May 1940 The Escaut

Discussion in '1940' started by James K, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. James K

    James K Active Member

    1/6 East Surrey and 1 East Surrey, both units of 4 Div, were holding the line between Avelghem and Kerkhove. Does anyone know the locations of support units for 4 Div in general and behind these two battalions in particular?

    There should have been elements from some, but not necessarily all, of the following units in support:-
    4 Division HQ
    2 Bn Royal Northumberland Fusilers (Div reserve)
    2 Bn Middlesex Regt ( Dive machine gun Bn)
    10 and 11 brigade anti tank companies
    4 Div Provost Coy
    22 Fd Regt RA
    30 Fd Regt RA
    77 Fd Regt RA
    14 AT Regt RA
    7 Fd Coy RE
    59 Fd Coy RE
    255 Fd Coy RE
    18 Fd Pk Coy RE
    10 fd Amb RAMC
    11 Fd AMB RAMC

    I'm trying to gain a picture of the battle space of 10 and 11 Brigades of 4 Div, to see who the East Surrey's were operating with, and when they withdrew who they would have come into contact with.

    Also 57 (East Surrey) AT Regt RA, doe anyone know which division they were part of?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. CL1

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

  3. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    The 'right' answer to your question will depend on what level of detail you want to achieve. For the greatest detail, a thorough examination of the various unit and formation war diaries is the best route.

    I see you have an East Surrey theme. Have you already looked at what 2/6 East Surrey got up to?
     
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  4. James K

    James K Active Member

    Yes I've looked at 2/6th E Surrey. My grandfather although 1 E'Surrey seems to have been attached to 1/6 on the Escaut and then after getting away from there and being unable to join his unit met up with 2/6th ES before escaping from St Nazaire.

    He was then in the Bournemouth rest centre when the air raid killed a load of men from the ES Regiment
     
  5. James K

    James K Active Member

    The air raid on Bournemouth was 16 Nov 1940 many ES casualties
     
  6. CL1

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


    No. 24. 16th November, 1940 (03.30 hrs). 6 Parachute Mines dropped in the Alma Rd (School), St. Leonard's Rd, Westbourne (RLS Ave - ’Skerryvore’,Denewood Rd), Malmesbury Park Rd, and Turbary Common area. 53 civilians killed and 120 injured (approx). 2,321 properties damaged. 300/400 incendiaries in Westbourne area.


    http://www.jp137.com/lts/Bournemouth.Air.Raids.pdf

    TYLERPrivate6137619 HENRY ALEXANDER 16 November 1940BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow F.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    BATTPrivate6139718 GILBERT FREDERICK WILLIAM 16 November 1940Age 26BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow D.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    BLACKMANSerjeant6135903 ARTHUR JOHN 16 November 1940Age 35BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow G.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    EARLPrivate6139833 JAMES WILLIAM FRANCIS 16 November 1940Age 26BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow A.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    GRAYPrivate6144639 JACK THOMAS 16 November 1940Age 21BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow K.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    NISBETPrivate6145251 HARRY CURTIS LANE 16 November 1940Age 23BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow C.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    STOKESPrivate6145634 JOSEPH RICHARD 16 November 1940Age 22BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow G.4. Grave 92. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    WRIGHTPrivate6137326 ALFRED CHARLES 16 November 1940Age 35BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow B.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    BEALESSerjeant6746311 ERNEST EDWARD 16 November 1940BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow H.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    BROMWICHPrivate2565602 MAURICE JAMES 16 November 1940BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow E.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    NEWMANPrivate6139172 GEORGE 16 November 1940BOURNEMOUTH NORTH CEMETERYRow J.4. Grave 91. VIEW RECORDEast Surrey RegimentUnited Kingdom
    Results
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
  7. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    These are the pages from the History of the East Surrey Regiment Volume IV 1920 - 1952 by David Scott Daniell.

    The 1st East Surrey:

    1 ES France 1940.jpg 1 ES France 1940_0001.jpg 1 ES France 1940_0002.jpg

    The 1/6th East Surreys:

    1_6 ES France 1940.jpg 1_6 ES France 1940_0001.jpg

    Mark
     
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  8. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    It seems unlikely that he fought on the Escault with 1/6 and then joined up with 2/6. The Germans had made it to the coast by the 20th and thus the only way to get from one battalion to the other would have been heading south through German lines while everybody else was going west to the coast.
     
  9. James K

    James K Active Member


    He did though. Posted from the Depot as a regular reservist to 1st Bn he became attached to 1/6 in the same battle. After capture and almost immediate escape but being unable to reach his own unit immediately he and several others followed the battle towards Dunkirk before cutting away and passing through German lines. They were sent to a holding depot in the LoC area, spent time with 2/6th and then managed to evade capture escaped finally from St Nazare where he and the survivors boarded the first ship after the Lancastrian. On return to England he awarded himself a couple of days at home with his family for which he was demoted. All properly recorded if lacking detail.
     
  10. James K

    James K Active Member

    After a large mechanised force passes through an area there is something of a void. Lots of support arms moving forward carrying stores and resupplies and empty trucks moving to the rear, along with ambulances, but aside from that and some reserve troops moving up to new positions and occasional MP patrols not a great deal happens for a few days.

    So in that gap and confusion men can and did escape, in fact its still the recommended time to escape and move away from the immediate battle area. Even in a landscape with relatively few features and scant cover the wreckage of battle, the smoke, destroyed or damaged buildings enhances what is already there.

    Lots of men escaped when their positions were overrun or they were left behind by retreating units. Most were captured but a fair number escaped early making their way to the LoC area, whilst a few others remained and became the nucleus of the fledgling resistance movement
     
  11. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Not always that easy - Wing-Commander Basil Embry evading capture after his Blenheim was shot down found that there was great difficulty in crossing roads unseen as there was never a big enough gap in the traffic for him to do so. see Wingless Victory
     
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  12. James K

    James K Active Member

  13. James K

    James K Active Member

    Luck plays an inordinately important place on the battlefield. Off topic but a good example is in Bosnia one of our Scimitars went over a land mine. As medics we dashed to the scene in our Samaritan but as fortune would have it the Royal Canadian Engineers were visiting us on their last day of the tour, they went ahead in much faster Grizzly wheeled APC's and they hit a land mine as well, one we would certainly have driven over ourselves.

    Bad luck for the Canadians, good luck for us, no amount of training, preparation, manpower or support could change what was purely luck. As it was for us in 1994 so it was for others in every conflict throughout time.

    In this case the E'Surrey lads and others with them were lucky, although infantry training is an advantage on making best use of ground. The RAF officer was unlucky and might have been just a mile or so away at a time of greater movement
     
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  14. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Ah!

    If he was initially captured by the enemy at the Escault, then that changes everything.

    Once captured, one is behind the lines, going south or west has the same hazard and risk. Whether south or west, there are enemy to evade and a front line to cross at some point.

    That is quite different to not getting captured and then choosing between heading west across one's own lines with masses of one's own troops or choosing to cross the frontline into enemy territory, evading the enemy and then crossing the frontline a second time.
     
  15. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    The RAF Officer made it to Gibraltar via Paris. Crossing roads was a major problem
     
  16. James K

    James K Active Member


    I should have made that clear. The front line moving to Dunkirk was completely full of men, impossible to break through but the line to the south was relatively thin in some places. Most Germans were moving westwards towards the coast elimination of the BEF moving towards Dunkirk being the priority.

    When he escaped he met various stragglers who had escaped or evaded capture having been left behind. About ten men in all, my grandfather being the senior rank. At one village one of the men was shot and killed at another location, presumably in the LoC area another man was injured and sent to a medical facility. After St Valery they were provided with transport and directed to the port at St Nazaire , another man was injured and he got a place on the Lancastrian. The rest including my grandfather got on the next ship which had the benefit of protection by several hundred Bren guns found crated up in a dockside warehouse whilst awaiting departure. If it hadn't been for those guns that ship would have been sunk as well.
     
  17. James K

    James K Active Member

    As I said that depends on the road, the timing, training and no small measure of luck
     
  18. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    I bought my copy via AbeBooks.

    Mark
     

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