The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War



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Those who Served




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"Taff" Edwards .    

My father-in-law, Taff Edwards who is now in his eighties, was a Prisoner of War at Stalag 8b. He was known as Taff during the war as he came from South Wales.

He is anxious to hear of his friend Mick (sorry, don't know the surname) who was with him. All he can remember is that Mick came from Canvey Island in Essex. He and Mick worked at a mine as cobblers mending the men's shoes. Any news of Mick would be welcomed. Taff is well but recently widowed.

Julie Mackinder



PFC. Arlin Clay Edwards .     United States Army 112nd Infantry Regiment   from Arkansas, USA)

My grandfather was a prisoner in Stalag 2A from 11/08/1944 until 6/08/1945.

Debra Edwards



F/O Burdel Frank Edwards .     Royal Canadian Air Force pilot 419 Sqd. (d.13th May 1944)




Dvr. Charles Leonard Edwards .     British Army

S B Flynn



P/O Charles Albert Edwards DFC .     RAF 12sqd




Pvt. Douglas Edwards .     United States Army Ordnance Department   from Georgetown, Alabama)

Douglas Edwards was a survivor of the Bataan Death March and was held POW in Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

S B Flynn



E. V. Edwards .    




Pte. Edwin George Edwards .     2nd Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) (d.24th Mar 1945)

Edwin George Edwards died aged 27 whilst serving with the West Yorkshire Regiment, he was the son of Rose Edwards of Jarrow.

Edwin is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Captain Ernest Edwards .     British Army Royal Medical Corps   from Lahore, Pakistan)

I am trying to trace my father's military background. He was born on 11th January 1906 and passed away on 23 Oct 1977. He was a doctor who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as part of British Indian Army from 1941-1945. He had served somewhere in the Middle East (have an old photo of him at El Alamein!!). Will be grateful for any information including the units he served with and locations where he was posted etc. Thank you Best Wishes

Rajiv Edwards



Lance Corporal Felicity Joan Edwards .     British Army B Company A.T.S.   from 11 Childebert Rd, Balham)

ARBORFIELD 1942-1946

Now that I am 85, and the anniversary of the outbreak of the 2nd. World War is approaching my thoughts return to those years that followed, and to Arborfield, and wonder how many of the men and women I served with there, are still with us today.

I joined the A.T.S. at the age of 18 in 1941 and spent the greater part of my war years at Arborfield as a Cinema Projectionist in charge of training films that were constantly shown via my two 16mm Gebescope projectors. These mainly dealt with the maintenance of the Churchill, Cromwell and Sherman tanks, there was also the Coventry, and the almost obsolete General Lee One of the historic events that took place at Arborfield that I felt very involved in,was the construction of a long water tank with vehicle ramps at both end. This happened just prior to the invasion of Normandy. I received an American film ‘The waterproofing of vehicles’ This I showed constantly during the weeks leading up to the invasion. (Lessons had been learned from the Dieppe disaster) Not only was this film shown to those passing through the various training courses at Arborfield but also to the Canadian officers and men who were camped around us in the surrounding countryside. With their many forms of transport awaiting for that significant day when they would drive onto the beaches of France, without the fear of breaking down with waterlogged engines. At one time I was taken in a waterproofed jeep, down one ramp through the water tank, and up the opposite ramp. I think I was being given a reward for the many hours I spent showing that film. I did not really enjoy it.

Those war years spent at Arborfield are very clear in my memory. I can still see Brigadier Buttonshaw taking the salute at the parade, the day that R.E.M.E. was formed, and must be now one of a very few who were there on that occasion and can still remember it. My cousin has offered to take me on a visit to Arborfield, but I doubt if I would recognise any of it now, except for the water tower, if it is still there. Army legend had it, that it would only fall when a virgin walked past. THE BIRTH OF THE’ROYAL ELECTRICAL MECHANICAL ENGINEERS’ I was posted to the Royal Army Ordinance Corp at Arborfield, Berkshire, in1942 as a Cinema Projectionist to show training films to the Officers and N.C.Os. who were attending one of the 29 week training courses that were being held there, and found myself showing long, and to me, tedious films on the care and maintenance of the Churchill, Sherman and Cromwell tanks, on the 25 pounder gun and on things like the planetary gear train and synromesh transmission and on the recovery of vehicles with a Leyland breakdown lorry. Whenever I found converation lagging in those days, the approved method of getting a Churchill tank out of a shell hole, was always something I could fall back on. I was very conversant on that subject.

I shared an office with a chap called Joe Semp, and Sergeant Major Mann. When I was not showing training films I worked with Joe amending army manuals and pamphlets with out dated text, with stickers that carried new versions. This was a tedious job which was relieved by a sideline when Joe acquired a book of blank leave passes. We had a R.A.O.C. stamp which we used on the books and pamphlets to identify them as the property of the Royal Army Ordinance Corp. Joe and I worked opposite each other at a table between two windows When Sergeant Major Mann left the office, word would get around, and one by one chaps would begin to appear at the window on my side and ask for a leave pass. Ever ready to oblige I would stamp one and pass it across to Joe who would add the necessary officer’s signature and return it to the individual concerned through his window. Joe was very good at supplying a variety of signatures. As most of our customers had to get through main line stations which were laced with Red Caps (military police) forever eager to examine leave passes, they wanted unobtrusive signatures like Captain Simpson or Lieutenant Jones. Others who preferred to live dangerously requested the signature of Field Marshal Montgomery, General Wavel, or even Mickey Mouse. Most of us who lived in London managed to avoid the Red Caps who patrolled the mainline station at Waterloo, by jumping off the train one stop earlier at Vauxhall.

The permanent staff of this R.A.O.C. training establishment had been recruited from a variety of different regiments, as well as from the County regiments with all their proud history. It was not a happy day for Arborfield’s personel when it was decided that a new regiment was to be formed encompassing the whole establishment.

We were to become the Number 1 Training Establishment of the R.E.M.E. and the birth of this new regiment was to take place in the October of that year 1942. This meant that all the well polished cap badges so proudly worn of the former regiments were to be handed in to the stores and exchanged for a very brassy looking new R.E.M.E. badge which was not looked upon kindly. All regimental flashes had to be cut from uniforms. All this created a lot of disenchantment in the camp, and that was not diminished when it was learned that the new regimental march would be a mixture of the well known ‘Lillibularo and the theme music from Walt Disney’s ‘ Snow White and the seven Dwarfs’(Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to work we go) That for some was the last straw. We members of B. Company. A.T.S. could only look on and sympathise, while also wearing our new R.E.M.E. badge above the left hand uniform tunic pocket. We were now attached to this new regiment. These are the trivialities that I remember to the run up to the day when the whole camp was assembled on the large parade ground to celebrate the formation of our new regiment, by which time badges looked a little less brassy, and there was confidence and pride in being part of this new elite military establishment.the R.E.M.E. I remember so well marching on to that parade ground to the new regimental march which was being played for the first time. No one dared to catch any one else’s eye when the ‘Hi ho. Hi ho’. bit came in. We were inspected by the very top brass, and watched the R.E.M.E. flag hoisted to the top of the mast head for the very first time. It was a day to remember.

I was at Arborfield towards the end of the war, after a short posting to Derbyshire, and remember those early evenings when we stood and watched while squadron after squadron of ‘flying fortresses’ filled the skies, to take their part in the carpet bombing of Germany. It was the sound of war at its deadliest. The whole camp stood in silence and watched, and not even one small voice asked “What the hell are we doing?” We remembered the defenceless city of Warsaw, our cities like Coventry and Portsmouth. There were many like myself who had endured the relentless bombing of London during the Blitz, and no one said “Has Bomber Harris gone mad?” With the distance of years; and with hindsight it is easy to make moral judgements and to campaign to take down the statue of Bomber Harris erected to honour him and Bomber Command. You really need to have stood where we were standing in our time to understand what the reality of our day was really like. My heart will always go out and embrace the men who served in Bomber Command. Ethics are the luxury for those who have come after us. If there is anyone out there who remembers Arbofield during the war, and who perhaps remembers me as Lance Corporal, F.J. Edwards. A.T.S. please contact me.

Felicity Medland



Sgt. Frank John Edwards .     RAF(VR) air gunner. 106 Sqd.   from West Molesey, Surrey.)

(d.13th Jan 1943)




PO. Fred Edwards .     Royal Navy HMS Nelson

Fred Edwards was born in 1920 to a family of 11, 5 sons and 6 daughters . When he was 12 (1932) his mum became a victim of cancer. At the age of 17 in 1937 he joined the Navy.

In 1939 World War 2 started. During his years in the Navy whilst at war, Fred survived the sinking of 3 of his ships, by enemy bombings. Fred had many roles in the Navy, but by far his most important was as a diver, where he would dismantle bombs underwater, rescue people and repair sinking boats. Fred ran marathons up until he died at the age of 90.

Liam



Pte. Frederick George Edwards .     British Army Royal West Kent Regiment

I know very little about my father`s wartime history.Dad had a torrid childhood - "joining up" to escape his poor family life. Fred lived in Maidstone (I think)and was in the Royal West Kents.Dad died in 1997 and so did any chance of me finding out about his survival at Stalag XXa (Thorn/ Torun).Frederick George Edwards, as he was born, later adopted the name Willetts.This period of his life is all very hazy and I`m not sure if he went to war as an Edwards or a Willetts.

I believe he was in the TA prior to being sent overseas.Like many who survived the horrors of WWII he would not talk openly or extensively about his time as a POW.From the little I have been able to find out I know he was captured at the begining of the war, spent the rest of it as a POW, and was on that infamous "march".

He did tell me he was part of a bren-gun unit (?) and was captured because "he couldn`t run fast enough." He laboured on a farm and recalled that he once killed a pig for food and was beaten by a guard.He remembers returning back to the UK in a Lancaster/Wellington and flying low over the White Cliffs of Dover.

He once talked of a Les Syveter as a pal.There is a reference to a Fred Edwards in one of your articles but after much searching back through your letters etc. I can`t find it. Please, if anyone has a reference to my Dad I would be very grateful to hear from you.

Malcolm Willetts



Stk2. George Henry Edwards .     Royal Navy HMS Prince of Wales (d.10th Dec 1941)

George Henry Edwards died aged 26 in the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales, he was the son of Jim and Rose Edwards and husband of Sylvia Susannah Edwards of Jarrow.

George is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Sea. Glyn Edwards .     Royal Navy

S B Flynn



F/L H. W.J. Edwards .     97 Squadron




Sgt. Haydn Winston Edwards .     Royal Air Force 76 squadron   from Middx)

(d.1943)




Gunner Henry William Edward "Sid" Edwards .     British Army 110th Light Anti Aircraft, 362 Battery Royal Artillery

Gunner Edwards 110th Light Anti Aircraft, 362 Battery, Wessex 43rd Division, Royal Artillery

My Grandfather, Henry William Edward Edwards (Ted) Signed up in 1939 with the Dorset regiment. He was transfered to The Royal Artillery in 1942. Not sure at what point he became to be in the Wessex 43rd, 110th Light Anti Aircraft. I have a boxing trophy he won on the 31st May 1944 which states 362 Battery RA LAA. I have many Photos of him during the war, and have some information given to me by my uncle. He was part of a 40mm Bofor Light Anti Aircraft troop. The bofor was a towed gun, not a static or mounted on a vehicle type. From the information and detective work I have done, I believe that my grandad was in H troop. 362 Battery consisted of H & J Troop. J Troop had the mounted bofors. H troop i believe where attached to the HQ's. The photo below of my grandad outside a THQ in europe.

I Would love to get intouch with someone who had a relative in the battery or 110th in general.

Lee Fortis



Pte. J. Edwards .     Home Guard Signal Sect. Workington Btn.




Jack Edwards .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria

Jack Edwards served on HMS Nigeria throughout her WW2 service and has written a book detailing his experience of Royal Navy training and time aboard this ship. 'Twenty-two Hundred Days to Pulo We: My Education in the Navy' is available from Amazon. In the book, Jack recounts many of his experiences on the ship allowing us to appreciate what these sailors did for us all in what were often extremely hard conditions at sea.

Jack joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman in 1939 and during his five years or so on HMS Nigeria undertook many Arctic Convoys, got torpedoed in the Mediterannean, was involved in the capture of Enigma machines, experienced Russian visits ashore, ending up in the Far East. The ship had a busy war with many interesting events befalling her and it seems important to me that stories like this get told and don't become events that get forgotten or are not even heard of by the rest of us. Thanks Jack - to you and all your shipmates who served on HMS Nigeria.




James Edwards .     Bevin Boy

Jimmy Edwards was killed by a cave in whilst serving as a Bevin Boy.




Private James Alexander Edwards .     British Army 6th Btn. Seaforth Highlanders   from 13 Queens Lane, Lossiemouth, Morayshire, Scotland)

James Edwards was a Prisoner of war in German hands. He was interned in POW camp Stalag XXA from where put on move on 9th June 1940, according to a capture card and document dated 26th November 1940. He was admitted to Stalag XXD on 1st November 1940, according to a document dated 26th November 1940.

Terry Lynch



Sgt. John Percy "Nat" Edwards .     British Army Royal Welch Fusiliers   from Guilfield)

My late father, John Percy Edwards, gave a false age and joined the 7th Battalion RWF Territorial Army aged 15. He served for 2 years 1931-1933. In 1934 he joined the Regualr RWF. After recruit training at the Depot Wrexham he joined a Coy 1st Battalion RWF.

In 1939 he was an Instructer at the Wrexham Depot and later became known as Sgt Nat Edwards. In 1942 he volunteerd for the Airborne. He was then sent to the 10th Battalion RWF which became the 6th (RWF)Parachute Battalion the Parachute Regiment. He saw active service in North Africa, Italy, South of France and Greece between 1942 1945. He was discharged from the army Feb 17th 1946 and placed on the Z Reserve. He died age 53 dec 31st 1969

Michael Edwards



John Boyd Edwards .     Royal Canadian Air Force 408 Squadron

Being Remembrance Day I have been looking online for anything I can find about the RCAF 408 Squadron, that my grandfather, John Boyd Edwards, served with in World War 2. He passed away in 1983. During the time he was alive he would not talk about it. We believe that he flew a Halifax bomber, the only photo that we have of him during that time is him standing beside a Lancaster with a photo of Vicky the Vicious Virgin on the nose. Online we can find photos of a Halifax with the same nose art. We have several of his wartime things in a museum, like his flight log, photos of him sitting on the wing of his trainer a yellow pearl, his commissioning scroll, and charge papers, for when he was charged with writing off an aircraft but was found not responsible (we know no more about this) and other belongings. He arrived in England on April 4th 1944 and stayed until the end.

Do you know any other information? Anything that even comes close to touching this would be ever so helpful. My father is a huge WW2 nut, and has always been craving to know more about the story of my grandfather, his father-in- law.

Lyle Warren



Flt.Sgt. John Anthony Edwards .     Royal Air Force

My Dad, John Edwards, was an RAF air-gunner. His Lancaster was shot down on a sortee over Manheim and my Dad and two colleagues parachuted and "went on the run". Some weeks after when they were in France, a farmer gave them up to the Germans and they were sent to Stalag 4b. That was near the end of 1943 and he stayed there until the camp was freed by the Red Army.

My Dad would not talk about his experience and he died at the age of 90 in 2012. To that day none of our family was ever allowed to leave food on the plate and had to eat everything - and, from reading the accounts from his colleagues at 4b, that surely resulted from the near starvation they suffered Jan-March '45.

For those who know of him he was a useful boxer and then a boxing manager until he retired from that at the age of 85. I still have his Stalag 4b metal tag and because I know so little, I am going to visit the site of the camp next month. If anyone remembers Jack/Johnny Edwards RAF rear gunner, I would love to hear from him. I wish he had told me something more about camp life- except that he said that no one now knows what it's like to be really starving and his jocular reference to a Russian prisoner he befriended who asked him to "special dinner" that night. He could not believe the marvelous stew that was served and when he asked about the meat, his friend said with a smile "woof woof" guard dog.

Lavon Thorpe



Able Sea. John "Pops" Edwards .     Royal Navy HMS Bedouin

My grandfather Able Seaman John Edwards served on HMS Bedouin and was on her when she was sank in 1942

Robert Willson



Sergeant K A Edwards .     RAF 59 Squadron

Lorenzo del Mann



S/Sgt Ken Edwards .     Royal Air Force   from 167 Upper Woodcote Road, Reading)

A friend of mine is in search of information her uncle, Ken Edwards, who we believe was a Glider pilot on a mission to Arnhem and was taken prisoner and in Stalag Luft 7 Bankau.

I believe he died in the early/mid seventies but would never talk about his experience during the War.The only mention of him we can find is in David Scott's Diary of my Time as a P.O.W. which lists him as one of David's room mates. We do know that there is a trophy dedicated in his name which is apparently awarded to Alan Sugar's "The Apprentice"

If anyone can help by pointing us in the right direction it would be a great help.

Graham Molyneux



F/O. Peter Leslie Edwards .     Royal Air Force 408 Sqn.   from Kings Norton, Birminghsm)

(d.3rd Jun 1942)

Flying Officer Peter Leslie Edwards served with 408 (Goose) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force and died on the 3rd June 1942.

Martin Pratley



Pte. Raymond Edwards .     British Army Royal Artillery   from Merthyr Tydfil)

My late father, Raymond Edwards, was taken POW in Dunkirk and spent some time in 20A at Torun and endured the long march, leaving him so sick he spent six months in hospital recovering. As well as being at 20A he also spent some time in a camp in Italy where I believe he was working on building a dam, I presume this must have been before going to 20A. I so enjoyed reading other peoples' accounts, like so many other POWs my father would say very little about his time during the war. Also, like others he did not want to claim his medals.

Ray Edwards




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