53970 Captain Coll Lorne MacDougall, MiD, 140 Field Regiment, RA: POW

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by John West, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. John West

    John West Active Member

    Captain Coll Lorne MacDougall 53970 was born in 1906 in Trujillo, Peru, the son of Coll and Jane MacDougall from Islay, Scotland. His parents had been posted to South America, where his father managed a sugar plantation.

    In the 1911 census he is recorded as living in West Hampstead, London with his aunt, Colqishan MacDougall and great aunt, Nina Campbell. In 1935, he had married in London.

    In 1939, at the age of 33 years, Coll L. MacDougall joined the 140 (5th London) Regiment, Royal Artillery, a newly formed Territorial Unit based at Woolwich (367 Battery) and Clapham (366 Battery). The Regiment’s 1940 combat history is described here: 140th (5th London) Army Field Regiment, Royal Artillery – Their story between the 10th and 31st May 1940


    Captain C.L. MacDougall in 1939

    D Troop, 367 Battery

    Captain MacDougall became Officer commanding D Troop, 367 Battery. He fought with the Battery at the Dyle line (the Regiment allegedly fired the first artillery salvo at the Germans during the invasion of Belgium) and at the Escaut line at Ere and Sainghin-en-Melantois before participating in the last-ditch defence of Cassel as part of Brigadier the Hon Nigel Somerset’s 145 Brigade in the final week of May 1940.

    Breakout from Cassel

    It appears that Captain MacDougall evaded immediate capture during the breakout from Cassel. He became a POW at Forges-les-Eaux on 24th July 1940. This town is in the Normandy region and about 100 miles to the South-west of Cassel. Thus, Captain MacDougall had lived off the land for nearly two months while he evaded capture, possibly with the help of French resistance.


    Forges-les -Eaux, Normandie is about 110 miles south-west of Cassel

    Mentioned in Dispatches

    Captain MacDougall was mentioned in dispatches in December 1945 after recommendation by the British Secret service, MI9. The award was proposed for his communication from captivity with the War office in London, cryptically described as ‘by secret means’.



    The citation reads:

    Capt MacDougall was captured on 24th July at Forges-les Eaux and as a result was imprisoned in various camps in Germany. Between December 1940 and December 1944, Capt. MacDougall frequently sent valuable information to the War Office by secret means. He was liberated by Allied Forces in April 1945.

    The rest of Captain MacDougall’s wartime service remains somewhat of an enigma. He remarried in 1967 in Enfield, Middlesex. Captain Coll Lorne MacDougall, RA died in November 1997 in Essex at the age of 91 years.
    dbf, PackRat and Tony56 like this.

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