Stanier, Alexander Beville Gibbons (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 7175
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 195, Number Of Items 7
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British officer served with 1st Bn Welsh Guards on Western Front, 1918. Commanded 2nd Bn Welsh Guards in North West Europe, 1940; evacuated from Boulogne, 5/1940

Content description

REEL 1 Recollections of period as officer with 1st Bn Welsh Guards on Western Front, 1918: front line positions in Arras area; Z Coy; Lewis guns; artillery fire; food rations; mail; casualties; terrain; barbed wire; patrols and story of being fired on by British troops during first patrol; German patrols; trench raids; repair and maintenance of trenches; prior instruction on patrol techniques at Sandhurst. REEL 2 Continues: attack formation; bayonet charge; artillery support; air activity; liaison with US troops and their inexperience; account of action at St Leger including confusion over timing, initial problems, renewal of attack, advance, effect of mist, confused nature of fighting, German defensive positions, success, morale of troops and close cohesion demonstrated; attack across Canal du Nord. REEL 3 Continues: effects of fatigue; attack on Hindenburg Line; meeting Ironside; effects of British shelling; POWs; physical condition of German troops; German trenches; casualties; creeping barrages; control of troops in action; fire control; clearing trenches; use of hand grenades; advance into open country; street fighting in villages; manoeuvring in St Vaast sector; outflanking German positions. REEL 4 Continues: patrol in River Selle sector; Royal Engineers' preparations for night river crossing; advance; patrol , clash with German troops, narrow escape and casualties; being reported wounded leave in GB; night operations; letter from wounded servant; march to Cologne, Germany; reactions of German civilians. Recollections of period in command of 2nd Bn Welsh Guards in GB, 1939-1940: formation of unit; duties in London; training in camp at Camberley; expectations of war. REEL 5 Continues: state of unit; equipment; organisation; field training; tactics; expedition to Hook of Holland and effects. Recollections of operations at Boulogne, France, 5/1940: orders; journey out; docks; maps; deployment; question of fifth column activity and German spies; sniping; defensive positions and roadblocks. REEL 6 Continues: deployment of companies to hold cross-roads; anti-tank guns; use of machine guns; lack of signalling equipment; requisitioning vehicles; view from defensive positions; terrain; German reconnaissance and subsequent probing night advance; night patrols; destruction of anti-tank guns; account of German tank attack and out-flanking manoeuvre; effects of refugees movement; German artillery support; withdrawal into town and quayside; order to evacuate; demolition of harbour bridge; loss of No 3 Coy; fighting in port area; support from destroyers; confused situation on quayside; German air attack. REEL 7 Continues: situation in town; preparation of buildings; conduct of withdrawal; food, water and ammunition supplies; use of tanks in town; voyage back to GB; unit morale; recovery from effects of campaign; lessons of campaign.

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