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Those who Served
Pte. Alfred Edward Coles . British Army Kings Royal Rifle Corps from Hanwell, London)
My Dad, Alfred Coles, was a regular soldier before WW2 and served in Ireland. He was on Reserve when WW2 broke out, and he went off to France in 1940 with BEF I believe. He was wounded at Calais as his Batallion fought in the rear guard action whilst the majority of the BEF escaped from Dunkirk. I understand he was driving in a Scout car when it hit a land mine. He went to a German hospital, and then spent the rest of the war in a POW camp somewhere near Danzig (Gdansk). Whilst in the POW camp I think he worked in a brick factory. His war ended when the camp gates were opened by the Germans in 1945 and the whole camp, guards included marched towards the west, trying to avoid the advancing Russians from the east. They marched hundreds of miles, living off the land. Eventually they met up with Americans and my Dad was repatriated home. When he returned home, he weighed just over 6 st. He later became a member of the Dunkirk Veteran Association. If anyone can fill in more details, I would be very grateful as I would like to pass this on to his great-grandchildren
Pte. Edward John "'Happy'" Coles . British Army 2nd Btn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry from West Devon)
Ivy Blanche "Bunty" Coles . Women's Land Army Markfield Leicestershire from Hughendon Drive Leicester)
My mother served in the Women's Land Army at Rise Roacks Farm, Markfield, Leicestershire. I am trying to contact any of the Land Army girls that served with her. I have some photographs. My mother told me it was the happiest time of her life. She had an award signed by the Queen. If anyone can help with contact addresses or emails I would be very grateful.
Mary Colham . Land Army
J Collerton .
Lt. William P.G. Collet . British Army Dorset Regiment from Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire.)
I found a metal footlocker which has the name W P G Collet Dorset Reg, Service number 189390 and an address: The Rectory, Tredington, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire on it. I Googled his name and an article in the London Gazette lists this person and service number to match the footlocker as a newly commissioned officer 2nd lieutenant. Can anyone help me with any info.?
Sgt. Dennis Malcom "Yorkie" Collett . Royal Australian Air Force 460 Squadron
Dennis Collectt was navigator on the Lancaster of PO Arthur Whitmarsh 460 squadron. He flew 31 sorties in 1944 and 1945. On the 7th of January 1945 their aircraft suffered severe damage in collision over target, but they managed to land safely in UK.
The men he flew with on various missions were, flight engineer, A Sheppard, bomb aimer P Turnbull, W/op's J G Wilson, A L Wingett and R G White, air gunners, D G Fellowes, H R Hendrie, F J Cornwall, K De Lamare, C G Matthews, G Crosby, A Hutchison, R Smith, H M Young, D L Hanes and R G Taylor.
Pfc. James F. Colley . United States Army 3rd Battalion, HQ Coy. 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment from West Virginia, USA.)
James Colley joined the 82nd because they promised free cigarettes. He was in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, HQ Coy, 3rd Battalion. He jumped on D-Day and was captured shortly after and sent to Stalag 4B. He was there until he and some buddies decided to make a break when there would be few guards per prisoner. They eventually came home after the war was over.
There are several things I don't understand. Like how he got his Purple Heart and when exactly he was captured. If anyone has any information on him or knew somebody that may know him, you can contact me directly.
Flight Lieutenant Collie . 59 Squadron
Irene "Mickey" Collier . Land Army from Grange Park Rd,Thornton Heath, London)
Some reminiscences of my days in the Land Army.(1943-1947) I joined the Land army when I was only 15 (well nearly 16) and was first sent to a hostel at Compton Dundon, in Herefordshire. We found the work very hard at first and ached in every limb, especially the first two months. None of us had done this type of manual labour before! As I lived in London we used to try to get home most weekends - often by thumbing lifts as our pay did not go very far. We used to be taken by lorry first thing each morning and dropped off at a farm for the day. We seldom knew in advance where we were going to be. Another thing I remember is being hungry a lot of the time, for if late down for breakfast there often wouldn’t be any left as it was on a first come first served basis. (I was never very good at getting up in the morning) Although packed lunches were provided for us to take with us, if you were late down and the lorry had arrived you could miss out on these also. Sometimes, fortunately, the farmers wives would bring tea and a snack out to us during the long days in the fields. A number of times when we were working in the fields, German planes came over and dived down low and we had to jump in the nearest ditch to avoid being machine gunned. One week I was 2 days late back and as a "punishment" was sent away to a hostel in North Petherton in Somerset. Actually this proved to be blessing, for although getting home proved to be a non starter from here, I enjoyed working in this area very much, we got on well with the farmers and the countryside was lovely. I look forward very much to receiving my badge as I have always thought we were very much the forgotten service. Irene Sayer (nee Collier) 80
John Albert Collier . Canadian Army
I am trying to get more information on the Neys POW camp in Ontario. My grandfather was a guard at the camp, and seemingly had a good rapport with many of the POW's. He had been given a couple of ships in a bottle - some very interesting artefacts that were apparently made by the POW's (complete with German decoration).
I had been searching for any reference, when I happend accross a very similar one by accident in a friend of a friend's house... Could I ask for any historical reference, tracking, awareness...or anyone that could be contacted regarding an awareness?
L/Cpl. John Collier . British Army 18th Divn Royal Corps Signals from Oldham Lancashire)
(d.21st Sep 1944)
John was a Territorial - had, I think, served on the Norway raid early in the war. I don't have much family detail - he would have been an uncle to me.
30 October 1941, Orient Line’s SS Orcades and seven other transports sailed in convoy (WS12X) from Liverpool’s Princess Jetty. The 18th Division regiments, totaling 20,800 officers and men were en route to the Middle East via Halifax. This was the first convoy secretly manned and protected by US Navy and Coastguard personnel with orders to sink any opposing craft - this was before Pearl Harbour and the US formal entry to WW2.
10 November 1941 TF 14 sailed from Halifax in 6 American transports via Cape Town for Suez. US Navy manned USS Mount Vernon (AP22), USS West Point (AP23) and USS Orizaba (AP24); US Coast Guardsmen manned USS Wakefield (AP21), USS Joseph T Dickman (AP26) and USS Leonard Wood (AP25). 7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor.
13 December 1941 convoy (WS12X) left Cape Town with revised orders for Bombay now renamed convoy TF-14.2. Subsequent splitting and reroutes saw transports arrive at Singapore between 13 January and 5 February 1942.
John was then POW on the Burma railway. Another POW tried to track him down through his wife at the end of the war, saying John's actions had kept him alive as a POW - but it was later found out that John had perished but when and how?
4 July 1944 convoy SHIMI-05 left Singapore, 10 ships (5 carrying about 5000 POWs in total) being the largest group of POWs shipped at one time during the war. John along with 1286 POWs were put aboard the Hofuku Maru (nb: this ship was also known as the Fuku Maru, the Toyofuku Maru and the Fuji Maru) a 5825 ton cargo ship. Convoy made for Miri, Borneo which it reached on July 8. Hofuku Maru and another ship (not carrying POWs), dropped out to wait for another convoy.
19 July 1944 Hofuku Maru made it to the Philippines but lay in Manila harbour until mid-September while its engines were repaired. The POWs on board suffered terribly from disease, hunger and thirst and finally a number were removed to the Bilibid Prison hospital in Manila being replaced by a similar number from the Philippines making a total of 1289 POWs then on board.
20 September 20, Convoy MATA-27 sailed from Manila (11 ships including the Hofuku Maru now the only one carrying POWs) anchoring at Subic Bay for the night.
21 September 1944 convoy sailed for Takao (Formosa) but aircraft from the 17 carriers in Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher’s Task Force 38 attacked about 80 miles north of Corregidor. 10:35 am planes attacked the Hofuku Maru and then the entire convoy had been sunk by more than 100 American planes. About 200 of the POWs either swam to shore or were picked up by the Japanese and taken back to the Philippines. John was listed as dead.
Muriel Gladys Collier . Land Army
Sgt. Richard Alfred James Collier . RAF(VR) air gunner. 101 Sqd. from Westminster)
(d.31st Mar 1944)
Pilot Officer S G Collier . RAF VR 59 Squadron
Capt. Eric Collings . British Army from Ipswich)
My uncle Eric Collings was in the army in India, Egypt, and in Europe, he was blown up twice but survived the war. He moved to the USA after WWII where he died, we have lost touch with his children so I cannot get his records.All we know is from a picture of his army pal that states - "58th & 67th (Suffolk) Medium Regiments Royal Artillery Camp, Roedean nr Brighton, August 1939 - the caption - my best friend Charlie" (He is handsome man with light eyes and broad features- Charlie who ?).
I have photos that Eric took in India. The photos are of locals and other soldiers with names and places on the backs such as Ted Lucis & Johny Bones, Monsoon camp, and one of Gandi! Also a tiny album of ship photos - possbly ones he sailed on to various war time places ? Ships - HMT Dilwara, HMT Nevasa, HMT Dunero, HMT Neiralia, The Queen Elizaberth, HMT Somersetshire, The Queen Mary, one damaged photo, one poss' - HMT Lancaster?. There are several photos of horses, one of Eric winning a race on a horse called- Flying Fox at Nerbudda, also horse lines and tents, erecting a bridge, snake charmers, and one of a native doing the Indian rope trick !
He joined as a bugleboy in 1930's we think as some photos are dated 1935, by the end of WWII he was a Captain & acting Major. Can anyone help me fill in his war years? I will happily share all photos with any interested parties.
Cpl. Sidney Derek Collingwood . British Army Royal Army Service Corps from Southend on Sea)
My Grandad Cpl Sidney Collingwood, was in the RASC and served in North Africa and Italy between 1941-1945. I have 4 medals (Africa Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal and War Medal) and his old pay book. Any information or if anyone knows of him and could pass on would be very much appreciated.
Pte. Charles Price Collins . United States Army A Btry 60th CAC Regt (AA) from Georgia)
2nd Lt. Elwood E. Collins . USAAF 44th Bomb Squadron
I am looking for anyone who might have known my Uncle Elwood. His plane, which I believe was the Sanchez Belle, was shot down and 5 were captured and taken to Stalag 7A Moosburg (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich 48-11). Four of the men escaped but my uncle remained till the liberation. He was in the Middle East Theatre, heavy bombardment and his Serial number was O&733533. I recently learned he passed away at 90 never having talked about his experience. For 18 yrs I have been trying to find anyone who served with him, etc. to contact me please.
F/S Ernest Lewis Collins . Royal Air Force rear gunner 106 Sqd. (d.30th Aug 1944)
Sgt. Eugene Patrick "Jimmy" Collins . Royal Air Force 50 Squadron from Nettleham)
I am sorry I don't have much of a story about my Dad's war experiences, except to know he was very young, very brave and served as a rear gunner. His name was Eugene Collins, known as Jimmy or Owen. I am trying to piece together any info I can find about him, even if he should have had any medals.
Pte. Jack Collins . British Army 1st Btn. Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) from Betsham )
Jack Collins served with the 1st Battalion, Queens West Surrey Regiment. I would like to know if any veterans of the regiment are still alive?
Pte. John Collins . Australian Army
Flight Lieutenant Joseph Collins . RAAF 59 Squadron
Cpl. Joseph Perry Collins . United States Army A Btry 60th CAC Regt (AA) from Texas)
2nd Lt. La Verne "Rip" Collins . United States Army Airforce 31fg 309fs from Coalgate, Oklahoma)
(d.19th August 1942)
My uncle, La Verne Collins, was a Chickasaw Indian from Coalgate, Oklahoma. Barnstormers came to the fair and he went up in a plane and that was that. He enlisted and was at the raid on Dieppe, August 19, 1942 flying a spitfire. He was shot down like his friend Samuel F. Junkin of Natchez, Mississippi. He was picked up by a ship, he did not survive but his friend Junkin did.
Flight Sergeant R Collins . RAFVR 59 Squadron
Cpl. Thomas Collins MID.. British Army Queens Own Cameron Highlanders from Clydebank)
My father joined up in 1933 and his service book shows the following: Home 1933-35, Palestine 1935-36, Egypt 1036-38, Home 38-39, BEF 23-9-39 until 30-5-40, Home 1940-42, India 1942-44. He would have loved this site and the opportunity to share his stories. He was awarded the 1939/45 Medal with MiD Oak leaf
Second Electrician William Russell Collins . Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar from Bootle, Lancashire)
(d.2nd Dec 1940)
Stoker 1st Class. William Jacob George Collins . Royal Navy HMS Prunella (d.21st Jun 1940)
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