Captain John Evered Upton, 14 Anti-tank Regiment RA, May 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by battleofassche, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    I have recently been researching the circumstances of Capt. John Evered Upton's death on May 1940. He is buried in Teralphene and his grave indicates he was KIA on May 16 and that he was with the 2 Searchlight Regiment. After a little digging I confirmed he had been transfer to the 14 Anti-tank Regiment RA and was 2IC of 61 Battery. The 14 AR RA war diaries indicate he was KIA in the fighting in Assche on May 18. He might have been mortally wounded in Assche and later died in Teralphene as 14 AR RA withdrew west to the Dendre. Also the WDs indicated 61 Battery was in Wemmel in reserve on May 16, after withdrawing west from the Willebroeck Canal, so the KIA date on his grave appears incorrect.

    So just wondering if anyone has come across any information regarding this chap that might shed some light on how he was KIA .

    Thanks in advance for any assistance.
  2. CL1

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

  3. CL1

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

  4. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Thanks Clive, yes I've seen this info on CWGC, findagrave and have the WDs for 14 AR RA. Have also found a casualty record on forces records that indicates he was KIA on the 18 May and not the 16 May. But have not found any further details of his death.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: John Upton
    Given Initials: J E
    Rank: Captain
    Death Date: 16 May 1940
    Number: 47648
    Birth Place: India
    Residence: Hampshire
    Regiment at Enlistment: Royal Artillery
    Branch at Enlistment: Royal Artillery
    Theatre of War: France and Belgium Campaign, 1939/40
    Regiment at Death: Royal Artillery
    Branch at Death: Royal Artillery

    England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995
    Name: John Everard Upton
    Death Date: 16 May 1940
    Death Place: Hampshire, England
    Probate Date: 12 Oct 1940
    Registry: Winchester

    Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current
    Name: Capt John Evered Upton
    Death Date: 16 May 1940
    Cemetery: Teralfene Churchyard
    Burial or Cremation Place: Affligem, Arrondissement Halle-Vilvoorde, Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant), Belgium
    Has Bio?: Y

    From a family tree
    John Everard Upton Captain Jack, Royal Artillery
    BIRTH 1910 • India
    DEATH 16 MAY 1940 • on war service
    John Everard Upton
    Birth: 1910 - India
    Death: 16 May 1940 -
    F: Thomas Everard Tichborne Upton
    M: Hazel Edith Carpendale

    Nicholas everard upton and CL1 like this.
  6. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

  7. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Hmmm........ , most interesting. Thanks for this information. The 16 May as a death date doesn't match the events for 14 AR RA. The 14 AR RA has him KIA in Assche on May 18. Officer returns show him as 2IC of 61 Battery which was engaged at Assche and being attached on 24 April from 2 Searchlight. On May 16 the 14 AR RA were in reserve at Wemmel east of Assche and Teralphene. I have also just come across another differing account from a local Teralphene resident that indicated he was KIA in Teralphene at Schettenberg at the old windmill at 126 Daalstraat on May 18. T his account would perhaps explain why he was buried in Teralphene.

    P2430060 A.JPG P2430055 A.JPG

    Perhaps the WDs for 2 Searchlight might shed some light on the various conflicting information sources. Maybe Andy could help out....
    CL1 likes this.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    He joined 2 SL Regt on the 7th Apr from the UK. He was posted to 8 Battery, 2 Searchlight Regiment and then posted to 14 Anti-Tank Regiment on the 24th April.
  9. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Thanks Mate, most appreciate your time.

    I have located the exact position of the windmill just northwest of Teralphene on an old 1:25,000 1940 topographic map and found a picture of it from back in the day. And determined which German units would most likely have been involved.

    Also have made a few more inquires with some folks at Teralphene so perhaps more details will be uncovered and this location for his death can be confirmed.

    Thanks again for the help and the resultant leads.

    Drew5233, Rich Payne and Guy Hudson like this.
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    According to the website that you've probably found, the mill was still working at the time but 'was demolished by the British who were afraid that the advancing Germans would use it as an artillery observation post'. Far more likely , especially if a gunner officer was killed there that the British were using it as an OP and it was destroyed by German fire...However, knowing the politics of this part of Flanders, they'll have blamed the British whatever and will continue to say that the Germans were perfect gentlemen. Molen van de Schettenberg | Verdwenen molens | Belgisch Molenbestand | Molenecho's
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
    Drew5233 and battleofassche like this.
  11. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Thanks Rich, I checked the WDs for 253 FC RE and for HQ 3 ID Engineers and no mention of blowing up a windmill. 253 FC RE blew up the pont-levis style bridge and adjacent locks at Teralphene and also cratered the approach roads at about 1300 hours May 18. Parts of the AA 1, attached to 30 ID, was approaching Teralphene around this time and had armored cars. They had advanced southeast from Alost when they found the bridges there were demolished. The bridges in Alost were also blown up by British engineers of 3 ID during the early morning of May 18 as Belgian engineers had failed to prepare the bridges.

    I would agree that it seems likely the windmill was destroyed/set on fire during the engagement that resulted in the death of Upton.

    I also found another Belgian account that mentioned Upton was killed in Teralphene when British troops where withdrawing through the town, so 18 May.

    Thanks Mate.

    Here's the location of the windmill.
    Windmill Teralphene 1.jpg
  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Depite being a 'berg' (mountain or hill :) ) it was only 40m above sea level and not the highest point in the area at all..

    It's possible of course that if the British had a field regiment set up nearby, they might have put a couple of rounds of HE into it. I hope that Upton wasn't using it as an OP for his anti-tank guns at the time.
    battleofassche likes this.
  13. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Ha......... more like a slight incline. Mountains here are in the 3,000m range.

    I don't have the WDs for 7, 33 and 76 Field Regiments RA who were providing artillery support so not sure if this area received any artillery fire at this time (about 1230 hours May 18). Maybe Andy could have a quick look. I believe later in the afternoon/evening Teralphene received quite a bit of artillery attention and IR 73 had to take to local cellars. This is Driesstraat near the church on May 19.

    Rich Payne likes this.
  14. not Driesstraat but Potaardestraat in Teralfene. grt, Jan.
  15. knowing the politics of this part of Flanders ??
  16. This is quite an amazing find for me. Jack, as he was called was my great uncle. Obviously I never knew him, but I know a great deal about him from my great aunt, who raised my father and who I was extremely close to. She had pictures of Jack in her house and as a child I as fascinated by him and his life. Today being remembrance Sunday I was thinking of jack and thought I'd Google his name see if anything came up, thought maybe I should visit his grave at some point.
    It's really very pleasing to see this information here, so thank you for that. If there is anything you would like to know please don't hesitate to ask.

    Thanks again, nick.
  17. hello Nick, I live in Teralfene and this morning on my way to the local bakery I passed his grave. I'm a 'local historian' and very much interested in the period of may 1940 here in my village. greetings, Jan.
  18. Maybe it would be of interest to hear the circumstances of Jack's death as told to me by my aunt. There are some obvious caveats with this. Sometime after Jack's death the family were visited by his driver who described what happened, this story was related to me some forty years later, by my then elderly aunt, when I was about six or seven, so there is quite a lot of room for error, also it does sound like the kind of story that might be told to a grieving family to spare any further pain, but my aunt certainly believed it.
    According to this account jack was being driven in a car ahead of some other vehicles containing british troops, they went down a hill and then realised the rest of the vehicles had not followed, when they turned around to see what had happened to the others they were fired on by germans who they had not seen, according to the account jack returned fire and hit at least one German but was then fatally shot. The driver managed to escape. Again I obviously cant verify but this was what the family were told
    ecalpald and Jan Van Liedekerke like this.
  19. Hi Jan,

    I just posted another reply before I saw this, it may be of interest. I will speak to my father, when I see him and ask if he knows anything more, I know when my auntie passed away there was still a lot of records relating to jack in her house including letters, I'll find out what happened to them,

    Regards nick
  20. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Hi Nick, just noticed your posts. Glad to hear the information I have posted has helped you.

    I will PM you with some additional info.

    Cheers Steve

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