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WELSH GUARDS 1940

#1
After watching the TV prog last night about 51st HD in France reminded of a tale a work friend told me a couple of years ago. I took it to be true but haven't been able to find anything on the interweb to back it up.

It seems his father was 18 years old when he joined the 2 Bn Welsh Guards in 1939 or 1940. They trained in Colchester but didn't go to France with the BEF. They were sent to Belgium or the Netherlands to escort the the Dutch or Belgium royal family to Harwich. They were then sent to Boulogne to fight a rearguard to defend the town. Although they could have embarked on ships back to the UK they were told to defend their positions to help bolster our gallant French allies only to find that the French defenders ran up the white flag. His company or platoon did not receive the order to withdraw to the port with the rest of the Bn and fought on until they ran out of ammo and were captured. They were held in a makeshift POW camp in a quarry just outside Boulogne for some time then marched towards Germany and captivity for the whole war. It seems that the Germans were far from happy at the gallant fight they put up at Boulogne and that Britain was still fighting unlike France and Belgium and the likes. When they were first captured they were treated reasonably well by the German combat troops but as the rear echelon types arrived to take over guard duties they began to be treated badly. For example, the reason they were held in the disused quarry for some time was to allow the more compliant French troops to be marched towards Germany first. Each night the French would be stopped in the same vacant field and allocated an area to be used as a latrine. The last French troops to be marched to captivity were colonial troops. After a few weeks of this the fields were in a very bad state. When the Bn finally started their march to the Fatherland they were held in these fetid latrine areas every night. He spent the rest of the war as a POW and towards the end was on the infamous death march from Sagan. He was Gdsm Jones and was awarded the DCM.

Can anyone with knowledge of the WGs enlighten me if this is likely to be true or a load of bull.
 
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#2
'Major J. C. Windsor Lewis, officer commanding 4 Company, 2nd Welsh Guards, had taken charge of a large party of stragglers, who were awaiting rescue in the sheds at the quayside. Besides guardsmen from both battalions, there were 120 French infantry, 200 AMPC, 120 Royal Engineers and 150 civilian refugees; most of the Pioneers were unarmed. When the sheds came under German fire, Windsor Lewis moved the group into the Gare Maritime (harbour railway station) and made sandbag barricades. On the evening of 24 May, under fire from tanks and machine-guns, they fought off a German assault party that had approached the quay in a boat. Without food, running low on ammunition and realising that there would be no further evacuation, the force surrendered at 1:00 p.m. on 25 May.'

Battle of Boulogne (1940) - Wikipedia
 
#5
The issue of prisoners sounds familiar from a book I have at home, so will check this evening whether it tallies up with 20 Bde, but the good initial and poor subsequent treatment rings true.
 
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#7
After watching the TV prog last night about 51st HD in France reminded of a tale a work friend told me a couple of years ago. I took it to be true but haven't been able to find anything on the interweb to back it up.

It seems his father was 18 years old when he joined the 2 Bn Welsh Guards in 1939 or 1940. They trained in Colchester but didn't go to France with the BEF. They were sent to Belgium or the Netherlands to escort the the Dutch or Belgium royal family to Harwich. They were then sent to Boulogne to fight a rearguard to defend the town. Although they could have embarked on ships back to the UK they were told to defend their positions to help bolster our gallant French allies only to find that the French defenders ran up the white flag. His company or platoon did not receive the order to withdraw to the port with the rest of the Bn and fought on until they ran out of ammo and were captured. They were held in a makeshift POW camp in a quarry just outside Boulogne for some time then marched towards Germany and captivity for the whole war. It seems that the Germans were far from happy at the gallant fight they put up at Boulogne and that Britain was still fighting unlike France and Belgium and the likes. When they were first captured they were treated reasonably well by the German combat troops but as the rear echelon types arrived to take over guard duties they began to be treated badly. For example, the reason they were held in the disused quarry for some time was to allow the more compliant French troops to be marched towards Germany first. Each night the French would be stopped in the same vacant field and allocated an area to be used as a latrine. The last French troops to be marched to captivity were colonial troops. After a few weeks of this the fields were in a very bad state. When the Bn finally started their march to the Fatherland they were held in these fetid latrine areas every night. He spent the rest of the war as a POW and towards the end was on the infamous death march from Sagan. He was Gdsm Jones and was awarded the DCM.

Can anyone with knowledge of the WGs enlighten me if this is likely to be true or a load of bull.
I remember seeing this advertised but missed it. Which channel and what time please.
 
#8
I remember seeing this advertised but missed it. Which channel and what time please.
Channel 4 at 2100. I've just checked and it is available on All 4. It was one of those TV progs made for people who know nothing about WW2 . If you like what they have done to the Imperial War Museum and the Army Museum, you will like this programme.
 
#9
Channel 4 at 2100. I've just checked and it is available on All 4. It was one of those TV progs made for people who know nothing about WW2 . If you like what they have done to the Imperial War Museum and the Army Museum, you will like this programme.
Close, started at 2000 hrs.
 
#10
Channel 4 at 2100. I've just checked and it is available on All 4. It was one of those TV progs made for people who know nothing about WW2 . If you like what they have done to the Imperial War Museum and the Army Museum, you will like this programme.
Thanks.
You're not selling it to me with that. Not seen the new look IWM yet but was looking to have a look in Sept with daughter. Should I find something else instead. Fire Power may be and Cutty Sark.
 
#11
Thanks.
You're not selling it to me with that. Not seen the new look IWM yet but was looking to have a look in Sept with daughter. Should I find something else instead. Fire Power may be and Cutty Sark.
I've never been to the Cutty Sark so cannot comment but the IWM has been dumbed down to placate the touchy feely left handed lesbian lobby who know nothing about the military.

Now the RAF museum has been redone I am going to pay a visit on Thursday. Lets hope it isn't full of those left handed lesbians!
 
#13
Each night the French would be stopped in the same vacant field and allocated an area to be used as a latrine. The last French troops to be marched to captivity were colonial troops. After a few weeks of this the fields were in a very bad state. When the Bn finally started their march to the Fatherland they were held in these fetid latrine areas every night.
In Sean Longden's 'Dunkirk; The Men they left Behind' there are a number of references to miserable sanitary conditions at night stops where French Colonial troops were or had been held.
 
#14
'Major J. C. Windsor Lewis, officer commanding 4 Company, 2nd Welsh Guards, had taken charge of a large party of stragglers, who were awaiting rescue in the sheds at the quayside. Besides guardsmen from both battalions, there were 120 French infantry, 200 AMPC, 120 Royal Engineers and 150 civilian refugees; most of the Pioneers were unarmed. When the sheds came under German fire, Windsor Lewis moved the group into the Gare Maritime (harbour railway station) and made sandbag barricades. On the evening of 24 May, under fire from tanks and machine-guns, they fought off a German assault party that had approached the quay in a boat. Without food, running low on ammunition and realising that there would be no further evacuation, the force surrendered at 1:00 p.m. on 25 May.'

Battle of Boulogne (1940) - Wikipedia
Interesting one of the Sapper stranglers was my grandfather a then S/Sgt who had been blowing up airfields and bridges as the troops withdrew.
 
#15
A number of Irish and Welsh Guardsmen are buried in the Hook of Holland War Cemetery.

Few Commonwealth troops were in the Netherlands during the 1940 invasion by the Germans, but a small force composed of Royal Marines and Irish and Welsh Guards landed at The Hook of Holland on May 12 and 13, to assist in safeguarding the Dutch Government. It was from this port that, on May 13, Queen Wilhelmina left for England on board a British destroyer. Heavy air raids on the small area defended by our forces caused many casualties, and speedily rendered the position untenable without considerable reinforcements. These could not be spared, and on May 14, the force was evacuated and returned to Dover
Link
 

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