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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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

Pte. R. A. Betton .     British Army King's Shrophire Light Infantry

Stalag 8b

A/Ldg.Tel. Charles George Betts .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria (d.12 Aug 1942)

A/Ldg.Tel. Charles George Betts .     Royal Navy HMS Nelson (d.12th Aug 1942)

Sgt Sydney James Betts. .     RAF 12Sqd. (d.7th Ju1 1943)

Mid Upper Gnr Sydney Betts lost his life on 7th July 1943 during training in Lancaster I ED548 PH-X with 12 Sqd

Sgt.Mach. Hendrik Johannes Beukers .     Dutch Navy   from Holland)

S B Flynn

Sgt. Henke Beune .     Dutch Army   from Holland)

(d.3rd Mar 1945)

S B Flynn

Dvr. Trevor Richard Bevan .     British Army

S B Flynn

2nd Lt. Adriaan "Adje" Bevelander MID.     Royal Air Force No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF   from Holland)

(d.20th March 1944)

20th March 1944 B-25 Mitchell FR141 "Old Boys" in an attack on the V-1 yard at Flexi Court (France) was hit by flak. It exploded and crashed into the ground near Bourbon, France.

Crew members were:

  • 2nd Lt. A. Bevelander - KIA - grave Orry-la-Ville (Senlis) B-2
  • Sgt. Johannes Jacobus De Jong - KIA - grave Orry-la-Ville (Senlis) B-3
  • Cpl. Wilhelmus Kuypers - KIA - grave Orry-la-Ville (Senlis) B-1

Adriaan (Adje) Bevelander, born May 23, 1917 in Bandung (Indonesia). Buried in the war cemetery Orry-la-Ville, Senlis (Fr.). Mentioned in distinction with the Flying Cross (UK) on May 4, 1944: "For a considerable time at the 320th Squadron RDNAS from Our Naval Aviation in the United Kingdom, in flights during the war against the enemy demonstrated courage, skill, perseverance and devotion to duty


F/Lt. Edwin Paul "Ted" Beverly AFC..     Royal Canadian Air Force 407 Squadron   from Toronto, Canada)

My father-in-law, Flight Lieutenant Edwin Paul Beverly AFC, had this photo of Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron 407 with a Vickers Wellington in the background hanging on his wall until his death 5 years ago. When I removed the photo from the frame I found a list of names of the men in the photo on the back. Place and Location not known.

Peter Mitchell

Gordon Bevis .     Royal Navy HMS Southdown

Gordon Bevis served on HMS Southdown (Hunt Class Destroyer) from September 1942. I believe he met Nicholas Monsarrat (author of 'The Cruel Sea') at that time. I would like to contact Gordon, or his family or anyone who remembers him, any information would be much appreciated!

Tim Deacon

Sgt Kenneth Jack Bevis. .     RAF 12Sqd. (d.28th Aug 1943)

Flt Eng. Kenneth Bevis lost his life on 28th Aug 1943 flying Lancaster DV187 PH-A of 12sqd

George Henry Beynon .     British Army 1st Parachute Regiment

My father, George Henry Beynon of Aberavon, South Wales, was in the 1st Parachute Regiment. (1st Battalion I believe) He fought at Arnhem in September 1944. He was captured and sent to Stammlager 357 - Hut E4. I would appreciate any information your readers can supply.

Alan Beynon

George Henry Beynon .     Army 1st Battalion 1st Parachute Regiment   from Aberavon, South Wales)

My father George Henry Beynon of Aberavon, South Wales was in the 1st Parachute Regiment (1st Battalion I believe) He fought at Arnhem in September 1944. He was captured and sent to Stammlager 357 - Hut E4. I would appreciate any information your readers can supply.

Alan Beynon

2nd.Lt, Premindra Singh Bhagat VC, PVSM..     British Indian Army Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners Corps of Indian Engineers   from India)

Premindra Singh Bhagat was born on 14 October 1918 in Gorakhpur, British India. He attended the Royal Indian Military College, a military school in Dehradun, and the Indian Military Academy.He was commissioned in the British Indian Army on 15 July 1939. He was 22 years old, and a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Indian Engineers, Indian Army, attd. Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners when he was awarded the VC.

"For most conspicuous gallantry on active service in the Middle East. During the pursuit of the enemy following the capture of Metemma on the night 31 January - 1st February 1941, Second-Lieutenant Bhagat was in command of a section of a Field Company, Sappers and Miners, detailed to accompany the leading mobile troops (Bren Carriers) to clear the road and adjacent areas of mines.

For a period of four days and over a distance of 55 miles this officer in the leading carrier led the Column. During this period, he himself detected and personally supervised the clearing of no less than 15 minefields of varying dimensions. Speed being essential, he worked at high pressure from dawn to dusk each day. On two occasions when his carrier was blown up with casualties to others, and on a third occasion when ambushed and under close enemy fire he himself carried straight on with his task. He refused relief when worn out with strain and fatigue and with one eardrum punctured by an explosion, on the grounds that he was now better qualified to continue his task to the end. His coolness, persistence over a period of 96 hours, and gallantry, not only in battle, but throughout the long period when the safety of the Column and the speed at which it could advance were dependent on his personal efforts, were of the highest order." London Gazette: 10 June 1941

S. Flynn

Ldg Stoker Harold Stanley Bicker .     Royal Navy HMS Encounter

Ldg Stoker Harry Bicker was reported missing when the Encounter went down, his local news paper reported in March 1943, a year after the ship had sunk: "Reported missing last March from HMS Encounter, in the Battle of Java, Leading Stoker Harold Stanley Bicker, son of Mrs Bicker, The Street, Adisham, and whose wife and two children are living at 13 Baden Road, Gillingham, is now officially reported a prisoner of war in Fukuoka Camp, Japan. Recently his mother received news that her younger son, Leonard, who is a Commando, was injured in the Dieppe raid, has been promoted Seaman Petty Officer."

Ron Bicker .     RAF 9 Squadron

My father, Ron Bicker, served with 9 Squadron. I am unable to tell you his rank but he was a rear gunner. Sadly he passed away a few years ago.

Paul Bicker

Bickerdike .    

Cpl. Jack G. Bickerton .     United States Army Coast Artillery Corps   from West Virginia, USA)

S Flynn

Cpl. Joseph Fabian Bickett .     United States Army Quartermaster Corps   from Illinois, USA)

S B Flynn

F/Lt. P. W. Bickfort .     Royal Canadian Air Force 115 Squadron (d.17th Sep 1944)

In The Netherlands in the night of September 16/17 1944 the Lancaster LM 693 of 115 Squadron came back of a mission above Germany. Near the village Strijen the plane was hit by a German plane and the Lancaster crashed near the village. The crew were:

  • F/Lt. P.W. Bickfort RCAF 125920
  • P/O P.L. Dooley RAF 189628
  • F/O A.N. Johnson RCAF 128771
  • F/Sgt. U.B. Butters RAF 1622660
  • P/O D.G. Flood RCAF 190719
  • P/O D. Dawson RCAF 190321
After 9 days the Germans give the People from the village permission to take the bodies away from the plane. The graves of those men is in the village of Strijen. The foundation Air war memorial Hoeksche Waard 1940-1945 would like to put a memorial for those men. Please contact me for more information.

Anton Deman Robert Gray Bickley .     United States Navy USS Fisheries II Inshore Patrol   from Texas, USA)

S B Flynn

Sam Bickley .    

Stalag 8b

Capt. Nicholas Biddle .     United States Army 108 Field Artillery Battalion   from Gladwyne, PA)

Nicholas Biddle served from 1940-1942 with the Army's 108 Field Artillery Battalion, 28th Infantry Division, and from 1942 to 1945 with the 909th Field Artillery Battalion, 84th Infantry Division. During World War II, he was an artillery liaison officer with the rank of captain in the European Theater of Operations, and was awarded a theater ribbon with three battle stars for engaging in the Battles of the Rhine, the Ardennes (the Bulge), and Central Europe. He also received the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster for heroic action.

S. Flynn

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