Dunkirk - Help needed by a newbie

Discussion in '1940' started by Allan Warner-Clarkson, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. Hi, I am led to believe that my Uncle was at Dunkirk and survived. I believe he was rescued but is there an index anywhere?
    I know he turns up in the Western Desert in November 1942, (so unless he subsequently escaped he must have got off), then at P.O.W. Camp number 70 Monturano (Parma) in 1943 and at Stalag 4d, Torgau (Elbe) in 1945.
    I never got to meet him but want to know all about him so any help in finding out more would be appreciated.
    His details are:
    Private Victor Bostrom - 6087581.
    Royal Sussex Regiment in 1942 but I understand he was in 4th Battalion, The Queens Royal Regiment (63rd Searchlight) in November 1938.
    Many thanks
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Allan

    The first step you really need to take is to obtain his service records and they are only available from the MOD - the forms you need are here Request records of deceased service personnel

    Surrey, England, Regimental Rolls and Recruitment Registers, 1914-1947
    Name: Victor Bostrom
    Event Date: 1 Nov 1938
    Regiment Number: 6087581
    Regiment: Queen's Royal West Surrey

    From the above it to me as though he was in the Royal Sussex Regt from march 1939 so would presume he stayed with them in BEF
    63 (Queen’s) Searchlight Regiment RA(TA) - The Royal Artillery 1939-45

    UK, World War II Allied Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: V. Bostrom
    Rank: Pte.
    Military Date: 1939-1945
    Regiment: R. Suss.
    Service Number: 6087581
    Description: 21: Imperial Prisoners of War Held in Italy, Italian-Occupied Territory: British & Commonwealth Army

    and at some point he was transferred to Germany
    Name: V Bostrom
    Rank: Private
    Army Number: 6087581
    Regiment: Royal Sussex Regiment
    POW Number: 250593
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: IV-D
    Camp Location: Torgau, Saxony

    Service records is the best place to start


    Might be useful to read BBC - WW2 People's War - Dunkirk Evacuation: 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

    Royal Sussex Regiment.

    War Diaries for 4th Bn 4 Royal Sussex 1940
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  3. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Not aware of any index ?
    There is a record of his later capture at the National Archives. German PoW card
    WO 416/36/117
    Name: Victor Bostrom.

    Date of Birth: 15/10/1919.

    Place of Birth: Folkstone.

    Service: [unspecified].

    Rank: Private.

    Regiment/Unit/Squadron: [unspecified].

    Service Number: [unspecified].

    Date of Capture: [unspecified].

    Theatre of Capture: [unspecified].

    Camp Name/Number: Stalag IVB Koenigstein.

    PoW number: 250593.

    Date of Death: [unspecified].

    Number of Photographs: 0.

    Number of Fingerprints: 0.

    Number of X-rays: 0.

    Number of Cards: 1.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    What you have written gives others very little concrete to work on. People can make educated guesses, but no more.

    Here's an example.
    You write that in November 1938 he was in 4 QRR/63 SL. That unit never went to France.
    You write that in 1942 he was in Royal Sussex perhaps in the desert with them.
    What was he doing betwen these dates? Who with?

    Making an educated guess - but perhaps totally wrong - let's guess he had moved to the Royal Sussex at a point in time that he was with them when they went to France.

    5 battalions of Royal Sussex were in Belgium/France (4 were in the desert). Of the 5 battalions in the BEF, 3 were north of the Somme and evacuated from 'Dunkirk' - but some individuals would have been from elsewhere. The other 2 battalions were south of the Somme and went nowhere near Dunkirk - but the internet world loves to say they came out of Dunkirk too!!!

    So, do people write about what happened to the 2nd Battalion, the 4th, the 5th, the 6th or the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex???

    Remember, that is based upon an educated guess that he was with the Royal Sussex in France/Belgium and not some other unit.

    AND it is based on the assumption that he was even in the BEF.

    Just for France/Belgium, the possbilities and variations are endless as to what his movements were. All but a handful have no relevance to your uncle. The same applies again to the desert and all dates before, between and after.

    Once you have his service records and can identify with some certaintly which unit and when he served in it, then others can start to respond with information that has a high degree of relevance.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The rolls in post 2 already tell you where he was - from the Surrey Regt he was transferred to on 63rd Searchlight on 1 11 1938 then on 24 3 1939 he was transferred again to Royal Sussex Regt

    I also think the OP has taken onboard that he needs to acquire the service records to avoid guessing where his relative was - so I guess we need to wait for him to obtain and upload them then members can help the OP further without guessing

  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    As TD has implied, it looks to me as if the entry shows "Trans to 4 R. Sussex R."

    If so, then they were with 44th (Home Counties Division) and in France during April and May 1940. They went to North Africa in May 1942 and fought at Alam al Halfa and El Alamein. They were disbanded in the Middle East in January 1943..Presumably due to losses.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  7. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Yes. And you followed that with: "presume he stayed with them in BEF".

    You've made an educated guess that he didn't subsequently transfer elsewhere. It's the same one as I did. But the 2 of us making the same guess is no evidence that it happened that way.

    Maybe yes, maybe no. There is no indication he has even come back to read the thread at all.

    What you and l have done is make the same recommendation: get his service records.

    What we have done differently is you have provided some very helpful data from sites you have access to and l have spent a bit of time explaining how research can be utterly wasteful in the absence of concrete evidence.

    I think both have their place. Don't you?
  8. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Indeed, itcould be a 4. But even if it was, what's to say he didn't move elsewhere subsequently? Posted to the newly forming 6th Battalion when the 4th was duplicated? Or cross posted to the regular 2nd Battalion as many regiments did to spread around experience? Or even posted out of the regiment for a while? Was he sent earlier to Africa as a regimental casualty replacement for 1st Battalion?

    The subsequent pieces certainly do fit with the 4th, but l would err against assuming that means it must be right.

    I know neither you nor Tricky Dicky are making categorical statements, you both use the word "presumably" in your posts, but that's the point. It's all just guesswork.
  9. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    1939-1945 British Army Casualties on FMP says he was posted missing on 27/10/42 whilst in 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regt later changed to POW.

    Hope this helps

    Drew5233 and AB64 like this.

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