Note: This was the last letter on record before hostilities really began. The next pages deal with Major Petch's notes after Dunkirk was all over.

Post Dunkirk ...

[This next letter would be after the evacuation from Dunkirk on 31 May]

June 2nd 1940, Sunday – The Bradley Lines, Hereford. 

It was glorious to be able to ring you up and hear your voice again after about 3 weeks of the hardest time of my life. I intend this afternoon to write a diary of our movements and a few of our experiences; but for the present I have half an hour before I am going to St. Martin’s Church, Hereford to thank God for our safe return. It is expected that as soon as we sort ourselves out we go on leave for a few days until the Divisions reform.

The Battalion has been split up and several casualties have occurred. John Harrison – from Nunthorpe was the first Officer to be killed at Gravelines where we knew that at least 15 men were killed. There were about other 50 which we have never heard of since May 24th. They include Harold Kidd, Peter Forster, John Middleditch another Company Commander was wounded and we now have lost Bill Richards. We still hope Harold Kidd and Peter Forster etc might turn up although it is only a slender hope now. Peter Forster’s brother in the 4th Battalion was also killed and I hear Colonel Litteboy is missing. Lord Downe left us for England in the midst of our activities about the 21st May!

Among the things I have lost include 6lb in weight, every bit of my kit and uniform except my shaving kit and towel! I only have left what I stand in – breeches, leggings , battledress tunic and mackintosh! Nearly every officer in the battalion is the same. I saw Barry Linton under immensely interesting circumstances! We were rushed up to the Canal du Nord to protect a bridge – I went forward to see who occupied it and there was Barry preparing to blow it up! His man told me afterwards he had fainted that evening and cracked his skull and was in Arras hospital the day before the Germans occupied the town. I don’t know any more. I am simply longing to see you and be with you again. I will wire immediately I have news. [End of letter]

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.

Get Flash Player