Gothensburg, France/Belgium?

Discussion in '1940' started by MongoUK, Jun 10, 2024.

  1. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Morning all,

    The wife's great-grandad was captured on the 28th May, 1940 retreating to Dunkirk as part of 259 Battery, 65th Anti-Tank Regt, RA.

    I've found his POW questionnaire, in which he says that his place of capture was "Gothensburg".

    I'm assuming that this is a mis-spelling or a mis-hearing of a local French town name somewhere near to Cassel.

    Jeremy Bastin's book isn't as clear cut for 259 Bty as it seems they didn't follow the rest of the 65th's withdrawal route.

    Anyone have any idea where this may actually be?

    I'm assuming he didn't jump on a Swedish ship and get grabbed before making port...

  2. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2024
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  3. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    perhaps of help:
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  4. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    #3 unreadable never heard of image shack.

    Think it is actually Godewaersvelde

    Godewaersvelde - Wikipedia

    South west of Poperinge

    Google Maps

    I thought I had been here at least once before:

    132nd Field Ambulance 2 May 1940

    50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division - Wikipedia.
    Here you will find why the Division was in the Arras area and their subsequent withdrawal to Dunkirk.

    50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division - Wikipedia

    The Order of Battle will provide information regarding the units and there disposition.

    The 65 A/T were split into two columns plus a reserve.
    This might explain how your gt grandfather came to be separated and captured south of Poperinge.
    An Anti tank shield might have been placed as a rear guard covering the road from Lille to Dunkirk.
    1st infantry Division had withdrawn up the road to Dunkirk to defend the beaches at Dunkirk.
    The enemy had crossed the Escault at Esquelmes north of Tournai (east of Lille) 24-26 May following a battle on 21-24 May.(See Google Map above)

    Possible further reading:
    PATH OF THE 50th The Story of the 50th (Northumberland) Division in the Second World War 1939-1945 - Naval & Military Press.
    (Covers far more than you might be interested in)
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2024
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  5. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2024
  6. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2024
  7. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Godewaersvelde was my guess also, if only because of the phonetics. 259 Battery was attached to 25th Infantry Brigade for defense of the La Bassee Canal, and apparently did not rejoin the rest of the regiment before being evacuated. So movements of 25th Brigade might help pin down where the battery was.
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  8. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Ideally, of course, one needs to look at the war diaries. But a quick look at my own book indicates that 25th Brigade withdrew from the La Bassee Canal line via Estaires and Watou. There are several north-south roads leading from Estaires and vicinity to the Watou area. All of them pass fairly close to the Mont des Cats and Godewaersvelde, which stands at the foot of the height. Units of the 44th Division were heavily engaged in and around Godewaersvelde, and in the confusion of the withdrawal I think it quite possible that some men at least from 259 Battery might have gotten lost and sucked into the 44th's battle.
  10. Christian Luyckx

    Christian Luyckx Well-Known Member

    Very interesting document, thanks for sharing ! :cheers:
    Would the WD for the 31st of May and 1st of June also be available?
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  11. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

  12. Christian Luyckx

    Christian Luyckx Well-Known Member

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  13. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    The Power of the forum!
    Just re writing a book that I wrote in 2021 never published, having traced the route of the 1st Infantry Division Artillery 2 Field, 19 Field and 67 Field Regiments using my collection of notes, photographs and a Centenary brochure of the 267th Field Regiment RA TA (previously 67th Field Regiment).
    It seems they weren't the only ones to follow the route, Certainly the second half from Lille to Les Moeres.

    Might post a new thread including all the Units that withdrew to Dunkirk.
    Think it might make a good resource for future researchers.

    TTH what book were you referring to re Les Bassee Canal.

    Will drop you a pm in a while.
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  14. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member


    Attached Files:

  15. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    259 Bty's being split leaves the details a bit sparce in the WD.
  16. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    This book: Armies of Empire
  17. Finn Buch

    Finn Buch Active Member

    This is what I can piece together from various sources.

    Daily Reports: Missing, Dead, Wounded and POWs, 1939-1947

    Service Number: 854869

    UK, WWII, Daily Reports: Missing, Dead, Wounded and POWs, 1939-1947
    Full Name: Firman, C M
    Date: 27 May 1940
    Fate: Missing

    Incident Details: Reported to War Office Casualty Section for the 24 hours ending at 09:00.

    Incident Date: 31 Jul 1940
    Information Casualty List No. 269.


    Incident Date: 4 Oct 1940
    Casualty List No. 325. Previously shown on Casualty List No. 269 as Missing.
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  18. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2024
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  19. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The most direct route from Estaires to Watou runs right through Godewaersvelde and Proven lies a short distance northeast of Watou. I think we can safely say now that MongoUK's relative was captured at or near Godewaersvelde.
  20. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    The names of towns and villages does prove a problem. The British Army was never good with foreign names.
    To complicate matters we are looking at two countries with completely different languages with differing place names.

    Prime example is the River Scheldt in Belgian and the Escaut in French.

    Scheldt - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I spent a few hours late last night trying to find place names in the War Diary

    I thought I knew the area until I came across similar names not too far apart.

    Google Maps

    In the end I gave up, plotting the few places that could be found..

    Adding Godewaersvelde might b considered cheating but its not far off the route..
    The Enemy had crossed the Scheldt to the east, so they would be watching their right flank
    Poperinge was under heavy artillery fire so most units would go to the west of it if they could.

    Lt. Tom Averill 266 Battery 67 Field Regt.
    The withdrawal was orderly, though very hazardous. My troop of 4.5 howitzers was in the rearguard, having been left to do harassing fire on 2 vital bridges.
    We had to leave in a hurry and made our way through a small gap between Cassel and Ypres.
    On route to Dunkirk, we ran into heavy air burst German artillery fire in Poperinge, which was engulfed in flames.
    We had to unhook the guns and limbers, turn round and find a minor road to take us to Bray Dunes on the coast.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2024
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