British Soldiers Murdered at Forêt de Nieppe / Nieppe Forest 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    The source is as usual from Original Documentation.


    Brian
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Brian - I emailed the author last night, so I'm hoping he may have some extra info too.
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Corporal Bertie Bell mentioned in the first post finally reached Gibraltar after crossing the Pyrenees in April 1941 along with Second Lieutenant Parkinson of the Sussex Regiment after nearly a year on the run in occupied territory.
     
  4. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Shilling; Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment


    :huh: Hang about! I have Shilling's amongst my lot. Name caught me, so I took a look ..... Oh, but my lot were latterly of Portsmouth. That guy lived in Lewisham and my lot originated in Kent.

    Then, I looked again and it came home to me!

    Now;I know my Dad was Pompey born and bred, yet appears to have joined the North Staff's. Could it be though that this Lewisham chap found his way into a 'local' outfit?

    Rather catch as catch can / Go where they bloody well send ye, wasn't it? But, I can't help but wonder .....

    I have a shed load of, as yet, un gone through Shilling stuff. I wonder ....?
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Early indications from the information Brian (ADM199) has sent me suggests the German unit was either SS Totenkopf or a Panzer unit. I'm assuming these were the units fighting in the area at the time.

    Apart from the Deaths Head insignia is there any other similarities between the two units (3.SS and Tank units)?
     
  6. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    Early indications from the information Brian (ADM199) has sent me suggests the German unit was either SS Totenkopf or a Panzer unit. I'm assuming these were the units fighting in the area at the time.

    Apart from the Deaths Head insignia is there any other similarities between the two units (3.SS and Tank units)?

    The Totenkopfdivision only became a Panzerunit (Panzergren.) in 1942. Well, Wehrmacht units wore the eagle on the chest, W-SS on the sleeve...
    Do you have any more details on the unit in question?
    As for crimes committed by the T-Div: Sydnor doesn't get very detailed in his study on the division; Leleu's essay would probably be your best bet.
     
  7. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    I believe it was the Der Fuehrer Regiment of the S S Derfugungs Div.


    Brian
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Kate, Brian,

    Der Fuehrer Regiment is mentioned on the last page you emailed me Brian but the first is more vague suggesting either 3.SS or a Panzer Unit. I was thinking more of the uniform colour or SS/Deaths Head badges etc. If there are no obvious similarities I'm guessing those were possible units fighting in the area at the time of the murders.

    I'll type up the bit that mentions units from what pages of the files I have so far. I don't want to post up the whole page/s until the whole file has arrived in the next few days.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From the file describing the accused:

    4. An officer, probably a platoon commander, believed to be of the SS. Totenkopf or a tank unit in the Foret de Nieppe and orderd, participated in or was present when six British prisoners of war were shot.
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Just received this from Brian

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    The stamp states
    Staffel-Anwärter (that rank was given up in 1940 and not really Waffen-SS specific, if I'm not mistaken) Tschol, Johann(es), 1. Inf.btl. (mot) (Sturmbann), Rgt. (Standarte) "Germania", Verfügungsdivision.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I have now received some of the files (more to come) from Brian and will endeavour to post the bits of possible interest relating to the murder of these men in 1940 today and tomorrow.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Short Statement of Facts


    In the early morning of 28th May 1940, or thereabouts, Corporal Bell and the murdered men were surprised while in a barn belonging to deserted farmhouse just inside the Forest of Nieppe where they had taken shelter for the night having become isolated during the previous day's fighting.

    They were paraded in single file, Corporal Bell being near the middle. They were then marched for a short distance further into the forest when they were shot by the officer and members of the guard with the exception of Corporal Bell, who threw himself down anticipating the firing by a moment of time.

    The party were members of 'B' Company of the Royal West Kent Regiment. The company had been in action at Morbecque in Belgium west of the Hazebrouck Canal on the western side of the Forest of Nieppe. The company had been forced to fall back to a position on the canal held by the battalion. Subsequently the battalion retired through the forest taking up a number of positions. In the course of the day's fighting Corporal Bell's party became seperated from the rest of the company and Corporal Bell's attempt to withdraw to the rear through the eastern end of the forest was prevented by reason of the fact they came under fire on reaching a road a short distance outside the forest when two of the section were wounded.

    As indicated in the Short Statement of Facts they found a barn belonging to a deserted farmhouse just inside the eastern edge of the forest where they established themselves for the night. The following is an account of the tragic events of the following morning as recordered in paragraphs 5 and 6 of Corporal Bell's affidavit:

    "5. Early on the morning, which to the best of my recollection and belief was May 28th 1940, we were surprised while still in the barn by a German Party of about 15 men part of a larger party outside. We were compelled to surrender and to submit to being disarmed.

    6. We were then paraded in single file, I being near the middle. After waiting about five minutes a officer arrived, after which we were marched further into the forest. I had heard tales of prisoners being shot in Norway and feared the worst, especially as almost immediately we came upon a section of about six Geramn soldiers lying down parallel to our line of march and facing in our direction with rifles laid out in front of them as though in readiness for action. One of this party jumped up, seized his rifle and begun to Belabour the two men in front of me, Private Daniels and Shilling, across the shoulders with the butt and spat on them. When he was about to attack me I anticipated him by striking him with my fist in the face. It looked as though the man might shoot me but the officer issued an order to him and he did nothing. When we had proceeded a few steps further the officer who was marching on the left of the parade with drawn revolver gave an order whereupon the rear gunner opened fire without warning and shot down my comrades. I was on the alert and threw myself down unwounded immediately I heard the first shot. I lay perfectly still and held my breath. A few seconds later there were three revolver shots. I then heard the Germans walk away. Remaining in my position for some five minutes more, I got up and looked at my comrades. I saw that one revolver shot had been fired at Private Shilling and blown half his head off. The other two shots appeared to to have been aimed at Private Daniels who was shot in both eyes. He was lying on his back with his face to the sky. They were all beyond human aid. I had to move away quickly on account of returning Germans".

    Corporal Bell's further experiences and escape from the Germans is told in subsequent paragraphs of his affidavit.

    The movements of Corporal Bell upto the time of the murder of his comrades is illustrated by a map which is an exhibit to his Affidavit.
     
    Heimbrent likes this.
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Corporal Bell's Affidavit:

    Page 1
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    Page 2
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    Page 3
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    Map
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  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Page 1
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    Page 2
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  16. L J

    L J Senior Member

    One minor correction :Morbeque is a French village,not a Belgian one
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Page 1
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    Page 2
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  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Page 1
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    Page 2
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  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    This would is what you could call CPS Advice today.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Fascinating stuff, Andy and well done to Brian for finding the records.
     

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