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

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

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Royal West Surrey (Queens) Regiment

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 Surrey (Queens) Regiment

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Allen William. Pte.
  • Aubrey Richard Harold. Pte.
  • Ball William L.. Pte. (d.9th May 1945)
  • Ball William.
  • Bannister James Matthew. Pte. (d.21st Oct 1944)
  • Bishop Cyril Neville. Pte. (d.2nd Sep 1944)
  • Briley Alfred Arthur. Cpl.
  • Brown Robert Barras. L/Cpl. (d.8th Sep 1943)
  • Cadden John. L/Cpl. (d.6th Sep 1944)
  • Clayton Harry.
  • Collins Jack. Pte.
  • Figg Percy Eric George. Pte. (d.18th Mar 1945)
  • Fryer Charles Edward. Pte.
  • Halls Frank.
  • Hight Cyril John Victor . Pte. (d.20th September 1944)
  • Hills Edwin William. Pte.
  • Hutt John. Pte.
  • Hyde Frederick Henry Leonard.
  • Jennings Charles. Pte.
  • Jones William Henry . Sgt.
  • Laundy Leonard. Pte.
  • Leigh Ernest.
  • Lewis Claude John. Pte. (d.3rd August 1944)
  • Martin John. Pte.
  • Massey Winston.
  • Massey Winston. L/Cpl.
  • Massey Winston. L/Cpl.
  • Oliver William Walter. Pte. (d.6th Sep 1945)
  • Pistell Douglas Bernard. Pte.
  • Priestnall John. Pte. (d.31st Oct 1942)
  • Quarterman Stanley Alexander.
  • Rapley Ernest John. Pte (d.21st March 1945)
  • Riddle Wilfred Harold. Pte. (d.6th Feb 1941)
  • Tapley Harry. Pte.
  • Tyldesley William. Pte.
  • Ward James Bede. Pte. (d.13th Sep 1944)
  • Woodhouse Albert Edward. Pte.

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

Access our library

Pte. Cyril Neville Bishop 2/6th Btn. The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.2nd Sep 1944)

My grandfather Cyril Bishop was killed in Rimini, Italy, but I am not sure what date. His marriage certificate to my grandmother Esther Simmons states that he was a private in the Royal Berkshire Regt.

Update: CWGC lists Cyril as having been killed on the 2nd of September 1944, whilst serving with the 2/6th West Surreys.

Jo Worsley

Pte. Richard Harold Aubrey 15th Bn Queens Royal Regiment

We believe Richard Aubrey was injured by a bomb blast in the UK in December 1940. He was with 15th Bn Queens Royal Regiment and then posted to 1 Command Signals in December 1940. Following hospitalisation he was at the Corps's HQ at Weybridge in January 1940 prior to medical discharge in March 1941. Does anyone remember him?

Stephen Lyons

Pte. William L. Ball The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.9th May 1945)

My Uncle Bill Ball was a POW for most of the war at Stalag 8 and when he was liberated in 1945 he was killed in a plane crash on his way home.

Dave Ball

Pte. John Martin Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment

My father, John Martin, was a prisoner in Stalag XXB, POW No 6554. He was called up in September 1939 and captured in May 1940, near Amiens in France I believe. I am also in possession of a complete list of places marched to on the Great March, including the English interpretation of these names, very humorous. I believe he had a great sidekick called Tommy Rawson from Manchester. Any information would be gratefully received.

Sandra Linger

Winston Massey Queens Royal Regiment

My father, Winston Massey of the Queens Royal Regiment was captured in 1940 and was held in the POW camp Stalag XXB until the end of the war.

Kathleen Lampard

Cpl. Alfred Arthur "Mick" Briley Queens Royal Regiment

My late father, Alfred Arthur Briley (known as Mick) was held in Stalag 383 My biggest regret is not knowing more about this time in his life. My biggest wish is that someone somewhere may remember him or have a picture of him.


Pte. William "Tiddles" Tyldesley 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment

The photo that my Grandad used to show my Mum

William 'Tiddles' Tyldesley, I believe, joined the Queens Royal Regiment at first, he then met my Grandad, Raymond Wells of the Royal West Kents during Dunkirk. He may have joined the West Kents when they returned to England after Dunkirk as he stayed with my Grandad until 1942. In 1942 he joined another company, my Grandad was very upset as they had been best friends. I think he joined up for parachute training as I have placed him at Derby, Bulford Camp, Chesterfield, Hardwick Hall and Manchester. From my Grandad's letters I can place him in the following places during the War:
  • Late 1943/Early 1944: Italy
  • October 1944: France
  • January 1945: Athens, Greece (possibly Operation Manna, Arkforce, Force 140 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade)
  • January/February 1946 - Palestine
  • I believe he was demobbed sometime after 21st Feb 1946.

He was born in Bolton, Lancashire, liked football, had a sister (who came down to Dartford, Kent to stay with my Nan during the War), he had at least 2 brothers - the oldest was demobbed in September 1945, the youngest had been serving in Italy. He mentions he was in 27 Group or over for demobbing in 1946. He writes about friends called Tommy Simpson, who was in C Company (Possibly of the Royal West Kents), and who lives near William in Bolton and Dinky Aston, who was in Group 25 or 26 for demob. The last address that I have for him is HQ COY. 4th Btn, Para Regt, MEF, this was in 1946.

Throughout my Grandad's letters to my Nan and other family members he always mentions Tiddles and wonders where he is, he is so pleased when he receives letters from him. After the war, for some reason, including moving houses, my Grandad could not find him. I know he lived through the war,but have no idea after that. My Mum remembers her Dad showing him a picture of Tiddles and saying "That was my best friend, I'd love to find him again". Unfortunately at that time there was no internet and, even now, unless you are a relative,or have lots of money to pay fees for research, that couples with the fact that the MOD do not release documents yet means that my Grandad died unable to find his best friend. I have been trying to do that for the last year. I would be so grateful to anyone that knows or has information William 'Tiddles' Tyldesley, and can help me find out what happened to him.

Claire Pearce

Pte. Charles Jennings Queen Royal Regiment

In my late father's posesions I found details of his elder brother Charles Jennings 's internment in a POW camp. I don't know if he made it out of there. Does anyone remember the name? He was a Brummie and very young.

Diane Jennings

Pte. Jack Collins 1st Btn. Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey)

Jack Collins served with the 1st Battalion, Queens West Surrey Regiment. I would like to know if any veterans of the regiment are still alive?

Keith Collins

William Ball West Surrey Queens Royal Regiment

Stalag 8b

L/Cpl. Robert Barras Brown 2/7th Btn. Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.8th Sep 1943)

Robert Brown died age 31, he was the son of Henry P. and Margaret Brown, husband of Ruby Doris Brown of Jarrow.

Robert is buried in Coriano Ridge War Cemetery.

Vin Mullen

Pte. James Bede Ward 2/7th Btn. The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.13th Sep 1944)

James Bede Ward, son of Mr and Mrs Hugh Ward and husband of Florence Lilian Ward of Bermondsey, London, was fighting the Gothic Line battle in Italy as part of 169 (Queen's) Brigade when he died aged 26. He is buried at Gradara War Cemetery. He also is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance to Jarrow Town Hall, Tyne and Wear.

Vin Mullen

Frank Halls Queen's Royal Regiment

Frank Halls was a POW and was one of many POWs who were on a train on 28 January 1944 having been evacuated in anticipation of the Allied advance. They had mainly come from Camp P.G. 54, Fara in Sabina, 35 kilometres to the north of Rome. The Orvieto North railway bridge at Allerona, Italy, became the site of the inadvertent bombing by the American 320th Bombardment Group. One of the men on the train, Richard Morris of the U.S. Army, wrote that the train was halted on the bridge over the river when the Allied bombs started to fall, and that the German guards fled the train, leaving the prisoners locked inside. Many escaped, Morris included, through holes in the boxcars caused by the bombing, and jumped into the river below. Historian Iris Origo wrote that 450 were killed when the cars ultimately tumbled into the river. He was captured at either Salerno or Garigliano. He survived the wreck with wounds to his right leg. He was sent to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf.

S Flynn

Pte. Albert Edward Woodhouse 2/7th Btn. Queens Royal Regiment

My dad was pow no. 128512 in Stalag 7a at Moosberg. His name Albert Edward (Eddy) Woodhouse, his date of enlistment was 15 February 1940, 2/7th Queens Royal Regt. D Coy. he was in the North African campaign at Enfidaville Tunisia, from here he went to Italy, Anzio where on 5/2/44 he was transferred from D Coy. to C Coy. and was involved in the attempt to extract a US army Battalion 2/157 who were cut off and isolated about a mile ahead of the front line, they too were cut off from their supplies and suffered very heavy losses. He was reported missing (War Diaries Feb 44) 25/2/44 and I know he was taken to Stalag 7a for the remainder of the war.

Would like to hear from anyone who has any knowledge of him.

Michael Woodhouse

Pte. Percy Eric George Figg 2/7th Btn. Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.18th Mar 1945)

Percy Eric George Figg served with the 2/7th Battalion Queens Royal Regiment during WW2 and died age 27 on the 18th March 1945. He is buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery having died on the freedom march after being held prisoner in Stalag 20a. following his capture at St. Valery after Dunkirk. He was the son of George Albert Arthur and Alice gertrude figg of Worthing, Sussex.

I have known about 3 people who had served in WWII. My uncle Percy Figg. Also my father Charles Figg who was Royal Navy and Major Bernard Wilmshurst from heavy artillery. Percy was captured at St Valery after Dunkirk where he was supposedly transported to Stalag 20a where he saw the rest of the war out. He died unfortunately on the freedom march and his final resting place was Berlin war cemetery. I have not yet been to either of these places but I hope to very soon. I am surprised Percy fell as he was always as I have been told a master sportsman who was always respected by all in his home town of Worthing in Sussex.

My father Charles Figg was on a tank landing craft all the time. He saw all five invasions during his time in the war. He described the horrors of the war blow by blow. From the smell of death as the flotilla cruised around the shores of North Africa from decaying bodies in the hot sun. To waiting of the shores of Italy waiting for the naval bombardment to start and being woken up from the splash of water from a shell landing close to the carrier. Finally the Normandy invasions where all the American troops he was carrying were hit by a wall of bullets as the ramps dropped. Most never made it off the landing craft. We may scoff at the Yanks for being many things, but one thing for sure is those boys went up that beach the same as our boys did.

Major Bernard was a great character, famous for blowing the top off of Gosport town hall during some practice drills shortly before D day. He got it a couple of clicks too low and took the dome clean off. I always chuckle to myself when I see that building. Had many stories to tell including being faced by his superior officer during the France invasion onslaught. Montgomery himself.

Paul Figg

Pte. Wilfred Harold Riddle Queen's Royal Regiment West Surrey (d.6th Feb 1941)

Wilf Riddle was my uncle and he was born in 1918, one of twins. The other twin, Leslie, died shortly after birth. The twins were allegedly the result of an affair that their mother had during the War while her husband was away.

He joined the army on 27th July 1940 and was a Private in the Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) - regimental number 6102539. He was part of a D.E.M.S. (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship) unit serving on board the S.S. Maplecourt, a Canadian ship owned by the United Towing and Salvage Company Ltd. It was in a convoy on a voyage from Montreal to Liverpool with a cargo which included 1540 tonnes of steel for the war effort. The ship left Halifax, Nova Scotia on 22nd January 1941.

At 1600 on 6th February, 1941, the Maplecourt made an SSSS (a radio signal meaning 'I have been torpedoed by a submarine') call in position 55.39N/15.56W. 1 hour and 32 minutes later, the Maplecourt was officially stated as sunk. At 1741, the Harvester escort ship was told to detach a portion of the escort to hunt for the submarine. There was one other soldier belonging to the D.E.M.S. personnel killed on board and he was George F Brimicombe, Private, Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) - regimental number 611787 and also a John A Lockhart who was an Ordinary Seaman in the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve. The crew of the SS Maplecourt numbered 37. There were no survivors. The U-boat that fired the torpedo was U-107, captained by Gunter Hessler, who had married Ursula, the daughter of Admiral Karl Donitz, in November 1937.

Jan Spall

Pte. Douglas Bernard Pistell Queens Regiment

My dad Douglas Pistell was a prisoner of war in Poland Stalag XXA for 5rs. As said many times before on here he never spoke about it. I know no more of his war years other than this. No photos or letters where he was captured. I'm sure he must have been on the long march but is a guess. As both my parents have passed away I fear I may have left it too long to find much out. I do know his P.O.W. No was 13038.If anyone could give me any Info I would be so grateful.

He may have been serving with the 2nd/6th Battalion, Queens East Surrey Regiment which had to surrender along with the 51st Highland Division when surrounded at St. Valery. But that is only one probability as there were many battalions of both the East and West Surreys.

Robert Pistell

Sgt. William Henry "Taffy " Jones 2/6th Btn. West Surrey Queens Royal Regiment

My father Bill Jones was captured at St Valery, northern France on 12th of June 1940. He was sent to Poland. I believe he was marched, along with other members of the BEF who were captured along with him, to Stalag 20A at Thorun/Thorn in Poland, arriving there on 30th of July 1940. He was held there until 19th of September 1942. From 26th of August until 25th of November 1940 he was forced to spend time in a work camp at Bromberg.

Later on he was transferred to Stalag 383 at Hohenfels, Germany, arriving there on 21st of September 1942. Here he was held until he was liberated on 16th of April 1945.

He had joined up prior to the outbreak of war in Bermondsey, London as a member of the TA. His drill hall was located in Old Jamaica Road but this has long since gone, although the memorial still stands. Prior to this, he had left his native port in South Wales in 1926 before settling in south London.

Bryn Jones

Stanley Alexander Quarterman Queens Royal Surrey Regiment

Stanley Alexander Quarterman, POW Easter Monday 1944

My father, Stanley Alexander Quarterman was a prisoner at Stalag 9c He belonged to the Queens Royal Surrey Regiment. He was captured in Belgium in 1940 & spent time in a Belgium hospital at first. I do not know much about his time in the POW camp, but he did work in the salt mines. In photo which had written Easter Monday 1944 on the back of it, my father is on the top row extreme right.

I would be interested in any information about my father as he died in 1973 & did not tell me much about his time in Stalag 9c.

Alec Quarterman

L/Cpl. Winston "Ray" Massey Queens Royal Surrey Regiment

My grandfather, L/Cpl Winston Massey (a.k.a. Ray), 6084900 , POW No. 3036 was with the Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) serving in Shanghai [Jan 1934 - Nov 1934], Hindustan and Afghanistan. He had 14 years service abroad, and returned to England with two weeks R&R before engaging in WWII.

My Grandfather was captured in France performing rear guard action for the evacuation of the 1st BEF, and was a very early POW from 1940-1945, reported missing on the 20th May 1940, and reported as POW 31st May 1940.

Ray served on the Maginot line. As a Prisoner of the Germans, he faced his most trying time and survived through his resourcefulness. "We were taken to Danzig in Poland and a German SS man asked me what my trade was and I said I was a farmer, even though I had never been on a farm in my life" Ray said.

In the final days of the war Ray was rounded up with other prisoners of war and forced to face the tough march from Poland back to Germany. "I lost a lot of my friends on that march. We didn't have any food," he said.

One of the brightest moments in Ray's military history was when American planes flew over Berlin at the end of the war, signalling to prisoners their imminent release from the camp. The light soon faded for Ray though, as he was so ill he blacked out and could remember no more until he awoke in a military hospital in England" [Blacktown Advocate Extracts]. In later recollections he mentioned that upon liberation by the Americans, they had nothing to feed the prisoners, except rotten potato peelings. Which was possibly why he was so sick.

I have managed to locate war crime documents (from Kew) relating to the forced march from Poland to Germany, which I will endeavour to transcribe and make available. Kew WO0309-34 which I have transcribed, for anyone who is interested.

I also have copies of the following red cross reports on Stalag XXB

  • WO 224/226 23 March 1945 No. 26
  • WO 224/226 27 April 1945 No. 54
  • WO 224/226 10 May 1945 No. 63
  • WO 224/49 10 May 1945 p.4,44,46,50,52-59,61-62

I have only one photo of Winston Massey that is at Stalag XX1C (but I know he spent his time at Stalag XXB) - does anyone know anything about this Stalag XX1C, and why a woman would be in the photo, possibly a Red Cross Nurse? I have provided details of the reverse of the photo that may give some clue as to its origin.

Other than Stalag XXB, I have spent time in Shanghai and Luxor in India trying to discover the operations of the Queen's Royal Regiment but from the 1920's through to 1939 there is scant information. If anyone can help in this regard I would appreciate it. I only have uncovered blue prints of the mortar lines in Shanghai and their rules of engagement, and mention of the relief at the Quetta earthquake. Any help appreciated.

Ian Finlay

Pte. Edwin William Hills 2/5th Btn. Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey)

Transit Camp ID

All we know is Dad, Bill Hills was captured during an allied raid on Sicily during WW2 and placed in Stalag 8B at Teschen, any information found would be great as he never spoke about the war.

Peter Hills

Pte. Charles Edward Fryer 13th Btn. Queens Royal Regiment

I'm just starting to research my late fathers war record and so far I have discovered the following:

His name was Charles Edward Fryer and he enlisted on 18/10/39 and was in the 13th Queens Royal Regiment. That he was recorded as being held in camp 20B in 1945 as POW number 7929. The low number suggests to me that he was captured early in the war and from what he told me when I was young he was in the BEF and captured falling back to Dunkirk and this number would appear to bear that out. I also gained the impression that he did not think he had a bad war and he always had respect for the way the Germans treated them, especially near the end of the war when the Germans had nothing but the prisoners still got their Red Cross parcels.

I also remember that my father hated American TV programs apart from Hogans Hero's (anyone remember it) this he said was near the truth. I know for a fact that my father could take a lock apart and cut a key to fit it a skill he said he gained as a POW.

I am applying to get his war record but this will take up to 9 months and I presume this will only cover his time as a soldier not a POW, if anyone has already done this can you let me know what information I will get. I also understand that the Red Cross in Geneva can supply records of POW's, can anyone enlighten me as to what this will contain and at what cost as at present I have been told a price per hour but not how many hours it will take.

The information I have so far was obtained from the Imperial War Museum and they have also given me a list of books which contain references to camp 20B. As I only got the list today I have not as yet read any of them and so can not vouch that they are totally about 20B or only passing references.

The list is as follows with the number at the end being the ISBN code:

(Buying books via these links helps to fund this website)

Finally if anyone wants to contact me as regards my comments above or with information which may assist me please feel free.

Peter Fryer

Pte. William Allen Queen's Royal West Surrey Rgt

My late father was a POW, number 6154 at Stalag XXA (Thorn or Torun, Poland). He related how, when he was on a work detail on the road to Danzig, he found the body of a Polish soldier. He told the guard, who informed his officer. They buried him with full military honours, even though he was the enemy. I would like to hear from ex-POWs who knew my dad. He worked on a farm at Torun.

Christopher Allen

L/Cpl. John Cadden 1/6th Btn. Queens Royal Rgt (West Surrey) (d.6th Sep 1944)

I am looking for information about L/Cpl John Cadden. Does anyone have information about him?

C. Cadden

Harry Clayton West Surrey (Queens Royal) Rgt.

My grandfather was a POW at Stalag XXA in Poland from 1940 until 1945.

Keith Kendal

Ernest Leigh Queen's Rgt. (West Surreys)

My father served with the Queen's Regiment in Burma and India. He survived the war but sadly passed away some years ago. I have heard lots of stories that these men were not supposed to come home because of the conditions, heat etc., and were sent to do the job whatever the outcome. Does anyone remember him?

Paul Leigh

Pte Ernest John Rapley 2/7th Btn. Queen's Royal (West Surrey) Regiment (d.21st March 1945)

Was anyone a POW at Stalag XIA in March 1945? My father died there on 21st March 1945 and has no known grave. He was Pte E J Rapley (known as John) of the Queens Royal Regt. Does anyone know where the POWs who died were buried? Were they transferred to the Berlin War Cemetery? I have contacted Red Cross, CWGC and National Ex-POW Assn.

Janet Savage

Pte. James Matthew Bannister 1/6th Btn. Royal West Surrey (Queens) Regiment (d.21st Oct 1944)

James Bannister was from Colne. He was my uncle and was killed in action during WW2. Lots of varying stories as to where he served and how he eventually passed away. Nothing really adding up. Would like to know more about him and where he served.

I do recall seeing a Burma Star in a medal collection and my gran told me he served in Dunkirk. Any help would be gratefully received. I also have a picture of him.

Mark Tranter

Pte. Claude John Lewis 7th Battalion Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.3rd August 1944)

Jack Lewis was killed in action in the fighting round Caen. He is buried in the British Military Cemetery in Bayeux, France.

John Lewis

L/Cpl. Winston Massey 2/7th Btn. West Surrey (Queen's Royal) Regiment


Marriage 1945

Winston Massey enlisted in the Territiorials joining the Queen's Royal Regiment on the 18th of April 1931. He went to Shanghai, China in 1932 with the army. From November 1933 he served in India, was stationed at Luxor (1935) and went to Quetta, Waziristan as support during Quetta earth quake on the 30th of May 1935. He returned home on the 26th of March 1940 and went to France with the BEF on the 23rd of April. On the 31st of May he was taken P.O.W. and held in Stalag XX1c-z, returning home on the 28th of April 1945. He was Discharged on the 12th of February 1946.

During research found at Dover castle museum, in glass case, an officer's personal diary that has maps and dates regarding 1st BEF Queen's Royal Regiment. After his capture, Winston and his fellow soldiers were force marched from the French-Belgium border into Poland, he elected to work on farms, in order to steal raw cabbage and raw eggs. As a survivor of the long march of 1945, at the end of the march, he was liberated by Americans. They had nothing to feed them, so were given rotten potato peelings. My grandfather went into a coma, and didn't regain consciousness until repatriation to England and was in hospital. Unsure of the American unit that liberated them.


Pte. John Priestnall 5th Btn. Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.31st Oct 1942)

John Priestnall died on an Italian POW ship in a North African port.

J Priestnall

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