You are not logged in.
Royal Welch Fusiliers in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- Royal Welch Fusiliers during the Second World War -

Allied Forces Index
skip to content

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.

If you enjoy this site

please consider making a donation.

    Site Home

    WW2 Home

    Add Stories

    WW2 Search

 WW2 Features


    Allied Army

    Allied Air Forces

    Allied Navy

    Axis Forces

    Home Front

    Prisoners of War

    Allied Ships

    Women at War

    Those Who Served



    The Great War


    Add Stories

    Time Capsule

    TWMP on Facebook

    Childrens Bookshop


    Your Family History


    Contact us




World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Royal Welch Fusiliers

   1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers went to France as part of the BEF in 1939, and were in action in the Battle of France. After reorganising they took on home defence duties in the UK then deployed to India in 1942 and saw action in the Burma campaign until the end of the war.

   2nd Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers saw action Madagascar and in the Burma campaign.

   4th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers were a territorial unit. They saw action across Western Europe from mid 1944 onwards.

   5th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers were a territorial unit which converted to Royal Artillery.

   6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers were a territorial unit. They saw action across Western Europe from mid 1944 onwards.

   7th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers were a territorial unit. They saw action across Western Europe from mid 1944 onwards.

   8th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers were a territorial unit. They served in the UK on home defence duties through out the war.

   9th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers served in the UK on home defence duties through out the war.

   13th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers served in Northern Ireland during the Second World War.

   11th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers converted to Royal Artillery.

   12th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers converted to Royal Artillery.

   10th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers converted to an air bourne unit in 1942, and were redesignated 6th (Royal Welch) Parachute Battalion, Parachute Regiment.

6th Feb 1940 On the Range

23rd May 1940 In Action

25th May 1940 HQ Established

26th May 1940 Surrounded

30th May 1940 Withdrawal

1st Jun 1940 Evacuation

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 Welch Fusiliers

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Anderson Nigel James Moffatt. 2nd Lt.
  • Bendle Gerald. Sgt.
  • Bryan Leslie William.
  • Carr Matthew Robert. RSM.
  • Daniel William James. Fus. (d.3rd Feb 1945)
  • Davies David John. Pte.
  • Davies Shadrech.
  • Edwards John Percy. Sgt.
  • Edwards John Hugh. Fus.
  • Evans Robert. L/Cpl.
  • Flanagan Thomas. Fus. (d.15th May 1940)
  • Freeman Alfred James Wilfred. Fus. (d.10 Nov 1944)
  • Grimes William. Pte.
  • Hayes Arthur Thomas.
  • Heywood Edward Arthur.
  • Hughes Evan Emlyn.
  • Hughes Howard.
  • Jenkins Dai.
  • Jones Evan Rhys.
  • Jones William.
  • Jones William.
  • Jones William Harold. Pte.
  • Lewis Norman Edgar. Cpl.
  • Miller Frank. Pte.
  • Nimmon J.
  • Owen Thomas Richard. Private
  • Owens Idris. Fus.
  • Randall . Sgt.
  • Richens Harry.
  • Spink James. Fus. (d.5th Nov 1944)
  • Sutherland Robert.
  • Thomas Arthur Edward.
  • Thwaite John. A/LCpl.
  • Turner William George.
  • Watson Joseph. Pte. (d.10th Sep 1943)
  • Wood John Walter. Cpl.

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

The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website.


  • The 1st of September 2017 is The Wartime Memories Project's 18th Birthday. If you would like to send us a present, a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web.
  • To commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, we are launching a new feature, Second World War Day by Day and also a new Library to allow access to records which have previously been held in our offline archive.
  • Looking for help with Family History Research?   Please read our Family History FAQ's
  • The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors. If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.
    If you enjoy this site

    please consider making a donation.

  • We are also looking for volunteers to help with the website. We currently have a huge backlog of submissions which need to be edited for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Research your own Family History.

Dec 2017 - Please note we currently have a large backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 237716, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.


We are aware of the issue with missing images, this is due to the redesign of the website, images will reappear as soon as the new version of the page is completed, thank you for your patience.

We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates.

If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.

Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to WW2. We would like to obtain digital copies of any documents or photographs relating to WW2 you may have at home.

If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted. World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Did you know? We also have a section on The Great War. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.

There are 5 pages in our library tagged Royal Welch Fusiliers  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

Access our library

Arthur Thomas Hayes Royal Welsh Fusiliers

My grandfather, Arthur Thomas Hayes, served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Burma. My grandad never talked about the war which I can understand. I would like to find out what his time was like during the war. He was born in Birmingham in 1917, he got married in 1940 and is down as a soldier on his marriage certificate.

I am doing my family tree and would be very grateful if anyone has any information.

Mark Hayes

L/Cpl. Robert "Ianto" Evans 1st Btn. Royal Welch Fusiliers

Regular Soldier Robert Evans enlisted with The Royal Welch Fusiliers October 1930 at Wrexham Barracks aged 18 years and 43 days.

Five Lost Years in Captivity

Service at Home and Abroad:

  • Home from 01/10/1930 to 08/10/1931
  • Gibraltar from 09/10/1931 to 20/10/1934
  • China (Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai) from 21/10/1934 to 17/03/1938
  • Home from 18/03/1938 to 23/09/1939
  • Belgium and France 24/09/1939 to 22/05/1940
  • Appointed unpaid Lance Corporal in February1940
  • Reported missing believed dead 25/05/1940 to 30/05/1940 Later confirmed as captured at St Omer, near Dunkirk, France 23/05/1940
  • Prisoner of War 23/05/1940 to either late1944 or very early1945? Detained at various P.O.W. Camps in Germany and Poland, with the Red Cross Certificate of Detention Records obtained by Bob’s Son showing him to be at Stalag XX1B on 03/06/1940, before being transferred to Stalag XX1A on 20/08/1940
  • Escaped during forced march from Poland (late1944 or very early1945?) to Michengrads, Czechoslovakia
  • Repatriated Home from Prague 22/05/1945
  • Home on Release Leave 02/11/1945 - Class ‘A’ Release 06/03/1946
This account was patiently extracted from Robert Evans (Also known as Ianto 10 & Bob Shanghai) by his Brother-in-law, the late Bill Breese (RWF), and later edited and added to by Bob’s youngest Son Cyril Breeze Evans. By this time Bob had reached pensionable age and feelings had mellowed slightly towards his German captors and tormentors. Taking things very slowly, and never pushing the pace, Bill eventually managed to put together as accurate an account as possible of Bob’s experiences before and after what he considered to be his most humiliating surrender to the enemy.

When asked of his initial reaction to being taken prisoner, he quickly retorted “I cursed myself for falling into the enemy trap. There was I, a regular soldier, trained to fight during wars and with over ten years service, captured and unable to do anything to try and improve what was a very drastic situation. I did eventually however come to terms with my bad luck and realised that there was absolutely nothing I could have done about it”.

Unlike many of his fine comrades, Bob was not to fight with the 1st Battalion RWF during its last moments of heroic defensive action, which earned it the never-ending praise and glory that it deserved. Sporadic firing had brought home the realisation to high-ranking Officers that the 1st RWF had had given its all before fading out of existence at nightfall.

Bob & Ella’s Wedding 7th May 1940

He had been home on leave and got married to Ella when news filtered through of the Panzer blitzkrieg, and of the British and Allied Armies reeling backwards in pandemonium and disarray, their often out-dated arms were seemingly useless against the most modern and best equipped Army in the world.

Returning to France and unable to get to the remnants of his Battalion, he along with many others trying to get to their units, were duly formed into a mixed group of soldiers given the task of trying to halt the approaching Wehrmacht with their seemingly indestructible Tanks. The British Boyd Anti Tank Rifle did no damage to the Panzers, who tore away relentlessly in all directions to surround the more or less defenceless British and Allied soldiers.

Bob and his companions manned concrete bunkers at Saint Omer, near Dunkirk in the vain hope of turning back the determined foe, who pressed onwards regardless of all efforts. Having fought valiantly and with many badly wounded, they decided that to continue fighting from the bunkers would be suicidal for all. They withdrew and joined a convoy of civilian and military vehicles as well as those on foot, who were causing chaos and obstruction. French people were pushing handcarts and prams, or rode on horse-drawn carts with all they had left in the world piled up beside them, making the roads virtually impassable for artillery and supplies.

A British officer came to meet them in a jeep and stopped to question them of the situation up front, as he had to collect his heavy guns. They assured the officer that he may as well turn around for the fighting was dreadful and that he had no hope of retrieving the guns, he was however determined to proceed and drove on towards the front. He soon returned however admitting that it was a lost cause and offering to take three or four of the wounded with him.

One Fusilier with a severe head wound declined the offer deciding to remain with his mates on the march towards the nearest Channel Port. It was later realised that he had felt safer in the company of the two Battalion boxers, Bob and Bill Grimes.

Some time later a French Officer halted his jeep and offered to convey the three mates to the Port, and as they were now tiring and the wounded comrade’s condition gradually deteriorating, they were glad to accept the kind offer from an ally and climbed onto the jeep. Rounding a bend, and running straight into a road block, they were swiftly surrounded by German Soldiers branding revolvers, too late they realised that the French Officer had turned side so as to work as a collaborator for the enemy.

Bill Grimes’ remark of “look at that bastard going back to trap more Britishers” brought on a sickly kind of feeling. Their German captors walked laughingly into a French pub, taking their prisoners with them, but not for a drink! Getting noisier they were ordered outside by one of their Officers, leaving one of the soberer Jerry’s with a sub-machine gun in charge of the prisoners. Bill Grimes, fearless as ever, and ready to take a chance asked Bob which hand he hit the hardest with, and told him to stand on his strongest side, as he himself could hit equally as swift and hard with either hand. Just as they got into position to flatten the guard, they saw a crowd of enemy soldiers coming for them, it was just luck that they hadn’t lashed out, for they would surely have been shot without hesitation had they gone ahead with their plan to escape.

Marched in large columns, they were taken on a long, weary and agonising march to Luxembourg, halting only at night so as to be packed in tight groups into sheds or buildings whilst constantly and carefully guarded. During this march Bob met up again with some of his best Battalion pals such as Bill Jones & Dai Jenkins. Looking down from a hill on a massed crowd of prisoners below, he wondered who was left of the British and their Allies to stop the German war machine from conquering Britain, as they had Holland, Belgium and France.

During the long march, their captors encouraged children to run out and kick them hard in their in their legs or bodies as they trod their weary way. Despite the excruciating pain they refrained from retaliating for the German guards always had their loaded rifles and sub-machine guns at the ready to kill anyone who hit back. The Germans rejoiced in their victories and insisted that Britain would fall before Christmas.

To those taken prisoner during the 1944 and 1945 Second Front battles, and who say that they were treated fairly by old Jerry, Bob explained that the victorious Germans of 1940, who had no doubt whatsoever in their own brainwashed minds that they would conquer the World without any setbacks, were very different to those of 1944 and 1945 who feared that the Allies could eventually rule Germany should their Adolf fail them and the Fatherland. This of course was a thought that had never even entered their minds in the early years of WW2.

Stalag XXA – Unconfirmed, but possibly Bob Evans 3rd from left middle row and Bill Grimes far right back row

Moved from camp to camp and unsure of their eventual fate, they were often famined and miserable. The German Guards varied in their behaviour, some being fair whilst others enjoyed dishing out brutality and degradation, especially to the British ‘Sweinreg’ as they called them. One Guard in particular proved himself to be especially cruel, whom was referred to by Bob and his mates as ‘Old Hooknose’, whilst another Guard named Alfred was quite kind to prisoners, and often spoke to Bob (whom he addressed as Robert) of past times when Jews had mistreated Germans in pre-war days.

Bob being loyal and out spoken, only avoided being placed in detention during 1942, doing spells in the Lolsen (Posen?) Camp Link during all his other years of imprisonment. Taken from Lisa Camp to do detention, he recollects sitting on a narrow gage steam train with German Guards watching him throughout the journey that would end in punishment. Sitting there, he remembers thinking of days as a youngster when he travelled on the Abergynolwyn train in the company of his Father each Monday morning as they travelled to work at the Bryneglwys slate quarry.

Hearing the puffs of the German loco, he wondered what punishment was awaiting him that time. Placed in a cell, he peeped through a knothole and recognised Sergeant Randall in the neighbouring cell. The Sergeant gave him the sad news that a German had shot his mate Bill Grimes through his throat and that he was being treated by camp staff at a make-do camp hospital.

On being released following punishment, Bob slipped away to go and see his mate Bill who was lying in a make-do rough bed still covered in caked blood and unable to talk due to his serious throat wound. He managed to whisper to Bob “it was Old Hooknose that shot me Ianto”. The Germans claimed that God was with them, and had those words engraved on their belts. They taunted their prisoners saying that their intention was to castrate British males and arrange for their SS Soldiers to live with selected British girls, including prisoners wives, so as to bear their children so as to help produce the perfect race that Hitler craved for. They were also told that they would never return home, as they would be kept in Germany to provide free labour to rebuild the homes and other structures that had been devastated by the R.A.F. To be constantly taunted by such intentions was disheartening even to the strongest of heart, especially whilst being deprived of all comforts.

All outward signs seemed to be discouraging for it seemed that the War was turning heavily in favour of the enemy whichever way they cared to look at the situation. Red Cross parcels did not arrive in sufficient quantity so as to support them in their drastic want, neither did they know for some time whether or not their relatives had been informed of their whereabouts, as no mail was arriving at the camp. Some of the German Guards enjoyed throwing crusts of bread into canals or rivers so as to watch the starving prisoners jump into the water to try and retrieve them. They laughed as the hungry men splashed about and struggled, and even fought in the water in an effort to grab even the smallest potion so as to satisfy their craving stomachs.

Bob recalled Guards screaming ‘Rouse, Rouse’, whilst trying to load their prisoners into some lorries, and suddenly recognising the voice of a fellow soldier from his home village of Dinas Mawddwy. Jack, who had been a labourer on a farm called Tan-y- Bwlch, shouted to him “try and get on a lorry for ???? Camp, I hear that news is getting home from there of those who have been captured and still alive”. It is not known whether Bob managed to get to that camp or not, but he did meet up with another Dyfi Valley Soldier, a Welsh Guardsman by the name of John Jones from Maespoeth, Corris.

Later they were herded tightly into a cold and dirty unused factory building or warehouse, where the Guards seemed bent on dishing out more cruelty, and would burst into their midst and select a young soldier and force him to stand in the middle and make him stand to attention with arms above his head. Should his arms drop even a little then severe punishment followed to the sound of German laughter.

Bob remembers a typical occurrence when a poor young Fusilier named Owens, who was almost slumbering on his feet due to the fatigue of long marches, was selected for their cruel game, knowing full well that he didn’t have enough strength left to hold out for long. Another of their captor’s favourite games was to aggravate their prisoners by cupping their hands and shouting as high as they could into their ears. Under normal conditions, one could tolerate such abuse by regarding it as pure stupidity, but being a prisoner who dare not complain or retaliate was a different matter altogether, as the slightest show of resentment saw a loaded rifle being raised to the firing position.

The Welsh Guardsman from Corris, quite understandably, and like many others, was by now showing signs of low spirits and voiced his belief to Bob that neither of them would return to the Dyfi Valley. Bob always strove to say the right thing at the right time to cheer his mate up despite the gloomy outlook, as indeed he did with many other fellow prisoners. Managing to keep both his own and his comrade’s hopes and spirits up, he became known as ‘The Propaganda King’.

Working outside the camp area under the ever-watchful eyes of their Guards, Bob felt the shivering that usually precedes a heavy dose of influenza, and having been ordered to remove overcoats and place them on the fence nearby, he sought the permission of a German equivalent to his own rank of Lance Corporal to wear his due to being unwell. The German hailed his Sergeant Major so as to pass on Bob’s request. Walking over, the Sergeant Major stared at Bob and then hit him hard on the face and ordered him to continue working. Later on Bob asked the Lance Corporal to pass on a message to his Sergeant Major saying that he had initially respected him as someone who like himself was a regular soldier before the War, but said that he had now lost what little respect he had for him following his cowardly attack on a defenceless P.O.W, and furthermore, should he have the guts to get in the ring with him, then he’d get his deserved pasting. Strangely, there was no response from the German N.C.O. indeed he seemed to regret his actions that day and from then on offered Bob much fairer treatment whenever he was in his working party.

The situation improved with the regular arrival of nourishing Red Cross food and clothing parcels, whilst letters from home brought comfort and solace, as well as a greater determination to survive against all efforts to rob them of spirit and dignity. Soon, but not too soon, the noise and sight of passing bombers brought with them a message of hope and the realisation that the tide was turning. The German attitude was also different as the situation was changing in Allied favour, with the guards becoming more tolerant and showing a marked leniency, a sure sign of their growing uncertainty as to who would be victorious.

The guards began praising the accuracy of the British bombers in avoiding the unnecessary death of civilians whenever it was possible, but complained of the indiscriminate use of HE bombs by the Yanks on households and hospitals without an effort to avoid unnecessary loss of lives. Bob grabbed the opportunity to remind the enemy of their indiscriminate destruction of British town and cities such as Liverpool and Coventry, when they too robbed ordinary people of all their possessions as well as killing thousands of innocent civilians. Some prisoners were intentionally placed in compounds in the hope that this would discourage Allied bombing. Some P.O.W’s were indeed killed by British bombs, but this was a practice that was quickly discontinued as the long war drew towards it’s longed for conclusion.

Bob’s impatience, combined with defiance, as well as his readiness to accept any kind of challenge, brought on a decision to try and escape again, following several previous unsuccessful attempts, including one with his mate Bill Grimes. He decided that rather than stay the full course of imprisonment, and having discussed his plan with another old and trusted peacetime comrade; it was decided to make a break for it as soon as the opportunity came their way.

The pal had second thoughts however and decided to wait for release by the advancing Armies, and warned Bob of the grim consequences should they be re-captured. Once he’d made his mind up, Bob wasn’t one to cancel plans and clung on to his original decision to escape. Another prisoner, a sailor named Eric begged to go with him, and as the plan had always been for two to escape, Bob welcomed Eric’s offer of accompanying him.

The un-rewarded courage and kindness of Polish women who risked severe reprisals to push a bit of bread into the hands of the hungry prisoners as they wearily made their way on a long march that was to take them from Poland into Czechoslovakia will never be forgotten. They risked their lives so as to ease the tribulations of captured British soldiers who they never knew and would never meet again. Bob and Eric’s opportunity to escape arose whilst resting from marching; it was a cold and snowy night, with the guards being distracted on purpose by the noisy quarrelling of other prisoners. They failed to notice the two comrades making a careful but speedy getaway.

Creeping up quietly to farmhouse doors, in constant fear of the barking dogs, they listened and tried to decide whether it was the German or Slovak language that was being spoken inside. Deciding that the family in one house they had stopped at were indeed Slovakian, they knocked on the door anxious of their fate when the door eventually opened.

The farmer was understandably reluctant to offer hospitality, as he couldn’t understand their attempts to explain that they were British. Trying to use the word ‘Englander’, they were really struggling to make it understood who they were until Eric raised his sleeve and showed him a tattoo of the Union Jack saying ‘Englander, Englander’.

Michengrads – exact spot where Bob and Eric hid.

The farmer suddenly understood and sympathised with their plight and bid them both to enter his house and made them welcome by giving them food and warmth, whilst a hiding place was found for them. It was only later that the farmer was able to explain that he had originally feared they were escaped Russian P.O.W.’s, as some of his countrymen had helped some Russians before, only to be betrayed by them to the German’s when they were captured. Knowing who had sheltered the Russians, the Germans reacted sharply and violently against the Czechoslovakians and warned them of the consequences of any repetition.

Bob and Eric were taken very good care of and were even allowed inside for the occasional supper with the kind family, as well as the very risky treat of hearing the ‘Nine O’clock News’ and the chiming of Big Ben. The two men’s spirits were raised, as they were kept up to date of the ever-increasing British and Allied victories and of the retreating German Army. A frightening occurrence tested their nerve and reaction one night when a German patrol arrived out of the blue at the farmhouse and entered the house whilst Bob was having supper with the family. The stern German patrol leader asked who “The Master of the house” was, and then asking him to tell him of the family members. Pointing at them all in turn, he explained that Bob was a deaf and dumb living there, and then cunningly, so as to entice them to depart; he asked them if they would like some fresh eggs. The leader jumped at the chance and then ordered his men to leave as he bid goodnight.

It was decided that Bob should work in a Flour Grinding Mill amongst some local workers, and that he should carry on pretending to be deaf and dumb. He was to operate a machine on which a bell tinkled to denote the end of its cycle, but understanding the importance of playing the part of being deaf and dumb to the full, he was to ignore the tinkle and continuously watch the sliding movement of the machine as anyone who was deaf and dumb would have to do. The acting went on without a hitch until one day; familiarity bred the usual contempt, and Bob having turned away from the machine, heard the bell tinkle and immediately turned around to slide the beam backwards so as to reset it. A youth was seen to stop working and look very puzzled at the strange incident he had just witnessed of a deaf and dumb person reacting to the sound of a bell that he couldn’t hear! Others who knew what was going on decided that they couldn’t take any more chances, hence the decision that Bob should work elsewhere for both his and their safety.

He was to work transplanting cauliflower in a plot that bordered a German Army Barracks, and where enemy soldiers drilled close by, but as the Germans would hardly expect an escaped prisoner to be working next to their base, then it was felt to be as safe there as anywhere. He also worked at a cinema, where enemy soldiers came regularly to watch films during off duty hours. As the end of the war approached, a Village School Teacher took Bob and other escapees to a nearby forest, where a hut had been built. This was a comfortable hideout with a fireplace, but one look convinced Bob that it was not the place for him and against the advice of comrades and locals, walked away and decided to return to the kind hearted Joseph Ruta and his family, who welcomed him back, as did the Pravda family who also fed and looked after him. He remained with the Ruta family at Michengrads until the end of the war was announced, at which time he borrowed a bicycle and rode out on the rough track to the forest hideout where the others had remained, to inform them of the Armistice and duly brought back a comrade to the happy village on the bar of the bicycle, whilst the others walked and ran to the village where both villagers and escaped prisoners celebrated joyously together.

Prior to the end of the war Bob had noticed trainloads of German troops returning from the Russian Front, many suffering from frostbite as a result of the severe winter, as well as battle wounds. The reasonably able bodied soldiers who had up till then carried out camp guard duties were sent to the Russian Front, whilst the medically unfit men took over their duties at the P.O.W camps.

Taken up a hill by friends following the Armistice, he was shown columns of German soldiers being marched into captivity by Russian soldiers, and despite the rough treatment he had received; he felt pity for his old enemy, for he understood their feelings as they were urged on relentlessly by their captors. He knew of how they would be wondering what fate lay in store for them and the pain of thinking of their families back home as they plodded on towards an unknown destination and fate.

Instructions were soon issued for all escaped P.O.W.s to report to a given destination, and following considerable questioning, they were then taken to Prague from where they were flown home to Britain. Following kitting up and the issue of train warrants, they were finally on their way to their respective homes.

Arriving home to face other problems, Bob was given a hero’s welcome by the people of his home village of Dinas Mawddwy, from where he had gone to volunteer for Army Service back in 1930. Driven to Dinas Railway Station by a specially arranged car, he was to be towed past the Great War memorial to the village by a team of local men as a special honour. Fixing ropes to the car bumper he was hauled past the familiar faces of folk who had rejoiced in the knowledge that he was free and in fair condition considering his long imprisonment.

John, his Father was standing on the doorway of his home and Bob admitted to finding a tear trickling down his cheek on seeing him standing there to greet him home. Next he heard the voice of ex First World War veteran, Simon Jones address him with a well-meant welcome home speech on behalf of the local community. “I have been some kind of soldier myself during the last war” he said, “and I would like to think that I know what a good soldier should look like, and here in Bob we have a real soldier”. Returning to army life after leave, he was unable to settle down again to good soldiering with the Royal Welch Fusiliers as he had done at Wrexham, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, as well as in Belgium and France prior to capture in 1940. Five years of P.O.W. life had taken its toll and altered his outlook on life. He found, much to his dismay that his staunch peacetime pals had altered considerably in their ways and attitude. Sent to 21 R.A.F. Holding Battalion at Newtown, Montgomeryshire, he met Andy Nolan, one of his finest peacetime friends. On addressing him as Andy, he was reminded that those times had passed them by, and pointing to his crowned sleeve told Bob that he was actually conversing with Company Sergeant Major Nolan, not Andy. Bob understood and respected his reason for saying this, but nevertheless felt saddened that those happy days before the war when they shared the same knife and spoon at mealtimes were seemingly gone and forgotten. A young Lance Corporal told him to tidy up his bed or he would place him on report to the Provost Sergeant. Told to do as he bloody well chose, the young Lance Corporal strode out to fetch the Provost, who duly marched in to arrest the stubborn culprit who refused to obey orders, the Provost came face to face with Bob, who he had known as Ianto 10 when soldiering in Gibraltar and China in the thirties, he ordered the inexperienced N.C.O. not to heed such minor matters, and then went on to enjoy reminiscing of the old days with Bob, his old comrade, before striding back to play hell with other defaulters inside the Guardroom. Ignoring the pleas of good old comrades like Griley, Tiger Watts, and others to re-join for a further six years so as to complete his 21 years (pontoon) in order to be eligible for long service pension, Bob chose to accept his release and become a council worker with Merionethshire County Council. The contact with his saviours in Czechoslovakia was maintained for a while with Bob sending parcels of food items, which were practically unobtainable there since the time of his release. Joseph Ruta and his good family voiced their fondness and great admiration for him in their letters, and mentioned the times when Bob was busy transplanting Caulis right by the German soldiers, and of when he went through the streets on a bike to fetch bread from some friends of theirs at the bakery who knew of his escape. Unfortunately, not being fluent in English, and even less so in written English, they sent letters in their own language.The then Liberal M.P. Emrys Roberts managed to find someone who was willing to translate the letters, and it was with much regret that Bob had to turn down Joseph’s kind invitation in one letter to return to Michengrads for his daughter’s wedding.

Most regrettably, the contact with this fine family was later broken, and whilst efforts were made in 1983 to re-establish contact with the Ruta family, these were unfortunately in vain. Joseph Ruta is surely reaping his heavenly rewards by now, but younger family members, possibly including his daughter Maluska Rutova, are somewhere to be found. The Pravda Family at Michengrads also helped save Bob and Eric’s lives by risking their own lives by feeding them whilst they hid from the enemy, and again they are owed a huge dept that can never be repaid.

If anyone knew my late father or indeed anyone else mentioned in this account and would like to receive copies of these photos and other Army photos from the early thirties onward, then please do contact me.

Cyril Evans

Pte. William Grimes Royal Welch Fusiliers

Bill Grimes was shot through the throat whilst trying to escape from a POW Camp.

Cyril Evans

Fus. Idris Owens Royal Welch Fusiliers

Idris Owens was held in StalagXXIB,

Cyril Evans

A/LCpl. John "Jack" Thwaite 2nd Btn. Border Regiment

My Dad Jack Thwaite joined the TA in March 1933 serving with 7th Bn Duke of Wellington's Regt hence his Regtl number. He joined the Regular Army in Nov 1934 at the age of 20. Initially he served with 1st Border in Belfast then with 2nd Border in India from 1935 to 1943, including service on the NW Frontier with another Btn as a reinforcement.

He returned to the UK in 1943 & was posted to 6th Border. He landed on D Day 6 Jun 1944 with this Beach Group Bn. He transferred on breakup of the Battalion to the Lancashire Fusiliers, East Lancs and finally 7th RWF. He was wounded in action on the 18th of September 1944.

Martin Thwaite

Sgt. John Percy "Nat" Edwards Royal Welch Fusiliers

My late father, John Percy Edwards, gave a false age and joined the 7th Battalion RWF Territorial Army aged 15. He served for 2 years 1931-1933. In 1934 he joined the Regualr RWF. After recruit training at the Depot Wrexham he joined a Coy 1st Battalion RWF.

In 1939 he was an Instructer at the Wrexham Depot and later became known as Sgt Nat Edwards. In 1942 he volunteerd for the Airborne. He was then sent to the 10th Battalion RWF which became the 6th (RWF)Parachute Battalion the Parachute Regiment. He saw active service in North Africa, Italy, South of France and Greece between 1942 1945. He was discharged from the army Feb 17th 1946 and placed on the Z Reserve. He died age 53 dec 31st 1969

Michael Edwards

Evan Rhys Jones Cook Royal Welch Fusiliers

Evan Rhys Jones was my Grandad, During the war he was a cook in the Fusiliers and was assigned to a merchant ship. From what I've been told he was torpedoed 3 times and possibly picked up by the Hood the 3rd time. Any information we can get will greatly appreciated.

Sharon Jenkins

Arthur Edward "Tommo" Thomas Welsh Guards

My grandfathers Arthur Thomas was a POW at Marienburg, Poland (Stalag XXb). Unfortunately he didn't speak much about his experiences during the Second World War and has passed away since so alot of what I know is very sketchy and based on snipits of things he would say very seldomly.

He was captured during the evacuation of Dunkirk while he was making up the force holding the Germans back with a Welsh regiment. There is a bit of confusion unfortuately as to who he was fighting with as we think he was either with the Welsh Gaurds or the Welsh Fusiliers and this is proving very difficult to ascertain. I remember him talking about being cornered and captured in a barn somewhere by the SS and Panzer crew and subsequently marched off to this POW camp. He also mentioned about doing some forced labour work on some farms there and how they were eventually forced marched back across to Germany in a bid to avoid the advancing Russians, and how they would survive on any food they could get their hands on.

I would love to learn more about his experience during those times and from anyone who may remember him. Arthur Edward Thomas who came from Mountain Ash, South Wales. He would have been approx 18 or 19 years old at the time and spent the entire war as a POW at Marienburg following his capture. Sadly I do not possess any pictures of him from those days or have anything that would link him to a regiment or the POW camp and very little stories to expand on despite knowing for sure that he was involved in everything I've mentioned.

Andrew Thomas

Private Thomas Richard Owen Royal Welch Fusiliers

Stalag 4c POW No 248587

Sue Owen

William George "Lynn" Turner Royal Welsh Fusiliers

My Father, William George Turner, was born in Abercynon S. Wales, he was in the Royal Welsh. He was captured at Dunkirk and imprisoned at Stalag XX-B, he never spoke of his capture so I don't know anything about it. He was married to my mother and they resided in Leeds, Yorks, England when he was captured, so this may be where he listed his home address. His brother Lewis Turner was also captured and held so any info on either my father or uncle would be great.

Pat Mitchelson

Sgt. Gerald Bendle Intelligence Corps Royal Welsh Fusiliers

My father, Gerald Bendle, enlisted in 1940 and was sent to Northern Ireland before sailing to India in 1943 on the SS Orontes. He was a sergeant in the Intelligence Corps and told me little about the war except that he was incredibly lucky. He learnt Hindi and travelled around India "gathering intelligence" on a motor bike. He was hospitalised in India twice once with pneumonia and once with a broken leg and on both occasions he missed postings from which no one in the battallion returned.

He returned to the UK in March 1946 and was unable to disembark immediately because there was illness on board and they had to fly the yellow flag. Sadly he died on 3rd January 2013 and I suddenly regret not having found out more about this part of his life.

Madelaine Thomas

Fus. Alfred James Wilfred "Tiger" Freeman 2nd Batattion Royal Welch Fusiliers (d.10 Nov 1944)

My uncle, Alfred Freeman, was the only son of Alfred Snr. and his wife Eliza, he was killed on 10 November 1944. He died during a night time attack along with his colleague Fus. Hall who was from Liverpool. He had one sister, Alice (Connie) who was my mother.

Alf served from the beginning of the war and was killed quite near to the end. He did not have to go overseas as his father was disabled and he was the supporter of his mother, unmarried and still lived at home. This was a source of great sadness to my mother. The last birthday card she sent him was of a sailing boat. It was returned to her marked 'It is regretted that this item could not be delivered because the addressee is reported to be deceased.' I still have the card in the original envelope. According to a letter received in April 1945 from Captain & Adjutant Bomer (?) he was killed 'during the battle of Pinwe, C company of which your son was a member was attacked by a strong party of Japanese. The enemy managed to get into the Company area but a stern and courageous defence, which undoubtedly saved the Company from being overrun, drove them out, with great loss to themselves. Fusilier Freeman was in the area attacked and continued to fire his weapon until an unlucky shot killed him outright.' He was originally buried at Mawlu, but his body was moved to Taukkyan War Cemetery, Rangoon. My mother wished to visit his grave but was not given permission as she was not the next of kin as her mother was still alive, but elderly at that time. He was musical and played the violin, which is still in the families possession.

Teresa Godwin

Fus. Thomas Flanagan 1st Btn. Royal Welch Fusiliers (d.15th May 1940)

Thomas Flanagan who died aged 30 was born in 1912 in Jarrow. He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Flanagan (nee O'Brien) of Jarrow. His younger brother Joseph was also one of the fallen.

Thomas is buried in Leopoldsburg War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen

Fus. William James Daniel 2nd Btn. Royal Welch Fusiliers (d.3rd Feb 1945)

William James Daniel, served as Fusilier, 14320767 with the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He was the son of David James Daniel and Mary Alice Daniel, of Brynllwyd Farm, Aberystwyth. William enlisted on 5th of Nov 1942 and was posted to India on 24th of Oct 1943 where he served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers.

William was killed on 3rd of February 1945 while the battalion took part in the Burmese campaign. He was 20 years old. Originally buried at Mandalay Military Cemetery before being reburied in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar.

Graham Daniel

Cpl. John Walter Wood 6th Btn Royal Welsh Fusiliers

J Wood

Royal Welsh Fusilier, Cpl John Wood, 4206696 - my father - enlisted in October 1940 and after being in several battalion stayed in the 6th. He was posted to North West Europe. He spoke very little of his time in the war but was very proud to be a Welsh Fusilier.

From my research I believe he was one of two fusiliers captured on the 23rd September 1944 the other I believe was Fusilier J Nimmon, 1500958. They both ended up in Stallag 11b. Attached is a note to his mother written on the back of a photo. I am not sure what happened to him between the 23rd of September and 22nd of October 1944, but he did mention some long marches and little food.

Mervyn Wood

J Nimmon 6th Btn Welsh Fusiliers

Fusilier J Nimmon, 1500958, served in the 6th Btn of the Welsh Fusiliers and was a PoW in Stallag 11b.

Mervyn Wood

Howard Hughes Royal Welch Fusiliers

Herbert Hughes was killed in Burma South East Asia with the Royal Welch Fusiliers

RSM. Matthew Robert Carr Welch Fusiliers

My grandad served with the Welsh Fusiliers between 1930/31 and 1957/58. He was at El Alamein, and Ceylon for the handover. I am led to believe he was the RSM, but I'm not certain. He served with the Welsh Fusiliers for 27 years in the artillery. Can anyone give me more information?

Ruth Carr

Evan Emlyn Hughes 6th Btn. Royal Welch Fusiliers

My dad, Evan Hughes, served with the 6th Btn. Royal Welch Fusiliers. Does anyone remember him?

Dave Hughes

Leslie William Bryan Welsh Fusiliers

My father, Leslie William Bryan, was a POW in Stalag XXA from 1939 until the end of the war. He was in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Like many other POWs he never said much but he played the drums in the band and knew Sam Kydd. Does anyone remember him?

Mark Bryan

Harry Richens Parachute Regiment

My father-in-law, Harry Richens, died a few years ago. He never mentioned his WW2 service, nor claimed his medals. We know he was in the army as a boy soldier, a bit of a trouble maker, hence, he volunteered for the Parachute Regiment. Which Battalion we do not know. He was in hospital recovering from Malaria when Arnhem took place and he was transferred to Royal Welch Fusiliers for the last few months of the war. Can any one help in how we can try and find more details of his service history, so we can pass on to great-grand kids etc. It would be great if a photograph with him on emerges.


William Jones Royal Welch Fusiliers

My Dad, Bill Jones of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, was in Stalag XXa(77) until liberated by the Allies. I have a group photograph that I will upload as soon as I can. Sadly Bill died in 2001 after a long illness. Any information greatly appreciated. I know he took part in a long forced march.

Stephen J Jones

Shadrech Davies 1st Btn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Not a lot is known about Shadrech Davies's WWII record. He served in India and Burma and was employed as a driver attached to a field hospital driving a Major Bailey (a doctor) around and stretcher carrying. It would be nice if anybody could tell me any more about him.

Frank Davies

Pte. Frank Miller 2nd Btn. Kings Own

Frank Miller began his military life joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. After training he transferred into the Kings Own. Serving in India he became a member of the Chindits, his story (along with many others) was recently told on a programme aired by Channel 4 called "Calling Blighty. A message home". After his time in the jungle, Frank transferred once again to the Army Catering Corp when he came out of the Jungle. Many of the guys saw this as a fast track to food.

Tony Moore

Cpl. Norman Edgar Lewis Royal Welch Fusiliers

Cigarette case

Cigarette case

My father, Norman Lewis, was a regular soldier before World War Two but after serving was a civilian clerk with the War Office. When war broke out he was called up. Dad was in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, but I think he originally enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment. My eldest sister, Valerie, was born in January 1940, and my father saw her before embarking for France. At the beginning of June he was captured as a member of the rearguard forces near Dunkirk. He did not see my sister again until she was 5 years old.

He was eventually taken to Stalag XXA in Thorn, Poland and spent the rest of war there until the camp was evacuated in January 1945. During his time in captivity Dad worked on farms and did other work in the area. When the camp was evacuated the prisoners were forced to march more than 800 miles in one of the coldest winters on record. During this march Dad became ill with bronchitis and frostbite. If prisoners couldn't march they were often shot or left by the roadside. A Russian prisoner on the march made a sledge and pulled Dad along, and also built bivouacs in the snow at night to keep warm. Dad shared his meagre Red Cross rations with this man. His family still has a cigarette case made from a tin can which the Russian made for Dad.

Dad died in 1991 and in common with many veterans, he spoke very little about his experiences. We all feel very sad that we didn't ask Dad more when he was still here with us. We have no one left now who can fill in the gaps.

Sheila Cinelli

Pte. Joseph Watson 10th Battalion Parachute Regiment (d.10th Sep 1943)

My Uncle, Joseph Watson, took part in the amphibious landings at Taranto Harbour, Italy in September 1943. He was on board the Minelayer HMS Abdiel. Unfortunately, two ground mines detonated beneath the ship and caused it to sink within 3 minutes. My uncle lost his life, aged 20, at sea on the 10th September 1943. He was among 58 from The 1st Airborne Division who unfortunately lost their lives during Operation Slapstick.

My grandparents were devastated by the loss of their son and I don't think my Grandma ever really got over her loss. My Mum, lost her only brother, who she had some fond memories of and loved dearly. I never knew my Uncle Joe, but am very proud of him as we all are. I am trying to gather together as much information as I can about his time serving in the British Army and if anyone has information, I would be very grateful if you could share it with me. He attended Parachute Training at RAF Ringway 5th April to 16th April 1943 (course number 59), previously serving with the Royal Welch Fusiliers. <

RIP Uncle Joe, we are immensely proud of you and how you served your country.

Diane Jackson

Pte. William Harold Jones 10th Btn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers

William Jones served with the 7th and 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

William Jones

Pte. David John "Boxer" Davies 2nd Btn, 6th Coy. Royal Welch Fusiliers

My late Dad, Dai Davies served with the 2nd Btn. Royal Welch Fusiliers during WW2. He was called up in August 1940, and got married a few days before leaving. My Mum (now aged 96) has a vivid set of memories, and is remarkable clear of the stories my Dad came home with. I know that he served in Madagascar, India, Burma, and I think Africa.

Nigel Davies

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.


    The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

    This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

    If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.

    Hosted by:

    The Wartime Memories Project Website

    is archived for preservation by the British Library

    Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
    - All Rights Reserved