Murder of soldiers of 51st Highland Division on march to Poland 1940.

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Kameraden
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Murder of soldiers of 51st Highland Division on march to Poland 1940.

Post by Kameraden » 20 Aug 2019 15:02

Hi

My grandfather was captured in June 1940 along with the rest of the 51st Highland Division.
I know he was then marched to Poland to spend the next 5 years as a POW.
I've read an article today in the Metro(UK) by a survivor calling this a Death March. I've also read on other websites the allegation that survivors who couldn't keep up etc were executed.

A typical example being from the 51st HD website.

We were force-marched through France; in fact it would be fairer to say they made us run through France, as it was obvious that they feared that another landing of British troops might take place to rescue us. We were beaten with rifle butts, kicked and abused to keep us moving, anyone falling out of the column ran the risk of being shot (as many were).

As this was 1940 and the German Army (as opposed to the SS who massacred British Troops at Les Paradis and Wormhoudt) I believe had fairly clean hands in the West at this point these allegations surprise me. I have no doubts about the beatings as my Grandfather told my mother that a particular German soldier disliked him and kicked his arse all the way from France to Poland. But shootings seems unlikely to me. Does anyone have any corroboration that British soldiers were executed on the marches in 1940 to their POW camps?


Thanks

Peter
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Re: Murder of soldiers of 51st Highland Division on march to Poland 1940.

Post by Peter » 20 Aug 2019 16:05

I have looked at this previously and believe that it was the "risk of being shot" rather than men actually being shot. I am unaware of any war crimes investigations and when I checked I identified 60 deaths of men in Scots units (I dont know which were in the 51st HD) which occurred in the period after the surrender at St Valery until the arrival in Poland and these will certainly have included men in hospital who Died of Wounds received in action.

Number Name initials rank Regt Bn Death Place
'3193766' BELL J O Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3190897' BELL J W Corporal KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3193723' BROWN W Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3193707' CRAVEN A F Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3193730' CUMMINGS S V Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3193644' CUNNINGHAM J G Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3192288' EDWARDS J J Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3188162' GLENDINNING W J Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3188523' HAMILTON J H Private KOSB 1st Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3193550' JARDINE I C Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3192650' LUPTON C A Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3185286' ORRIDGE G Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3193080' REEKIE F Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'4263794' SISSONS T A Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3193068' STEWART C Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'3189516' WARWICK T Private KOSB 5th Bn. 18/06/1940 France
'2752219' BURKE J Private B W 1st Bn. 19/06/1940 France
'2882958' HUME L M Private Gordons 19/06/1940 France
'3319754' McBRIDE H Private HLI 5th Bn. 20/06/1940 France
'2816952' McCURDY E Private Seaf H 2nd Bn. 20/06/1940 France
'2817940' WHITE D Private Seaf H 2nd Bn. 20/06/1940 France
'2932944' MAXWELL R Private B W 4th Bn. 22/06/1940 France
'2758555' NICOLL D L/Corp B W 4th Bn. 22/06/1940 France
'2868848' DICKIE J Corporal Gordons 5th Bn. 22/06/1940 France
'2883006' NAISMITH J C B Private Gordons 22/06/1940 France
'3127344' HAILEY H Fusilier R S F 2nd Bn. 22/06/1940 Belgium
'2981434' MacINTYRE D Private A&S H 8th Bn. 23/06/1940 France
'2752701' BLACK J Private B W 1st Bn. 24/06/1940 France
'2876021' BREMNER J Private Gordons 1st Bn. 24/06/1940 Belgium
'2876913' SINCLAIR G A Private Gordons 1st Bn. 24/06/1940 France
'2985208' CAMPBELL D Private A&S H 7th Bn. 25/06/1940 France
'2752066' DAVIDSON R Private B W 6th Bn. 25/06/1940 Belgium
'2873791' GEORGE H L/Corp Gordons 1st Bn. 25/06/1940 France
'2819051' PURCELL P Corporal Seaf H 2nd Bn. 27/06/1940 France
'2985126' HALL A F Private A&S H 7th Bn. 30/06/1940 France
'2758447' McPHEE J Private B W 4th Bn. 30/06/1940 France
'2562442' MYLCHREEST A L/Corp A&S H 7th Bn. 01/07/1940 France
'2752451' CAIRNS G K Private B W 1st Bn. 01/07/1940 France
'3190196' LITTLE S C Private KOSB 5th Bn. 01/07/1940 France
'2985032' McALPINE H Private A&S H 7th Bn. 02/07/1940 France
'2876830' WILSON J H Private Gordons 1st Bn. 04/07/1940 France
'2812719' GILL A Private B W 4th Bn. 08/07/1940 Germany
'2931925' BRUCE J Private Cam H 4th Bn. 09/07/1940 France
'4456236' LAYFIELD J H H Private A&S H 6th Bn. 15/07/1940 France
'4274738' RICHARDSON E Private A&S H 6th Bn. 15/07/1940 France
'2818075' FRASER J Private Seaf H 6th Bn. 19/07/1940 Belgium
'2877210' GARDEN E C Private Gordons 1st Bn. 22/07/1940 Poland
'99935' GOLLOGLY E T 2/Lt HLI 24/07/1940 Germany
'4459439' WALLIS J J Private B W 1st Bn. 27/07/1940 France
'2985135' WOOD G A S Private A&S H 7th Bn. 28/07/1940 France
'3055335' WEATHERSTON W Private R S 1st Bn. 02/08/1940 France
'2823943' McKAY P Private Seaf H 08/08/1940 Poland
'2822881' MACKAY J Private Seaf H 4th Bn. 09/08/1940 Germany
'2931869' MACKENZIE N Private Cam H 4th Bn. 12/08/1940 France
'2930107' GUNN W Private Cam H 1st Bn. 15/08/1940 France
'2819332' HALL E Private Seaf H 2nd Bn. 16/08/1940 Poland
'1020138' DANN E W Private Gordons 22/08/1940 Poland
'4456060' PEARS W Corporal B W 1st Bn. 23/08/1940 France
'2980543' McFARLANE J Private A&S H 6th Bn. 26/08/1940 France
'3314110' DUTHIE J Private Gordons 28/08/1940 France
Last edited by Peter on 20 Aug 2019 16:16, edited 1 time in total.

Peter
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Re: Murder of soldiers of 51st Highland Division on march to Poland 1940.

Post by Peter » 20 Aug 2019 16:11

I believe that the units below formed 51st HD at St Valery, in which case a fair number of the men above were not with the Division.
152nd Brigade: Brigadier H.W.V. Stewart, DSO

2nd Bn. The Seaforth Highlanders
4th Bn. The Seaforth Highlanders
4th Bn. The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

153rd Brigade: Brigadier G. T. Burnet, MC

4th Bn. The Black Watch
1st Bn. The Gordon Highlanders
5th Bn. The Gordon Highlanders

154th Brigade: Brigadier A.CL. Stanley-Clarke DSO

1st Bn. The Black Watch
7th Bn. The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
8th Bn. The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Last edited by Peter on 20 Aug 2019 16:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Kameraden
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Re: Murder of soldiers of 51st Highland Division on march to Poland 1940.

Post by Kameraden » 20 Aug 2019 16:12

Thanks Peter.

I really appreciate your answer.
šŸ˜€

Peter
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Re: Murder of soldiers of 51st Highland Division on march to Poland 1940.

Post by Peter » 20 Aug 2019 16:17

You are welcome, I'm not an expert but have attempted to investigate a number of incidents mentioned in books with a view to understanding what was actually going on.

history1
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Re: Murder of soldiers of 51st Highland Division on march to Poland 1940.

Post by history1 » 23 Aug 2019 17:05

Kameraden wrote: ā†‘
20 Aug 2019 15:02
Hi

My grandfather was captured in June 1940 along with the rest of the 51st Highland Division.
I know he was then marched to Poland to spend the next 5 years as a POW.
I've read an article today in the Metro(UK) by a survivor calling this a Death March. I've also read on other websites the allegation that survivors who couldn't keep up etc were executed.

A typical example being from the 51st HD website.

We were force-marched through France;[...] We were beaten with rifle butts, kicked and abused to keep us moving, anyone falling out of the column ran the risk of being shot (as many were).

[...]
One need to differ a death march of concentration camp inmates from a transfer march of POW.
Especially when the POW did belong to the Western Allies their handling was rather tame and civil contrary to Soviet POW who starved to death in masses.
ItĀ“s not a secret that inmates on a forced march/death march where shot on the spot when they couldnĀ“t keep up the speed of the march or when they fell sick & to weak to march. This happened everywhere were the authorities did choose to evacuate the concentration/forced labor camp to avoid being captured. Of course some where also evacuated by train or ship, but thatĀ“s not the matter of your question. So yes, former inmates got shot.

Referring to your example: The writer might not have been used to the German march speed. But that they were sometimes kicked or beaten with the rifle butt (we see the latter also in videos of British/US soldiers who captured German soldiers) is not to compare with a real death march where dozens got shot in the road ditch along the route. Though I donĀ“t doubt that if a British POW would have tried/did escape that the guards would have tried to shot him. But I donĀ“t know about such cases.
BTW, US soldiers who liberated the KL Dachau did even hold German POW at gun point and allowed former inmates to torture and kill them. And with this I donĀ“t mean the Dachau Liberation Massacre caused by US soldiers.
Video on social media are also showing GIĀ“s robbing medals and orders from their POW during the capturing what is another violation.
Sorry for the long read but my mother tongue isnĀ“t English and so I need sometimes more words to express myself. Though I hope my informations are useful.

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