BEF Plant Machinery

Discussion in '1940' started by Smithy, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Smithy

    Smithy Junior Member

    I recently came across the following extracts, in an old book titled 'Muck Shifting for King George', about a small band of plant equipment operators who had to make a retreat to Dunkirk along with their machinery.

    As you can see from the attached items it mentions that they had to go through a tunnel at Cassel. Now having visited the area a number of times I can only presume that they mean the very short entrance gates at the north and south of Cassel?

    Has anyone else come across this story before? Perhaps from the people mentioned within the text others may be able to shed even more light, along with some pictures?

    Dunkirk.JPG Dunkirk1.jpg Dunkirk2.jpg
    dbf, CL1, RCG and 1 other person like this.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Reminds me of the Cassel Gate at Bergues that was blocked with a bulldozer.
  3. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    And me-Thanks for the heads up :)
  5. ploughman

    ploughman Junior Member

    Also me.
  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    I can't help wondering if it was the Porte de Cassel at Bergues. It would seem strange to have taken heavy plant up the hill to Cassel and down the other side again and I've seen no signs of abandoned dozers on photographs. This must have taken place before the town was defended by 145 Brigade and the town was so widely photographed after it fell...
  7. ploughman

    ploughman Junior Member

    Copy arrived today.
  8. Smithy

    Smithy Junior Member

    Glad the post has proved to be of interest. Guessing we might never know exactly what tunnel they went through. Like you Rich I would find it strange for them to drag all that equipment up the hill to go back down again!
  9. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    Didn't the Grand Old Duke of York march his men up and down the hill at Cassel just so the children could have a nice nursery rhyme ?

    If they took this plant into Cassel (and it could have been that all the other roads were reserved for fighting units) then I suspect that the Porte d'Aire is probably the most likely. It does have a stone blockwork cladding. I can't see it being a 'black abyss' though but I suppose if those narrow streets were in darkness, it could have seemed like it.

    cassel - porte d'aire e casetta - Photo de Centre Historique de la Ville Et Grand Place, Cassel - TripAdvisor
  10. Smithy

    Smithy Junior Member

    That is very true.

    I thought that was the most likely point of entry as well, if they did go through Cassel. I suppose as well when you are travelling at 3mph then things do seem to be that bit longer when travelling through them.
  11. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Never actually got round to buying it - thankfully.
    The better half has just presented me with a pristine second edition copy she found in a charity shop!

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