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Those who Served
Sgt Thomas Eric Edmondson. . RAF 12Sqd. (d.4th Jul 1943)
W/Op Thomas Edmondson died on 4th July 1943 in Lancaster ED820 PH-A of 12sqd
Flt.Sgt. Lewis Edmunds DFM.. Royal Air Force 150 Squadron (d.31st July 1943)
My dad Lewis Edmunds died in July 1943 only a few months after I was born. He died an awful death, in an iron lung and of polio. A friend said, only a few months ago, that the odds of dying this way must have been very high. To my young mother his death must have been devastating and she left the air force base where they were living and moved back to her parents in the North of England. Eventually she remarried and in 1959, she and my stepfather and my half sister and I emigrated to NZ.
I knew very little about my dad, except that the warm sheepskin rug in my parent’s room had been brought from Australia by him. I also had his DFM medal, a certificate and gold presentation watch from the local council, his logbook and some newspaper cuttings and photographs that my mother had saved. Sadly, when we came to New Zealand the logbook was given away, but I remember it vividly and I would love to have it back. In 1985 I visited England on holiday and I was determined to visit his family and record his story, so I joined the NZ Genealogy Society to learn how to research my families.
Lewis went to Western Australia in 1929 at that time he was only aged 18, and it must have seemed a big adventure. He was also ‘honest, steady and industrious’ according to the vicar who wrote a glowing testimony for him. It also helped that he had an aunt and uncle living there, and he was able to stay with them for a while. He returned to England, on an Australian passport, in 1935. I suspect that it was only the Depression that sent him home. He learned bricklaying but later enlisted in the RAF in 1938, moving up the ranks and training to be an Air Gunner. He was posted around Lincolnshire and in May 1941, while returning from a sortie to Boulogne, the Wellington Bomber crashed into a hill near Halstead and he was the sole survivor, though his back was broken.
After many years I was able to get the commendation that his Station Commander had written, before his DFM was announced. The investiture took place at Buckingham Palace on the 18 May 1943. A week before he died, my mum said that they were going to a wedding, dad had the flu' but he said "I am going to this wedding if it kills me". The following day mum called the Base doctor and Dad was admitted to the hospital in Donnington, where he was diagnosed with polio, and he died the following weekend.Hilary Ramshaw
Lieutenant M Nebringer Edward . USAAF 360th Fighter Squadron 356th Fighter Group
During WW2 near my village an american aircraft crashed on 25th November 1944 2.Lt James A. DesJardins MACR 10472 of 356thFG, 360thFS. 1.Lt Edward M.Nebinger was the leader. Have you more informations about the pilots or the attack?Lothar Ritzmann
Private W H Edward . Army Royal Army Service Corps
Looking for information on the above Service Man he is on Fetcham War Memorial WW2 all the others I have managed to identifyO Steele
"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 ArmyS B Flynn
P/O Charles Albert Edwards DFC . RAF 12sqd
David Thomas Edwards . British Army Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment from Blackwood)
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 JapanS 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 WishesRajiv Edwards
Lance Corporal Felicity Joan Edwards . British Army B Company A.T.S. from 11 Childebert Rd, Balham)
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)
Gunner Henry William Edward "Sid" Edwards . British Army 110th Light Anti Aircraft, 362 Battery 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 1969Michael 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
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