Royal Engineers BEF September 1939 to 19 June 1940

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by dandy46, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. dandy46

    dandy46 New Member

    Hi there,

    I'm new to this so don't know if I am adding this to the right area.
    I have not put anything in Topic Tags as I don't know what they are.

    My late father was Arthur (known as Sid) Warren 21818223 Royal Engineers.
    He joined up on 19 September 1939 and was sent to France with the BEF on 25 September 1939. No hanging about there then!

    I have got photocopies of my fathers service file from the Army Personnel Centre.
    It shows that he was initially with the No.1 Docks Group in France but that is all until he comes back to the UK.
    Can anyone out there help with what he did and where he was in France?
    I know from relatives that he came out of France from Brest and the records show that he disembarked on 19 June in the UK.
    Can anyone help as to why he came to be in Brest and how he got out? The family story is that he had a bad time at this point.

    On the first night of the Blitz 7/8 September 1940 most of his family were killed by a High Explosive bomb which hit the shelter they were in in Bermondsey, London. His mother, father, two sisters, grandmother and the baby of one of the sisters died. The only two that survived were him and his brother who went off to fight in the war.

    In March 1942 he was taken to Bellsdyke Mental Hospital, Larbert, Falkirk, Scotland suffering from neurosis. He reverted back from sergeant to the rank of Corporal on his admission to hospital and was released in July 1942. His Medical Condition was now Class C and so he was posted for the rest of the war in the UK. Can anyone give me any information about Bellsdyke Hospital?

    I would be most grateful for anything you may know so that I can add it to my family history for my grandchildren.

    Many thanks,

    Andrew Warren
  2. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    if he was with 1st Docks Group then he may have been part of the 1st Stevedores Battalion, the only way to really find out is by applying for his service records from Glasgow details found on
    As to his return via Brest you may want to view the war diary at the National Archieves
  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hi Andrew
    Hello and welcome
    You say you have photocopies of your father's service file from the Army Personnel Centre. When did you receive them?
    If you received them quite a few years back you may not have the full records.
    Over the last few years people usually receive quite a few pages these days if you ask for the FULL records and they cost 30 pounds.
    There should be some info for 1940 to 1942 and the rest of the war in the UK when he came out of hospital
    Would you care to either scan the records and put them on here or list everything that is on them so we can help more.

  4. dandy46

    dandy46 New Member

    Hi Lesley and Oldman,
    Yes, I have got lots of photocopies from the Army Personnel Centre which I received in April this year.
    As you will see from the relevant ones I have attached they do not give very much information regarding his time in France.
    Any help you can give me regarding what he was doing in France, how he got to Brest, how he got out of Brest his time in the Bellsdyke Mental Hospital and his time in the UK generally would be much appreciated.
    Many thanks,

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  5. DavidWorsfold

    DavidWorsfold New Member

    Hi Andrew
    I've just come across this as I am researching a book on Operation Aerial, the evacuation from France after Dunkirk. Last week I found a document in the National Archives detailing the deployment of the Docks Units. This is attached.
    Between 15 and 18 June around 32,500 men were evacuated through Brest as the remains of the BEF still in France after Dunkirk fled to the coast. If he disembarked on 19 June he must have been on one of the last ships to leave.
    If you have found out anything else about your father's story and want to share it please get in touch -
    I hope this is helpful

    Attached Files:

    geordie809 likes this.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi David

    Always nice to hear about new books being published regarding the 1940 campaign in France. When is it due to be published?

  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ps There is a war diary for 1 Docks Group WO 167/875 and as hard as it may be to believe....I don't have a copy yet.
  8. geordie809

    geordie809 Junior Member

    Hi David, I have been asked to look into BEF 2 in relation to Movement Control units involved, I appreciate your reply above is nearly 4 years old but hopefully you may see this and wondered if you had any information on Movement Control units wit Op Aerial.

    many thanks

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