A R Langley, 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers KIA

Discussion in '1940' started by johnnie, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. johnnie

    johnnie Junior Member

    Dear All,

    I was wondering if somebody might be able to help me. I have been trying to research Austin Richard Langley for some time, and was hoping somebody here might be able to aid my research.

    Langley was serving as a Fusilier (number 6459647) in the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers when he was killed in action/declared missing during the retreat to Dunkirk. His date of death (on the CWGC) is given as 10th May to 4th June which is one of the widest date ranges I've come across.

    What I find a little odd is his place of burial, which is Vlissegem Cemetery. This seems to be quite a distance from Dunkirk, and he is the only army chap buried here with the remaining six men being aircrew killed on the 16th April 1942.

    I note the cemetery is reasonably close to the coast, so could his body have been washed up?

    The CWGC page does not suggest his body was put here as part of the concentration of graves, so I'm not sure how he ended up so far out. I guess he could have ended up lost in the confusion of battle, but at the moment I favoured theory is washed up on the coast.

    Do any members have access to the 2nd RSF war dairy to I can see where the unit was in 1939/40?

    Do any members have any idea why his body would end up so far out?

    Any help or advice would be great,

  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Service Number 6459647

    Died Between 10/05/1940 and 04/06/1940

    Aged 19

    2nd Bn.
    Royal Scots Fusiliers

    Son of Richard L. and K. Garthwaite Langley, of Brixton Hill, London.


    Location: West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
    Number of casualties: 7

    Cemetery/memorial reference: Grave 1.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Austin Langley
    Given Initials: A R
    Rank: Fusilier
    Death Date: Jun 1940
    Number: 6459647
    Birth Place: London (not otherwise specified)
    Residence: London (not otherwise specified)
    Regiment at Enlistment: Royal Scots Fusiliers
    Branch at Enlistment: Infantry
    Theatre of War: France and Belgium Campaign, 1939/40
    Regiment at Death: Royal Scots Fusiliers
    Branch at Death: Infantry


    PS - The War Diaries may explain more but my initial reaction would be the same as yours, the run of the tides and the sea
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I think he's a bit too far inland for the washed up theory.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    :wacko: thats me washed up then :wacko:

    Hope you can help out on this Drew

  7. johnnie

    johnnie Junior Member

    Many thanks for the replies so far, including the photos of the grave.

    I was t sure if he could still have been washed up and then buried at that cemetery as it might have been the nearest to the location where the body was discovered.

    I noticed a few other cemeteries in the area have 'odd men' in them, including a seaman who died at the time of the evacuation (at least I think he did - this is just off the top of my head).

    I'll check again, but I think the seaman may have been in a cemetery a similar distance from the coast, and I assume his was a body that had been washed up.

  8. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    Hello Johnnie,
    He was reported killed in the Times on the 25th Jan 1941 (see attached)

    First port of call : apply for his service records, this should tell you where he was in the run up to the 10th May.
    Quite a few were with the Infantry Brigade Depots dotted around France and struggled to catch up with the 2nd.
    My Grandfather left the IBD on the 16th and only just caught up after the Battle of Arras.

    Option 1: He never caught up with the battalion and when he realised the Germans had cut him off, tried to make it to the coast and was killed en-route to the coast.
    Option 2: Quite a few were wounded at Arras, some may have been taken to the coast for evacuation, perhaps his ambulance didnt make it.
    Option 3: After the battle along the Ypres-Comines canal, many made individual journeys trying to escape towards the coast. My own Grandfather went south towards Le Havre only to be caught up in the action around St Valerie and captured.

    If you have a picture of him I would love to add it to the others I've collected over the decades?

    best regards

    Attached Files:

    CL1 and Rich Payne like this.
  9. chaz

    chaz Active Member

    on the subject of single graves, we visit a lot of WW1 cemeteries and churchyards in our locality, I often wonder how this soldier/that officer managed to get left behind or even away from the action. Ive had theories of womanising and the husband turns up, wounded and left behind with a local to care for, Kellys heroes pilfering supplies... the options are endless. if he was badly wounded and captured , would the Germans have finished him off or left him or taken back to their medics. is it a possibility that he was washed up and moved by the maquis until he succumbed to his wounds.

Share This Page