8th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment 21st May 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Lake Geneva Brummie, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. I am researching the death of my uncle, 2nd Lieutenant, H L Thomas 113341 of the 8th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. From the evidence I have so far collected it seems reasonable that he was part of Colonel Baker’s counter attack on Calonne ridge and this is where he was killed. However, other than being listed as ‘missing’ on 21st May I have not been able to confirm this. Hehas a grave in Calonne Communal Cemetery but the date of his death is recorded as 19th May. He was also listed as missing in 1941 and 1942. There is clearly an inconsistency here which I am keen to resolve.

    In addition I wonder if anybody knows anything about my uncle and if indeed, he was part of Colonel Baker’s counter-attack team?

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From the battalions war diary-He's reported as Missing on the 21st May. For what it is worth he's mentioned being on TCP Duty on the 12th May with 2nd Division.
     
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  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Beat me to it Andy! :)

    You sent me a couple of pages from the War diary a while ago in relation to a draft of 8 Warwick's that became Chindits later on. Here is the page in question:

    8 RW WD 1940.jpg
     
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    img129.jpg
    img131.jpg

    There is mention of a bridge at Calonne but no ridge, also Baker’s counter attack was more of a 'I'm using HQ troops to fill in gap'.

    There is no Thomas mentioned in the appendix of the Regimental history either, however the CWGC have:
    Second Lieutenant
    THOMAS, HAROLD LEONARD JAMES
    Service Number 113341
    Died 19/05/1940
    Aged 29
    8th Bn.
    Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Son of Leonard James Thomas and Hilda Gertrude Maud Thomas, of Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire. B.A. (Birmingham).


    TD
     
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  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Think I have done enough 1940 for the year - especially as Drew already knows of this thread :rolleyes:

    TD
     
  7. Drew

    Thank you so much for this. Forgive my ignorance but can you explain why he would have been with 2nd Bn on 12th May if he was attached to 8 Bn? Also, would it be worth me checking 2nd Btn diaries etc. to get a better understanding and if so do you have a reference? Thanks again.
     
  8. Bamboo43,

    Thanks so much for this. Can you explain what the MIA WO361 series would tell me? Clearly, there is a contradiction with Harold being listed as missing on 21st May and a final reported date of death as 19th May which I need to resolve. Also, while my father who served from the Normandy Landings, was able in 1944 to acquire Harold’s personal possessions from villagers in Calonne there was no identity tag - I am therefore curious as to how his remains would have been identified. Thanks again!
     
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Thanks so much for this. The assumption I have made is that Harold was indeed one of those selected by Baker and killed in the counter-attack but obviously can’t confirm this. My father who served with RAOC from Normandy onwards visited Calonne in 1944 and interviewed the locals and in so doing obtained Harold’s personal possessions but no identity tag. He was told that Harold died in a ‘massacre of British troops on a hill’. This is obviously consistent with him being part of the counter-attack but hardly verifiable. It also doesn’t tie-in with his recorded date of death on 19th May. Thanks again!
     
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Be careful - mixing Battalions and Divisions can become messy

    TD

    Added
    You may need to contact the CWGC directly to answer some of your questions re indentification and recorded date of death, and ask them to check their files
     
  11. TD,

    Sorry, I didn’t read your reply carefully enough. I am new to this type of research and again forgive my ignorance. However, if I understand this correctly, RWR were part of the 48 South Midland Division so I am curious as to why Harold would be carrying out duties for a different Division or was this standard practice? I have indeed also raised a query with CWGC.
     
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    These files contain information about those reported as missing in action. Sometimes they are just lists with an associated date, but often there are witness statements from other surviving soldiers, or senior officers going into greater detail about an event. They can be hit and miss I'm afraid and as mentioned, this file is for the year 1941 and may not contain any details in regards the 8 RW the previous year.
     
  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Parts of RWR were, they were also parts to other Divisons. For example my father was in RWR but was in 61st Infantry Division

    You must also realise the chaos during May and June 1940, Regiments, Divisions etc were not in little neat pockets/lines, they were scrabbling to survive so whoever was there for whatever Regiment did as they were asked.

    TD
     
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  14. Thanks for your comments, it really was an horrendous time for these young men.
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ignore the WO 361 Missing Men files and ignore the years, the years are when the file was compiled/investigated not when they went missing. They only cover Other Ranks and don't contain officers unfortunately. Which begs the question, where are the Officers Missing Men files?

    TD answered your query regarding 2Bn - He is correct he was with 2nd Division for a period of time-I'm not sure what TCP means. Troop Carrying Platoon maybe?
     
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  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Traffic Control Point maybe or is that a modern term ?
     
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  17. Drew,

    Thanks again for your comments. Do you have a reference I could follow-up regarding his TCP duties with 2nd Division? I am wondering whether this actually is going to be a fruitful lead in terms of how he met his death, or more accurately was reported as a missing officer of the 8 Bn on 21st May. So far I have seen nothing to suggest that he could have died with the 8 Bn on 19th May but do appreciate that it was a fast changing and confusing situation for all concerned. I am also awaiting a response from the CWGC regarding how he was given a date of death of 19th May. Thanks again.
     
  18. Owen,

    Many thanks for this, Imhave certainly settled on ‘Traffic Control Point’ as the meaning of TCP.
     
  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Traffic Control is very much a Corps of Military Police term. Is there anything in his history that suggests a connection with a Provost unit ? It would seem unusual for an infantry officer to be drafted there...or had he been a pre-war Policeman or AA official ? The diary of No.2 Provost regularly refers to 'Traffic Control Posts'. On 12th May their HQ was around Brussels although some sections were still positioned along the route from France into Belgium. There is no mention in the diaries of casualties. IMG_0782.JPG IMG_0783.JPG
     
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  20. Owen,

    Enormous thanks for your post and the diary pages. ‘Lenny’ certainly didn’t have any police or AA experience. The interesting point about him was that my father and his family believed he was involved, in some capacity, in ‘intelligence’. He was a graduate in modern foreign languages from Birmingham University. He had spent a period working for the British Embassy in Santiago, Chile and was also a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. He seems to have fitted the bill for ‘intelligence’ work but I haven’t been able to confirm this.
     

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