Some 1940 Sites

Discussion in '1940' started by Paul Reed, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    While I was out working this week (yes, I know some of you tell me it isn't work... ;) ) had time to take some photos of some 1940 related sites.

    First, in Cassel came across this building:

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    LesCM19 likes this.
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Showing a lot of May 1940 battle damage:

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  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Nearby are memorials to the Oxs & Bucks Light Infantry and Glosters:

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  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Cassel War Cemetery:

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  5. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    French graves:

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  6. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Came across some graves of men in 600 Field Regt RA, which I had not heard of before:

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  7. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Will post some more over the weekend.
     
  8. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    As promised, some more.

    We also passed through Le Paradis, the site of one of the major executions of British POWs, and stopped for a look.

    This is the church, with memorial in front.

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  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Close up of memorial.

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  10. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Le Paradis War Cemetery:

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  11. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Cemetery Details


    Cemetery: LE PARADIS WAR CEMETERY, LESTREM
    Country: France
    Locality: unspecified

    Visiting Information: Wheelchair access to this cemetery with some difficulty. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on 01628 507200.

    Location Information: Le Paradis is a hamlet near the village of Lestrem in the Department of the Nord. Lestrem is 10 kilometres north of Bethune on a road from that town to the town of Merville. The War Cemetery is an extension of the Le Paradis Churchyard, which is found behind the village church.
    Historical Information: 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".

    No. of Identified Casualties: 115
     
  12. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    An interesting one among them - did he really get a DSO and MC in May 1940? Or maybe at least one is an earlier, pre-war award?

    Name: WATSON, RODNEY GEORGE Initials: R G Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Major Regiment/Service: Royal Scots Unit Text: 1st Bn. Age: 36 Date of Death: 27/05/1940 Service No: 30704 Awards: D S O, M C Additional information: Son of Captain John Campbell Watson, formerly R.N., and Violet Mildred Watson; husband of Robina Alice Watson. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: 1. B. 9. Cemetery: LE PARADIS WAR CEMETERY, LESTREM



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  13. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Finally, battle damage to Le Paradis church.

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  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks for posting this 1940 stuff Paul, especially that relating to 2nd Division. In May 2010, I'm intending to make my own trip with their old Norton from the Dyle to the French coast. By that time the "Crossed keys" should be restored.

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    I'm fairly clear on the routes of the Brigades now but still need to gen up on the HQ movements. No alternative to a trip to then National Archives I suspect.

    Is two years long enough for John to build Owen a BEF motorcycle ?:)
     
  15. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Wow! That would be quite some journey! Hope you do make it - and when you do something for Owen, fit it with a side-car for me!!
     
  16. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I think that I'm going to have to have knock on the door of the farms around Arras. 4th RNF lost about 90 sidecar wheel drive Norton outfits after the Arras counter-attack. Surely there must be at least one waiting for me ?

    I believe that there will be quite a few events around Dunkerque for the 70th anniversary but I haven't seen much reference to the Belgian end of things and that seems the appropriate place to start (plus it's only 30 miles down the road). Have you got anything planned Paul ?
     
  17. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Not heard anything yet, but keeping my ear to the ground.
     
  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    We stayed last year in the hotel opposite the building in Cassel and was able to see from our upstairs window the extent of the damage caused to the building during the 1940 campaign

    The road from Cassel to Wormhout and on to Bergues and Dunkirk is now a comparatively lonely road unlike 1940 when it must have been heaving with BEF military traffic heading for Dunkirk.People whizz by on the A25 motorway not realising the history made here all those years ago.

    Without doubt the Gloucester Regiment played its part here at Cassel to secure its section of the Dunkirk perimeter.

    There is a superb 360 degree view of the Flanders countryside from the Chateau above the town.I think it is 25 miles from Dundirk and I am sure Dunkirk would be able to be seen on a clear day.Its a pity that the Chateau is in a poor condition.It seems to be owned by the local commune
     
  19. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Great Pictures, Paul. Thanks for sharing.
     
  20. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

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