Sequence of events for the

27th May 1940

  1. 06:00 Two 150mm guns open fire in support of the German advance.

  2. 06:00 Heavy mortar and M.G. fire falls on A Coy. causing significant casualties.

  3. 06:00 Heavy MG and mortar fire opens up from here on forward companies -----photo above taken during the battle from near here

  4. 06:00 Heavy MG fire commences from the roof of the buildings in the Piat Park. Artillery observers also use this vantage point to spot the fall of shot

  5. 06:30 Sniper fire is reported from the woods. German forces begin to press forward. By 13:00 German troops break through between the companies emerging onto the road before being driven back by the counter attack.

  6. 06:30 91 Fd Regt. RA. engages German mortar and M.G. positions in Zwartleen.

  7. 06:45 German advance begins.

  8. 10:00 a big German attack is delivered, pushing back the Cameroons on the right of the Inniskillings. This in turn causes them to withdraw and by 12:40 German troops are reported to be in Hollebeke.

  9. 10:00 a German attack drives the Cameroons leaving the Inniskilling Fusiliers flank wide open and then in turn they fall back until they reach a line on the ridge overlooking Hollebeke at 13:00

  10. 10:30 Attached MG’s from A Coy 1/9th Manchesters prevent the German infantry from cutting off the Royals Scots line of retreat. They also assist in covering the battalion’s withdrawal and then move themselves back to Brigade HQ.  One detachment is caught unawares and are all wounded or captured.

  11. 12:00 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, B Echelon transport and ammunition depot set up

  12. 12:30 the Germans set up a Machine Gun post in Henri Kino’s cafe

  13. 13:00 German forces reach as far as the crater, effectively cutting off A Coy and threatening the battalion’s line of retreat.

  14. 13:00 The Northamptonshire's take up a position on the spoilbank high ground in rder to cover th retreat of the Seaforths and the Fusiliers.

  15. 13:30 Seaforth’s reach the canal line after fighting retreat.

  16. 13:30 During the withdrawal of the 13 Brigade’s Inniskillings, many Royal Scots Fusiliers are caught up and taken with them. Isolated pockets of defence slow down the German advance

  17. 13:30 The fighting patrol led by Lt. Cholmondeley and supported by Thomsons carriers, counter attack the Germans, starting from D Coys old positions and pushing the Germans out of the wood. A Coy join in the attack and work their way down the street and assault the M.G. position at Henri Kino’s cafe. Lt. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton and Lt. Cholmondeley are killed during the fighting around the crater and Lt. Sinton, A Coy is killed during the final assault on the cafe. This allows what remains of the  companies to disengage and withdraw to the canal by 14:30                                   

  18. 14:00 Seaforths take up their positions mixed in with the Northampton’s overlooking the canal and with the remains C Coy 2RSF on their far right.

  19. 14:00 The remains of B Coy (about Platoon strength) dig in facing across the lake.

  20. 14:30 D Coy 17 Platoon digs in along the canal bank.

  21. 14:30 16 Platoon D Coy comes under fire; Sgt Barnes is killed and Lt. McIntosh is wounded. 16 Platoon is then moved forward between 17 platoon and C Coy.

  22. 14:45 The Inniskillings set up a new line of defence overlooking Hollebeke

  23. 15:00 retreating members of the Inniskillings encourage members of the platoon to retreat with them.

  24. 15:00 C Coy with 18 platoon D Coy attached dig in facing the canal.

  25. 15:00 D Coy HQ, and 16 platoon dig in facing the canal.

  26. 15:00 The remains of B Coy dig in along the entrance to the “white house” using a foul smelling drainage ditch as additional cover

  27. 15:30 – German forward elements cross the canal and start approaching the farm, only to be stopped and turned back by rifle fire from the roof.

  28. 16:00 Ammunition re-supplies brought in along this road. Led by Lt. Shakespear and assisted by Lt. Kempthorne. The later being hit by mortar fire and evacuated by Brigadier Stopford.

  29. 16:30 The carrier platoon cross the canal whilst under heavy German fire. The last carrier overturns and catches fire.

  30. 18:30 German artillery and M.G’s set up and begin suppressive fire on the 2nd RSF. The shells are seen to arc over the “white house” and land in the woods and fields beyond. The creeping barrage moves back and forth over the battalion area.

  31. 18:30 The Inniskillings are driven out of their positions in the wood and at 19:30 a considerable German force surrounds and captures their BHQ.

  32. 20:00 some of B Coy under Capt. Heisch arrive and set up positions with the Northampton’s.

  33. 20:30 Battalion Headquarters moved from the White House to Vergote Farm

  34. 20:30 HQ Coy signals platoon covers the withdrawal of battalion headquarters and are eventually driven from the building. During this close quarter fighting, Fusilier Dickson is killed and many HQ personnel taken prisoner.

  35. 21:45 Continuous artillery bombardment hits all RSF positions around the Palingbeke park.

  36. 21:45 all the Coy’s are called back and settle in for a last stand in the Vergotte farm buildings

  37. 21:45 A Coy is called back to the Vergote farm

  38. 23.30 During the night the carrier platoon delivers ammunition and Col. Tod is visited by the Brigadier.

  39. 23.59 The brigadier uses this road to keep in contact with the battalion and visits for the final time at 03:00 delivering 2 relief officers and also evacuating 2Lt Wilmot.

During the night German forces advance driving back the Seaforths. Small pockets of resistance led by Sgt Stewart fight on but by midday the Seaforths are back behind the canal. The brigade’s left flank is open and the Brigade anti-tank company is left unguarded. A counter attack is organised but fails in the face of heavy enemy mortar fire.