5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards May 1940

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Yorke Scarlett, May 14, 2016.

  1. Can Forum member help.

    In an ongoing personal research project of mine I looking into two soldiers of the Regiment who were killed on the 18th and 19th May 1940 buried in a local cemetery to me (Cement House near Ypres).

    Could any kind person furnish me with the war diary entries for around those days.

    Thanks in advance for any information.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From the regiments war diary
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  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Never read those words in a war diary before.
    ''fat gay man''
    Must be the old usage as in 'happy'.

    Attached Files:

  4. Thank you very much for the war diary entry for around the 18th May.

    The two soldiers of the Regiment must have been killed during the actions stated above and moved to Cement House at a subsequent date.

    From what I came gather from the Regimental history, 5DG never really withdrew through the Ypres area but I have another Regimental casualty buried in the Hoogstade Churchyard - a Lt Beaumont.

    Thanks again for the transcript.
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    We're most fortunate now that the CWGC on-line records also include grave concentration reports. In this case, it shows the two that I presume you're interested in were moved in 1949 from Schepdaal Churchyard, along with a WW1 casualty. There is no explanation given as to why Cement House was chosen but I can't help wondering if it was linked to the WW1 case from the North Staffordshire Regt. who had presumably died of wounds there late in 1918.

    Not all graves around Brussels were subject to post-war concentration. I wish that I could detect some rhyme or reason to it.

    Beaufort's death was later and there is no concentration report which indicates that he was not moved by CWGC and is likely to have died locally. Concentration in any case would normally have been to a CWGC cemetery.

    Attached Files:

    Drew5233 likes this.
  6. Thank you very much Rich,

    I really appreciate the initial buried plot information as Schepdaal Churchyard and the removal to Cement House because there have been many reburials at this site that have been moved for whatever reason, ie burials from the Zeebrugge raid in April 1918.

    But Lt Beaumont does not seem to fit the picture as he was buried in a churchyard, where he still remains today, far away from the Regiment's activities at the time. Liaison duties perhaps? More questions of 5DG who are buried in the area to answered.

    Thanks again
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    There is no mention of Beaumont in the regimental history by Evans and he is not listed in the last Field Return (March) in the diary.
  8. My mistake, the officer in question is:-

    Lieut Francis Victor BEAUFORT who died on 27th May 1940.

    Sorry for the error.
  9. To all concerned and interested

    A small group of locals held a ceremony in remembrance to the above fallen soldiers at Cement House yesterday evening at 7pm. Standard dipped and crosses laid.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  10. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Member


    I think I can add some detail for you, but in doing so, open up another question.

    In that section of the cemetery, war grave B1 is the last resting place of Trooper Ronald ARNOLD (5 Inniskilling Dragoon Guards), beside him in B2 is Corporal Evan GRIFFITHS (5 Inniskilling Dragoon Guards) and beside him in B3 is Lance Corporal Frederick ARNOLD (of the Royal Armoured Corps / East Riding Yeomanry.)

    I am fairly certain that the action which led to the deaths of Evan GRIFFITHS and Frederick ARNOLD is that vividly described in chapters 1 and 3 of ‘Reluctant Guest of the Reich’ by HV SUGGIT MM. These three were members of the four man crew of the B Squadron bren carrier reported lost on page 24 of the War Diary earlier.

    GRIFFITHS was the vehicle’s driver, Frederick ARNOLD was its bren gunner, SUGGIT its commander and a fourth (unidentified) soldier its wireless operator. Their troop had been tasked as a rearguard covering the withdrawal of the force and had probably been the last to cross the reserve demolition bridge (blown up by the Royal Engineer major).

    Moving at speed, they then encountered and immediately attacked a column of German troops on bicycles, who had infiltrated the area. Next, they came across and charged through a long Wehrmacht lorried column on a dual carriageway.

    This is where they came to grief, their carrier destroyed by a rear-facing lorry-mounted anti-tank gun near the front of the convoy. I said they were charging, because a bren carrier had pace and governor off, GRIFFITHS with the ‘pedal to the floor’ was at times achieving 80 kilometers per hour.

    SUGGIT, like Frederick ARNOLD, was an East Riding Yeomanry reservist who had been seconded to the 5 Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards on the outbreak of the conflict to bring the Regiment up to full wartime strength. He and Frederick ARNOLD (known as ‘Mutt’, because his father was also a Frederick) came from Hull.

    Frederick ARNOLD perished at the scene, his pintle mounted bren gun still blazing. Earlier in the day, he had raked and damaged a low flying Heinkel 111 enemy bomber. SUGGIT (then known as ‘Ginger’) was badly wounded in the arm, back and leg as he fired away at sequential targets with the carrier’s Boyes rifle, but was subsequently well treated by the Germans.

    After three months in lazarettes, he spent the rest of the War as a prisoner, albeit a persistent escaper. He had initially believed Evan GRIFFITHS had died at the scene too, but the date of his death suggests he died of his extensive wounds the following day.

    The shaken, but unscathed wireless operator escaped the bren carrier and was picked up by the crew of the troop commander’s vehicle, driven by Sam SISSONS, another seconded Hull man and former East Riding Yeomanry trooper. They and the troop’s third carrier turned round rapidly and made away in the chaos of the carnage. The wireless operator survived Dunkirk, but not Normandy.

    SUGGIT and SISSONS visited the graves of their chums on at least two occasions in the 80s and 90s.

    Which begs the question, where did the other ARNOLD, that is Ronald ARNOLD, meet his end? Most likely he was the missing dispatch rider, rather than a crewman from the A Squadron tank. He hailed from Surrey and was not a known relation of the East Riding ARNOLD. Whichever, they were all brave young men. Thank you for honouring them.
  11. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Wehrmacht, Beute, Raupe, Schlepper, Nahaufnahme, Frankreich.jpg
    This is Suggit's scout carrier:

    Any chance you could post the pages from Reluctant Guest of the Reich...
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  12. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Member


    I lent my copy about 4 years ago and have forgotten exactly who to, otherwise I would have posted them already. A library may be able to assist in the interim. The image is of a bren carrier, but it is unlikely to be the one involved in the action as it appears largely unscathed. Theirs took direct frontal hits on the side away from camera, where the driver and bren gunner compartments were. I have just looked at some old notes and the vehicle should have had their Divisional insignia - a red quadrant - on the front mudguard nearest the camera. There would also have been a number plate on the glacis plate, white letters above white numbers on a black square background. Theirs may have had the letters HMV. Sorry, I don’t have any more. Will post if I do come across anything, but this is unlikely as I think none of the veterans are left. Thanks, anyway.
  13. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Definitely a Scout Carrier.

    HMV was not a WD registration block. Logically, the earliest numbers were reserved for The Gramophone Company (His Master's Voice). Scouts could be HMC, RMY, RMV as far as I can see from Nigel Watson's lists.
  14. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Sorry but I would disagreed with your assessment regarding the photo.:)

    I have 4 other pictures of this scout carrier that show the markings and name. the photos also show 3 AT hits to the driver side.

    I have also spotted it... Definitely Suggit's......
  15. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Member

    Hello again,

    Thanks for this. Wish I could speak to Sam Sissons again, but sadly not. How the wireless operator got out unscathed seems remarkable. What was the name on the carrier so I can look out for it on any old footage? Have a vague recollection from Suggit’s memoire that an injured German who’d been bitten by a horse was in the same ambulance as him.
  16. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Arnold was recommended for the MM for this action but instead received an MiD. His award recommendation, (available online at the Archives for purchase), makes note of the action and that Trooper H. Carr was also recommended for the MM for the same engagement. Carr might have been the wireless operator, (his award recommendation is not available).

    TSM Ellis Holt, commander of 4 Troop was also involved in this engagement and also recommended for the MM but received an MiD. His award recommendation also provides some details of events.

    I have ordered Reluctant Guest of the Reich from Amazon so will see if any more details can be extracted....
  17. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Member

    Thanks for this info. It does seem interesting that an engagement which led to three (from possibly only thirteen?) participants being recommended for MMs was not really mentioned in the Regimental War Diary, beyond the reflection of the loss of a carrier.

    In the churn of the withdrawal, this may not have been uncommon, but at the same time, at least three men were, or must have been presumed dead in the fighting. The Regiment had only suffered its first listed fatality the day before 17 May (Tpr Brewin - interred at Berchem-Ste-Agathe).

    Having another unsuccessful look for ‘Reluctant Guest of the Reich’ just in case, I found a copy of Jim Boardman’s “Tracks in Europe,” but again there seemed no reflection, excepting a short background synopsis in a piece on Suggitt’s (sic) capture and efforts to escape. However, Griffiths had been earlier noted as an ‘outstanding (Regimental) boxer ... killed in the withdrawal.’

    There was also a reminiscence from 2 Lt WRI Turner (one of B Sqn’s six troop leaders), noting how ‘a German plane flew over us at about 40 feet’ on 13 May. His troop had seemingly been assigned to reinforce a bridge guard near Louvain. He continued: ‘Smoke was pouring from the plane, which narrowly missed some trees before crashing.’

    I wondered whether this might possibly chime (with a date adjustment) with the earlier anecdote of Frederick Arnold raking an Me 111 and if there was any reflection of this in the Regimental War Diary for that date? Turner said that he ‘later learned that one of our cooks had claimed it with a burst from his Bren gun.’
  18. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Yes I have Boardman's book.

    Also no mention in Roger Evan's The Story of 5 RIDG (1951).

    I have the 5 RIDG WDs but sorry no mention of any Luftwaffe planes being hit or shot down on May 13.

    German WDs for 14 ID also don't mention the Suggit engagement but do cover the engagement of the two C Squadron tank troops of Lt. Maude and Lt. Monckton.

    We need some old diaries from former members to be uncovered.
  19. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Member


    I spoke with one of Suggit’s sons on Wednesday. He was astounded that any image of the destroyed carrier existed, with understandable mixed emotions.

    He had his father’s photo of the three wargraves at the start of this thread, with the wreaths laid on Evan Griffiths’ and Frederick Arnold’s during Suggit’s final visit, thought to be in May 1992, during an annual DVA commemoration at De Panne.


    There was no diary as such, but some records, herewith gisted.

    Suggit and other seconded members of the ERY - probably Frederick Arnold included - had departed Southampton for Cherbourg/Libercourt on 5 December 1939, joining the ‘Skins’ on the 6th at Verlinghem.

    Suggit carried a small camera that fitted into a cigarette packet and had taken quite a few photos in France. He lost the camera when captured, together with recently taken film. However, there was a photo of the B Sqn SNCOs at Turcoing in February 1940 annotated with some names on the reverse, presumably those with face to camera.

    Sgt Clayton - ? - Sgt Crighton - Sgt Workman - ? - WO3 Holt - ? - Sgt Bevan


    but seemingly none of the carrier or crew, unless its registration was RMV 45?

    There were undated pages in an autograph album, one of SNCOs (presumed all B Sqn):

    and one annotated by some of its junior ranks:


    including both Arnold and Griffiths, but not a Carr.

    There was a POW Post prestamped Air Mail folding letter, the equivalent of a ‘bluey,’ that had been sent to Suggit in Stalag 383 on 8 May 1944 from Maj AC Gibson at Welham Hall, Malton, Yorks. A lieutenant in 1940, he had been one of the B Sqn troop leaders. Gibson pens that he had been delighted to have been passed a letter that Suggit had written and which had initially been received by Colonel Scott, who had been OC B Sqn at that time.

    Clearly correspondence was subject to stringent censorship (a few words were redacted) and mails destined for Germany presumably more so, but Gibson states: “.... it was most interesting to hear first hand of how you were taken.... we feared the worst for a long time until we heard that you were a p.ofw..... There is little that I can tell you so keep your pecker up and who knows it may not be long now.” Bowley is mentioned being a serjeant and also a ‘Vic’ . The letter looks forwards to a reunion.

    There is a photo of Maj Creagh Gibson in ‘Tracks in Europe’ when OC C Sqn. Sadly, it also lists a Sgt W Bowley being a fatal casualty on 5 September 1944 (interred in Miero War Cemetery Vl C1.) I wonder if he had been the wireless operator in Suggit’s carrier?

    Suggit penned his memoire between 1990-92 and focused on his PoW days because following the end of the Iron Curtain, the possibility had arisen of more easily visiting locations in East Germany and Poland. What began as a list of dates and places for an itinerary grew into a book, with much encouragement from former comrades. He died before he could make this trip, but had first revisited some of the locations from April-May 1940 - including the general area of his carrier’s destruction - when he took his widowed mother on a trip to Europe in 1950. However, his Memoire’s draft notes offered no additional details of events before being shot-up and captured.

    There was some of the correspondence Suggit had had with Jim Boardman, including one about the copy of a letter he had come across and sent to the latter, as written home by a soldier on the eve of Waterloo in 1815, not that far from the events of 1940. That soldier (Heron, sometimes written Herron) was attributed to Capt Maddon’s troop and did not survive that battle.

    There was also some correspondence from General Sir Cecil (Monkey) Blacker GCB OBE MC from 1972-4. A lieutenant and Adjutant in May 1940, one of Monkey Blacker’s responsibilities may have been compiling the Regiment’s War Diary for the CO. As his principal staff officer, he would also have been involved in the Regimental honours and awards process.

    Monkey Blacker remembered Suggit and the reported engagement. As Adjutant General, he later attended a civic parade Suggit was involved with as a guest of honour. Afterwards, he had also met other former ERY/5DG veterans, including Sissons. However, whilst they doubtless reminisced in the Mayor’s Parlour, no snippets are available for offer here. Neither are there any from a later house call with Major General John Ward Harrison OBE MC DL near York, on Regimental Association business.

    That said, the family did recall that General Blacker reminded Suggit about how he had gone searching round battle sites near Vimy in March 1940, to trawl for serviceable abandoned WW1 .303 ammunition for training, when stringent limitations had been placed on normal issued stocks at the time. He seemingly returned with a “truck full.” They also had sketches Suggit had made of the improvised B Sqn Guardroom of 27 Feb 1940, as sent to his mother.

    For interest, a photo of Suggit taken just prior to an escape attempt is at:

    Stalag 383

    The associated postwar Stalag 383 journal ‘Barbed Wire’ may be seen at:

    Stalag 383

    with pieces on Suggit and other ‘gallopers’ on book pages 110, 111 et seq, which are at 56 on the above link).

    There was also a copy of a now unclassified but one-time TOP SECRET M.I.9 MIS/Gen/MIS-X debrief Questionnaire completed on Suggit’s repatriation in late April 1945, as sourced from Kew. The pro forma and some associated items gave more detail to some of his experiences, plus a letter of thanks from another former escaper - and another which gave a rather curious, nuanced insight into how at least some staff in the War Office seemed to view other rank escapers.

    Suggit’s last escape attempt was on 17 March 1944, a week before the Stalag Luft III mass breakout. It came to grief as he and an Australian dressed as German NCOs (again with civilian garb under their facsimile uniforms) exited the outer gates of Stalag 383 bound for the second nearest railway station.

    They were very, very lucky to get away with 30 days solitary on bread and water. A German guard who let them through the inner gates also got two weeks confinement. Another, who had initially passed them through the outer gate, but then stopped them at riflepoint, was rewarded with two weeks leave.

    Escape thereafter became more questionable. Risks, clearly, were reappraised after the Sagan killings became known. The Normandy landings had a bearing. In addition, reducing rations and malnutrition also affected scope, as did being placed on what amounted to be a special watch list by the ‘goons.’

    Suggit would have received Gibson’s welcome but perhaps unexpected mail shortly after release from Clink. I wonder what he made of the ‘who knows it may not be long now’? He was eventually repatriated shortly before VE Day, after hunkering down when his camp was emptied and most prisoners marched off.

    Attached Files:

  20. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Here's Arnold's award recommendation: BTW the date is wrong, should be May 18 1940.

    Trooper Arnold.jpg
    Boardman had a Trooper H. Carr getting an MM. Carr may not have been in Suggit's scout carrier but in the other cutoff scout carrier of 5 Troop, crew unknown, mentioned in TSM Holt's award recommendation.

    Did Suggit's son have any pictures of him in uniform taken prior to 1940?

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