Dunkirk Veteran Harry Malpas ex 2nd Warwickshire Regiment

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Joined: 29/01/2009

The Association is saddened to mark the death of Harry Malpas - Dunkirk Veteran and long-time friend of the Association, who passed away on 3 February, 2013.
Harry joined the army in 1937 and returned to the UK from India at the outbreak of WWII. The 2nd, 1/7th and 8th Battalions were part of the BEF in France and Belgium. Like other units they had to fight their way back to the beaches of Dunkirk when the German army launched their Blitzkrieg.
The 2nd Battalion was given the task of keeping open the main supply route to Dunkirk. They were in defensive positions around the town of Wormhoudt. By the 27th May 1940 there were fears that they would be cut off. It soon became clear that the nearby hamlet of Esquelbecq was a German stronghold, which included three battalions of the SS Adolf Hitler Regiment. The SS attacked at 7.30am and by 4.00pm had completely overrun the position. About 70 men from the Royal Artillery, 2nd Warwickshire and 4th Cheshire Regiments were stripped and herded into a milking shed. The troops threw in grenades and opened fire with machine guns, killing over half the men.
Harry miraculously survived the attack but along with others was taken prisoner a few days later by the regular German army. Harry was one of many prisoners at Dunkirk who was interned for the duration of the war. He was sent to Stalag VIII-B, and spent four years working in the coal mines in Poland. In January 1945, as the Soviet armies advanced into Germany, many of the prisoners were marched westward in groups of 200 to 300 in the so-called Death March. Many of them died from the bitter cold and exhaustion. The lucky ones, including Harry, got far enough to the west to be liberated by the American army.
There will never be another generation like that of Harry’s; we remember Harry with pride that we were able to share his company on our Little Ships.
‘They will not be forgotten’