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Charles Clarke . Army
Whilst looking through some of my Grandmother's old letters I found a 10 page letter from my uncle Charles Clarke which he sent at the end of the war, when he was serving with the British Army in Germany, and on the small envelope she marked MY MASTERPIECE. I copied it out as I thought it was so well written although some of the grammar is not that good. Anyway I copied it out exactly as he had written it, and thought it very interesting. I attach a copy and hope it will be of interest to you, obviously the original is very fragile and on very thin paper.
Tuesday on board ship
I am writing this on board while waiting for the other troops to arrive. I told you in my other letter that 24 of us had to do escort, well 500 POW coming on board shortly and they are being repatriated to Germany they are billeted below decks in the foremost part of the ship.
The ship is called the Empire Cutlass and it looks quite a good tub has been repainted. We have to do guards on the ship the 24 of us 2 hours on 6 hours off. We have officer’s bunks and cabins the other blokes on the draft have to sleep below decks and civvies. It is warm in here and is sat in a big armchair writing this. My bunk has a clean white pillow and its lovely and clean in here, polished red floor.
They have the wireless on the loud speakers are playing dance music. The officer said that we shant have any trouble with the jerries, but we have to keep them below decks and our blokes from mixing with them. When I go on guard I have to wear my life belt and carry a rifle and bayonet.
I do my first 2 hours as soon as they come above and while they are on boat drill. There shouldn’t be much to do as we are only on the water 24 hours. A boat has just pulled in from Cookshaven with British troops on leave. The sea looks calm enough and an old sailor says we should have a good voyage. We have three Sgts in the cabin, ten of us altogether.
Have been on top deck and had a look around. When you are in here you cannot imagine you are on a ship until you look up and see the porthole. Tell Tom I am on the starboard side, I know that because it says so on the notice. We are having the toilet change from officers to us we have civvies on board they are in with the troops. Our blokes can’t come on board until the P.O.W.’s are on, they are late already.
Had my dinner on board and it was a treat had prunes for pudding. We also get an extra meal and tea through the night on this guard. I am with 4 of the blokes from Farnborough. Shall write to Ken as soon as I get a chance perhaps tomorrow. Well the blokes coming from Germany are loaded with cases and stuff so I reckon there must have been a bit of swapping and changing going on. Shall be glad when we get under weigh now and get there, then I shall get a bit settled for 6 months I hope. I haven’t got my cigs out of my pack yet, as a bloke has lent me 20 until I can get to them.
Well I am about ready for my tea, but how long I shall keep it is according to the weather.
I have just done my guard duty we have the jerries aboard, they have them doing fire duty and boat drill right now. We have left England now. The boat is going smooth right now, hope it lasts. The jerries are right above our heads walking about. Roll on the time when I am coming back and instead of looking for Cookhaven I am looking for Hull.
They are giving orders to the Germans over the loudspeakers in German. I see we have a number of women aboard I wonder where they are too. Have just had my tea some of the blokes are serving up the grub in the galley so I had a good helping of peas and meat Bread butter and jam its pure white and it tastes a treat. Well I am going to have a lie down now and try to get some sleep, but I expect I shall be on guard again soon. I have been on this crate since 11 am this morning and we didn’t sail until 6pm. I will write some more to this as soon as I get a chance we have a lav for escort only with hot water and shower it was the officers but had a notice put up to say Escort only. Cheerio a bit.
Well here I am it is about 10.30 am on Wednesday morning and I am lying in my berth writing this. Did a guard this morning 3.30am till 5.30 on the deck and it was damned cold, you should have seen me with my balaclava on and life belt on. I came in and had a good sleep I am on again at 3.30pm we are supposed to arrive in Cookshaven about 6pm.
Have just had tea and biscuits and for supper last night we had a chop and potatoes and breakfast fish “haddock” potatoes bread butter and jam. I had a ration last night 20 cigs and one bar of chocolate a pkt of biscuits and a can of beer it came to 1/10 the lot all duty free you see. I had one of the Sgt ration an all but only had one lot of beer. Wonder how far we are inland when we get there. I was talking to one of the gerries and he told me he was shot down over Britain in 1942 so I wondered if he had bombed Brum. If I thought he did, I should have kept him below decks all the while I was on. Talk about old men some of them are grey and bald. They seem happy at going home anyway.
Well I think it is about time I had a wash and shave I have not been SICK up to yet but I am not going to speak to soon.
I have just had my dinner; we had beef, potatoes, cabbage and RICE PUDDING.
Wish I could send you some of this bread; its lovely the crust is crisp. They give you a little card when you come aboard mine has number 1 on it so I am first in the queue every time, so I get mine before it gets cold. We are having a very calm trip up to now. I think we shall be a bit late getting in. By the time I have finished this it will be about 10 pages and you will have sailed across the North Sea.
The sea is blue and I think the sun is going to shine and I hope this wind drops, it is, but it makes your face a little sore and your lips dry. Have just had some orange and it went down a treat. I shall post this as soon as I get in. Don’t throw this letter away I should like to keep it, as it is my first trip at sea. My feet where lovely and warm while I was I bed, you see I have a radiator right at my side. The prisoners are taking a stroll around the deck foremost of the ship they have been polishing their boots and getting spick and span for their return home. I bet someone is happy somewhere waiting for their return. They have come from all over the place some from the USA and some from Canada so they must have had quite a trip. They are just about to have their dinner and the German interpreter has been called to get them down, so I expect we shall be going out on duty again in a very few minutes. We may get some more cigs before we disembark I have just asked the Sgt if we have British stamps over here and he says we don’t have any stamps at all, so that’s one thing I will have to get. There are light ships all along the route with lights all over them to mark the route.
I am glad I had this job because you get better accommodation the other blokes are in 5 tier bunks they are only sack bagging stretched across a frame. They spend more time on the deck than they do in their beds. It has just been announced that we have high tea at 4 o clock.
Have arrived in Germany and am in a big building like a hotel, am moving out in the morning. Have changed my money and am about to have my supper. Was not seasick at all.
Well Mom this is all for now Cheerio All of the Best All my Love
Ps Will write again as soon as I can. Write SoonSusan Coates
Pte. Firth Clarke . British Army West Yorkshire Regiment from Brighouse, Yorkshire)
Pte. Firth Clarke was captured early in the war and held prisoner through to the end. He was held in Stalag XXB. He rarely spoke of his time there, but on occasions told of stealing sugar hidden in a drum after a concert and getting German guards to help lift it as it was too heavy, of having shrapnel removed from his leg/ankle by German doctors, of walking home through Poland and refusing to remove his boots in case he was never able to get them back on. He was fond of boxing and gambling.
This second picture is of Firth at Stalag XXb (he did spend a short while in XXA before being moved to XXB)
Firth after the war (sadly he died in 1960) – he had had time to recover from the weight loss caused by walking home through Poland, so I guess the picture is about 1947/8?
If anyone recognises him, I would love to get in touch and find out more.Steve Clarke
Sergeant H Clarke . RAF 35 Squadron
My grandfather was a pilot in 35 Squadron: Robert Thomas Morris, born September 1912. He died as a 'tail-end-Charlie' on 1 August 1942. He was a RAF Volunteer Reserve from Eccleshall, and his grave in marked in Flushing, Netherlands. He was a member of the crew flying in Halifax II, W1100, TL-G of 35 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
They were on a raid to Dusseldorf and were hit by flak over the target but managed to get as far as Holland before crashing near Serooskerke (Zeeland), on Schouwen. Two of the crew, my grandfather and Sgt B S Braybrook RAAF, were killed and the rest were taken prisoner.
Does anyone have any information, and even a picture of him?
The full crew was
Sgt Bertram Stanley Braybrook RAAF 403470. KIA, age 22 (Vlissingen Northern Cemetery) Sgt R.T. Morris, RAF VR 1230755. KIA, age 29 (Vlissingen Northern Cemetery) P/O R. Casey was interned in Camps 8B/344/L3. POW No.25114 with P/O C.C. Spencer, POW No.25120. Sgt H. Clarke in Camps 8B/344, POW No.25118 with Sgt W.A. Elliott, POW No.25116 and Sgt C.A.C. Pithers, POW No.25117.Cat Turner
Sgt. Henry James Clarke . Royal Air Force Navigator 10 Squadron from Westminster, London)
(d.15th Feb 1944)
Harry was a navigator for bombing raids. He joined the RAF after lying about his age. He pretended to be 7 years older than he actually was. One day after he had finished all his missions he came across a friend of his who was ill and had to do a mission. He took on his friend's mission and it was on this mission that he was shot down and killed. He died at the age of 24.Alex Cope
Henry William Clarke . British Army Royal Army Medical Corps from Harvest Road, Smethwick)
My grandfather Henry Clarke was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. I know he signed up in Birmingham. I wondered if anyone had any information?Johanna Clarke
Pte. John Clarke . British Army Royal Horse Artillery from Walsall)
My dad Jack Clarke, was in the Royal Horse Artillery fighting rearguard near Dunkirk when he was captured and spent the next six years as a POW in Stalag 8. I would love to find out more about his time in the camp so I could understand more of what it was like for the POW's living through their ordeal but he was a proud man and would never talk about it.
If there is anyone who could tell me more about his regiment and the camps I would be more than grateful.Gary Clarke
P. Clarke . Merchant NavyVin Mullen
F/Sgt. R. F. Clarke . Royal Canadian Air Force w/op 419 Sqd.
2nd from left K F McCallum, 3rd from left J H MacKay, 4th: A C Weston, 5th: John McKellar, with R F Clark, S A Musto and W H Murrell. Behind them is VR-W, KB-707.Mark McKellar
P/O Robert Barclay Clarke . Royal Air Force flight eng. 106 Sqd. (d.30th Aug 1944)
Sgt T "Darkie" Clarke . RAF 12sqd
F/Sgt. T. T. Clarke . Royal Air Force 460 Sqd.
Pte. Thomas Clarke . United States Army
Pte. Thomas Clarke . United States Army
L/Cpl. Victor Cecil "Nobby" Clarke . British Army Royal Signals from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire)
My father never talked about his particpation in the war only that he was in the Signal Regiment. The only time he said anything was after thunderstorms because he would cower under the stairs with fright (something happened whilst he was wearing radio headset and lightening struck his antenna).Alan Clarke
Pte. William Clarke . Australian Army
P/O Robert Clarke. DFC. RAF 626 Sqn
Leonard Douglas Clasby . Army The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
L/Cpl. George F. "Sailor" Clason MM.. British Army Seaforth Highlanders from Longmeadow, Mass. USA.)
My half brother, George F. Clason, took a discharge from the American Navy in 1939 while stationed in California and joined the Seaforth Highlanders and was shipped to England. I don't know where he first saw action but do know it went through Sicily and up through Italy. I do know he was in a building that was shelled and all were killed except him and he was not hurt. He got the MM medal for an action when he was behind enemy lines with a radio and stayed there while under heavy enemy fire and guided the allied artillery which resulted in heavy losses. He was a L/Cpl and was put in for a field commission but before he got it he was again behind enemy lines with a radio. The Germans sneaked up on him and took him prisoner and was sent to Stalag 7A.
When freed by the Americans on April 20th, 1945 he was sent to England and shortly later to Vancouver, Canada where they had a parade for him. I understand he was offered the commission if he wanted to stay in the service but declined because he wanted to come home to the U.S. Americans that joined a foreign service up to this time lost their citizenship. He was the test case in Congress that changed that.Alexander Hutton
Jack Clausner .
Jean Marcel ClavĂ? . French Army from France)
My grandfather Jean Marcel Clavé was a prisoner of war in Stalag 13B.Noel ClavĂ?
Bmdr. George Henry Claw . British Army Royal Artillery from Surrey)
My Great Grandfather was called George Henry Claw and he was a prisoner of war at the Stalag XXb camp. He survived the war and died in 1972. I don't know much about his time there as he died before I was born but I am told that he refused his medals and became a pacifist. So if anyone has any information on him, I would be very grateful.George
Pte. Leo William Clay . Australian Army
Pte. Frank Claydon . British Army
Sergeant F Clayton . RAF 59 SquadronLorenzo del Mann
Sgt. Henry Clayton . RAF air gunner. 15 Sqd (d.16th Nov 1944)
Thomas F. P. Clayton . Canadian Army 23 Battery 1st Medium Regt Royal Canadian Artillery
My brother, Thomas F.P. Clayton, 23 Battery, 1st. Medium Regiment was stationed at Borden, Hant's, England, in 1939/40 as a Canadian soldier. As he landed in England he recieved a letter "welcoming him to the shores of England, the son of Thomas James Clayton", (a British Beoer War Vetran and C.E.F. WW1 Vetran). He never got to even finish reading that letter as he was wounded, and it was lost in the English Hospital, and now he is requesting me to ask if it would be possible to get a copy of that letter or that type of historical document? Does anyone have a copy?Lorraine Livingston
Flight Engineer Thomas Charles Clayton . Royal Air Force 514 SquadronRoger Clayton
Thomas Charles Clayton . Royal Air Force 514 Sdq.
Thomas Clayton was my Grandfather, he served as a Royal Air Force Flight Engineer for 514 Squadron. I don't know much about his service, but the Lancaster he flew for most of the war was blown up by its own bombs. While being re-armed in a rain shower by the ground crew, a static discharge caused the bomb bay to release its load on the ground. The ground crew were all killed.
He survived the war, emigrating to Canada in 1956 with his son Roger, and his wife Gertrude Chitty who had served in the WAAF.Todd
Sgt Eric Wilfred Clayton. . RAF 12Sqd. (d.28th Aug 1943)
Eric Clayton was a Mid Upper Gnr. He was killed on 28th Aug 1943 in Lancaster DV187 PH-A of 12sqd
Lance Sgt. Hugh Clearie . Army 5th Btn. The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (d.9th Feb 1945)
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