BEF Memorial, Risquons-Tout


When the German Blitzkrieg was unleashed on Western Europe in May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force crossed from France into Belgium and attempted to defend the River Dyle. Thrown back, units were split up and often many miles apart – cohesion was a great problem as many individual battles were fought, often in now forgotten corners of Belgium and France.

The 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment was a regular army unit which found themselves pushed back to the small village of Risquons-Tout on 25th May 1940. Risquons-Tout was located on the Belgian/French border near the town of Mouscron and the battalion made a small defence here before the remaining front in Belgium collapsed and the general withdrawal to Dunkirk began.

In the 1950s an original memorial (above), one of very few, was erected here and then later a Bren Gun Carrier was brought over and placed on a permanent memorial site to commemorate the East Surreys and the action here in 1940. The Bren Carrier (below) bears insignia used by the 4th Division, of which it was a part, later in the war but it is a little known monument to the 1940 campaign.

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