The Battle and Massacre of Wormhout - 28th May 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Guy

    What evidence have you submitted? I've been compiling a file on him for a number of years. Whilst the circumstantial evidence is strong I've not found or seen anything yet that proves it is him beyond doubt.

    Rich Payne likes this.


    Bonsoir à tous,
    L'une des évidences qu'il s'agit bien de P.R.E. EDGCUMBE se trouve aux archives britanniques du King's Royal College dans les papiers provenant de la donation CADOGAN.

    L'officier CADOGAN de la Hopkinson Mission était un collègue de EDGCUMBE, WARRE, BANBURRY...Avant de mourir noyé en Méditerranée en 1941, CADOGAN a eu le temps d'écrire ce qu'il a vécu en Belgique et en France en mai 1940.
    Par miracle, son récit mentionne la fin de EDGCUMBE; il y est écrit que "WEBBER et EDCUMBE sont morts tués ensemble dans le même blindé".....!
    Si cela ne constitue pas une évidence, je baisse pavillon....
  3. CL1

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

    rough trans from Google
    Good evening everyone,
    One of the obvious that this is P.R.E. EDGCUMBE is found in the British King's Royal College Archives in the CADOGAN donation papers.

    The CADOGAN officer of the Hopkinson Mission was a colleague of EDGCUMBE, WARRE, BANBURRY ... Before dying drowned in the Mediterranean in 1941, CADOGAN had the time to write what he experienced in Belgium and France in May 1940.
    Miraculously, his account mentions the end of EDGCUMBE; it is written that "WEBBER and EDCUMBE are dead killed together in the same tank" .....!
    If this is not obvious, I drop flag ...
    Harry Ree and stolpi like this.


    Bonjour à tous,
    La cérémonie du 79ème anniversaire du massacre de la Plaine au Bois aura lieu le mardi 28 mai à 10 heures; tous ceux qui peuvent être présents sont cordialement invités.
    La cérémonie sera marquée cette année par l'inauguration d'une stèle (voir photo jointe) en l'honneur des militaires Edgcumbe et Webber par le neveu de Piers EDGCUMBE. DSCF2129.JPG
    CL1, TriciaF, Harry Ree and 2 others like this.
  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    On the 79th Anniversary. Not forgotten.

    Drew5233, Gage and Tricky Dicky like this.
  6. Vortigern

    Vortigern Member

    In attendance at the remembrance ceremony this morning, the weather started badly and rained heavily for two hours prior to the start but thankfully it eased off and the sun came out for a while. Luke Desmond and Jason Woods of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment re-enactment group stood guard by the door in full battle dress of WWII, it connected the present with the past in a very visual way.

    The memorial to 2nd Lt Piers Richard Edgcumbe and L/Cpl Leonard Frank Webber was unveiled and the Edgcumbe family were also in attendance to lay a wreath dedicated to both men.

    Not in view where a large number of local people and ex-service men.

    Harry Ree and Gage like this.
  7. Vortigern

    Vortigern Member

    Have added this story to the thread in the hope of picking up any possible links to Albert Edward Montague 5105148 Royal Warwickshire Regt, he joined in 1928, 2 years ahead of his brother, Victor Walter Montague 5105590. The following is what I know but there are many gaps due to what happened at Wormhoudt on the 28th May 1940.

    Bert in 1928 when he joined at 14 years old.

    Bert is kneeling on the far left, the image is entitled 'The Scroungers Retreat' but I have no other info on this or where it was taken, nor do I know who the others are...….

    Both Bert and Vic served together in Palestine, Egypt and India from 1931 to 1937 and were afterwards separated and went their separate ways. Bert was to eventually go with the B.E.F in 1939 with 'A' Coy and was at Hollain and afterwards he served as a stretcher bearer at the R.A.P in Wormhoudt under the command of Capt. Crook R.A.M.C.

    During the battle of Wormhoudt, Bert and Cpl Bartlett went out to retrieve a wounded man and he was picked up by them, they were under constant fire and had to use the ditch to move forward and they soon discovered another wounded man and took both of them back to the R.A.P, Bert helped the M.O as much as he could but all of them were captured by the SS and taken to Le Fort Rose Farm. Why they were not murdered like the others is a mystery but thankfully they were treated as P.O.W's and Bert spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft VIIIb Lamsdorf. He was released in 1945 and when he arrived back at Budbroooke Barracks he was greeted by my grandfather, Victor Montague who was on guard duty at that time.

    Bert re-joined the army and was sent back to Wormhoudt along with Charles Daley, Richard Parry, Albert Evans and Lt. Col J P Scotland O.B.E. Eye witness accounts were taken from all of them and others and this formed a part of the War Crimes Investigation into the massacre. Bert took no further part after this and was eventually to become Batman to Field Marshal Montgomery C.I.G.S 1947/48. He eventually left the army in 1950.

    He was to become estranged from all of his brothers and the wider family with the exception of Vic Montague, my grandfather and my mum did meet up with him in the 1970's but visits were few and he died in 1993. My mum (Linda Montague), also died the same year and not long after that my grandfather passed on what he knew, this was unusual for him to talk about the war and it wasn't easy but he knew he had to speak out before it was too late. There was much fog and mystery surrounding Bert and what had happened to him, he never spoke of it and we lost contact with his family and have not seen them for a long time.

    Its taken some 25 years to get to this point and I have learnt much but if anyone knows of any links to Albert and Victor Montague then I would be very grateful, its a long shot but worth a try. At the very least I hope others will enjoy reading this story.
    Peccavi, Rich Payne and von Poop like this.
  8. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Not really for this thread, but there's a Stalag VIIIb group on Facebook that may be of interest about his time after his capture.

  9. Dave H

    Dave H Junior Member

    Not wishing to rain on your parade but I feel that the reference to Edgecumbe is a little presumptuous.
    Whilst it is correct to say he was "Killed near this spot" to state that he was buried in Zegerscappel is not.

    As far as i understand it, the bodies from Zegerscappel were exhumed together.
    However, whilst Cpl Webber was formally identified, the Officer was not.
    In fact the clothing found on the body of the officer was not consistent with the type worn by Edgecumbe.

    Although it might be likely that the body of the officer was Lt Edgecumbe, conclusive evidence has yet to be provided to the CWGC.
    We must be careful not to incorrectly identify personnel on the basis of probability alone.
    Rich Payne likes this.
  10. Vortigern

    Vortigern Member

    I had no idea there was a facebook page, have requested to join so hopefully will have a reply soon. Thank you for letting me know, most appreciated!
    MongoUK likes this.
  11. rugbylad_312

    rugbylad_312 Member

    Hi all,

    I have been looking into someone remembered local to my area called James Norton Southam. He is remembered on the Churchover War Memorial and buried in Esquelbecq Military Cemetery. The CWGC give his death date as 27th May/30th May 1940 and was part of 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Lance Corporal, 538041. From looking into the activity of the Battalion I had come across this great thread. Does anyone have any information to whether James was one of the casualties of the massacre or sadly killed in the fighting around the dates provided.



    Attached Files:

  12. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad


    James Norton SOUTHAM
    Lance Corporal, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Army no. 5380431
    He was murdered by the SS between 27 and 30 May 1940. He was 26
    He was the son of William and Ellen Mary Southam, of
    He is buried in grave Sp Mem 3 F 17-24 Esquelbecq Military
    Additional information
    The 29 names below are those of captured soldiers executed at Wormhoudt by the SS, whose bodies were later found, identified, recovered and interred by CWGC, with markers in this cemetery. The remains of the majority of the men murdered by the SS on that day, not all of whom have ever been identified, so chaotic had the retreat become, were disposed of - in many cases after being left for several
    days where they were killed - without their identity tags, ceremony or markers, and have no known grave. Their names are listed among the missing of WW2.
    Men from The Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    ARNOLD, Harry Roberts, Private 5110254
    BIRD, Harold, Private 5102238
    GARSIDE, Walter John Robert, Private 5110617
    GISBOURNE, Alfred, Lance Corporal 5104970
    MOORE, Stanley, Sergeant 5108000
    ASHMORE, Thomas, sergeant 5107559
    BECKETT, William Robert, Private 5101888
    DARBY, George Henry, Private 5113017
    GEORGE, Thomas Edward, Private 5105880
    GOULD, George David Stanley, Private 5112300
    HOLMES, Charles Samuel, Private 5179972
    JENNINGS, Augustus, Warrant Officer Class II (CSM) 5099997
    KELLY, Bernard Patrick, Private 5110606
    MANDERS, William Thomas, Private 5107418
    MORGAN, Joseph Francis, Private 5110751
    NAGLE, Gerald Desmond, Lance Corporal 5110640
    PHILLIPS, John Francis, Private 5105249
    PORTER, Harry, Private 4912619
    SHORT, Joseph, Private 5110639
    SOUTHAM, James Norton, Lance Corporal 5380431
    STOKES, William Harold, Private 5107404
    TOWNSEND, William, Private 5102185
    WILLIAMS, Arthur James, Private 808408
    Cheshire Regiment
    LOCKETT, Charles, Private 4127464 and
    THOMPSON, Edward, Lance Sergeant 4384647
    Royal Artillery
    BOWNS, Horace James, Gunner 1514887 and
    GRINDROD, William Anson Goodwin, Gunner 1493763

    No idea how accurate the list is.Just posted for info. Earlier posts in this thread have the same information

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  13. rugbylad_312

    rugbylad_312 Member

    Thanks Kyle! I must of missed it from the previous replies!

    Have also found out that Sgt Major Augustus Jennings lived in the town I live in!
  14. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    I was on the site the other weekend when I noticed this sign had been attached the Barn. Personally speaking, given the size of the site and the space available I'm not sure the Barn was necessarily the most appropriate place to position it.

    EDU1FapVUAAVxWl (1).jpg

  15. Phil B

    Phil B Junior Member

    There are number of threads that relate to the massacre at Wormhoudt so forgive me if this is not the right one.
    While researching my family tree I found a cousin who was killed on the 28th May 1940. His name is Walter Thomas Webb, service number 2751773 with the 8th Bn Worcestershire Regiment.
    I know he's mentioned on the Dunkirk Memorial but I haven't yet found a grave for him. I know the Battalion HQ was in the chateau at Wormhoudt at this time of his death. Does any one know if he was one of those murdered here? Is there a list of all those murdered in the barn? Thanks, Phil
  16. CL1

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

    Phil he is on the Dunkirk memorial because his body was not found for burial.
    It commemorates those of the British Expeditionary Force who died or were captured there and have no known grave
    Dunkirk Memorial

    Service Number 2751773

    Died 28/05/1940

    Aged 30

    8th Bn.
    Worcestershire Regiment
    Commemorated at DUNKIRK MEMORIAL

    Location: Nord, France
    Number of casualties: 4511

    Cemetery/memorial reference: Column 58.
    Private Walter Thomas Webb (Unknown-1940) - Find A...

  17. Phil B

    Phil B Junior Member

    Thanks Clive, but could he still be one of those murdered at Wormhoudt?

  18. CL1

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

    Phil I have sent a message to Andy who might be able to assist further.

    this is a quote from Andy post no 26

    The number of British soldiers found dead in Wormhout after the battle is recorded as 157. The bodies by order of the Germans were left out on the streets in some cases for as much as ten days and some bodies were left in the Peene Becque River too. The two casualty lists in earlier posts fall far short of this figure and if the figure is to be believed it begs the question where are all the other bodies that were not buried in Wormhout Cemetery? There are 111 men buried in the Wormhout Cemetery who's death is recorded as being in 1940. That leaves 46 men unaccounted.

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
  19. Phil B

    Phil B Junior Member

    Clive thanks for this, so my cousin Walter T Webb could be one of the 46 unaccounted for? I suppose there is no way of telling, apart from DNA perhaps.

  20. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Research up for sale £4,000
    {Second World War; Wormhoudt Massacre, 1940 ] Papers of Rev. Leslie Aitken, 1943-1993, Author of "Massacre on the Road to Dunkirk" (1977; 1988). | Richard Ford



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