The Events of Bruyelle on 19 May 1940?

Discussion in '1940' started by Alec Thomas, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. Alec Thomas

    Alec Thomas Member

    Hi All,

    I have posted before on the events of the 21 May 1940 in Calonne, regarding the 8th Warwicks. I’ve been trying to get a better picture personally of the events that happened between 19 May and 21 May 1940, in the Calonne and Bruyelle area. It’s clear that there was significant fighting that spread across the the two towns and beyond. I was particularly interested in events of 19 May 1940, because as far as I can tell nothing particularly happened. Yet between the two cemeteries their are 7 graves. I have seen the War Diary of the 8th Warwicks and seen on an another post the war diary of the 5th Gloucester, both fail to signify any event that could have caused a casualty. That leaves four graves that I have been unable to find information for (or the absence of information). They would be two men from the Royal Artillery (5th Medium Reg and 27 Bt 4 AA reg?), one from the Royal Corps of Signals (42nd Div) and one from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Does anyone have any broad, or any specific information regarding how these 6 men may have passed, and the events of 19 May 1940 in Bruyelle.

    Thank you.
  2. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    You've no doubt read the CWGC Information on these two cemeteries?
    History Information
    All but one of the men buried in Bruyelle War Cemetery died in May 1940, during the battle on the line of the river Scheldt (Escaut) before the final withdrawal to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. Of them, 58 were buried originally in Bruyelle, and the remainder in other villages in the neighbourhood, until November 1940 when they were all brought together in the one site. In September 1944, when the Allies re-entered Belgium one further burial was made in the cemetery. The cemetery contains 147 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 17 of them unidentified.
    History Information
    The British Expeditionary Force was involved in the later stages of the defence of Belgium following the German invasion in May 1940, and suffered many casualties in covering the withdrawal to Dunkirk. All of those buried in Calonne Communal Cemetery were killed in the fighting from 19 to 24 May 1940, when attempting to hold the Germans on the line of the Scheldt. The cemetery contains 71 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, three of them unidentified.

    On 19th May 1940 there's only 1 from 8th Warwicks in Calonne, Lt Harold Thomas, and 7 (none 8th Warwicks) in Bruyelle.
    AINLEY PHILIP EDWARD P E 29 19/05/1940 Lieutenant Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    BEATTIE EDWARD CORRIE E C 36 19/05/1940 Signalman Royal Corps of Signals 42nd Div. Sigs
    DANE ARTHUR A 36 19/05/1940 Gunner Royal Artillery 27 Bty., 4 A.A. Regt.
    DOUGLAS THOMAS T 19/05/1940 Gunner Royal Artillery 18 Field Regt.
    JAMES WILLIAM W 21 19/05/1940 Lance Corporal Gloucestershire Regiment 5th Bn.
    LOBB HERBERT H 21 19/05/1940 Private Gloucestershire Regiment 5th Bn.
    TOSH WILLIAM ARTHUR W A 27 19/05/1940 Bombardier Royal Artillery 5 Medium Regt.

    From the range of units, I'd guess these were casualties dying at a Field Hospital or similar, being brought in wounded from elsewhere, before the main onslaught began. Unless you have 8th Bn men buried elsewhere, then just one casualty for 8th Warwicks, and 7 other men seem to me to indicate a "quiet" period - the calm before the storm.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.

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