Dunkirk - 225 Field Company RE


Royal Engineers

The Invasion of Holland and Belgium by Germany started on May 10th 1940. Contingency Plans had been made by the British Army for such an event and involved the 4th Division moving forward into Belgium taking up positions from Brussels to the Senne Canal at Vilvorde. The 225 Field Company RE moved into the Brussels Stadium on May 14th and parties were sent from here to carry out reconnaissance of several bridges in the area, meanwhile a football was produced and a hastily arranged match between company sections in the stadium took place to a commentary by a Sapper who had found the public address system in working order. "Ignorance is bliss" never rang more true when looked at in retrospect on this occasion. A cache of revolvers and guns were found in the stadium and during some horseplay one of the Sappers was shot in the thigh and eventually evacuated to England. The Company moved from Brussels to Vilvorde on the 15th and bridges were blown on the 16th. The general situation on the battlefields had deteriorated mainly because of the capitulation of the Belgium Army and the state of panic of the French Government as the German Army began to advance towards Paris. Movement of British troops was hampered by the presence of hundreds of civilians on the roads fleeing from the advancing Germans with all of their possessions carried in anything that had wheels, this exodus caused havoc, with congestion and bottlenecks at vital road junctions.