Dunkirk.....new IWM papers revealed in new IWM publication

Discussion in '1940' started by Harry Ree, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The IWM have revealed newly found papers associated with the withdrawal from Dunkirk.

    Entitled "The War on Paper" the publication contains interesting papers from a WSC speech to the plan for withdrawal down to plans drawn up by those in the field commanding operational units.

    The publication is due for release on 27 September.

    Hand-drawn map of Dunkirk evacuation among war documents published for first time
    Chris C, dbf and Incredibledisc like this.
  2. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    Saw this yesterday and immediately wondered if someone on this forum had already seen this “unseen” material. The book does sound interesting though.
  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The map is puzzling me. The ships named along the shore are RN destroyers and minsweepers. I can't believe that an infantry captain would have drawn up a plan showing and naming all the RN vessels moored offshore at a given point in the evacuation. The instructions relating to allocation of Lieutenants and Sub-Lieutenants on the lifeboats is all very much RN stuff too and of little interest to the ground troops. No sign of any lorry piers so presumably early-on.

    Surely this must be something that he picked-up on board ship and kept as a souvenir ?

    This must be him. A company commander in 1940. I really do suspect that the author has misinterpreted something here.

    Private Papers of Colonel F K Theobald MBE TD
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  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From the Guardian link:
    "These include a “diagrammatic layout of embarkation” in which Capt Ken Theobald of the Fifth Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment detailed the plan the British Expeditionary Force would use to help his regiment escape the Dunkirk beaches in 1940.

    “People remember Dunkirk because of the scale of it – it was such an enormous operation,” said Richards. “The plan in the book only covers a very small part of the beach there – it was intended for just one special unit. It makes it more personal.”

    "A sketch by Capt Theobald showing the evacuation plan for units of the British Expeditionary Force to escape from Dunkirk in May 1940. Photograph: Estate of Captain F K Theobald/I/PA"
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Missed Rich's link edit but note the Cat. date

    Private Papers of Colonel F K Theobald MBE TD

    Catalogue date 1997-07-05

    Content description
    Informative ts memoir (66pp) of his career in the ranks and as an officer with the Territorial Army, including:
    service as a private with the Artists Rifles in London, January 1927 - June 1931;
    as Signal Officer, Adjutant, and Company Commander with the 5th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment (132nd Brigade, 44th Division) in the United Kingdom and France and Belgium, June 1931 - (?) July 1941, notably the evacuation from Dunkirk, May - June 1940;
    as an instructor at No 13 Infantry Training Centre, Maidstone, (?) July 1941 - November 1943, training recruits for his regiment;
    with the 1st Battalion The Gold Coast Regiment and the 6th Auxiliary Group, 2nd West African Brigade, 82nd West African Division, in Nigeria, India, and Burma, November 1943 - (?) August 1945, notably in the Arakan, January - (?) August 1945;
    and with the Kent Army Cadet Force, ultimately as Deputy County Commandant and then County Commandant, 1950 - December 1970;
    and commenting on life in the TA; the pro-German feelings of some Belgians;
    conditions in the RWAFF; the qualities of African troops; tribal frictions; pidgin English; shortages of experienced NCOs and officers; padres; the importance of air supply in Burma; infantry weapons; courts martial; and the value of the ACF.

    Also included are a Field Message Book (Army Book 153, 22pp) containing carbons of orders issued during the retreat to Dunkirk, May - June 1940; a diagram (1p) of the Dunkirk beaches, May 1940;
    an undated signal (1p) of congratulations from General Sir Philip Christison, XV Corps; a diagram of ground to air communication strips (1p) used in the Arakan; a Special Confidential Report (1p) on his service, June 1945; and photocopies of "An Account of the Airdrops taken by 6th Aux Group on behalf of 2nd (WA) Infantry Brigade during the Arakan campaign, 1944 - 1945" (2pp) and of six Japanese post cards (2pp) captured in the Arakan.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
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  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'm with Rich - Having recently read Captain Tennant's and Admiral Wake-Walkers reports on Dynamo written just after the evacuation ceased I find it hard to believe this is accurate in anyway. If the Navy didn't know what was happening I find it hard to believe the Army did, especially when so many Navy types were resistant to lift men from the beaches and were encouraging men to make for the Mole.

    It's a bit too detailed and organised for me. That said I'll happily get it framed and hung in my office :D

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