- Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) during the Second World War -
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Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 1st Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 5th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 7th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 8th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- Green Howards (Yorkshire Regt) 9th Btn
- 10th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 11th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- 12th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
- Green Howards (Yorkshire Regt), 13th Btn
- Green Howards (Yorkshire Regt), 30th Btn
5th Bn. Green Howards served with 150th Brigade, part of the 50th Division which fought at the defense of Arras and retreated to Dunkirk. The 5th Bn. Green Howards, one of the last units to embark from the beaches. After retraining 50th Div. was sent to the Middle East in April 1941, first Egypt and then on to Cyprus. The Division except 150 Brigade went to Palestine and 150 Brigade to Western Desert and was rejoined by the rest of the Division in February 1942. The Division took its place in the Gazala Line to defend against Rommels Forces. 150th Brigade was in a box area without mutual support. Rommel bypasssed the Gazala line and eventually located the Brigade which was attacked by 3 German and 2 Italian Divisions. With ammunition expended they were overrun on the 1st June 1942 and most were taken prisoner. Rommel's forces went on to capture Tobruk at this stage in the desert war. Reduced to cadre strength the 4th and 5th Battalions were formally disbanded in Richmond North Yorkshire in November 1942.
At the start of WW2, the Battalion was part of the 150th Infantry Brigade which was itself part of the 50th Northumbrian Division. The Division saw action with the British Expeditionery Force and escaping from advancing German forces at the Scarpe River the 4th Btn. was evacuated at Dunkirk. The reformed Division was sent to the Middle East and in June 1942 the 150th Brigade with ammunition spent was overrun by Rommel's Forces at the Gazala Line. Many were captured and most finished up at POW camps in Italy before eventually going to Stalag 8B.
10th (East Riding) Battalion, Green Howards was formed from 2nd East Yorkshire Yeomanry who converted to infantry on 25th of June 1940. From the start of 1943, they started training as parachutists and on 1st of June 1940 the battalion was renamed 12th (Yorkshire) Battalion, The Parachute Regiment and joined the 5th Parachute Brigade, 6th Airborne Division.
1st Battalion Green Howards proceeded to France in autumn 1939 with the British Expeditionary Force. They were brought back to England in early 1940 and sailed to Norway as part of an urgent taskforce to try and hold back the German invasion. They were in action at Otta, where for 24 hours the 1st Green Howards held back seven German Battalions in the face of Stuka dive bombers and heavy artillery. At the fall of Norway they returned to England and were then sent to India in 1942. They returned to action in Europe during the landings in Sicily, and suffered heavy losses in Italy. After a short stretch of rest and recuperation in Palestine, they sailed to Marseilles in France and were in action at the River Elbe and Buchen as the Allies pressed into Germany in spring 1945.
2nd Battalion Green Howards was a battalion of the regular army. They were based in Ferozepore, India when war broke out. They saw action in Burma.
4th Sep 1939 On Guard
19th Oct 1939 Civil Defence
7th Nov 1939 HQ
24th Apr 1940 On the Move
25th Apr 1940 On the Move
17th May 1940 Defences Prepared
18th May 1940 On the Move
20th May 1940 Defensive Positions
27th May 1940 Change of Command
29th May 1940 On the Beach
30th May 1940 Evacuation
15th Jun 1940 On the Move
Jul 1940 Beach Defence
Nov 1940 On the Move
20th Jul 1941 On the Move
5th Aug 1941 On the Move
Oct 1941 Change of Duty
4th Nov 1941 On the Move
18th Jan 1942 On the Move
10th Feb 1942 On the Move
27th Feb 1942 Under Fire
14th Jun 1942 On the Move
Oct 1942 On the Move
1st Dec 1942 Mobilisation
13th Dec 1942 Advance
6th Apr 1943
23rd Apr 1943 To Camp
6th May 1943 On the Move
7th Jul 1943 On the Move
10th Jul 1943 On the Move
7th Aug 1943 On the Move
17th Oct 1943 On the Move
5th Nov 1943 On the Move
20th Dec 1943 Reorganisation
Jan 1944 Training
3rd May 1944 On the Move
15th May 1944 Training
1st Jun 1944 On the Move
3rd Jun 1944 On the Move
6th Jun 1944 Landing
Jul 1944 On the Move
17th Sep 1944 On the Move
22nd Sep 1944 On the Move
14th Dec 1944 On the Move
17th Apr 1945 Reorganisation
28th Jun 1945 On the Move
27th Jul 1945 Reorganisaton
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
Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Adams Harry.
- Astell Norman. Mjr. (d.24th Dec 1944)
- Balfour Alan. Pte (d.28th December 1942)
- Bannister Robert Benjamin. Cpl.
- Bellamy Sydney. Cpl.
- Camsey Norman Sydney. Pte.
- Charlton Douglas. Pte.
- Cheall Bill. Cpl.
- Cockburn Albert. Cpl.
- Collinson Ernest. Sgt
- Coulson Bill.
- Cox Daniel George.
- Dale Leonard. Pte
- Doran Francis William. Pte (d.2nd Jun 1940)
- Dosdale Arthur Robert. Pte.
- Etherington Bob.
- Etherington Robert.
- Fensome Leslie Albert. Pte.
- Forster Kenneth Robert.
- Gorman Terry. Pte.
- Gorman Terry. Pte.
- Gray Jack William. L/Cpl.
- Hakin William. Pte. (d.30th May 1940)
- Hannan Ernest. Pte. (d.24th Sep 1940)
- Honeyman Frederick Harvey . Mjr. (d.11th Jun 1944)
- Hughes J.. Major
- Hughes Walter David.
- Lapthorn Fred. Pte
- Lazenby Harry.
- Lightfoot Michael Arthur.
- Loughlin Michael. Pte. (d.1st Sep 1944)
- Lucey Denis Victor. Cpl. (d. )
- MacFarlane George Reavley. Pte. (d.20th October 1943)
- Manning Albert Edward.
- Mason George. Pte.
- McCurry Joseph J. Pte. (d.26th Sep 1944)
- Myers George Leslie. Pte. (d.28th June 1942)
- Myers George Leslie. Pte. (d.28th June 1942)
- Nellis Herbert. Sgt. (d.28th May 1940)
- Nuttall George G..
- Pattison John. Sgt
- Peach Ben. Pte
- Peirson Alan. Cpl.
- Puzey Sidney William. Pte.
- Richardson Norman Venerolles. L/Cpl. (d.28th Apr 1940)
- Richardson Ronald. Pte.
- Scaife George Alfred. Pte.
- Senior Horatio Eckleton. L/Cpl.
- Shields James Mason. Pte.
- Sinton Roland.
- Sutton Thomas Ernest.
- Thompson Lancelot. Cpl.
- Thurgood John.
- Tolson Roger Boys.
- Westwood James Anthony . Pte. (d.19th May 1940)
- White Bartholomew. L/Cpl.
- Wilson James. Pte. (d.6th April 1943)
- Wood Thomas.
- Wright Arnold. Pte. (d.11th Jun 1944)
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 7 pages in our library tagged Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.
Michael Arthur "Pte." LightfootMy father was William Arthur Lightfoot, he was born in Malton, North Yorkshire in 1919, he was conscripted in 1939 to fight in WW2 he went to North Africa with the Green Howard regiment then went to Sicily, Greece, Italy, Mount Cassino, Austria, Germany then back to Austria. He did not say much at all to me about his life and his adventures till his later days for which I feel proud.Michael Lightfoot
Cpl. Denis Victor " " Lucey The Green Howards (d. )My Father, Denis Lucey, known by his middle name Vic, served in North Africa, Italy and landed in Normandy on D-Day + 6 and served in France and Belgium.James Joseph Lucey
Pte. George Alfred Scaife 4th Btn, B Company Green HowardsLike many lads from the North East of England Alf joined the territorial army in his home town of Guisborough. He was just 19yrs old when he signed up for military service in April 1939 and a after a brief spell of training left with the B.E.F to follow his brothers to France. He sent a letter to his sister on the eve of his departure which we have, in which he mentions that the king is coming to see the battalion before it leaves for battle.
He was injured at Dunkirk and taken capture by the Germans. He was sent to Stalag v111b and spent some time in Stalag v111a at Gorlitz. We have many photos from V111A and postcards from v111b. Like many of his P.O.W pals he didn't talk much about his experience of the war but we know he spent some time on the long march from the camp which took place at the end of the war. He passed away in 2002 at 82yrs but was a keen member of the Green Howards Society up until his death.John Scaife
Cpl. Bill Cheall Green Howard'sWith The Green Howard's, 50th Division at Dunkirk
I don’t know how, but we made our way to the water’s edge and looked out to sea across to the horizon and saw the ships going to Dunkirk, further along the coast. We then made our way back to the deep sand dunes in order to gain some protection from the bombing and strafing which was taking place. Many of the boys on the beach were in a sorry state; the Stukas had just been over.
One must remember that not all soldiers are hard-bitten individuals and some of the younger lads showed great emotion. I saw young soldiers just standing, crying their hearts out and others kneeling in the sand, praying. It is very easy to pass critical remarks about these lads, but we others knew the ordeal these weaker-willed boys were going through, and helped them as much as we could during their emotional and distressful ordeal as medical help was a very scarce thing on the beaches. So much had been bottled up inside these young soldiers that, at last, the bubble had burst and it was uncontrollable.
Dead soldiers, and those badly wounded, lay all over the place and many of the wounded would die. It was tragic to see life ebbing away from young, healthy lads and we could not do a thing about it - it was heartbreaking. What few stretcher-bearers there were always gave of their best - they were extraordinary. How does one quantify devotion to duty under the conditions which prevailed in those days? The folk at home could not possibly have any idea what their boys were going through. There was no panic, just haste.
We joined this mass of tired and hungry lads. Amidst all this tragedy, the Stukas would return, machine-gunning the full length of the thousands of men. They could not miss and a swathe of dead and wounded would be left behind; really it was awful. Many of us fired our rifles at the planes, but they were useless. Nobody can imagine what it is like to be bombed by a German Stuka. They came out of the sky, screaming straight down, then dropped their bombs and pulled up into the sky again. I don't know why we ran - it was just instinct, I suppose.
Near the shoreline, one boy of about twenty, not far from me, had his stomach ripped open and he was fighting to live, asking for his mum and crying. A few of us went to him but he was too bad for us to help him; blood was everywhere. That poor boy soon died, out of pain, to join his mates.It is the most dreadful experience to see a comrade killed in such a way. Some young lads who had lost their nerve went crazy and lay on the sand crying; others knelt and prayed. Mind you, I am sure we all prayed in our own way. No one, of course, could help behaving like this - it was just because of the trauma they had endured and had at last given way to their feelings.
The near impossibility of getting back to England left many of us rather stunned, as it just did not look possible. Our lads, or what was left of our Battalion, stuck together among the dunes to obtain some protection from the bombing and strafing. We had had nothing to eat except hard tack biscuits and bully beef - we hadn't had a hot meal for God knows how long and the lads who usually shaved looked really haggard.
None of us could see any sign of the 23rd Divisional assembly area and nobody seemed to know what to do for the best. Then the planes came over again, causing more deaths. Only twenty yards from me some lads had been hit by shrapnel and one of them was in a serious condition - the medics were there - but he would not live. A sleepless night was ahead of us.
This is an extract from my dad's war memoirs, published in the book Fighting Through: From Dunkirk to Hamburg- A Green Howards Wartime Memoir To read the entire chapter upon which it is based please visit www.grimdetermination.co.uk where you can also read more about the background to his service, together with many photographs and maps.Paul Cheall
Sgt John Pattison Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)My Grandfather served in the Green Howards and was stationed at RAF Thornaby, I have his mess card for 1939-1940.Paul Rose
L/Cpl. Bartholomew "Chalky" White Green HowardsMy grandfather, Bartholomew White was taken POW at Dunkirk and held at Stalag XX-B in Poland.Elaine Elsom
Pte. Leslie Albert Fensome Beds and Herts RegimentMy Dad, Leslie Fensome joined the army in 1939. He was 19 years old. I don't know much about his army career as he never liked talking about it. He was in the Beds and Herts Regiment and the Green Howards, that is all I know. If anyone remembers him please get in touch.Doreen Read
Cpl. Robert Benjamin Bannister Green HowardsMy father, Robert Bannister who was in the T.A. was captured at Dunkirk and marched most of the way to Stalag383 where he spent most of the war until he, with 4000 others was force marched in the depths of winter to a camp in Bavaria as the Russians were approaching Poland.
Whilst in the camp he employed his artistic skills in painting scenery for the theatre productions. He also used the regulation issue post cards to paint the entire front as greetings cards and those are still in my possession as are a number of photos including one of a fellow POW using an illicit radio and ones of him painting scenery. I have also got a battered copy Of "Barbed Wire Memories"
I intend to ensure that my family pass all the items to the Green Howards Museum at Richmond in due courseTerry Bannister
George G. Nuttall Green HowardsMy Grandfather, Lieutenant George G Nuttall of the Green Howards was at Oflag 79, POW no 2147.
The aircraft in which he flew home in 1945.James Nuttall
Roland Sinton Green HowardsMy father, Roland Sinton served with the Green Howards. I know that he was in Stalag V111B as I have a stamped postcard, and he was back in England in November 1943. He told me very little of his wartime experiences other than the amusing stories, but I seem to remember him saying he was captured in France when shot, whilst driving an ambulance (at Dunkirk maybe?) I think he was a medical orderly in the POW camp. I would like to find out more.Dave Sinton
Pte. Terry Gorman 5th Battalion Yorkshire RegimentI spent quite a lot of time with my Dad, Terry Gorman recording his stories in the year before his death in 1996. Before then he never really talked about it – tho’ I knew he had fought in the Western Desert and had been a POW for a few years.
We were watching TV together in 1995 and there were several programmes commemorating the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. There was a shot of the train tunnel and guardhouse leading into Auschwitz Birkenau 2 and Dad said "I used stand just there and warm my hands on a brazier as the trains came in." After the initial shock, and disbelief, we began to talk and piece together his story.
Dad was born in 1920 and conscripted into the Army in 1940. He joined a Yorkshire Infantry Regiment – The Green Howards – and after training sailed around Africa and got stuck into the enemy in 1941. At first he was based at Ismailia taking ammunition up to Mersah Matruh by train. At Mersah he had his first meeting with Australian troops who had been pulled out of the front line and were on their way to protect the oil fields in Iraq. He was very impressed with the Australian troops who seemed taller, fitter and better equipped than the British Army. They were also far better paid – about £2 per week (Dad got 14 shillings). When Dad and his best mate approached the Australian lines there were several wolf whistles and a loud voice shouted out – “look out – the poms have sent the boy scouts!” – a reference to the ill fitting shirts and shorts which had been issued to Dad’s unit. He got on very well with the Australians who shared their (far better) rations.
In May 1942 Dad was moved up to Gazala and a great tank and infantry battle took place which ended in the loss of Tobruk in June. Dad was wounded and captured on 2 June and spent a brief time at a transit camp at Derna, then some months at a terrible open air POW camp at Benghazi. The camp lacked even basic sanitation and the Italian guards were trigger happy and brutal. Eventually they were loaded in the hull of an Italian freighter and sailed across the Med all fearing that they would be torpedoed (as some POW ships were) by the Royal Navy.
Dad got to an Italian POW transit camp at Brindisi and then he was moved to Campo 7 at Capua near Rome. Later he was moved north to Campo 54 at Chiavari near Genoa. Life in Chiavari was relatively good. There was food, Red Cross parcels and plenty of sport and books. Dad, and his friend Charlie Murphy, were experienced with horses so got out on a small work detail to work on the estate of the Marquis of Turin – he looked after a string of thoroughbred race horses and was allowed good grub and plenty of cheap wine. Then Marquis hated Mussolini and wanted the Allies to win the War.
In September 1943 events took a turn for the worse. The Italian Army gave up the ghost and the Germans took over in Northern Italy. The POWs were rounded up and moved to Germany. Dad’s camp was sent to the Juventus football stadium in Turin. Dad spent three nights sleeping in the goal mouth whilst the Nazis sorted themselves out. They were then taken to the railway station where they were crammed into wooden cattle trucks and set off for the East. Dad remembers stopping at Innsbruck station, in Austria, where they were allowed to get some water and a little food. After a couple of days they arrived at a grim railway halt in Silesia and were marched up the road and into Lamsdorf POW camp, Stalag 344/8B – the most easterly of all POW camps in the Reich.
Lamsdorf was tough, violent and very large. The Germans segregated POWs according to ethnic origin. There was a very large compound for Russians who were treated terribly (they did not have the protection of the Geneva Convention) – many living in the open or crude dugouts in the ground. There was an outbreak of typhus in this compound and Dad witnessed the Germans spraying the area with petrol then setting light to it – any POWs who survived were finished off by guard dogs.
With the large influx of POWs from Italy the main allied compound was full and Dad was placed in an Annexe reserved for French Canadians who had been captured at the raid on Dieppe in 1942. They were a ruthless lot and had managed to cut the throat of a couple of guards (or goons as they were known). As a reprisal all the Canadians were chained to their bunks or radiators and Dad had to do this whilst waiting for transfer to the main compound. Of course, the Canadians thought he was a stooly – a plant put in by the Germans to get information about possible escape plans etc – and they threatened to kill him. Fortunately, for my Dad, they had been based in Manchester for part of their training and he was able to answer questions about the city. One question was “What is the Band on the Wall” which Dad knew to be a jazz club (which many of the Canadians had visited). After a few weeks Dad got to the main compound. There was very little food and nothing to do. One option was to join working parties outside the camp which gave you double rations (800 calories a day) and a chance to relieve the boredom. Dad signed up and was put on a train which took him to Katowice – about 90 minutes south east of Lamsdorf.
He was given a donkey jacket with KG stamped on the back – KG stood for Kriegsgafangene or Prisoner of War (POWs often referred to themselves as “Kriegies”). He worked as a mate to a German electrician, then laboured in a sugar beet farm, then ended up in an arbeitskommando (work camp) in the Auschwitz complex. What he saw there haunted him for the rest of his life. Auschwitz is a 25 square mile concentration camp complex with four separate camps: Auschwitz 1, Birkenau, Auschwitz 3 and Monowitz. Allied POWs worked in many small work camps, and there was also E715 (E stands for Englander tho’ that included Australians and New Zealanders) at the infamous Buna camp at Monowitz. About 1000 POWs existed here and were forced labourers in a plant which was supposed to produce oil – not one drop was ever produced as many acts of sabotage were undertaken by the POWs.
Dad worked mainly at E727 – the Power Station for the Auschwitz complex. It was coal fired and his job was to clear out the old “clinker” from the grates under the large furnaces and boilers – his only protection was pieces of sacking with which he covered his head and body. The shifts were very long and he got little food. The Red Cross parcels, which he still got even at Lamsdorf, were now very infrequent and often looted by the German guards. Dad was 11st 5lbs when he left England – he was less than 5st 11 lbs when he returned. Food and tobacco were the gold dust of the concentration camp and could be bartered and exchanged for anything.
He worked alongside Poles, Ukraines and Jews. The Jews lived in terrible concentration camp compounds and were treated like dirt by the Germans who thought nothing of shooting a Jew for minor infringements. Some of the Allied soldiers also had little time for the Jews and felt they had “got it coming to them”. Dad had little time for this - he had witnessed the Blackshirts organising in Manchester before the War and had little truck with them or their ideas.
The Germans found out that Dad had worked for the railways before the War and, together with a New Zealand soldier, was detailed to move some bricks along rail tracks into Birkenau 2. It turned out that the bricks were replacement fire bricks for the gas chambers and crematoria used to murder and incinerate Jews by the thousand. The Germans didn’t trust Jewish labour to perform this job as they feared sabotage. He was allowed one communal shower per week to keep the lice and sores under control. On more than one occasion emaciated Jewish women were shoved into the shower blocks by the guards - nobody, as far as Dad knew – ever molested them.
He lived in a small wooden hut with an iron stove in the middle for heat. The men slept on bunks and the man below him was a South African who had been put “in the bag” (captured) at Tobruk. His surname was Silver. One day there was a routine inspection - the POWs came to attention and the Guards had a look around. This time they were accompanied by a man in the dark blue uniform of the SS. He walked along the line and stopped in front of Silver. He shouted, “Your name isn’t Silver, it’s Silberstein – you are a Jew! Take him out!” The Guards grabbed his lapels and dragged him outside where he was shot through he head by the SS man.
In January 1945 the POWs became aware of the heavy fighting to the East. The sky was lit up at night as the Russians advanced. It was a particularly harsh winter, and one night in early January the men were ordered to gather there belongings and line up outside – they were going to march West away from the Russians. Dad looked around and could see three columns – Allied POWs, Russians/Ukraines and Jews. This was the start of the infamous “Death Marches” – POWs marched West for the next four months through the worst winter of the last century. Many died and any who dropped out were left for dead or shot. Dad remembers pulling over to pee in a hedge and seeing many Jews who had been shot and lay frozen stiff in a ditch.
The POWs trudged, day after day, for weeks on end. Food was almost non existent or they got watery potato soup. They slept in rat infested barns. Dad’s column marched from Silesia, into Czechoslovakia then Bavaria in Germany. In late April 1945 the weather improved and they reached a large railway junction at Plattlin. As they sat on a hill near the town they saw allied planes come in and bomb the station – the POWs were set to work pulling the bodies from the wreckage of passenger and freight trains that had still been in the station. A couple of days later the guards simply disappeared and Dad took refuge in a pig farm, sleeping with the pigs. He heard the roar of a powerful engine and realized a tank had driven into the farm yard – and an American tank at that. He stood up and shouted “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” The Yanks were amazed to see the emaciated and starving POWs emerge from the pig sties and hedgerows. They handed out cigarettes and chocolate – and many of the POWs were sick as they had not had such rich, sweet food for years. They were moved back to the US Army echelon and deloused, fed and given new kit. Some were given weapons and drove off to wreak revenge on the local population. Dad remembers walking down to a local German village. Many homes had been looted with men making off with local delph china (Dad wondered how they would get it back via Army transport). He walked into a large house to see if he could get a cup of tea and bumped into a German woman. “Take me, take me” she said in German – behind her was her daughter who she thought Dad was going to rape. He asked her to make him a cup of tea then get upstairs and hide – many German women in the village were not so lucky.
After a few days a British Army Sergeant Major turned up and told them they were going home. They marched to a local airfield and were loaded, 20 at a time, on to Dakota airplanes and flown to Antwerp in Belgium. The plane in front of Dads crashed on landing and all were killed. He was then transferred to RAF Lancaster bombers and flown to Guilford in England – flying straight over the White Cliffs of Dover. He was debriefed and given leave to go home. Then transferred to Ireland to fatten him up… but that’s another story.
One brighter story from Auschwitz. One of Dad’s colleagues was Arthur Dodd who came from Northwich in Cheshire and had been put in the bag at Tobruk in June 1942. Arthur eventually ended up in E715 at Monowitz. One day he was marching back to camp and he noticed some Jews digging a ditch by the road . As they got closer one of them shouted – “I’m English mate, I shouldn’t be here, help me!” Arthur reached into his pocket and threw a packet of cigarettes at the man as they passed. Many years later Arthur was giving a talk about his experiences in Manchester Town Hall. He had written a book, “Auschwitz: Spectator in Hell” and made a programme about E715 for the BBC. After the talk he was signing copies of his book when, from behind, he heard a voice - “I’m English mate, I shouldn’t be here, help me!” It was Leon Goodman, who had been picked up by the Nazis in Holland and was the only English Jew in Auschwitz. He survived and, some fifty years later, and amidst many tears, was able to thank Arthur in person for the cigarettes he had given him in 1944.Michael Gorman
Major J. Hughes MC 6th Btn. Green HowardsIn 1942, Major J Hughes had been a Company Commander in the 6th Green Howards, first under Lt Col 'Ted' Cooke-Collis and later, when 'Red Ted' was promoted to Brigadier to Command 69th Brigade, under Major T M S Roberts. On 26th June 1942 whilst moving to a new position to hold Mersah Matruh, the Battalion was attacked by a large force of German Stuka aircraft. The Commanding Officer was severely wounded.
The Command of 6th Battalion then devolved onto Major J L Hughes MC. After digging in for the night a large column of some 2,000 enemy vehicles were seen moving to the south east of their position, Cooke-Collis issued orders for his Brigade to attack this column. The Battalion was by that time down to only two companies, each with a few anti-tank guns, and Battalion Headquarters.
Even so, they launched an attack at the enemy sustaining heavy casualties in doing so. A fierce fire-fight ensued before three enemy tanks appeared on the scene spraying the Green Howards position with continuous machine gun fire. The legendary 'Red Ted' appeared on the scene in his carrier, charging through the position and firing his Bren gun at point blank range at the enemy. His carrier received a direct hit but somehow he and his driver survived, although both were wounded.
In the meanwhile, my father was severely wounded in the stomach. He probably owed his life to his batman who, although ordered to save himself, refused to leave my father. He bandaged his wounds and kept him alive until daybreak when he attracted the enemy's attention and secured proper medical services for my father. After a painful truck journey to the rear. Major Hughes was placed in an Italian POW Camp at Benghazi, before being flown to Italy. He recovered from his wounds and managed to make two escape attempts from POW Camp. Eventually he did escape from PG 136 close to Bologna and make his way to Switzerland. He eventually got back to the UK where he ended the war commanding an Officer Cadet Training UnitTrevor Hughes
Pte. Terry Gorman 5th Btn. Green HowardsPrivate Terry Gorman served with the 5th Bn the Green Howards. He was probably taken prisoner as were most of the 4th and 5th Battalions (part of 150th Brigade) when ammunition ran out against Rommel's forces in the Gazala Line. Most went to prisoner of war camps in Italy.
Harry Adams 4th Btn. Green HowardsHarry Adams served in the 4th Battalion the Green Howards and was a POW in Stalag 8b during WW2.
Pte Alan Balfour 1st Btn Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) (d.28th December 1942)Alan Balfour died aged 38 whist serving with the Green Howards. He is buried in Teheran War Cemetery.Vin Mullen
Pte Francis William Doran 4th Btn Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) (d.2nd Jun 1940)Francis Wiliam Doran died aged 21 whilst serving with the 4th Green Howards. He was born in Jarrow in 1919, the son of Francis and Margaret Doran (nee Usher).
Francis is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial.Vin Mullen
Robert Etherington Green HowardsCpl R Etherington was held in Stalag VIII-C in Konin Zaganski, Poland
Pte. Joseph J McCurry MM. 7th Battalion Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) (d.26th Sep 1944)Joseph McCurry died aged 25. He was born in Jarrow in 1918, son of Joseph and Mary Jane McCurry (nee McBride) of Jarrow. He was the husband of Mary Constance McCurry (nee Woolfenden) of Bentley Yorkshire
Joseph is buried in Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
L/Cpl. Norman Venerolles Richardson 1st Btn. Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) (d.28th Apr 1940)Norman Richardson who died aged 25 was born in Jarrow in 1915. He was the son of Joseph and Lydia Richardson (nee Malone) of Jarrow.
Nirman is buried in Nord-Sel Churchyard and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
Pte. Arnold Wright 6th Battalion Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) (d.11th Jun 1944)Arnold Wright died aged 18, he was the son of Joseph Henry and Elisabeth Wright of Jarrow and was born in Fence Houses. Co Durham. He enlisted in Jarrow. Arnold is buried in Bayeux War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
Pte. George Mason 3rd Btn. Green HowardsGeorge Mason 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
George, who had been captured at Garigliano, survived the wreck with a probable fractured left foot and was sent to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf, Poland.S Flynn
Pte. George Leslie "GL" Myers 6th Battalion Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) (d.28th June 1942)My great uncle George Myers served with the 6th Bn Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment). He was a private and was sent to different parts of the world. What I can recall he was in a tank with some other privates serving in the Middle East when their tank got blown up. He is buried in El Alamein War Cemetery. I do have pictures of the cemetery. I honour all the brave soliders out there for fighting the WW1 and WW2Julie
Pte. George Leslie Myers Green Howards Yorkshire Regiment (d.28th June 1942)George Leslie Myers was a private in World War 2, he died at the age of 21, fighting in Egypt.
Update: He is buried in El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.Julie Gray
Mjr. Frederick Harvey Honeyman MC. 6th Btn. Green Howards (d.11th Jun 1944)Major Frederick Honeyman was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry when the Green Howard's landed in Normandy on the 6th of June 1944. He was commanding A Company of the 6th Battalion at La Riviere when he earned the Military Cross. He led an attack on an enemy position guarded by seven pillboxes and defended by soldiers by throwing grenades over a six-foot wall. Although he was hit in the arm and leg by splinters, his citation records how he ‘restored the impetus of the attack and took the position, killing or capturing all the enemy. But five days later he was killed as he tried to rescue some of the wounded men from his company who were trapped in a wood. Under severe fire he went alone towards another British position to try and enlist help, but was shot.
A letter sent to Major Honeyman’s mother from his batman, Tom Harris, is in the Green Howard's Museum collection in Richmond. Harris wrote: “He was not only my company commander, but also my best friend and he treated me more like his brother. ...at the most unfortunate moment he sent me back out of the way and considered my safety before his”.Sarah Shepherd
Pte. Ronald Richardson 4th Battalion Green HowardsMy father Ronald Richardson was obliged to join the Territorial Army in March 1939 (Leslie Hoare-Belisha the then Minister of War introduced conscription after the fall of Czechoslovakia). He joined the local infantry regiment, the 4th Battalion, Green Howards in his home village of Skelton-in-Cleveland.
The Battalion was mobilized on 1st September 1939 as part of the 150th Brigade of the 50th (Tyne-Tees) Division in Middlesbrough. Shortly afterwards they moved to the Cotswolds, where the Division trained before moving to France in January 1940. Before entraining, they were inspected by the King, George VI, who had promised to see off every unit leaving for France.
In France, the Battalion prepared to face the coming German onslaught, and when the expected attack started on 10th May, the Battalion was sent forward into Belgium. Here, the poorly equipped Battalion was pushed aside by the German armoured units and started the long retreat to the Dunkirk area, taking part in the failed counter-attack at Arras.
After this, my father, as a lorry-driver, was detached to drive ambulances from the casualty clearing station at La Panne, near Dunkirk, to the beaches for embarkation. This was an unpleasant duty, the wounded in the ambulance were crying out in pain and the beaches were continually being strafed by German dive-bombers. Eventually, on the 2nd June, the ambulance drivers were allowed to get onto the ships leaving for England.
After a short period of leave, the Battalion re-concentrated in south Lancashire and the 50th Division took up defensive positions in south-west England to await the expected German invasion. The 4th Battalion was sent to Weston-Super-Mare. From here my father drove water tankers to Bristol, as after heavy air raids the city had no water supplies for several days.
In May 1941 the 50th Division was sent to the Middle East. While on embarkation leave my father rode his beloved motor-cycle once more and had an accident and broke his leg, so that he did not go abroad with the Division, instead joined the Green Howards' holding unit, the 30th Battalion, near Doncaster. This unit, made up of medically-downgraded men was employed guarding important sites in south Yorkshire.
In early 1943 the 30th Battalion was sent to North Africa, where it was used to guard important positions in Tunisia. The Battalion then moved via Sicily to Taranto in Italy, and then to Bari, where it remained until the end of the war. In early 1946 my father was discharged and returned home.John Richardson
Daniel George Cox 5th Btn Green HowardsUncle Dan Cox set sail on the Empress of Asia on 24 April 1941 heading for the Clyde to wait for the rest of the convoy on 27 April. They set sail unknown destination (which turned out to be Cape Town).
A quote from his diary: 'Up early 1st on aft deck in bare feet. Went out to sea this morning and grand sight with troop ships in lines with destroyers and cruiser Repulse on each side. Church service on deck. Weather fine and sunny. CPR liner Empress of Asia is Clyde built 1913. 18000 ton Empress of Russia is sister ship, both 3 funnelled grey, yellow upper works'.Jan and Anita
Pte. James Anthony Westwood 5th Btn. Green Howards (d.19th May 1940)James Westwood is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial.James Westwood
Mjr. Norman Astell Mid. att. Raiding Support Regiment Green Howards (d.24th Dec 1944)My grandfather was in the raiding support regiment, he took this photograph of Norman Astell's original grave.Sam Buckley
Harry Lazenby Green Howards (Yorkshire Rgt)My father was a despatch rider with the Green Howards. He was captured in 1939/40 in France. He was a POW at Stalag XXA, Fort 13, Thorn 1. His POW Number is 5774. I have photos and stories concerning this camp if anyone wishes to see them.Jennifer Lazenby
Pte Fred Lapthorn Green HowardsI have little information about my father's time in Stalag XVIIB. I know he was wounded at Mareth Line. As he was a trained butcher, he worked in a butcher outside of the camp which must have made life a little easier for him. He made friends with a local Austrian family who had a son about the same age as myself named Peter Bochzelt. We corresponded with them long after the war ended and I met some of them many years later when working in Hungary. They were very kind and lovely people. Father spoke very little about his wartime experiences and passed away in 1971.William Lapthorn
John Thurgood Yorkshire RegimentMy grandfather, Jack Thurgood, served in the Yorkshire Regiment. I believe he made a good friend of Captain Nicholson. It was thought that he had died in action. However, he returned home six months later saying he had been on official business elsewhere with Captain Nicholson at the time his regiment had gone forward.
If anyone has any information regarding my grandfather, or stories about his regiment, please contact me.Bev Garland
Thomas Ernest Sutton Green Howards (Yorkshire Rgt)My dad served with the Green Howards in North Africa and Egypt during WWII. He was taken POW by the Italians before escaping to Switzerland from where he was helped back to the UK.Geoff Sutton
Pte Leonard Dale Green Howards (Yorkshire Rgt)My grandfather was a POW in Stalag 20B from 1941. His POW number was 13346.Ben Carney
Bill Coulson Green Howards (Yorkshire Rgt.)My grandfather was marched to Poznan, Poland. He was a stretcher bearer in the Green Howards. I am not certain where he was captured.Alastair White
Pte. Sidney William Puzey 4th Battalion Green HowardsMy father was captured in 1942 on the Gazala line. He spent time as a POW in PG 73 in Northern Italy - then at a work camp (GW/107)associted with Stalag XVIIIA. I have over 100 letters from him to my mother during his period as a POW.
I am particualry interested in finding out about a fello POW called George Allen who put on many of the camp plays and musicals at PG 73.John Puzey
Pte. Arthur Robert Dosdale 6th Battalion Green HowardsMy father, Arthur Dosdale was wounded in Tunisia in 1943.Terence Dosdale
Bob Etherington Green Howards (Yorkshire) RegimentI am hoping to trace anyone who was in Stalag 8b and knew a Bill Jackson R.A. or a Bob Etherington of The Green Howards.Don Andrews
Pte. Norman Sydney Camsey 7th Btn. Yorkshire RegimentSid Camsey served with the 7th Btn. Green Howards.
Pte. Michael Loughlin 10th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.1st Sep 1944)Michael Loughlin was wounded at Anzio. He died of those wounds and is buried in the British War Cemetery in Rome. He was aged 19.Mike Loughlin
L/Cpl. Jack William Gray Green HowardsMy dad, Jack Grey, was a Lance Corporal in the Green Howards and, upon returning to his unit after exercises, his rifle was stolen on the train back to camp. He had done so well on the exercise, that he was promoted to sergeant and was presented to his commanding officer for his promotion. He then had to wait until all promotions were granted and then marched back in to the same commanding officer to be reprimanded for losing his rifle. He was immediately demoted back to lance corporal and had the distinction of being a sergeant for about 20 minutes.
He was captured in North Africa and was among those soldiers addressed by Erwin Rommel who apologised to the POW's for handing them over to the Italian army for transport by cattle truck to Italy and, subsequently, to Stalag IVB.
He survived the war but spent 9 months in a convalescent home. He died in 1983 at age 63 of a heart attack.Alan Gray
Cpl. Lancelot Thompson 11th Battalion Yorkshire RegimentLancelot Thompson served with the 11th & 30th battalions of the Green Howards.Dave Trotter
Thomas Wood 7th Battalion Green HowardsThomas Wood served with 7th Battalion Mortars section, Green Howards. I don't have any tales but would like to find out if my Grandfather got medals. He was discharged 18th of August 1943.
Pte. James Mason Shields Green HowardsMy Father, Jimmy Shields, was wounded in the D Day campaign and spent 3 days on Gold Beach before he was evacuated back to England. He was only a young lad of 18 years and had seen so much of the world, Egypt, Middle East, North Africa Sicily and North West Europe.
Dad eventually emigrated to Australia. A far cry from his family in Whitehaven and the family tradition of mining.Julie Goodman
Albert Edward Manning Yorkshire RegimentMy father, Albert Manning, served in the Green Howards in North Africa and in the D-day landings. He was wounded near Caen in 1944.Raymond Manning
Sgt. Herbert Nellis 5th Btn. Yorkshire Regiment (d.28th May 1940)Herbert Nellis is my paternal grandfather and was killed in action, during the fall of France in 1940. He is buried in Bus House Cemetery, outside Ypres.
His brother served in the Royal Artillery and was a Prisoner of War to the Japanese after he was captured during the fall of Singapore, he survived inhuman treatment.Stephen Nellis
Walter David Hughes Yorkshire RegimentMy dad Walter Hughes joined the Green Howards after his brother was killed in action in WW2. Dad was under age slightly but he was proud to be in the Green Howards. He never spoke of what he did, but we know he landed on Gold Beach. Not sure if dad gave his full name or correct date of birth
Any help in find out what my dad did would be great. Dad was born in 1927. Sadly he died in 2015.Beverley Wadey
Pte. Douglas Charlton 6th Btn. Green HowardsDoug Charlton took part in the rear guard action near Dunkirk and was eventually evacuated from the beach and returned home. He fought with his battalion in the Middle East and was captured at Mersa Matruh in North Africa.
As a prisoner of war in Italy he escaped after the Italian Armistice in September 1943 and made his way up into the mountains of Northern Italy above Turin. He lived and worked with Italian partisans for eight months before being recaptured by the Germans.
Doug was sent to Stalag 339 at Trieste for 'questioning' before being transferred to Stalag VII-A at Mooseburg in Bavaria. He remained there until American forces liberated the camp in 1945.Bill Burnett
Pte. Ernest Hannan 4th Btn. Green Howards (d.24th Sep 1940)My grandfather, Ernest Hannan, was killed on the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940. He was shot in the eye by sniper fire in a Belgium farm. He survived a few days but died sometime between 10th May 1940 and 24th September 1940 and was buried in Athies in France. He left a widow Mollie and a son Ernest.Alwyn Tomlinson
Pte. George Reavley MacFarlane 1st Btn. Green Howards (d.20th October 1943)George MacFarlane was killed in action and is buried at Sangro River War Cemetery.Keith Littlewood
Available at discounted prices.
Fighting Through: From Dunkirk to Hamburg- A Green Howards Wartime Memoir
Bill Cheall & Paul CheallWhen Bill Cheall joined up in April 1939, he could not have imagined the drama, trauma, rewards and near continuous action that lay in store. First and foremost a Green Howard, as a member of the BEF he saw the sharp end of Hitler's May 1940 Blitzkrieg and was evacuated exhausted from Dunkirk. His next move was to North Africa, courtesy of the Queen Mary, to be part of Monty's 8thArmy. After eventual victory in Tunisia, the Sicily invasion followed. Along a number of other battle-hardened units, the Green Howards were ordered back to England to form the vanguard of the Normandy Invasion. In the fierce fighting that followed the D-Day landing on GOLD Beach, he was wounded and evacuated. His colleague, Sergeant Major Stan Hollis, won the only VC to be awarded on 6 June 1944.
Every cloud has a silver lining and Bill fell in love with his nurse. That did not prevent his return, once fit, to the war zone and he finished the war as a Regimental Policeman in devastated occupied Germany. ForMore information on:
Fighting Through: From Dunkirk to Hamburg- A Green Howards Wartime Memoir
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