2193840 Sapper Sidney Arthur SMITH, Royal Engineers: 13/12/1943, POW

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Dawn Reeder, Dec 23, 2021.

  1. Dawn Reeder

    Dawn Reeder New Member

    I am seeking any further information about my uncle Sidney Arthur Smith. He was in the Royal Engineers 226 Field co. Service number 2193840.
    He was captured on 30th May 1940. The Red Cross records say Cassis but I'm pretty sure it has been misread and it is Cassel.
    Sid was taken to Stalag VIIIb POW camp. He was shot and killed by a guard in a shower block late one night on Friday 13th December 1943. He was 25 years old. My grandad was told that the shooting was accidental and the guard was shooting at another prisoner and the bullet bounced off the wall killing Sid. I believe the other prisoner was an Australian called Douglas Burling who was also killed.
    I was wondering if anyone had heard about this story. The information given to my grandad was somewhat vague. My late mother never forgot her brother and talked fondly about him.
    Also I'm trying to find out the circumstances of his capture. Would this information be in War Diaries.
    Thank you very much for any assistance.
  2. CL1

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

    welcome to the forum

    other forum members with expertise on POWs will be along to help

    You need to apply for his service records Get a copy of military service records

    date of birth

    proof of death below
    Download certificate
    and £30

    Sapper Sidney Arthur Sid Smith | War Casualty Details | CWGC
    Service Number: 2193840
    Regiment & Unit/Ship: Royal Engineers, 226 Field Coy.
    Date of Death: 13 December 1943
    Age 25 years old
    Buried or commemorated at

    Grave Reference: 2. A. 12.
    Location: Poland
    Country of Service: United Kingdom

    Additional Info: Son of Sidney Herbert and Millicent Smith, of Tooting, Surrey.
  3. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    HIs RE tracer and casualty cards

    Dawn Reeder, Tony56, 4jonboy and 2 others like this.
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    There is an Australian, Douglas Haig Burling, who was killed the same day as your uncle and the CWGC record shows: Gunner Douglas Haig Burling | War Casualty Details | CWGC

    Drew5233 (National Archives researcher) added on a thread these two War Diary entries:
    WO 166/3695 ROYAL ENGINEERS: COMPANIES: 226 Field Company. 1939 Sept.- Dec., 1940 June - 1941 Oct., Dec. and WO 167/980 226 Field Company Royal Engineers 1940 Jan.-Mar., May

    There are a small number of threads here on the company, alas none actually cover 1940.

    The Royal Engineers Museum has their Unit War Diary covering 10 May 1940 to 27 May 1940. The Museum from memory is at Gillingham, Kent. From: https://www.re-museum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Library-War-Diaries-WW2.pdf

    There are experts here on France 1940 who can probably explain what happened on 30th May 1940. The fact the museum's copy / original ends three days before suggests it was a chaotic time.

    This book 'Cassel and Hazebrouck 1940: France and Flanders Campaign' by Jerry Murland, has a mention for 226 Field being at Cassel. A second book 'We Remember Dunkirk' by Frank Shaw, Joan Shaw refers to their time in France (both available via Google Books).

    If you search with "226 field company" + "cassel" there is a report on 145 Brigade at Cassel, which refers to two sections of 226 Field being there; appears on a POW Camp history site THE ONLINE MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM OF PRISONERS OF WAR There is nothing on this Wiki: 145th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    The text accompanying a set of medals being sold, belonging to another soldier in 226 Field states:
    From: Lot 95, Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (3 December 2020) | Dix Noonan Webb

    There is a Wiki for the 48th Division, no mention of 226 Field, so a very general overview and no mention of them being at Cassel. See: 48th (South Midland) Division - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2021
  5. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Same day and next grave along - the Australians are working through digitising Service Records so that should be available at some point in the next couple of years, but you can put a request in - hopefully this link works Item details (naa.gov.au)

    Also worth a look Burial service for NX12877 Gunner (Gnr) Douglas Haig Burling, 2/3rd Field Regiment RAA, at the ... | Australian War Memorial (awm.gov.au)

    Found a mention on Twitter that Burling had asked the German Guard to "wait a minute" just before he was shot, so not sure if he was being hurried along and being viewed an non compliant
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2021
  6. Dawn Reeder

    Dawn Reeder New Member

    I've just come back from a break over Christmas and am delighted to have received so many helpful responses from all you experienced members. Thank you so much to everyone who has kindly replied to my appeal for help. I will follow all your suggestions with great interest.
    I really am very grateful to you all.
    4jonboy likes this.
  7. Dawn Reeder

    Dawn Reeder New Member

    Thank you so much. The photo of the grave is very interesting. There are two graves and I did wonder if the next grave was my uncles.
    4jonboy likes this.
  8. Dawn Reeder

    Dawn Reeder New Member

  9. CL1

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

    Dont read to much into that it is just terminology written at the time
    Dawn Reeder likes this.

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