The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War



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PFC Harvey Leo La Doucer BSM.     United States Army 36th ID 141st   from St. Paul, MN, USA)

My Grandfather was in Company B, 1st Bn, 141st IR, 36th ID. He was taken prisoner on the 26th of October 1944 and was part of the lost battalion in the Vosges Mountains of France.

He was taken POW as part of a patrol that was trying to find a way to attack a big German road block by the rear in an attempt to try to liberate the remainder of the trapped men that he was with. This patrol was composed of about 50-55 men, only 5 returned to the lost bn perimeter. He spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Stalag VIIA.

Pedro



F/O P. Labelle .     RCAF 426 Sqd.




Chaplain Denzil Laborde .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire (d.5th Apr 1942 )

Denzil Laborde was ship's Chaplain on board HMS Dorsetshire for most of the war and was lost when the ship sank. His young wife had two small girls, the youngest never saw her father, and was only 5 months old when he died. Close to the end of the war, my father, a close university friend of Denzil Laborde, married his young widow. I grew up hearing about the tragedy from both my half-sisters and well remember the small blue book all about this famous ship, which I believe my elder sister still has.

Mark Stevens



Sgt John I Labow .     RCAF 408 sqd   from 31st Mar 1944)




Jean Lacaze .       from France)

My grandfather, Jean Lacaze, was a POW in Stalag 4c.

Isabelle



Pte. Arthur Charles Lacey .     British Army

My father, Arthur Lacey was a POW in Stalag 18a in Wolfsberg. Does anyone have any memories or knew friends of his? He was a quiet man with black hair who was a skilled pianist. He may have played in the camp as a lot of entertaining went on there. Like many he said very little about it. He was taken prisoner in Greece where his companions had had their heads blown off. He was very sensitive and suffered badly with his nerves when he returned. I was born in 1946 but had a childhood tainted by dad's post traumatic stress. He was discharged from the army with psychoneurosis, as it was then called.

Vivien Woods-Scawen



Stoker Sydney Lacey .     Royal Navy HMS Nigeria

While on HMS Nigeria it went for repairs in the USA and my dad, Syd Lacey must have attended this dance - see photos.

Bob Lacy



2nd Lt. Tom Lacey MID.     British Army 12th Regiment HAC Royal Horse Artillery   from Woolwich)

Immediately on joining in July or August 1942, Tim Lacy's CO said 'I'm going to sack the worst performing subaltern every month', which was a mighty motivation tool. This ended when they were send overseas, as a part of the First Army, to North Africa.

My dad's chief memories (he didn't talk about his wartime experiences a lot) seems to have involved food or drink - getting extremely drunk on hooch made from potatoes by his gun crew to celebrate New Year's day in 1944; eating a meal with an Italian family and eating so much pasta that he literally could not get up afterwards; and staying at a Doge's palace in Venice. He was involved in (or led?) a patrol that captured the first Tiger tank knocked-out in North Africa. Is this why he was mentioned in dispatches? I have always assumed so. He remembered Monte Cassino with bitter feelings.

Previous to joining the regular army, he was in the Home Guard. As it was obvious he would be called up (being physically fit and the right age), he was made a sergeant, to give him command experience, of a squad of very old soldiers. They wend on strike - this must be 1940 - as they refused to obey someone so young and inexperienced. He was hastily given a squad of younger soldiers until Sept 1941, when he was 21 and old enough to join the regular army.

Clive Lacey



F/O William Morris Lacey .     Royal Canadian Air Force pilot 419 Sqd. (d.13th Jun 1944)




William "B" Lacey .     British Army Parachute Regiment   from East London)

My Grandfather Bill Lacey was 21 when he went to war. I believe he fought in Italy and then Africa. He was injured (shot through the arm while parachuting) and came back to England for a year, then went back to war. From what I know he never talked about it much, but I remember him staying up and watching war films drinking whiskey and smoking unfiltered Players! After the war he married his sweetheart (whom he met hop picking in Kent) and had two children.

Will Lacey



Sgt Henry Joseph Patrick Lackey. .     RAF 12Sqd. (d.17th Jun 1943)

W/Op. Henry Lackey was killed on 17th June 1943 in Lancaster ED629 PH-K of 12sqd




F/O. H. K. Lacock .     87 Squadron (d.26th Aug 1943)




Lt. Skipper. George Ladley DSC. .     Royal Naval Reserve HMS Forfar (d.2nd Dec 1940)

My Great Great Uncle George Ladley was a Lt. skipper on board the vessel when it sank. I wondered if anybody had any information regarding him or if they can advise me where to find the information. I would be grateful for any help or advice.

Vanessa Miller



Sub Lt. Thomas Ellis Ladner .     Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve HMS Forfar

Sub Lt Ladner was amongst the survivors when the Forfar was torpedoed on the 2nd of December 1940




Margot A Ladwig .     Womens Land Army

Aunt Margot Ladwig served in the WLA during WWII 1939-1945 along with her sister Ursel. She came from Germany in 1938 and settled in Monmouth, Illinois in the U.S. Unfortunately, we don't have stories, but we do have photos. Those photos will be added to our digital collection at Western Illinois University. We still have armbands and the tie. We do not have her necklace.

Linda A Wade



Usel Ladwig .     Womens Land Army

Aunt Ursel Ladwig served in the WLA during WWII 1939-1945 with her sister Margot. She came from Germany in 1939 and settled in Monmouth, Illinois in the U.S. Unfortunately, we don't have stories, but we do have photos. Those photos will be added to our digital collection at Western Illinois University. We still have armbands and the tie.

Linda A Wade



Dennis Lady .     United States Marine Corps

Held as a Prisoner in Fukuoka 3b.




Mike Alexander Laffin .     Royal Canadian Air Force 434 Sqd.




Mike Alexander Laffin .     Royal Canadian Air Force 434 Sqd.




LAC. James Edward "Junior" LaForce .     Royal Canadian Air Force B Flight 425 Sqdn.   from Gravenhurst, Ontario)




Sergeant George LaForme .     RCAF 59 Squadron

Lorenzo del Mann



P/O Alain Laidlaw .     RCAF pilot 50 Sqd

Danielle Lawrence



Sgt. Richard Henry Laidler .     British Army 507 Field Company Royal Engineers (d.29th May 1940)

Richard Laidler died aged 40. He was born in Jarrow in 1899, son of Alexander and Helen Laidler (nee Grey). He was the husband of Mary Eleanor Laidler (nee Gwynn) of Primrose Jarrow

Richard is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Tpr. Daniel J.J. Laing .     British Army 46th (Liverpool Welsh) Btn. Royal Tank Regiment   from Forres, Moray)

Dan Laing was my great uncle and I have been researching his wartime background. He was a tank driver with the 46th Btn. Royal Tank Regiment and may have also served with the 42nd Bn RTR. He is reported wounded on 22nd July 1942 at the First Battle of El Alamein, a date which ties in exactly with the unsuccessful action of 23rd Armoured Bgde where they took heavy casualties; the 46th Btn being part of 23rd's order of battle.

He went on to serve in Italy and maybe (unconfirmed) in Greece at the end of the war. Unconfirmed family stories say he was also wounded in Italy though I found no record online of this. The story goes that Dan was wounded in Italy and ended up in the same Field Hospital (at the same time) as his brother (Jim Laing) who was with the Pipes and Drums of 9 Commando. Jim was wounded (corroborated) on 22nd December 1943 during Operation Partridge when 9 Commando conducted a raid across the Garigliano River. Jim was playing the pipes that night and stood on a landmine. Fortunately, the pipes took most of the blast, allowing Jim to recover and go on to serve with 9 Commando in Greece.

Dan married and settled in Bangor, North Wales after the war. He died in 1956. Jim went on to marry Dan's widow though he too passed away prematurely in 1966.

Mike Laing



Sgt. David Laing .     Royal Air Force 114 Sqd. (d.10th Mar 1941)

David Laing who died aged 21 whilst serving as a Wireless Operator with the RAF, was the son of William and Mabel Laing (nee Holstead) of Jarrow.

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

Vin Mullen



F/O John Rollo Laing .     Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 514 Sqdn.   from Alloa)

(d.24th March 1944)

Lancaster LL625 C (Charlie) crashed in Germany on 24th/25th March 1944. This was the last major Berlin raid. There was one survivor: F/Sgt R.B. McAlister. The full crew were:

  • F/Sgt. R.B. McAlister, RCAF, mid-upper gunner
  • F/O J.R. Laing, RAFVR, pilot
  • Sgt. A. Vickers, RAFVR, navigator
  • F/Sgt J. Knights, RAFVR, bomb aimer
  • F/Sgt. G.E. Scott, RAFVR, wop/airgunner
  • Sgt. C.A. Salt, RAFVR, rear gunner
  • Sgt. P.C.K. Bennett, RAFVR, flight engineer

    All the crew who died were buried in Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery.




  • Seaman William Laird .     Royal Navy HMS Penelope

    I was serving on HMS Penelope when she was torpedoed by a German U Boat and sunk at Anzio on the 18th of Febuary 1944. I was firing a pom pom gun at the time and didint realise that we had been hit. I survived by the Grace of God I now live in Lanarkshire, Scotland and I will never forget the men who served with me.

    William Laird



    William "Wullie" Laird .     Royal Navy HMS Penelope

    My friend Wullie Laird was on HMS Penelope when she was torpedoed and sunk at Anzio on the 18th of Feb 1944 he was still at the the pom pom gun when she was going down. He only realised what had happened when the ship was hit by the second torpedo and it started to fall over on its side. He jumped and slid down the side of the ship and into the water and found himself swimming for his life. There were hundreds of men clinging to anything that was floating and he managed to cling to a pole with other men. Lots of men were grabbing on to any space that was available and a young sailor who couldn't swim threw himself on top of it.

    Wullie was only 21yrs old himself and managed to persuade the young sailor to cling on to the side of the pole so that others could grab a space on it and stay afloat. There was a lot of shouting and swearing and screaming all around and he said at one point he felt himself drowning and managed by some miracle to stay afloat. We were in the water for three hours he said and the oil was killing lots of men.

    Wullie joined the navy at the young age of 17yrs and 6 months and his first ship was HMS Penelope, and it was always in the thick of it. He survived the war and is still living in Airdrie in Scotland. He is a friend to be proud of and has a great sense of humour. He is a gentle man from the old school. We all love Wullie he has a heart of gold. We can never repay the people who who gave everything for our future and we should never forget.

    JHorn



    Gunner Charles Alfred "Lakey" Lake .     Army 151st Ayrshire Yeomanry Royal Artillery   from Skegness, Lincolnshire)

    My Grandfather was a Gunner in HQ Battery, 151st Ayrshire Yeomanry, 11th Armored Division, British Army. He fought in Normandy and in Holland before pushing into Germany until the War ended when he went to India. I recall a story he told me which I haven't forgotten. He gave me permission to share his story. He and his outfit were stationed in Caen just after D-Day. The regiment was then given the word to advance to a new posistion. In the process a random shell had fallen and wounded a nearby despatch rider. My Grandfather was ordered to tend to the man, whilst the rest of his outfit moved forward. He stayed with him and used his field dressing to bandage the mans numerous wounds until medical personnel arrived. When they arrived they took over. "I'd done my bit", and he went about finding his unit. "I knew roughly where they were". He followed their tracks and after a couple of hours of walking he found them after crossing through a large field. He reported to his battery office and continued his normal duties. Overnight the Royal Engineers had been in and cordened off a field in white tape, indicating it was a minefield. When my Grandfather woke he saw the tape and the field, "I nearly had a fit when I saw it". He had realised he had walked across 5 acres of mine field to rejoin his unit. When I asked him "so after you'd walked through the field you realised it was a minefield" he replied "Yes, after my afternoon stroll through the minefield". "Thats what serving in the forces is all about, luck". After hearing this story I shall never again complain about my familys lack of luck. It was used when needed most.

    Chris Lake



    Capt. H. N. Lake .     Royal Navy HMS Forfar

    Capt Lake was the captain of HMS Forfar in June 1940 when she sailed from the Clyde to join the Northern Patrol.





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