Discussion in '1940' started by Smudger Jnr, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Before I posted this item I checked lots and lots of previous posts and could not find a similar question, but apologies in advance if this question has been raised before.

    Can anyone tell me why all the Dunkirk survivors that returned were penalised by the army, in as much as they had to repay the army for every piece of personal issue equipment left behind.

    I can understand in peacetime, equipment being lost etc, having to be paid for.

    But to charge all soldiers after what occured beggars belief.
    I would have thought the Army would have been only too grateful to see their trained men returned to fight another day.


  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    What's your source for that, Tom?

    My grandfather came back from the beaches just in his BDs. I have all his paperwork and he wasn't charged for anything.
  3. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    My late Father-in-law was put on a charge, by a over zealous sergeant, for not having a hat when he returned from Dunkirk (under age). Something that was dropped when it was explained where he had been. He was never charged any monies for anything though.
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    That does seem a bit extreme and I wonder if it was just individual cases rather than across the board.

    My troop wrote around £250,000 worth of equipment off prior to leaving Iraq in August 2003 but individuals were billed for misplaced personal issue kit.
  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    My source was from a veteran of Dunkirk who was a neighbour back in the 70's and 80's.

    I have also seen it mentioned in passing on another forum.

    I am pretty certain that Bert (Now Deceased) was quite serious when he mentioned this to me.


  6. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    I don’t know about charges but I don’t think this fellow got much credit either

    L/Cpl Joss Little 8th DLI Remembers his return from Dunkirk;-
    We landed at Dover, an Ambulance train took away our wounded it was fitted out so the stretchers didn't sway as the train moved. The rest of us who were from all manner of Regiments Kings Royal Rifles, K.O.S.B, K.O.Y.L.I and us from the DLI were lorried up to Brecon. It was the 1st South Wales Borderers, I think, who were up there at the time. A Sergeant Major told us that once our particulars were recorded they would contact our own Regiments who were scattered around the country, in the mean time we would remain here, it could be for a week it could be for a month he said. (It was three weeks).
    We were given food and money from our back pay then this Major from The South Wales Borderers came around and gathered us all together then he said “ I know what you have all been through but my troops do not, Morale is very high indeed, therefore I ask if any of my lads ask where you have come from you are to say that you have been on a cooks tour!”

  7. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron


    My Dad's friend (who you may recall from an earlier thread was captured after being shot and left for dead serving with the Buffs in 1940), was not charged for anything after his return from Germany in 1945.

  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    It may have been down to particular units that soldiers were charged for losses.
    The veteran that I spoke of was not impressed and after his conversation I believed it to be widespread.

    I will have to do a bit more digging and see what I can come up with.
    Hope you received the confirmation email.


  9. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    My dad never said anything about being charged for missing kit.

    I brought my rifle home…we were in a cattle farm…there was a stream nearby and I threw it in there as it was all rusty and the bolt wouldn’t move. It had been in the sea you see.

  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Don't forget the British Army's long tradition of deducting "Barrack Room damages" whether there were any or not.

    I too have seen these stories about lost BEF equipment but I can't imagine how it could all have been deducted. There would have been quantities of kit in Battalion transport for instance that the individual had no control over.

    It was not to be the last withdrawal with loss of equipment either but these stories do not seem to have appeared later on.
  11. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    I wander if some over zelous QM charged for rounds expended? I'd have hated to be in charge of a destroyer sent to the bottom but maybe they were expempt.

    I did hear of BEF suddenly appearing in public with a BEF badge on sleeve which Churchill was not amused with.
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From the IWM Sound Archives.

    We were told that no man of the Border Regiment would be evacuated to the UK until he was in possession of a full set of equipment. There was material all over the place - people had thrown stuff away. So we made up our kit with whatever we were short of from what people had thrown away. He then said we had to shave - but there was no fresh water. We had to shave in sea water, which we did- and which was very painful.
  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    An interesting find.

    Thank you for posting.


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