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South Wales Borderers in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

South Wales Borderers




21st Oct 1939 Decision Made

1st Nov 1939 Instructors

6th Dec 1939 Instructional Vehicles


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

South Wales Borderers

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 2 pages in our library tagged South Wales Borderers  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Capt. Bert Hyde South Wales Borderers

My father, Capt Bert Hyde of the SWB and Welch Regiments, was in Oflag XIIB at Hadamr, Franfurt-am-Main. He mentioned that the British prisoners knew that many people were entering the camp next door but few re-emerged. Was this the death camp of Hadamr? He also told of being marched out of the camp by the SS and then being returned to the camp.

Rodney Hyde



Cpl. Kenneth Aubrey "Scottie" Wilkins Royal Signals

I am trying to put together my late fathers war history as like many others it was kept within. He was Cpl Kenneth Wilkins, known as Scottie. He enlisted in 1939 at the Barracks of the South Wales Borderers in Brecon, in 1942 he was moved to the Royal Corps of Signals and posted to the 8th army. He was in Egypt for 7 months then North Africa for 5 months until posted to Sicily and Italy, seeing service at Cassino with No 1 A.S.S.U. He was demobed at Villach in Austria in 1945. I do have a photo showing my father with two comrades possibly taken in Italy. I would like to know if any comrades might have memories they can share?

Steve Wilkins



L/Cpl. Jesse William Preece South Wales Borderers

My Dad, Jes Preece, was a pow in Stalag 4b he was interned for 19 months, he was captured on the Greek isle of Leros, I would love to hear from any one who knew him, he was set free by the Russians near the end of the war. My father was a miner in the pits in the south Wales valley of Crumlin and later at Cwmtillery colliery in Monmouthshire, he used to be a very successful pigeon racer and he was well known throughout the valleys. He only ever talked about his internment twice or three times all his life, but he always said when feeding little birds such as sparrows, 'I know what its like to go hungry'.

Now that I have read a bit on the website about the camp I can understand what he went through, my heart goes out to all those soldiers who was taken from there families and for the tragic ones who never returned. I would like to thank you on behalf of my family for your hard work in making it possible for us to realize what our Dads went through for us to walk the streets as free men and women, its a pity our youth of today didn't have just a bit of their courage and pride.

Brian Preece



Private William James "Basher Billy" Bowen South Wales Borderers

Basher Billy Bowen as was known because of his boxing abilities. All throughout the war he was a great boxer and he got himself into many a scrap using his fists.

He was captured at Dunkirk during the early days and taken to Stalag 357. He had a high regard for his German captors. He said they suffered with lack of food and facilities just as much as the prisoners towards the end, but the guards did share what little they had with them.

He was a great story teller and one story was that during his days as a Corporal he was asked to teach Diana Dors to swim, not sure if this was true or not.

He spent all his life as an Army man. He ended his days in Chelsea hospital where he died of cancer brought on by smoking and drinking too much. He is now buried at Brookwood. Which is a fitting end for such a tough man who devoted his life to the army.

Gaynor Steer



Sgt. Frederick Llewellyn 1st Btn. South Wales Borderers

I have been told that Frederick Llewellyn was one of the escapee's at the Battle of Tobruk and he evaded capture. He also has the Palestine Clasp and Northern Frontier Clasp from 1936-1939.

John Stocker



CSM. Frank Charles Ricketts 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers

My father, Frank Ricketts was a career soldier who followed his father W.C Ricketts into the South Wales Borderes after leaving the Duke of Yorks Military school in Dover. He enlisted on 1st Aug 1930. He served in Wazistan on the North West frontier from 1936/37.

On the outbreak of WW2 his Battalion was sent to Iraq & then on to Libya. Nearly all the of the 1st Battalion was captured by the Italians in June 1942. Some were sent to Chieti in south east Italy while the rest (including my Father were sent to Sulmona). In Sept 1943 those in the Chieti camp were tranfered to Sulmona. At the end of Sept 1943 a mass escape was made. Of all the escapees only four officers and about thirty men made good their escape. The rest were either recaptured and sent to Germany, Stalag 11A (one of which was my Father). Or, as in the cases of Captain Wright, Lt J Tidy and the men with them, they were all killed by the Germans.

Steve Ricketts



Pte. Robert Alfred "Snowy " Wilson South Wales Borderers

My grandfather was Robert Alfred Wilson. He was a private in the South Wales Borderers, all I know is that he was caught at Dunkirk in June 1944 and was taken prisoner for the rest of the war. I do know that he was in Marienburg in Stalag xxb.

Alex Lewis



Sgt. Ernest H. Price 1st Btn. South Wales Borderers

The 1st Battalion lost around 500 officers and men captured or killed near Tobruk, Libya when it found itself cut off by German forces during a general retreat. Sergeant Price was made a Prisoner of War in Tobruk and ended up in Italy bound for Germany on a POW train. It was on this journey that the Allerona tragedy took place.

On 28th January 1944 at the Orvieto North railway bridge at Allerona, Italy, a train full of Allied prisoners, most of whom had come from Camp P.G. 54, Fara in Sabina, north of Rome, was hit by friendly fire from the American 320th Bombardment Group. U.S. Army member Richard Morris was on the train and wrote that the journey was stopped on the bridge over the river, and that the German guards fled as soon as the bombs struck. The prisoners were left locked inside the carriages. Many, including Ernest Price, managed to escape through holes in the boxcars caused by the bombing, and jumped into the river below. It was a great tragedy of the war resulting in the deaths of hundreds of men.

He survived the wreck with multiple slight wounds to his head and lower left leg. Upon recovery was sent to Stalag 344 in Lamsdorf, Poland.

S Flynn



CSM. Frank Charles Ricketts 2nd Btn. South Wales Borderers

My Late Father Frank Ricketts was educated at the Duke of York military school at Dover and then went straight into the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers. At the outbreak of WW2 he was serving in the Khyber Pass. In June 1942 the Battalion was sent to Egypt where he was captured and sent to Sulmona camp 78. Unfortunately when the Italians deserted the camp and the POW's went into the Mountains my Father was recaptured and then sent into Germany to Stalag 11A where he remained for the duration of the War. At the end of the War he returned to Germany as part of the occupation forces. My Father suffered recurring nightmares of his experiences right up until his death in 1977

Steve Ricketts



L/Sgt. Alfred Davies MM. Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

Alfred Davies was born in 1920 and enlisted in the TA at Horwich and then the regular army whilst still only seventeen. He served with 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers regimental number 3d 50th in India, Iraq and North Africa. He won the Military Medal in June 1942 during the withdrawal from the Tobruk area. In August of the same year all but 19 of the survivors were transfered to the Kings Own Royal Regiment.

In November 1943 Sgt Davies was part of the ill-fated garrison occupying the island of Leros when it was invaded by an overwhelming forces of German infantry and paratroops. Other regiments involved included the Royal East Kents (Buffs) and the Royal Irish Fusiliers. After five days the garrison was forced to retire. Alfred was among the hundreds wounded and taken prisoner. He was treated at a German military hospital in Salonika and then taken by cattle truck to Austria and eventually to Stalag 357 Oerbke. He remained in captivity until April 1945.

Kathleen Walsh.



Eugene Price South Wales Borderers

My grandad, Eugene Price, was a POW in Stalag XVIIIa, his POW number was 8003. He was in the South Wales Borderers. He spent nine years in India and was later a POW in a Japanese camp. I think he returned in 1948.

Alan Price



Cpl Ivor Harold "Pearl & George" Stanley Tanks transport South Wales Borderers

Regular army for 18, possibly 20 years, we think. He served in Ireland pre-war.

Pearl Butcher



Cpl. Daniel O'Leary South Wales Borderers

My granddad - Cpl Daniel O'Leary, South Wales Borderers - was held at Stalag 4b. He was originally captured at Tobruk. He was sent there after escaping from an Italian camp and being recaptured by the Germans. He had his uniform taken from him by the Italians. On his escape and recapture (with his best friend), they had to tell the Germans they were RAF aircrew in order to save their lives. They were taken to Stalag 4b where the RAF officers vouched for them and looked after them. He spent his 21st birthday at Stalag 4b. He also became a boxing champ there. My granddad made two further escapes, and was finally successful. The Germans used the camp - in 1943 - for propaganda to show that they treated the British prisoners with due respect and care - this was, of course, not true.

Damian West



Arthur Dowler South Wales Borderers

My grandfather, Arthur Dowler, served with the South Wales Borderers during WW2. He never spoke of the war to anyone - the feeling was that he was deeply traumatised having watched his friends die around him. Also he lived with the guilt of "killing the enemy". I know that he served in France, Belgium and Holland through my aunt. I also know that he went AWOL for a period following the death of his daughter...he wanted to "get home" to comfort my grandmother and his other children, but was arrested for his efforts! Any information would be much appreciated as he has since passed away. My aunt seems to think that he was asked to be a "sniper" - but declined under the thought that "they die first". He was a good and loving grandfather to me and I am desperate to understand his war-time efforts. I know that he saw a lot of action, but as a child he only ever showed me fragments of shrapnel lodged under his skin in an effort to warn me that "war is a bad and ugly thing that you never quite recover from...". Can anyone help me?

Emma



Gunner Garfield Jenkins 5th Btn. South Wales Borderers

My father, Garfield Jenkins, was captured after the Battle of Crete and sent to Stalag 8B. He told me of one successful escape from a camp in Poland. He used a ladder which he had been given to clean windows and jumped the wall. My dad was 18 at the beginning of the war. He stayed with a Polish family for two months hiding out with someone else - an Australian named Macomack. When he and his companion were liberated by the American they stole an SS car and drove to France.

In the Stalag the POWs were in working parties and when he was in a mining party he threw a girder onto the conveyor belt in order to stop the work because the Australians were not used to mining and were being picked on. But somebody else got the blame and had a right beating. They did find out it was father in the end and he was battered him too.

Jay Jenkins



Capt. Vivian Pearce South Wales Borderers

I am trying to find some archive film footage taken sometime in 1944/45 while my father Vivian Pearce was seconded to the Canadian Regiment. At the time he was a Captain in the South Wales Borderers 24th Foot. Like lots of soldiers he was caught on camera, but the footage was used in a war documentary, which I believe was called "All our Yesterdays" during the 1970s.

Victoria Morley



Pte. Douglas Joseph Bowditch South Wales Borderers

Private Bowditch was a POW in WW2. His POW number was 6861.

L Ackerman



Pte. Sydney Percival Hartry 1st Btn. South Wales Borderers

Sid Hartry was my father-in-law, his wife's brother Frederick Hayden Wright also served in the same unit. They both moved to my home town after the war and Syd was a miner. He had been a physical training instructor and keen boxer in India was always a 'tough little Welshman' They served in India, taking part in the campaign in Wirestan and then the regiment moved to Iraq and then to North Africa.

They were involved in the Battle of Gazala and were separated on the night of 21st June. Fred was captured and Syd escaped and eventually was transferred to the King's Own Royal Regiment. Fred was a POW in Germany, though he did speak of being held by the Italians, he was released in 1945.

Peter Catterall



Willie John 2nd Btn., Carrier Platoon, H. Q. Co. South Wales Borderers

In a letter postmarked 30 Dec 1939, Willie John wrote from Bernard Castle, Co. Durham, to Christine C. A. Savery, who was a volunteer with the Sandes Soldier's and Airmen's Homes throughout World War II and after. The letter was addressed to Miss Savery c/o Sandes Soldier's Home, Waterside, L'Derry, N. Ireland.

The letter thanked Savery for toffees she sent by an unnamed messenger from soldiers identifying themselves as the "Everlasting Life Squad" and expressed appreciation for Savery's Bible classes at the Sandes Home.

Other members of the "Everlasting Life Squad" are not identified.

Savery died, aged 95, at the Resthaven Nursing Home near Stroud on 22 September 1997. She was awarded the M.B.E. in 1953.










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