Part 3: The B.E.F, British Expeditionary Force.
The 51st Highland Division landed in Le Havre in January 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force [B.E.F.] On 28th March they were deployed into the defensive line relieving the French 21st Division between Bailleul and Armentiéres. This was part of a rotation to familiarise the British brigades but in April it was decided that the Division would take over a sector on the Saar front in the area of Hombourg-Budange.
A decision had been made to strengthen the territorial divisions with regular battalions and 1st Gordons, 1st Black Watch and 2nd Seaforths replaced the 6th Battalions of the Black Watch, Gordons and Seaforths.
There had been some action and patrolling across the line but on 10 May the Germans invaded Belgium and three days later the Division withstood a heavy attack in the area of Grossenwald.
To conform with the French, the Division was ordered back to the next line of defence.
On 20th May the Division was taken out of the line and moved to Étain and Varennes where they learnt that the Germans had broken through the French lines separating them from the rest of the B.E.F.
After spending six weeks in the same area the Battalion moved north from the Argonne Forest by train and MT, and reassembled itself in the Forêt du Hellet near Neuchâtel.
Coming soon………….Part 4: The Grand Bois attack.