Operation Aerial and Operation Cycle

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Most people I'm sure and definately including myself until recently thought that after Dunkirk the show was over in France.

    Operation Dynamo officially began at 18:57 on 26 May 1940. The signal announcing that the British Expeditionary Force had been evacuated was sent at 23:30 one week later.


    However over the last few days I've been reading about the above operations which resulted in a further British and Allied Troops being evacuated along the North and West coasts of France. To my surprise the final totals of men evacuated are quite enormous despite so little coverage in any media form. During Operation Aerial the evacuation totals werejust over 140,000 British troops and nearly 50,000 Allied soldiers from France, Belgium, Holland, Czech and Poland.

    Does anyone know of a table that details what units, quantities and what ports men were evacuated from?

    I have some details in the current book I'm reading but they are scattered throughout the chapter. I thought a table (If there is one) would make for interesting reading and certainly help to stop these chaps efforts being forgotten -Their war continued when everyone thought the BEF was home and dry.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  2. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Most people I'm sure and definately including myself until recently thought that after Dunkirk the show was over in France.

    However over the last few days I've been reading about the above operations which resulted in a further British and Allied Troops being evacuated along the North and West coasts of France. To my surprise the final totals of men evacuated are quite enormous despite so little coverage in any media form. During Operation Aerial the evacuation totals werejust over 140,000 British troops and nearly 50,000 Allied soldiers from France, Belgium, Holland, Czech and Poland.

    Does anyone know of a table that details what units, quantities and what ports men were evacuated from?

    I have some details in the current book I'm reading but they are scattered throughout the chapter. I thought a table (If there is one) would make for interesting reading and certainly help to stop these chaps efforts being forgotten -Their war continued when everyone thought the BEF was home and dry.

    Cheers
    Andy

    Quite amusing Andy!

    I just posted a bit about that in Hitlers Britain thread.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/general/16551-could-britain-have-defended-against-invasion-september-1940-a.html#post161350
     
  3. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    You can find some info here:

    HyperWar: London Gazette No. 37573 (also you can download a pdf from here: HyperWar: United Kingdom London Gazette Despatches)
    HyperWar: The War in France and Flanders 1939–1940 [Chapter XXI]
    Operation Aerial, the evacuation from north western France, 15-25 June 1940
    Operation Cycle, the evacuation from Havre, 10-13 June 1940
    World War II History┬╗ Operation Aerial

    Looks that during this operations were evacuated:

    1st Armoured Division
    52nd Lowland Division
    1st Canadian Division
    parts of 51st Highland Division
     
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    For one reason or another Dunkirk received the major publicity.

    No doubt due to the shorter distance travelled and all the multitude of small boats that helped in the evacuation.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Mmmmm Cheers chaps, I had seen and was aware most of the stuff you've posted.

    Here some additional info I've come across but I did wonder if there was a kind of complete table in detail of the who's and whens etc.

    23,000 soldiers sailed from St Nazaire to Plymouth during the morning of the 18th June.

    2,000 Polish soldiers from the same port in the afternoon.

    10,000 French soldiers from the naval base at La Pallice on the 18th June.

    4,000 Polish Soldiers from La Pallice on the 19th June.

    2,000 from Le Harve between 12th and 13th June including members of 4th Black Watch and 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

    2,000 British and 1,000 French troops rescued from Veules-les-Roses.

    These figures appear to be just the tip of the iceberg.
     
  7. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Andy

    Couple of files at Kew that might br worth a peek:-

    WO106/1739 - Operation Cycle
    WO171/965 - Operation Aerial.

    Look up the numbers for a more detailed description to see if they interest you.

    Cheers - Rob
     
  8. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Drew
    Do not forget the sinking of the troopship Lancastria round about the 17 June 1940, with a great loss of life.
    Soliders still turned up in odd ones and twos way into July having found a way home by some means or other.

    Oldman
     
  9. les3011

    les3011 Junior Member

  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Just incase anyone else is looking for a source of info I can recommend the following book:

    BEF Ships-Before, At and After Dunkirk by John de S. Winser.

    It contains some good maps, plenty of pictures and lists of ships taking part in all the Maritime Evacuations. The books lists nearly 2,200 ships that took part in one way or another.

    bef ships - AbeBooks
     
  11. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    I wonder how much kit we lost with the second BEF going to western France with Brooke in June 1940. Did their artillery and vehicles come back ? If not it must have felt disastrous after losing all vehicles , guns and armour at Dunkirk, when it was needed so badly at home.
     
  12. Andy H

    Andy H Member

    If memory serves then the Canadians did lose a fair % of their heavier kit though again on memory one Canadian officer refused to leave his artillery peices behind, and by some means space was found and the guns returned to England

    Regards

    Andy H
     
  13. Compo

    Compo Member

    To reply to your original question:

    Naval evacuations 1940:
    Dunkirk - Operation Dynamo
    Le Havre - Operation Cycle 10-13 June 1940
    Other ports in NW France - Operation Ariel 15-25 June 1940

    Cherbourg 30,630
    St Malo 21,474
    Brest 32,584
    St. Nazaire 57,235
    La Pallice 2,302
    Other ports South 19,000
    Total 163,225

    Adapted from "The Second World War" Martin Gilbert. He does not give a total for Le Havre.

    The total evacuations easily exceeded half the Dunkirk total and the epic stories of evading capture as they raced to the West coast of France quite gripping in many cases. Then the story of the troops linking arms and singing "Roll out the barrel" as they sat on the upturned hull of the sinking Lacastria at St Nazaire resulting in the loss of 3000 to 6000 men.
    A lot of the men in these evacuations were Polish, RAF support and LOC troops and this may account for the usual lack of coverage in these areas in addition to the secrecy given by Churchill to the Lancastria sinking.
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I always smile when I see some of my earlier posts on this wonderful forum about 1940 France. What I know know (which isn't that much) to what I knew then seems a world away. It would never have been possible for me to expand my knowledge like I have if it wasn't for this place - Thank you !

    Anyway I digress and back to Op Aerial. I found this table in a file at Kew: CAB 106/271 Personnel: strengths and casualties.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    I always smile when I see some of my earlier posts on this wonderful forum about 1940 France. What I know know (which isn't that much) to what I knew then seems a world away. It would never have been possible for me to expand my knowledge like I have if it wasn't for this place - Thank you !

    Anyway I digress and back to Op Aerial. I found this table in a file at Kew: CAB 106/271 Personnel: strengths and casualties.

    [​IMG]
    Drew,

    Many thanks for that, most useful. I attach a list of the ships that they came back on.

    Roy
     

    Attached Files:

  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Drew,

    Many thanks for that, most useful. I attach a list of the ships that they came back on.

    Roy Attached Files [​IMG] Operation Aerial table.pdf (682.6 KB, 2 views)

    Thanks for posting Roy.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Roy,

    I think there is some more in that particular file. I'll have another look today and see if there is anything else. I'll add the date of the file too.

    A
     
  18. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thanks Andrew,

    I can't make out the note in the bottom right hand corner of the table, except for the numbers; can you enlighten me please?

    Roy
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Roy,

    I'm not sure myself on all of it, Andrea was still mastering the new camera and its a bit blurred.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Mention of Aerial and Cycle from the same file.
    [​IMG]
     

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