Historical Information: The British Expeditionary Force was involved in the later stages of the defence of Belgium following the German invasion in May 1940, and suffered many casualties in covering the withdrawal to Dunkirk. Those buried in Esquelmes War Cemetery died in defending the line of the River Scheldt; the Germans attempted to cross the river near Esquelmes during the morning of 21 May, but were replused after heavy fighting. They eventually crossed on 23 May, when the British Expeditionary Force withdrew to the Gort Line. Casualties buried in various places in the neighbourhood were brought to Esquelmes by the Belgian authorities in September 1940. The cemetery contains 233 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 32 of them unidentified.


No. of Identified Casualties: 201



Source: CWGC; The Times; The Irish Times

Photos courtesy of Collection of Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle, 2010; Paul Reed, 2009; Shelley Hughes, 2010;

ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY, BELGIUM

Cemetery: ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Country: Belgium

Locality: Pecq, Hainaut



Captain ROBERT EUSTACE ABEL-SMITH 42107, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 30 on 21 May 1940
Son of Eustace and Ailleen Abel-Smith; husband of Mary Sidney Clive Abel-Smith, of Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. A. 4.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253930


Guardsman JOHN ATHERTON 2613216, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 26 on 21 May 1940
Son of John and Margaret Mary Atherton, of Wigan, Lancashire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. B. 2.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253934


Second Lieutenant A N A BOYD 78258, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died on 21 May 1940
Son of Arthur Boyd, and of Dora Boyd, of Windsor.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. B. 1.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253947


Lance Corporal WILLIAM NOAH BUCKLEY 2613138, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 27 on 21 May 1940
Son of William and Laura Buckley, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
Remembered with honour
ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. B. 3.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253952


Lance Corporal W S A BURNETT 2613488, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 26 on 21 May 1940
Son of Thomas Herbert and Anne Lucy Burnett; husband of Elizabeth Burnett, of Gateshead, Co. Durham.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. A. 2.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253954


Guardsman G CALEY 823356, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 27 on 21 May 1940
Husband of Janet Caley, of Lincomb Bank, Worcestershire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. A. 5.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253958


Guardsman J T CARTER 873182, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 23 on 21 May 1940
Son of Mrs. M. J. Carter, of Wellesbourne, Warwickshire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. A. 1.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253963


Guardsman WALLACE CHAPMAN 2615800, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 24 on 21 May 1940
Son of Wallace and Eliza Chapman, of Nottingham.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. B. 4.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253964


Guardsman RAWDON JAMES COOK 2616235, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 19 on 21 May 1940
Son of Stanley Rawdon Cook and Mabel Esther Cook, of Ledbury, Herefordshire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. A. 7.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253970


Guardsman A N COTTRELL 2616260, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 21 on 21 May 1940
Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Cottrell, of Reddish, Stockport, Cheshire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. B. 1.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253974


Guardsman F DITCHETT 2610908, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died  on 21 May 1940
Husband of Rose May Ditchett, of Brentwood, Essex.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. B. 2.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253978


Guardsman WILLIAM DOYLE 2613568, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 28 on 21 May 1940
Son of William and Elizabeth Doyle; husband of Annie Sybilla Lily Doyle, of Islington, London.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. A. 4.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253980


Guardsman W A DUTTON 2615556, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died on 21 May 1940
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. A. 2.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253984


Lance Corporal WILFRED ELLERINGTON 2614925, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 23 on 21 May 1940
Son of Wilfred and Annie Jane Ellerington, of Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. A. 6.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253987


Guardsman W GASH 2612111, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 34 on 21 May 1940
Son of Charles and Loie Gash, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire; husband of Clare Gash, of Sleaford.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 2.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2253996


Guardsman S J HAYES 2612418, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 28 on 21 May 1940
Son of Charles and Sarah Hayes, of Williton, Somerset.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. B. 1.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254009


Warrant Officer Class III RAYMOND JOHN HICKS 2610868, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 34 on 21 May 1940
Son of John Evan and Eliza Hicks; husband of Olive Dora Hicks.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. B. 4.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254011


Images shown are courtesy of Raymond Hicks’ granddaughter Shelley who said:


“I have included both the letter and a picture of my grandfather (est. 1930). I have also included a picture of his regiment should anyone be interested. I'm not sure of the exact date of the picture, but it would have to be after 1937 when he made rank of sergeant. He was transferred to the 3rd Bttn and made PSM 1.9.39.”



Guardsman W HOWE 2615399, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 20 on 21 May 1940
Son of John George and Florence Howe, of Rhodes, Middleton, Manchester.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV A 1.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254016


Lance Corporal JOHN HENRY HUDSON 2615506, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 21 on 21 May 1940
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. B. 5.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254017


Corporal ALBERT AUSTIN JAY 2612556, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 29 on 21 May 1940
Son of Albert and Alice Adela Jay; husband of Sybil Iris Jay, of Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. B. 6.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254028


Warrant Officer Class III S W JENKINSON 2613361, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 28 on 21 May 1940
Son of William Smith Jenkinson and Elizabeth Anne Jenkinson; husband of Olive Jenkinson, of Howden-le-Wear, Co. Durham.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. A. 4.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254029


Serjeant SYDNEY GEORGE JOHNS 2614861, 3rd Bn, Grenadier Guards who died age 22 on 21 May 1940
Son of Cyril and Hilda Johns, of Church Village, Glamorgan.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. B. 5.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254031


Guardsman A H JOHNSON 2613339, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 31 on 21 May 1940
Husband of Ellen Johnson, of Gravesend, Kent.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 1.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254032


Guardsman THOMAS LINDLEY 2612213, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 31 on 21 May 1940
Son of Joseph and Ann Nora Lindley; husband of Alice Lindley, of Clifton, Lancashire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. A. 3.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254043


Guardsman W P MEADE 2613344, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 27 on 21 May 1940
Son of Percy H. and Sarah Jane Meade; stepson of Mr. J. T. Bracegirdle, of Goldenhill, Stoke-on-Trent.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. A. 2.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254057


Guardsman B G NEALE 2616211, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died  on 21 May 1940
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 7.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254062


Lieutenant HENRY GEORGE ALAN PERCY 51289, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 27 on 21 May 1940
9th Duke of Northumberland. Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Lord Privy Seal, 1935. Son of the late Alan Ian Percy, K.G., C.B.E., M.V.O., 8th Duke of Northumberland, and of Helen Magdalen, Duchess of Northumberland.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. B. 7.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254063

Also known as

Lieutenant 9th Duke of NORTHUMBERLAND 51289 who died on 21 May 1940
See PERCY, the true family name.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=7520087


From The Times, June 3, 1940:


“ROLL OF HONOUR

DEATH OF DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND

From Our Correspondent


ALNWICH, JUNE 2

The flying of the Duke of Northumberland's flag, the blue lion rampant, at half-mast on the keep of Alnwick Castle this morning was the first intimation to the people of Alnwick that the Duke had been killed in action. The news had been conveyed, in a message from the Duchess of Northumberland, by Mr. T.W. Haward (the Duke's commissioner) and Archdeaon Mangin (his chaplain).


People streaming from the churches glanced up at the flag and wondered. The news soon spread over the town and countryside, where the Duke was known as a benefactor of the people and a generous landlord to those on his large estates.”


From The Times, June 3, 1940:


“OBITUARY - THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND

DEATH ON ACTIVE SERVICE


The Duke of Northumberland, Grenadier Guards, whose death in action is announced on another page, was born on July 15, 1912. He was Henry George Alan Percy, the eldest son of the eighth Duke by his marriage to Lady Helen Gordon Lennox, daughter of the seventh Duke of Richmond. He was educated at Eton and joined the Grenadier Guards. He succeeded his father in 1930 as ninth Duke and also as Earl of Northumberland and of Beverley, Earl Percy, Baron Warkworth, Lord Lovaine, and Baron of Alnwick, and as twelfth baronet created Smithson (now Percy) of Stanwick in 1660, and thus became head of the great family of Percy. He inherited Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, Syon House, Brentford, and Albury Park, Guildford, as well as other estates.


When he came of age in 1933 he made a speech to his tenantry in which he announced that he was about to start a long tour in many parts of the Empire oversea and in foreign countries. "I hope," he added, "that by this means I shall better equip myself to play my part in life and in the management of my estates. In particular, I shall try to see something of the agricultural systems of other countries. I should much like to understand better than I do the great industry upon which the prosperity of this country so largely depends." He added that during his absence his mother would manage the estates, and he thanked his mother, Lord Irwin (now Lord Halifax), and his uncle, Lord Eustace Percy, for all they had done for him in their capacity as trustees.


After his return from his travels the Duke was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Lord Privy Seal, and in 1936 to the same office with the Secretary of State for Air. In March, 1939, the Duke found himself obliged, owing to the pressure of taxation, to give up living in Alnwick Castle. Fortunately he had a more modest dwelling close by in Lesbury House. He announced at the same time that he had no intention of giving up his pack of hounds. The Duke's sister, Lady Elizabeth Percy, was married in 1937 to the Marquess of Douglas and Clydesdale, who last March succeeded his father as 14th Duke of Hamilton and 11th Duke of Brandon. The Duke of Northumberland is succeeded by his brother, Lord Hugh Algernon Percy, who was born in 1914 and was gazetted to a commission in The Northumberland Hussars in 1936.”


From The Times, June 28, 1940


“OBITUARIES - PERSONAL TRIBUTES

DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND


R.R.M. writes:-

May one who knew him intimately from his childhood write a few words of tribute to the late Duke of Northumberland, who so bravely laid down his life while leading a platoon of Grenadier Guards to silence an enemy machine-gun which was enfilading our troops. It was a dangerous piece of invaluable service, crowned with success. But it meant death - a noble death such as he would have desired.


George, ninth Duke of Northumberland, bore a truly lovable and modest character. Those of us who knew him, whether as chairman, friend or colleague, are conscious of the loss of something very fine, something that we cannot replace in anything like the same degree. But the matter goes much further. He had great ideals, based on a deep religious principle. He was devoted to his mother and brothers and sisters, and the happy home life he shared with them; and was kindly and conscientious to all who knew him.


With the heavy burden of the dukedom thrown upon him by his father's early and much regretted death, he very soon began to develop a great interest in his wide estates and his many tenantry, among whom he became immensely popular, as one who ever exhibited deep sympathy with them in their difficulties, shared with them in their amusements, and never grudged generous help.


He had a passionate love for Northumberland and her history, and was never so happy as when hunting or shooting in that most lovely of counties. He was a fine horseman, Master of the Percy Hounds, and a first-rate shot. He had travelled round the world, which gave him great knowledge of the general outlook. He retained some of the happiest memories of his shooting trips in the heights of the Himalayas and the jungles of Africa.


Side by side with his friendship and consideration for those among whom he lived, there had sprung up in him the desire to take his part in public work, and the county council and other organizations for social service realized his worth. Thus it caused no surprise to those who knew him that when his country called him in the hour of her need, he at once returned to the Grenadier Guards, his father's regiment in which he was a reserve officer., though he had never served as a regular soldier. Though he was offered a post of comparative safety elsewhere, he determined to go to the front, serving as a junior officer, and thus, a true son of his soldier father, he laid down his life.


Northumberland bitterly mourns him to-day as a true Percy, a good friend and a generous landlord, and as one who, had he been spared, would have been a great and good Duke. The whole country is the poorer for the loss of one who so loyally and devotedly gave his life in the service of his King and Country.”


From Irish Times, Friday, October 11, 1940


“DUKE KILLED IN ACTION

LEAVES £1,400,000

Lieutenant Henry George Alan Percy, of the Grenadier Guards, twenty-seven years old, ninth Duke of Northumberland, who died on active service on May 21, left unsettled estate of the gross value of £1,446,489. Net personalty is £1,092,538, and estate duty of £193,883 has been paid.


Probate of his will and codicil has been granted to his mother, Helen Magdalen, Duchess of Northumberland; his uncle, Lord Eustace Percy, and Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary.


The young Duke died while leading a party of forty men of the Grenadier Guards in a bayonet charge against a German machine-gun enfilading British troops near Louvain.


The wife of one of the Guardsmen afterwards told how she had heard that the Duke called for forty volunteers. "The Duke led them in the charge," she said, "but none of them returned. Later the Guards sent out a search party, but found only the body of the Duke." The operation was successful, however. The Duke and his men had given their lives to silence the gun.


In 1936 the Ducal estates in Northumberland were turned into a private company.”


From The Irish Times, Friday, December 20, 1940:


“700 BRITISH WOUNDED IN BELGIAN HOSPITALS

More than 700 British wounded are still being cared for in hospitals in various parts of Belgium, the Press Association learns in Belgian circles in London. Some 450 are in hospital at Enghien, while the military hospital at Ghent is still treating 12 officers, 20 N.C.O.'s and 239 soldiers. Others are in Brussels and at Malines.


The personnel of a British ambulances is at Enghien hospital; wounded who have recovered have been sent to a camp in Germany, the Belgian Red Cross providing them with linen.


Some 40 officers and men belonging to the Grenadier Guards, including the Duke of Northumberland, are buried at Esquelme [sic], near Tournai. One soldier, who fought at Audenaerde and was reported to have been killed, is now known to be a prisoner in Germany. - (P.A. War Special)”


Guardsman EDWARD JAMES PORTSMOUTH 2616889, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 24 on 28 May 1940
Son of Walter James Portsmouth and Alice Louisa Portsmouth, of Harlington, Middlesex.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. B. 6.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254077


Guardsman E W REYNOLDS 2613551, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 28 on 21 May 1940
Son of Lilian Reynolds, of Forest Hill, Oxfordshire.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. B. 5.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254086


Guardsman WILLIAM WELLINGTON ROWLAND 2611976, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 28 on 21 May 1940
Son of John Edward and Sarah Jane Rowland, of Chaddesden, Derbyshire; husband of Maud Rowland, of Chaddesden.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. A. 1.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254092


Guardsman JOHN LEWIS TITMUS 2613248, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 27 on 21 May 1940
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. A. 3.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254111


Guardsman J H TURNER 2612157, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 31 on 21 May 1940
Son of John Henry and Sarah Turner, of Stockport, Cheshire; husband of Lydia Turner, of Edgeley, Stockport.
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. B. 6.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254113


Lance Corporal WILLIAM ROBERT WENTWORTH 2613069, 3rd Bn., Grenadier Guards who died age 28 on 21 May 1940
Remembered with honour ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 5.

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2254122




Honi soit qui mal y pense

 

Cemetery: ESQUELMES WAR CEMETERY

Country: Belgium

Locality: Pecq, Hainaut



GRAHAM, JOHN J GUARDSMAN 2ND BN. Coldstream Guards 2658880 22.05.1940




Nulli Secundus