WW2: BEF retreating from Louvain and Brussels (May 1940)

Discussion in '1940' started by hubbar1949, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Andy. Top effort ! Where should I leave the rep ?

    It seems that the Belgians should have been on the left flank of 8th Infantry Brigade but Herzele was in the middle of the brigade's line...

    1st Suffolks were mentioned at Erembodegem. (Too far north).
    2nd East Yorks at Borsbeke - very close indeed to the road into Herzele
    4th Royal Berks- Welle and Erembodegem. I think them unlikely. Did you see that they lost a Major with a D.F.C. ? http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2254627/FORD,%20SPENCER%20GEORGE

    8th Infantry Brigade - no locations mentioned between the lines on the Dender and the Schelde (Escault)

    2nd Lincs - Should have moved to Borsbeke. It's not clear if they did. However, they were at Heldergem which is only 2.5km away from Aaigem and any road from there to Herzele.
    1 KOSB - clearly typed up afterwards - confusing. They were on the Dender with 2 Lincs on their right and say that they were left hand troops of 3 Div with 4 Div on their left....Where had 8 Inf. Bde gone ? There is something that I'm failing to grasp here.
    2nd RUR - Stole a lot of Belgian bicycles but then failed to mention any locations.

    9th Infantry Brigade - no locations mentioned after HQ at Borreken (Denderhoutem) prior to move back from the Dender.

    None of these diaries mention any incidents with Belgian troops. My suspicions though fall on 2nd Lincolns. Their location is pretty much correct (assuming a battalion front of three or four miles at least) and they were clearly as jumpy as hell. In Denderhoutem, they reported "Two RASC shot in village. Presumably by enemy agent. All cvilians (male) between 16-60 were rounded up, searched and locked in local school for night.....parachutists believed seen" Even behind the Schelde, they reported "8 parachutists' and we now know that none were employed. I have also heard anecdotally that the British troops in Denderhoutem were shooting at anything that moved...even today, the BEF of 1940 has a bad reputation there.

    I suspect that we're not going to be able to find any definite confirmation here but I'll keep looking !
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  3. hubbar1949

    hubbar1949 Member

    Many thanks to all for this effort!
    I was not even able to read correctly these diaries....
    As for the stolen bicycles, all which were left behind either by military (my father in law was in a machine gunner in a cyclist company of the Chasseurs Ardennais) or by civilians were stolen after by the germans.... attended or not!
    I recall once in deployment in northern Germany (around 1982), a flemish friend of mine, (we were all mixed flemish-walloons in the BAF), when we were leaving a pub at night, this friend "liberated " a german bicycling yelling " C'est le vélo de mon père" ("that's my father's velo") .

    On the other hand, regarding the BEF reputation in Belgium, they are still known to have blown everything after them... often not taking into account they were still belgian foot troops retreating after them
  4. Dirk Van Melkebeke

    Dirk Van Melkebeke New Member

  5. Dirk Van Melkebeke

    Dirk Van Melkebeke New Member

    on 16 May 1940 a Hawker-Hurricane crashed near the castle park Duparc-Locmaria in Herzele, Belgium. The one who joined the wreckage and dragged the pilot (badly burned and deceased) out was Ronny Crease, Royal Engineer 232 Field Coy, Royal Engineers 50-th Northumbrian infantry division,. He was with his unit, 200 meters from the scene of the crash. Does anyone know if the War Diary of this unit mentions this incident?
  6. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    The 3ChA, 3 Régiment de Chasseurs Ardennais, were in defensive positions at Alost from the 16-19 May. The 2 EY, 2 Bn East Yorkshire Regiment, and 4 RB, 4 Bn Royal Berkshire Regiment, were in defensive positions on 18 May on the west bank of the Dendre south of Alost at/near Broek and Erembodegem. The 2 EY had support from an MG platoon of 2 Middlesex Regiment, (2 Mx), and a troop of AT guns from 99 Battery, 20 Anti-tank Regiment RA, (20 AR RA).

    I have a copy of the diary of Major Jean-Olivier Closset, who commanded 11/3ChA in May 40 and notes their daily activities.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021

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