69 Anti-Tank Regt, RA, at Boulogne

Discussion in '1940' started by CaroleH89, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. CaroleH89

    CaroleH89 Member

    The chap I'm interested in (Gunner T. W. Vasey) died on 23 May with 275 Bty who were part of the unit at Boulogne. Thanks to Drew5233 I know that the unit had come over for a few days to help the Guards at Boulogne, but if anyone has any more detail I'd be very interested.

    Questions I can think of:

    Did just the one battery come over or was it just coincidence that 275 took all the casualties?

    The six casualties are all in the period 22nd-24th May, but when did the unit arrive and leave?

    But any detail much welcome.

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I have already checked my main Boulogne book and there's nothing of note in there on the Battery or Regt. I'll have more time to look tomorrow.

    I also noticed there is no Battery war diary but the there is a UK one for the regiment that starts in 1939 and runs to 1941.
  3. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    RA 1939-45 69 A/Tk Rgt

    Found a brief reference here:

    21 May 40 - 275 Bty to Boulogne
    So it looks like only 275 Battery went across the Channel.

    I'm assuming you've already seen this but thought I'd add if for any others interested.

    North East War Memorials Project -
    Gunner Thomas William Vasey 790262
    275 Battery, 69 Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery
    Died 23rd May 1940 aged 29 years
    Son of Hannah Vasey of Chester-le-Street, Co.Durham
    Commemorated Outreau Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

    Edited to add the following:
    Just got home and dug out my copy of History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: The Years of Defeat 1939-41
    and there are two references to 69 AT Regiment and 275 Battery.
    Pg 17 detailing the formation of the early A/Tk regiments including the 69th
    On the 21st of May 1940 it sent 275th Battery to Boulogne where it was involved in heavy fighting.
    Pg 57
    20th Guards Brigade began to arrive on the 22nd May [in Boulogne]. It consisted of 2nd Irish and 2nd Welsh Guards and 275th A/Tk Battery (less one troop) of 69th A/Tk Regiment. Brigadier Fox-Pitt was in command and was told on arrival that he could expect 3rd RTR and 1st Queen Victoria's Rifles to join him from Calais on the 23rd. Meanwhile the Germans were closing fast, approaching from Etaples ... Brigadier Fox-Pitt put the Irish Guards facing south between Le Portel and St Leonard and the Welsh Guards on Mont-Lambert and St Martin-Boulogne. There was no time to prepare defences since the first attacks by the 2nd Panzer Division, of 19th Panzer Corps under General Guderian, began against these two battalions during the afternoon of the 22nd of May but both held .... Heavy attacks all along the perimeter caused casualities to the anti-tank guns and to the infantry and by noon they were forced back to the outskirts of the town ... After further heavy air attacks the War Office ordered 20th Guards Brigade to evacuate by sea immediately. By then the Germans were engaging the harbour over open sights. As the destroyers came in to take the men off they were forced to engage enemy tanks, guns and infantry themselves but somehow they managed to get most of the Brigade away by last light on the 25th of May Boulogne had fallen.
  4. CaroleH89

    CaroleH89 Member

    Mark - thank you so much for that, really interesting

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