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York and Lancaster Regiment in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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York and Lancaster 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

York and Lancaster Regiment

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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 York and Lancaster Regiment  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Kenneth "Larry" Wright 1st Batalion York & Lancaster Regiment

Kenneth Wright was my Grandad, sadly I never new him as he died when my mum was only 13 and I was not born until she was 24. I know little about him, and although I never knew him I feel proud of him. He was born in 1926 and was called up in April 1944, and he made Sargent in 1947. He was in the York and Lancaster Regiment. He was shot in the leg in Germany. That is all I know of him. I have many photos of him with others from the same regiment and I would like to find out more if possible, so if anyone knew him please get in touch. Thank you.


Pte. William Joseph Reid 2nd Btn. Yorks & Lancs Rgt.

My father, Joe Reid, did not talk much about his wartime experiences except for praising the Australians, Kiwis and soldiers from the Black Watch. I have always wanted to know what my Dad did in the war and would like to correspond with anyone who knew him or the movements of his regiment.

He joined up as a regular in August 1933 with the 2nd Yorks and Lancs after being in the TA for three years. I know he was in India in 1937 and Sudan when the WW2 broke out. I also know that he went over to Crete in 1941 but had to evacuate for obvious reasons. It's really this period that I am at a loss to. He got badly shot on HMS Ajax and was captured by the Germans. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag XV111a in Germany as POW 6301.

My father sadly died in 1988 and had a good life but if any of you remember him and would like to get in touch, please feel free to email me.

Martin Taylor-Reid

Pte. William Joseph "Soapy Joe" Reid 2nd Btn, D Company Yorks & Lancs

My father Joe Reid, joined the 2nd York & Lancs Regiment in September 1932 as a regular after being in the Teritorial Army for two years. My father like most of the heroes of any campaign did not talk about his experiences. So I am putting together my account of his involvement in the second World War to the best of my knowledge. Up until the outbreak of the war, my father's regiment during the 1930's were mainly on garrison duties in Sudan and India.

When the war broke out his regiment was in North Africa and by all accounts they had had it rough for twelve months. His regiment made up the 14th Infantry Brigade along with the 2nd Black Watch and the 1st Leicestershire Regiment. These three regiments, in my opinion, were very professional and tough. They were in the thick of all the action such as Crete, Palestine and the break out from Tobruk on Operation Crusader. How on earth my father survived the Tobruk breakout I don't know because these three regiments took a right pasting from the crack German forces. My father got shot in this campaign and was captured by the Germans. My father never said a bad word about the Germans because I think they patched him up good and proper before he was interned in Stalag XV111A for the rest of the war.

With the benefit of hindsight I have come to the conclusion that being captured by the Germans may not have been a bad thing from my point of view, as I dont think I would have been born. This is because the three regiments went onto to form the special force know as the Chindits and it is common knowledge what those brave soldiers achieved. My father returned home after the war and worked at Kirkstall Power Station in Leeds until he retired in 1977. He enjoyed his retirement but sadly died in 1988 at the ripe old age of 73. I loved my father but I wish he had told me more, but there you go.

Martin Joseph Reid

Arnold Whiteley York & Lancaster Regiment

My Grandfather Arnold Whiteley served in the Yorks a7 Lancs regiment and contributed to the book "Polar Bears From Sheffield". It's about the York and Lancaster Regiment during WW2 and contains stories and photos from many that were in the regiment.

I went to Rotherham Library to find a copy but there wasn't one. A member of staff took my contact details and by the time I had got home the man that wrote the book had contacted me. He came to the house with a copy of the book (apparently he had sent copies to all that contributed but my grandfather moved home about this time so never received it). He also left a copy of the recording he took when he interviewed him which contained a lot of sad memories which he never shared with any family members. It's a good read and would recommend anyone to get it if only to have as a family keepsake.


L/Cpl. Ernest Whitfield 2nd Battalion. York and Lancaster Regiment

I have been handed down, what I would describe as a death plaque, it is about Lance Corporal Ernest Whitfield of the York and Lancaster Regiment. It was a shock to me as I never knew this person existed, however I was aware that two of my father's brothers was killed in action in WW2. The only thing I am aware of is that Ernest was killed sometime during WW2.

I would like to tidy up this piece of history.

Editor's Note: The CWCG website records L/Cpl Ernest Whitfield aged 23, son of Harry H. Whitfield and Ada Whitfield as being killed on the 25th of May 1941 during the campaign in Greece and Crete, he has no known grave and is remembered on the Athens Memorial

Stuart Whitfield

Cpl. Alfred Siddons 1st Btn. York and Lancaster Regt

My late brother, Alfred Siddons joined up with the Loyals in 1941 later transferring to the York and Lancs. He served as a driver/mechanic in Egypt, through the Middle East, Italy and Germany. He was wounded and, I believe, taken to a Field Hospital which was shelled and only he and, I think four, others survived. He received several shrapnel wounds in the attack. I don't know in which part of the world this happened. Because of his wounds he was put aboard a hospital ship bound for the U S, but because the Americans suffered very heavy casualties he was taken off again. The last bit of shrapnel was removed in the 1990's.

John Siddons

William John Downing York & Lancaster Regiment

My Father, William John Downing, from Rotheram, served in the Yorks & Lancs during WW2. He never really talked in detail about his time in Italy, except for stories that he knew wouldn't frighten his 3 children! These stories he repeated often, right up until his death in 2003 and every time we reacted as though it was the first time we had heard them. He made a great friend in Italy who also served in the Yorks & Lancs, his name was Kenneth Holton from Nottingham. They fought alongside each other and remained great friends until my father's death. I know my Father was in Belgium during the liberation of that Country and he spoke with pride about the Belgians he met. He never claimed his medals.

Janet Johnson

Pte. Leslie Masterman Yorks & Lancs

My grandad, Leslie Masterman (1923-2002), from Leeds, served as a Private in the Yorks/Lancs Regiment during the Second World War. He was a POW in Italy and Germany after being captured by German troops in Tunisia in 1943. The following is what my family and I have pieced together from the few bits of information he gave us: Pte Masterman, L 4758866 He was taken to camp PG66 in Italy, which (with help from the internet) appears to have been in Capua. We got this number from a photograph: PG66PM3400. The first four digits aside, we're not sure what the numbers mean. He also stayed at camp PG53 (Campo Concentremento 53. Sforzacosta). Hewas moved to Germany, where he (as far as we can tell) stayed at camp PG78 (location unknown), before being squashed into an open rail truck and taken to Stalag 357 (in Oerbke, I think). He spent time at Stalag 4DZ near Annaburg. (Again, we got this number from a photograph, but we're not sure what it means: 226387 D602.) I think it was here where he was forced to work on repairing a damaged railway line near an ammunition factory (which was regularly bombed by the RAF). He was certain they were sent to work there to reduce numbers, and many men died working there. He, along with two other prisoners (Trooper Walter Rowley and Lance Corporal James "Busty" Speight), fled Stalag 4DZ on April 14, 1945. The day before they fled, they were told by a British R.A.M.C major that the whole camp was to be marched east the following day. The march began and suddenly the air raid sirens sounded. As Allied planes swooped to strafe a nearby airfield, the three of them made a run for it, taking with them two of the German sentries (they told them they would make it all right for them with the Americans, who were rumoured to be getting closer).

In the village of Nienburg, they told the local Burgomaster that they had been sent to make their way back to camp. A German girl who had been a worker in the camp kitchen helped my grandad and the other POW's by tipping them off about the Burgomaster being suspicious. He had sent for the SS, who were to arrive the next morning. The German girl also told them the way to the American lines, so they pulled out quickly and eventually found an American patrol near Halle (Saale). The Americans took some convincing that they were British POW's, but they eventually realised they were genuine and couldn't make them more welcome. They later learned that the guards who stayed behind were shot by the SS for assisting them to escape. My grandad returned home to Leeds on a Tuesday in May 1945. There are an awful lot of gaps that I'd love to fill in, and he probably stayed at a few more POW camps. I'm unsure where he was when at the end of the war but think it's most likely to be Stalag 4DZ in Annaburg. I have no idea how much time he spent at any one camp. I also have no idea how he travelled from Tunisia to Italy after being captured. I know the prisoners marched for many miles through Italy and traveled in open army trucks up through Germany to the North East. If anyone has information about ANYTHING I have mentioned above, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Tom Masterman

Pte. Edward Hockings 6th Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment (d.30th Jan 1944)

Edward Hockings died aged 19. He was born in Jarrow in 1924, the son of Edward and Jane A. Hockings (nee Bayles) of Jarrow.

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

Vin Mullen

Pte. Clifford Ogden 1st Btn. York & Lancaster Regiment

On 28 January 1944, during World War II, the Orvieto North railway bridge at Allerona, Italy, was the site of the inadvertent bombing by the American 320th Bombardment Group of a train filled with Allied prisoners. Most of the POWs had come from Camp P.G. 54, Fara in Sabina, 35 kilometres to the north of Rome, and had been evacuated in anticipation of the Allied advance. 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.

Private Ogden was Captured at Garigliano. He survived the wreck with wounds to his left ear and left hand. He was then sent to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf.

S. Flynn

Pte. Frederick J. Ellis 1st Btn. York & Lancaster Regiment

Frederick Ellis was captured at Garigliano. He survived the train wreck on the the Orvieto North railway bridge at Allerona, Italy, on the 28th of January 1944 with bruising and multiple abrasions and was then sent to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf.

s flynn

L/Cpl. Len Joseph Day 7th Btn. York and Lancaster Regment

My father Len Day served with the 7th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. I have a photo of a memorial in Rangoon Burma which I found after my mother died recently it shows seven men: Captain C Smith, Sgt. Jones E.J, Pte. F Darley, Pte. Doyle, Pte Milner, Pte. Stoyles, Pte. Stride lost whilst on active service at sea on 15th November 1942. My father never spoke about this whilst he was alive. I believe he was in this action because he once said to me "I felt the ship was going to sink so I released my rounds of ammo and was able to swim to relative safety" that was the only thing ever he told me about.I think they were on a mission to put out various Japanese machine gun positions but I am not sure. My father never claimed his medals and very rarely spoke about the war, never went to reunions or anything like that.

Brian Day

Pte. Dennis Lee 6th Btn. York & Lancaster Regiment (d.6th May 1943)

My grandfather, Dennis Lee, somehow managed to join up in WW2. It is understood he was in a reserved occupation, so quite why and how he managed to do this remains something of a mystery. It has been relayed to my father that Dennis Lee was shot in the stomach in 4th May 1943 in the closing days of the North African campaign. He succumbed to his wounds on 6th May 1943. It is understood that he was in the region of Bizerta Tunisia. He was buried in a Christian ceremony, but both his dog tags were removed from his body at the time of his original interment. It is not known if the grave was lost or if his remains were located and he was reinterred elsewhere as an unknown soldier, an unkown British soldier or an unknown soldier of the York and Lancaster regiment known unto God. He is commemorated on the memorial at Medjez-El-Bab CWGC Cemetery.

Adam Lee

Pte. Edward White York and Lancaster Regiment

Pictured in uniform

Form telling his parents he had been taken prisoner

Showing where he was held in Italy

His plaque from the King

My father, Edward White was a miner at Treeton colliery. He joined up in 1940 with two of his brothers. He joined the York and Lancs, Adam joined the Black Watch, and John joined the Duke of Wellington's.

My father was taken prisoner on Crete in 1941 and was a prisoner of war, first in Italy at four different sites, then transferred to Germany, Stalag X1-A where he stayed for the duration of the war.

Barry Edward White

John Willis Hogg Royal Corps of Signals

Jack Hogg served in the York and Lancaster Regiment and the Royal Corps of Signals in WW2. He was at Catterick before going to India. He was in Puna in 1942 and mentioned being in Agra, Darjeeling, Calcutta and Chittagong. He suffered from malaria whilst in India. He was my father and I cannot find any mention of him on the records I have been able to access. I do have some photos from his army life and will try to update this story with them as soon as I can. Does anyone know of him? I have his medals and Royal Corps of Signals hat badge also a Y & L clip. I would like to find out more about his army life, he spoke of it rarely and only briefly.

Sgt/Majr. George Stanley Walker MID 67th HAA Yorks & Lancs

I have been trying to find the citation as to why my grandfather was MID although he lived until 1977 he never said.

Robert Walker

Frank Kevin Dunne 2nd Btn. Attchd Argyll& Sutherland Highlanders Yorks & Lancs Rgt. (d.23rd May 1941)

Frank Dunne served with the York and Lancs 2nd Btn., attached to Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He is commemorated in Athens War Cemetery.

Geoff Rooks

Ronald White Yorks & Lancs Rgt.

My father, Ronald White, served in the Yorks and Lancs Regiment during WW2. I think he was at Dunkirk and was pulled out of the water there. He was later taken POW on Crete. Does anyone remember him?

Ms Healey

Sgt. Tom Myers York and Lancaster Regiment (d.14th June 1942)

Tom Myers was the Son of John and Sarah Mary Myers, husband of Julia Myers of Smithies, Barnsley, S. Yorks. He was aged 31 when he died and is commemorated on a special memorial in the Limbe European Cemetery in the Cameroons, he was serving attached to the Nigeria Regiment, R.W.A.F.F.

s flynn

Pte. Jack Wakefield 6th Btn. York and Lancaster Regiment (d.22nd May 1940)

Jack Wakefield was the husband of my aunt Lily (nee Hitchcock), and the son of John and Florence Wakefield, all from Nottingham. Jack was killed in the retreat to Dunkirk and was buried in the churchyard of the village of Wormhoudt northern France, he was 19 years old when he died. Jack and Lily had a daughter, Marlene, but very sadly Marlene died of diphtheria later during the war.

Richard Edwards

Capt. John Joseph McCarthy 1st Btn. York and Lancaster Regiment

My father John McCarthy was a career soldier, joining in 1926 as a Private and, after 22.5 years' service, left the Army as a Captain. His service covered his sporting achievements in the pre-2nd. World War years at Olympia in London, through to shipping over to France with the B.E.F. before being pulled out to go over with the Y&L's with Sickleforce into the Norwegian campaign in 1940. Having been left behind in Norway during the evacuation of Allied troops, he made his way on foot to Sweden along with other soldiers he met en route to be interned. He was then repatriated by the Red Cross in England in July, 1940. Back home he was put forward for his commission and we believe from documents we have that he was engaged during the rest of the war in training the fledgling RAF Regiment in defence of Britain's airfields.

After the war he was stationed in Egypt, seconded to the Green Howards as Company Commander in Almaza, Middle East Forces, before leaving the Army via a transit camp in Cyprus on 31st. August, 1946.

More information

Steve McCarthy

Pte. Frank Malcolm Machin 2nd Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment

My father Frank Machin was born in British India in 1922. His father was WO2 in the York & Lancaster Regiment. My father joined the battalion as a boy soldier in 1936 at the age of 14 years. he served in Iceland, Norway, Greece, Crete, Tobruk, France Belgium, Holland, and Germany.

He met my mother in Nijmegen (Holland). After Market Garden, he was billeted at my mother's home in September 1944. They were married in 1945. I believe that my father served with the Chindits in Burma, but cannot confirm this. After the war he was stationed in Germany, and then was stationed at Pontefract Barracks the regiments depot. I was born in the barracks, at No6, B Block. We then moved to Colchester where my brother Ian was born. We were then posted to Brunswick in Eastern Germany. After 2 years we returned to Pontefract, where my father was now the Provost Sargeant.He did tours in Sudan,Egypt, and Palistine. On his return, he was promoted to CSM (WO2), and was in charge of training recruits. In 1954, we moved to Dover Castle. Whilst there, he took part in the Suez Crisis. The battallion were also extras in the film Dunkirk. I also remember standing in the school playground, watching thousands of Hungarian refugees walking past with all their worldly goods on their backs. This was 1956, the battalion had just received their new colours. We returned to Pontefract for the last time before it was closed down. Late 1958, we had our final posting to Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Strensall near York, where again my father was training CSM. He retired after 26 years service, in 1961. He passed away in 1988.

Alex Machin

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

Polar Bears From Sheffield

Donald William Scott

The story of the York and Lancaster Regiment during WW2, contains stories and photos from many that were in the regiment.
More information on:

Polar Bears From Sheffield


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