- Contributed by
- D Cooper
- People in story:
- Angus (Alan) Cain
- Location of story:
- Lestrem / Le Paradis France
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- 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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