- Royal Signals during the Second World War -
Allied Forces Index
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If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.
Those known to have served with
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Abbott Jack. Cpl.
- Alexander Stanley John.
- Anderson Robert. Sgt.
- Angier Eric John Abner. Sig. (d.8th June 1945)
- Baker Lancelot Barton Hill Custance. Capt.
- Bamforth William. Corporal
- Bamforth William George. Cpl.
- Beaumont Anthony.
- Bennett Robert William. L/Cpl.
- Blake Walter Charles. L/Cpl.
- Bolton Howard Burton. Mjr.
- Bond Valiant. Sgm.
- Booth Thomas O.
- Brown David. W/Sgt.
- Bugg William.
- Burton Oliver George. Sgt.
- Bégué Georges.
- Caley Harold Arthur. Cpl.
- Campbell Henry. (d.24th August 1946)
- Capp Cyril Charles. Sgt.
- Carre Gerald Douglas. Sig
- Carry Joe R.
- Carville Hugh. Sig. (d.17th May 1940)
- Chambers Vincent Ralph.
- Chipchase Oswald. L/Cpl.
- Clark Reginald William.
- Clarke Victor Cecil. L/Cpl.
- Coates Donald Hagger. Sgt.
- Cohen Norman Wilfred. Sgl.
- Collier John. L/Cpl. (d.21st Sep 1944)
- Conley John Wilson. Sig. (d.7th July 1944)
- Cooper Francis Henry.
- Cotter George William. Sgt
- Culshaw Gregory. Corporal
- Derbyshire Albert. Signalman (d.19th Jan 1945)
- Derrett John Fitzroy. L/Cpl.
- Dewsnap Allan. Sgm
- Dick Robert Penman. Pte.
- Dicks Leonard.
- Dowle Charles William. Pte.
- Downing Dennis David. Dvr.
- Downs James Archibald.
- Drabble James Alfred. Signalman (d.17th June 1940)
- Duguid James. Cpl. (d. )
- Dunkeld George Guy. Dvr.
- Eastman John Edward.
- Edy Douglas George.
- Ellis Dick.
- Emmett Arthur. Sgt.
- Errington George Elliot. Drv. (d.17th April 1942)
- Etherington Phillip Dudley. Sig.
- Evans Terence William.
- Falkingham John. Sgt.
- Feasey Ernest Joseph. Pte.
- Field Donald. Sgt.
- Forshaw Matthew. Sig. (d.20th Nov 1941)
- Gardner William.
- Gell John Stanley. Pte.
- Gibbs Donald. A/Sgt Mjr.
- Giddings William Charles. S/Sgt.
- Graham Stephen.
- Gray Thomas Andrew. Pte.
- Green Frederick James. Sgt.
- Guy Jimmy.
- Halford Clifford. Lance Corporal
- Hayward George . Sgt
- Hickmott Edward William. Cpl.
- Higgins Patrick. Pte.
- Hill Harold Charles.
- Hornsby Joseph. Signalman
- Hotine Robert Edward. Dvr.
- Hotine Robert Edward. Drvr.
- Jarvis James Percival. Sgt.
- Jones Elwyn. Cpl.
- Jordan Dennis. Sig.
- Keeling Walter . Signalman. (d.Between 24th April & 2nd June 1940)
- Knapman James B.. Pte.
- Lewis John Robert. Sig.
- Lidster Ernest. (d.1999)
- Lightfoot Harold. Pte.
- Lishman John Turnbull.
- Maile Charles Edward. Sgt.
- May John. CSM.
- Mayle Frank Ernest. Corporal
- McBlain Stewart. Linesman.
- McConney James George Randolph. Cpl. (d.28th March 1943)
- McGowan Ernest. Sig. (d.17th June 1940)
- Mends Arthur George. RSM.
- Middleton George Sutherland . L/Cpl. (d.21st Jul 1945)
- Moffat William. Sgnlmn.
- Moon William Isaac Garfield. W/Cpl
- Moore Maurice Ingram.
- Murchison Roderick. Private
- Murray George. Pte.
- Nason-Waters Leonard Alfred. Sign.
- New Edward William. Driver (IC). (d.15th Sep 1944)
- Newcombe Sydney Jack. Cpl.
- Newham Stanley Arnold. Sig.
- Noake Eric Stanley. Act Sgt.
- Nye David Leslie. Sig.
- Parrott John Chadwick. Sgt.
- Potesta Sidney H. Corporal
- Pullen Harry Gordon.
- Purvis Leslie. Sig. (d.31st Mar 1941)
- Rankin J..
- Reid James.
- Reith Douglas.
- Rix Douglas Alfred. Cpl.
- Robertshaw Francis Rowland. Cpl.
- Roden Thomas. Sig. (d.9th Jun 1943)
- Roscoe Walter. Sig. (d.7th Feb 1945)
- Roy Robert . Signalman (d. 30th Aug 1945)
- Rudd Hector Charles. Sgt,
- Scorer Philip Segar. Mjr.
- Shaw James Cormack. Sig.
- Sheppard Cyril. L/Sgt. (d.26th Feb 1942)
- Silver Walter. Signalman.
- Simpson Albert Alfred. 2nd Lt. (d.10th Dec 1944)
- Skinner Alfred Frederick Charles. Pte
- Small Arthur Henry. Cpl.
- Smith Arthur.
- Smith Arthur Edward. L/Sigmn.
- Smith Harry Leslie. Sgt.
- Smith Jack. Sig. (d.28/02/1944)
- Snaith Arthur.
- South Donald Charles. L/Cpl.
- Stanners William Horace James. Cpl
- Stephen Alexander. Cpl.
- Stott William. Dvr.
- Sundberg Johan Ashby.
- Swann Victor. Signalman. (d.1th Aug 1943)
- Tennant Christopher Stanley Arthur. Drvr.
- Thomas Ronald John.
- Thurlow Robert George. Sgmn.
- Tilley Harry Edwin. L/Cpl.
- Tracy Arthur Herbert. Sergeant
- Trant Alfred Douglas. Sig. (d.2nd Mar 1944)
- Turner Ernest. Lt.
- Turner William Waterhouse. Pte.
- Walker Peter.
- Walton Ronald Walter.
- Walton Ronald Walter. L/Cpl
- Ward Arthur James. Signalman (d.24th Nov 1945)
- Warren Hobart Wallace . Sig.
- Weir David Hutton. Signalman.
- Westcott Jack Leonard. WO2
- Whiteman Frances Freeman. Sig.
- Why Dennis Victor.
- Wilkins Edwin.
- Wilkins Kenneth Aubrey. Cpl.
- Wilkinson Jack. Sig. (d.8th Feb 1943)
- Williams Wilfred. L/Cpl.
- Wilson N R. Cpl.
- Wood Leonard. Pte.
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
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There are 10 pages in our library tagged Royal Signals These include information on officers service, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.
Sgt George William Cotter 54th Rgt Royal SignalsI am researching my late fathers time in the Royal Signals from May 1942 to March 1947. 54th Regiment. I have photos of him in Egypt I have no other info other than that. If anyone has any information regarding this time or can point me in any direction to find out more it would be much appreciated. Many thanks in anticipation.Hilary King
Vincent Ralph Chambers Royal SignalsI am trying to locate any living relatives of Vincent Ralph Chambers who served with the Royal Signals in Leeds during World War II. I have letters that he wrote to my mother in America during 1942 and 1943. Thank you.Jill Kasper
John Edward Eastman Royal SignalsI am trying to find out about my late father John Edward Eastman who served in the Royal Corp Signals during the last war in Sudan/Cairo/Egypt. He was presumed dead for not sending any letters/correspondence for around 6 months. He may have had a breakdown! I would like to know more (if possible) about what he did, where he was and what he did. He never spoke about the war to me.John Eastman
Ernest Lidster Royal Signals (d.1999)My father, Ernest Lidster, was a signal man in the Royal Signals. He was captured by the Germans on the 4/6/1940 at Lille, and he spent the rest of the war at Stalag 8B which I understand later became camp 344. He worked in the mines. He didn't speak much about his time there and when he did he got very upset, it had a very bad effect on him. He died in 1999 aged 80.
Does anyone remember him, I am trying to find out as much as I can and it would be nice to speak to any one who knew him.Jennifer Timms
Corporal Frank Ernest Mayle III Brigade 2 Signals Regiment / 9 Gurkha RegimentI am researching the life and times of my late father-in-law. He was sent to Burma in 1943 or 1944 and joined the Chindits. He may have been a Corporal or an NCO with 2 Signals Regiment. He may have been part of the 111 Brigade and 9 Gurkha Regiment commanded by Brigadier J. Morris, landing during March 1944 at Chowringhee. I know of 3 other Corporals who may have been with him at the time: G Ewens, J.E. Kirke and H.M. Jones.
Can anyone help me retrace his steps during those horrible times in Burma fighting a Japanese soldiers who would rather die than surrender ?Gilbert Viegas
Sgt. John Falkingham Royal Corps of SignalsDoes anyone have any information on John Falkingham who was born in 1915? He may have been a journalist and served in the TA before WW2. He was a Sergeant in 1944 when he was a patient at Addenbrooke Hospital 1943/44. He recovered and went to France in April/May 1944 and "never came back." Whether that means he was killed in action or never contacted the reporter again, I do not know. Thanks for any help anyone can provide.Gwen Walker
Ronald Walter "Wally" Walton Royal Corps of SignalsMy father, Ronald Walter "Wally" Walton was in the Royal Corp of Signals. His hometown was Norwich, in Norfolk, England. He was captured in North Africa (Libya) in 1941 and imprisoned in Italy until 1943. He was then moved to Stalag 4B until the end of the war. He didn't tell us much about his experiences, but we know he taught electronics in the camp. If anyone knew my dad I would appreciate hearing from you. Sadly, he passed away in 1996, he was 78.Jim Walton
Sgm Allan Dewsnap Royal Signals CorpsMy father, Sgm Allan Dewsnap 2586904 Royal Signals Corp, was a survivor of the sinking of the Lancastria, along with other Glossop soldiers, Thomas O. Booth (still alive), Leonard Dicks (still alive), Corporal William Bamforth (deceased), James Alfred Drabble (drowned on the ship).
I have spoken to Tom Booth and Len Dicks many times about the sinking. Tom always carries a photograph of the ship going down and at the stern in the water are six figures – Tom says that one is himself and the others are Len Dicks and my father. Unfortunately I can't remember who the other three are. Nor can I remember the newspaper that carried the article and photo.
Tom is not very well at the moment so I will have to wait awhile to see him. This morning I received my father's Lancastria Commemorative Medal and a very nice letter from the First Minister of Scotland the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP. I will keep it with my father's other campaign medals.Michael Dewsnap
Henry Campbell (d.24th August 1946)Henry Campbell from Glasgow served with Fitzroy McLean in the Royal Corps of Signals and died in Naples 24th August 1946. I am looking for information about him as a gift for my uncle's mother's 94th birthday (Campbell's sister). She is interested in why he was mentioned in dispatches.Hugh Sharkey
Pte. Thomas Andrew " " GrayI am doing research on my grandfather Thomas Andrew Gray who was captured at Calais in May 1940. I have just received information from the Red Cross showing the various camps he was held at which included by date, Stalag xxa,111a,111d,xxa,xxb and finally 111a again.Darren Quinn
Cpl. Sydney Jack Newcombe Royal SignalsI would love to know something of my late father's involvement in WWII. Jack Newcombe was in North Africa,Sudan,Cairo,Alexandria,Khartoum,Egypt with the Royal Signals. I think he was a despatch rider. He told me next to nothing of the war and he died aged 59, before I was to become interested. I would be most grateful for any information.Philip Newcombe
Sgt George " " Hayward DSM, MID.George Hayward
Mjr. Philip Segar Scorer MID, MC. Royal SignalsDavid Scorer
Arthur Smith Royal SignalsArthur Smith joined the Royal Corps of Signals in 1940. He was in Cairo for his 21st birthday, Tobruk for his 22nd and a prisoner of war camp for his 23rd. Captivity in Libya and Bologna was followed by a Stalag in Poland which, unbeknown to the inmates, was within 15-20 miles of Auschwitz. 1945 saw the Russians advancing from the east and Arthur’s POWs were marched out ahead of them to criss-cross northern Germany for a thousand miles on foot, during which they saw Dresden go up in flames.
After the war ended, he went to live in the small village of Youlgrave in Derbyshire where he had four children with Vera Wilson. He is my Grandfather and I am keen learn more about his military career.Mary-Ann Gow
Cpl. N R Wilson Royal SignalsI've just brought a Royal Corps of Signals tunic and the owner, Cpl N. R. Wilson was part of the 7th Armoured Div. and I would like some information on him. All I have is his initials and surname and the badges on the arms, please can anyone help?Lea Barton
Signalman Robert " " Roy (d. 30th Aug 1945)Unfortunately I know almost nothing about my Uncle Robert Roy, other than he died as a POW in Changi Singapore and is buried at Kranji Cemetery in Singapore. My son is currently in the far east and plans to visit the grave next week. If anybody has any info, we would be very interested.John Roy
Cpl. Kenneth Aubrey "Scottie" Wilkins Royal SignalsI am trying to put together my late fathers war history as like many others it was kept within. He was Cpl Kenneth Wilkins, known as Scottie. He enlisted in 1939 at the Barracks of the South Wales Borderers in Brecon, in 1942 he was moved to the Royal Corps of Signals and posted to the 8th army. He was in Egypt for 7 months then North Africa for 5 months until posted to Sicily and Italy, seeing service at Cassino with No 1 A.S.S.U. He was demobed at Villach in Austria in 1945. I do have a photo showing my father with two comrades possibly taken in Italy. I would like to know if any comrades might have memories they can share?Steve Wilkins
Private Roderick Murchison Royal Corps of SignalsMy father,Roderick Murchison was a despatch rider with the Royal Signals during the war, I think at some time he was in Egypt, other than that I'm not very clear. what I am sure of was that he was stationed at Catterick after the war, also Richmond comes to mind. If anyone knows him or served with him any information would be greatly appreciated.David Murchison
Signalman Albert Derbyshire Royal Corps of Signals (d.19th Jan 1945)I would like to find any information regarding my Great Uncle, Signalman Albert Derbyshire 2584305. He was captured on 3/6/40 at St Omer and sent to Stalag XXA on 21/7/40 Prisoner No. 18781. He was transferred to Stalag XXB in Oct 41. He died on 19/1/45 and this is the part that hurts the family as we don`t know how. I thought that he possibly died on one of the forced marches but, reading some of the stories on this site it would seem he died before the marches began.Paul Rowley
Signalman. Walter Keeling Royal Corps of Signals (d.Between 24th April & 2nd June 1940)Walter Keeling was my husband's uncle. He died in France between 24-5-1940 and 2-6-1940 and is buried at Souvenir Cemetery, Longuenesse, St Omer. He was just 21 years old and had only been married for one week before being killed on returning to his regiment. We do not know if he died on the battlefield or in hospital? If anyone has any information regarding Walter Keeling, formerly from the village of Alton in Staffordshire we would like to hear from you. His wife was called Zilla and we have no knowledge of her whereabouts following Walter's death.
We intend to visit his grave, has anyone visited Souvenir Cemetery, Longuenesse, St Omer France?Pauline Keeling
Arthur Snaith Royal SignalsMy father Arthur Snaith was with the Royal Signals, and I am trying to find out more about his army service but the MOD need his army number which I don't have. I know he was called up in 1941 and fought as a dispatch rider in Egypt with the 8th Army. He was injured and was moved to Syria, where I'm told he got to ride horses. He was demobbed in 1946 and I'm afraid that's all I know. He died in 1983 but I never found out how he was injured. I do know he gained 3 medals and if anyone can identify serving with him or know his service number, I would be most grateful.Mary Lloyd
Pte. George Murray Air Formation Sigs. Royal Corps of SignalsMy father, the late George Murray, served with the Air Formation Signals. He volunteered for service in 1939, spent some time in Ulster and Shetland and was then posted to N. Africa (initially Algiers). He later served in Sicily and was at Monte Casino.
His war-time letters to my late mother were lost/destroyed many years ago as were his campaign medals - 39-45 Star, Italy/Africa Star. Defence Medal etc. I am keen to identify details of his unit and its service and, possibly, to obtain replicas of his medals.
My late father had a lifelong pride in serving in the Signals - he had a black tie for funerals and a Sigs tie for every other day. He was married in uniform and I can have a copy of the wedding photograph, I also have some pictures of my father on leave in Rome in 1944. I believe he spent some time at Bari Camp in Italy.
I would be pleased to receive any information on the Air Formation Signals and, of course, contact with any former friends would be a bonus. Thank you.Alan Murray
Reginald William "Nobby" Clark 57 Field Regt. The Royal Corps of SignalsMy Father, Reginald Clark, died last year aged 92. Both he and my mother wrote to each other continuously from when first met her at Margate when billeted in Birchington in (I think) 1941. Although I never did read the letters while they were both alive I have found pleasure in what they wrote about whilst they were apart for over 3 and a half years. Luckily I have most of them I believe, except for those which may have been lost in transit. The tales my father told about the various activities, and I by that I only mean personal ones, are mostly comical. Of course he could never reveal where he was but I do know he was in the desert to start with, then went to Sicily the on to Italy. I wonder if there is any way I could find out about the route my father's unit took?Lynda Smith
Signalman. Victor Swann 11 Operating Sec. Royal Corps of Signals (d.1th Aug 1943)Victor Swann is my great uncle, I do know anything about him but am trying very hard to get information on him but don't know where to start. All I know is that he died 12/08/1943 aged 25 and is buried at Chittgong War Cemetery, so if anyone can help me with any information it would be very helpfulKim Craig
Signalman. Walter Silver 19th Air Formation Signals Royal Corps of SignalsMy father, Walter Silver, served in Burma during WW2 as a despatch rider in the Signals. He's still alive at the time of writing, but is living in a nursing home in Leeds. His memory is not so good these days, but I do know that his Unit at the end of the war was 19th Air Formation Signals, and I have photos of him with a group of comrades, including his younger brother, Ernest, in Comilla, Bangladesh.
Dad has said very little over the years about his experiences - except some light-hearted quips about his motor bike, mates etc. He's mentioned being in Rangoon, Chittagong and Kohima.Ken Silver
Cpl. James Duguid MM. att Gordon Highlander Royal Corps of Signals (d. )I am reserching the wartime history of my late Grandfather, James Duguid who served with the Royal corps of Signals attached to the Gordon Highlanders In the 51st Highland Division. He was captured at St Valery in 1940 (he was awarded the Military Medal for his conduct in this action) He was a prisoner of war for the remainder of the war in Stalag XXB (20B) in Poland.
We have very little information on either the awarding of the medal or his time in the camp. As like many of his generation he was reluctant to talk about his wartime exploits. I would be grateful for any information, assistance or memories anyone can provide. Many thanks for a very useful website.Trevor Miles
Pte. Ernest Joseph Feasey 10th Btn. Beds & Herts Regt.I enlisted at Bedford on the 29th of Jul 1941, attended Basic Training and served with 10th Bn, until I transferred to the Royal Signals on the 1st of Sept 42. I then served with 47 Div Sigs, 38 Div Sigs, 2 Corps Sigs, 39 HQ Sigs, 3 GHQ Sigs in the UK, MELF & Italy. I was discharged on the 15th of December 1946.Ernie Feasey
Maurice Ingram Moore Royal SignalsMy uncle, Maurice Moore, talked a little bit about his war days, but he said he helped chase Romell out of Africa, and was involved in Egypt, Nomandy and other theatres of war. He hid not like talking about it, but had so many medals, he could hardly find space for them. He never marched after the war. He passed away 12 years ago, and I am now trying to find out more about him. God bless all men and women who fought for our freedom.Ronald Thomas Fenwick
James Archibald Downs Royal SignalsMy father-in-law, James Downs was a prisoner of Stalag IVb. He was captured at Tobruk in 1942, and I believe spent all the rest of the war in this Stalag.Lesley Downs
John Turnbull Lishman Royal SignalsMy father, John Lishman, very seldom spoke about the war but he was injured and I think it could have happened in the POW camp. I seem to recall him saying that he was captured by the Italians and then transferred to a camp in Germany. From his service book it states that he was captured in the Middle East on 21 June 1942. From the Records office it states that he was in Stalag IVA in Hohenstein. His war disablement records stated that his disablement was due to "gunshot wound left leg with compound fracture of tibia and fibula with involvemnt of ankle joint"Cecilia Gladwyn
Pte. John Stanley Gell 11 LoC Royal Signal RegimentOne of the stories my father, John Gell told me about his service in North Africa during the period 1942 - 1944 comes particulary in mind especially when I brood about Fate and Destiny.
Together with his mates, after working on the phone lines near Bizerta - Tunisia, a place known to the troops as Messerschmit Alley, he was resting at camp. Just as dusk was setting in, a sort of rumbling noise was continuosly heard. To be on the safe side, Dad coaxed the group out of their billet and had them move nearby. Only one of his mates refused to go, saying they were scared for nothing, it was only the sound of distant guns. Shortly after the group had moved, a section of Ju 87 dive bombers, in an effort to destroy allied comunications, hit the site, killing the one soldier who decided to stay back. Sometomes it's better to follow one's instinct than turn it down!
My beloved father passed away a couple of months ago and with this short story I would like to honour his memory. Thank you.Stephen Gell
Pte. Patrick "Patsy" Higgins Royal Corps of SignalsPatrick served with the 51st Scottish Division and was captured at Saint Valery in France after Dunkirk. He was a prisoner for 5 years in Poland in Stalag XXA, until the end of the war when he was released.Paul Brennan
Dvr. George Guy Dunkeld Royal SignalsGeorge Guy Dunkeld was my father. H e enlisted 1 august1939 into the Royal Signals. He was very reticent about his life in the army as he was a POW in Italy, escaped twice and was helped by local people before recapture and was transfered to Germany to work in a rubber plant.
At one time, I believe, he was being taken by train in Germany when the Allies bombed the train and all other passengers were killed. But this was never told to me by my father,his sister told me.
My father was transfered to the M Reserve 18th Nov 1947. He served for 8yrs and 110 days of these 4yrs 18days were spent in captivity. I would love to hear from anyone who knew my father especialy as a POW.
My father did tell me one story about life as a POW they would take old socks with holes in them and roll them up then swap them through the wire to a guard for cigarettes and in his own words "run like hell".Norman Dunkeld
Driver (IC). Edward William New Royal Corps of Signals (d.15th Sep 1944)I have a letter from Signalman Alfred G Still 2356510 to my Grandmother Lillian New about the circumstances of his death. In hope that it would be of some comfort to her.Sue Day
Terence William "Taffy" Evans Royal SignalsMy cousin Terry. Full name Terence William Fulford born 23.11.1944. I'm trying to locate his father. The only information we can give is Taffy Evans born in Wales serving with Royal Signals at Hadleigh Essex. Terry's mother Violet Elizabeth Fulford nee Naylor born 1914 has since died.We believe that Taffy was younger. Terry's elder sisters Joyce and Eillen were very young but vaguely remember Taffy. If anybody has any information please contact.Pat Pond
L/Cpl. John Fitzroy "Taff" Derrett 2nd A S S U Royal SignalsWould like to get details of service.Simon Roy Derrett
A/Sgt Mjr. Donald "Budgie" Gibbs Royal SignalsMy Dad served in Malaya during WW2, at some point my Mum joined him there. Dad mentioned the Ghurkas and often told stories, wrote poems about the Char Whallas but I would like more information about what the Royal Signals were doing towards the end of the war please.
I have loads of photographs of the people he served with, most of them are unnamed. Exasperatingly my parents decided to take the pictures out of the captioned album and the transfer to a new album never happened! I would be happy to share these with people whose relatives may have served same time and place etc.Daphne Gibbs
WO2 Jack Leonard Westcott Royal SignalsBristol blitz November 24th 1940. I have already told of our experience during my niece's Birthday. (Happy Birthday Jean). On the All Clear we went to bed for the few hours left, but all arose at the usual time and I prepared to go to school. The main reason was that I attended a Technical School on the other side of town and wanted to see the damage that the incendiaries and bombs had caused overnight.
I rode my bike into town with my friend who attended the same school and as we got to Lawford Street we had to divert due to the many premises that were still burning, but dodging the spaghetti-like hoses in the road and the showers of water being leaked from the many ruptures we reached the Old Market. Looking down Castle Street it seemed that every shop was either bombed or on fire with the road under masses of debris. Continuing down towards Temple Meads we managed to get to Victoria Street where we could see many business places in ruins but continued on to school.
We found the school gate was locked but waited with 60 or 70 other boys swapping our recent experiences. Unfortunately the Technical School appeared to have been saved except for a few classrooms outside the main building. A teacher arrived to tell us that there would be no school for a few days and advised us to go home. This was our chance to have a good look around, so we made our way up Redcliff Hill past St. Mary Redcliff Church which was undamaged - and did survive the War without damage- but looking down Redcliff Street it was barred by the many fires still burning. So we diverted along Welsh Back and along the Floating Harbour to Bristol Bridge dodging individual premises still burning fiercely.
At Bristol Bridge it was the centre of destruction. High Street, Bridge Street and Victoria Street were impassable and we could go no further, but finding the steps to the Market we carried our bikes until we could ride down to Colston Street where we decided to turn for home, but even then there was more destruction in the Haymarket where Department Stores - Barton Wharehouses - were ablaze.
It took many years to rebuild the premises that were destroyed. In most cases the destroyed shops were relocated and modern premises provided.
There were many other blitzes on Bristol, but I think the first one was the worst. Afterwards a there was a system of Firewatchers who were recruited to quickly extinguish the incendiary bombs before they began to destroy the premises. A dangerous and nerve-wracking job as they were on the roof and vunerable to any bombs that landed nearby.J. L. Westcott
Sergeant Arthur Herbert "Bob" Tracy GC. Royal SIgnalsI am looking to find more information about Arthur Herbert Tracy who served in WW2 in the Royal Signals. He was a prisoner of war in Stalag I think but managed to escape. He survived the war and received the George Cross. I would greatly appreciate any more details about him.Alison Tracy
Lt. Ernest Turner Royal SignalsErnest Turner is my father-in-law. He was married in 1942 to Joan Rowland and had a son, my deceased husband, the following year, but they divorced soon after that. Ernest sent a letter asking for forgiveness because he had met and wanted to marry a Malasian lady. My husband had no further contact with his father although he paid maintenance all through his childhood. My children and I would love to know more about their grandfather.Gillian Turner
L/Sigmn. Arthur Edward Smith Royal Corps of SignalsMy father Arthur Edward Smith was called up in October 1940 and because of his expert knowledge in morse code and telegraphy (he was a telegraph officer for the Post Office) he was sent to join the 4th British Division, Royal Corps of Signals as a Lance Signalman. He trained in Catterick, Winchester and Scarborough. From 1940-1946 he saw service in North Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Italy and Greece. He also fought at the Battle of Monte Casino. He and his wife had codes organised between them which they used in letters. If he wrote "are the potatoes nearly ready" it meant "we are on the move and I may not be able to write for a while." If he said " I hope you have planted the beans" it meant that a big push was being planned. As he worked out of the back of a lorry just behind the front line, he sent all the important messages to and from the commanders. He told me that, in Greece, the local population had been so starved by the Germans and their fields laid to waste that the British soldiers tried to give a lot of their supplies to the women for their children. Arthur hardly ever spoke about the war on his return in December 1945 other than these few facts. Also he never wanted to leave England again - and never did. He died in March 1991 in Ely, Cambridgeshire aged 81.Mary Shaw
Stanley John "Alec" Alexander Corps of Royal SignalsI am trying to find out about my father's wartime experiences. His name was Stanley Alexander and he did not talk too much about his war. He was caught twice on the same day by the Japanese and escaped. I feel he had a tale to tell, but I would like to know the army side and any official records there may be. I have a copy of his Service record from joining the Gloucester's of which he was very proud, and then the Royal Signals in Burma and I think North Africa and Germany.
Any Details would be very welcome, both his Regiment and he himself.I also think part of his job was to be sent out and lay quiet and signal any troop movement he saw.Phil Alexander
Sig. David Leslie Nye 69 L/M Section Royal SignalsWe don't know when my Dad, David Nye was called up. I only remember him saying that he had been in Ireland and was also stationed in Prestatyn, Wales and I believe he was billeted with a Mrs Greeney as we have a picture of them and myself and my brother, taken in 1943.
He must have been shipped out to the Baghdad area shortly after that and, we believe, he spent the rest of the war there. He remarked that the locals were very good thieves (can we say that?) and they had to sleep with their rifles so that they wouldn't get pinched. He also said that a lot of their work was putting back up telegraph poles as fast as the locals were knocking them down.
Dad, unfortunately died in 1968. He had come home, I'm not sure when, and went back to work in Martins Bank in Preston until he retired at the age of 60.
The only other name I can remember my Dad saying was Frank Leeming. We have a very good head and shoulders pencil sketch of my Dad in a pith helmet, it was drawn by a Derek Lucas. Was he also a signalman? I also have a few pictures taken during his service and I am sure they were taken in the Baghdad area.Bob Nye
Sig. Jack Smith Royal Corps of Signals (d.28/02/1944)I am looking for any information regarding my grandfather, Jack Smith of the Royal Signals. He lived in Burnley, Lancashire, England. He is buried at Minturno, Italy. My father was four years old when his dad died. Unfortunately, I do not have much more information, but if anyone has any information at all, please contact me, I love to hear from you.Lesley Horne
Douglas George Edy Royal SignalsI would like to hear from anybody who served with my Father, Douglas Edy in Eygpt in World War 2. I am not sure of the years. He is now 85 and I would love to reunite him with some of his fellow 'Signallers'.Sarah Roebuck
Pte Alfred Frederick Charles Skinner Royal Corps SignalsAlfred Skinner was my Dad and I know nothing about his war years and was hoping that someone could give me some information or tell me to find it.Anthony Skinner
S/Sgt. William Charles Giddings Royal SignalsAll I know is my father William Giddings joined the Royal Sussex Regiment and transferred to the Royal Signals and served in Burma and India.Kevin Giddings
L/Cpl. Victor Cecil "Nobby" Clarke Royal SignalsMy father never talked about his particpation in the war only that he was in the Signal Regiment. The only time he said anything was after thunderstorms because he would cower under the stairs with fright (something happened whilst he was wearing radio headset and lightening struck his antenna).Alan Clarke
Sig. Thomas Roden Royal Corps of Signals (d.9th Jun 1943)Great Uncle Tom was one of the three hundred P.O.W.s who died at the Nieke camp of cholera in May/June 1943. Their ashes are now buried at Kanchanaburi Cemetery, Thailand.V.Roden
Act Sgt. Eric Stanley Noake Royal Corps of SignalsI am lucky enough to have a photograph of my lovely dad when he was 18 years old, taken in Burma. I understand he couldn't wait to join up and leave his family town of Sherborne, Dorset. However he had three weeks on a ship, where he suffered terrible sea sickness, to get to India.
In training before leaving England, when it came to PT, the Sergeant said 'everyone over 30 fall out' with regards to exercise, so my dad not wanting to do the scrabbling under and over an arduous assault course 'fell out' even though he was 18! He told my sisters and I there he climbed over the barbed wire, in training, rather than crawl under it and risk getting snagged. He was put on a charge for that!
He played draughts alot with a man nicknamed 'Bunger', who he met on the ship and he was from Leicester, but in the Chindits. He didn't talk about his experiences, except he refused to have any Japanese product in our family home. He saw some dreadful things and he became an ardent socialist from his experiences in India and Burma.
He sadly died at the age of 66 in 1991 and his home town of Sherborne named a road after him, for his services to the town that upon his return from Burma, he strived to make a better place for all.
I would love to hear of anyone who knew him or had a photo of him with his mule (who he said was very stubborn), which carried his radio equipment.
The Chindits had a really tough time, not only coping with the heat, starvation, dehydration, dysentry, hiding from the Japanese in the Jungle, shaking their boots out for scorpians, building bamboo beds off the jungle floor where ever they camped, watching films in Indian cinemas to escape the heat outside (my dad watched many Indian films) but then to return to England with virtually no welcome or recognition for what they had endured. Hence the forgotten army.
My youngest sister is currently living in Thailand, teaching and I plan to visit her. We would like to travel to Burma to see where our father was stationed. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. He was a clever , funny man with a strong sense of justice and it would be good to appreciate how difficult it must have been for him there. He has been dead 20 years and we all still miss him terribly. Therefore to see what he saw as a young man would be an emotional but meaningful experience.
He said he always wanted to go back to India as he did not really appreciate the Taj Mahal and other places he visited at the time and he loved curries. Sadly he didn't make it. He had a painting of a woman that he kept in the family home and mum got rid of it after Dad died. My sisters and I often wonder if the painting looked like a woman from India or Burma who he had fallen in love with, but could never tell us. We would not mind and it would help us better understand the silent bits of his time in the Chindits.Helen Barnes
Signalman Arthur James "Archie" Ward Royal Corps of Signals (d.24th Nov 1945)Arthur James Ward was the brother of my grandmother and died of gunshot wounds in 1945 (listed as accidental) he was 32 years old. He is buried at Heliopolis War Cemetery. If anyone has information, please contact me.Elaine Sale
Sgt. Frederick James Green Royal Corps of SignalsFrederick Green was called up in 1939 for the Devon & Cornwall Light Infantry, and later transferred to Corps of Signals. He served in Italy and sent home one of the messages conveying news of Mussolini's execution. He was injured by shrapnel in 1944 and took part in Battle of Monteriggioni.Alex Green
L/Cpl. John Collier 18th Divn Royal Corps Signals (d.21st Sep 1944)John was a Territorial - had, I think, served on the Norway raid early in the war. I don't have much family detail - he would have been an uncle to me.
30 October 1941, Orient Line’s SS Orcades and seven other transports sailed in convoy (WS12X) from Liverpool’s Princess Jetty. The 18th Division regiments, totaling 20,800 officers and men were en route to the Middle East via Halifax. This was the first convoy secretly manned and protected by US Navy and Coastguard personnel with orders to sink any opposing craft - this was before Pearl Harbour and the US formal entry to WW2.
10 November 1941 TF 14 sailed from Halifax in 6 American transports via Cape Town for Suez. US Navy manned USS Mount Vernon (AP22), USS West Point (AP23) and USS Orizaba (AP24); US Coast Guardsmen manned USS Wakefield (AP21), USS Joseph T Dickman (AP26) and USS Leonard Wood (AP25). 7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor.
13 December 1941 convoy (WS12X) left Cape Town with revised orders for Bombay now renamed convoy TF-14.2. Subsequent splitting and reroutes saw transports arrive at Singapore between 13 January and 5 February 1942.
John was then POW on the Burma railway. Another POW tried to track him down through his wife at the end of the war, saying John's actions had kept him alive as a POW - but it was later found out that John had perished but when and how?
4 July 1944 convoy SHIMI-05 left Singapore, 10 ships (5 carrying about 5000 POWs in total) being the largest group of POWs shipped at one time during the war. John along with 1286 POWs were put aboard the Hofuku Maru (nb: this ship was also known as the Fuku Maru, the Toyofuku Maru and the Fuji Maru) a 5825 ton cargo ship. Convoy made for Miri, Borneo which it reached on July 8. Hofuku Maru and another ship (not carrying POWs), dropped out to wait for another convoy.
19 July 1944 Hofuku Maru made it to the Philippines but lay in Manila harbour until mid-September while its engines were repaired. The POWs on board suffered terribly from disease, hunger and thirst and finally a number were removed to the Bilibid Prison hospital in Manila being replaced by a similar number from the Philippines making a total of 1289 POWs then on board.
20 September 20, Convoy MATA-27 sailed from Manila (11 ships including the Hofuku Maru now the only one carrying POWs) anchoring at Subic Bay for the night.
21 September 1944 convoy sailed for Takao (Formosa) but aircraft from the 17 carriers in Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher’s Task Force 38 attacked about 80 miles north of Corregidor. 10:35 am planes attacked the Hofuku Maru and then the entire convoy had been sunk by more than 100 American planes. About 200 of the POWs either swam to shore or were picked up by the Japanese and taken back to the Philippines. John was listed as dead.Jeremy Collier
Anthony Beaumont Royal Corps of SignalsTony Beaumont was my cousin. He was in the Royal Corps of Signals - I don't know what his rank was.
He was in Washington D.C., eating in a diner where there was loud music emanating from a juke box. Tony was a very quiet person. The story goes that he put money in the juke box to obtain "Five Minutes Of Silence"!Mary E. Pattle Hover
Pte. Robert Penman Dick Royal Corps of SignalsMy Father, Robert Dick served with the Royal Signals in campaigns in North Africa (1941-3) and in Sicily/Italy (1943-5). I believe that he was attached to the American 1st Army in Africa and was at Monte Cassino in Italy. If anyone has any information, I would be very interested in learning more.Ian Penman
Sig. Frances Freeman Whiteman Royal Signal CorpsMy father Frances Whiteman served as a Signalman during the Second World war. His service took him to India and into Burma with the second Chindit Campaign. I remember him talking of queuing for inoculations with the Nigerians of the Third West African brigade and of the Gurkhas who were great people, but thought it was funny to creep up on the Brits on guard in the jungle and just whisper 'Hello Johnny' in their ear. Towards the end of the war he was posted to the Southern India Monitor Station. I would like to hear from anyone who could add more detail to these thin threads.R Whiteman
Sig. Stanley Arnold "Rass" Newham 12th Signals Coy. Royal Corps SignalsStanley Arnold Newham was my father. He joined up in December 1939 at Nottingham and was assigned to N.Midland District Signals and disembarked in Egypt on the 1st of October 1941. He in the Middle East till 24th November 1943 with 30 Corps then Home till 6th June 1944. He married my Mother Nancy Elizabeth Carlile, on 4th April 1944. He then was in France 'till 12th June 1944. He came home (injured) 'till 9th September 1944 then back in France 'till 13 December 1945. He came home and discharged on 26th April 1946.
He was awarded he Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp, and 1939/45 Star of Italy, Star of France and Germany Star all of which have sadly been lost and no replacements are available any more. He was a Dispatch Rider throughout the war. He was not Discharged from Reserve Liability till 30 June 1959.Stanley V. H. Newham
Sig. Dennis Jordan A Company 217 SquadronMy father, Dennis Jordan, was a dispatch rider with the Royal Signal Corps from Oct 1939 "for the duration" until demobbed in November 1945. He spent nearly four years in Burma. He was from Liverpool and married his sweetheart, Kath, in December 1939 just after enlisting.
I would like to find the names of his comrades, the route or duites he performed in Burma and any other details of his involvement in the war effort. If anybody has heard my father mentioned in stories their relatives have told, I would love to hear from you.Peter Jordan
L/Cpl. Harry Edwin Tilley Royal Corps of SignalsMy Father Ted Tilley joined the British Army in the Royal Corps of Signals as an 18 year old. He later went to India and served in the Burma War, later he was sent to Germany. He did not talk much about it to us children, but sadly he died suddenly in 1998. I would love to know more about his experiences in Burma, so if anyone has any information it would be greatly received.Priscilla Lyon
Sig. Jack Wilkinson Royal Corps of Signals (d.8th Feb 1943)Jack Wilkinson was my grandad's brother. According to his obituary he was called up in 1942 from his job at the Appelby Froddingham Steelworks. We believe the cause of his death was yellow fever.Sally Brooman
L/Cpl Ronald Walter Walton Royal Corps of SignalsMy father, Wally Walton was captured in North Africa in 1941. He spent a brief period in Italy before being transferred to Stalag IV-B. He didn't share a lot of information with us, but I believe he was a Red Cross representative at the camp and he told us several escapes were made from under his bed. In peacetime, he worked for the G.P.O. (General Post Office). I believe he lectured on electronics to fellow P.O.W.s and some of his notes are now available at the Imperial War Museum in the U.K.
He described the final days at the camp in much the way others have described it here. Cossacks arriving at the gate, one officer touching the gate in a symbolic "release", but then being told to stay in the camp by senior British officers to wait for the Americans.
If anyone remembers my father I would appreciate hearing from you.Jim Walton
Cpl. Jack Abbott Royal Corps of SignalsMy father's name was Jack Abbott. He joined up in 1940, training in Ossett, Huddersfield & Edinburgh before going overseas to North Africa & Italy. I remember him speaking about Alfred Elwood ('Ace') and Ozzy Twiss. According to his service records, he spent some time in hospital in Italy. During his lifetime, he rarely mentioned his experiences except his horrific recall about the starving Italian children who came to the camp. I know he returned to Stensall Camp, England in 1946 from Iserlohn, Germany.AJ Meek
Edwin Wilkins Royal Corps of SignalsI'm looking for anyone who may of heard of my great-grandfather Edwin Wilkins. I do not have a great deal of information at the moment. He didn't talk much to his children about his time in the war. He was at Catterick Camp near Richmond and his eldest son believes Edwin was caught up in the Dunkirk evacuation. He thinks Edwin was stationed at Enschede, Holland, and then moved across Germany. It is well known in the family that Edwin also served in France and Gibralter at some point. At one point the letters he sent home were addressed from the British Forces Post Office and the British Army in the Rhine. Fortunately he survived the war and returned home to his children.Selina king
Harry Gordon "Pte." Pullen Royal Corps of SignalsI am looking for any information on my father, Harry Gordon Pullen. I have found a snapshot of my parents' wedding which has a rubber stamp on the back which reads "25-Stalag 344-Gepru.." - the rest is illegible.
Editors note: The stamp on the back means that the photo was sent by post to your father when he was held in Stalag 344, 25 is the number of the censor who checked that the letter was suitable to be delivered to him, "Geprüft" simply means checked.Angie
Sgt. John Chadwick Parrott 113 Despatch Rider Section Royal SignalsMy Grandfather, John Parrott joined the Army in 1935 as a member of the Territorial Army. Prior to the beginning of the war he was based at 2nd Operators Training Battalion, 2nd Signal Training Centre, Prestatyn, North Wales. From what I was told when he was alive he spent time in North Africa, Italy, Berlin, and at the end of the war he was in Oslo, Norway when it was liberated. I Don't know much more than that as he did not like to talk about it.Alistair Parrott
Stephen Graham Royal SignalsMy father, Stephen Graham, was brought up in the Lanarkshire village of Shotts. He would never really talk about his experiences in WW2, but the little I do know is that he was in the Royal Signals in Italy, near Rome and Naples, he was injured in Italy and had shrapnel in his eye. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who knew him.Lynda Graham
RSM. Arthur George Mends Royal SignalsMy Grandfather, George Mends was from Pembrokeshire. He joined the Army at a young age and was sent to Chilwell Barracks. He was in Iceland on 29th March 1941, the day my Mum was born. My Gran, Lavinia, wrote to him, asking what to call the baby and waited for his reply before naming her. She was 3 years old when she saw him for the first time and ran screaming that a strange man was coming.
George kept his silver-topped cane by the fire all his life. Does anyone remember him?Dawn Anderson
CSM. John May Royal SignalsD-Day Jump - Wishaw Paratrooper's Thrilling Story
The following letter has been received by his sister, Margaret, from Sergt. John May, of an airborne division son of the late C.S.M. Thomas May, D.C.M. and Bar, Wishaw, formerly of 3rd Lk. Bn. Of the Home Guard.
Shortly before 1 am on D Day we jumped, dropped, or fell from our aircraft, over the allotted area, with mingled feelings of fear, hope and determation to do the job in the manner we had been taught. A terrific hail of A.A. and small-arms fire met us as we floated to earth. It was like Blackpool illuminations, whilst overhead roared scores more planes, dropping their troops all over the pre-arranged zones.
I landed rather awkwardly in a small garden set out like a plantation, and badly twisted my ankle. Whilst struggling to get out of my parachute harness, I heard a voice call out “O.K. Tommy,” with a pronounced foreign accent. I immediately challenged him and received no reply. Having had some previous experience of Jerry’s tricks in N. Africa, I immediately threw a grenade in the direction of the voice, and ran after it as best I could. I found my man to be a French civilian wearing an armband of some kind, and he alleged to be a member of the Resistance movement. Not feeling like trusting him very much, I questioned him closely in French (Vive La Wishaw High School), and discovered I was in the back garden of a German H.Q. I then decided that it was time to put a move on, and as he and I climbed over the wall a machine-gun opened fire on us. Fortunately, we got over the wall O.K., but in doing so I finished my other ankle as well and could only hobble along.
En route to my rendez-vous, I collected several members of another infantry battalion (still paratroopers), and we were attacked by German troops. Six of my fellows were wounded, but we shot two Jerries and captured their machine-guns, and continued on our way.
Then the glider borne troops began to come in and we had a ringside seat at the most amazing spectacle I have ever seen. A.A. was filling the sky and the gliders just floated through it. Several were hit, but very few were actually shot down out of the scores and scores that came in. No film ever made could depict such a scene.
My next adventure was the capture of a chateau, in company with two officers and two men. The place was very quiet, but we didn’t take any chances, believe me it, and it was just as well. We finished up with four prisoners, one a Frenchman in German uniform. The days following, and the general performance of all the airborne units have, I believe, been pretty well reported already, so I won’t go into any more detail about it, but all I can say is that the organisation of this party was terrific.
Having been previously in France and North Africa, I can definitely state that as far as I am concerned, with the exception of Dunkirk, itself, they were sideshows compared to this. Nevertheless, everyone here is full of confidence that we cannot fail, and we will not fail to carry out any task allotted to us. I fully expect that German propaganda will be at work at home now, but disregard it entirely and trust the BBC - slow, maybe, but none the less true.
This newspaper article is about my mother's sister's husband Uncle John, who went through Dunkirk, D-Day (with 6th Airbourne), Market Garden, and died pecefully at home some 10 years ago.Alan Taylor
L/Cpl. George Sutherland Middleton Royal Corps of Signals (d.21st Jul 1945)Sadly we really don't know enough about our Great Uncle George Sutherland Middleton. We know for certain that he died on the 21st July 1945 in Italy and is buried in Padua Cemetery in a war grave. Uncle George, we believe, decided to stay on after that Second World War had ended to help with the repatriation of Italy. He was sadly killed in a Motorbike accident just months after that war ended. George left behind his wife and two young twin daughters that he never got to see. Thank you for taking the time to read his story and for letting us have a place to put down in black and white just how proud his family are of him. If we should be fortunate enough to have anyone reading this who has any information that they could tell us we would be extremely grateful.Elaine Faulds
Sig. Matthew Forshaw 8th AA Divisional Signals. Royal Signals (d.20th Nov 1941)My grandfather, Matthew Forshaw was only home on leave for a day when he was recalled to his base in Wales in November 1941. The next day he was killed, we think, in suspicious circumstances. He died in Oswestry Hospital from "shock following dislocation of his spine". His body was returned home in a sealed casket and was guarded by an armed guard. My father and his mother were told they had to leave their house while the body was laying in rest. My grandfather was also given a military burial, which we think is a bit odd for a private. We have come across a brick wall and can get no further with our search for what really happened to him.
We are unable to get the commander's diary as we have been advised that as the database is huge the Public Records Office do not offer a research service, unless we visit in person, which we cannot do. The only information we have been able to get is his military service records, and we don't know where to go from here.Matthew Forshaw
Sgt. Charles Edward Maile Royal SignalsMy father, Charles Edward Maile, was a prisoner of War at Stalag VIII B. He was captured at Dunkirk and spent the remainder of the war as a POW. His POW Number was 11746. Unfortunately, both he and my mother passed away in 1980 as a result of a car accident. I would love to know more about his life, especially during his POW years.Christine Johnston-Luke
Sig. Walter Roscoe Royal Corps of Signals (d.7th Feb 1945)My Uncle Walter Roscoe was born in St Helens, Lancashire in 1919. He was captured at Tobruk and remainded a prisoner of war until he was killed at Niederwiesa, Nr Chemnitz, Germany on the night of 6-7 February 1945. He is buried in the Berlin War Cemetery. If anyone can add to this information I would love to hear from themRowena Fairley
Cpl. Elwyn Jones Royal SignalsElwyn Jones was my father-in-law, he died a few years ago. He often talked of his time in Stalag 383 and spoke fondly of his comrades. He was a member of the amateur dramatics and was a choir member. I wonder if there is anyone who might remember him?Tony Bailey
Harold Charles "Rocky" Hill Royal SignalsMy Father served in the Signals. I think he lied about his age to join up. I know little about his service except that he saw Vesuvius erupt in 1943.Rev. Charlie Hill
L/Cpl. Wilfred Williams Royal SignalsOur father, Wilfred Williams, Royal Signals Army No 2328793 was at Stalag XXb. He was a prisoner of war from June 1940 to May 1945. In his later years he told us some of what had happened to him. Dad was an office boy working in a hospital in Portsmouth. He wanted a choice, not be drafted into the P B I (poor bloody infantry) so joined up and was put into the Signals Corp. All the British equipment was old, no tanks. After the First World War disarmament was the way of most of the world, but the Germans had the principle of ‘guns before butter’. The Signals Corp had wireless trucks but instead of having the proper radio equipment in them, they had a lot of cricket equipment, games etc. They thought the war would be over soon. In 1940 he was near a beach with cliffs at St Valery-en-Caux near Calais as rear guard as the 51st Highland Division was being chased down the coast. Their original orders were to ‘Hold the line’, but then came the order ‘Every man for himself!’ and to dismantle rifles so they could not be used by the enemy, but the guns were from the 1914 war anyway.
It was desperate. His company was surrounded at gunpoint by Germans. Eventually with thousands of other British, French, Dutch and Belgians they were marched from France to Holland, living on the occasional loaf or whatever they could find in the fields or hedges.
In Holland the POW's were loaded onto barges with no facilities for five days, until reaching Germany where they were put onto trains. The carriages said ‘8 horses or 40 men’, but 100 men were put in each. There was little water or food, and just a 3 feet by six inch opening where men took turns to stand. In Poland they were taken to the prison camp Marienburg Stalag XXb. Dad told us, ‘Everyone was suffering alike. They were a good lot of lads and relieved to be alive, to live through another day. Some comedians had a sense of humour. They were never overfed. It kept you down.
Lousy, covered completely with lice. In the delousing chambers/showers it just brought the young eggs out. Clothes would come off and be boiled and cooked. We had to walk through the water, no soap or towels. By the time you got back to camp all the lice were back again.
People were moved from camp to camp. It was boring and rotten. There was day after day of lice, scratching and no food. If there was bread, you ate it. Some saved it in pieces for breakfast/lunch/dinner, others ate it immediately. ‘ The friends he refers to in his account are Frank Tayler, Gordon Gibson (Gibby). He also mentions ‘Double’ (liked 2 food portions), Jake Porter (cockney) and Andy Anderson. At Stalag XXb he was sent to work in a factory for 3 months during the beet harvest, doing 12 hour shifts. The beets were cooked in eight big boilers. He had to open the boilers at the bottom to empty them of the cooked beets, all hot and wet, then closed them up to refill. He suffered with painful, cracked skin on his hands for the rest of his life as a result of this. Back at camp they were starving and bitterly cold. Dad collapsed and was marched off to a hospital by a German soldier, having to walk in the gutter, was given a ‘pick-me-up’ and then walked back to camp having lost his clothes but in a long Polish army overcoat. On the footpath Poles stuffed things in his pockets, cigarettes, hard buns. One job was to get sand for rail works. They were on narrow tracks, shovelling sand. One day all the sand slipped and two chaps died. A New Zealander officer who led the funeral told the POWs the latest news from the outside world. Dad volunteered for a farm. The first farmer was a ‘typical’ Prussian and did not want English prisoners saying they were trouble and would not work. They were then taken to another farm under Herr Johst, who was remembered as being important as he had a vehicle with rubber tyres. Ten of the lads were there from November 1941 to February 1945, all survived. At the farm the granary was destroyed and extra hands came in, in the form of Ukranian civilian POWs who brought whisky and a radio, so they heard the news that Singapore had fallen to the Japanese. When the farmer was away the Polish housekeeper let Dad in to listen to the radio and he heard ‘ITMA’ (It’s that man again – Tommy Handley). He was nearly caught coming back and had to dive into a ditch, a hairy moment, no fun at the time. He reported that all the Germans were different, some friendly, some not. In early 1945 the invasion was succeeding. Dad and his mates were told that they must move out. On 12 February they had to leave hurriedly because the Russians were coming. They picked up what they could carry and were marched from Poland across N Germany. Now we know that the troops were used as pawns by the Germans. They walked for 3 months living off the fields with no washing facilities anywhere, heading closer to the war activity. On 5 May 1945, still marching, US vehicles came over the horizon. The Germans put down their weapons and the US soldiers rounded everyone up. The US soldiers gave out cigarettes and candies. Vehicles took people to camps – with food! His group (in rags but with food) was put in a Lancaster bomber. It had no seats or weapons, just shells and gun towers in the middle and tail. They took turns to view the devastation. They flew over Essen and saw the damaged towns with white sheets hanging from the windows – surrender. They landed in Beaconsfield and were showered, given new underwear, a uniform and a meal. There was a show from the Folies Bergere and every chair had a copy of the Daily Express. Dad remembers black singer Josephine Baker stroking the hair on the back of the soldiers’ necks. He was given money and a railway pass, put onto a lorry to London and dropped off at Waterloo Station. He sent a telegram to his parents saying he was coming home. When he arrived at his parents’ home in Portsmouth his mother was crying with relief as his brother had arrived home from the Navy that same day. The telegram arrived three days later. Dad told us,”For me, the war was really over”. At the age of 80, in 1996, Dad went with his wartime pals Frank Tayler and Gibby back to Poland. They hired a car and visited the old buildings in Gdansk and looked for the farm they had been on. They found the house of Mr Klein, who had been the leading farm hand, and they found the house of Herr Johst. They remembered where the concentration camp they had been in was, and the striped uniforms of the Jews and dissidents. All they saw of the area they knew was run down, just grass and mature trees. They met a farmer who said that there had been a transformer and houses there, which were blown up by the Russians. The three old soldiers were given strawberries and a red rose each by the farmer’s wife, which Dad brought back to Mum. Wilfred Williams 16 July 1916 – 23 October 2009Claire Williams
Sgt. Donald Hagger Coates Royal SignalsMy late father, Donald Coates was in the Royal Signals from 1939 to 1945. He told us very little about his service although he served in Aden and India. Is there anyone out there who remembers him or has any photos please?Andrew Coates
Sig. Ernest McGowan Royal Signals (d.17th June 1940)My uncle, Ernest McGowan from Glossop in Derbyshire, he was a signalman with the Royal Corps of Signals. Service Number 2587688.
He was aged 26 when he died, presumed drowned aboard the SS Lancastria on 17th June 1940. I suppose it would be too much to hope that anyone reading this would have any memories of him.Rita Porter
Cpl. Arthur Henry "Jack" Small Royal SignalsI have my Father's Hand made Scroll made in conjunction with a William Garman on an old handkerchief which I have framed to preserve. My Father was Arthur Henry Small, Corporal, Royal Signals Army No 117487 and POW No 12776. He was captured in North Africa before the fall of El Alamein coming up from Tobruk. First he was held in Italy and very badly treated, but eventually arrived in Stalag IV B at Muhlberg/Elbe and the inscription on the scroll is dated June 29th 1942 and shows a shield with pick and shovel and inscribed "Work Camp". He seldom spoke of his incarceration, but was repatriated after firstly Russians entered the camp but could do nothing for them. Eventually, the Americans released them and killed many with kindness as most were suffering from Beri Beri and my Father weighed 6.5 stone when he got back.
Sadly, he passed away in 1996 aged 80 which was a surprise to all as we never expected him to make old bones! I am attaching a photo in case anyone recognizes him and also one of the scroll. I would like to receive any old photos in the camp and other info from others.
William Bugg Royal SignalsMy late father was in the Desert Rats. His name was William Bugg, London and Guildford, Surrey. He was a radio operator. He was based in the Egyptian Desert and Northern Italy. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers him.Lisa Cresswell
Sig. John Wilson "Bing" Conley 18th Division Royal Corps of Signals (d.7th July 1944)I am trying to find out details about my father Signalman John Conley (nickname Bing) 18th Division Royal Corp Signals service # 3129355 who died in Changi 7/7/44. He is buried at Kranji war Cemetery Singapore
I am trying to find out about his capture at Padang Sumatra March 17th 1942 and how he got to Padang in the first place. I have obtained his Japanese Index Card (with the the kind help of Andrew Snow from the Death Railway Museum in Kanchanaburi)and it makes mention of him being captured at Padang and our family always thought he was captured at Singapore. The story we were told as children was that he had escaped from Singapore to Sumatra and then captured by the Japs but I believe if they caught an escaped POW they executed them, I would be grateful if anyone who has any information could contact me.
I am more fortunate than most as I was at the opening of Kranji while in the Royal Air Force stationed at Changi, and visit his grave there twice a year.John Conley
Ronald John Thomas Royal SignalsI am trying to find out information on a serviceman, Ronald John Thomas, who I believe was in the Signals Regiment in WW2. He is the Grandfather of Emma Thomas who has asked me to help her trace her Grandad. Any information would be most welcome.James Darby
L/Sgt. Cyril Sheppard Royal Corps of Signals (d.26th Feb 1942)My father, Charles Sheppard, was the eldest brother and missed Cyril very much, I knew he was killed in Burma fighting with the Gurka's under understand, but did not know his rank or that he was part of the Royal Corps of Signals. He is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetary. These are his details in the Roll of Honour there: Sheppard, Lance Serjeant, Cyril, 2325420. Royal Corps of Signals. Died 26th February 1942. Age 24. Son of Charles Henry Stuart Sheppard and Minnie Harriet Sheppard, of Woolston, Southampton.Louella Foyle
Mjr. Howard Burton Bolton Royal SignalsMy grandfather Howard Burton was Royal Signals paymaster at Catterick Camp during WW2. He was unable to participate in active service due to loosing a lung from pneumonia following an operation to remove his appendix.Pippa Wagstaff
Dvr. William Stott MID. No 62 Line Section Royal SignalsMy participation as a member of H.M. Armed services in World War Two lasted exactly five years, I was called up on January 8th 1941 and de-mobilised on January 7th 1946. On my entry into the Army I was initially posted to a camp at Prestatyn in North Wales were I received four weeks of basic training or “square bashing” as we used to call it. This consisted of learning to march in step, obey basic commands and to fire a rifle. The standard British Army rifle at this time was the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303 calibre an excellent if slightly dated weapon which kicked like a mule when fired and could break your shoulder if you didn't hold it correctly.
After basic training I was posted to Hendon, North London for six months training with the Royal Signals and from there went to Number 62 Line Section at a little Village called Houghton-Regis near Dunstable. The unit was largely composed of ex Post office Engineers and drivers, the purpose of the unit was to follow after the fighting troops and lay down the telephone/ signals lines of communication. My particular job was as a driver of one of the 10 ton Austin Six Wheeler trucks which carried the drums of cable used for this purpose.
In September 1942 we proceeded to the port of Greenock near Glasgow, there we embarked on a transport ship, the S.S.Narcunda, this ship formed part of a large convoy which was part of the invasion force for North Africa. This was Operation Torch when British and American forces were going to land at several points on the French North African coast in Morocco and Algeria.
We landed at a port called Bougie on the 13th of November and were immediately sent up into the hills South of the port, this was fortunate as the Germans began to bomb Bougie heavily. It took us about a week to transport all our equipment from Bougie up to our base camp in the hills and we made several trips to complete this task. On one of the trips we recognised some of the crew from the ship we had travelled in – the S.S. Narcunda – and learned that she had been bombed and sunk by German aircraft 24 hours after we had disembarked'
The liner SS Narkunda, Capt. L. Parfitt, D.S.C., was serving as an auxiliary transport during the Allied landings in French North Africa in November, 1942. She disembarked her troops at Bougie and had turned about for home when, toward evening on the 14th, she was bombed and sunk some distance off Bougie Thirty-one of her crew were killed.
From Bougie we went to a town inland called Constantine and this really stands out in my memory, it was well out of range of enemy bombers and so had no blackout. Even without this though Constantine was a memorable place, built on either side of a steep ravine it was a most picturesque sight, to see it lit up at night was unbelievable especially as since the start of the War in 1939 Britain had been under severe blackout restrictions.
So far we had not seen any action, however as we advanced into Tunisia we began to experience the delights of being shot at by the enemy. For some time we were based at a town called La Marsa which was also home to an American unit, the Americans had come prepared for a shooting war and had machine guns mounted on everything- Trucks, Jeeps, Motor-Cycles. Every day at about 4.00 PM four Messerschmitt 109's would appear and thoroughly beat up the town, strafing anything that moved, the Americans would open up with everything they had and I can well recall several occasions lying in a slit trench with German bullets hitting the road about 12 feet from my head, not a happy memory at all.
In May 1943 the Axis forces surrendered and we moved into the city of Tunis, there were lots of enemy Prisoners of War there, the Germans appeared as smart professional soldiers but the Italians looked and behaved like a rabble.
In July 1943 the Allies invaded Sicily and of course we followed, we landed at Syracuse and followed the now familiar pattern, transporting the cables and equipment. Sicily was a foul place, it was hot, dry and barren. Most of us came down with malaria for the first time while we were there. I came to hate Sicily with its stony ground and shrivelled olive groves, hot days and cold nights.
While we were in Sicily we were reorganised into Number 1 U.G.Cable Company and also got a new Commanding Officer, a Major who had been the Chief Engineer at G.E.C.Ltd the famous British Electrical Engineering company, we also received a lot of fresh reinforcements so it was pretty obvious that our job was still not over.
In September we embarked at Palermo and crossed over to Reggio on the Italian mainland in the wake of Montgomery’s famous Eighth Army. The main invasion of Italy had taken place at Salerno near Naples and this had seen some very heavy fighting before the German resistance was overcome. We eventually found ourselves at Salerno where we had a tremendous amount of work to do due to the extensive damage caused during the battle there. Naples was the main supply base at this time and although it had been bombed it was not too badly damaged. The people there though seemed very poor and quite a few appeared to actually live in caves.
It was at this time that I became very ill again with Malaria, dysentery and pneumonia and was hospitalised, the hospital I found myself in was Number 58 General Hospital, it was located in a splendid position that allowed a superb view overlooking the bay of Naples with the mighty volcano Vesuvius just across the bay. At this time Vesuvius was getting ready to erupt again and we were entertained every day to a great firework display. In January 1944 I was discharged from the hospital and re-joined my unit and it was while I was on my first trip away that Vesuvius erupted, by the time I returned to Naples it was all over but the signs left behind were impressive, volcanic ash to a depth of six feet by the roadsides gave us some idea of what had happened when the volcano blew.
At this time the Allies were held up at Cassino, a mountain village with a Monastery crowning the main hill defying all attempts to take it and seeing some of the heaviest fighting of the Italian campaign In January 1944 the Allies tried to outflank Cassino by landing a force higher up the coast at Anzio, but after some initial success got bogged down there too due to fierce German resistance, meanwhile we carried on with our trips between the front at Cassino and the ports of Southern Italy. At last in March 1944 Cassino fell after being blasted from both Air and Land bombardments, we passed through a couple of days after it had fallen and it was completely flattened except for the remnants of the corner of a building – there must have been only about half a dozen bricks left together, there were still bodies lying around and The smell of death was everywhere.
In June 1944 the Allies captured Rome, but we British had to wait until the Americans made a triumphant entry into the Eternal City for propaganda purposes before we were allowed to enter. Rome was virtually untouched by the War , it had been declared an open City so accordingly had not been subjected to any bombardment. We were billeted in what had been the Chilean Embassy just outside the City proper, and while here we received new trucks to replace our worn out Austins, these were brand new American Whites and Macks. As the battle-Front moved North our usual runs now took us past one of Italy's most famous landmarks – The Leaning Tower of Pisa, a sight which never failed to amaze us.
In February 1945 we were detailed to undertake a special trip, from Bologna via Rome and on down to Reggio at the Southern tip of Italy. What made this trip special was that before we started we were issued with personal side-arms, revolvers, in addition to our usual rifles. This was because thee South of Italy had become “bandit country” with large groups of deserters – American, British, Italian, German, French and French Colonial- terrorizing the country. During the previous months several supply trucks had been ambushed and their loads stolen and crews murdered. My co-driver, Jimmy Stewart and I decided that we were not going to suffer this fate and took special care to lay up securely each night with one of us on guard while the other slept. In southern Italy many of the villages tended to be on hill tops and I can well recall one morning on this run when we awoke to find everything shrouded in mist, after a quick breakfast we started off and climbed out of the mist, what a sight, for miles around all we could see was white mist with hill tops like islands, each crowned with a little village. On reaching Reggio safely we should have crossed over to Sicily to collect our load but due to civil unrest and rioting we had to wait until the stores we had come to collect were ferried across to us. Then using the same careful system that had seen us safely down to Reggio we returned back to our base, it was this trip that earned me a Mention in Dispatches.
On the whole I liked Italy, it was a lovely Country with some great monuments to the past. For the most part though my war was just driving a truck on what seemed endless journeys back and forth carrying equipment needed to keep the communication lines open. As the war in Europe came to an end we were slowly wound down and in June 1945 we drove all across Europe to the English Channel and the over to England and back home.Bruce Lander
L/Cpl. Robert William Bennett MM & Bar. Long Range Desert GroupRobert Bennett was awarded a Military Medal while serving in the North African campaign for carrying messages over an unchecked minefield. He was awarded the Bar to his Military Medal for landing his HQ vehicle on D-Day, while under fire from mortars and machine guns. He managed to manoeuvre it over the beach and, when another communications vehicle failed to make it to sure, used the spare radio set to maintain communications for the whole of 30th Corps.
He served with the LRDG, Royal Signals, 30th Corps and several others, including helping the French resistance, being awarded two medals for it. He was dropped into France posing as a Major and a lieutenant, yet was never actually these ranks. I am currently attempting to find out more about him as part of my Extended Project Qualification for A-Level. If anyone knows any more information about my Great Grandfather, I would appreciate you getting in touch to discuss him.Tom Tugulu
Sgt. Robert Anderson No 3 Company Royal Corps of SignalsDuty sergeant Robert Anderson Royal Corp of Signals No 3 Company Anti- Aircraft Eaglesham House, May 10 1941.
“You have to bear in mind it was the early days of the war and we were anything but prepared. For instance there was a secret password that signaled the German invaders had arrived. It was ‘Cromwell’ and as I said a secret but everyone knew it! They knew it down in the village of Eaglesham and they knew it in the Eglinton arms pub there. It was all a big joke. So were we soldiers. I guess we were a bit like Fred Karno’s army, I suppose. We would go out for keep fit runs from our base then as soon as we got to Eaglesham we would nip into the Eglinton Arms for a refreshment and as for being defenders of the local community, Well if that word ‘Cromwell’ had been used in earnest there was little we could have done about it for we had only a few rifles between the entire company and what guns we did have had been taken from us. That was because when they had issued them a soldier had accidentally set one off nearly killing one of his colleagues so we were issued with pikes and clubs to defend the nation.
I was Duty sergeant that night Hess’s plane came over and remember seeing it so low overhead then the man dangling on the end of his parachute just up the road a little past Floor's farm. As I had to stay on duty in the camp I sent two of my men unarmed, of course, up the road to see what was happening. They were signalman Emyr Morriss and Danny McBride and they were the first two army personnel to meet the newly arrived pilot who said his name was Horn. And, together with the man from the farm who had first met Hess, they all ended up having a cosy chat with each other. Hess presenting Danny McBride with an inscribed cigarette case which he kept until senior officers heard about it when it was confiscated.
Anyway, while my two men were chatting away to Hess just up the road the panic had set in at the camp. One of the senior officers having seen the plane reckoned it had been a pathfinder flight for invasion force. There was shouting and confusion and the duty officer had guns issued to myself and signalman Sammy McLaughlin who was an ex-Cameronian and ordered us to climb to the top of a heap of telegraph poles which had been stored nearby from where he said we were to ‘await the enemy and hold off an attack’. Orders were issued with their pikes and sticks and ordered to be ready for the worst. I’m telling you when you look back on it all you wonder how on earth we survived and eventually won the war.
If it was Fred Karno’s army at the soldier base it was Dad's army at another point just along the road Eaglesham. There, having been alerted to the possibility of the crashed plane being German, a local detachment of the Home Guard had been mustered and began arriving by car. There Captain Mainwaring apparently had been enjoying his Saturday night in a traditional Scottish way, which would doubtless had him bemoaning the fact that the price of whiskey had just gone up to a record high, being 88p for a bottle or at the local Swan and Eglinton Arms bars it would now be 5 and a half pence for a half or 9p for what the locals called a loud yin.
Fortified by the whiskey and waving a large caliber First world War officer's pistol which was more Howitzer than side arm, he was to lead his squad of Home Guardsman, together with a couple of regular soldiers who had joined them as well as a reserve police constable, into action. They had practiced converging manoeuvres before and knew exactly what to do when the captain in charge gave the order. After seeing the smouldering wreck of the Messerschmidt it’s big black German cross unmistakable identifying just whose plane it was, they were to converge on Floor's farm, the nearest building to where the parachutist had been seen to fall.
The ensuing scene is not difficult to imagine, the motley semi-military, semi-police, semi-trained and in at least on case semi-sober squad covering each other with a variety of weapons, the officer with his cannon of a revolver hunching forward to surround the farm buildings, then searching the byres and barns and meanwhile the Hauptmann from the heavens is serenely ensconced fifty or so yards away in the ploughman’s little cottage being offered kindness and tea and chatting away to his new found Scottish hosts."Karin
Sig. James Cormack Shaw 225 Section 15 Indian Corps Signals SERCMy father, Jim Shaw served in Burma and India during the Second World War but never really spoke about his time there. I know he said that sometimes if a friend was taken ill he never knew if he would see them again and he came back from the war with a Samurai sword which he possessed until the 1960s. I would like to know more about his time there.Fiona Shaw
L/Cpl. Donald Charles South Royal Corps of SignalsMy dad, Donald South told me on his death bed that he was a sniper in the war. He was captured after Dunkirk somewhere odd - it didn't make sense where he was so I wonder if he had some mission or other. He was tall and blonde and in Stalag Lamsdorf he became one of the Camp Interpreters as he got so good at German. He was chosen for an escape bid as his German was good and he looked German. Zig-zagging his way under a hail of bullets during the escape bid he got creased on the cheek by a bullet. Re-captured and taken to the camp medico he complained bitterly how much his cheek hurt. The medico was, meanwhile, bending down and peering at his stomach. 'Never mind your cheek, man' he said 'I can see right through you.' He had been shot clean through the stomach and it was a miracle it hadn't hit his spine. Unfortunately, the SS thought he was a spy (was he?) and they took him off for torture which made him pretty unstable after the war. As a little girl I have many memories of his night terrors shouting German and wrestling imaginery German soldiers.
I shall be getting his War Record soon and it might be interesting. He was marched off on a Death March at the end of the war when Allied Troops advanced on the Camp but this time managed to get away and was picked up by the Americans. He was 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighed 9 stone. He had found a sack of brown sugar from somewhere and refused to give it to anyone - he ended up back in Britain with it and promptly nearly died from Yellow Jaundice. They said he could be a Chelsea Pensioner but (typical of him) he wasn't impressed by the accommodation (this was in the 1980's)and turned them down. The Camp got him in the end, though. He died of stomach cancer in 1986 and it started at the site of that bullet wound. I'm very proud of him.Lynne Ash
Sgt. Donald Field Royal SignalsDonald Field was my uncle. For some reason he came south to the Godalming, Surrey area and married my mother's sister. I understand he spent some time in Signals with the 4th Indian Division, 8th Army.David Reid
Pte. Harold Lightfoot Royal SignalsMy father, Harold Lightfoot was a prisoner in this Stalag. He emigrated to Australia at the end of the war. He passed away in 2006 aged 92, I found amongst his papers photos and a few pages of a notebook with poems written by other prisoners with a list of names and addresses of approximately 20 other prisoners.Russell Lightfoot
Dvr. Dennis David "Dinky" Downing Royal Signal CorpsI am trying to find out some information regarding my father-in-law, Dennis Downing. I know he was serving in the Army when he got married in 1945. Dennis also served in Korea. I think he may have left the Army in about 1953/4 but I'm not too sure. There are no photographs in the Downing household and I know very little of his early years so would be interested to know if anyone knew him. I would be even more delighted if there any photos. I have been told that I can apply for his records if I write to the Ministry of Defence.Eileen Downing
Pte. Charles William Dowle Royal Corps of SignalsMy father, Charles Dowle, joined up in the 1930's at Brecon, having lied about his age. He was sent to Catterick for training as a signalman and then went on to the North-West frontier (now the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan).
Soon after the start of WW2, he went to North Africa and served at El Alamein. He went on to Cyprus and did a spell on ships in the Atlantic, sending out 'dummy' messages to confuse the Germans. He ended the war at Sandringham, Norfolk, where he met my mum, a NAAFI girl, and they were married soon after.
I have my Dad's war medals and a great collection of photographs from India, North Africa and Cyprus, but would love to hear from anyone who may have knowledge of him or his role as a signalman. Thanks.Adrian Dowle
Cpl. Edward William Hickmott MID 30 Corps Royal Corps of SignalsTed Hickmott, my father, was called up to serve in 1940, he was 34 years old he enlisted in Catterick on the 13th March 1941. He served in North Africa, Italy and northern Europe through D Day at Normandy soon after being Mentioned in Despatches. Throughout he was a wireless mechanic serving in the 8th Army.John Hickmott
Sgt. Oliver George Burton Royal Corps of SignalOliver George Burton served in the Royal Signals. He joined in 1931 in Nottingham. He served in Malta 1935 -39. Where he met and married my mother. He served in Egypt Dec 43 to Dec 44; Italy, France & Norway in 1945 and BAOR 46-51. Dad died in 2005. He never spoke of his experiences in the war.Celia Burton
Sgt. Cyril Charles "Andy" Capp Royal SignalsI have just been given my grandad's Soldiers Release Book Class A which states on the front his army number 2321982, his name was Cryril Capp, knwon as Andy, but while searching the internet I have discovered that he was a prisoner of war in Stalag 7A Moosburg (Isbar) Bavaria P.O.W. number is 13110.
He would never talk about his time as a POW, so I would like to find out as much information as I can on this subject. The information I am looking for is how long he was a POW and what the condition were like in this camp as well as if he made any friends there. If anybody can help me or point me in the right direction I would be very gratefulTeresa Upson
Sig. Hobart Wallace "Bunny" Warren MID. 5th London Corps Signals Royal SignalsMy father Wally Warren was a signalman for the 5th London Corps of Signals, he was a GPO engineer from Welbeck Exchange in London, before the war. He was in North Africa, Sicily and Italy including Monte Cassino, finishing in the 7th Armoured Division. I gather from letters that the group of comrades were not happy at being split up during 1945 and sent their separate ways after years supporting each other.
I have some of his letters which I have only recently looked at, there are 3 comrades that I would like to find out about, Ron Dancer, who later emigrated to Canada, Eric Franks and Ginger Davey. I know that my Father was mentioned in dispatches in November of 1945, but the citation does not say what for. I also know that he spent some time hold up in pig sty in Italy and climbed down a well to help rescue someone. He talked about aspects of the Italy campaign with great pride, but never mentioned Monte Cassino or any of the more significant issues he encountered. He kept Army leaflets on visiting Rome and seeing the Pope and loved to read the Spike Milligan books when they were printed in the 1970's saying that they were so similar to his 'war'.
I have photos of him in Pompeii, Rome, Venice and on Glos Glockner as well as in the 22nd General Hospital in Austria after breaking his ankle on a glacier! After the war, I know that there were reunions for the 5th London Corps, but although he went to a couple of them, he didnt continue and as far as I know did not have any further contact with the men he had served with, other than Ron Dancer, who wanted him to start a new life in Canada.
I would love to find out more about him and I wonder if anyone reading this is related to the men mentioned above, I have letters from them to dad and some are very amusing! The photographs are of my dad, the company [could be the 5th London] and dad [middle at back] in the 22nd General Hospital, I don't know who with. If anyone has anything on the 5th London Corps of Signals or something that ties up with the above, please contact me.Liz Hunter
Cpl. Alexander Stephen MM. Royal SignalsMy Stepfather, Corporal Alexander (Sandy) Stephen (now deceased), Royal Signals, 51st Highland Division, was captured at St.Valery and incarcerated in Stalag 8b. Prior to the surrender, he carried out a feat of bravery (unknown) and was awarded the Military Medal (post war I believe). I also believe that it was he, who sent the notification of surrender decision by the GOC. back to London before he was captured. Although he was a Signals Corporal, he was in fact a Master Baker and Confectioner. Having spent 26 years on Her Majesty's Service myself, I am not surprised! I have seen pictures of him playing the guitar in the Camp band. I believe that he was later sent to Bavaria and was put to work in a bakery.Rick Stephen
Sgmn. Robert George Thurlow Royal SignalsMy late father Bob Thurlow served with the Royal Signals. Does anybody have any information on his service during WW2?Barry Thurlow
Sgt. Arthur Emmett Royal SignalsMy grandad Arthur Emmett was too young for the first war and almost too old for the second world war, but being a member of the TA at Gibraltar barracks he was called to serve. We are trying to piece together his service life. I know he worked for Butlers Steel Company of Leeds and, I believe, the owner of this company was his CO. He was in charge of a line laying unit and served on the Norway landings, the one they didn't give medals for, as he put it. He remembers Warspite opening up with her guns, he said you all but leapt off your ship as the shock wave hit your ribcage. He served for a time in Iceland and I've been led to believe some of his layouts are still in use. He was in Africa and Italy, possibly landing at Salerno. His CO once asked him to join the new parachute unit but he said he declined on account of there being no point to jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft, I disagree. He told stories of his shortest member of his team leaving the landing craft whilst the ramp was sitting in deep water and how they had to pull him to surface.
It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has a relation that was involved with Royal Signals in Norway. Alas, my grandfather died in the 1980s after many years of dementia. He was my hero.
Sgm. Valiant Bond Royal Corps of Signalssflynn
L/Cpl. Oswald Chipchase Royal Signal Corps
Sig. Hugh Carville Royal Corps of Signals (d.17th May 1940)Hugh Carville died aged 23 whilst serving with the Royal Signals. The son of James and Margaret Carville (nee McCusker), he was born in Jarrow.
High is buried in St. Hilaire Cemetery, Frevent.Vin Mullen
Drv. George Elliot Errington Royal Corps of Signals (d.17th April 1942)George Errington died aged 31. Born in Jarrow in 1911, he was the son of of George Elliot and Alice Errington (nee Smith) of Jarrow.
Groge is buried in Jarrow Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
Sig. Leslie Purvis Royal Corps of Signals (d.31st Mar 1941)Leslie Purvis who died age 20 was born in Jarrow in 1920 and was the son of Robert and Mary Jane Purvis (nee Lindsay) of Primrose Jarrow.
He is buried in Jarrow Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
Sig. Alfred Douglas Trant Royal Corps of Signals (d.2nd Mar 1944)My Uncle Doug Trant was a Signalman with the Royal Corps of Signals. He was a Prisoner of War, working on the Burma Railway. The family story is that he burned the soles of his feet on hot bamboo, and was in such poor condition due to the awful treatment by the Japanese that he died. He died in 1944 aged 22, and he is buried in Chungkai War Cemetery in Thailand. I would love to know how he ended up in Thailand, I suspect he may have been captured at the fall of Singapore, but I don't know for sure. Any information would be appreciated.
Update: Son of Alfred S. Trant and Petrea Trant, of Paignton, Devon. He was attached to III Indian Army Corps of Signals. His brother Clifford also died on service with the Merchant Navy. Alfred Douglas Trant is commemorated on the Brixham 1939 - 1945 War Memorial in Brixham, Devon.Sarah Davis
Dvr. Robert Edward Hotine Royal SignalsMy father, Ted Hotine, worked in an arbeit kommando at Dresden Bus Garage. He is believed to have driven a truck with other Allied Prisoners through German lines at the end of the war, but rarely spoke about his time as a prisoner.Alan Hotine
L/Cpl. Walter Charles Blake Signals RegimentPossibly like most fathers who endured the absolute horrors of war, my dad who was Wally Blake - POW No. 10196 at Stalag 20b, Marienburg maintained his silence and right up to his passing away in 1980, he said absolutely nothing of his experiences except that he flew home in a Lancaster Bomber. To this statement I assumed that at the end of the war he just hitched a ride home on whatever mode of transport was available but later learnt that he took part in the “Long March Home” and that after the war Churchill had instructed anything that could fly to be used to ferry the troops home.
The uncanny part of his detainment was that during the making of this excellent and for me highly informative programme concerning the dire plight of POWs, one scene showed a photo of happy free prisoners waiting transport home and perhaps somewhat spookily, out of this group I was immediately attracted to one particular individual who I am convinced was my dad. Thanks to modern technology this remarkable image was captured, framed and now takes pride of place in my house for, without the dogged determination of my dear Dad to return to his bride who he married only days before going off to war, I would not be writing this article.
Therefore, to him and the unwavering love and devotion of my mother during his incarceration and in particular to the Red Cross for eventually advising her that my Dad had been found alive and well as a POW in Poland, I am more than eternally grateful.Deyrick Blake
Pte. James B. Knapman Royal Corps of SignalsMy father, Jim Knapman trained at Catterick before postings in Norway, France, Italy, Greece and other places. He talked of working on the radio aerials near Thessalonika.David Knapman
W/Cpl William Isaac Garfield Moon Royal SignalsMy Grandfather was William (Billy) Isaac Garfield Moon. Born 1924 (aged 21 whilst in service) from Tredegar in Wales. Service dates 1945-48 in the Palestine Campaign with the Royal Signals. I am looking for details on his military career.Lisa
Sig. Eric John Abner Angier Royal Signals (d.8th June 1945)Eric Angier served as a Dispatch Rider.D Reid
Sign. Leonard Alfred Nason-Waters 12th L of C Royal Signals CorpsGrandad, Leonard Nason-Waters lied about his age, adding two years so he could join the TA. As a carpenter in East London, his entry into the War was deferred. He joined up in 1944 and served through to the end, earning the 1939/45 and France-Germany Stars. He served in the 12th L of C in the Royal Signals Corps. Grandad never talked about the war. Any information gratefully received on where he might have served from July 1944 through to November 1945. Thanks.Annette Fletcher
Joe R Carry Royal SignalsJoe Carry served with the Royal Signals.
Dick Ellis Royal SignalsDick Ellis served with the Royal Signals.
Jimmy Guy Royal SignalsJimmy Guy served with the Royal Signals
Drvr. Robert Edward Hotine Royal SignalsMy second cousin Robert Edward Hotine was a POW in camp Stalag IV-B, Mühlberg, Elbe, Brandenburg POW Number: 90802.Stephen Chambers
Pte. William Waterhouse Turner Royal Signals CorpsMy dear dad, Bill Turner, served in the Royal Signals in India stayed at Nanital, Egypt, Libya and Italy. Was a radio ham all his life Call Sign: G2CBH, was on tanks and operated the back gun. Much missed and loved. Anybody's families know him?Louise Broadhead
Cpl. Francis Rowland "Rowlie" Robertshaw Royal SignalsMy Father, Rowlie Robertshaw was in the Royal Signals and I know he was in India and Burma but would like to obtain his army records but not sure how I get these. My dad died 9 years ago and he never spoke much about his time in the army. Please help me to get more info of where he was sent and the work, conditions he endured.Mary Spencer
W/Sgt. David Brown 11th Air Formation Signals Royal SignalsDavid Brown served with the Royal Signals.Craig Brown
Dennis Victor Why Royal SignalsMy father, Dennis Why, rarely talked about his service in WW2. I have photographs identifying the fact that he trained at Signals Section, Piedmont. He served in Alamein, Salerno, and Casino and he had two mates, Frank and Jack. However, I don't know their surnames. I have photos of them.
I have tried to get his war service records but they are not available online and I am waiting for a copy of his death certificate so I can apply for a copy from the War Office records as my father's records are only available to close family and on production of death certificate.
Any information would be greatly appreciated and I am sure there is someone out there who would appreciate copies of the photos I have which are from 1943/44 and 45.Mary Why
Sgt. Harry Leslie Smith Royal SignalsMy father, Harry Smith did not talk very much about the War but when he did he talked in such a way so as not to frighten us. He was captured at the beginning of the war but I cannot remember which camp he was in. He told us about a play that the men had put on and the Germans got angry looking for what they thought was a radio. It turned out to be a man under a table with his head stuck in an empty radio.Judith Boyd
Sgt, Hector Charles Rudd 14 L OF C Royal SignalsMy father, Hector Charles Rudd, joined the Signals in 1939 and served in Egypt and Sicily. He was awarded the Star of Africa, The Star of Italy, the 1939 to 1945 Star and the Defense Medal (plus 2 others I cannot identify). He left the army in 1946. I would like to hear from anyone that might have known of him or his unit.Jonathan Charles Rudd
Sig. Phillip Dudley Etherington MM. Royal Signal CorpsPhillip Etherington was my husbands father who died when my husband was young and never spoke about anything regarding the war. He is the fourth man back on the right hand side of this picture and I would love to know if anyone knows anyone else in this picture or knew Phillip Dudley Etherington and has any stories.Sophie
Sig. John Robert "Jacko" Lewis Royal SignalsMy father's name was John Robert Lewis or Jacko as I think he was known. He was a Dispatch Rider in the Royal Signals, but he never talked about it. Soon after he joined up he was sent to North Africa, but was sent back to the UK because they discovered he was underage. He had lied to join up, giving a DOB of 8/7/24 it should have been 8/6/26!(I found this on a 1946 discharge paper).
By the time he arrived back he was then 18 & continued in the Signals. About 2 weeks after the invasion, he was hit by a snipers bullet while on route with a dispatch, somewhere near Rennes I believe, had it not been for some G.I's who spotted the burning motorcycle & got him evacuated the story would have ended there. He woke in a hospital somewhere in the south of England, didn't know anything about it & eventually made a full recovery. I think he did some post war service in North Germany before final discharge.
If this story rings a bell with any old comrade I would love to hear from them, although I realise they would be almost 90years old by now.Bob Lewis
Drvr. Christopher Stanley Arthur Tennant Royal SignalsMy late father, Christopher Stanley Arthur Tennant, was a driver in the Royal Corp of Signals and served in the western desert until his capture by the Italians. He spent some time in a POW camp somewhere near Naples before being placed in a cattle truck and spending 3 days getting to Germany.
Originally, I have him in Stalag 4B, which puzzled me slightly as this camp was liberated by the Russians, and other parts of his story did not fit with this camp - I will come on to this later. However digging a little deeper it would appear that he was moved to 4F. He said the conditions were bad and that the whole hut had body lice so badly that they were regularly dusted with DDT until they found the man who always managed to miss the dusting and burnt all his clothes, after which things improved.
He appeared to live for his Red Cross parcels which were shared with a friend (Dusty Miller, a lad from the West Country) who appeared to tell him many West Country dialect words, one of which was "Dumbledore" for a bumblebee (no JK Rowling did not invent the word), and which he always used as a term of endearment for his three grand-daughters. The Red Cross parcels were always intercepted by the German guards who always took the socks and soap much to his chargin.
He apparently worked clearing railway lines, often frozen to the core with little clothing but had no idea why the lines were so busy day and night and for what reason. Just before he died he told me the following, he never spoke of this to anyone else within the family, just me and until today I have never been able to verify the facts.
At the end of the war the guards left the POWs in the camp. They could hear the Russians advancing one way and the US forces the other and they prayed that the US would reach them first. They did, luckily and starving the men set out to find food. They followed the railways lines and came across a concentration camp. I believe that my Dad may have been one of the first in. He said that what he saw had haunted him his entire life, and that following that they went into the local town and looted the Post Office. It is only today that I have been able to verify that the camp was liberated by US forces and that there was a concentration camp nearby.
I have his diary from 1941 that he managed to keep going all through the war and one entry reads "excused work today, yellow jaundice weight 6 stone". He was luckier than the victims nearby but I am sure it coloured his whole life what he saw that day. He was a sweet gentle man who hated injustice and although he died 15 years ago he is very much missed by his entire family.Kay Enk
Capt. Lancelot Barton Hill Custance "Barry" Baker 27 Line Section Royal SignalsCaptain Barry Baker with 69 men of RCOS 27 Line Section sailed on the troop ship Orontes for the Far East, reaching Malaya in October 1941. Until the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942, they worked all over Malaya putting up communications lines. They were taken prisoners of the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore. Before they were captured he and his wife Phyllis set up a mail service which meant that when they became prisoners, Phyllis was able to keep in touch with the families of almost all the men. There are many letters from these families to Phyllis during the war. There are also letters from some of the men who returned after the war, and news of those who didn't. There are also many photos of the men from a dossier that Phyllis compiled.
After capture, British and Australian soldiers marched across the island of Singapore and joined many thousands of other prisoners in the complex of camps around Changi barracks. Over the next few months they learned to eat rice for breakfast and lunch and supper. Disease, particularly malaria and dysentery, became a serious problem. 27 Line Section turned their expertise in boring post holes to the more urgent need of making latrines. They found some large auger bits and constructed a tall set of sheer legs fitted with a block and tackle.
Barry remembers: "The first hole went well, about fifteen feet deep, say 4 metres. One of our carpenter-and-joiners built a seat with a cover, very civilized. Then we then collected the other big auger bit from the Post Office stores and set up a second team of bore hole makers. We made several holes within our Unit’s area and a few for other regiments, until one day when we were at work the sergeant in charge of the other party came to me to announce a disaster. The drill head had fallen off and stuck in the shaft. The team had tried everything then decided someone would have to be lowered head first into the hole. Since I was the officer I would, according to the sergeant, naturally volunteer for the job, especially as I was probably the thinnest and lightest man in the section. So I volunteered. My ankles were tied onto the rope and I was heaved up and then lowered into the hole with my arms stretched out like a diver. I just fitted, but only just. When I reached the bit I found that there was luckily only a little earth in it and I was able to loosen it and get a good grip on it. At my word the team pulled me gently up again and swung me aside onto the spoil heap, untied me and then untied the bit. We found that the fastening bolt was too thin and had sheered under the strain, so we fitted a stouter bolt and restarted the work. I warned them that if it happened again someone else would have to go down. It is not an adventure that I recall with any pleasure."
Barry and the men of 27 Line Section, much reduced in numbers but still a coherent body, continued to work their way up the Kwai Noi building the Thailand-Burma Railway. In April 1943 they reached Wang Po (Wampo) Camp. "This was to be quite a different “one off” job, unlike the usual jungle clearance and embankment. Wang Po is at the 113 km mark, and when we reached it in early 1943, was quite a new camp, the rains had not started and the camp was quite dry and fairly clean. We were by now dying off quite frequently but not more than one or two each day and we were still on two bowls of rice per day, not one.
Near the village of Wang Po the river makes a sudden eastward loop into a rocky gorge that cuts into the line of the railway and here it was necessary to build a viaduct about half a mile long to carry the rails over the gorge beside the river. Our camp was set up on the west bank, opposite the working site as the gorge made it impossible to build a camp on the east bank. The camp was located on the edge of a forest of teak trees, which were to be the source of timber for the construction. We were a big group, a thousand or more I think… . One half of the group worked on the trees preparing the beams, the rest, of which I was one, worked in the gorge.
Our first job was to clear rocks and boulders from the planned route of the viaduct, which we did by drilling and blasting. The holes were made with a rock drill. One brave man holds the drill while two others smite the head of it with sledgehammers. We Linemen were used to sledgehammer work and did not often damage the hands of the drill holder but some of the other parties suffered several damaged or broken wrists. There was no power machinery of any sort in the whole construction, just hand tools. By the time of the midday tea break our holes had generally gone in deep enough, and while we rested and drank our tea (no midday rice now), the Japanese engineers packed the holes with plastic gelignite and set detonators and lengths of safety fuse in them. There might have been as many as fifty blasts set off at once and it was important, both for us and for the Japs, to make sure they all went off. In the afternoon we shifted all the broken rocks and carried them down towards the riverbank. When all the boulders had been cleared we set about making the concrete foundation piers, all built by hand with hand mixed concrete. … which had to be carried to the site on the usual rice sack stretchers. Wet concrete makes a very heavy load. The Japanese engineers had already set up wooden shuttering for the piers… . I should have mentioned that we had to cross the river from the camp to the site, morning and evening, but as it was in the dry season the water was quite shallow and you could walk on the bottom most of the way and only had to swim in the middle. While we were clearing the rocks and building the piers, the other half of the group were felling teak trees. Very tiring work, as fresh teak is extremely hard. The trunks when felled were cut to length and then squared up by Japanese engineers using an adze. I have seen one of their engineers square up a log fifteen foot long and around two foot thick in one morning’s work. When the concrete piers were nearly finished, 27 Line Section and others rejoined the timber party and started the very heavy task of carrying the squared timbers down to the riverbank. The intention had been to float them across the river but some of the POWs who had worked in the Burma teak forests insisted that green teak is so dense it will not float. The Japanese were unconvinced but the first trial proved the point. From then on we swam the beams across the river fastened to bundles of bamboo to keep them afloat.
A few elephants with their Burmese mahouts helped in this work of shifting the beams down to the river but they were the only powered machinery on the job. They seemed extraordinarily precise, even fussy, in their handling of these heavy loads seemingly without any orders from the mahouts. There were not enough of them, of course, and we had to do much of the carrying ourselves. I reckon these beams must have weighed around 3/4 of a ton (or tonne) each, more or less, depending on their length. At first we tried to get them up on to our shoulders like undertaker’s men with a coffin. But the edges were too rough and sharp, so instead we used the ever-present bamboo poles. Eight or ten stout poles pushed under the beam and then lifted with one or two men at each end and the beam could then be carried down to the river looking like a giant caterpillar. There were no cranes, simply intricate bamboo scaffolding fastened onto the rocky cliffs above the site and multi sheave pulley blocks fastened to it. A long rope over the pulleys with 50 POWs tailing on to it served to raise each of these beams into its proper position, where they were then all fastened together with dog spikes. When the trestles were in place, held up by more bamboo props, then the even heavier horizontal beams which connected them together had to be heaved up into place by the same method and then spiked together. With the crudest estimate there must be between 500 and 1000 beams in the viaduct. While we were doing this other groups of POWs had laid sleepers and rails on the prepared embankment and were ready to go on over our viaduct as soon as each section was completed. [The next section of the Railway had already been completed, so] we POWs who had built it were actually carried forward for a short section of our next march in railway trucks over the viaduct. I remember it as a very scary proceeding. The train went at a walking pace and at each rail joint, with its sudden change of direction, we felt that the wheels might easily jump the track and tumble us all down into the River. We got over without incident but I heard that the engineers kept a working party permanently on the viaduct with crowbars to lever bogey wheels back on to the rails if they came off.
I have to admit that when this job at Wang Po was finished we POWs felt a certain mixed up pride in the work. We could see the completed viaduct and it worked and we had built it ourselves without mechanical aids of any sort beyond hand tools and a few elephants. I was left with a great admiration for the skill and planning ability of the Japanese engineers and an ever-growing bitter hatred for our guards."
Some time at the end of April 1945, Phyllis, with the dossier of information and photos of Barry’s men, interviewed a Sergeant Smith, from the Royal Signals. Smith had been a prisoner of the Japanese and was rescued after the sinking of the transport ship Hokofu Maru. He knew Barry and other men from 27 Line Section. In her notebook Phyllis scribbled entries for each man who Smith remembered having seen. For example:
Appleton. Saw him in June ’44. Excellent condition. Down ? Tech. Party due for Japan but hadn’t left [‘Japan party’ are the groups of men selected to be shipped to Japan]. Worked with Smith as Cook after completion of railway in Tamarkan hospital camp. One /or 2 attacks/malaria but survived them well, often spoke of his children and wife.
Jim Bridge Died 1943??
Hugh Canning. Tropical ulcers on leg in Thailand sanatorium. April 1944. Ulcers healed unable to straighten his leg. Very clean. Mentioned wife & mother. Health otherwise O.K.
Signalman William Dawson Seen end Jan 44. Condition pretty fair. No party for Japan then.
Douglas. June 44. Sick in 1943 but recovered. Worked in Japan cookhouses as servant which gave him extra. Mentioned both wife and son. Kept out of trouble.
Jack Earnshaw 1944 June. Health quite good. Mentioned fiancée a lot. (sister?) Packed up on railway in 1943 August. No party for Japan.
Henry Farrell: Plumber? Friend of Walls? Last seen June 44. Health fair. Trouble with asthma. Kept bright & cheery. In hospital October 43. Down for new San. (?) Looked after by Thai Red X.
Garrod 43. Last August 1943 Condition quite good – bright & cheery. Not due for Japan. Mentioned wife.
Graham June 44. Quite good health. Pelagera [pellagra – lack of vitamin B3] – but recovered by June 44. No party for Japan.
Harrison. Early 44. Quite well.
Reginald Jennings June 44. Quite well. Not on railway. In September 1943 The War Office had written to Mrs Jennings to say that her son, Reginald, had died of beri beri malaria on 18.7.43. Scepticism had long since set in among the relatives and she had still sent a photo and information about her son to Phyllis for the dossier. The War Office had been right and Smith must have thinking of another Jennings.
Charlie Johnstone. June 44. Might be sent on draft to Japan. Always speaking of his wife and children. Well & cheerful. Knew Barry. Kept going very well.
Jones. June 44. Working in hospital dispensary. 2 camp. Not changed – keeps well.
Kittwood Last seen early 44. Very seriously ill – malaria.
Neil McDonald June 44. Good health. Worked on railway 10 months – Then hospital orderly in Tamarkan camp. In original 27 Line in France.
Parker. Same cargo boat for Japan. Probably killed.
Russell June 44. In quite good health – quite cheery. Always speaking of wife & 2 boys.
Walls Speaks of wife and son. June 44. Well and cheerful. Pretty good health.
I am writing a book about the survival of relationships for these 69 men and their families. I would love to hear from anyone with relatives in 27 Line Section and would like to share all the information I have about them.Hilary Custance Green
Signalman Joseph Hornsby Royal SignalsMy father, Joseph Hornsby was in the Royal Corp of Signals, service in Egypt, Rhodes Isle Greece, Lebanon, and Syria between 1942 and 1945. I am looking for information regarding my father.Martin Hornsby
Signalman. David Hutton Weir Royal SignalsMy father David Weir served during the Second World War with the Royal Signals and was in Egypt December 1942 then Sicily 1943 and continued in Italy 1943 to 1946. On reading his records he was awarded the Africa Star Pt II 56/29.1.44 15 R of C Sigs BNAF, 1939/1945 Star & Italy Star 5525/28.7.46/IILOFCSIGSCMF, War Medal, Defence Medal. This has a Stamp STARS CLASPS dated 15 Nov 1948 with a number 158. I have struggled to find any more information as he died in an accident in 1955 when I was only 9 months old.
I feel as if I will never know his real history as my mother was unable to discuss him with me and clammed up if I mentioned him and his war record. I do not know what happened to his medals either and wondered if anyone could let me know if there is anything extra he would have had on them.Ian Weir
Pte. Leonard Wood Royal Corps of SignalsMy dad, Leonard Wood was captured in Greece on the 28th of April 1941 and spent four and a half years in Stalag 18AAnn Wood
Cpl. Harold Arthur Caley 1st Air Formation Royal Corps of SignalsMy father Harold Caley was a dispatch rider and had an accident whilst on a run from Algeria through the road over the Atlas mountains to the Tunis Front in January 1943.
The following is an extract from his book 'A Jumble of Memories and Odd Thoughts': "At the foot of the mountains, everything! Every vehicle, every person had to stop, nothing moved during daylight but as soon as the sky became dark everyone was on the move. The road had a sign at the start showing the number of vehicles shot up and the latest death toll on the 20 mile straight stretch known as 'Messerschmitt Alley'. On the evening I was there, immediately I was given the word 'go', I started down the 'alley', but a poor motor cyclist had no chance; the Americans had no motor cycles, only jeeps and not many of them, in the main it was wagons, tanks, guns and American half tracks carrying troops. It was an American half track that put paid to me and the bike. The Americans held to the middle of the road going like hell and gave no room to anyone or anything. I don't remember much about being hit, one moment I was riding right at the side of the road with no lights on and next thing I remember was being in a New Zealander's 30cwt truck taking me to a field hospital. I had been found unconscious with blood everywhere, two black eyes and my nose not broken but pretty bloody. In hospital on a stretcher for eight days then I was back in camp with eight mates in a tent. At least no charge for losing the bike!"John Caley
James Reid Royal Corps of SignalsMy dad James Reid served in the Royal Corps of Signals as a signalman during WW2. I'm not sure if I have his unit section correct: it might have be the 'T.M. Section' he was in as there is mention of this on a photo.
He never spoke to me about his time during the war, maybe because with me being young and a girl, maybe he didn't think I'd be interested. I am very interested now though. Sadly dad passed away in 1983 when I was young, so I never really had the chance to ask him about how he spent the war years. I do however have some photos of him from the war on which he wrote where the photos were taken as well as who was in the photo with him so at least I know where he spent the war years. As far as I can gather, he started of based at York before moving abroad in 1942 to India where he spent 2 years in Mhow and Calcutta. He also spent time in Burma and Jhansi (1945), and Singapore.
If anyone recognises either themselves, one of their friends, or a family member, it would be nice if I could learn something of my dad's time during the war years.Ann Reid
Sgnlmn. William Moffat 3rd Indian Signals Royal Corps of SignalsWilliam Moffat was born in 1920 and joined the Territorial Army in 1939. He was with 11th Corps in 1941 and on the 28th of July embarked for Singapore on the R C of S Malaya. A Letter, not dated and censored, on active service reveals Willie was en route to the far East and had a few days on shore before continuing his journey. On the 5th of October he joined 3 Indian Corps Sigs. A letter written 12th of October 1941 from 18th Technical Maintenance Section- 3rd (s) Corps Signals, Malaya describes the town in which he was billeted, people, dance hall, food and tigers.
On the 15th of February 1942 he was listed as missing in Malaya: William Moffat 072 1/4300 Sgmn 3 Corps Sigs Fitter He was held in Changi and transferred to Blakan Mati on the 5th of November 1943. His first letter as a free man is dated 7th of September 1945 and was written from No.2 Camp R.A.P.W.I, HQ SE AC. In a letter written 5th of October 1915 he states "Journey home was on Nieuw Holland ,bathing in the Suez, eating cream doughnuts, due in Liverpool 16th October, put on 2 stone 6, got a bit of beri-beri." He was repatriated on the 15th of October 1945 and became a Territorial Reserve Signalman on the 20th of July 1946. He was transferred to R.E.M.E on the 1st of July 1951Avril Anderson
Cpl. James George Randolph McConney 1st Airborne Royal Corps of Signals (d.28th March 1943)James McConney is my uncle George who enlisted underage. He was a paratrooper participating in the African campaign in Tunisia, killed when he stepped on a mine. The only son and last child of four, my grandmother was devastated. We discovered his resting place through Ancestry and have since received pictures of his headstone and the cemetery itself.Carole Hudon
William Gardner Royal Corps of SignalsBill Gardner was a driver/electrician in the Royal Corps of Signals. My father died recently and it was then I found some letters from friends he made in Holland in a village called Berg in Terbylt, round 1944/45. I have finally traced the family and friends my father met in Holland.
I know very little of my father's time in the army. He was not willing to talk a lot about this time, and has not left many articles from his army days. He lived in Sheffield and was born in the Gateshead or Durham area. He was married with three children. I would be very grateful if someone knew my father or has any information.Roger Gardner
Cpl. William George Bamforth 14th Line Section, No.2 Coy Royal Corps of SignalsIn May 1939 my father, William Bamforth, joined the local Territorial Army, 14th Line Section, 2nd North Midland Group, Royal Corps of Signals. On Sunday morning 3rd of September 1939, I came down to breakfast only to find that my dad was not there. Mum told me that he had been called at 5am to the TA camp in Glossop. He came home during the week, but only to pick up some personal items. Later that week, together with my Mum and several hundred other people, we watched the Royal Signals march to the market square and there load up onto army trucks. At that time we were not, could not be told were they were going. In point of fact they went first to Bakewell and then a few weeks later on to Chesterfield where they joined with other units. We did not hear from my Dad for some time and eventually we received his limited address: Cpl. Bamforth, WG, 14th Line Section, No 2 Company, 2nd Air Formation Signals, Advanced, Air Strike Force, British Expeditionary Force. Somewhere in France.
The next time I saw my Dad was quite a surprise. During the week I was living with my Maternal Grandparents, one street away from home as my Mum was working in a local cotton mill, engaged in some sort of war work. On the Sunday I went home and there was my Dad, sitting at the table, on leave from France. My birthday had just passed but he had a present for me, Dinky Toy Aeroplanes, one box of British and one box of French, six aircraft to a box. He had returned to France before Christmas, but “Father Christmas” had brought me a box of Dinky Army trucks – one search light lorry with anti-aircraft gun, one covered lorry towing a field kitchen and water bowser, one Dragon bren gun carrier towing an ammunition cart and a field gun. I also got a French howitzer which actually fired shells, propelled by a spring. Christmas day saw Mum and me with my paternal Grandparents and we all listened to Gracie Fields 'Somewhere in France' and we were all hoping that my Dad was in that audience.
In the New Year letters were sparse, and when we heard the news that the Germans had attacked we received even less, in fact none at all for several weeks. I was only 6 years old but everyone knew about Dunkirk and there was no news of my Dad. My Granddad Farrell, mum's dad, used to cheer me up by saying that “no news is good news”. It was obviously a terrible time for my mother, but I cannot remember her being a crying wreck and my memory of those days is clear.
In June, Mum received a notification that my dad was in a military hospital in Basingstoke, he had been in hospital in Plymouth and it was hoped that he would soon be moved to a military hospital nearer our home. He was, to Wharncliffe (Temporary) Military Hospital in Sheffield.
Eventually we learned that my Dad had been on the Lancastria, sunk by German bombs at St Nazaire on the 17th of June 1940. There had been over 6000 aboard, British, French and Belgian Military, as well as British Fairey Avaition workers and their families who had been employed by Fairey Aviation in Belgium. It was the greatest British Maritime disaster, in excess of 4250 lives were lost that day.
My father's AB64
Dad was discharged from the Army in December 1940 as medically unfit. He had not recovered from the injuries received when the Lancastria was sunk. He received a lapel badge, which had been instituted by King George VI, the badge showed the cypher of the king and the words around the perimeter read “For Loyal Service”. I believe this badge was to show that the wearer was not a shirker who was ducking serving his country.
Once he could, Dad returned to work, he joined the ARP and the British Legion. My mum also returned to work in the mill, she was also a Fire Watcher. She didn't watch fires, but was on the look out for incendiary bombs – fire bombs.Brian Bamforth
Johan Ashby "Joe" Sundberg Royal Corps of SignalsMy father was Johan Ashby Sundberg, known as Joe to his family and friends. He served in the Royal Corps of Signals during W.W.2. I am trying to find information about my father's service for his country. Unfortunately, I have very little information. I believe he was a signalman and his number may have been 14223201 or 14222201 and I know he spent some time in Africa as I have a photo of him with the sphynx and pyramids.
If you can help or point me in the right direction it would be very much appreciated. Thank you.John Ashby Sundberg
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