Spanish refugees digging anti tank defences outside Ypres

Discussion in 'Sub-forum: The build-Up - 1933-1940' started by skimmod, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    Hello All,
    During the last few months of 1939, it is remembered by some of the locals that some anti tank ditches were dug alongside the railway near Hill 60 outside Ypres.
    Do we know if there is any records that might detail the size of the workforce and the actual work done?

    many thanks
  2. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello skimmod,

    Likely to have been one of the Spanish Work Companies (Compagnies de Travailleurs Espagnol, "CTE") set up by the French government in 1939 from the half million Republican refugees who crossed into France as a result of the Spanish Civil War (a tragedy in itself).

    Please have a look at the attached pdf. It has Company number designations and some locations, and you'll see that some were assigned to France Rail (SNCF), but I think it more likely that the anti-tank ditch constructors were the CTE unit nearest to the locality (maybe). The France/Belgian border is not always easily discerned in that area!

    Kind regards, always,


    P.S. If you need any help with translation of the pre-amble give me a shout (but note it's all done in my bonce, and hence slower than any internet based translation programme, but I think all the more accurate for it - hopefully!)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
  3. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    Many thanks Jim!
    will do.
    JimHerriot likes this.

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