Private Robert Pearson, POW. 1st Bn Black Watch.1940

Discussion in '1940' started by alex crawford, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi,

    Private Robert Pearson, 2752611, 1st Bn Black Watch was posted as mising in action on 16th June 1940.

    The CWGC has his date of death as 25 December 1940. He is buried at Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery.

    From this it is obvious that he was taken prisoner, during the Dunkirk retreat or possibly from Norway. Where did the 1st Bn Black Watch serve during this period?

    Would anyone know which POW camp he was in and how he died?

    Any help appreciated.

    Regards,

    Alex
     
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi Owen,

    Thnaks for the info. I'll see if I can get hold of a copy.

    Alex
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    If you want to read the War Diary it is at the National Archives in Kew.

    WO 167/710
    1 Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
    1939 Sept.-1940 June
     
  5. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Hi,
    September 1939 - June 1940: France
    World War Two , September 1939 ,the 1st battalion Black Watch was stationed at Dover. It went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), spending its first two months near to Lens in Flanders close to the frontier with then neutral Belgium, They then spent time in part of the Maginot Line in the Saar region , then back to Lens.
    The 51st Highland Division was formed, composed originally of territorial battalions including the 4th and 6th Black Watch. Under the command of General Victor Fortune, who had made a name for himself in the Regiment during the First World War, this division arrived in France in January 1940 and took up its positions on the Maginot line.
    Winston Churchill decided to strengthen the division by adding some regular units, so the 1st Battalion Black Watch took the place of the 6th, which transferred to the 4th Division. On 13 May 1940 the Germans opened their full scale attack both on the Maginot Line and through Belgium. The 1st Battalion managed to hold its position and even took some prisoners. The Germans then concentrated their efforts further west, and 51st Division was rushed to the area between the mouth of the river Somme and Dieppe. On 28 May the 1st Battalion was involved in an attempt to reduce the German bridgehead which they had secured over the river at Abbeville. It fought alongside a French armoured division commanded by General de Gaulle, However, the French division was then transferred to another sector, leaving the 51st with only light armour from Lothian and Border Horse Reconnaissance Regiment. The German assault on 5 June forced the division to begin a withdrawal. The 1st Battalion had a difficult time withdrawing from positions near Abbeville, with orders and counter orders following each other in quick succession, no proper maps, and under frequent German attack the situation was confused to say the least.
    Finally on 11 June it reached the outskirts of St Valéry and prepared a rearguard action to cover the evacuation Many losses were suffered as fog closed in and made it impossible for the navy to send in ships to take off troops. Next morning General Fortune, realising that further fighting would serve no useful purpose, surrendered his division to the opposing General Rommel, and the 1st Battalion went into captivity
    Sorry if I`ve over simplified matters.
    Regards
    Verrieres
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Sketch map of 51st HD positions around St Valery, June 1940.
     

    Attached Files:

    Owen likes this.
  8. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi,

    Many thanks for all your inputs. I'll carry out some further reading.

    Alex
     
  9. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Hi,

    Private Robert Pearson, 2752611, 1st Bn Black Watch was posted as mising in action on 16th June 1940.

    The CWGC has his date of death as 25 December 1940. He is buried at Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery.

    From this it is obvious that he was taken prisoner, during the Dunkirk retreat or possibly from Norway. Where did the 1st Bn Black Watch serve during this period?

    Would anyone know which POW camp he was in and how he died?

    Any help appreciated.

    Regards,

    Alex

    Hi Alex,
    Pte Pearson was not necessarilly a P.O.W. as there were many members of the B.E.F. in hiding for long periods before being helped to Escape, many died in the attempt.
    There were two Files opened at The National Archives Last year that contain enquiries into missing Black Watch Personnel.
    The References are WO361/39 & 40 also contain names of those taken prisoner.
    The answer you are looking for is probably in these Files if you can get to Kew.

    Brian
     
  10. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi Brian,

    Living in Scotland it's not easy to get to the NA. I mainly order online through their website.

    Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery is in Northern Poland. In the area were a number of POW camps and at the end of the War all burials at these camps were exhumed and reburied at Malbork.

    With this being in Poland I assumed he was a POW and died in captivity. I have a POW list for RAF personel but nothing for Army or Navy for that matter.

    Alex
     
  11. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Hi
    I`ve checked the British Army list of POWS nothing for Pearson with that regimental number .CWGC gives his rank as Bandsman.
    Regards
    Verrieres
     
  12. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Hi Brian,

    Living in Scotland it's not easy to get to the NA. I mainly order online through their website.

    Malbork Commonwealth Cemetery is in Northern Poland. In the area were a number of POW camps and at the end of the War all burials at these camps were exhumed and reburied at Malbork.

    With this being in Poland I assumed he was a POW and died in captivity. I have a POW list for RAF personel but nothing for Army or Navy for that matter.

    Alex

    Hi Alex,
    the two Files mentioned were only released last year and contain some very interesting information which is not available elswhere. The only problem is the ones I have read contain lots of duplication. This is all copied when you ask for a digital service,so it is doubly expensive.

    It does appear that your man was a P.O.W. Perhaps a chat with C.W.G.C. Enquiries section could give you more detail on where he was originally buried. They do have that information as they have helped me in the past with a similar request

    Brian
     
  13. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your help. I'll drop the CWGC an email and see if they can help.

    Alex
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  15. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi D,

    Excellent stuff. I'm always amazed at what info is out there.

    Alex
     
  16. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    [​IMG]

    Hi,
    Did it for you,hope you don`t mind,great link from dbf !
    Regards
    Verrieres
     
  17. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi,

    Thanks for that. I've sent the CWGC an email asking about the camp Robert was in when he died, so I'll keep you posted if I receive a reply.

    Alex
     
  18. alex crawford

    alex crawford Member

    Hi,

    I was at my local library today looking through some of their archives. Found a microfilm with issues of an old newspaper for Feb 1941. One had a short article about Bandsman Robert Pearson.

    Mr and Mrs George Pearson were informed that their son Robert died while in captivity. Robert (27) and his brother George (28) were both in the 1st Bn, Black Watch and were both captured at St Valerie on 16th June 1940. They were sent o different camps and were unable to commincate with each other. His family received their first letter from Robert last month (Jan 41). In the letter he spoke of the scarcity of butter and cigarettes. he also mentiond being being 'fed up' but looking forward to a happy family reunion.

    He also mentioned that since his capture he has not received any letters or parcels from homes, yet both ahd been sent regulalry by the family.

    As a member of the Battalion band he had went to the Worlds Fair at New York before the war and other places both home and abroad.

    Unfortunately it didn't mention what camp he was in.

    Alex
     
  19. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Hi,
    Just as a mattter of interest being into all things DLI. I checked out the DLI casualties in this cemetery Hoggarth 4457679 9DLI CWGC 9/4/1943
    Stout 4444371 11DLI CWGC 2/11/1940
    Walker 4448420 2DLI CWGC 12/11/1943
    Bell 4456672 10DLI CWGC 24/7/1943
    Wood 4456259 8DLI CWGC 24/4/1941
    and I cannot find a Camp listed for any of them! Why?
    Regards
    Verrieres
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    If you want to read the War Diary it is at the National Archives in Kew.

    WO 167/710
    1 Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
    1939 Sept.-1940 June


    I've got the diary. There's lots of info on the fighting in May but no entries for June.

    Cheers
    Andy
     

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