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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Sgt. Fredrick Ivor Geoffrey "Figgy" Cole .     Royal Air Force B Flight 103 Squadron   from Melton Mowbray)

My Grandad, Fredrick Ivor Geoffrey Cole was a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner for 103sq at Elsham Wolds during the period of September 1944 - March 1945. His Lanc, a B1 LM272 PM-C 'Charlie' carried him and his crew safely for 36 operations.

His pilot was a Canadian called Luke Morgan (Luke died in 2009 shortly after a BBC film crew did a short documentary about him at the BBMF). His Flight Engineer, a gentleman called Syd Marshall is still alive at the time of writing and in good health working as a guide at RAF Coningsby for the BBMF.

Sadly, Grandad passed away in 2001.

Matty Durrance

Sgt. Grahame "Gus" Cole .     Royal Air Force 114 Squadron   from Northampton)

Ian Cole

Sgt. Henry Thomas Cole .     British Army 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment   from Romford, Essex)

My Father, Henry Thomas Daniel Cole was a regular soldier serving with 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment. In May 1940 he was at Dunkirk and swam one mile fully clothed in order to board a rescue ship "Icenic". In October 1940 his wife, Edith aged 33yrs and his sons Terrence, 5yrs and Alan, 9mnths were killed in an air raid shelter in Cottons Recreation ground, Romford, when a German bomber loosed off its bombs before returning to Germany.

On the 16th of October 2010, to mark the 70th anniversary, a memorial service was held in Cottons recreation ground. As a result of finding relatives of Edith, two sisters, Elsie and Gladys and her brother Chris, I was invited to attend the Ceremony along with them and their families. Friends of Cottons Park made this ceremony possible.

Mary Legg

Pte. John William Cole .     Australian Army

S B Flynn

Lt Col. Joseph M. Cole .     United States Army Air Forces (d.22nd Feb 1944)

I am researching the death of Lt Col Joseph M Cole Jnr who fatally crashed in a Mustang in the field next door to my house in Bellingdon,Chesham,Bucks(51oN 0oW) 22nd February 1944. There is little information but I have sent for crash report from USA due to arrive soon.He gets a mention for an accident on 20/11/1942 at RAF Atcham, Shropshire. I think it says 6FW Squadron, Aircraft type Miles Master. Any help anyone can give me will be much appreciated.

Katharine Dallas

Pte. Marshall Noel Cole .     USAAF 48th Matl Sqdn.

S B Flynn

Cpl. Roy Lee Cole .     United States Army B Btry, (AA) HDM & SB 60th Coast Artillery Regiment   from Kansas, USA)

S B Flynn

Ted Cole .     Royal Air Force air gunner. 9 Sqd.

Eddie Sullivan

Pilot Donald Colebrook .     Royal Air Force 607 Squadron

My father - Donald Colebrook was a pilot in 607 squadron in Burma - he died in 1984, but I still have his flying log books Rod Colebrook

Rod Colebrook

Rfm. Charles Coleburn .     Army 9th Btn. Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)   from Oldham, Lancashire)

(d.24th Sep 1944)

Tpr. Arthur David Coleman .     British Army 4th Regt Reconnaissance Corps   from Peterborough)

My father joined the 5 Bat Northants Regt on 30 April 1939 aged 31 and was posted to France with the BEF. He was one of the lucky ones at Dunkirk. On 22 January he transferred to the new Recce Corps where he served with both 4 Regt and 1 Regt and saw action in North Africa and Italy.

He was discharged from the Army 18 September 1945 and settled back into civvy life in Peterborough where he was born and raised. He became a prominent councelor and served his community for many years and died in Peterborough Hospital in May 1988. He is sadly missed.

Stephen Coleman

Pte. Cyril Coleman .     British Army   from London, England)

All I know is that Cyril Coelman was in Stalag XXA/58 and XXA/22. His number was 521

Roslyn Meeve

Cpl. Dexter Cashwell "D.C." Coleman .     US Army   from Elizabethtown, Bladen Co., NC)

Kenneth Lee Coleman, Jr

Pte. Gilbert Raymond Coleman .     United States Army Air Corps 20th Pursuit Sq.   from Connecticut)

A.B Herbert E Coleman .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria (d.12th Aug 1942)

A.B Herbert E Coleman .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria (d.12th Aug 1942)

Canteen Manager William Henry Coleman .     Navy Army and Air Force Institute HMS Forfar   from Milton, Hampshire)

(d.2nd Dec 1940)

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

Maureen Atkin

Pte. Edward John "'Happy'" Coles .     British Army 2nd Btn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry   from West Devon)

Janet Coles

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.

Susanne Lyndon

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.?

Shane Elphick

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.

J.A. Schofield

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

Lorenzo del Mann

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

Irene Sayer

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?

Mark Thompson

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.

Jeremy Collier

Muriel Gladys Collier .     Land Army

k.d.collier (brother)

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