4th Buffs at St Valery-en-Caux

Discussion in '1940' started by Duncan Curtis, May 30, 2020.

  1. Duncan Curtis

    Duncan Curtis Member

    My wife's late grandfather was captured at St Valery on 12 June 1940; he was in C Coy, 4th Buffs. I've traced his movements via the War Diary and the excellent book, The War in France & Flanders but after confusion crossing the bridge at Arques en Bataille as the Battalion withdrew to Le Havre his Company gets no mention (understandable).

    Can anyone enlighten me on what the two EKR Companies at St Valery were doing? I'm assuming they didn't sit around waiting to be rescued...
  2. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Can you tell us his name, as sometimes other Forum members can add useful information.
  3. Duncan Curtis

    Duncan Curtis Member

    I know his movements up to 10 June and then after 12 June: it's the two Coys I need info on really.
  4. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Good luck.
  5. Kiwi REd One

    Kiwi REd One Junior Member

    Two companies from "A" Brigade (one from 4th Buffs and one from 1/5th Sherwood Foresters) are mentioned briefly In Saul David's "Churchill's Sacrifice of the Highland Division" as being very late in crossing the bridge at Arques-la-Batalle, well after the time it was supposed to be blownup (2am 10th June). He notes that they were held up by traffic congestion along the withdrawal routes and never rejoined their parent units, instead remaining under the command of 152 Brigade until the surrender on 12th June. Looks like he got this information almost verbatium from the diary of Lt. Col. H. R. Swinburn who was GSO1 51 Div. (Swinburn's words are "These companies joined up and remained thereafter with 152 Brigade").

    At St Valery 152 Brigade deployed on the western side of the defensive perimeter and faced the main armoured thrust from Rommel's 7th Panzer Division. How the Buffs and Foresters companies were deployed among 152 Brigade at St Valery is not mentioned in either David's book or Swinburn's dairy (which is probably the most detailed source I have ever found on 51st Division's last days in France).

    I'm not sure if they were deployed with the other front line units of 152 Brigade (2nd Seaforths, 1st Gordons and 4th Camerons) as both sources above do specifically talk about another independant company (D Company 7th Royal Norfolks) fighting alongside 1st Gordons around St Riquier just west of St Valery but don't mention either the Buffs or Foresters companies.

    Most of 4 Buffs was able to escape back to the UK via Le Harve on 14th June as it was part of Ark Force.

    Not sure where you might find any more detailed information than that, but I hope that helps your quest.
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
    Duncan Curtis likes this.
  6. Duncan Curtis

    Duncan Curtis Member

    I think that may be the best I get: it certainly helps. Thankyou very much!

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