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. 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 Dad, I'm trying to find out who else is in the Photo

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.


Pte. Leo William Clay .     Australian Army

Pte. Frank Claydon .     British Army

Sergeant F Clayton .     RAF 59 Squadron

Lorenzo 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 Squadron

Roger 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.


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)

Daniel David Cleary .     Royal Air Force 35 Sqd.

David was shot down in Aug 1943 and spent the rest of the war in Stalag IVB Muhlberg on Elbe prisoner of war camp. He kept a log, this has been digitised,


T Cleary .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria

T. Cleary .     Royal Navy HMS Nelson

Spr. Ronald Keith Cleave Military Medal.     British Army 256 Field Company Royal Engineers   from Reading, Berkshire.)

My Father enlisted at Collompton in Devon on the 19.10.1939. He was 19 at the time. He had happy memories of training camps where local villagers would supply the troops with tea and buns or on passes out of camp they would be bought pints of beer in a local pub. One time I know he and a mate nearly missed the train taking them to their next posting while being entertained by some local villagers in the pub. They made it by the skin of their teeth.

Dad's company was posted to the Orkneys around Christmas time where their job was building the huts that the troops following on behind would use. It was bitterly cold, not much cheer that Christmas. Once their posting there was finished they travelled back by train. My father talked about how slow the train travelled, they could pick wild flowers on the trackside at times. There were stops at stations where buckets of tea were provided.

My Dad also talked about being involved in laying booby traps on the beaches to prevent an invasion of the South Coast.

Like lots of other troops Dad served in Africa. They travelled by ship and landed in South Africa and saw the Table Top mountain. He also experienced the Colour Bar when he went into a local pub and was told he was in the wrong bar, he was in the black's bar. The landlord tried to order the other men out, but My father insisted they stayed. I don't know how long he was in South Africa, but he ended up in the deserts of Iraq. While he was in the desert my father spoke of how every week they would all have to take their beds apart and debug them. Every morning before putting on his boots he had to turn them upside down and bang them on the floor so that any scorpions or other poisonous creatures fell out. Travelling in the desert was hard, very hot by day, very cold by night. The armoured vehicles broke down or overheated at times. Drinks of tea were made by using water from the vehicle's radiator.

As an engineer my father was involved in laying mines and defusing them where neccessary. He also helped build the Bailey bridges which were used to create quick routes over rivers and gorges. Often these were to replace previous ones which had been destroyed by the enemy.

After the Africa Campaign my Father was sent to Italy. He won his Military medal there in Callibreto. He defused some mines while under enemy fire. While in Italy he saw Venice and didn't think much of the canals which were rather dirty at the time. While in Italy he developed a love of Opera or to be more exact Opera Houses. Dad found they were often the only place that he could get a beer.

On the 20.6.44 my Father was taken ill with pneumonia and was off sick for a few weeks. I remember he told me that while sick he was given M+B tablets which he thought was a type of penicillin.

For a while my father was stationed in Austria which he loved. The beautiful scenery and the majestic mountains enthralled him. He stayed at a place called Seeboden and worked for 6 months building hutted camps and hospitals. Sapper Cleave left Austria from Villach station on 17.02.46 he was bound for Calais and then Blighty. Dad was demobbed in 1946, but remained on the reservist list till the day he died in 2007.

Amongst my father's effects I found a letter he wrote to PR Sgt. dated March 2nd 1945.

Subject. Loss of bayonet.

I beg to report the loss of my bayonet which occurred during training on March 1st '45. A large area of ground was covered during this training and a search proved of no avail. I beg to deny the loss was through my neglect.

My father enjoyed telling his stories of his time in the army. He never told of awful things, just the interesting and happy bits. It wasn't until he was in his 80s that we found out the truth behind his Military Medal. He seemed to enjoy the camaraderie of army life.

Pamela Randall

Henry Cleaver .     British Army Royal Artillery

P/O John Barry Cleaver .     Royal Canadian Air Force w/op 419 Sqd. (d.15th Aug 1944)

Reginald Cleaver .     Royal Air Force flight eng. 419 Sqd.

When the war began in 1939, I was an apprentice toolmaker at Armstrong Siddeley Motors in Coventry. My name is Reg Cleaver and I was 17 years old. I joined the Air Raid Precautions system and became an ambulance driver attached to No 3 First Aid Post in Livingstone Rd. The building had been the swimming baths. One pool was still open for swimming the other pool had been boarded over and became a reception centre for people injured in the air raids. After work at ASM, I spent most of my time waiting for the call to pick up the next load of dead and injured people from where the bombs had landed. This became very difficult at times as whole buildings were spread all over the roads, enormous bomb craters blocked roads with destroyed buses and trams everywhere. We could be driving along with whole rows of burning buildings each side. The ambulances had canvas sides and at times got badly scorched.

In November 1940, a large bomb exploded in the swimming pool next door destroying the whole building and drenching all of us and the seriously injured people in what had been our First Aid Post. Outside, several of our ambulances had been badly damaged. My own vehicle had been flattened by a huge steel roof truss that had landed on it.

Next morning being very concerned what may have happened to my home and parents, I arrived home: 159 Churchill Ave, Foleshill. My mother kept a small general store opposite to the Riley Motor Works. Fortunately, my parents escaped injury being in the air raid shelter. The house roof had gone and the shop destroyed. A very sad sight - all the stock and provisions, etc all over the pavement and road and mother very shocked.

This became a turning point in my life. A burning hatred of Germans and a determination to hit back. As an apprentice we were considered to be in a reserved occupation and could not be called up into the Forces. The only way into the R.A.F. was to volunteer for air crew. I joined the R.A.F. in early 1941 as a pilot. Strange as it may seem the R.A.F. told me they didn’t need pilots. As I had been an apprentice engineer, I should train as a flight mechanic and engine fitter and transfer to a pilots’ course which I did. The rest of 1941, I was on a Spitfire squadron servicing Merlin engines, etc. I was still awaiting a pilots’ course but was overtaken by events. In 1942, four engine bombers began to arrive in the R.A.F. These needed flight engineers in the crew desperately. Notices on squadron notice boards appeared, asking for skilled ground engineers to volunteer for flight engineer aircrew. After a very short course of a week or two at St Athan in Wales and four or five weeks at English Electric Speke crawling all over Halifax bombers learning all the systems etc. I then found myself as a Sergeant Flight engineer with a crew flying Halifax on an Operational Training Unit, 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit at Topcliffe Yorkshire, becoming second pilot.

From there I was posted to the Royal Canadian Air Force, 419 Squadron at Middleton St George, Durham. From there with an all Canadian crew, I flew a number of bombing operations against German cities during this time, we had some desperate times. On the night of 24-25th June 1943, during an attack on Wuppertal in the Ruhr Valley, nemesis caught up with us. We were attacked by 3 Focke Wulf 190 night fighters and shot down in flames and the aircraft falling to pieces around us in a dive. With the aircraft still in flames, the pilot recovered some control near the ground and we crashed through some trees. This removed the wings and fuel tanks and the fire. The fuselage hit the ground and miraculously we fell out.

This part of my life is a long story which I cannot include now. The rest of the war until April 1945, I suffered as a prisoner of war in various prison and concentration camps.

After liberation and hospital treatment I was flown back to England. After such an upheaval in my life I found it very difficult to settle down to a more normal type of life. In 1948, I found my soulmate and married Betty. I went back to Armstrong Siddeley Motors and helped found the rocket research department in a very interesting and rewarding job. We are still married after 57 years. I consider myself extremely lucky to survive the war as 50% of the Bomber Command aircrew were killed. I think people today would find it difficult to understand what a strange life we aircrew led in those days. In the afternoon we could be at a dance or cinema with girlfriends. That night we could be over Germany with everyone trying to kill us. If we got back the same cycle could be repeated weeks on end. It now seems very unreal.

Reg Cleaver

Pte. William Fred Cleaver .     British Army

Cpl. Leon Adam Cleboski .     United States Marine Corps 4th U.S. Marine Regiment   from Houston, Texas)

WO. James Watson "Jock" Clelland .     Royal Air Force

My Dad, James Clelland, joined RAF in 1921 at Manston, I know he served on HMS Glorious. He also served at Shawbury, South Africa (Shalufa) Cranwell, Waddington, Binbrook, Watton and was discharged in 1955. I have a very rough, difficult to read record, his original service record I cannot find. He came from Hutchesentown in Glasgow hence his nickname (Jock). According to this record he received five good conduct badges. LS & GCM in 1941 (don't know which medal this is) Defence medal don't know the year. He lived in Lincoln all of his life when not serving but this is all I know. I have been to Duxford and seen the types of planes he worked on.

Jayne Clelland

F/Sgt. C. Clement .     Royal Australian Air Force 97 Squadron

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