The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War



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Sig. William Arthur Bee .     Australian Navy HMAS Perth   from Australia)

POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

sbflynn



Paul Beebe .     Canadian Army 4th Field Ambulance   from Canada)

My father, Paul Beebe, was a Canadian Army medic (4th Field Ambulance) and was taken prisoner in Italy while retrieving wounded. He was a POW at Stalag 7A Mooseburg, Germany. He recalls volunteering for a mission in which 83 emaciated French women were taken from Mauthausen, driven through Switzerland and turned over to the French. He didn't weigh much more than 100 lbs at the time, but he carried one woman to the water pump and he didn't think she weighed half of his weight. He wonders if any of these women survived the horrors of Mauthausen and were able to make any kind of life for themselves.

Phyllis Thompson



P/O Charles Trask Beech .     Royal Canadian Air Force 434 Sqdn. (d.17th June 1944)

P/O Charles Trask Beech was an airgunner of Halifax bomber LK792. The Halifax was shot down by a nightfighter on 16th/17th June 1944 while raiding Sterkrade. The full crew were:

  • P/O Philip Alan Kingston, RCAF, Air bomber
  • F/O William Melvin McQueen, RCAF, Pilot
  • F/O Douglas Fraser McAllister, RCAF, Navigator
  • P/O Mike Habiluk, RCAF, Airgunner
  • P/O Charles Trask Beech, RCAF, Airgunner
  • P/O Arthur Warrington, RAF, Wop/Airgunner
  • /O William Gordon Pearcey, RAFVR, Flt. Engineer

    Update

    There were no survivors and the crew were buried at Ede, 10 miles from where they came down at Otterlo. RCAF crew members were later reburied in Groesbeek Canadian Cemetery.(Dick)




  • Flight Lieutenant E W Beech .     RAF VR 59 Squadron

    Lorenzo del Mann



    Pte. Ronald George Beech .     British Army Northamptonshire Regiment   from Northampton)

    My great uncle, Ron Beech, was captured at Ypres around 1940-41 just after finding the body of his 'old mate' 'Ginger' having been shot moments beforehand. I don't know a great deal about his story nor do I have any photos and if anyone has any information etc. on him I would love to hear from you. I know that he was held for around 3 years at Stalag XX-B Malbork in Poland and his prisoner number was 12560.

    He was of medium height with a stocky build and the only distinguishing feature that I know of was a Bayonet like wound on one hand (the back and the palm). He was born on 8 July 1918 and passed away in Northampton General Hospital in 1981. I never really knew him but have heard bits and bobs about him over the years and wanted to share what little I did know of him as I'm extremely proud of what he and his brothers did for their country back then.

    Dave Denton



    Assistant Engineer Ernest Arthur Beecham .     Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar (d.2nd Dec 1940)




    Sylvia Beecham .     Land Army   from Sheffield)

    My mother-in-law served with the Land Army in the Sheffield area during Second World War. Mum is now 82 and her memory is not as sharp as it used to be. She as asked if I could try to contact someone, so that is what I am trying to do.

    Her name was Sylvia Beecham and I think she served her time in Derbyshire. She lived in Sheffield but left there to join up.

    Thanks for your time look I look forward to hearing from anyone who remembers mum as she has never been in contact since the end of the war.

    Martin Drinkwater



    Cpl. Bernard George Beecher .     Royal Navy Portsmouth Div. Co. E Royal Marine Engineers   from Croydon)

    My father, Benard Beecher was born in Sheffield in October 1915, where, after completing his schooling, he joined the Rating and Valuation Department at Sheffield Town Hall. In January of 1939 he moved to Croydon where he took up the post as Valuation Officer. His position delayed his call-up until December of 1941. In the meantime, out of work hours, he volunteered with the ARP. He told me of times when on duty he had to lie in the gutter as bombs came down. This was to be closest he came to hostile action.

    In December 1941 he reported to Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth, home of the Royal Marines, and given his background, was taken on as a clerk. In June 1942 be became an Acting Corporal, Temporary, and in March 1943 became a Corporal. He was fortunate enough to spend all his service within the British Isles, travelling no further afield than Scotland and Wales. At one posting, I think Fort William, there were always kippers for breakfast, but as these were so inedible, one of the favourite tricks was to take them out of the canteen, tie two kippers together with a short length of string, throw them onto the roof of a hut and watch the fun when the seagulls took one each.

    He was finally returned to his wife and daughter, who had been bombed out of their Croydon flat in the Blitz, when he was released to the Reserve list on the 6th of December 1945.

    Philip Beecher



    W/O John Benjamin "Curly" Beeching .     Royal Air Force 169 Squadron   from Hornchurch, Essex)

    I was stationed at Spitalgate being transferred from Cranwell in the early part of 1944. Both of these places were equipped with Blenheim Mark 1 and Mark IV twin enginged aircraft. I was a pilot being trained for night-fighters and these aircraft were considered to be a suitable transition, which, although fairly obsolescent, they were. Pilots stationed there were given a pretty thorough training, including Standard Beam Approach and 'Day-Night', a system using dark goggles simulating night flying. We were subsequently posted to a night-fighter Operational Training Unit, (OTU), either to Cranfield in Bedfordshire or Charter Hall in Scotland, where we did a further transition via Bristol Beauforts, Beaufighters and subsequently on to De Havilland Mosquitoes, before finishing up, generally, on a 100 Group, Bomber Command station somewhere in Norfolk. I was on 169 Squadron at Great Massingham, from where I flew my operations over Germany, but was transferred to Pathfinder Mosquitoes on 627 Squadron at war's end to engage in operations from Okinawa against the Japanese, but the atomic bombs knocked that on the head.

    Spitalgate was a pretty good station, being built in peacetime with comfortable accommodation and messes; a far cry from most Bomber Command places rapidly established for war-time. About the only dramatic incident at Spitalgate which I can recall was having to land a Blenheim with one wheel fully retracted, due to a hydraulic failure, but apart from a bent propeller the aircraft wasn't very damaged at all. I was twenty years old when that happened and things like that during the war never even made the local paper ! Sic transit and all that. I regret I have no photos.

    John Beeching



    Stoker. Sydney George Beeching .     Royal Navy HMS Kittywake

    My father and mother both served in the Second World War. Both enlisting in England. My father Sydney Beeching, enlisted in the Navy and after spending some time at Royal Arthur served at Pembroke and on the Kittywake from 20 December 1940 to 2 July 1943 according to his papers. Then he served on Pembroke 4 Steadfast from 3 July 1943 to January 1946. He also went to America on the Queen Mary when she went over for refitting as a troop carrier.

    My mother was a telephonist in the Air Force but I don't know much about her postings or anything other than she was stationed at different airfields around Kent. Her name was Barbara Edna Bayly.

    Heather Osborne



    AB. Ernest William Beedham .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire   from 31, Cochrane Street, Selby, Yorkshire)

    Ernest Beedham joined the Royal Navy in March 1934 and served on HMS Dorsetshire as LTO from June 1937 to July 1941 when he was injured in action. He was discharged as physically unfit for naval service in Sept 1942

    Eric Beedham



    Sgt. Stanley Beedle .     RAF 101 Sqd. (d.3rd Nov 1943)

    My uncle, Stanley Beedle, aged 23 was shot down in a Lancaster over Germany in 1943, his date of death is 03/11/1943. He was based at Holme on Spalding Moor, 101 bomber squadron. He is now at rest in the Rheinberg war cemetary. Any infomation about him, his plane ,anything ,would be greatfully received.

    Update:

    Lancaster LM635 SR-H took off at 17:11 on the 3rd of Nov 1943 from Ludford Magna en-route to Dusseldoft. The aircraft was shot down and crashed in the vicinity of Manchengladbach, where all the crew were buried on the 6th of November 43. Subsequently they were re-interred in the Rheinberg War cemetery.

    • Sgt J.M.Cummings
    • Sgt S.Beedle
    • Sgt E.G.Wall
    • Sgt N.J.Shakespeare
    • Sgt J.H.Harper
    • Sgt G.F.S Maunders (ABC operator)
    • Sgt C.J.Poulton
    • Sgt J.Parsons

    Adrian



    William Beekman .     British Army Seaforth Highlanders

    My Grandad, William Beekman, served in the Seaforth Highlanders, this is all I have. I'd like to find out more.

    Cherie



    Sgt.Art. Hendrikus Wilhelmus Bernardus Beekwilder .     Royal Dutch Indies Army   from Holland)

    POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in japan

    sflynn



    Pilot Officer J C E Beelearts-Von Blokland .     RAF 59 Squadron

    Lorenzo del Mann



    Joyce Beer .     Women's Land Army

    Becki Winters



    William Henry Beer .     British Army

    William Beer was captured in Anzio and interred in Stalag 4B then Stalag 11A

    Mark Etherton-Beer



    H. Bees .     Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd.




    Robert Beesley .     British Army

    I fought in the Second World War, but on 12 June 1940 I was taken POW and served five years in captivity. In those years we were treated worse than cattle. We were starved and abused by the Germans. The words of the Geneva Convention did not exist in their minds. I still have nightmares of the experiences that I endured.

    Robert Beesley



    Ida Joyce Beeson .     Land Army

    My mother was in the land army and she had very fond memories of her time in the land army which she shared with myself and my sister. Unfortunately my mother passed away in 1995 and I have no other further details.

    Janet Wicksey



    Edward Beetlestone .     British Army

    I am trying to find this information on behalf of one of my work colleagues whose father, Ted Beetlestone, was captured (possibly during Dunkirk) and detained at Stalag VIIIb sometime before 1942 during WW2. Fred only has sketchy memories about his fathers 'war' and would just like to piece together what he can. During his fatherís time at Stalag he participated in a Sports Meeting amongst the POWs in which he won two Shields, one for the Shot-put and one for the Discus.

    I have enclosed photographs of both shields which as much as my colleague could tell me are made from wood from one of the beds in Stalag VIIIb. The metalwork is nailed in place and the detail is hand painted on. As you can see the Sports meeting was held on the First of June 1942 and was the second such meeting to be held there. The text that states 'BK. 37B' I would assume refers to [sic] his fellow bearer Charlie Reed sometime before June 1942. Ted was apparently returned to England as part of a prisoner exchange with the Germans. I don't know if prisoner transfers were very common (or if they actually happened) but could possibly of been because of his duties as part of the medical team and therefore being classed as a non-combatant? Fred would like to know any information regarding the history of the shields and the sports meeting. If you can shed any light on this moment in history it would be very much appreciated. Any information sent to myself will be passed on to Fred Beetlestone.

    Scott Jones



    Pte. Charles Alfred Beeton .     British Army 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment   from Leicester)

    My granddad, Charles Beeton who is sadly no longer with us, joined the Suffolk Regiment in 1938, and was sent to India in 1940. He trained there before he was sent to Singapore. He was captured in Singapore by the Japanese and sent to build the death railway in Burma, were he spent the rest of war as a POW. He returned home after being liberated by the Americans in late 1945.

    He lived a full life until his tragic death in 1966 when he knocked down by a motorbike.

    J



    Sld. Nicolaas Beets .     Dutch Army   from Holland)

    POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

    sbflynn



    S/Sgt. Wilbur Joseph Beger .     United States Army Coast Artillery Corps   from Missouri, USA)

    S B Flynn



    Pte. Alastair William "Attie" Begg .     British Army 5th Btn. Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders   from Newtonmore, Inverness-shire)

    (d.14th Dec1942)

    James Gray



    Lt Col Ian E. Begg .     4th Btn Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

    Early in 1942 this unit along with the 2nd BN Shropshire Light Infantry was transported by train from New Orleans to Halifax NS. From 21 Feb-9 Mar 1942 these two BNs were stationed at Ft Slocum, NY, an installation of the New York Port of Embarkation located in Long Island Sound near New Rochelle, NY (just north of the Bronx line. Because of wartime secrecy little is known about this episode. I am the historian of Ft. Slocum. I would be grateful if anyone could provide more information about Lt/Col Begg and/or his unit.

    Michael Cavanaugh



    Able Seaman Jack William Begg .     Royal Navy HMS Forfar   from Manningtree, Essex)

    (d.2nd Dec 1940)




    Alistair Duncan "Mackie" Beggs .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire

    My uncle 'Mackie' Alistair Duncan Beggs, known to us children as 'Tarzan', was a survivor of HMS Dorsetshire when she was sunk on April 5th 1942. He was badly burned and spent some time in the sea before being rescued. He was born in Pinetown, Natal, South Africa. Four of his brothers served with the South African Division in East Africa, the Western Desert, Abyssinia and Italy. They all survived as their older brother Thomas had done in WWI.

    Guy Beggs



    S/Ldr. J. R. Beggs .     RCAF 428 sqd.




    Sgt. Thomas Fraser Behan .     Royal Air Force 102 Sqd (d.2nd/3rd Jan 1941)

    William Murdoch




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