Royal Engineers 560 Field Coy October 1940

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by ann maddams, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. ann maddams

    ann maddams Junior Member

    Does anyone have a photo or info on the 560 Field Coy Royal Engineers in 1940 whilst they were in Gt. Yarmouth. My Fathers Brother and two others were killed whilst laying mines on the beach Oct. 1940. Three from the Norfolk Reg. were killed on a separate occasion. In April we are putting up a plaque in their honour in Gt. Yarmouth. A photo would have been great to put with the plaque
    Thanks Ann
    Drew5233 likes this.
  2. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum, for a photo try the RE Museum or the IWM archieve they will be the most likely places.
    RE Association also my be able to help and have a word with the Gt Yarmouth local paper/historical society see what they can turn up.
  3. ann maddams

    ann maddams Junior Member

    Thanks for your reply, unfortunately Royal Engineers Museum have nothing. Have contacted Various places in Gt. yarmouth but nothing yet. It was just a thought someone might be able to help.
  4. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Try the RE Association and the IWM see if they can help, I recall seeing photos of mine laying and barbed wire being placed on beeches. For full info on 560 Fld Co you would need to look at the unit war diary at the National Archieves, Kew
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Attached Files:

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ann this incident is very similiar to one in Kent during 1944 that I investigated for a forum member. I finally got the answers from the local Royal British Legion Club. A member was a young lad at the time and his father came home and told the family what had happened. From talking to him I got the exact location of the incident.

    I'm sure there will be a few RBL clubs in those areas and someone will remember it.

    Good luck
  7. ann maddams

    ann maddams Junior Member

    Just about to sit down with a coffee and read diaries, thanks so much. Will get back to you. Ann
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ann asked me to post a link to the video of the big day but all I can find is this. The video is quite good too. A rep to the first person to find it ;)


    Well done Ann, a job very well done !
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  10. CL1

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

  11. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Anne - well done!
    It is nice to know that even after 70 years these men's sacrifices are not forgotten.
    As the articles say, 'They didn't know the invasion wasn't coming'.
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ann asked me to post a few of the pictures from the day:


  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  14. ann maddams

    ann maddams Junior Member

    Rembering on Monday 17th Oct 1940 3 Royal Engineers, Sappers Cooke, Pratt and Cambers who were killed whilst laying mines on Great Yarmouth beach.
    A permanent memorial for them and two Royal Norfolk's is now at Great Yarmouth Racecourse which is close to where they were all killed.
    May they never be forgotten.:poppy:
  15. CL1

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

    THEY did not die in the heat of battle on foreign soil, but the sacrifices of a group of men killed defending the country from invasion are to be honoured next month.

    A memorial plaque is due to be unveiled at Great Yarmouth Racecourse to five servicemen who died in two separate explosions in the town in 1940.

    The ceremony on Wednesday, April 13, will honour the memory of the men who died during mine-laying operations as the threat of German invasion loomed during the darkest days of the second world war.

    Both explosions were on the North Beach just a short distance from the racetrack. The first blast, on July 13, killed lance sergeant Charles Gunnell, 26, and private Frederick Wright 20.

    The later explosion, on October 17, claimed the lives of sappers Bernard Cambers, 19, Dennis Cooke, 22 and John Pratt 22, of Field Company, Royal Engineers.

    The commemoration has been organised by Ken Read, a former member of the Norfolk Landmine Clearance Committee.

    A memorial was previously unveiled in Mundesley to Royal Engineer bomb disposal personnel who lost their lives between 1944 and 1953.

    Next month’s event will bring back poignant memories for Sidney Gibbs, who witnessed the explosion that killed his two comrades. At the time, Sidney was serving as corporal in A Company Royal Norfolk Regiment and was stationed at the racecourse.

    Now aged 92, his recollection of the devastating blast that summer morning is still vivid and disturbing more than 70 years later.

    “I had been laying mines on the beach that morning before swapping over duties, otherwise I could have been killed,” said Sidney.

    “I was working on Caister Road at the time near the greyhound track digging trenches and saw a plume of smoke go up.

    “The explosion is still vivid in my mind, although I did not know what was going on at the time. We found out what happened after getting back to camp. I can still picture Charles in my mind, he had lovely ginger hair and I remember being told that his head had not been damaged in the blast.

    He added: “I still don’t know what caused the explosion, it may be they stepped on the mines that had already been activated. It was the first time I had known anyone to be killed. Although it was a long ago time ago, you don’t forget those sort of things.

    “I am all for putting up the plaque. These boys gave their lives for the country, it was a very hazardous undertaking.”

    Born and bred in Yarmouth, Sidney started his working life at a mill in Cobholm and joined the Royal Norfolk’s at the start of the war.

    A retired carpenter, he later served as a firing point instructor with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The grandfather of three married late wife Joy in 1950 and still lives in the Caister home the couple shared.

    Lance sergeant Gunnell, from West London, was laid to rest at Caister Cemetery.

    Ken Read was contacted by the brother of Sapper Cambers, who lives near Bedford, after the Mundesley memorial was unveiled in 2004. He then heard from Sidney after writing a letter to the Mercury last year asking if anyone had memories or knowledge of the explosions.

    The 74-year-old worked on government explosive projects before retiring to Caister 18 years ago. He carried out extensive research with the War Graves Commission and checked the identity of everybody killed from the Royal Norfolk Regiment on the date of the July explosion. Mr Read said: “The people killed defending home soil were just as important as those who died fighting overseas. The invasion did not happen, but they were not to know that.”

    It is hoped that the unveiling will be a joint effort by the Mayor Michael Jeal and Mr Gibbs. The ceremony will include a parade of standards, including the Royal Norfolk Regiment Association, the Royal Engineers Association and the Royal British Legion. The dedication service will be conducted by the Rev Arthur Bowles.:poppy:

    News - Great Yarmouth Mercury

    Anglia Regional News | Anglia Tonight - ITV Local
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thought I'd bump this up For Anne before I forget.
  17. CL1

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

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