Uncle Killed At Dunkirk with the Middlesex Regiment

Discussion in '1940' started by Sandie, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. Sandie

    Sandie Junior Member

    Hi Everyone

    Apologies if this posting is a bit vague and/or in the wrong place. I'm not very good at finding my round forums - bad sense of direction!

    I would like to know if there is anyway of finding out more information about a relative who was killed at Dunkirk. My father only ever told me that his brother was killed at Dunkirk, that's it, just too painful to talk about I guess.

    I have managed to find my uncle on the CWGC site, so I now know his reg. etc., but would like to find out a little more. Is this a possability? If so, how/where should I start?

    Sorry if these questions have 'obvious' answers, but I haven't done any real research into WW2 before.

  2. spidge


    Welcome to the forum Sandie & good luck with your quest!
  3. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member


    It is difficult to say how much information is available on your uncle. Some units were badly broken up and disorganised, whereas other had retired in good order. Also, the term "Dunkirk" can be misleading. Not only did evacuation take place from the town, but also the famous beaches stretched for miles, notable to the north of Dunkirk and well into Belgium. In addition, there were rearguard formations manning the perimeter and in contact with the Germans.

    I am not the person to ask, because I do not do research into individuals, but without knowing more of what you know, such as name, unit, date killed and any other details, there is nowhere to start.
  4. Ali Hollington

    Ali Hollington Senior Member

    If its ok, post the unit details and the date of death of your relative, that might help get thinks started. I have the British Official History of the France and Flanders campaign of 1940 and others on this forum mayhave regimental histories which cover the period.
  5. Sandie

    Sandie Junior Member

    Spidge, Angie & Ali

    Thank you for your warm welcomes and for responding to my query - I'm hoping this reply will come through as I managed to lose a reply to a PM yesterday!!

    I didn't post my uncle's details yesterday as I wasn't sure whether I should or not. I don't have much I'm afraid, only what I found on CWGC Site.

    GEORGE EDWARD WELCH. Private. No. 6340595. 2nd Bn., Middlesex Regiment. Died 1.6.1940 aged 30.

    I'm afraid that's it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Ali Hollington

    Ali Hollington Senior Member

    Had a quick scan of the official history and it has the 2nd Middlesex as a Machine Gun Battalion, part of the 3rd Division II Corp. This corp was holding an area to the East of Dunkirk on the 29th May near FURNES.
    Will have a better look tomorrow.
  7. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Are you his legal next of kin? If so and if you can prove it (for a fee of £25 and with a bit of a wait), you could get a copy of his service record from Army Records. However, it may not give details of what exactly happened to him, as this may never have been recorded.

    Given the date and his age, I take it he was either in the regular army, or was a reservist recalled to the colours.
  8. Sandie

    Sandie Junior Member

    Ali & Angie

    Thank you very much for your replies.

    I don't think I can claim to be next kin. I know he has no surviving siblings and on CWGC memorial it only mentions 'son of' so I don't think he was ever married, but I do know I have elder cousins, so I don't think that will be an option for me. I will however ring the personnel office and enquire, I hadn't thought of doing that.

    Thanks again

  9. MalcolmII

    MalcolmII Senior Member

    for possible sources of info here is the orbat of his Division.
    3rd DIVISION

    7 Brigade

    1st Grenadier Guards
    2nd Grenadier Guards
    2nd Coldstream Guards
    7 Brigade Anti-Tank Co

    8 Brigade
    1st Suffolk
    2nd East Yorks
    2nd Gloucesters to Feb 1940
    4th R Berkshires from Feb 1940 to June 1940
    1st S Lancs from June 1940
    8 Brigade Anti-Tank Co

    9 Brigade
    2nd Lincolns
    1st KOSB
    2nd R Ulster Rifles
    9 Brigade Anti-Tank Co

    Recce 15/19th Hussars
    3rd Division Artillery RA
    7th , 33rd , 76th Field Regt RA, 20th A-T Regt RA
    2nd Middlesex MG Bn

    3rd Division Signals RCSig

    3rd Division RE

    17th , 246th , 253rd Field Co RE, 15 Field Park Co RE

    3rd Division RASC

    23rd , 47th , 48th Co RASC

    3rd Division RAOC

    3 Division RAMC

    7th , 8th , 9th Field Ambulance

  10. Ali Hollington

    Ali Hollington Senior Member

    Have checked the War diary at the National Archives at Kew, it describes the retreat to Dunkirk and mentions a party of 30 men going missing on the beaches on the 1st June. The war diary itself went missing and the copy at Kew was reconstructed shortly afterwards, it includes a list of killed, wounded and missing and your relative is on the missing list. It would appear he made it to the beach area and was in the party of 30 men who disappeared, the suggestion (from the diary) being that the boat they were on was sunk.
  11. Sandie

    Sandie Junior Member

    Malcolm II and Ali

    Thank you both very much for all the information.

    It's so sad to think he may have made it to a boat, thinking he had made it off the beach safely, only to perish on it.

    Thanks again

  12. Ali Hollington

    Ali Hollington Senior Member

    Just in case you should want it the file reference at the National Archive for the 2bn Middlesex war diary for that period is WO 167/791.
  13. Sandie

    Sandie Junior Member


    You must be a mind reader!

    I have just come back to ask you for that information, only to find you have already posted it!

    Thank you very much.

  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  15. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Slightly curious aspect, if you pull up the CWGC records for deaths between 28th May and mid June, there are 45 casualties in the Battalion. Most are given specific dates but some range between 31st May and 2nd June. However Private Welch is shown as between 01/06/1940 and 02/07/1940.
    Small extract here:
    041 WATERS SW 6841672 2ND BN 28/05/1940 MIDDLESEX REGIMENT
    042 WELCH GE 6340595 2ND BN 01/06/1940 - - 02/07/1940 MIDDLESEX REGIMENT
    043 WILLIAMS R 6200072 2ND BN 03/06/1940 MIDDLESEX REGIMENT
    044 WILLIS FEW 6203754 2ND BN 28/05/1940 - - 01/06/1940 MIDDLESEX REGIMENT
    045 WOLFF FG 6459654 2ND BN 31/05/1940 - - 02/06/1940 MIDDLESEX REGIMENT.
    Is the reference to July a typo or does it perhaps signify that his body came ashore in July? Whatever, I hope Sandie can take comfort that he has a known resting place, denied to many of his comrades.
  16. Sandie

    Sandie Junior Member

    Drew & Kevin

    I am so sorry for not replying to your posts sooner.

    Thank you both very much.
  17. singeager

    singeager Senior Member


    The book titled 'We remember Dunkirk' (by Frank Shaw and Joan Shaw) was published in the 90's and has a hundred first-hand accounts of the events of and surrounding the evacuation.
    It won’t give his details or probably even those of his unit, but will give you a very good impression of what he and thousands of others experienced.
    Many of the tales are harrowing and disorganised retreat, lack of transport, minimal or no provisions, constant attack by German air forces, random death, pity and hopelessness for civilians caught up in the events are common themes.
    Try ebay or amazon, you can pick copies up for £5 or less and is well worth the money.

    Hope this helps
    urqh likes this.
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Entry from 31st May 1940 to 1st June 1940
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    He is reported as missing on the 1st June 1940

    I would suspect this file may contain some answers:
    WO 361/83 British Expeditionary Force, France: Middlesex Regiment; missing men
    urqh likes this.
  20. Peccavi

    Peccavi Senior Member

    I don't think I can claim to be next kin

    Don't worry - you are close enough as you are a relative. But first you have to obtain his death Certificate £9 - you can get it by applying online. Then you will need to send this together with the application and £30 for his Service Record.

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