57th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. May 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, May 15, 2010.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Does anyone know what 226th Battery, 57th (1/5th Battalionn, The East Surrey Regtiment.) Anti-Tank Regiment were doing around the end of May?

    I've found one chap buried in St. Sylvestre-Cappel which suggests some of them may have been fighting with 5 RHA at Hondeghem and St. Sylvestre. They receive no mention in any written records I've read about being there, could their involvemnet have been overlooked?

    There's a fair few casualties recorded on the Dunkirk Memorial and some buried at Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery who's dates of death fit -There was a German Field Hospital and CCS situated at St. Omer at the time which would explain some of the units casualties being buried there.

    Also 5th Battery, 2nd Searchlight Regiment is reported to have 80 personnel involved in the fighting but only have one recorded casualty. Geoff's Wonderful Search Engine returns 23 Casualties from 226 Battery, 57th Anti-Tank Regiment, not all could have been involved looking at their final resting places but a significant amount could have been.

    I'm thinking a Royal Artillery unit may have been wrongly indentified ?

    Any thoughts?
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    They were part of the 44th (Home Counties) Division which was in III Corps in 1940.

    Anyone got a 44th Divisional History Book (assuming one exsists) they can look in to see if anything is mentioned?

  3. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Very little on them in The History of the RA. two short mentions:

    The 2 pdrs of 57 A/Tk fought hard on the Escaut with 44 Div near Bossuit. (No date given but in the section covering 17 - 20 May).

    57 A/Tk destroyed all their equipment on 28 May and joined the infantry with small arms before getting away on the 29th.
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Derek,

    Ref my first post:
    I'm thinking a Royal Artillery unit may have been wrongly indentified ?

    5 Royal Horse Artillery's War Diary mentions it was the 2nd Searchlight Regiment in Hondeghem with them.

    Still confused by the casualty figures though from both RA units at the time of the battle.
  5. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    2 SL Rgt arrived in France at the begining of January with 5, 6, 7, & 8 Btys. They deployed around Arraines with one Bty at Boulogne. On 14 April 7 Bty went to Reims.

    During the retreat in May, SL units were given extra machine guns to help in the defence against low flying aircraft. HQ 2 SL Rgt took on the ground defence of Arras with a mixture of troops under command.

    5 Bty was at Boulogne with a mix of searchlights and machine guns. The searchlight units were with the Guards holding the perimeter. When Boulogne fell a party of 5 Bty escaped, making their way along the beach to Calais.

    At Calais, one Bty of 2 SL Rgt had been manning a layout in the country east of Calais. They were called into the town and switched to an infantry role manning the perimeter. The survivors from Boulogne joined them.

    So, HQ 2 SL Rgt was at Arras with one or possibly two Btys. It must have been a party from there that ended up at Hondeghem.

    As to the A/Tk unit, if there is a case of mistaken identity, 52 A/Tk is a possible candidate. The RA Commemoration Book lists them as being at Arras.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks again Derek,

    I believe it was 5 Battery, 2 SL at Hondeghem with 5 RHA. Someone is visiting Kew today for me and copying both sets of diaries to see if they reveal anything further regarding who was where on the 27th May.

  7. Ray57

    Ray57 Junior Member

    Between 26-29 May, 226 A/Tk Battery with its three remaining 2 pounders was at Caestre in support of the 4th Royal Sussex. The BC was Major J.R.C. Christopher. The Battery had previously fought with the Regiment in the three day battle on the River Escaut at Oudenarde and later in the Forest of Nieppe area. When ordered to withdraw from Caestre, its B Echelon was ambushed en route to Dunkirk early on the morning of 29 May. One truck was able to escape and return to the village to warn the remainder of the Battery, which promptly drove off in the opposite direction before splitting up into small groups. Losses in the Battery were heavy and it returned to the UK with barely over a quarter of its strength. If it's of interest I can send you a potted history of the Battery, or for a more detailed account with personal accounts, etc. I have produced the first part of the story of the 57th (East Surrey) A/Tk Regt covering its part in the Dunkirk campaign. The Regiment originally existed as the 5th Battalion of The East Surrey Regiment, prior to its conversion to the anti-tank role in November 1938. The Regimental Headquarters and 226 Battery were based at Wimbledon.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Ray and welcome to the forum.

    As far as my research goes I think it was a bit of a 'red herring'. Do feel free though to add further info regarding 57 A/T Regiment to this thread. You never know who may find it useful.

  9. Steve Pearce

    Steve Pearce Junior Member

    Hi, first time post! I've been trying to research my wife's Grandfather, who was a POW during the War. I've received an ICRC attestation of his POW history (having initially been told that they didn't have any information!). This gave me his unit on capture, 228 Bty, 57th Anti-Tank Regt!

    Does anybody have any information on the activities of 228 Bty from landing until the 23 May 1942? He was captured at Oudenard in Belgium on the night of 22/23 May 1942.

    I'm aware of a diary of the Bty Cdr for the period (and his escape to Dunkirk), but I haven't had the chance to go to Churchill College in Cambridge to have a look yet, so anything anybody has would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Steve and welcome.

    Should those years be 1940?

    The unit War Diary is WO 167/584 57 Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery for April and May 1940.

  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    He could have been hiding with a Belgian family for 2 years.
    I know in WW1 a soldier hid in a wardrobe from 1914 to 1918.
  12. Steve Pearce

    Steve Pearce Junior Member

    Andy, yes it should have been 1940, my fingers can't do sums!
  13. Steve Pearce

    Steve Pearce Junior Member

    Can anybody describe the constitution of an Anti-tank Battery, during this period, for me please? Numbers of personnel, number of guns, command structure, that sort of thing.


  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    A A/T Regiment consisted of a HQ and four batteries, each battery contained 3 troops, each troop contained 2 sections, each of 2 gun detachments.

    Batteries are self sufficient so could be detached for long periods of time.

    A battery would contain 124 men all ranks.
  15. CharlesXII

    CharlesXII Junior Member

    If you want a unbelievably good report - 11 pages long - on AT guns, command structure, tactics, firing ranges etc etc visit this site

  16. Steve Pearce

    Steve Pearce Junior Member

    Thanks for the steer and info. All helps to put stuff in context.

  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Steve, you may want to contact Ray57, Post No.7. He has published an excellent book on the regiment covering 1940.
  18. Steve Pearce

    Steve Pearce Junior Member

    Already done so, Ray's book was a Christmas present for Sid's (Bdr in 228 Bty, then POW, shot while trying to escape and subsequently repatriated) son!
  19. David Hards

    David Hards New Member

    I came across this thread when researching the circumstances of the loss of Reginald Thomas (R T) Grandfield 6142043 226 Bty 57(1/5th Btn The East Surrey Rgt) Anti-Tank Regt Royal Artillery who died in 1940 and is buried in France. His date of death is unclear. The records give a date range of 27 May/2 June. is anyone able to direct me to 'Ray57, Post No.7. who has published an excellent book on the regiment covering 1940'. Thank you. David Hards on Behalf of Christine Hards niece of the late R T Grandfield.


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