Amiens 20th May 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by apowell, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. apowell

    apowell Junior Member

    Hi,

    I posted previously for some information on my relative Harry Tolley who was captured at Amiens. The help and information you gave was terrific which helped me alot but one issue remains that I just can't solve.

    Name: H. Tolley
    Rank: Gnr
    Army Number: 5250571
    Regiment: Royal Artillery

    The issue is that the Army number seems to indicate the Worcestershire Regiment but from his POW papers and the above information indicates the Royal Artilleyo_O. I've attempted to search the internet on information regarding the capture of Amiens and which British units were involved. I can't find any mention of any Royal Artilley units involved in the defense but maybe he was attached to one of the infantry Regiments.

    My question is does anyone know of any Artilley units or the Regiments involved in the defense of Amiens on the 20th May 1940. Harry if not fighting with the Artillery must have been fighting with one of the infantry Battalions. I'm hoping if only a few Regiments/Btns etc were involved this may narrow my search.

    Any help would be fantastic.

    Many thanks
    Adrian
     
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The Army Number for the Worcesters indicates who he originally enlisted into.
    That is all it indicates.
    Worcestershire Regiment 5239001 - 5328000


    At some point after joining up he left them to join the Royal Artillery.
    Things like that happened alot & is not unusual.
    A soldier kept the same number for his entire service.*
    (Unless he became an officer & got a new one as they used different type of numbering system)

    * as pointed out by another member that's not strictly true.
     
  3. apowell

    apowell Junior Member

    Hi Owen,

    Interesting that a soldier kept the original enlistment number and that's something I've learned today.

    Regards
    Adrian
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Have you considered applying for a copy of his service records from the MoD? They will tell you the unit(s) he served with.

    When you say PoW papers do you mean a liberation questionnaire?
     
  5. apowell

    apowell Junior Member

    Hi Drew,

    Yes sorry it was liberation questionnaire and it's good advice regarding obtaining the service records.

    I found this information

    The War in France and Flanders 1939-1940 by Major L.S. Ellis

    The two British infantry divisions which alone stood between this force and the English Channel were less formidable. The 12th and the 23rd Divisions were two of the three Territorial divisions (the other was the 46th) which had been sent out from England during the spring for labour duties and to continue training. Most of their time in France had been spent on various works of construction in rearward areas. Their training was far from complete and they were not equipped as fighting divisions.

    Armament and transport were on a much reduced scale; they had divisional engineers but no artillery; signals and administrative units were only in skeleton form. The total strength of each was little more than half that of a normal division. The 23rd Division had only two instead of the usual three brigades. The 12th Division, which was to be distributed in four widely-separated towns, was now provided with the artillery protection of an improved troop of four field guns manned by personnel from a Royal Artillery school of instruction.

    According to this information no Royal Artilley units were available at Amiens only a small detachment from the Royal Artillery school of instruction. Is it possible Harry was one of these Gunners.

    I've no information regarding the Royal Artillery school of instruction.

    I'm not the next of kin or have any contact with them so it will be difficult to obtain Harry's service records.

    What do you think of my idea regarding the Royal Artillery school of instruction ?
    Kind regards
    Adrian
     
  6. apowell

    apowell Junior Member

    Hi,

    Regarding the liberation questionnaire mentioned I want to again thank the forum for all the great help you gave last time including a member supplying a copy of Harry's liberation questionnaire.

    You have all been so very helpful and knowledgeble.

    A great forum.

    Many thanks
    Adrian
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    You don't need to be next of kin to apply for the records-Anyone can apply for the basics like the unit he served with. If he died over 25 years ago you can get all of the info anyway. I've noticed you are a relative-If you don't know of any other closer relatives sign it as the NoK.

    Ref the unit I have every Royal Artillery Regimental war diary for 1940 that was part of the BEF. Unfortunately at this stage though there are too many diaries to check against the free time I have without further clues.

    Can you post up the liberation report?
     
  8. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Adrian, see here for information on the unit formed by the RA Instructional Unit. He could have been part of this.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    A Field Regiment was at Locon, NE of Arras on the 20th May around 50 miles away by foot from Ameins.
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Farndales Year's of Defeat only mentions Ameins once on Page 51:

    12th Division, of a similiar status to the 23rd, was on the Somme covering Albert, Doullens, Ameins and Abbevile..... Then 1st Panzer Division swung west and captured Ameins but not until the 7 Royal Sussex had fought to the finish. By the end of that fateful Monday the British Lines of Communication were finally cut and both 12th and 23rd Divisions had ceased to exist as formations
    .

    I've got the 7 Royal Sussex war diary and another book that may help. I'll check later.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I've checked two fairly detailed books on Ameins and there is no mention of any Arttilery Regts or Batteries in Ameins. It appears to have been defended by 7 Royal Sussex, a couple of ad-hoc RE Coys and a RAMC unit. There is a mention of artillery fire but both accounts state it was French Artillery. 7 Royal Sussex diary has a nice sketch map with units marked down to platoon level but no artillery.

    Currently thinking he may have either been passing through has an individual or he was attache dto one of the units as a driver or another trade.
     
  12. apowell

    apowell Junior Member

    Hi,

    Many thanks Gentleman and sound advice.

    All the evidence from the forum and internet confirms no Royal Artillery was present at the defense of Amiens and if I'm not mistaken the 12th Divisions Artillery was left in the UK.

    I knew that the battle for France in 1940 was a nightmare for us but reading in more detail what odds were stacked against our soldiers is shocking and the lack of equipment.

    Given the dire situation it's not surprising Harry from the Royal Artillery was at Amiens for whatever reason and I need to get his service records to find out more. Is it possible that he was attached to the Royal Sussex Regiment as anti tank because I did notice on the CWGC entries Gunners who were attached to Infantry Regiments eg.
    REANEY, DOUGLAS

    Rank:
    Serjeant

    Service No:
    2043590
    Date of Death:20/05/1940
    Age:19
    Regiment/Service:Royal Artillery227 Bty., 57 (1/5th Bn. The East Surrey Regt. ) Anti-Tank Regt

    Many thanks
    Adrian
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Soldiers from different regiments were attached all over the place to make up battalion numbers, many were employed as drivers. He wouldn't have been an anti-tank gunner with them. All Brigade Anti-Tank Coys were infantry in 1940. A troop was drawn from each battalion inc one officer to make up a Company.

    REANEY, DOUGLAS
    Rank:
    Serjeant
    Service No:
    2043590
    Date of Death:20/05/1940
    Age:19
    Regiment/Service:Royal Artillery227 Bty., 57 (1/5th Bn. The East Surrey Regt. ) Anti-Tank Regt


    Who's this chap? Don't get confused with these details. Some whole battalions were converted to Artillery Regiments due to a shortages and the regiment was allowed to keep its old regiment in the title for tradition etc.

    Can you post a copy of the Liberation Report?
     
  14. apowell

    apowell Junior Member

    Hi Drew,

    I was only drawn to the soldier mentioned because of his date of death and mention of both Royal Artillery and Infantry Regiment. Your answer puts to bed my idea but I'm new to this military research but very keen to learn:D

    I've I hope attached the Liberation Report as requested and any information you could offer would be fantastic.

    One question that interests me is that Harry states he enlisted May 1938 would this have been regular or TA ?

    Many thanks for al for help.
    Adrian
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers for the uploads but they are too small to read. Email the originals to (my username)@hotmail.com and I'll upload them for you.

    Ref joining up he's too early for the Militia IIRC so he could have been either TA or Regular on that date-Again thats one for the service records.
     
  16. RETEP

    RETEP New Member

    I have been researching my Dad's war experiences. He is still with us at the age of 94. He was with the 7th Royal Sussex at Amiens where he was wounded and captured. He spent four and a half years in a coal mine in Poland. I went to Ameins and saw the site of the battle and the memorial that the French have erected, and also St. Roche station where the train they were travelling on was bombed. Dad is reluctant to talk about his war experiences, he says "I have spent 70 years trying to forget". I have managed to put together a reasonable account from information on the internet etc.

    Could you tell me where I could get a copy of the 7th Royal Sussex war diary? It would certainly help in reconstructing the events that he lived through.
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    If you promise to put a fiver in a military charity box I'll send you a copy for free. Send me a Private Message with your name and address. There's a couple of nice detailed sketch maps of the railway showing all the Company positions, where the train was when it was bombed and enemy lines of attack.

    Pass on my regards to your father and I would ask him two questions. What Company he was in and who his officers were down to Platoon level if he can remember. Oh and did he complete a Liberation Report in 1945.


    Cheers
    Andy
     
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  18. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Another generous offer, Andy.
     
  19. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    On p113 of h8s book "Panzer leader" Guderian mentions a British battery captured in Albert by the 2nd Panzer Division drawn up on a parade ground and issued with training ammunition. His comment is that the speed of the advance has prevented the British from being prepared. It is possible that this was the training battery and it diodntl have any other ammunition or stores. Albert is only 30-45 mins drive from Amiens.
     
  20. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Better late than never. ;)

    The British defenders of Albert where a "Flying Column" set up by Brigadier Beauman GOC Northern District.

    It consisted princially of 7 RWK fully mobilized by an RASC coy. Attached were a 4-gun 25-pdr battery stitched together from the General Reinforcement Depot at Forges-les-Eaux and a section of RE drawn from 218 Army Tps Coy RE in Dieppe.

    In British narratives, there is reference to the RWKs being issued at the last minute with Boyes ATk rifles that almost nobody had ever seen - let alone fired - but issued with training rounds. There is no indication that the 25-pdrs were similarly handicapped. On the contrary, they claim a handful of tank kills before being overrun.
     

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