2 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers with the BEF 1939 to 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Georges niece

    Georges niece Member

    Hello Eric and Drew5233, My great uncle Corp G A Palmer 6977469 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers KIA 29/4/1940 is also buried in Esquelmes Cemetary. I visited his grave June 2014. The family were told that he was "blown to bits" at Dunkirk. Apparently he was a stretcher bearer. His sister is still alive and was happy to know he has a real grave and resting place. My limited research tells me the Germans broke through the lines at the Scheldt River (where the cemetary is located) on 23/5/1940. He is listed as KIA on 29/5/1940. He obviously didnt make it to the beach at Dunkirk so I would love to learn what happened to him. Any advice on where to go from here would be very appreciated.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Corporal Palmer
    http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2254064/PALMER,%20G%20A :poppy:

    From CWGC's website

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  3. Georges niece

    Georges niece Member

    Thanks Drew, I am curious as to how to find out more in regards to his death 6 days after the germans crossed the river. It would seem he was killed as part of the retreat to the Gort line.

  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There's nothing jumping out in the war diary and oddly he isn't listed in the battalions missing men file. On the 29th May the battalion was at Pollinkhove which is some 40 miles north of Pecq close to where he is buried. An educated guess would say he was captured on or around the 23rd May fighting on the Scheldt and died a few days later of his wounds whilst in the care of a German field hospital..

    CWGC release more info on their WW2 burial next month and it will be interesting to see if he was moved to Esquelmes in September by the locals.
  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Hi Richard,

    s.s Manxman was by no means the last ship to evacuate troops from France and she sailed from Brest. The last ships to leave St Jean de Luz on the 25 June, the day the Armistice came into force, were the cargo ships Baron Nairn, Baron Kinnard and Kelso, with around 4,000 between them; the trooper Ettrick and the liner Arandora Star having loaded there the day before. It is true that most of the BEF had been evacuated from the Breton ports by the 20th and the later departures were mostly, but not solely, with Polish and Czech troops and civilians. I think there were even later departures from the south of France, but have not managed to find the records.

  6. Georges niece

    Georges niece Member

    Thanks Drew5233, I hope those records can shed some light on his whereabouts.
    Regards Sue
  7. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    To add a little to Drew's information - it would seem that the most likely way to be mentioned in the missing personnel files is to be unaccounted for. In the sense that some units were better than others at keeping tabs on their men for whatever reasons - some include nominal rolls, taken at various stages of their erxperience in France. The Casualty Department of the War Office made strenuous attempts to account for individual soldiers and the files that exist in the National Archives are often incomplete - the information was almost always obtained primarily from the unit depot and the unit didn't always supply lists or copies of lists, but merely gave the names of individuals they knew about. If they had corroborating evidence of a man's fate, they could tick him off the list of the missing, but often had to wait for ths agonisingly slow process of finding out from the German authorities, usually via the Red Cross, or the French authorities - and many other sources. In the case of wounded POW's we often only know about them because the French hospital/civil authority had reported a death from wounds or a municipal burial. The Germans were often very lax in their reporting, particularly if they were responsible for the burial.
  8. Georges niece

    Georges niece Member

    Thankyou Brian. It would have been a very frantic time so I'm grateful for any information I can get but still I understand the confusion that surrounds records of the time. My aunt was just so grateful knowing that one of the family had found his grave site and paid respects on behalf of the family. She still speaks of her brother.
    Regards Sue
  9. bodum1

    bodum1 New Member

    My uncle Fusilier James Dummigan is also buried in Esquelmes War Cemetery 27/05/40 I have been to his grave a couple of times and was able to take my father on one occasion. I found out today that he was buried in a place called Hollbeck first.I am trying to find out any information on what happened to him ???
  10. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Sue, the new information Drew referred to is there now and there is indeed a graves concentration report - attached below. If I read it right, it would appear that he was K/A - killed in action - on 29th May and temporarily buried at Hollebeeke - map sheet and location reference given, then reburied in Esquelmes 8th July 1947. Hollebeke is 50km away so that might help your researches into how he was killed.

    I found this from an earlier post on here (often the best place to look) by Skimmod about the 2nd R.I.F in May 1940: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/37951-2nd-royal-inniskilling-fusiliers-may-1940/

    "29th may 1940
    00:00 - The column left Vierstraat at about midnight and proceeded Xin the black darkness without lights through Poperinghe to Pollinchove behind the Yser canal arriving at about 0500 hrs. X
    05:00 - We were billeted in the village together with those of the Wilts and some Grenadier Guards. The morning was spent resting, owing to the number of German aircraft it was decided to move out into the fields in the afternoon. Unfortunately a shell landed right in the middle of a section standing round a truck, there were unfortunately some nasty casualties as a result of this.
    19:00 - That evening the battalion was organised into two coys under Capt. Nugent and Lt. Foulkes, and was told to go into reserve behind a french regiment holding loo bridge which was to be held by them until 0530 hrs,30th may. XWhen our recce party went up to look at the position we were just in time to see the french withdrawing !!! The time being barely midnight! XWe at once pushed to the bridge and got there just as the Germans reached the other side. Fortunately the bridge was blown and also the Germans made no immediate attempt to cross.
    04:30 - Nothing of any great importance happened during the night and we successfully withdrew at 0430hrs on the 30th. X

    Now he may have been killed when the column was bombed - but it's a long way (35km) back to Hollebeke to be buried, and it was firmly in German hands, so I can't see that. I would either assume Drew is right - he was wounded in the action of 27th May at Hollebeke and died later of his wounds - or the date was misreported, particularly as they seem so insistent he was killed in action.

    'Confusion', doesn't even come close to describing the situation for casualty reporting in 1940. While Dunkirk was going on, the War Office were moving the Casualty Department to Liverpool as part of the general move out of London. They had 17 trained staff - some of whom didn't even make the move north and they had to recruit locally - to deal with many thousands of post Dunkirk enquiries. By the end of 1940 they had 407 staff. Publicly the casualty branch regarded as ‘unfortunate’ the coincidence of the move to new premises and the retreat of the BEF and regretted the delay in dealing with enquiries which ensued. Privately they realised the entire British government apparatus was neither designed nor prepared to deal with defeat on such a scale and pace as happened in May 1940.

    I'd recommend reading Skimmod's post about the action of 27th May to glean more information and to the last poster also.

    Attached Files:

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  13. Georges niece

    Georges niece Member

    Again many thanks Brian and Drew, I've just read the reports from 27 th to 29th May, It gives quiet an insight as to what those men were going through and has given me some answers to Georges fate. Drew thank you for the photo's not only of the grave but the ones you previously posted. I've printed these for my Aunt now 92 and Mum 88. Thanks Again, Sue.
  14. Koen

    Koen Member

    I have in my collection a copy of The Spring of Shillelagh. The last two pages of the journal contain the names of the men that where taken prisoner during the withdrawal to Dunkirk. It also explains to the families of these men how to sent letters and parcels. I'm not certain that the list of POW is complete. The journal dates spring 1941 and there is a possibility that not al the men were accounted for at that time.

    Attached Files:

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  15. Koen

    Koen Member


    Attached Files:

  16. Koen

    Koen Member

    Officers June 1939

    Attached Files:

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  17. JohnMoore

    JohnMoore New Member

    John Moore, my grandfather, was a fusilier in the 2nd battalion who enlisted in 1938 and made it through to the invasion of Italy where it appears he was wounded (lost arm, most of hip) and subsequently saved by 2 gurkhas. He recovered after 10 weeks in a hospital in Italy to come home and raise a family with his wife Kathleen and 8 children (one of whom is my mother). He passed away when I was 9 and now as I am getting older (my youngest will be going into 2nd year of university in the Fall) I yearn to know more about him.

    I am new to this forum and would appreciate any direction available to help me piece together the history of John Moore (Grandad) who sat me on his knee when I was very young and told me about exotic locations and strange people.

    My mother is searching through many boxes currently for his log book, which she is convinced she has.


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  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi John

    Welcome to the forum

    One of the most important documents to obtain is his official service record as that will tell you where, when and who with, after that its time to fill in the how etc which is usually done either from War Diaries (as you know who & when) or from Regimental histories or books on the specific battles or areas where he was.

  19. Koen

    Koen Member

    Hello John,

    In the acquittance Roll of A Coy there is a Moore J listed, Regimental Number 6980197.

    Regards Koen
  20. redvining

    redvining New Member

    Major R. E. D. Vining was my grandfather. He served in the last few months of 1st World War, with the Somerset Light Infantry, and suffered, as many did, with the effects of being gassed. He was caught, as mentioned here, and then root marched 200 miles into Germany where he spent the rest of the war in Spangenberg Castle helping others to escape - I believe he was too old to be allowed to escape himself. He died very young and not long after he retired - whilst attending a regimental dinner in London. Like many others trying to keep the memory of what these brave guys did I'd welcome any information you might have on him!
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