French civilian trying to identify 1940 "Known unto God" grave

slick

LE
Some French chap is searching for family members of Scottish lad buried in "Known Unto God" grave from 1940. Only name he has is "Keller Len Scott" written on a bit of paper his father kept from 1940.... Link

A search has been launched to trace the family of a fallen British hero who died in France following 'the forgotten Dunkirk' more than 80 years ago.

The 51st Highland Division soldier evaded capture during the battle of St Valery-en-Caux in Normandy and was hidden by a French family, but was later discovered by the Germans and shot.

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Not an easy ask, 10,000 Jocks went into the bag when the 51st HD surrendered at St Valery. That said many Jocks went walk about creating chaos across France and down into Spain.
They must have worked the figure down into the hundreds from those who went missing and not in the KIA, Wounded and PoWs.
I suppose to exhume the grave is not overly extreme, that would perhaps give some evidence, even if its only a cap/collar badge which narrows the field still further. 1940 and Dunkirk was not a time when the staff and admin wallers were sharp on their admin in the field skills.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Unless it was an SS unit (Wormhoudt), I'm interested to know why the Germans would have shot a Scottish POW out of hand in July 1940. They were winning and expecting Britain to pack it in.
 
The Germans committed many war crimes in the North of France in 1940. The execution of this isolated Tommy and the Le Paradis massacre are only two examples.

On 21 May, the 3rd SS Div. killed 6 civilians in Mercatel after suffering casualties from a British counter attack by Mathilda tanks.

On the same day, in Simencourt, an attack by Hotchkiss H 35 tanks of the French 13°BCC pushed back elements of the III SS Inf. Rgt 2. After the action, in retaliation, the SS burnt 25 houses and shot 4 civilians including a 78-year old cripple in her bed.

In Habarcq, another 4 civilians were killed, including a British civilian.

On 22 May 1940, in Berles-Mochel, 45 civilians are executed by SS Inf. Rgt 2 looking for British soldiers. In Aubigny en Artois, about 30 civilians were killed between 21 and 22 May, some by stray rounds but most by execution by the SS

On 24 May, in Hinge, another 10 civilians were executed by the SS.

In Beuvry, another 48 civilians were executed after the SS after they suffered casualties fighting the French and British troops on the Aire canal.

At the same time, several hundred civilians were used as human shields in front of the field guns of II. /SS-T-Artillerie Regiment.

According to historian Jean-Luc Leleu who pubkished his findings in the below study, at least 264 civilians in 30 different locations were executed by various sub-units of the Totenkopf Division in May-June 1940

 
McKeller ?

If they wrote/remembered it from being told rather than him writing it down - he would have put his number.

If his body is in the ground, his ID should be ascertainable and CWGC would be aware.
 

slick

LE
McKeller ?

If they wrote/remembered it from being told rather than him writing it down - he would have put his number.

If his body is in the ground, his ID should be ascertainable and CWGC would be aware.
The note does seem to be written by a French hand (name of month, and the 51e instead of 51st), possibly from memory. If written as it sounded to a French ear instead of actual spelling then it could be somewhat different (ie: Keir).
 
The note does seem to be written by a French hand (name of month, and the 51e instead of 51st), possibly from memory. If written as it sounded to a French ear instead of actual spelling then it could be somewhat different (ie: Keir).
That is a good point, we had a French familly lost in a car seeking Kisley.
Some investigation revealed there destination was Kings Lynn.
 

4(T)

LE
Unless it was an SS unit (Wormhoudt), I'm interested to know why the Germans would have shot a Scottish POW out of hand in July 1940. They were winning and expecting Britain to pack it in.


He was probably wearing civilian clothes by that stage (IIRC the article mentions other fugitive Jocks living out the war as civvie embeds) , so possibly a tenuous argument by the Germans that he had no protection as a uniformed PoW.
 
Not just Totenkopf; (e.g. Wormhoudt was LSSAH), all of the Waffen-SS formations were cheerfully committing war crimes.

...and so did Wehrmacht units against colonial troops on many occasions in the same period.


 

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