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Royal West Kent Regiment (Queens own) in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Royal West Kent Regiment (Queens own) during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Royal West Kent Regiment (Queens own)

31st Jan 1943 Advance

17th April 1944 Battle of the Imphal Plain

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 West Kent Regiment (Queens own)

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Adam Malcolm Cyrus. Cpl.
  • Allen Richard Stafford. Capt. (d.19th November 1943)
  • Allen Richard Stafford. T/Capt. (d.19th Nov 1943)
  • Avis David George. Private
  • Bailey George Richard. L/Cpl
  • Baker Leonard. Pte.
  • Bauldy Eddie.
  • Biddlecombe Frank William.
  • Booker Arthur J.. Pte.
  • Botton Henry James William. Pte.
  • Brackley Edwin George. Pte.
  • Bray Frank William. S/Sgt.
  • Bray Frank William. S/Sgt.
  • Brett Cyril. Pte.
  • Bridger Percy James. Pte.
  • Browne Albert Edward.
  • Burch Fred Essex. Pte
  • Burch Fred Essex. Pte
  • Calverley Ivor.
  • Carden John William. Pte.
  • Collins Horace Arthur. Pte. (d.20th April 1944)
  • Collins Leonard Sidney. Pte. (d.14th April 1944)
  • Davies William Frank. Pte. (d.17th November 1942)
  • Day Leonard Mark. Cpl. (d.24th Aug 1942 )
  • Dowling George William. L/Cpl. (d.20th October 1944)
  • Dudley Leslie Gilbert. Pte.
  • Dudley Leslie Gilbert. Pte.
  • Eary James Richard. (d. )
  • Eary James Richard .
  • Edwards Frederick George. Pte.
  • Elliott Leslie Frederick. Pte.
  • Evans Edward Henry Kitchener. Pte. (d.14th Dec 1943)
  • Fitch James. Pte. (d.7th January 1945)
  • Forbes Daniel. Pte. (d.28th May 1940)
  • Goldfinch George Kitchener Lewis. Pte.
  • Goodman Norman Henry. Pte.
  • Goodwin William Frederick Charles . Pte.
  • Goodyer Ian Morgan.
  • Gregory George James William. Pte.
  • Hall George William. Pte.
  • Harman John Pennington. L/Cpl. (d.9th April 1944)
  • Harrison Owen Horace. Cpl. (d.19th Jan 1945)
  • Hemmens Fred.
  • Holland Jeffrey Edward. Cpl.
  • Hudson Henry Francis. Pte. (d.13th Jan 1942)
  • Hudson Henry Francis. Pte. (d.13th Jan 1942)
  • Jeal Jim.
  • Jones .
  • Jones John Frederick. Pte.
  • Jones W P. Private
  • Joseph Albert. L/Cpl
  • King Percy Frederick George. Pte.
  • King Percy Frederick George. Pte.
  • Kirby Fredrick. Pte. (d.14th Nov 1943)
  • Lintott Jack. Pte.
  • Little James William George. Pte.
  • Maplesden Charlie. Pte.
  • Maynard Eric Gordon. L/Cpl.
  • Mogie William. Pte. (d.28th Dec 1943)
  • Mogie William. Pte. (d.28th Dec 1943)
  • Mogie William. Pte. (d.28th Dec 1943)
  • O'Leary Danny.
  • Paul Stanley Mark. Cpl. (d.26th Feb 1944)
  • Pearman Arthur Edward. Tpr.
  • Penman David Irons. Tpr. (d.5th Oct 1944)
  • Perrin John Edwood.
  • Petty George. Pte.
  • Phillips Howard. L/Sgt. (d.14th Dec 1944)
  • Phillips Howard. L/Sgt. (d.14th Dec 1944)
  • Price Peter. L/Cpl. (d.17th Dec 1943)
  • Robson William David.
  • Robson William.
  • Shinnick Walter Daniel. Pte. (d.20th February 1940)
  • Standen Frederick Charles. Pte.
  • Timcke George William. Pte.
  • Tomsett Arthur Benjamin. Pte. (d.21st May 1940)
  • Trigwell John Hermer.
  • True Albert. Pte. (d.24th Apr 1945)
  • Wallis Jack Lionel. Pte.
  • Ward Richard. Pte.
  • Ward Richard. Pte.
  • Waterhouse Leonard John.
  • Weekes Frank Edward Maurice. Pte.
  • Wells Raymond Percival. CQMS.
  • Wilcox Berkeley George.
  • Wood James Allen. Pte.
  • Wraight Percy John.

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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There are 3 pages in our library tagged Royal West Kent Regiment (Queens own)  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

Access our library

L/Cpl Albert Joseph Royal West Kent Regiment

I am trying to get information about my father who held in Stalag 8b. His name was Albert Joseph. He was captured in 1940.

Mark Enfield

Pte. Henry James William Botton 2nd Bttn Royal West Kent Rgt

I would like to hear from anyone who remembers my farther Henry Botton, he spent most of the war in Stalag VIIIB after being captured as part of the BEF. He passed away when I was still young so details are sketchy, that is why I would like to hear from anyone. Thank You

Joe Botton

Pte. Percy James "Jim" Bridger Royal West Kent Regiment

I'm trying to find out more about my Grandfather's time as a POW. All I know is that he was captured at Dunkirk, he was in The Royal West Kent Regiment he was sent to the coal mines in Poland, then taken to Germany and marched back to Poland. Sadly he is no longer with us, so we can't ask. His name was Percy James Bridger but everyone called him Jim

Chris Worrall

Pte. Arthur J. Booker Royal West Kent Regiment

Back row (left to right): 1) unknown 2) Wally Symes 3) Arthur Booker, 4) unknown 5) Mick Dowling

Front row (left to right): 1) Gerry Rush 2) Dick Berryman 3) Les Botcher 4) Ginger Kett 5) Jimmy Beatle.


  • I joined the British Army in Nineteen Thirty-Nine
  • I really did enjoy myself and thought that life was fine
  • But in France I was captured a Royal West Kent
  • Pride of the Army but to Deutschland I went.

  • Into a big Stalag they called it VIII B
  • We had breakfast, no dinner and no blooming tea
  • They sent us out working we were just skin and bone
  • And Mittenbruck Silesia became our new home

  • There I met lots of pals t'was long, long ago
  • But where are they now that's what I'd like to know
  • Gerry Rush and Mick Dowling slept in the next bed
  • And a fellow called Andrews he slept overhead.

  • Sgt. Don Eager or Edgar I'm never quite sure
  • He helped me a lot when conditions were poor
  • And young Ginger Kett with his mout organ band
  • Called Kat and his Kit-Kats were really quite grand

  • And to all other chaps who were held by the "Hun"
  • In that little old camp called E91
  • If you remember ole Book and Benny his mate
  • Then let's get in touch before it's too late!

This is a poem written by my Father, Arthur Booker, if anyone remembers him or his fellow POW's please get in touch.

Barbara Jutsum

Private David George Avis Royal West Kent Regiment

My father, pte David George Avis, no.6347487 of the West Kent Regiment, was wounded at Doullens on 14.5.1940, picked up by the Germans and transported to Cambrai Hospital, then to Aachen. From there he went by train via Bocholt to Thorn over 4 days, 70 men to a cattle truck. He spoke very little about his time as an inmate of Stalag XXA but I do know that they started their 'death march' on 15.1.1945 from Graudenz. They were liberated by the Americans in a small town outside Hanover after walking 850 miles. He was flown home by the RAF on 20.4.1945 to High Wycombe,rekitted,paid and arrived home at Herne Pound, Mereworth, Kent on 21.4.1945. He was recalled after 6 weeks to Wotten Underwood Barracks.

Unfortunately I have only found all this information after he died in 2006 when going through his effects.

Patricia Sage

Pte. Charlie Maplesden Royal West Kent Regiment

I am trying to find out some information about my Grandad, Charlie Maplesden, as he was a POW. He went missing on 28 Jan 44 and by the 19 Feb was POW at Stalag XIA. His POW number was 141227. I would love to find more information.

Sherry Kendall

Pte. Frederick George Edwards Royal West Kent Regiment

I know very little about my father`s wartime history.Dad had a torrid childhood - "joining up" to escape his poor family life. Fred lived in Maidstone (I think)and was in the Royal West Kents.Dad died in 1997 and so did any chance of me finding out about his survival at Stalag XXa (Thorn/ Torun).Frederick George Edwards, as he was born, later adopted the name Willetts.This period of his life is all very hazy and I`m not sure if he went to war as an Edwards or a Willetts.

I believe he was in the TA prior to being sent overseas.Like many who survived the horrors of WWII he would not talk openly or extensively about his time as a POW.From the little I have been able to find out I know he was captured at the begining of the war, spent the rest of it as a POW, and was on that infamous "march".

He did tell me he was part of a bren-gun unit (?) and was captured because "he couldn`t run fast enough." He laboured on a farm and recalled that he once killed a pig for food and was beaten by a guard.He remembers returning back to the UK in a Lancaster/Wellington and flying low over the White Cliffs of Dover.

He once talked of a Les Syveter as a pal.There is a reference to a Fred Edwards in one of your articles but after much searching back through your letters etc. I can`t find it. Please, if anyone has a reference to my Dad I would be very grateful to hear from you.

Malcolm Willetts

Pte. Henry Francis Hudson Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.13th Jan 1942)

My uncle Henry Hudson was in Stalag xxb. He was shot in the head by a German for refusing to go to work in a farm. He was 24 years old. He was buried in the camp then later reburied at Malbork War Cemetery. I have a photo of his grave in the camp.

Kathleen Maclaren

James Richard Eary Royal West Kent Regiment (d. )

I met James Eary while the Royal West Kent Regiment was stationed in Malta. I believe he was transferred to the Dorset Regiment on 06.03.44. but was not heard of since.

I wish to find out if he survived WW2 and if so I would love to contact him. However, if deceased I would like to contact any of his surviving family. Last but not least, if at all possible, I would like to see his photo. Any help will be truly appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation.,

Joe Farrugis

Private W P Jones Royal West Kent Regiment

I have started collecting medals and now have the replacement medals for Pte W P Jones Regt No. 6463242. The most important aspect of collecting medals is to find out about the recipient and I have found that W P Jones was a POW at Stalag 20B, Prisoner No. 7777.

The set of medals I have also includes the Korean War service medals and this states his Regiment as MX, which I assume is the Middlesex. It also is offically stamped "R" for replacement. It would be great if someone identified him in one of the photos. If anyone may be able to help me find out more about W. P. Jones I will be very appreciative.

Charles Hunt

Pte. George Petty Royal West Kent Regiment

My father, George Petty never spoke much about his time serving with the Royal West Kent Regiment. He has now sadly passed and my children are eager to find out all they can about their Grandad and to keep his memories alive. All I know is he was a Prisoner of War in Camp XXA at Torun Poland. Some stories I remember were of him working on a farm ploughing fields with big horses and being on the death march. I would love to hear from anyone who can give more information about the life in this particular camp.

Lorraine Appleton

S/Sgt. Frank William "Tiny" Bray Royal West Kent Regiment

Frank William Bray, had been based in Cheriton with Regular Army and was sent to France as part of the BEF, British Expeditionary Force. For a period of time his experiences were peaceful with visits to Lille. He was reminded that his regiment spent some time in the same area during the First War. His regiment set up a defensive position in Petergem, Belgium. He said that the Buffs and a Guard's regiment were close by.

He was the senior NCO in charge of a listening post situated in a forward line ditch aside a railway line. In front the roadway lead down to a main road and some farm buildings were being watched for occupation. There was some enemy activity reported nearby during the night by other forward posts. He reported a German officer, oblivious to the the danger had made his way towards them down this road. His platoon bren-gunner fired a burst and this officer was instantly killed. He lay on the road. Small arms fire was experienced coming from the farm house and it was thought that it had been occupied. The platoon laid down some heavy fire on the occupants. It is thought that minor contact occured during the course of two days by which time the platoon had no food or water.

A regimental bren gun carrier had been seen trying to approch their position from the rear but heavy shelling prevented success and it was forced back to shelter behind the high ground and battalion position. At this time an order had been issued for strategic withdrawal but this never reached their position. A decision to forage for water and food was made and Frank crawled his way towards the farm. He got in through a window and found three or four German solders all with wounds. He leant his rifle up against a wall, got out his field dressing kit and tried to help the wounded solders. Later his platoon members told him that they had watched his movement to the farm and the occupation of the farm area by a significant German force. They thought he would be shot.

A group of German solders entered the room where Frank was and he believed were about to shoot him until a wounded solder shouted something. He was taken to a German Officer who had a perfect British accent. The Officer told Frank his Regiment and said that Frank was obviously a regular and asked him what he expected to happen. Frank said he expected to be treated according to the Geneva Convention Agreements. The officer asked Frank about the condition of his platoon and at this time Frank had assessed the size and scale of his opposition. He negotiated the surrender of what remained of his platoon without bloodshed. Those captured at this point were marched to Stalag XXa in Poland. On route he said he witnessed some very sorry sights of both comrades and refugees. He was shot at for trying to pick up a potato.

The camp, mentioned by others here was originally a fort and Frank said that a number of men were unable to take the prolonged strain, some jumping to their deaths from the towers. After a short time a letter was sent from his British officer giving information about the Brigade and events that occured when it was overrun.

John Bray

Pte. Albert True 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment (d.24th Apr 1945)

My uncle Albert was shot by the SS on the march to western Germany from Stalag XXB20. He was a POW from 1940 to his death 24/5/1945. He was shot with three other POWs; Jim Clarkin, Blackwatch, Ronald Jackson, Green Howards and Gordon Pollitt, Kings Regiment. We are very interested to hear from any one with knowledge of this incident and if anyone has news or knowledge of my uncle Albert True.

Marion Jackson

Pte. Leonard Baker Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

My Grandather, Len Baker was part of the BEF, and was being evacuated from Dunkirk when he a 3 or 4 others were separated from their regiment by advancing Germans. They managed to hide in the woods just outside Dunkirk overnight,the following morning they attempted to get back to the beach, but the Germans where everywhere, they came across a farm and hide in the barn. The farmer's wife discovered them and supplied them with food and water, after a few days the farmer's wife told the farmer that she was hiding British soldiers in their barn. The farmer was not happy, and confronted the soldiers telling them to leave, but his wife convinced him to let them stay for a few more days. Unfortunately, a German patrol turned up the following day and the farmer panicked believing the Germans would kill if they discovered the Brit's in his barn, so he gave them up!

Pte. Len Baker and his fellow soldiers were captured and taken prisoners. They were gathered together with other British troops and matched to Stalag XXIB in Poland. Marching from France to Poland took it's toll on the prisoners with food and water being scarce. The Germans would find barns or halls to lock the prisoners in when they stopped over night en route to Poland. The British troops had to match in the clothes and boots they were captured in, the soles on the solider's boots soon wore out, so when they were kept in a barn over night they would gather up any straw that was available to them and "weave" it into mats to put in the bottom of their boots for the next days match.

On arrival at Stalag XXIB the prisoner's details were taken and a POW number issued. Pte. Leonard Baker was No6064. Life in the camp was very difficult. Len Baker saw a number of his friends die from ill health, the Germans also executed Len's best friend for decent!

When Leonard Baker was liberated he weighted less than 6 stone, and was physically very weak. His time as a POW left him with deep psychological scars. In his later years, Len developed pain in his left foot, it became so bad he wasn't able to walk. He attended hospital and had his foot x-rayed, they found a lump in his foot,and decided to attempt to remove it. What they found was a stone buried deep under the sole of his foot. A stone that Len was convinced he got during being matched from France to Poland, where his feet got so sore he couldn't even feel them!

Len never really spoke of his experience during the war until very late in his life, But during the 80s and 90s he regularly went to Dunkirk for the annual memorial and reunion. One year he completely took his family by surprise by speaking fluent German, something he had never done before and something we never know he was able to do! He learnt by listening to his German captors.

Brian Glynn

Pte. Edward Henry Kitchener "Jack" Evans 5th Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.14th Dec 1943)

Jack Evans died aged 29 in Italy and is buried at the Sangro River War Cemetery, Italy. My father never got over the death of his brother. Uncle Jack was ten years older than him, and he would always speak about his brother with great sadness. I would love to hear from anyone who knew him, knew of him, or has a photograph.

Julia Gander

Pte. Jack Lionel Wallis Royal West Kent Regiment

My Father, Jack Lionel Wallis, was captured in Dunkirk in May 1940 and was POW in Stalag XXa and XXb from 1940 to 1944. He did not like to talk to us about it very much as it never left him like so many others I have read about on these pages. He learned to play the piano accordian while he was in the camp and he made a tapestry of a bowl of flowers which was very good. He did tell us how they had to march such a long way and how sometimes they only had cabbage water to keep going with. My Father eventually got TB and had to be repatriated in 1944 on a Swedish ship called the "Gripsholm" and was very lucky to survive. A few years after the war he went and found the doctor who treated him to thank him.

In the 1970's he went on a trip with the British Legion back there but he wished after he had not gone as it brought back so many memories and he went through a depressive time but recovered from it. Years went by and Dad was walking his dog along Eastbourne seafront when he stopped to speak to a stranger they got talking and the stranger said his uncle was also a prisoner of war in Poland his name is Jack Killick then Dad butted in and said "I remember him". Anyway, the nephew arranged for them both to meet which they did after 64 years. The local newspaper did a story on it which was nice.

Sadly my dad died 3 months after that. I have since been to the British Red Cross in London and found a picture of dad playing with a band in the POW journal which they allow you to search through. I have all the letters which his father wrote to him while he was in the camp.

Linda Fielder

John Hermer Trigwell Royal West Kent Regiment

My Dad, John Trigwell, signed up at the age of 16. He was with Mountbatten. He sustained some awful injuries as a prisoner of war, having his toenails pulled out. Also had shrapnel in his knees. He talked about when some of his group were marched by the Germans to a barn and all told to lay down. They then opened fire and began shooting at them. My Dad played dead so did a few others. When it got dark they checked and escaped into the woods. Some things he will not talk about and went very quiet. He also contracted Malaria.

After the war he married my mother and changed his name to Bacon as she had 2 boys of her own. He died 5 years ago aged 82 after giving years of support to the British Legion and became their top seller in Newport, Gwent.

Liz Lovell

Pte. John William Carden Royal West Kent Regiment

My Father, Bill Carden was caught just outside Dunkirk, in a barn with five others "While sleeping" making their way to Dunkirk. Then force marched to Poland and spent most of his time in Stalag11B. Whilst there he worked mostly on filling and emptying train goods wagons. He spent his time improving his mathematics & electronics, passing in all subjects. He also acted as a camp translator. He saved one person's life (the unknown person having called a guard "swine",) this person’s crime being commuted to solitary. Father was freed by the Americans, but the night before his release the Germans had just up & left the camp taking the higher rank POW's with them to barter with if they were caught by the BEF. Father then slowly made his way back to England, he spent about five years at Stalag11B. They were “fairly treated” as POW’s, but badly fed and would eat whatever they could steal from the train wagons. The only good being he was alive at the end of the war.

Peter Carden

Pte. Fredrick Kirby 2nd Battalion Queens Own West Kent (d.14th Nov 1943)

My uncle, Fredrick Kirby, died in 1943. He was a Lance Corporal in the 70th Dorsets and in the Summer of 1941 boxed for the Regiment as bantam weight and won a trophy. He could have a good career but transferred himself to active service as a private in the Royal West Kent. He died in action on the 14th or 15th of November 1943. He is remembered in honor at Athern Memorial. I wonder if anyone has any informaton about him?

Michael Kirby

CQMS. Raymond Percival Wells MiD. 4th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment

Raymond Wells in 1944

Royal West Kent 1st Eleven at Assam 1945.

Christmas 1944

Maidstone Barracks Christmas Dinner Menu 1939

My Grandad was C.Q.M.S. Raymond Wells of the 4th Battalion RWK. He went to France with the BEF in 1940 and also served in Egypt, India and Burma. He fought at the Seige of Imphal and the Battle of Kohima in 1944 and was awarded the Certificate of Gallantry for his actions.

All of his brothers served in WW2, one in the R.A.F - Phil Wells, one in R.A.S.C (General Transport) Don Wells, serving in Italy and North Africa,and his twin brother, Pte.D.C.(Denny) Wells, left the Royal West Kents and joined the 18th Battalion, Reconnaissance Corps. Unfortunately Denny was stationed in Malaya when Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, he was captured and held prisoner at Camp No.2 Songkurai, Thailand. He died in 1943. There is a Memorial Plaque in his name at Kanchanaburi (Changi) Military Cemetary, Thailand and another closer to home at Swanley Village Church, Kent, which is where the ashes of my Grandad and Nan, Iris Wells (nee Smith), are too.

The friends he mentions in his letters are: William 'Tiddles' Tyldesley, Don Puplett (Sussex Regt), Ron Peirce, Jack Fordham, Fred Jenns, Hugh Dockerill, Bert Gearing, Harry Lynn, Ernie Nollech (Navy), Neville Exeter, Charlie Newman and Ron Coaty. These were men living in Kent, his closest friends were Roger (who married Mabel) and Tom, I do not know their surnames as I grew up calling them Uncle (but Mabel made the best Flapjacks in the world!).

I know everyone says this but he was the best Grandad in the world, so was my Nan. I am very proud of everything they did in the war, and after! I would love to hear from anyone who knew of them have many pictures I would love to share and also need information about William (Bill) 'Tiddles' Tyldesley from Bolton (Who my Grandad was looking for and talking about until he died). Please get in touch, would love to get any info possible.

Claire Pearce

S/Sgt. Frank William "Tiny" Bray Royal West Kent Regiment

Frank Bray was a regular soldier of the Royal West Kents, he sailed with the BEF and Battalion Headquarters set up in a large house south east of Petegem, Belgium. The Listening post of Frank's platoon was in a ditch before the railway looking south towards German advance.(see modern picture). Early movement on their front lead to a Bren gunner killing a German Officer, who was unaware of the listening post position. this led to some probing by German troops and the occupation of a farmhouse about 150 yards to the south of Frank's position. The Platoon's bren gunner fired regularly through farmhouse walls.

The Platoon were running low on ammunitions, water and food and the headquarters to their rear was withdrawing with the regiment. Frank was caught in the farmhouse, he had been originally looking for food and water, but ended up bandaging a German soldier's rear end, who had been shot up by the platoon's bren gunner. He believed that the German soldier's comments saved his life when other soldiers entered the farmhouse.

The interviewing German officer knew my father's regiment and that he was a regular. His platoon was allowed to surrender, they were isolated with no food or ammunition and the regiment had withdrawn. They also could see the massive German troop resources in the vicinity, preparing for further forward movement. They were taken to a point where they joined the long line of prisoners following the route to the prison forts in Poland. He was shot at for trying to pick up a potato shortly afterwards.

L/Cpl George Richard Bailey Royal West Kent Regiment

George Richard Bailey was a Lance Corporal in the Royal West Kent Regiment when his first son John was born in June 1940 but he had been demoted to a private when his second son William was born in Jan 1942. At that time he was married to Edith Catherine Bailey nee Mallion.

Has anyone got any information on George Richard Bailey?

Sharon Bailey

Pte. George William Timcke Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Private George William Timcke Soldier Number - 6022382 POW Number - 8339 Stalag 18A Wolfsberg I am the grandson of George W Timcke. I am trying to find out more details regarding his wartime experiences for my father. As far as we know, he started in the Essex Regiment before transferring to the Royal West Kent Regiment. During this time he was shot and injured somewhere in North Africa, and captured by the Italians. He eventually interned into Stalag 18A in Wolfsberg. This is all the information we have for him. If anyone could help us to find out more information regarding his experiences we would be very grateful. Many thanks.

Adam Timcke

Pte Fred Essex Burch Royal West Kents

My Dad was captured in Samos and spent the rest of the 2WW in Stalag IVb after a terrible train journey up through Greece. He spoke little of it although I have his diary about the trip to Malta where he was based before the Dodecanese campaign. I have all his memories (except his time in Stalag IVB of which he would not talk to us). His memories, I have transposed onto a Word document which I am happy to pass on to anyone. Although not much left now at Muhlberg, I hope to visit next year (2013). E Mail me for a copy of his story.

Pte Fred Essex Burch 2nd Btn. Royal West Kent Regiment

My Father, Fred Burch was a guest at Stalag IVb after his capture in Leros in 1944. I have his hand written diaries from his enlistment into 2 Bn RWK until his discharge in 1945. I have produced a word document of his story of his times in Malta and the Greek Islands. He was the last living member of the 2nd Battalion Royal West Kents. He would never ever talk about his time at Muhlberg to me or my sister apart from when he was dying in Kent and Canterbury Hospital at age 89. A copy of his memoirs is lodged with the Royal West Kents Museum in Maidstone,Kent. Anyone who wants a copy may E Mail me. I hope to visit the site of IVB this year (2013).

Simon Burch

Pte. Percy Frederick George King 1st Btn. Royal West Kent Regiment

My dad, Percy King, known as Fred King, was captured at Dunkirk. He was part of the rear guard holding up the German advance so more soldiers could get off back to Blighty. He was taken to Stalag 13. He made friends with a Polish man called Konrad Kowalski and wrote to each other after the war. He, like many of that time, did not want to speak of all the horrors that I imagine went on. When asked he just said "You don't want to know" but, he did say all he had to eat was one slice of dried bread a day a cup of watery soup a week to live on hence he came home bones wrapped in skin. He spent 5 years as a POW liberated in 1945. It was hard times in the POW camp was all he would say. He was six foot tall 'till he came home then he looked more like four foot tall. It must have been hell in those dark days. I'm only glad that I did not have to go through anything like that. I feel for all those POW's that spent time in that place and more so for the ones that died there. God rest their souls and all to those who came back as well.

If there are any relatives of Konrad Kowalski, a son or daughter or grandchild of Konrad's please get in touch, I would love to hear of anything you may have to offer i am trying to piece together my dad's life as he died in 1968 not leaving me much to go on you can get in touch on this site.

Raymond W. King

Pte. James William George Little Royal West Kent Regiment

Until his final year before his death my father, Jim Little would not tell me how he was captured. It seems they were in a farm house in France covering the rearguard at Dunkirk. He did the 800 mile march to Poland & spent the rest of WW2 at Stalag v111b. He was sent down the local coal mines. He passed away in 1986. I am still in contact with his best army mates and children.

Gordon Little

Cpl. Malcolm Cyrus "Mac" Adam 5th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment

My father Malcolm Cyrus Adam (Mac) joined the T.A. on 03/05/1939. He attended a camp at Lympne in July and August 1939 (see photos), moved to Bridport in November, and went to Flanders with the BEF on 02/04/1940. He was made a corporal in the 5th battalion R.W.K. on the 15th March 1940 and put in charge of a bren gun carrier detachment. I believe he was the driver of his vehicle, having passed his driving test in Paris in 1938.

On the 26/05/1940 the unit clashed with elements of the 1st Waffen-SS Vefugungs division close to the Forest of Nieppe. Two German units were in the area, the 'Germania' and the 'Der Furher' regiments, but I'm not sure with which they engaged. The following day, the 27th, a German grenade was thrown into my father's bren gun carrier and he was badly wounded by two pieces of shrapnel: His crew, two good friends, were killed outright. I do not know if he was taken prisoner at the time but I would imagine so. (The dates listed on his discharge certificate were written several years later, and do not tally with the dates given on the doctor's description of his wounds written in Enghien)(see later scan).

He was taken to a German military hospital, a former sanatorium for handicapped children called 'Le Preventorium' at Marcoing near Calais, known to the Germans by the id.code Kgf.Lazarett II/XI (see photos). He was treated there for his wounds and then allowed to convalesce for the next three months. He had had the good fortune to be registered as an officer and also acted as interpreter as he spoke fluent French and some German. When he was due to be moved to Germany, he decided to try to slip away and but was ill-prepared and was recaptured shortly afterwards, being lightly wounded again in the process. This time he was patched up at the College Saint-Augustin, Enghien, Belgium,(see scan) and moved to Germany three weeks later, sometime just after 03/11/1940, but I do not know where too.

A postcard from his time in Marcoing has three names and addresses recorded on the back:(see scans) Jack Sheppard, 46, Whitmore rd., Beckenham (Beck 1350); Nobby Clark, 16, Hathaway road, Croydon; Alan Cav …(unreadable),86, Southwood Road, New Eltham, S.E.9 (Elt1998). A second photo is marked ‘offizieren’ and with the ink stamped number 482. The third photo also has the pencilled notation Kgf.lazarett Frankreich mai’40 and another name and address: Tony Grafton, 53, Old Steine, Brighton (Brighton 4971)

I believe he eventually arrived in Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf in early 1941. As far as we know, he was moved around quite a lot between different Arbeitskommandos. Certainly he spent time in E155(see photo), which I cannot find in the published lists, but he spoke (rarely and very reluctantly) about a few different jobs:

  • 1. A salt mine close to Krackow (from the verbal description I believe this may have been Wieliczka).
  • 2. The building of a camp to house female Jewish prisoners in a 'forest'(part of the extended Auschwitz-Birkenau complex). He was very upset about this place.
  • 3. A paper-mill (possibly E8, Krappitz). One of the 'easier' jobs.
  • 4. A steel works (iron foundry)E138 Ratiborhammer (Kuźnia Raciborska, Poland). He spoke most about this place describing it as hot, dangerous work in very bad conditions and with very little food. (Wilhelm Hegenscheidt GmbH, Hoffnungshütte, making Gießerei, Schweißeisen-Werkzeug, Eisenbahn-Kleineisenzeug, Wagenachsen).
  • 5. Blechammer (I. G. Farben)
  • 6. Cosel camp (Kedzierzyn-Kozle). He left from here on the long march on 22/01/1945.
He never went into much detail about life in the camps except to repeat the constant hunger. He did mention making an alcohol from a straw mattress and then eating the straw afterwards; also from potato peelings and sawdust. He also talked about grinding acorns and how bitter they were. He also spoke of an occasion when he got away from his guards and grabbed a chicken, alive, and attempted to eat it, feathers and all. The owner of the chicken, a farmer, shot at him: He still had three shotgun pellets visible in his neck, which successive doctors had thought safer to leave in place, right up to his death in 2004.

He attributed his overall survival to a great deal of luck, an ability to laugh at life and to a certain affinity for languages: His French had given him time for his legs to heal initially, and he had learned to speak German and Polish quite well, which was a big advantage.

He did not like to talk about his experiences other than on rare occasions when he met someone who had also been there, or who had undergone something similar. He told me that he could talk to Denholm Elliot, and he certainly discussed them with his Catalan friend Jorge who had survived the worst of Franco's camps in Spain. He avoided discussions about the march, but he did once tell me that he had twice been the 'only survivor from my group', but I do not know any more about the incidents concerned. The only time I ever overheard him refer to any details was once on the telephone in the 1970's when he was still trying to get his overdue army pay. He was talking to some government official who was still trying to give him the runaround more than 25 years later, and, in exasperation, he told the man just why he felt entitled to his money. Apparently he had done this once before, just after the war, when the British government refused him a passport on the basis that he had been born in Calcutta, India, to parents and grandparents who were Irish citizens and who had missed the date for registration under some sort of amnesty agreement. He won, eventually, after a bit of a struggle, but it left him with an abiding disgust and distrust of officialdom.

He did eventually get paid his back pay, but he was very annoyed that he had to reimburse the cost of some piece of kit that he had been issued with in 1939 and could no longer produce! The amount that he finally received was so trivial by the time he finally got it that he decided to blow the lot on a decent family meal: I think he still thought of food as a top priority and as an appropriate use for the money.

I was quite surprised to find his pencilled itinerary of the march after my mother died, and I have tried to identify some of the places by their modern names, but it still seems an illogical journey. However, knowing how he was and with his lifelong obsession for maps and routes, I'm confident that he would have recorded the names only if he felt sure of them. It is a pity that he annotated so little additional information. He lost several friends on the march, including right near the end, which he thought particularly pointless and sad. The whole experience left him with a hatred of waste, but he also had learned to live life to the full.

He taught me that it was important always to enjoy your day because you might not get another, and by living this way, you would also bring a smile to the faces of those around you. That if you were fortunate enough to have food, warmth and shelter, then you were a very rich man and could easily afford to be generous to others. That if someone asked you for help, even an enemy, you should give it without question or thought to the consequences, as this was true humanity. Above all, never to lose your sense of humour or your sense of wonder - cultivate these and you will always be a positive influence in the world.

Nick Adam

Pte. Cyril Brett Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Like so many my late father - Cyril Brett a private in the Royal West Kent, spoke little of his time in Lamsdorf. His POW number was 902, and he was captured in May 1940 at Dunkirk. He did mention a few things - breaking the thick deposits from the sugar refining vats and unloading sugar beet, making rings from old toothbrushes with amyl acetate, and one day sweeping his way out of the camp, until he was recaptured soon after. As always I didn't ask the questions in time and have not recognised him in any of the photos. I think he destroyed all his memorabilia when my mother died as he didn't want anyone to share those memories. Their best man was called Jim (a Scot, did they share time together at Lamsdorf?). If anyone does know of his time please get in touch. Many thanks

Michael Brett

Pte. Jack Lintott Royal and West Kent Regiment

I have been trying to piece together the war years of my father for his grandchildren's sake. He was Private Jack Lintott, Royal and West Kent Regiment (now deceased.) He was captured in France before Dunkerque and after a series of transfers (I think road building in Austria where I believe he escaped ended up in Stalag 8b. He didn’t talk much about the war and sent his medals back (which we acquired). From the sketchy info received he was the wireless builder and as a watchmaker was apparently kept on the surface. He had very bad arthritis from severe frost bite as he took part in the Lamsdorf death march. My Dad was extremely good at languages and learnt to speak German fluently which I subsequently learnt from him, he also had a command of Polish. I would be interested to know where he was caught as I think it was in the Defence of Escaut at the Foret de Nieppe around May 15th 1940? I have photos of the camp and area as well as camp money.

Paul Lintott

Pte. William Mogie 5th Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.28th Dec 1943)

William Mogie died age 20, he was born in Jarrow in 1923, son of John W. and Elizabeth B. Mogie (nee Anderson) of Jarrow

William is buried in Sangro River War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen

James Richard Eary 2nd Btn. West Kent Regiment

The 2nd Battalion Queens Own Royal West Kents were billeted across the road from our residence at Tarshen, Malta. Being 6 years of age then I still recall the day WW2 started in Malta. Through the ensuing years I clearly recall a few soldiers that for us, were much like family. One in particular I well remember is James Eary, wearing a Red Cap. I would love to read a brief of his whereabouts after this regiment left the island. I believe he was transferred to the Dorset Regiment on 6th March 1944, but was not heard of since.

If at all possible, a photograph would truly put the icing on the cake for me and my family. I turned 80 in October 2013 and I would truly love to receive this information before father time beats me to it. Please, could you help or perhaps you may wish to pass this on to the correct source for me?

Joe Farrugia

Tpr. Arthur Edward "Archie" Pearman C Sqn 15th Recce Regt.

Archie Pearman was conscripted in 1940 to The Royal West Kent's. He was also a Driver Mechanic in 15th Recce, C Squadron. After the war he may have served as a driver in Essen and also possibly in Nuremberg, I have no info as to what he was doing in either location. He also served as a driver at the No.1 District Censorship Station in Bonn from the end of the war until 1947, his discharge papers confirm this. Does anyone have any information about him?

Adrian Pearman

Pte. Frank Edward Maurice Weekes Royal West Kent Regiment

My father Frank Weekes was a dispatch rider. He escaped from France via Boulogne at the retreat. Later back in UK the West Kents were on the move to Italy though they did not know that. My father was riding in the column when a doctor came out of his drive and drove over my father. He spent 3 yrs in hospital, eventually losing a leg and that was the end of his war. Ironically not many came back from the Italian campaign so losing a leg but staying alive was maybe not such a bad deal.He didn't speak much of the war except to say he saw things that no-one should have to see. I still have his riding helmet, gloves and goggles which will be passed down through the generations with his story. He died many years ago but I know he remained sad as to the loss of his friends from boyhood days spent in Higham Kent.

Barry Michael Weekes

Pte. George Kitchener Lewis Goldfinch Queens own Royal West Kent Regiment

My grandfather George Goldfinch served with the Queens own Royal West Kents. I have very patchy stories from him about how they were dropped off by boat somewhere in North Africa but were dropped in the wrong location and were soon engaged with the Germans and captured. He always said that they were laughing at his helmet when he was taken prisoner as it had a bullet hole right through it. He was taken to P.O.W Camp 70 in Monturano Italy and then later moved to Stalag 4c in Wistritz, Czechoslovakia. He thought it was funny that his first trip in a plane was in a Junkers88

When he did speak about his experiences he told us how. they had been put to work in mines and a lot of men had just broken down with the physical and mental stress of it all. Among the other things that he would talk about was a dislike for Americans as they only ever managed to bomb the latrines of a camp, and how some soldiers would try to make coffee from acorns. He was very ill when he returned to the UK, but recovered to work in a print factory.

Anthony Mant

Pte. James Allen Wood 1st/2nd Btn. Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

James Wood was my grandfather, he was from Gravesend London and supported Arsenal.Hhe joined the Queens Own Royal West Kents in 1939 and was part of the BEF. He was taken prisoner in 1940 in Ypres in Belgium and remained a POW until the end of the war. I would really appreciate it if somebody could get in contact with me with any information about him.

James Birkbeck

Pte. Daniel Forbes 5th Btn. Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.28th May 1940)

My uncle Daniel Forbes was in France for three weeks in May 1940 when he was last seen heading for Dunkirk on the 28/5/1940 he had been fighting at the front, at Audenaade and Foret de Nieppe. He was exhumed in 1947 and buried at the Military cemetery in Dunkirk town. I would like to get closure to his death if possible at least where he fell, as he was identified and put in a field grave. Any additional information would be appreciated

Eddie Forbes

Pte. William Frederick Charles Goodwin 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

I have been trying to find out about my father's war service. His name was Frederick Goodwin, he served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire and the Royal West Kents and was awarded the Burma Star. My father died in 1948, due to a motor cycle accident, I was one year old. Can you help in finding out about my father's Army service record.

Philip Goodwin

Percy John Wraight West Kent Regiment

My father, Percy Wraight, enlisted in 1937 underage and being found out re-enlisted under the name Michael Victor Brown serving in the Middle East under that name.

He was involved in several battles against Rommel's troops and wounded at Mersa Matruh 26 June 1942 and again at the first battle of El Alemein in July 1942, he sustained shrapnel wounds to front and back and was told that he died on the operating table but the doctor was able to bring him back.

Like a lot of veterans he seldom talked about his involvement but I do remember him mentioning the extreme thirst his group suffered while escaping from the Germans at one point they were discovered by advancing Afrika Corps but were released after being given some water to survive because the enemy did not want the bother of prisoners. I still have his army pay book which is under the name M.V. Brown (scratched out at the end of the war and re done under Wraight)

Peter Wraight

Cpl. Leonard Mark Day 5th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment (d.24th Aug 1942 )

My Great Uncle Len Day served in 5th Btn, Royal West Kent Regiment. The only information I have on him is a paper cutting from the Daily Herald dated 24th of August 1942, spookily the day he was killed in El Alamein and from my Nan who has now sadly passed away. The paper cutting gave his rank as a Lance Sergeant, and stated that he was evacuated at Dunkirk on the Crested Eagle.

After 2 years of training, the battalion was posted to Egypt. Whilst en route to Egypt, on the troopship believed to be Orontes, he became the middle-weight boxing champion! Sadly my Grandfather, who also served in 1st Btn, Royal West Kent Regiment. Len never really talked about his experiences.. like many others! My nan seemed to think that Uncle Len was killed by a mine. If so I believe this would have been on the lead up to Battle of Alam El Halfa as I believe 5th Bn was positioned in New Zealand Box area. Any information would be greatly received

Warren Day

Frank William Biddlecombe 6th Btn. Royal West Kent Regiment

My son and I are taking my father to Gdansk to revisit his wartime POW sites. Dad is Frank William Biddlecombe. Now 85, he was a Private in the 6th Batt Royal West Kents. They were sent to France in the BEF and were taken prisoners virtually en masse at Doullens fighting what turned out to a rearguard for Dunkirk. A few weeks later he arrived at Thorn Stalag XXA. He was soon moved out to a satellite camp in Pietsendorf (Piecki) a suburb of Danzig (Gdansk) and from there engaged in his trade as a carpenter iaw the Geneva Convention working in Sopot for several years. In the last 12 months he has started talking about his experiences to his grandchildren. My sister and I have never heard any of this and the horrors he and his colleagues endured are mind bending! Thankfully we are recording this and I am taking a tape recorder with me to capture as much as possible. May I ask if anyone has any experience of visiting Poland and Thorn (Torun) in particular? Would much appreciate any tips; we plan to visit Thorn, Pietsendorf and possible Bromberg (Bydgoszcz) all places dad has talked about.

Tom Biddlecombe

L/Cpl. John Pennington Harman VC 4th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.9th April 1944)

John Harman was the son of Martin Coles Harman and Amy Ruth Harman, of City of London. He died on the 9th April 1944, age 29 and is buried in the Kohima War Cemetery in India.

The following details are given in the London Gazette of June 20th, 1944:- "At Kohima, Assam, on 8th April 1944, Lance Corporal Harman was commanding a section of a forward platoon. The enemy had established a machine-gun post within 50 yards of his position which became a serious menace to the remainder of his company. Unable to bring the fire of his section on to the post, Lance Corporal Harman went forward by himself and annihilated the post, returning with the enemy machine-gun. The next morning, having first recovered a forward position, he again charged an enemy post alone, shooting four and bayonetting one, thereby wiping out the post. As he returned Lance Corporal Harman received an burst of machine-gun fire in his side and died shortly after reaching our lines. Lance Corporal Harman's heroic action and supreme devotion to duty were largely responsible for the decisive way in which all attacks were driven off by his company."

S Flynn

Pte. George James William Gregory 2/6th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

My father George Gregory served with The Royal Sussex Regiment in World War 2 after joining from the West Kent Territorials. My mother thinks he first was with the Royal West Kent Regiment not sure how he then saw service with the Sussex Regiment. We know he saw service in Italy/Austria, was in Egypt at some time and in Malta he was in 2/6 Battalion Queens and 56 London Division - Black Cats. He also spent some time on the ski slopes in Corsair.

If anyone remembers him, Private George James William Gregory, or knows anything about the war time service of his units please let me know.

Linda Roake

Pte. Frederick Charles Standen 4th Btn. Royal West Kents (The Buffs)

The extract below is taken from my father's recollections of his life which he wrote a few years before he died. He was taken prisoner in Leros in November 1943 and continues his story...

"I well remember my first three days because there was no food or very little water. Then we were crammed on a Italian destroyer below deck no air no nothing. I think most of us prayed it would hit a mine or likewise but no, we landed at Athens. Marched around Athens just to show how clever they were then into cattle trucks headed for Germany. We don't know this of course. 80 of us in our truck when laying down it was nose to tail, you cuddled the bloke's feet opposite and vice-versa to guard against frostbite. Right up through Bulgaria etc to Germany and Stalag X1A. From here we are put out on working parties. First our party went to Ackerskebron (Altengrabrow?) working for the council digging reservoirs. We then went on air raid shelters. Massive things all dug out by us with spades. Then the Jerries moved in to do the shuttering, then over a period of time we are back there to cement them in. Now that's where the trouble starts, this big cement mixer had done a yard (one ton) at a time. I believe it was two bags of cement a mixing. Well, every so many mixings - no cement. Well, what do you know, everything set, take away shuttering don't know how long but it all collapsed.

Now, showing their gratitude, they shoved us down a salt mine three-quarters of a mile deep at Great Shearstedt [Sarstedt] for 12 hours a day for three weeks. I think it was after this period I am working on a scaffolding about 15 ft up when a big block broke off. Hit me in the back of the head and ran down my back trapping my legs. One does not move far with a lump of salt on you, with great difficulty I was got down with my leg in two. Worse to come, was put in hospital full of casualties just back from Dieppe, they thought I was a pilot who had just baled out. You try and explain that when I think my German was far better than their English. They moved me from there I don't know where but in the room was another Buff. I finished up back in 11A hospital.

Here I upgrade to watches - never wanting to give them up or it was back to the salt mine. This I had no intention of doing till Jerries had me up and told me what they thought of me. They took my crutches away and gave me a walking stick. By a bit of luck I knew the corporal in charge of boot mending and said come on help me or you know where I'm going. Can you mend boots he said, no I said but my father did, so mend boots it was. And then the Russians are coming. Jerries said either wait here for Russians or on the road to be picked up by our own troops. This we did for a month; we were on road sleeping in woods mostly and then came the Yanks but we had got quite a few miles to go. The bridge over some river had been blown-up. By now our boots are under our chin straps; never mind taken to a town called Halle. Flown home from there in Dakotas to High Wycombe area. Reassemble and re-kitted and home on leave for three months."

Geoff Standen

Pte. Norman Henry "Benny" Goodman Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Norman Goodman joined up in October 1939 at 20 years of age and was captured on his birthday, 21st of May 1940 at Albert in Belgium. He was incarcerated in Stalag 20b at Marienburg in East Prussia until the death march as the Russians approached. He survived and weighed just 7 stones when he was released by the Americans in a Hamburg railway siding after the German guards quietly undid the trucks in the night. It was 21st May, his birthday, 1945. Norman died at the age of 72 in 1990.

Ron Goodman

L/Sgt. Howard Phillips 1st Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment (d.14th Dec 1944)

I came over L/Sgj Phillips' name on the Altarnun War Memorial. The only information that I have is that he died here in Cornwall and is buried in Altarnun (St Donna) Churchyard and that he was only 21 years old. I am compliling an ebook about all the war memorials in Cornwall.

Stephen Coleman

Cpl. Stanley Mark Paul 5th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.26th Feb 1944)

My Uncle, Stanley Paul is buried in The Moro River Cemetary in Italy. He was one of five brothers on active service and his twin brother Ernest served with him but was wounded and not present at Stanley's death. The family story is that Stanley was leading a patrol and was hit and captured in a German ambush and died in German hands. I have no other proof of this action.

Roger Paul

Pte. William Frank Davies 6th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt. (d.17th November 1942)

I didn't have the privilege to meet my grandfather, he had been killed in action during the first day of the battle in Djebel Abiod, Tunisia on 17th November 1942. Sadly, my grandmother never really came to terms with her loss and still mourned his death up until the day she died in 1995. Although she wasn't quite like Queen Victoria, cladding herself in black and shutting herself away for years, he was always in her thoughts even though she remarried my wonderful loving Grancher many years after.

From the snippets I have been told as a child, he was quite a character. He was handsome, charming and funny. He liked to box and was a member of the Chepstow boxing club. My grandmother who in her youth was quite a plain Jane, told me that all the girls in Chepstow had an eye for her Bill. He would walk past the shop in which she worked and they would nudge each other and flutter their eyelashes in hope that he would catch their attention! From the photographs I have seen he certainly was a catch, my grandmother, although not a beauty, must have pulled on his heart strings because he was very much in love with the charismatic kind person that she was.

Unfortunately as a child, teenager, then young adult I didn't take too much notice of the stories she would tell me of their life together. I was too young, too busy and my head was full of my own life events, the war was too distant for me to relate to. I used to call it the olden days. As I now pass middle age I reflect back on her words and wish I had listened and had met him. I have a copy of the last letter he wrote, a few days before he died and I wipe a tear from my eye each time I read it. The letter is not expressing the terrible fear, anxiety and horrors he must have been experiencing at the time, instead it is reassuring her that he was ok and she must not worry, of hope, love and optimism. It ends by saying that he is wondering if he has a new son or daughter who has probably arrived by the time she receives the letter and how much he looks forward to them all being together again. My grandfather died four days before the letter arrived back home, he never did get to know he had a son.

Elizabeth Lloyd

Pte. William Mogie 5th Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.28th Dec 1943)

William Mogie was born on the 16th March 1923 and sadly died on the 28th of December 1943 at 20 years old. He was the eldest in the family and wrote a letter home only 8 days before his death. William expressed in his letters to his mother and father that he was sorry he couldn't buy anything for New Year as there was nothing to buy. He also stated in the letters that the battalion he was in had been in North Africa and had just arrived in Italy which is where he was buried only a short time after.

He was a very much loved son and brother and the memory of him will always be kept alive.


Cpl. Jeffrey Edward Holland MID. 21st Regt. Special Air Service

Title page

Hand-drawn map of Stalag VIIA

Nationalities at the camp

Illustration, toilet humor

Theater group

Jeffrey Holland was mobilised with the Royal West Kent Regiment on the 1st of September 1939, he was 17 years old. He saw action in France, Malta, North Africa, Palestine, Syria, Dodecanese Islands, Castelorizzo and Leros. He was held in Stalag VIIA until its liberation by Patton's 3rd Army in April 1945. He served until April 1946 and lost his younger brother, F/Sgt. R.J. Holland (RAF), on 6th of October 1944, who is buried in Airborne Cemetery, Oosterbeek.

The Aegean Mission: Allied Operations in the Dodecanese, 1943 is a book written by Jeffrey Holland in an attempt to understand what is known as "The Dodecanese Disaster". Jeffrey passed away in Fairfax, Virginia in 1993. He is survived by seven children from three different marriages. Images from his war time log have been included for this project.

Jeremy Holland

Leonard John Waterhouse 6th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent

I am trying to find information about my father, Leonard John Waterhouse, and also Eddie Bauldy and Danny O'Leary, of the 6th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kents. Dad was a POW in Stalag XXA and XXB in Poland.

Eric J Waterhouse

Eddie Bauldy 6th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent

I am trying to find information about Eddie Bauldy, 6th Btn Queen's Own Royal West Kents.

Eric J Waterhouse

Danny O'Leary 6th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent

I am trying to find information about Danny O'Leary, 6th Btn Queen's Own Royal West Kents.

Eric J Waterhouse

John Edwood Perrin Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt.

My father served in the Royal West Kent Regiment. I think he was captured at Dunkirk. He was a POW for five years, and I would like to know where he was held.

James Perrin

Pte. Walter Daniel Shinnick 6th Btn. Queens Own Royal West Kent Rgt (d.20th February 1940)

Walter died in hospital at Schildburg.

Gervase Forsyth

Pte. Percy Frederick George King A Battalion Queens Own Royal West Kent

My father Fred King was captured in the retreat of Dunkirk being part of the rearguard action defending Dunkirk he was marched up to Marienberg from Dunkirk and put into P.O.W. Camp Stalag XXb. He was there from 1941 to 1945. His no in the camp was 7543. He, along with others, was liberated in 1945.

When he came home I was only 5 yrs old and didn't know who he was at the time he was just a skin full of bones he was so skinny where he and all the other prisoners as well were starved by the Germans. But, he made a friend out there called Konrad Kowalski and they wrote to each other after the war.

In the 50s he was posted to Malaya to fight yet another war in the Kuala Lipis jungles he survived that one as well but, sadly died in 1968 suffering a Coronary thrombosis

If anyone knew of him or heard of him from any relatives who served in that camp, I would love to hear from you. He was in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Raymond William King

William David Robson Royal West Kent Regiment

I am looking for anyone who knew my father, William (Bill) David Robson. I know he was captured at Dunkirk and that he was in the Royal West Kents. He was at Stalag 8B then later moved to the salt mines in Poland.

Christopher Robson

Pte. James Fitch 6th Btn. Queen's Own West Kent Rgt. (d.7th January 1945)

My grandad, James Fitch, served with the 6th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. He died from injuries on 7th January 1945 in Italy and was buried at Santerno Valley War Cemetery.

Dawn Thomas

Ivor Calverley Royal West Kents

My father, Ivor Calverley of the Royal West Kents was a POW in Stalag XXA, fort 13. My father did not say a lot about the time he was a POW.

Carol Calverley

Pte. Horace Arthur Collins 4th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt. (d.20th April 1944)

Horace Collins and his brother Leonard Collins, both privates in the 4th Btn Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment were killed in action a week apart in Burma in 1944 and are buried in Rangoon Memorial Cemetery.

Cathy Read

Pte. Leonard Sidney Collins 4th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt. (d.14th April 1944)

Leonard Collins and his brother Horace Collins, both privates in the 4th Btn Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment were killed in action a week apart in Burma in 1944 and are buried in Rangoon Memorial Cemetery.

Cathy Read

Fred Hemmens Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt.

My dad was with the West Kents. He served through WWII in North Africa and Italy. He used to tell a story of travelling back through Austria and the train was derailed.

Chris Baker

Jim Jeal Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt.

My father Jim was in the Royal West Kents and served in North Africa and Italy. I believe he was at Monte Casino. His best friend was Arthur Bicker.

Alan Jeal

William Robson Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt.

My father, William Robson, was in the Royal West Kents and was captured at Dunkirk. He was imprisoned at Stalag 8b and then went on the death march to Poland where the Russians freed him in 1945.

Chris Robson

Jones Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt.

My father served with the West Kents. He was at Dunkirk but escaped. He always joked that he walked across the North African desert twice. His battalion was sent to Italy where he fought and was seriously wounded at Monte Casino.

Ken Jones

Pte. John Frederick Jones Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Fred Jones was my uncle. He was called up in February 1940 age 23, and fought with the BEF being wounded and taken prisoner on May 20 1940. He spent the rest of the War in various POW camps including Stalag 11B and XXB. He was very badly treated and suffered badly on the 1000km Death March. He was to suffer digestive problems for the rest off his like as a result of eating dried pearl barley, the only food that they could find. After he was picked up by the Americans, he was taken to Belsen Concentration Camp to try and identify SS troops who were disguising themselves as inmates. He was able to scrounge a camera and took number of photos of Belsen which, as he had no children of his own, were handed down to me.

Fred was the son of a docker and had no education but but was very intelligent (He qualified as a Chartered Accountant after the War) He became fluent in both German and Polish and these language skills were used in the identification of SS troops.

If anybody has any old photos with a JF Jones on, or if there is anybody still alive who members him, please contact me

D Pearse

Albert Edward "Bronco" Browne Royal West Kent Rgt.

I am seeking any information regarding my father, Albert Edward Browne, nicknamed Bronco, who served with the Royal West Kent Regiment (originally Maidstone based). He served in India before the war and was the lightweight boxing champion for the Regiment 193? in Secundrabad. He served in France with the BEF and was captured in 1939. He became a POW in Stalag 8B in Upper Silesia, Poland.

Ian Morgan Goodyer Royal West Kent Regiment

My late father Ian Goodyer served in the Royal West Kent Regiment and was a POW at M-Stammlager XXA. I have many photos of him in groups and fellow prisoners and wondered if anyone still remembers him or served with him. He lived in Wouldham, Kent and was part of a large march through Poland and also worked as a prisoner in the Black Forest.

Doug Goodyer

Pte. William Mogie 5th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Rgt. (d.28th Dec 1943)

Pte William Mogie & Friends

William Mogie served with the 5th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment.

Bronwyn Mogie

Pte. Richard Ward Royal West Kent Regiment

My dad, Richard Ward, was in Stalag XXa from 1940 to 1945. Does anyone know anything about his time there? We have some photos but no names. He worked on a farm. The farmer's daughter was called Wanda and he had a tattoo with her name on it. He also worked in a sugar factory.

Marianne Bennett

Pte. George William Hall 2nd Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment

George Hall was posted to Malta in 1939 where he was defending Luqa Airfield till November 1942. The 2nd Battalion Royal west Kent Regiment was then posted to North Africa. Records are not clear as to when he was captured but family members have told of capture in Malta. George was then marched and moved by train to Stalag IVf Hartmansdorf Chemnitz. Records first list George as missing, however, was reported on 16th of November 1943 as Prisoner in German hands. George was later set free and left the forces in 1946. Not much is know of his time in the battalion but if anyone knows of George please add your stories and comments.

Thomas Bryan

T/Capt. Richard Stafford Allen 6th Battalion Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt. (d.19th Nov 1943)

Richard Stafford Allen, former Officer Cadet, Cambridge University Contingent, Senior Division, O.T.C. He joined the Royal West Kent Regiment as a 2nd Lt. on 2nd of September 1939. He is buried at Sangro River War Cemetery.

Jeff Gower

Tpr. David Irons Penman 7th Btn. Royal West Kent Regiment (d.5th Oct 1944)

David Penman was my grandmother's sisters first child. He gave his life at the age of 23 and is buried in Cesena cemetery in Italy.

Tom McIntosh

L/Sgt. Howard Phillips 1st Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.14th Dec 1944)

Howard Phillips was born in 1923 to William and Elizabeth Phillips at Altarnun. He served with the 1st Battalion as a Lance Corporal. He was later promoted to Lance Serjeant. He died on 14th December 1944 of his wounds sustained whilst fighting in Italy after being in hospital in Liverpool and is buried at St. Nonnas Church, Altarnun.

Richard Moore

Pte. Leslie Gilbert Dudley 6th Btn. West Kent Regiment

Leslie Dudley was captured on 25th May 1940 at Doullens, Somme, France. He was transferred on 29th July 1940 from Stalag VI, Dormund, to Stalag XX A, Thorn (according to a list dated 01.08.1940). His Prisoner of War Number was 20150. (Information received from the Tracing Agency: Red Cross Geneva.)

Pte. Leslie Gilbert Dudley 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment

Private Leslie Gilbert Dudley Battalion 6th Bn. West Kents He was captured on the 25th May 1940 at Doullens, Somme, France and ransferred on the 29th July 1940 From Stalag VI D, Dormund, to Stalag XX A, Thorn (according to list dated 01.08.1940) His Prisoner of War Number was 20150 from information received from the Tracing Agency, Red Cross, Geneva.

L/Cpl. Peter Price 5th Battalion, H.Q. Coy. Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (d.17th Dec 1943)

Peter Price was my father's uncle and my great uncle. As far as I know, no other family members had been to the grave so about 15 years ago my father and I decided to go and visit the grave and lay a wreath. The grave was well looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Bari, Italy.


L/Cpl. Eric Gordon Maynard Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Eric Maynard was captured by the Germans at Dunkirk, having been left behind with a small group of men, charged with the task of blowing up bridges. A Panzer division overran his group and they were taken across Europe to a POW camp in Poland, where he spent four years. They were finally liberated from the camp when the German guards abandoned it, caught in the corridor between the Russians advancing from the East and the Americans from the West. Eric made his way on foot across Europe before eventually returning to England, joining the Signals Corp in Yorkshire.

Chris Maynar

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