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captured at st,valery-sur-somme 12/06/40


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#1 hgv6372

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 01:00 PM

Hi, my grandfather was captured at st,valery-sur-somme in 1940 and was on his way to a camp when he and his friend escaped on the 23/06/40, they were attached to the 51st highland div.my question is this, is there any info of if any others escaped and which camp they could have been heading to. any info would be gratefully recieved.
ta craig
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#2 Owen

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 03:34 PM

Don't you mean St.Valery-en-Caux ?
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#3 Drew5233

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 03:47 PM

Hi Craig,

I've just read your original thread about your grandfather and his escape report. The route he took was pretty much a standard route normally via Marsaille in Vichy controlled South of France.

If you want a bit on an idea of this time period I would recommend a copy of Sean Longden's 'The Men They Left Behind. It mainly focuses on life as a PoW from the 1940 campaign but he does cover the escapes routes in some detail - You won't be disappointed.

Copies start for a fiver here:

the men they left behind - AbeBooks
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#4 Wideload

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:11 PM

i was in St. Valery sur Somme about 3 weeks ago, went and saw the graves of a few 51st lads in the town cemetery, as on the way back from reenacting the 2/5th Queen's at Bellancourt we took a scenic route back to calais and went to see where the Queens went back and a company of the Queen's was captured there along with the 51st.
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#5 Owen

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:14 PM

St Valery-sur-Somme & St Valery-en-Caux are two totally different places.
51st Div surrendered at the latter.
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#6 Wideload

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 10:35 PM

ah well at least i saw some graves of lads who fell there.
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Andy "Wideload" Whyberd

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1927 - 1949

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#7 Harry Ree

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:09 AM

Hi, my grandfather was captured at st,valery-sur-somme in 1940 and was on his way to a camp when he and his friend escaped on the 23/06/40, they were attached to the 51st highland div.my question is this, is there any info of if any others escaped and which camp they could have been heading to. any info would be gratefully recieved.
ta craig


I have not seen the escape details.But regarding Marseille,did your Grandfather have any contact with Capt Ian Garrow,another 51st Highlander who turned up at Marseille in October 1940 with 4 other Highlanders in tow.

I am aware of the names of three of these Highlanders.

Incidentally St Valery sur Somme could have also been a place where the 51st Highland Division passed through on their way south for an evacuation.There are a few casualities in the local cemetery as has been said.Additionally it would appear that there was a few civilian casualties probably caused by over confident invaders.Civilians did not have to do much to lose their lives as the Germans swept down the coast.
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#8 Owen

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:14 AM

Yes, there was some fighting near St-Valery-sur-Somme as the Germans had a bridghead over the Somme in that area.

I was just pointing out it wasn't the same St Valery where the final stand took place.

The two forward battalions of 154 Bde , 7th & 8th Argylls, held the area from Saigneville to the sea, facing the German bridgehead at St Valery-sur-Somme on 5th June 1940.
The Germans were to launch their attack with 11th Motorised Brigade & 12th Infantry Divsion.

from Saul David's book, Churchill's Sacrifice Of The Highland Division

From the official history.

The 154th Brigade was not to advance but engage enemy troops in the area of St Valery sur Somme by fire, so as to prevent them from reinforcing the Abbeville bridgehead

HyperWar: The War in France and Flanders 1939–1940 [Chapter XVIII]


Their first thrust came from the bridgehead at St Valery sur Somme where the 154th Brigade held the left sector. The villages of Saigneville, Mons, Caitgny, Pende, Battalions of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders—were all heavily attacked by infantry with artillery and mortar support, while more of the enemy's troops pressed forward through the open country between them. The Higherlanders' villages were too widely separated for the companies to give each other effective support, and though they fought with dogged tenacity they were forced back to gradually overwhelmed.

HyperWar: The War in France and Flanders 1939–1940 [Chapter XIX]

Edited by Owen, 25 May 2010 - 10:41 AM.

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#9 51highland

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:43 AM

Try reading "Return to St valery" by General Sir Derek Lang. He was adjutant of 4th Camerons and captured and escaped (twice) the 2nd time successfully and would become commander of 5th Battalion in 1944. He was awarded the MC for his escape.
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51 highland "Don't leave me Sarge" & Keep 'em Moving

Là á Bhlàir's math na Càirdean

(Friends are good in the day of battle)


Na diobair caraid's a charraid
(Forsake not a friend in the fray)

Cuimhnichibh na suinn nach maireann .
Mairidh an cliu beo gu brath.
(In memory of the Heroes who are no more.
May their Fame live on forever)

#10 Jane

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:35 PM

One of my uncles was killed at St Valery and another was captured and take to Poland as a POW. Their surname was Cator, any info would be greatly appreciated, thank you and "God Rest Their Souls"
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#11 Drew5233

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:57 PM

Hi Jane and welcome to the forum.

Corporal Herbert Robert Cator, 7th Bn. Royal Norfolk Regiment ?

CWGC :: Certificate

Looks like he died trying to be evacuated.

Regards
Andy
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#12 ramacal

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 09:13 PM

Hi Jane

This is the only Cator I found listed as being interned in Poland. Also of the Royal Norfolk Regiment

Name: F. C. Cator
Rank: Private
Army Number: 5771902
Regiment: Royal Norfolk Regiment
POW Number: 18209
Camp Type: Stalag
Camp Number: XX-B
Camp Location: Malbork, Poland

Hope this helps.

Regards - Rob
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#13 Jane

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:20 PM

Hi Andy, thanks for that, I was not sure if he was being evacuated or what as he died on the 12th which was when the 51st surrendered. Although he was with the Norfolks it appears he had become attached to the 51st. I have read many harrowing reports about this day, it is really starnge as until a few months ago I never knew of either of my Uncles existance. Families hey?
Hi Rob thanks for this info also I believe that my Uncle was in Poland until the end of the war but again I have no info from family.
Many thanks guys you really have helped.
Regards
Jane
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#14 CL1

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:43 PM

Welcome to the Forum
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#15 Drew5233

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 07:58 PM

Hi Jane,

Firstly if you are really interested in finding out about them I would apply for their service records. They will however cost you £30 each.

The 7th Norfolks were part of 51st Highland Division. They were the Divisions Pioneer Battalion at GHQ.

Le Harve is around 50 miles away from Saint Valery which is a fair old way in 1940 terms. I'll check my 'Evacuation Books' to see if they were still evacuating on the 12th from Le Havre.

Regards
Andy
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#16 Drew5233

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:24 PM

British Troops were being evacuated from Le Havre on 12th June, mainly to Cherbourg.

Best guess at the moment - he was killed in an air raid.

Edit:

I've just had a quick skim through Churchill's Sacrifice of the Highland Division and there is quite a bit of info on the 7th Norfolks. It appears they were defending the inner perimeter on the 11th/12th June.

As a result of the above I'm now wondering if he died of wounds at Le Havre after being evacuated for medical attention as most of his Battalion was still in Saint Valery.

Edited by Drew5233, 14 July 2010 - 08:43 PM.

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#17 Jane

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:18 PM

Thanks Andy, I thought he was killed on the beach at St Valery but I am still researching all this. I have never paid that much attention to these things before but OMG it makes you stop and think! You guys have really been a great help, thanks
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#18 euan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 01:25 PM

Hi, new member here. My dad escaped from the beach at St. Valery. He would never talk about and I would love to know more about it. Is there any books I can buy that would give me this information
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#19 Drew5233

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 03:57 PM

Hi, new member here. My dad escaped from the beach at St. Valery. He would never talk about and I would love to know more about it. Is there any books I can buy that would give me this information


Hello and welcome to the forum.

Have you got a copy of your fathers service records?

As for a good book I'd recommend Churchill's Sacrifice of the Highland Division by Saul David.

Cheers
Andy
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#20 euan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 04:30 PM

Hello Andy, I dont have his service records but I know he was with the RASC. I know they joined rifle belts together to make a rope but have no knowlege of how they got of the beach. I have read the book you mention but it does not cover this.
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#21 Drew5233

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 04:40 PM

RASC wouldn't get much of a mention in that book as it would mainly focus on the infantry battalion within the Div.

If you are really interested in finding out what your father got up to I would strongly start the (long road) reserach by applying for his records then head for the national archives to get his units war diaries.

I have read in some of my books about men using rifle slings to get down the cliffs. Many fell to their death though as the slings were not long enough and with it being dark the had no idea how high the cliffs were.

You can apply for his records via this link, just give them a ring and they will send you the forms etc.:

Army Personnel Centre - British Army Website
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#22 euan

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 05:12 PM

Thanks for that Andy, I may have to go down that road. It is very difficult to get any information on this incident and ive spent a bit of time looking. I saw on a web site that the actor Hugh Grants grandfather was involved and he was so impressed by the story that he wants to make a movie about it.
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#23 p.cator

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 10:40 AM

Hello Jane we must be related Frederick Cator was my farther. I have been trying to trace his pow record and only yesterday recived a letter from ICRC in Geneva giving me a few details.It has taken almost a year to get these will send what i know later as have to go to work take care. Peter Cator.
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#24 p.cator

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 10:12 PM

Hi Jane Herbut Robert Cator was my uncle and he died when his position was overrun by German tanks. I was told this by my farther Frederick Cator he was taken prisoner at St. Valerie on 12/06/1940 and was in Stalags XX/A and XXB until the of the war. There are no records of his release? Ive only just recieved this information from the ICRC in Geneva. I am now trying to find some information on his escape attemps.
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#25 sapper117

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:21 PM

I have a copy of A coy 7th Bn Argylls positions on the 5/6 June from the Coy diary. To state that they held the area is like saying a collinder will hold water. The area covered by the Bde should have been held by a Div and as a result there were gaps miles wide between Coys. I think it was a wonderful result to get Ark Force away. My biggest gripe is the continual habit of the media to report the Dunkirk aniversery while implying that that was the end of the matter - 70 years later St valery and the 51st are only just mentioned as an aside - a very grave insult to all 51 HD, 1st armoured + the LOC troops caught there.
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#26 Drew5233

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:25 PM

I'm always interested in 1940 publications and references. When you mention the Coy diary do you mean the Battalion diary?

I have the battalion diary but wasn't aware there were any Company ones, unless there are reports within the Bn diary?

Cheers
Andy
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#27 p.cator

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 04:42 PM

Hi Andy, thanks for that, I was not sure if he was being evacuated or what as he died on the 12th which was when the 51st surrendered. Although he was with the Norfolks it appears he had become attached to the 51st. I have read many harrowing reports about this day, it is really starnge as until a few months ago I never knew of either of my Uncles existance. Families hey?
Hi Rob thanks for this info also I believe that my Uncle was in Poland until the end of the war but again I have no info from family.
Many thanks guys you really have helped.
Regards
Jane

Jane. Your uncle was my father Freddrick Charles Cator, Iam trying to find out about his POW experiences would be great if you got in touch my email is petervancator@gmail.com hope to hear from you


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#28 4jonboy

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 05:31 PM

Jane. Your uncle was my father Freddrick Charles Cator, Iam trying to find out about his POW experiences would be great if you got in touch my email is petervancator@gmail.com hope to hear from you

 

Jane hasn't been on the forum since July 2011. Perhaps you could send her a private message and if she has the same e-mail address she may pick up a notification of message.

Lesley


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Very proud daughter of a 56 Recce.
My father served with the British 78th Infantry (Battleaxe) Division in North Africa, Sicily and Italy
He was one of the "D-Day Dodgers"





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