The Defence of Calais May 1940Subscribe to our RSS news feed

NEW: New section and NINE new pdf documents loaded this afternoon to cover the concise history of the 30 Infantry Brigade in the Defence of Calais in May 1940.

For some time, I have been interested in the Defence of Calais in May 1940. Not sure why, but I find it an entralling and tragic story, that tells us so much about the reality of the Second World War for so many. It tells the story of how two Regular Army motor battalions, a Territorial Army motor-cycle battalion and a regiment of the Royal Tank Regiment, were hurriedly sent to Calais to defend the port against the rapid advance by German armoured forces. Together with the French garrison, the men of the 30 Infantry Brigade and some Royal Artillery details in the area, held off the German infantry and tanks for four days until overwhelmed.

Several soldiers lie in the Calais Southern Cemetery and nearby cemeteries, others have no known grave and are commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial. A few escaped by a variety of methods, taking great risks and using their initiative to avoid capture. The majority (many of whom were wounded) became prisoners of war, and ended up enduring five years of captivity in Germany, Poland and elsewhere.

In their memory, please read this concise history, which can only attempt to covey what these men, British, French and German, went through in the name of war. Please see:

Released July 25, 2014