Rifle Brigade, Siege of Calais. Company Question

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Paul Bradford, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Paul Bradford

    Paul Bradford Active Member

    Hi All ,

    This is probably in the wrong section, so apologies first of all.

    My Grandfather Robert Bradford 6912790 was captured at the fall of Calais. He told me that he made it to one of the small turreted buildings at the end of the harbour wall when they were told by a German Officer to "Surrender or die". Unfortunately he died in 2003, before I began to get really interested in what he had been involved in.

    I would like to know if there was any way to find out which Company he was in at the time. 'Flames of Calais' was very good, but mentions few names.


  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: R Bradford
    Rank: Corporal
    Army Number: 6912790
    Regiment: Rifle Brigade
    POW Number: 14254
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 383
    Camp Location: Hohenfels, Rhineland-Palatinate
    Record Office: Rifle Corps Record Office, Winchester
    Record Office Number: 24

    Might be worth finding out if he filled in a Liberation questionnaire - POW Liberation Questionnaires - www.arcre.com - the site linked is run by a member of this site - so you either contact him via the site or via here http://ww2talk.com/index.php?members/psywar-org.2876/

  3. Paul Bradford

    Paul Bradford Active Member

    Thank you TD,

    That's my Granddad. I will do as you suggest. As a matter of interest, I recall seeing a photograph of some manacles with a long chain (longer than handcuffs), a bowl of soup or liquid along with a potato and a piece of dark bread. I remember him telling me that he was chained and I have a feeling that the photograph was of the daily ration, but I might be wrong. It wasn't a lot!

  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    You'll struggle to ID his company. I have the Bn and officers diaries and there's no nominal rolls in then as far as I can remember. Your best chance would be the WO 361/53 Rifle Brigade Missing Men file. He may get a mention in it at Company level. It's a long shot but like most 1940 stuff, you'll never know until you look.
    Paul Bradford likes this.
  5. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member




    Paul Bradford likes this.
  6. Paul Bradford

    Paul Bradford Active Member

    Hello Drew and Harkness,
    Sorry for the late reply, but thank you for your information. I'd love to be able to find out which Company he was with. It would give the story of the fighting in and around Calais more impact if I could have an idea of where he was. My Aunt too (his daughter).

  7. Paul Bradford

    Paul Bradford Active Member

    I had a telephone conversation with my Dad the other day. During the conversation it came up the his father, my Grandad Cpl Robert Bradford was also in Stalag V111C. Apparently, my father found this out when writing to the Red Cross in Switzerland trying to find out more information. Also, he has some photographs from the camp. On the reverse it says HQ Company, so that has helped a lot with my reading about the Siege of Calais. Also, he was a Temporary Sergeant.
    My Dad said that in the camp he was allowed 'parole' to go inot the local town on his promise that he wouldn't escape. This isn't the first time that I had heard of soldiers being given parole, but my Dad seems to think that it was looked upon as collaboration by those back 'home'. He thinks that my Grandfathers' demobilisation might have been delayed due to that reason, as he said it was a long time before he returned home after being released. I personally think that my Dad would have been unlikely to remember that incident that well as he was under seven when my Grandfather returned and wouldn't have remembered him as he was less than 18 months old when he was captured.
    Hard getting information about my Grandfather, now he is deceased, but even harder getting information from a family member that is in possession of it!
    From the Royal Green Jackets museum:- Other documents that may be helpful include D/0006 Story of fighting at Calais by C/Sgt Curtis, A Coy 1RB; To the Last Man To the Last Bullet by 6911397 Rfn Walsh 1RB and D/4622/1-2 two typed documents relating to personnel in 1RB. Looking at his service number, he joined a little while before him.

    Also from the RGJ museum a Bradford is named in correspondence to General Sir John Davidson,

    Finding number



    Letters written to General Sir John Davidson and copies of some of his replies




    Replies to Davidson's letters to relatives of men involved in the Defence of Calais: Gen Sir John Davidson; Baring; Johnson; Kays; Kitson; Madden; Miller; Hawley; Owen; Parker; Sherrard; Radcliffe; Scott; Williams; Bower; Bradford

    Admin history


    It looks as if I will be visiting Hampshire Records Office in Winchester at some point when back in the UK!
    Fascinating stuff! I just wish I had begun earlier!

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