- Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during the Second World War -
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Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- No.8 CRU, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 39 Workshop
- 307 Workshop, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- 660 Tank Support Service, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.
Those known to have served with
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Abrahams James Michael. Pte.
- Alderton William. Sgt.
- Baldry Kenneth. Cpl.
- Bannister Sherrard.
- Barber Alfred Henry George. ASM.
- Bethell Robert Henry. Pte.
- Brooke Harold. WOII.
- Brown Charles Frederick.
- Burns William Gordon.
- Carr Norman Frederick.
- Cavender Francis William.
- Charman Stanley.
- Clark John. Sgt.
- Corrall Gordon Alan. S/Sgt. (d.17th Aug 1943)
- Cresswell Francis. Sgt.
- Cunliffe John.
- Cunningham William. WO1
- Daly Edward Joseph. L/Bdr
- Dickens John Henry. L/Cpl.
- Eglin Tom.
- Elvin Ernest Arthur. Pte.
- Elvin Ernest Arthur. Pte.
- Fegan Christopher Edward. Cpl.
- Field Reginald Leonard George. Cpl.
- Fisher Tom Mathew. Spr.
- Francis John Charles. Sgt.
- Gillies Colin Emrie. Spr.
- Harmer Henry Alfred.
- Harris Wally. Sgt.
- Harrison Robert. Craftsman
- Harvey George Arthur. Cpl.
- Henderson Joseph Boyd. Sgt.
- Hill Samuel Theodore.
- Hodgson John.
- Hood Benjamin Arthur Kitchener. L/Cpl.
- Humphrey Harold Richard. S/Sgt.
- Johnson Peter. Corporal
- Jones John Leslie. Dvr. (d.11th Dec 1942)
- Kelly Samuel Albert.
- Koomans Hermus. Sgt.
- Leppard William.
- Lightfoot George Thomas. Sgt.
- Lintern Leonard John.
- Lockley William. Cfn.
- Marston Joseph.
- Matthews Alfred Ernest Frank. Gnr.
- Mccullagh William.
- Meagher Bernard Peter. WO1.
- Merritt Allan Geoffrey. Pte.
- Millington Jim.
- Molloy Edward Monaghan. L/Cpl.
- Morris James.
- Murland J. R.W.. Lt.Col.
- Oliver Desmond Stuart. Sgt.
- Orchard. Peter. WO.
- Osborne Will.
- Osman Peter.
- Palmer Edward Frank. Staff Sgt.
- Rankine George Ferguson. Sgt.
- Reay Kenneth. R.Mech.
- Rees Henry Morgan.
- Rickwood Horace Alfred Thomas. Sgt.
- Rothery Fred Victor. Pte.
- Sanderson Henry William. Craftsman
- Skellett William Noel. S/Sgt.
- Smith Alfred George.
- Smith Arthur Reginald.
- Smith Stanley.
- Taylor William .
- Tebbett John Thomas. QMS.
- Thacker George David. Lt. (d.25th February 1943)
- Turner Thomas Henry. Cpl.
- Village William Henry.
- Walker Leslie. Pte.
- Webster Robert Ernest. Sgt
- Willis Walter William Frederick. WO1
- Wood Kenneth Henry. Craftsman
- Woodward Sidney George.
- Wray Cyril.
- Yeo Claude.
- Young Thomas Henry. WO11
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
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Sgt. Hermus Koomans Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy Dad, Sgt. Hermanus Koomans was a Dutch Allied serviceman of the Army's REME. He married my mother Joan Dorreen Jessop who served with the ATS, in 1946. Dad had recently been repatriated from Belsen POW Camp in Germany. They lived in Holland but later we migrated to Australia.Robert Clive Koomans
Will Osborne Dance Orchestra REMEMy father, Will Osborne, was with the REME Dance Orchestra and went out to Cairo and Alexandria. He returned in 1946 aboard the SS "Caroloinen" (Caroliner?). If anyone has any information please do send me an email. Thanks in Advance.Terence Osborne
William Leppard Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father, Bill Leppard, was in the REME and celebrated his 30th birthday on D Day. He remembers being transported in an old collier and when the guns started firing he says, 'It was as though every grain of coal dust was dislodged and we were covered in the stuff. It was particularly annoying as we were next to a naval vessel where the sailors all looked so spic and span!'
Bill Leppard is trying to trace 'Jock' Horne who was in the 27th Armoured Division - not very tall, polite gentleman who was very proud of coming from Stirling Scotland and who played the harmonica.Margaret Leppard
Corporal Peter Johnson REMEIs there anyone out there who may remember my beloved father, Peter Johnson. He served in the REME during the second world war. Dad had a dreadful time in Burma and only really discussed events with a select few, sadly not his immediate family. My father died three years ago and I know it is rather late, but I would like to know if there is anyone out there who may remember a very handsome, brave man, who suffered malaria, beri beri,dysentry and malnutrition during his captivity, but spent the years after the war trying always bring a smile to everyone's face. I miss him very much and only wish I had asked him for more information during his lifetime. I tried to get his service medals released some years ago but was unsuccessful. I really would appreciate any news. He was born in a small village, Lowton St Mary's, near Warrington, but later lived with my grandparents, following his repatriation, in Lowton St Lukes.He married my mother, Doreen, in 1950 at St Peter's Church, Newton-le-Willows.Colette Gribble
Craftsman Robert Harrison R.E.M.EMy Father died October 3rd 1945 when I was just 8 years old. Due to having a Stepfather who didn't like any references made about my dad or his family I have very little memories of him. I am trying to put stuff together for my grand-children. My father came out of the Army in either 1943/44 and I lived with him in Sheffield and then Barrow-in-Furness till he died . If anyone can tell me more about him and when he officially came out of the Army I would be very grateful. His only surviving brother is now in his 80's and doesn't remember too much Many ThanksElizabeth Hinton
William TaylorI met Bill Taylor at the D-Day landing ceremony in France in June 2009. He was telling us about how he nearly got court marshalled for taking a car when he was on night guard duty. He was with his friend Barny Barnwell who wanted to go and see his girlfriend who lived in Caen, Barny married her in the end. Bill would love to hear anything about Barny, is he still around?Christine Tosh
Charles Frederick Brown Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersI am trying to trace the details of my Fathers war service. The only details I have are that he was in REME and was based in Egypt at Cairo/Alexandria. I do have some photographs of him in uniform.Thelma Clay
Staff Sgt. Edward Frank Palmer Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy Father, Frank Palmer, served in REME 1941-46. He was almost sent to far east but remained in UK as he was taking his staff sergeants exams. The unit he would have been with were ultimately wiped out. Instead he was sent to France on D-day + 6. Later sent to Bergen-Belsen where he arrived less than 48 hours after the liberation. I shudder to think what he saw there as he never spoke about it. He later was billeted in Holland and Germany before being demobbed in 1946.
Prior to the war he had qualified as an Optician, a profession he resumed after the war. He married my Mother, Helen Walders, in November 1942. They were married until her death in 1990. Frank passed away in 1992.
I would be gtateful to hear from anyone who has any knowledge of him as I would like to know more of his war experiences. He was a wonderful man and a great father who will never be forgotten by his family.John Palmer
Sgt. John "Tommy" Clark Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersI am trying to locate some info on my late fathers time in Reme, his name was John Clark, known as Tommy. I do have some photos from Burma and India during this timeKeith Clark
Samuel Theodore Hill 39 Workshop REMEI am trying to resaerch my Grandfathers life in the REME. Because as a family we know very little about his service during World War Two other then he worked in the Albert Dock in Liverpool before he signing up to the REME and that he was stationed at 39 Workshop, Litchard Bridgend in South Wales. this is where he meet my grandmother who worked in the Royal Arsenal near by.Mark Hill
Cpl. Reginald Leonard George FieldMy dear father, Reginald Leonard George Field, now 86 years old, served with the REME for 4.5 years from 1942 to until 1946. He was just 18 when he was signed up. He was stationed in Yorkshire, France, Italy and Germany.
He fought in the D-Day battle (D-Day +2) and landed on Omaha Beach - one of the few British regiments to land on that beach (most were American). He clearly remembers crawling up the beach on his belly, rifle on his back. We visited Omaha Beach last year. A young French lady in the Omaha Museum was gracious enough to take the time to thank my father for his part in liberating France. It was a proud moment.Caroline Parsons
Arthur Reginald Smith The Corps of Royal Electrical EngineersMy Dad Passed away in November 1953 when I was only 3 1/2 yrs old. My only memory of him was that he had a Royal Enfield Motor Cycle, (Bright Red).I was 3 when he put me on the petrol tank & took me for a ride. Mum went off at him, I was fine & so began my life as a petrol-head.
Time passed. Mum re-married & we moved away from Lordshill, Southampton, Breaking all ties with Dad's Family.
Fast-Forward. to the 1990's. I'm a grown man with a wife, kids, mortgage, the full set. I went from my home in Milton Keynes to see my mother's cousin in Southampton near where I spent my early years, She welcomed us in with open arms, knowing Who I was, after 40 odd years. We talked for a long while and Aunt Shiela told us about my Dad & what he was like. She also told me about Dad's sister. We found her in the white pages & within half an hour we were re-united. According to my aunt Beatrice (Bunty) my Dad was in the Royal Hampshire Reg't sappers & my dad was a Saboture blowing-up enemy ammo & fuel dumps. During this period, either in North Africa or perhaps it was later in Italy or even in Normandy, Dad got very badly burned (60 Per cent) and was treated by regimental medics.
I recently located my father's grave in Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, Before saying a sad farewell & flying back home to Australia. When I married, back in 1971 I had no idea that it could have been my father-in-law (who was a medic in same reg't) that I had to thank for my life and that of my father and now my children & grandkids.Peter Adams (formerly Smith)
Henry Alfred Harmer Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersHi, my grandad was in Burma with R.E.M.E during WW2. Does any one remember his name? any info welcomeVictoria Rose
Cyril "Squibbs" Wray Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersCyril was a member of the Remelins Band (Trumpet). He was demobbed in the late 1940's. On the day he was demobbed we lost touch. I have been trying to locate him ever since. Now that email is available I thought I would try again. If anyone knows his whereabouts please send me an email.Joan Brown
Sgt Robert Ernest Webster 307 Coy. Workshops Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father, as above, now sadly deceased, talked very little about his war. I know he was in Egypt and in charge of a REME Workshop. But he has no campaign medals and we have no photos. I understand he was originally in the RAF but transfered when the REME was started. I would love to hear from anyone who knew him.Peter R Webster
Stanley "Smudger" Smith Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father died in 1974 and all I have of his war-time experiences are these pictures of him during the war. He is the one in the middle of the group photo. I enclose a close up of how he looked then too.
All I know is that he was with the REME and I remember attending a reunion with him in London, back in the early 70s, when I was in my early 20s.
I know this is a long shot but if there is anyone who recognises him or his companions in the picture I would love to hear from them.John Smith
Cpl. Kenneth Baldry 660 Tank Support Services REMEAt the time of writing I am 91 yrs of age (2010) and although I do not speak very often of the 5 years I spent at war, I do try to keep some of the more positive images I remember. I attended the Colchester Barracks to train up on welding and was subsequently attached to REME 660 tank support services.
About 200 men were chosen to provide support to Italy and I remember we were dispatched a little way from the beach and had to wade with our loaded rifles above our heads, hitting the beach to lie flat upon on arrival. I do remember feeling not scared, but very apprehensive about what lay ahead. Luckily the coast was clear and we marched into the village and spent our first night in a large barn.
For the next 5 yrs I remained in Italy travelling from the toe up to the top (Trieste). I have fond memories of the Italian people who were very friendly. I was asked by a young boy if I would visit his parents' house after I finished my guard duty and did so. I was made very welcome and in total ended up visiting 6 houses on the street partaking of a glass of wine with each visit. I returned to barracks slightly tipsy!
Another memory which can make me smile is that it was often my job to round up the men at the end of the night to get them back to barracks. Many of the young men had been visiting the local brothels in the area. Being a young recently married man myself I spent many hours waiting around (true) drinking coffee and chatting with the 'madam' owners. I have to say being relatively newly wed and a baby daughter at home I did not partake of these pleasures, but I fully understand that the young men needed some comfort during those difficult years.
I also remember, at the end of the war, staying behind to dismantle equipment - a few of us from the 660 tank support team visited the Isle of Capri. We located where our beloved Gracie Fields lived and proceeded to shout and ask Gracie to come down. True to form she appeared at a top window and said "Hang on a minute lads, let me put my face on and I will be down." Gracie did come down to meet us, signing autographs and we all received a lovely photograph taken with her.
To conclude, the war was won. On my return home (having left a new baby girl) I was met by my daughter (who was almost 5 years old) running down the street shouting "Dad Dad!" She had been watching out for me coming along the road and had run into the house saying "A man with a big bag on his back was coming down the street, do you think that is my dad ?" I had lost those early years of watching my daughter grow up, but remain grateful to this day that I was one of the lucky ones who did return home from WW2.Kenneth Baldry
L/Bdr Edward Joseph Daly Royal Electrical & Mechanical EngineersMy father, Edward Joseph Daly, served, I think, with REME, in 1945. He was at Nijmegan at the beginning of March 1945, was near Brussels until about mid March, moved to Vilvoorde 18th March, then onto Weeze, on 23rd and then Honnepel. He crossed Rhine on 30th March North of Rees, waiting to go into action on the 1st April and was on recce near Bremen on 3rd April. From this point on it seemed to be some heavy action until about 20th April. He went to Wildenshausen and then Delmemhorst and on to Osterholz and Otterberg. At the begining of May he was at Breddorf and then Wilstedt and somehow ended up in Norway, talking about going to Denmark and back to Germany.
I took this information from a very small diary, I was given after my father died in 1996. He never really spoke about the War, I have seen photographs of him in Nijmegan and I remember I overheard him speaking to a friend about Belsen and how they were not allowed to give food to anyone, in fear in might kill them.
My father talked about army buddies Fitzs and Wynn, I think that Fittz is John Fitzimons from Edinburgh, I am not sure who Wynn is. There is a name and address, Mr and Mrs Walpole 19 Powell Street, Clayton, possibly Manchester, he may have been billeted there. I would like to know a bit more about the Regiment, he was with and if anybody knows anything please contact me.Edward Daly
Samuel Albert Kelly Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersDoes anyone remember my late father Samuel Albert Kelly from Bethnal Green in London? He served in Burma and died some 43 years ago when I was only 12.
I would love to be able to trace his war records but it seems that I need his Service number to do this, as we moved shortly after and it seems that as my mum decided not to keep any paperwork I am finding it really difficult to find out anything about his time in the war. In fact I have very little except a couple of photos (not taken during the war) to remember him by, sometimes it almost seems as if he never existed at all.Eileen Clark
Sgt. John Charles Francis Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersWhen World War 2 came along. my Dad John Francis signed up. He joined the Royal Army Service Corps, and served in France and Belgium. When the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) were formed in 1940 Dad joined them and was as a Corporal fitter. Then he was forced along with the whole British army to leave France via Dunkirk. Dad described the scene and told how the little boats that came across to rescue the trapped army back to England. Then had to jump onto a slow moving boat in windy bumpy conditions to get home.
He was promoted to Master Fitter (Sergeant) and when the D- Day happened he eventually was stationed in Ostend. His team would collect and receive the broken down vehicles and tanks and blown up tanks and have to get them back on the road. This was a messy job to clean away the human remains and refit the tanks for action. Dad was at Caen – Cormelles in ’44 as part of the Armoured Offensive after D Day. Dad when he was in WW2 was stationed at Nijmegen in Oct ’44. Nijmegen was part of operation Market Garden assault that was the largest airborne operation of all time. The operation plan's strategic context required the seizure of bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries. Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to outflank the Siegfried Line and encircle the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland. The REME were there to ensure the tanks and vehicles were constantly refurbished when damaged.
Dad met Mum on one of his leave of duty and soon a romance was started. Mum was a Sergeant in the Woman’s Army Auxiliary Corps. They married in Blantyre, Scotland. Dad continued in the War until VE day.Barrie Francis
Spr. Tom Mathew Fisher 247 Field Park coy. Royal EngineersTom Fisher sailed on the SS Princess of Japan on the 12th of Nov 1941 from Scotland to Bombay, via Freetown, Siera Leone and Durban, South Africa. Where he changed ships and sailed to Basra via the Gulf, arriving on the 17th Feb 1942 and going from there to Shaiba, then on to Bagdad in March then Ramadi s later in the month. He arrived in Habbaniya, Iraq maybe in April then went to Awasi and back to Bagdad on the 24th of July. He went to Kermanshah, Iran on the 6th of July 1942 then to Quarakqun, Iraq on the 23rd of Nov 1942 and back to Bagdad on the 1st of January 1943. Later that month he went to Kirkuk, then Musaiyib, Iraq on the 18th Feb 1943 and back to Bagdad on 14th March. Four days later he moved to Shaiba then to Haifa, Palestine on the 24th April 1943, to Tel aviv four days later. On the 3rd of January 1944 he went to Tahag and was transferred to REME at Tel el Kebir on the 10th February 1944, he was transferred back to RE at Adassia on the 7th of May 1944 and went on to Tel el Keibir Adabeya then to Quassassin in September 1944
Names in his unit in Ramadi 1942 when they were constructing a road to Hit are:
I'm looking for more information. Particulary when they ran into combat. I don't think they saw a lot of combat but some of the photos he took show that he saw deadly combat at least once.
- L/Cpl Webster
- Sgnt Mocdale
- Cpl Richards
Dvr. John Leslie Jones Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (d.11th Dec 1942)I have begun to research the family tree and knew very little of the Jones side and this is not an easy side to research as you can imagine searching John Jones.I knew that my Grandfather had a brother who died in the war and my father was named after him, this was all I had to go on. In a passing comment from an elderly cousin of my father I was told that granddad's brother was on the War Memorial in Woore, Shropshire. I travelled to Woore and located his name on the memorial a fact that my father had not known.
I looked on the War Graves site and found that Driver John Leslie Jones aged 22 died 11 Dec 1942 of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, PIA Force, of Diphtheria and is buried in Tehran War Cemetery. We have managed from this information to locate a picture from my granddad's things of a man in a REME uniform whom we believe to be John Leslie and in addition have confirmed from my grandparent's wedding photo that this is indeed John Leslie.
It appears that within the family it was agreed that John Leslie would join the war and my granddad would stay at home and look after the family as they both were in protected occupations being farmer's. Only for him not to return, not from an act of war, but to die of an illness, which I believe many fell from in this part of the world at that time.
If any one has knowledge of John Leslie Jones I would love to know and would love him to be recognized and remembered. In addition to him being on the Woore War Memorial his uncle Horace Harry Jones who died of wounds in France, is also of Aston Shropshire.Tish Mason
WO1. Bernard Peter "Pat" Meagher Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father was John Vincent Meagher DCM, an RSM in the Royal Irish Fusiliers, and my eldest brother, Peter, joined the army as a boy entrant with the RASC, I believe before the REME corps was formed. He served at Arborfield Barracks Bordon, Hampshire in the trade of armourer. He obtained his Lance Corporal stripe whilst there. Dad was very proud of him and his progress. But the next time he came home on leave to Omagh Barracks he was without his stripe. As soon as my Dad noticed his jacket without the stripe hanging on the kitchen door hook, he asked Peter what happened for him to have lost his stripe. Without waiting for an answer, my Dad had Peter incarcerated in the Guardroom for the rest of his leave until it was time for Peter to return to Bordon.
Peter was enroute for the 8th Army, when his ship was diverted to Cape Town where it was revittled, before proceeding to Bombay, India, he was involved in amphibious landing training at Karaqwasla Lake in Maharashtra State, before going in to Burma. I recall letters from my Mum to Peter addressed to an HAA Division. Does anyone remember my brother and this period of his service? He sent home some pictures taken in Rangoon after it was liberated from the Japanese.He also had a picture of him with an Australian type hat with the right hand brim turned up vertically.
He was posted to Northern Ireland,(where he met and married Sue O'Reilly, and they had three children), also Hong Kong, Sham Shi Poh Barracks part of his duties being as small arms inspector for the New Territories, where I visited him whilst on sick leave from the RAF Glugor in Penang Malaysia. After the war Peter was sent to Malta, and spent his last tour in Munchen Gladbach Germany.Anthony P. Meagher
ASM. Alfred Henry George "Ali" Barber Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersI am trying to do my family history, all we know about my Grandad Alfred Barber is that he served with REME in the Desert Rats, The 8th Army. Though I do have a lovely photo of all of the Regiment in Cairo and he is in it and the other day clearning out my dad's garage and we came across his kit bag on it says - ASM Barber A 7638305, REME.
If you knew an Alfred (Ali) Barber, please contact me.L.Barber
Sgt. William "Sonny" Alderton Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy Uncle served in Dunkirk I was told it was with the REME. His name was Sgt William "Sonny" Alderton. I would love to know some more about his service in Dunkirk.Janet Thorup
Sidney George Woodward Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father Sidney George Woodward was a member of the REME and was on board SS Anselm when she was sunk. Most of the personnel on board were RAF. They were on their way to West Africa at the time. He told me that he was in his hammock when there was a huge explosion, he rolled out and was immediately up to his chest in water,and rising, he was able to dive under the water to get out of their compartment. He managed to make his way to the deck in total darkness and was on the stern, which by this time was rearing up, and dived off into the sea. He clung onto some floating debris for quite a long time. He was eventually picked up by a RN escort vessel, he thought it was a converted trawler. He was the only one to get out from his mess deck.
They were taken to Nigeria where he was sent to Kano where he was involved in equipment used in the Western Deserts of North Africa. News of the sinking was kept secret at the time and my mother did not find out about it until about Christmas 1941.Michael Woodward
Pte. Allan Geoffrey MerrittMy grandfather, Allan Geoffrey Merritt, was a private in the R.E.M.E during WW2. From what my dad remembers is that Allan was mainly in Egypt but also spent time in India.
My grandfather was awarded four medals, the 1939-45 Star, The Africa Star, The Defence Medal and the War Medal 1939-45.Julia Merritt
WO1 Walter William Frederick Willis Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy dear Dad, Walter Willis, arrived in Bombay in August 1943 as part of the newly formed R.E.M.E. and became a vehicle mechanic and a driver mechanic. He was eventually sent to Ceylon (Colombo and Trincomalee). He always liked to tell the story of driving on his own through a monsoon from the south of the island to the north, on his 21st birthday (poor dad!).
He was eventually made a Warrant Officer Class 1. After the war he was sent to Singapore and was eventually demobbed in 1946.Irene Robinson
John Cunliffe Royal Electrical & Mechanical EngineersMy father, John Cunliffe, was captive at Stalag 8b e53y. I think the e53y refers to a work party, does anyone know where the work party e53y would have been?Bill Cunliffe
Sgt. Wally Harris MM. Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersRichard Canavan
Norman Frederick "Bunny" Carr Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersI don't know much about my grandfather's time in North Africa and Italy. His naem was Norman Carr, he was injured, shot in the leg. He was a mechanic by trade and as far as I know spent the majotity of his time repairing tanks etc. He was a good artist and left me his wartime sketchbook.Tim Burt
Sherrard "Shed" Bannister Sherwood ForestersI was wondering if anyone knew my grandfather, Sherrard Bannister, (known as Shed). He served in the Sherwood Foresters and REME. I am interested in knowing where he went and what he did during WW2 or if anyone remembers him.Sally
R.Mech. Kenneth Reay Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersKenneth Reay served in the Far East with REME as a Recy Mech. We have a picture of him wearing desert dress with ribbons on shirt pocket. My wife says that he talked about recovering tanks after battles however we have not got his service No. So where do we start to find out about him? Any help would be most welcome.John F Perry
Pte. Ernest Arthur Elvin No.8 CRU Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father, Ernie Elvin, was captured at Dunkirk and eventually found himself in Stalag XXB - after a terrible journey, mostly on foot. He spent 5 years in this camp being employed in a brickyard, a saw mill and a farm. He kept a small diary which he managed to bring home with him, and from that and the letters to my mother, my brother has produced a small booklet of his experiences. He never talked of them, but the experience never left him, as I recall he was always prone to make the most of every meal – licking his fingers after eating a cake to get all the crumbs up.
However, he speaks of times when he was able to be useful – as one of the older men, he became a ‘leader’ for the younger ones, and involved himself in the concert parties – being used to playing instruments and reading music. He speaks of the fun enjoyed at setting up the stage and the non stop variety concert, which was enjoyed by all. He also recalled the hardships of little food and how the Red Cross parcels kept them going. He spoke of Peter Lister, who was with him for part of his time in Stalag XXB.
The last letter home was written in November 44. From then on he was on the long march. Terrible suffering, frost bite and starving hungry. Falling out for a day or so to hide in a barn – being cared for by a kind farming family. Later joining the column again. Eventually he records: "14th April 1945 10am. The wonderful news – we are free. Thank God. 3pm meet the American column at Wittinghen and sleep in a house! Next day breakfast on raw eggs – thousands of them! From here it is homeward bound."
Should anyone remember my father, or have heard of any reference to him, I would love to hear from you.Valerie Jones
Stanley Charman Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy grandfather Stanley Charman, who I sadly never met, was in R.E.M.E during WW2 and has the Italy and Africa Star. I would like to find out more, if you knew him or knew of him, please let me know.Jamie Charman
Cpl. Thomas Henry Turner Royal Electrical & Mechanical EngineersMy wife's uncle, Thomas Henry Turner, now aged 93, was a POW in Stalag 383, one of many camps he was held in from May 1940 to 1945. He was a Corporal in the R.E.M.E. For a large part of his time in the camps he was a medical orderly, as documents we have show. We would love to hear from anyone who remembers Tom.`Norman Cox
Pte. Robert Henry Bethell 2/4 HRC Workshops Royal Army Service CorpsMy Dad, Bob Bethell joined the R A S C as a vehicle electrician did basic training at Bulford camp and later was transferred to Paddington Tec College for an update course before going to Bradford for embarkation allocation. He embarked from Liverpool to Port Suez via Durban and worked in 2/4 HRC workshops and transferred to R E M E in 1942. He went up the desert with the lines of communication company on vehicle repair and recovery. He also served in Cairo, Alexandria, Tabuk, Tel-al-kahabier, Derna, Benghazi, Tripoly. He was detached from duty to undergo minor surgery in the 4th General Hospital Barce. After discharge from hospital he was attached to the British Army Administration as a general electrician working on the Barce wheat scheme. He later returned to AD Bramley and after De-mob joined the army fire service and ended a 50 year career as a divisional officer.John Bethell
Tom "Rags" Eglin Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy Dad, Tom Elgin was called up in 1940 and joined the REME and was posted first of all to Titchborne in Leicester and then deployed to both Africa and Italy where I think he finished his service. He was a driver mech with the rank of CFN for a while he was attached to 'M' section 750 base in Worksop.
Craftsman Kenneth Henry Wood Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersI have just started researching my father's war service. Kenneth Wood was a driver in the 2nd World War with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He landed on French soil just after D Day on Gold Beach, and his job involved Tank recovery. The only other information I have been able to find was that he was demobbed from the Army, from a base in Germany.Sandra Roberts
Sgt. Horace Alfred Thomas "Sonny" Rickwood Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy dad, Horace Rickwood died not long after he left the army and when I was a few months old so I know very little about him. However, I have a large album of photographs, and it would be wonderful if I could find any more about him - maybe from a veteran or a member of their family. What I do know from the photographs is that he was in the REME and photographs show that he was involved with the Daimler Armoured Car Trials and Churchill Bridgelayer Trials.
The notes written on the back of the photos are as follows..
If my photos and information are of interest please do let me know.
- Murree & Murree Cafe
- Daimler Armoured Car Trials
- Churchill Bridgelayers Trials
- The Jantar Mantar Indian Observatory, N Delhi
- The Mall, Murree
- Pershawar Road
- Edwardes Road Rawal Pindi
- Sadar Bazar Pindi
- Lower Topa Murree
- Pershawar Road, Pindi. Mem. Gdns.
- Valley Mrray Hills
- Sherman ARV
- Chaklala 1946
- Kashmir Point ReservoirBea Bailey
L/Cpl. Benjamin Arthur Kitchener "Robin" Hood Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father, Benjamin Arthur Kitchener Hood, was a REME member during WW2. He trained at Chislehurst Kent. While there he was nicknamed Robin for obvious reasons and to avoid confusion with another Ben. I assume he was in REME because his prewar experience included car mechanics. While at Chislehurst he met his future wife, the officers mess sergeant Jessie "Pat" Blaber. I often wondered how much time he spent peeling potatoes just to meet up.
After training he was sent to the Orkneys for, as far as I know, the duration. He only told a few stories of life in the Isles. One was while taking a range-finder somewhere he told the private driver "straight across the next roundabout." Guess what? The driver drove right over the middle of it destroying a very expensive rangefinder. All he said was "I did as you told me corp."
In order to complete the family records I would fill in more of my late fathers war memories and facts.Roger Hood
Cpl. George Arthur "Jim" Harvey REMEMy parents, George Arthur Harvey and Georgia Mary Hall married by special license at The Parish Church in Doddinghurst, 21 February 1942. He was on 10 days embarkation leave prior to departing for India 16 March 1942. Their witnesses were Dad’s sister Florence and her future husband Herbert Pipkin.
Dad said he served with the Engineering Corps in India, (REME) servicing an artillery unit. He said that they weren’t near any of the fighting, but one night Japanese soldiers sneaked into their camp and stole all their weapons. Dad laughed when he told me that, but it must have been serious because he said they were all nearly court-martialled! He said wasn’t wounded during the war, but did get a snake bite on his back and said that one of his mates had cut it and sucked out the venom (he actually had a scar in the centre of his back, so it may be true). I think he told me he was invalided home with malaria and dysentery. When I asked him what his thoughts were after the war and he was back to normal life, he said “how boring and ordinary civilian life was!!” I have recently received, after almost twelve months waiting, a copy of his service record. I will update his story once I have deciphered the very lengthy document.Jeanette Shepherd
L/Cpl. John Henry "Jack" Dickens Driver Mechanic Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father was John Henry Dickens, but always known as Jack. He came from a small town in Warwickshire called Bedworth. From his Record of Service which I have it shows that he enlisted into the RAOC in January 1940 and transferred to the REME in October 1942. As is the case with many servicemen he talked very little about the War and I would love to hear from anyone who remembers him.
I know he travelled to France, Belgium, Germany and Holland and was billeted with a family in Holland for a while. I also know he was involved with tanks and tank recovery and I have a photo of a tank being recovered onto a transporter which I always imagined he was driving, but I could be wrong. I also have a lovely photo of him with a big hammer in his hand and a look of absolute glee on his face as he demolishes an enemy factory machine. If anyone remembers him and has any tales to share I would be very grateful. He sadly died in December 1980 at the age of 61.Hazel Mountford
Sgt. George Ferguson Rankine 19 Port Workshop Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy Grandfather George Rankine sered with REME and the Royal Army Ordnance Corps,I'm looking to find out more about his unit's time during the war and his experiences in Africa, Italy and Croatia. His unit was 19 Port Workshop and it was in Bone Algeria for 15 months before shipping to Italy in the latter part of '44. They were stationed at Cassino, Taranto & Salerno in Italy just to name a couple and spent 6 weeks in Zadar, Croatia. I'm looking to further my research and hope someone can help?Dave Hutchison
Claude Yeo 7 Field Company Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersClaude Yeo is my father. He served in WW2. He was one of the soldiers in the Battle of Falsise Gap and in Dieppe, Normandy. He told us lots of stories when he was overseas, some funny and some sad. He was posted in England in 1940. He enlisted in the Seventh Field Company of Engineers, REME. If you have any information on him and his troops or if any one can help me obtain copies of his medals, I really would be thankful.Debbie Ratelle
WO. Peter Orchard. Royal Electrical & Mechanical EngineersAfter active service in Palestine emergency 1936 -39, I was in Malta until 1942, when I was posted to the 8th. Army in the Western Desert , after skirmishes with Rommel we moved to Tobruk. The Army was besieged in Tobruk. We were surrendered into the hands of the Germans. They ordered us to proceed to the POW compound, some 5 miles away. The Germans said we could walk there or go in our own trucks which we had not had time to destroy. We said OK, having made holes in the sumps of the trucks; they just got us there before the engines seized up solid! The next POW camp at Benghazi was under control of the Italians , water was a problem ,they produced it in 44 gallon drums that had been used for diesel fuel and had not been properly cleaned out. Result massive diarrhoea in some 2000 prisoners.
We were soon taken by boat to Italy, first in Brindisi southern Italy. Then to a camp north of Rome near Ancona. Italy capitulated; Mussolini was killed and the guards smashed their rifles against the nearest post, tore off their uniforms and shouted `the war is finished I am going home to `multi Vino, multi pasta, and multi `Nikki-nick!`. A company of Germans soon arrived and we were on a train through the Brenner Pass to Germany to Stalag “V. POW camp, that was a former concentration Camp for the Jews. We had to strip and tie our cloths in a bundle or bag if we had one, these were put in the Cyanide gas chamber, and we went naked into the showers. Our cloths came out stinking of the cyanide Gas, we had to shake them for some minuets before dressing. My weight had dropped to 7 stone ;at last the Red Cross Parcels arrived to supplement our POW food of a couple of slices of black rye bread, potatoes and turnips, with occasional goat meat in the daily stew. The potatoes were boiled in their skins, we took it in turns to have the skins to make a `biscuit`baked on the top of fire stove each hut had for heating. A corporal of the Australian Army Tom Ward was captured with the resistance in North Italy and was being taken to Berlin for trial as a spy, which meant the death penalty. He was kept in the `cooler`out side of the main camp and was to be bathed and de-loused, before going to Berlin, in the camps big Shower Block (where we had a monthly shower). The key to the gate from the camp to the showers was trusted to a Sgt. Of the South African Army, who spoke German. He locked up at night handed the key to the guard house, and drew it the next day for prisoners assembled from each hut in turn to shower. The Camp held more than 10,000. prisoners of all nationalities! So the shower house was very large and in constant daily use.
On the day Tom was to be showered and deloused the key was not issued by the Germans, but the escape committee knew this in advance. So the night before it was arranged that the padlock only looked secured before the key was handed in. All was set for the escape into the POW camp proper. The POW camp was for senior Non Commissioned Officers, Sergeants and Warrant Officers. So there were some good brains at work on the escape committee In the morning set for Tom Ward’s delousing and shower, he striped naked and put his cloths in the Gas chamber, now he was the only person in the very large shower room, with the guards on the far tide of the shower room. Outside the gate from the main camp was a rigged party of prisoners supposedly ready to take a shower. The pad-lock was unhitched and into shower room rushed naked prisoners from the main camp. The guards were taken by surprise and shouted `rouse rouse `-get out -they did *with Tom Ward, who was quickly dressed with battle dress supplied by the escape committee ; now they were all including Tom, back in the main camp. The Germans were livid when they realised what had happened, and all hell was let loose!.
It did not take long for a company of SS to arrive ordering the whole camp out for an inspection count and identification of all Prisoners. Tom Ward was in our hut, the question was where to hide him. Above the ceiling the slanting roof had sacks of straw in the gap between the outside walls the ceiling and sloping roof, Tom got inside one of these. The whole camp was kept outside for some 16 hours and we were checked against the records kept by the Germans. The search included guards from the SS going up above the ceilings and bayoneting the sacks. By the time they got to our hut, which was about the last they were obviously getting tired, and the bayoneting missed Tom Ward.
This was not to be the end of the searching, we learnt that notices were put up in the surrounding village, offering a reward for his capture, They just did not know where he was and were determined to get him. Two weeks later a Battalion of SS arrived in Armoured Cars, we were ordered out for further checks and the SS. took the place apart. This time we knew they were deadly serious, so Tom Ward got down inside the night latrine, a sewage pit, and stood in the sewage for hours, it was just ghastly, I just don’t know how he stuck it, He got through it with terrible uric acid burns, which took weeks to heal. He finally took over identification of a South African Sargent who had hung himself. The Prisoner records were kept in the German main office by POWs working as clerks, they arranged the switch, even Tom Wards fingerprints.Tom Ward passed subsequent German identity checks, they never twigged it. He remained in the camp until we were freed by the Russian advance.
In January 1944 I had the misfortune of contracting Cerebral-spinal Meningitis. They had to put me in a straight jacket , because the pressure on the nervous system caused me to thrash about uncontrollable. In the hospital I was treated by a French POW doctor. That night a Red Cross supply of drugs came in from Switzerland, the Doctor said he very nearly did not give me the Sulphonamide drug that eventual cured me because he thought I was `too far gone to save` .I recovered enough for a German medical board who recommended me for POW exchange category `B`, an exchange that never took place; in any case I did make a slow recovery during the next 15 months up to the time the Russian advance caused the Germans to abandon our POW camp. While recuperating in the hospital an American soldier with a serious gun shot wound on the side of his head came into the camp hospital. He was from Texas USA and the Doctor could not understand what he said, so I found myself interpreting broad Texan accent into English! That night before another consignment of Red Cross Drugs came in the Doctor told me he did not think the American Sgt.would live the night out. Early next morning the excited Doctor took me to see the American sitting up smiling. `Its almost a miracle` said Doctor, I just gave him three shots of Penicillin a new drug just out and look at him now! He fully recovered and came back into the main camp with me. I learnt some years later the discovery was worked on by Mrs. Suzian Tritton M.P.S. F.R.I.C. my very good friend and wine making mentor who was an assistant to Dr.Flemming who made Penicillin, but more about her later. Stalag lV was an ex concentration camp. On the exercise field to the north there was a series of humps, our senior representative a WO1 asked the Germans if we could flatten it to make a playing field for games. This was firmly refused by the commandant. It was later learnt the field was a burial ground. The humps were the top of a series to lime pit trenches where it was said were the bodies of Jews who died in a collier epidemic, when the camp was a Jewish concentration Camp. Two years after the British arrived in the camp a reading of the Camps Electric meter showed a 1000% increase in electric consumption! A big raid took place to find out why?.
This led to tables between the British Sector Huts full of confiscated equipment of all kinds. from electric suites in the RAF. Huts, to numerous Brew kettles to make Tea and coffee from Red Cross Parcels. These were mainly two metal plates, separated by a piece of wood, placed in a brew can, the wires were connected to nails and another piece of wood for a plug. When plugged in the whole thing was alive and very lethal if touched. We had striped the wiring from the outside lavatories that were disconnected anyhow, we wired the mains up to secret sockets behind two tiny holes in the wooded walls of the hut. One thing the Germans never did find was the Radio set in our hut. It was under the seat of a stool our hut commander would sit on as he was allowed to stay in the hut, when a search took place. We had a large home made Map of the War zone, and pinned up little flags to show the Allies and Russian advance from the news we got. The German Sgt Major would come to find out the war situation. He would say `no no, that’s not correct`, knowing full well it would come on the German news sometimes a week later. He was comparatively friendly and we would have a laugh at his expense. In the end he would come in almost every Day.
The Camps News letter was also compiled from news we got from our Radio Which was made from bits and pieces bought from guards with cigarettes and some times coffee from Red Cross Parcels. The bulk of these parcels came from Canada, mainly because the Canadian Red cross would escort the parcels and cigarettes to Germany. From UK Some 60% of the parcels, especially cigarettes were pillaged first in the UK ports, then across Spain Switzerland and of course Germany. I only got some 15% of the cigarettes Dad & Mum sent me. The distribution depended on how many parcels were available, at the very best it was one food parcels between two of us, They were only available about half the time.
The end of the War in Europe for us in the POW camp came with the advance of the Russians in 1945. The Germans were fleeing to the other side of the River Elbe, and wanted us to join them. Our `Man of confidence `a Warrant class 1(he was voted to the position and in fact from REME. an ASM, (Armament Sgt.Majors, who were generally better educated than RSM`s,Regemental Sgt. Majors, who were very good in fighting infantry and Guards regiments;) refused the German offer to take us, some 10,000 of us, across to the Other side of the River Elbe.
The Russian liberation consisted of an Officer on horse back , riding into the Russian compound. `You are liberated in the great name of the USSR` he then said those who are fit can draw a rifle from the horse drawn trucks, and join the front. A prisoner shouted that man is a German dressed as a prisoner; the office drew his pistol and shot him dead on the spot. He continued `The rest are at liberty to go (walk!) home, We did later find some dead on the road side in their attempt to go home to Russia (the Russians sector was quite separate from the European sector of the POW camp, Because they were not protected by the Geneva convention; in fact the Germans starved very many of them to death. They had to pull carts with tanks on them, used to empty the sewage from the night latrines at the end of each hut, they also had to pump this sewage out on their rounds of the camp, using hand pumps. The sewage was taken to the fields to fertilise the turnips etc.used to feed POWs!. Russian officers said soldiers were expendable.
The Camp was liberated on the 14 April 1945. My friend Eric Skinner D.F.C.,a WO.1 air gunner of the RAF he and I went walk about to the near by villages where we `liberated two bikes!` the houses were mostly empty , just a few very old people who had been left behind the fleeing population. We entered a Villa that had been pillaged by Russian Soldiers, they had just used their rifle butt smashing lovely furniture in wanton destruction.Peter Orchard
S/Sgt. William Noel Skellett Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy grand-uncle Staff Sergeant William Skellett of the REME died in Hamburg on 19th March 1947 apparently after contracting a disease during the reconstruction of the city. He is buried in the British Army Cemetery there. I know his service number, rank, service arm and have a few photos but that is all of the information I have. I would love to know Bill's story - the units he served with and where. I imagine that he would have been in the army for some years in order to achieve the rank of Staff Sergeant and there must be so much that I don't know.
If anyone remembers Bill or is able to suggest any sources for research into the REME during WW2 I would love to hear from you.Mark Robinson
L/Cpl. Edward Monaghan Molloy Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersEdward Monaghan Molloy's infant son, also Edward Monaghan Molloy, died of Bronchopneumonia in June 1945. On the death certificate, his father's occupation is given as an 'Electric Welder' and that he was also Lance Corporal with Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Edward Senior survived the war, and died in Oxfordshire in 1996.F Sim
WO11 Thomas Henry Young Royal Electrical & Mechanical EngineersThomas Henry Young was my father. He served with the 14th Indian Division in India and Burma. According to Dad, he broke a Sikh's caste, by cutting his hair, after the Sikh had killed Dad's dog. He also had a Captain, called Chik and was friendly with a Mrs Shave. He had malaria and dysentery and was flown out of action in a Dakota. At one time he was Chief Mechanization Officer for a large part of India. He had to go up the Burma road to take new vehicles and recover damaged ones.Tom Young
William Gordon Burns REMEMy Dad, William Gordon Burns was in the REME and based in Egypt/Palestine. He was from Liverpool (a Scouser) and was born in 1918. Dad didn't talk much about his time but I know he made many friends and he talked of helping out the cook or taking over if the cook was sick and many comments were made, funny no doubt. Any info at all would be greatly appreciated as I am trying to trace my Dads wartime history.Susan
John Hodgson Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersJack Hodgson was my dad. He served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He was only a young lad when he crossed the channel on DDay. He made a couple of trips driving tanks onto the beach to unload them. He was very frightened along with everyone else. He spent a night in a bomb crater and remembered listening to a couple of German soldiers chatting above him and seeing the light of their cigarettes in the pitch dark, they didn't see him..... and that was the first time he thought he may just survive to return to his family. He was picked up by a Canadian unit and stayed with them until he found his own. This 70th anniversary of DDay makes me again remember what a wonderful man my dad was and how proud of him I am.Pam Gallon
Sgt. Desmond Stuart Oliver Welch RegimentMy father, Desmond Oliver signed up at 17 in 1942 and served with the Welsh Regiment in Greece and Palestine until 1946/47. After basic training, he was assigned to REME. He may have also been involved in raids on radar installations in Norway.
He had four girls so war stories were not deemed appropriate and as a result, I know little else other than that his best friends who survived the actual war were killed in Palestine. I only recollect the name, Demsey, who I assume is Terrance Demsey from Ireland who was killed at that point. He was devastated especially after three years of combat.
If anyone can help fill in the gaps it would truly be appreciated. Diolwch y'n fawr..... my cymraeg is rusty so pls forgive any errors.Christine Oliver
Francis William Cavender Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersFrancis Cavender died when my wife's mother was 13 years old, leaving a wife and 6 children. She has very little knowledge of her father, but did have the photo attached and that he was at Dunkirk. We believe it is a REME uniform, we are currently sourcing his death cert' so we can gain his war record from the MOD. Some folks claim the uniform was pre WW2, but he was too young to be in WW1 and looks too old in photo. Died in 1948 - after war death record period. We would be grateful for any info' and to confirm his REME connection.Jim and Clare Higgins
Pte. Ernest Arthur Elvin R.E.M.E.I have in my possession over 100 letters my father, Ernest Elvin, sent home to his wife and son during his time as a POW in Stalag XXB. These have given us a marvellous insight into the happenings and life experience as a POW. Some of the stories he recalls about the way they entertained themselves really were quite ingenious. Lots of fun, dressing up and acting, singing and sharing in Church Services together. He spoke of the way they were so very grateful for the Red Cross parcels they received, and that they kept them going foodwise. Clearly they were very hungry at times, although he never actually voiced this, but spoke of looking forward to roast dinners and mum's cakes again. He also spoke of the good comradeship experienced between the men, how they would share their letters from home, just to help each other feel nearer to Blighty. He also spoke of the beautiful countryside around the camp, the spring flowers and the joy of laying on the grass in the summer and even being allowed to swim in a nearby river.
Last year I was privileged to visit the memorial to the Prisoners of Stalag XXB in Marlbork Municipal Cemetery. It was a tremendous experience, and one I was so very glad to have had.Valerie Jones
Pte. James Michael Abrahams 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk RegimentMy father James Abrahams, served in India during the thirties. He was not involved in the massacre in France but said he left France via a coalboat from St Malo. I know no more other than that his discharge papers mentioned REME and I think he spent the rest of the war years working on railway lines. He was friends with Bert Pooley and we socialised as families together after the war.Pat Prince
Sgt. Francis Cresswell att. 136 Field Regt RA. Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father, Francis Cresswell served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and was attached to 136 West Lancs Field Regt Royal Artillery and told a story of taking a convoy of trucks across India in 1943 when Rangoon was in Japanese hands. He was subsequently involved in the Arakan and cut off being relieved by (I think) parachutists. I can find no reference to the epic drive across India.Derek Cresswell
Pte. Fred Victor Rothery Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersI know my dad, Fred Rothery was with the REME in France and Belgium during WW2. My mum has photos of him standing along side the big wagons. I believe he was a driver and somewhere I remember being told the division built Bailey Bridges. I would love to visit the areas where they were stationed in Belgium and France. Dad died sadly in 1992 but never spoke of the war days to me.Sandra Rothery
S/Sgt. Harold Richard "Harry" Humphrey Royal Army Ordnance CorpsExtract from a letter dated 1st August 1940 that my late Father sent to his civilian employer, Caffyns Ltd. Haywards Heath, Sussex, following his evacuation from Nantes, via St Nazaire:
"We went back to the harbour next morning and after hanging around for what seemed an eternity and having to dive for cover every few minutes, when Jerry broke through our cordon of fighter planes and attacked us with machine guns (it was rather amazing really, but I don't think anyone was hit, although several received slight cuts from flying glass and debris,including myself)...we were then taken off by a destroyer.
We had to back out of the harbour and had hardly got clear when there was a dickens of a commotion and we found we had run foul of a buoy anchor cable which had obligingly wrapped itself round our propeller and, of course, put the boat out of action. After a few minutes a French tug came along and took us in tow, but soon gave up that idea and we transferred on to the tug and left the destroyer to look after itself. It was while we were doing this that the Lancastria was sunk! I didn't realise at once what had happened as I was on the opposite side of the boat, and as bombs were dropping fairly consistently one bang more or less didn't make much difference. The Lancastria was about half a mile away but the Skipper had spotted it and as soon as we were all on board we made for it as fast as possible. The crew did their utmost in picking up as many as possible while we concentrated on keeping Jerry off with rifles and a Lewis gun we had managed to salve. But the Germans seemed to derive fiendish delight in harassing the poor devils in the water and kept diving and machine gunning them the whole time.
The Lancastria very quickly went under, in about twenty three minutes as near as I could judge, it was a wonder it stayed up as long as that though, for the bombs appeared to have fallen right down the forward hatch and had blown a large section of the side out."Mike Humphrey
Leonard John Lintern Royal Army Ordnance CorpsLeonard Lintern was my beloved grandfather who refused to talk about his wartime experiences so I would love to know if anyone has more info. He did tell one story about waking up in the night needing a pee, plodding off to the latrines, hearing gunshots in the dark and ducking down in the ditch. When he got back to the remains of his tent there were bullet holes in his 'pillow' and two of his comrades were no longer alive. That would have been two of those in the 'before' picture whose signatures can be seen. His unit was on the retreat in France, coming off at Dunkirk and the bigwigs shipped the unit back to Bristol to rebuild and recover.Judith Tope
Lt.Col. J. R.W. "Willie" Murland Royal EngineersMy cousin, Lt Col Murland, transferred to the Royal Engineers and subsequently to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at the outbreak of the war. Previously, he was a reserve officer in the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.Jerry Murland
Peter Osman Attch. REMEMy dad was a Polish soldier serving under General Anders, alongside or attached to, 8th Army. He was also attached to REME at some point.Trudie Osman
Lt. George David Thacker Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (d.25th February 1943)Lt. Thacker REME, died in Egypt on 25th February 1943 and is interred in grave 3.C.21 at Heliopolis War Cemetery.Paula Obery
Cpl. Christopher Edward Fegan Royal Electrical & Mechanical EngineersMy father was a corporal in REME and was involved in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen.Colin Fegan
Gnr. Alfred Ernest Frank Matthews Royal ArtilleryI would like to know more of what my gramp Alfred Matthews would have done in the war. He was in REME, but on his son's birth certificate in 1942,it states he was a Gunner, No. 1153620 RA. When I asked him what he did in the war, he said he would go ahead of the troops and make maps. He was in the territorials when he was younger. He lived in Cheltenham, Glos. I don't know whether that has any bearing on what regiment he would have joined. I have a photo of him, post card style, in uniform - but he is not wearing a cap. He had a ribbon though and I think it could be the War Medal, but the colours seem different.
Editor's Note: He may have been in a Royal Artillery Survey unit who made maps and sketches of the local landscape for use when targeting the guns.Debra Coleman
Joseph Marston Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersDuring the war my grandfather, Joseph Marston, served in the REME and built Bailey Bridges. Does anyone remember him?Sharon Sutton
Henry Morgan Rees 7th Armoured Div. Royal Electrical & Mechanical EngineersI purchased a battledress jacket and there was a Pay & Service Book in it. It has an identity, and now I want to find more information about this soldier so I maybe can contact him. If anyone knows him or has some more information about him, please let me know.
Name: Henry Morgan Rees. Serial number: 14238201. He was with the REME, probably with the 7th armoured division (Desert Rats). Date of Birth: 27-5-1922. His mother's address: Mary Rees, Hofod, Capel Isaac, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire.Tom Verheijden
QMS. John Thomas Tebbett Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersJack Tebbett was my granddad. All we know is that he was a prisoner of war in Stalag 317, we don't have any dates. His prisoner number 9067.Trudi Holland
WOII. Harold Brooke Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy father, Harold Brooke, joined the R.A.O.C. on 5th August 1940 and then the R.E.M.E. on its formation on 1st October 1942 and served until he was demobilised on 23rd January 1946. He was an electrician by trade.
I know very little about his service except that he was stationed in or near Dover in 1944 as he met and, in December, married my stepmother that year. His first wife, my mother, had died of cancer in December 1943. During his service in Dover he worked on radar installations and the cross-channel guns.
I know he was in (West?) Africa at some time, probably pre-1944, and was stationed in Holland for a period following the D-Day invasion. Regrettably I have no other information about his service.David W. Brooke
S/Sgt. Gordon Alan Corrall 79 H.A.A. Regiment Royal Artillery (d.17th Aug 1943)Staff Sergeant Gordon Alan Corrall was aged 26 when he died somewhere in Algiers. This brave man was my grandfather, my mum never knew her father because he deployed when she was a baby. I'm not quite sure what happened to cause his death, I think it might have been due to an explosion in the harbour on 16th August 1943. I know he is buried in Bone war cemetery in Algiers, I wish I could bring him home to England.Dawn Surovy
Pte. Leslie Walker Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersLeslie Walker was my dad, a private I think, he said he refused promotion. He didn't like talking about the war. He was in the Netherlands, billeted with Dutch families whom he stayed in touch with later. He had gone to college in Bradford to learn engineering before joining the army and said his job was to repair any kind of transport. At some stage he was blown out of a tank and sustained a knee injury. He was with a couple of other lads at the time who he knew throughout his life.Julie Walker
Sgt. Joseph Boyd Henderson Royal Army Ordnance CorpsMy father, Joseph Henderson, served with RAOC and REME. He died when I was fairly young. Before that he never spoke of the war. There were no medals - nothing. Years after he died I decided to research his records. What I found out blew me away.
He was in the BEF and was one of the last out on 17th June 1940. By December he was posted to the Middle East and then North Africa. In October 1943 (I was told by my mother) that he was in Tobruk and went missing for six months when it fell, living off the Germans. He made it back. His hearing was damaged at El Alamein when the guns went off. He then went with the 8th Army across North Africa, Sicily and Italy and after four years solid he returned to the UK.
My father was in a heavy tank recovery unit with the first Armoured Division and then with the 8th Army as a driver/mechanic. In civvy life he was a staff nurse. He never drove - none of the family knew he could - and he couldn't hold a screwdriver correctly.
I have received his medals: the 1939-45 Medal, 1939-45 Star, African Star with 8th Army clasp, Italian Star and the Defence Medal. I will wear his medals with pride on Remembrance Day on my right side, and my Falklands medal with rosette on my left.Alan Henderson
Cfn. William Lockley No.11 Vehicle Workshop R.E.M.E.
My Aunt Hilda has just died aged 98. Going through her belongings we found photos and records belonging to her husband, my uncle Bill Lockey who died in 1984. We know he was a desert rat but we know little about his service record. We thought the photos may be of interest to others. He was stationed in Tobruk at some point. I would love to hear from anyone who has knowledge of him.Kristy Turner
Spr. Colin Emrie Gillies Royal Electrical and Mechanical EngineersMy late dad, Colin Gillies, served in WW2 with REME. He never talked about his time in Germany or during D-day. He was stationed around the Hanover and Bergen area in 1944-45 and was one of the first British troops to liberate Belsen Concentration Camp. He was from Scotland. Do any former serving mates who were with him at this time remember him?William Gillies
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Craftsmen Of The Army: The Story Of The Royal Electrical And Mechanical Engineers
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Craftsmen Of The Army: The Story Of The Royal Electrical And Mechanical Engineers
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