LE PARADIS MASSACRE: confirmation required

Discussion in '1940' started by Greg Bloomfield, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    There is a book called The Vengeance of Private Pooley by Cyril Jolly. I don't know if this is the book referred to earlier or if Pooley separately published his own book but the Jolly book does come up in abebooks and library catalogues, whereas nothing by Pooley himself appears.
  2. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Hi Greg,
    I would have thought the best place to look for information on the 97 killed in the incident would be the National Archives.
    There are 15 Files covering the incident including the Transcript of the War Crimes trial of Fritz Knoechlein.

  3. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Using Harry`s suggestion of using the date the unit reported them missing I submitted the Date 27?5/1940 along with the Royal Nolfolk unit text into geoffs search engine and came up with 72 men;-
    001 ALLEN, TW 5763633 27/05/1940
    002 ANDREWS, EW 5770790 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    003 BAILEY, JW 5773215 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    004 BAKER, CS 5770766 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    005 BARBER, FAW 5770746 27/05/1940
    006 BATTLEDAY, RP 5764265 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    007 BAXTER, J 6895846 27/05/1940
    008 BAXTER, AH 5776147 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    009 BLAKELEY, SB 5773163 27/05/1940
    010 BRADLEY, FA 5773563 27/05/1940
    011 BRASH, RN 2034799 27/05/1940
    012 BROMLEY, GE 5770361 27/05/1940
    013 BROOKS, P 5770812 27/05/1940
    014 BUCHANAN, JB 77608 27/05/1940
    015 BUNN, GE 5770358 27/05/1940
    016 BURNS, J 5773028 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    017 CHEVIS, FL 5770857 27/05/1940
    018 CHRISTENSEN, M 5770839 27/05/1940 - 28/05/1940
    019 CLEAR, F 5772983 27/05/1940 - 28/05/1940
    020 CLILVERD, CW 5769842 27/05/1940
    021 COLLINS, RJ 5772872 27/05/1940 - 02/06/1940
    022 CORNWELL, WG 5770547 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    023 COTTON, JS 5769414 27/05/1940 - 29/05/1940
    024 COWIE, NC 5773244 27/05/1940 - 29/05/1940
    025 CRACKNELL, WL 5773038 27/05/1940
    026 CURSON, WR 5767235 27/05/1940
    027 DOWNING, WB 5770397 27/05/1940
    028 DOY, PG 5771958 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    029 DURNFORD, AJ 5770817 27/05/1940
    030 ENGLISH, JGE 5770306 27/05/1940
    031 FLATHER, J 5771121 27/05/1940
    032 GAMBLE, WH 5770921 27/05/1940
    033 GILES, A 5770279 27/05/1940
    034 GILLINGS, S 5823336 27/05/1940
    035 GRAY, FR 5770222 27/05/1940
    036 GREENGRASS, LC 5770757 27/05/1940
    037 HANSEN, HR 814880 27/05/1940
    038 HARRIS, JA 5989286 27/05/1940
    039 HEATHFIELD, FC 5771450 27/05/1940
    040 HERBERT, GE 5769399 27/05/1940 - 29/05/1940
    041 HERRIOTT, R 5773042 27/05/1940
    042 HEWETT, JF 5770440 27/05/1940
    043 HEWITT, WH 5771224 27/05/1940
    044 HORNBY, A 5771427 27/05/1940
    045 IRELAND, WC 5771565 27/05/1940
    046 KEELER, FA 5769174 27/05/1940
    047 LING, WTJ 5769946 27/05/1940
    048 NEEDHAM, JHF 5770329 27/05/1940
    049 NICHOLS, LG 5769788 27/05/1940
    050 NIGHTINGALE, CO 5771578 27/05/1940
    051 PAGET, EA 5770089 27/05/1940
    052 PIGG, RA 5767855 27/05/1940
    053 PRESTON, AB 5764130 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    054 PRIEST, RW 6204286 27/05/1940
    055 RASBERRY, CE 5763717 27/05/1940
    056 RAYBOULD, JW 5773229 27/05/1940
    057 READE, H 5770139 27/05/1940
    058 REEVE, EE 5770683 27/05/1940
    059 REMBLANCE, W 5769977 27/05/1940
    060 RICHARDSON, JCC 30885 27/05/1940
    061 RYDER, LCD 20738 27/05/1940 - 02/10/1940
    062 SMALLER, SA 5773003 27/05/1940
    063 SMITH, HC 5769825 27/05/1940
    064 SOANES, HJ 5770871 27/05/1940
    065 SPOONER, AH 5770834 27/05/1940
    066 SWIFT, WJ 5771992 27/05/1940 - 01/06/1940
    067 WALLACE, TA 5770282 27/05/1940
    068 WHITBREAD, JE 5770339 27/05/1940
    069 WHITELEY, RC 5770064 27/05/1940
    070 WHYTE, S 5772633 27/05/1940
    071 WILLISON, WA 121561 27/05/1940
    072 WOOD, HC 5771307 27/05/1940
    based on official reports which state 97 were murdered (Not sure which if any other Corps or Reg may have been involved) However it has to be remembered that the bodies of those killed in the massacre were exhumed in 1942 by the French, but only about 50 of the 97 remains were successfully identified which would explain why there is no FULL official roll of honour.Somewhere there will be a French official list which will only contain 50 or so names...Sorry this is`nt offering you any confirmation if anything its confusing the situation more!!But offers an explaination into the lack of an official roll....I think?
    James S likes this.
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I think the reason why there is a discrepancy between Verrieres list and the missing on the day of the incident is that identification and names were either lost on the initial burial at the farmyard or on the reinterment at their final resting place in Le Paradis churchyard.

    Having visited Le Paradis many years ago, I noted there were many unknowns in the churchyard which reflects the chaos that prevailed in Northern France when British units were continually withdrawing under the onslaught of the Blitzkrieg and decent burials were difficult to conduct and record.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From CWGC:

    Towards the end of May 1940 the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment were stubbornly holding Le Paradis and the neighbouring hamlets of Le-Cornet Malo and Riez-du-Vinage against overwhelmingly superior forces, trying to block the enemy's road to Dunkirk. On May 27th, their ammunition expended, and completely cut off from their Battalion and Brigade Headquarters, 97 officers and men of the 2/Royal Norfolks surrendered to No. 4 Company of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd S.S. Totenkopf (Deathshead) Regiment. They were disarmed, marched into a field, mowed down by machine-guns, finished off by revolver shots and bayonet thrusts and left for dead. By a miracle two of them escaped death, and were hidden and succoured for a short time by the people of Le Paradis. Later they became prisoners of war, and ultimately returned home to set in motion the wheels of justice which, on January 28th 1949, brought to the gallows the German officer who gave the command for this massacre. A day or two after the atrocity the local people, under orders from the Germans, buried the dead where they lay. In 1942, however, the bodies were exhumed and moved into the part of Le Paradis churchyard which is now the war cemetery. Other casualties were brought from scattered graves in the area. There are now over 150, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly a third are unidentified and two soldiers whose graves could not be precisely located are commemorated by special memorials, inscribed "Buried near this spot".
  6. Bill Sharpe

    Bill Sharpe Junior Member

    I can confirm that the Mayor of Bethune reported details of the le paradis massacre to the allied authorities, in October 1944. In the report he states that 97 soldiers - temporarily buried at the massacre site until 1942 when they were re-interred at le paradis war cemetery. He gives a list of 45 identified bodies - 4 named but uncertain as to veracity and 48 unidentified bodies. Among the identified bodies was H Pretty 5770286 Royal Norfolk Regiment, also identified was my uncle Frederick Bradley.
  7. Bill Sharpe

    Bill Sharpe Junior Member

    Below is the official list of all identified victims of the the le paradis massacre

    20738 Ryder Major L.G..D. Royal Norfolk
    5764001 Whitlam P.S.M. J.L. Royal Norfolk
    5769931 Ward Pte A.F. Royal Norfolk
    6278013 Denham Pte H. Royal Norfolk
    3052780 Kidd Pte Herbert Royal Scots
    5770871 Soanes Pte H.J. Royal Norfolk
    5770635 Stephen Pte Royal Scots
    5767235 Curson Sgt W.R. Royal Norfolk
    408410 Campbell Sgt J.A. A.P.T.C.
    2039749 White Pte J.E. Royal Norfolk
    5771578 Nightingale Drummer C. Royal Norfolk
    5770812 Brooks Pte P. Royal Norfolk
    5770857 Chevis Pte F.L Royal Norfolk
    5775068 Woodhouse Drummer Royal Norfolk
    577082 Lee Pte John Royal Norfolk
    878865 Leigh Gnr A. Royal Artillery
    5763633 Allen Pte T.W. Royal Norfolk
    5770064 Whitely Pte R.C. Royal Norfolk
    5770089 Paget L/Cpl E. Royal Norfolk
    5770834 Spooner L/Cpl A.H. Royal Norfolk
    5770286 Pretty Cpl H.H. Royal Norfolk
    5770222 Gray Pte F.R. Royal Norfolk
    2064753 Dallas Pte Albert Victor Royal Norfolk
    6204286 Priest Pte Richard W. Royal Norfolk
    5770361 Bromley Pte George E. Royal Norfolk
    5772238 Auker Pte D.H. Royal Norfolk
    814880 Hansen Pte H.R. Royal Norfolk
    5770757 Greengrass Pte L.C. Royal Norfolk
    5773438 Gallin Pte A.C.W. Royal Norfolk
    5770899 Moss Pte A.E. Royal Norfolk
    2034799 Brash Pte R.N. Royal Norfolk
    577007 Marshall Pte C.E, Royal Norfolk
    5769775 High Pte C.R. Royal Norfolk
    5771240 Heddon Pte F.W.G. Royal Norfolk
    5773229 Raybould Pte J.W. Royal Norfolk
    5773003 Smaller Pte S.A. Royal Norfolk
    5770425 Norf Pte W. Royal Scots
    5773038 Cracknell Pte Walter Royal Norfolk
    5767855 Pigg Pte R.A. Royal Norfolk
    5764130 Preston Pte A.B. Royal Norfolk
    2319789 Stanley Sgm E.A. Signal Corp
    5770397 Downing Pte W.B. Royal Norfolk
    3528114 Branchflower W. Manchester rt 5769842 Cliverd Pte C.W. Royal Norfolk
    5772983 Clear Pte Frederick Royal Norfolk
    5770139 Reade Pte H. Royal Norfolk
    5771427 Hornby Cpl Amos. Royal Norfolk
    5773563 Bradley Pte Frederick. A. Royal Norfolk
    5769788 Nichols Pte. L.G. Royal Norfolk
    5770746 Barber Pte F.A.W. Royal Norfolk
    5773599 - - - - -
    5770837 - - - - -
    5773436 - - - - -
  8. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Bill, you have 53 on your list (including Cliverd - who was from Acton, London W3, hence my interest - on a separate line) of which 7 are from other than the Royal Norfolks.
    Geoffs Search as shown by Verrieres has 62 Royal Norfolks, out of a total of 115.

    I attach a List of the Norfolks and the other casualties. I just want all remembered at this time.

    Attached Files:

  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Bill and welcome to the forum. Interesting first few posts. I look forward to more hopefully on this subject.

  10. Bill Sharpe

    Bill Sharpe Junior Member

    Thank you for that information Kevin. You probably already know that one of the two survivors of the massacre - Albert Pooley - was also from Acton, although he moved to Southall after the war.
  11. Bill Sharpe

    Bill Sharpe Junior Member

    Hi Drew,
    Thanks for the welcome. I am interested in most things to do with the second world war. I am particularly interested in the Le Paradis massacre as, already stated, my uncle Frederick Bradley was one of the victims. I am always surprised at the misinformation going about regarding this subject.
    The excepted story is that, nobody believed Albert Pooley or Bill O'Callaghan when they reported this crime and that it wasn't until after Pooley returned to France in 1946 that the authorities decided to take action.
    In actual fact, the massacre was reported to the mayor of Bethune the day after it happened. In October 1944 when that City was liberated, the mayor passed on the details to the allied authorities. An immediate investigation was instigated and by the time Albert Pooley returned from France in 1946, they already had Fritz Knoechlein in custody for the offence.
    All of this can be confirmed by the national archives.
    I also had an uncle who was a jap POW and was a survivor of the famous Sumatra battalion. I am interested in any information regarding that subject.

    All the best

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Bill,

    I have, I believe, all the war crime files on the massacre (Over a 1,000 pages) that are available at Kew thanks to a member on this forum. I'm planning at some point to post an account on the battle and massacre if I ever find the time similiar to th eone I did in Feb this year on the battle and massacre at Wormhout.

    Was you at Paradis Cemetery on the 27th? I hear there was a bit of a service there for the 70th Anniversary.

  13. Bill Sharpe

    Bill Sharpe Junior Member

    Hi Drew,

    Yes there was a memorial service last Thursday (27th) and along with my wife and some cousins, I did attend. There was a a service held at the site of the massacre, which has hardly changed since 1940, the mayor was present along with several members of the French version of the British legion. A reading was given by Denis O'Callaghan, the son of one of the survivors. This was followed by another service at the Church and in the War cemetery where a band played the national anthems and a lone Scots piper played in honour of the Royal Scots buried in that place.
    After this, the French villagers held a reception for us in the church hall. It was a very special day. It was covered by a French broadcating company and Anglia TV.


  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nice one Bill. I was only saying the other day that Paradis seems to be the 'poor cousin' to Wormhout when it comes to the media coverage and the like when in reality both incidents were equally tragic in my book.

  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

    I can confirm that he was in HQ Company and he last drew pay on 7th May 1940.

    Info within WO 361/38 Royal Norfolk Regiment - Missing Men
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    by Albert Pooley after he was released from a Prisoner of War Camp. Note found in file WO361/38

  17. mickykay

    mickykay Junior Member

    When I was a kid, about 40 odd years ago! I saw a feature film about the massacare, I think it was named after the book as private Pooley was in the title
  18. mickykay

    mickykay Junior Member

    Just put revenge of private Pooley in Yahoo search engine and 2 sites have information on the film, one is mtv which is american and you have to change something to read it ( I didnt) it doesnt say what year it was made but I remember it was black and white and I was under 14 so I dont think it was later than 1969
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The 97 men and their personal effects. May they forever rest in Peace :poppy:

  20. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    According to the IMDB, The Story of Private Pooley, sometimes called just Private Pooley, was made in 1963. It appears to have been an East German production, but with British actors playing the British characters; Garfield Morgan, Regan's boss from The Sweeney, was Pooley. The IMDB mis-spells Cyril Jolly's name as Jilly. There is no character called Bill O'Callaghan, but there is one called Bill Carter. The senior German is referred to as simply Hauptsturmfuhrer.

    The Survivor (1963) - IMDb

    The website linked below calls the film Private Pooley's Revenge. Bill Carter, unlike the real Bill O'Callaghan, is killed, Knoechlein's name is also changed.

    Le Paradis - 27 May 1940

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