The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Those who Served

Allied Forces - Browse by Surname.

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Axis Forces - Browse by Surname.

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J Bergen .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria

J. Bergen .     Royal Navy HMS Nelson

Charles W. Berger .    

S B Flynn

2nd Lt. Joseph S Berger .     US Army Air Force   from California, USA)

I'm Looking for any information on my husband's Uncle. His name was Joseph S. Berger. He was shot down in 1943 on a bombing mission over Floesti, Romania. He was stationed in North Africa with the AAF. We think he was a B-24 pilot but some stories have him flying a B-25. His Stalag Luft 1 Number is 4596. When my husband's Aunt passed away my husband received a box with his Uncle's AAF gear and some German items. One interesting item is a German Reich Mark with several names signed on both sides. A note with the bill states that these are names of men that were in his hut in the POW camp. My husband's uncle passed away in 1959 while serving with the Los Angeles County Sherrif's Office.

Judy Ladner

Leonard Berger .     Royal Canadian Air Force bomb aimer 419 Sqd.

Cad.Sgt. Karel Bergers .     Dutch Army   from Holland)

S B Flynn

"Bergie" Bergman .     RCAF w/op 408 Sqd.

Larry Romain

Cpl. Jan Berkenbosch .     Dutch East Indies Army   from Holland)

S B Flynn

Sgt. Bernard .     Royal Air Force 32 Squadron

Can anyone help with identifying this crashed aircraft? The origional photo is 2" by 1" and the serial number is not all that visible. On the back is written Sgt Bernard 25th August 1941. I know that it belongs to 32 Squadron and that the pilot is not listed on the war graves site.

UPDATE: Looking at the aircraft, it seems to be a Mk1 Hurricane (straight tailwheel leg with ventrical fin is Mk1, wing too thick and T/E of wing at root too square for Spitfire, and fuselage aft of cockpit sloaping down to fin, pilot hand hold location in the "G" etc. etc.)

The only record I can find of an accident within 32 Sqdrn, is on the 22nd August 1940, when the plane was destroyed in a landing accident flown by Plt Off J.Pfeiffer (Polish), who was unhurt in the incident.

That plane, P3205 was delivered to 32 Sqdrn at Hawkinge in August 1940 and it was a Mk1 Gloucester built unit .

I am puzzled however, by the prescence of a wing fuel tank, and the apparent sloap on the field, and the steam roller, and the way the wings have come off.

It makes me wonder if this plane was blown over, and the wings blown off by bombing, and the roller is trying to repair the field?

Either way, the date of 25th August 1941 seems at odds with the mark of aircraft, plus the only Bernard I can find of the Battle of Britain era was an F.A.Bernard who was a Czech who served in 238 and 601 Sqdrn.

Mark Morley

UPDATE: I have since found out that Sgt Bernard was a Czechoslovakian pilot who fought during the battle of Britain, apparently he crashed the aircraft on a night flying exercise at Angle Airfield, Pembs. 1941. He did survive the crash and the war, commissioned in 1942, released after the war but rejoined in 1950. Mentioned in despatches 6/3/56 for distinguished service in Kenya, retired from service as Flight Lieutenant 23/7/64, 5 months after I joined the service.He was born on the 23/7/1914, died on the 17/7/80 in New Zealand, . There are some other bits and pieces still to find but I now have another address to try, in New Zealand, as one person said, perhaps he has family out there who may like the photograph, who knows but I will keep trying, all off the information has come from sites like your own and it is thanks to you that people can find out about our recent history and what the people went through.

When I found this photograph, I had no idea that I would come so far with it, I thought that it would remain one of those forgotten incidents and be confined to a drawer somewhere, I am glad I took up the challenge.

Eddie Smith.


I have finally found out what happened to Hurricane Z5222, why it crashed at Angle Aerodrome, information as follows. This aircraft crashed at about 21;45 hrs on Angle Aerodrome on the 25th August 1941. The aircraft had been on an operational patrol when owing to weather conditions at Fairwood Common the aircraft was ordered to land at Angle. Night flying was not normally carried out at the airfield and Hurricane Z5222 landed before the flare path had been completed, hitting a "STEAM ROLLER" on landing. The obstruction was just 7 yards from the edge of the aerodrome. No blame was attached to the pilot, who was Sgt Bernard.

This was copied from a letter I received from the Air Historical Branch RAF: F/Lt Bernard Frantisek. Number 787 543 ( 120 209 ) Date of Birth 23rd July 1914. Place Stary Ehernberk. Date of Death 17th June 1980, New Zealand.

After retraining at No 6 OTU at Sutton Bridge he arrived on the 10th Sept 40 at No 601 Squadron. Transferred one month later to 238 Squadron 28th April 41 he moved to 32 Squadron. After operational service with 32 he became an instructor on the 13 Sept 41 at 56 O.T.U.. 6TH August 42 he returned to operational duty with 313 Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron, 22nd 06 43 he went for a rest and then served at the Czechoslovak Inspectorate General (CIG) in London. 01 05 44 he returned to 313 squadron in the rank of F/Lt, on the 22 05 44 he became the leader of flight "B" of number 310 Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron, he stayed there until the end of the war.

In 1948 when the communist's took over in CSR he emigrated to England and rejoined the RAF. He left 23rd July 1964 as a F/Lt and moved to New Zealand where he died on the 17th June 1980.

My next move is to try and reunite the photograph with any family he may have. I have one or two places to try, thanks to people like yourself on the internet. I had another look at the photo and I am wondering if the Steam roller in the background is the one he hit, I wonder if the driver of it got hell for leaving it there in the first place and I am surprised that the pilot got away without blame, to me it sounds like he was in a hurry (Pardon the pun) to land.

Eddie Smith

Sgt. N. D. Berndsson .     102 Squadron

Rifleman Gerard G. Bernhardt .     United States Army 28th Infantry Division   from East Falls, PA)

Aged just 17, Gerard Bernhardt volunteered for the Army and served as a rifleman in the 28th Infantry Division. When his unit landed on the beaches of France in 1944 as part of the D-Day invasion, a sniper shot him in the front of the neck and the bullet pierced his left lung. He managed to survive and was awarded a Purple Heart.

S. Flynn

Sld. Bernardus P. Berrevoets .     Dutch Army   from Holland)

S B Flynn

Doris Margaret Berry .     Womens Land Army   from Forest Gate, London)

My mum, Doris Margaret Berry, joined the Women's Land Army at the beginning of the war aged 16. She worked in the hot-houses growing tomatoes in Waltham Abbey. She says it was back breaking work lugging manure around and digging frozen ground in the winter. Unfortunately, she kept no photographs or memorabilia of her time in the Land Army but always spoke of her time with great enthusiasm and I think that she enjoyed her time in Waltham Abbey. Following the war she returned home to Forest Gate. Sadly she died Jan 1st this year and so missed yesterday's tribute ceremony in Staffs.

I would love to hear if there are any other tomato-girls left.

Irene Stewart

F/Sgt. Ernest "Bill" Berry .     Royal Australian Air Force 50 Squadron

Paul Berry .     British Army

Paul Berry was my grandfather, he was in charge of the prisoners in Easton Grey Camp, teaching them hedging and ditching. He also helped them decorate a nissen hut turning it into a chapel. The hut is still standing along with the wonderful painted ceiling. It is in private hands now as an industrial site but locals are hoping the owner will not destroy such wonderful artwork.

Howard Harding

Sergeant Thomas George Berry .     77Sqd (d.21st Jan 1944 )

flew from Elvington as a mid-upper gunner

Jack P. Berry. .     USAAF

F/S Weston Robert Berry. .     RAAF 12Sqd. (d.12th Jun 1943)

Rear Gnr.Weston Berry died on 12th Jun 1943 in Lancaster W4791 PH-W of 12sqd

Gnr. Richard Berryman .     Army Royal Artillery

Dick Berryman was in Stalag 8b with my Father, Arthur Booker, if anyone remembers him or his fellow POW's please get in touch.

Barbara Jutsum

Group Capt. S. Bertram .    

Louis C Besco .     US Army   from Ottuma, Iowa, USa)

My grandfather, Louis C Besco, was a pow at Stalag 9b from 12/25 - 4/1. We recently found his postcards he wrote to my grandmother and a diary that he had from the war describing his stay at Stalag 9b. He lived to be 95 years old he passed away a few years ago. We also found the letter sent to my Grandmother informing her that he was missing in action dated 3 months after he was captured.

Shonda Veatch

Pte. Alfred Cyril Best .     British Army Royal Artillery   from Sunninghill)

I am researching my partner's step-father Cyril Best who is now 93 and has a story to tell. He served in Greece before being taken prisoner in Creete in 1941. The rest of the war was spent in Stalag 3. He is asking if any of his friends are still alive including Ken Griffen, F.Bridger or K.Jacobs

Malcolm Collins

Frank Henry Best .     British Army 5th Btn. Coldstream Guards   from Chatham, Kent)

My Dad Frank Best has developed dementia at 89yrs of age his only real memory is of wartime, he was at Nimagan in Belgium fighting but I can find no records to that effect can anyone help? He served with the Coldstream Guards 5th Battalion.

David Best

Pte. John Best .     Australian Army   from Australia)

S B Flynn

LAC. Leonard Francis Best .     Royal Air Force 104 Sq.

As a family we never knew where dad, Leonard Best had been during the war, only that he was wounded and sent to a Malta hospital and also that he had been in the far east. We have managed to obtain a copy of his records through the RAF but we don't know how he was shot etc. It would be lovely if someone could help as dad never spoke of the war. My two sons now march with pride wearing his medals on Anzac day in Sydney Australia.

Rosemary Ann Wardle

Robert "Bob" Best .     RAF 48 Squadron

Edward King

Cpl. Arthur Bestwick .     British Army Reconnaissance Corps Royal Armoured Corps   from Nottingham)

My dad Arthur Bestwick was POW in Stalag IV-A, camp location Hehenstein, Hesse. I am not sure how long he was held in the camp, but he was a POW from 18 March 1941 to to June 1945. His unit was the Royal Armoured Corps, Reconnaissance Corps. I believe he was a Cook or Chef and may have therefore been put to work in a kitchen, not sure. If he had been used as a chef, he may have come into contact with all camp POW's. I am waiting for the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide me with more information.

Sandra Storey

Pte. Robert Henry Bethell .     British Army 2/4 HRC Workshops Royal Army Service Corps   from Hereford)

My Dad, Bob Bethell joined the R A S C as a vehicle electrician did basic training at Bulford camp and later was transferred to Paddington Tec College for an update course before going to Bradford for embarkation allocation. He embarked from Liverpool to Port Suez via Durban and worked in 2/4 HRC workshops and transferred to R E M E in 1942. He went up the desert with the lines of communication company on vehicle repair and recovery. He also served in Cairo, Alexandria, Tabuk, Tel-al-kahabier, Derna, Benghazi, Tripoly. He was detached from duty to undergo minor surgery in the 4th General Hospital Barce. After discharge from hospital he was attached to the British Army Administration as a general electrician working on the Barce wheat scheme. He later returned to AD Bramley and after De-mob joined the army fire service and ended a 50 year career as a divisional officer.

John Bethell

L/Bdr. Desmond Bettany .     British Army 88th Field Regiment Royal Artillery   from Burnleigh, Lancashire)

Taken from Dad's website of his art work:

Life as a Prisoner of War (POW) from Feb 1942 to Sept 1945 As a response to a request from the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board, To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle for Singapore Re-typed from the original manuscript written by Des Bettany in 1991

On our arrival in Singapore, in November 1941, we entrained up country to Mantin. The unit, the 88th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery became part of the 9th Indian Division, and the three batteries were sent to Ipoh, Alor Star and Kuantan, where the Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk. Eventually the Battery was moved back over Fraser’s Gap to the West Coast, north of Kuala Lumpur and took part in the fights, skirmishes and battles down the Peninsular to Singapore. After capitulation we were all marched to Changi, after disabling and destroying our guns.

The passage of 50 years has reduced the mass of incidents and memories as P.O.W.’s to general feelings, impressions and attitudes. Between February 15th 1942 and September 1945, the completely alien existence we led has become blurred. What is left is a lasting profound distrust and dislike of the Japanese and Koreans.

What remains clear is that throughout the period of privation, starvation and slavery, hope, faith and confidence in our eventual release remained optimistically constant. Rumours abounded but I particularly remember the night of the ‘D’ Day landings in Normandy. When the report reached us, the whole camp within and without the jail began to stir and murmur, to the consternation of the Japanese. This was accepted as fact, but the stories of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, were met with disbelief.

Some things remain clear however – the never ending struggle for means to bolster woefully insufficient rations; the treatment of working parties by third class Japanese and Korean privates, some of whom had never seen a European before; the road side display of severed heads; the lashings and tortures of Chinese and Indian labourers as well as P.O.W.’s; and complete disregard of the sick and injured by the Japanese. But there was also the ingenious use of material and primitive resourcefulness shown in building accommodation, chapels, theatres and essentials. The concerts, shows and plays were quite excellent as were talks and lectures by experts. Many miracles of surgery occurred under very trying conditions.

At an early date, working parties left Changi for camps in Towner Road and Sarangoon Road, etc. We worked at clearing up the damage in Singapore and the Dock area. For a while we collected abandoned military and private transport. What could not be repaired was broken up and shipped to Japan as scrap. Ingenious methods of sabotage were used both here and other working parties, such as transit camps for the Japanese troops from the Islands and the War Memorial to Japanese dead on Bukit Timiah Hill.

At this time the Selarang Square incident occurred in Changi and parties began leaving there to work on the Burma Railway. After returning to Changi we were moved to the jail and surrounds, and from there until repatriation went daily to work, clearing a corner of the Changi area and creating a fighter strip. This still exists, but has grown into Changi International Airport.

My personal worst moments came when I had to appear before the Japanese Commandant and an assortment of interpreters, to try and explain away, to humourless Japanese officers a book of political cartoons I had drawn. I had lent the book to a careless person who allowed it to fall into the hands of Japanese guards. This was at a time when the war was going badly for Germany and Japan and this was reflected in the cartoons. I was extremely lucky to get away with a whole skin. The Japanese did not approve. I never saw the book again. I am now retired from a life of tertiary art education, and enjoy the benefits of family and eight grandchildren.

Signed: Desmond Bettany, Royal Artillery, 1991

70th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore 15th February 2012 ‘Lest We Forget’ The Triumph of the Human Spirit in the Face of Adversity

Keith Bettany

Sergeant L E Bettis .     RAF 59 Squadron

Lorenzo del Mann

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