5 Glosters at Ledringhem 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Glosters, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. Glosters

    Glosters Member

    I have recently added a nice group to my collection:

    5185378 L/Cpl. Jack Ernest Barnfield, 5th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment (Territorial). MM gazetted 20 August 1940.

    The Battalion was ordered to hold the village of Ledringhem, but 1 platoon of 'C' Company was detached to guard the road crossing to the rear of the village.

    When the rest of the 5th Battalion was surrounded at Ledringhem, Barnfield and one other man volunteered to take a message through to them ordering them to break out.

    "Although the distance was only three miles the Battalion was surrounded by enemy mechanised forces and the task of getting through took them nearly five hours. To these men is largely due the successful withdrawal of the Battalion from Ledringhem."

    The Adjutant of the Battalion wrote (1946)
    "As the first serious attack was developing 2 NCOs of "C" Coy. came into Battalion HQ with a message from Brigade to the effect that the Battalion was to withdraw if, and when, it could disengage, and proceed to Bambecque via Herzeele. L/Cpls. J.E. Barnfield and R.L.E. Mayo, who were part of the "C" Coy. platoon withdrawn to Brigade HQ at Rietveld, had volunteered to take this message and had taken over 4 hours to complete 3 miles. They were both awarded the MM for their brave and timely action, without which the Battalion would have stood fast and would have been eventually overrun."

    When the Germans first managed to get into Ledringhem, they were forced out by a bayonet charge. With a cry of "Up the Glosters!" a line of men with bayonets fixed and firing from the hip advanced up the street. The Germans broke and fled.
    The BBC 'Dunkirk' dramatisation completely ignored the 2nd Glosters stand at Cassels and the 5th Glosters at Ledringhem.

    The papers that had survived with the family included everything from his Embodiment notice (1 Sept. 1939, to assemble at The Drill Hall, Cheltenham) to his Cert. of Transfer to the Army Reserve (26 March 1946). Back in the UK he transferred to the RAOC 16 August 1941, then to REME 1 Oct. 1942. He was then sent to Burma. His Efficiency Medal was awarded in Feb. 1949. Also included were his wife's pair of medals in box of issue with slip, she was ATS. I had expected a War & Defence pair so it was nice to find a France & Germany Star and War Medal.


    Steve
     
  2. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Nice to see the unsung heroes of WW2 geting some recognition. Good photo of the medals as well.
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  4. wjones

    wjones Junior Member

    I have recently added a nice group to my collection:

    5185378 L/Cpl. Jack Ernest Barnfield, 5th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment (Territorial). MM gazetted 20 August 1940.

    The Battalion was ordered to hold the village of Ledringhem, but 1 platoon of 'C' Company was detached to guard the road crossing to the rear of the village.

    When the rest of the 5th Battalion was surrounded at Ledringhem, Barnfield and one other man volunteered to take a message through to them ordering them to break out.

    "Although the distance was only three miles the Battalion was surrounded by enemy mechanised forces and the task of getting through took them nearly five hours. To these men is largely due the successful withdrawal of the Battalion from Ledringhem."

    The Adjutant of the Battalion wrote (1946)
    "As the first serious attack was developing 2 NCOs of "C" Coy. came into Battalion HQ with a message from Brigade to the effect that the Battalion was to withdraw if, and when, it could disengage, and proceed to Bambecque via Herzeele. L/Cpls. J.E. Barnfield and R.L.E. Mayo, who were part of the "C" Coy. platoon withdrawn to Brigade HQ at Rietveld, had volunteered to take this message and had taken over 4 hours to complete 3 miles. They were both awarded the MM for their brave and timely action, without which the Battalion would have stood fast and would have been eventually overrun."

    When the Germans first managed to get into Ledringhem, they were forced out by a bayonet charge. With a cry of "Up the Glosters!" a line of men with bayonets fixed and firing from the hip advanced up the street. The Germans broke and fled.
    The BBC 'Dunkirk' dramatisation completely ignored the 2nd Glosters stand at Cassels and the 5th Glosters at Ledringhem.

    The papers that had survived with the family included everything from his Embodiment notice (1 Sept. 1939, to assemble at The Drill Hall, Cheltenham) to his Cert. of Transfer to the Army Reserve (26 March 1946). Back in the UK he transferred to the RAOC 16 August 1941, then to REME 1 Oct. 1942. He was then sent to Burma. His Efficiency Medal was awarded in Feb. 1949. Also included were his wife's pair of medals in box of issue with slip, she was ATS. I had expected a War & Defence pair so it was nice to find a France & Germany Star and War Medal.


    Steve
    "When the rest of the 5th Battalion was surrounded at Ledringhem, Barnfield and one other man volunteered to take a message through to them ordering them to break out. "

    The other man you refer to was my Grandfather, Lance Corporal Reginald Mayo. Both men were dispatch riders and my Grandfather was shot in the hip on the return trip. He hid in a ditch for several days where he contemplated taking his own life.

    He was then captured by the Germans and taken to a prisoner of war camp in Poland where he remained for 3 years.

    He subsequently lost his leg due to his injuries.
     
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for bringing this old thread back to life. The original poster hasn't been on here since the end of last year.

    Was your Grandfather decorated or did he miss out due to being wounded and captured ?

    Presumably your Grandfather was a pre-war regular ? Does the family still have anything relating to his service ?
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  10. bhwoodward

    bhwoodward New Member

    My grandfather wrote an account of his time in Ledringham as part of a larger memoir of his time as a POW. However the account of Ledringham is frustratingly brief and he completely skips over the details. It must have been a traumatic experience for him, not to mention that 24-48hours previously his close cousin in D Coy 5th Btn was killed. To give you an idea of just how brief here is what he wrote of that two day period.

    "When the Germans eventually attacked we managed to keep them out for two days. This included us mounting a bayonet attack down the main street. The enemy had armoured cars at the bottom by the church and we had to get out of the village and make for Dunkirk. That was impossible with the enemy there so we had to get rid of them."

    He worked directly with Major Waller and Sergeant-Major Foxwell in the HQ as the HQ runner. Once the evacuation of Ledringham was ordered Major Waller told him to go with the main party after which the Major was killed and Sgt-Maj Foxwell made it back to Britain. He always wondered if he had stayed who he would have ended up with.

    In the end during the retreat he was cut off from the main group as one of the men had got delirious and caught in barbed wire so he and another helped him. When they continued on their way they ended up walking right into a check point and were shot at by machine gun. The two others were on the road and were hit instantly, my grandfather was in a ditch so had dived as far down as he could go. A German soldier came and gave him a kicking on the ground while swearing at him and ended it with a coup de grace but very luckily for him the bullet went through the rear and exited the side of his neck, somehow missing all main arteries.

    Having read all the accounts of which German units they would have been passing through it would seem that he had a lucky escape and it adds up that he was treated this way. He spent the next weeks wandering around between northern France and Belgium getting help from locals before giving himself up in the town square in Ypres (much to the surprise of the German soldier to whom he handed over his British Army pay book !)
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks for sharing that account. Do you have any pictures you can share? Post his details and when I have time I'll look and see if he completed PoW Liberation report at the National Archives.

    Regards
    Andy
     
    bhwoodward likes this.
  12. lapagenorris

    lapagenorris New Member

    My Grandfather was Lt D.L Norris in the War diary above, all I know is that he was captured and marched through Axel, and later on the 24th of August 1942 died at the p.o.w camp. Finally laid to rest in Hanover War cemetery. My Father was only 5 at the time and my grandmother lost her brother and her husband within a month of each other so it was never spoken about as the pain was too great, so if anyone has any info I would be eternally grateful.
    Victoria Lapage Norris
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Victoria and welcome to the forum. There were two Norris's in the 5th Battalion - do you know if they were related?
     
  14. bhwoodward

    bhwoodward New Member

    Hi Andy, Only 5 years late in replying! Apologies!
    In the meantime I do now have a load more information of my grandfather’s time in the POW camp etc. Not on me at the moment as I’m in a cafe reading his book again and making notes on my phone and comparing to the war diary images you had posted.
    Do you happen to have more images of the war diary from the previous days/months by any chance?
    I’m looking into whether I can add details to the basis of his book as a side project so that it can be easier understood with more context added. Thinking of my children reading it. They don’t have the same kind of understanding that our generation has of the time and era. Plus I live abroad so this part of history is not covered in any syllabus they’re subjected to!

    Anyway, let me know about images and when I get a moment this week I’ll upload a couple of images from his experiences and give you his details so you can look him up if you’re still doing your research as much as before.
    Best,
    Matt
     

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