Wednesday, October 14, 2009

5th Borders at 'Razmak Camp' in WW2

A photograph believed to of 'Razmak Camp' November 1939
Believed to be in the Wooler area, Northumberland in the winter of 1939
The 5th Battalion The Border Regiment were camped in this area at the time
(Photo: Courtesy of family of Pte J.W. Gilpin, Border Regt)
For addtional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(1) Razmak Camp

The above photograph is believed to have originally belonged to 3599463 Private John William Gilpin, 5th Battalion The Border Regiment. The original photograph is on a postcard saying it is of 'Razmak Camp' in November.

In November 1939 the 5th Battalion The Border Regiment were based in the Wooler area, Northumberland. This was one of the coldest winters in living memory and some military 'wag' - no doubt with the perverse sense of humour soliders often have to cope with extreme situations - called the camp they were staying in 'Razmak Camp'. The true Razmak Camp was on the North West Frontier (Indian Sub-Continent). So the conditions were rather different on the Northumberland frontier.

Prvate Jackie Gilpin unfortunately lost his life as the result of a vehicle accident in Auust 1940, after surviving Dunkirk. Below are additional details regarding Jackie Gilpin and the 5th Borders between 1939 and 1940.

Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(2) Brief biographical details of Private Jackie Gilpin

Name: John William Gilpin (known as 'Jackie')

Service No: 3599463

Rank: Private

Unit: 5th Battalion (T.A.) The Border Regiment

Enlisted: May 1939

Home Address: 12 Jane Street, Frizington, Cumberland

Died: 19 August 1940 (Accidental death after a vehicle accident)

Place of interment: St Paul's Churchyard (C of E), Frizington

Other information: Son of the late Robert Gilpin and Mrs Mary Jane Gilpin

Pre-war occupation: Hotel Porter

Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(3) Brief timeline for 5th Battalion The Border Regiment
August 1939 - August 1940

Late August / Early September 1939 - Summer Camp at Halton, nr. Lancaster

1 September 1939 - Germany invades Poland

3 September 1939 - Britain and France declare war on Germany

Early September 1939 - 5th Battalion reorganised into two battalions (5th and 7th)
[The 5th Battalion had been doubled in strength in the spring of 1939. Private J.W. Gilpin remains with the 5th Battalion]

September 1939 - 5th Battalion joins the 42nd Division

September 1939 - 15 January 1940 - 5th Battalion concentrated around Wooler, Northumberland
[The logistical problems included little transport and water supply problems, and it was the coldest winter in living memory with heavy snowfalls]

15 January 1940 - 5th Battalion moves to Swindon, Wiltshire
[Training began for overseas service, co-operation with tank units and trench warfare]

End of March 1940 - 48 hours embarkation leave

17 April 1940 - Embarked at Southampton, Hampshire

18 April 1940 - Disembarked at Le Havre (France)
[Moved to the Lille area near the France - Belgian frontier. 5th Battalion is part of 126th Brigade]

10 May 1940 - Germany invades Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg
[42nd Division initially remains static]

16 May 1940 - 126th Brigade ordered to hold a line at the Escaut (the Germans had broken through at Arras)

16 May 1940 / 26 May 1940 - 5th Battalion position increasingly perilous because of German advance.
[This was a period of confused withdrawal towards the Dunkirk area. Troops were under constant shellfire and the 5th Battalion were involved in blowing bridges to delay the German advance]

26 May 1940 (1) - 5th Battalion initially ordered to withdraw to Lesquins and there hold the line

26 May 1940 (2) - 5th Battalion later ordered to Bizet (north of Armentières)

28 May 1940 (1) - 5th Battalion ordered to Mousbrugge-Harringe and dug in

28 May 1940 (2) - (10.00 pm) 5th Battalion receives orders to withdraw to the Dunkirk perimeter and immobilise all transport and kit

29 May 1940 - (08.00 am) 5th Battalion completed the withdrawal to a line at the Canal des Chats, Dunkirk

3 June 1940 - (11.00 pm) 5th Battalion embarks for Britain from Dunkirk (one of the last parties to leave)

June 1940 / August 1940 - 5th Battalion survivors initially reunited at Spennymoor, Co. Durham and later move to Northallerton / Thirsk area, North Yorkshire.

19 August 1940 - Private Jackie Gilpin is accidentally killed when a Bren Gun carrier overturns on a steep downhill road at Sneck Yat, Boltby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire.


Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(4) Letter written to Pte Jackie Gilpin by a friend (Rose)
(c. August 1939)
[This letter may have been written to Pte Jackie Gilpin just before the outbreak of war, while he was at Summer Camp at Halton, near Lancaster. A friend by the name of Rose wrote the letter from Windermere, which is not too far distant from Lancaster]

Chapel Ridding

Dear Jackie,

Thanks for answering the letter. I never expected you to. Maybe you think that was why I wrote, just so that you would write back. It wasn't, but I was glad to hear from you just the same.

Yes, Julia knew you were there. She told me after she was home that day you were going to come. I didn't believe her at first but she got serious and said you promised her you would come so I believed it when I saw you.

I didn't mean to blame you for putting badness into George. He doesn't need anyone to do that. He is like the rest. It is already there, but it is only lately he has shown it.

I haven't seen Tant lately but I see Sammy every time I go out. They both seem to have plenty of girl friends around here. You should hear what Sammy tells me about Tant and himself.

What about you? Have you got yourself a woman yet? I guess you think more of the beer do you? I think Maisie will stick her job this time. Billie was telling me Peggy Bateson is with her now, so that will make a difference.

I have not given Julia your address as I did not see her as I explained. But I won't forget when I see her on Friday. Yes, I do wish the season was up. It is so quiet here. It wouldn't be so bad if I could get to the dances with Julia. You won't have as long as me to put in though, but you will be thinking it too long. Never mind it won't be long till you are going to the old hip with the rest of the gang.

The only time I can get through to Ambleside is on Fridays, my half days. So if you are off then anytime let me know. I would like to see you.

I will have to close for now. Hoping you will write again soon.

Love Rose

P.S. Sorry to hear you think I need a good hammering. You always did think that, didn't you? What we flirts have to put up with!


Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(5) Letters home by Private Jackie Gilpin
[Unfortunately the exact date these letters were written has not been written down although it is possible to calculate an approximate date]

(a) Letter to Mrs Mary Jane Gilpin
[Possibly written from Swindon, Wiltshire - early 1940]

Dear Mother,

Just a few lines to thank you for 2/6. It just came the day I wanted it, Tuesday. Well I have not had no word from Ida yet, but I am not worried.

I have got a nice girl down here. I go to her house for supper every night.

Do you think you could get me a razor and blades? They are too dear down here.

I will be back on full pay in a fortnight's time. Well I have nothing much to tell so cheerio.

Love Jackie



(b) Letter to Mrs Mary Jane Gilpin
[This would have been written in April 1940, most likely from the Lille area of France]

3599463 J.W. Gilpin, Pte
H.Q. Coy, 5th Batt Border Regt
C/O G.P.O. London

Dear Mother,

Here is the long expected letter. Sorry I could not write before now. Well, we arrived at our destination alright - over the water.

I am in the best of health and the climate here is alright. Well, if you send money it's alright. But if you send a parcel you have to write a list of things you put in them on the outside. So it is not worth sending a parcel, only cigs.

Well, I must close now.

With the best of love.




(c) Letter to Mrs Mary Jane Gilpin
[This would have been written between 5 May 1940 and 10 May 1940, just before the German invasion of the Low Countries]

Pte 3599463 Gilpin, J.W.
H.Q. Coy 5th Batt Border Regt
C/O G.P.O. London

Dear Mother,

Many thanks for letter and money I received on Sat 5/5/40 - don't forget my birthday on the 15th of May. We are having glorious weather out here. I am getting quite brown.

When's Ida going to write to me? Remember me to all at home. It is now you start to miss them. It takes the post 6 days to get here so send early. I am sending a photo of Barbara. Get some taking off and send it back to me. It is the only one I have got of her. It means a lot to me. If you have any photos of the kiddies send me one, I would like one.

Well, I must close now. With the best of love



(Censored and signed by 2/Lt. J.R. Musgrave)


(d) Letter to Ida
[This would have been written about July 1940, just after returning to Britain from Dunkirk]

Pte Jack Gilpin, 3599463
HQ Coy, 5th Batt. Border Regt

Dear Ida,

Many thanks for both letters, it was quite a surprise. Yes, I know Alf Hyde - so he is Kathleen's cousin? Well, tell her I am sorry about Alf. Also, tell her I am asking after her.

Well, we are at a lovely place here. Just what the doctor ordered, and I think we are here for quite a while. We have half the Battalion wiped out. Micky Branthwaite was against me when a shell dropped. What a mess he is and I got it in the hand, but it is just about better.

Well, I have not much to say at present, only that we might be guarding Blackpool Airdrome in a week's time. That's the rumour.

Love Jack


PS - Send something if you like.


Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(6) Letter to Mrs Gilpin from Lt.-Col. Law, C.O., 5th Battalion The Border Regiment
[This letter, written by the Commanding Officer of 5th Battalion The Border Regiment, Lt.-Col. Law, would have been written on the evening of 19 August 1940, the day Pte Jackie Gilpin lost his life. Mrs Gilpin would probably have received a telegram about her son's death before this letter]

Thirsk Road

Dear Mrs Gilpin,

It is with the utmost regret that I feel it my duty to write you this letter in sympathy on the sad loss of your son John. I know very well that nothing that I can adequately express my feelings for you at this time of bitter sorrow.

During his short service your son proved himself to be a splendid soldier and he is a great loss to the Regiment and had won for himself a name with both officers and men. It is sad beyond words that so useful a life should have been taken from us in this way.

You may, however, find some consolation in the thought that he gave his life for his Country just as much as anyone who gave it in battle and there is no more noble way that a man may die.

On behalf of all officers and men of this Battalion I send our heartfelt sympathy.

Yours sincerely,

H.F.d'A. S. Law
Commanding 5th Bn. The Border Regiment

12, Jane Street,


(7) Sympathy card from wreath sent by 5th Battalion comrades

[This card would have been attached to the wreath sent on behalf of Pte Gilpin's platoon from the 5th Battalion The Border Regiment]

In deepest sympathy and in memory of a fine soldier.

J.R. Musgrave, 2nd Lt
& The Bren Carrier Platoon
5th Bn. The Border Regt.

(8) Letter to Mrs Gilpin from parents of one of Jackie Gilpin's comrades
[This letter was evidently written by the mother of Gordon Nisbet, a fellow soldier serving with Pte Jackie Gilpin]

126 Baring Street,
South Shields,


Dear Mrs Gilpin,

We have just received Gordon's letter, telling us the very sad and tragic news.

Mr Nisbet and I are very distressed for you. Words cannot express how deep is our sympathy.

We know how you were eagerly looking forward to your boy's homecoming. It is a terrible shock to bear.

Gordon does not say much as to how Jack met his death - just that he had died from injuries in an accident.

I know that your daughters will be a comfort to you and God will help you in your great grief. He is the only one who can, if we have faith in Him until time does its healing work.

Dear Mrs Gilpin, I do feel very deeply for you. I trust you will keep a brave heart. God Bless you and help you.

Yours in Deep Sympathy

E & G. Nisbet


Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Acknowledgements for the above information:

Border Regiment & KORBR Musaeum, Carlisle

Derek Gilpin & Dawn Wilson (relatives of Pte John William Gilpin)

Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  

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