Ronald Arthur Mallard

Service No: 5340300
Rank: Private
Regiment / Service: 4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
Age: 21
Date of death: 31st may 1940
Memorial / Grave: Roeselare Communal Cemetery
Additional information: Son of AJ & AM Mallard, Rayleigh, Essex

Reginald Mallard joined the 4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment on 16th October 1939. The Regiment was a Territorial Infantry unit and as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had left Southampton for Cherbourg on September 29th 1939, just weeks before his enlistment. Pte Mallard joined his Regiment later during the winter of 1939.

The 4th Royal Berkshire Regiment along with the 1st Suffolks, 1st and 2nd Grenadier Guards and 1st Battn Coldstream constituted part of the BEF, 3rd Division – 7th Brigade commanded by Lt-General Bernard Montgomery. The long expected attack by the axis army began in May 1940 and their Panzer Divisions made spectacular gains. After the Belgian capitulation and the collapse of the French army, a fighting withdrawal order was issued to all British units to try to reach the outer defence perimeter of Dunkirk, and was costly in both men and materials. According to an account by Captain Waldron, the Berkshire Regiment had been badly decimated in their rearguard action to the west of the Ypres canal and was in a perilous state when it arrived at Dunkirk. When they eventually took up their allotted positions at Dunkirk, only 50 men from the 4th Berkshires were able to fire their rifles and at this point Pte Mallard was still active.

By May 30th the beaches at Dunkirk were under constant enemy bombardment, but the Royal Navy continued to take off men and ferry them back to Britain. On May 31st remnants of the 3rd Division had fallen back to the Dunkirk shoreline to await their evacuation but sadly, whilst waiting his turn to be taken off, Pte Mallard aged 21years from Milton Malsor lost his life .

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