researching 23div supply col rasc

Discussion in '1940' started by stevehayden, May 14, 2012.

  1. stevehayden

    stevehayden Junior Member

    Hi Steve
    Thanks for that being a xxxxxxx which was my first mstake ! I cant believe the info I have already its fantastic
    Cheers Steve
  2. stevehayden

    stevehayden Junior Member

    The first ship which left Dover on Sunday evening (26th) was the armed boarding-vessel Mona's Isle. Her experience on that first trip foreshadowed things to come. She berthed in Dunkirk harbour during an enemy air attack but took on board 1,420 troops. After leaving harbour to return she was straddled by enemy guns on shore between Gravelines and Les Hemmes and shortly after she was heavily machine-gunned from the air. Twenty-three of the men on board had been killed and sixty wounded when she reached Dover at noon on Monday morning. May the 27th. Meanwhile five transports which had sailed earlier that morning were shelled so heavily off the French coast that they could not reach Dunkirk and returned to Dover empt
  3. stevehayden

    stevehayden Junior Member

    As my great uncle was named on the memorial wall does this mean he was identified somewhere or just merely lost in action,or if he was lost at sea and unidentifiable what would they have done with the bodies.
  4. stevehayden

    stevehayden Junior Member

    I have now found out from a relative that maybe he drowned
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Steve,

    If he is named on the Dunkirk Memorial only it usually means there is, either, no body or there is a body but it is unidentified. There are lots of burials relating to 'Unknown Soldier, 'X' Regiment', etc.

    My dad's oldest brother, who was with the 50th (Northumbrian) Division, was drowned just off Bray Dunes on 31 May 1940 when a boat carrying soldiers to a 'Transport' waiting offshore capsized - 11 men from the same unit were drowned in the incident. Again, no identifiable body but he and his mates may be buried at a particular French cemetary as 'unknowns'.


    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  6. stevehayden

    stevehayden Junior Member

    Thanks Steve
    So I guess the likelihood of finding his fianl resting place is pretty slim which is understandable, but I am slowly getting a picture of what happened on that day ,those poor boys .
  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Steve,

    Never say never, but it would be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. He may have a grave, as the sea tends to give up the dead eventually - unless they are trapped - but it could be one of thousands of 'unknown' burials.

    What I have learned from being on this site is that the CWGC, although not perfect, have done in the past and do now a thorough, exhaustive job. There will almost certainly be a record of the investigation into the 'missing' of a particular outfit and/or ship and again, Andy (Drew5233) may be able to assist you with this via his searches at The National Archive or other insights.


    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    You won't find a final resting place but you may find documentation stating when he was last seen alive due to the narrow date range of his death. Basically its very possible someone saw him alive on the 27th and know he was dead from the 28th.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ok ships lost on the 28th May from The Evacuation of Dunkirk

    A/S Trawler Thuringia

    Drifter Ocean Reward

    M/S Brighton Belle

    Trawler Thomas Bartlett

    P/V Queen of the Channel

    Skoot Alice

    H/C Isle of Thanet.

    If you can get to Kew I would look through the following files:

    ADM 1/12602 Loss of HM Drifter OCEAN REWARD

    ADM 267/126 Brighton Belle

    There must be a file on Queen of the Channel somewhere as she was the biggest ship lost that day-I can't find it at the moment though.
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    OK forget the Brighton Belle file. I have a file on the loss of Thuringia and there is a brief mention of the Brighton Belle being lost and she didn't have any casualties.
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    26th May 1940

    With division headquarters established at Beaucamps that morning the division learned that Rustyforce had been disbanded and the division was now under III Corps. The divional commander went off to see III Corps and see if he could get some supplys for his division, there had been no proper delivery for 7 days and the division had existed on begging from other formations or living off the land. At III Corps headquarters authority was given to draw supplies from the railhead at Poperinghe, if there were any left there, or to try nearby farms instead, and to draw 20 vehicles to meet all the divisions' needs from remaining stocks at 1st Ordnance Depot near Furnes. The DAQMG set out for Poperinghe with three lorries and by luck the last supply train train to arrive at the railhead was still being unloaded. All three lorries arrived back at the division, now at Le Petit Mortier, that evening. The visit to the Ordnance Depot had also been profitable, 20 three ton lorries, 3 motorcycles, 6 Bren guns and 4 anti-tank rifles were obtained and after preparing them the vehicle convoy, driven by ordnance depot drivers, started out for division headquarters and made good progress while it was still light but as darkness fell the roads became jammed with traffic moving in the opposite direction and the convoy parked for the night at Kemmel.

    27th May 1940

    At dawn contact was made with division headquarters which had moved to Steenwerck during the night. The RAOC drivers were released and driven to the coast for evacuation and drivers from 8 RNF were brought to Kemmel for the lorries, by 1100hrs eighteen of the 3 ton lorries were back at Steenwerck. Orders arrived from III Corps for a move to the wooded area north east of Poperinghe and the division started out. By evening the division had arrived at its intended location but found 50 Division were already in possession of the wooded area. Attempts to contact III Corps were made but the corps headquarters were nowhere to be found. As 50 Division already had orders to withdraw to the neighbourhood of Kilim, General Herbert decided to withdraw there as well. 50 Division also had orders to dump all unnecessary baggage and stores to make room for carrying as many men as possible and 23 Division followed suit before moving off.

    28th May 1940

    While both divisions were moving General Martel of 50 Division called to tell General Herbert that since 23 Division were in II Corps area they would now come under that corps and that in addition 23 Division would come under the command of 50 Division and its battalions were to be used to reinforcement drafts for 50 Division if required. Each battalion prepared a draft of 100 men to transfer if called upon. The division spent the night in the Crombeke-Stavele area.
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Now after writing up the above history I thought he may have been (and still could be) one of the drivers that took the RAOC chaps to the beaches and ended up being ordered to evacuate with them.

    A quick search of Geoff's wonderfull SE (Still far better than CWGC's by the way) found a bit of a pattern:

    001 CONNOR B H T/162645 23 DIV SUPPLY COLUMN 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    002 EDWARDS E A T/6140504 23 DIV SUPPLY COLUMN 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    003 GOSLING W C T/167354 23 DIV SUPPLY COLUMN 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    004 GUNN G T T/162453 23 DIV SUPPLY COY 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    005 JACKSON S F T/162530 23 DIV SUPPLY COLUMN 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    006 JARVIS L H T/162515 23 DIV SUPPLY COL 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    007 KING C C T/15697823 DIV SUPPLY COL 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    009 RICE J H T/166086 23 DIV SUPPLY COL 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    010 ROGER R A T/162880 23 DIV SUPPLY COL 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
    011 WOOD N T/125621 23 DIV SUPPLY COL 27/05/1940 - - 28/05/1940 ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS

    All recorded on the Dunkirk Memorial, all from the same unit with the same date range of death except the CSM.
  13. stevehayden

    stevehayden Junior Member

    Drew thats interesting thank you ,what do you suppose happened either a ship got hit or capsized, in the grape vine I heard he might of been a driver for an officer.Do you think because the deaths were between 27th and the 28th it might of happened around midnight .
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Its hard to say and I dislike speculating. Normally with a date range it means the first date is when someone last saw them alive and the last date is when it was proven that they had died at some point or first seen dead. There are too many possibilities to speculate at this stage.

    For proper research I would check all of the 23 Div files first just incase and then broaden out from there with any clues along the way. With that many dead with the same date from the same unit-There must be something recorded. CWGC may know but they don't share information with us mere mortals.
  15. John L Dixon

    John L Dixon Researcher

    Steve is already in touch with me. I have the complete existing set of 23rd Division War Diaries and have arranged to send him anything I can. For those with an interest, have a look at Main Page - 70 Brigade and click on 23rd Division on the "List of Units" on the Main Page. Much more still to upload to the Website.

    Have only just returned from France and Flanders.

    John L Dixon
    Lead Researcher
    70th Infantry Brigade 1939 - 1944
  16. John L Dixon

    John L Dixon Researcher

    These names will be added to the database of 23rd Division personnel on Main Page - 70 Brigade Most useful, thanks.

    John L Dixon
  17. Hi, I know this is an old thread now but just wanted to add that my 2nd Great Uncle was also in the 23rd Division supply column and also died at sea on the 27/28th may 1940. In his case, he was aboard the Abukir (ship) which was torpedoed overnight. His name was Bertram Frederick England and the info you have given is almost identical to his story, even down to the wallet etc. It may well be worth looking into the possibility that he may have sailed from Ostend aboard the Abukir. Our family also didn't know what had happened to Freddie for quite some time. He was buried in Belgium then re-buried in Germany 7 years later.
  18. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    He wouldn't have been buried in Belgium, then moved to Germany . A quick look says he was concentrated from Esens Cemetery on the North Sea coast. My notes on Sage show he's buried near 2 other Dunkirk casualties and 3 unknown British soldiers with no date of death but which I believe to be Dunkirk casualties washed North
  19. He died in May 1940 and I have a document that clearly states "reburial" in July 1947. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, sorry.
  20. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    jonheyworth is referring to his notes regarding the Sage Cemetery, in Germany, in which Bertram is buried, and that he is buried next to two other Dunkirk casualties.
    jonheyworth likes this.

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