The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War



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Those who Served




Allied Forces - Browse by Surname.


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Axis Forces - Browse by Surname.


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Gunner William Harold Bell .     Royal Navy HMS Forfar   from Bebbington, Cheshire)

(d.2nd Dec 1940)

William Bell January 1940

William Bell was lost when HMS Forfar was lost on the 2nd of December 1940, he was 57 years old.




William Bell .     Special Constabulary

When we moved to our new house in Blairgowrie, Perthshire 10 years ago My Dad found a gas mask,Helmet whistle and badge which we think belonged to Willie Bell, Special Constable 21, who once lived in our house. He died many years ago.

Jane Ward



Sgt. William "Ginger" Bell .     Royal Air Force 44 Squadron   from Doagh, Co. Antrim, N.I.)

(d.6th Sep 1940)

This is the story of my Uncle Sgt Willie Bell, wireless operater/air gunner serving on 44 Sqd. RAF Bomber Command, flying Handley Page Hampden medium bombers, the Hampden fuselage was only 36" wide and the crew had little room to move inside. Beginning in May 1940 he flew on night missions on a regular basis. Entries in his log book show five night operations between 15th and 26th May, with numerous training exercises in between. On May 27th he was promoted to Temp.Sergeant. He continued on "ops" through July and August at the height of the Battle of Britain. September 2nd was a raid on Stuttgart with P/O Taunton at the controls in Hampden s/no. P2087.

On the evening of the 6th September 1940 he climbed into Hampden P2087 again with P/O Taunton and P/O Vollmer as navigator/bomb aimer, and New Zealander Sgt. Bracegirdle, their target that night was Krefeld. They succeeded in finding the target and dropped their bombs, then turned for home but near Munster disaster struck in the form of a heavy AA shell which scored an almost direct hit, setting the starboard engine and wing on fire. The pilot ordered the crew to bail out, but all at once the aircraft lurched to starboard and went into a spiral dive of rapidly increasing velocity. Then there was a terrible explosion which blew P/O Vollmer out of the Hampden with his parachute still unfastened, he had been in the process of clipping it on when he was thrown out.

He knew the ground was coming up fast so he pulled the ripcord and prayed. His chute was ripped from his hands breaking two fingers but by a stroke of luck he had managed to secure one clip of the harness which held long enough to save his life. The pilot had managed to bale out to safety, but Sergeants Bell and Bracegirdle were not so lucky and went to their deaths when P2087 smashed into the ground.

An unknown German officer sent home Willie Bell's personal effects, his watch, ring and ID tags, accompanied by a letter to his parents to let them know he had been buried with full military honours and he was very kind to say there were no marks on his body.

Willie Bell didn't win any special medals for heroism but it took a very brave person to do what he did night after night. I would like to dedicate this little article to his memory and to all the men and women in all the wars who made the ultimate sacrifice

William Bell Turkington



P/O W. Bell-Towers .     102 Squadron




Beatrice Lillian "Daisy" Bell. .     WAAF.




F/S John Bell. .     RAF 156Sqd. (d.2nd Jan 1944)

Bomb Aimer John Bell was killed on 2nd Jan 1944 in Lancaster III JA925 GT-La of 156 Sqn




Sgt Ronald Bell. .     RAF 12Sqd. (d.13th May 1943)

Mid Upper Gnr. Ronald Bell died on 13th May 1943 in Lancaster III ED476 PH-N of 12sqd




Theodore Bell. .    

My friend Tanina is searching for her grandad, who was based in Honeybourne in the 40s. His name we beleive is/was Theodore Bell. He was an Amercian G.I. Had had a relationship with Tania`s nan, Anne Lloyd/Smith and they had a son Roger in 1945. Theodore knew of his son and returned from states when his son was about one year old. I was just wondering if anyone had any pictures of the troops around then. Any information would be a start.

Tessa and Tania



Cpl. Sydney Bellamy .     British Army Green Howards   from Middlesbrough)

Martin Bellamy



Thomas Leslie Bellamy .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria

Thomas Leslie Bellamy served on HMS Nigeria as a R.D.F operator , his name is Mr his nick name was Ralph after the actor Ralph Bellamy. The names on a list I received from Mr Bellamy’s daughter are of R.D.F operators which served with Mr Bellamy.

  • Jock Gross
  • Johnny Bull
  • Andy Ewing
  • Glynn Palmer from swansea
  • John Mcpherson
Mr Bellamy has given me some photographs, they are of historic value and as for as Mr Bellamy knows there are only 2 of HMS Nigeria listing after the torpedo strike.

P.F.Quinn



Thomas Leslie "Ralph" Bellamy .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria

Thomas Leslie Bellamy served on HMS Nigeria as a RDF operator, his nick name was Ralph after the actor Ralph Bellamy. The names on this list I received from Mr Bellamy’s daughter are of RDF operators who served with Mr Bellamy.

  • Jock Gross
  • Johnny Bull
  • Andy Ewing
  • Glynn Palmer from Swansea
  • John McPherson

Mr Bellamy has given me some photographs, they are of historic value and as far as Mr Bellamy knows there are only two of HMS Nigeria listing after the torpedo strike.

P F Quinn



Sergeant F W Bellamy. .     Royal Air Force No.149 Sqd. (d.6th June 1944)




Flight Sergeant Dominic Bellantino .     RCAF 434 Squadron

My uncle Dominic Bellantino served with the RCAF in 424 Squadron and was killed on the 7th March 1945. He is buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery.

I believe he was stationed at Skipton on Swale and was a gunner for a Lancaster "N". The pilot of his plane was W.D. Lighthall. Does anyone have have some info or photos of his squadron, his plane, etc. or any photos of the Air Base at that time?

Nancy Bellantino



Trpr. Bellesby .     British Army Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons

I have a photo of soldiers taken in Palestine: Trooper Bellesby of the Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons aka Halifax Cowboys on his horse Starlet, and Pte P S Blakeman, C Coy 1st Btn Essex Regiment, with others.

Anthony Sweeting



F/O. Kenneth G. Bellingham .     Royal Air Force 106 Squadron   from Leeds, Yorkshire)

(d.21st Jun 1944)

Ken Bellingham and I were in the same form at Leeds Modern School from 1932 to 1935. After graduation, I never saw Ken until 20th June 1944. I was in my office in the station store when a F/O walked in. I looked up and said "Hello, Ken, what brings you here" His reply was that he was pilot to a replacement crew lost a few days previously in 106 Squadron and that he was scheduled to go out that night. I never saw him again, he was killed on 21st June, but wrote a letter of condolence to his parents, and saw that his possessions were dispatched to the same address.

Edric Clarke



Ldg. Stkr. Arthur Bellis .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire   from Church, Lancashire)

(d.5th Apr 1942)

Lorraine Haworth



F/Lt. Iorwerth "Ted" Bellis DFC..     Royal Air Force 21 Squadron   from MOLD)

I don't know too much about my father, Ted Bellis. He never told us too much, although I know he suffered what is is now termed as post-traumatic stress disorder, for many years after the war. He was part of the Aarhus Gestapo headquarter raid and received a letter and cuff links from the Danish resistance thanking him for his participation. He also flew with Ted Pennell, navigator, who sustained a serious leg injury during a raid with my father resulting in the loss of the limb.

True heroes for whom I have the ultimate respect. If anyone knew of them I'd love to see or read any stories.

Editor's Note:- There were 2 raids on the Gestapo Headquarters, at Aarhus. The first was on 31st October 1944 and the second (Operation Carthage) was on the 21st March 1945.

Dave Bellis



Sgt. James Henry Belter .     United States Army

This is a brief story about my grandfather James Henry Belter during his service in WWII while at the Battle of Anzio in Italy. This information was passed down through other family members as he died of a massive heart attack in early August of 1968, which was just a bit over eight years before I was born.

Sometime during the Allied invasion at Anzio while in fierce battle, Sgt Belter was captured by the Germans and was briefly a prisoner in a marching line of other soldiers. His location in the line was at the very end where he walked alongside another American Army prisoner. A Nazi guard followed directly behind them on foot as well. Apparently sensing an advantage at the end of this march, Sgt Belter and the other troop member made small talk taking note that the guard understood not a word of English. At this, they plotted an attack and escape where they were able to physically overcome the guard, beat and choke him to death, take his rifle and pistol and get away undetected by other guards further up the marching line.

Beyond this information I know little else and apparently grandpa Jim did not like to talk about his time fighting in the war. I did inherit the pistol he took off the guard which is a CZ Model 27 .32ACP caliber single action semi-auto handgun holding 10+1 rounds - including holster and additional magazine. The gun itself was a Czech made firearm with Nazi markings identifying it from the period of time Hitler had control of Czechoslovakia industries supplying the German war effort. I keep one of his dog tags on a small tag chain attached to and hanging from the trigger guard. I would have loved to have known him in this world. But I know I will get to see him some day on the other side. Damn proud of what he did in fighting and surviving a very bad campaign during the war.

Jesse Regenauer



John Belyk .     Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd.




Sgt. Adriaan Cornelis Bemmel .     Dutch Army   from Holland)

S B Flynn



L/Cpl. John Charles Bemmer .     British Army East Kent Regiment   from Middlesex, England)

My dad, John Bemmer was a POW in Poland. He was captured at Dunkirk at the start of the war and as far as I know was sent to Marienburg Stalag 20B He was in the Buffs. He never once spoke of his time in the camps. We didn't know till he died and I started to do some research on his time in the Second World War.

I would be forever grateful for any information so I can tell my mum what my dad went through as we know nothing of his life. He used to tell me stories as I grew up but not once did he say he was a prisoner of war. He kept that a secret to his grave. Which I find that so sad as I'm so proud of what he and those other young men had to endure so we could have our freedom today. I don't want my dad's memory to disappear I want to keep it alive. Hopefully someone can help me in my quest.

Karyn Bemmer



W/O James Benbow DFM..     Royal Air Force 97 Squadron.   from Newport Road, Middlesbrough)

Jim Benbow, with his wife Madge, owned 'Jims Cafe' on Newport Road, Middlesbrough in the 1930s and 40s. He volunteered for RAF service in September 1940 as an air gunner. He joined 97 Squadron and flew with Pilot Ernest Deverill. Together the crew were involvd in many famous bombings raids icluding the 1000 bomber raids over Cologne, Essen and Bremen. >Also the famous armament works at Le Creusot, for which Jim received the DFM.

After a full tour of duty then teaching others in Scotland the crew reformed to fly again with 97 Squadron (now Pathfinders) and now based at Bourn. On the 17th December 1943 after a successful raid over Berlin they returned to find thick fog and unable to land diverted to Graveley. With little fuel they attempted to land and crashed in the fuel store. Jim was the only survivor but with a badly broken leg and severe burns he was placed under the famous plastic surgeon McIndoe at East Grinstead Hospital, where all McIndoe's patients formed 'The Guinea Pig Club'. Jim returned to Middlebrough in 1945 for the birth of his son Peter and to continue the cafe business. He never fully recovered from his injuries and died 11 years later in 1956, at the age of 47.

Gill Benbow



Harold Thomas Bender .     Royal Marines HMS Warspite

We know my dad Harry Bender served on HMS Warspite as we have some wonderful pictures of him on board. He died over 25 years ago but never spoke of his time on board. We think he served on another ship and we are trying to find what one it was. If anyone can help that would be great.

Jackie Hunt



John Levi Bending .     British Army Royal Army Service Corps   from Plymouth)

John Bending is buried in Rome War Cemetery. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

Mike Bryce



F/O J. L. Bendix DFC..     97 Squadron




Sgt. Gerald Bendle .     British Army Intelligence Corps Royal Welsh Fusiliers   from Neath)

My father, Gerald Bendle, enlisted in 1940 and was sent to Northern Ireland before sailing to India in 1943 on the SS Orontes. He was a sergeant in the Intelligence Corps and told me little about the war except that he was incredibly lucky. He learnt Hindi and travelled around India "gathering intelligence" on a motor bike. He was hospitalised in India twice once with pneumonia and once with a broken leg and on both occasions he missed postings from which no one in the battallion returned.

He returned to the UK in March 1946 and was unable to disembark immediately because there was illness on board and they had to fly the yellow flag. Sadly he died on 3rd January 2013 and I suddenly regret not having found out more about this part of his life.

Madelaine Thomas



Pte. Charles Molotja Bene .     South African Army Native Military Corps

Charles Bene was captured in the Desert Campaign. He was previously at camp 85. He survived the train wreck on the Orvieto North railway bridge at Allerona, Italy, with a fractured left leg and was went to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf.

s flynn



Pte. Vincent Benedict .     United States Army   from Bryn Mawr, PA)

He was captured by Nazi troops in the Battle of the Bulge and endured four months as a prisoner of war.

He was drafted into the Army in 1944. That year, he was serving in the Ardennes just before Christmas when he and about 100 others were captured by German soldiers while distributing ammunition.

He spent the remainder of the European war in three prison camps. During that time he developed pneumonia and lost 40 pounds. He said the food was atrocious, noting that the prisoners were given only boiled grass, dirt and roots to eat.

The last thing he remembered when he was captured was a German officer saying to him in French "For you, the war is over". He was liberated on 26th April 1945.

S. Flynn



Sgt. George D. Benedum .     United States Army   from Harrisburg, PA, USA)

S Flynn



Gnr. LeRoy A. Benfield .     United States Navy   from Perkassie, PA)

Leroy Benfield served with the US Navy in the Pacific during World War II as a PT boat torpedoman and -50-caliber gunner.

S. Flynn




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