LEADGATE FALLEN 1940
The Fall of the Low Countries and France & Evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk
The end of the Phoney War
World War 2 in Europe was slow to start, since Britain and France declared war on Germany on the 3rd September 1939 there was little fighting action until the German invasion of France and the Low Countries on 10th May 1940. Coincidently the 10th May was the day that Winston Churchill became Prime Minister.
Despite the preparation of defences over the Winter of 1939 the German Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) quickly broke though the allied line and advanced deep into France, almost cutting off the British forces in Northern France. On the 23rd May the German Forces halted, one of the drawbacks of Blitzkrieg was out-running the supply chain. This halt meant that the Channel port of Dunkirk was still available to the allies and Operation Dynamo was launched and between the 26th May and the 4th June 1940 around 338,226 soldiers were rescued. This later became known as "The Miracle of Dunkirk" and on the 4th June, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave his now famous "We Shall Fight them on the Beaches" speech to the Nation.
The Miracle of Dunkirk
The Battle of Britain
The "Battle of Britain" , 10 July until 31 October 1940, followed on quickly after Dunkirk. The German forces attempted to knock Britain out of the war using their Air Force (Luftwaffe). They hoped to knock out the Royal Air Force and thereby destroy the British Air Defences. Despite heavy losses the RAF inflicted a significant blow to the Luftwaffe who lost many aircraft and crew. Far from knocking Britain out of the war, the battle stiffened British morale and lead to another of Churchill's famous rallying speeches "" Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few",
War Time Poster
East African Campaign
The East African campaign June 1940 to November 1941 was fought between the British and colonial troops against Mussolini's Italian Army. The East African campaign was the first Allied strategic victory in the war, which ended with the Battle of Gondar 13–27 November 1941.
One Leadgate man, Thomas Craig was killed during this campaign, his entry is on the 1941 database.
Interactive Database of Leadgate Fallen 1940
Corporal Wilfred Curtis MID aged 33. Son of William Curtiss and Elizabeth Dixon of Leadgate Co Durham. 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Died during a German counterattack near the village of La Tombe (Tomme),
about 15 miles south east of Brussels on 15th May 1940. Buried Leopoldsburg War Cemetery
Private Joseph Armstrong aged 23, son of Joseph and Jane Armstrong of Tees Grove Leadgate. 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry Died on the 28th May 1940 defending the line to Dunkirk. Buried St. Pol War Cemetery.
Corporal Sidney Vine aged 30, son of Joseph and Barbara Vine of Plantation Street Leadgate. 2 G.H.Q. Coy Royal Army Service Corps Sydney was last seen on 29th May 1940 and was categorised as missing presumed dead. Commemorated Dunkirk Memorial.
Private Joseph Anthony Holland aged 30, son of Patrick and Margaret Holland of 54 Plantation Street Leadgate. 9th battalion Durham Light Infantry Died on 30th May 1940 as his Unit reached the outskirts of Dunkirk attempting to escape from the beach. Buried Bulskamp Cemetery.
Private Thomas Turnbull Temple aged 24, son of George and Annie Temple of 335 South Cross Street Leadgate. No. 2 Field Bakery Royal Army Service Corps . Died when the Luftwaffe sunk the HMT Lancastria at St Nazaire,17th June 1940. Buried Pornic War Cemetery.
Aircraftman 2nd Class Joseph Dukes aged 23, son of Robert and Elizabeth Ellen Dukes of 28 New Tin Street Leadgate. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died 2nd October 1940 in The RVI in Newcastle having become ill serving with the RAF. Buried Leadgate St. Ives Churchyard.
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
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Leadgate Remembers WW2 - Andy Plant
Leadgate Community History Club do not claim any copyright over the 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.Back