140th Regiment in Action at Sainghin-en-Melantois, Thursday 23rd May 1940

The War Diary describes the Regiment’s arrival at the village of Saighin-en-Melantois, near Lille in France on 23rd May.  This is a low lying village within the urban sprawl around Lille and the industrial towns of Northern France. The two battery’s were sited about 1 mile apart on this occasion, with 367 Battery on farmland to the Western side of the village, and 366 Battery on a patch of common ground to the Eastern side.

No combat firing was required and very soon a decision was made to re-assign the Regiment’s artillery to the defence of the Dunkirk evacuation corridor.  Thus the Regiment’s two Battery’s were only in position here for 24 hours, and this would be there last contact with each other. The re-deployment would separate the two batteries; with the depleted 366 Battery under the command of Colonel Graham Brooks instructed to head north to Messines, while 367 Battery together with the Regiment’s HQ staff and  under the command of Colonel C.J. Odling, was ordered to head West towards the Foret de Nieppe.

At this point the War Diary, written retrospectively in 1945, only goes on to describe 367 Battery and HQ’s movements; no official War Diary exists for 366 Battery until the Regiment’s re-formation in England in June 1940.

War Diary, 23rd May 1940

About 0100 hrs. the Regiment arrived in SAINGHIN EN MELANTOIS  and went into action as follows:- 366 Battery. in front of the wood about and 367 Battery about with Regimental H.Q. in the village. No contact was made with the enemy during the day.

Late in the afternoon R.H.Q. and 367 Battery were ordered to join MACFORCE. 367 Battery was chosen because it had 11 guns in action and 366 Battery had only 9 guns and their position was better than 367 Battery.

At 1930 hrs. I led the Regiment and the Colonel left for ORCHIES  to report to Gen. MASON MACFARLANE. R.H.Q. and 367 Battery.marched through LILLE – ARMENTIERS (luckily we were not bombed), and arrived at FORET DE NIEPPE at 2300 hrs’