University of Oxford
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Captured at Dunkirk!

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:59 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Ronald Arthur C Dorn lived at 26 Wytham Street, New Hinksey, Oxford. He married but never had any children. He told me and my father this story in the local pub The Duke of Monmouth sometime in the 1960s.

He was married but had enlisted with the Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry and was assigned to defend the area around Dunkirk from the advancing Germans. He was a medical orderly and that may have caused him to get separated from his unit.

He told me that it got dark and there was heavy gunfire and although armed with a rifle he could not see who was firing at whom or where other soldiers were located. He therefore thought that the intelligent thing to do was to lie in a ditch until dawn.

He was alarmed to hear tanks and vehicles roll up and stop then heard orders being given in German. Peeping out he could see German troops arriving and eating breakfast. Hiding his rifle he crawled down the ditch and decided to surrender by getting out and putting his hands up. The Germans were astonished to see him but soon searched him and marched him to a nearby church where other prisoners were being detained.

He was briefly interrogated by a German who could speak good English for name, rank and number. He pointed out that he was a medic hoping to get good treatment but the German merely said, " Yes we know all about you. You are another Oxon and Bucks. We have captured lots of you!"

He was marched to a POW camp where his main concern was contacting his wife to let her know he had been captured but was well. He was not allowed to write to her, however, a form arrived for him from Pearl Insurance for completion. He approached a German who he knew could speak English and was more friendly than some of his guards and said he must post off the form to his wife to prevent her and his children ( he lied) from going without rations. The German said he would provided he merely completed the questions on the form.

He must have done so because his wife received it with his signature and the date, the first news she received that he was still alive but had been captured!

(I wished I had asked him more but I was only a young lad with older men and the conversation moved on.)


Person the story/items relate to

Ronald Arthur Dorn

Person who shared the story/items

Patrick Moles

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

I used to live in New Hinksey, Oxford and drink at the Duke of Monmouth with Mr Dorn occasionally. Ron Dorn has long been dead.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID