2nd Battalion Irish Guards.

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    TNA Catalogue No. CAB 106/226

    Scope and content: Report on operations of 2nd. Battalion Irish Guards at Boulogne, 1940 May 21-23.
    Covering dates: 1940


    1. The order to move from Old Dean Common reached the Battalion Headquarters at about 11 a.m. on 21st May. The Battalion had just reached Camp after night operations, and very few indeed had any appreciable amount of sleep during the previous night. Thus, the order to move that afternoon could not have arrived at a more inconvenient or tiresome moment.

    2. Despite their fatigue, the Battalion loaded War Equipment Stores and were ready to move out at the head of the Brigade Column at the appointed time, 15.30 hours.

    3. The Battalion reached the quayside at Dover approximately 21.30 hours, and the M.T. Vehicles followed about half-an-hour later.

    4. The Battalion was issued with a meal and then began to offload the vehicles and load their contents into the “Queen of the Channel” which was the ship allotted to us. It soon became apparent that the “Queen of the Channel” would not suffice for the Battalion and its equipment. Though this was an obvious fact to all on the quayside at Dover it took over 1½ hours on the telephone to convince the War Office that another ship was required. Eventually a ship named “Mona’s Star” was given to the Battalion and in it embarked No. 1 Company; the Mortar Platoon; the M.T. Personnel; the Pioneer Platoon; and the Signal Stores.

    Owing to the late allotment of the “Mona’s Star”, this ship did not sail until some hours after the “Queen of the Channel” and the “Biarritz”, which carried the 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards.

    In this way, the Battalion became separated, and was therefore unable to take up the defensive position at Boulogne at the same hour. As a matter of interest, No. 1 Company eventually occupied their Sector only half-an-hour before the first German attack upon it was made.


    5. The “Queen of the Channel” berthed at Boulogne at about 06.30 hours on Wednesday 22nd May, 1940.

    6. The Battalion disembarked and moved direct to a large shed which already held a certain number of Belgium troops and some Officers’ chargers belonging to the C.-in-C. of the B.E.F.

    The Companies were much crowded together and had there been an air-raid at this time there would without doubt have been severe casualties.

    Meanwhile, unloading Stores from the “Queen of the Channel” had begun at the quayside, and the M.T. personnel were collecting the transport vehicles which had been placed at the disposal of the Battalion.

    7. At approximately 07/30 hours, the Brigade Commander, having had a short conference with a Brigadier Griffin, proceeded on a reconnaissance accompanied in the first instance by the Brigade Major, Officer Commanding 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, and Lt. Hornung, Intelligence Officer, 2nd Battalion Irish Guards. As a result of this reconnaissance, the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards was allotted a Sector beyond the village of Outreau (See Appendix “B”)

    8. Before leaving the quay at Boulogne, orders had been left under which the Battalion was to move up to Outreau as quickly as possible, and to disperse in that village, each Company being responsible for its own protection, until further orders were issued.

    9. Between 11.15 hours and 13.00 hours, the Commanding Officer took Company Commanders individually to their Company Sectors, and issued orders for the immediate occupation of the position. Companies having learnt a hard lesson at the Hook of Holland, lost not a minute in digging quickly and deeply. In order to avoid any delays in beginning to dig, each Section carried with it a small number of picks and shovels. The full quantity of these implements could not, of course, be delivered to Companies until they had arrived up from the quayside.


    10. Before mid afternoon, reports had begun to reach Battalion Headquarters of isolated enemy vehicles having been seen on the ridge which overlooks Outreau from the South, and at 15.30 hours shell fire commenced on No. 1 Company’s Sector, ie. on the left flank of the Battalion. It seemed to be directed at an anti-tank gun which had just been placed in position. No damage was done, and the shelling soon ceased, but the anti-tank gun was forced to move to a position which was less favourable for the covering of the lower road into Boulogne.

    11. During the afternoon, Lt. Peter Reynolds, No. 4 Company, was dispatched, as the result of instructions received from Headquarters 20th Guards Brigade, on a motor patrol to the town of Nesles. The patrol consisted of two motor cyclist D.R.’s, and a motor car containing Lt. Reynolds and three armed men. The object of the patrol was to discover whether the French were, in fact, holding a position between an enamoured vehicle, along narrow roads, and through unknown country, ran a very considerable risk of being ambushed and lost. Despite this risk, the Patrol returned safely, having seen neither French nor enemy soldiers, though it had been fired at from a wood just to the North of Nesles. I consider that the greatest credit is due to Lt. Reynolds for the manner in which he conducted this Patrol.

    12. At approximately 17.30 hours, shelling recommenced on the left of the Battalion’s front, and this shelling was followed by an attack which was accompanied by tanks, but which was not heavily pressed. The leading tank advancing up the road towards Outreau was engaged by an anti-tank gun commanded by 2/Lt. Eardley-Wilmot. Seven direct hits were obtained and the tank came to an abrupt stop and never moved again. As the result of a certain amount of confused fighting, No. 1 Company’s advance platoon on the lower road near the river was to all intents and purposes isolated from the remainder of No. 1 Company.

    13. At approximately 18.15 hours another platoon of No. 1 Company was attacked and at the same time a short air-raid took place over the village. The situation then became quieter and remained so for about 2 hours. It will be noticed that up to this time the only Company which had been engaged was No. 1, which held the left of the Battalion area.

    14. At 20.45 hours enemy shelling recommenced, and continued throughout the night until 01.15 hours. This shelling was heavier than that previously experienced and was more spread over the front held by the Battalion.

    15. At about 22.00 hours a more vicious attack was made on No. 1 Company and as a result of it, the forward platoon on the lower road was out-flanked and but a few escaped from it. The effect of this enemy manoeuvre was to partially open the lower road into Boulogne. For some time the impression was prevalent that the enemy were trying to pass troops down this road into the down, but no confirmation of this can be obtained, and it becomes still more unlikely that any such thing occurred when it is appreciated that no reports ever reached the Battalion of any German troops having been seen in the town during the night 22nd / 23rd May.

    16. At the time of this night attack, no communication with Brigade Headquarters existed other than by D.R., as the civil telephone lines had been cut or disconnected earlier in the day. To send D.R’s was clearly a dangerous proceeding, as it was not then known whether or not the enemy had managed to infiltrate through into the town of Boulogne, through which D.R’S would have to pass on their way to Brigade Headquarters on the other side of the river. However, it had become imperative that the Brigade Commander should be informed of the position as it then was, and two D.R.’s , one of them a W.O. 3, were dispatched. These, after many hours on the road, failed to locate Brigade Headquarters, and thus, the Brigade Commander did not receive the information which it considered so important that he should have, until he came in person to Battalion Headquarters in the early hours of Thursday 23rd May.

    17. Before the night attack on No. 1 Company had begun, the advisability of moving additional anti-tank guns from the right of the Battalion Sector to that held by No. 1 Company, was very seriously considered. It was decided however that it would be wiser not to make any such changes, because in the first place the enemy had full observation over the Battalion front, and would, without doubt, have seen the move taking place. In the second place, most of the vehicles available in the Battalion Area were being employed as road blocks, and it would have been a lengthy business to extract the type of vehicle required, to load the gun on to it, to transfer it to the new Sector, and to place it in a new position. Lastly, it was appreciated that the enemy having seen the move taking place, might well have altered his plans and attacked the right of the Battalion, where the country was open and where no anti-tank obstacles, other than road blocks, existed.

    18. Whilst the attack on No. 1 Company was taking place, an order was issued to the personnel of the carrier platoon, to move up into the village of Outreau and block all roads. This step was taken in order to prevent any further penetration into the Battalion’s position, should the attack on No. 1 Company continue to be pressed. In point of fact, this did not occur, and the night after about 23.00 hours was fairly quiet except for intermittent shelling. Nevertheless the position was far from comfortable, the main anxiety being to restore the situation in No. 1 Company’s Sector as soon as the true position was disclosed at daylight. The difficulty however, of rectifying anything that might be wrong, was that the Battalion was spread over a very wide front (3650 yards), and that all Companies were on the line. Thus the only reserves available, some of which were naturally required for defence of the Battalion Headquarter Area, were specialist groups such as the Mortar Platoon, Signallers, and M.T. Personnel, whose training and employment did not make them suitable for the purposes of counter-attack. Further, it was difficult to envisage counter-attacks when no supporting arms of any sort were available to the Battalion. Had there been guns, or mortars, or air support ready to hand, the position would have been far easier, and I do not believe that there would have been great difficulty in completely re-establishing No. 1 Company’s position on the morning of Thursday, 23rd May.


    19. Battalion Headquarters stood to from 02.30 hours to 04.30 hours, as it was felt that the enemy would most probably renew his attack at about this time. However, he did not do so until about 07.30 hours. On this occasion the attack again started on the front of No. 1 Company, but quickly spread to that of No. 4 Company, with particular reference to the Platoon holding the high ground near the reservoir and trigonometrically point. This platoon was commanded by Lt. Reynolds, and its position had already been rendered somewhat precarious by the destruction of No. 1 Company’s forward platoon, which had been in position immediately to its left.

    20. The attack was accompanied by heavy shelling, both from guns and mortars, and this shelling, taking it by and large, went on almost without cessation throughout the day. Tanks were employed, and were instrumental in finally defeating the extremely gallant resistance which was put up by Lt. Reynolds’ platoon.

    21. The situation at 09.00 hours was that No. 1 Company had withdrawn with Company Headquarters and all the men they could collect from the forward platoons to the centre of Outreau village, where they took up an invaluable position covering the road leading down the hill into Boulogne, and the road leading to Battalion Headquarters. Before this withdrawal had taken place, two events had occurred. The first had been the order to the Carrier Platoon to move forward from their position in the village to reinforce No. 1 Company. In carrying out this order, it appears that Lt. H.S. Leveson moved forward himself with one section of the carriers and that his appreciation of the situation led him to the conclusion that he could best carry out his task by moving towards the area held by Mr. Reynolds on the left of No. 4 Company’s Sector. I am of the opinion that he was entirely right in his decisions, thought in the event, and perhaps fortunately, it seems that he was unable to move forward with more than the section he had with him at the time he went up to make his reconnaissance.

    At or about 08.45 hours Capt. L.D. Murphy, M.C., Commanding No. 4 Company, reported that he thought it would be best if Lt. Reynolds’ platoon were withdrawn to the southern outskirts of Outreau village. I acquiesced in his opinion, and instructed him to get the platoon back. Capt. Murphy accompanied by Capt. P.F.I. Reid, made the most strenuous efforts to get in touch with Mr. Reynolds, but owning to the great volume of fire which the enemy were bringing to bear on the platoon, and owing also to the fact that the platoon was by then almost entirely surrounded, he found himself unable to reach them. There is no doubt whatsoever that no-one at this time could have reached that platoon area alive.

    22. At about 09.15 hours, Officer Commanding 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, accompanied by Lt. John Marnan, Signalling Officer, 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, visited Company Headquarters of No. 4 Company. Instructions were given to Capt. Murphy to throw back his left flank in order to prevent possible enemy penetration between the position held by No. 4 Company and that then held by No. 1 Company, whose forward posts, it will be remembered, had already been overrun, and destroyed. Further, Capt. Murphy was promised a platoon from No. 2 Company, in order to help strengthen his defensive flank.

    The Commanding Officer and Lt. Marnan, having left No. 4 Company’s Headquarters, moved direct to No. 2 Company, where they saw Capt. Madden. The reinforcements of one platoon for No. 4 Company was ordered to proceed and was shown exactly where to go.

    23. At approximately 10.00 hours, No. 4 Company was forced to withdraw from the southern outskirts of Outreau village to a line running level with Battalion Headquarters. No. 2 Company on the right of No. 4, conformed to this move. No. 3 Company on the extreme right of the Battalion, still continued to maintain their original position. Thus, at this time, the line ran from the post held by No. 1 Company in the village of Outreau itself, covering the road down the hill to the quay, and the road leading to Battalion Headquarters, through some fields which gave a field of fire of some 150 yards on to the northern exits from Outreau, and thence to the original position held by No. 3 Company.

    24. At about this time, Major J.F. Ross was sent back to reconnoitre a further position in rear, for the Companies, while Major Lindsay carried out a reconnaissance for a position behind the Companies which could be occupied by Battalion Headquarters. It was my intention that this new line should be held by three Companies only, and that No. 2 Company should be withdrawn into reserve in order to hold an intermediate position through which any further withdrawal could take place. However, the time in which to organize such a distribution was never really available, and further it had not at this stage been appreciated that Nos. 1 and 4 Companies had already been reduced to almost microscopic numbers.

    25. Companies withdrew to the new position which lay astride the light railway running down through Boulogne at 10.30 hours. Battalion Headquarters followed approximately one hour later, and No. 1 Company moved back from its post in the village somewhere about 11.45 hours.

    This post of No. 1 Company had proved invaluable. They had been in close contact with the enemy for nearly two hours at a range of not much more than 30-50 yards. Throughout that time the posts had exchanged bursts of fire one with the other, and all attempts to outflank No. 1 Company’s position had each in turn been defeated. In my opinion, the holding of this post by No. 1 Company, which might quite easily have been somewhat demoralized by the very heavy losses which the Company had suffered, reflects the very greatest credit on Capt. C.R. McCausland and 2/Lt. G.G. Romer, and on the other ranks who held the post. I was very apprehensive as to whether they would be able to withdraw from such close contact without further heavy losses. The fact that they were able to do so shows thar they must have made the fullest and most effective use of the ground.

    26. The position astride the light railway was reached by the bulk of the Battalion between 10.30 and 11.00 hours, and there the Companies remained until approximately 13.00 hours. Within these times the Commanding Officer accompanied by Sir John Reynolds, Irish Guards, the Liaison Officer with Headquarters 20th Guards Brigade, visited No. 3 Company, which held the right of the Battalion Sector, and order them withdraw in order to conform with the new position. 2/Lt. P.D. Lindsay accompanied the Commanding Officer and remained to indicate to Capt. Finlay, O.C. No. 3 Company, the line which he was to occupy. At about 13.00 hours the Battalion withdrew further towards the centre of Boulogne town, moving down what appeared to be a fairly important street with its head and tail protected by Brens and Anti-tank Rifles. It should be noted that during the stand on the railway line, a great deal of firing had taken place, and that when the further withdrawal began, some of the Bren guns were not properly fit for further firing owing in some cases to the heat of the barrels and in others to the dirt which had accumulated in the barrels.

    27. During the withdrawal down the road, fairly severe shelling began, and it soon became apparent that if the Battalion remained in the street, numerous casualties were certain to be inflicted. The order was therefore given for Companies to seek shelter in the houses on either side of the road; that N.C.O’s should be ready in each house to bring out the men the moment orders were issued and that Brens and Anti-tank rifles were to be left protecting the roads in which the Battalion were sheltering, and the roads leading into it. After a short time the shelling ceased and almost immediately afterwards enemy tanks were heard approaching at a very slow rate down the road. It is reported by a P.S.M. that these tanks were preceded by a man dressed in civilian clothes who waved his hands and called out that the tanks were French ones. These tanks were it is thought, mediums, and the hour at which they were first heard was approximately 14.30 hours. There were not more than 5 of them in all. Three or four of them passed down the hill towards the quay, but according to information received later from outside sources they never penetrated on to the quay. The tanks that did not move down the hill remained as look-outs in the street in which the Battalion were sheltering. These latter tanks fired some shots at the doors of the houses in their immediate vicinity, but it is not known that any casualties were caused by this fire.

    28. It will be appreciated that the Battalion was in the most difficult and perilous situation, and that the only real hope was that the Germans would not search the buildings or continue their firing for any length of time. As events turned out, they did neither, for within a quarter-of-an-hour or so, the vehicle that had passed down the hill into the town remounted it and all the tanks moved away out of the Battalion Area. However, it was not known for certain that some tanks or perhaps infantry accompanying the tanks had not been left in the lower limits of the town, and therefore before committing the Battalion on to a further move through the streets a reconnaissance patrol was sent down to the quay in order to make sure that it was clear. This patrol met Lt. Sir John Reynolds, who reported that no enemy had been seen on the quayside. Whilst this patrol was away, two small tanks re-passed through the area in the Battalion was hidden. These vehicles neither paused nor fired. Lt. J.D. Hornung who saw these tanks, described them as very small indeed, but despite this fact, a direct hit on the back of one of them from an anti-tank rifle seemed to have made no impression whatsoever.

    When the news that the quayside was clear reached the Battalion, orders were issued for the final move down, and the Battalion marched with an advance guard, which was ready to drop Brens and anti-tank rifles at any side roads which might be held, and with a rear guard protecting its back. One diversion from the route originally selected had to be made owing to sniping which came from an upstairs window in a side street, but apart from this no difficulties were encountered, and the Battalion reached the line of houses on the quayside at 16.00 hours. The roads leading to the quayside were at once blocked with vehicles and barrels, and the blocks themselves covered by automatic weapons.

    29. Very shortly after reaching the quayside, information reached the Battalion from Brigade Headquarters that the order to evacuate had been cancelled. Though no orders were issued consideration was being given to the patrols which would have had to be sent out into the town again, and to the area in which the Battalion could most profitably spend what would have been a most uncomfortable night.

    30. It is quite clear, now that the events are over, that though the Battalion felt entirely entrapped while in the houses with the tanks cruising outside them, the effect on the enemy of finding the streets deserted when they expected to find them filled with troops, must, to say the least, have been very disquieting. They must, I believe, have felt that they were moving into an ambush of some sort, and that the roads were mined, or that we had anti-tank weapons waiting to deal with them once they had reached a certain point. I am convinced that if some such thoughts had not been in their minds, they would not have been content to pass through the Battalion Area without a rigorous search of the houses accompanied by grenade throwing and firing from the guns carried on the tanks themselves. Had such a search taken place, I do not see how the Battalion could have escaped from the predicament in which they were without severe losses.

    31. The order that the evacuation was not to take place was itself cancelled and in its place, an operation order detailing the manner in which troops were to reach the quayside was issued, though the hour at which the move towards the ships was to start was not stated, as at that time it was not known when ships would be alongside.

    32. At about 18.45 hours a very extensive air battle took place over the town, it being said by some authorities, that over a hundred enemy machines were in the air, with about ten to twenty five of our own fighters. So far as the Battalion was concerned, the results of the air battle were that the enemy machines were kept high in the air, and that no bombs were dropped on or near the houses occupied by Companies.

    33. At about 20.00 hours an order reached the Battalion that evacuation was to take place forthwith; the Battalion was to move to the quayside in groups, and that troops were to embark as and when accommodation on destroyers became available without regard to Companies or Platoons.

    34. The Battalion moved as ordered to the quayside, and the bulk of it sheltered on the lower level of the quay on the inner (southern) side. Two destroyers were allowed to berth alongside the quay without any interference, but as the third destroyer H.M.S. Verity approached the quay, extremely heavy fire suddenly broke out from guns and tanks on the northern side of the harbour. H.M.S. Verity was hit and set alight amidships by the first salvo, and it was clearly the enemy’s intention to sink her while she was still in the narrowest part of the Channel and thus block the way by which other destroyers would have to come in, and by which the destroyers already berthed alongside, would have to steam out. The Commander of the Verity however, completely saved the situation by going astern at full speed, firing with every gun that he could bring to bear, and altogether ignoring the fact that the quicker he steamed the quicker the flames spread. There is no doubt that the Units on the quayside owe a great debt to the Officers and crew of the Verity for their great courage and bold seamanship. The same debt is owed to the officers and crews of the remaining crews who remained alongside the quay embarking wounded and unwounded.

    Having failed to sink the Verity, the guns and tanks turned their attention on the quay, and for the next forty five minutes or so, kept up a tornado of fire. The range was so short that direct hits were almost invariably obtained, and had not the quay been extremely well built, there is little doubt that a breach would have been made and that many casualties would have been caused amongst the troops sheltering in close proximity on the lower level. The noise of the direct hits above ones head and the firing from the destroyers close alongside was intense, and provided a great test for the troops who were waiting to embark, and in front of whose eyes lay the decks of the destroyers. In my opinion it says a very great deal for the discipline of the troops concerned that no move of any sort or kind was made towards the destroyers until the order was given to do so, and that when that order was given, the move was carried out slowly and efficiently.

    As regards the Naval ships, it is not too much to say that for the second time within ten days the Battalion owed its existence to the magnificent conduct of the Dover Destroyers.

    35. The bulk of the Battalion left Boulogne at about 21.30 hours; reached Dover about midnight; entrained for Fleet and reached Tweseldon Camp at about 6.30 on the morning of May 24th.
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    APPENDIX “B” - Map

    UBoatsandIrish014.jpg Screen shot 2011-05-30 at 18.38.06.png
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD



    Killed in Action 2
    Died of Wounds 1
    Known Wounded 13
    Believed to be in Hospital 11
    Missing 174

    Total 201 (including 5 officers)

    QS :poppy:
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    Lessons drawn from the experiences of the Battalion.

    1. Daylight occupation of position, and use of Carriers.

    Circumstances force the Battalion and the anti-tank guns attached to it to move into position by daylight. There is little doubt that the latter part of the occupation was observed by the enemy from the ridge which overlooked Outreau. Thus, from the beginning the Germans must have been well aware of the general line occupied by us and probably also of the exact positions in which at least some of the anti-tank guns had been placed. Had the carriers been available, they would have been invaluable in forming a screen behind which the Battalion could have moved in. It is equally certain that they would have been invaluable in the later stages of the fighting for the purpose of carrying fire power rapidly from one point to another.

    2. Anti-tank Guns.

    The anti-tanks guns at present in use are, in my opinion, far too cumbersome and slow to move. I believe that we require a gun which can be towed or hauled quickly from one position to another, much in the same way as the sailors manhandle their light guns at the Royal Tournament at Olympia. The guns in the Battalion’s Sector needed a vehicle to move them and in many cases it was not possible for practical reasons to get vehicles up to them even if vehicles had been available.

    As regards the positions taken up by anti-tanks guns, it is certain that their life will be a short one if they are not defiladed from the front. To select such positions requires time, and time at Boulogne was non-existent. Further anti-tank guns can only expect to remain in action for long if they are thoroughly dug in and protected. Work of this kind was not possible in the conditions that prevailed.

    Anti-tank guns should naturally be sited so that they are within a platoon area, but they should not be placed too close to the actual sections which are protecting them, because if they are so placed, the enemy will try and fix the attention of both the anti-tank gun and the section in one particular direction and then make their real attack upon it from an entirely different point.

    When the number of anti-tank guns available makes it possible, they should be sited in great depth. At Boulogne, having regard to the length of front which the Battalion had to hold, and to the fact that there was no anti-tank obstacles other than road blocks, it was found necessary to place all guns in the forward area.

    3. Fire and grenades.

    On an extended front such as the Battalion had to hold, there were bound to be gaps between Companies and Platoons. The fact that these gaps existed made it more than ever desirable that some form of wire obstacle should be erected. However, no wire was available with the stores brought by the Battalion, and it would have taken too long to strip such fences as there were in the neighbourhood. I have little doubt that had the forward platoons been thoroughly wired in, the enemy would have been far more chary in approaching them.

    Similarly grenades would have provided a most useful weapon in keeping the enemy infantry away from our posts, and it seems the greatest pity that the authorities at home did not see their way to making a special issue of these weapons.

    4. Mortars.

    Had 3-inch mortar ammunition been available, these weapons would have been in very constant use on No. 1 Company’s front, particularly for dealing with the enemy who were undoubtedly using the dead ground beyond the reservoir, and with those who found shelter in the sunken roads leading southward from Outreau and who could not be fired on by Brens or rifles.

    Similarly the 2-inch mortar could have been made extensive use of, had ammunition been available and had anyone in the Battalion had any experience of firing the weapon.

    5. Anti-tank Mines.

    On the information available at Dover before the Brigade embarked for Boulogne, it seemed highly probably that opposition would be met from enemy mobile columns. In these circumstances there is no doubt that much confidence would have been given to all ranks had anti-tank mines been issued. The conditions were ideal for their use and the need for them was urgent.

    6. Digging.

    The Battalion having learnt a lesson at the Hook of Holland dug in extremely quickly on arrival in their defensive positions outside Boulogne. This they did despite the fact that they were tired. There is no doubt that all Commands must on every occasion go to ground as rapidly as possible. If they do not, and are in consequence caught in the open by low-flying enemy aircraft, then it would be certain that unnecessary casualties will be suffered.

    7. M.T.

    A Battalion without its M.T. in my opinion loses at least 50% of its efficiency. The substitution of borrowed vehicles of different capacity to that usually issued, is not the same thing at all. Further, had loaded M.T. vehicles accompanied the Battalion, not only would much work on the quayside have been avoided, but the Battalion would have been able to get into position at an earlier hour than it actually did.

    8. Communications.

    From the time that the civil telephone lines were cut, it was found most difficult to maintain contacts with Brigade Headquarters, and it is felt that in an operation of the kind undertaken, wireless sets should be issued to each Battalion and Brigade Headquarters.

    9. Anti-tank Rifle.

    The consensus of opinion is that the anti-tank rifle does not live up to the reputation given to it at home. Only one instance can be recorded of any success having been gained by this weapon. This incident occurred on No. 1 Company’s front when the enemy brought up a tank with which they hoped to tow out the other tank which had been put out of action by an anti-tank gun at an earlier stage of the fighting. The undamaged tank was fired at and to some extent set on fire by a shot from an anti-tank rifle. Apart from this incident I cannot record any other successful shots, though many are known to have hit the vehicles at which they were aimed.

    10. Tools.

    In any operation where the Battalion equipment and stores are loaded into the holds of ships, sections should be ordered to carry ashore a few picks and shovels with which they can start digging while awaiting the arrival of the remainder of these implements, subsequent to their unloading on the quayside.

    11. Brens and anti-tank rifles.

    It was found advisable to take all Brens and anti-tank rifles unboxed on to the ship, so that they were immediately available for use of Companies as they disembarked. This is particularly necessary when the loading of ships takes place at night, for in the darkness it is very easy for some Bren or anti-tank rifle boxes to be place in inaccessible positions in the hold. The only safe place for them is in the hands of those who are going to use them.

    12. Civil Population and Foreign Troops.

    There is no doubt that the operations of the Battalion would have been much facilitated had it been possible to evict the civil population immediately the Companies reached Outreau and also to evict a large number of Belgium soldiers who did nothing to help but merely encumbered the ground and caused confusion at night by passing and re-passing our advanced and rearward posts. Civilians and soldiers such as these are a constant source of danger both to themselves and to those who are trying to protect them. Further, there is not much doubt that amongst both bodies, enemy agents exist, and that these, as opportunity offers, pass on any information which they may have been able to glean.

    13. Anti-Aircraft Bren Guns.

    It is most unwise to site anti-aircraft bren guns in exposed positions in order that they may have an all-round arc of fire. It is much better to place them in well hidden localities even though they then can cover only a small section of the sky.

    The anti-aircraft Bren gun firing .303 ammunition does little or no harm against the armoured protection which the German fighting machines possess. What is required is a weapon which has some armour-piercing capacity, and until this is produced, I do not see that any great results can be expected from small arms fire.

    If anti-aircraft Bren guns are used they should when time permits, be dug in just like other guns.

    14. Bren and Anti-tank Rifle Posts covering straight stretches of road.

    It is not safe to site such posts close to the side of the road even though there may be trees under which they can obtain cover. In practice such posts are too close to the target, i.e., the road down which the enemy plane is either bombing or machine gunning. It is much better to place a road-block on the road and to site the Bren or Anti-tank Rifle Post at least 40 or 50 yards to the side of the road, so that they are not hit by bombs or bullets aimed at the road itself.

    15. Co-operation of all weapons.

    It has been hard to avoid the impression in the Battalion that the weapons with which they are issued are not equal to the tasks which they are called upon to perform. In order to counteract any such impression it has been pointed out to all ranks that in their experiences at Hook of Holland and at Boulogne, they have been attempting to play a tune when only half the orchestra was present, and that had artillery support, mortar support, air support, grenades, tanks, mines, wire and good communications between them been available, the result in both cases would have been very different. It has further been pointed out that, even as things were, it took a fully equipped, fully supported, and highly mobile force a full day to move the Battalion back a distance of one mile and a half. This in itself seems to show that the enemy do not like taking risks and that they cannot be so sure of themselves as one is sometimes lead to believe.
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    Officer and Other Ranks who proceeded abroad with the Battalion.


    Lieut. - Col. J.C. Haydon, O.B.E.
    Major J. F. Ross
    Major T. G. Lindsay
    Captain H. S. Phillpotts
    Captain C.E. McCausland
    Captain L.D. Murphy, M.C.
    Captain C.K. Finlay
    Captain J.W.R. Madden
    Captain P.W.B. Pole-Carew
    Captain P.F.J. Reid
    Lieutenant J.D. Hornung
    Lieutenant E.A.S. Alexander
    Lieutenant J.F. Marnan
    Lieutenant D.W.S.P. Reynolds
    Lieutenant J.B. Fitzgerald
    Lieutenant H.S.L. Levenson
    Lieutenant H.R. Grace (R.A.M.C.)
    2/Lieutenant P.O.A. Davison
    2/Lieutenant P.D. Lindsay
    2/Lieutenant G.G. Romer
    2/Lieutenant D.A. Reid
    2/Lieutenant M.V. Dudley
    2/Lieutenant R.McN. Cooper-Key
    2/Lieutenant N.A.R. O’Neill
    2/Lieutenant P.B. Jeffreys
    2/Lieutenant J.N.J. Leslie
    2/Lieutenant R.C. Hubbard
    Captain J.J. Stoner (Chaplain)
    Lieutenant & Quartermaster J. Keating
    2/Lieutenant G.R. Fisher-Rowe
    2/Lieutenant Hon. P.T. Butler
    Lieutenant Sir John Reynolds ) Attached H.Q. 20th Guards Bde
    2/Lieutenant A.R. Eardley-Wilmot )

    b ) Strength of Battalion when embarking at Dover.

    H.Q. Coy. 257 Other Ranks.
    No. 1 Coy. 100 Other Ranks.
    No. 2 Coy. 111 Other Ranks.
    No. 3 Coy. 104 Other Ranks.
    No. 4. Coy. 107 Other Ranks.
  6. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Some people never have a day off, well done
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Superb, Diane.
    Really I ought to visit Boulogne & do the battlefields.
    PS I've just changed the thread title slighty.
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    71093 Lieutenant Henry Simon Lomer Levenson
    67903 Lieutenant Douglas William Sinclair P. Reynolds
    2718195 Sergeant William Alberts
    2719682 Guardsman James R. Barbour
    2719766 Guardsman Francis Henry Chattington
    2719056 Guardsman Albert Clark
    2719734 Guardsman Thomas Geoffrey Creasey
    2719884 Guardsman James Dobson
    2717608 Lance-Corporal Thomas Michael Foley
    2717576 Guardsman Frederick Freeman
    2718618 Sergeant Stewart Houston
    2716657 Guardsman Patrick Kearns
    2717913 Lance-Corporal Charles Kelly
    2719742 Guardsman George King
    2718087 Lance-Corporal James Lynam
    2719816 Joseph Henry Mayers
    2719255 Guardsman Thomas McDermott
    2720006 Guardsman Brian O’Flynn
    2719194 Guardsman James Phillips
    2719902 Guardsman Frank Price
    2717246 Guardsman Robert Joseph Quigley
    2719462 Guardsman Percy William Rapson
    2719308 Guardsman Alexander Turish
    2719183 Guardsman Edward Christopher Walsh
    2719466 Guardsman John Patrick Williams

    Officers 1
    Other Ranks 14

    QS :poppy:
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    All are 2Bn IG unless otherwise stated

    Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Haydon, O.B.E. Commanding Officer Harpoon Force
    Major G.St.V.J. Vigor, Harpoon Force Second-in-Command, 2 Battalion Welsh Guards
    Captain H. S. Phillpotts, Adjutant
    Lieutenant D. Hornung, Intelligence Officer

    Lieutenant M. R. Grace Medical Officer, R.A.M.C.
    Captain Phillips Interpreter, Dutch Army
    Captain J.J. Stoner, Chaplain

    Strength: 174
    Major T.G. Lindsay Company Commander
    Lieutenant J.F. Marnan Signals Officer
    2/Lieutenant P.O. Davison Transport Officer
    2/Lieutenant P.D. Lindsay Mortar Officer

    No. 1 COMPANY (2WG)
    Strength: 201
    Captain C.H.R. Heber-Percy 2WG, Company Commander
    Captain A.H.S. Commbe Tennant, 2WG, Platoon Commander
    Lieutenant C. A. St.S. P Harmsworth, 2WG, Platoon Commander
    2/Lieutenant J.E.L. FitzWiliams, 2WG, Platoon Commander

    No. 2 COMPANY
    Strength: 91
    Captain J.W.R. Madden Company Commander
    Captain P.W.B. Pole-Carew Platoon Commander
    Lieutenant J.B. FitzGerald Platoon Commander
    2/Lieutenant M.V. Dudley Platoon Commander

    No. 3 COMPANY
    Strength: 90
    Captain C.K. Finlay Company Commander
    Lieutenant E.A.S. Alexander Platoon Commander
    2/Lieutenant N.A.R. O'Neill Platoon Commander
    2/Lieutenant P.P. Jeffreys Platoon Commander

    No. 4 COMPANY
    Strength: 95
    Captain L.D. Murphy, M.C. Company Commander
    Captain P.F.I. Reid Platoon Commander
    Lieutenant D.W.S.P. Reynolds Platoon Commander
    2/Lieutenant N. H. Du Boulay Platoon Commander

    Captain C.R. McCausland
    2/Lieutenant G.G. Romer
    2/Lieutenant N.T.C. Fisher

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    2717655 Guardsman Thomas Bolger
    2717202 Guardsman James Thomas Burke
    2717392 Lance-Corporal Patrick Carroll
    6654626 Guardsman James William Hayes
    2719871 Guardsman Thomas Murphy
    2719674 Guardsman John McWalter
    2717456 Lance-Sergeant Leonard Richard Parker
    2717586 Guardsman Thomas Power
    2718967 Lance-Corporal George Stewart
    2716746 Guardsman John Reginald Stewart
    2719968 Guardsman George Edmund Wiggins

    Officers Nil
    Other Ranks 12

    QS :poppy:
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    I have now transcribed these recommendations [except for Haydon's bar to DSO]. See following posts.


    Distinguished Service Order
    13865 Lieut.-Colonel Joseph Charles Haydon, O.B.E.

    Military Cross
    45462 Captain Henry Steuart Philpotts 1940-1942 WO 373/16
    37264 Captain Conolly Robert McCausland 1940-1942 WO 373/16
    62427 Captain John Derek Hornung [Hurning on list in IG History] 1940-1942 WO 373/16

    Distinguished Conduct Medal
    2717907 Sergeant William John Gilchrist, 1940-1942 WO 373/16

    Military Medal
    2716755 Sergeant Michael Carragher, 1940-1942 373/16
    2718862 Lance-Corporal Ivan Burke, 1940-1942 373/16
    2717551 Lance-Corporal Thomas Henry Mawhinney, 1940-1942 373/16
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    Transcript of Medal reccommendation:

    Lt.-Col. HAYDON was in command of a composite Battalion during the operations at the HOOK OF HOLLAND on May13/14th 1940; he was also in command of the 2nd Bn Irish Guards in BOULOGNE from May 21st - 23rd 1940.

    In the unusual and difficult circumstances which arose in both the operations, he was an example in every way to those under him.
    His personal bravery, coolness, quick grasp of the situation, and ability to give well-thought-out orders at a moment’s notice, were an inspiration to all those around him.

    In both operations, his Bn would have suffered very much more heavily, had it not been for his fine qualities of leadership.
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    Transcription of medal recommendation:

    Captain H.S. PHILLPOTTS was Adjutant to the Battalion throughout the operations at the HOOK OF HOLLAND on May 13th and 14th, 1940. During the air bombing which took place on the evening of the 14th. May this officer was wounded. However, though in considerable pain he neither reported the fact that he had been hit nor did he go to the Regimental Aid Post for treatment because at that time the Medical Officer was already very occupied dealing with the other wounded. It was not until the pallor of his face caused questions to be asked that the admitted he had been hit, and even then it required a direct order before he would go to receive treatment.

    On the following morning when the decision was taken to evacuate the force at short notice Captain PHILLPOTTS, despite the pain and discomfort he was suffering and had suffered through the night, volunteered to carry the orders for the move to the forward Companies. He took the quickest routes across completely open ground and would have been at the mercy of any enemy aeroplane that came over. Captain PHILLPOTTS by his courage, endurance and self-sacrifice set the most inspiring example to all ranks and was instrumental in getting very urgent orders to their destination in time for them to be acted upon.

    His services throughout the operations were invaluable both to his Commanding Officer and to the Battalion.
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    Transcription of medal recommendation:

    Boulogne. 22/23rd May, 1940.

    Captain McCAUSLAND commanded No. 1 Company during the Boulogne operations. His company was attacked twice during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 22nd May, and continuously during the following day. Very heavy casualties were suffered, and only 3 Officers and 36 Other Ranks were present for re-embarkation on the evening of 23rd May. Throughout the final move, Captain McCAUSLAND set the finest example to his men and after the initial withdrawal of what remained of his Company on the morning of the 23rd May, he took personal command of a most important post in the village of Outreau. This post was not more than 30-50 yards distant from the enemy’s advanced elements and despite repeated attacks and efforts to out-flank them, they held their ground for nearly tow hours. The spirit and courage which animated those in the post was due in a large measure to the example set by Captain McCAUSLAND, who ignoring all danger himself, refused to allow his men to become in any way depressed by the heavy casualties they had suffered earlier in the day. Later, despite being in such close contact with the enemy, Captain McCAUSLAND was able, by skilful handling, to extricate his men without loss when the moment came to make a further withdrawal. This officer showed courage and ability of very high order throughout the operations.
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    Transcription of Medal Recommendation:

    Boulogne. 22/23rd May, 1940.

    Lieut. HORNUNG was Intelligence Officer 2nd Battalion Irish Guards throughout the Battalion operations. This officer showed at all times a complete disregard of danger and as a result of his coolness, his skill and his initiative in seeking information, he was always able to present an accurate and complete account of the situation. On the night of 22/23rd May Lieut. HORNUNG led a most important patrol and the information which he gleaned proved of great value. During the first two or three hours of the attack on the 23rd May, Lieut. HORNUNG personally manned a Bren gun in a very exposed position near Battalion Headquarters. This gun was constantly in action and by its presence and the effectiveness f its fire imposed great delay and caution on the enemy who were at that time trying to work their way between one of the forward companies and Battalion Headquarters. During the later stages of the withdrawal Lieut. HORNUNG was personally responsible for posting many of the Bren guns and anti-tank rifles which protected the flank and rear of the Battalion. By his example bearing he helped to keep those about him in high spirits. No Battalion Commander could have wished for or obtained more willing, wholehearted or valuable support.
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    Transcript of Medal Recommendation:

    Boulogne. 23rd May, 1940.

    Sgt. GILCHRIST was in personal charge of an anti-tank rifle which protected the rear of the Battalion during its withdrawal into Boulogne on the 23rd May. For two hours this N.C.O., with a few men, succeeded in holding their post at a street corner, thus enabling the remainder of the Battalion to move on unmolested.

    Although under extremely heavy machine gun fire he showed the greatest contempt of danger and continued to keep his anti-tank gun in action. He was instrumental in hitting and setting on fire an enemy tank, thus blocking a street down which the enemy were trying to move. Later in the action he himself was wounded but refused to leave his anti-tank rifle until it, and the Bren guns supporting it, became jammed through over firing. Throughout the whole action Sgt. GILCHRIST showed courage and bravery of a very high order and set the finest example to the remainder of his platoon.

    See post no. 47
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    Transcript of medal recommendation:

    Boulogne. 23rd May, 1940.

    During the withdrawal action through Boulogne Sgt. CARRAGHER was continuously with the forward Bren guns and anti-tank rifles of his Company. Despite intense enemy fire Sgt. CARRAGHER displayed the greatest contempt of personal danger and by his imperturbable spirit, kept up the courage of his men. He personally supplied his Bren guns with ammunition, organised reliefs on the guns and exchanges of guns when those in action became jammed or otherwise unserviceable.

    Throughout the day his behaviour was as cool a if he had been on the Barrack Square. There is no doubt that he played a large part in delaying for so long the enemy’s advance.
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    Transcript of Medal Recommendation:

    Boulogne. 23rd May, 1940.

    Throughout the rear guard action fought in the streets of Boulogne on the 23rd May, Cpl. BURKE manned either an anti-tank rifle or when that became jammed, a Bren gun. This L/Corporal never wavered, despite being subjected to man his weapons until he collapsed partly as a result of physical exhaustion and partly as a result of concussion due to a heavy explosion which occurred close beside him.

    When the moment came for his company to withdraw he refused all assistance that was offered him, although he was at the time almost unable to control his actions.

    He showed high courage and set the finest example to his section and to all those around him.
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    Transcript of Medal Recommendation:

    Boulogne. 23rd May, 1940.

    At an early stage in the enemy’s attack on 23rd May, L/Cpl. MAWHINNEY’s section became almost entirely surrounded owing to the posts on either side of him having been overrun and destroyed by enemy tanks. Thus, when the order came for him to withdraw he found it impossible to move his section because of the close proximity of the enemy and the extreme accuracy of their fire. However, by keeping his head and watching intently every enemy move, he seized a fleeting moment when their attention was attracted elsewhere and withdrew his section in spite of the fact that there was an enemy tank within 30 yards of him. By his coolness and powers of leadership this N.C.O. preserved his section intact and was able to re-join his company and take a prominent part in the fighting which went on throughout the remainder of the day.

    Corporal MAWHINNEY showed courage and skill of a high order.
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    TNA Catalogue Number: WO 167/695
    Scope and content
    2 Irish Guards
    Covering dates 1940 May-June

    MAY 1940
    1 May
    Company training. The Lieutenant-Colonel visited the battalion

    2 May
    Company training

    3 May
    Company training.
    Lecture by O.C. 5th Bn Loyal Regiment to all officers and Warrant officers on the organisation and armament of his battalion.
    Lt. G.D. COOPER, 2/Lt. R.M. STANLEY and 2/Lt. A.G. STURDY returned to this Training Battalion.
    2/Lt. Hon. P.T.T. BUTLER, 2/Lt. G.E. FISHER-ROWE, 2/Lt. N.H. du BOULAY and 2/Lt. E. Mc N. COOPER-KEY were posted to the battalion

    4 May

    5 May
    Church parades.

    6 May
    The battalion move to the Goodwood area and joined an inter-company exercise. One force was commanded by Capt. T.D.H. GRAYSON and the other by Capt. L.D. MURPHY, M.C.

    7 May
    Inter-company exercise

    8 May
    Inter-company exercise

    9 May
    Inter-company exercise ended and the battalion returned to Old Dean Camp.

    10 May
    Whitsun - leave starts.
    Invasion of the Low Countries by Germany.
    Week-end leave cancelled. All ranks recalled.

    11 May
    The battalion left Old Dean Camp for Paddock Wood, Kent to resist German parachutists. The battalion encamped at BELTRING HOP FM., PADDOCK WOOD.
    The Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer, who was at a conference at 20. Gds. Bde. H.Q. at Wellington Hotel TUNBRIDGE WELLS, received orders for a composite battalion of IRISH and WELSH GUARDS to proceed on 12 May to HOLLAND.

    12 May
    The Commanding Officer gave the Adjutant orders for the composition of the battalion, as he was going to spend the whole day at the War Office.
    A message was received from 20 Gds. Bde. that parachutists had landed in large numbers in four places in KENT. This message proved to be without foundation. The whole day was spent in re-organising the battalion into a composite battalion.
    No. 1 Company was found by 2 W.G. The remainder of the battalion was found by 2 I.G. When 2I.G. had insufficient specialists, they were made up by 2 W.G. The reason for this insufficiency of men was the fact that a large number had proceeded to IRELAND on Whitsun leave and had not had time to return. Amongst them, who had not returned was the Quartermaster. He arrived however in time to embark with the battalion.
    First train left TUNBRIDGE WELLS for DOVER. No. 1 Coy, 2W.G. and part of H.Q. Coy 2I.G. travelled by this train - also most of the baggage.
    Second train left TUNBRIDGE WELLS with the remainder of the battalion - all of whom were found by 2I.G. A small baggage train followed their train.
    The battalion embarked in S.S. CANTERBURY and S.S. MAID OF ORLEANS. No. 2 & No. 4 Coys and part of Bn H.Q. embarked in the CANTERBURY and No. 1 & 3 Coys anf part of Bn H.Q. embarked in the MAID OF ORLEANS. The Commanding Officer and Adjutant embarked in the CANTERBURY and the Second-in-Command and Assistant Adjutant in the MAID OF ORLEANS.
    The Commanding Officer held a conference of officers in the CANTERBURY. He told them that the battalion would in future be called HARPOON and was to sail as soon after 20.00hrs as possible for the HOOK OF HOOLAND, when it proceed to THE HAGUE in order to suppress Fifth Column activists and restore confidence to the population. The Commanding Officer then gave orders that the force from S.S. CANTERBURY should disembark first followed by that of the MAID OF ORLEANS. The entire force was as soon as possible to take a position to hold the quay while unloading proceeded. It was intimated the landing might be opposed, but that the Quay at the HOOK OF HOLLAND was at present believed to be held by a company to ROYAL MARINES.
    The two transports left DOVER escorted by four of H.M. destroyers.
    A Dutch liaison officer Captain PHILIPS accompanied HARPOON and sailed in S.S. CANTERBURY.

    13 May
    04.00hrs approx.
    The two transports entered the HOOK OF HOLLAND canal. The Dutch flag was seen to be flying and one of H.M. destroyers was lying alongside the quay.
    No. 4 Coy started to disembark from S.S. CANTERBURY. Adv. Bn. H.Q. disembarked after the first platoon of No. 4 Coy.
    No. 2 Coy started to disembark by a second gangway.
    No. 1 Coy started to disembark from S.S. CANTERBURY.
    The companies took up positions forming a perimeter round the quay. No. 1 Coy on the right, No. 3 Coy right centre, No. 4 Coy left centre and No. 2 Coy on the left. The quay was already held by a company of ROYAL MARINES.
    Unloading by Transport and Signals started straight away.
    Enemy Recce flights took place throughout the morning.
    A Dutch Transport column, which was expected to be placed at the disposal of the battalion did not turn up. The Commanding Officer was told that he might expect it throughout the morning, but messages continued to arrive to the effect that the transport was delayed.
    The Local Dutch CinC finally promised the transport at mid-day. During the course of the morning companies were allotted Sectors further out from the Quay.
    Her Majesty QUEEN WILHELMINA embarked on H.M. destroyer.
    Dutch transport arrived. After much argument it was decided to keep six vehicles. All transport was new and of the latest 30cwt Ford type.
    Dutch CinC requested the Commanding Officer to take whole force to Rotterdam and later a further request to take the whole force to Amsterdam. Both of these requests were refused and the Commanding Officer decided to hold the bridgehead at the HOOK pending further instructions from the War Office.
    The Dutch Government embarked on H.M. destroyer.
    The Diplomatic Corps embarked on H.M. destroyers.
    Air Raid. Low bombing and machine gunning. No incendiary bombs. Number of casualties. One of H.M. destroyers was hit and suffered casualties.
    20 men from WELSH GUARDS Company were lent to the ROYAL MARINES.
    The War Office forecast the arrival of a 2nd Battalion during the evening of the 14th - 15th.

    14 May
    War Office order to prepare to withdraw.
    General HEYWARD arrived from THE HAGUE.
    Air Raid. Just as Commanding Officer had finished conference with Company Commanders. The raid was particularly directed at Battalion Headquarters. Casualties.
    HARPOON moves back into village including Battalion Headquarters.
    Conference between General HEYWOOD, the Senior Naval Officer and the Commanding Officer. The Senior Naval Officer promised transport for 600 by 11.00hrs. On this promise it was decided to start withdrawal at 10.45hrs. It was made clear that there would be no transport for any stores.
    The destroyers were delayed and only one arrived at a time. An R.A.F. patrol of nine Blenheims circled overhead from 11.00hrs to 11.45hrs.

    HARPOON eventually left in 3 destroyers; H.M.S. WHITSHED, H.M.S. MALCOLM & H.M.S. VESPER between 11.30hrs and 14.00hrs and were loaded at DOVER by 23.30hrs.
    The Battalion spent the night at the rest camp at DOVER, the officers sleeping at the LORD WALDEN HOTEL.

    15 May
    The Battalion left DOVER in two train for BLACKWATER STATION and arrived back in OLD DEAN CAMP by 13.00hrs.

    16 May
    Personnel & Equipment of Companies checked.

    17 May
    The Commanding Officer saw all Company Commanders.

    18 May
    Battalion Parade and shooting at ASH RANGES.

    19 May
    Church Parades.

    20 May
    Training. Brigade Exercise, followed by a night in the trenches at ELLINOR BRIDGE.

    21 May
    The Battalion returned from training.
    Company Commanders warned that Battalion must be ready to move overseas in two hours time.
    The 20th GUARDS BRIGADE less 5th BATTALION LOYAL REGIMENT left OLD DEAN COMMON CAMP by Mechanical Transport for DOVER.
    The Battalion arrived at DOVER. After being given a hot meal, loading on the QUEEN OF THE CHANNEL commenced. It was soon realised that the shipping was not sufficient and after much argument a further ship, S.S. MONA’S STAR was allotted to the Brigade. Eventually the Battalion less No. 1 Company, Mortar Pl, Pioneer Pl and the Mechanical Transport Pl embarked on the QUEEN OF THE CHANNEL. Brigade Headquarters & the 2nd Bn WELSH GUARDS less one Company on S.S. BIARRITZ and the remainder on S.S. MONA’S STAR, H.M. Destroyer VIMY embarked the Brigadier and the Brigade Major and 8 2pdr Anti Tank Guns.

    22 May
    The Convoy sailed less S.S. MONA’S STAR who sailed 4 hours later.
    The QUEEN OF THE CHANNEL berthed at BOULOGNE. The battalion disembarked and moved direct to a large shed on the Quay side.
    Major T.G. LINDSAY superintended the unloading of the ship with the carrier platoon to do the work.
    The Commanding Officer and Lieut. J.D. HORNUNG proceeded on a reconnaissance with the Brigade Commander and Brigade Major. As a result of this reconnaissance it was decided that the Battalion should take over a sector beyond the village of OUTREAU.
    The Battalion had meanwhile moved up to the village of OUTREAU.
    The Commanding Officer allotted sectors to companies.
    The MONA’S STAR berthed at BOULOGNE and No. 1 Company proceeded to OUTREAU.
    Shell fire commenced on No. 1 Company’s sector.
    Lieut. D.W.S.P REYNOLDS accompanied by two DR’s proceeded on a motor Patrol to NESLES. The patrol returned reporting no sign of French or the enemy although it was fired at from a wood to the NORTH of NESLES.
    Shell fire recommenced on the left flank of the Battalion, and was followed by a tank attack.
    2/Lt. A. EARDLEY-WILMOT in command of an anti tank gun put one tank out of action.
    Another platoon of No. 1 Company was attacked and a short air-raid took place.
    Shell fire continued from now until 01.15hrs and was spread over the whole of the Battalion front.
    A more severe attack was opened on the left hand platoon of No. 1 Company as the result of which most of the platoon were casualties and the lower road to BOULOGNE was partially opened to the enemy.
    The Carrier platoon were ordered to move up into the village of OUTREAU and block all roads.

    23 May
    The Battalion stood to from now until 04.30hrs.
    The enemy attacked No. 1 Company and No. 4 Company. Shelling from both Guns and Mortars accompanied this attack and continued throughout the day. Tanks were employed by the enemy.
    The remainder of No. 1 Company withdrew to the village of OUTREAU.
    The Commanding Officer accompanied by Lieut. J. HARMAN visited Headquarters of No. 4 Company and ordered them to throw back their left back in order to conform with No. 1 Company. No. 4 Company were promised a platoon from No. 2 Company.
    No. 4 Company withdrew to a line level with Battalion Headquarters. No. 2 Company conformed to this move and No. 3 Company remained in their original position.
    2 & 4 Companies withdrew to a line astride the light railway running down into BOULOGNE.
    Battalion Headquarters moved.
    No. 1 Company withdrew. The Battalion remained on this new line until 13.00hrs. During this time the Commanding Officer accompanied by Lieut. Sir JOHN REYNOLDS Bart, visited No. 3 Company and ordered them to withdraw in order to conform with the new line.
    The Battalion withdrew further into the town of BOULOGNE and occupied houses in a street.
    Five tanks passed the Battalion in the street.
    The Commanding Officer proceeded on Patrol to the Quay to find out the position there. As a result of this it was decided to move the Battalion into some houses on the Quayside.
    The Battalion reached the Quayside and information was received that evacuation was cancelled.
    A very large air battle took place over the town.
    Orders received for the immediate evacuation of the Battalion.
    The bulk of the Battalion embarked.
    The Battalion arrived at DOVER and entrained for FLEET.

    24 May
    Arrived at FLEET STATION and proceed to TWESELDOWN CAMP.
    Left Camp for FLEET STATION in order to entrain for LINGFIELD.

    25 May
    The Battalion arrived at HOBBS BARRACKS, LINGFIELD.

    26 May
    Church Parades

    27 May
    Battalion Parade

    28 May
    Battalion Parade

    29 May
    The under mentioned officers were posted to the Battalion from the Training Battalion W.E.F. the dates stated against their names.
    2/Lt. R.C. HUBBARD 18/05/1940
    2/Lt. Sir F. PEEK, Bt 27/05/1940
    2/Lt. J.H. THURSBY 27/05/1940
    2/Lt. J.R. DUPREE 27/05/1940
    2/Lt. A.F. GODDARD JACKSON 27/05/1940
    2/Lt. J.W. BERRIDGE 27/05/1940

    30 May
    Battalion Parade

    31 May
    Battalion Parade. The Battalion were granted leave in ENGLAND from after duties until 21.00hrs 6th JUNE provided that a skeleton staff in all departments were left on duty.

    JUNE 1940
    1 June
    Battalion on leave

    2 June
    Church services voluntary

    3 June
    Battalion on leave

    4 June
    Battalion on leave

    5 June
    Battalion on leave

    6 June
    Battalion returned from leave at 21.00hrs.

    7 June
    Battalion Parade

    8 June
    Battalion Parade.
    Major J.F. ROSS is posted to the Battalion and Headquarter Coy with effect from 18/05/1940.
    No. 2715436 Sgt (ORC) J. O’LEARY is awarded the medal for Long Service and Good Conduct.

    9 June
    Church Parades.

    10 June
    Battalion Parade

    11 June
    The Battalion moved to LARANT HOUSE CAMP, GOODWOOD

    12 June
    Companies spent the day digging.

    13 June
    Lieut. J.D. HORNUNG is granted the acting rank of Captain, 16/04/1940.

    14 June
    The following telegram was received from the 1st Battalion on their return from the N.W.E.F. in reply to one sent from 2nd Battalion.
    “All ranks 1st Bn thank you for greetings and look forward to an early meeting.”

    15 June
    Companies training.

    16 June
    Church parades.

    17 June
    Company training.

    18 June
    Company training.

    19 June
    Company training.

    20 June
    Company training.

    21 June
    The following immediate awards have been made to Officers and other ranks of the Battalion: -

    Distinguished Service Order

    Military Cross

    Distinguished Conduct Medal

    Military Medal
    2716755 L/Sgt. MICHAEL CARRAGHER
    2718862 L/Cpl. IVAN BURKE

    The following Officers of the training Bn are posted to the Battalion W.E.F. 21/06/1940 and are posted to companies as under:-
    2/Lt. J.P. FELLOWES, No. 4 Coy
    2/Lt. E.B. BROUGHTON, No. 2 Coy
    2/Lt. J.N.O. CLARKE, HQ Coy
    Lt. J.F. HARMAN is transferred to No. 4 Coy W.E.F. 21 June 1940.

    22 June
    Company training.

    23 June
    Church parades.

    24 June
    Company training.

    25 June
    2/Lt. R.E. HUBBARD having been admitted to Hospital is posted to the Training Bn W.E.F. 24/05/1940.

    26 June
    Company training.

    27 June
    Company training.

    28 June
    Company training.

    29 June
    Battalion parade.

    30 June
    The Bn moved to Woking.


    Appendix D.
    20th Guards Brigade,
    Roman Way Camp,
    29th May, 1940.

    Dear Admiral Ramsay,

    I am writing to you on behalf of every officer and man in this Brigade to express our admiration and gratitude for the part played by H.M. Destroyers in the evacuation from Boulogne

    But for their skill and courage in action I am certain that the evacuation would have resulted in far higher casualties, and might well have proved impossible. The debt which my Brigade owe to the British Navy will not be forgotten, and I can assure you that the way in which they performed their duties will be remembered by us all.

    I hope you will convey this message from the 20th Guards Brigade to the officers and men concerned, and with it our sympathy for casualties sustained during an action fought on our behalf.

    Yours very sincerely,

    [signed Brigadier] W. Fox-Pitt
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