Leadgate Community History Club


The Next Generation Returns to Arms

Declaration of War

Great Britain and France formally declared War with Germany at 1100am on the 3rd of September 1939 when the German leadership failed to respond to an ultimatum to withdraw from Poland.

Deployment of the BE​F

The BEF (British Expeditionary Force) was to assemble on the Franco-Belgian border and advanced parties of troops left Portsmouth on 4 September under "Plan W4" and the first troop convoy left the ports on the Bristol Channel and Southampton on 9 September, disembarking at Cherbourg on 10 September and Nantes and St Nazaire two days later. German submarines had been held back by Hitler to avoid provoking the Allies and only a few mines were laid near Dover and Weymouth. By 27 September, 152,000 soldiers, 21,424 vehicles, 36,000 long tons (36,578 t) tons of ammunition, 25,000 long tons (25,401 t) of petrol and 60,000 long tons (60,963 t) of frozen meat had been landed in France. Source:  Wikipedia

The Phoney War (Sitzkrieg)

The Phoney War began with the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939, and ended with the German invasion of France and the Low Countries on 10 May 1940. Although there was no large-scale military action by Britain and France, they did begin some economic warfare, especi​ally with the naval blockade, and shut down German surface raiders. Source:  Wikipedia

Two Servicemen from Leadgate died in 1939 however only one; Arthur Scarlett, was officially recognised and recorded on the Commonwealth War Grave register. The second, George Milburn, a survivor of the First World War had enlisted into one of the newly formed National Defence Companies in the summer of 1939. On the 22nd August they were mobilised along with the Territorial Army under the Allenby operational order.

These men were deployed to guard vital establishments and infrastructure and George was on duty at one such vital point, the Croxdale Viaduct on 28th August, sadly early on the 29th he was killed in an accident when he was somehow hit by a passing train.

Croxdale Viaduct

Defence Company Cap Badge

The coroner at George’s inquest Mr J E Brown Humes said “This man’s death is attributable to the war which is now on”. However, the Government and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission consider that George, who died before war was declared  was therefore not a war casualty. He has no soldier’s gravestone and he is not recorded on any war memorial.

Arthur Scarlett sadly lost his life at Scapa Flow when, on the night of the 13th October, his ship, the Royal Oak, was hit by torpedo's fired by the German Submarine U47 which had managed to penetrate into Scapa Flow despite the defences. Of the crew of 1400 men (including boy sailors), 833 were lost.

HMS Royal Oak

Interactive Database of Leadgate Fallen 1939

Private George Milburn aged 46, husband of Sarah of 8 Bradley Cottages Leadgate. .  National Defence Company  Died when he was struck by a passing train. 29th August 1939. Buried Medomsley Churchyard. Leadgate Remembers.

Ordinary Seaman Arthur Scarlett, aged 19, Son of John Robert and Eveline Scarlett of 11 Villa Real Bungalow's HMS Royal Oak  Died when his ship was torpedoed in  Scapa Flow by U-47 . 14th October 1939. Commemorated  Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Leadgate Remembers.

Leadgate Remembers World War 2

Leadgate Remembers World War 2 is a Facebook Project compiled by Andy Plant. We have worked closely with Andy on all the Leadgate Remembers projects and he has done a magnificent job of researching the fallen of Leadgate in both world wars. His World War 2 project was designed to use a one year calendar view of the fallen on the date they died, regardless of which year.

Acknowledgements & Sources

Copyright Notice

Leadgate Community History Club do not claim any copyright over any of the photographs on this page. The photographs are all either Public Domain or licenced as Free to Use and Share on the internet. All are referenced here for educational purposes only.