Lord Gort's HQ at Dunkirk

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Paul Reed, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    I know it was at De Panne.

    Are there any photos? Any more of a precise location?

    The British Official History is vague on it.
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Thanks Tom. I also drew a blank online and was surprised a more precise location wasn't in the OH.
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Paul, I remember seeing a plaque referring to Gort in De Panne about ten years ago and have looked it up on a Flemish site. Surprised to see that it was demolished in 2007. A former convent school, it was the town hall from 1919 to 1940. The site has some pictures of the plaque being unveiled in 1982.


    Untitled Document

    If you'd like a proper translation, just shout.

    Pensionaat "Les Soeurs de la Sagesse", 18-20, Zeelaan.
    De congregatie werd in 1703 gesticht door St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort en hield zich in Frankrijk vooral bezig met volksonderwijs en ziekenzorg. Bij de wet van 5 juli 1904 werd in Frankrijk het ganse katholiek onderwijs verboden, enkele zusters van de congregatie kwamen zich in De Panne vestigen. Franssprekenden konden er, althans tijdens de 1ste W O, lessen volgen.
    Het gebouw herbergde gekwetste soldaten , tijdens W O I, alvorens het hospitaal L'Ocean operationeel werd.
    Van 1919 tot 1940 werd het gebouw als gemeentehuis gebruikt.

    Tijdens het bombardement van De Panne door de Duitsers in mei 1940, werd adjunct-politiecommissaris Masson er door een exploderende obus zwaar gewond, hij overleefde niet.
    In de jaren 1950/60 werd er een "pension-restaurant-café A l'Hôtel de Ville" uitgebaat, door de familie Debaenst-Penninck.
    Ter nagedachtenis van de Britse Generaal Lord Gort, die hier zijn hoofdkwartier had in 1940, werd op 7 juni 1982 een gedenkplaat op de gevel geplaatst. Een ere-peloton van militairen uit Lombardsijde stond onder bevel van 1WM Alain Fontaine.
    Anno 2007, helaas, werd het gebouw gesloopt.

    Met dank voor de info aan Dhren Germain Dezeure en Alain Fontaine.
    Informatie "100 Jaar St-Pieters De Panne" G. Dalle.

  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Battleground Europe book on DUNKIRK by Patrick Wilson on page 131 has a photo of it & says it was located at 16-18 Zeelaan.

    Opposite the Town Hall is the building , no 16-18 Zeelaan, which was General Gort's last headquarters before he was evacuated back to England. The general stayed in the room behind the first floor bay window during the critical period of the operation . It proved an ideal location as there was a telephone cable running from the corner building direct to England.
    Smudger Jnr likes this.
  6. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Thanks chaps. Off there tomorrow, so will have a look and see what is left.
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Photo from said book

    Attached Files:

    Paul Reed likes this.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Great that you got a result before travelling.

  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    There's a map with it's location aswell as other British units during the last few days in the Dunkirk area in Blitzkreig in the West.

    Not very accurate though I'm affraid-The best you can make out according to the map was it was towards the NW of the town.

    Have a good trip.
    Paul Reed likes this.
  10. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Thanks for all the responses. In the end we ran out of time to look for Gort's HQ spending most of today looking at 1940 wrecks on the beach at Dunkirk - I just didn't realise how many were still there.

    We also met a guy metal detecting on the beach who has a big collection of WW2 stuff, and who gave us a GS button he had just found.

    More with some photos from tomorrow.
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I'll see if I can find it later in the summer then if no-one gets there before August.
  12. jerrymurland

    jerrymurland Junior Member

    Rich, where exactly is this plaque? Is it the one opposite Gorts former HQ?
  13. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Jerry, although I've been back to De Panne a number of times since the building was redeveloped, the restaurants along the zeedijk have always proved a greater attraction than another visit to Gort's last HQ.

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