Winnezeele - night of 29th/30th May 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Skoyen89, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member


    After the defence of Cassel the defending troops of 145th Brigade broke out and headed towards Dunkirk during the night of 29th/30th May. They got as far as Winnezeele largely undetected but the column, led by 4th Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, was spotted and various firefights broke out. Most of the 4th OBLI were either killed or made prisoner.
    1. I am trying to find accounts of the events that night. Can you suggest sources, particularly personal accounts? Are there any files at Kew eg with reports from returning POWs I should view?
    2. Winnezeele cemetery has many burials from that night but many are unidentified (20-30?). Any thoughts on how I could find where the bodies were found and when they were buried there? It can be done through the CWGC website for those named but s harder for those unnamed.
    3. Some accounts mention Watou as a location - does anyone know of an intended and actual route taken and how Watou fits in? It may be misspelt.
    4. Is there a good list/ORBAT for all the troops in the Cassel area over the period 26th to 30th May including all the smaller units

    Many thanks
  2. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    There is a good account in 'Forrard' - the story of the East Riding Yeomanry but they seem to have been at the end of the column whereas the 4OBLI were at the beginning.
  3. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    There are various good accounts from members of 2nd Bn Gloucestershire Regiment...Lt Julian Fane's is very detailed and covers this night and on until his small group reached the Dunkirk Perimeter and left via Malo-Les-Bains June 2nd.
    From my own brief research it seems that the 48th was to break off from Cassel...move off North of Winnezeele and reorg in Watou...with the next move expecting to be achieved with vehicle support and that the planned exit point was actually De Panne.
    Lt Fane's small group of 14 that escaped an ambush on D & B Coy's GR (plus other stragglers, they had with them) on the night of the 30th: was made up of: 1x Cpl from 4th OBLI 1x RASC and 12x 2nd GR...1x GR was lost when sent back to retrieve maps, then two couldn't keep of which was the OBLI Cpl.
    They traveled via Oost Cappel and then it looks like they had a daylight hours stay in a Barn between Oost Cappel and crossing over into the Dunkirk Perimeter somewhere around Teteghem...if we take it that they made half that distance, the Barn would have been around Warhem.
    Have been looking at the 2nd BN GR over the last few years, always around this time: as my Grand Father L/Cpl Archie Bertram Kaye was with them...and I was trying to track his movements, as much was possible, up to the point he was killed in Malo-Les-Bains during an Air Raid.
    This year with information received through various contacts made and online has led me into some good information and I am now confident that he was with the Fane Group and died on June 2nd...his head stone just has May 10th - June 30th.
    Skoyen89 likes this.
  4. krees

    krees Member

    Bonjour apres avoir descendue Cassel il se sont dirigés vers winnezelle est le bave et pour ce dirigé vers le bois de st acaire ou les sections vont ce séparait certains vers Watou

    Attached Files:

  5. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Google translation for Krees post:
  6. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

    That is the sketch map of the East Riding Yeomanry (ERY) only which shows their route on 30 May
    The main body of Gloucesters group (and 145 Bde) actually went around Winzeele, towards Heerzeele. They had got further North than the wood but then doubled back into the wood (Bois De St Aicaire) after finding their way blocked and under fire.
    It was here that most were captured but some broke out in small groups but were caught except Fane's group.
  7. John West

    John West Active Member

    I've attempted to describe some of the various escape routes from Cassel on my 140 Rgt RA website. I've called it the 'Breakout from Cassel'

    The Breakout (part 1 of 2) – 140th (5th London) Army Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    It includes a description of the fate of Major Ronald Cartland's column of (mainly) artillerymen that were ambushed just to the east of Watou by a German tank crew that machine-gunned the column on the morning of 30th May 1940.

    There is renewed interest in Ronald Cartland MP following the publication of the new bestseller 'The Glamour Boys' by Chris Bryant MP.

    I've posted separately on WW2talk about Major Cartland here: 70394 Major Ronald Cartland MP RA 1907-1940

    and about the Belgian frontier town of Watou here: WATOU, BELGIUM 1940

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