killed at Dunkirk
Before the war
West Layton UK
John Edward Dimmock, known by many as Ted, has the sad distinction to be the only man of the 7th Green Howards to be killed at Dunkirk.
John E. Dimmock, who hailed from West Layton UK was the only boy in a family of four. His sister were big Sister Jane E Butler (My Nana’s Mum), Hilda M Dimmock (Married to Arthur E Story) and Ena Dimmock (Married to Herbert Baker). John and Minnie Dimmock were their parents.
By all accounts, Ted was easy going, jolly, and an easy man to get on with. He had a natural musical ability and helped an elderly couple maintain their garden. However, life on the Barnes’ farm was unpleasant to him, as was his father’s treatment of him. It was reported that on one occasion his father threw a brick at him.
He chose to leave and soon found a new job working for the council as a road worker. Sometime later he was betrothed to his sweetheart Sally from Butterworth, who worked in the general store in the nearby village of Ravensworth.
War in France
Though they had little training and equipment, they were sent to war April 1940. They were not sent to fight, but to construct an airstrip.
The British strength dwindled as the German's speed and aggression increased. The 6th and 7th Green Howards were ordered to retreat and left the airstrip at Farbus Camps to take shelter in Thelus Woods. They were later attacked by Stukas German dive bombers. They were ordered to march to the beaches on March 22nd. It took nine days to trek through Gondercourt, Steenwick Westoutre and Killem Linde and they finally arrived on March 31st 0100 at Bray Dunes, 6 miles north of Dunkirk.
Answering the WW2 Draft
Sept - 1939
His career change ultimately proved fatal as he was called up to fight in World War 2, at the age of 20. He enlisted in the 7th Green Howards, the Yorkshire regiment of Alexandria, Princess of Wales. The battalion was reformed in 1939 when the territorial army doubled in size. They served as part of the 69th Infantry Brigade, with the 23rd (Northumbrian) Division transferring to 50th Division.
The Battalion was raised in Bridlington, East York and the core of the HQ Company was comprised of former pupils of the school. This is where John Dimmock met his closest friend, Stanley Coleman.
Bray Dunes 1940
Upon arriving at Bray Dunes, they were ordered to disperse and take cover in the dunes. Shortly after, at 0600 they were shelled. While the overall casualties were few, John E Dimmock was killed. A piece of shrapnel went through his chest wallet and claimed his life. Pastor Metcalf was on duty and grabbed Ted’s belongings, including his wallet, tags and a packed pipe ready to smoke. He was wrapped in a blanket before they buried him in the sand-dunes. Reportedly, Metcalf “then ran like hell.” At 0800 hours they were ordered onto the beach to try boarding small boats, but the sea was too rough. Instead, the Green Howards were ordered to head to the east mole to act as stretcher bearers.
Clipping from 7th Green Howards War diary 1940
May 31st Bray Dunes 1940 8am
Ted’s mother Minie Dimmock, received Ted’s belongings and another man’s tags from Pastor Metcalfe. It is speculated that Minie was never the same after; holding out hope that Ted was alive and there had been a mix up with the tags. She continued to look to the hills above their house in West Layton, waiting for him to come home. She stated that she often thought she could hear his footsteps. The farmers brought her food, but she refused. She blamed them for mistreating Ted and believed they forced him to leave the safety of farm work only to be called up and killed. Sally married after they lost touch.
Stanley later visited the family home to share his commiserations for his best friend’s death. He had missed the battle due to developing diphtheria. This is when my Grandparents first met. Jenny Butler and Stanley Coleman kept in touch and wrote letters to each other throughout the war.
Discovered from this Facebook post:
Only Man from the 7th Green Howards to be killed at Dunkirk
John E Dimmock
John Edward Dimmock’s body was never recovered, but he has a head stone at the Dunkirk Memorial, France.
Thanks to Pastor Metcalf we have Ted's wallet. Unfortunatly Ted wasnt a rich man with a thick wallet to stop the shrapnel passing though and hitting him in the chest. Inside is a picture of Sally his Fiance that he will never get to marry and the souvenirs he collected to give to her.
The wallet that didn't save his life
John Dimmock's chest wallet
Who was injured from the 7th Green Howards at Bray dunes?
Many years later 1960’s My Nana tells a story about how she and Stanley went to visit her father in St John of God Hospital at Scorton, near Richmond. Stanley recognized a man at the hospital and described him as having dark hair, medium build, and looked “tough as old boots.” He claimed that he was 1 of 3 men that were hit by the shell along with Ted.
We are still looking for the two that stood by him at his death and wonder if they can shed and light on what happened. Also, we are truly thankful of Pastor Metcalf and his service.
Video library Dunkrik
My Youtube video collection that has have helped research and gain an understanding of what soldiers went through.
Meet the soldiers who survived Dunkirk and tell their stories. Also hear the veterans opinions on the New Dunkirk Movie and how it compared to the real thing.
Armchair Historian is one of my favorite History Youtubers. Who often explains history from both sides, when we typically hear a one sided version.
Amazing footage of Dunkirk in color from all sides of the war.
Fastest way to understand the battle of Dunkirk. Great over view video to get you caught up to speed.
In depth documentary of the Battle for France. Incredible foot age of tanks movements and battles. lots of information about France's involvement in the war, England not wanting to get involved. Didn't Know France invasion was delayed 28 times after Holland victory.
Here is a list of weblinks and books that has helped me.
The Green Howards Museum - Richmond UK
Finding service numbers and solider information
Greater detail on movements and pictures - paid service
Common Wealth war Games
Green Howards escape aboard HMS Venomous