Inniskillings; first contact with the Germans

Friday, 17 May, 1940

Retreat to Dunkirk

In mid-May 1940, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were guarding a bridge over the Senne river at Hals, Belgium while I Corps withdrew in haste from the advancing Germans. As soon as all the Corps troops had crossed the bridge, it was destroyed.

The Battalion's first contact with the enemy occurred on 17 May 1940. A German cyclist patrol approached on the far side of the canal; it was engaged. Major Butler and a squad crossed the canal and brought back five Germans, three dead and two wounded. Later that night, the Battalion received orders to withdraw to the River Escaut.