BEF soldiers escape capture & row Channel

Discussion in '1940' started by brithm, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Four men from the BEF managed to escape capture make it to the coast and row the channel before being picked up by a boat;

    Corporal Patrick Hanley of Deal
    L/Bdr. H. Croft of Stoke on Trent
    Private A. Halls of Deal
    Fusilier S. Davies

    Not sure what units they were with but have attached the newspaper articles below which make for interesting reading.

    Hanley may have been killed in action at Catania, Sicily in 1943
     
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  2. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    They were not the only ones. Capt (later MajGen) DEB Talbot (RWK), Capt EAW WIlliams (KRRC) and Lt W Millet (R Sigs), all captured at the fall of Calais, escaped from the column in which they were being marched eastwards, evaded capture for about a week,and reached the coast to discover the Germans had seized all the boats. While seeking food from a house, they learned of a pary of seven French soldiers who had a motor boat hidden nearby. After some negotiation, they were accepted as fellow escapees. Talbot and Williams, the only two who could row, rowed the boat to the mouth of the creek where, after a few days of collecting food and drink, the Frenchmen attempted to start the engine. Their efforts merely broke the starter which took four days to repair courtesy of a local mechanic. Starting by rowing, the boat shortly ran aground on a sandbank and only after several of the motley crew had jumped overboard was it pushed off. Progress was made, navigated by Talbot with a compass from the French, kept as far from the engine as possible, mainly by rowing but Wiiliams did succeed in persuading the engine to run for short periods.. Further progress was made, much again by rowing, but with increasing help from the engine. That finally gave out about 8 miles from Folkestone and a towel was hoisted on an oar as a distress signal. Eventually, about 24 hours after leaving France, they were all picked up by HMS Vosper and landed at Dover shortly afterwards, on 17 Jun 1940..
    Chris
     
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  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    brithm likes this.

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