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The story of the 140 (5th London) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery 1939-45

LAST UPDATE: 11th May 2024

This site was constructed at the time of the 80th Anniversary of the 1940 Battle of Dunkirk in 2020 and has been continuously updated since then.

The research that forms the background has also resulted in the publication of a fact-based novel about Lance Bombardier Eric West, his wartime and post-war experiences. It is entitled ‘The Psychiatrist: Conscript, Prisoner, Interpreter, Healer’ by John West, published by Fortis.

I have been very fortunate to have received a stream of new historical information through relatives of men of the Regiment and others, which has been added to the site through regular updates.  I hope I have mentioned them all in the Acknowledgments section.

The website includes the abridged personal diaries of three officers of the 140 Regiment, Lt George Somerwill of 366 Battery, 2nd Lt Maurice Rowland and Capt Ronald Baxter of RHQ staff & 367 Battery respectively.

It also includes the diary of Private Norman Gibbs. Gibbs was in an infantry regiment, captured near Doullens in May 1940, but after capture he, like my father, became a POW at Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf and the E72 Arbeitskommando at Beuthen and would have shared many of his experiences in captivity.

The Regiment’s 367 Battery became part of 145 Brigade, tasked with a last-ditch and desperate defence of the French hilltop town of Cassel during the final week of May 1940.  I will suggest that the defence of Cassel was critical to the success of Operation Dynamo and the importance of this action had been under-recognised.

The site is dedicated to my father Eric West and the courageous, remarkable men who served alongside him in the 140 (5th London) Regiment, Royal Artillery.

About this Site

This site tells the wartime story of my father Eric West, and that of his Regiment (the 140 (5th London) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery) during the Regiment's battles in Flanders as part of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F) in May 1940. Eric Douglas West served in the Royal Artillery 140th Field Regiment and was promoted...

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