BEF rearguard actions / Dunkirk what are your most poignant stories

Discussion in '1940' started by soren1941, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. stevew

    stevew Senior Member

    Thanks Dave,

    I remember reading that thread over at Paul's............all coming together now :)


    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    the small action at the Menin Gate...

    The cyclists of the German 18 Aufklärungs-Bataillon came under fire from the Menin Gate (held at that time by 150 Bde AT Coy) whilst heading northwards over the Menin Road crossroads. Fire was returned with the aid of the MG.34s of two SdKfz half-tracks and supported by the guns of Artillerie-Regiment 54, who were just north of Zillebeke lake. After a short period (probably only a few minutes in reality), the bridge was (rather pointlessly as it turned out!) blown (by Lt.Smith,Royal Engineers who gained the MC for this action )and the defenders withdrawn. The Germans then merrily continued on their way - northwards towards further actions in the canal zone in the vicinity of Boesinge. (The Germans entered the town the following day - the 29th - via the Lille Gate).


    Scene of the battle from British eyes...the SdKfz's were just to the front and right of the red brick building in the distance (menin Road crossroads) and 18 Aufk.Btn was passing from right to left here - quite a small field of fire really.


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  3. brispencer

    brispencer Member

    I am trying to track down any information on the disposition or action by the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards near Furnes late May 1940. My father would (acting Sergeant Walter Spencer) have been part of this action and was captured somewhere in the area spending the next 4 years in Stalag 8B Lamsdorf. I have the telegram notification of missing in action and I have a typed history of his time in the Guards showing joining, promotions, capture, release and repatriation dates etc and I also have several photo's of him in this time. finally I have a 1939 roadmap where he detailed the route taken on the final march from Lamsdorf heading west during Jan - April 1945 and have traced another prisoners list of stops during the march which almost duplicates the map. So, I have plenty of info. on his years captive but what I am specifically interested in is any info. on where the guards were during 20th May - early June 1940. I have tracked down many bits of information but they are fairly unspecific (appreciating the chaos that must have reigned). I would be very grateful for any information.


    Brian Spencer
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Can you confirm your Dad was in 2 CG ?
    They were on the Canal de Bergues a Furnes near Pont Pauwhens Werve, according to a map I'm looking at.

    It was the 1st Bn Coldstream who were at Furnes.

    I haven't anything specific on CG but can work out some locations from Gren Gds & Royal Hampshires Histories who were in 1st Gds Bde with 2CG for you soon.
  5. brispencer

    brispencer Member

    My Dad who was in the 2nd Batt Coldstream Guards had a photo taken at a reniunion with one of the chaps in a wheelchair. He told me the reason was that, in an incident where on of their vehicles (I think it may have been a Bren gun carrier) was stopped by other British troops and asked to give some of them a lift. The guy commanding the Bren gun carrier refused and went to drive on. One of the stragglers took a pot shot at the carrier and hit the driver (the guy in the wheel chair) disabling him for life.
    My Dad, like most others didn't talk much about his experiences and I am tracking down his movements both during the retreat and his experiences as a "guest" in Stalag VIIIB. He did, however, once tell me that the most terrifying sound he ever heard was the whistle of a Stuka dive bomber during it's dive before releasing it's bombs.

  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive


    I have come across a couple of pictures showing the gate as the Germans moved through. There's even a captured Bedford in the second image.

    These are from Pallud's 'Blitzkrieg a l'ouest' (Heimdal)


  7. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Good photos!
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Here's some names I pulled from a book called VC's of the Second World War published by Pen and Sword

    Richard Wallace Annand - 1940; River Dyle, Belgium
    Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews - 1940; Dunkirk, France
    The Hon. Christopher Furness - 1940; Arras, France
    Donald Edward Garland - 1940; Albert Canal, Belgium-air combat
    Thomas Gray - 1940; Albert Canal, Belgium-air combat
    George Gristock - 1940; River Escaut, Belgium
    John Hannah - 1940; Antwerp, Belgium-air combat
    Harry Nicholls - 1940; River Escaut, Belgium

    Hope they help :)
  9. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Bit of Background to Mr Annands VC.

    The plans for a German attack through the Low Countries had fallen into Belgian hands and been handed over to the French Government, the Allied armies were ready to cross the frontier and occupy positions along the River Dyle, as soon as Belgian neutrality was breached. Germany breached that neutrality on 10th May 1940
    Richard Annand was a platoon commander with 2nd DLI who were sent to man positions on the Dyle, near the village of La Tombe. The ground on the west bank could hardly have been less suitable with trees and undergrowth making observation of the approaches to the opposite bank difficult and, to the rear the open ground rose steeply up to the village. Richard Annand was with D Company 2DLI covering the road bridge over the Dyle, covering another company of the DLI who were being forced to withdraw across it, on the afternoon of 14th May 1940 the bridge was blown
    At 11.00 the next day the Germans launched an attack to cover the moving of a bridging party onto the sunken riverbed. Richard Annand led a group of men from his platoon in a counter-attack and, when their ammunition was exhausted, went forward alone to throw grenades from the edge of the ruined bridge on to the enemy bridging party working below, inflicting some 20 casualties. Richard Annand's platoon sergeant said later "Mr Annand came to me at platoon headquarters and asked for a box of grenades as they could hear Jerry trying to repair the bridge. Off he went and he sure must have given them a lovely time because it wasn't a great while before he was back for more".
    The enemy was thus prevented from crossing the river, but Richard Annand had been wounded. During the evening of the same day, the enemy launched yet another attack under cover of mortar and machine-gun fire. Richard Annand again went forward armed with all the grenades he could carry and again attacked the German troops attempting to repair the bridge.
    Elsewhere the Allied line had broken and at 23.00hrs the DLI were the ordered to withdraw As Richard Annand led the survivors of his platoon away from the bridge in the early hours of 16th May, 1940 he discovered that his batman, 4449180 Private Joseph Lakeman Hunter, from Sunderland, had been wounded in the head and legs and was unable to walk. Despite his own wounds he found a wheelbarrow, lifted Hunter into it and set about wheeling him to safety. Richard Annand put Hunter in the relative safety of an empty trench, then he set out to find help Richard Annand collapsed from loss of blood shortly after arriving at his former company HQ position which he found had been abandoned. Pte Hunter was captured by the advancing Germans and sent to a Dutch hospital, but died of his wounds a month later, he was 25 and is buried in Maastricht General Cemetery Row 3. Grave 134.

  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I few years ago I went on my first and only Battlefield Tour (The guide was pants) to Dunkirk. I had never been interested in pre 1940 WW2 actions but hearing about the Wormhoult massacre and seeing the barn kind of got my attention hence my only personal trip back there to see and pay my respects properly.

    Anyway whilst on the tour this guide took us to a Blockhouse I believe it was just outside Cassel on the way to Dunkirk. He told us about some troops defending it and the Germans couldn't capture it. I think the story goes that the Germans captured a British Officer and marched him down to the Blockhouse to get the British to surrender. As the Officer approached the troops inside stopped firing to listen to the Officer. I think at this point they were going to give up but the Officer then saw a considerable amount of Germans on the roof waiting for the British to surrender. Selfishly he sacrificed himself by warning the soldiers that they were surrendering into a trap. I believe fighting then erupted and the Officer was killed in the proceeding gunfire.

    Does this story ring any bells with anyone/ Do you know where this blockhouse is etc?

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    It appears to be a 2nd Lt Cresswell
    Glorious Glosters

    I don't suppose anyone knows the exact location of the Blockhouse?

  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    According to Battleground Europe book 'Dunkirk' by Patrick Wilson it's north of Cassel on the D916 overlooking the crossroads at Peckel.

    EDIT. GoogleEarth location added.

    Attached Files:

    Drew5233 likes this.
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers for that Owen....It fits in nicely with my tour next year...I mean this year :D

  14. peterhastie

    peterhastie Senior Member

    Lance Serjeant Hoodless Robinson of the 7 Btn RNF served in France and was part of the rearguard action that enabled the bulk of the British Expeditionary Force to be evacuated from the beaches around Dunkirk.
    It was learnt in 1945 that he had evaded capture and was sheltered by a French family for 18 months before he was taken prisoner.
    After spending 3 years as a prisoner of war, the Germans began to evacuate the prison camps in the east away from the advancing Russian army and marching prisoners further west, these marches were known at the time as the "death marches" for conditions were far from good. It was late winter early spring, they had to sleep where they could, sometimes just in fields, living just off what they could obtain. It was at this time that L Sgt Robinson moved off the column to give assistance to someone when he was shot and killed by one of the guards, only three weeks before the end of the war in Europe. Having no known grave his name is engraved on the Dunkirk Memorial to the missing.

    CWGC :: Certificate
    Owen likes this.
  15. TURNER2

    TURNER2 Discharged

    dunkirk,from wat i have studied,was a plot .hitler held back because he wanted to save all his weapons to......kill the jews...the reason being,,,hitler was once abducted by a clan of jews were he was abused so severals years,thats why he hated jews so much,,also,eamon de valera and hitler had a plot togeta to help ireland get home rule once and for all,and that was to kill all the japs with high powered flame throwers//..the japs can only be defeated wit fire,so on one dark evening,eamon de valera parashuted into japan with a flame thrower and killed them all,at this same time author griffith went to america were he t-bagged president nixon...then hanna skeve skevalton and countress markavic led a group of tourtles into the house of commons were a series of by elections and orgies took place,and this is why dunkirk was a british success...thank u..hope u find this helpfull+Turner--- ,
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Turner......I'm sure you'll go very far if you incorporate that yarn into your history project.
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Fruit cake alert !

  18. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    That guy was a raving loony.

  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I've restored Turner's post, just to allow people to see the levels of shrewdness that led to him no longer being with us.

    Hohum :rolleyes:

  20. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I've restored Turner's post, just to allow people to see the levels of shrewdness that led to him no longer being with us.

    Hohum :rolleyes:


    The lunatic fringe also appears to have little use for spelling and grammar.

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