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Chief Officer Barney Copeland . Merchant Navy SS. Athenia
Edward Copeman . British Army 22nd Btn. Cheshire Regiment
A few years ago we found an unfinished handwritten account of my grandfather’s time as a Prisoner of War. I thought I’d share some of it here, if anyone can fill in any blanks for me it would be much appreciated, and maybe it will help others too. Apologies if any place names are spelled incorrectly, I’ve just copied what it looked like and haven’t checked them.
My grandfather’s name was Edward Copeman, and he was in the 22nd Cheshire Regiment. I think his account begins in 1942, and he refers to the desert, so he may have been in Egypt at the time (we do have a lot of photos from Egypt). The truck he was in ran over a landmine; he got some shrapnel in his leg, and another man, Mick Parker, was badly injured. He mentions a Sgt. Lord, who went to get help, but never came back as he was taken prisoner; there were two other men with them – Tug Wilson and Joe Gill. They were stuck in the middle of all these landmines, and survived by drinking water from the radiator of a German MK 3 tank. On the third day they flagged down a passing British truck, but it was driven by Germans who captured them and handed them over to the Italians “as all prisoners taken on the desert were handed over to the Italians”.
Mick Parker was taken to one hospital, my granddad to another, and he says he never saw any of the lads again. He was then taken to a transit hospital, and then another hospital beginning with a B (sorry, couldn’t read the name). After two weeks he went to another hospital, then after a while to another beginning with T, then he was moved again to an Italian Hospital Ship. He says after 10 days of moving about they landed at Naples, where he was taken to a civilian hospital.
After being in hospital for 5 months he was moved again to a transit camp at Benivento (sp?), then after a week the whole camp was moved by goods train to PG52 in Italy. When the Italians stopped fighting, the Sgt Major who ran the camp said he’d open the gates and let everyone go, but the next morning they were surrounded by Germans who told them they were now Prisoners Of War.
After a week there were 4 train loads of PoW’s, about 17 in each truck, being moved to Germany. My granddad was in the second to last truck. As they approached a long tunnel, the Brenner Pass(?) between Italy and Austria, there was an air raid by British Bombers. His train was in the tunnel, but another train did get hit. When they arrived at the next station there was no one in the end truck as they’d cut a hole in the wooden floor and escaped while they were in the tunnel.
After 5 days they arrived at Stalag VIII-B, it was now 1943. Someone had a wireless, and the guards could never find it, no matter how hard they searched for it. My granddad says he and his mate Alec Sherriff put their names down for a working party, but you had to be a Cpl or a Sgt. Alec was a L/Cpl but put another stripe on, but he was found out and sent back to the camp.
The working party went by train to Poland, there were about 78 of them in a small camp near Krakow, and they worked in a paper mill. They were there for two weeks but then had to start walking, my granddad says it was 18th of Janury 1943. They stopped at Breslan, and Dresden, and then a bit later he says it was March 1944 and they were in Plzeň. So I think one of the dates is wrong, he probably meant March 1943. They walked from Dresden to Leipzig to Rochlitz; the Russians were close by this point.
Their guards changed into civilian clothes and basically left them on their own. Most of the lads made off, but my granddad and two others went in search of food. The next morning they walked into the village and came face to face with one of their German guards, wheeling a bike. They took it off him and told him to walk like they’d been doing since January, it was now April. They found the Mayor’s house where they were given food and drink, and they were visited by a Russian officer who said he’d come back on Sunday, but on Sunday morning the three of them left with the bike and some food and carried on walking. They rested overnight and then the next day came to a station. There was no one about, so they went to look in the Booking Office...
unfortunately that is where my grandfather’s account ends, just like that, mid-sentence. So I’ve no way of knowing what happened to them in the short-term, although he did eventually come back home and lived to 82, so in that respect, it was a happy ending. As I said, if anyone can fill in any blanks for me, that would be great.
I also have a handkerchief, in the middle of which my granddad had embroidered the Cheshire Regiment emblem, and around this are the names of fellow prisoners of war, dated 3/9/43, so I wonder if he was recaptured (unless it means 9th March rather than 3rd September)? Not all the names are legible now, but some are, and if anyone wants me to check for a name, I can.
Eric James Alfred Copeman . Navy HMS Nelson
My dad, Eric James Alfred Copeman, served on HMS Nelson during the 2nd World War. He was leading torpedoman on the ship. If anybody has any knowledge, or remembers serving with him we would be grateful for contact, as he passed away 12 years ago aged 73.
Drummer Thomas Aitken Copland . British Army 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders
My uncle Tom Copland was captured along with the rest of his comrades at St Valery. He, like many others, spoke little of his time in the camps but he has spoken to a cousin and as soon as I get more tales I shall add them.
The one story I am aware of was of him sitting in a car many years post war. I don't know where they were or what the circumstances were but Tom was sitting in front. All at once a man sitting in the back announced that he would know that voice anywhere. He had been in a punishment pit in the camp, and Tom had risked his own life to drop bits of bread down to him so that he would have something to eat. Neither man had ever seen the other face to face, but Tom's voice and strong Aberdeenshire accent was truly the voice of an angel to his comrade.
Tom returned home to Aberdeenshire after the war and was, in the words of his sister, a puir sowel when he got home. Dreadfully thin. He went on to be a Deputy Firemaster, continuing to fight to save lives.
LAC John James Copley DFM. RAF 38 Squadron
My father, John James Copley DFM, was the first in WW2 to be awarded the DFM from RAF Marham. Last year my family and I were invited to the opening of a new barracks there, Copley Block, named after my father. I have information on being awarded the DFM in 1940, and information on the POW camps he was held in after being shot down and captured in 1941, including some information on the Long March and Run up the Road that he was part of. A friend and I visited Denmark this year and contacted an historian who has dived on the wreck of the aircraft my father was in, and I have held some of the parts of the aircraft that have been brought back from the sea.
Born in 1912 John entered the RAF in July 1935 as ACH/Mate, later in the year gaining the rank of AC2. He was trained firstly as Flight Rigger and was posted to 38 Squadron at Mildenhall 17th July 1936, becoming an AC1 31st December 1936. He arrived at the newly opened Marham Aerodrome with 38 Squadron on 5th May 1937. His personal diary for 1937 documents this event and gives some details of training and night flights. He became Flight Rigger Air Gunner on 19th July 1938, promoted to LAC 31st December 1938.
On the 3rd December 1939, 24 Wellington bombers from 38, 115 and 149 Squadrons attacked German warships off Heligoland, Germany. Hits were made on a cruiser and armed trawler during the raid. During the raid 38 Squadron Wellington captain, Pilot Officer E T Odore (later Group Captain DFC, AFC) strayed away from the main formation and was attacked by German fighters. Attacked from astern by an Me.109, LAC Copley, rear gunner, was able to fire two bursts at point blank range (200yards) and saw the fighter climb sharply and stall, falling out of control out of the sky into the sea. The Wellington was liberally peppered with bullets and cannon shells, some of which penetrated the port engine tank and cylinder. Unknown to the crew it slashed the port undercarriage. On landing back at base in RAF Marham, the aircraft ground looped due to the punctured port wheel. The rear turret wings were hanging in strips and there was a punctured petrol tank. All crew were evacuated quickly. When LAC Copley landed he found a German machine gun bullet lodged in the quick release box of his parachute buckle just touching his flesh. This he saved to remind him of how lucky he had been. It is now on show in the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, with his DFM and other items of interest.
The Distinguished Flying Medal citation appeared in the London Gazette of 2nd January 1940. The DFM was presented to him at RAF Feltwell on 20th March 1940. LAC J J Copley DFM is first on the Honours board in Marham today. To pay honour to their local hero the village people of South Hiendley, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, presented him with a gold inscribed pocket watch, presented by Mr A F C Assinder, New Monkton colliery manager, in Felkirk Church village hall. John had worked at New Monkton colliery before joining the RAF.
On 27th July 1940 Copley was posted to 15 OUT at Harwell, to 214 Squadron at Stradishall, from there to 7 Squadron at Oakington Cambridgshire, 30th October1940. He was promoted to Sergeant, 31st December 1940; 7th May 1941 he became Flight Engineer.
29th September 1941 at 18.50, Stirling Mk.I serial number W7441 coded MG-Y , MG indicating No. 7 Squadron RAF, Y radio code (the aircraft Copley was in), took off from Oakington air base, England to bomb Stettin near the Oder river to the east of Berlin. Since the aircraft was meant to lead the attack, it was loaded with flares and fire bombs (a total of 18 SBCs) to be dropped over the target so that the other aircraft would be able to aim their bombs as fires broke out. The outward journey over the North Sea and Denmark went according to plan. When W7441 reached the east coast of Jutland it was attacked by a Messerschmidt Bf 110 Night Fighter. The gunners were able to avert the attack, then a moment later, W7441 was again attacked by the Bf 110 (from 3/1/NJG 1-3 Staffel of the first group in Nachtjagdgeschwader 1). The attack was carried out by Lieutenant Schmitz. High from the right side, he set the Stirling’s right wing ablaze. It crashed in Lillebaelt South of Brandso at 22.47. It was Lieutenant Schmitz's third confirmed kill.
Interrogation Report of Sergeant John J. Copley (V G Nielson police constable L H Rasch, police sergeant) following capture at Trappendal in Hejls:
'REPORT Tuesday 30.9.1941. After giving name rank number, date of birth, etc. he explained that he had been on board an aircraft, a four engine bomber, with six other airmen, refusing to give precise departure details. They had flown across north Germany, following orders to drop bombs over Stettin. While they were on their way they were attacked by German aircraft presumably from Heligoland or Sild. They engaged combat and the person questioned said shot down German aircraft. They discovered that their aircraft was on fire. The fire spread quickly and orders were given to bale out. This person does not believe that the rest of the crew escaped.
According to Copley the aircraft exploded and crashed near to the coast. He was shown a map, and points out a location between Anslet and Brandso or Branso and Funen without venturing the precise location of aircraft.
He had landed safely in his parachute which he said he had left in a small forest, whereupon he headed North on foot. During the landing he had hurt his left knee which was very painful. Approximately 500 metres away from forest he hid his safety jacket in an hedge after which he continued walking until later that night came to an outbuilding where he slept for a couple of hours in a straw stack. He then proceeded to the farm from where the police picked him up, Copley knowing he could not go on for much longer owing to injured left leg.
A reconstruction was then conducted with him and in the place he had previously mentioned his safety jacket was found. He then pointed out the forest where his parachute supposedly was, but since he had great difficulty walking, and the forest was inaccessible by car, he could not point out precise location. Constable Hubsmann, Christiansfeld, promised to search for the parachute with his police dog. Furthermore, Hubsmann reported that the police at Haderslev had caught two airmen from the same aircraft, information that pleased the English man very much. The person in question was then taken to Dr Dolmer in Hejls who treated his injured knee. The person was then taken to the criminal investigation office, where he was handed over to Hauptmann Knock and Hauptmann Mahler.'
'W7441 were leading bomber force to its target at Stettin; load consisted of incendiaries and flares. Task was to light up the target for the main force. This was just prior to the introduction of the Pathfinder Force. We left Oakington, 29th Sep about 7pm, taking northerly route over North Sea and Denmark to hit Stettin from the Baltic. However while approaching we were attacked by two 110 German night fighters. The first attacked from underneath astern and damaged port wing. The rear gunner, Fulbeck immediately opened fire and reported he had scored hits. It was then a second 110 attacking from starboard, high astern, his shells caused severe damage, setting the Port wing ablaze knocking out the intercom. Fire broke out in the fuselage and the Captain gave orders to bale out, flying about 10.000 feet, but I estimate that by the time we baled out we were flying at 2000 feet. I only had time to open my parachute, saw I was over the mouth of a river. The aircraft dived down and crashed into the sea just off shore. The wind carried me inland a short distance and I landed in a ploughed field. Landing hurt my back and had difficulty walking. I wandered about, then took shelter in a farm. I found out this was the home of Hensen family which is about 20 mile South of Kolding. They took me into their home gave me food and then put me in one of their famous feather beds. Later I learned where I had landed from maps shown to me. Apparently they had intended to get me out of the country to Sweden, but a search was on for the crew and shortly afterwards two plain-clothed police officers arrived and I was handed over. The Wehrmacht took me to barracks, where I was joined by Captain Cobbold who had been captured earlier. Then a third member arrived, Copley.'
Cobbold, Donaldson, Copley were taken to the German airfield near Flensburge where they were given dinner in the Officer's Mess. Here they met Lieutenant Schmitz who had shot them down. Another member of the crew, Sergeant David Young Niel, navigator, landed near Hejelsminde. He remained missing until Wednesday 1st Oct, when he was arrested as he attempted to cross a bridge. He was handed over to German Wehrmacht in Haderslev. Niel met the other three in POW camp Stalag Luft 3, Sagan, southeast of Berlin.
Three other members of the crew were never found, believed to have gone down with the Sterling Aircraft W7441. We will remember them.
- 1109112 Sergeant Edward Donald V Tovey, 2nd pilot,
- 1325233 Sergeant Eric James Rogers, Air Gunner ( nose turret gunner)
- 618116 Sergeant Charles Waghorn Fulbeck Air Gunner (rear gunner)
My mum at home with her 2 year old twins, and 6 months pregnant, had received a telegram to inform her that her husband was missing, believed dead. Happily soon after she was notified that he had been captured and was in a POW camp. She now knew he was alive but where and for how long. Her third child, a boy was born on Pearl Harbour Day, 7th December 1941. He did not see his dad until after the war; contact was made with my dad but it was very limited.
During my research I was contacted by Rob Thomas, researching information about his uncle Alex Donaldson. Alex Donaldson was in 7 Squadron with my dad, they were friends and worked together and were in POW camp for 3 1/2 years.
Rob contacted my brother to find out if Dad was still alive, and did we have any information about his Uncle Alex? My brother remembered Alex as being a friend of Dad's from the RAF days. Knowing I was trying to piece together Dad's war history, he gave Rob my phone number and since then we have been in regular contact on the internet, and telephone. We met in July 2005, he and his family visited me and we had a great day swapping information and putting it together. Alex had started a project in 1974 to gather details of his account and trace surviving crew members but sadly died two years later in his mid 50s.
Rob s interest has focused on the Stirling aircraft that crashed into the sea in Denmark. He had details left by his Uncle Alex about a man he had met at Farnborough Air Show called Soren Flensted whose hobby was researching RAF losses over Denmark. Rob contacted Soren who had lot of information about the Stirling, and a letter ( dated 1970) written to him by Alex about that fateful night.
Rob went to Denmark with a friend Andy to trace the story. They found a campsite near the area where Sgt Donaldson had landed in his parachute. It turned out that the farm on the campsite was the first building Sgt Donaldson had come to, where he had knocked on the window. Arrangements had been made to meet the Henson family and Asta, the daughter of Johannes Hensen, who was just 10 years old when Sgt Donaldson stayed the night in 1941. In Sgt Donaldson's written account of that night 'there was a young daughter at this house, I later learned her name was Asta Hensen. She got maps out and showed me where I had landed. I had a limited conversation with Asta and then fell to sleep.'
Rob and Andy were given a great welcome. Asta took Rob and Andy to her home where Sgt Donaldson had spent the night in a chicken shed -- the shed is still there. Rob & Andy then took a ride to Germany and visited Stalag Luft III near Berlin. Dad and Alex were held there for 6 months, leaving just before the great escape took place. Returning to Denmark Rob & Andy were contacted by the local diving club, who had located the wreck of the Stirling aircraft. They had salvaged some parts of the aircraft for them to see. Rob & Andy came back home to Derby, and decided they needed to learn to dive. This they did and in 2005 returned to Denmark with their own diving equipment.
Rob and Andy met with Carlsten Jenson, a founder member of the Middelfart diving Club, and custodian of the Stirling wreckage. Jensen knew exactly where to dive and had even salvaged some pieces of the wreck on previous dives. Rob, Andy, Jenson and other diving colleagues, sailed out to the wreck, about two hour trip. They headed down to the depths, the water not too bad, visibility good, could see four to five metres in front of them. Rob was ecstatic, he could not have got any closer to the story, and how pleased his uncle, and my dad would have been. What greeted Rob was hardly recognisable as an aircraft-- just a collection of bent and twisted metal. The wreckage was strewn across the sea bed over an area about the size of a football pitch. The aircraft was probably travelling at about 200 miles an hour when it hit the water. As custodian of the wreck Jenson has a say over who can dive it, and who can take pieces away. He allowed Rob to remove some objects, because he knew about the family connection. Although the wreckage has spent more than 60 years in salt water, some of the pieces salvaged were in good condition. One of the most interesting to Rob was a tail wheel. Another unusual find was a piece of twisted plastic, which appears to be part of the cockpit window.
Rob & Andy both felt mindful of the three RAF crew that had lost their lives in the aircraft, and the wreck was effectively a war grave. They were careful not to cause too much disturbance. 'Out of the three, one of the bodies was found on the beach by a local. It is now thought to be that of C W Fulbeck, the rear gunner. However the front gunner and co-pilot never got out of the Stirling before it crashed, so their remains could be buried there'. Jenson says that the echo-sounder had picked up something buried deep in the mud, it is thought to be the front end of the Stirling.
Rob, on his visit to me in 2005, brought parts of the Stirling for me to see. He is keeping them in water to stop the oxidising, and intends to clean them up and seal with a mixture of linseed oil and paraffin. Parts of the Stirling W4771 aircraft, preserved and held in Denmark, include oxygen cylinders, machine gun propeller blades, escape hatch and engine cylinders.
I have been doing research into my father's WW2 history for 7 years now and have lots of information. I have started a web site dedicated to my father www.copeydfm.co.uk
Flt Sgt William Salway Copp DFM.. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Navigator 83 Sqd. from Tiverton, Devon)
William Copp was my uncle, and he was the inspiration for my career in the aviation industry. I believe uncle Bill was on the Dresden raid, and his DFM was listed in Flight 16 Mar 1944. I will most appreciate it if further details of his service history are available.
Warrant Officer Class 2 C L Copping . RCAF 59 Squadron
Pte. Clifford Frederick Lewis Copping . British Army Royal Sussex Regiment from Tooting London)
In April 1940, my father Clifford Frederick Lewis Copping of Southcroft Rd Tooting, South London lied about his age to join the army and enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment. He was just 17 and had become Private 6405092 Copping. He spent the first few weeks training (I think) near Wincanton and then six weeks guarding a railway tunnel and had a short spell in Northern Ireland.
One incident that happened during this period was when a barrack bully kept picking on someone for no reason and my dad didn't like the way it was going, so he floored the guy with one punch. Just as the guy hit the floor the Regimental Sergeant Major happened to pass by and asked who was responsible for the blow. My Dad owned up and was immediately placed on the regimental boxing team! A few days later he found himself in the ring sitting opposite someone by the name (I think) of Tonner - who happened to be from a family of very good amateur boxers on civvy street. All my Dad can remember is the bell sounding for the first round and then the lights suddenly went out! His budding army boxing career had sadly been terminated.
Back to the war his unit was posted to HMS Peregrine RNAS Ford Aerodrome in Sussex. Here he was stationed in an anti-aircraft gun pit and assigned the job of radio operator. Whilst at Ford - he volunteered to undertake "Glider Pilot Training" which I understand went on near High Wycombe. Had he been accepted and completed the training he would almost certainly seen action in both Normandy and Arneham.
During the Battle of Britain, on 18th August at about 4.30 pm the airfield was attacked by a squadron of Junkers 87B "Stuka" divebombers. The Germans had mistakenly thought it to be an operational base rather than the training station it was. One of the Stukas attacked his gun pit and dropped its bomb just short of its target. The explosion killed the British officer in charge of my father's pit instantly and when the rescue party arrived they found my Dad buried up to his neck in sand from the punctured sandbags surrounding him. He recalled them saying "Here's Copping's head -where's the rest of him?" After digging him out he was found to have numerous shrapnel wounds all over his body and some burns to his back. As he lay on a stretcher waiting for transportation to hospital he heard the "last rights" being read out and thought he was going to die - only to realise that it was in fact some poor devil next to him instead. Altogether 18 people were killed in this air raid and there were a number of casualties. He later found out that the pilot of the Stuka was killed in action whilst flying on the Russian Front.
He spent the next 11 months in hospital at Chichester (where unbeknown to him at the same time his future wife Mavis was evacuated in a house whose garden backed onto the hospital). During his time in hospital he was given a lot of quinine which rotted his teeth and caused him to be toothless by the time he was 21! Having also been burned he also received treatment at the famous burns centre at East Grinstead and received pigskin grafts pioneered by the famous Dr McEndoe.
At the end of his hospitalisation he was deemed "unfit for service" on health grounds and honourably discharged. He spent the rest of war working for the London County Council LCC driving bombed out families and their possessions to safer parts of the country.
In 1948 he married my mother Mavis Woodard, also of Tooting and they had three children. He worked for both Martin's and Barclays Banks and retired early to care for my mother who had MS. He died in June 2000.
Pilot Officer T S Coram . RAAF 578 Squadron
Handley Page Halifax III, NA568 LK-Q, took off 11th September 1944 16.04 hrs, Op: Gelsenkirchen. The aircraft was hit by flak and crashed 18.30 hrs. in Kirchhellen. All crew survived and made POW except Sgt J A Ridley who sadly was killed. Sgt J A Ridley is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.
P/O T S Coram RAAF Sgt L Blundell F/S J M Tregoning F/S J Callingham RCAF Sgt C Inge Sgt J A Rix Sgt J A Ridley
Grdsmn. James Frederick Corbett . Britsh Army Coldstream Guards from Newcastle upon Tyne)
I'm interested in learning more of my Grandfathers exploits during WWII after joining the Coldstream Guards in October 1940. He seems to have been transferred to and from various Battalions within the Coldstream Guards and records state that he worked as a sign writer and despatch rider. He was shot and injured on 1st July 1944 by a German sniper whilst riding a motorcyle, he escaped by riding the vehicle into a corn field.
Sadly my grandfather died before I was born so I of my information comes via my father. I hope someone can help. I have my grandfathers full service history if this would help.
Jane Corbett . WAAF
John " Jock" Corbett . British Army Queens Own Cameron Highlanders from Lankenshire, Glasgow)
My grandfather joined the army before the war. When the war started some how his unit ended up in a tiny little village called Avening near Tetbury in Gloustershire and that's where he met my grandmother.
I don't know much more apart from that he served in Burma. He won some medals but, unfortunately, I do not know what they were.My grandmother recieved a letter from the King telling her that John Corbett was missing presumed to have been killed in action. About 6 mounths after the war finished he turned up on the door step looking as white as a ghost and that's all I know.
My grandmother's name was Nancy Corbett and they both ended up living in Tetbury with ten kids
Richard Corbett . Royal Canadian Air Force
My father, Richard Corbett was a POW in Rangoon. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was one of the few Canadians in the Prison in Rangoon. I recall him saying that it was his idea to paint Extract Digit on the building. His story is published in a book called, "Testaments of Honour"
As of September 2009, he is still much alive, although a stroke has left him memory impaired and in failing health.
CPO3. Raymond Francis "Butch" Corcoran DFS, BSw/V. US Navy VB-110 Fleet Air Wing 7 from Chicago)
My Father, Ray Corcoran was stationed at Dunkeswell with VB-110 as Plane Captain and Top Turret Gunner. He flew 26 missions over the Bay of Biscay with Joe Kennedy as his Pilot. My Father joined the Navy in 1936 and was discharged in 1940 after serving on the Aircraft Carrier Interprise. Shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor he re-enlisted and went into aviation. I can only remember the names of Cook and Kennedy as members of the crew. I am hoping that I can gain more information by posting this. My Father has been gone since 1989. Unfortunately, I can't remember his stories and most anyone that would have experienced these times are of advanced age. I am also adding this because, aside from Hank Seale' book, "The Lost Prince", Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., there is little or no information concerning the crew members and what became of them.
Sgt. George Cyril Cordery . British Army 53rd (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Regt. Royal Artillery from West Ham)
My father, George Cordery did his basic training with the Durham Light Infantry before joining the Royal Artillery as a Gunner. He was eventually posted to the 53rd (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment, which was part of 6th Airborne Division. He served with the OP Section of then Regiment.
After the war had ended he was sent to Burma as part of the British Training Mission, where he served as an instructor with the Burmese 1st Anti-tank Regiment (which was also known as the Chin Hills Battalion).
Sgt. Norman Corfield . RAF(VR) 101 Sqd. (d.1st Sep 1943)
Cliff Cork . Royal Air Force 77 Squadron from Sydney, Australia)
This is a story of my Grandfather, Cliff Cork. He is still alive, living in Australia. He was stationed at Full Sutton during WW2 with the 77 Squadron.
He was an Australian mixed in with Canadians and Brits flying Halifax Bombers into Germany. They started with leaflet raids progressing to bombing industrial targets on the Ruhr.
Sometime during May of '44 (to the best of his recolection) they were dropping incendiaries on a refinery at Strassen along the Ruhr when a bomber above dropped its load on their plane and lit it up like a birthday cake.
The pilot Stan Goodman, survived the crash and flew during peacetime with the Canadian Airforce.
- Billy Grogan was the bomb aimer, surviving the crash.
- Tommy Cousins was killed in the crash, he was the Navigator.
- George Hudson was the rear gunner, he survived.
My Pop was the Wireless Op and Electronics man. He vividly remembers jumping out through the flames of the burning Halifax. His next memory is coming to in the pine forests. He was recalling to me the aluminium foil all through the trees. Different lengths of foils were used to disrupt the German radar systems. He recalls it looking alot like Christmas!
His recollections also include several dire events. During his capture he was transported accross the Ruhr in a small boat chained to another man. A Colonel (to the best of his recolection) was having a Birthday celebration and was quite drunk, he withdrew his service revolver and began to play Russian Roullette, pointing the gun back and forth between them. The man beside him was shot in the head and killed, Pop was forced to carry the man from the boat before he was allowed to be un-chained and wash up. He was later informed the individual responsible was disciplined. His Wing Commander was Ron Corony (unsure of spelling). I am now 36 years old and living in Canada. I have 2 boys and a beautiful wife. This, and other stories, are to Honour Great Men and Women. Do not be decieved, no one in my generation has the courage to do as these men and women did. Thank you to the 77. TO BE, RATHER THAN TO SEEM! sincerely
C J Cornes . RAF (d.6th January 1942)
My uncle, Sgt Anthony John Browne 643058 (Newmarket Cemetery) was killed on 6 January 1942 when a Wellington bomber from RAF Stradishall, No 3 Group Training Flight piloted by Flight Sergeant Frederick Thomas Miniken 903047 (Clacton Cemetery) crashed shortly after take off. Would anyone have any idea of the squadron markings as I am building a replica model?
Others killed were
Sergeant John Philpin Williams 983072 (Uzmaston (St. Ismael) Churchyard) C J Cornes Sergeant Herbert Wolstenholm 545778 (Hucknall Cemetery) Sergeant Albert David Matthews 615644 (Yeovil Cemetery) Sergeant Reginald Alfred Butcher 1200354 (Dover (St. Mary's) New Cemetery) A/C1 Thomas Menzies 1037647 (Manchester Southern Cemetery)
RWH Lawrence and MT Coon survived.
Any other information of the event or of my uncle would be most welcome. God Bless them all.
Sidney Arthur Cornes . Auxiliary Fire Service from London)
My father, Sidney Arthur Cornes, joined the AFS prior to the war aged about 30. In due course he became a member of the NFS when the merger took place. Because he could drive (he was a commercial traveller for a coal factory) he became a driver and remained in the Fire Service in South London throughout the War. I know very little about his service and would be grateful for any sources of information about this time.
Olive Auriel Cornforth . Women's Land Army
Able Seaman Jack Percival Thomas Cornish . Royal Navy HMS Peneloper from Yateley, Camberly)
My Uncle Jack Cornish served on the H.M.S Penelope during World War 2 on the Malta convoys (8.7.41-21.10.42). The nickname of this ship became H.M.S Pepperpot because of her many shrapnel holes due to enemy air attacks.
Pte. William Cornish . British Army Gloucestershire Regiment from Jersey)
My uncle Bill Cornish and his two brothers were captured by the Germans whilst on leave in Guernsey. He and his two brothers were imprisoned in Castle Cornet, Guernsey until they were transported to Lambinowice Prison Camp in Poland. His prisoner of war no was 12594.
His brother, Sydney Cornish, Kings Royal Rifle Corp POW no 3114 and another brother Alfred Cornish Royal Engineers POW no 7361 were released in 1945 and returned to Jersey.
Sgt. John William Noel Cornthwaite . British Army Royal Artillery from Haverthwaite)
My father was captured in France in 1940 and spent the remaining years in various POW camps including Stalag 383, my eldest brother said there were 5 different camp. I didn't talk to my Dad about the war as I was too young, my two brothers who were born before the war knew more. My Father's name was John William Noel Cornthwaite, he was a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery. I would like to know if anybody knew our Dad.
Jack Corrie . Royal Canadian Air Force w/op 419 Sqd.
Frank Corrigan . Royal Navy HMS Prunella
Sea. First Class Dominic "Dago" Corsaro . US Navy 53rd Combat CB's from Cleveland, USA)
Dominic Corsaro, Cleveland, Ohio
When I was just a young boy of 13 I sat in local restaurant on St Clair and 156 St. in Cleveland,Ohio. I heard the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor; I did not even know where it was back then.
A few years later at 16 I wanted to serve as my father did in WWI. I used some creative maths and with my father's blessings, I got in to the Merchant Marines. I started on a Liberty Ship; at the time it was considered an attack ship. With one small gun on the front and the ship made of plywood I think the title they told us “Attack Ship” was more of morale builder for those of us on the ship. We transported German Pilots from Europe back to the U.S. for imprisonment. I guarded one pilot and gave him smokes as I didn't smoke. He said: "you are a good man" and he gave me his belt with the eagle carrying a swastika on the buckle as a souvenir. Even in my 80's I still remember he had metal tips on his boots.
In 1944 I transferred to the Navy and served with the 53rd Combat CBs. I was all over the Pacific Theater finally ended up on Bikini Atoll to take part in the Atomic Bomb test in 1946.
God kept me safe throughout the war and I have taught my son the importance of duty, honor and integrity. He has grown up to make me proud. On my 80th birthday my son took the time to get all my service awards and decorations sent to him then had them framed. My first resonance was surprise as I had earned many medals and ribbons that I never got at the end of the war. A the time I just wanted to go home and see my family and my sweet heart Angie(to whom I have been married for 66 years in July of 2010). Then I told my family many men made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be here today. God Bless all our Military. I served on two fronts, got to see the world in just a few years and it just confirmed what I already know, I love America....Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
Rfn Charles James Corver . British Army Kings Royal Rifle Corps from Ilford)
Rfn Charles Corver was at Calais 1940, and escaped. Then sent to Western Desert and was taken prisoner near Benghazi in 1941. First a prisoner of the Italians (POW camps P.G. 65 and P.G. 70), then into German captivity, at Stalag 4C then to Stalag 20A from which he was liberated by the Russians in early 1945 and was back in the UK in March 1945.
Whilst at Stalag 4C he was involved in an disagreement with a German Guard (Gefreitan Noack, 3 Ldsch Btl., 379). He was accused of hitting the guard with a punch. At his hearing there were three British soldiers (4457054 Pte. G. Franey DLI, 5954578 Pte. W. Lindsay, The Buffs and another Pinford ?? who gave evidence on Corver's behalf. Corver was sentenced to eight months, but only served six weeks when he was released.
Pvt. Attilio C "Tilly" Costantino . US Army 423rd Infantry 106th Division from Collingswood, NJ)
My grandfather Tilly Costantino served in WW2. He enlisted December 17th 1943. and was sent overseas Dec 1944. He was also part of camp lucky strike and then sent to Fort Dix. When he originally went out he was sent to Camp Croft in S.Carolina and then sent to do his duty at Ardenne Rhineland Germany. He was taken POW in Dec 1944 and released July 1945, held at a camp in Muhlberg Germany.
This is most of what I know about my Grandfather, he never talked about his journey in WW2. Please if anyone knows my grandfather, knows about him, has a picture of him ,anything, please let me know. I know he got his POW medal, Good conduct pin, European, African and Middle Eastern service medals.
Joseph E. Costello . United States Navy from Doylestown, PA)
Ldg. Sea. John William " " Coster . from )
(d.31st Dec 1942)
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