Walking in the Footsteps of the British Expeditionary Force 2008 to 2009

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by Drew5233, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    After speaking to Marcus today I realised I hadn't posted any pictures on here of my trip to Dunkirk earlier this year. I posted a link to another site which is no longer online. So seeing as I can't sleep I've posted them on here for your viewing pleasure :)

    Leaving Dover first thing with the Castle and radar masts in the distance.
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    First stop Cassel the scene of some bitter house to house fighting by the Ox and Bucks and the Gloucestershire Regiment as they attempted to slow down the advancing Germans. You will see later on in this thread (2nd Trip) some of the devastation that took place in Cassel around the 28th/29th May 1940. The Germans moved into Cassel on the following morning -30th May 1940.
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    Looking from Rue Constant Moeneclaey (D933) in the North West of the town centre towards Rue Du Marechal Foch in the South East of the town centre. One of the most likely approaches taken into Cassel by the Germans.
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    Looking down Rue Du Marechal Foch in the South East of the town centre.
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    The scars of battle are quite evident on some of the buildings to the fighting that took place at Cassel. Many were rebuilt after the war due damage caused by German bombardements.
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    Memorial to the 2nd and 5th Battalions, The Glouchestershire Regiment in Cassel.
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    Memorial to the 4th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in Cassel.
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    From the highest point in Cassel you can clearly see the sort of straight roads leading to Dunkirk that the BEF and French Forces retreated along making easy targets for the Luftwaffe's aircraft to strafe and harrass on their way to the coast. This shot is looking North along the Route De Dunkerque (D916) towards Wormhout (More of Wormhout later).
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    Memorial to Marshal Foch at the top of Cassel.
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    From Cassel we moved on to Wormhout where sadly one of two massacres involving the BEF took place in 1940.
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    At the start and end of the Wormhout pictures you will see extracts from Charles Daley and Burt Evans testimony as to what happened at
    Wormhout.

    'I, Charles Edward Daley, formerly of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and now discharged from the Army say as follows: .... The Battalion was in the neighbourhood of a place called Wormhout, and was in action for about two days in defence of that place, against a force of Germans who were attacking with overwhelming superiority. By the afternoon of the 27th or 28th May or thereabouts, although we had not yielded our positions we had been surrounded, and our ammunition given out, we surrended and made prisoners of war. A German solder armed with a revolver shouted at me "Englander Schwein" and shot me in the shoulder. From this point with some other ranks from the Cheshire Regiment and the Royal Artillery we were marched to a barn some distance away.... According to my estimate there were about ninety altogether who were herded into the barn, more or less filling it. A German soldier at the door stooped to pick a hand-grenade from his jackboot. Captain Lynn-Allen who was commanding 'D' Company, and who was the only officer amongst the prisoners, protested against what appeared to be his intention, namely to massacre the prisoners. He also protested that there was a number of wounded, and that the accomodation was insufficient to give them room to lie down. The German soldier shouted back, "Yellow Englishman, there will be plenty of room where you're all going to". This man spoke fluent English, with a strong American accent. He and others then threw bombs into the barn. Some of these bombs were smothered by the heroic action of Sergeant Moore and CSM Jennings who threw themselves on them and were immediately killed. One bomb in the direction of Captain Lynn-Allen appeared to wound a man in his company called Evans, and I saw Captain Lynn-Allen take advantage of the Germans taking cover from the explosions of the bombs, to drag Private Evans out of the barn, and try and make an escape.... Following this throwing of bombs into the barn, the Germans began taking the prisoners of war out of the barn five at a time and shooting them. I was rather towards the back, having been first amongst those to enter the barn. When the men infront of myself and the others had been taken out of the barn and shot, it came on to rain, and the shooting was finished off in the barn. We were ordered to turn around, and we were shot through the back.... Later on, the Germans fired Tommy-Guns into the barn, and I was hit again and became unconcious. When I recovered, I found that my right leg had been shattered by a group of bullets from a Tommy-Gun, and that my left leg had also sustained a wound. I lay in the barn for from two or three days....'


    Wormhoult Memorial on the D17 between Wormhoult and Esquelbecq.
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    Turning off the D17 on to the Rue Des Dunkirk Veterans. About 2/3's of the way along on the road we get our first glimpse of the infamous barn.
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    The milk curn carried by the local farmers daughters who discovered the massacre.
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    The barn showing some of the many wreaths and the milk curn. To the right is the now tree lined ditch where Burt Evans crawled along to escape the hail of machine gun fire and grenades tossed into the barn. You can also see some young trees. These are English Oak trees. Everyone named after a soldier from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Chesire Regiment or the Royal Artillery murdered at the Barn by the II. Battalion of the Leibstandarte SS-'Adolf Hitler'.
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    Another shot inside showing the tributes.
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    A better view of the ditch and some of the English Oak trees and the plaques with the soldiers details. In the distance you can just make out a fence that surrounds a pond...
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    The pond where Captain Lynn-Allen and Pte Burt Evans where discovered by a member of the SS. Lynn-Allen was shot in the head and instantly killed. Evans was shot in the neck and faked death until the Germans left the area.
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    Another view of the pond. Pte Evan later made his way to the Bollengier Farm that evening and was intially cared for. He was then taken to hospital where he had his right arm amputated.
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    Another shot of the pond from on top of the Belvedere.
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    The belvedere. This forms the centre of the memorial site. It's in the centre of a cross made up from foot paths around the site. It is infact a tomb to Captain Lynn-Allen. The pond was dredged after the war in an attempt to find the remains of Captain Lynn-Allen, sadly his body was never found. The contents of the pond form the foundations of the Belvedere as a tribute to him. You can also see more Oak tree's lining the paths each named after a murdered soldier.
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    The Barn seen from on top of the Belvedere with Cassel in the distance.
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    'I, Albert Evans, formerly number 5184737: Private Evans of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, now discharged from the Army, make oath and say as follows:.... I was standing next to Captain Lynn-Allen, just inside the door of the barn, when the Germans began throwing grenades in. I had my right arm shattered by one of the first explosions. Then, while I was still feeling dazed, and as another grenade came in through the door, Captain Lynn-Allen, who was at this time unwounded, seized me and dragged me out through the door and round the corner, while the Germans who had thrown the grenades were taking cover from the explosions. Captain Lynn-Allen practically dragged or supported me the whole way to a clump of trees, which was about 200 yards away. When we got inside the trees, we found there was a small stagnant and deep pond in the centre. We got down into the pond with the water upto our chests. Captain Lynn-Allen was standing some little distance from the edge. I, because of my condition stood closer to the bank, and presumably lower in the water. Suddenly without warning, a German appeared on the bank of the pond just above us, showing that we must have been spotted before we gaine dthe cover of the trees. The German, who was armed with a revolver, immediately shot Captain Lynn-Allen twice. Captain Lynn-Allen's body fell forward and disappeared under the surface. He then fired at me at a range of about three yards. I was hit twice in the neck and. already bleeding profusely from my arm, I slumped in the water. He no doubt thought he finished me off.'

    A few 'maps' from the official file held at the National Archives, Kew (Thanks to Brian). Feel free to ask for a copy of the file if you wish to read the Post War Investigation.

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    Esquelbecq Church looking at memorials of local residents (Both Military and Civilain) from both wars. This is just along the Rue De Wormhout (D17) just before it meets Rue De La Gare (D417). Just a short distance from the barn.
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    The military cemetery at Esquelbecq where the murdered British soldiers are buried. The Military Cemetery is about one kilometre west of the village, 200 metres south of the road to Zeggers-Cappel.
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    First look inside the cemetery.
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    The headstones belonging to those murdered. You can just see a French grave amongst the British soldiers.
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    I thought it was strange that a French soldier would be buried amongst British soldiers. On further investigation when I came home I discovered Robert Vanpee was a French soldier in the area shortly before the massacre. He was ordered to guard a depot in the area and he watched the SS arrive. As the Germans were resting he took aim with his rifle and shot and killed a SS officer sitting in his vehicle. He was captured by the SS and executed a short time later.
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    From Esquelbecq we drove to Dunkirk where this memorial can be found just around the corner to the CWGC Cemetery. A French memorial for WW2 with a Polish 'headstone type' memorial at the center bottom.
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    The Dunkirk CWGC Cemetery from the road situated just outside of the town centre Each panel has a list of the fallen in alphabetical order by the regiment in which they served.
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    To the left and right of the entrance:
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    A glass engraved memorial to Dunkirk inside the cemetery.
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    Some of the many headstones of the fallen looked after by the CWGC.
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    From the cemetery the last stop was the memorials on the beaches. This is the main one to the French and her Allies at the far end of the beach at Dunkirk towards the mole where most of the troops, some 200,000 were evacuated by the 'little ships'.
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    A close up of the plaque.
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    The last one is a memorial to the French 12th Motorised Infantry Division which was one of the units that stayed behind in Dunkirk whilst troops were taken off the beaches. This is further along the beach at Dunkirk heading towards Bray Dunes.
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    From here we drove back to Boulogne to get the ferry back to Dover after a rather productive day in France.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Good work Andy.
    Just the type of thread I like.
     
  4. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    Drew

    great photos

    Chris
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers chaps...Sorry it took so long to post them and glad you like em. Thank goodness for Insomnia :)
     
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Andy
    Thanks for the offer, have copied them with your name noted.
    Cheers,
    D
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    OOoooo will I be famous/Get commission?
     
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    OOoooo will I Get commission?

    2 chances ...:p





    edit reply:

    fat / no

    :D
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    You mean hope?

    Bob and No :)
     
  10. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Great photos, Andy. Thanks for posting them. Cassel is an old favourite of mine - that main square is quite something.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A friend mailed me today and told me something I never knew about Cassel. Its the very same one that the 'Grand Old Duke of York' marched 10,000 men up :)

    Cheers
     
  12. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    It is indeed; one of my ancestors as a conscripted French peasant fought King George's men there.
     
  13. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    These photos are fantastic!! Well done Drew. s regards the "Grand old Duke of York", apart from sending 10,000 men on a long hike did he accomplish anything noteworthy?
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Apparently he never took the hill....All that up and down for nothing :D
     
  15. cash_13

    cash_13 Senior Member

    Thanks for that Dunkirk is not a place I have visited always in to much of a hurry...

    My grandfather was in the BEF so I must make the effort to visit the whole area

    Many thanks again

    Lee F
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Lee.

    I've visited the area twice now and the most ironic thing is.....I've never taken a picture of the beaches- I keep meaning too.

    I'm planning a trip again next year on my bike with some other bikers. I would like to do some Then and Nows sometime.

    Cheers
     
  17. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Great pictures mate. I especially like the one with the bullet holes. Kind of frozen in time.

    Brilliant stuff.
     
  18. cash_13

    cash_13 Senior Member

    Andy is see from your profile you have an R6 never could grow up myself..:p


    Me and the wife are thinking of buying another bike for the summer as my racing days are over.....I was thinking of a VFR750 dont like them new VFR800's to darn ugly......but then again there is 0% finance at the moment on certain Honda's:rolleyes:B)
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Andy is see from your profile you have an R6 never could grow up myself..:p


    Me and the wife are thinking of buying another bike for the summer as my racing days are over.....I was thinking of a VFR750 dont like them new VFR800's to darn ugly......but then again there is 0% finance at the moment on certain Honda's:rolleyes:B)

    Lee,

    If you get a bike around spring time you are more than welcome to tag along on the Dunkirk trip. I think there is around 5-8 of us going for the day. One is a member from here.

    I kinda like the VFR's although I don't like Hondas that much. I'm hoping to get a KTM Adventure next year as I'm wanting to travel further afield with the permission of her indoors :)

    Cheers
     
  20. Sgt Bilko

    Sgt Bilko Member

    Nice pics amigo....

    Looking forward to joining you next year...

    And Lee.... I've got a VFR750 and can highly recommend them...
     

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