different dates for capture

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by alex lewis, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. alex lewis

    alex lewis Member

    Hi all i have been lucky enough to obtain my late Granfathers service records, red cross records and his prisoner of war questionnaire. I'm a bit confused as i have two dates of him being captured by the Germans in Calais in May 1940. His red cross and service records states that he has been captured on the 22nd of may 1940 and his prisoner of war questionnaire (by his own hand) states he has been captured on the 24th of May.

    I would appreciate any suggetions as I'm not to sure what is the correct date is.

    Many thanks
  2. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    What was his unit? If you obtain a copy of its War Diary for 22-24 May 1940 you may be able to decide between these two dates.



    I suggest you look at this thread:

    Hugh Grimes Stalags XIID, XXA, XXB
  3. alex lewis

    alex lewis Member

    1st Searchlight unit RA. Looking at the war diary i would say the 24th of May. I've really struggled to find any info on the battle of Calais before the 23th of May. Just seems odd to me that the red cross report and service records have stated the 22nd of may. I was thinking that his position may have been over run on the 22nd of may but in fact he's not been taken prisoner until the 24th?
  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    When did he complete his Prisoner of War Questionnaire?
    Many PoW's completed a Questionnaire on being liberated in 1945, and it's therefore possible that he may have inadvertently misremembered the date 5 years previously as to the precise date of his being taken PoW.
    The Red Cross information must have originated from German records as to who when and where captured, plus his Service record would detail the last time he was known to be with his unit.
    If both Red Cross and Service records agree one date when the records were compiled independently in 1940, and he said another similar (but not exact date) 5 years later, then the strongest possibility is that HE was in error about the date.
    A lot of things would have happened in those 5 years, plenty of stress and strain, so unsurprising he might not have been sure.
  5. alex lewis

    alex lewis Member

    He is classed as a POW in Germany until the 23/4/45 and then flew home the 24/4/45 and then had filled his POW questionnaire out at home on the 25/04/45. The problem I have, as mentioned is i've struggled to find detailed accounts of the fighting around Calais before the 23rd of May. I have been looking at the 2nd searchlight battery and it gives more detail before the 23rd but the 1st searchlight battery only talks about fighting around the 24th of May.
  6. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Well, this map shows that Calais had been isolated by 22nd May from the rest of the BEF and surrendered on 27 May.
    It's therefore conceivable that he had been swept up on 22nd on the outskirts of Calais.
    I don't find it surprising that he got the date wrong almost 5 years later in his Liberation Questionnaire.
    Wiki (Siege of Calais, 1940) has this
    Calais had been raided by Luftwaffe bombers several times, which caused disruption to military movements, confusion and traffic jams, with refugees making for Calais meeting refugees fleeing the port. The French army units in Calais were commanded by Commandant (Major) Raymond Le Tellier and the northernmost bastions and fortifications were manned by French naval reservists and volunteers under the Commandant du Front de Mer (Capitaine de Fregate Carlos de Lambertye). Various army stragglers, including infantry and a machine-gun company had arrived in the town.
    On 19 May, Lieutenant-General Douglas Brownrigg, the Adjutant General of the BEF, appointed Colonel Rupert Holland to command the British troops in Calais and to arrange the evacuation of non-combatant personnel and wounded. The British contingent consisted of a platoon of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who were guarding a radar site, the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA, 58th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA and the 1st Searchlight Regiment RA.

    It's possible that you will never know which date is right, but his unit obviously reported him Missing on 22nd May and the Germans/Red Cross also have him captured that day.........
  7. alex lewis

    alex lewis Member

    Many thanks I really appreciate this information. Like you said its one of those things we will never know. My family always believed he was captured at Dunkirk. With the Red cross report and the questionnaire I have found the accurate place of capture and I'm very thankful for that.
  8. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    Hi Alex
    I don't know if this adds anything other than background, but it's an account written by an FT Williams of the Battle of Calais. He wrote it whilst in PoW camp in Germany and astonishingly managed to smuggle it out to his mother!


    Attached Files:

  9. alex lewis

    alex lewis Member

    Many thanks any piece of evidence I can get really help.

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