Tom Newton Longland, Pte., 2nd Bn., Northamptonshire Regt.

Discussion in '1940' started by malcwayland, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Good Afternoon, all – I have been requested by a friend of mine to research the war service of his father, and would greatly appreciate any help Members can give. The man concerned was Tom Newton Longland, born 27 September 1910, in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire.

    His son, (my friend Michael Longland), remembers only that his father was taken POW when his unit was withdrawing towards Dunkirk in 1940, that he spent the remainder of the war in captivity, and that at least one of the camps was in, or close to, Poland. We are in the process of completing the MOD forms for copies of his father’s service record, but thought I would make a start while we wait to hear from them.

    I have been able to ascertain (Via “Ancestry”, “Find My Past” and other online sources), that Private Tom Newton Longland, 5881686, served with the 2nd Bn., Northamptonshire Regt.. The POW records on ‘FMP’ show that he was given the POW number 1138 and incarcerated in Stalag 8A, which I believe to be Gorlitz, Saxony, (Now Zgorzelec, Poland), and Camp 344, which I believe was Stalag VIIIB, Lamsdorf, (Now Lambinowice, Poland).

    I am particularly interested in finding the exact date of Tom’s capture, and then in reading the Bn. War Diary for the period prior to that date, and also the date he was liberated, but would be delighted to hear anything at all about Tom’s military service.

    Many thanks

  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I have both of the Northamptonshire Regt. histories which include the 2nd Battalion in France & Flanders, and most of the War Diary I believe...He is likely to have been captured either with C Company at Maroeuil on 23rd May or at St Eloi on the Ypres-Comines canal on 27th / 28th May.

    If he completed a POW questionnaire upon his release, it will be in the National Archives and will probably give the most clues.
  3. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Rich - from your previous postings I suspected (and hoped!) you might be willing to contribute, and many thanks indeed for your input. I've just been reading the War Diary entries for the 21st - 24th May posted on another thread, and will now look for those of the 27/28th. Where was the 'C' Coy info obtained - the Regt. History?

    Now to beg someone going to the NA to have a look for a POW questionnaire!
  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    You ought to consider submitting a request to Swiss Red Cross for his records in January 2020 via this link -

    Requests for information about people held during Spanish Civil War or Second World War: Quarterly limit reached

    You need to check the site 8am GMT and if the application form isn’t visible check every 15 minutes until it is visible. You need to complete the form quickly as the window had closed before 10am GMT in September.

    You could do worse than request Drew at Drew5233 or Lee at PsyWar.Org to do a look up and copy of the POW Questionnaire if he completed it.

    Good Luck

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Malc, I have an early start tomorrow and no time to scan further, but here is a taster from one of the Regimental histories...

    CL1, malcwayland and ozzy16 like this.
  6. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Steve - Sounds liked excellent advice and these are certainly avenues I doubt I would have got round to for several weeks at least - if ever! Have made an entry for 20 Jan 2020 on my calendar for next year. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and for your advice.

    Rich - Thank you again. Very interesting and thought provoking, regarding what these men were undergoing, and an equally possible date of capture for Tom. I just hope he did indeed fill in a POW questionnaire upon his release that will confirm just which it was. Anyway, thanks to you I can now map out for Michael some of the ground his father would have traveled during the withdrawal, and give him an idea of the intensity of the fighting Tom was involved in.

    Although a novice at WWII records, I've been researching the WW1 service of the men of the village I was brought up in for many years, and have traveled the Western Front visiting the graves and memorials of the ones who didn't come home. Little did I realise that when visiting the areas around St Eloi, Maroeuil, Souchez and Vimy Ridge (Where my Canadian Gt. Uncle fought), that one day I would be researching these very same areas for men of the next generation!

  7. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    The 2nd Northamptons were part of the 17th Bde alongside the unit I study (the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers) they took heavy casualties during the battle of Arras, losing many of their officers and NCO's. (see the page above) This caused them to be assigned as the reserve battalion along the Ypres-Comines canal, doing amazing work covering the withdrawal of the RSF when they were forced back from hill 60. They were held in high regard by those that fought alongside them.
    good luck with your research. look for a book called "De Slag om de Spoorweg en Vaart" by Henri Braem - it will help to understand the action there.
    (or i can supply you with a copy of mine about the RSF..)
  8. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Thank you, skimmod - I was aware of the 17th Bde. and its component units, and just this afternoon have been looking to see where the 17th was in action. It's quite uncanny - I have spent many hours on and near Hill 60 and walking beside the Ypres- Comines canal while doing my WW1 research, pretty much oblivious to the intensity of the WW2 fighting that also took place there! Another very useful piece of information - much appreciated.
  9. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    UPDATE 03 Oct 2020: Tom Longland's Service Record arrived this morning, and as an added bonus there was his little red booklet entitled "Regular Army Certificate of Service" giving some details of Tom's service. (However, the little pouch on the inside of the rear cover where the Certificate itself was contained originally is empty.) Anyway, unfortunately the SR doesn't give a date for his capture, and although I've tried twice now to log onto the ICRC websie (As per Steve's suggestion, above) at the designated time, I haven't managed to register my interest. However, the SR DOES state that on 25 Jul 1940 Tom was a 'guest' at Stalag XX1, and I believe was transferred to Stalag XX1A on 3 October 1940. (Exactly 80 years ago today!). On 29 Oct 1940 he was Tx'd to Stalag XX1B, and on 16 Jun 1941 to Stalag V111B. (Reported by the Germans on 9 Sep 1941). Tom Longland Service Record 2s.jpg

    I'm attaching two images of the relevant pages - sorry if they're not in right order. If anyone can interpret any of the 'Reported By' and 'Reference No.'entries I would be most grateful.

    In the 'Casualty' column there is an entry dated 24 Jun 1940, and I'm taking this to be the date on which Tom's NOK (His wife) would have been informed?

    Have also been reading up on 2nd RSF as per skimmod's input of last year - some grim reading at times and they certainly seemed to have paid heavily for 17th Bde's resistance.
    Tom Longland Service Record 1s.jpg

    As always, help and advice greatly appreciated.
  10. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Sorry to bore you again people, but would really appreciate some guidance here. I'm reading that Tom rejoined his regiments depot at Northampton on 15 August, and on the 16th he was posted back to the 2nd. Bn. which I believe was at Aldershot at the time. Now this is the first place where I get lost - "2/65/39 DETAILS POSTED Pte 2.9.39" What is meant by Details in this instance? I then think he was posted to the Infantry Training Centre (Dering Lines, Brecon?) on 14.10.39, after which he was posted back to the 2nd Bn on 23.12.39 (Which I think was now in France - date they embarked, please?, 4 September?) but again I've had no luck with the "2 Ech 5/40" entry - who/where they? I gather that they were responsible for posting Tom to No1 Infantry Base Depot on 26.12.39. Whereabouts was this at this time, please? Finally, I believe Tom was posted back to his Bn. on 5.2.40, but again I've been unable to locate whereabouts they were.


    I know that 17 Bde suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Arras, and the 2nd Northants was no longer an effective fully functioning Battalion after it. I believe this map (Courtesy Battle_of_Arras 21_May_1940) indicates 17 Brigades position as a (Wheeled?) Infantry Brigade at Arras?


    Many thanks in anticipation,
  11. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Good afternoon, all

    Would be very grateful if someone could confirm (Or put me right!) regarding my interpretation of the above map, especially as I've now found the date of his capture to be the 22nd May 1940. This thanks to WO 416/227/310 at TNA. States :

    Name: Thomas N Longland;

    Dof B: 27/09/1910; Place of Birth: Ramsey ;

    Regiment/Unit/Squadron: The Northamptonshire Regiment; Service Number: 5881686.

    Date of Capture: 22 May 1940.

    Theatre of Capture: Arras.

    Camp Name/Number: Stalag XXIB Schubin.

    PoW number: 1138.

  12. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    Hello Malcolm,
    Some extracts that hopefully might assist, these are from my book on the RSF at the Ypres-Comines canal 4 days later.

    The Battle of Arras and the road to St Eloi

    There are better books available to describe the battle of Arras and other units played a more active role during the next few days, so I will cover this by reproducing extracts from the battalion war diary and from some of the private diaries of members of the battalion.

    [2RSF war diary] 22nd May - During the morning the battalion moved forward again to take up position west of Arras on the line of the River Scarpe, which was supposed to be held by the French, but it was found on arrival, the French numbered a mere handful. The move down from Vimy Ridge was greatly impeded by heavy and constant aerial attack, the roads becoming almost unusable, as they were blocked by dead refugees and their carts.

    [Lt Livingstone Bussell’s diary] The Company fell in at about ten o'clock ready to march off. Just as Johnny was about to give the order to move off, there was a curious whizzing noise and then a thud. I have never seen the Company move so fast before as they did to get into the slit trenches under the huts. This noise occurred twice, and I think they must have been dud bombs. However, we fell in again five minutes later and marched across country in open order towards Arras. When we were half way there a French Artillery position on our right flank received a heavy bombardment. Two miles short of our new position at St. Catharine’s Bridge the Company closed and we marched down the road for the rest of the way in threes. Shells were continually exploding off the road on our left. On reaching St. Catherine’s village we cut off to the right through some houses and parked the Company on the edge of a field while Johnny and I reconnoitred a route to the position. Shells were still falling in the vicinity. Finally, the platoons took up a position on the edge of a stream and spent the night digging in.

    [17 Bde war diary] 10:00 - Bns started to move fwd from the Vimy area to occupy the posn. They were covered by a screen of carriers and were attacked at intervals by dive bombers on the forward move.

    The 17 Brigade front was then formed as follows:

    On the left flank the 2nd RSF with its left flank in the outskirts of Arras. In the centre the 6th Seaforths and on their right the 2nd Northamptons. On the right of the Brigade was the D.L.M. (French Armoured Division) Just after the positions were taken, a heavy concentration of enemy tanks, estimated to be about 60 in number, was observed to be concentrating on the right flank.

    [2RSF war diary] 12:00hrs - The enemy shelled the whole front heavily. The battalion started to have a fairly constant stream of casualties. Air attacks continued throughout the day.

    [Lt Livingstone Bussell’s diary] We arrived at St. Catharine’s at 3 p.m., but the Company spent some hours in some farm buildings, which were eventually Company H.Q.s while Johnny [Capt Vaughan] made his reconnaissance. They got into position at about 6 o'clock. We spent the night in a house opposite the farm which had a cellar although its windows were on street level. The village church and surrounding buildings had been completely smashed up. A few refugees were strolling about, both men and women. Difficult to know what to do about them as I was sure several of them were fifth columnists. I met Major Morrison in the evening who told me to go up and contact the Green Howards the next morning. I had a few hours’ sleep in a very comfortable bed. One of the few nights that we were able to put on our pyjamas. There was a 30cwt truck which had got stuck in a shell hole outside our Coy H.Q. I think it ran into it about 5 a.m. but as the Northamptons didn't come back for it, we towed it away with us, and used it until the end.

    [17 Bde Anti-tank war diary] On the morning of the 23rd, 2Lt Whitehead arrived from brigade, and reported to Capt Goldie that enemy tanks were thought to be approaching, from the Bde right flank. Positions were taken up. No tanks in force were seen, but our guns opened fire at long range on two tanks.

    Two guns under 2Lt Smith were withdrawn, but one gun was captured by the enemy, who shelled the Northamptonshires are very heavily, and rendered the position untenable. Four guns under Capt Goldie eventually withdrew, with the French tanks and took up a position in two groups. One group of guns under Capt Goldie in Neuville St Vaast, and one group of two guns on the high ground above, under CSM Lunn. Lt Thomson commanded the carriers, and also withdrew to the line of Neuville-Ecuries.

    Coy HQ and 2Lt Whitehead had a few awkward minutes dodging three Messerschmitt’s, who machine gunned the party, and also the carriers, though without much results. Two soldiers were wounded, three haystacks proving a most able shield.

    [17 Bde war diary] 23rd May 10:45 Enemy pressure was increasing against the 2 Northamptons and 6 Seaforth. The former reported that the enemy had crossed the R.Scarpe and were in Mont St Eloi and Mareouil villages. A later report from 2 Northamptons stated that they had been forced back from the river line by a distance of 1000 yds on their right and to the north edge of Mareouil on the left. The situation in in Mareouil was restored at about 12:00 hrs by a counter attack carried out by the reserve company 6 Seaforth (Captain Whitelaw)

    [2RSF war diary] 23nd May - Enemy pressure increased on the Bde right flank. During the early afternoon, the Bde sector was subject to concentrated dive-bombing attacks and heavy shelling following the withdrawal of the D.L.M., leaving the Bde right flank absolutely open, the enemy succeeded in working his way round the right flank and well behind the Bde front. It was decided to withdraw the Bde to face a new front thus created. The Bde swung back, pivoted on the RSF left, which maintained its original position, and a general line was taken up along the Arras – Souchez road. The withdrawal was subjected to heavy shelling and dive-bombing attacks which inflicted many casualties. The new position was held.

    [2RSF war diary] 24th May – 02:30hrs - The Bde was ordered to come out of action. There was no enemy pressure during the darkness, but as soon as daylight came the battalion, which was the rear-guard, was subjected to shelling and low-flying attacks, as well as long range M.G. fire.

    The battalion’s withdrawal was along a very devious route owing to M.G. fire from its flanks. During the 27-mile march to Douai, Lt Thomson and the carriers did excellent work in engaging enemy M.G.’s, thus materially assisting in the withdrawal of the battalion. During the afternoon, the Douai area was reached. During the night, the battalion proceeded to Templemar area by M.T., reaching it during the night 24/25th.

    Between Arras and Ypres
    When the 17 Brigade came away from Arras they did so having taken quite a few casualties.

    The 2nd Northamptonshire regiment suffered the most with 352 casualties including the CO, 2i/c, Adjutant and the RSM. This amounted to almost half the battalion and left it much weakened as replacement drafts were finding it difficult to get forward. Many of these had been taken due to a large armoured attack on their flank on the 22nd.

    The Seaforths had been roughly handled as well, taking 150 casualties, many of which died on route in the accompanying ambulances, as extraction to the coast was proving difficult. Many of this territorial battalion had shown great courage along the Scarpe but were certainly not accustomed to being under fire or marching the many miles required.

    It’s more difficult to work out the casualties of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, but their war diary notes that on the 22nd by 12:00 BST that they started to have a constant stream of due to heavy shelling and air attacks.

    They also note on the 23rd during the withdrawal that they were subjected again to heavy shelling and dive-bombing attacks which inflicted many casualties.

    It is known that Major Adamson, commanding A Company and 2Lt McDavid of B Coy were badly wounded. Those killed were Sgt Murdoch, Fus Menzies and Fus Gillie. Amongst the wounded, Fus Barry and Fus German died of their wounds en route back to the UK. There may be others, but the battalion records and dates recorded in the CWGC are either confirmed as not correct or just do not exist.

    After Sgt Murdoch was badly wounded, the Platoon Serjeant Major, WOIII McNamee tried to carry him back as the company retreated. Unfortunately, he was hit again and the PSM was forced to abandon him. Later, with 2Lt Wallace, he went back to find the sergeant, but he had been taken by the Germans and subsequently died of his wounds.

    The RSF were ordered out of action on the 24th of May in the early morning and their withdrawal was quite arduous as they acted as the rear guard for the brigade. This 27-mile march to Douai was subjected to shelling, air attacks and heavy machine gun fire from its flanks. The success of this rear guard was attributed to Lt Thomson and his carriers engaging the enemy whenever they threatened to stop the movement. They proceeded to Seclin by M.T. where they joined by Lt Col Tod and were also met by some of the replacements sent up from number 1 Infantry Brigade Depot near Rouen.

    Attached Files:

    malcwayland likes this.
  13. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Thank you Skimmod for this very interesting and helpful response.

    As I now understand it, on the morning of the 22nd the 2nd Northamptons were overlooking the Scarpe with the French on their right in Mont-Saint-Éloi. 'A' Coy was in the Bois de Maroeuil; 'B' Coy in the centre; 'D' Coy in Maroeuil village and 'C' Coy was in Reserve. German tanks and infantry were seen at about 1300 but a request for artillery support was not forthcoming, and at about 1530 the enemy started shelling A and B Coys; A Coy suffered heavy casualtiesand was obliged to withdraw from the woods, becoming the Reserve and C Coy were sent to replace them in the wood.

    The War Diary states "During the night D Company were attacked in MAROEUIL village and enemy obtained a foothold in the village." This sounds like the first occasion that German infantry were in close contact with the Northamptons, so I think that, given the evidence of the German POW card and the fact that afterwards his battalion posted him as 'missing' since the 22nd, Tom must have been captured during the night action.

    As you say, 17 Bde had indeed taken quite a few casualties, with the the 2nd Northants suffering 352 casualties (Including several senior officers and the RSM) which accounted for almost half the battalion.

    Again, many thanks to you and also to Drew5233 for the War Diary.
    skimmod likes this.

Share This Page