British Soldiers shot for retiring without permission

Discussion in '1940' started by Jonathan Ball, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Nothing of note in 1 DWR war diary although they did have a Major Temple from 2 Forresters visit them on the 1st June and is reported to have been shot and killed by a German sniper after leaving. The strange thing is, he is buried in Calais.
  2. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    On top of all that you keep seeing other troops retreating while you are told to stay - I'd be looking for the first excuse to do one. Everyone a hero in my book for what they endoured.


    I'd quite possibly be one of the first to head for the boats. "Sod this for a game of soldiers".
  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Going back to the start of the thread Andy, do you know what Evans got his MID for ?

    I find it interesting that the BEF journals contain many accounts of sniping and shootings by disguised fifth columnists but the documented accounts all seem to point to Guards officers.
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Doing the sniping???

    Or are they the ones reporting all the "fifth columnists"?
  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Doing the sniping???

    Or are they the ones reporting all the "fifth columnists"?
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The diary refers to him as a Bosch sniper and two DWR chaps (A PSM and Cpl I think)went out and got him.

    Ref Evans: In short, no mate. I'll check the MiD below tomorrow if I remember just incase its him.

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details

    I can't find where I read about a officer being shot when turning the men around either.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Transcript of on-camera interview of James Langley, Dunkirk - The Story Behind the Legend:

    To what extent do you think those orders to hold on were in fact obeyed?

    Well about midday the Company Commander of the unit on our right came across and spoke to my Company Commander and said that the German attack was in such strength that he couldn't possibly hold on and that he was going to withdraw.

    My Company Commander was quite ruthless. He said "If you go back beyond that tree" pointing to a tree on the road there, "I shall shoot you."

    About half an hour later we saw him moving back with his men and my Company Commander called me up and he said, "You will load your rifle , we will both fire and you will fire to kill."

    I don't know whether we killed or not, but they did not go back beyond that point."

    Did you think that kind of thing happened very often?

    Yes I think it probably did - and quite rightly so too. It was - we were holding, as you say, the final defence line to evacuate the British Expeditionary Force.

    Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 10.19.01.png


    YouTube - Dunkirk - The Story Behind The Legend 2/4
    Drew5233 likes this.
  8. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    surely though if someone had said " I'll fire on you if you retreat beyond Point X ", then you would retreat another way or make sure you were not seen passing point X ??
  9. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    oh and the unidentified Officer in Warhem was identified in recent years as Maj McCorquedale who had originally been buried as UNKNOWN MAJOR COLDSTREAMS with a date of death and wa sidentified by his son after a visit
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    How long ago was that John? I think I saw his grave when I was there last year with Rob.
  11. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    I can't remember exactly sorry Drew, I know when I first went there 25 years or so ago it was unidentified, then I read within the last 10 years, I believe via the CWGC annual report, that his son had visited the cemetary, found the grave marked : unknown Major coldstreams with the same date of death as his dad and had the eureka moment which lead to the CWGC reapraising things and naming the grave, he is also, of course, still commemorated on the Dunkirk memorial.
  12. Suffolk Boy

    Suffolk Boy Member


    I've attached the 1st Suffolks diary for 31 May 1940 for information.

    It was reconstructed from memory as the original was lost in the retreat.


    War Diary 1 Suffolk Regiment, May 1940, Sheet Four

    May 30
    Enemy shelled a ?certain amount during day and night.

    May 31
    0600 hours
    Enemy commenced heavy shelling along whole Battalion front with artillery and mortar fire.

    1100 hours
    ROYAL ENGINEERS Company on right of Battalion withdrew in face of mortar fire but were collected by Major BAKER and led back to position again. Meanwhile some enemy got across in centre of Battalion area by means of a pontoon bridge, and began spreading out along canal bank but were held up and driven off except in the centre of the position. The Battalion was at this time organised into Battalion H.Q. and three rifle companies (A, C, and H.Q.). This was on account of casualties. The majority of the M.T. has been disabled and the only kit left was arms, equipment and personal kit.

    1900 hours
    Fighting died down and the front appeared to have stabilised. Orders were received to commence withdrawing to the beach at LA PANNE, where boats were waiting to take off the troops. The withdrawal commenced at 2130 hours. At about the same time, the enemy commenced shelling the beaches very hard, but did not attempt to attack while the withdrawal was proceeding.

    Attached Files:

    dbf likes this.
  13. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Sorry to bring this up again, but I couldn't find in this thread which 246 Coy Officer was shot by Lt Jones of the Guards?

    I may just be being blind...
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    see post #5.
  15. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Cheers mate, I was being blind!
  16. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Two things that perhaps you can help with.
    One Where did the info about the 246 Field Co RE running away from fire? I cannot find any mention of it anywhere in my Corps papers.

    Nor in the History of the Company. (246 Originated in Cardiff as a T A company) by the way. I have also searched the short history, and found nothing there either.

    What I did find, was an excellent write up praising the company for its efforts in the invasion, and after. With a performance that warranted a mention in the RE History. A rare honour!

    The with my Dorset humour..... with a great big grin. I have to say that we younger men were not around then, in the earlier BEF. It rather reminds me of Spike Milligan's book.

    My part in beating Hitler:):):) Or something like that.
  17. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Sapper, what does the Company's History say on this period?
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Sapper please read this thread again; you asked for sources in post 3 and were given them. Amongst sources mentioned here are war diaries, medal recommendations and Regimental Histories, written by those who were there at the time and who observed the events. All of which have been quoted and noted in the thread in each post. War Diaries are checked and signed off as you know.

    Subsequently books written about the BEF refer also to war diaries amongst other things such as interviews, quoting them and noting them as their source.

    Nothing has been made up in order to denigrate another unit, and they are written in a matter-of-fact manner, not to accuse, but simply to recount events as they occurred. I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve anything that was written by members of the BEF - as opposed that is, to any omission in the RE history.

    I have no doubt that there were some fine examples in every unit of gallantry and devotion to duty, just as there were cases that others would have preferred not to discuss or reveal.
  19. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Stone me DBF, I only asked!....

    There are numerous examples of men taking off under fire. There are some examples of a whole regiment being broken up, and distributed amongst other regiments.... because of the behaviour of the troops in that Regiment.

    Even after they were moved, many of them still did not come up to scratch...I am NOT going to name them, You can research if you wish... I have no wish to awaken old sores. Just to say they were an infantry regiment.

    PS One other thing ....My memory at 86, is pretty poor with current affairs, though excellent about our youth. So make a little allowance for that...

    There will come a time when you will suffer from short term memory loss, It start off by being unable to name folks you have known for a long time... And worsens over time...I would suggest that there a great many here already experiencing that phenomena:) Another thing you may like to consider is this.... Will you be as active and able when you reach my age? For many are old at the age of 65. Then again, you may not be as l.ucky as me!!!! You may fall off your twig and never get there.
  20. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Interesting to note that James Langley would later join SIS as liason with MI9 - the Escape and Evasion department - and then commanded Intelligence School 9 (IS9).


    Transcript of on-camera interview of James Langley, Dunkirk - The Story Behind the Legend:



    YouTube - Dunkirk - The Story Behind The Legend 2/4

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