The Battle and Massacre of Wormhout - 28th May 1940

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

  1. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks for posting that, Guy - so the armoured car had clearly been penetrated by two anti-tank rounds and had then burned. It's hard to imagine that the occupants weren't wounded if they were in the vehicle at the time. Could it be that the died in the pigsty whilst trying to hide and that the odd clothing was the result of them having perhaps removed burned clothing ?


    Apparantly and according to testimony I received, the british defended themselves in the house by even using the melting plates of the stove. There was blood every where in the kitchen!! The wittness did not mention any trace of burns on the bodies and it was difficult to say whether they had ever been injured in their armoured car.
    Photo 1943/1944 : the graves in the Esquelbecq cemetery ; the officer is on the right with Weber on his left

    Attached Files:

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  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A small question, Guy. How was the body identified as an officer, as the clothes that he was described as wearing seem to have been civilian ? I can't recognise anything as British military issue or officer private purchase from the description.
    Drew5233 likes this.


    Those who conducted the exhumation where formal; so you have to assume that his rank was on his leather jacket.
    I don't know the dressage of british tankers. The french had this kind of jacket.

    Attached Files:

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  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Guy, thank you for posting the exhumation report. Forgive me for questioning, but I am simply trying to get everything clear in my own mind before I discuss with Drew whether there seems to be a realistic possibility of having the records altered.

    I'm afraid that I can't see on the report anywhere that states that he was an officer. I can't read all of the temporary grave marker, but it too is headed 'unknown soldier' and makes no mention of rank.

    His normal clothing unless he was wearing overalls would have been battledress with a woollen shirt.

    Is it evident from the local records when it was that the grave related to 'An Officer' as is now shown on the gravestone ? It is clear that by 1954 he was regarded as an 'Unknown British Officer'


    We must ask ourselves how and why was it decided to engrave "an unknown officer" on the final grave.

    I don't think it came fron the number of gold teeth but rather from a survey that answered these data :
    - Who was on special mission with corporal WEBER in the area of 144th brigade ?
    - Who was on a very rare kind of armoured car (less than six in France in 1940 !) ?
    - What officer desappeared since 27th may 1940 in the sector of 144th brigade ?

    Any ambiguity could be remove by DNA sample but is there a will to remove the doubt.....

    Anyway, to day, there is a wreath with a card on the grave : on the card, there is a dedication from the family of earl EDGCUMBE !
    Drew5233 likes this.


    Wormhout - place called "le Rossignol". photo taken by a german in 1940 on the road to Esquelbecq.
    It was in front of this house where my father was living at the time that the british had judiciously erected a roadblock in which the car of general SS Sepp Dietrich came to fit in.
    His only salvation was by taking refuge in the ditch. In the field on the left side of the road, they were a lot of german graves, losses suffered while trying to save Dietrich.
    The british graves were in the field on the right of the road.
    The house of my father had suffered well in the fighting. My father had left the house the day before the battle at the request of the british : "To morrow, it's going to bard here" they said !!

    Attached Files:



    Wormhout - le Rossignol - 1940
    SS graves in front of my father house.
    At the foot of the square building that we see towards Wormhout (an electric transformer), there was a british anti tank gun positioned towards Esquelbecq.

    Attached Files:

  9. Peccavi

    Peccavi Senior Member

    Cher M. Rommelaere
    Bonjour et merci pour votre assistance!

    Am I correct in thinking that

    Sepp Dietrich was in the ditch on the North side of the Road
    German graves were on the South side
    British Graves were on the North side?
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'd much prefer to see him identified as 'Josef Dietrich' The use of a familiar name might imply some liking for the bastard !
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  11. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

    Bonjour Monsieur Rommelaere
    Toutes mes excuses pour vous avoir accompagné ici.
    Je vous ai envoyé un courriel la semaine dernière sur la visite de Wormhout en novembre avec des soldats. L'avez-vous reçu?


    Je n'ai rien reçu.....


    This is the Dunkirk news paper of last Tuesday. I hope more informations with this....

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  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    P.R Edgcumbe belongs to an old Devon peerage family with their seat in Plymouth.

    P R Edgcumbe is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial as expected.


    Thanks to Guy introducing an interesting dimension to the debate.
  15. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Quelle histoire tragique. Merci, Guy.
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    Guy revisited the subject with his post from The Voice of the North newspaper.

    Not wishing to diminish your credit in this thread.

    Incidentally,some posts refer to Edgecombe instead of Edgcombe


    Bonjour à tous,
    I relaunched the subject following the discovery of archives concerning the exhumation of two british in the meadow of the estaminet "le repos des chasseurs": in particular the draw of the jaw of the british who had no paper.
    An investigation in the archives of the dentist of Piers EDCUMBE is it possible after more than 70 years ?
    The person who came to rest on his grave is the current mayor of Wandsworth, a nephew of Piers...
    No value (money, watch, ring...) was found on the bodies, not even an identity disc. The S.S. did the same the next day at the Plaine au Bois.

    NB: in the papers of lance corporal WEBER, there was an invoice issued in october 1939 regarding the purchase of a new "Champion" watch at Hendon.
    Harry Ree and Rich Payne like this.


    Bonjour à tous, Drew,
    Les recherches de preuves que Piers Richard EDGCUMBE est bien enterré dans le cimetière britannique d'Esquelbecq à côté de Léonard WEBBER ont bien avancé ces derniers jours, grâce aux archives britanniques. Les preuves trouvées pourront, je l'espère bientôt, convaincre le MOD que l'officier inconnu est bien le sous-lieutenant P.R. EDGCUMBE du 12th Royal Lancers. Joyeuses fêtes à tous!:rolleyes:
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Google translation of above post

    Hello everyone, Drew,
    Evidence searches that Piers Richard EDGCUMBE is well buried in the British Esquelbecq cemetery next to Leonard WEBBER have advanced well in recent days, thanks to the British archives. The evidence found will, hopefully soon, convince the MOD that the unknown officer is indeed Second Lieutenant P.R. EDGCUMBE of the 12th Royal Lancers. Happy holidays to everyone!

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