judy.

Bridges and Bombers

On 9th September 1943, a Royal Air Force plane simulated a dive-bombing attack as soldiers rehearsed river crossings on the Bann near Newferry, Co. Antrim.

45th Infantry Division

On 10th September 1943, members of the British Army's 45th Infantry Division demonstrated river crossing prowess during Exercise Judy on the banks of the Bann.

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