Friday, 17th May 1940

Dear Dad,

As you can see above, I am still leading the life of a gypsy, here today and gone tomorrow, every day a different place.

We arrived here last Wednesday and are due to leave next Monday or Tuesday for Camberley which is about 120 miles away, where we will find the rest of the Brigade.  The place we are living in now, is right on the coast near Dover and we are all taking the opportunity to get a little swimming in, the weather we have had lately has been ideal.

You will see from my last letter that my Battalion  (Cpl 2nd) had gone to Holland,  today a L/Cpl came down here who had been to Holland with the Battalion and gave us a few facts of the fighting.

The 2nd battalion Irish Guards left Dover at 10.00pm last Sunday night for Amsterdam in "The Maid of Orleans" and arrived there at 2 or 3 in the morning, they were under fire from aircraft from then on until they left there last Tuesday night.  Their particular job was to hold the city until the Royal family got away; this they did and went back to Dover on the same destroyer as Queen Wilhelmina.

Altogether 20 men were killed, about 50 or 60 wounded and 10 are missing, they were only in Holland two days, so that will give you some idea of the severity of the fighting.  They were ordered out of Holland so quick on Tuesday night, that 18 motor cycles, 9 Bren guns, 3 mortars and about £1000 worth of equipment and clothing had to be left behind.  Also when they reached Dover, it was discovered that 10 men were left behind, they haven't been heard of since.

The sky was thick with German planes and scores of women and children were shot down whilst queuing up to board boats in Amsterdam harbour.  One plane chased an old man along a street whilst he was pushing his wife in an invalid chair, this L/Cpl saw that with his own eyes, and I can assure you that none of the chaps are in the mood for making up fairy stories.

However, next Tuesday, I will be with the Battalion once more at Camberley, I will be able to see how many of my old friends are left, once again I have missed it.

And now I must close.  Tell Mother if she writes to next Monday, I will get her letter when I arrive at the Old Dene Camp, Camberley, next Tuesday.  Give my love to Mother and Dorothy, and when you next write to Bill, please tell him I will drop him a line at the first opportunity. Please excuse this scribble.

Your loving son,

On this day;

On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. Queen Wilhelmina had wanted to stay in the Netherlands: she had planned to go to the southern province of Zeeland with her troops in order to coordinate further resistance from the town of Breskens and remain there until help arrived, much as King Albert I of Belgium had done during World War I. She fled The Hague, and she boarded HMS Hereward, a British destroyer which was to take her south;[8] however, after she was aboard, Zeeland came under heavy attack from the Luftwaffe and it was considered too dangerous to return. Wilhelmina was then left with no option but to accept George VI's offer of refuge. She retreated to Britain, planning to return as soon as possible.
Germans occupy Brussels

On the Western Front... Troops of the German 6th Army (Reichenau) enter Brussels. Antwerp and the islands at the mouth of the Scheldt are also being abandoned but have not yet been taken by the Germans. The British and French forces in Belgium have now fallen back to the Dendre River. General Gort is now worried by the growing threat to his right flank and rear areas and, therefore, forms a scratch force to defend this area. General Mason-Macfarlane is put in command. [He has up till now been Gort's Chief of Intelligence. Gort can be criticized for weakening this important department at such a vital stage.] In the main German attacks Guderian's forces, exploiting the loophole in their orders allowing reconnaissance in force, reach the Oise River south of Guise. On the German left flank, the French 4th Armored Division (Colonel de Gaulle) attacks northward from around Laon. The Luftwaffe attacks them fiercely and prevents any real gains.

In Belgium... The government has moved to Ostend.

In Norway... The British cruiser Effingham goes aground and is lost while carrying men and stores to join the forces south of Narvik.

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