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Canadian Servicemen in Limpsfield during WWII.

The Royal Canadian Air Force had a barracks including a Dance Hall, located off Park Road, Limpsfield. These barracks were bounded by a line east of Oxted County School and north of Park Road , starting about five houses up from the bend at the west end. Further towards the North Downs was a grass airfield with a north-east/south-west orientation. This was used by light aircraft only, namely Lysanders. These were used to drop British Agents into enemy-occupied Northern France.

In addition to Canadian soldiers and airmen, there were many Seaforth Highlanders of Canada billeted in the area. One Granville Road resident, still living in the house where he lived with his parents, remembers well, two Highlanders (Jack and Alan?) who lived in their house. Sadly, during the war, they were visited by the Billeting Officer who told them that both young men had been killed in action. In the St. Peter's Churchyard can be found the grave and headstone of K52771 Lance Corporal M. Thomson of the Canadian Seaforth Highlanders who died on 10th December 1940 at the age of forty.

Many Canadians were billeted in Blue House Lane. What is now No.116 Hamelin House, was formerly Monkswell House. In the box room situated in the roof space, the walls were pasted with pin-ups taken from Picture Show and Picture Goer magazines.

Don Thompson - Canadian Seaforth Highlanders

This is the remarkable story of Don Thompson a member of the Canadian Seaforth Highlanders Regiment, who was stationed in Limpsfield during World War II.

The source of information is Don’s ‘photo albums and diaries which he kept from the time before he came to England. The Webmaster is indebted to Jason Collins for permission to use this material. He is hobbyist historian who lives in Vancouver.

He told the Webmaster “I WILL GIVE YOU A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH ALBUM STARTING WITH THE PRE-WAR ALBUM - By Don Thompson

INTRODUCTION. Don talks about the albums containing his military time with the Seaforth Regiment - Canadian ( based here in Vancouver, Canada ) which span 1928 -1945.

"These are the stories from my own letters, journals, diaries and photographs. These albums have been compressed from their original form. I began a boy and became a man throughout these years."

His military career started in 1928. He had 2 older brothers both of whom were also in the Seaforth Highlanders. We will talk about them later.

It is interesting to note that the period 1930-1935 showed signs of the World's Powers gearing up - Japanese Prime Minister assassinated -Japanese invade Manchuria -another moderate Japanese Prime Minister assassinated - Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany - night of the long knives etc. - Hitler cleans house, as it where, and the first Concentration Camp was opened. War was four years away but we can see it coming - more and more training the soldiers can feel the build up - but still no real news as yet. (I believe Don Thompson would have been about 15-17 here.) There are many photos. When I met Don's nephew I asked about some history of his uncle - he said “really all you need to know is in these albums” and when I opened them I could see why. He has written in diary form, each day, where, when, why, and how. He also wrote home from overseas for the Vancouver Sun - the largest paper in the city and surrounding areas.

Don Thompson would almost certainly known or heard of Sgt. ‘Smokey’ Smith VC read more>

More to come. Please keep looking. Tell the Webmaster if you can add anything.

Extracts from Don Thompson’s diaries 1939 - 1940
THE WAR YEARS

Historian’s and editor’s note: Entries start while he was still in Canada.

For us the last few days of peace were curiously quite - despite an undercurrent of tension that slowly gathered strength. Our generation had no experience of war. Our only knowledge coming from Hollywood movies. When war was declared my mother stood by my bed in the morning - she knew her sons would be joining up.

Historian’s and editor’s note: It is here that Don decides to start his diaries as a record of future history.

August 27 1939. Hitler has been exposed as a monster who's word means nothing.
Britain is gearing for war.

Historian’s and editor’s note: “After reading a military history book recently it shed new light on questions I had been searching for - the long and short of it was most European countries had peaked their military building in the late 20's to early 30's. Poland at this point had a huge military force one of the biggest in the world. However they, like the rest of Europe where basically using old ideas from the 1st World War. So when Germany secretly began building up its military they had invented many new concepts in military building. Together with high-tech military machines of war combined with ballsey moves by Hitler he started his military conquests of Europe. Many other European countries according to this book could have beaten Hitler back. He really didn’t have as much of an army or airforce as he threatened. He did what Mike Tyson would do many years later in the boxing world; total fear and no mercy.”

August 28th. Canada starts to mobilize its Army.

September 1st. Hitler invades Poland - Hitler states any aircraft from any nation flying over Germany will be shot down.
Britain formally declares war on Germany.

September 7th. My birthday.

September 14th Dad has had a bad premonition something bad is going to happen

September 24th. He was right - British aircraft carrier Courageous had been torpedoed

More and more training with new weapons. Bren gun - Boy’s anti-tank rifle

Historian’s and editor’s note. Don Thompson is now a Sergeant.

wtroopshipDecember 20th 1939 - Aboard HMS Andes on route to England - great ship was a luxury cruise ship - I am in a First Class Stateroom shared with Phillips.
Can you identify the ship?

Historian’s and editor’s note. They are in a convoy with at least 4 warships as escort. Don believes one of them is the ill fated HMS Repulse later to be sunk by the German Pocket Battleship Bismarck. This was no match for such a ship.

December 25th 1939 - he gets orderly duty.

December 26th 1939 - very bad weather on ship.

January 2nd 1940 Arrive at Hampshire

January 8th 1940. Aldershot - went to London. Saw the sites.

Historian’s and editor’s note. Don talks about training at Aldershot.

Historian’s and editor’s note. January 1940 - he states that “for a World War to be going on, things don’t appear that busy”. He is writing articles now for the local paper and in a sort of limbo as to what is censored and what is OK

Don’s brother Peter is in the same unit.

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Lance Corporal (later Sgt) Don Thompson

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“St. Peter’s, Limpsfield, as seen from the rear of the Sergeant’ Mess. This was where we had many a Church Parade including one where Hoffy turned up in the pulpit. He read the lesson as though he was giving orders for a flanking movement....” Can you identify the Mess?

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“10 Platoon billets and C.H.Q. in Limpsfield - impressive on the outside, bare boards on the inside.” Can you identify this house?
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Skinners Farm, corner of Bluehouse Lane (aka Blue House Road) and Water Lane.

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Aircraft (enemy?) over Limpsfield.

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