5th Bn Northamptonshire Regiment 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Jorhsy87, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. Jorhsy87

    Jorhsy87 Member

    Good Evening,

    I'm trying to find out about my grandfather's story during ww2 as he would never speak of it to my father.

    All my dad ever knew was that his father served in the northamptonshire regiment and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940 with a shrapnel wound to his back that needed medical attention / recuperation time once back on the English South coast.

    I would love to be able to tell my dad about what happened to him.

    I have attached a document I found online which confirms that my grandad, Frederick Sidney Syratt was indeed in the 5th battalion northamptonshire regiment and was wounded in France possibly at the age of 25?

    He was born in 1916.

    His service number is: 5882741

    I would really appreciate any help with the following questions:

    1. Are we able to get a rough idea where his battalion was sent, Belgium/France, town/City?

    2. Would he have been near the front line in action?

    3. We heard stories he was a stretcher bearer, how do we confirm this?

    4. Is there anyway to check when he was injured and what the injury was?

    5. When was he evacuated from Dunkirk and is it possible to know if it was from the harbour or the beaches?

    I appreciate a lot of these questions might never be answered but I'm really hoping someone can guide me in the right direction so I can hopefully tell my dad all about him.

    Thank you in advance,


    Attached Files:

  2. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member


    Your first step is to apply for your Grandfather's service records: Get a copy of military service records: Apply for the records of someone who's deceased - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). This will probably take a long time, there is currently a delay receiving them once applied for.

    Knowing which battalion your Grandfather was in is a good start, you can get a copy of the Battalion War Diary which will answer a number of your questions. For this period your best bet is to contact Drew5233, he has images of the diaries of most of the battalions involved with the France & Flanders 1940 campaign.

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  3. Jorhsy87

    Jorhsy87 Member

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for replying to my post and pointing me in a couple of directions, that's great.

    I will crack on with the service records and I'll drop this chap you mention a message.

    Much appreciated,

    BFBSM likes this.
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. EmpireUmpire

    EmpireUmpire Well-Known Member

    If anyone has a copy of the Northamptonshire Regiment History, I too would be interested in seeing the pages from the 5th Battalions time in 1940.
  6. Jorhsy87

    Jorhsy87 Member

    Thanks Owen, I've had a quick look before heading out to work - this looks so interesting, a lot of places to start putting pins in my map as to where the battalion went. Can't wait to have a more detailed look later today, thank you very much!
  7. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    If your grandfather went back to 5 NORTHANTS after he had recovered from his wounds then I have lot of detail on their time in Italy as part of 78 Infantry Division.


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  8. EmpireUmpire

    EmpireUmpire Well-Known Member

    I put together this rough route that the 5th Northants took from 14th May 1940 to the 1st June. Starting at Tourcoing and ending in Dunkirk.

    5th Northants Route 14th May - 1st June 1940.png
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  9. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Regimental History has been problematical to scan. Too large for my A4 scanner and with a large spine that has weakened. I've therefore photographed the relevant pages. It's not ideal, but they're readable.




    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
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  10. EmpireUmpire

    EmpireUmpire Well-Known Member

    Thank you for posting that Rich, it really hit home reading what they went through.
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  11. Jorhsy87

    Jorhsy87 Member

    Hello Frank, thanks for the message. As far as I know my grandfather never mentioned anything about Italy so I think his injury in Dunkirk might have ended his time with the battalion. Thanks for offering your help though, much appreciated. Jonny
  12. Jorhsy87

    Jorhsy87 Member

    Hi Rich, this is so helpful thank you very much. I'm going to reread it to check I've not missed any detail and then I might have a question or two! Thank you for sharing this. What book is this from? Jonny
    Rich Payne likes this.
  13. Jorhsy87

    Jorhsy87 Member

    Wow, I had no idea my grandfather probably got as far as Brussels. My understanding is that he was wounded in Dunkirk so it's surely very likely he did this route with the battalion before the evacuation was called. We had no idea. Thank you for sharing this picture! Jonny
  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    It's from the official history,1934 - 1948, published for the Regimental History Committee in 1953.
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  15. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Someone will correct me but I think if a man was away from the battalion for more than six weeks, he did not automatically return to his unit but became a replacement. Also from memory, Montgomery was against this and stopped it in 21st Army Group, seeing the value of existing comradeship. Just can't remember where my references are for these opinions.
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  16. EmpireUmpire

    EmpireUmpire Well-Known Member

    An interesting point to note is that the Northamptonshire Regiments history states the 5th Northants were the first Battalion of the Territorial Army in the Front Line.

    In 1942, a mixed unit including elements of the 5th Northants commanded by a 5th Northants officer were the first allied ground unit to make contact with the enemy in Tunisia during Operation Torch.

    Quite a record for the Battalion.

    Jorhsy87 likes this.
  17. Jorhsy87

    Jorhsy87 Member

    Yes I read this too, that they were the first TA to be in the front line. So my presumption is that my grandad is right up there with them, in all of the places I'm reading about, and that he was very much involved in far more action than we had ever thought which is both fascinating and yet also sobering.

    I feel like I'm getting more questions from the more I read.

    It sounds like a battalion has four companies... A, B, C, D?

    I wonder how many men are in each company as I've read in the diaries about numbers of injured / how many men were left in a company at a particular point etc...

    I don't know what company my grandad would have been in so I'm just trying to get as much detail as possible to build the story.

    Fascinating to read all of this though.

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