BEF rearguard actions / Dunkirk what are your most poignant stories

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

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Many thanks for sharing that Jim.
  2. LesCM19

    LesCM19 "...lets rock!"

    Top info, Verrieres, keeping the memories alive and all that, hope you find the other pages
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Perhaps this is too convenient, but if it isn't him, we can remember another one instead :poppy:
    I'm sure somebody must have typed it up for him to capture the dialect - good for them, I bet you can hear him when you read it.
    From the CWGC info on Margate Cemetery:
    During the Second World War, Margate was just a few miles from the RAF aerodrome at Manston. Margate Cemetery contains 81 Second World War burials, 3 of which are unidentified. A number of these are casualties from the evacuation of Dunkirk. More than half of the graves form a war graves plot in Section 50, which also contains the graves of 18 German airmen, 1 of which is unidentified. The rest of the graves are scattered throughout the cemetery, as are the 53 burials from the First World War, 2 of which are unidentified.
  4. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Perhaps this is too convenient, but if it isn't him, we can remember another one instead :poppy:
    I'm sure somebody must have typed it up for him to capture the dialect - good for them, I bet you can hear him when you read it.
    From the CWGC info on Margate Cemetery:

    We come to the same conclusion my friend ! As I told Drew, a long time ago this was my logical (perhaps too convenient as you say) conclusion The other piece which perhaps you are unaware is the battalion history lists him as killed in action during a bombing raid in France on the day the 9thDLI came home (1st June 1940) Sadly we`ll never know for sure.Although Frank said he`d wrote the account my Aunt reckoned he was semi-illiterate and suspected his sister may have helped him,but it was never something I`d ever have challenged him on.

  5. rickster1964

    rickster1964 Member

    Love this picture bought it for my mum last xmas, My uncle was a Corporal in "A Coy" 1st Bn. The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and was wounded at La Bassee "WILFRED WALKER"
  6. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    LIFE - Google Books

    This is a link to Time Magazine for 1940. It has a Dunkirk feature.

    Its a very interesting article (p37 and cont . p88) especially the American journalists tour of Bergues ,Cassel , Dunkirk etc while the battle is still on -Bergues Town Gate blocked by a ' American Caterpillar snow plow ' assume it was a bulldozer , anyone seen a picture ?
    It also contains this rather strange picture of rearguard which doesn't seem to ring true as a soldier having a nap , and what is the helmet of the guy in front of him ?

    Attached Files:

  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    If its the one I'm thinking of I did a then and now of it in the 'Walking in the Footsteps of the BEF' thread. I think it is a bulldozer.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  9. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    If its the one I'm thinking of I did a then and now of it in the 'Walking in the Footsteps of the BEF' thread. I think it is a bulldozer.
    Yes definetly a Caterpillar bulldozer on what looks like an impressed civilian Scammell low loader. Funny enough '' I have read '':rolleyes: about a RE guy who in the retreat gets his truck with wide bulldozer stuck in a 'tunnel' (probably a town gateway ) and gets through by taking a run up and gouging grooves along each side in the stonework. I wonder if this is the very outfit , certainly looks wide enough!
    Their's also a similar bulldozer in Socx forming the roadblock with the French tanks, it can just be seen left behind the tank. Hydraulic pipes for blade visible ,real state of the art earthmover in 1940.

    Attached Files:

  10. Auditman

    Auditman Senior Member

    Fitting in with the BEF book, the following is an amalgamation of the War Diary entry for 27/5/40 of 97th Field Rgt RA and a book "Yeoman Service – F Lushington" CO of the 97th

    CO advised of planned move to Dunkirk. Troops driven out of Comines by 12:00. One gun was placed in Warnarton main road in preparation for local defence. Infantry were told that they would be fired on if they withdrew further. The Black Watch (not even in the Division) came in to support. During the day the Regiment was firing incessantly using observed and directed targeting. The A/E armoured OP was hit by 5 anti-tank shells but there were no casualties. At one point there was nothing between 387 and the Germans but “a small and gallant party of sappers who were digging in”. Regiment told that line must be held even if by guns alone. Notice from WL that a battalion of the Guards had arrived. Request made to use them but their CO said they had orders to go to Dunkirk and not get involved in further actions. Guns now engaging enemy at less than 900 yards range. Then a change in plan. The CO of 3 Grenadier Guards (3GG) arrived in a car. They had just marched 25 miles after fighting all the previous day and had no food for 24 hours. “Filled up his car with biscuits, chocolate and bottles of wine and he drove off. 20 minutes later the whole battalion in line of battle moved past RHQ. Diary: 3 Battalion Grenadier Guards (from 1st Inf Bde) counter-attacked at 20:00 and pushed enemy back to the canal. Book: “The setting sun was on their bayonets, their bren carriers were on either flank; in all my life I have never seen a finer and more inspiring sight. They walked through the guns and the men cheered them and made jokes as they passed. The Germans saw them, halted and turned back”. Inside two hours the Germans had been pushed back two miles.
    davidbfpo likes this.
  11. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    The story of a dozer getting stuck in a "tunnel" is related in "Muck Shifting for King George" by Maurice H Saunders.
    The "tunnel" is at Cassell" and the D8 with dozer blade was said to be travelling under its own power - not on a trailer as the unit had lost all its transport.
  12. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Thanks Noel , I've got that book on the shelf , I tried to find that passage the other day but couldn't and I thought it might be in one of his other books , must revisit it .
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    If its Cassel I'm sure it would have been here, its the only arch I know of in Cassel:


    I gave up looking for my picture of the arch so used google maps instead. You can just make out the Ox and Buck and Glosters Memorials to the right.

    Any chance you can post the original picture? I suspect it would have been used to block the access onto one of the main squares during its defence.
  14. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Drew .I can't see your picture for technical reasons:D ho ho
    But I saw two arches in Cassel this one Porte d' Aire and the one at the top of the Duke of Waterloo road behind Gloucester memorial .
    I think the bulldozer may have just being passing through the town.

    Attached Files:

  15. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Here is the extract from 'Muckshifting for King George' about the bulldozers at Cassel and a picture of a D8 bulldozer in Socx roadblock.

    Attached Files:

  16. Golf Bravo

    Golf Bravo Member

    Hiya Soren! Going back to your original post: How about the action near Isieres when C Coy 1st OBLI had to abandon all their kit and fight their way over the river on foot after being surrounded?

    Dunno if it was heroic but from the war diaries it sure seem chaotic. Nine guys died and are buried in the village cemetery. I posted pix earlier today on another post.
  17. Ravrick

    Ravrick 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
    Hi Peter,
    with regards to L/Sgt H Robinson, can you tell me where this information was obtained? Newspaper, family or NA documents? I am interested in finding out more details of his wartime service.
  18. Estelle Judge

    Estelle Judge New Member

    I would really like to contact you. My father was a good friend of your uncle. Estelle Judge (Maiden Name). He was in the same regiment and they were in touch until your uncle died.

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