Details of action at Oudenarde May 1940?

Discussion in '1940' started by Tim091, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    My dad's cousin was a private in the 1/5 Battalion, (East West Surrey) Queens Royal Regiment) Territorials and his Mi9 questionnaire shows he was captured Oudenarde, Belgium. 21 May 1940.

    I have been trying to find out any information about the action in that area at that time and wonder if anyone has any information, or suggestions for research?

    All I can find that may be relevant is that on 22nd May British forces were holding the west bank of the river Scheldt. The river Scheldt runs through Oudenarde so I am thinking that may have been the action he was involved in.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2020
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Drew5233 should have the unit war diary.
    Send him a message.
  3. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    Thanks Drew, I have messaged him.
  4. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    1/5 Queens was just downriver of Oudenarde, on the stretch of the Scheldt/Escaut which winds around Petegem and Elsegem. The area was held by 131 Infantry Brigade, 44 (Home Counties) Infantry Division. 1/5 Queens was in reserve, with the other battalions of the brigade (1/6 Queens and 2 Buffs) forward and 139 Field Regiment in immediate support with its WW1-vintage 18-pounders.

    Some more info and maps in this thread:

    6283331 Corporal Francis Clark SHILLING, 2 Bn The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)

    Drew will have the full war diary of 1/5 Queens, but to give you some other viewpoints I'll post the relevant diary pages from other units of 131 Brigade below.
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  5. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Diary of 1/6 Queens:

    16-1.jpg 16-2.jpg 16-3.jpg 16-4.jpg 16-5.jpg 16-6.jpg 16-7.jpg
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  6. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Diary of 2 Buffs:

    2b-1.jpg 2b-2.jpg 2b-3.jpg 2b-4.jpg 2b-5.jpg
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  7. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Finally the diary of my grandad's regiment, 139 Field. Hope these are useful:

    139-2.jpg 139-3.jpg 139-4.jpg 139-5.jpg
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  8. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    Thanks Packrat, that is fantastic. I will get the unit diary info from Drew but thank you for taking the time to post all this info.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I'm confused I thought this thread was about East Surreys ?

    Except there wasn't a 1/5th East Surreys in WW2.

    The West Surreys were The Queens weren't they ?
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
    Rich Payne likes this.
  10. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Yes they were, up to the amalgamation of the East and West Surreys to form the Queens Surreys. The later, large regiment, amalgamation resulted in The Queens Regiment, covering Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Middlesex, which in turn was amalgamated with the Royal Hampshires to form the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment.
  11. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    If he was 1/5 Queens then he was a "Mutton Lancer" and as Owen points out, not with the East Surreys whose 1/6th Battalion was in 132 Brigade.

    Jerry Murland's "Battle for the Escaut 1940" is well worth a read, especially if you're thinking of having a look around the area. (and it's reduced at the moment :) )

    Battle for the Escaut
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Rich 1/6th East Surreys had moved to 10th Bde , 4th Div earlier in May '40.
  13. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    That's a point... there's something wrong in that name. But which bit? Tim has written 1/5 Battalion, (East Surrey) Queens Royal Regiment and mentioned that he was a Territorial.

    So was he in 1/5 Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) - meaning the 'East Surrey' mention is wrong. That's what I've assumed as 1/5 Queens was just down-river from Oudenarde so as a place of capture it makes sense.

    Or might he have been 1/6 East Surrey Regiment - so the battalion number and 'Queens' mention is wrong.

    To add some more confusion... searching for '1/5 East Surrey' does find a handful of mentions of 57 (1/5th Bn. The East Surrey Regt.) Anti-Tank Regt. - the old 1/5 East Surreys apparently converted to an AT unit pre-war. So again the 'Queens' mention would be wrong. 57 AT Regt. was also part of 44 Division, however. Tim says that he was a 'private', though - if in an AT regiment he surely would have been a 'gunner'.

    Tim - you might want to double check exactly what is on his records so you can be certain you are going down the right path. Lots of similarly-named units in the one area!
  14. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    Now I'm really confused! His record shows he enlisted 15/11/39 into the "Queens Royal Regiment". Somewhere (I now don't no where!) I got it as "1/5 Battalion, (East Surrey) Queens Royal Regiment".

    But from what I am reading here and elsewhere online there was no such thing as the East Surrey QRR. I see a reference from 1943 as "Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey)".

    I see there was an "East Surrey Regiment" but that was nothing to do with "Queens" until 1959.
  15. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    His entry on Casualty Lists (from Find My Past) has him as:
    Regiment: Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
    Regiment as Transcribed: 1/5th Battalion Queen's Royal Regiment

    Is QRR (West Surrey) and QRR the same thing?

    Was there no QRR (East Surrey)? I now can't find a reference to it so maybe I had a brain fade somewhere when I first started making notes on him, and it was actually West Surrey. I am thinking that is the most likely explanation.

    Things I know for definite:

    1. He was in 1/5 Battalion QRR as I have that from his letters home.
    2. He was captured on 21-05-40 at Oudenarde as he wrote that on his Mi9 questionnaire.

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  16. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Territorial regiments were generally recruiting locally before the war. Where was he from ? The East Surreys recruited more in South London.
  17. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    He was from Walton-on-Thames.

    But there was no "East Surreys" as part of the QRR was there? (I am just finding out today!). There was an East Surrey Regiment but that was nothing to do with the Queens (being a regiment obviously)
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Right I think we're sorted.
    He was in 1/5th Queens.
  19. Tim091

    Tim091 Active Member

    Thanks Owen, yes we are! Sorry for causing such confusion and thanks to all for the great information.
  20. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I've edited your post #1.
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