1940 - a relic from a Royal Scots Fusiliers (France)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Camulard, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. Camulard

    Camulard Junior Member

    Sainte-Adresse, next to Le Havre (Upper Normandy, France). 1940...
    The French port of Le Havre serves to land many British troops and vehicles of the BEF. On the heights of the city, the British Army set up a camp in the lighthouse area of Sainte-Adresse. With the near arrival of the German troops, the British Army left the camp to cross the Seine river. With the hastiness, many stuffs are abandoned in the camp. The inhabitants visit the empty camp to find anything that can help them for their daily lifes. With them, the young girl Yvette, 10, is looking for in the camp too. Like all the girls of her age, she interests about everythings that shines, like shrapnels that she collects. Their eyes are attracted by a small brass plate on the ground and she picks it up. She has just found the bed plate of the Fusiliers J. MORRISON (S/N: 3131050), The Royal Scots Fusiliers, and kept it until today.
    I have the account of the finding and about the second owner, but I would like to know who was the first owner. I checked in the CWGC, MORRISON didn't died during the war. Can you help me to know more about him please?

    Photo 1: The place where the plate was found in the heights of Sainte-Adresse.
    Photo 2: The brass bed plate of the Fusiliers J. MORRISON (S/N: 3131050).

    Attached Files:

  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There are quite a lot of youngsters with 3131*** numbers who died in 1940. (It was a block issued to RSF)


    Is there a second initial on the plate ? Morrison is quite a common name. A second initial would help
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
    Harry Ree likes this.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  6. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    I have sent Skimmod a message, his interest is 2 R.S.F. France 1940.
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  7. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    Hello All,
    sorry i missed this earlier.
    Fus. John Morrison joined up in 1939 and after completing his training at Ayr racecourse was part of the draft that went over with the 2 RSF in October.
    He was part of HQ Company and was one of the few members of the battalion to return to the UK after Dunkirk.

    he survived the war and was relegated to the Army Reserve in September 1946.

    a wonderful relic and one that should be treasured.

    thank you for sharing.


    Attached Files:

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  8. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    What is quite interesting is that after the battle along the Ypres-Comines canal, a few of the 2RSF took abandoned vehicles and headed south towards Le Havre. The reasoning is supposed to be that they were reversing the route they took after landing in France.
    My Grandfather was one of these, but their vehicle ended up in St Valery and they were captured whilst fighting alongside the 51st HD. An almost impossible story, but things were very fluid in that area at that time.
    Some may have got as far as Le Havre and were evacuated from there. They of course would have abandoned anything extra for they embarked.
    Perhaps Morrison was one of these, but managed to return to the UK.
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  9. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    if anyone needs a list of RSF soldiers during the early part of ww2. this is my current list that I have compiled for my research:
    Royal Scots Fusiliers 1940
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  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I would think when the BEF was close to collapse and evacuation from Dunkirk was not an option, Army and RAF units were given the order to head south west to any suitable port to await evacuation....those in the Pas de Calais were fortunate not to caught up by Rundstedt's armour.

    There were dynamic times with the columns being harried by the Luftwaffe....many chose to travel by night to avoid attacks....there are an abundance of interesting personal accounts of the withdrawal to North Western and Western France ports....good for understanding the geography of France.

    Pleasing to hear of a personal effect found and the survival of the owner.
    skimmod likes this.
  11. Camulard

    Camulard Junior Member

    Thank you very much for your help Iain!! That's very interesting!! Do you know if there is an archive or other document with the course of the men of the 2 RSF who took the direction of Le Havre? To see their exact way and to know exact dates, etc... Do you know how can I find a photo of John Morrison? Maybe if there is group photo of the HQ Coy. Did he served all the war with the 2 RSF?

    Thanks again!
    skimmod likes this.
  12. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    If only it was recorded!
    I'm afraid there was nothing officially recorded during May, that survived. The War diary was written afterwards in June and by the time the war was finished no one was interested in this small unofficial adventure. Anything that they may have recorded was destroyed in a fire at the HHQ in 1980.
    it's taken 15 years of research to get all the information that I and the HHQ in Glasgow now have!

    I can only presume they drove through the towns that they recognised on their prior journeys through France. Maps were very few and far between and navigation would have been difficult at best.

    Unless his photo is in one of the pre-war journals or a family member sent me a copy, I'm afraid that is also a needle in a haystack! Most of those that joined up late in 1939, went through the depot "sausage factory" and I doubt there are photos. I have only 185 of the officers and men out of the 796 that were there.
    I'd love to assist more, but I'm afraid I cannot. Sorry.
    good luck with your quest and if you come up with anything I can add to the museum or HHQ archives, please do get in touch.
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  13. Camulard

    Camulard Junior Member

    Thank you Iain!
    If the museum or HHQ archives could have the story of this Fusilier (during all the war) or if they know where he was came from (that could be help to search a photo of him in the eventual local newspapers), that can help me. Did the 2 RSF went in Le Havre before the debacle?
  14. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    The HHQ and Museum only have what I have Camulard. As I said, everything was destroyed for this unit in a fire and I've been piecing things back together for many years.
    The 2nd Battalion arrived in France in the port of Cherbourg in October 1939.
    They only officially visited Le Havre on April 30th when they were at first earmarked to go to Estonia (long story) and then to Norway.
    However these orders were pretty much cancelled as soon as they got there and they drove back towards Belgium after only 5 days in the area.
    So this may be when the plate was lost. But who knows!
    Camulard likes this.
  15. Camulard

    Camulard Junior Member

    Thank you Skimmond!

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