The Battle of France 1940

As part of our Second World War impression, the Rifles remember the generation who endured the dark days of 1940, the year of the Battle of France.

When one considers the momentous events which took place in 1940, the Battle of France is now largely forgotten apart for the last weeks of the campaign. This was the crucial period for the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) as it fought it’s way back to Dunkirk and the beeches of Le Panne.

Holding the channel ports became crucial if the BEF were to be evacuated, Boulogne-sur-Mer was briefly held by the Guards then lost as the Germans swept towards Dunkirk. The last bastion was Calais, and here the Green Jackets of 30th Infantry Brigade fought to the last man.

Orbat, 30th Infantry Brigade, May 22nd, 1940. 

   GOC  Brig Gen Claude Nicholson.
The port was heavily bombed before the outer defences were attacked by the German 10th Panzer Division. A series of desperate rear guard actions by the garrison held up the Germans until they were forced to surrender on 26th May 1940. 

Suggested web site, and more information regarding the Battle of France. Rifles travel to commemorations in Belgium and France.
As part of the 2011 commemoration, our members attended events at Adinkerke, and then a memorial service at De Panne. 

Suggested Reading

DYNAMO 75,Ramsgate, 2015.The 75th Anniversary of the BEF’s evacuation from the Dunkirk beeches. The story of the Medway Queen is not unlike that of the other little ships who played their part in the evacuation.  As HMS Medway Queen, the ship made 7 trips over to Dunkirk, saving an estimated 7000 British and French soldiers. Under constant air attack, her guns accounted for 3 German aircraft.  The Rifles were honoured to be able to help the Medway Queen Preservation Society with some of the following publicity photographs.

M108/9 14.5.1940 1. Panzer Reg. geht auf Pontonbrücke in Floing über die Maas, bei Sedan [Heeresfilmstelle Spandau-Ruhleben]
Frz. Kriegsgefangene