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Le Paradis: The murder of 97 soldiers in a French field on the 26/27th May 1940

by D Cooper

Contributed by 
D Cooper
People in story: 
Angus (Alan) Cain
Location of story: 
Lestrem / Le Paradis France
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A2328383
Contributed on: 
22 February 2004

Angus Cain (known as Alan) 1st battalion of Royal Scots Age 27 was killed by Germans in May 26/27 1940 this is his story and 96 others

Towards the end of May 1940 the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment were stubbornly holding Le Paradis and the neighbouring hamlets of Le-Cornet Malo and Riez-du-Vinage against overwhelmingly superior forces, trying to block the enemy's road to Dunkirk. On May 27th, their ammunition expended, and completely cut off from their Battalion and Brigade Headquarters, 97 officers and men of the 2/Royal Norfolks surrendered to No. 4 Company of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd S.S. Totenkopf (Deathshead) Regiment. They were disarmed, marched into a field, mowed down by machine-guns, finished off by revolver shots and bayonet thrusts and left for dead. By a miracle two of them escaped death, and were hidden and succoured for a short time by the people of Le Paradis. Later they became prisoners of war, and ultimately returned home to set in motion the wheels of justice which, on January 28th 1949, brought to the gallows the German officer who gave the command for this massacre. A day or two after the atrocity the local people, under orders from the Germans, buried the dead where they lay. In 1942, however, the bodies were exhumed and moved into the part of Le Paradis churchyard which is now the war cemetery. Other casualties were brought from scattered graves in the area. There are now over 150, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly a third are unidentified and two soldiers whose graves could not be precisely located are commemorated by special memorials, inscribed "Buried near this spot".
My mother (21) had married Angus (Alan )(27) Cain in Hull in 1939 just after war broke out as he was being sent over seas. (It was a hurried wedding and not the big white 'do' they had planned)
In 1940 a telegram came to say Alan was missing believed killed. After this my mother changed her religion and became a nurse. She eventually married my father and had four children.
More than twenty years where to pass before my mother found out quite by accident how, where and when her husband(Alan)had died. While watching a TV documentary in the 1960’s (The revenge of private Pooley)which told the story of one of the two escapees it occured to my mother that this could be where her husband died. Mum then wrote to the war office and it was confirmed that her husband had been buried there.

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Message 1 - A2328383 - Le Paradis the murder of 97 soldiers in a french filed

Posted on: 23 February 2004 by robina

Life can be uncanny.

I have just checked with war graves. It would appear Richard and Angus were in the same battalion, same age, died same date, respective army and plot numbers
Richard 3052786 2B10
Angus 3052181 1B5

I dont know if Richard was a bandsman but his father was musical.

Further irony, my adopted father was too at Dunkirk at the same time

 

Message 2 - A2328383 - Le Paradis the murder of 97 soldiers in a french filed

Posted on: 24 February 2004 by D Cooper

Hi Robina
Someone sent me a web site about le paradis, I enclose the site for you(it is harrowing)
[Broken link removed by Moderator]

 

Message 3 - A2328383 - Le Paradis the murder of 97 soldiers in a french filed

Posted on: 24 February 2004 by D Cooper

Hi Robina
Someone sent me a web site about le paradis, I enclose the site for you(it is harrowing)
[Broken link removed by Moderator]
Denise

Message 1 - Le Paradis

Posted on: 22 February 2004 by Pete Mason

I recall an article some 20 years ago which put a slightly different light on this.It seem a researcher was comparing war diaries on an attack on this particular SS unit some days before. The diary of the Norfolks read on the lines of "position taken in support of ????higland regiment, 20(?) POWs passsed to the Scots. The Highland regiment diary read" position attacked and overun, supported by Norfolks. No prisoners taken". This suggested revenge by the SS when they encountered the Norfolks some days later.

 

Message 2 - Le Paradis

Posted on: 22 February 2004 by /War_is_Hell\

Nasty very nasty i dont understand how you could do that to another human being i know i couldent shoot a hostage with his hands up if anything i would make friends.

 

Message 3 - Le Paradis

Posted on: 09 August 2004 by sharpeplod

If this is true then why didn't Fritz Knoechlein the SS officer hanged for this atrocity, or any of the many defence witnesses, mention this at the trial. They only said that the British soldiers were using dum dum bullets in contravention of the Geneva convention.

Message 1 - Webiste on this

Posted on: 23 February 2004 by Andy1971

Just to let you know there is a very good website with lots of info and pics on this massacre.
www.norfolkbc.fsnet.co.ukAbout links

Andy

 

Message 2 - Webiste on this

Posted on: 23 February 2004 by Andy1971

this is the main page
www.norfolkbc.fsnet.co.ukAbout links

 

Message 3 - Webiste on this

Posted on: 23 February 2004 by D Cooper

many thanks andy for the web site
DC

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