The Battle of the Ypres - Comines Canal 26-28 May 1940

By the 26th of May 1940, the battalion had covered 129 miles of marching, been under intense air attack and had fought in the battle of Arras. However the 5th Division was called on to form part of the rear guard that would allow the rest of the BEF to escape through Dunkirk.

The 17th Brigade under Brigadier M. G. N. Stopford, was to cover the area between the junction of the canal and the railway near Hollebeke and the railway crossing at Zillebeke Halt.

On their right was the 13 Brigade with the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the left 143 Brigade, who due to transportation difficulties didn't arrive till very late on the 26th May.

 

 

The Brigadier decided to have both the Seaforths and Scots Fusiliers up on the line and Northamptonshires in reserve. The brigade anti-tank company was placed on the left flank to cover the open fields around the halt. (it was also noted that an anti-tank ditch had been dug between the railway and the Vierlingen woods)

Within the brigade, Stopford also had the services of 141 field ambulance, who set up Casualty Clearing Station in the barns of the Vergotte Farm and a machine gun company of the 1/9th Manchesters who occupied 3 farms in the centre of the battlefield.