TRANSCRIPTION OF WAR DIARY JAMES M. WHITWORTH Mechanic - R.E.M.E. II P agc May 1940 (Dunkirk Campaign)

Jim Strachan went out to Enghein this afternoon he saw 6 men killed before his eyes, in a ditch and he was almost with them. He was shaken up to blazes. At sunset we beat it from the wood and slept in a bam I slept with Gordon. We received 50 fags along with a box of matches today. My face is peeling like anew potato with the sun. A party are in the village clearing shrapnel. Have a good wash in a stream 15 th May 1940 Gordon and I awoke this morning to the sound of bombing the ground is thumping like mad they are bombing the railway 300 yards away. However nobody is hurt so we troop down in two's and get breakfast. When we get there the people are leaving the village some are crying like blazes. We start to build a workshop today. In the evening Gordon Eric Williams and I go over to the fields to ransack a German Bomber that has been brought down. I got a magazine filled with bullets Gordon got the Machine Gun. I emptied the bullets one by one and shared them amongst the lads. "Jerry" did not give us much rest today but they have some new gun teams here and 12 out of 13 were brought down Thurs 16 th May 1940 (We Retreat) Awakened again by bombers we move out at 02.30 hrs in the middle of an Air Raid. How the hell we're missing them I do not know there are about 21 planes and not a fighter insight. It is foolish to move out now they will see us and bomb the road. 20 minutes later we are passing through Enghein. It is horrible here the poor women and children the town is in a shambles the A.A guns are out of action and not a fighter insight. Where is the R.A.F.? Where is the Aid we promised Belgium? Suddenly 30 bombers come overflying low we have orders to carry on if we are bombed but the road is blocked with refugees we get in a ditch then they start. It is horrible every plane has about 12 bombs they are dropping them at random we will never live through it I am sure. I hope someone is praying for me. You can hear the bombs whistling down half of the town is inflames hundreds being killed and some of our convoy is instill the town. Our boys have opened fire with the Bren guns and Lewis guns. Charlie has brought one down they are dying to machine gun us aline of bullets has passed within 2 yards of four of us. Mack and I alight fag. We were there an hour we decided to move offbefore the road is ruined. Just as we moved off an incendiary bomb went through a car the petrol tank exploded and the boot cover hit a woman and someone else who were sheltering in a ditch. When I say someone else, I don't know whether it was a man woman or child. The woman threw her arms up for aid -we had our orders and could not stop a little further down we saw a first aid car and sent him up. I don't know if anyone was in the car -if there were any people in it they were killed outright. Sgt Blackburn is hurt with a bomb. After the raid we went back to Enghein and stayed in a farm. During the raid "Tippy" had gone crackers -Bert Peddare and a few more including the C.O. were firing with rifles. Tonight we sleep in a bam. This has been the most horrible day of my life. 17th May 1940 We are up at 04.00 hrs ready to move again at 07.00 hrs we move out. The C.O. tells us "everyman for himself'. Our destination is Tressin the other side of the Boarder. 41 Page
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