The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War

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Flight Sergeant Robert Kerns .     RAF navigator 166 Squadron   from Nanton, Alberta)

My father, Robert Kerns, a Canadian from Alberta, Canada served with 166 Squadron from 1943 to 1945. Dad was a navigator and did his 'tour of ops' then promoted to flight sergeant with Jim Dunlop's crew. Dad is almost 97 years old and we think the last surviving member of his crew. In south/central Alberta, in a ranching town called Nanton, some people hauled an old Lancaster built in Alberta, into town in 1985. Since then, the Nanton Lancaster Museum to which we belong, has grown into a world class museum dedicated to Lancasters. We dedicated a plaque with photo of dad's crew to Nanton. When a new wing is built, replica nose art from "Beer Barrel" the plane they flew in which did 118 ops, painted on a six foot piece of Lancaster 'skin' will be hung along with the plaques we gave Nanton. We are endeavouring to preserve the memory of those who flew for the 'freedom' we so casually enjoy today. Thanks for listening

Rose Balcom

C.S.M. "Geordie" Kerr .     Army 1st btn The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

Midshpmn. Allan Kerr .     Royal Naval Reserve HMS Forfar

Midshipman Kerr at the prizegiving of a boxing match onboard the Forfar 10th July 1940 he beat OS Penny on points.

Thursday, 12th Dec. 1940.

A week ago today, I was one of fifty-nine survivors of H.M.S. Forfar to be landed at Liverpool. At noon on the same day a party of eighty-seven were landed at Oban by the cargo steamer Dunsley and on Saturday 7th a final batch of thirteen were landed at Gourock by H.M.C.S. St. Laurent, thus bringing the total of survivors to the all too slender figure of one hundred and fifty-nine.

On Sunday night, 1st December, I kept the first watch (8 p.m. till midnight). At eleven o’clock that night I entered in the log “2300 – parted company with destroyer escort”. We had received a wireless message giving the position of a torpedoed vessel and had altered course to the Nor’ard to keep clear when we got another message from Admty. telling us to keep well to the South’ard. By eight bells we had made our second alteration of course and everything was running smoothly. I turned over to my relief and best friend Mackay, and his “Cheery-night” is the last word I heard before going below.

It was a black night, with no moon, and the fitful starlight occasionally obscured by cloud. I undressed, said my prayers and turned in quite happily. My sound sleep was soon broken by a terrific crash! Immediately I was awake. “Torpedoed” flashed through my mind and just as quickly I prayed and switched on my light. Never will I forget the eerie silence that prevailed. The engines had stopped and the lights were dimming rapidly. “Action Stations” was sounded on the klaxons, but this seemed to drain the last few dregs from the dynamo for it petered out and all went black.

I pulled on my uniform and an old jersey on top of my pyjamas, a scarf, cap and raincoat as well as the all-important lifebelt. I can still distinctly remember being annoyed when one of my shoe-laces broke as I pulled on my shoes.

I had an electric torch in my raincoat pocket and by the aid of this light I made my way to the bridge. In the lower chart-room I was able to assist Mr. Broadhurst who was holding a light for the navigator, Lt. Cdr. Kenworthy whilst he (the navigator) plotted our exact position on the chart. This was 54? 19’ N, 19? 54’ W. We should have met our convoy in about 40? W so we had got barely half-way. Broadhurst said, “I suppose it was a torpedo, sir?” and Ken answered, “Oh! Yes.” Well, the position having been ascertained I proceeded out on deck to find out what was happening. I was told that the order had been piped “Proceed to boat stations, turn out boats and stand-by.”

I accordingly proceeded to P3, my boat and the lower of the two (P2 & P3). P2 was swung outboard, when it was remembered that the plugs were not in. Meantime, there being no-one, neither officers or men, for P2, I went below to the Prom. deck in search of same. While here I saw the Bos’n and asked his advice on throwing overside the rope-ladders. With the help of Bos’n’s-mate McPhail we payed out one, then A.B. Smith (Corpl. of Gangway) helped in getting the after one over. During these operations, as the ship rolled in the moderate swell, the rush of air up the engine-room ventilators was quite unnerving. It roared up in a screaming crescendo and I had to take a firm grip on myself to prevent my shuddering. I saw Chief Skipper Ladley at this point, with a bag which he told me contained “a bottle o’ w’iskey and a bottle o’ brandy.”

I next proceeded back to the boat deck and there still being no officer in sight, in charge of P2, I went off to the C.B. room in search of Mr. Ascroft whose boat it was. I found him, in shirt-sleeves, packing the surplus C.Bs into Joe’s (Mid. Ormerod) suitcase. I asked him to come along to his boat as the order had now been given to lower same and stand-by the ship. He asked me if I was P2 and I said, “No sir, P3”. He then gave me a small case containing his personal papers, Master’s ticket etc., told me to take charge of P2 and to get going. On returning yet again to the boat deck I found Lt. Machin in charge of P3. He saw I had a torch so he told me to get into P2 and see that the plugs were in. Two seamen and myself were doing this when at 0345 (0445 G.M.T.) there was a crash seemingly right below us and P4 boat, not 10 ft. away, was smashed.

I crouched low while the debris was flying, realised that I was alone in the boat, took fright and jumped out, into P3 directly below. I heard Ashdown sing out that his boat (P4) was smashed and that his crew would just have to muck in with us. I clambered back into P2. At this stage the 3rd torpedo struck, Port side also, deluging us with water which came spewing out of the engine-room vents. etc. Having survived the previous one, we just crouched low and survived this one also, although now thoroughly soaked. The plugs now being in, one seaman manning the for’ard fall and myself the after one, I gave orders to lower away. I bawled out to ’vast lowering as we came level with the Prom. deck. The ship now had a slight list to Port because we hung about 3 ft. out from the ship’s side. I yelled into the blackness of the Prom. deck “Anybody here for P2?” There was no answer as the deck was deserted. I bawled to the lowerers to carry on lowering and we were soon in the water. The after fall unhooked itself as we rose on the swell and we lay alongside made fast by the painter to the Prom. deck.

Men now came down the rope ladders and as she settled some even jumped from the Prom. deck right into the boat. There would be nearly 20 men in the boat now and I was trying to slip the painter when someone in the water screamed my name. I was dripping with oil fuel even now, as the painter was thickly covered in it, however I got good grip of the young fellow who I think was Radio Cadet Fraser. Another chap and myself were endeavouring to haul him inboard when with a shattering roar we went sailing into the air. The fourth torpedo had struck directly below my boat blowing us right out of the water.

I thought this was finish. I can remember being down under and striking out mechanically for the surface. Just previously I had seen a Carley float for’ard of the boat. I swam to this to find the Postie, P.O. Lazenby and L/S Frank Mayo already “on board”. There were many others inside and all round so I just hung on for a while. Even in these circumstances the lads had to laugh at my appearance. Now capless, with hair and face coated thickly in that treacle-like oil I am sure I was an odd sight. While hanging there, Ken Fisher, a coder, came along and he was in a similar state. The time of the 4th torpedo striking us was approx. 0353 (Zone Time).

Two minutes later the 5th and last torpedo struck, again on the Port side. This was the final blow as the ship broke in two owing to the after magazine blowing sky-high. She was well down by the stern now and I remember the ghastly cracklings as the after end bent inwards crushing the decks like matchwood. She heeled quickly over on her Sta’b’d side, the after end disappeared, and as she settled, she turned right over and sank slowly and steadily by the stern. We had paddled like mad to get well away, but as there were twelve of us and only 2 paddles we did not get very far. However, as she turned over on her Sta’b’d side, she went away from us and there was little suction owing to the slow speed at which she finally settled. As the bows slid away for the last time I said, “Well boys, there goes the last of the old Forfar.” I don’t know why I should make such a melodramatic statement, but it didn’t seem right to me that she should make her last exit unannounced.

We could now see many Carley floats all round and men swimming in the water. We managed to paddle clear of the dreadful oil. I now managed to haul myself onto the float so that my chest rested on the side thus taking the weight off my arms. I kept kicking my legs slowly all the time to keep up the circulation.

Some hours had passed, but it was still dark, when to our great joy we heard a steamer blowing. We could dimly discern her lines and we made a big effort to get alongside. I smelt the cooking from her galley and promised the boys food and sleep. Well, paddle as we might we could not make it, but drifted past her bows and off to leeward. We spied our cutter (the Sta’b’d. one) which had a good number on board, and bellowed at her to give us a hand. She came alongside, took two fellows off (O’Brien and McIvor) then pushed off saying she would come back for us.

In attempting to board the cutter, other two of our number lost their lives. By now we were pretty numb with the cold and could do nothing to help them. One fellow had a leg inside the float and the rest of him in the water. L/S Mayo reported this to me, and on ascertaining that he was beyond help we just had to disentangle his leg and push him overside as his weight was a heavy drag.

We hung on and as it grew light we could clearly see the steamer S.S. Dunsley of Whitby, 3,860 tons, owned by Headlan and Sons of Whitby as she steamed around picking the lads up. We were patiently hanging on awaiting our turn. It was springing up blowey now and we tried to keep the float head to wind, then we tried to keep as near the steamer as possible. This however did not prove a task for which we were able in our present state so we drifted further and further away.

What I think would be three hours after we first sighted her, the Dunsley pushed off. It was a most sickening feeling to see her go. Some of the boys would not believe she was going and brave Mayo, although knowing the truth in his heart, informed us that that she was just picking up more of the lads who were “over there”. I too realised the truth but said nothing.

We all felt thoroughly miserable now seeing our only hope steaming away over our horizon. We did not know that the Dunsley had sighted the destroyers away in the distance and was going to enlist their help. I reckon the time then was about 10.30 a.m.

Anyway, there were a number of floats still about, so we didn’t feel too bad, as long as someone else was in the same plight. We attempted to paddle towards what we thought was a boatload of men, but what turned out to be several Carleys lashed together. Then I definitely did see a boat, the now abandoned cutter. For this we paddled and paddled and paddled. Sometimes we seemed a little nearer, I always encouraged this line of thought at any rate. I remember a shower of rain came on and we smiled a lot of twisted smiles, thinking aloud, had we not already had enough? At about 3.30 p.m. a Carley float overtook us in the race for the cutter. I could see that one of the four occupants was my friend John Morrison, who was still wearing his peculiar little Sou’wester with the bow on top.

We hailed them, saying, “If you get to the cutter first, bring her over for us, and if we get there first (what a hope) we will do the same for you.” They waved a cheery acknowledgement and the four of them, with a paddle each, seemed to whizz off like a speedboat. Before long we saw them tumble on board and we saw that someone else had got there too.

Then we espied an aircraft. This also proved very tantalising as she seemed to fly around the horizon and indeed, to do anything but fly over us.

I wondered if she saw. Anyway I cheered up my mates by assuring them that she did. I now believe such to have been the case, for about an hour later what was our joy as she came close over us to be followed by a destroyer. This was quickly followed by the appearance of a second destroyer and we knew at last that our salvation was at hand. How we thanked God, and shouted, one of us jeopardising the lives of us all by standing up and waving a paddle.

By now we were much nearer the cutter whose mast had been stepped and from which hung a signal of distress in the form of somebody’s scarf. To make the rescue work of our destroyers easier, we made a final big effort and at Mayo’s suggestion, manned a paddle between two. Thus, and by dint of counting up to ten many times, we made the cutter, whose occupants, having fed and rested, got out the oars and met us halfway.

Willing hands helped us tumble inboard and presented us with the oiliest, filthiest but most delicious bully-beef and biscuits which I have yet tasted. This we washed down with equally oily and delicious whiskey which was passed from one eager mouth to another with most amusingly audible enjoyment. From other Carleys we now collected Sub. Lieut. Rogers, Engineer Sub. Lieut. Askin, P.O. Gaskell whose leg was broken and who had received a cut on the head. In the company of these and other grinning “coloured gentlemen” we made further inroads in the iron rations and completely drained the whiskey bottle.

We now sat quite happily watching the destroyers as they picked up some of our less fortunate mates, then the great moment arrived when H.M.S. Viscount came alongside, threw us a line and one by one, took us all on board. It was like heaven. The kindly faces and ready, welcoming hands. We staggered along for’a’d where I was taken charge of by a jovial bloke name o’ Woolcock, L/S. He tore the clothes off me, gave me an amazing and scanty assortment of dry ones and proceeded to wipe my face down with a piece of waste soaked in kerosene. I must have been some sight, judging by the colour that waste became.

I was then given a great mug of hot tea, during the consumption of which I learned that “Joe” (Mid. Ormerod) was also on board. As soon as I was dressed I went to seek him out. I found him arrayed, like a Red man, in a blanket. We were both overjoyed at our meeting and stuck together till we finally parted in the station in Liverpool, where we were landed, three days later.

On board the destroyer we were treated most kindly and have many happy memories of our stay there: the sleepless nights with Joe’s elbow in my ear and Donald Lusk’s knees in my stomach, occasionally being trampled by the none-too-small but happily stockinged feet of Big John Connolly. These disturbances together with the “screwey” motion of the ship gave us much to think about, and to discuss!

I mourn the loss of so many splendid men, but I thank God for them, for their grand example and for their memory which I shall always cherish.

Allan W Kerr.

Mid Shipmn. Allan Weir Kerr .     Royal Naval Reserve HMS Forfar   from Port Glasgow)

I've just been reading the crew list attached to the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS 'Forfar', and I note that AB Penney was outpointed in a boxing match by Midshipman Kerr. The said Mid. Kerr is my late father (sadly he died on 11 Apr 09, but he'd had a good innings, and his death was quick and clean), and I remember him telling me about that boxing match, when the MC announce that he "awarded the victory to Mr Kerr for the clever use of 'is left 'and!" I don't suppose there will be too many Forfar survivors left now after almost 70 years (the only one who comes to mind is another Mid, John Ormerod), but I did meet one of her former crew in Bermuda nearly 40 years ago, one Alec Foster (regrettably now deceased), who had served on Forfar in the spring of 1940 before being transferred to MTBs that summer. It just so happened that my wife worked as nurse/receptionist in Bermuda for Dr Liz Galloway, who just happened to be Mrs Foster! How's that for coincidence? My father, and my wife's boss's husband, shipmates on HMS Forfar 50 years previously!

Davie Kerr

J. Kerr .     Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd.

James Kerr .     Navy   from Glasgow, Scotland)

I have just found out through tracing my tree that my Grandfather James Kerr served on the HMS "Pepperpot" Penelope. My mother always mentioned a story about the ship which mentioned my Grandfathers name in it. By doing some research I have heard of a book called HMS Pepperpot by Ed Gordon. If anyone has this book, or indeed has an information relating to my Grandfather I would love to hear from you, merely to see if he is actually named in it.

Andrew Mackay

John Lewis Kerr .     New Zealand Army

John Lewis Kerr .       from New Zealand)

I have a paybook of my late Father's John Lewis Kerr of New Zealand. Written in pencil on the back 2 pages are the brief details of his capture in 1942 to 1945 in a POW camp. I am expecting more copies of letters he wrote from 1942-1945 to arrive from Australia soon. These letters will give us more of an insight into our Father and what he experienced during those years. Another who seldom spoke of his wartime trauma.

Jan Kerr-Chaplin

Pte. Matthew Kerr .     British Army Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

My father Matt Kerr recently died aged 92 and he was one of the last soldiers from the Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders to leave Saint Nazaire. I am trying to find out if he actually left on the Lancastria or another boat? He always maintained he sunk three times during the Second World War and I wondered if the Lancastria was one. Anyone with any ideas please email me.


Padre Robert Wallace Kerr .     Army Durham Light Infantry

I would like any information at all regarding my grandfather's time with the Durham Light Infantry. He was Rev Robert Wallace Kerr, a Padre in WW2, and I would welcome anything someone might remember.

Nicola Cooke

Capt.(Padre) Robert Wallace Kerr .     British Army 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry   from Belfast)

Nic Nicholas

Pilot Officer T D Kerr .     RAF VR

Lorenzo del Mann

P/O. Thomas Donald Kerr .     Royal Air Force 59 Squadron   from Southport, Lancs)

(d.3rd June 1941)

Thomas Kerr was my uncle. just didn't want him forgotten.

James R Kerr

Flight Sergeant C L Kershaw 1100819.     RAF VR 59 Squadron

Lorenzo del Mann

P.O. Stanley William "Jake" Kerswell .     Royal Navy HMS Hunter

My father was a survivor of H M S Hunter of Narvik, his name was Stanley William Kerswell and was a Petty Officer. He was known to the crew as 'Jake'. If anyone remembers him please email me. Many Thanks


Sgt. Arthur Edward Kerton .     British Army Royal Norfolk Regiment

Arthur Edward Kerton served with the Royal Norolk Retiment. He spent time as a Prisoner of War in Stalag 8b

Gnr. Charlie J Keslake .     British Army Searchlights Royal Artillery

My father Charlie 'Chaz' Keslake was a POW in Stalag VIIIB from 1940-45. He rarely spoke of his experiences as a POW and what little information my family have I will post here in the hope that someone may remember him. Dad was with the Royal Artillery (Searchlights) and was captured at Dunkirk in 1940, spending the rest of the war in Stalag VIIIB. We think he worked as a hospital orderly for a time, and someone taught him to perfect the art of Pitmans Shorthand. We know that after the war he continued to write to Jack Minson from New Zealand and the name W. Bright features amongst his possessions. We would love to hear from anyone who may possibly remember Dad, or from anyone who could provide some insight into his time at Stalag VIIIB.

Doreen Keslake

Private Ludwig Dominic Kessler .     Polish Army

Ludwig Kessler was in the polish army. When captured he was wearing a german uniform. He was captured in Belguim/France and was brought to Dover in around 1942/44. He told us that after 24 hours he was back in Polish uniform. He was stationed at Dover, Deal, Edinburgh and Ireland.

Whilst in Dover he was stationed in the Tunnels and was in Dumpy. Although he was never taken back to the tunnels before he passed away, he could describe them to us, his family.

We found his initials carved on the walls of one of the tunnels along with other polish names. We have been told by the National Heritage that he would have had to have been of a high rank to have been there, but according to the report he gave to Polish Resettlement he was only a private. We believe he was of higher rank which he let slip on a few occasions. His father and uncle were of a high rank in the Polish Army. His father was Colonel Kessler and his uncle was a Brigadier-General.

Can anyone help us to try and trace his records?

Christine Hewitt

Sgt. George Kesten .     Royal Air Force 101 Sqd. (d.4th Nov 1944)

George served with the Squadron in 1944, I know that George and the rest of his crew took off from Ludford Magna at 17.38 on 4 November 1944, en route for Bochum. The aircraft was Lancaster 1 ME865 SR-K on ABC duties. Six of the crew of eight were Canadians. George was the specialist operator. All eight perished that night and are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

The crew comprised:

  • F/O G. T. Weiss (R.C.A.F.) pilot
  • Sgt. D. F. G. Day Flt. Engr.
  • F/O W.F. Moran (R.C.A.F.) Nav.
  • F/O J. H. Quirt (R.C.A.F.) Air Bomber
  • F/O A. N. Gould (R.C.A.F.) W/Op AG
  • Sgt. G. Kesten Specialist Operator
  • P/O W. J. Cpommins R.C.A.F. Air Gnr.
  • P/O J. L. Gallant (R.C.A.F.) Air Gnr

I know that there was (and still is) a lot of secrecy about what was going on at Ludford Magna at the time, and those with obvious Jewish names were encouraged to change their names accordingly, but whether that would have anything to do with George’s name not being on the 101 list I don’t know. George was a Polish Jew born in Berlin.

I joined up with George in 1943. The Gestapo forced him and his family out of their home in Berlin at a moment’s notice. His sister got to Switzerland and George managed to get to London. His parents perished in Poland in the Holocaust.

George and I were together for 13 months, but he responded to a call for volunteers for special duties who could speak fluent German. I went on to Wellingtons and George went on to Lancasters at Ludford Magna. Six weeks after I last saw him, he was dead. I still miss him. I am 84 and I he were alive today he would be 87.

Len Jackson.

"Ginger" Kett .     Army

Ginger was in Stalag 8b with my Father, Arthur Booker, if anyone remembers him or his fellow POW's please get in touch.

Editors note: There were two men named Kett in Stalag 8b, Pte A.J.Kett, Devon & Cornwall Light Infantry and Pte. D.G. Kett, Royal West Kent Regt. Does anyone know which is Ginger?

Barbara Jutsum

Horace Kettle .       from Waitara, New Zealand)

My father Horace Kettle was captured in Crete and I wish to know more about what it must have been like to be in a POW camp like Stalag 8b. My father was Horace Kettle, Waitara, New Zealand. I have a note book that he wrote poems and drew pictures in. One page has a rugby team written in it, names are:

  • C. Cockerill nz
  • H Wigley nz
  • D Mc daonald nz
  • S Hadfield nz
  • P van Der Watt nz
  • C Spanhake nz
  • T Stewart nz
  • B Fisher nz
  • D Hawkins nz
  • R Hill Wales
  • A Ross Scotland
  • F Mariner Eng
  • G Biddlecombe Eng
  • D Muir scotland
  • D Scott nz
  • H Cousins Eng
  • F Appleton Eng
  • B Robins Eng
  • E Townsend Eng
  • E Lewis Eng
  • J Matthews eng
  • E Evans wales
  • A Hutchison eng
  • H Small Eng
  • T Wikes Eng
  • H Nellor Eng
  • H Smith eng
  • J Collerton eng
  • E Manwaring eng
  • S Baker eng
  • A Hewitt nz
  • G Grigor scotland

Phyllis Trelease

S/Sgt. Douglas Kew MID.     British Army 61st Reconnaissance Corps   from Harrow)

Malcolm Kew

Bert Key .     RAMC

My father, Bert Key, was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was captured about the time of the Dunkirk evacuation. He was cut off with four other men while trying to rescue some wounded men who were needing attention. In the Camp he was in several shows which were put on and also he was in charge of the medical stores.

I was 10 when we last saw him (Christmas 1945) and 15 when he returned. What a waste of years. Mum and I missed him and we lived in London when he was missing. We heard he was a POW during the blitz and his first letter told my mother to 'take Shirley and get out of London', which she did. We were reunited just before the end of the war because he was sent back with some wounded men being repatriated because the Germans knew the Russians would arrive soon.

I regret not asking him more about the camp when he was alive - he died in 1977. He was a lovely man. I have read Sojourn in Silesia by Arthur Evans. I intend to visit the museum with my three adult children this year - any advice would be useful.

Shirley Jones

AbleSea. James Key .     Royal Navy Torpedoman HMS Penelope   from Kempsey, Worcester)

My Uncle, Jim Key, served on HMS Penelope through the Malta convoys and the sojourn in the US until the fateful sailing for Anzio when he was sent on a course. I cannot find any mention of him so far in the records and wondered if anyone knew of him.

Garry Key

Ida Keyes .     Land Army

I was living at Thorpe End near Norwich during the war, on my parents’ farm. On one occasion I had a head-on collision with an American army truck which ran into me in the fog in Salhouse. The American army had bought a field off Sir Edward Stracey who lived in the Hall, and they turned it into an airfield. They had done the same with many landowners. On the occasion of the collision the Americans were travelling on the wrong side of the road. I was taken to the American’s hospital and seen by an American doctor. In the evening the local policeman came round to see me. My vehicle was condemned, but I recovered in a few days. Afterwards I would wake up at night and think about the accident.

I used to collect three German Prisoners of War each day and bring them to my parents’ home to work on the farm. They worked well. When it was time for them to go back one of them cried. I used to take them for breakfast in the morning and mother gave them a jug of tea and lunch. There was a Captain Richardson in charge of them, and he used to book them in and out each day. There is now a church on the site where the Prisoner of War camp used to be – on the West side of the Heartsease Estate near Mousehold.

After a raid I used to drive into Norwich in the blackout to see if my grandparents were alright. They lived on the Plumstead Road near the prison in a bungalow they had had built for them – it was about three miles from where I lived in Thorpe End. We had a C license to run a vehicle and used to get petrol coupons from Cambridge. We had to apply to Cambridge every month for the license. We could hear it in Thorpe End when they were bombing Norwich. Carter the builder built out dug-out for us. There were steps that went down into it, and we had real beds in there, so we thought we were safe. They killed a family on the Salhouse Road when their house got a direct hit. They were a wealthy family of bankers.

Ida Keyes

Nisar Ahmed Khan .     British Army

My grandfather, Nisar Ahmed Khan, was a soldier of Britain in Second World War and he fought at Benghazi place as prisoner of the Germans.

Jays Khan

Sgt William Henry Kibby VC.     Australian Army 2/48th Infantry Battalion   from Australia)

(d.31 October 1942)

S. Flynn

Albert Edward Kidman .     Auxiliary Fire Brigade Dockhead   from Trinity Church Square)

I have been trying to find out under which 'division' my father Bert Kidman, served from 1939-45. He received, or should I say through the help of my cousin, post-humously a Civil Service Medal. I have his Fireman's axe, photos of him in uniform & with his 'section' and his medal. I want to create a 'display' incorporating the pre-mentioned items in a case for my son & grandson - is it possible to be sent a 'logo' or emblem that my father would have served under to that I can carve it for the display. Was it the Auxillary or LFB he belonged to? Can anyone help me, I have tried the LFB museum - they wouldn't help.

Editors Note: The AFS and NFS badges are widely available online.

John Kidman

RSM. P. Kilbey .     British Army Coldstream Guards

I collect POW mail and have a preprinted card in respect of a money transfer sent from Stalag 383 by RSM Kilbey, P. serial number 2653008 sent to the Regimental Paymaster, Coldstream Guards on 30 Sep 1944 but not received by the addressee until 24 Feb 1945.

Jim McKay

Sgt. Herbert Edward Kilburn .     Royal Air Force 619 Squadron   from East Ham, London)

(d.31st Aug 1943)

Herbert Edward Kilburn was my 1st Cousin once removed. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve which accounted for 95% of Lancaster Bomber crews by 1943. He was a Sergeant in 619 Squadron stationed at Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire. This Squadron was formed in 1943 by merging several other squadrons, and was in No. 5 Group of Bomber Command. In 23 months Squadron 619 lost 85 aircraft and 600 men. Sadly Herbert's Lancaster Bomber was shot down above Hanover in Germany on 31st August 1943. He is buried in a War Graves Cemetery in Hanover, Germany.

Susan Stone

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The names and stories on this website have been submitted by their relatives and friends. If your relations are not listed please add their names so that others can read about them

Did you or your relatives live through the Second World War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial? Were you or your relative evacuated? Did an air raid affect your area?

If so please let us know.

Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.

Celebrate your own Family History

Celebrate by honouring members of your family who served in the Secomd World War both in the forces and at home. We love to hear about the soldiers, but also remember the many who served in support roles, nurses, doctors, land army, muntions workers etc.

Please use our Family History resources to find out more about your relatives. Then please send in a short article, with a photo if possible, so that they can be remembered on these pages.

The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

This website is paid for out of our own pockets and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.

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