The Glorious Glosters, Cassel 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The 2nd Battalion was withdrawn from Escault 23rd May and reached Cassel on May 25th. They were to hold the western half of the town with the 1st Buckinghamshires holding the eastern half. Some platoons were sent to hold important positions, the most notable being a partly built blobkhouse on the Dunkirk road held by No.8 platoon under 2nd Lieut. R.W. Cresswell. 27th May 'A' Company commanded by Major W.H. Percy-Hardman, went to Zuytpene village, which covered the approaches to Cassel from the west. Their orders were simple. They were to hold the line at all costs to allow the B.E.F. to be evacuated from Dunkirk.

    25th May - fairly quiet day. Battalion worked on improving defences.

    26th May - German patrols probe towards Cassel and driven off.

    27th May - Cassel was attacked in strength from three directions. 'D' Company (Captain A.P. Cholmondley) in the South West corner of the town, was heavily attacked. 'C' Company (Captain E.H. Lynn Allen) fought off a strong infantry assault.

    At 0800 Zuytpene was assaulted from the air and then tanks and infantry. The position was soon surrounded. 'A' Company fought from house to house, withdrawing to the centre of the village. By 1800 the position was desperate. The survivors had gathered in one building. When the Germans got into the garden and were able to throw grenades into the house Percy-Hardman ordered his men to surrender.

    At 1800 the attack began on the blockhouse held by No.8 platoon. They were immediately cut off. Without rations and the blockhouse on fire they held out for 4 days. Finally on 30th May, with the Germans on the roof Cresswell ordered his men to break out and try to reach Dunkirk. But escape was hopeless and the survivors were captured. Both Percy-Hardman and Cresswell received the Military Cross.

    Quartermaster Captain R.E.D. Brasington got through to Cassel with the last supplies. He was then ordered to take the transports to Dunkirk. He was later awarded the M.C.

    28th May - Shelling and mortaring of Cassel. 'B' Company (Captain H.C. Wilson) attacked from the rear, but attack was repulsed.

    29th May - more attacks, mostly on 'B' Company. All were driven off. That afternoon a message came through that the defenders were to begin withdrawing to Dunkirk. But Cassel was totally surrounded and very few men escaped to Dunkirk.

    Around 100 men of the 2nd Glosters made it home. 5 officers and 132 men were dead. 472 taken prisoner.

    The Battalion won a CBE (Brigadier Somerset), DSO (Colonel Gilmore), and Military Crosses to Captain Lynn Allen and Major C. campbell, a DCM and 11 MM's.

    The 5th Battalion

    May 26th the 5th battalion moved to Ledringhem and Arneke villages, 4 miles north-west of Cassel. 'B' company (Captain C. Norris) held the south and east of the village, HQ Company (Major A. Waller) in the village. 'A' Company (Major D. Biddle) and 'D' Company (Captain E. Rockett) took up forward positions at Arneke. 'C' Company (Captain H. Mason) held a road junction between the 2 villages.

    May 27th - German tanks and guns were seen moving around the flanks of Ledringham. Both villages came under shell and mortar fire, followed by infantry and tank assaults against Arneke. After heavy fighting 'A' and 'D' Companies withdrew to join 'C' Company. They had destroyed 5 German tanks and 5 armoured cars.

    May 28th - Ledringham was shelled and cut off. All the companies were now in the village and totally surrounded. A message arrived to begin withdrawing. But the Germans were now assaulting the village and beginning to penetrate. The village was on fire and the Germans had made it into the churchyard. The cry of 'Up the Glosters!' was heard and after 3 bayonet charges the Germans were driven back. Each charge was led by a different officer and all 3 were seriously wounded - Captain Norris, Lieut. Dewsnap and 2nd Lieut. D. Norris.

    The Germans attacked again and Major Waller led a successful counter-attack, but Waller was killed. Colonel Buxton was wounded in the leg. Just after midnight the battalion started to withdraw. The seriously wounded were left with 2 medical orderlies to await the Germans. This left 13 officers and 130 men, many of them wounded. They marched for 6 hours, finally reaching Bambecque at 06.30, where they were met by the 8th Worcesters. The Adjutant of that Battalion wrote:

    "During the early-morning stand-to I saw a wonderful sight. Round the corner as I came out of Battalion HQ appeared the survivors of the 5th Gloucesters. They were dirty and haggard, but unbeaten. Their eyes were sunken and red from lack of sleep, and their feet as they marched seemed to me no more than an inch from the ground. At their head limped a few prisoners.... I ran towards Colonel Buxton, who was staggering along, obviously wounded. I took Colonel Buxton indoors....assuring him again and again that his men were all right."

    The Battalion was driven to Rexpoede, commanded by Captain Mason and the Adjutant, Hauting. On 30th May they marched to Bray Dunes and were shipped back to England. About 500 men made it home. They had lost 2 officers and 85 men killed. The Battalion was awarded a Military Cross and 7 MM's.
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I was just going to post a link to this site but then I thought these accounts were just to good to risk loosing if the site they are on folds for some reason as a link on there already has. I trust you will enjoy reading these accounts as I have at 6am- I really must go to bed !

    Cheers

    The first account

    In Dunkirk's Grim Days

    From Brig. the Hon. N. F. Somerset to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph, 19th February 1948

    Sir - I notice that in his memoirs of 1940 Mr. Churchill observes that "After the loss of Boulogne and Calais only the remains of the port of Dunkirk and the open beaches next to the Belgian frontier were in our hands."

    At the time I was commanding a brigade group holding a sector from Cassel to Hazebrouck. We were heavily attacked by German armour on May 27. At Cassel the Germans were repulsed with the loss of over 20 tanks. At Hazebrouk our force there was surrounded and did not finally capitulate until the evening of May 28.

    Not knowing that the B.E.F. was embarking for the United Kingdom we hourly expected a vigorous counter-attack by British and possibly French troops to restore the situation. We hung on at Cassel until the night of May 29, and then tried to reach the Dunkirk bridgehead.

    German operation maps at the time showed Cassel and district still occupied by the enemy, and leaflets were dropped calling on us to surrender, as "your generals are gone"!

    I feel it is fair neither to myself nor the troops under my command to let this stand pass from mind, especially as so many gave their lives, and most of the remainder of us spent five years in captivity. Incidentally, by holding on at Cassel we not only deprived the Germans of one of the main roads to Dunkirk, but enabled many British detached units and individuals to reach the bridgehead.

    All these facts appear to have utterly escaped the notice of the authorities at the time owing to the indescribable confusion, and I feel that an opportunity has now been afforded me of bringing them to light. Yours faithfully, N. F. SOMERSET. Heathfield, Sussex.

    The second account

    By Lieut.-Colonel E. M. B. Gilmore, D.S.O.

    From 'The Back Badge'

    (Lieut.-Colonel Gilmore took over command of the 61st on 15th May when Lieut.-Colonel Somerset went to command the 145th Infantry Brigade. In June 1946 he was given a tardy but well-deserved D.S.O. for the gallant way he had commanded the Battalion in those critical days. He was one of the unfortunate officers to be taken prisoner on 30th May, after all attempts to breakout had failed.-Ed.)

    After the general withdrawal of the B.E.F. from the line of the River Scheldt, the 61st found itself for some hours in a village called Normain, some miles south-east of Lille. Here, it was informed, the Battalion would "rest" after the rigours and exertions of the past operations. But, instead of "resting" the unit received orders to proceed by motor transport, during the night of 24th/25th May, to Cassel.

    This was probably the first time any member of the Battalion had ever heard of the place. As it happens, it is a site that has been the scene of many battles, figuring in history, right back to the Middle Ages, and no doubt beyond them, into Roman times. It is a small town of about two thousand inhabitants, perched on top of and around a hill which rises some five hundred feet above the surrounding flat plain of French Flanders, an area of country which for miles is as flat and featureless as the palm of one's hand. Immediately to the east and adjoining it by a low neck is a subsidiary hill, not so high and covered with trees and scrub, called Mont Des Recollets.

    Cassel is an important local road junction, whence routes lead to Dunkirk (almost due north), Lille (to the south-west), Calais, St. Omer, Hazebrouck and other towns of greater or lesser importance.

    The town had its Chateau, its Hotel De Ville, its principal Place and a lesser one known as La Place Dunkirk. (That famous port could be plainly seen from the top of the hill). There were several buildings of obvious historical origin, two or three smaller mansion-type of houses, municipal underground air-raid shelters and the usual dwelling-houses, cottages and shops, lanes, walled gardens to be found in any French town of this nature.

    The only other features of tactical note, were a railway running approximately north-east and south-west some two miles away to the west of the town, and some dense forest land away to the south-west.

    The Battalion reached Cassel, after a journey of some vicissitude, in the early morning of Saturday, 25th May. Up till this date it had been the regular battalion in the 145th Infantry Brigade T.A. commanded by Brigadier the Hon. N.F. Somerset, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. But on arrival at its destination, it was found that one battalion (The Buckinghamshire Regiment) had been diverted to occupy Hazebrouck. From now onward the Battalion was part of a mixed force, still under Brigadier Somerset which included the 4th Oxf. and Bucks L.I., some R.F.A. (18-pdrs.), machine gunners from a T.A. Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, Brigade A.T. Unit and some French Army elements, mainly A.T. and M.G.; there were also Royal Engineers, Royal Signals and R.A.M.C. personnel. Other units were at some time or another added to or withdrawn from the Force, but such movements were outside the ken of the Battalion.

    Cassel had already received some attention from the enemy, in the form of a certain amount of bombing from the air. Beyond this, the military situation was extremely vague. Reports had been received earlier of isolated German tanks having broken through ahead of the main enemy thrusts farther inland, and now at large on the coast or in the vicinity of Cassel and its neighbourhood but nothing was known to have occurred which would eventually lead to the evacuation of Dunkirk.

    To some extent the first two days at Cassel (25th and 26th May) were ones of rest. It is true that this period was mainly occupied in constructing defences and preparing for eventualities. But at least it was possible to have proper nights' rests, comfortable and sufficient meals and opportunity to reorganise. The Battalion had been feeling the effects of battle, both in the casualties sustained as well as in other directions. Over 130 other ranks were reported missing after the bombing of "A" and "C" and H.Q. companies in the bottle-neck traffic jams at Leuze near Tournai, on 19th May; and since then there had been the casualties arising from the defence of the Scheldt.

    The general idea of holding Cassel was to make the place into a tank-proof fortress. Houses and buildings forming a perimeter of the hill were linked up by demolition or digging, and strengthened. Roads and lanes were blocked; and the French M.G. and A.T. weapons and detachments were utilized to assist in the defence. Machine guns, however, were often hampered by lack of good fields of fire; while the 18-pdrs. found themselves limited owing to "elevation" difficulties.

    The companies were disposed as follows: the town being divided approximately into two halves by a north-south grid line; the 4th Oxf. and Bucks L.I. holding the east; the 61st, the west sector. The grid line referred to almost coincided with the road from Cassel to Dunkirk, inclusive to the 61st.

    Captain H.W. Wilson's Company ("B") linking on its right with the 4th Oxf. and Bucks L.I., stretched along the perimeter to the north-west to join with "D" Company. It faced a rather more open area of country than the others; an isolated farm some four hundred yards out in front of the area was occupied by No. 10 Platoon, under 2/Lieut. R. Weightman. Also in this company area were a party of French and (later) a platoon of the Cheshire Regiment (M.G.).

    Next to the left and refused (sic) so as to face west, was Captain A.P. Cholmondeley's Company ("D") with the Battalion Mortar Platoon under command. This company area consisted mainly of residential house of the smaller mansion type, surrounded by a small demesne (land attached to a mansion). The foremost edge of the area was formed by an escarpment, below which was a wooded enclosure. A section of machine guns occupied some cottages on the left, and of two roads which flanked either side of this company, one led to the villages of Zuytpene and Bavinchove. British and French A.T. guns were included.

    Round to the south-west and south and completing the Battalion perimeter was Captain E.H. Lynn-Allen's Company ("C"), holding a somewhat more difficult area, whose field of fire was minimised by small walled enclosures on the outskirts of the town.

    The reserve consisted of major W.H. Percy-Hardman's company ("A"), the remains of the Carrier Platoon under Sergeant Kibble, the available elements of H.Q. Company under C.S.M. Haberfield, and the A.T. gun section under 2/Lieut. J Robertson, which was used to thicken up generally the anti-tank defence of the whole area.

    As usual in these days, the Battalion was very "thin" on the ground.

    The Battalion "Keep" and headquarters, with the R.A.P., was in and around the local bank in La Place Dunkirk. The organisation and maintenance here was mainly due to the admirable efforts of Major Colin Campbell (Second-in-Command), Capt. E. Jones (Adjutant), R.S.M. G. Pearce and Lieut. Ian Spencer (M.O.).

    Later tactical rearrangements led to a serious alteration in the disposition of the reserve. From "A" Company it was necessary to find two detachments which completely used up this company, as the other companies were too weak to admit of their being called upon. The first of these alterations was the sending out of No. 8 Platoon under 2/Lieut. R.W. Cresswell to occupy a partially completed blockhouse about two and a half miles out of Cassel on the road to Dunkirk. The second was the sending out of the rest of "A" Company to occupy the village of Zuytpene, on the railway line west of the town. A company of the 4th Oxf. and Bucks was similarly sent out to occupy Bavinchove, also on the railway, south by a mile or two, of Zuytpene. These three forward positions were to break up any enemy onslaught before reaching the main position. 2/Lieut. Cresswell moved out on the afternoon of the 26th, Major Percy-Hardman during the early morning darkness of 27th.
    [​IMG]
    From a sketch made in POW camp by Captain E. Jones


    The enemy was first met on the 26th, when two patrol actions between enemy tanks and carriers with A.T. guns occurred in the wooded area to the south-west. The enemy main effort began during the early morning of the 27th, when he attacked simultaneously from the west, south and south-east, using infantry supported by machine guns, mortars and tanks, with occasional assistance from the air, in which he had complete superiority.

    The Germans were also helped by obvious "Fifth Column" activities in Cassel itself. It was remarkable how Unit and Company Headquarters were perpetually singled out for accurate mortaring. It was extremely hard to contend with the local inhabitants, who, in spite of a proclamation by the Brigadier ordering all civilians to leave, continued to hang about the place, either through a reluctance to abandon their homes or with set purpose of assisting the Germans.

    On this particular day the main enemy point of attack was aimed at the south-east part of the defences, nearer the neck linking up with Mont Des Recollets. But at the same time, simultaneous attacks were maintained on the other parts, as well as on the villages of Zuytpene and Bavinchove. No. 8 Platoon in the blockhouse eventually came into action about 1800 hrs. that evening.

    It may be mentioned here that on no future occasion was contact ever regained with Major Percy-Hardman or 2/Lieut. Cresswell. Both were completely surrounded and cut off by force of circumstances, and both admirably fulfilled their role of holding on to their positions and inflicting the maximum delay and casualties on the enemy in the best traditions of the Service.

    Major Percy-Hardmann's detachment held a position at Zuytpene which covered all approaches from the west across the railway to Cassel. It was attacked through the western end of the village at about 0800 hrs., when an aerial bombing, followed up with tanks, opened the proceedings: infantry and mortars supported and by midday the enemy had surrounded the position. The garrison at Bavinchove meanwhile had been driven out, and all attempts by carrier, D.R., runner or patrol, failed to establish contact either way between Cassel and Zuytpene. It was not until about 1900 hrs. that two members of "A" Company (Ptes. Tucker and Bennett) arrived at Battalion Headquarters in an exhausted state and reported that they believed they were the sole survivors, having been sent earlier on by Major Percy-Hardman to try and get through the surrounding Germans.

    It was long afterwards learnt that the remnants of "A" Company at Zuytpene were finally forced to give in at 1900 hrs., when their last defensive position at Company Headquarters was in flames and a superior number of the enemy had got close enough to throw grenades into the cellar into which they had finally been driven.

    No. 8 Platoon, under 2/Lieut. Cresswell, held out against continuous attacks from the evening of 27th to the late afternoon of 30th, when casualties, a fire in the blockhouse, lack of food and an ominous silence from the main position at Cassel caused them to give in to overwhelming numbers.

    "D" Company (Capt. Cholmondley) suffered very heavily in casualties this first day of the attack. At one period, a very tricky situation arose when an enemy tank succeeded in getting a lodgment in the grounds of the Company "Keep". An attempt by a party from "B" Company, consisting of Capt. Wilson, 2/Lieut. Fane, C.S.M. Robinson and Pte. Palmer, to assist "D" Company by a flanking stalk against this tank was nullified by a direct mortar bomb hit on their Boys rifle. Eventually the tank was set on fire by a hit from one of the A.T. guns.

    "C" Company, under Capt. Lynn-Allen had a tough but successful time in dealing with hostile tanks, which continuously pressed forward in support of infantry against the company position. It was to Sergt. Collings credit that by himself he put a tank out of action with a Boys rifle.

    A final effort to reach "A" Company at Zuytpene in order to make sure if there were any survivors was made during the night of 27th/28th by means of a patrol under 2/Lieut. S. Reeve-Tucker, but by then the enemy was too thick on the ground to enable the patrol to get through.

    The evening of 27th was the last occasion that the Quartermaster (Capt. Brasington) was able to get through and bring any rations. As it was he was only able to deliver a half-scale issue and thereafter local resources only were available.

    The enemy did not press his attack after darkness had fallen, and though considerable movement both by night and day was noticeable in the surrounding country no attack was made on 28th in any general form, except one on "B" Company in the late afternoon. This was beaten off without much difficulty. The only other incident of note on this day (28th) was an attempt to get a carrier through to No. 8 (?) Platoon at the blockhouse. It was impossible, however, to get beyond the outskirts of the town owing to heavy machine-gun fire which covered the northern approach out of the position.

    A tour of the company defences showed considerable casualties in the Battalion but at the same time a very appreciable number of enemy tanks lying derelict in open country, particularly opposite "C" Company - evidence of good shooting with the primitive A.T. weapons of those days.

    On Wednesday, 29th May, a heavy and sustained attack broke out again, preceded by a concentrated and accurate mortar bombardment. This was directed against the entire Battalion position. By now a machine-gun platoon had reinforced (?) Company at its junction with the 4th Oxf. and Bucks, and a section of 18-pdrs. from a T.A. Regiment came into action in the Battalion "Keep" area.

    "B" Company came in for the brunt of the day's onslaught. No. 10 Platoon in the farm forward of the company area, under the command of 2/Lieut. Weightman was exceptionally heavily bombarded. In the course of this attack, 2/Lieut. Weightman was killed by a direct hit; his loss was one that could be ill-afforded, for he had acted throughout most gallantly and had led his platoon most ably in all the fighting. Although a few men in this platoon were driven out of a portion of the farm by (?) fire, Cpl. Waite hung on with a few men in another portion of the buildings until the situation was restored by Capt. Wilson in person.

    Another loss which was seriously felt was one caused by the death of 2/Lieut. Gerry French, the Intelligence Officer, always indefatigable, cheerful, conscientious and willing, who was killed, also, by a mortar bomb, while on a mission to liase with the artillery.

    It was a hard day, well borne, by the whole of the Battalion, but in spite of casualties and ever-diminishing effective manpower, at no time did the enemy gain a foothold anywhere. The Carrier Platoon had more than once, on both the 27th and the (?) to be used to reinforce dangerous points in the perimeter. H.Q. Company had played its part admirably and it is impossible to speak too highly of the Signallers under (?) Bartlet, the stretcher-bearers under Sergt. Tilton, or the Pioneers under (?) Murphy.

    Weaponless members of the A.T. gun section had been utilised to strengthen the Battalion Reserve.

    For some unknown reason, the fighting died down about 1700 hrs. and companies reported that the enemy had withdrawn from their respective fronts. Movement could certainly be seen away to the north, but too far away to engage with fire. By now, Cassel was looking in a very dilapidated state, but, apart from enemy planes which occasionally flew over low, all action ceased.

    About this time a warning was received from Force Headquarters that the garrison would withdraw that night and would try and make a rendezvous near the Dunkirk area. The news of the evacuation had been heard on a wireless set and hopes were high of being able to make a "getaway". What was not known then, however, was that this projected withdrawal to Dunkirk should have taken place twenty-four hours earlier, but the tragic delay of an earlier message now rendered this idea impossible of fulfilment, for the enemy had completely severed all approaches to the sea. The actual withdrawal after dark, in spite of the close contact of the enemy, was carried out successfully, but the exasperating events of the next two days are another story.


    The third account

    From 'The Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars 1922 - 1956 by D.R. Guttery


    The full story of 209 Battery in its stubborn defence of Cassel will never be told, for it remains the personal property of that gallant battery Commander and brilliant young politician, Ronald Cartland. By his death not only the Regiment but this country lost one of its most outstanding young leaders.

    Brig. The Hon. N.N. Somerset (Commander 145 Bgde.), had entrusted the Anti-Tank defence to him. 209's twelve 2-pounders, one troop of 25-pounders, six French 75's, together with the infantry weapons. On May 27th Lt. Freeker had been despatched with B Troop to the village of Hondeghem, where they had a sharp engagement with enemy tanks. From 8am German infantry could be seen debussing to the west of Cassel. Low-level air attack preceded a tank attack at 10am. C Troop (one gun with four shots) under Lieut. Bob Hutton-Squire, quickly put "paid" to three tanks. By changing gun positions constantly to prepared alternative sites, his Troop avoided casualties and scored further success. The German attack developed on a wide front, but the bitter resistance of the well-sited guns accounted for over 25 enemy tanks during the afternoon. The German attack made some progress towards the road down to Steenvoorde but at 4.30 pm they had had "enough", and the attack petered out. A Echelon, under Sergeant Evans, was dispatched to join B Echelon at Steenvoorde, and both eventually reached Dunkirk.

    On May 28 one Troop of 211 with Major Mercer arrived to reinforce the Battery. Mortaring and air attacks continued, but there was no general attack. The visit of the C.O. just after mid-day seemed to confirm the hopes of the ever-optimistic defenders that a British counter-attack might develop. At last, early on May 29, orders to withdraw to Wormhoudt arrived - 24 hours late! With Cassel surrounded there was no alternative but to destroy guns and vehicles, and, armed only with small arms, the orders were to proceed on foot to Steenvoorde.

    The weary garrison filed out of the town as darkness fell. The night was ablaze with battle, and the glare of the Very lights hindered the stealthy figures in their march.

    A welcome ally, in the form of early morning mist, afforded some protection, and a surprised German despatch rider was "put in the bag". The mist cleared, and Major Cartland, with Lieuts. Woodward, Hutton-Squire and Freeker, and some 50 other ranks, were suddenly spotted and pinned down by enemy fire in the ditches bordering a lane about 20 miles from Cassel. At about 8am three tanks converged on them. They were cornered and with no anti-tank weapons. As Major Cartland rose from the ditch he was shot instantly. Lieut. Hutton-Squire was some hundred yards away from the head of the column, returning the German fire. When he saw the situation he called to Sergeant Prosser: "They won't capture me," as he ran off into a small plantation, chased by a German machine-gunner. A burst of fire told of his sad fate.

    Very few of this garrison succeeded in reaching the beaches. This was a sadly gallant end to a great fight which had proved of inestimable value to the British Expeditionary Force. For the last, most critical days of the retreat, the five important roads of which Cassel was the centre, had been denied to the enemy and secured to its comrades by the courage of this doomed detachment. Those of the Regiment not killed or captured made their way to the beaches, and their Regimental War Diary reads:

    "The order to abandon our equipment came as a great shock to us all. We were furious about it. So we did our best to show our contempt for the Bosch. We collected rifles and anti-tank guns, put on our best clothes, cleaned our buttons and so started the long march to the shore."

    The original location can be found below with some pictures:
    Cassel
     
  3. chad

    chad Junior Member

    hi, these accounts are very interesting for me as my late fether eas captured at Cassel but I would now like to try and get some information on where they were taken. I have some accounts but wondered if anyone knew any more or where I can look.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Andy, can you edit in the links for the websites you got that info from , please.
    Cheers.
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Its at the Bottom Owen (Cassel)- The other one has closed down (The Back Badge) for some reason.
     
  6. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    capt. Wilkinson's account...
     

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  7. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Capt. Lovett's account...
     

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  8. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Lt.Watson (1st Bucks Bn OBLI) 145 bde account...
     

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  9. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    145 bde in brief (Capt.Ely, 4/OBLI)...
     

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  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Dave,

    Just a quick Q if I may?

    Was it 2nd Lt. R.W. Cresswell that was fighting, captured and killed near the Blockhouse down the road from Cassel?

    I'm wondering if it was him that was forced by the Germans to get the British Soldiers in the Blockhouse out pointed to the roof to let the British Soldiers inside know there were Germans on the roof waiting to kill them when they came out?

    (The above was from a shit tour guide so he may have made it all up like the Junkers 88's were Stuka Dive Bombers)
     
  11. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Capt. Brasington's account and collation (accounts also by Pte.Vaughan, L/Cpl.Eldridge, Sig.Smythe and L/Cpl.Greenhaulgh)...
     

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  12. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Was it 2nd Lt. R.W. Cresswell that was fighting, captured and killed near the Blockhouse down the road from Cassel?

    I'm wondering if it was him that was forced by the Germans to get the British Soldiers in the Blockhouse out pointed to the roof to let the British Soldiers inside know there were Germans on the roof waiting to kill them when they came out?

    (The above was from a shit tour guide so he may have made it all up like the Junkers 88's were Stuka Dive Bombers)


    Cresswell survived to write his own account of events so, though he was fighting there and was captured, he wasn't killed. As for pointing at roofs... a wounded British officer (Captain Lorraine) was taken from an ambulance and forced at gunpoint to try and trick the defenders out of the blockhouse on the 29th May, but he told Cresswell not to answer back and pointed to the roof to warn them of the german presence there. As far as I know, Lorraine also survived the war.

    Dave.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Many thanks,

    Seems the guide only made some of it up off the top of his head then - I can't believe how much cash was given to him lol

    Anyway Is there a full acount of what happened that you know off or am I being thick for not reading any of the information above?
     
  14. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    There's no full account that I know of (though there are some clips of Cresswell's own account in various publications). I wonder if his recommendation for the MC (gazetted Oct.1945 for his 1940 action...looks like he definately spent the rest of the war as a PoW) gives any further info?
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Unfortuantely he's just listed with 9 others dated 25 Oct 1945.

    For what it's worth he's listed as Acting Lieutenant in case anyone was interested.

    Capt. Lorriane isn't listed on CWGC.
     
  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Transcribed from these clips:
    LiveLeak.com - Part 1 of 3 "Dunkirk The Soldiers story." Just Veterans telling There Story.
    LiveLeak.com - Part 2 of 3 "Dunkirk A Soldiers Story" Just Veterans Telling Their Story.
    LiveLeak.com - Part 3 of 3 "Dunkirk A Soldiers Story"Just Veterans telling Their Story.


    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=46210&stc=1&d=1298405039

    Julian Fane:

    “We were told that we were going to hold up the German Army as best we could. Suddenly the order came ‘You will hold Cassel to the last man, last round.’ I thought ‘Oh dear I didn’t think I’d be this in - so soon in my military career’.”

    “Erm I thought ‘Oh dear wonder what’s happening now’ and then I looked to my right and the second I think another Platoon Commander - Olive, his name - was shot in the chest and died not long afterwards, he wasn’t alive for very long. The next thing the Quartermaster Sergeant was hit and killed.

    And so I moved my way along really crawling over these people who had been killed, and that point collected up about 14 people and then moved down south using ditches at this time, to keep out of sight.”

    Lieutenant RICHARD FRANCIS OLIVE 33855, 2nd Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment who died age 32 on 31 May 1940
    
Son of Charles and Mary Olive; husband of Mabel K. Olive, of Willaston, Cheshire. B.A. (Cantab.).
    
Remembered with honour DUNKIRK MEMORIAL
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Column 56
    CWGC :: Casualty Details

    “If you are a hunted animal, put yourself in the same position, erm, you know, you escape best way you can, and you are driven by fear really of not being captured.”

    “I was shovelled towards an ambulance train and so I was looking out of there and I was absolutely amazed em, coming from [pauses] the hell of Dunkirk and seeing [pauses], seeing people in white flannels playing cricket on cricket pitches, all mown clear and sharp, and girls playing tennis in white blouses and shorts and you can imagine the effect, quite extraordinary. Quite extraordinary. It looked as if one had, I suppose, left Hell and gone to Heaven you know.”
     

    Attached Files:

  17. John Lawson

    John Lawson Arte et Marte

    Just imagine if the Americans had regiments with unsung battle histories such as the British have, they'ed have enough material to make endless films, without repeating or remaking any of them. Yet, apart from this site, we are happy to let slip away that which makes us human, honourable, respected and, yes, envied.

    These soldiers were not paras, commandos, SAS, special forces or the like, but ordinary county regiments, full of ordinary blokes, regulars and TA, who knew what duty meant. In the face of overwhelming and catastrophic defeat, these men showed that the only answer was absolute defiance.

    Come on the BBC, you get enough of our money, in fact without our money you get nothing, so look to the boys (and girls) who defended our freedom and show a modern generation what it takes to secure and keep a free state!
     
    vac and bhwoodward like this.
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Fantastic and very professional looking Diane - Im impressed.

    I have found a 10 ish page official account of Lt Fane in the Glosters War Diary-I'm busy with something else at the moment (I want to finsih it tonight) but I'll upload them tomorrow.

    Thanks again
     
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    No worries, thanks for looking for the report. It'd be great to compare it to the little snippets from the documentary.
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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