The Battle and Massacre of Wormhout - 28th May 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    An introduction that will hopefully explain why I have done this.

    As some of you may be aware I first visited Wormhout and the scene of the massacre in 2004 on a battlefield trip with the army. I was partly annoyed with myself as I had never heard of this massacre before and also with the guide as we spent such a short time there before moving on - which I felt was a bit of an insult to those killed. I thought they deserved more of our and my time on that day. Not to be put out by this I vowed as we left the field to board the mini-buses I would return one day on my own and find out what really happened. However as with so many promises they get broken and other events in my life resulted in Wormhout being put on the back burner for a few years until now.

    Now nearly five years on and some four trips later to the area I hope that I can do 'their' story justice not just in words as they can be found in the few books that have been written but in pictures too which, hopefully, will really bring the story to life. I have no personal connection with anyone that was there, I just couldn't help but be moved by what happened and even now the sheer futility of it and the hopelessness that they must have felt, which I hope to get a fraction of across in this thread, still upsets me today. A few years ago, one of the survivors of the massacre, Gunner Brian Fahey, was asked what he would say to the culprits if he ever met them , his answer sums this up perfectly for me: I would play him the music that I have composed, and ask him: "Just imagine all the possibilities you destroyed when you killed those ninety youngsters." He also went on to say, "Future generations ought to know what happened, so that such a thing could never happen again." Hopefully this will help, as with the the books and internet sites to allow those 'future generations' to know.

    At this point and not wishing to blow my own trumpet it is right that I should thank this forum and its members back in 2008 when I first joined for re-igniting my passion in WW2 and enabling me to really dig beneath the surface of this war. Also a special thanks should go to ADM199 for his help was invaluable in supplying me with the files from Kew. Thanks also without listing lots of names (You know who you all are) for helping me with and encouraging me to do this.

    Lastly to help me with this thread, the information I have posted was sourced from files at Kew, Massacre on the Road to Dunkirk-Leslie Aitken, The Forgotten Massacre-Guy Rommelaere, Dunkirk, Fight to the Last Man-Hugh Sebag-Montefiore and by no means least the help I received from this forum.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
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  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    With the BEF in retreat battalions from 144th Brigade of the 48th Division were orderd to help hold the corridor along which the British Army was retreating towards Dunkirk. The 5th Bn. Gloucestshire Regiment was to hold Ledringhem, the 8th Bn. Worchestershire Regiment was to hold the east side of Wormhout and would move to Herzeele and Bambegue area before the attack and 2nd Bn. Warwickshire Regiment was to hold the west side of Wormhout with C Company of the battalion initially defending Esquelbecq (They were later withdraw to defend the Divisional HQ at Bergues on the 27th May). Also supporting these battalions were machine gunners from the 4th Bn. Cheshire Regiment with Vickers Medium Machine Guns and battery's of the 53rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Worchestershire Yeomanry equiped with 2-pounder anti-tank guns.

    Advancing towards the defenders of Wormhout from the west was eliments of the 14th Motorised Corps under General von Wietersheim, notably the SS Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler under the command of Josef Dietrich these were supported by Panzers from the 19th Armoured Corps under General Guderian.

    Advancing towards Dunkirk
    1.jpg
    Possibly 11th Motor Cycle Brigade, part of 14th Motorised Corps moving towards Esquelbecq in late May, 1940.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    With Operation Dynamo underway hords of French and British troops are retreating through Wormhout heading north towards the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk. Numerous German aircraft are flying north too in the direction of the evacuation. Around midday after having a spotter plane flying around the expected happend. A flight of German bombers approached from the east and bombed Wormhout town centre.

    2.jpg
    Wormhout Town Centre sadly impossible to get a Then and Now although the towns WW1 Memorial could be on the left of this picture.

    Four men are reported to have been killed in the first raid. Geoff's search engine shows that throughout the day the battalion lost a total of 14 men, all ranks that are buried in Wormhout Cemetery-more are undoubtedly recorded at the Dunkirk Memorial who have no known grave.

    001 AYRISS A A 5110778 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    3.jpg

    002 BILL H N 5109905 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    4.jpg

    003 BILLINGHAM J 5110788 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    5.jpg

    004 BRADFORD G 5105220 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    6.jpg

    005 BUSH H E 5110893 2ND BN 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    7.jpg

    006 CHARLTON G 2564441 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    8.jpg

    007 CHICHESTER-CONSTABLE C H J 45766 A COY 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    9.jpg

    Of some of the acts of bravery this day Major Chicester-Constable MC stands out for recognition. He was 47 years of age, A Company Commander and was awarded his MC for numerous esacape attempts during WW1 after being captured in 1914.

    He was last seen walking towards approaching enemy tanks , alone ... and with a pistol in his hand. He died in the arms of an SS-Soldier and fellow Roman Catholic, who was himself killed on the following day (In 1946, The Daily Telegraph published an article asking for Chichester-Constable's next of kin to contact them. His uncle recieved a package from Munich who was the father of the SS-Soldier who was killed the following day. The package contained letters Chichester-Constable had written to his grandfather but was never posted.

    008 O'HARE C 3710137 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    10.jpg

    009 RANCE J E W 15472 2ND BN 27/05/1940 - - 29/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    11.jpg

    010 RODGER W 5103410 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    12.jpg

    011 ROPER T 5109762 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    [​IMG]


    012 STANFORD W H 5102632 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    13.jpg

    013 WALTERS W T 5110712 2ND BN 27/05/1940 - - 04/06/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    14.jpg

    014 WILLIAMS F J 5105113 2ND BN 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    15.jpg


    Also Lieutenant Padfield died on the 27th May and is buried in Wormhout Cemetery from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment but he not listed on CWGC as being part of the 2nd Battalion:

    001 PADFIELD D G S 71101- 27/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    16.jpg

    Lieutenant Padfield who was promoted to Captain on the day of his death, set off with Pte West from the Battalion HQ to A Company's position to attempt to regain communictions with the company. After about ten minutes they came across a German tank closely followed by some SS-Soldiers. West reported that escape was impossible but Capt. Padfield's reaction startled West. Padfield quickley drew his pistol and was then suddenly riddled with bullets from the Germans. West angered and unarmed put up his fists, being a boxer he fancied his chances against one or two but was overcome by Germans and taken prisoner.

    17.jpg
    Another shot of the damage to Wormhout after the air raids on the 27th May.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    After the air raids had finished the 2nd Warwicks Battalion HQ moved out of the Chateau Morael that was situated on the north west side of the town square and moved into trenches across the road in a wooded recreational area.

    Then: Chateau Moreal (note the British (?) Tac Signs).
    18.jpg

    The Battalions MT was parked up behind this Chateau inbetween the HQ and the Regimental Aid Post under the cover of the trees that can be seen in the background.

    Now: Brico Cado
    19 (1).jpg

    Completely rebuilt today the Chateau has long gone.

    The park where the HQ relocated to after the air raids.
    20.jpg
    You can just make out Wormhout Church in the background.

    By around 1600 hrs enemy activities had slowed down considerably. C Company was ordered to pull out of Esquelbecq and retreat to Bergues to help defend Divisional HQ. The battalion did receive some reinforcements in the afternoon in the form of two platoons of machine gunners from the 4th Chesires. These men were notably tasked with defending the north west area of Wormhout facing Esquelbecq and the road to Ledringhem. The town was also defended by anti-tank gunners from the 53rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery.

    The Battalion intercepts a German signal or is informed a that one has been intercepted. The Germans are planning a major attack the following day...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    On the morning of Tuesday, 28th May 1940 the Germans attack. In the centre of this attack across a broad front are the LSSAH and advance in the direction of Ledringhem, Esquelbecq and Wormhout. They number some 3,000 troops. The LSSAH are supported by eliments of the 2nd Panzer Division. The British are hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. German artillery starts to shell Esquelbecq around 0500 hrs and just after 0800 hrs the first German troops arrive in the town that was left relatively undefended after C Company were pulled out. The Germans decide to use Chateau Bergerot as there advance HQ and Josef Dietrich arrives shortly after the building is occupied.

    An old postcard of the Chateau taken before the war.
    21.jpg

    The same Chateau seen today on the south side of the square at Esquelbecq.
    22.jpg

    When the Germans arrived they made the owner of the chateau bring out old master paintings that were hanging on the walls, each one when lent against the wall was shot at destroying numerous works of art.

    23.jpg

    24.jpg

    As the morning draws on, Wormhout starts to receive the attention of the Luftwaffe and the German artillery.

    SS Troopers and Wehrmacht Panzer crews
    25.jpg
    Possibly discussing tactics in Esquelbecq before advancing on Wormhout
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    At 0330 hrs The British soldiers stand too at first light, expecting the German attack at dawn. The area of Wormhout is approached to the north by 1st Bn. LSSAH under the command of Kohlroser, the 2nd Bn. LSSAH has the centre under the command of Schutzek. The 3rd Bn. LSSAH under the command of Trabandt is held in reserve.

    At 0600 hrs a German reconnaissance plane is flying over Wormhout. This followed ten minutes later by air riads from around 15 Stuka dive-bombers and shrtly after German artillery starts shelling Wormhout.

    At 0745 hrs the LSSAH start advancing towards Wormhout.

    The main attack on Wormhout is from the west by 2nd Battalion LSSAH commanded by Schutzek. The two lead attacking companies from 2nd Battalion were the 5th commanded by Monke in the centre and the 7th under Baum on the right heading for the south of Wormhout.

    At 0900 hrs B Company, 2nd Warwicks engage targets along the Bergues to Esquelbecq road and destroy six vehicles.

    At 0930 hrs an MMG platoon from D Company of the 4th Cheshires start to engage SS soldiers advancing towards Wormhout across fields from the north-west. The Germans try to advance north and south of Wormhout with great effort but testimony to the training of the British soldiers, they hold their positions due to accurate fire for all of the morning.

    At 1000 hrs 3rd Company, 1st Battalion LSSAH under Schiller reach the Belle View north of Wormhout.

    At approx. 1145 hrs Dietrich is frustrated by the lack of progress at his new HQ in Esquelbecq. Suddenly Dietrich decides to find out for himself whats going on and goes to his command vehicle in company with Lt. Wunsche of the 15th Recce Company. They gather around six more vehicles and head off for Wormhout. The General leaves Esquelbecq and heads east along the road towards Wormhout.

    SS Obergruppenfuhrer Sepp Deitrich, Commander SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler
    26.jpg
    Later promoted to Generaloberst in 1944

    SS Obersturmfuhrer Max Wunsche, 15th Company, 3rd Battalion SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler
    27.jpg

    Looking towards the spot where Dietrich was ambushed
    28.jpg

    At 1150 hrs as the convoy rounds a bend just to the west of Wormhout they come to a sudden halt due to a road block and fire from a 53rd Anti-Tank gun aswell as effective LMG fire from B Company.

    Close up-you can make out the ditch used by Dietrich on the left of shot. The house is known as Le Rossignol and the roadblock was at this location.
    29.jpg

    The convoy suffers heavy casualties including the driver of Dietrichs Mercedes.

    Dietrich's Kfz Mercedes croos-country after the battle
    30.jpg
    Dietrich and Wunsche abandon their vehicle and dive into a ditch on the right handside of the road.

    Looking towards the British lines and the location of the ambush.
    31-1 (1).jpg

    Any further movement draws accurate fire from the British defensive positions and they are unable to leave the ditch. Burning fuel from Deitrichs vehicle starts to run into the ditch and Wunsche crawls forward into a conduit to escape the burning fuel. Unfortunately for Dietrich he is unable to move away from the burning fuel and is forced to cover himself in mud that contains faeces from the pigsties that drain into the ditch. It was Dietrich's birthday !

    A close up that shows the ditch and conduit the two men seeked cover in.
    32.jpg

    The 15th Recce Company with the support of 6th Coy. 3rd Panzer Regiment eventually 'rescued' Dietrich and Wunsche but at the cost of a further four armoured vehicles and the supporting Company Commander Corder and his 2ic Cramell. The time of his rescue is unclear as he swears in his affidavits after the war that he was there all day whilst the fighting was ongoing. It is now known today that he was lying as he was giving orders again at 1500 hrs as you will read further down which proves he was back in control of the LSSAH before the murders started and is ultimately responsible for what happened on 28th May at Wormhout.

    At 1200 hrs the defenders are still putting up stiff resistance and the LSSAH are starting to get frustrated with mounting casualties and little to show in the way of progress. The Germas advance starts to come to a halt to the west of Wormhout and the SS soldiers start to dig in as they are unable to advance or retreat due to accurate fire from the defenders. Some of the SS fix bayonets and charge forward shouting 'Heil Hitler' only to be cut down in a hail of MG fire from the Chesires. Others dress up in captured French and British uniforms and within hearing distance of the British soldiers shout, 'Hello Boys, we are here-don't shoot!' British Artillery plays a key part in the defence of the town. The 5th and 7th Companies of 2nd Bn. LSSAH are located and are subjected to accurate fire and ground to a halt. However attacks to the north and south of Wormhout prove successful.

    At 1300 hrs communications were braking down and all the defenders started withdraw into Wormhout.

    At 1330 hrs a platoon believed to be the 15th from the 4th Chesires under the command of Lieutenant Ravenscroft arrived possibly from the direction of Cassel and split into two, half went to the north of the town where the Bergues road entered the town to defend the northern approach.

    Then:
    33.jpg

    Now: Looking east along the northern part of Wormhout town centre towards the Bergues road which is behind the houses.
    34.jpg

    The other half went to the south of the town covering the road to Cassel.

    Then: This shot taken after the fall with Germans clearly visible in the town.
    35.jpg

    Now: Looking south to where the Chesires in the final stages of the battle set up a MMG position to protect the southern entrance into the town.
    36.jpg

    At 1345 hrs the Germans launched a massive co-ordinated attack using armour as well as infantry. Shortly after the start small groups of Germans start to enter the town from the south and south west.

    At 1430 hrs German armour brakes through B Company's position on the Esquelbecq road after a anti-tank gun of the 53rd A/T Regt. was knocked out. On entering the town the armour turned south to link up with the attack from the south and outflank A Company who could not hope to hold off the armour with rifles and LMG's.

    Location of A Company HQ according to the units War Diaries - somewhat redeveloped since 1940.
    37.jpg

    At 1500 hrs the German Staff HQ receive a communique that the LSAAH were now in control of Wormhout. It was around this time that the 2nd Battalion was restructed under the orders of Sepp Dietrich. The 2nd Battalion Commander was wounded sometime before this in Wormhout and was now leaderless. The commander, Schutzek was found by Hermann Hasenwinkel who had been sent into the town by Baum OC, 7th Company to search for ambulances (no doubt to care for his wounded as he wasn't looking after the British wounded-they were being shot). Hasenwinkel found Schutzek in his vehicle with a serious head wound from what appeared to be a 30mm round. It is possible the round was fired by Captain Tomes the adjutant and Private Fahey.

    At 1515 hrs Mohnke was placed in charge of the 2nd Battalion and Obersturmfuhrer Kreamer was made OC 5th Company.

    At 1650 hrs all credible resistance was rapidly crumbling and the fighting was finally coming to a stop. The men of Wormhout had put up a heroic defence of the town despite being massively outnumbered and out gunned. The LSSAH had recieved a bloody nose and for the first time had not had things their own way on the battlefield. For holding the road for so long allowed many retreating troops to get through to Dunkirk. Like so many British Battalions in 1940 they had achieved their mission: 'delay the German advance.'. The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Cheshire Regiment and the Worchestershire Regiment all received the battle honour 'Wormhout'. As for the survivors of the battle: Those that were lucky managed to slip away and some that were captured were treated fairly. Over a hundred were not so fortunate....

    The map below gives a good point of reference to who was where on the morning of 28th May.
    38.jpg

    Another Then and Now from Wormhout.
    Taken on the Esquelbecq Rd looking toward Wormhout town center with the Ledringhem Rd on the right.
    39.jpg

    Now
    40.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
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  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Andy,

    Excellent work so far.

    Regards
    Tom
     
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  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Geoff's search engine shows eleven men, all ranks from the 2nd Battalion possibly killed on the 28th May buried in Wormhout Cemetery.
    001 ASTON E 5105352 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    41.jpg
    002 BEDFORD F 5110156 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    42.jpg
    003 DODD C A 5100381 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    43.jpg
    004 DUNWELL C L 52949 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    45.jpg
    Lieutenant Dunwell with a section from B Comapny was defending an area to the west of Wormhout. Dug in, in trenches their posistion was eventually overrun by German armour and all the men were killed.
    005 GOULD R S 5105292 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT7
    46.jpg

    Private Gould had been wounded earlier in the fighting when moving to defensive positions. Another soldier's trigger catched a branch and fired off a round hitting Gould. Before the fighting for Wormhout was over he was taken to a bench to wait for an ambulance to evacuate him, the ambulance never came. Private Tombs one of the captured Warwicks watched as a SS Soldier walked up to him lying wounded on the bench and pulled out his pistol and killed Pte Gould. The murder took place behind the original D Company positions on the Cassel road just outside of Wormhout. The murderer was almost certainly from 7th SS Company under the command of Baum.
    006 HANDYSIDE W 5103214 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    47.jpg
    LCPL Handyside is mentioned in B Company's Diary as having 'fought a gallant battle.' Already wounded he continued to fire his Bren gun unaided until he ran out of ammunition. At this point he retreated to Company HQ with his gun taking several wounded men with him. At the Company HQ Handyside took command of the situation and was subsequently killed during the fighting.
    007 HILL T A 5109777 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT7
    48.jpg
    008 LEWIS F J 5109766 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    49.jpg
    009 MOSS F 5102147 2ND BN 28/05/1940 - - 29/05/1940
    ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    50.jpg
    010 PARSONS A G 5105518 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE
    REGIMENT
    51.jpg
    011 SUTTON H 5105191 2ND BN 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    52.jpg
     
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  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    53.jpg

    Listed below are the men from other units like the Chesire Regiment and Royal Artillery that helped to defend Wormhout along with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. I have also listed men from the Royal Warwicks who's date of death does not fit into either of the two lists already posted but more than likely help defend the town. If and when any information becomes available for any individual I will post the details and a picture of their headstone.

    The Chesire Regiment:

    001 BELL N 4128369 4TH BN 28/05/1940 CHESHIRE REGIMENT
    001 CONNELL T E 4125556 4TH BN 10/05/1940 - - 12/06/1940 CHESHIRE REGIMENT
    001 FOWDEN K 4129310 4TH BN 28/05/1940 CHESHIRE REGIMENT
    001 JONES C G 4121737 4TH BN 28/05/1940 CHESHIRE REGIMENT

    GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT:

    001 PEARSON L G 5185816 5TH BN 28/05/1940 GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    001 RICHARDS C L 3960636 5TH BN 28/05/1940 GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    001 WARNER D J 5186714 5TH BN 28/05/1940 GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT

    ROYAL ARTILLERTY:

    001 BOURNE H W 6395636 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 BUTCHER R 1458172 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 EAMES S T 1471017 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 EDKINS J S 1457362 210 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    54.jpg
    See post 11 for the circumstances leading upto Edkins' death. :poppy:

    001 GINNS F D 1439469 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 OLIVER E 5496694 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 26/05/1940 - - 29/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 QUINNEY H 1457361 210 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 REILLY A 1515001 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 SLY R C 1468045 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 TURNER R D 930516 69 THE DENBIGHSHIRE YEOMANRY MEDIUM REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 TURNER J 875390 69 THE DENBIGHSHIRE YEOMANRY MEDIUM REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 WHITEHOUSE C A 1455214 211 BTY, 53 THE WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY ANTI TANK REGT 10/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY
    001 WRIGHT E N 845095 24 FIELD REGT 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARTILLERY


    ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS:

    001 COOKE L H 2327805 48TH DIV SIGS 28/05/1940 ROYAL CORPS OF SIGNALS


    ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT:

    001 BROWN C O 5105399 2ND BN 12/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    001 CHAWNER A A 5107665 2ND BN 26/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    001 FAHY J 5111558 2ND BN 10/05/1940 - - 29/03/1941 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    001 GUIDREY F J 5105258 2ND BN 10/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    001 RANCE J E W 15472 2ND BN 27/05/1940 - - 29/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
    001 THACKER W 5101522 2ND BN 10/05/1940 ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Article 23c of the 1929 Geneva Convention stipulates:

    "It is strictly forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who has laid down his arms or
    has no remaining means of defence and has surrendered."

    Article 24d of the Convention also states:

    "It is forbidden to order that no quarter be given."


    At Wormhout eliments of the SS Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler, particulary the 2nd Battalion under the command of Hauptsturmfuhrer Wilhelm Mohnke ignored these laws and gave no quarter.

    What follows are some rather graphic and moving accounts of survivors that witnessed what happened on 28th May 1940 in and around the town of Wormhout.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Baxter was one of the first to be taken prisoner by the Germans during the fighting at Wormhout:

    I was serving that day with the 53rd Anti-Tank Regiment holding a position on the edge of Wormhout. Our gun had been knocked out some days previously so I was with another anti-tank team; Gunner Edkins, Gunner Ball and myself. We had all decided to take up position in a little spinney in the middle of a field, a spot which seemed ideal for observing the surroundings.

    Around 1000 hrs, mixed fire from the wood on our right began chopping the branches above our heads. We tried to withdraw but the German fire prevented us.

    Suddenly the fire ceased for a moment and we took the opportunity to crawl to the rear to a ditch so narrow that we could not set up our weapon. However, since the bottom was very damp, we covered ourselves in mud to escape the enemy.

    Finally, we got back to the main road which we crossed to get to the opposite ditch. That was when Edkins was wounded by a bullet in his right arm. It was in this ditch that I had my first sight of the enemy, and it was a hell of a shock: SS men as tall as Royal Guardsmen, black uniforms under camouflage capes, holding light machine guns, and rifles with bayonets gleaming on the end with grenades in their hands and two silver flashes on their capes and tunic collars. The Nazis had two half-tracks which were looming over us. They were threatening us.

    One of them who must have been an interpreter gave an order to one of the chaps in charge of an armoured vehicle. It was a middle-aged man wearing decorations on his chest; his nose was flattened. At that moment the light tank started up and made for us with all guns firing. It seemed as if it was going to crush us at the bottom of the ditch.

    The driver of the tank who wash brandishing a revolver gave us the order to get out of the ditch, which I did with Ball and Edkins behind me. Striaght away five or six SS surrounded us and took away our jackets, tin hats and identity discs. 'Flat nose' asked for information about our unit, where our HQ was, what other troops were in the sector ...... all in perfect English. Edkins answered that he was not obliged to reveal anything but name, rank and number. Immediately the SS hit us, pulled us to the groundby our hair, spat in our faces and called us 'English Bastards'. One of them pretended to pull the pin out of a grenade and I thought as he did so that he would suffer as much as we would!

    Suddenly a British 15cwt truck arrived just where we were and stopped nearby. I saw the passenger, an officer, and driver put up their hands to surrender. What I saw I will never forget ......

    Without a single order, one of the SS with a machine-gun pasted the two British to their seats. I think they took the whole magazine. The SS began to cheer the gunner, then one of them went around the back, took a can of petrol, poured it over the bodies and truck and struck a match! The vehicle was on fire when another British truck, a 30 cwt Bedford, arrived from the same direction. The SS opened fire immediately, and the Bedford stopped near the first truck with one wheel in the ditch. I think the driver must have been killed or badly wounded as I never saw him.

    Five SS went round the vehicle and made one of our lads get out: he must have had a watch-chain which a Nazi made a grab for; the Tommy wasn't willing to be robbed, so the Hun put his pistol to the prisoners chest and shot him at point blank range. He fell without a word ......Then the murderer took the watch, held it to his ear, and began to laugh as he danced around the corpse.

    Two other British lads were taken out of the truck and put with us. They told me they belonged to the Warwickshire Regiment, which must have been true of the two soldiers in the burnt vehicle.


    Arthur Baxter managed to escape later that day. Sadly he never saw the other men again. Edkins is buried in Wormhout Cemetery as the SS never removed his identity discs and his body was later identified. The others are most likely to occupy some of the many unidentified graves in the cemetery.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    A rather young looking Burt Evans
    55.jpg

    Burt Evans one of the more well known survivors of the massacre was a 19 year old soldier who had just joined the battalion a few days before the battalion was sent to Wormhout.

    Evans was fighting with D Company under command of Captain Lynn-Allen to the south west of Wormhout, just infront of the Peene Becque river. After figthing off two attacks by the LSSAH. Eventually D Company became vitually surrounded, low on ammunition and confronted with tanks, fighting on was futile. Lynn-Allen gave the order to to his men to lay down their arms and siad to his men, 'Don't be disappointed, you fought well.'

    The field of fire seen from D Comany's positions (near as dam it)
    56.jpg

    Some of the men including Evans weren't ready to become prisoners so made a break for it. As they reached the Peene Becque River Evans could not proceed any further-he couldn't swim. Some of the other men succeeded in crossing and made off. Evans waited at the rivers edge to be taken prisoner and was found by eight or nine SS soldiers. He look at his enemy and noticed they were wearing arm bands with the words 'Adolf Hitler' on them. His first thought was he hadn't been captured by Germans but blood firsty Nazis!

    The Peene Becque River behind D Company's location that Evans was unable to cross.
    57.jpg

    Evans joined the main party of fifty or so prisoners of D Company which included Lynn-Allen and Alf Tombs. It was just before this point that Tombs witnessed the murder of Private Gould when he was lying wounded on a bench and a SS soldier walked up to him, drew his pistol and shot him at point blank range.

    Private Alf Tombs
    58.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Not all the soldiers captured were defenders of Wormhout. Gunner Parry was part of a column retreating north from Cassel to Dunkirk. Like many British units retreating to the coast they passed through Wormhout.

    The circumstances of Parry's capture aren't particulary that clear as there are several very similiar accounts, no doubt gradually told over time but from using atleast three sources this one seems the most plausable to me however I will as always bow to someones superior knowledge.

    As mentioned Parry was in a column of trucks driving through Wormhout, I believe the last one, when a German tank appeared and started shooting up the convoy. Parry jumped from his truck and ran across the road and ended up by the side of the Peene Becque River. Some accounts say he was just north of Wormhout on the Bergues road and entered the river there. Another more plausable (The one I believe) account suggests he was south just entering Wormhout when he entered the river.

    I believe the point where Parry entered the river is about 50 yards beyond the bridge.
    59.jpg
    By now Wormhout was well ablaze and he attempted to travel north along the river through the town. I believe the close proximity of the burning houses prevented him from doing this and Parry goes on to say in his affidavit that he headed up stream.

    Deciding after a few hours in the water he was getting nowhere he decided to climb out of the river and enter a house of the Wormhout-Cassel road to search for a map. Much to his disappointment the only one he could find in the empty house was a Michelin map of the South of France !

    Parry left the river here and entered one of the houses on the left in search of a map.
    60.jpg

    Parry walked out the front door of one of these houses to be captured by the SS.
    61.jpg

    Finding nothing of use he left the house by the front door and to his horror Parry was seen by a group of SS soldiers and taken prisoner. He was then taken into Wormhout where all the prisoners were being gathered.

    Just north of the bridge was where the group of SS soldiers were standing that took Parry prisoner.
    62.jpg
     
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  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Sadly I know very little about the circumstances of LCpl Oxley. I suspect he was fighting earlier in the day in or near Cassel. The 4th Chesires were spread around the Divisional locations at Ledringhem for example and not just Wormhout. A platoon arrives half way through the fighting and helps to defend the town. The Platoon is under the command of Lieutenant Ravenscroft and I think it is most likely that Oxley is part of this platoon. By the afternoon though he is in Wormhout and gives and account that is well worth adding to this thread.

    Coming from Cassel, we drove into the centre of Wormhout Square. Just as we went round the corner of the church we were amazed to see the Germans on the other side. I had just looked at the church clock; it was 1350 hrs. They didn't seem to have noticed us but that did not last. Many of our men were killed or wounded. As for me, I and three others were thrown out of our vehicle when it swerved. All we could do was put up our hands and surrender, so we did. Immediately a gang of fanatics surrounded us, some of them dancing about and pointing their weapons at us. These Germans seemed very young to me, not more than 17-18 years old. Seconds later they opened fire on us ...... I was struck by three bullets in the arm and leg and lost consciousness.


    The article states that Oxley's comrades were killed. The unit responsible could only be SS from either the 5th Company under Mohnke that entered the town from the south-west or 7th Company under Baum who came in from the south. Either way they were from the 2nd Battalion that was soon to come under the command of Mohnke.

    Oxley continues his story:

    When I regained consciousness I saw Germans in front of the shops: some were eating and drinking, and others were tossing grenades through the windows ..... I saw three SS bring a Sergeant out of a house then take him away. I did not know the prisoner but he seemed to be badly wounded. Suddenly a German officer fired at him with a revolver: the officer (I assume he means the Sgt) fell down and the SS officer emptied his magazine! I was still lying on the ground when I saw to the right in front of me three Germans and two armoured cars. One of them was seeing to his vehicle; I looked at the clock and it was 1650 hrs. There was a fresh outburst of firing, which drove them off, leaving the three Royal Warwickshires on the ground. I would estimate the number who left at 150. I got up and then crawled towards the shop-front and went along the road by hanging onto the window frames.

    I had covered a few yards like this when a British soldier came out of one of the houses. I called out to him; he had been slightly wounded, also in the leg. I suggested we should make for the Bn. hospital, a big red brick building, where only that morning I had seen several of our chaps who were based there. Arriving at our destination we saw large numbers of dead, some stripped, and all riddled with bullets. There was no sign of life.



    The 2nd Warwicks Regimental Aid Post. The area to the left was where the Bn. MT was parked.
    63.jpg

    It is not known whether Oxley became a PW or escaped to Dunkirk. One can only assume he survived the war to tell his story.

    Captain Crook was the MO in charge of the Bn. RAP. He was taken prisoner along with his nursing staff. All reported being treated properly. Some wounded were left behind (non-walking wounded?) and it is unclear as to what became of them.
    64.jpg
     
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  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    65.jpg


    Cpl Bill Cordrey was with B Company and dug in along their front facing Esquelbecq and the might of Mohnke's 5th Company along with supporting Panzers and artillery. They were armed with not much more than Boyes Anti-Tank Rifles, Bren Guns and .303's. Here's exracts from his story on that fateful day:

    There they were facing us, 700 yards away, lined up and advancing relentlessly. I was ordering our men to take cover. We received more than a dozen salvo's! What an inferno!

    Everyone was firing now and I had my sights on the centre tank. I coubn't miss it. I was giving it the whole round, and although I knew it was a bulls eye the tank kept coming as if nothing had happened. Our ammunition, in spite of what the top brass had told us in England, was useless against their armour.

    The situation was becoming critical and we were pinned to the spot by ebemt fire. What should we do? Go while there was still time or wait to be massacred?


    At the moment of deciding what to do the German Panzers for some unknown reason started to turn:

    'Look, they're turning!' I looked and saw the whole line of advancing tanks turn left .... The right hand tank was going to miss us by 100 yards! I couldn't believe my eyes. A few minutes more and they would have flattened us. As the tanks turned I could see the infantry behind them, and as no-one seemed to be firing on them I realised we were alone and that we should get out as soon as possible.


    B Company appears to have been in positions either side of the Esquelbecq road and I believe Cordrey was south of the road in trenches when the tanks headed off towards the south west of the town. Some other his comrades were not so lucky. One tank was seen to drive straight over a position killing everyone except Corporal Thomas, he lost both of his legs and ended up a PW.

    South of Esquelbecq road looking today at what Cordrey was seeing 70 years ago minus the Panzers and SS infantry.
    66.jpg

    Another emplacement to the right of Cordrey possibly to the north of Esquelbecq road was overrun and suffered the same fate but with no survivors. Lieutenant Dunwell was in the line commanding a section and firing to the end they were outflanked resulting in most being killed Lt. Dunwell included. As already mentioned LCpl Handyside was with B Company wounded, he was firing his Bren Gun alone until he run out of ammunition, he was later killed fighting in the town.

    Cordrey now had retreated to the Company HQ to find it virtually destroyed with many dead and wounded lying around. He came across Sergeant Major Agutter in need of urgent medical attention. Cordrey along with another soldier called Clancy and two other un named individuals found a vehicle and headed of in search of mediacal attention for their Sergeant-Major. On entereing Wormhout they found the town ablaze and decided to head for Dunkirk as they were leaving the town (most likely on the Bergues road) they came across a road block that the defenders had set up before the attack.

    In an instance Clancey decided to hit the accelerator and ram it. As he drew closer he was horrified to see it was now in enemy hands and had been re-inforced. Cordery shouted at him to slow down and drive around it. At this point the SS started to fire at them and as things slow downas the adrenaline kicks in Cordrey saw a Anti-Tank gun trained on them and in what seemed a lifetime the gun fired as they passed it and the shot missed.

    Somehow the small party of men had turned round and were now back in Wormhout driving through enemy positions. The vehicle finally came to an abrupt halt after tipping into a bomb crater and ending up in a ditch. The Sergeant-Major was now dead and the men were surrounded by SS soldiers.

    Cordrey recalls:

    We got out, threatened by an SS, who spoke little English. My feet hadn't even touched the ground before another soldier jammed a revolver against my stomach and raved at me in German. I could feel the huge tension gripping the SS around us but that took the biscuit. I could feel the revolver trembling, and just waited for the final bullet ....

    Suddenly he turned away, issuing orders, and 30 or so of the SS took us back where we had come from .... I wanted permission to bury Sergeant-Major Agutter, but the SS would not allow it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    3 shots taken by a member of the SS Leibstandarte on May 28th 1940 of the LSSAH moving towards Wormhout along the Cassel road. The last one is of LSSAH meeting Wehrmacht troops of the 20th Div.

    67.jpg

    68.jpg
    These French soldiers seem to be happy that their war is over. I find it quite puzzling that the French are afforded a free passage to the rear whilst at the near same time British soldiers were being murdered in the town ahead. I did read in the book Dunkirk, The men they left behind French PW's were treated better than British PW's.

    69.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
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  17. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I find it quite puzzling that the French are afforded a free passage to the rear whilst at the near same time British soldiers were being murdered in the town ahead. I did read in the book Dunkirk, The men they left behind French PW's were treated better than British PW's.
    [stereotype]Because the French didn't normally give the Germans a very bloody nose before surrendering[/stereotype]
    That's not to say that it didn't happen to some of them, though. And civilians - remember Oignies?
     
  18. MALLARD

    MALLARD Member

    Andy,
    I’ve just been reading your account and frankly I feel ashamed at not knowing more than I do about this period of relatively recent history and people, many of whom may still be alive today. I am also fascinated as to how you even started to gather so much information and unless there is a section of the forum that I’ve missed perhaps you’d like to give those of us who are new to the forum some hints on how and where to start searches. As you know from our recent contacts I am trying to gather data about the canal line defence in the area between St.Momelin and Wittes and especially the activities around Renescure between 22nd & 24th May 1940 and the Dunkirk evacuation. Thanks to your help and that of others on the forum I have been able to gather some details but, even as a ‘new boy’ to this type of research, my efforts pale into insignificance compared with the work you must have done and I even have a cousin helping me. Wormhout is an absolute MUST during the visit to France in April and will be all the more interesting, or perhaps emotional as a result of your thread.
    John
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    With resistance over and Wormhout firmly in German hands indiscriminate killings continued throughout the area leading up to the massacre in The Barn. South of Wormhout west of the Cassel-Wormhout road is an area called le Rietveld where five British Soldiers that had surrendered to the SS were forced to dig their own graves and then shot. The area was that captured by Baum's 7th Company. This helps to confirm that the whole battalion was most likely involved in murdering British Soldiers on the 28th not just those of Mohnke's old 5th Company.

    One of the more harder 'Then and Nows' of the trip. Its not 100% by a long shot but it is near as can be identified today and in my mind an important part of this tragic story worthy of being told.

    Then
    70.jpg
    The grave here was looked after here by Yvonne Vandenberghe

    And another
    71.jpg
    Later in during the war, L to R: Marie Josephe Brutsaert and Raymonde, Jacqueline and Francoise Picotin.

    Now
    72.jpg
    The area has changed must in 70 years being farmland.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    What follows is in the main is taken from witness affidavits given by the survivors and former SS soldiers interviewed by the War Crimes Investigation Unit after the war

    The majority of the prisoners captured in Wormhout were from D Company defending the southern most part of the town (sse post 12). The fifty or so prisoners were marched across the field they were defending towards the Peene Becque River and crossed a bridge that led and followed a path out onto the Cassel-Wormhout road.
    The bridge is still there today just behind me when I took this picture of Peene Becque
    73.jpg
    The small path/road where the party comes out onto the Cassel-Wormout road can just be seen where the 20kph sign is.
    74.jpg
    Where the PW's came out onto the Cassel-Wormhout road before marching up the road to the church.
    75.jpg
    On reaching this road they turned towards Wormhout. About 500 yards from the church the prisoners were halted and it is here their mistreatment started. They were searched and stripped of all their belongings including their ID discs some were beaten. It was here that Parry and Tombs joined the party of PW's (see post 13).

    There are several different versions of what happened next and again my 'version' is by no means anymore accurate than any of the other ones but it does seem the most plausable to me. The PW's were held a bit further up the road near that church while some of the guards went to a Cafe called St.Hubert.
    The Cafe St. Hubert today.
    76.jpg
    This cafe is near the church which is where I believe the PW's were lined up, The Germans in the cafe started to drink copious amounts of alcohol. It was whilst here the PW's were forced to keep their hands in the air and where Burt Evans witnessed another atrocity. Further along the road the Germans had lined another group of British soldiers up against a wall:
    A short while later a German officer came out of the cafe and told them to lower their hands and they were marched along Rue d' Englise towards the SS Battlefield Battalion HQ recently set up in the town. Again the story gets confusing but I believe as they marched along this road other British soldiers decided to give up that were hiding in the houses that the column of men were passing.
    26 Rue d'Englise
    77.jpg
    At No. 26 the men were halted again. The PW's started to get the feeling the Germans didn't know what to do with them. It was in this area another group of prisoners could be seen, some 30 to 60 in total, were being held in a grassy area across from Rue d' Englise.
    Far side of the roundabout is the grassy area where the other party were being held
    78.jpg
    One of the SS HQ's either temp. 2nd Bn. or 7th Company's just across from where the Pw's were being held in Wormhout.
    79.jpg
    They were mainly members of A Company and from the Cheshire's and Royal Artillery. It is most likely the the PW's from the Royal Artillery were in the same column as Parry (see post 13) or men from the 53rd Anti-Tank Regiment. Heinrich (7th Company) who was in charge of the PW's he had just marched along Rue d' Englise went into the Battalion HQ to see if he could leave his PW's with the others instead of taking them back to 7th Company HQ (The following paragraph most likely happened at Le Fort Rose Farm after all the men were marched there).

    At approx. 1630 hrs A German officer (Identified after the war as Mohnke who was now the battalion commander) came out of the HQ in a rage and confronted Heinrichs and shouted (What is said gives one of the biggest clues that Dietrich gave the order to kill PW's) at him 'Why the hell have you brought these prisoners here, contrary to orders' (Standard practise would surley be to take PW's to the HQ for intelligence purposes before passing them down the line and note Mohnke doesn't 'say his orders' which suggests they come from higher up the command chain). No one could hear what Heinrichs replied but one of the British soldiers was heard to mumble 'My God, they are not taking prisoners.'
    Hauptsturmfuhrer Wilhelm Mohnke, 5th Company acting 2nd Battalion Commander, SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler
    80.jpg
    Mohnke and three others repatriated back to Germany in 1955 from the USSR
    81.jpg
    Le Fort Rose Farm. Originally A Company HQ and taken over as LSSAH 2nd Bn. HQ after the fighting.
    82.jpg
    Heinrich's went away and returned some 30 minutes later with eight more SS soldiers all reported after the war by a SS soldier called Senf as being Corporals and Sergeants all thought to be part of 8th Company. Senf expressed his concerns as to what was about to happen to Heinrich's who reminded him of the dressing down he had received of Mohnke and re-assured him that the SS soldiers he had just collected 'They know what to do'. Senf asked one of the soldiers from 8th Company what was going to happen and he replied that Mohnke had ordered that the PW's were to be executed. Another said to Senf, 'We'll do it properly.'
    A zoomed in shot looking at the barn from Le Rose Fort Farm
    83.jpg
    So began the short march to death from Le Fort Rose Farm about a mile across a muddy field. At times they were forced to run and those that fell or stumbled were beaten by their SS captors and those who could not go any further were bayoneted or clubbed to death with the rifle butt. One PW who was crawling on his hands and knees in a vain attempt to keep up was bayoneted in the chest. This story was supported some months later by the discovery of two british soldiers buried in the field between Rubrouck road and the barn.

    Private Charles Daley of A Company who had already received a gunshot wound in Wormhout was shot again as he got to his feet. Somehow he drew on what strength he had left and managed to keep up with the column of men. The prisoners arrived at the edge of the field called la Plaine au Bois. It was then lined on three sides with small trees and in one of the corners was a wooden shed used to milk the farmers cattle in the fields nearby. The floor was covered with straw, mud and cow-pats at the edge of the entrance was two milk urns. The two daugters of the Mercier family had been at the barn earlier that day to milk the cows and when the fighting started their father came and got them leaving the urns behind.
    Private Charles Daley, A Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    84.jpg
    The group of prisoners now must have numbered in excess of one hundred and contained soldiers from 2nd Royal Warwicks, 4th Cheshires, 53rd Anti-Tank Regt., 69th Medium Regiment both Royal Artillery, nine more prisoners from 20th Regiment Royal Artillery and six from 8th Worcesters were added. They were all forced into the barn...
    The Barn 'Then' before it was demolished in 1947
    85.jpg
    The cross marks the farm of belonging to the Mercier family.
    The Barn 'Now' after it was re-built in 2001
    86.jpg
    While the men were being herded into the barn everything was being witnessed by Private George Merry of D Company, 2nd Warwicks. He was wounded in the arm during earlier fighting and fained death to avoid capture. Having re-gianed some strength it appears he crawled into a hedgerow bordering the pasture to remian undiscovered and more importantly - observe what happened next.

    Driver John Borland and some of his comrades, from 20th RA, stayed close together as they were pushed into the barn. The barn was already half full with some 40 men, some lying and sitting on the floor. As Borland looked around one of his mates Gunner Nobby Clarke said to him:

    'I don't like the way things are going at all; what do you think John?' Borland replied, 'We can't get out the way we came in, is there any other way?' After the war Borland said, 'In the corner farthest away from the doorway into the barn there was a door blocked with mud and cow-dung. We pushed it a little way, escaped, and ran for a hundred yards without being seen.'

    The following names are listed as escaping: Clarke, Vickers, Salisbury, Borland and one other who's name is not listed. All five men made their way to to another barn in the Coget pasture which was opposite Joseph Mercier's farm on the Rue Vert Vallon. The five men were later captured by the Germans and treated properly as PW's.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2017

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