December 1939 to 25th May 1940

Dursley to France, 2nd March 1940

Requisitioned school halls and church buildings were used for initial training at the Clapham and Woolwich bases. Totteridge From 19th September 1939, the Regiment transferred to a training base at Totteridge, near Barnet, North London) and finally, in November 1939 and prior to deployment in France, the Regiment moved to Dursley, Gloucestershire to join 3rd...

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First Casualty

The War Diary gives an account of the Regiment's first wartime casualty.  It occurred on 10th April 1940, the same day as the German invasion of Denmark and Norway. Gunner Lee Gunner John Lee of 366 Battery was an unmarried 23-year-old from Walworth, South London.  He died of carbon monoxide poisoning while training with the...

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Advance into Belgium, 10th May 1940

German invasion of Belgium The Regiment was on a training exercise at Toutencourt, near Amiens when German forces invaded Belgium and the Netherlands on 10th May 1940.  On this momentous day Neville Chamberlain lost the confidence of the House of Commons and Winston Churchill became Prime Minister.  The British Expeditionary Force enacted its long-prepared plan...

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River Dyle 10th-16th May 1940

  Supply line and Cigars As agreed by the Allies, the Belgian army was on the left flank of the main British position and the French 1st Army was to their right.  The 140th Regiment's position, from the War Diary map reference, was adjacent to the N253 road between Huldenberg and Overyssche, with the Regimental...

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Withdrawal from the Dyle. 16th-18th May 1940

B.E.F out-flanked The French First Army units to the South of the British positions were defending open ground with no river barrier.  Under severe pressure, these French units withdrew  further West, and it soon became apparent that the German advance was in danger of overwhelming the right flank of the British Expeditionary Force's defensive position...

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Action at Wannehain. 19th-21st May 1940

The River Escaut   Battle of the Escaut  The British Expeditionary Force took up a new defensive position on the River Escaut (or Scheldt) a more substantial river obstacle that runs through Tournai and Ghent before joining the North Sea. Ere/ St Maur The Regiment took up position on 19th May.  It was on a...

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Finds at Ere

  Royal Artillery Cap Badge with the RA motto 'Ubique quo pas et Gloria Ducunt', 'Everywhere, where faith and glory lead'. The 140th Regiment's brief association with Ere in May 1940 is perhaps one of the easiest to trace as the site exactly matches the description and grid reference given in the War Diary.   The...

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Sainghin-en-Melantois 22nd May 1940

  Sainghin-en-Melantois, France The War Diary describes the Regiment's withdrawal from Belgium territory on 22nd May into France and its arrival about 10 miles to the West at the village of Sainghin-en-Melantois, near Lille. This is a low-lying village located on the D955 road within the urban sprawl in the industrial area of Northern France. ...

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366 Battery’s Journey to Dunkirk via Messines

  BBC Radio, Cointreau and Action On 24th May, 366 Battery, now separated from the 140th Regiment, heard a BBC radio broadcast by King George VI which appeared to support rumours that the B.E.F's situation was deteriorating.  An abandoned N.A.A.F.I. store in Lille had replenished supplies which included copious bottles of Cointreau.  The men were...

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Lt. George Somerwill’s Diary

  In 1940, Lieutenant George Somerwill served in 366 Battery, having swapped from his previous position in 'D' Troop, 367 Battery (to which I believe my father Gunner Eric West was attached) just before the German invasion of Belgium.  Lt. George Somerwill is mentioned in Graham Brooks’ book Grand Party and was nicknamed “Slim”. Pre-war,...

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367 Battery joins Macforce, May 23rd 1940

Defence of the Western Corridor  As the German Army closed in from the West, the British and French line of defence ran along the series of canals running North-South from Gravelines on the coast to La Bassee, 40 miles to the South. Behind this line lay a number of defended strong-points, including Hazebrouck, Cassel and...

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