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The Royal Artillery in its modern form was created in 1924 by amalgamation of the Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Garrison Artillery, its origins can be traced back to the 13th century.
There are many regiments with the Royal Artillery, we are beginning to build pages for each, select a page for more information on the individual unit or scroll down to browse stories submitted so far.
- 1 Airlanding Light Regiment
- 1 Field Regt
- 1 Heavy Regiment
- 1 Medium Regiment
- 1 Pack Regiment
- 1 Regiment Honourable Artillery Company/Royal Horse Artillery
- 1 Super Heavy Regiment
- 1 Survey Regiment
- 10 Field Regiment
- 10 Medium Regiment
- 10 Survey Regiment
- 100 (Worcestershire and Oxfordshire Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment
- 100 HAA Regiment
- 100 LAA/Anti-Tank Regiment (Gordon Highlanders)
- 101 (Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment
- 101 HAA Regiment
- 101 LAA/Antitank Regiment
- 102 (Pembroke & Cardiganshire Yeo) Field Regiment
- 102 (Pembroke Yeomanry) Medium Regiment
- 102 HAA Regiment
- 102 LAA/Anti-Tank Regiment (The Northumberland Hussars)
- 102 Medium Regiment
- 103 (Suffolk) (Army) Field Brigade
- 103 Antitank Regiment
- 104 (Essex Yeo) Field Regiment
- 104 (Essex Yeo) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
- 105 (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment
- 105 (Beds Yeo) Field Regiment
- 105 Antitank Regiment
- 106 (Lancs Yeo) Field Regiment
- 106 (Lancs Yeo) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
- 106 (The Lancashire Yeomanry) LAA Regiment
- 106 LAA/Antitank Regiment
- 107 (S Notts Hussars Yeo) Field Regiment
- 107 (S Notts Hussars Yeo) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
- 107 (The South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry) Regiment RHA
- 107 Medium Regiment (The South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry)
- 107 Antitank Regiment
- 108 (Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment
- 109 (Royal Sussex Regiment) LAA Regiment
- 109 Field Regiment (Westmorland and Cumberland)
- 11 (Honourable Artillery Company and City of London Yeomanry) Brigade RHA
- 11 Field Regiment
- 11 HAC Royal Horse Artillery
- 11 LAA Regiment (City of London Yeomanry)
- 11 Medium Regiment
- 11 Regiment RHA (Honourable Artillery Company)
- 11 Survey Regiment
- 110 Field Regiment (Manchester)
- 111 (Devon) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 111 Field Regiment (Wessex)
- 111 Medium Regiment
- 112 (The Durham Light Infantry) LAA Regiment
- 112 (Wessex) Field Regiment
- 113 (The Durham Light Infantry) LAA Regiment
- 113 Field Regiment (Home Counties)
- 114 Field Regiment (Sussex)
- 114 LAA Regiment
- 115 Field Regiment (North Midland)
- 116 Field Regiment (North Midland)
- 117 Field Regiment (7th London)
- 118 Field Regiment (8th London)
- 119 Field Regiment (South Midland)
- 12 (Finsbury Rifles) LAA Regiment
- 12 Field Regiment
- 12 Medium Regiment
- 12 Regiment RHA (Honourable Artillery Company)
- 120 Field Regiment (South Midland)
- 121 LAA Regiment (Leicestershire)
- 121 Field Regiment (West Riding)
- 121 Medium Regiment (West Riding)
- 122 (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 122 (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) LAA Regiment
- 122 Field Regiment (West Riding)
- 122 LAA/Antitank Regiment
- 122 Antitank Regiment
- 123 (City of London Rifles) LAA Regiment
- 123 Field Regiment (West Riding)
- 123 Para Field Regiment
- 124 (Highland) LAA Regiment
- 124 Field Regiment (Northumbrian)
- 125 (Northumbrian) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 125 (Northumbrian) Field Regiment
- 125 (Northumbrian) Field Regiment
- 125 LAA Regiment (Cameronians)
- 126 Field Regiment (Highland)
- 126 LAA Regiment (Middlesex)
- 127 Field Regiment (Highland)
- 127 LAA Regiment (Queens)
- 128 Field Regiment (Highland)
- 128 LAA Regiment
- 129 Field Regiment (Lowland)
- 129 LAA Regiment (First Surrey Rifles)
- 13 (Highland) Light Brigade
- 13 Antitank Regiment
- 13 LAA Regiment
- 13 Medium Regiment
- 13 Regiment RHA (Honourable Artillery Company)
- 130 Field Regiment (Lowland)
- 130 LAA Regiment (Queen's Edinburgh Royal Scots)
- 131 Field Regiment (Lowland - City of Glasgow)
- 131 LAA Regiment (Cameronians)
- 132 Field Regiment (Welsh)
- 132 LAA Regiment
- 133 Field Regiment (Welsh)
- 133 LAA Regiment
- 134 Field Regiment (East Anglian)
- 134 Medium Regiment (East Anglian)
- 135 Field Regiment (East Anglian) (Hertfordshire Yeomanry)
- 136 Field Regiment (1st West Lancashire)
- 137 Field Regiment (2nd West Lancashire)
- 138 Field Regiment (City of London)
- 139 Field Regiment (4th London)
- 14 (West Lothian Royal Scots) LAA Regiment
- 14 Antitank Regiment
- 14 Medium Regiment
- 14 Royal Horse Artillery
- 140 Field Regiment (5th London)
- 140 Medium Regiment (5th London)
- 141 Field Regiment (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry)
- 142 Field Regiment (Royal Devon Yeomanry)
- 143 Field Regiment (Kent Yeomanry)
- 144 Field Regiment (Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry, Queen Mary's)
- 145 Field Regiment (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Yeomanry)
- 146 Field Regiment (Pembroke and Cardiganshire)
- 146 LAA Regiment
- 146 Medium Regiment (Pembroke and Cardiganshire)
- 147 (Essex Yeomanry) Regiment RHA
- 147 Field Regiment (Essex)
- 147 LAA Regiment (Glasgow)
- 148 (Beds Yeo) Field Regiment
- 148 (Warwickshire) LAA Regiment
- 148 Field Regiment (Bedfordshire Yeomanry)
- 149 (The Lancashire Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 149 (The Lancashire Yeomanry) Regiment RHA
- 149 Field Regiment (The Lancashire Yeomanry)
- 149 LAA Regiment (The Sherwood Foresters)
- 15 (Isle of Man) LAA Regiment
- 15 Field Regiment
- 15 Medium Regiment
- 150 (S Notts Hussars) Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
- 150 Field Regiment (The South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry)
- 150 LAA Regiment (The Loyal)
- 151 (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 152 (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 153 (Leicestershire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 153 Field Regiment
- 154 (Leicestershire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 155 (Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 156 (Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 156 Field Regiment
- 157 Field Regiment
- 158 Field Regiment
- 159 Field Regiment
- 159 Para Light Regiment
- 16 Field Regiment
- 16 LAA Regiment
- 16 Medium Regiment
- 160 Field Regiment
- 161 Field Regiment
- 162 Field Regiment
- 163 Field Regiment
- 164 Field Regiment
- 165 Field Regiment
- 166 Field Regiment
- 167 Field Regiment
- 168 Field Regiment
- 168 Light Regiment
- 168 Medium Regiment
- 169 Field Regiment
- 17 Field Regiment
- 17 LAA Regiment
- 17 Medium Regiment
- 170 Field Regiment
- 171 Field Regiment
- 171 Heavy Regiment
- 172 Field Regiment
- 173 Field Regiment
- 174 Field Regiment
- 175 Field Regiment
- 176 Field Regiment
- 177 Field Regiment
- 178 Field Regiment
- 178 Medium Regiment
- 179 Field Regiment
- 18 Field Regiment
- 18 LAA Regiment
- 18 Medium Regiment
- 180 Field Regiment
- 181 Field Regiment
- 182 Field Regiment
- 183 Field Regiment
- 184 Field Regiment
- 185 Field Regiment
- 186 Field Regiment
- 187 Field Regiment
- 188 Field Regiment
- 189 Field Regiment
- 19 Field Regiment
- 19 LAA Regiment
- 190 Field Regiment
- 191 Field Regiment
- 192 Field Regiment
- 193 Field Regiment
- 194 Field Regiment
- 195 Field Regiment
- 199 Field Regiment
- 2 Airldg Antitank Regiment
- 2 Field Regiment
- 2 Medium Regiment
- 2 Mountain Regiment
- 2 Regiment Honourable Artillery Company (HAA)
- 2 Royal Horse Artillery
- 2 Super Heavy Regiment
- 2 Survey Regiment
- 20 LAA Regiment
- 20 Antitank Regiment
- 200 Field Regiment
- 202 Field Regiment
- 203 Field Regiment
- 205 Field Regiment
- 208 Field Regiment
- 21 LAA Regiment
- 21 Antitank Regiment
- 22 Field Regiment
- 22 LAA Regiment
- 23 Field Regiment
- 23 LAA Regiment
- 23 Parachute LAA/Anti-Tank Regiment
- 24 LAA/Antitank
- 24 Antitank Regiment
- 24 Field Regiment
- 24 LAA Regiment
- 24 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 25 Field Regiment
- 25 LAA Regiment
- 26 (Highland) Pack Brigade
- 26 LAA Regiment
- 26 Medium Regiment
- 26 Searchlight Regiment (London Electrical Engineers)
- 26 Antitank Regiment
- 27 Field Regiment
- 27 LAA Regiment
- 27 Searchlight Regiment (London Electrical Engineers)
- 28 Field Regiment
- 28 LAA Regiment
- 28 Searchlight Regiment (Essex)
- 29 LAA Regiment
- 29 Searchlight Regiment (Kent)
- 3 Field Regiment
- 3 Medium Regiment
- 3 Mountain Regiment
- 3 Royal Horse Artillery
- 3 Super Heavy Regiment
- 3 Survey Regiment
- 30 Field Regiment
- 30 LAA Regiment
- 30 Searchlight Regiment (Surrey)
- 31 Field Regiment
- 31 LAA Regiment
- 31 Searchlight Regiment (City of London Rifles)
- 32 Field Regiment
- 32 Heavy Regiment
- 32 LAA Regiment
- 32 Searchlight Regiment (7th City of London)
- 33 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 33 Field Regiment
- 33 LAA/Anti-Tank Regiment
- 33 Searchlight Regiment (St. Pancras)
- 34 LAA Regiment
- 34 Searchlight Regiment (The Queen's Own)
- 35 LAA Regiment
- 35 Searchlight Regiment (First Surrey Rifles)
- 36 LAA Regiment
- 36 Searchlight Regiment (Middlesex)
- 37 LAA Regiment (Tyne Electrical Engineers)
- 37 Searchlight Regiment
- 38 LAA Regiment
- 38 Searchlight Regiment (The King's Regiment)
- 39 (The Lancashire Fusiliers) Searchlight Regiment
- 39 LAA Regiment
- 4 (Durham) Survey Regiment
- 4 Field Regiment
- 4 Medium Regiment
- 4 Royal Horse Artillery
- 40 (The Sherwood Foresters) Searchlight Regiment
- 40 LAA Regiment
- 41 LAA Regiment
- 41 Searchlight Regiment (5th Bn, The North Staffordshire Regiment)
- 42 (The Robin Hoods, Sherwood Foresters) Searchlight Regiment
- 43 (5th Bn The Duke of Wellington's Regiment) Searchlight Regiment
- 44 (The Leicestershire Regiment) Searchlight Regiment
- 45 (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) Searchlight Regiment
- 46 (The Lincolnshire Regiment) Searchlight Regiment
- 47 (The Durham Light Infantry) Searchlight Regiment
- 48 (Hampshire) Searchlight Regiment
- 49 Searchlight Regiment (The West Yorkshire Regiment)
- 5 Field Regiment
- 5 Light Regiment
- 5 Medium Regiment
- 5 Royal Horse Artillery
- 5 Survey Regiment
- 50 Searchlight Regiment (The Northamptonshire Regiment)
- 51 (Cornwall and Warwickshire) Medium Regiment
- 51 (Devon) LAA Regiment
- 51 (East Lancashire and Cumberland) Brigade RFA
- 51 (London) HAA Regiment
- 51 (Lowland) Heavy Regiment
- 51 (Midland) Medium Regiment
- 51 (West Highland) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 51 (Westmorland and Cumberland) Field Regiment
- 51 Searchlight Regiment (Highland)
- 51 Antitank Regiment
- 52 (6th London) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 52 (Bedfordshire Yeo) Heavy Regiment
- 52 (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Heavy Regiment
- 52 (East Lancashire) LAA Regiment
- 52 (Kent) Medium Brigade
- 52 (London) HAA Regiment
- 52 (Manchester) Field Regiment
- 52 L.A.A. Regiment
- 52 Searchlight Regiment (Queen's Edinburgh Royal Scots)
- 52 Antitank Regiment
- 53 (Bolton) Field Regiment
- 53 (City of London) HAA Regiment
- 53 (King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) LAA Regiment
- 53 (London) Medium Regiment
- 53 (Worcestershire and Oxfordshire Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 53 Air-Landing Light Regiment (Worcestershire Yeomanry)
- 53 Antitank Regiment
- 53 Field Regiment
- 53 Heavy Regiment
- 53 Searchlight Regiment (Royal Northumberland Fusiliers)
- 54 Antitank Regiment
- 54 (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) LAA Regiment
- 54 (City of London) HAA Regiment
- 54 (Durham and West Riding) Medium Brigade
- 54 (The Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 54 (Wessex) Field Brigade
- 54 (West Highland) Field Brigade
- 54 (West Riding and Staffordshire) Medium Brigade
- 54 Heavy Regiment
- 54 Searchlight Regiment (The Durham Light Infantry)
- 54 Super Heavy Regiment
- 55 (Kent) HAA Regiment
- 55 (Northumbrian) Medium Brigade
- 55 (Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 55 (Wessex) Field Brigade
- 55 (Wessex) Field Regiment
- 55 Heavy Regiment
- 55 LAA/Anti-Tank Regiment
- 55th Searchlight Regiment, RA (Durham Light Infantry)
- 56 (Cornwall) HAA Regiment
- 56 (Highland) Medium Regiment
- 56 (Highland) Medium Regiment
- 56 (King's Own) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 56 (Wessex) Army Field Regiment
- 56 Antitank Regiment
- 56 Heavy Regiment
- 56 LAA Regiment (East Lancashire)
- 56 Searchlight Regiment (Cameronians)
- 56 Antitank Regiment
- 57 (East Surrey) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 57 (Glasgow) Searchlight Regiment
- 57 (Home Counties) Field Regiment
- 57 (Home Counties) Field Regiment
- 57 (Lowland) Medium Regiment
- 57 (Lowland) Medium Regiment
- 57 (Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment
- 57 (Wessex) HAA Regiment
- 57 Heavy Regiment
- 57 LAA Regiment (King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry)
- 57 Antitank Regiment
- 58 (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) LAA Regiment
- 58 (Duke of Wellington's) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 58 (Kent) HAA Regiment
- 58 (Suffolk) Medium Regiment
- 58 (Sussex) Field Regiment
- 58 (Sussex) Field Regiment
- 58 Heavy Regiment
- 58 Searchlight Regiment (Middlesex)
- 58 Antitank Regiment
- 59 (4th West Lancashire) Medium Regiment
- 59 (Duke of Connaught's - Hampshire) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 59 (Home Counties) (Cinque Ports) Field Brigade
- 59 (Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment
- 59 (The Essex Regiment) HAA Regiment
- 59 (Warwickshire) Searchlight Regiment
- 6 Field Regiment
- 6 Medium Regiment
- 6 Royal Horse Artillery
- 6 Survey Regiment
- 6 Survey Regiment
- 60 (6th Cheshire and Shropshire) Medium Regiment
- 60 (City of London) HAA Regiment
- 60 (North Midland) Field Regiment
- 60 (Royal Welch Fusiliers) Anti-Tank Regiment
- 60 Heavy Regiment
- 60 Searchlight Regiment (Middlesex)
- 60 Antitank Regiment
- 61 (Carnavon & Denbigh Yeo) Medium Regiment
- 61 (Middlesex) HAA Regiment
- 61 (North Midland) Field Regiment
- 61 (North Midland) Super Heavy Regiment
- 61 (South Lancashire Regiment) Searchlight Regiment
- 61 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 61 Carnarvon and Denbigh (Yeomanry) Medium Regiment
- 61 Heavy Regiment
- 61 Medium Brigade
- 61 Super Heavy Regiment
- 61 Antitank Regiment
- 62 (North Midland) Field Brigade
- 62 (North Scottish) Medium Brigade
- 62 (Northumbrian) HAA Regiment
- 62 (Scottish) Medium Regiment
- 62 (The Loyal) Searchlight Regiment
- 62 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 63 (6th London) Field Regiment
- 63 (Midland) Medium Regiment
- 63 (Northumbrian) HAA Regiment
- 63 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 63 Medium Regiment (Highland)
- 63 Searchlight Regiment (Queen's)
- 64 (7th London) Field Regiment
- 64 (7th London) Field Regiment
- 64 (London) Medium Regiment
- 64 (Northumbrian) HAA Regiment
- 64 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 64 Medium Regiment (London)
- 64 Searchlight Regiment (Essex)
- 65 (8th London) Field Regiment
- 65 (8th London) Field Regiment
- 65 (Highland) Medium Regiment
- 65 (The Manchester Regiment) HAA Regiment
- 65 Anti-Tank Regiment (Norfolk Yeomanry)
- 65 Medium Regiment (Highland)
- 65 Searchlight Regiment (Essex)
- 651 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 652 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 653 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 654 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 655 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 656 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 657 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 658 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 659 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 66 (Leeds Rifles, The West Yorkshire Regiment) HAA Regiment
- 66 (Lowland) Medium Regiment
- 66 (South Midland) Field Brigade
- 66 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 66 Medium Regiment (Lowland)
- 66 Searchlight Regiment (Gloucesters)
- 660 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 661 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 662 Air Observation Post Squadron
- 67 (South Midland) Field Regiment
- 67 (Suffolk) Medium Regiment
- 67 (York and Lancaster) HAA Regiment
- 67 Medium Regiment (Suffolk)
- 67 Searchlight Regiment (Welch)
- 67 Antitank Regiment
- 68 (North Midland) HAA Regiment
- 68 (South Midland) Field Regiment
- 68 (W Lancs) Medium Regiment
- 68 Medium Regiment (4th West Lancashire)
- 68 Searchlight Regiment (The Monmouthshire Regiment)
- 68 Antitank Regiment
- 69 (Carnavon & Denbigh Yeo) Medium Regiment
- 69 (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) HAA Regiment
- 69 (West Riding) Field Regiment
- 69 LAA/Anti-Tank Regiment
- 69 Medium Regiment (Carnarvon and Denbigh) (Yeomanry)
- 69 Searchlight Regiment (3rd City of London)
- 69 Antitank Regiment
- 7 Field Regiment
- 7 Medium Regiment
- 7 Mountain Regiment
- 7 Survey Regiment
- 70 (3rd West Lancashire) HAA Regiment
- 70 (Sussex) Searchlight Regiment
- 70 (West Riding) Field Regiment
- 70 Medium Regiment
- 70 Antitank Regiment
- 71 (East Lancashire) Searchlight Regiment
- 71 (Forth) HAA Regiment
- 71 (West Riding) Field Regiment
- 71 Medium Regiment
- 71 Antitank Regiment
- 72 (Hampshire) HAA Regiment
- 72 (Middlesex) Searchlight Regiment
- 72 (Northumbrian) Field Regiment
- 72 Medium Regiment
- 72 Antitank Regiment
- 73 (Northumbrian) Field Brigade
- 73 HAA Regiment
- 73 Medium Regiment
- 73 Searchlight Regiment
- 73 Antitank Regiment
- 74 (City of Glasgow) HAA Regiment
- 74 (Northumbrian) Field Regiment
- 74 Medium Regiment
- 74 Searchlight Regiment (Essex Fortress)
- 74 Antitank Regiment
- 75 (Highland) Field Regiment
- 75 (Home Counties) (Cinque Ports) HAA Regiment
- 75 (Shropshire Yeomanry) Medium Regiment
- 75 Heavy Regiment (Highland)
- 75 Medium Regiment
- 75 Searchlight Regiment (Middlesex)
- 75 Antitank Regiment
- 76 (Gloucestershire) HAA Regiment
- 76 (Highland) Field Regiment
- 76 (Shropshire Yeomanry) Medium Regiment
- 76 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 76 Medium Regiment
- 77 (Highland) Field Regiment
- 77 (The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry) Medium Regiment
- 77 (Welsh) HAA Regiment
- 77 Antitank Regiment
- 77 Medium Regiment
- 78 (1st East Anglian) HAA Regiment
- 78 (Lowland) Field Regiment
- 78 (The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry) Medium Regiment
- 78 Antitank Regiment
- 78 Medium Regiment
- 79 (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) HAA Regiment
- 79 (Lowland) Field Regiment
- 79 (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment
- 79 Medium Regiment
- 79 Antitank Regiment
- 8 Field Regiment
- 8 Medium Regiment
- 8 Survey Regiment
- 80 (Berkshire) HAA Regiment
- 80 (Lowland - City of Glasgow) Field Regiment
- 80 (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment
- 80 Medium Regiment
- 80 Antitank Regiment
- 81 (Welsh) Field Regiment
- 81 HAA Regiment
- 81 Antitank Regiment
- 82 (Essex) HAA Regiment
- 82 (Welsh) Field Brigade
- 82 Antitank Regiment
- 83 (Blythswood) HAA Regiment
- 83 (Welsh) Field Regiment
- 83 Antitank Regiment
- 84 (1st East Anglian) Field Brigade
- 84 (Middlesex, London Transport) HAA Regiment
- 84 Medium Regiment (Sussex)
- 84 Antitank Regiment
- 85 (East Anglian) Field Regiment
- 85 (East Anglian) Field Regiment
- 85 (Tees) HAA Regiment
- 85 Medium Regiment (City of London)
- 85 Mountain Regiment (East Anglian)
- 85 Antitank Regiment
- 86 (Herts Yeo) Field Regiment
- 86 (Honourable Artillery Company) HAA Regiment
- 86 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 86 Medium Regiment
- 86 Medium Regiment (Cornwall)
- 87 (1st West Lancashire) Field Regiment
- 87 (1st West Lancs) Field Regiment
- 87 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 87 HAA Regiment
- 87 Medium Regiment
- 88 (2nd West Lancashire) Field Regiment
- 88 HAA Regiment
- 88 Medium Regiment
- 88 Antitank Regiment
- 89 (3rd West Lancashire) Field Brigade
- 89 Anti-Tank Regiment (Liverpool Scottish)
- 89 HAA Regiment
- 9 Field Regiment
- 9th Medium Regiment
- 9 Survey Regiment
- 90 (City of London) Field Regiment
- 90 Anti-Tank Regiment
- 90 HAA Regiment
- 90 Antitank Regiment
- 91 (4th London) Field Regiment
- 91st Anti-Tank Regiment (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)
- 91 HAA Regiment
- 91 Antitank Regiment
- 92 (5th London) Field Regiment
- 92 Anti-Tank Regiment (Gordon Highlanders)
- 93 (East Lancashire) Army Field Brigade
- 93rd Anti-Tank Regiment (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)
- 93 HAA Regiment
- 94 (Dorset and Somerset Yeomanry) Field Brigade
- 94 (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 94 (Somerset Yeomanry) Field Brigade
- 94 Antitank Regiment
- 95 (Hampshire) Field Brigade
- 95 HAA Regiment
- 95 Antitank Regiment
- 96 (Royal Devon Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 96 Antitank Regiment
- 96 HAA Regiment
- 97 (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 97 Antitank Regiment
- 97 HAA Regiment (The London Scottish)
- 98 (Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry, Queen Mary's) Field Regiment
- 98 HAA Regiment
- 98 Antitank Regiment
- 99 (Buckinghamshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
- 99 Antitank Regiment
- 99 HAA Regiment
- Raiding Support Regiment
The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website.
- The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors. If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.If you enjoy this site
please consider making a donation.
- We are also looking for volunteers to help with the website. We currently have a huge backlog of submissions which need to be edited for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.
Research your own Family History.
Apr 2014 - Please note we currently have a large backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 215083, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.
We are aware of the issue with missing images, this is due to the redesign of the website, images will reappear as soon as the new version of the page is completed, thank you for your patience.
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The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes.World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
List of those who served with the Royal Artillery during The Second World War
Select a story link or scoll down to browse those stories hosted on this website
- William Henry Cornish. 236/76 Regt R A Read his Story
- Eddie Eccles. 105/119 Battery 31st Field Regiment R.A. Read his story
- Eva Everitt (nee Scoles) 137 Regiment Heavy Artillery.Read her story
- George Bailey. 23rd Field Regiment R.A. Read his story
- Gnr. Arthur Bayliss 277/68 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. Read his Story
- Peter Paul Bogan. Read his story
- Sgt John Cairns.
- Stanley Douglas Gittings. 257/65th RA Field Regiment. Read his Story
- Percy James Grant. 239/101lt AA & A / T Regt Read his Story
- John Albert E Hammond. Read his Story
- Cecil "Charlie" Holmes. 52 L.A.A. Regt R.A.Read his story
- Thomas James Holmes. Signal Section (attached) 13th Medium Regt. Read his story
- Daniel James Read his story
- Gnr Ronald Frank Lancaster. Royal Artillery Read his story
- Bdr. Herbert Notley. (d. 5 Feb 1941)
- George Phillips. 457 Light Battery R.A. Read his story
- Gunner James Patrick Renton Read his story
- James Robert Scott Read his story
- Gnr George Smith.
- Bbdr. William "Paddy" or "Dad" Walsh. Royal Horse Artillery Read his story
- Bombardier A W Ward. Read his story
- Gunner Frank Allen Read his Story.
- Gnr. Tommie Henry George Atkins Read his Story.
- Thomas Baker Anti Tank Read his Story.
- Gunner Anthony Albert Barwick 69th Medium Regiment, 242 Battery Read his Story.
- Arthur Ernest Bates 5th Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Hugh Beattie 23rd Field Regt Read his Story.
- Edward Alfred James Bennett Read his Story.
- Gnr. William Bennett Read his Story.
- Gnr. Richard Berryman Read his Story.
- Pte. Alfred Cyril Best Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Desmond Bettany 88th Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Ronald Owen Blake Read his Story.
- Gnr. Fred Blunden Read his Story.
- Bmdr. Walter Bollands Light Anti Aircraft Read his Story.
- Capt John Brabazon Booth Read his Story.
- Gnr. Eric Boulby 55 Heavy Regiment (d.May 13, 1945) Read his Story.
- Gnr. William Bowerbank Read his Story.
- Thomas Boyce Guards Armoured Division Read his Story.
- Hugh Elliott Breach Read his Story.
- Gunner Albert Briggs X (1v) List 1C.R.U. Read his Story.
- L/Bdr Albert Briggs Read his Story.
- Pte. Ronald Robert Broadway 35th Searchlight Regiment, 342nd Battery Read his Story.
- Sgt. Frank Broome 85th Battery Read his Story.
- Gnr. Victor Louis Brown Read his Story.
- Sergeant George Frederick Thomas Burrows (d.5th July 1941) Read his Story.
- Pte. Jack Cansick Read his Story.
- Gnr. Norman James " " Carey (d.28th Jun 1944) Read his Story.
- Gnr Wilfred Carter 111th HAA Reg Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Jack "Nipper" Charlesworth Read his Story.
- Pte. Arnold "Knobby" Clark 41st Light Anti Aircraft Read his Story.
- Gnr. Malcolm Cockburn Read his Story.
- S/Sgt Gerard Alphonsus Connolly (d.24th June 1944) Read his Story.
- S/Sgt. Gerard A. Connolly (d.24th June 1944)
- Gnr. Patrick P. Conroy 6/3 Maritime Regiment (d.4th Apr 1942) Read his Story.
- Gnr. Wilfred Bernard "Cookie" Cook 86th Anti Tank Regt. (d.4th May 1945) Read his Story.
- Gnr. Robert Alfred Cope 68th Med Regt Read his Story.
- Sgt. George Cyril Cordery 53rd (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Regt. Read his Story.
- Sgt. John William Noel Cornthwaite Read his Story.
- Gnr. Clarence Crowther 2/11 Battery (d.17th Apr 1945) Read his Story.
- George Cuthbert 77th Highland Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Bert Davies MM. 138th City of London Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. John Emlyn Davies 11th Regiment, B & E Battery. Read his Story.
- Gunner Ron Davies Read his Story.
- Ronald Davies Read his Story.
- Lance Bdr. James Davis 10th Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Pte. Joseph Jerome Deponio Read his Story.
- Gnr. Wilfred Baldwin Devenish Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Thomas Brown Dey Read his Story.
- A/L/Bdr. Eric Douglas Dickers 10th Medium Regiment Read his Story.
- Sydney A. Dolman Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Joseph Donoghue Read his Story.
- Joseph William Draper 51st Ack Ack Regiment Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Cyril Dyson Read his Story.
- Sergeant Des Dyson 17th Coast Battery Read his Story.
- Sergeant Des Dyson 17th Coast Battery Read his Story.
- Eddie Eccles 31 Field Regiment, 105/119 Bty. Read his Story.
- Gunner Henry William Edward "Sid" Edwards 110th Light Anti Aircraft, 362 Battery Read his Story.
- Pte. Raymond Edwards Read his Story.
- Bdr. Robert Comfort Edwards 57th Field Artillery Regiment, 440 Battery. Read his Story.
- Bombardier Robert Comfort Edwards 57th Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Bdr. Robert Comfort "Robbie" Edwards 57th Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Pte. Hyman "Harry" Eichen MID. 7th Batallian (d.15th Feb 1945) Read his Story.
- Capt. Donald Seymour Erskine Read his Story.
- John Evans 11 Battery Read his Story.
- Gnr. John " " Evans 11 Battery Read his Story.
- Sgt.Mjr. Frederick Fellner MiD. (d.16th Dec 1944) Read his Story.
- Sgt. Lambert Fletcher Read his Story.
- Gnr. Harold Forden 124 Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Charles Maitland "Foo Foo" Forfar Read his Story.
- Cyril Fox Read his Story.
- Laurence Gibson Read his Story.
- Pte. John Gillott Read his Story.
- Stanley Douglas Gittings 65th RA Field Regiment, 257 Bty. Read his Story.
- S/Sgt. Denis George "Lofty" Goddard MID Read his Story.
- Gnr. Frank Goldman 5th Maritime Regiment (d.30th Sep 1943) Read his Story.
- Percy James Grant 239/101lt AA & A / T Regt Read his Story.
- Gnr. Andrew Gray 58th LAA Regt. Read his Story.
- Gnr. Benjamin Alexander Gray 67 HAA Regiment, 189 HAA Battery Read his Story.
- T/Capt Peter Smart Green MC. 31st Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Jacob James Grossman Read his Story.
- Sgt. George Gyves Read his Story.
- Stanley Albert Hailstone 56th Heavy Read his Story.
- Gnr. Charles Hamilton 15th IOM Light Anti Air craft Unit (d.11th Oct 1944) Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Raymond Handy 273 Battery "A" Troop. Read his Story.
- Frank Henry Harding Read his Story.
- Gnr. Thomas Hardisty 74 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, 186 Bty, H Troop. (d.15th Sep 1944) Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Albert Henry Hardwick Read his Story.
- Albert Harrington 121st Medium Regiment Read his Story.
- Ernest Harrington 8th Survey Regiment Read his Story.
- Bombardier Gunner Edward Richard Thomas Harris Read his Story.
- Gnr. Patrick Hazzard 7th Medium Rgt (d.between 31st May & 2nd of Jun 1942) Read his Story.
- Sgt. Robert Heaton MID. Read his Story.
- Mark Bernard Hebburn Read his Story.
- W/Bdr William Augustas Hepplewhite M.M 128th Highland Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Henry Higginson 1 Reg (d.21st Nov 1941) Read his Story.
- Gnr. John William Hodgkinson Read his Story.
- Sgt. Hogan 121 Medium Regiment Read his Story.
- Battery Sgt Mjr. Albert Hole MID Read his Story.
- L/Cpl Cecil "Charlie" Holmes 14th Infantry Brigade Read his Story.
- Pte. Thomas James Holmes 13th Medium Regiment, Signal Section Read his Story.
- Mjr. Arthur Horwood Read his Story.
- Gnr. Frederick Horace Henry Huckvale Read his Story.
- Fred Hughes Read his Story.
- Gnr. John Owen Hughes Read his Story.
- Gnr. Henry Humfryes 135th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regt (d.6th Aug 1945) Read his Story.
- Gunner John Arthur Hutchinson (d.21st Dec 1945) Read his Story.
- Gn Joseph John Inglis
- Gordon Keith Jackson Read his Story.
- Gnr. Stanley Jackson 63/81 London Regiment
- CSM Albert Edward "Jesse" James 50th LAA Regiment Read his Story.
- Cpt. Ernest Frederic Hope "Jeff" Jeffery Read his Story.
- Gnr. Norman "Bishop" Jenner Read his Story.
- Pte. Arthur William Johnson 5th Btn. D Coy. Read his Story.
- Gnr. Charles Frederick Johnson 68 H.A.A 277 Bty. Read his Story.
- Gnr. William Johnson Read his Story.
- Francis Benjamin Jones
- Bmdr. Gwilym Jones 5th Field Regiment, 63rd Battery Read his Story.
- Gnr. Robert Jones 97th Field Regiment (d.14th Nov 1942) Read his Story.
- John Joyce Read his Story.
- Gunner James Edward Jupp Read his Story.
- Sgt. Augustus Keen Read his Story.
- Gnr. John W. Keningale 2/28th HAA Read his Story.
- 2nd Lt. Tom Lacey MID 12th Regiment HAC Read his Story.
- Gunner Charles Alfred "Lakey" Lake 151st Ayrshire Yeomanry Read his Story.
- Gnr. Russell Telford Lees (d.29th Dec 1943) Read his Story.
- Pte. Henry Lenton Read his Story.
- Victor "Taffe" Lewis 24th Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Walter Charles Lewis Martime Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Harry Lillystone Read his Story.
- Gnr. Alfred William Limb Read his Story.
- Gnr. John Pretswell "Jock" Lockie 71st Anti Tank Regiment (d.14th Aug 1944) Read his Story.
- Pte. Thomas N Lomas Read his Story.
- Sgt. George Lownsborough Read his Story.
- Charles Thomas Maguire HAA Read his Story.
- Gnr. Charles Thomas Maguire 61st (North Midlands) Field Regt. Read his Story.
- Robert Muir Malcolm Read his Story.
- Cecil Stanley Frederick Marshall Read his Story.
- Gnr. Robert Reginald Mathias 102 (Pembroke Yeomanry) Medium Regiment (d.24th Apr 1945) Read his Story.
- Pte. Wilfred "Biff" May Read his Story.
- Lance Corporal Frank John Mayes Despatch Rider Read his Story.
- Sgt. Ernest Walter Maylin 365 Battery Read his Story.
- W/O Peter McDermont Ayrshire Yeomanry (d.29th Seotember 1941) Read his Story.
- Bmdr. Hugh Archibald "Mac" McGregor Read his Story.
- Sgt. Edward McKee 21st HAA Read his Story.
- L/Bmdr Francis Joseph "Paddy" McLoughlin Read his Story.
- Francis Joseph "Paddy" McLoughlin Read his Story.
- Albert William Mead Read his Story.
- Albert William Mead Read his Story.
- Pte. Herbert Mercer 140th Field Rgt ,367 Battery Read his Story.
- Raymond Aubrey Midcalf 12th CM Battery. Read his Story.
- Dvr. Charles Albert Mills Read his Story.
- Charles Albert "Bisto" Mills 81st Anti-Tank Regiment Read his Story.
- Harry Mitchell 128th Highland Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Harry Mitchell 128th Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Stanley Moffatt Read his Story.
- James Mortimer 15th Scottish Read his Story.
- James Mortimer 190th Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Fred Mycock Read his Story.
- Bdr. James Norris 24th Field Regt (d.4th Dec 1944) Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. William John Papworth 5th Medium Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Ernest Park 57 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, 171 Bty. (d.7th Mar 1943) Read his Story.
- Cpt. Arthur Wellesley "Bill" Parry 113 Field Regiment (d.16th Dec 1943) Read his Story.
- Osman Parker "Ommy" Pearce Read his Story.
- Gunner Reginald Ernest Pearce 50th Battalion Read his Story.
- Gnr. Brian Arthur Plant CdG. 102 Light Anti-Aircraft Regt, 31 AA Read his Story.
- Cpl. Frederick James Price 82nd Anti Tank Regiment, 284 Baty. Read his Story.
- Gnr. William James Priestman Read his Story.
- A/Sgt Patrick Joseph Quinlan MM 146 Battery
- Gunner Hugh Quinn 79th Hertfordshire Yeomanry (d.4th Jan 1945) Read his Story.
- BSM. John Ray Read his Story.
- Kenneth "Taffy" Rees 55th Heavy Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. Edward Richard Roberts 59 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, 179 Battery Read his Story.
- Gunner William James Rose (d.8th July 1944)
- Gnr. John James Rowley 77 HAA Rgt, 240 Btty. (d.10th Aug 1943) Read his Story.
- Gunner Leonard Edward Sales Read his Story.
- Gnr Victor George Scott 76 Medium Regiment (Shropshire Yeomanry) Read his Story.
- Pte. Christian Settle Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Robert Shadforth 106th Light Ack AckCompany Read his Story.
- Pte. Walter Shearwood 121st Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Sgt. Eric Simpson 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery Read his Story.
- Gnr. Llewellyn Sims 34 L.A.A. Regt. 92 Bty. (d.19th March 1942) Read his Story.
- Gnr. Percy Robert " " Sketchley 12th Regiment (d.10th Apr 1945) Read his Story.
- Gnr Hugh Brown Skilling Read his Story.
- W/Bdr Leonard Albert "Smuger" Smith 81st Field Regiment, 322 Field Battery Read his Story.
- Sgt Eric Cyril Sparks 87 Field Regt. Read his Story.
- Gnr. Alec Roy "Spenny" Spencer Read his Story.
- George Arthur Spriggs 132 Battery, 2 Searchlight Coy. Read his Story.
- Bdr. William John Stainthorpe MM. Read his Story.
- Sgt. John Staley 23rd Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Gnr. James " " Stanaway 71st Anti Tank Regiment (d.17th Jul 1944) Read his Story.
- Irvin Steels 7th Medium Regt, Read his Story.
- Sgt Douglas Taylor Read his Story.
- Gnr. James John Bagan Taylor Read his Story.
- BQMS. William Charles Taylor Read his Story.
- Francis Anderson George Thorne 3rd Field Regiment (d.17th Jun 1942) Read his Story.
- Gnr. George Herbert Titley Read his Story.
- Peter Toolen Read his Story.
- L/Bdr. Albert Edward Tozer 35 Lt AA Regiment, 78 Bty (d.23rd Aug 1945) Read his Story.
- Gnr. Percy "Sam" Twigg Read his Story.
- Gnr. Herbert Varney Read his Story.
- S/Sgt. John Walker 26th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment Read his Story.
- Reginald Seymour Clifton "Todd" Walker Read his Story.
- Lt. George Ernest "Walshie" Walsh 65 HAA Rgt. RA (TA) Read his Story.
- Bombardier AW Ward Read his Story.
- Sergeant Francis "Frank" Wardale Read his Story.
- Sergeant Francis "Frank" Wardale Read his Story.
- Gnr. Thomas Stanley Warwick 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Artillery, D Troop (d.23rd Sep 1944) Read his Story.
- Pvt William Barr Webster Read his Story.
- John Henry Weeks 23rd Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Sergeant John Stainley West 116th Light Ack Ack Co Read his Story.
- Harold Arthur Armstrong While 51st Field Regiment Read his Story.
- Maj. John Stanley White 29th Kent Searchlight Regiment, 468 Searchlight Bt Read his Story.
- Gnr. Agnes Inverarrity Whyte 455 Battery Read his Story.
- Bdr. John Stewart Wibberley Read his Story.
- Thomas Charles Wilding Read his Story.
- Bdr. Wileman
- Bdr. Joseph William Wilkinson 109 LAA Bty. Read his Story.
- Chaplain. Arthur Wellesly P. Williams (d.16th Dec 1943) Read his Story.
- Gnr. Richard " " Williams 140 Field Regiment (d.btwn 10th May 1940 & 26th June 1940) Read his Story.
- Gnr. William John "Bennet" Williams 25th Medium and Heavy Training Regiment Read his Story.
- Sgt. William Christopher James "Kit" Williams 35 L.A.A. Regt, 78 Bty. (d.1943) Read his Story.
- Pte. Christopher Fegellan "Tug" Wilson 2nd Searchlight Regiment, 5 Battery Read his Story.
- Gnr. Thomas Wilson Read his Story.
- Cpt. P. Windham Read his Story.
- Sergeant Frederick George Woodward 282 H.A.A. Battery Read his Story.
- Signalman George Sydney "Lefty" Wright 154 Field Regiment (Leics. Yeo.) Read his Story.
- Gnr. George Wilfred Wyatt 1st Regiment Read his Story.
- Henry Yalden Read his Story.
- Geoffrey Francis Young 16th Medium Regiment, 107bty. (d.8th Feb 1945) Read his Story.
- Lt. Robert Alan Young Read his Story.
William Henry Cornish served with the Royal Artillery regiment 236/76 He was awarded the Africa star and Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services
Im seeking information regarding my Great Uncle Jimmy, Gunner James Patrick Renton. Hopefully I may find someone who served with him or even someone who knew any of the men in this picture.
1931 Jim Renton was aged 21 when he joined the Army and became a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery. He was a member of the battery football team and in 1934 he sailed aboard the HMT Lancashire for his posting to India. Having arrived in Karachi on the November of 1934 he was then based in the Peshwar Valley and also to the Khyber Pass ( now part of Pakistan)
He continued his service till 1937 when he returned to Britain and went to work for the GPO in Sunderland. Upon his return to Sunderland it appears from his marriage certificate that he was living with his Brother John or sister Mary at 6 Hudson Road, Hendon Sunderland. Jim was married to Rachel Reynolds of 18 Thomas Street, Sunderland on the 28th November 1938, Witnesses to the marriage were Matthew Shinkfield (his sisters brother in law) and an Elizabeth Burns.
Jim was recalled to Army service just before the outbreak of World War 2 and was posted to the British Expeditionary Force, presently being mobilised for France and Belgium. The RHA and Royal Artillery were involved in a large number of actions against the German offensive and fought a number of rearguard actions when the B.E.F began its retreat to the beaches at Dunkirk. When he did make it home he arrived at his brother John’s address in Hudson Road, Hendon, Sunderland. John Jnr (his young nephew) describes Jim’s arrival as a shocking one for the family. He turned up at the front door in his underwear, a greatcoat and a pair of ammo boots that had gone green due to being immersed in seawater for so long, and was described as exhausted.
Jim remained with the family for about five days before receiving orders to be posted to a new unit 531 Coastal Regiment Royal artillery were reforming and re equipping. His wife Rachel later joined him and took lodgings near the camp. I beleive that this may have been in Grimsby ????
The family in Sunderland were alerted to Jims failing health by Rachel when she wrote to her brother in law John explaining that Jim was in Hospital. Jim died at Westlands, Grimsby on November 2nd 1940 from 4 listed problems according to his death certificate.
1. Cardiac failure due to
2. Pulmonary adema due to
3. Hypertension due to
4. Congenital cystic disease of the kidney
The death was certified by a T.H.A Dickenson, the Deputy Coroner for the Borough of Grimsby after post mortem.
Any help would be appreciated and if possible reciprocated
Can anybody help me identify the men in these photographs and the battallion in which they served?
My grandad James Robert Scott is second left on the front row of four men that are kneeling. All I know is that my grandad and these men served in the Royal Gunners Artillery at Dunkirk.
I have other photos that contain family portraits of other members of my family that also served in the artillery in The Great War. Where they served and who they are is a mystery, but they are all linked to each other through the generations. View the photos Any information would be greatly appreciated.
The family Haenen who is living in LAAR in the south of the Netherlands wants to come in contact with the soldier in the photo or his family. He probably was with the royal artillery. He was billeted at their farmhouse in the fall of 1944.
My father in law Eddie Eccles (105/119 battery of the 31 Field Regiment R.A. ) was caught at Tobruk on 15th Dec 1941 whilst taking part in the great Battle of Halem Hamza in the Lybyan Desert.
Understandably Eddie was reluctant to talk about his experiences so I would love to hear from others who may have knowledge of the battle and times of this Field Regiment during this period in the Lybyan Desert and also at STALAG 8B.
Fred Hughes Royal Artillery
I met my husband Fred in Penzance while I was serving with the Land Army, he was with the Royal Artillery, we got married in 1945.
Pte. Herbert Mercer 140th Field Rgt ,367 Battery Royal Artillery
My father, Pvt Herbert Mercer, Royal Artillery, 140th Field Reg, 367 Battery, was held as a prisoner at Stalag 8B - E3 Blechhammer he lived in hut 33 for about 4 years.
Gunner John Arthur Hutchinson Royal Artillery (d.21st Dec 1945)
I am trying to trace my Grandfather's death and service records, I know he died in a Hospital called Whynick, theres a mystery around this I'm trying to find out anything I can to put this to rest after 8 years at trying to find out. Thank You
Lance Corporal Frank John Mayes Despatch Rider Royal Artillery
My Dad, Frank Mayes was imprisoned in Stalag 8b, he was in the camp for about 3 years, I have his old pow book.
Gnr. Alfred William Limb Royal Artillery
My Grandad was Alfred William Limb. He was a Gunner with the Royal Artillery. He was admitted to Stalag XXIB on 11.6.1940, & his condition was 'not stated'.
Irvin Steels 7th Medium Regt, Royal Artillery
My father Irvin Steels of 7th. Medium Regiment RA was captured in North Africa by Italians and taken to Italy via Naples. One of my father’s favourite sayings was ‘People say see Naples and die. When we were there the buggers threw bricks at us.’ They were handed over to the German Army who took them to Stalag 8B. My dad spent the rest of the war there working in the coal mines ‘where the pit props were like telegraph poles’. He joined the Army to get away from Fryston Colliery where the seam was only 2 feet thick. He left Poland on the forced March and was liberated by the Americans who had to operate on him to remove a leg which had gone gangrenous as a result of the frostbite which he suffered on the March. Needless to say my father who died in 1997 was never very forthcoming about his experiences and this is all I know of his time in captivity.
Gnr. John Owen Hughes Royal Artillery
My Grandfather, Taid as I call him, Gunner John Owen Hughes from Anglesey was captured in early 1942. I am not entirely certain of the date but have a letter dated 11th June 1942 he received from his sister Mary. There is an address on the letter of, SETT2 CAPAN8 PG65 which I believe is a holding camp in Gravina Italy. He was then transferred to Stalg 1Vb possibly during 1943, again I have correspondence dated 29th December 1943. The letters hold two different POW numbers, 4192702 and 227626.
I have read your website with intrigue and admiration for all those who served our country. If there is anyone who is able to help me with any information I would be very grateful.
Reginald Seymour Clifton "Todd" Walker Royal Artillery
Reginald Seymour Clifton Walker was the youngest son of Arthur George Walker and Teresa Agnes. Like his brother, Angus, he was given a grand collection of names. We are unsure of the Seymour connection, but Clifton came from the place of his mother’s birth. He was always known as Todd. The name came from his inability as a child to say Reginald and it came out as Toddles. Todd was in the Royal Artillery and served from about 1941 to 1946 on the searchlight batteries, firstly at Deal in Kent and for the remainder on the Rock of Gibraltar. After the war he took a course at the Government Training Centre, Letchworth, to become a bricklayer. He married Queenie Cox of Stotfold in St Mary’s Parish Church, Baldock, and they spent their married life at 2 Manor Cottages, Willian.
Battery Sgt Mjr. Albert Hole MID Royal Artillery
My Great Grandfather served in the 8th army from 1940 onwards. He was Battery Sergeant Major Albert Hole, from Swansea South Wales. He served in Italy and against Rommel in the dessert. He was mentioned in despatches and wore the oak leaf because of this. He came home in 1944 after being shot in the leg. He brought home with him a very old pipe which was given to him by the family he stayed with in italy they even built hima seperate wing on the side of the house for hime to stay in.
Albert William Mead Royal Artillery
My granddad, Bill Mead, is a veteran of WW2 and I am currently trying to find anyone who remembers him or has any photos that may be of interest to him. He was a member of the Royal Artillery, is from Birmingham and was in Stalag VIIIB Lammsdorf and Stalag XXA.
Gnr. Richard Berryman Royal Artillery
Dick Berryman was in Stalag 8b with my Father, Arthur Booker, if anyone remembers him or his fellow POW's please get in touch.
Gnr. Victor Louis Brown Royal Artillery
Our father never wanted to talk about his time as a POW, so we are trying to piece that part of his life together. We do know that he was at Stalag 357 when it was liberated. We also know that he was part of the large group of prisoners marched toward Poland. Little else is known, so any information or if anyone knew him would be a huge help. Unfortunately he passed away in 1990, without ever telling his story. Thank you in advance. His son and daughter.
L/Cpl Cecil "Charlie" Holmes 14th Infantry Brigade 52LAA Regiment RA
My father, Cecil Holmes,(known to his army friends as Charlie) joined the army at the start of the war in 1939 when I was a baby. I have one letter which he wrote to my mother in 1940 which indicated that he was 7611996 L/Cpl C.E.Holmes of 52 L.A.A. Regt R.A. workshops R.A.O.C. of the 14th Infantry Bde, Middle East Forces, at that stage. He was captured in Crete in May 41 and served the rest of the war as a POW mainly in Stalag IV B, returning home on my younger brother's 5th birthday, 29 May 45.
Dad did not speak to us often about his experiences during the war, but he and his old army friend, Jimmy Corrigan, would meet maybe twice a year and reminisce. On those occasions we would pick up snippets of their experiences. For instance, one which I rememberwas. He and a party of POWs were returning from a work party. They were permitted to take into the camp a small bag of sticks for the fire in the hut. When the guard asked dad what was in his bag he replied "A radio". The guard laughed and passed him into the hut without examining the bag. The bag did, of course, contain sticks, but also a radio.
A couple of years ago on Remembrance Day some ex POWs from Stalag IV B were interviewed on television. One spoke of the Stage Shows and Plays they used to put on in the camp, and that they had an illicit radio back stage. I have wondered since if it had been dad's radio. Unfortunately dad died in his 80th year in 1993. I wish he had survived to hear these men's recollections. He would have remembered them and what they had to say.
Another story he told was that he had been taken out of the camp to a civilian dentist for treatment. The dentist's wife was Irish. Dad asked her for some bread to take back to the men, and offered his gold ring in exchange for the bread. When he returned to the camp he found his ring embedded in the loaf. I now possess the ring.
Quite a few years ago I was at T.A. Camp in Sennybridge, S. Wales. Four of us decided to Hitch-hike to London for the week-end. We went into a cafe, I think it was the Nuffield Centre. There was only one other person in the cafe. During the meal this person came over to us and said that he recognized our accent as being from Northern Ireland and asked if we knew a man called Charlie Holmes. I told him that my father was Cecil Holmes and that his army friends called him Charlie. He said, "That's the very man, I was a POW with him". Unfortunately that is the total of my recollections of that occasion.
Early in May 45 I was a little boy of 6. I awoke early one morning, coming dawn, to see a man standing beside my bed. He appeared to fall over the bed and disappear. On 29 May 45 my Grand-mother (Dad's mum), my mother, two of dad's brothers, his sister, my younger brother, and I were at the L.M.S. Railway Station to meet my father coming home from the war. Hundreds of soldiers were walking along the platform from the Larne train. One in particular walked past us. I went after him and brought him back. It was my father. He was the man I had seen a couple of weeks earlier, in my vision. He had not recognized us (probably because of trauma), and his mother, wife, brothers,and sister had not recognized him. He was a man of 6'1" tall but weighed only 8 stone, very different to the man who had left in 1939 to go to the war.
Is there anyone out there who remembers my father from those days? I would sincerely love to hear from them.
Gunner Charles Alfred "Lakey" Lake 151st Ayrshire Yeomanry Royal Artillery
My Grandfather was a Gunner in HQ Battery, 151st Ayrshire Yeomanry, 11th Armored Division, British Army. He fought in Normandy and in Holland before pushing into Germany until the War ended when he went to India. I recall a story he told me which I haven't forgotten. He gave me permission to share his story. He and his outfit were stationed in Caen just after D-Day. The regiment was then given the word to advance to a new posistion. In the process a random shell had fallen and wounded a nearby despatch rider. My Grandfather was ordered to tend to the man, whilst the rest of his outfit moved forward. He stayed with him and used his field dressing to bandage the mans numerous wounds until medical personnel arrived. When they arrived they took over. "I'd done my bit", and he went about finding his unit. "I knew roughly where they were". He followed their tracks and after a couple of hours of walking he found them after crossing through a large field. He reported to his battery office and continued his normal duties. Overnight the Royal Engineers had been in and cordened off a field in white tape, indicating it was a minefield. When my Grandfather woke he saw the tape and the field, "I nearly had a fit when I saw it". He had realised he had walked across 5 acres of mine field to rejoin his unit. When I asked him "so after you'd walked through the field you realised it was a minefield" he replied "Yes, after my afternoon stroll through the minefield". "Thats what serving in the forces is all about, luck". After hearing this story I shall never again complain about my familys lack of luck. It was used when needed most.
Sergeant John Stainley West 116th Light Ack Ack Co Royal Artillery
This is very much a long shot, I am trying to research my late grandfather's time during WW11. There have been numerous articles in local newspapers regarding my grandfather and the information given in these is pretty much all I know as he never spoke to us regarding his experiences. To be honest I have no idea where to start but would be most grateful for any links or information that anyone could provide.
He was Sgt John Stainley West of Stokesley, North Yorkshire and was one of the first to land on the Normandy beaches in 1944, helping to clear minefields in northern France and other parts of Europe while serving with a division of the Canadian Army where he specialised in mine detectors and detonators. He also became a POW for half a day.
On April 15th 1945 he entered Belsen as the Official British War Photographer. At the time he was serving with the 116th Light Ack Ack Company, Royal Artillery. My Grandfather spent 4 months in Belsen recording the scenes of the few victims left alive and also working in the maternity ward. He also helped collect bodies and supervise the burial of 23,000.
He had a photocopy of a Belsen record card, on the back of which were some brief notes compiled at the time. The following extracts illustrate only too vividly the grimness of the war which was nearing its end.
"We feel that some of you who were not here at Belsen from the beginning might like to see these notes. They give the most accurate facts available, We would liked to have produced them before, but we were one and all rather busy on the first main job of clearing the concentration camp. That job is now finished. On the 12 April 1945 the Chief of Staff of the 1st German Para Army approached the Brigadier General's staff of the British 8th Corps and said he had a terrible situation on hand at Belsen and that the place must be taken over. On 13 April 1945 the terms of a special truce were drawn up, although we must remember that a battle was going on all around the Belsen area. Under these terms, the British agreed to come in and take over the camp, a neutral area was defined around Belsen, the German SS camp staff were to remain, the British doing what they liked with them, and the Hungarians to remain armed and be used by the British until such time as they had no further use for them. It is believed that Brig Glyn Hughes, deputy director of medical services, was the first to arrive. The First British unit in was an Anti-Tank Battery which arrived on 15 April. The scene which met the first officers beggars description. There were an estimated 30,000 people in camp, of which about 10,000 lay dead in the huts or about the camp. Those still alive had been without food or water for about seven days, after long periods of semi-starvation. Typhus, amongst other diseases, was raging. Corruption and filth were everywhere. The air was poisoned. You have no doubt heard these terrible details from those who saw them. The tasks which faced the firstcomers must have appeared insurmountable. Nevertheless they were tackled with outstanding success when one considers the resources available.
The Document says that, eventually the Army took over control of all the concentration camps. All the living inmates of Belsen were moved into hospitals and transit camps. The total moved numbered 28,900, although 2,000 died later.
A memento which he kept to remind himself of man's inhumanity to man was a knife, fork and spoon wrapped in a cloth folder which belonged to the Nazi Commandant, the infamous "Beast of Belsen" I believe his name to be Kramer. My Grandfather confiscated it after being spat on by this officer during one of the morning parades.
He left the camp to return to England in September 1945 after contracting a disease at Belsen that attacked his nervous system and which kept him in hospital for 5 months. His illness affected him for the next ten years, resulting in loss of memory and repeated nightmares.
Geoffrey Francis Young 16th Medium Regiment, 107bty. Royal Artillery (d.8th Feb 1945)
Geoffery Francis Young was in a reserved occupation as a driver for a local delivery firm in Wrexham and did not have to join, but as many of his mates where already in the forces and being early 1945 the war seemed in its final stages he decided to see out the last stages of the war in uniform. Enlisting in early 1945 he soon found himself as a gunner in 107 Battery, 16th Med Regt (The South Notts. Hussars), Royal Artillery.
By this stage of the war UK forces were seriously depleted with little reserve left to replace 5 years worth of casualties and so within weeks of joining (and according to his letters only receiving only brief on the job training) Geoff was in Holland preparing for "operation veritable" the big push over the Rhine.
Operation Veritable lasted from Feb 8th to March 10th 1945 and was the northern part of the Second World War pincer movement by Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery's 21st Army Group with the objective to clear the land between the Rhine and Roer rivers. General Eisenhower, the Allied Commander, had decided that the best route into Germany would be across the relatively flat lands of northern Europe. This required that Allied forces should close up to the Rhine along its whole length.
Operation Veritable began at 05:00 with an artillery support of over 1000 artillery pieces (not including bofors and anti-tank guns). The initial barrage lasted for over 5 hours with a mixture of destructive firepower on enemy defences interspersed with a build up of smoke to assist the infantry advance.
107 were in constant action throughout the operation but sometime during the 8th of Feb 1945, Geoff as one of a crew of 10 manning a 5.5" gun was positioned somewhere near Kerzenheim on the German border when a USAAF plane mistook them for an enemy position and dropped bombs on their position. Two 5.5 guns were destroyed, 10 men including Geoff were killed and 8 wounded.
Geoffery Francis Young was buried at Uden war cemetery aged 19.
James Mortimer 15th Scottish Royal Artillery 190 Field Regiment
I have been delighted to find your web site, I have been researching my Father's wartime history for a few years now and at last I am slowly finding information about the 15th Scottish. His name was James Mortimer, 190th Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery seconded to the 15th. I would be interested in any information available.
Ronald Davies Royal Artillery
My father, Ronald Davies, served with the Royal Artillery and was a prisoner in Stalag 7A. He did not like talking about his wartime experiences. To my brother he spoke of being put on his knees with a gun to his head on three occasions, each time his life was saved by the priest. To me he told tales of horses head soup and that it was the only time in his life that he had worn a moustache.
He escaped, was recaptured and sent to the coalmines in Poland (I think) My father died in 1986. I wish he was here now to tell his stories.
James Mortimer 190th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
I have been delighted to find your web site, I have been researching my Father's wartime history for a few years now and at last I am slowly finding information about the 15th Scottish. His name was James Mortimer, 190th Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery seconded to the 15th. I would be interested in any information available.
Hugh Elliott Breach Royal Artillery
My father, Hugh Elliott Breach of the Royal Artillery was captured in Italy in September or October 1944. He became prisoner number 138048 at Stalag 7a, and he was liberated by American forces in May 1945. Like so many others my father never spoke about his war experiences. I know he made friends with a Canadian, Al McLennon? who lived in Vancouver, but anything else is a mystery.
Sergeant George Frederick Thomas Burrows (d.5th July 1941)
My father, Sergeant George Frederick Thomas Burrows, R.A.S.C. had been in France in the BEF and managed to get home on one of the little ships at Dunkirk. I would love to know who rescued him. After a convalescent, he was sent out to Africa, not sure quite where they intended to land. His ship was the HMS Anselm and he was one who didn't get off. I was about 6 years old at the time with 'ovaltiney' sisters of 4 and 2 and Mum expecting a baby in the November as Dad was killed in July
He was the sun in my sky and it took me over 60 years to be healed of the grief I felt at his death. This being through my Christian faith and a loving counsellor. War doesn't end with the peace treaty, as I and many others can testify.
I have a Liverpool Echo report of the incident and Padre Cedric Pugh, who, eventually received his well earned medal. It took my local councillors 50 years to get our lost loved ones names put on a monument.I also have many photos of Dad and one of Mum that he carried with him all through the BEF and Dunkirk. Also a small cutting about someone who was rescued from the Anselm. I am not very good with the computer but would be very willing to get good copies if anyone cared to have one.
Sincerely and thanks for the site. I will try and send a donation but am now an OAP and it isn't financially easy in this 'land fit for heroes'.
Gunner Reginald Ernest Pearce 50th Battalion Scottish Rifles(Cameroons)
My ex-Wife and I are researching our family trees, as it is possible we may have already been related before our Marriage. She has found some references to her Father, Reg Pearce who was a gunner with the 50th. Battalion Scottish Rifles(Cameroons). There is also a reference to his being part of No. 284 Battery (AAKAAK), based at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
The unit had a pet cat. Every time she detected the sounds of the enemy bombers, long before the crew did, she would find her safe spot, but it was the signal for the lads to be ready, well in advance, of the enemy squadrons. One Italian squadron got a real pasting, and,having thus decided that discretion was the better part of valour, just dropped their bombs and fled, and, to this day, the waters of Great Yarmouth's Harboursmouth are still host to a whole collection of unexploded bombs, that. if moved, would wreck the whole of the town if they were to go off. Reg was also aboard the SS "Strathmore", and sailed to Port Said in 1945, being posted to Cairo and Alexandra, at the same time as my own Father, Will Osborne, who was with the REME Dance Orchestra out there. He returned in 1946 aboard the SS "Caroloinen"(Caroliner?). If anyone has any information, or any stories about Reg please do email and we can both enjoy sharing some history about our two families. Thanks in Advance.
Sergeant Francis "Frank" Wardale Royal Horse Artillery
My father, Francis Wardale, known as Frank, from Liverpool was a POW between 1940-45 and was taken somewhere in North Africa. He was a Sergeant in the Royal Horse Artillery and was regular since 1936. Does anyone out there know of him?
Sergeant Des Dyson 17th Coast Battery Royal Artilliery
I am hoping to find out more about my fathers'regiments' movements. Dad was captured in Tobruk and ended up in Campo PG78 from 6th June 1942 until he escaped in Sept. or Oct. of 1943. He was Sgt. Des Dyson, (843272) 17th Coast Battery, RA.
Albert William Mead Royal Artillery
My granddad, Bill Mead, is a veteran of WW2 and I am currently trying to find anyone who remembers him or has any photos that may be of interest to him. He was a member of the Royal Artillery, is from Birmingham and was in Stalag VIIIB Lammsdorf and Stalag XXA.
Sergeant Francis "Frank" Wardale Royal Horse Artillery
My father, Francis Wardale, known as Frank, from Liverpool was a POW between 1940-45 and was taken somewhere in North Africa. He was a Sergeant in the Royal Horse Artillery and was regular since 1936. Does anyone out there know of him?
Sergeant Des Dyson 17th Coast Battery Royal Artilliery
I am hoping to find out more about my fathers'regiments' movements. Dad was captured in Tobruk and ended up in Campo PG78 from 6th June 1942 until he escaped in Sept. or Oct. of 1943. He was Sgt. Des Dyson, (843272) 17th Coast Battery, RA.
Gnr. Harold Forden 124 Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My deceased Father was in Stalag 4g I have found out some info on the camp but not that much. As you can see my Father was a gunner in the Royal Artillery during WW2. He saw action at Dunkirk & Africa before being captured at the fall of Tobruk.
Gunner Harold Forden, Royal Artillery
Enlisted into Royal Artillery Regular Army & posted to Depot 04/01/39
Posted to 1st Training Regiment 11/01/39
Posted to 22nd Field Regiment 15/04/39
Posted to 1st General Base Depot 19/04/40
Posted to 3rd Division 10/06/40
Posted to 76th (Highland) Field Regiment 11/06/40
Posted to Depot 21/06/40
Posted to 2nd Reserve Regiment 22/06/40
Posted to 124 Field Regiment 26/06/40
Reported Missing 20/06/42
Confirmed Prisoner of War 13/01/43
Repatriated to UK 14/05/45
Posted to 202 Field Regiment 12/07/45
Attached to Chillwell Motor Transport Group 02/08/45
Posted to 2nd Motor Transport Group 22/08/45
Released to Army Reserve 11/07/46
Discharged from Reserve Liability 30 June 1959
Auth: Navy, Army and Air Forces Reserve Act 1959
Service with Colours: 04/01/39 to 10/07/46
British Expeditionary Force 02/10/39 to 01/06/40
Middle East Force 19/05/41 to 30/11/41
Iraq 01/12/41 to 12/02/42
Egypt 13/02/42 to 19/06/42
Prisoner of War 20/06/42 to 13/05/45 Italy, Germany Stalag 4b and 4g
Dad was prisoner of war in Italy, but no records show which camp. He may have been kept in North Africa for some time, before going over to Italy. They were usually shipped into Italy via Benghazi or Brindisi. . After Italy surrendered they were transferred to Austria or Germany. Dad was held in Stalag 4B. The camp opened Oct.39. & was Liberated 23rd April 45. It was located in Muhlberg district 4. he was transferred to 4G on 14/10/43 This was at Oschatz eastern Germany, to the south east of Leipzig, in the direction of Meissen & Dresden & near to the south west of Muhlberg. There were only 20 men permanently based in the camp, the other 4,400 were out on working parties on farms, factories, mines etc.
Stalag 4G was an administrative and holding centre and most of the POWs were assigned to work parties (arbeits kommandos).
Any information, photographs of 4g would be greatly appreciated.
L/Bmdr Francis Joseph "Paddy" McLoughlin Royal Artillery
My late Grandfather, Francis Joseph "Paddy" McLoughlin, was held at camp 4dz near Annaburg and was released by the Americans at the end of the war. Prior to this he was held at Campo 73, Carpi in Italy following his capture by the Germans in North Africa. He was a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Artillery, army number 882792, POW number 247056 and had previously been in France before escaping from Dunqerqe.
If anybody has any information on either camp or knew of my Grandfather I would love to hear from them.
Peter Toolen Royal Artilliery
I am trying to find some information about my father, Peter Toolen, who served in WW2 in the Royal Artilliery (a radio operator, I believe). He was captured in Egypt and taken to a POW camp in Italy. I do not know much else about him except that he escaped when the Italians surrendered. My father died in 1965 and I am trying to find out his story.
Francis Joseph "Paddy" McLoughlin Royal Artillery
My late grandfather, Francis Joseph "Paddy" McLoughlin, was a lance bombardier in the Royal Artillery, escaped at Dunkerque, was then later captured in North Africa and subsequently held at Campo 73 in Carpi, Italy and then Stalag 4DZ near Annaburg.
I'm trying to get info on either camp (memories, photos, anything) and, unlikely I know, hear from anyone who knew my Grandad.
Thomas Boyce Guards Armoured Division Royal Artillery Regiment
Does anyone recognise the name of my wife's grandfather, Thomas Boyce, and are you able to help us piece together details of his army service — serving with the Royal Artillery Regiment, Guards Armoured Division and involved in BEF action at Reichwald, Rees and Bremen in Germany?
Thomas Charles Wilding Royal Artillery, 55th (WSY) Field Regiment
Thomas Charles Wilding (Army Number 930571) was a gunner in the 55th (WSY) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, served in BEF, trained at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, and saw action in Reichwald and Rees.
Does anyone recognise this man and can you help me piece together some of his experiences during his army service?
W/Bdr William Augustas Hepplewhite M.M 128th Highland Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My father William Hepplewhite was awarded the M.M for something that happend in Sicily, July 28th 1943 with the 128th Highland Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. His citation is vague on the exact place . If any one can help me with this I would be so greatful.
Gunner Anthony Albert Barwick 69th Medium Regiment, 242 Battery Royal Artillery
I have researched much of Dad's war but parts frustratingly elude me. He was Tony Barwick and he enlisted from Liverpool in 1938 and after the war was a professional soldier all his working life. I guess many men had his sort of war, taking part in big events but only realising it afterwards and doing their duty for their country through injury and sickness. He was away for 3 years from 1943 to 1946.
The following are some pointers. I have read his service record and the available unit diaries at Kew as well as researched books and the internet. For many years he led a battalion at the Dunkirk Veterans reunion each year. He died in 2007 aged 86 still carrying a shrapnel mark from the Dunkirk beaches under his heart and a German bayonet scar on an upper thigh from Cassino. And he was in the Artillery!
In 1940 he was part of 69 medium Regt, 242 battery and was ambushed at Wormhoudt whilst retreating to Dunkirk, 27-28 May. The Earl of Aylesford commanding his group was killed. The 2nd Warwicks (1& 2 24th of Isandlahwhana) were then defending it, one of Gorts strongholds. One of his unit Gnr. Parry was caught and ended up in the S.S. massacre in the barn, but Dad's group ran the lucky way and made it to Dunkirk.
I'd like to know What ship he boarded. He got off by carrying a stretcher onto a warship alongside the mole following an officer with a loaded pistol. This dates it because Gort only agreed to stretcher wounded being evacuated after MO's pressures late in the evacuation. One stretcher took the place of 10 standing men you see. I have the Royal Navy official report on the Dunkirk evacuation and HMS Worcester is the best candidate.
Dad went to Egypt in SS Samaria 1943 in time for Alamein. That ship also brought 101 Airborne of DDay fame to UK from America. Does anyone know Where the unit diary is for this North African period? (Kew National Archive hadnt got it when last I looked); Then across the western desert (I have pictures of him and his mates with some names from this time) to Anzio, Cassino and via Marseille with the Americans and back up to Wormhoudt and then to the Ruhr until 1946. I have various sources eg Walter Lord's "The Miracle of Dunkirk", Gunner Parry's "Massacre on the road to Dunkirk" and the internet eg 58th Regiment RA has a superb site with a detailed diary and Dads C.O. of 69th was in command of both Regiments for while during the Dunkirk retreat. Hence some of Dad's movements can be traced via that wonderfully detailed site. Any relative of a member of 69th Medium Regt.R.A. is welcome to contact me and I will be happy to pass on the more extensive information I have on Word file.
Gunner Henry William Edward "Sid" Edwards 110th Light Anti Aircraft, 362 Battery Royal Artillery
My Grandfather, Henry William Edward Edwards (Ted) Signed up in 1939 with the Dorset regiment. He was transfered to The Royal Artillery in 1942. Not sure at what point he became to be in the Wessex 43rd, 110th Light Anti Aircraft. I have a boxing trophy he won on the 31st May 1944 which states 362 Battery RA LAA. I have many Photos of him during the war, and have some information given to me by my uncle. He was part of a 40mm Bofor Light Anti Aircraft troop. The bofor was a towed gun, not a static or mounted on a vehicle type. From the information and detective work I have done, I believe that my grandad was in H troop. 362 Battery consisted of H & J Troop. J Troop had the mounted bofors. H troop i believe where attached to the HQ's. The photo below of my grandad outside a THQ in europe.
I Would love to get intouch with someone who had a relative in the battery or 110th in general.
John Evans 11 Battery 3HAA.RA
I served as a gunner with 177 Battery, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 1941 as Radar Operator. I later with served with 11 Battery, 3HAA.RA in Jahore, Malaya and picked up the only night incursion by the Japs while in Jahore.
The battery was at Anson Road Stadium, Kepple Harbour (a football pitch) and was near to being wiped out on Friday, 13th when many anti-personnel bombs dropped on the site with a direct hit on the height finder. Seven were killed. One bomb only on Saturday, which just missed the ammunition. After taking on a couple of low-flying Japs (traverse right-traverse right-depress-depress-fire and a short fuse up their backsides), a formation of nine were engaged with a salvo smack on the nose of the leading aircraft, followed by another salvo same place. They turned away only to detour and come back for the battery at Kepple Harbour with the sun at their backs. The large bomb we took verified that they had been heading for the Naval Base. The Indian battery nearby had taken a direct hit on a gun and the generator and transmitter of our radar were destroyed.
Although that Indian battery was not in action, 11 Battery was in action on the final day. The lone Bofor sounded reveille at 6am on the 15th, which aroused those of us who had a brief sleep in the Seaman's Mission.
Surrender was a reprieve I felt as I was convinced I must die next day.
Kenneth "Taffy" Rees 55th Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery
I am writing this on behalf of my father, Kenneth Rees, who is now 86 years old, he served with the 55th Heavy Field Regiment, Royal Artillery and has told us this story about how when he was serving in India, his regiment was being disbanded at the end of 1946-47 and he had to drive a Super Mack Lorry with a 7.2 gun to Dulali to the School of Artillery, where we believe it is still on display, there were two other people accompanying him on this trip which took at least 8 days driving.
Gnr. Percy Robert " " Sketchley 12th Regiment (d.10th Apr 1945)
Sgt. Robert Heaton MID. Royal Artillery
My Father, Robert Heaton, was in the RASC and served with the BEF in Europe and later with the Eighth Army in the Middle East (and I think in Italy) after the war he was with BAOR in Germany. I think he may have transferred regiments, as his service medals are in a box which has RA (presumably Royal Artillery) on the back.
When he was first in the Army he had the prefix T before his number, by the time of his discharge the prefix was S. I think that he was a driver at first but later was a despatch rider. He has the France and Germany Star, 1939-1945 Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal and an oak leaf on a ribbon with a narrow red stripe in the centre with a narrow white stripe, then a blue, then a red on either side. I don't know if there should be a medal to go with that.
I have a birthday card which he sent me with T 50124 Dvr R Heaton, H Q 5th Div, BEF on the back. I know that he was at Dunkirk and that he was home more than once on embarkation leave (he seemed to get sent back to Fulwood Barracks Preston before embarkation).
Quite often I was allowed to sew new insignia on his uniform and I was very proud whenever he added a stripe, he also let me clean his buttons - as I was very young I wonder now if he got into trouble for things not done correctly but I know that he would think it worth it for the love that went into those tasks.
I would love to know his full record, particularly why he was mentioned in despatches (he always said that it was for getting the General's beer through, but didn't say which General although I know that Monty was his great hero)
NOTE: The medal ribbon described is for the War Medal and there should be a medal to accompany it, it is a circular medal with the kings head on the front and a lion and the date 1939-1945 on the reverse.
Gnr. Richard " " Williams 140 Field Regiment (d.btwn 10th May 1940 & 26th June 1940)
Gunner Richard Williams was, I believe my great Uncle, who left home around 1939-40 for WW2 never to return. He is listed on the Commonwealth Graves Commission website as having no known grave and he is on the Dunkirk Memorial in France. He was 21 and lost his life between 10th May 1940 & 26th June 1940.
I never met him, but would like to understand what his role may have been, presumably during the fighting in the period around the evacuation of Dunkirk. I have been reading Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's amazing account of Dunkirk, but I have failed to connect Gunner Williams to any of the account of what happened. I realise that the fighting was intense and it is the nature of war that people get blown up, or bodies left behind in the course of action. I like to think he held off advancing Germans allowing others to get home, but any idea of what might have happened would be appreciated.
Sgt. Augustus Keen Black Watch
My Father, Gus Keen, was a pre-war Territorial and became full time in 1938. Initially in the Artillery he was seconded north to a Training Camp on the racecourse at Troon, attached to the Black Watch. Because he was an experienced driver, rare in the 1930's, he quickly rose through the ranks and became a small arms and drill instructor.
My mother never let him forget how she could hear him shouting at new recruits across the barrack square (she always said it was a mile, but I doubt it) and how on one occasion she wheeled my brother, in his pram, right up to him on the parade ground to tell him not to shout so much!
He was promoted Sergeant Major and transferred to Northern Ireland with an Ack Ack unit where he became a Spotter. His job was to go up in a Lysander aircraft, fly over Liverpool,Cardiff or Bristol- wherever the raid was coming in- and tell the gunners on the ground what height the bombers were at to set their fuses to the reuired height. On one occasion the plane ran out of fuel and they landed in a field near RAF Locking, Weston-super-Mare, and had to walk to the air station to request fuel. The Duty Officer asked my father if he wanted to go back with the 19 year old pilot or make other arrangements. He went back to N Ireland by train and ferry! He never liked flying after that and after the war never went in an aeroplane again.
Although never wounded, he played football for his regiment and had to have his cartliage removed, for which he received a war pension until his death in 1999. As a small boy in the 1950's I can remember his silver topped cane which he used when he became an Acting RSM with the Black Watch towards the end of the war. This site certainly prompts some good old memories.
Signalman George Sydney "Lefty" Wright 154 Field Regiment (Leics. Yeo.) Royal Artillery
My father was George Sydney Wright ('Sydney' to my mother and 'Lefty' to his friends in his regiment). He served with 154 Regiment R.A. from Jan. 1941 to Oct. 1945.
I was born in Brampton, Cumberland in 1940 and consequently never knew my father until I was five years old. During the war I lived with my mother, my grandparents and my aunt, whose husband was killed-in-action in Burma, May 1945.
When my father returned from the war he could not find a job, so he crossed the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland where he found work in the Civil Service in 1947. Of course my Mother and I accompanied him and this is where problems began. At such a tender age I found it extremely difficult to bond with the 'stranger' who had taken me away from the people I regarded as my family and ever since I have suffered from insecurity and a good deal of guilt.
I am very proud of his war record and think of him as a wonderful man, but I never could feel the son-to-father bond. I'm afraid I was much more bonded to my Grandfather. World War II still tortures its victims!
My father died playing bowls in June 1995 aged seventy-five. He collapsed on the green with a heart attack. Never once did he speak of his war exploits even though he was involved in the Battle of El Alamein and was in action at Ortona in Italy.
I am a retired schoolteacher and songwriter. In my spare time I have composed the following song about our relationship. I also have some photographs. Thanks for reading this and a great big thank-you to the Royal Corps of Signals, 154 Field Regiment R.A. (Leics. Yeomanry)
The lyrics to my song are as follows...
VICTIMS WITH NO COMMON GROUND
In came the soldier, fresh from El Alemein’s war,
Home from the deserts of death where boys became men.
No scars on his body, he kept them where nobody saw,
And I was too young to let Daddy be more than a friend.
Too young to swap families, starting new life with the hurt,
Too young for the change that would season a five year old heart;
He crossed the threshold with medals that hung from his shirt,
And I crossed the Rubicon ever to hold us apart.
Victims of war, we were victims of uncaring war,
Innocence suffers long after the last rifle round;
Father and son, linked by our blood and no more,
No ties that were real, just victims with no common ground.
And I watched him grow old and cope with the life that we led,
We cut two roads through time, two roads that rarely were wed;
With no one to blame, if you don’t count El Alemein’s hell,
It don’t matter now, but I wish I’d been there when he fell.
Victims of war, we were victims of uncaring war,
Innocence suffers long after the last rifle round;
Father and son, linked by our blood and no more,
No ties that were real, just victims with no common ground.
(Words & Music by Raymond Wright)
Bombardier Gunner Edward Richard Thomas Harris
My uncle, Tom Harris, was a regular in the Royal Artillery served in MEF and was transferred to Infantry served with 2 Btn Northants in NW Europe. He went missing two days after VE day and his body was found in Jan 1946 (believed murdered by Polish displaced persons.) Any information about his service would be appreciated particularly in the RA.
Gnr. James " " Stanaway 71st Anti Tank Regiment (d.17th Jul 1944)
I'm looking for information about or anyone who served with my great uncle James Stanaway from Smethwick, Staffordshire (now West Midlands). He was killed in Caen in July 1944 aged 21, whilst serving with the Royal Artillery 71st Anti Tank. He was the son of Alice and James Stanaway of Smethwick.
Gnr. John " " Evans 11 Battery Royal Artillery
I had long been wanting to join up, being a reluctant scholar, and brought leaflets home, one being about RAF apprentices which appealed, but my mother was to be my dependant relative and no way was I going to get her permission to join up. However, with call up looming, I reasoned that I may as well go early and choose my own unit, to which she agreed, so off I went to Liverpool recruiting office to be greeted by "wouldn't you like to join the Guards" before I could get inside the place. I declined, and in fact, once inside I had no idea of what I wanted to join, I was in there and savouring the moment. I was pointed in the direction of the person recruiting for the Royal Artillery as it had a choice of units, so I was given my options which included anti-aircraft. Now there were two things which drew me to that. I had been subjected to air raids and hitting back appealed, and ack-ack trained at Oswestry, which I thought useful for a weekend pass, it being nearby, so ack-ack it was.
I was to report on 13th March, 1941, and I had been on the streets with a cousin on the night of the heavy raid of March 12th/13th when many were killed and I learned what a parachute mine sounded like as it descended,a very menacing sound indeed, not the quick swish of a bomb. So off I went after a couple of hours in bed, telling mother who was accompanying me on the bus for whatever reason, that I wanted no fuss.
Parkhall Camp, Oswestry. Get those windows open on frosty nights. The nuisance early risers disturbing the peace. Parading with knife fork spoon and mug held behind back to march to breakfast.
I wanted, boy-like, to be on a gun, but a written test I undertook saw me selected for radar training which I did in Buxton, Derbyshire, where we slept on the floor in the vast Empire Hotel after going to a farm to fill up with straw the flat old mattress, which surely was from WW1?
Off to a cold windy place in North Wales, Tonfannau, with sea to the front and mountains to the rear, and cold water washing and shaving. A train up to Barmouth, and the memory of that seeing me and my wife going there for the occasional few days; the picture I had of breaking waves recalled from those wartime days. It was there that I heard the constant stream of bombers going to Liverpool on the occasion of the seven consequitive nights blitz.
Posted to 177 Battery, Newcastle about May, 1941. Newcastle was alive with uniformed people, saluting every few yards, officers and men fed up with it. One visit to a cinema and half a pint of beer returning to the site.
Why so little to spend? My 17/6- reduced by a 7/- shilling allowance made in respect of my dependant relative. I had been earning 17/6- at age 17 in a shop, and having quit that for better money, had been earning £3-15-0 take home pay, albeit for a six night working week, and a 65 hour week. That was at the Co-op bakery where I was putting up orders for confectionery with two others, one a conscientious objector, for the 47 horse draw vans which even then in 1941 were doing their rounds with bread and cakes, seven vans doing the shops. I wrecked my spine there with a stupid lift, though not knowing what was in store for me late in life as a result. I still can't believe it.
Embarkation leave and off to Woolwich. Strange these old buildings, three stories high and bare. The body of men gathered there were located in a room at ground floor where battery orders were posted. Three of us decided we would occupy a room elsewhere,and I shared a food parcel with Ron Thirling who lived in Catford. I was to be a bearer at his funeral in Thailand. We sauntered down to join the main party to find them on parade in full battle order ! "I'll give you two minutes " said a nice man, "two minutes to get back here properly dressed". Well, webbing equipment never went on so fast.
To the stores for equipment, six shirts, sis pair of shorts, a khaki drill uniform with topee, short puttees, extra this and extra that, but why oh why was I , a stripling at 11 1/2 stone and five foot ten , seen to be large ? Others had reasonablty fitting gear but mine went around me near twice. I always was unlucky.
Off to Glasgow with an overnight journey, and ferried out to the Empress of Canada, I returned there in 1991 for an apology of a holiday at Dunnoon. The only way to see the world is by sea, and once again sleeping on the floor; deck this time as hammocks we could not cope with.
"Any complaints" said the orderly officer? They moaned about mashed spuds and moaned when they got two in their jackets. The sausages were steam cooked of course and looked doubtful, so the tray was passed along, some gravy taken, and the sausages went out of the porthole. Then came the 'chicken'. Odd to see a ring on a leg, along with the odd feather, so wise men forsake that, but those who were bent on suicide partook of it and were in trouble in the early hours.
Capetown gave troops a wonderful reception, and when we left, returning to ship on Bonfire Night, oranges had been taken aboard. Now these were on sale at 1 1/2d each, and we suspected that they were a gift from those lovely people, so few bought them.
Our group of radar men were posted to a regular unit, who were posted to Singapore in 1938, and we experienced Changi Barracks which matched the comfortable life led by those who ran Malaya. Fancy being shaved in bed , a torch on your chest, a murmured word in foreign language saying -what? Off to a gunsite in Jahore, we newcomers under canvas and kit turning green with mold.
It's night and I am manning the receiver as the transmitter scans to the north. I ring the command post-" formation of aircraft bearing 35 something" Not easy to get men unused to action out of bed and they got only seven rounds off. I heard nothing from the direction of Singapore, though I read on BBC People's War a Eurasian youth who was awakened by gunfire. Well, if he could hear us, we should have heard the bombs which he said were dropped!
Guns sent up to Kuala Lumpur and radar to Mersing on the East coast, guns turning back as all else were retreating. WE on radar were relieving a static Royal Air Force radar unit, but left soon after as attention had been drawn to this tiny strip of beach by rifle fire directed at a Jap aircraft, and was followed by three bombers calling with slight damage to the radar, but our range was short and for guns only, sending us to Mersing was quite useless but appropriate to what was going on.
Anson Road Stadium was a football ground and 11 Battery was sited there, with Kepple Harbour behind and Kalang airfield ahead with an Indian battery close by. inn spite of anything written or said to the contrary, they, plus a lone Bofor gun were the only ack-ack defence, both taking casualties from direct hits. Twice daily a formation of 27 aircraft blanket bombed with mainly anti-personnel bombs , and the said are was where they dumped them. We with radar had been pushed around from pillar to post as radar was for night use only. We were with the Indian battery when our generator and transmitter were destroyed and a direct hit on a gun.
We heard that 11 battery had taken a beating, with seven dead via a direct hit on the height finder and the battery close to being wiped out. There must have been ten or twelve bombs on site on that Friday 13th. only one HE bomb which just missed the ammunition on Saturday, but Sunday, the final day saw the battery taking on low fliers before engaging a formation of nine heading for the naval base. Two salvos were each smack on the nose of the leading aircraft which forced them to turn away. Alack and alas, they detoured and came in from Kepple Harbour with the sun behind them and the one very big bomb we took proved where they had been headed. I suppose we surprised them as the battery must have been seen as done for on Friday.
There was no other fire apart from ours, and the Indian battery I can only assume was quiet after the direct hit on the gun. 11 Battery were both first and last to engage the enemy. The Japs must have been impressed with the much cratered site and continued resistance, and it was said by an officer of ours that we had been selected for the job on Saigon docks for putting up a good show, though of course, all artillery went there.
Ronald Owen Blake Royal Artillery
I am trying to find out more about Ronald Blake for a very good friend of mine. I know he was born in Nov 1908 and enlisted on the 3rd of December 1942, His height was given as 5ft 6 1/2 in, weight 148 lbs. He went over to Normandy on 6th June 1944 with the Herts and Essex Yeomanry. If anyone has any further details please contact me.
Gnr. Norman James " " Carey (d.28th Jun 1944)
I am trying to find details about the last days in the life of my wife’s uncle, Norman Carey, also what led up to his death and were he died, he is buried at the Brouay War Cemetery near Caen, Normandie. I would also like to hear from anyone who was in France with him, he died on the 28th June 1944 age 20.
Gnr. William John "Bennet" Williams 25th Medium and Heavy Training Regiment Royal Artillery
My father, William Williams was called up on the 26th of March 1942, and joined the 25th Medium and Heavy Training Regiment at the aerodrome, Marske in Yorkshire. His Captain was called Collings and his Sergeant was called Smillie. We could never get much info out of my father when he was alive so his two sons would like to hear from any one that served with him during the war. We know he landed on Juno beach with the Scottish Horse Canadian Division. We also know that he was in the Ardens, Belgium where he stayed with a Belgian family, they used write to my mother and send photos for some years. If anyone knew my father I would be very grateful to hear from them.
Sgt. John William Noel Cornthwaite Royal Artillery
My father was captured in France in 1940 and spent the remaining years in various POW camps including Stalag 383, my eldest brother said there were 5 different camp. I didn't talk to my Dad about the war as I was too young, my two brothers who were born before the war knew more. My Father's name was John William Noel Cornthwaite, he was a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery. I would like to know if anybody knew our Dad.
Pte. Thomas James Holmes 13th Medium Regiment, Signal Section Royal Artillery
I am trying to find out as much information as I can on the 13th Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery. My father who is still alive served in this section during the war. Can anyone supply any info and help please?
Charles Thomas Maguire HAA Royal Artillery
During WW2 service at Blantyre in the Clyde Region, my father, Charles Maquire met my mother and they were married in 1941. I would like to know more about the RA location and of course any info on the Regimental details .
Gnr. Robert Jones 97th Field Regiment Royal Artillery (d.14th Nov 1942)
I would love to hear from anyone who served with my grandfather, Robert Jones. My mother had no memories of him as she was only 2 when he died, she never even had a photograph of him. I am very proud of him and it is my greatest wish to find a photograph of him and find out what he was like.
Lance Bdr. James Davis 10th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My father James Davis was a guest of the Third Reich for 5 years, he was captured at Dunkirk in May 1940 and was taken to Stalag XXIb in Poland. He was transferred to Stalag8b Lamsdorf and was on the infamous Death March. Can anyone remember him?
Gnr. Bert Davies MM. 138th City of London Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My late father, Bert Davies, enlisted in March 1942 at the age of 32 and after training in Auchterarder he went to North Africa, Sicily and Italy as part of the 78th Battleaxe Division. He was awarded the Military Medal in San Salvo, Italy in November 1943 but following an accident before Cassino in March 1944 he spent 6 months or so in an American hospital (we don't know which one) before being discharged in April 1945 because of his injuries. Like many others, my father spoke nothing or little regarding the war and he died in 1980 and I then realised I should have asked him more.I have built up quite a lot of information since then but as he only spent a relatively short time in the R.A. and with the passage of time I have been unable to find anyone who knew him. If anyone has any sort of information then it would be appreciated.
Gnr. Clarence Crowther 2/11 Battery 3rd Medium Regiment (d.17th Apr 1945)
Clarence Crowther was my Grandfather. All I know about his death is what I've gleaned from the official history of the 3rd Medium Regiment RA, published in 1945.
The details are sparse, but apparently he died in an engagement at Otterloo, in the Netherlands, during the night of 17/18 April 1945. It must have been a fierce exchange, because 11 of his colleagues died that night too.
I would love to hear any more details of the action that led to his death, or indeed any more details about him on active duty. It's particularly poignant because he died only 10 days before a truce was declared in that particular theatre. Thank you.
Gnr. Charles Hamilton 15th IOM Light Anti Air craft Unit Royal Artillery (d.11th Oct 1944)
We have very little information about Charles, we have his service records he joined the Army in Omagh December 1924 with the Ulster Rifles and records say he served in the UK until February 1927 and then he was posted to India until 1933 not quite sure what he was doing between 1933 and 1939 but joined the IOM 15th LAA Unit in 1939 it would appear he served in various units and had quite a eventful army career !
The War Daries for October 1944 put the unit in the Uden area in Holland he is buried at the War Graves Cemetary in Uden would love to hear from anybody whom may have served in the regiment or any info would be great.
Charles Hamilton was my uncle we visit Uden every May for the Memorial Service which is organised by the Uden War Graves Foundation
CSM Albert Edward "Jesse" James 50th LAA Regiment Royal Artillery
My father Bert James, kept a diary from October 1942 through March 15 1943. He landed with the Commando's and the Americans at what I gather is Beer Beach, Algiers, in Operation Torch.
Editors Note: Glen, if you read this please get in touch as we'd love to see a copy of your father's diary, but you didn't leave your contact details to get in touch.
Gnr. Charles Thomas Maguire 61st (North Midlands) Field Regt. Royal Artillery
My Father, Tom Maguire died in 1988 and had not said much about his military career, it was only when I started to research the family history that a few anomolies were thrown up due to little or no information about units, actions, locations etc..
I believe Tom was called up in 61st (North Midlands) Field Regt RA (TA) based in Stoke on Trent. The 61st is shown as serving with 55 Div UK which would in theory make sense. I believe that he was posted within the UK following training and was possibly located around the Blantyre area, Clyde Defence as he would have met and my mother and later married in August 1942.
There were three possible locations he might have done a round robin on (GSG1-Blantyre Ferme),(GSG2 Rogerton) and (GSG3- Carmunnock). 130 HAA Regt seems to be the strongest link to this. He was definately posted to NW Europe on or after D Day but what he/his unit did is unsure.
He was awarded the cluster of 4 Medals, 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal and 1939-45 War Medal. If anyone can fill in the gaps it would be greatly appreciated.
Pte. Arthur William Johnson 5th Btn. D Coy. Welch Regmentt
Bill Johnson was my father and the reason why he did not enlist until 26/2/1942 was that he was a bricklayer by trade. Until then he was "sent to Coventry" and labelled a coward despite the fact that he was doing his job. He could have stayed a civilian but could not take being labelled a coward so joined up.
He was posted in the first instance to the General Services Corps and then to the Beds & Herts regiment. On 22/12/1942 posted to 15th Med R.A and later to 'D' Coy 5th Battn Welch Regt then from 13/10/1944 posted to N W Europe. He was discharged 12/12/1945 and resumed his bricklaying. His army pal was Roland Brace who I think was in the same unit. Both have since died.
Bdr. Joseph William Wilkinson 109 LAA Bty. Royal Artillery
My grandfather was Joseph William Wilkinson from Horncastle in Lincolnshire and served in the Royal Artillery. The only information I have on his army history is a photo I have, on the back is written; 109 LAA Bty R.A., W African forces 1941. I would love to know more about his service.
Gnr. Henry Humfryes 135th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regt Royal Artillery (d.6th Aug 1945)
Henry Humfrys was my Grandfather who I never met. He was in Malaya then he was captured on the 15th of Feb 1942 in Singapore. He was then imprisoned in Thailand and died on the 6th August 1945 and buried at the Kanchanaburi war cemetery. If anybody has any information on his Regiment's service history and movements before his capture, please do get in touch.
Sgt. George Lownsborough
My father in law was in Stalag 383, POW No.11139. His name was George Lownsborough. We are trying to find out when he was captured and when released.
Gnr. Charles Maitland "Foo Foo" Forfar Royal Artillery
My Father Charles joined up to the local Territorial Royal Artillery unit in Southampton. He was a scrap metal merchant in the town and despite being in a reserved occupation he joined up anyway.
The only stories he tells are of being stationed in the New Forest with the Ack Ack guns probably near Beulieu Heath. The heath was lit up to look like Fawley Power station and they shot at the planes attacking the oil refinery. He was later stationed in Dover in Doodle Bug Alley, shooting at the V1 rockets as they headed for London.
After the war he was shipped over to Germany I presume as part of the Occupation. I would dearly like to find out his Regiment Battery etc. If any one could steer me in the right direction I would be grateful.
Gnr. Robert Alfred Cope 68th Med Regt Royal Artillery
My Dad Bob Cope was one of the prisoners held at Stalag IVb. He was held there from June 1942 till May 1945, although he never spoke of his time there or indeed the war. He died in 1986 and I have been doing what research I can online, I found many old photos in his old box one of which was a membership card (attached) to what I believe was the forerunner to the Flywheel club it was called the Auto club with a no7 in flying wings esb 1942 his membership no was 79 and it was signed by the sec T Swallow, who later on formed the Flywheel club I think between 1944-1945 and who after the war wrote the book "Memories of the open road", which I have.
L/Bdr. Robert Shadforth 106th Light Ack AckCompany Royal Artillery
My grandfather, Robert Shadforth passed in 1995. He wouldnt really talk of his time during the conflict, even when I joined the Signals in 1986. I have been doing research about his time and have been speaking with the ICRC who kindly helped me find the basic details of his time served.
He was captured in Crete on the 1st of June 1941, which looks to be at the time of the retreat from Suda bay central sector. At the time he was with the 106th LAA which was supporting 2/3rd RAA (Australian). At this point it looks like the 106th consisted of 4 batteries each with 2 troops that where (LAA)light anti aircraft Lanc Hussars.
OPERATION MERCURY (german)
When the retreat was ordered many were left to fight on with the german 2nd army, 15 divisions, Fallschirmjaeger-Regiment (1st Parachute-hunter Regiment) This seems a bit vague, looks like a communication breakdown.
My grandfather spent 4 months on Crete POW awaiting transfer to Stalag III/D which happened on the 10th of October 1941, then Stalag IV/B 24/7/1942, then Stalag IV/D 27/7/1944. The only information I have was that he was a watchmaker and made compasses for the escape commitee, where I dont know.
Anyone with any information of 106th RHA in Crete - please help me out, I dont want to give this up now!
Frank Henry Harding Royal Garrison Artillery
I am Frank Henry's Grandson and I am trying to find out more about him, so that I can tell my children. I have a photo of myself with Frank, taken when I was about tree years old (1937) if that is of any interest. A point that may be of interest, is that as an ex-artillery farrier, Frank used to shoe some of the horses for the Salisbury races, fitting the racing plates before the race and back to standard shoes afterward.
Gnr. Wilfred Bernard "Cookie" Cook 86th Anti Tank Regt. Royal Artillery (d.4th May 1945)
My mother's first husband, was Wilf Cook, he was killed in, or near Hamburgh on the last day of hostilities in NW Europe, and my poor mother received the telegram with news of his death on VE Day, when most people were celebrating the end of the war in Europe.
He had originally been in the Devonshire Regt (5th TA Battalion) before the war, and was re-mustered into the Royal Artillery in about 1942, like so many other men at that time, as a result of the British Army re-organising itself, in order to fight a modern war more effectively. He landed on Juno Beach on D-Day, and fought his way through Caen, Holland and then into the German Heartland, and was killed on the eve of the cesstation of hostilities.
If anyone can help me put together a more complete picture, of Wilf's units activities, and his own personnal story, my mother, brother and myself would be extremely gratefull.
Gnr. Patrick Hazzard 7th Medium Rgt Royal Artillery (d.between 31st May & 2nd of Jun 1942)
I would be greatfull if anyone had any information whatsoever regarding my uncle.
Joseph William Draper 51st Ack Ack Regiment Royal Artillery
My Grandfather Joe Draper was trained in Yeovil, Somerset and was shipped out to Africa. My Dad said he was in the 51st Ack Ack Regiment. He was captured on Crete and taken to Stalag 4C. He had a hard time there. The Germans used to dress them in smart uniforms and take a picture of them. They wrote short letters home on the back of the pictures. You could see it was staged, because they had cigarettes in their mouths which weren`t lit. I have a picture of him with his friend Victor Nutman. If anyone knows of his whereabouts,please contact me.
Pte. Alfred Cyril Best Royal Artillery
I am researching my partner's step-father Cyril Best who is now 93 and has a story to tell. He served in Greece before being taken prisoner in Creete in 1941. The rest of the war was spent in Stalag 3. He is asking if any of his friends are still alive including Ken Griffen, F.Bridger or K.Jacobs
Pte. Arnold "Knobby" Clark 41st Light Anti Aircraft Royal Artillery
My father was in this unit in the 2nd World War. He fought in Italy; the Far East; France & Palestine.
We would love to find out more about his unit,he is now 90yrs old & things are a bit hazy for him ,we would like to know if there are any photo's of this unit & where we could get them.He once told us how, when in Palestine, he & his mate Bert Crow, decided to dry out some tea leaves & swap them with the Arabs for some dates, (thinking they were being clever!) the deal was done & they scuttled back to camp with their ill gotten gains, only to find that the so called fresh dates were rotten & riddled with ants!! They said they had learnt their lesson, but,I bet, they still tried it out again somewhere else!!
If anyone can give us info on these "likely lads'" unit we would be really gratefull, thank-you & take care
Gnr. Hugh Beattie 23rd Field Regt Royal Artillery
Uncle Hughie was captured at St valery and ended up in Stalag 9c POW Camp. He was also in Obermassfield Lazarette and had his legs operated on. He died from thrombosis shortly after the war due to this surgery. "God Rest his soul"
Gnr. John W. Keningale 2/28th HAA Royal Artillery
Looking for any information on John Keningale (or Jack as he was known). My grandfather served in the 8th Army, Royal Artillery as a Gunner, although I'm finding it hard to come up with any info on his particular outfit due to conflicting information on his discharge papers. On one set of documents he is listed as belonging to the 28/2 HAA RA and on another he is docmented as belonging to the 16/2 RA. I know he served in Africa and I believe he was also in Italy, as that's where he met my grandmother. If anyone has any stories about him or knew him personally, I love to hear about them.
Stanley Albert Hailstone 56th Heavy Royal Artillery
I have recently lost my Grandfather who was a fantastic man. He served in North Afria and Italy and spent his 21st Birthday at Monte Cassino.
Gnr. Russell Telford Lees Royal Artillery (d.29th Dec 1943)
I am researching my family tree and have found out that Russell Lees was my real grandfather on my father's side. Gunner R.T Lees died in India on the 29/12/1943 when my father was just 2 months old. Subsequently my father changed his name to Gander after his step-father. I have found out through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that Russell Lees is buried in the War Cemetery in Chittagong, India. He is also listed on the War Memorial in Campsey Ashe in Suffolk.
Unfortunately, that is the sum total of my knowledge. I would like to find out more about him but I do not know where to start. If anyone has any advice on where I can find out more (cause of death, service records, photos etc) then I would most grateful. Thank you.
L/Bdr. Joseph Donoghue Royal Artillery
My father Joe served during WW2 in Greece, Italy and Germany. Like his father who served in WW1 he boxed for the Regiment, also played football and ran for the Army.
He told many stories of his time in the services. His older brother Steve was his superior. [Dad had a habit of losing his stripe then getting it back, only to lose it again, they used to joke that it was a shame velcro hadn't been invented then] Anyway, one night in a camp on the border of Greece and Yugoslavia, my father was returning to camp and was slightly the worse for wear and couldn't locate the gate, so decided to climb the fence. He managed to get over to find the sargeant of the guard waiting for him to alight at the base of the fencing. My father turning to see his "big brother" as the said Sgt, and grinning from ear to ear says, "oh it's you Steve" my Uncle's reply was, " you can wipe that smile off your face Donoghue guard room at the double". My father and Uncle always laughed about that. Though my father always added it wasn't so funny when I was on KP duties and had to peel tons of potatos or how he had to balance the stones around the green in the centre of the parade ground, with a tooth brush!
Gunner Leonard Edward Sales Royal Artillery
My father was held in Stalag 4F after escaping from the Italian ski troops. He would not say anything about his captivity other than to say he worked on the railway. As I have pictures of him with Indian soldiers around Basra I think he was with the 4th Indian fighting in the desert. I believe his period of captivity ranged from 1942 until 1945. His POW number was 250097. Since his death last year I have been trying to find out more about his service. If you or anybody can help I would be grateful.
W/Bdr Leonard Albert "Smuger" Smith 81st Field Regiment, 322 Field Battery Royal Artillery
My father joined the army in 1919 at the age of 17 and left the army in 1948. He was present at Dunkirk being one of the last men to leave the beach on the last day. I am 76 and I would like to complete my history of him but am finding it hard to find the regiments he belonged to. Can anyone help?
Pte. Thomas N Lomas Royal Artillery
Looking for the medals and war time service of my father Thomas N Lomas
Pte. John Gillott Duke of Wellington's The West Riding
My father, John (Jack) Gillott was in the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, The West Riding, and was Pte. J. Gillott 862992. He wrote a small autobiography for his 5 children, of which I am the oldest. I learned a lot about my father with this book. Dad, who turned 90 on June 27, 2010 and is still living as of this date, joined the Royal Artillery in 1936 and was called into action on September 3, 1939 the day WW II was declared. My dad was shot 3 times in the fleshy part of his hip by the enemy and to this day still has one bullet inside his body - something Dad didn't even realize until many years later - it was at one point in his left chest very close to his heart. The surgeons on several occasions have told him the bullet 'travelled' and by the time the surgery was scheduled, the bullet itself could have 'moved' again. Dad and many of the men in his Regiment were captured and sent to Stalag XXB. I have a very dark photo which I will try to lighten up and put here. Dad only mentions the names of 2 of his friends in XXB, one being Gordon Rolls who apparently was the son of Rolls Royce automobiles, who Dad said used his name and influence to buy food etc. for the men in XXB. The other man mentioned was Cassagrande and it doesn't mention if this is the first or last name. On January 11, 1945 the start of the 'Black March' began and Dad didn't know the exact date but he thought May 1945 he and his friends were turned over to the American sector for liberation. There is so much in his book of 100 pages or so that I would love to reprint here. I would think not too many members of his Regiment are alive today but the one paragraph I will copy verbatim is this one: "It was June 4: history recorded the evacuation of Dunkirk was completed on this day. There was however, no mention of the men who had sacrificed their lives and others who had been wounded or taken prisoner, simply because they had been sacrificed defending the embarkation of the bulk of the British Army. These men at least deserved a medal, however, I am not aware that any such medal was awarded other than the '39-'45 Star which did not honour the defendants of Dunkirk." I love you Dad more than you'll ever know and thank you and your friends at Stalag XXB for helping give me the free life I have today, all because of you!
Gunner Albert Briggs X (1v) List 1C.R.U. Royal Artillery Searchlight ( S/L 263 )
My dear father Albert Briggs was called up on 12 December 1940 just a few months after the death of his mother. I was just 3yrs. old, my sister Amelia was 6yrs of age.
We were living in a small terraced house in Withington which my father was decorating so as to leave it "nice" for his family.
That evening a bomb was dropped om the shelter which stood in the middle of the street and as a result our house caught some of the impact. We usually went into that shelter but that particular evening my mum and dad decided not to for some reason. As a consequence our home was not fit to live in so there we were homeless and dad just about to go off to war. My mum, sister and myself went to live with an aunt and dad, of course, had to go away. Three months later my dear sister, whom I have no recollection, caught diphtheria, which I believe was prevalent at the time, and subsequently died on St. Patrick's Day 17th March. My mum was admitted to hospital and was confirmed as a carrier. All her life my mum blamed herself for Amelia's death but of course she wasn't. I cannot imagine what torment both mum and dad bore. I believe dad was given compassionate leave and because of the circumstances he did not return to his unit on time. The Redcaps came to take him back and I am sure they were just doing there job and dealt leniently with him He was in the Royal Artillery Searchlight unit 8th Army and went to both North Africa and Italy. He always wished to return to Italy but did not get the opportunity to do so. He served in Italy from 1943 until demob in 1945 I wondered if anyone would be able to tell me where abouts in Italy his unit went as my family and I wish to make that journey in memory of my dear father. I understand that the National Archives has War Diaries but they have estimated the charge for copying and posting the info to me would be over £2,000. If anyone out there could help me I would be most grateful Many thanks
Gnr. Stanley Moffatt Royal Artillery
We have had a book donated at the Oxfam shop in Beeston Nottingham (Matriculation, Precis and Essay) that doesn't have any great value, however there is an interesting 'Censorship Prisoners of war Permit P.W. 367' - 'Prisoners of War Post' attached to the front end paper. It is also stamped by the British Red Cross and has been supplied to Gnr Stanley Moffat, British Prisoner of War No229438 (IVB) Stalag IV A Arb.Kdo.1162. I have had a quick look on your site but can't see any mention of him on the prisoner of war list. If it is of any interest to anyone please contact me and I'll post it on.
Pvt William Barr Webster Ayrshire Yeomanry
My Dad, Willie Webster was called up 1940, first stop Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow.
Dad confirmed he was a Lorry Driver in Civies but the Army, being the Army, made him a signaler.
Attached to the Ayrshire Yeomanry, he saw action in Sicily, Italy and North Africa. He was involved in blocking Jerry at the Kasserine Pass, where he always said we stopped the rout with smaller guns than the Yanks going the other way!
I always loved the stories he told, he was very matter of fact, no heroics just human stories about his life as a soldier in WW11.
After seeing the movie "To Hell and Back" with me as a kid, which was about Audie Murphy,American's most decorated soldier, Dad realised that Murphy had paralled his tour in Italy but mentioned he'd never heard of this hero!
Out pinching eggs with a Yorkshire pal one night, they came across an immaculate Jerry Officier, who pulled out his side arm. Dad, nor the Yorkie, didn't have a pea shooter between them and thought their number was up...until the Jerry offered surrender and passed over his side arm....seems he'd only landed recently with German Youth and realised the game was coming to a close...he could tell Dad was a Jock and his pal was a Bradford man as he'd spent time in the UK before the War at University. Apart from relief, Dad's immediate reaction was joy contemplating how much the side arm was worth to the next Yank!
The stories seemed endless and were repeated time and time again to my delight. I used to rib him about never seeing an angry German. As time has gone by and I've experienced more of the world and had time to think about it, who the hell did I think I was, if I could only take these words back, he was a hero and the truth is they were all heros in the every true sense of the word!! I miss you Dad.
Pte. Wilfred "Biff" May Royal Artillery
I am looking to find some information on my late father Wilfred May known as Biff. He was born in Bishop Auckland, in 1908. I understand that he was in the Royal Artillery from 1939-1945 and possibly served in Burma, India and Gibralter. The latter towards the end of WW11 on one of the Gun Emplacments. He was a keen semi pro footballer prior to the war and may have played for his regiment during the war . I recall a photo of him in a Pith Helmet and uniform whilst tending his horse .
I recall an old story (true or false) of my Father and his best friend, Ron being stationed on a "Martello Tower" in the North Sea at the beginning of the War. He became fed up with the lack of action so decided to take a rowing boat and row to shore for a night out! When caught the story goes that my Father allegedly said "He was bored stiff sitting in a concrete box and joined the army to fight and see some action". I understand the Army duly obliged and he was then dispatched abroad with the Royal Horse Artillary ??? and the rest is unclear and history as they say.
My Father never spoke about the war. Like so many of his generation.Just proud to have served his country and saddened to have lost so many friends. If anybody remembers him or where I may find some information about his exploits I would be very appreciative
Bdr. Robert Comfort Edwards 57th Field Artillery Regiment, 440 Battery. Royal Artillery
My father was born on 26th Feb 1919, Robertson Road, Preston, Brighton, Sussex, he attended the TA from a teenager. This is his account of the war:
In 1938 he was drafted into the Army from Brighton and mobilised in September 1939, from Willingdon Observation Post, Motella Towers Hastings - Sittingbourne. In March 1940 he began Service in France with the BEF he took part in the Battle of the Escaut and withdrew for final evacuation from Dunkirk. They were walking along the many roads to Dunkirk when a plane flew at them, They thought it was German so they all jumped in a stagnant ditch - it was an Allied plane, but they stunk all the way to Dunkirk and eventually to Blighty. Dad remembers he was on a little boat with one funnel.
In May 1942 he sailed with 44 division under Lieut. Colonel R E Green, arrived in Egypt on 23rd July 1942. Equipped with 25pounder artillery guns. When they came across Arabs sitting on their camels making their wives walk along by their sides they took the Arabs off and put the women on the camels! They also sold them used teabags!
They were engaged in Desert warfare training at Khatatba and the 57th Field Regiment was ordered to reconnoitre Gun Areas near Delta Barrage. In August 1942, the 44th Division ordered to take up defensive positions at Bare Ridge, Battle of Dier el Munassib.
In October 1942 they were at El Alamein and 440 Field Battery RA of 57th Field Regiment was temporarily attached to the 50th division. Then 57th Field Regiment RA became an Army Field Regiment RA.
In Dec 1942 they were in action at Suerra, South of Mersa Berga under 51st (Highland Division) and in January 1943 at Sonda in the advance to Tripoli under 7th Armoured Division. In March 1943 they were in mobile operation with 22nd Armoured Brigade and 8th Armoured Brigade Regiment then joined 51st (Highland) Division for the Battle of Medenine. Later in the month the 57th Army Field Regiment they took part in the Battle of Mareth under command of 50th Division, 4th Light Armoured Brigade, 201 Guards Brigade and 51st (Highland ) Division.
April 1943 saw then in action in the Battle of Wadi Akarit under 51st (Highland) Division then Regiment proceeded to parts of the Front near Enfidalville under command 5 AGRA in support of 4th Indian Division, 2nd New Zealand Division, 56th London Division, 4th Armoured Brigade and the fighting French Brigade.
In May 1943 the Regiment returned to Tripoli for refitting under 10 Corps. 440 Battery would not return to 57th Army FIeld Regiment and 160 Independent Battery, formerly part of the 174th regiment joined 57th Army Field Regiment. Then in June 1943 the Regiment was informed that it was to be considered in Eight Army Reserve.
On the 23rd of July 1943, the 57th Army Field Regiment arrived in Sicily, After a few days under 1st Canadian Division, they fought throughout the Sicilian Campaign with 78th Division in Battles of Catenauova, Cenutripe, Adrana and Bronte.
In Sep 1943, 57th Army Field Regiment Fire Plan was to support landing at Reggio, Italy, and 226 Battery of 57th Army Field Regiment occupied positions on the SeaFront at Messina and fired AP Shells with tracer to guide British Landing Craft to the Italian Coast.
George Arthur Spriggs 132 Battery, 2 Searchlight Coy. Royal Artillery
I am looking for any one who might have been with me as a POW at Marieberg Stalag XXIb or on the false march, I am now 92.
Sydney A. Dolman Royal Artillery
I have a small German Bible which closes up with a clip and has a picture on the front.I know that prisoners of war where given these to send home to love ones and family. My mum's brother Sydney A. Dolman sent this Bible to my mum whilst he was a prisoner of war. Inside the Bible he wrote the following information. "To my dearest sister Doris with fondest love from Syd. Gnr S. Dolman, Captured 1 June 1941 Crete, Escaped 12 June 1941, Recaptured 10 July 1942 Crete
I have found some information on the Ancestry.co.uk site stating the following information: Rank General, Army number 936942, Royal Artillery, Stalag 344, Lambinowice, Poland, Royal Artillery Field Record Office, Foots Crays, Sidcup Kent. Record office number 5.
I do not think this is my uncle as I was never ever told he was a General yet he has entered Gnr. S. Dolman in the Bible. Please could you kindly advise is there any way I can trace further information to see if this is my mum's brother? How would I find out if this information above is the same person who wrote the above information in the Bible? Could you kindly advise me who should I contact and who could help me?
Editor's Note: It would be safe to assume that this is your uncle as the rank of General quoted on the Ancestry website must be a transcription error of Gunner. The POW Camp Stalag 344 (also called Stalag 8b) was a camp for enlisted men, so a General, being a high ranking officer would definitely not have been held in this camp. Information on how family members can access the original POW records can be found on our Family History Page
Harry Mitchell 128th Highland Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My Granddad, Harry Mitchell, served in the Army in the Second World War but I have very little information as to his activities. All I know is that he may have served in the following: 128th (Highland) Field Regiment RA (TA) I've been told by my mother that he was posted to Africa and Malta and he was an anti aircraft gunner but I'm sure if this is correct.
My Granddad was from Liverpool and was married to Frances Mabel Scattergood in 1945. I know he went on to work as a Crane driver at Liverpool docks and after leaving Liverpool in the seventies he and my Nan moved to Skelmersdale where he lived until his death in 1995.
I would like to know more about what he did when he was in the Army and also his life after the War.
I am looking for any information about his life from anyone who knew him during the War and after. Did you work with him at the docks in Liverpool? Maybe you remember my Nan, Frances? Any information would be great.
S/Sgt. John Walker 26th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery
My father, John Walker joined the Royal Artillery in Stirling in February 1940 (service number 1551813). He was posted to the 26th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (LTAA) and after serving in Scotland, was transferred to the Middle East Forces, leaving Liverpool on 11 November 1941.
He was in the front line in the Middle East and suffered ear damage from the artillery fire (for which he eventually received a pension - in 1992, 50 years later!). Having been medically graded A1 on joining the Army, he was downgraded to B (6 or 7) in Haifa, Palestine, in 1942. After the medical downgrading he was ex-regimentally employed with AG16 HQ (Adjutant General's HQ Administration Corps) within a year of action in the Middle East, and was promoted to staff sergeant.
He met my mother, Leading Aircraft Woman Irene Alice Payn, in Jerusalem in 1945 and they were married in St Andrew's Church (Church of Scotland) in Jerusalem on 22 October 1945. I would love to hear from anybody who recalls either of my parents, both now, sadly dead.
Gnr. Herbert Varney Royal Artillery
My Grandfather, Gunner Herbert Varney, was captured in June 1940 somewhere near Calais. He was transported to Stalag XXB where I think he spent the remainder of the war. I would be grateful if anyone has any information/ photographs which mention or show him. His POW number was 8406. Unfortunately my Grandfather passed away in June 1977, but my Grandmother is very interested in any mention of him.
Laurence Gibson Royal Artillery
Laurence Gibson served Dunkirk. He had to swim to the hospital ships. I believe he was also stationed in Iceland and India. He must have been demobbed at Darlington. His Pal was Arthur Witerburn
Edward Alfred James Bennett
Edward Bennett was born in 1909 and died in 1994 living all his life in Kingsbridge in South Devon. During WWII he served in the Royal Artillery between 1939 to 1943 when he transferred to the Motor Boat Company. His last posting was the Isle of Wight.
Thomas Baker Anti Tank Royal Artillery
I'm trying to trace my fathers WW2 army service record, and need to find his army service number. Thomas Baker was in the 51st highland division anti tank throughout WW2, serving as far as I know in France, Belgium, Holland, Sicily, Italy, Middle East and Germany. He met my mother while his battalion was in Enschede Holland. My mother is Dutch and they married in Enschede in 1946.
I know my father was injured with shrapnel after a German attack on his position which I believe to have happened on D-Day +1. His Sergeant was killed and one of his mates was horribly injured with shrapnel wounds to his face. My dad carried his mate to a hospital/first aid tent and it was only when he got him there that my dad collapsed from his own wounds. He didn't realise he had been injured himself until then. My dad was hit in his back with shrapnel and was taken back to Britain to, possibly, Southampton hospital, then onto Liverpool hospital or vice versa. After he recovered, he went back to rejoin his unit and continued fighting throughout WW2 to the end when his battalion folded and he came out the war serving with a Yorkshire regiment.
My dad would only ever tell us small amounts about his WW2 service memories, but he is now 88 years old and in hospital with bad health with only days to live we have been told. So I'm desperate for any help in searching for his service record so I can honour, understand and retrace his footsteps in WW2.
Gordon Keith Jackson Royal Artillery
Gunner Gordon Keith Jackson. Left New Zealand in 1940 as part of the 1st or 2nd Artillery Field Regiment. He was a POW at Stalag V111b, and worked in a Coal Mine, where he passed away apparantely from Pnuemonia. We would loved any information on Gordon.
A/L/Bdr. Eric Douglas Dickers 10th Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
My late father Eric Dickers served with 10th Medium Regt Royal Artillery, he was well known for printing the regiment's magazine Flash. Any information on him or the regiment would be great.
Gnr. William Johnson Royal Artillery
My father Bill Johnson who served as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery serving in Holland during the last 2 years of WW2. I would like to hear from anyone with any information about him.
S/Sgt. Denis George "Lofty" Goddard MID Royal Artillery
My Father Denis George "Lofty" "Badgie" Goddard joined the Royal Artillery Boys Service in Woolwich in 1938. His early wartime service 1939-42 included being a very young staff sergeant training anti tank crews in Wales, most of whom ended up in North Africa.
Overseas wartime service from 1943-45 included Special Operations Executive (SOE) attachment as radio operator in various Greek Islands followed by special forces operations in the Balkans, Northern Italy and Southern France in the following units:- Special Raiding Squadron (SRS), Raiding Support Regiment (RSR), and Special Air Service (SAS)
He finished the back end of the war in a 25 pounder RA unit (the Ayeshire Yeomanry) in Northern Italy (Argenta gap etc.) and Southern Austria where he was part of the operation that handed back to the Soviet Red Army the White Russian Cossacks who fought for the Nazis.
Post WW2 Lofty continued as a professional soldier until 1972. Units included 33rd RA, 66th RA, 7th RHA, 17 RA. Postings included:- India 1945/6 , Palestine 1946/7, Malaya 1950/52, Singapore 1952/53, Dusseldorf 1954/56? , Cyprus 1956?/60 then was UK based after that.
Lofty faded away in June 2007.
Bombardier Robert Comfort Edwards 57th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
This is my Father's account of World War II.
Bombardier Robert Comfort "Robbie" Edwards 57th Field Regiment 898397 Signaller.
My father was born in Robertson Road, Preston, Brighton, Sussex, he attended the TA from a teenager. TA1938. : In 1938 he was drafted into the Army from Brighton and mobilised in September 1939, from Willingdon Observation Post, Motella Towers Hastings - Sittingbourne. From March 1940 his service was in France with the BEF, then Battle of the Escaut withdrew from BEF for final evacuation from Dunkirk in April. They were walking along the many roads to Dunkirk when a plane flew at them they thought it was German so they all jumped in a stagnant ditch, but it was an Allied plane, they stank all the way to Dunkirk and eventually to Blighty. Dad remembers he was on a little boat with one funnel.
In May 1942 sailed with 44 Division under Lieut. Colonel R E Green, arrived in Egypt on 23rd July 1942. They had 251lbs pounders artillery guns. When they came across Arabs sitting on their camels making their wives walk along by their sides they took off the Arabs and put the women on the camels! They also sold them used teabags! Desert warfare training at Khatatba. 57th Field Regiment ordered to reconnoitre Gun Areas near Delta Barrage. In August 1942 44th Division ordered to take up defensive positions at Bare Ridge, Battle of Dier el Munassib, Oct 1942 El Alamein. They were in convoy in Egypt, the West coast of Africa at Freetown Cape Town for 3 days. In army vehicles up to Suez Canal to Cairo and then in to the Desert (he was a Desert Rat) to stop Rommel getting into Cairo then Monty arrived in the heat of the desert.
440 Field Battery RA of 57th Field Regiment was temporarily attached to the 50th division. 57th Field Regiment RA became an Army Field Regiment RA. Battles: Dec 1942 Suerra, South of Mersa Berga under 51st (Highland Division) Jan 1943 Sonda, advance to Tripoli under 7th Armoured Division. Mar 1943, mobile operation 22nd Armoured Brigade and 8th Armoured Brigade Regiment then joined 51st (Highland) Division for the Battle of Medenine. Later in Mar 1943 the 57th Army Field Regiment Battle of Mareth under command of 50th Division, 4th Light Armoured Brigade, 201 Guards Brigade and 51st (Highland) Division. April 1943 Battle of Wadi Akarit under 51st (Highland) Division then regiment proceeded to parts of the Front near Enfidalville under command 5 AGRA in support of 4th Indian Division, 2nd New Zealand Division, 56th London Division, 4th Armoured Brigade and the fighting French Brigade.
In May 1943 Hostilities in North Africa the Regiment returned to Tripoli for refitting under 10 Corps. They travelled along the North African Coast to Birzata. Where Dad went on a Driver Operator course in a tank, he said the clutch was too long! 440 Battery would not return to 57th Army Field Regiment and 160 Independent Battery, formerly part of the 174th regiment joined 57th Army Field Regiment.In June 1943 Regiment was informed that it was to be considered in Eight Army Reserve. On the 23rd of July 1943, 57th Army Field Regiment arrived in Sicily, after a few days under 1st Canadian Division fought throughout the Sicilian Campaign with 78th Division in Battles of Catenauova, Cenutripe, Adrana and Bronte.
In September 1943, 57th Army Field Regiment Fire Plan to support landing at Reggio, Italy, and 226 Battery of 57th Army Field Regiment occupied positions on the Sea Front at Messina and fired AP Shells with tracer to guide British Landing Craft to the Italian Coast. He recalls that In 1944 my Uncle Jonathan Edwards (his brother) picked him up from the Regiment and took him to Naples where Vesuvio was erupting, the ash was everywhere.
He recalls that many of his best friends perished, one was near him and a bomb just blew him to pieces in a second. The noise from the shells and bombs was very deafening. Most nights were lit up with gun fire.
Dad was 92 in February 2011. He now says it was a complete waste of time fighting this war because what he fought for has now diminished.
Pte. Walter Shearwood 121st Field Regiment Royal Artillery
I have been researching my father's time in Stalag 4B and some interesting information came up. I was sent information about a Walter Shearwood who was a general with the same army and prison camp numbers, but the camp was Stalag 4G. Perhaps someone could shed some light on this for me?
Gnr. Wilfred Baldwin Devenish Royal Artillery
My father Wilfred Baldwin Devenish, was a Gunner in the Royal Artillery. He did not talk about his war experiences although we know he suffered post traumatic stress and often woke us up screaming from terrible nightmares.
This is the excerpt from the Goole Times newspaper 19 February, 2004 chronicling stories from the war years for the 60th anniversary of the end of World War two in which his story is told. A version of this story appeared in the Goole Times Feb 18th 1944. The story chronicles my Dad's capture at Tobruk, imprisonment in Italy and subsequent escape from Nazi transportation to Germany.It reads:
Many like him lost their chance of freedom because they obeyed orders to the letter. But Wilfred Devenish, good and disciplined soldier though he was, saw his chance and took it.
It meant spending two months on the run. It involved a long and often perilous trek covering 850 miles, at times through deep snow. Yet he saw it through. And 60 years ago this month, when many of his colleagues were getting used to life in the prison camps of Germany, Wilfred Devenish came home to leave in Goole.
Born in September 1919, Wilfred Baldwin Devenish joined the Royal Artillery in 1938. Serving as a gunner during the fighting in North Africa, he was captured at Tobruk on June 20, 1942. Soon afterwards he became one of about 70,000 Allied prisoners of war held at camps in Italy. For all of those prisoners the future became uncertain when Italian forces quit the war in the late summer of 1943. By then the Allies had landed in Italy. Should the prisoners sit tight in their camps and hope for eventual liberation by British and American troops who were advancing towards them? In most prisons camps orders were given to that effect.
Yet in all the camps when Italian guards threw down their weapons, discarded their uniforms and departed, German troops invariably arrived and took control. And by then the Nazis had already begun transferring prisoners to camps in Germany. So there was a real danger that all prisoners held in Italy would suffer a similar fate.
Despite that prospect it was argued that the sit-and-wait policy would prevent prisoners from being shot while attempting to escape. As a result, in many camps throughout Italy, prisoners followed orders and waited for the advancing Allies. But the Germans moved first and instead of release in Italy, more than 50,000 prisoners found themselves herded on to trains and eventually saw out the rest of the war in Germany.
Some though seized the opportunity to bid for freedom. In all about 12,000 men made their way through Italy and back to the Allied lines and Wilfred Devenish was one of them.
When first captured and transferred to Italy, he was held at a transit camp in Brindisi. Then came camps near Capua and Rome before he spent his last six months of captivity at what was known as Camp 115. In some camps, as the Italians capitulated, the senior officer among the prisoners gave permission for men to ignore the stay-put order if they wished. Whether that happened at Camp 115 is not now clear. But 200 men left the camp and set off to make their way to the Allies.
Wilf Devenish made his run for it with four colleagues, a man from Newcastle and three South Africans. At first they evaded German patrols searching for escaped prisoners and made good progress. Then they were captured and put on a train travelling north and bound for Germany. Eventually they escaped again by jumping from the train, but they had travelled so far north by then that the Allied lines were now 850 miles away. One of Devenish's colleagues had no boots yet once again they set off to walk to freedom. Avoiding roads they made their way through open country, travelling mainly by night and resting by day.
That made it more difficult for the Germans to see them but it also made it was more difficult for the escapers to spot their pursuers. Thus one dark night they found they had wandered into the middle of a German camp. Enemy soldiers fired on the group but again they managed to escape. Night after night they struggled on determined to stick together. On average they covered about 30 km, 18 miles a day. They swam across two major rivers and at one stage, high in the mountains, they battled for 20 miles through snow six feet deep.
At the start of his escape bid Gunner Devenish had carried with him the contents of two Red Cross parcels. This food lasted two weeks. After that the group lived mainly on apples and bread, though occasionally they killed and stewed a sheep. Not that going hungry was anything new to the group. Often while held in captivity they had received no more than a bowl of macaroni a day. Finally two months after leaving Camp 115, they reached the Allies at a sector of the front under American control.
A few days later, in December 1943, news of the escape reached Goole, as Wilf addressed a brief letter to his mother Edith, at her home in Elsie Street. He had hoped then to be home for Christmas. But, like many of his colleagues, those who also escaped and those who remained in captivity, he found that amid the pressing needs of war the interest of prisoners were not the highest priority. So, after leaving Italy, he spent six weeks in North Africa, awaiting transport to Britain. Then, at last, he was able to travel home to Goole.
Wilfred Devenish continued in the army after the war. In his military career he saw service not only in North Africa but also in India, Eritrea, Sudan, Hong Kong, Egypt and Japan, and, in the early fifties was also involved in the fighting in Korea. Among the decorations he won were the 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star, the Defence Medal, and the Victory Medal, together with long service and good conduct medals.
A single man at the time of his escape, Wilf eventually married, his wife Margaret being a native of Crathie, in Scotland. After leaving the army he lived and worked in Scotland and died in 1981. He is survived by his wife and their family of five, son George, daughters Phyllis and Joy and twins Pauline and Pamela.
Gnr. Agnes Inverarrity Whyte 455 Battery Royal Artillery
We are looking on information on my husbands mother, Agnes Whyte. We know nothing apart from that she was based at Redcar.
Gnr. Andrew Gray 58th LAA Regt. Royal Artillery
My father, Gnr. Andrew Gray, 58th. Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, picked up a small discarded soldier's bible on the beach at Dunkirk, during the evacuation. Written in the rear page is the inscription, "Rfl. (S. or L.) Pledger, 3244693." If this soldier's relatives contact me, I will be happy to return the bible to them.
Sgt. Lambert Fletcher Royal Artillery
My great granddad Lambert Fletcher, was captured in the process of he and his friends leading his unit on an escape navigation from Crete to Greece. When they were captured they were held as prisoners of war in Stalag 18-A. An Austrian countess who lived near the camp disagreed with the war and secretly gave them things such as chickens and food. Even after the war she traveled to their homes and visited them because of how close they all had become.
Unfortunately, we do not have many records of him because when he died, his wife kept his journals and detached herself from the family. On top of that their children died young and so they have been lost to us for many years.
L/Bdr. Raymond Handy 273 Battery "A" Troop. 69th (West Riding) Field Regiment
At the end of WW2 my grandmother and grandfather met in Germany. She was a German girl, Ruth Netzker, and he was an English soldier, Raymond Handy. My mother, Barbara Netzker, was born in October 1946 from the great love they had for each other. My grandfather saw my mother just once in December 1946 when she was 1 month old. My mother has several letters, written by my grandfather to my grandmother, between December 1945 and January 1947. In his last letter, dated January 10th 1947, he said he was going on a trip to England and would write as soon as he had some news, but they never heard from him again. In 1956 my mother arrived in Mexico with my grandmother.
I hope that with all the new technology it might be possible to locate him and know if he is still alive or if he died, if he is happy and if it is possible to have a picture from him. I would love him to know that I am deeply grateful to him for giving me my mother. If there are any relatives I would like them to know they have a piece of their family in Mexico, willing to know them. And, "keeping my chin up" as he used to sign his letters, I will wait for any information regarding my grandfather.
Gnr. Brian Arthur Plant CdG. 102 Light Anti-Aircraft Regt, 31 AA Royal Artillery
I have been trying to find out anything about my dad's military years with no luck. He did not talk about his war years. I just wondered if anyone could help.
Sgt.Mjr. Frederick Fellner MiD. Royal Regiment of Artillery (d.16th Dec 1944)
My great uncle Fredrick Fellner, was in Stalag 3a and was killed on the 16th of December 1944 before the war ended. My mother was told by her mother's friend's sister that he was shot while trying to escape but I can't find anything to prove this. I'd love to know a little more. The photographs are of him with other soldiers in India and another of what we believe could be Stalag 3a.
Osman Parker "Ommy" Pearce Royal Artillery
My father Osman Parker Pearce MBE, LLB; recently passed away. He joined the Artillery in Newcastle at the onset of the war. He fought in the desert and advanced then retreated through Greece. Finally he was captured in Tobruk and taken to Italy. The Italians were relatively pleasant. From here they were serially sent to Germany in cattle trucks. He spoke little of his time in POW, just to say that without the Red Cross parcels he would not have survived. He said the Russians were treated the worst. His 'job' was a tin basher. He avoided anything to do with food because it provoked fights. He studied and completed his accountancy exams by post whilst there, afterwards becoming a solicitor. In an interview for his American grandson, he said that his greatest achievements in life were surviving as a POW and being awarded an MBE.
I visited the camp site and museum a week ago. I do not think it was a time my father wished to remember. Throughout his life he would avoid arguments. Nothing perhaps was worth the anguish. He had dealt with things so much more extreme the pettiness of life did not come onto the same scale. He never said a word against the Germans. He may have told my mother more, but not his three children. He hoped for better for us and did not instil any prejudice.
L/Bdr. Albert Henry Hardwick Royal Artillery
My Grandad, Albert Hardwick served in Africa and Italy during the war. All we know is that he was a driver in the Royal Artillery, as part of the Desert Rats, 13th HQ Corps.
Chaplain. Arthur Wellesly P. Williams Royal Army Chaplains' Department (d.16th Dec 1943)
At the age of Seventy am still in the throes of completing the story of my Papa's service as a padre with the 8th Army, attached to 113 Field Regt, Royal Artillery. It's based on my family's recollections, Papa's letters, the official - anodyne - report of his death and the remarkable and totally coincidental meeting I had with one of his brother officers who was in his unit and was present when Papa stepped onto a mine. 'What Really Happened' will never be the definitive version, but unless there is more information out there, it'll have to do. Should anyone wish to read it, I would be delighted to attach the piece to an e-mail. It should only take ten minutes or so to read. However, if there's anybody out there who can give me more details of 113's service up to the hideous battle for the Monastery I should be eternally grateful and will edit my piece accordingly.
I make occasional pilgrimages to his War Grave at Minturno and will be there with my daughter, her husband and their son next week. So if anyone tries to contact me and doen't receive a prompt reply, you'll know why.
Francis Anderson George Thorne 3rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery (d.17th Jun 1942)
I have just found that my Uncle Francis Thorne was killed aged 22 in El Alamein. I was wondering if anyone has any information about my him? This site is so interesting, thank you to anyone who can help me.
Gnr. Percy "Sam" Twigg 178th Field Regiment
Percy Twigg enlisted in August 1941 under the National Service Act 1939. He was 34 at the time. He was posted to 25th Medium and Heavy Training Regiment and then to the 178th Field Regiment when it was formed in January 1942. He embarked in March 1943 for India, travelling via Cape Town, arriving in Bombay in June 1943. He was hospitalised in September 1943 for 2 months suffering from Malaria and again in July and October 1944. His regiment was part of the 36th Infantry Division, that for a time was in the Northern Area Combat Command under American General Joe Stilwell.
In December 1945 he was formally discharged and embarked for return to the UK from Batavia as part of Group 25 A release, arriving home in February 1946. He received an exemplary record of conduct. He was employed mainly as a driver of all types of vehicles. In May 1946 he was transferred to 2(T) Reserves and discharged on completion of engagement.
Pte. Christopher Fegellan "Tug" Wilson 2nd Searchlight Regiment, 5 Battery Royal Artillery
My father in law, Christopher Wilson, was captured at Dunkirk 1939, he was marched to Blechammer, BAB21 and he remained at the camp until Jan 21st 1945 when he took part in the death march back into Germany, arriving at Moosburg, where he was freed by Gen Patton. I have a list of the dates, and places passed through on the march, the list is written on the back of red cross parcel lists. I also have photographs of him and approx 50 other prisoners at BAB21, on the reverse of some of the photos are names and addresses of other prisoners. I also have a list of bricklaying terms, these are his notes for a lecture to other prisoners, to alleviate boredom. The list of places contains 42 place names, the last entry reads. "April 29th 1945. Battle of Moosburg. Free at last. Gen Patton"
John Henry Weeks 23rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery
I interviewed Jack Weeks for The Wartime Memories Project on Sunday 23rd May 2010 2pm.
Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your life before the war? A. I was born in Devon in 1917, I went on a farm and the people there was so good, and that, and they couldn’t do enough for me. When I went on this farm I didn’t have anything, ‘cos as you know back then times were hard and you didn’t have much clothes. I got on this farm and the old farmer said have you got any clothes? I said yes. Well where is it? I said I’m wearing it; I’m standing up in it. So I said if you’re a bit ashamed of me or anything like other, say so, I said, and tell me to go and I’ll go and get a job somewhere else.
Q. Did your parents give you their blessing to finding a job on the farm? A. No. You didn’t get their blessing, no. You’d rather have a kick up the arse! I went to school to 14 and I left and as I say I got this job and they were so good the old man said to me one day when we were having a supper. Oh, I don’t think you would mind looking after the cattle and that for me, we wanner go to Plymouth shopping. There was big shopping centre still there then. I said, well (chuckles), you paying me so I said how can I refuse; I said of course I’ll do it. He said, I know that, have yee got anything? I said such as? Well he said clothes and that and I said no, I’m afraid I hadn’t. I said I come from a poor family. The farmer said what are we going to do? I said well in what way? Well he said, you haven’t got nothing. Well I said I’ve either got to work ee here until I get enough money to buy some clothes or else you can lend me and I can do it that way, so, I went on. There was no other help. The old farmer and his wife had one son, they had more sense. When they came home from this day shopping the old man said (I had the tea all ready because they kept a good table and there were plenty of food) how you come on? I said we can go out and look at the stock, see what the position is. He said I don’t think that’s necessary because I know what you done you done well. And I got three shillings and six pence a week. So went around and I said now if you not satisfied at what I’m doing I’d wish you tell me and then I said I can move on. I was quite content on the farm. I stayed on the farm until I went in the forces at 22.
Q. What did your father do? A. He drove a steam roller and worked for the council.
Q. Did you have a big family? A. We were 8. There was Ron, Harry, Joan, James, Sissy; somewhere about 8 and I was the oldest and stupidest.
Q. Tell me about the work you did on the farm? A. I milked the cows, there was cattle, sheep, a sheepdog; you could say I was a Jack of all trades.
Q. Did you enlist or were called up? A. Well I was walking up the High Street one morning and an old lady half way down, an she said how gotten you in the army then? Well I said, I don’t know and I ain't bothered by it. Well your Charlie he’s gone. I said, well, to tell you the truth misses, Charlie would lick anybody’s arse for half a crown but I ain't going to and with that I joined up; I had to go up to Exeter. A friend of mine said, I be going up Exeter then? I said I don’t know but I got to go there. Well he said I’m going to Exeter, you can jump on the back of my motorbike. So I said all right then, thanks very much and went up there, the recruiting office. Funny old geezer there, but I didn’t like their attitudes but I thought, well, but I’m joining up and I’m going to get more of it. You didn’t get any choice then to join the army as they were only too glad to get ee in there. The man on the motorbike didn’t join up as he had a private job. Yes! Right then! You’ll have to go up to Blaise Castle. I said where is the heck Blaise Castle? Bristol! I said I don’t know nothing about that. Oh well he said you’ll soon learn. Get fixed up, the clobber, and you have to catch the train to Temple Meads. And from there I had to walk to Blaise Castle where I did my training. I was an artillery bloke.
Q. Do you recall your first days in the service? A. Got in there and I started training and I said to myself I must pick this up smartish because I don’t want to be here long. Then they wanted a volunteer and to go up to get a cap for somebody and I was the only one to volunteer. I walked from temple Meads with the cap to. I’ll go and buy some fish and chips as I was a little hungry, I went in there and you couldn’t see nothing but fog. So a lady come out and she said excuse me soldier, where you making for tonight? Well I said I don’t know where I’m going to be truthful. She said you’re new here? I said, I, but I’ll expect I’ll find my way about and she said you’ll have a long walk back, I doubt if you’ll catch a train back. Anyway I set off walking, up over the Downs and going down Blackboy hill (by Whiteladies road, Totham). Got on the station just as the train pulled off. I went up to the driver and said when’s the next train? Not ‘til tomorrow morning! Oh, I said, damn me! I said I’m supposed to be in by tonight. Oh well you won’t do it now then. And I said well somebody will have to get in touch with the military police and tell them I’m stuck here. Oh won’t be able to do that. (chuckles) Oh I said, if you can’t do that I must walk on. I was on the train at Corsham and eh, the little cafe was open and I went in. Oh I’m sorry soldier you’re too late. So I said well how there going to get up to camp? I don’t know. I said well this is a bit of how-de-do, I said I got to get up Hudswell camp by midnight; that’s by Corsham. There was old chap there. Soldier, you lie down at there couch, he said and I’ll wake you in the morning so you can catch the first train out and you’ll be up there. And I thought it was ever so good of them, that’s what he done. I got back up there and course when I got up Corsham there was a lot to do but unknown to me whilst I was away they sent me on a farm. What happened see was the old farmer up at Corsham, he was friendly with the commander and he had got in touch with the farmer and he said (this commander used to go in there and have a drink there every morning) farmer, I have a chap here who would suit you; you can have him for so long. And that was when I went out farmer Minties to work and when that finished I went to Warminster. I came home from having inoculations and he were turning the cows out and he said, good God Jack what in.... what have you been up to? I said I don’t know, why? He said ye look as white as a sheet. Oh well I said I will get over that I expect and ee said Win has been looking for you. Oh I said, what he want? Well he wants you to stay ere. And sleep ere. He said you don’t have to go back to Nissen hut. You have your food with wee, that is hee wife and his son and his daughter. I had a good time up there. And I used to do the cooking. I got an old oil barrel, converted ee so I could cook on it. And then the sergeant Major, ee came up one day. He said Jake! Want you! I said how many more want me! I said I’d better cut myself in half. Oh what you want? I want you to do me a favour. I said but everyone wants a favour! Still never mind, tell me what it tis. He said we are short of wheel barrows down in the dump and I want you to come with me this afternoon and we are going to nick some of thee barrows. The red caps were no way in the march then. (you’re aint going to believe it). I said what time are yee going for these wheelbarrows? Two o’clock! I said I’ll be there. So up he comes with a Will’s WD and HO Will’s van then, do you remember driving they about? We were driving they about then. Right he said I’ve got it all mapped out (chuckles). He said we’ll get a load of wheelbarrows, then we got to get some coal and I said what else do we want? Well anything you can think of. I said you’ll want wood. Yea all right, get wood (chuckles) Tell about crooks! Their nothing way near it, but the funniest thing, we enjoyed every minute of it. The army were supplying it!
Q. What did your family think about you joining up? A. Not a lot. I never told them. I just wanted to go on and do things my way, I was having just a good time! Parents they wouldn’t have.. whether you were there or..... Things were so hard that they were glad that you were gone.
Q. Did you soon make friends with others? A. Oh yes, we made lots of friends, quite a few years. Some used to visit now. I will have to look through the pictures for my friends.
Q. What was the food like in the army? A. We were stationed at Portishead and what we call oil. The food was bloody lousy! And that same Sergeant Major I was telling ee about, he and I used to go round some of the pubs scrounging grub, and they would. I used to know a young lady down Portishead, I know her name. She was good as gold, she always give us stuff to take back with us. I used to go up at ten o’clock every night and take her home and she used to give me a basket of grub. She worked up in there cafe. Poor old Cinders, she used to give me a basket of grub. I shan’t tell you her other name (chuckles).
Q. What was the accommodation like for you and your men? A. They had a Nissen hut; they couldn’t go on the farm, could em. I used to go in the farm because I got up early mornings. I was in uniform on the farm. The Red caps would have been after me!
Q. How did people entertain themselves? A. The war was on. You had to make your own; self made.
Q. What did you do when you were on leave? A. Occasionally go home for a week.
Q. What were you trained on? A. I trained on big guns then our Captain said to me one day, I’ve been looking for you. Oh what for? You have to learn to drive a van. I said I don’t want to learn. Look he said (he was a nice chap), you’re going to learn, make no mistake about that, he said I’m going to learn you so you can’t get out of that and he said I shan’t do you any favours as all I want is somebody that is trained. So all right then, what’s the perks? There ain't no perks. Why ain't there any perks then, surely I get something in return? (chuckles) He said you will in a minute! I said all right all right then, I’ll not again thee. So I learnt on big lorry first and then I had to go at a Bofors gun. Now he said I want you in ere because you been a good chap and I wanted ee to stay in ere. I said doing what? Well there’s lots of things I want done around here and you capable of doing it. Oh well I said all right if you want to bend your back so much, then I got a job inside. He said to me one day I‘m glad I caught you. I said Oh what do you want? I want you to do me a favour. I said it seem to me I’m doing everybody a favour and I aint getting any back. So what as got to be this one? Well he said would you mind putting the flag up mornings? Putting ee up saving ee coming up. I used to sleep in the shed, in the hut then and the condition was then that I would sleep in the shed providing he never pinned PT on me. All right you got my permission; he said I won’t bother ee again. I said as long as you don’t bother me the flag will be flying at six o’clock. I’d take it down in the night and put it in the shed. I was sort of stores clerk, cooking.
Q. What were some of the pranks you and the others would pull? A. No, never pulled a prank on any of them but they tried. I wasn’t very big but they come worse off.
Mr Weeks has a photograph marked ‘Ceylon 1943’ on back. Q. ‘There’s something written on the back’? A.. To one who is very dear to me, my loving wife Doris. 1943! My Pal and I there.
Q. What we have now is your old war time photographs and what we’ll do is go over them. This photo shows you and your mate A. My Scotch mate. We were in barracks doing jankers. This is in India. (Another picture) That’s Nelly (Nan’s Brother in Law’s wife). There’s my father, Cecil, working for the Council. There’s Harry who just died. That was Gold Face Green in the back ground. I remember going along Gold Face Green and the wheel coming off! We just took it as a joke. I didn’t do much driving the time I was out there. You see, I didn’t want to drive at all and our officer, he said if you don’t learn to drive you won’t be any good. I had to book up and learn and that’s what I done. Well I got more fun then, where as you could only drive a light vehicle, but it turned out as you passed your test you were able to take on the big ones. Mind where we used to drive sometimes, well, it put the wind up ee. The roads were dangerous with everybody on err and see there were all sort of obstacles in the way, animals were always there.
Q. When you left this country, how did you get to Ceylon? A. Boat. The biggest laugh of all was when we moved up to Scotland, Tidwell, the joke was the boat weren’t ready. Little did we know the boat was out err waiting. I remember when I came back, a lady up there from the shops, we were talking one day, she said how did you get out there, she said there was no boat. I said there is transport, the Malogen. She said my husband has a book on that; I’ll let ee have it. Mrs Gardner wouldn’t have it; I said I know I did. I discovered it was a merchantman. I boarded at Greenock. We got on the boat and we went to first trip was South Africa. We had a stop at Freetown, then we went down to Durban, that was a lovely place. We waited for another boat and this other boat was a bit long coming so we had to put up on the playing field in Durban. And there they said we don’t want these troops going short for anything; they’re our guests. Cor we did have some lash ups too. Like all things they come to an end. We went from Freetown to Bombay. That was a dirty * place. Language uh. We went to Calcutta. Then we went down to Ceylon in a smaller boat. (later in the war) Then we got off the boat at Rangoon; I was always volunteering, I volunteered to bring the prisoners of war home.( Jack thinks he went from India to Ceylon and back to India and then Burma) (He Looks at another photo from India 1944. and reads) from your dearest husband Jack. There was me by my tent.
Q. What did you do in Ceylon? A. I used to write forms out. I was so interested in Ceylon. When I found out I was going to Ceylon I made up my mind what I was going to do. I was going to be sociable, I was going to mix in with them learn as much as I could about the people, the country and everything, and that I accomplished
Q. Did you enjoy yourself in Ceylon? A. I had a wonderful time. One part of Gold Face Green was curry and the other part Singhalese. We had an opportunity. One Singhalese said what are you having tonight. Came with me and taste curry and rice. I said I would only be too happy to oblige. We got into the canteen there, he put up a * big plateful. I said what’s that for. He said get it down. I got that down and then this other chap came along and he said you are coming to tea tonight, I said ar I don’t know. He said he spoke to his mother and father and they want ee to come and have tea with them. I said all right and they were a lovely family: Mother, father and the son and daughter. And when I went in and seen what was on the table and she said don’t be afraid and eat want you can and leave what you can. And didn’t I tuck in to rice and curry, I thought I was going to bust. And we went for a stroll after and that was what we done. Ceylon was a beautiful place, fruit, you didn’t want for anything.
Q Did you keep any correspondence A. Only the photos these kept. She didn’t keep any photos.
Q. Did you receive any Medals? A. I never bothered but there were several times I wish I had put in for them. I haven’t got much time; you could stick em on your hat.
Gnr. Alec Roy "Spenny" Spencer Royal Artillery
My Dad, Alec Spencer was in the Royal Artillery and unfortunately died in 1974. All my life and that of my brothers he did not want to talk about his experiences of the war or his time as a P.O.W. in Stalag XIII-C. He was a member of the Stalag 13 association, so maybe someone else can remember this association and memories that went with it?
Sgt. Frank Broome 85th Battery Royal Artillery
L/Bdr. Thomas Brown Dey Royal Artillery
Thomas B Dey, my Dad, was in the TA in Glasgow and was sent to France. Whilst carrying out a rear guard action they were captured at St. Valery. Prior to this they were onboard a barge when an officer ordered them off. The barge got blown out the water.
He was in a hospital as a prisoner with appendictis, Douglas Bader was in the next bed, apparently they, the Germans, took away his artificial legs as he kept escaping. This did not deter him he just used his hands to get around. he still tried to escape.
My Dad told me once he and others were up against firing squads at least five times. Once they went on strike because their Red Cross parcels were stopped. They were forced to work down salt mines, for some reason he said they knew the Germans were only bluffing, some bluff. The Americans liberated them. My mum told me he went away a blond well and a built man and came home with black hair and very very thin.
We have lost pictures and papers and would be obliged if anyone has any information to help us build a map of where he was as he and mum have passed on.
Bdr. James Norris 24th Field Regt Royal Artillery (d.4th Dec 1944)
An excerpt of a censored letter to the Northampton News (Post Office Newsletter) from Bombardier 1058316 Jim Norris, 24 Field Regt, R.A. in Italy, late 1944, shortly before he was killed on 4/12/1944:
Since I last wrote I have been on some interesting and tedious journeys which eventually brought us face to face with our old adversary - Tedesci (sic) We realise that since that great achievement of the Allied Armies in France, we in Italy have been pushed into the background a little but I am going to say right now that no Army in the whole world has ever had to face such difficulties as those our Generals have had. All my life if a man says "I served in the infantry in the Italian Campaign", I shall say: "Pal, What are you drinking?". If ever any men had the right to say they were browned off, those men are in the infantry.
I have been a member of an S.P. gun crew and though we usually operate well behind them, we have at times been up with them and on one occasion we were in front. That was at Anzio; I swore that the infantry should get a special campaign medal; he is the man that has to meet the enemy face to face.
As I write this there is a terrible din going on among the grape vines of the Lombardy Plains. Our planes are dive-bombing his forward troops relentlessly. Our bren gunners are opening up every minute or so. The horrible whine of his sobbing sisters shatters the air. I believe that sound is the most horrible of all. Every time they open up I gnash my teeth and curse because we can see them falling on our infantry positions. Gerry is a crafty old fox but he is being pushed steadily back. His Gothic Line was a tough proposition. It is a marvel he was ever ousted out at all. Pay tribute to the infantrymen for getting them out. As I passed by one of his Panther turret strong points, I saw chalked "Captured by Cpl............Infantry Regt." Said I to my comrades: "The Infantry has done it again." "Aye" said our Yorkshire Sergeant,"They are t'lads."
Rat-tat-tat, the bren guns are at it again. The spandau replies in short bursts, his artillery is silent, perhaps he is making another strategic withdrawal. We shall soon know. The planes are going in again, four spitfires, down they go, hell for leather - are they all up safely? Yes, here they come, heading for our lines. They have given them hell!
One thing, the prophecy Mr Churchill made about Italy in 1940 when Musso attacked us, has come true. Italy has paid the price, she has paid in full. Never in all history has one country suffered so much destruction. It is appalling. Roll on that blessed day when I can come back to my native land but the task is not yet complete. No relaxing anywhere must be permitted. I shall have to write another long letter soon as airmails are scarce, only one a week. We have been extremely busy of late forging a way through the Gothic Line. What a line it was, no sooner had one strong point been liquidated than another and another barred the way. I have nothing but the highest praise for our infantry, who have to take these positions in fierce fighting. All the way up Italy you will see the signs of these struggles, let us therefore praise them, and remember those they leave at home. The grand advance of the boys in France has made our own campaign look small in comparison but the ring around Germany gets smaller and, whoever gets to Berlin first, will have our best wishes.
Bdr Norris is remembered on the Memorial at Cesena War Cemetery. C.W.G.C.: "Most of those buried in this cemetery died during the advance from Rimini to Forli and beyond in September-November 1944, an advance across one flooded river after another in atrocious autumn weather. The cemetery site was selected in November 1944 and burials were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. Cesena War Cemetery contains 775 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War."
S/Sgt Gerard Alphonsus Connolly Royal Artillery (d.24th June 1944)
My father, Gerard Connolly, served in the British Army for 20 years. He went in to the Boys Service. He served in India in 1934, where I was born. My mother died three weeks before my father was killed in Italy, he is buried in Assis. They left five children.
Harold Arthur Armstrong While 51st Field Regiment Royal Artillery
Harold While served in the 51st Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery in Tobruck, Western Desert in 1940. He was awarded a medal and his daughter is trying to locate a copy of the citation.
Mark Bernard Hebburn Royal Artillery
Hello There! I have been doing some research into my husband's family history and came across your site when I 'googled' Stalag XXB. My father-in-law, Mark Bernard Hebburn was a POW there for a substantial part of the war, like many of your other participants having been captured in France in 1940. He didn't really talk much to his sons about his time as a prisoner, but from time to time he would drop a snippet of information to me as we chewed the fat with a cup of tea in front of the fire!
It is a great shame that he died in 2002 and took a lot of his stories with him. During the war he was serving as a Lance Bombadier with the Royal Artillery. His service number was 819389 and his POW number at Thorn was 18598 ( I have his dog tag). He told me that for some time during his stay at Thorn he worked on a farm. He also developed acute appendicitis and very nearly died of peritonitis so presumably was hospitalised for some time. By September 1944 he had been transferred to Stalag 3D near Berlin and the photographs I am attaching are from that time. The writing on the back of the cards has been mostly censored. In the uniformed photograph Mark hebburn is in the front row, far right as you look at it. Something that may jog a memory from someone (I am hoping so) is that just before he left Thorn for Berlin Mark fathered a child, Margaret who we think was probably born round July 1945. I would love to find her and her family but really don't know where to start looking. If anyone out there knew Mark or can fill in any of the gaps, I would be very grateful.
Gnr. Fred Blunden Royal Artillery Maritime Regiment
My Dad, Fred Blunden, was on the last ship to be lost to U-boats in the Med in WW2, the SS Fort Missanabie. He served as a DEMS Gunner with the Royal Artillery Maritime Regiment.
Gnr. Malcolm Cockburn Royal Artillery
Malcolm Cockburn was in the Royal Artillery as a gunner. He was injured in Burma and placed on a hospital ship that was torpedoed by the Japanese. He was from Scotland. I would like to find out more about him.
John Joyce Royal Artillery
My Uncle, John Joyce was captured at Tobruk and ended up in Stalag IVA I have an image of one of his letters to his brother. It bears the stamp of Stalag IVA
Gnr. Thomas Hardisty 74 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, 186 Bty, H Troop. Royal Artillery (d.15th Sep 1944)
My father, Tom Hardisty served with H. Troop. 74 Lt A.A. Regt, in Malta between October 1941 and July 1943, he then moved to Sicily on the 14th of July and the 28th of August 1944. The photograph would have been taken in either Malta or Sicily. I hope that someone may recognize others on the photograph with my father. I would hope for some feedback as to who the others may be. I'm sure they would have been close friends in those hard and sad times. Father sadly died in Sept 1944. I was too young at that time to be able to get to know him, before he died just aged 39yrs old. I would appreciate any information received.
Albert Harrington 121st Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
My Uncle, Albert Harrington was in Germany and believes he fired some of the last shells of the conflict in 1945, he served with Sgt Hogan and would like get in touch with him or his family.
Sgt. Hogan 121 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
Sergeant Hogan, from Taunton Somerset served with 121st Medium Regiment, RA and was in Germany April 1945. He was, perhaps, the last in command when firing last shells in this conflict. I am trying to find information on Sgt Hogan for my uncle, Albert Harrington, who actually fired those last shots. Hoping someone out there can help.
Harry Mitchell 128th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My Granddad, Harry Mitchell served in the Royal Artillery in WWII. The information I have been given is 307th Division, 128th Field Battery, Royal Artillery but this doesn’t seem to match any army divisions I can find. The nearest I have been able to match it to is: 128th (Highland) Field Regiment RA (TA)
Harry was about 22 when World War Two broke out and was from Liverpool so I'm not sure how, or if, he ended up in a Highland regiment.I'm looking for anyone who can help locate his regiment and help me work out the correct one he was in. Also anyone who knew him or anyone related to him. I've been told he was definitely based in Malta and possibly North Africa and even Italy but any help would be greatly appreciated.
Editors Note: 307th Battery was part of 128th (Highland) Field Regiment, RA, they served with 51st Division. Men joining up after the war began rarely served with their local regiments, especially if they were called up to serve.
Gnr. Edward Richard Roberts 59 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, 179 Battery Royal Artillery
Edward Roberts joined up on the 12th December 1940 and was attached to various Territorial Army Artillery units before being posted overseas to India on the 14th February 1942 where he was to joined the 59th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. The 59th with Edward saw service iwith 1st Ind AA Bde, 36 Ind Div Arty, 33 Corps Arty, st RM AA Bde, and 9 AA Bde, in places such as Bombay, Calcutta and Poona.
On the 13th March 1945 Edward was posted back to the UK joining the 227 Training Field Regiment. A year later was realised to the reserve list before being discharged from the service in October 1954. Edward Roberts was awarded the Burma Star for his service in India.
L/Bdr. Cyril Dyson Royal Artillery
My father, Cyril Dyson, was captured in Hazebrook, 1939 and was a POW in Stalag VIIIb, Lamsdorf. He survived the "long march to freedom".
I have his "little black book" in which he listed all the places he marched through during that horrendous winter of 1945. I will upload the images and transcriptions for others to share. I will also scan the various photographs that he managed to hold on to.
George Cuthbert 77th Highland Field Regiment Royal Artillery (TA)
World War II Experiences of George Cuthbert of Cathcart, Glasgow. By Ian Andrew Lindsay, Great Nephew, for a Lenzie Academy school project.
This is a story about my Uncle George Cuthbert's War-time experiences and one of his friends, Harry Osborne, who he met before World War Two. He gave a speech to a Regiment Reunion in 1982, summarising his experiences, which was tape recorded and forms most of the story. Harry Osborne, helped in deciphering and explaining the tape contents. He and my Uncle George joined the Territorial Army in March 1939, on the same night. Harry was just 19 years old and my Uncle was 23 years old.
Going to War: Great Uncle George's comments from tape.
"My friend over there said we are not just a unit but a family, and that family starts back In 1939 in the regiment before the war, we went to camp, Budden Ness, near Canoustie, and all of you were young soldiers but I wasn't I was in the original battery (group of guns) because I was a surveyor. (Someone who surveyed the land to see what the guns where aiming at) Then in September 1939, we all got our bits of paper through the door (call-up papers) and I went scampering round to the Drill Hall at Cathcart (Glasgow) and the Sergeant Major Officer said "Go away!" He was up to here in paper. "Go away we will send for you." So they did they sent for me the next day.
And then what happened:- I had a tearful farewell and went off to War, and I had my own pack because they had not given me a pack, my own pack on my back, and off I went to War, mother said "Good-bye" and away I went. I was back for lunch, they sent me back, they didn't want me! Mother said "What is happening? " I said "I don't know" "But what did they tell you ?" "They did not tell me anything" and "What have you to do?", I said "I have to go back at 2 o'clock". So I went back at 2 o'clock and then they said "Go back home and come back tomorrow", and I went back home and my mother said "What are you doing back ? I thought you were going to War." I said "I am back and I don't know why. I don't think they are sending us anywhere." and that went on, for how long did it go on for, every day for a month!
And what did we do in between times we went on route marches, do you remember .... We were marching along to 'Roll out the Barrel', (a popular song of the time) and can anyone ever imagine marching to 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' but we did it! And now and again, when we passed some poor inoffensive civilian somebody in the ranks would call out "Aye you'll go" (meaning you will be next to be called-up) and some one else would shout "and twopence halfpenny will not get you back!" (that was the maximum tram fare to the outskirts of Glasgow) Well that was fine, now most of us were very young, at that time, but they finally took us off down to Crookham Crossroads, down to Leipzig Barracks (called that because the Kaiser opened it in 1913).
And they kept giving us money, money came out of the heavens! You got coat money, you got boot money, you even got bounty money for camp you had been at In the summer! I don't know for the rest of you, but for me this was the kind of money I had never seen in my life before I mean, £5 in one lump, nobody ever saw £5 in 1938. Not if you had just left school you didn't! Anyway that is what went on; and then Oh! English beer, do you remember ... that English beer! Somebody said that it was cats piss watered down!
France – Dunkirk
Right, of course, then we went off to War. We went off to that lovely French Resort, Les Trois Pierre, near Bolbeck l20 miles from Le Harve). Do you remember ... Les Trois Pierre? Right, there we were and then we finally moved up to the War, we travelled across France, only it was rather difficult at the time, because the elements (weather) were doing their best to stop us. We only got halfway and we got snowed up, and we were stuck there for, I think, about a week, and Andy Gump (Anderson) swore he was going to write a book, when he got back, about how he was towed across France, because we towed him the whole way from Les Trois Pierre to Roubaix, he was towed the whole way that ... And I think, I think, Tom Wright remembered that ...
So to Roubaix, someone mentioned Roubaix already, the time we had there, it was really something! Ah, I think we all enjoyed ourselves there, I know my French improved remarkably, but that was fine, ok, we went into battle, we came out again, and then Harry and I were remembering these days when I was by myself, I had lost the whole regiment.
[Recalled from previous conversations] George got separated from the rest of the regiment, stole a motorbike, drove to Dunkirk, had obtained some waders and got on a rowing boat. But the boat, being full, got stuck in the sand. George jumped out to push it off, his waders filled up and he was nearly left behind, but someone pulled him into the boat. He boarded a puffer (small fishing boat), which then off loaded them onto a Destroyer, which got torpedoed by a German Sub, it did not sink, and a Cross channel ferry then came alongside and rescued them. They return to Southern England.
Back to the tape:- I was rescued by a fishing vessel, soaked up to the neck, and I got down into the pitch black hold and asked "Is there any room to lie down here?" I said and a voice said "Is that you George?" It was Harry Osborne, I was standing at his feet! And he gave me a towel and I got myself dried. I had a tin of sardines and Harry a tin of condensed milk. Together they made a great meal!
Right, then of course, we gathered at Charmouth near Lyme Regis (town in the south coast of England). We all finally got back, one by one, we trickled in from all over Britain. When I got back, I didn't own a razor, I had one spare shirt, and I came on parade, I came on parade and Captain Walker, I had been his observation post assistant, and he came down as I was standing on parade and he said "Cuthbert your Boots are Dirty!" Your boots were dirty! Well, I said "The last time I cleaned them was in France." There you are that’s the Army!
Harry Osbourne's story: Harry and Uncle George were part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) part of the first Army. Harry talked about how at the front, before the retreat, all the 'Officers' seemed to disappear on courses, even most of the Sergeant Majors disappeared, leaving the troops to fend for themselves. Harry and Uncle George had to blow up their 4.5 inch Howitzer, as that is the gun they used in 1940.
The troops retreated 18 miles to Dunkirk, where the town was being bombed, a Brigadier formed them into groups of about 50 men, then told them to go to the beach, find a rowing boat, which had an anchor into the sand with a rope to a puffer (small fishing boat) so that they could haul themselves to the boat, quicker than rowing.
Dunkirk - details from the Library book, World War Two by Ken Hills:
Nine days of continuous calm is a rare event in the English Channel but it happened, allowing small boats accompanied by the Royal Navy to go to the Dunkirk beaches, to bring home the British troops trapped there, as Uncle George said "The boat was full and got stuck in the sand"
Back to the tape: Right, now of course we get to the place where we really soldiered, in Sway, (near Bournemouth) that is where the 77th Highland Field regiment and 306 Battery, I think, in particular really made their mark, in Sway. I think we enjoyed our 21 months, I think we were pleased at our performance, that, it was a really good time. But then they finally uprooted us, most unwillingly, and dragged us up to Scotland.
But don't forget we had to fight our way back to Scotland (from Sway, by doing training exercises), we marched over the moors from Catterick (Northern England) to Barnard Castle and then had to fight our way back to Scotland, they would not let us in, but we got there.
North African Campaign
Then eventually we left for overseas and we were on that lovely cruise Ship the 'Johan van Oldenbarnwelten'. It must have cost the a fortune to put that in brass letters around the counter. Really! We got out to North Africa and that is where there was a very important ceremony, there was a very important place in North Africa, a very sad burial.
We buried about 3 x 5 gallon drums of 'Green Blanko' (stuff to clean and dye their belts and gaiters green, not required for brown Africa), not far from Algiers and not far from Mers on Blanche that we buried this 'Blanko' for the rest of the War. And then, we were then as you might say 'blooded', I think in my recollect1on the war in Belgium had been too quick, to sudden, and we didn't know enough. I think when we went to North Africa we were very busy much more seasoned soldiers, we knew what we were doing we really got on very well there.
Harry Osborne's story: In the First Army in Africa we used 25 pounder guns, the latest gun of its time, a magnificent quick firing and very good for knocking out tanks due to its high muzzle velocity.
From the Library book: The War in the African desert moved back and forth for two years along the north African coast.
Back to the tape: I have just seen today a very good map by J V McKay of the North African Campaign with the 77th Highland Field Regiment route through North Africa, and he has on it that at the end of the campaign; at a place called Corba, just south of Nems al Tamire, Cape Bon that Sergeant Skipsey's gun fired the last rounds of the North African Campaign. And I can tell him how many rounds that was! It was 9 rounds, that were fired at little boats that were taking off for Pantillaria Island and that was Colonel Pike, was it not you, that ordered, Sergeant Skipsey to bring these boats back he said, and Sergeant Skipsey’s gun was only about 20 yards from the beach and he swung the gun round, which was No 1 gun of 'Don' troop and he fired 9 rounds and later on in the Command Post we got this piece of paper all tabulated off, the various kinds of ammunition and under the heading 25 pounder and down the side it had the dates and when it came to the last date there had been a few days with no ammunition fired at all, and on this date there was 9 rounds of 25 pounder ammunition fired. that was 'Don' troop 306 Battery 77th Highland Field Regiment had fired the last 9 x 25 pounder rounds in the North Africa Campaign.
Well, that was it, we then, Ah, then the buzz went round, we got on the docks at Tunis, the Ship was standing there, we were going home. Somebody said "There is mail in that ship for Blighty (army term for home) we are going home !" Right, what did we find the next morning, the ship had sailed, where was the morning sun ? Right on the bow of the ship ! There we were going east, we are going to Burma, and down we went through Suez, Port Said, we are stopping here, 'no' we are not, right through non-stop straight through into the canal, Burma it is, get our chopsticks ready, and then what happened.
We got to Bitter Lakes, dropped anchor and that was New Year's night, and 1 can't remember who it was, I think it was Mr Kennedy who came down to where I was with a bottle of whisky, he says right, we are going ashore, this is as far as we are going, Happy New Year and I got a tot of whisky. I was lucky, the privilege of being a Sergeant..
Then we had a little trip from Egypt to Naples (Italy). On the trip we started off lying in the sun in the boat travelling up the Suez Canal, then the battledress blouses went on, and then the greatcoats went on, and then the balaclava helmets, and then when we stepped ashore in 'Sunny Italy' there was 9 inches of snow in Naples.
We sat on the dockside, If you remember, for about 5 hours, we sat in a neat little backstreet and then somebody had the bright idea to march us up to where the transport was, but the transport was just on the other side of the road and IT was moving up to, so we marched for about 1/4 of a m1le carrying all our full serving marching order, our kitbag and our blankets. We marched up until somebody said "Right, get on to that truck". The same truck that had come up the road with us, but we got on and away. Well, that was Naples in the snow.
Then, Ah. Tommy guns were issued to everyone, to fight their way ashore and I don't think any of these Infantry Companies from the 77th Highland Field Regiment went off in very great heart at all, because that was not our kind of war. We were the long range fighters, we didn't fancy this idea of going ashore. Mind you, it didn’t worry me because I was in the rear party. I was alright. We finally fought our way up to Cassino and what I remember about Cassino is my arm getting about 3 or 4 inches longer, carrying ammunition up the hill, from the bottom to the top. Because we were 'smoking' Cassino from dawn to dusk, 1 round of smoke every 2 minutes. A terrible lot of smoke, a lot of ammunition to be brought up from the bottom to the top. Everybody was carrying it Officers, NCO's everybody.
From the Library book: Allied bombers smashed the ancient Abbey of Monte Cassino and turned it into a smok1ng ruin. But it took the Allies two more months of bitter fight1ng to drive the Germans out.
Harry Osbourne's story: We kept sending smoke bombs over the river below Cassino, so that it formed a fog, so the army could build bridges across the large river, which needed to be crossed.
Back to the tape:
Anyway, we got to Greece, and I think we had our happiest time of the whole war. In Greece, we even had set up a Further Education College, where everybody was scampering to learn elementary French and Architecture and all sorts of things and, so far as I was concerned is where the shutters came down. I was always very disappointed that we left Cathcart, Oh, by the way, I shouldn't be here! I should still be standing at the 'Cooper Institute' because Taffy Mills, when we were in the Cooper Institute, he said "Cuthbert", we were standing there with our blankets, with a bit of string, to tie it round us, and we got a tin of 'bully beef' between two and a packet of biscuits and he said "Cuthbert, go out to the door relieve so and so and let him come in to get his blanket".
So I went to the door of the hall, to keep out all the wives, sweethearts and girlfriends, you see. Next thing that happened was the battery marched out of the Cooper Institute and left me standing on guard at the door! Now as a good soldier, I should really should still be standing at the Cooper Institute door because nobody relieved me and the. last order was "Cuthbert go and guard that door" and I should still be there! But, I mean, I took a chance, and came with the Battery and that’s how I happened to be here.
So, now, I don't want to keep you too long, I've talked long enough, and I feel that to me, that has been the Regiment, that has been a part or my life that I would never have missed, to have got to know you all, to have lived with you, Oh to have cursed and sworn with you, to have seen some of you far enough, that man for example, but still in all, It was a great time and we were a pretty good bunch. Thank you.
End of the tape.
Walter Charles Lewis Martime Regiment Royal Artillery
My father, Walter Charles Lewis, was in the Royal Artillery and served throughout WW2 from 1939. He was engaged in the Battle of the Atlantic whilst serving as gunner on armed merchantmen ships and I believe also went to Murmansk on the Russian convoys. He received an Atlantic Star campaign medal together with his other war medals.
He was born in Fulham, London and died in hospital in London in 1979. My father and I were strangers as he and my mother were divorced when I was 5. I can find no record of this type of service where soldiers served on merchant ships. It seems like a closed book. I know he was torpedoed and had a bad war which had an affect on him, apart from that I know nothing as he never spoke of his experiences. Any information would be gratefully received.
Cecil Stanley Frederick Marshall Royal Artillery
This Stalag 8b group photo has a date of 12.7.1943. My father-in-law, Cecil Stanley Frederick Marshall, known as Fred is 4th from right middle row. He was also held in Stalag IIID
L/Bdr. William John Papworth 5th Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
William John Papworth, 5th Royal Artillery. During WW2 this Australian soldier fought for our country. He died in the Battle of Salerno.
Arthur Ernest Bates 5th Regiment Royal Artillery
My Dad, Arthur Ernest Bates, served in the 5th RHA from 1940 to 1946 and went through North Africa, Italy, Normandy & Germany. He was born in Australia but returned to England when he was three years old. He has many memories of what he went through and it is only in recent years that he has disclosed some of them to me. Amongst many other stories, he shook hands with King George, and also ‘spotted’ Rommel during his North Africa service.
T/Capt Peter Smart Green MC. 31st Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My Great Uncle T/Capt Peter Smart Green MC. served with 31st Field Regiment Royal Artillery. I know he was awarded a medal at some point too, through the national archives I found reference to his medal and found this interesting as I didn't realise the gong was the Military Cross.
Gnr. Fred Mycock Royal Artillery
I have been told that my father, Fred Mycock, was held in Stalag 398. Apparently this was at Pupping. I believe that that camp was in the valley of the river Danube. However, when he was alive, we went to Austria and found the site of the old camp. I do not recall it being in Pupping. In fact I am pretty certain it was not. The camp we found was in a small village, just off a fairly major road. It had a small sawmill, with a log flume from further up in the hills behind. The camp was access via a narrow unmade road up a narrow ravine, alongside the log flume and small river. The hut foundations were still visible. The track continued up into the hills. It was there that my father worked, felling trees, which were sent down the flume. The flume was fed from the dammed-up river further up the valley.
Editor's Note: Most of the Stalag POW Camps had work camps, known as arbeitskommandos, where the men would be housed close to the work they had been allocated.
Robert Muir Malcolm Royal Artillery
My grandfather, Robert Muir Malcolm, was captured in the Second World War in 1940 at Dunkirk and marched to Stalag 20b in Poland until the end of the war when he returned home.
Sgt. Edward McKee 21st HAA Royal Artillery
My grandfather, Edward McKee never spoke about the war so his involvement is a mystery, I am trying to find out history of his Regiment and my grandfather's involvement.I have got these details from his soldier's service and pay book and a permanent pass.
BQMS. William Charles Taylor Royal Artillery
William joined the British Army before the advent of the Second World War. He saw that war was coming and decided to join up in advance. He first joined the Territorial Army in 1938, and was embodied at the outbreak of war. His Army number was 6779655, and he attained the rank of W/Battery Quartermaster Sergeant in the Royal Artillery (HAA). He was transferred to the Reserves on 9th August 1946.
His military conduct was described as ‘exemplary’. His trade on enlistment was decribed as ‘salesman’, and trade courses and trade tests passed during service was ‘engine hand’.
His Release Leaving Certificate has the following testimonial from Major J Mc A Plunkett: ‘This NCO has served in the Territorial Army since 1938 and was embodied at the outbreak of war. He has served under my command for the past 18 months. He is energetic, conscientious and very loyal. He [...] initiative and is capable of working without supervision. He has always been cheerful even under adverse conditions. he has had over a year’s experience of organising and administering [...] for large [numbers?] of displaced persons and has a good knowledge of food supplies. I can confidently recomend him for any post requiring organising and administrative ability.’
It is believed he spent some time training women to drive army vehicles in Scotland, served in Africa for a time, and was with the Allied Forces in Berlin after the war was over.
Ernest Harrington 8th Survey Regiment Royal Artillery
After the theft of my wife's grandmother's handbag which contained one of the only picture she had of her late husband, I am looking for anyone who may have pictures either of the whole unit or better still of Ernest Harrington preferably taken in Italy.
My wife's grandmother is heartbroken at the loss of this picture so any help will be much apreciated.
Gnr. Frank Goldman 5th Maritime Regiment Royal Artillery (d.30th Sep 1943)
My grandfather, Frank Goldman, was a Gunner with the Royal Artillery, 5th Maritime Regiment and died on Sept 30, 1943 at the age of 36.
BSM. John Ray 133 Field Regiment (Welsh)
I have details of the Regiment's posting as Depot Regt, School of Artillery in 1943 when they were in Chichester (Tangmere). My Father Jack Ray, went with the Regiment when they were incorporated into the 2nd Canadian Division in Holland and Germany in 1944.
Gnr Wilfred Carter 111th HAA Reg Royal Artillery
The information I have is rather sparce as my father died in 1963 before I could talk to him about his war service -
My mother spoke of his return. She said he was traumatised by what he saw at Belsen but he never spoke of it again.
- 18.7.40 209th AA Training Reg
- 15.9.40 Posted to 347th HAA Reg RA
- 22.10.40 Regimented with 111th HAA Reg RA
- 9.44 To NW Europe
- 27.10.45 Posted to 1 Holding Unit
Gnr. Thomas Stanley Warwick 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Artillery, D Troop Royal Artillery (d.23rd Sep 1944)
i am looking for any information on Thomas Stanley Warwick who was with the 1st Airbourne, 1st Airlanding Anti-tank Artillery. He was in D Troop he was in Arnhem Market Garden. He was killed at Hartenstein, Oosterbeek on the 23rd Sept 1944. We don't know what happened to him. He has no grave, but is on the Roll of Honour in Groesbeek Cemetery. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Gnr. Thomas Wilson Royal Artillery
My late Dad, Thomas Wilson lived and died in the City of Durham. He must have joined up in London because he was working down there I think in the Grosvenor Square area, other wise he might have been in the Durham Regiment, the DLI like my Granddad in WW1. I’m sure he said he was Kings Troupe R H A. I have most of his Army papers but nothing to tell me where or when he was taken, or his Battery. Dad always said that he was taken prisoner near Dunkirk, he said some thing about escorting Queen or Princess Willamina and his Regiment being all taken prisoner there. The CO said to destroy every thing before they surrendered (I just do not know). He was then marched all over, until they reached a POW Camp XXB. His POW Number was 5536.In early 1960 my Dad developed a brain tumour every one said it could have been from the time in the prison camps, he did recover and lived untill 1980's. But after the brain operation he lost a good bit of his memory and I never really got to the bottom of his POW life. He did say that he escaped some where near Hoene and he said he knew about Belson, he did say that within a few days they were flown to England
Dad had 2 tattoos on his arms one of Edith Cavil and the other Florence Nightingale.
My Dad looking the wrong way and one one of these he has his long riding boots I can only think that these were taken in there Unit form up, before they left for France
the German people are from the farm that he worked on.
He was in Bulford Camp, some time there he was knocked of his bike by a truck at night they sent him to Halifax General Hospital, R&R I suppose it was whilst there he met my mam, Stella, she was visiting her brother and my dad saw her photo on his locker and told him that she is a bonny girl. And the rest is history. They got married and I was born.
My Mam has her right hand on the right shoulder of the girl in front.
Sgt Douglas Taylor Royal Artillery
Pte. Joseph Jerome Deponio Royal Artillery
My Grandfather, Joseph Deponio from North Wales, was of Italian descent and became a gunner with the Royal Artillery. He was captured shortly after landing in France when he was driving a lorry full of officers away from the front line. They rounded a corner and drove straight into a German ambush. He was marched to Poland and stayed there for the whole war. He played guitar, but was so tired from days of marching that he threw his guitar over a hedge because he simply couldn't carry it any more.
He was at Stalag XXB for the whole time, although he said he did escape often so that he would be put to hard labour where you got extra food. One time he escaped with a couple of friends... he is no longer alive to ask, but I am pretty certain that their names were Bill Williams and Frank Nuttall. They were walking through deep snow and were exhausted and the guards were taking their time re-capturing them. One of these two couldn't go on and urged my grandfather and the other chap to carry on without him. Apparently my grandfather carried him until they were captured shortly afterwards and thanked him later as he simply would have died that day.
He learnt fluent German and exchanged things with the guards for extra fags or other bits and bobs. His knowledge of German came in very handy with my homework! He also mentioned another chap, I think he was a Frenchman, named Felix - (or that may have been his surname) and they exchanged letters after the war. After the war, he arrived somewhere in Sussex or Hampshire and was stationed in or near the small Sussex village of Billingshurst. The details are unclear, but I assume he was waiting to be demobbed or something like that and return to his hometown near Rhyl, North wales. However, whilst there, he met Marjorie Gravett and married her and settled in Sussex. He sadly died in 1996 aged 77 from cancer.
I have always been interested in his war story, although he rarely talked about it, and I got the feeling that he saw and went through some terrible things. My Mum says as a young child she can remember him sitting staring into the fire with tears rolling down his face silently. I would like to hear from anyone who knew Joseph, or Bill or Frank. I think one of them was actually writing a book, but I haven't a clue where they live, or if they have since died. My grandfather would be nearly 93 now, as would they, but if by small chance they, or their children or grandchildren stumble across this memoir, then please get in touch.
Maj. John Stanley White 29th Kent Searchlight Regiment, 468 Searchlight Bt Royal Artillery (TA)
John White was stationed on South Ronaldsay with 313 Searchlight Battery in 1943, and then as CO of 468 Searchlight Battery in 1944. These batteries were two of the three searchlight batteries of 29th (Kent) Searchlight Regiment RA (TA). In 1945 we know that he was in Belgium and then in Lower Saxony. He contracted TB while he was in Germany, had half a lung removed, and was invalided out of the Army in 1946.
Gnr. John Emlyn Davies 11th Regiment, B & E Battery. Royal Artillery
My father, John Emlyn Davies, served with the Royal Artillery in North Africa from September 1941 to January 1942 when he was captured and sent to a POW camps in Italy & was then transported to Stalag 4B near Dresden where he was a prisoner until May 1945. He returned to the UK in August 1945. I have his POW tag which shows his prisoner number to be 248388. Like so many former POWs, he spoke very little about his wartime experiences.
I would be extremely pleased to hear from anyone who might have known my father.
Sgt. George Cyril Cordery 53rd (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Regt. Royal Artillery
My father, George Cordery did his basic training with the Durham Light Infantry before joining the Royal Artillery as a Gunner. He was eventually posted to the 53rd (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment, which was part of 6th Airborne Division. He served with the OP Section of then Regiment.
After the war had ended he was sent to Burma as part of the British Training Mission, where he served as an instructor with the Burmese 1st Anti-tank Regiment (which was also known as the Chin Hills Battalion).
Bdr. John Stewart Wibberley Royal Artillery
My dad, Jack Wibberley, talked about being in the Eighth Army, and about visiting Cairo. He was captured at Tobruk in June 1942 and was taken to Italy where he was a POW in the following camps:
I know he escaped from one of the camps with a friend Mac. He was taken in by a farming family & lived with them. One day when working in the fields he was challenged & beaten with rifles by some Axis troops - he agreed to meet them in the market in Naples the next day & bring another POW with him. Needless to say, he didn't do that! [I read a report he wrote about this when I was about 13, but that report wasn't in family papers when we cleared the family house] In June 1944 his war record states he was known to have reached Southern Italy & was in Allied hands. By August 1944 he had returned to England & was in Liverpool Transit Camp He was posted to Clacton on Sea in Essex where he was part of the Heavy Ack Ack Battery. In the NAAFI there he met my mum Ada Letch who was in the ATS. They got married in December 1945. He died in 1958 and my mum died in 1980.
- 85 Turturano near Brindisi
- 87 Stalia
- 66 Capua
- 68 Vetralia
- 73 Fossoli of Carpi
- 53 Sforzacosta
I would love to know if anyone remembers him - he was always known as Jack.
Gnr. Charles Frederick Johnson 68 H.A.A 277 Bty. Royal Artillery
My father, Charlie Johnson, was a gunner in the Royal Artillery and served in Egypt where he suffered from dysentry before being reported missing in Tobruk on 20.6.1942. He was taken as a prisoner of war and shipped to a transit camp in Italy, PG 75, P.M. 3450, Bari.
I have no information of what happened to him in Italy but he was transferred from there to Stalag XVIIIA in Wolfsburg, Austria sometime in 1943 where he stayed until 1945. My father didn't really talk about the war or what happened to him in the camps, all the information I have is mostly through research and the records I have received from the Army Personnel Centre. All I have of my Dad's from this time is his dog tag which has the no. 8296 and a ring which has scribed on it "Austria 1943" and in one corner an arc of the sun with rays coming off it. I was told by my Mum that she thought that someone in the camp had made it for him, but on reading a passage from the book "POW Allied Prisoners of War in Europe 1939-1945" by Adrian Gilbert, where it mentions that the Russian POW's on the other side of the fence were so badly treated that the POW's in my Dad's camp smuggled food and cigarettes to them and in gratitude the Russians gave them small wood carvings and metalwork, I now wonder whether this ring was made by a Russian prisoner of war.
Sgt Eric Cyril Sparks 87 Field Regt. Royal Artillery
My dad, Eric Sparks, worked as a tailor at John Colliers in Colchester before the war. He was also the goalkeeper for Colchester United in their Southern League days. He was called up 0n 15.1.40 at Shoeburyness in Essex and joined the Royal Artillery.
After training he went to the Middle East area and spent all his service there including Iraq, Persia(Iran),Syria and Italy. He was on 25 pounder field guns and eventually rose to be a sergeant. While on leave in Cairo, he fell off the back of a lorry and broke his back, but after rehab, rejoined the unit. He became a trainer on artillery weapons in Iraq.
Sometime in 1944, in Italy the gun was firing when a shell exploded in the breech killing two men and wounding the rest. Eric hand his left hand severely blown apart and was sent back after initial treatment to the UK for his finger to be repaired, but it didn't happen and his finger was taken off. Obviously he was discharged medically in 1945.
He married his sweetheart, Sgt Major Violet Cook of the ATS at Colchester Military Hospital in 1945. He couldn't return to his old profession so became a clerk at Colchester Barracks and eventually became the Superintendent Clerk of Works for all Military buildings and areas in Essex. Despite his disability, he played the piano and organ in Church up to his death.
Unfortunately, the war got him in the end, when all the millions of minute blood clots that he had lived with in his body since the war, joined up as one huge clot and killed him in 1986.
Gnr. Llewellyn Sims 34 L.A.A. Regt. 92 Bty. Royal Artillery (d.19th March 1942)
Llewellyn Sims was the youngest of my father’s brothers he died on 19 Mar 1942 when serving in WW2 but we don’t know where or how he died. Can anyone help? My father, Richard John Sims, was a POW in Stalag 344 Lambinowice, Poland.
Gnr. Patrick P. Conroy 6/3 Maritime Regiment Royal Artillery (d.4th Apr 1942)
Not much is known about my Uncle Patrick Conroy or his service other than he was buried at sea. He was about 20 years old when he died. The UK Army Roll of Honour gives his regiment at enlistment as Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, he was serving with 6/3 Maritime Regiment, Royal Artillery at the time of his death. Looking for information and photographs, can any one help?
L/Bdr. Jack "Nipper" Charlesworth Royal Artillery
My dad, Jack, joined up 1939 and one amusing tale was when the dinner gong went, he asked his Sergeant "whats the gong for?" - "It's dinner time Charlesworth" was the reply, to this my dad said ""e had dinner yesterday, Sunday" to be answered, "We have dinner everyday in the army, Charlesworth".
Jack was taken prisoner at Dunkirk, apparently dismantling some communication set up. He was sent to Stalag XXb at Marienburg where he worked on a farm as a shepherd. His nickname was Nipper as he was 5ft 5". He used to tell a tale that he learnt German from a boot polish tin and him and his mates would take the "mick" out of the guards.
Sgt. Ernest Walter Maylin 365 Battery 92nd Field Regiment
Only recently started to look into my grandfather's military career. I have discovered that Ernest Maylin was involved in the defensive action with the BEF throughout the month of May 1940. He was injured and captured 31st May 1940 and after healing was transferred to Stalag VIIIB on 28th Jan 1941. As to what else happened I have no idea, but I would like to eventually find out who he bunked with during his time as a POW.
Pte. Hyman "Harry" Eichen MID. 7th Batallian Seaforth Highlanders (d.15th Feb 1945)
My father Harry Eichen died on 15th February 1945 during a Battle in Reichswald Forest, Nr Cleve. He was part of Operation Veritable. I understand from an article in the Walthamstow Guardian that he was Mentioned In Dispatches for his part in capturing a German unit as he could speak German. I was 3 years old so never knew him. I have letters from his Captain and chaplain sent to my mother.
He is buried in the Commonwealth War Grave in Reichswald Forest and I was able to visit his grave in 1997, travelling from Australia. I wonder if anyone remembers him. He was 34 years old when he died and both he and his brother volunteered as soon as war broke out. I believe prior to being posted to the Seaforth Highlanders he was a gunner in the Royal Artillery.
Gnr. Tommie Henry George Atkins Royal Artillery
My grandfather was a POW at Stalag IVb. His name was Gunner Tommie Henry George Atkins, Royal Artillery. We have photographs of family members that were sent to him in the camp and they have his POW number written on the back. His number was 223067. He talked very little about the war to his family. We know that he was shot in the hip and treated (insufficiently) by a German doctor before being sent to the camp. His leg fused straight and he had a limp the rest of his life.
Sadly, he died in 2000 but had a good life after the war, despite illness and disability caused by his time there. He was a much loved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.Thank you for recording their history for us,
Victor "Taffe" Lewis 24th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My dad's name was Victor Lewis. He went to India in 1932 until 1937 up on the North West Frontier serving in the 4th Field Brigade Royal Artillery. He also went to France with the BEF serving in the 24th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, only to be driven back to the beaches of Dunkirk.
Has anybody out there got a photo of the boxing team of the 3rd training brigade 1931 Woolwich Barracks? This boxing team photo was lost in a small holdall with photos of my Mother, cups for running, and a few boxing medals. Dad told me that he put the holdall in to the stores at Aldershot barracks where he was stationed after Dunkirk. When he went back to claim it, on two occaisons, sadly they could not find it, for what reasons he did not know he told me. So may be some relative of a friend of Dad's who served at Woolwich in 1931 may have some photographs for me. It's a small world sometimes.
Gnr. George Herbert Titley Royal Artillery
My wife's father, George Herbert Titley, was captured at the fall of Crete in 1941. He was taken to Berlin after an escape attempt and eventually to Stalag VIIIB in Poland. In 1945 he was part of the, so called, death march. He had signed up having lied about his age. My wife would like to hear any stories relating to the Royal Artillery who had similar experiences.
L/Bdr. Desmond Bettany 88th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
Taken from Dad's website of his art work: www.changipowart.com
Life as a Prisoner of War (POW) from Feb 1942 to Sept 1945 As a response to a request from the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board, To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle for Singapore Re-typed from the original manuscript written by Des Bettany in 1991
On our arrival in Singapore, in November 1941, we entrained up country to Mantin. The unit, the 88th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery became part of the 9th Indian Division, and the three batteries were sent to Ipoh, Alor Star and Kuantan, where the Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk. Eventually the Battery was moved back over Fraser’s Gap to the West Coast, north of Kuala Lumpur and took part in the fights, skirmishes and battles down the Peninsular to Singapore. After capitulation we were all marched to Changi, after disabling and destroying our guns.
The passage of 50 years has reduced the mass of incidents and memories as P.O.W.’s to general feelings, impressions and attitudes. Between February 15th 1942 and September 1945, the completely alien existence we led has become blurred. What is left is a lasting profound distrust and dislike of the Japanese and Koreans.
What remains clear is that throughout the period of privation, starvation and slavery, hope, faith and confidence in our eventual release remained optimistically constant. Rumours abounded but I particularly remember the night of the ‘D’ Day landings in Normandy. When the report reached us, the whole camp within and without the jail began to stir and murmur, to the consternation of the Japanese. This was accepted as fact, but the stories of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, were met with disbelief.
Some things remain clear however – the never ending struggle for means to bolster woefully insufficient rations; the treatment of working parties by third class Japanese and Korean privates, some of whom had never seen a European before; the road side display of severed heads; the lashings and tortures of Chinese and Indian labourers as well as P.O.W.’s; and complete disregard of the sick and injured by the Japanese. But there was also the ingenious use of material and primitive resourcefulness shown in building accommodation, chapels, theatres and essentials. The concerts, shows and plays were quite excellent as were talks and lectures by experts. Many miracles of surgery occurred under very trying conditions.
At an early date, working parties left Changi for camps in Towner Road and Sarangoon Road, etc. We worked at clearing up the damage in Singapore and the Dock area. For a while we collected abandoned military and private transport. What could not be repaired was broken up and shipped to Japan as scrap. Ingenious methods of sabotage were used both here and other working parties, such as transit camps for the Japanese troops from the Islands and the War Memorial to Japanese dead on Bukit Timiah Hill.
At this time the Selarang Square incident occurred in Changi and parties began leaving there to work on the Burma Railway. After returning to Changi we were moved to the jail and surrounds, and from there until repatriation went daily to work, clearing a corner of the Changi area and creating a fighter strip. This still exists, but has grown into Changi International Airport.
My personal worst moments came when I had to appear before the Japanese Commandant and an assortment of interpreters, to try and explain away, to humourless Japanese officers a book of political cartoons I had drawn. I had lent the book to a careless person who allowed it to fall into the hands of Japanese guards. This was at a time when the war was going badly for Germany and Japan and this was reflected in the cartoons. I was extremely lucky to get away with a whole skin. The Japanese did not approve. I never saw the book again. I am now retired from a life of tertiary art education, and enjoy the benefits of family and eight grandchildren.
Signed: Desmond Bettany, Royal Artillery, 1991
70th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore 15th February 2012 ‘Lest We Forget’ The Triumph of the Human Spirit in the Face of Adversity
Cpt. P. Windham Royal Artillery
We would like to hear from Captain P Windham or his family.
Gnr. James John Bagan Taylor Royal Artillery
I am trying to find my father James John Bagan Taylor who was from Glasgow. I have been informed that he served a a gunner in the Royal Artillery Probably in Scotland but don't know definatly. Not much information but can anyone help?
Gnr. Henry Higginson 1 Reg Royal Horse Artillery (d.21st Nov 1941)
My Great Uncle, Henry Higginson, was born in Belfast in 1920, son of James and Ellen Jane Higginson. He took part in the Siege of Tobruk and died at age 21. A month before he died a pencil sketch was made of him by a fellow soldier named Kowieski and was attached to a wooden keepsake box. The box and the picture made it home to his family thankfully. It is now a treasured family heirloom.
L/Bdr Albert Briggs Royal Artillery
In 1940 my parents Albert and Amelia Briggs, my sister Amelia and myself were bombed out of the little terraced house we lived in in Manchester. It was just a few weeks before my dad was to join the army. This was December 1940. On 17th March my sister died of diptheria age 6yrs and the day after my sister's funeral my mother was admitted to the same hospital as a suspected carrier of the disease. I cannot imagine how my parents must have felt. Of course I was just 3yrs old and do not remember most of this terrible time. However, I do remember being in my auntie's bed and seeing a soldier peeping round the door which was half opened. I have since realized that this was my Dad. Apparantly I stayed with my aunt Edith who was like a second mother to me. I learned later that my father had been given compassionate leave for my sister's funeral but because of the ordeal he had not returned to his unit on time and the redcaps had been sent to take him back to his unit. It is not until you are much older that you fully appreciate your parents. I will always remember until the day that I die how much love and devotion was shown to me and the sacrifices my parents made. My mother's heart must have been breaking but she always managed to make me happy. As for my dad he was the most wonderful father any girl could have. He never recalled all his bad experiences during the war but only told of the funny things he encountered. I am sure we were not alone and like many others at that time we just got on with it.
Mjr. Arthur Horwood Royal Artillery
My Dad, Arthur Horwood joined the army because he wanted a pair of boots like he had seen in the army recruitment posters to replace the old ladies shoes he had. He was a poor boy from London who worked in the glass works in the East End or pushed a barrow from which he sold various items such as firewood or salt.
He rose through the ranks and finished up his army career as a Major with the George Medal, (he never would divulge why he had been awarded the G.M.- he always was very modest and hard working). He did a stint at the start of the war on Canvey Island with the 'Dads army' of the time and served under Colonel Fielder. During the main part of the war he took part in the Italian campaign and eventually was sent home injured after having an argument with a land mine.
He was posted to various places such as Colchester Military Prison and Dover and after the war had finished was posted to Egypt with his family of four (not me as I had not yet been born!). After the war he rose to a high position in the stores of a motor vehicle plant in Basildon and settled for a long while in Southend on Sea, Essex, before coming to live with me in Southend in his old age after the loss of my mum. He died in 2004 at the grand old age of 98.
Cpt. Ernest Frederic Hope "Jeff" Jeffery Royal Artillery
My Grand-Father, Ernest F.H. Jeffery, Royal Artillery was captured at Dunkirk as a member of the rear party to the B.E.F., whilst on the beaches at Dunkirk he was machine-gunned/straffed by the Luftwaffe in the legs and lower back and later was hospitalised.
Whilst he was in Hospital being treated for his wounds,a rumour thought to have been started by the Germans,insisted that German Prisoners of War where being chained and hand-cuffed whilst in detention centres in the United Kingdom! This was of course totally untrue but at that time Herr Gobbels jumped onto any means to spread his propaganda and rhetoric. But, the up-shot of this rumour was that Allied Prisoners of War where taken from where-ever they where being held in camps or hospitals and chained, handcuffed and manacled together and forced to undertake a forced 1000 mile march from Dunkirk to Germany in retaliation for the supposed chaining of German POW's.
He was eventually housed in Offlag V11 B near Eichstadt,for the duration of the war,& his injuries were as such to prevent him attempting to escape! I do remember him telling me that he worked in the market garden in the town and brought back vegetables to supplement the rations supplied by the camp guards
Though he was an officer he was a rarity as he came up through the ranks having signed on as Gunner in the Royal Artillery India around 1923-24. He was discharged from the Army after having served 21 years 10 months and demoted from Major to his pre war rank that of Captain. This was done, he said, to prevent paying him his full Army pension.
Henry Yalden Royal Artillery
My father Harry Yalden was sent to France to fight the Germans who were moving in from Belguim in 1940. He was part of the Artillery Regiment. They fought on the beaches of Dunkirk until they ran out of ammo. They were captured and sent on a death march to Poland were he was a prisoner of war for 5 years at Stalag xxb his number was 14 on the records. He later escaped with others and was found by Americans hiding out in a barn. If anybody has any information a family mentioning him, records of him I would very much appreciate it. He died in 1986 and would never talk about his ordeal when he was alive. My Dad was a little guy 5ft 4in reddish blond hair blues eyes and stocky and a jokester who loved to draw.
Bdr. Robert Comfort "Robbie" Edwards 57th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
Bombardier Robert Comfort "Robbie" Edwards 57th Field Regiment 898397 Signaller. My father was born on 26th Feb 1919, Robertson Road, Preston, Brighton, Sussex, he attended the TA from a teenager. TA1938.
This is his account of the war: In 1938 drafted into the Army from Brighton. Mobilised in September 1939, from Willingdon Observation Post, Motella Towers Hastings - Sittingbourne.
March 1940 Service in France. BEF April 1940, then Battle of the Escaut withdrew from BEF for final evacuation from Dunkirk. They were walking along the many roads to Dunkirk when a plane flew at them they thought it was German so they all jumped in a stagnant ditch - it was an ally plane - they stunk all the way to Dunkirk and eventually to Blighty.
Dad remembers he was on a little boat with one funnel. May 1942 sailed with 44 Division under Lieut. Colonel R E Green, arrived in Egypt on 23rd July 1942. They had 251lbs founders artillery guns. When they came across Arabs sitting on their camels making their wives walk along by their sides they took off the Arabs and put the women on the camels! They also sold them used teabags!
Desert warfare training at Khatatba. 57th Field regiment ordered to reconnoitre Gun Areas near Delta Barrage.
Aug 1942 44th Division ordered to take up defensive positions at Bare Ridge, Battle of Dier el Munassib, Oct 1942 El Alamein. They were in convoy in Egypt, the West coast of Africa at Freetown Cape Town for 3 days. In army vehicles up to Suez Canal to Cairo and then in to the Desert (he was in the Desert Rats) to stop Rommel getting into Cairo then Monty arrived in the heat of the desert.
440 Field Battery RA of 57th Field Regiment was temporarily attached to the 50th division. 57th Field Regiment RA became an Army Field Regiment RA. Battles: Dec 1942 Suerra, South of Mersa Berga under 51st (Highland Division) Jan 1943 Sonda, advance to Tripoli under 7th Armoured Division. Mar 1943, mobile operation 22nd Armoured Brigade and 8th Armoured Brigade Regiment then joined 51st (Highland) Division for the Battle of Medenine. Later in Mar 1943 the 57th Army Field Regiment Battle of Mareth under command of 50th Division, 4th Light Armoured Brigade, 201 Guards Brigade and 51st (Highland) Division. April 1943 Battle of Wadi Akarit under 51st (Highland) Division then regiment proceeded to parts of the Front near Enfidalville under command 5 AGRA in support of 4th Indian Division, 2nd New Zealand Division, 56th London Division, 4th Armoured Brigade and the fighting French Brigade. May 1943 Hostilities in North Africa the Regiment returned to Tripoli for refitting under 10 Corps. Travelled along the North African Coast to Birzata. Where dad went on a Driver Operator course in a tank he said the clutch was too long! 440 Battery would not return to 57th Army Field Regiment and 160 Independent Battery, formerly part of the 174th regiment joined 57th Army Field Regiment. Jun 1943 Regiment was informed that it was to be considered in Eight Army Reserve. 23rd Jul 1943, 57th Army Field Regiment arrived in Sicily, after a few days under 1 Canadian Division fought throughout the Sicilian Campaign with 78th Division in Battles of Catenauova, Cenutripe, Adrana and Bronte. Sep 1943, 57th Army Field Regiment Fire Plan to support landing at Reggio, Italy, and 226 Battery of 57th Army Field Regiment occupied positions on the Sea Front at Messina and fired AP Shells with tracer to guide British Landing Craft to the Italian Coast. He recalls that in 1944 my Uncle Jonathan Edwards (his brother) picked him up from the Regiment and took him to Naples where Vesuvio was erupting the ash was everywhere. He recalls that many of his best friends perished, one was near him and a bomb just blew him to pieces in a second. The noise from the shells and bombs was very deafening. Most nights were lit up with gunfire. He was 92 in February 2011. He now says it was a complete waste of time fighting this war because what he fought for has now diminished.
Gnr. William Bowerbank Royal Artillery
My late father, Gunner William Bowerbank, was a Royal Artilery signaller between approx 1936 to 1946. He only joined so he could get a new suit. He was a good footballer and was a member of a team that won the Salisbury Plain Area Challenge Cup in 1937 under a CO named Borthwick, I had a photo but mislaid it. I would like to hear from anybody who could shed any light on this.
Pte. Jack Cansick Royal Artillery
My Father, Jack Cansick, was a prisoner at Stalag ivb at Muhlberg. He was captured in North Africa in 1940 and was liberated by the Russians in 1945
Dvr. Charles Albert Mills Royal Artillery
My Father Charles Mills was in the Royal Artillery, a driver of anti-tank guns. Posted to North Africa with Montgomery in the 8th Army then moved onto Anzio where he was caught in a bomb blast and then demoted and looked after a hotel in Venice where Italian women who had married English soldiers were held waiting to come to England.
Raymond Aubrey Midcalf 12th CM Battery. Royal Artillery
I have just found this card dated Sept 1945. It says "From Saleino Italy to Hamburg Germany distanct of 1790 miles, 12 CM,Bty on the move, the only unit in British Army to do the journey by road. Photo taken nr Hersfeld between Frankfert and Kessel." Mum had written on back "Raymond on motorcycle."
Pte. Henry Lenton Royal Artillery
My late father Henry Lenton was the youngest child of William and Helen Lenton nee Gunn of Walsall they had been publicans in Walsall Foreign Staffordshire. He was child of the St Marys the Mount RC school and served on the altar as a young boy. My father joined the artillery south staffs regiment in 1936 at the age of 17 yrs. He did most of the campaigns during WW2; Dunkirk, Tunisia, El Alemein, Africa and the Holy Land, he was in the airborne parachute regiment in 1944 on Operation Market Garden [Pegusus] earning his wings at Ramat David Palestine K57,a red beret.
He was sent to Arnhem with the airborne to capture the Bridge and was taken POW on 25th Sept 1944 at Oosterbeek whether this was in bombed shelled HQ of the day or on the river of 54 men left in the late evening during to heavy German firing on the river is unclear. He was in the 11th Battalion. My father was then taken by cattle train truck,the marched into Limburg where he was to be prisoner of War in Stalag 12A from Sept 25th until liberation the following year. His mother passed away in February 1945, therefore he was never to see her beloved face again. My father didn't talk much about the war, but like most young men, tried to begin life again, sadly his wife was diagnosed in 1950 with MS and life was going to be tough for them and their 8 children, today Henry's legacy of loyalty lives on through his children who live across the world, in Australia, UK and Scotland and his memory will never leave us, such brave young men.
Charles Albert "Bisto" Mills 81st Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery
Charles Albert Mills enlisted on the 2nd March 1943 and on the 15th April 1943 joined 50th Anti-Tank Training Regiment RA in Church Streeton. On the 5th July 1943 he was posted to 94th Anti-Tank Regiment RA, Conwy, North Wales and 14th November 1943 was posted as a member of a Draft to North Africa. He was posed on the 15th January 1944. to 81st Anti-Tank Regiment RA
On 22nd January 1944 81st Anti-Tank Regiment RA were part of the assault landing at Salerno, and by the end of the day were established on the Anzio perimeter defence line. The regiment remained in Italy until 25th January 1945 when they embarked at Taranto , landing in Haifa , Palestine on 31st January 1945. Three months later the regiment disbanded. However, I don't think he went to Palestine with them, his tracer card also states he was regularly on the non-effective (X) List [Regimental sick list] and then the main CMF (Italy) sick list, and its during these times when not in hospital that he would get the temporary jobs such as warden in a hostel or as member of mess staff.
The last few details on his card are: 4th March 1947 posted to the Depot RA, Woolwich and 25th July 1947 discharged
Gunner Hugh Quinn 79th Hertfordshire Yeomanry Royal Artillery (d.4th Jan 1945)
My Grandad was Gunner Hugh Quinn of the 79th Hertfordshire Yeomanry H.A.A. Regt. I know he was killed in action at Corino Ridge,Rimini Italy on the 4th Jan 1945. I would like any info on my granddad or the 79th Herts Yeomanry.
Jacob James Grossman Royal Artillery
My grandad was a Desert Rat and his name was Jimmy Grossman. He was at Trobruk etc. Ef any one has any photos or information concerning him please get in touch. Thanks
Pte. Ronald Robert Broadway 35th Searchlight Regiment, 342nd Battery Royal Artillery
On the 18th of April 1939, Ron Broadway, my Dad, enlists in the Territorial Army, Royal Engineers. He signs up for 4 years. His Attestation (enlistment) took place at Highwood Barracks, Lordship Lane, Dulwich. He was declared fit and assigned to 342 AA Company, 35th AA Battalion RE (TA). At the time of enlistment Dad was: 25 years and 8 months. He stood 5’ 6” tall, weighed 145lbs, his girth when fully expanded was 38.5”. He was of fresh complexion with blue eyes and fair hair. He was assigned as Sapper R R Broadway No. 2085852. His address at the time was given as 37 Playdell Avenue, Stockwell, SE19 and he was a Decorator by Trade.
Highwood Barracks was so named from the Dulwich Volunteers who fought in WW1 at Highwood on the Somme. Although the Barracks no longer exist a block of flats built there in recent years bears the name Highwood. Home to 35th (First Surrey Rifles) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, Royal Engineers (H.Q., 340th, 341st, 342nd & 343rd Anti-Aircraft Companies, Royal Engineers) The 21st Bn. The London Regiment was also converted into a searchlight unit of the Royal Engineers in 1935. It was affiliated to the East Surrey Regiment. The headquarters and all the companies were based at 4, Flodden Road, Camberwell, London. In January 1940 it was redesignated as the 35th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery. In March 1942, it was converted into the 129th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. The regiment served in the U.K. throughout the war.
On the 18th of June 1939 Dad was embodied (put on stand by) into the Regular Army. As Dad was in the TA his unit was embodied into the Army and prepared for duty in the UK. As a member of the TA he was not expected to serve abroad, but could volunteer for overseas service. On the 16th of July 1939 his unit was Disembodied (stood down) from the Regular Army the TA volunteers would have returned to their normal peacetime occupations.
On the 19th of August 1939 he married Dorothy Margaret Archer and on the 24th of August he was called out for actual Military Service and Reported to TA Barracks in Dulwich before being posted to 342nd Battery, 35th Searchlight Regiment at Wingham in Kent. On the 1st of September the 342nd/35 S/L Battery was embodied into British Army on the 3rd of September 1939 at 11.15am War declared with Germany
On the 1st of August 1940 Dad Transferred to Wingham in Kent with the 342/ 35th Searchlight Regt., Royal Artillery, having mustered as a Gunner On the 21st of August 1940 hereported sick on leave and failed to return to Wingham on expiration of his pass. On the 3rd of September he returned from sickness on leave to Wingham.
18th November 1940: 342nd S/L Battery vacated DG area, being relieved by 314th S/L Batt. The personnel concentrated at Herne Bay and billeted in town overnight. The following day the Battery moved by train to Seaton, Devon and were accommodated at Warner’s Holiday Camp, Seaton.
1st to 26th December 1940 was a period spent on squad drilling, PT, arms drill and route marches. In addition much entertainment during period as well including boxing tournaments, football and rugby matches against other units. On the 8th of December 1940 a Defence exercise was held against local Home Guard and on the 19th a warning order was received notifying movement to Leatherhead, this was confirmed on the 21st and on 27th December they moved by rail to Leatherhead to replace 460th S/L Battery
On the 10th of February 1941 Dad was admitted CBS Fetcham (this would have been through an injury received. CBS Fetcham was probably a casualty clearing station) He was discharged on the 18th.
On the 28th of May 1941 Dad was Classified as Class 2 (Non tradesman) Cook at Leatherhead. 342/35 S/L Regt. In July the Battery moved to Herstmonseux and in August to Storrington. On the 5th of September the Battery moved to Funtington Hall Hotel, Chichester then on the 24th to Midgley Lodge, Farnborough.
On the 28 March 1942 Dad was upgraded from Class 2 to Class 1 Non-tradesman cook wghilst stationed in Watford with 342/79 S/L Regt. On the 31st of May 1942 he became attached to London District School of Cookery from 31 May to 13 June. He undertook a Course of Kitchen Management, Organisation and Technical Control and achieved a pass rate of 88%. On the 25th of August 1942 he was Posted to 342(M) S/L Battery R.A. at Watford then on the 9th of December was Posted to 79th S/L Regt. RA Watford abd on the 11 December to 502 S/L Battery RA Field. On the 11th of February 1943 he transferred to the Army Catering Corp in the rank of Pte. as non-tradesman Class 1. Permanently attached to 79 S/L Regt. R.A. On the 29 May 1943 Dad Tested and Classified Gp. B Class 2 Tradesman Cook by Officer Commanding 502 S/L Bty. RA.
On the 22nd of April 1945 he was Taken on Strength of Admin Battalion, Army Catering Corp, Training Command until the 20th of May when he embarked for the Middle East, arriving on the 3rd of June 1945 where he was posted to Army Catering Corp. On the 10th of July 1945 Dad was posted to 922 Company RASC and on the 26th was appointed Acting Corporal. He seems to have suffered an accident on the 12 September 1945 and on the 4th of October he was admitted to 27 General Hospital, being relegated to Private on admission to hospital. He was discharged and returned tohis unit on the 17th of October.
I have his notification of impending release form dated 19th October 1945: Pte. Ronald Robert Broadway No. 2085852 of 922 Company Army Catering Corp (Cook Gp. 8 Class2). Military Conduct: Exemplary. Testimonial: Has proved himself a willing worker and has applied himself with zeal to his duties and carried them out efficiently, sober and well behaved. A sound reliable man with good organising ability. On the 20th of October 1945 Dad was Posted to X List, Sidi Bashr, Egypt (The X list was the register of those personnel awaiting repatriation and discharge to the UK and on the 25th was released for embarkation to UK. He was released to Territorial Army Reserves on 31st December 1945.
L/Bdr. Albert Edward Tozer 35 Lt AA Regiment, 78 Bty Royal Artillery (d.23rd Aug 1945)
Albert Tozer was a relative of my wife, I discovered LBdr Tozer was a POW of the Japanese following the capture of his unit after the fall of Singapore. Unfortunately he is recorded as having died only a few days after the Japanese surrender. He survived so long under horrendous conditions only to die when rescue was so close.
2nd Lt. Tom Lacey MID 12th Regiment HAC Royal Horse Artillery
Immediately on joining in July or August 1942, Tim Lacy's CO said 'I'm going to sack the worst performing subaltern every month', which was a mighty motivation tool. This ended when they were send overseas, as a part of the First Army, to North Africa.
My dad's chief memories (he didn't talk about his wartime experiences a lot) seems to have involved food or drink - getting extremely drunk on hooch made from potatoes by his gun crew to celebrate New Year's day in 1944; eating a meal with an Italian family and eating so much pasta that he literally could not get up afterwards; and staying at a Doge's palace in Venice. He was involved in (or led?) a patrol that captured the first Tiger tank knocked-out in North Africa. Is this why he was mentioned in dispatches? I have always assumed so. He remembered Monte Cassino with bitter feelings.
Previous to joining the regular army, he was in the Home Guard. As it was obvious he would be called up (being physically fit and the right age), he was made a sergeant, to give him command experience, of a squad of very old soldiers. They wend on strike - this must be 1940 - as they refused to obey someone so young and inexperienced. He was hastily given a squad of younger soldiers until Sept 1941, when he was 21 and old enough to join the regular army.
Cpt. Arthur Wellesley "Bill" Parry 113 Field Regiment Royal Artillery (d.16th Dec 1943)
The story of my father's death during the advance to the Gustav Line is long and complicated. I have written an account based on information given to me over fifty years ago by a fellow officer who was with him at the end.
What Really Happened?
The accepted version of events leading up to father’s death was straight-forward and in a way comforting. For Mama they were established facts and not worthy of further examination or discussion. Her husband had gone to the aid of a group of wounded sappers, had stepped on a mine and was killed instantly. I’m not altogether sure where these ‘facts’ came from, but obviously his Colonel had written to the family - maybe to my Grandfather Parry Williams in Wales - and told the tale that we all accepted as a true record of the death of Captain the Reverend Arthur Wellesley Parry Williams BA in Italy on 16th December, 1943.
Father had been with the 8th Army from the reverses in Egypt right through El Alamein to victory in Tunisia. Initially, before embarkation, his regiment was up in arms against being saddled with a God-Botherer who was expected to cramp their style, but as Father turned out to have been a reserve in Oxford’s pre-war XV as well as winning a Blue for hockey and tennis, and had a trial as a flank forward for Wales, he was grudgingly accepted. There exists a yellowing cutting from the Sunday Express of an article written by a fellow officer after father’s death. This paean of praise to their padre tells in detail of his acceptance by his soldiers and the grief they all felt when, after nearly eighteen months continuously fighting, he should be killed in an act of loving impetuosity which defined the man.
This might be the primary text for the version I had accepted until one Founder’s Day at St. Edmunds in the ‘fifties, when I met Ken Anderson I was friendly with Bruce Anderson, a contemporary in Walker House who must have mentioned my name to his father. Mr. Anderson sought me out. “Are you Parry-Williams?” he asked. “Any relation to Bill Parry-Williams?” “No, sir,” I said. “Not a ‘Bill’. Afraid not.” “Oh,” he said. “Sorry.” And turned away. Later in the day, he returned. “Look,” he said. “You didn’t have a relative in the 8th Army? A padre?” Then I remembered that ‘Bill’ was the name Father had been called in the article in the Sunday Express. “Yes, sir. My father, sir.” He regarded this callow thirteen year old for some time and then said. “All right, Nigel, I’ll tell you about your father. I was with him all through North Africa and I was there when he was killed.” I remember him squeezing my arm, a gesture of familiarity altogether alien to my generation. He looked me straight in the eye. “You’re too young, now. We’ll meet up when you’re a bit older. Maybe after you leave school”
And that was that. I quizzed Bruce who had no further information. So in the manner of all teenagers I got on with the things I felt to be important. I never saw Mr. Anderson again until I was nineteen. I’d failed to get into Oxford and was too young to have been called up for National Service so a spell in uniform seemed a reasonable way to pretend to be ‘doing my bit’; even then I had to make do with a General List Commission in the Territorial Army, initially training cadets, and later with the KKRC which transmogrified into the Royal Green Jackets . By a strange coincidence, Father and I were both in 56th Division and his first attachment was a Reconnaissance Battalion, a similar outfit to the one to which I was posted.
Kenneth Anderson was Night News Editor on the Daily Mirror and as I was still a chum of his son’s, I felt I ought to fulfil the arrangement Kenneth and I had made four years before. Not knowing what to expect and in some trepidation, I rang the Mirror and asked to speak to Kenneth Anderson. He was a somewhat abrupt man, his clipped responses probably exacerbated by the job and I have to admit I didn’t warm to him. We arranged to have lunch at the Devonshire Club in St. James’s where, incidentally, I had met an uncle by marriage who advised me against ‘going for a soldier’ and suggested instead a job with him in Lentherique, which he owned. Anyway, after my previous visit to a gentleman’s club I knew enough of the protocol to enter and ask the porter for Mr. Anderson, rather than hang around in the street, expecting him to be late. I was duly ushered into an ante-room and Kenneth rose to greet me. We did the small talk thing and went in to lunch. I don’t remember anything of the meal except that it was nursery food and there was a great deal of wine, but even after almost fifty years I can remember the conversation. Actually it was more of a monologue from Kenneth. I had suspected he was the author of the piece in the Sunday Express but it turned out I was wrong. The writer was another officer in the battery and he was killed less than a year later. To my shame I’ve forgotten his name.
Kenneth verified that the sentiments in the article about the 113th Field Regiment’s initial suspicion of the new padre were correctly reported, as was the swift way that Father - with no sign of trying to ingratiate himself - became important to each and every soldier. He was known as ‘Bill’ and ‘Uncle’ by officers and men, never ‘Sir’ nor even ‘Padre’, except by the Adjutant who was a bit of a stickler. Being aged 37 he was considered positively ancient and he was expected not to able to keep up with the fit young soldiers he looked after. But to everybody’s amazement, he shone in all sports and appeared as tireless on route marches as in his pastoral duties. That he had a pretty wife at home was the source of much innuendo and it was a sure-fire way of making him go scarlet and writhe with embarrassment. The fact he had a son was triumphantly used as further proof of a lack of ascetic celibacy. Although this was rather more information than I needed, it helped to develop a picture of a man whom I’d not known next to nothing about. And everything I’d heard from the family had been far more anodyne and respectful. Kenneth’s account was an example of the tough-love unique amongst soldiers on active service who found it hard to commit themselves to new arrivals; men who might be taken from them tomorrow. Nonetheless many went on to forge the deepest, most enduring and loving friendships there can be between men. This was something I would spend the rest of my life regretting I never got to share.
There’s absolutely no doubt that ‘Bill’ was loved by his flock. He was the butt of jokes, yet he was deeply respected. He could be goaded into giggling embarrass- ment, but could also be relied upon to come up trumps in every emergency. Kenneth told me Church Parades had been poorly attended until ‘Bill’ came along but developed into regular congregations which included devout atheists, all the left-footers in the Regiment and a couple of Jews. It should come a no surprise that the longer and further the unit advanced across the desert, the better attended my Father’s services became.
He told of the occasion when ‘Bill’ was conducting Holy Communion from the back of the three-quarter ton Dodge which Father apparently referred to as ‘St. Jude on Wheels’ - St. Jude being the patron saint of lost causes - when the Luftwaffe gate-crashed proceedings in the form of a strafing Me 110. The Liturgy was temporarily forgotten and everybody, Father included, buried themselves in the sand. As the fighter roared back to base accompanied by very un-Christian sentiments, the Dodge suddenly ignited. Father’s batman/driver leapt on board and chucked out Father’s wooden cross, chalice, paten and bible - w3hich I still possess - but was too late to save himself as the truck burst into flames. Before anyone else had time to move, the Padre jumped on board, picked up his driver - Kenneth said he weighed considerably more than Father - and jumped to the ground with him in his arms. He remembered how tenderly Father held the man so no sand got into the terrible burns which covered every inch of the mortally wounded driver’s head, legs and arms, but he died within minutes. This was the first of scores of dead bodies Father prayed over and buried as the 8th Army chased Rommel back the way he had come to Tripoli.
Italy was worse. Father’s letters home, although still witty and warm, began to reflect the terrible attrition of fighting up from the toe of Italy to the heavily defended Gustav Line which had Monte Cassino as its hub. Early on there appeared to be a brittleness in the relations between the British forces and the newly-arrived and pugnacious Americans who considered their allies to be ‘fought out’. Kenneth remembered well the antipathy between Montgomery and Patton in Sicily and that these attitudes percolated down through the chain of command to officers, NCOs and private soldiers. However, General Mark Clark was roundly detested by everybody, American and British. Paradoxically, this helped to unite Yanks and Limeys in common cause. During this time of grinding toil day after day in vile conditions with torrential rain and deep mud over difficult terrain, ‘Bill’ was ever his cheerful, ebullient self, always and unlawfully up at the front of the column; caring for the injured and the dying; praying over the already dead and swapping insults with the dog-tired but still lippy gunners.
One duty of every officer was to write letters of condolence to the families of those killed and Father’s input was gratefully accepted, although he often wrote separately if he had anything extra which he felt could ease the relatives’ pain. He also helped the gunners with their own letters home if they were tongue-tied or plain illiterate. Some bold souls baited the padre by expecting him to write down verbatim the utter filth they solemnly dictated for girlfriends and wives. Any soldier in an aid station or forward hospital could expect a visit from ‘Bill’ in his torn battledress and grimy dog collar. Strangely, it was the soldiers themselves who were most likely to bring up matters spiritual. Kenneth himself was wounded and awoke to find ‘Bill’ praying beside his cot, which made him think these were his Last Rites and complained croakily that dying was the last thing he intended to do. The Padre giggled, insisting he was just investing in a spot of insurance on Kenneth’s behalf.
When Kenneth returned to the front, the Division was battling its way past Monte Camino twenty miles north of Naples towards the Mignano Gap, less than ten miles from Monte Cassino itself. He was shocked to find many unfamiliar faces while searching in vain for many he’d known in North Africa. However ‘Bill’ was there “bouncing like Tigger” although there was a sadness Kenneth hadn’t seen before in his old friend, a quiet stoicism which was never far below the surface.
It wasn’t long after he got back that the whole line moved up at speed in one of the few rapid advances during the campaign. In the pouring rain, they were temporarily halted on a single-track road through some olive orchards when they came across a group of sappers about one hundred yards off to the side, kneeling around a wounded comrade. Contrary to the report in the Sunday Express, the Engineers were alone and thus far no medical help had arrived. The sappers shouted that they had been clearing a mine-field and that one had gone off. It so happened that ‘Bill’s’ jeep was a few yards down the column and he came up to find out what was going on. Before being put totally in the picture he decided he was going in to help, but was told in no uncertain terms that this was the job for other sappers who would clear a path to the injured man for the medics. It was no place for some clumsy God-Botherer. This was too much for Father who pulled himself up to his full five feet eight and three-quarter inches and demanded to be granted passage. Fatally, someone told him to act his age. It was reported to Kenneth later that ‘Bill’ said something rather un-Godly and marched forward. He was immediately restrained which made matters even worse. The wing forward in him saw a gap and he went for it. Breaking clear he charged down the blind side, breaking tackles to left and right. Father hadn’t got more than a few yards before he stepped on the mine. There was a flash, and the appalling dull crump of the explosion. Then, from out of the smoke and the shocked silence came the sound of my Father laughing. He must have realised the stupidity of his actions. Soldiers from either ends of the column came rushing up when they heard ‘Bill’ was down, Kenneth amongst them. Some wouldn’t wait for the sappers to arrive and clear a path, but followed into the minefield, following their padre’s footsteps. (If only I‘d written it down at the time, but it wasn‘t appropriate and the chance never repeated itself so I don’t know the precise words he spoke to Kenneth - and which Kenneth relayed to me over that luncheon table but they were along the lines of “Sorry old chap. Made a bit of a mess of that, didn’t I?”)
They carried their grievously injured padre out of the mine-field and he was rushed to an aid station and thence to a field hospital near Naples. It was obvious to his surgeons that Father would not recover. I found out since that the anti-personnel mine he probably stepped on was particularly vicious. The initial explosion threw a box which contained the main charge to around waist height were it exploded. These mines are held in particular contempt because they were designed to maim and not to kill outright. The typically efficient German logic meant that for each grievously injured victim, stretcher bearers, medical orderlies, surgeons and nursing staff would all be involved, thus tying up far more soldiers than would be required to bury a corpse. Many members of the Regiment put in for permission to visit their dying Padre, but as they were involved in an advance, this was tactically impossible.
When the advance stalled some days later, everybody who could be spared made the journey southward. Kenneth got there in time. Most were too late and Father died on December 16th 1943. Ironically, the wounded sapper in the orchard was able to rejoin his unit after treatment at the aid station to which Father was originally sent. A group of the officers are said to have approached the Colonel with a view to putting their padre up for a decoration. Correctly, it was pointed out that ‘Bill’s’ act of courage would not satisfy the qualifying requirements. His actions were unnecessary, though unarguably gallant. The enemy was not involved, except insofar as they had laid the mine-field and anyway, he had saved no one - not even himself. And he’d disobeyed the orders of a senior officer, to whit the Major who had been hanging onto his leg. It was agreed that it was far better to remember ‘Bill’s’ actions in the context of the man they knew and loved rather than to send off a well-meaning but un-thought through recommendation which would inevitably be turned down. So that was that.
Kenneth’s war finished in 1946 when he went back to newspapers and tried to forget about the friends he’d made and lost. It was only his son’s chance mention of a boy in Baker House with the same surname as ‘Bill’ - albeit suddenly with a hyphen which the Padre for some egalitarian reason of his own, sometimes chose to eschew - that had spurred him into retelling the story. As I recall, Kenneth Anderson and I talked on into the evening. I eventually walked out into St James’s, glowing with pride and full of a respect I will never lose for soldiers, whatever uniform they wore.
Mama never wanted to meet any of her husband’s army colleagues and it was out of respect for her wishes that on her behalf I turned down a request from an old soldier who served with Father and had spotted her name in the membership list of the Friends of Lichfield Cathedral. I’ve often wondered whether she suspected the official version of events would not be corroborated by those who were actually there. She had decided, with typically steely resolve that her husband had died cleanly, and swiftly. The fact I’m putting down Kenneth Anderson’s version - or rather my memories of his memories - is only that there will now be a record of what probably happened. In no way does in invalidate what Mama chose to believe.
The Reverend Arthur Wellesley Parry Williams BA, 113th Field Regiment Royal Artillery, is buried in the British Military Cemetery, Minturno, just south of Monte Cassino. There is an epitaph on the stone: “Say not good night, but in some brighter clime wish me good morning.”
In the mail earlier on Christmas Eve 1943, the very day that the telegram arrived from the War Office, there was a letter, dated 10th November, from Arthur to Audrey, his youngest sister-in-law. She decided to open it later and show it to Mama on Christmas Day. Her intentions were, tragically, overtaken by events and on the grounds that it would be both tactless and inappropriate, Audrey never showed Mama the letter. Much later, when she thought the time was right, she decided to show it to her sister only to discover to her horror that she’d misplaced it. Mama died before the letter was eventually found
It was only after Audrey’s death, sixty-four years after it was sent, that I discovered it, wedged behind a drawer in her drop-front desk. It was the last letter he wrote before being mortally wounded and is the bleakest of all I’ve read. One section joshed Audrey that he’d been showing photographs of his wife’s younger sisters around the Mess, and that he could expect to be “…visited by many of them after the war with a particular purpose in view!!!” But he then the mood changes, “Some of them unfortunately have since died - a very terrible business, but war is like that and demands such sacrifice. The one thing is that we can never get used to it when it does happen. But I mustn’t keep on in this manner.” He had never before mentioned death, as I recall. However, the closing passage is a sublime reaffirmation of his love for my mother. “Tell Joan very quietly I simply adore her. Goodbye. Good night. Arthur.”
I wish now that she’d read it.
Gnr. Frederick Horace Henry Huckvale Royal Artillery
My father, Fred Huckvale served in the Royal Artillery and was listed as a POW at camp Hohenstein. Also, I do know for a fact, that he was a volunteer (not a conscript) and was based in India, before the outbreak of war. This is where things might get a bit sketchy, as I'm trying to recollect what he told me, which was many years ago. I am assuming, because of being located where he was, that he would have been sent to fight the Japanese once they came into the war. I'm sure he told me, that he was on a ship, which was destined for Singapore. However, in the meantime, there was an uprising in Iraq (where rebels wanted to overthrow British control of the oil fields from what I can gather), and they were diverted to there instead, to help quell it. He definitely told me that he felt as though fate was on his side, as his original destination, Singapore, fell to the Japanese. Like many people of his generation, he would say how cruel the Japanese were to POW's. I think he fought both in Iraq and Iran. I know he mentioned seeing Soviet troops on one side of the road, but they weren't allowed to speak to them. I have done a little bit of searching online, and read somewhere that the Soviet Union did send troops into Iran.
I don't know exactly thereon after, but he must have then gone on to be dispatched into the North African campaign. All I know is that he was taken as prisoner (by a very young German soldier who spoke fluent English), and think it may have been at Tobruk. At some point, he must have been in captivity of the Italians, who he said treated him badly, and beat him. Another member of our family has recently told me, that he escaped and made it back to England, but this is where things seem to conflict, as I don't think it was from camp Hohenstein, but from somewhere in Italy. That seems difficult to believe, but he did seem determined to escape, but from where, we just don't know.
If anyone has got any more information on any of this, or knew of my late father, I would love to hear from them.
Gnr. John William Hodgkinson Royal Artillery
My Uncle, John Wm Hodgkinson, known as Bill to distinguish him from his father also John Wm, was a prisoner of war during WW2. Like many others he spoke little of his experience but he did tell me this just before he died. He joined the Army, 25th Field Reg. Royal Artillery,in 1935 and was sent to Woolwich then Newcastle for training. From there he went to Mhow & Jansi in India. When War was declared this became part of the 7th Indian Div. and he was sent to Kirkee then Egypt as part of Army of Nile (later 8th Army).
He was captured and he was a POW in Italy outside the Vatican. On Xmas Eve 1942 the prisoners began to be moved to Stalag 8B. He told me that nuns came out of the Vatican and took all the prisoners to Midnight Mass. Catholics were at the front of the church others at the back. All were given coffee & biscuits then 2 nuns escorted all the prisoners back. When Russia entered the war all POWs in Italy were marched to Germany. He remembered that Russian planes were painted white and used to straffe the camp guards after flying over the camp. After the war he transferred to REME as an armourer until he left the army in 1950. He died in 2004. From War Office records on Find my past - Prisoners of War - J W Hodgkinson - rank Gunner, camp 344 POW no. 847460 Royal Artillary (Field), Record Office Foots Cray, Sidcup, Kent, Camp type STALAG Camp 6c Lamsdorf. regiment: Royal Artillery. I have a brass plaque with my uncle’s name and no. 847460 RFA engraved on it.
Cpl. Frederick James Price 82nd Anti Tank Regiment, 284 Baty. Royal Artillery
Fred Price had been in the Territorial Army for some time before the start of WW11. The Territorials met in The Drill Hall, Mill Lane, Buckley, Flintshire, North Wales. His Grandfather Charles Price and Uncle James Price had also been members of the TA in the late 19th Century.
On the first day after war was declared in early September 1939 Fred reported to the Holywell Drill Hall and joined up. He was in 284 Battery, 82nd Anti Tank Regiment, of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Royal Artillery. Alongside him were many other ‘lads’ from Buckley – George Williams, Edward Roberts, Stan Parry, Donny Lyons, Oliver Lloyd and many others. They were part of the 14th Army – later known as The Forgotten Army’. Generals Slim and Orde Wingate were their commanders. Lord Louis Mountbatten was the Supreme Commander for S E Asia. He was a popular Commander. Major Gould was their Officer. Fred trained and served at The Dale in Chester where he was trained as a cook and driver, and was also at Catterick and Bangor Northern Ireland.
He left for Burma in November 1941 having been stationed at Clacton – on – Sea for about a month previously. Vera had stayed nearby. He arrived in India in December 1941 and was initially based in Calcutta within sight of Everest. He became an Antitank Corporal with the rank of Bombardier – in charge of the ‘Cookhouse’. They were fighting alongside the Chindits and the Ghurkas. Fred admired them all. During his time in camp he had a mule, a little dog and a mongoose of which he was very fond. He drove lorries too.
He was involved in the campaigns of Imphal, Kohima, Mandalay and Rangoon, and The Admin Box when the Allies were surrounded by the Japanese, but eventually fought their way out. Here Fred was wounded in the leg when he left the cookhouse and dived under an antitank box as they were being attacked. The wound was on the inside leg above the knee and he suffered reoccurring cramp for many years. He recounted tales of peeling leeches from his legs and torso as they waded through jungle conditions, had boils beneath his feet and contracted Malaria which reoccurred for many years after the war ended, he would shiver violently and both he and the bed would shake. When he returned his once beautiful, perfect, white teeth were rotted with pyorrhea and had to be removed.
He was reluctant to tell many tales himself but his friend George Williams, with whom he remained friends until his death in 1982, was more forthcoming. He told how Fred once jumped into a lorry loaded with ammunition as it was slipping back without a driver into troops – and saved them. Fred recalled how a fellow soldier put his head up out of a trench to take a look and his head rolled back in. But the ‘Buckley lads’ all came back. They said that they must have had a star above their heads. The Burnma Star!
This story was complied from information Remembered by Julie, his daughter, or told by Vera, his wife in about 2004.
Gnr Victor George Scott 76 Medium Regiment (Shropshire Yeomanry) Royal Artillery
I have a book of Sketches that belonged to my dad, Victor Scott from the war in Italy, He never spoke of the war, so I just wanted to know any details about him, what he did. The sketches were drawn by Frank Ward, my dad served in the 76 (Shropshire Yeomanry) Medium Regiment R.A from 1940 onwards under Brigadier Julian St Clair Holdbrook. If anyone has any information I would love to hear from them
Cyril Fox Royal Artillery
I have been searching for 15 years for my grandfather, Cyril Fox and all I know is he was in the Royal Artillery in Edinburgh Castle between 1939 and 1940. My gran was in the WAAF Elizabeth Bell and worked in the canteen. All I know is his maybe name is Cyril Fox, blonde hair, and was Irish. Mum was a one night stand as they say. My mum was born in Dec 1940 so he was at Edinburgh Castle around February to March 1940. I would be so grateful if someone knew of him or even a photo, possible 88th Royal Artillery Regt? It would be nice to know if I have other family out there. Thank you so much.
Bmdr. Hugh Archibald "Mac" McGregor Royal Artillery
My Granddad Hugh McGregor was a POW in Stalag 383 and we were always told that whilst there he bred rabbits for the Germans - now I am older I realise that the rabbits don't need much help! Apparently, he lied about his age, he was born in 1914, to enter WW2. He obviously enjoyed it or it was a welcome diversion to home life. When I was at school the local paper ran a story about him but being young I was more embarrassed then impressed, oh how I wish I had that cutting now.
Gnr. Benjamin Alexander Gray 67 HAA Regiment, 189 HAA Battery Royal Artillery
My Dad, Benjamin Gray served in North Africa and Burma 1942- 1945 in both an artillery and infantry role. I have prepared a 60 page record of his service, units and events. This record is now with the Royal Artillery library Woolwich. If anyone has any further information please contact me so I can add to the record and pass the record on.
Gnr. William James Priestman
Bill Priestman was my Grandad, who never ever spoke of his time in the war or as a POW. He was a Gunner 914577 in the Royal Artillery. He was posted as missing on the 20th June 1942 in The Middle East. He was captured and was in Italian hands at Campo PG75 PM3450 Italy. Then marched onto Stalag IVF and Stalag IV B - POW number 259537. He then returned back to the UK on the 15th May 1945. Please let me know any further information.
Gnr. John James Rowley 77 HAA Rgt, 240 Btty. Royal Artillery (d.10th Aug 1943)
Gunner John James Rowley was in the Royal Artillery serving in the 240 Battery, 77 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, he was captured by the Japanese, I think, in 1942. Sometime he was taken to Hintok River Camp in Thailand where he worked on the Burma Thai railway near to the River Kwai. He sadly lost his life to cholera on the 10th of August 1943 due to the brutality of the Japanese army.
Gnr. Harry Lillystone Royal Artillery
We were told (the family) that Harry Lillystone was captured at Tobruk, and marched to Poland, although I have my doubts. Other than that don't know anything. Any other info would be greatly appreciated.
Capt. Donald Seymour Erskine Royal Artillery
Capt John Brabazon Booth Royal Artillery
John Brabazon Booth was commissioned in 1944, in the service of the Royal Artillery. He fought in India and was Aide-de-Camp to Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of India in 1947.
Gunner James Edward Jupp Royal Artillery
My father James Jupp was captured at Dunkirk. I have no details of what happened to him after that but he did end up in Stalag XX-B Malbork Poland. He said that he volunteered to go to a Horse Stud where they broke in the German Stallions. He claims to have escaped a couple of times but was recaptured. The last time he tells of escaping with fellow prisoner Harry Brough. They took 4 prized stallions and obtained passes and because my father could speak fluent German they kept moving along updating these passes. They rode from East Prussia to the River Elbe arriving at Wittenburg on the Western Front. At that point they met the Americans. Of course there was more to the story. This is a quick version of his escape but it made the newspapers in England on his arrival back home.
James Edward Jupp left England in 1959 on the Ship Fairsea as a ten pound pom to Australia with his wife and family. He passed away in 1987.I would love to contact anyone who might have heard of this story or might have further information.
Gnr. Robert Reginald Mathias 102 (Pembroke Yeomanry) Medium Regiment Royal Artillery (d.24th Apr 1945)
My uncle 'Bobby', Robert Reginald Mathias, died 24/4/1945 at Argenta Gap, Italy, a few days after the Battle of Argenta Gap. I have only one photograph of him and would love to know if anybody knew him.He served in Africa and Italy as a gunner. I have found his grave in Argenta Gap War Cemetery, Italy. It is my ambition now to go there and just say he has not been forgotten. I never knew him as I was born in 1957. Any information or even a photo of his regiment would be so appreciated.
Bmdr. Walter Bollands Light Anti Aircraft Royal Artillery
Walter Bollands is my grandfather. He served 1939 -1945 in England, India, Malta and USA. He enlisted on the 23rd of September 1939, aged 40 in Middlesbrough and joined the Corps of Royal Artillery Light Anti Aircraft as a Gunner (Army No 1482498) On the 14th of April 1941 he was posted to 4th Regiment Maritime Anti-Aircraft Royal Artillery. on the 4th of February 1942 he was reported Missing at Sea whilst serving as a Bombardier Royal Artillery, (Gunners of the Royal Artillery Maritime Regiment manned the Bofors gun) He was demobbed on the 29th of September 1945.
Lt. Robert Alan Young Royal Artillery
My late father Alan Young served with the Royal Artillery I'm trying to get a better copy of this photograph which is titled; M.G.R.A's Visit to Waziristan - R.A Mess RAZMAK September 1945. If anyone knows any stories or details of my late father Alan Young they would be greatly appreciated. Please can anyone help me?
Bombardier AW Ward Royal Artillery
I understand that my father, Bombardier AW Ward (Royal Artillery) Woolwich, captured at Dunkirk and marched eventually to Stalag 8B and imprisoned until end of war. He worked in coal mines where he sustained a back injury, but I cannot find any references. I would be grateful for any assistance.
Percy James Grant 239/101lt AA & A / T Regt Royal Artillery
My father, Percy James Grant, of 239/101lt AA & A / T Regt Royal Artillery was captured - he told me - at St Valery in France and was reported missing about June 1940.
He was marched through France to Germany and ended up in Poland. My father is no longer with us but told us very little about his time in a Prison of War camp except we have a picture of him with colleagues in Stalag VIII B in 1942. He had a POW number of 6333. He did mention that they were made to work in a jam factory while being prisoners of war.
The only other thing I know is that he was picked up by the Americans near Prague and brought back to the UK at the end of the war. I have a few words in a diary with a whole list of names which might be people he was with in the camp.
Gnr. George Wilfred Wyatt 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
This is the writing of George Wilfred Wyatt, written in the mid 90's about his experience
"Courage and Determination"
In 1939 after working down the mines for four years, I joined the army and served as a gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery. I was posted to France as part of the 51st Highland Division B.E.F. and was taken Prisoner of War at St. Valery in June 1940. We marched to Holland and then went onto Emerich in Germany by barge. We then travelled by train to Scubin in Poland where we were put into working party camps. Whilst at this camp we were sent to work on farms, in factories and on the railways and roadworks. We were also sent to build camps for P.O.W's.
About two years later in 1942, we were sent to work in the mines in the Katowice mining area. At this mine, a young Polish girl was working in the lamp cabin. Her job was to hand out checks and lamps to the miners working below ground. This was the beginning of my friendship with this young Polish girl named Halinka. As our relationship blossomed daily to eventually corresponding and meeting occasionally whenever possible during the following years. Halinka's father was a Polish Resistance leader who lived throughout the war never knowing whether that dreaded knock at the door would ever come, (i.e. "Gestapo"). Halinka obviously kept her friendship with me a big secret, knowing that any relationship with a P.O.W. would be against her father's wishes.
During the last few months of 1944, we moved to another mine, 20 kilometres north of Halinka's village and later still yet another mine, 15 kilometres south of her village. However, every few days I would see Halinka walking near by the camp. Sometimes, we could have a chat and other times it would be impossible, but she never complained. In January 1945 along with a friend, we escaped from the camp and made our way with the help of Polish friends to the village some 15 kilometres away. Knowing the Russians were advancing to the area, local people hid us until we were liberated. We then decided to get married. So we travelled to Krakow airport where the R.A.F. had a base travelling on top of a cattle truck 80 kilometres to receive permission from an officer, which he granted and signed my pay book, escorting me out of the base, against the will of the Russians. We made our way to the city of Krakow 5 kilometres away and found a church with a friendly priest who willingly agreed to marry us and also kindly found us accommodation for our wedding night. We returned to my wife's home in Niwka and after the initial shock, her family accepted us with open arms and gave us their blessing although with a little doubt. (Was I true or false).
Our happiness did not last long, as the Russians put out an order that all P.O.W's must report to military headquarters within a week or be treated as spies and shot. A party of eight reported to Krakow where we were given hard rations, mostly dried vegetables, for 4 days journey by train to Odessa. They would not allow girls to travel, however, between us we managed to smuggle my wife Halinka with us, hiding her under top coats in our sleeping compartments. On arrival at Odessa, the British Military Mission, who had to escort her back home, held my wife. I was sent home by merchant ship, via Italy, Gibraltar and Scotland. On my arrival, I informed my unit and the British Red Cross of my marriage and received only acknowledgement. Later my wife came home from Odessa with a British Military escort and was told to wait until later and to get in touch with the British Embassy, which at this time did not exist. However, Halinka being very impatient decided to make her own way to Prague in Czechoslovakia with papers or passport. At the British Embassy, her good luck still held out. After being checked, she finished up in the office of a Major Wyatt whom was delighted at meeting a namesake and looked after her the time she spent in Prague. Halinka arrived in London on VJ Day, unable to contact anyone owing to a public holiday. However, the police found me and informed me that Halinka was on her way to Nottingham by train and that I should meet her when she arrives. Courage and determination played a big part in our romance throughout.
George Wilfred Wyatt
I hope that I have done the right thing for my uncle Wilf. He was a kind man and did tell me one or two anecdotes about life in the camp. If I remember rightly, he told me how they used to make fish soup by tying the fish onto a piece of string and passing it across the top of the boiling water. They didn't eat very much as the rations the Germans gave them were very meagre indeed. I suspect probably just enough to keep them going. He also told me of the time when he was out with some of his POW mates. I think he worked nearby in a mine or a farm. They had been given some eggs and they were looking forward to having something more substantial to put into their stomachs. One of the guards stopped them and when he went to search the knapsack, uncle Wilf gave the bag a huge clap and smashed all the eggs, so then the Germans couldn't take the eggs either. He had a very dry sense of humour and was a genuine good man.
Bmdr. Gwilym Jones 5th Field Regiment, 63rd Battery Royal Artillery
Gwilym Jones enlisted at Caernarvon on 6th January 1932 according to the records. But, I recall he always said he was a boy trumpeter at Woolwich Barracks. The book shows his service to run from 17th August 1935 (his eighteenth birthday). He talked of his days fighting on the North West Frontier. With the information on 63rd Battery and 5th Field Regiment I have trawled the internet and found that they were "lost" at the fall of Singapore which means he was transferred fortunately before the regiment went to Malaya.
Working through what I could find I am fairly certain he was transferred to the 9th Field Regiment RA which had been in the BEF and I presume recovered from Dunkirk with the loss of many men and much equipment. He was in the UK for 2 years which ties in with his records, presumably re-forming, re-equipping and re-training and then went to South Africa for the Madagasca invasion and he then shows as being in Durban (again). This I think from things I recall him saying was for R and R. In January 1943 he is shown as returning to India and I know he fought in Burma although this is not shown as he held the Burma Star.
Following the trail of the 9th FR they became part of the 20th Indian Division that fought at Imphal and pursued the Japanese through Burma. The Service Book shows:
- home 6/1/33 to 18/2/34
- India 16/2/34 to 28/4/40
- home 29/4/40 to 21/3/42
- Madagasca 22/3/42 to 24/10/42
- South Africa 25/10/42 to 24/1/43
- India 25/1/45 to 6/5/45
- home 7/5/45 to 9/4/46
Pte. Christian Settle Royal Artillery
My father Chris Settle never talked about the war apart from he was captured at Dunkirk and was on the Long March. I just wondered if he was a prisoner at Torun.
Lt. George Ernest "Walshie" Walsh 65 HAA Rgt. RA (TA) Manchester Regiment
My father George Walsh would never talk about the war. He did once tell me that "they fired 15,000 rounds a night but never shot anything down". Otherwise I never knew anything about it. I would like to know if possible just where he was during the war. Please can anyone help me?
Gunner Ron Davies Royal Artillery
My late uncle, Ron Davies from near Swansea, Wales, was a gunner with the Royal Artillery when captured at Crete in 1941. I know that he was at Stalag 344 at the end of the war. I recall him saying that he worked in the mines when a POW. I would be pleased to hear from anyone with any memories, photos etc.
Sgt. Eric Simpson 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery Royal Artillery
The 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery of the 1st Airborne Division, famous for their exploits at Arnhem in 1944, actually made history at Netheravon. A gun team flew in a Horsa Glider with a full load of 6pdr gun and Jeep, on Saturday 26th September 1942, for the very first time in history. The gun team included :- Sgt Holmes, Bmbdr Les Towell, gunners Harry Townsend, Frank Greaney and Lance-Bmbdr Richard Flaherty. My father Sgt Eric Simpson was also a member of this Battery.
Gunner Frank Allen Royal Artillery
My father, Gunner Frank Allen of the Royal Artillery was taken prisoner in Crete June 1941 and held until 1945. He died in 1965, he never told me about his POW days as I was too young but I have some photos. I would like to find more info on Stalag 8b and what it was like for my Father.
Stanley Douglas Gittings 65th RA Field Regiment, 257 Bty. Royal Artillery
We are in the process of typing up my father's diary of his time in Stalag VIIIB between June 1940 and 1945. His name was Stanley Douglas Gittings and he was in the 257/65th RA Field Regiment.
In the back of his diary is a list of names of people who he seems to have been incarcerated with. If anybody would like me to check the list for their relatives please email me, although the diary does not mention anything other than their names and addresses at the time.
Eddie Eccles 31 Field Regiment, 105/119 Bty. Royal Artillery
These photos from the camp include my father in law Eddie Eccles (105/119 battery of the 31 Field Regiment R.A.) who was caught at Tobruk on 15th Dec 1941 whilst taking part in the great Battle of Halem Hamza in the Libyan Desert.
Understandably Eddie was reluctant to talk about his experiences so I would love to hear from others who may have knowledge of the battle and times of this Field Regiment during this period in the Libyan Desert and also at Stalag 8B.
W/O Peter McDermont Ayrshire Yeomanry Royal Artillery (d.29th Seotember 1941)
From what I have been told, Peter was a loving father of 2 children. His wife died in childbirth with their 3rd child in 1938. When he was killed, he left behind 2 children with no parents. My mother-in-law, Mary McDermont, Peter's younger sister, raised both children in her parent's home in Kilmarnock. That was when family was important and meant everything.
Gnr. Norman "Bishop" Jenner Royal Artillery
My father-in-law, Norman Jenner (Gunner 888206 in the Royal Artillery), was captured at Dunkirk and spent the rest of the War in Stalag 8b (Stalag 344) near Lamsdorf. Like everyone, he had a pretty rough time there and would never talk about it, so unfortunately I don't have many memories to share. What I do recall from many conversations during which he shared little was that his nickname was "the Bishop" - maybe because he was a committed Christian and/or he was well spoken and older than most of his fellow inmates, being born in 1910. He also said they often had sugar beet to eat, which was not a balanced diet, but filling. He also said that although the Brits had a hard time, it was nothing compared to the Jews, Gypsies and Slavs who were treated as subhuman.
He suffered from malnutrition during his stay in Stalag 8B and this brought on blindness which he suffered from the mid-fifties until his death in 1993. I have two photos of Norman with some of his POW friends taken soon after the War. I would love to know who they are and to make contact if possible. I also have a photo of Norman's nephew which must have been sent to him at the camp as it is stamped "Stalag VIIIB geprüft Nr 35".
Sgt. George Gyves RA HAA
My father, Sgt George Gyves (RA HAA), was captured on Crete in June 1941. I know he was in Stalag V11a (Moosburg) during 1942 as we have postcards from him. We also have postcards dated June 29 and September 15 1943 from Stalag V111b (Lamsdorf). He was on the Death March that commenced on January 1945.
Unfortunately, he was very poorly when repatriated to the UK and died on Oct 25 1946 age 39. If anybody recognises a fellow POW from the photograph or has a related story, I would like to hear from them.
Sgt. John Staley 23rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery
My father, Sgt. Jack Staley of the 39/45 Battery, 23rd Field Regt Royal Artillery, was captured June 6th or 10th 1940 at St. Valery-en-Caux. He ended up in Stalag 8b and was repatriated after the death march on the 24th May 1945. The 51st Highland Division and many other units were surrounded and captured at this village. He was given the Military Order of the Firing Squad - a United States award. If anyone can shed a little light, I would be appreciated.
Bdr. William John Stainthorpe MM. Royal Artillery
My grandfather, Bombardier William John Stainthorpe of the Royal Artillery was captured at the Battle of Sidi Rezegh. For his actions in that battle, he received the Military Medal.
Gnr. Ernest Park 57 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, 171 Bty. Royal Artillery (d.7th Mar 1943)
Ernest Park sadly died aged 22 during service. He was a gunner in the 57th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery and was in the 171 Battery. He is buried in the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya. His service number was 1778545. He was originally from Dorset. Would love to hear from anyone who may have known him or anyone from same regiment.
Gnr Hugh Brown Skilling Royal Artillery
My father Hugh Skilling was a gunner in the Royal Artillery, he was captured in Tobruk in 1942/43. He was taken to Stalag 4c and he was there for 3 years. He worked down the coal mines in Wistritc, Teplitz, Czechoslovakia. He had a bad time there. He had the scars to prove it. He would never talk about his time there.
Pte. Raymond Edwards Royal Artillery
My late father, Raymond Edwards, was taken POW in Dunkirk and spent some time in 20A at Torun and endured the long march, leaving him so sick he spent six months in hospital recovering. As well as being at 20A he also spent some time in a camp in Italy where I believe he was working on building a dam, I presume this must have been before going to 20A. I so enjoyed reading other peoples' accounts, like so many other POWs my father would say very little about his time during the war. Also, like others he did not want to claim his medals.
Gnr. John Pretswell "Jock" Lockie 71st Anti Tank Regiment Royal Artillery (d.14th Aug 1944)
Jock Lockie was one one of the two recruits from Selkirk, who joined up together and were posted to the 71st anti tank regiment. Jock along with 30 other members of the Regiment lost their lives between being landed by Rhino barge at Courseulles-sur-Mer and the breakout from around Caen. The other, Martin Joyce fought with the Regiment to the end of the war and returned to Selkirk.
Gnr. William Bennett Royal Artillery
My Dad, Bill Bennett was at Stalag 9C from 1939 to 1945.
Sgt. William Christopher James "Kit" Williams 35 L.A.A. Regt, 78 Bty. Royal Artliiery (d.1943)
My father William Williams was born on the 15th of December 1913 at 106, Upper Beau Street, South Everton, Lancashire. (Part of Liverpool) At birth he was registered as William Christopher Williams. James was added when he was Baptised, in accordance with Catholic tradition. This has led to some confusion over his middle names. His father was William Nicholas Williams, a Bricklayer’s labourer, born at 42, Mere Lane, Everton, in 1886, he died before 1940. His father was born in Beaumaris, Anglesey, of a Welsh family, originally from Ruthin in North Wales. His mother was Agnes Williams (Nee Kane), Born at 138, Elias Street, Everton in 1888. She died c.1955. Her father was born in Everton of an Irish family which had come over from Ireland during the Irish Famine in 1851 or ‘52. Brought up as a Catholic, my father was sent to a Catholic Boarding School, for his education, in which he did well. After leaving school, he entered the tailoring trade, specialising in invisible mending. Although a Catholic, he was interested in all religions, and had visited a synagogue.
When the Second World War began he joined the Royal Artillery and trained as a Bofors (Anti-Aircraft) gunner, becoming a good shot. (My daughter, Tamsin, has in her possession a part of a Target Drogue, which he shot down.) His Regiment, the 35th was a special TA Regiment formed at Oxford on 2nd September 1939 for the defence of RAF airfields in the area against air attack. It recruited initially older men aged 25 to 50 (he was 26) and by early 1940 comprised five batteries with Headquarters at Oxford, Abingdon, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Reading. In mid 1940 this Regiment reverted to a normal Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment and was reduced to three batteries 78, 89 and 144.
My father was in 78 Battery. Battery HQ was in Reading. The RHQ was located in Black Hall, St Giles, Oxford. He was posted to an ack-ack site in the village of Bramley, in North Hampshire, where he met my mother, who lived at the bottom of the hill on which the gun site had been built. These guns also protected the airfields at RAF Aldermaston and RAF Greenham and also the ammunition depot at Bramley. On the 29th June 1940, aged 26, and now a Lance-Bombardier, he married Phoebe Helen Warner, aged 23, born 12th March 1917. Although he was still a Catholic and she was Church of England, they married in the C of E Church at Bramley. His Best Man was Edwin Randall, presumably one of his fellow Gunners.
He was then posted away, to a gun site at the I.C.I. factory at Mirfield, in Yorkshire. Here, they got the orders for mobilization. They were sent to a staging centre at Middlesborough, where the 78th made ready for the move to Scotland. It was here that the thought of going overseas proved too much for a couple of the lads. One shot himself in the foot and the other threw himself out of a bedroom window.
On the 14 July 1941, aged 27, now a full Bombardier (equivalent to Corporal), his son, Christopher Robin, was born. Presumably before his posting overseas, he was given a 48-hour pass to come down to see his new son, and we have some photos taken then. Obviously, I have no memory of him.
On the 8th November, 1941, 35 LAA was kitted out for Iraq and entrained for Gourock, on the Clyde. At Gourock, on the 12th November 1941, his Regiment, the 35th Light Anti-Aircraft, boarded the converted liner the “Empress of Japan”, along with the 6th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, and others, and joined Convoy WS 12 ZM, bound for Basra, in the Persian Gulf, hence their sand coloured camouflage. The convoy was escorted by the battleship “Royal Sovereign”, and Destroyers “Dulverton” and “Southwold”. The “Royal Sovereign” was one of the first ships to be fitted with Radar. They left Gourock at 2345, on the 12th, superstition preventing any ship sailing on the 13th! The ship was carrying 50 crated Hurricane fighter aircraft, as well as the 53rd Infantry Brigade Group, 232 squadron RAF, the 85th Anti-Tank Regiment,and the 6th Heavy AA Regiment, along with 35 LAA. On the 24th November, they put in at Freetown, but were not allowed ashore. Two days later, they left Freetown. As they were heading out to sea, a solid thump was heard on the side of the ship. It was a torpedo that had failed to explode. The men enjoyed the luxury of the ex-liner, with its cinema and air-conditioning, as they rounded the Cape of Good Hope. On the 7th December 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour - and the Americans entered the War. After rounding the Cape, they docked at Durban on 19th December, for another four days, with shore leave. They were billeted ashore and wrote letters to their families, who were preparing for Christmas, On the 21st, they were told that 35LAA and 6HAA were to be transferred to the SS “Narkunda”, an ex-P&O liner. The “Narkunda” sailed on the 24th December (Christmas Eve!). This ship was not air-conditioned, having been built in 1920. They had only one Naval escort. After a few days at sea, the convoy was split into two. Due to the Japanese situation, the “Narkunda”, “Abbekerk” and some others were diverted to Singapore, as Convoy DM1, with escorts “Emerald”, “Exeter” and “Jumna”.
The troops, having been kitted out with clothing suitable for desert warfare in the Middle East, were hardly equipped for tropical climates and jungle conditions. Not only that, but much of their equipment, including their guns, were on another ship, possibly the “Abbekerk” . On the 4th January, the convoy refuelled and watered in the Maldive Islands. Here they were joined by HMS “Durban”, and the Dutch Battlecruiser “De Ryter”. A day later the convoy was reinforced with another six naval escorts, including an Australian destroyer. As they entered the South China Sea, three Dutch destroyers and a Norweigian ship joined the convoy..
The Japanese bombed Singapore on the 12th January 1942, and the convoy arrived in Keppel Harbour on the 13th. Major Cutbush, RA commandeered the Singapore Harbour Board Club as a billet for his men. Next day, it was realised that they had no guns or equipment. Because of the explosive ordnance she carried, the “Abbekerk” was berthed in an isolated spot, and it may be she had all of the AA guns aboard, but it was felt too dangerous to unload her at the regular docks.
The men had nothing to fight with and the Japs were coming! Their torpedo bombers had already sunk the “Repulse” and the “Prince of Wales”. Both formations were rearmed in Singapore from existing stocks. Upon rearming, 144 Battery and two troops of 89 Battery of 35 LAA Regiment were sent into Johore and went into action against enemy aircraft. 78 Battery remained in Singapore.
Whilst the British were hastening their defence preparations, General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the 14th Army Group of the Imperial Japanese Army was getting ready for the Japanese assault. The British Army in Malaya did not have any tanks whereas the Japanese had over two hundred. The Japanese Air Force were also able to carry out a series of air attacks on Allied positions. Under the command of General Yamashita, the Japanese made rapid progress as they forced Allied troops to retreat south. Unsuccessful attempts were made to halt the advance of General Yamashita at Perak River, Kampar and the Muar River.
On the 25th January 1942, General Arthur Percival gave orders for a general retreat across the Johore Strait to the island of Singapore.With the rest of the retreating army, 144 Battery fell back across the causeway into Singapore. At this point, the story becomes confusing. On 30th January, 78 Battery commandeered a ship and left for Java. William was not aboard. I can only assume that my father, and possibly another man, Gunner Hatton, were somehow left behind, in Singapore.
On February 15, 1942, Singapore capitulated, with the personnel of 3 Battery, 6 HAA Regiment, and 35 LAA Regiment's HQ and 144 Battery becoming prisoners of war. My father was also captured, as we know from his Japanese POW Record Card, which gives the date of his capture as 15 February 1942. Strangely, his rank is given as “Gunner”, although he was in fact a Bombardier. Maybe the Japs didn’t know what that was, although he surely would have had his stripes on his uniform.
The prisoners were held in what had been the British Changi Camp. Soon after, a message was sent to my mother stating that William was a Prisoner at Changi. The reverse of his Japanese POW Record Card informs us that on the 18th October, 1942, control of the Prisoners in Changi was transferred from Malay POW Camp to the Japanese 17th Army (New Guinea). On that day, 600 men of the Royal Artillery, including my father, were marched to Singapore Docks and put aboard a ship. This ship was the Kenkon Maru, Sister ship of the Kenkon Maru Of the 600 Gunners, 130 were from 35 LAA, mostly from 144 Battery. They were told that they were going to Japan. Herded into the hold of the ship, they endured horrific conditions. On the journey, it was noticed that the ship was definitely not heading for Japan, but was going south. The ship stopped at Surabaya Harbour, Java, on the 22nd Oct. then Timor, Bali and the Hialmarhere Islands. Many men were sick at this time and Battery Sgt Major Lambourne of the 11th Coast Regiment died from dysentery. On the 5th November 1942, the ship docked at Rabaul, on the island of New Britain in the Solomon Islands Group, where the men were unloaded and marched along dusty tracks, ankle deep with volcanic ash, despite many being without footwear.
The Kenkon Maru, now without the prisoners, continued her voyage. On the 21St of January, 1943, the U.S.Navy submarine SS 212 Gato torpedoed and damaged the Kenkon Maru. just East of Bougainville. (06°12'S, 155°51'E). Her escort then scuttles the ship. This was the action that led to the Japanese lie that the 600 Gunners had been "Lost at Sea". The British were informed of the action, and so my mother was told this on 5th March 1943.
This lie persists in both Japanese and British records. The prisoners had all disembarked at Rabaul. The prisoners were marched from Rabaul to Kokopo Camp. From the start they were badly treated with consistent beatings and being tormented by the guards. During this period the men were made to work in the tropical sun. The Japanese interpreter, Higaki, was a Christian and did his best to help the prisoners, at some risk to himself.
On the 15th November 1942, a parade took place where the fittest 517 men, out of the remaining 599, were chosen to go to Ballali (Balalle) Island to build an airstrip. My father was amongst these men. They were taken by trucks to board another hell ship for the two day journey to Ballali. The island, which is approximately 4 miles in diameter, is one of the Shortland group of islands, just south of Bougainville.
Not one of these 517 men survived to tell their story. It was only through one of the few natives who lived on the island, and who had witnessed the events, that this story was able to be recorded by the Australian Forces who reoccupied the island some time later.
The first thing that happened was that a British Officer was shot. More atrocities followed. 81 men died from beatings, illness and from Allied bombing of the island. No-one knows whether my father was among these. The prisoners were not allowed to dig trenches for protection from the bombs. In April 1943, the Japanese on Ballali Island were told by their headquarters that the US Navy was preparing for an attack. If this happened, all Prisoners were to be disposed of by whatever means was available.
On the 29th June 1943, an American warship bombarded the island. The next day the remaining 436 prisoners still alive were lined up and killed by sword or bayonet. The bodies were stripped of their identity tags and dumped in a large pit. In November 1945, this mass grave, containing 436 bodies, was uncovered, confirming the facts. The remains of these British servicemen were recovered by 3 Division AIF, War Graves Unit of the Australian Army, and in December 1945 were finally interred in graves in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, in Papua, New Guinea. As the bodies, when recovered, could not be identified, each one has an individual grave marked "A Soldier of the 1939-1945 War Know Only to God". No-one knows whether my father was killed in the massacre, or had died before. The official records still give the date of the death of all 600 Gunners as 5th March 1943, the date given for the sinking of the ship which they were no longer aboard, which is incorrect anyway.
A Short History Of The Ayrshire Yeomanry 151st Field Regiment, R.A. 1939-1946
Major Young & Capt Gray
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