- Contributed by
- robert beesley
- People in story:
- 51st Highland Division,2/6 Battalion East Surrey Regiment, The Border Regiment, The 1st Armoured Division,Sir Richard Attenborough, Tony Blair, Prime Minister,Tony Blair, The B.B.C., General Fortune, Field Marshall Rommel, The Ministry of Defence and The German hoards.
- Location of story:
- ST VALERY IN FRANCE.
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 January 2005
This is a picture of myself at the age of 21 years old. it was taken at my sister's wedding at 20 West Road, Mortlake in Surrey in August 1939.
I will tell you a story, which took place about 64 years ago. It is a story about the Officers and other Ranks, that were written off and forgotten by an ungrateful Government, also the B.B.C. and the National Press.
The brave and bold Officers and other Ranks had courage and heroism but were forgotten. The sacrifice that they made for their King and their Country will unfold.
They helped to keep the Nazi jack boot from our shores and they fought for freedom for us all. But to this day, they still remain forgotten, all of those years ago. Some of the men were killed, others died, but the memories will live on for the rest of our lives. They died fighting on for many days but then became trapped, with no way out and they were then ordered to surrender, by the French. So come what may, the Germans had a catch, of what had remained of the British Expeditionary Forces. The men that was once so great were now Prisoners-of-War. They were treated worse than trash, by you know who?. They had been starved of food from 12 June 1940 and did not receive anything to eat until they reached the Hook of Holland on 2 July 1940, when they were just given 1 slice of bread to eat.
This story begun after the evacuation at Dunkirk in France in June 1940. It had been stated that was the end of the British Expeditionary Forces in France and then, France stood alone. But this was not true because there were some 200,000 Officers and other Ranks that were fighting a rear guard action, along side of the French Army.
One could see the French soldier filling his pack with food and then said that the Tommies were running away. They also said "Bosch come, France finished".
But what had remained of the British Expeditionary Forces in France, they did the best that they could do, but the men were being killed and wounded and others had been taken as Prisoners-of-War.
The rear guard action carried on and one did hear of some Army Units being ambushed by the Germans. The 2/6 Battalion East Surrey Regiment were ambushed, men were killed, there were vehicles on fire and you could smell the burning flesh, you tried to return fire but then the order was given to retreat.
The following day, there was a re- group of the 2/6 Battalion East Surrey Regiment and they found themselves with the 51 st Highland Division, the Border Regiment and the 1 st Armoured Division. The battle was on, the French and the British Expeditioanry Forces tried to push or to hold the German hoards, but it was an impossible task. We were then ordered to retreat.
The French then fell into the trap at St Valery. On 11 June 1940, one could have escaped, but then the Germans gained the Heights, overlooking the harbour.
Now on the 12 June 1940, the French ordered the men of the British Expeditionary Forces, that was trapped with the 51 st Highland Division to surrender. The Commander of the Division was General Fortune. It was Field Marshall Rommel that took the surrender of the British Forces at St Valery in France on 12 June 1940.
These proud service men were now Prisoners-of-War, but many of their comrades had been killed or badly wounded. Now, these men were beginning on the long march to Germany, to the camps.
These Officers and the other Ranks were written off by an ungrateful Government and also the Ministry of Defence and buried very deep and forgotten.
You may believe what has been written down in the history book by the very prominent Historians of that time, but it was not true, I can testify that this did happen as I told it because I was one of those service men, that was taken as one of the Prisoners-of-War.
I have written to the B B C,after I looked at the showing, on television of "The Evacuation of Dunkirk". At the end of this film, the Presenter tells you that this was the last of the British Expeditionary Forces in France and that France now stood alone. I have told the TRUTH, but they have turned a blind eye and they believe the lies that was said.
I have also written to the Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, M P and I did receive a reply from the Ministry of Defence, telling me to get in contact with the television channel, all I can say about that is that they are a lot of idiots and you are wasting your time.
I have also brought it to the attention of Sir Richard Attenborough, at his home in Richmond in Surrey. He did write about the courage, heroism and the sacrifice, that these men had shown. But he also told me that he was much too busy on other work to be concerned about this. Probably wasting Government money on making flops at the cinema.
Now the Historians, that write our history, are saying that this never happened because it was not good propaganda. These men gave their blood, sweat and tears. A lot more gave their lives to defend their Country. If the Nazi jack boots had landed in this Country, we would not be enjoying the freedom, that we enjoy today.
I say to hell with the Historians and all of their lies, you want to speak to the men that actually lived these times and then you would get the true account of the facts. But you will regret it in years to come, because years later, the British will say the same as the French soldiers had said, that the Tommies had run away. This was not so, these men fought the best that they could and a lot of men died to defend their Country against Germany.
We, the men that was left after serving as Prisoners-of-War, I myself served 5 years in the hands of the Germans. We had been starved, treated worse than cattle, denied medical attention and if you said one word to the Germans, you could and some were shot for just doing this. The Geneva Conventions meant nothing to the Germans. I still today, have nightmares of those years and I wake up in a cold sweat, those images will never leave me and they do not get any more distant, as the years pass by.
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