7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment – France (May 1940) - Dunkirk

Date (1940)

1st to 9th May



Battalion employed on wiring, building of Pill Boxes, and generally improving frontier defences.

Leave Parties proceeding to the United Kingdom.

10th May



German aeroplanes flew over the Battalion Area for the first time.




Two Traffic Control posts were despatched to Brigade H.Q.




A.A.L.M.G. Platoon reported to Brigade.




Zero Hour. A.A.L.M.G. sections were sent to picquet route MARCHIENNES - RUMEGIES.




Recce party left for area MARAIS DE LA LOUVIERE.




Wire over a frontier bridge (898207) cut.

11th May



Battalion formed up ready to start advancing to Staging Area; 28 Officers and nearly 700 men strong.




Leading troops crossed the starting line. The Battalion marched to MARAIS DE LA LOUVIERE by route - RUMEGIES - HOWARDRIES - LESDAIN - WEZ-VELVAIN - ST. MAUR - CALONNE - road junction 964310 - GAURAIN - RAMECROIX - MARAIS DE LA LOUVIERE.




M.T. moved to Staging Area independently, Route:- PLANARD - BERCU - RUMES – TOURNAI -MARAIS DE LA LOUVIERE.

MARAIS DE LA LOUVIERE 0600 Battalion arrived at Staging Area and went into Billets.

12th May



The Battalion embussed and proceeded to GENVAL. Route:- MARAIS DE LA LOUVIERE - LEUSE - ATH-ENCHIEN - HAL-FORET DE SOIGNES - GENVAL. This journey was completed without incident and almost in scheduled time.




The Battalion arrived at GENVAL and went into billets.

13th May



Battalion marched out of billets to dig in on position ROSIERS (7542) - TOMBEEK (7644) - N.W. side of river LA LASNE. The day was spent digging positions and wiring. Some enemy air activity. The Battalion returned at night to fresh billets, close in rear of the position. Battalion H.Q. was established FARM 736431 outside MALAISE.

14th May



Continuation of digging and wiring. Recce made by C.O. and Coy. Comds. of positions behind lakes S.E. of FORET DE SOIGNES. Enemy air activity during the day.

15th May



Digging and wiring continued.




Recce made by C.O., I.O., and O.C. "A", "B", and "D" Coys. of BOIS DIT LE Book (8041) with a view to counter attack on the following morning. In the evening Battalion prepared to withdraw to position in FORET DE SOIGNES, but on report that the enemy had broken through on our right the Battalion took up position GENVAL - MAUBROUX - where the Battalion suffered its first casualty.

16th May



The Battalion moved forward to high ground S.E. of GENVAL and dug in, the Carriers being called upon to close a gap between the right Coy. and the French, until relieved by the 2nd Dorsets. Some enemy shelling on GENVAL took place, but there were no casualties.




Battalion was ordered to withdraw and R.V'd by Lakes (7043)




Battalion withdrew further marching through FORET DE SOIGNES to position approx. road and track junc. 653355

17th May



Battalion withdrew behind BRUSSELS CANAL, crossing the canal at LOTH, leaving the Carrier Platoon and one detachment from the Anti-Tank Platoon to cover the withdrawal until 1300 hrs. An air raid was in progress as the Battalion marched through LOTH. Later embussing and proceeding to GRAMMONT, where it was billeted for the night in the Monastery.

18th May



Battalion marched to LESSINES and took up position, digging in on West bank of river DENDRE. The day was taken up in establishing positions. A patrol of "A" Company was sent across the river in the evening and returned at 1930 hrs. without having seen the enemy. Later in the evening orders were received to withdraw behind river ESCAUT at TOURNAI. The Carrier Platoon held the Canal until 0400 hrs. the following day.





19th May ORCQ 1230 After marching about 5 miles, the Battalion embussed west of LESSINES, and arrived at TOURNAI at 0700 hrs. and went into billets at ORCQ. West of TOURNAI. The Commanding Officer and "O" Group made a recce of the canal in the Northern part of TOURNAI during the afternoon, but the position was not occupied.

During the day the Battalion rested and remained in billets for the night.

20th May



The Commanding Officer, 2 i/c. and Company Commanders went to GALONNE to recce position held by the Warwicks, with a view to relieving them on the following morning. The party was shelled severely while on recce. Battalion ordered to move to GUIGNES. As the Battalion left the transport was heavily shelled, but managed to get away with only a few casualties. The Rifle Companies, while marching across country South of ORCQ. were heavily shelled, "A" and "C" Companies suffering particularly. Lieut. Hingley was killed, and Captain Byrd wounded.

21st May



"C" and "D" Companies moved beyond GUIGNES to WEZ-VELVAIN and came under the Command of 144th Infantry Brigade, taking up position around the perimeter of the Chateau, and South side of the village. The positions were very heavily shelled, and during the early morning this continued, but there were very few casualties. The remainder of the Battalion moved up to WEZ-VELVAIN from GUIGNES, where they had bivouaced for the night, and while their came under heavy shelling, losing several men, particularly from the Carrier Platoon and Transport. The M.O., Lieut. Pilcher, was wounded, and Sergeant Fidoe, the Medical Sergeant, killed.




Battalion ordered to take over line of canal from BRUYELLE towards CALONNE after attack by 1st Camerons. BRUYELLE found to be held by 8th. Worc. R. and 5th Glos. R. already. Accordingly "C" Company acted as support on arrival late at night. "D" Company covered the canal north of BRUYELLE in a semi-circular position.

22nd May



Battalion Headquarters in Wood 9436. Enemy shelled position at intervals during the day, and some sniping along canal side. One Platoon, Commanded by 2/Lieut. D. H. Lunt on the Battalion's left - together with some Camerons cornered in a gully were badly knocked about by enemy Mortar Fire, and being unable to retire as their rear was covered by enemy machine guns. They remained all day, and managed to get back at night. There were several casualties including 2/Lieut. D. H. Lunt, who was badly wounded.

23rd May



In the early morning the Battalion received orders to withdraw, and marched to MOUCHIN, leaving the Carrier Platoon to hold the line, without incident until 0800 hrs. Route:- WEZ-VELVAIN - GUIGNES - TANTIGNES - LA GLANERIE - MOUCHIN.




Defences taken over for a few hours but orders received that the French were to occupy line and Battalion withdrew to embuss at 2300 hrs. Troop Carriers failed to arrive until early next morning.

24th May



Battalion went into billets around LA QUINQUE RUE, N.W. of LA BASSEE and rested during remainder of day, spending the night in billets.

25th May



Commanding Officer, 2 i/c., I.O. and Company Commanders made recce of line of canal, which we were to take over from a Battalion of the Queens, and a Battalion of French. The enemy had observation along the whole of this front, and there was occasional sniping and shelling. The Battalion took over at night on a frontage extending from GIVENCHY to the west edge of LA BASSEE (approx. 2½ miles) the positions being along the Northern bank of the canal.

26th May



Battalion held line of canal. Enemy activity increased - heavy shelling and Mortar Fire intermittently all day. Many casualties, including 2/Lieut. D. G. Goodwin, killed while trying to make contact with the Company on his right. Lieut. J. F. Betts wounded.

26th May



Battalion badly situated, having practically no field of fire, and no observation. All our posts could be observed from enemy vantage points on Southern side of canal, and by enemy reconnaissance plane flying over our positions during all hours of daylight. During the late afternoon or evening some enemy must have crossed the canal in the centre of our front. On recce, and while trying to locate "A" Company's position , Commanding Officer, 2 i/c. I.O., and 2/Lieut. R.C.T. Goodwin came upon an enemy post, which opened fire and wounded 2 i/c. (Major R. M. J. Goldie), and I.O. (2/Lieut. R.R. Woodward). During the night one Company 1st Camerons, made a counter attack on our left, but failed to make contact with the enemy, who were reported to have crossed canal.

27th May



In the early morning one Company 1st Camerons, with French Tanks, swept along the canal bank and reported a few enemy who retired across the canal. The Carrier Platoon was sent for from Rear H.Q. and were heavily bombed and shelled, suffering some casualties and losing two Carriers. Contact was made with enemy tanks and information as to enemy movements secured. No information received from "A" Company since the previous night, presumably they were over-run. Of "C" Company on the left there was no trace, and they must have suffered the same fate.

27th May



The enemy in strong force, with tanks, succeeded in crossing canal in the centre left of GIVENCHY. "D" Company, who were on the right, were flanked by the enemy and made GIVENCHY a strong point,




holding this village with about 70 men until 1530 hrs. that day. Considerable casualties were inflicted on enemy infantry, but not without severe casualties to this Company. Lord Coventry killed; At 1630 hrs. "D" Company withdrew with 2nd Dorsets to FESTUBERT where they were surrounded and experience an enemy Tank attack. Every available man came into the line, but the position was very obscure, and there was no information as to what was happening. Captain T. J. W. Seabrook went out to obtain information about reports of enemy Tanks in the near vicinity with 2/Lieut. S. M. Green; both failed to return.

Orders received to withdraw. Two Carriers remained to cover withdrawal, and later made attempts to liaise with H.Q. 2nd Dorsetshire but found passage blocked by enemy tanks. What remained of the Battalion made for LEVANTIE where they embussed and went to DOULIEU.

28th May



Orders received for Battalion to Move Northwards, in direction of WATOU, and all transport, except the minimum required, to be destroyed.

29th May



Battalion made its way towards DUNKIRK, and spent the night there, embarking the following day. Part of the Battalion, including "D" Company, under Captain J. Tomkinson arrived at BERGUES separately, and after taking up a temporary position then proceeded by M.T. to RESENDAELT and spent the night in billets.

30th May



All The Battalion embarked with the exception of Major T.G. Vale, who remained in Command of four bridge guarding detachments, under orders of 46th. Division. The Battalion supplied one of these, consisting of approx. one Platoon under Captain D. B. Dykes.

31st May, 1st & 2nd June



Bridge detachment remained in DUNKIRK until orders for relief were received at 1900 hrs. on June 1st. Detachment was unable to embark that night owing to lack of boats, and finally embarked at 2230 hrs. on June 2nd.


Of the original Battalion, which marched into Belgium with a strength of 28 Officers and nearly 700 other ranks, 12 Officers and 354 other ranks were evacuated from DUNKIRK.