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Those who Served
Capt. Denys G Meakin . British Army Staffordshire Yeomanry
My uncle, Capt. Denys Meakin of the Staffordshire Yeomanry, was captured in the Peloponnese in 1941 and ended up in Oflag VIIB. I have several postcards and letters from him there to his brother (my father). They seem to have corresponded every two months. Apparently he was well treated by the Germans, and they were allowed to do "pretty much anything". He also mentioned several times that beer was available. However, his mental health deteriorated in captivity, and he was repatriated on medical grounds around the beginning of 1945; he was never able to work again. >
Cpt. Denys Gray Meakin . British Armsy Staffordshire Yeomanry from Walton Rise, Stone, Staffordshire)
Denys Meakin was my uncle, and joined the Staffordshire Yeomanry in about 1938 as a Territorial lieutenant. He saw service in Palestine and subsequently in Egypt at Mersa Matruh.
He was then part of the ill-fated British force sent to Greece in 1941, which soon had to be re-evacuated from the Peloponnese. Unfortunately, the evacuation was not total, and Denys was amongst those captured. He was transported in cattle trucks up through Yugoslavia and Austria, and ended up in Oflag VIIB. I have a number of Kriegsgefangenenpost letters written by him to his brother Rodney (my father), who was a captain in the Royal Engineers. The letters are carefully written in pencil and show a mixture of weariness, resignation and occasionally a sort of grim humour.
His health was not strong, and deteriorated to the point that in January 1945 he was repatriated to the UK via Switzerland. He found it very hard to settle down to normal life after the War, and indeed never worked again; nor did he marry. He did, however, find a sort of contentment in retired seclusion as time went by; and I remember him as a kind, sensitive man who might have had much to offer society had history turned out differently.
Sergeant Wilfred Daniel "Percy" Medhurst . British Army Queens Own Cameron Highlanders from Kensington, London)
Wilfred Daniel Medhurst was born at 2 Devonshire Terrace, Church Road, Northwood, Ruislip, Middlesex on 26 July 1909. During the 1920's, Wilf worked in London as a chauffeur, to the boss of a hearing-aid Company called Ardente. One day he was asked to drive his boss to Scotland for a series of business meetings. Whilst up there, Wilf fell in love with a local Scottish lass. When the boss finished his business, Wilf had to think of a way of staying in Scotland with his new sweetheart. The best idea he could come up with was to join the Army, so he signed on with the Cameron Highlanders! He first enlisted in the Queens Own Scottish Regiment on 23 Sep 1927 aged just 18 years and 39 days. His romance fizzled out, but he was stuck in the regular army until 1934, when he was transferred to the Army Reserve. Then he returned to London, where he met and married his wife Dot.
He was mobilised on 2 Sep 1939 when his unit was among the first divisions to be sent to France. "When the war broke out on Sep 1939, the 1st Camerons mobilised at Aldershot and moved to France with the British Expeditionary Force, arriving at Cherbourg on 24th September 1939. They formed part of the 5th Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Division, and prepared positions at Aix. On 5th December the 1st Camerons were inspected in the field by HM King George VI, The Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment. When the Germans advanced into Belgium in May 1940, the 2nd Division moved towards the River Dyle, east of Brussels. As the BEF withdrew, the 1st Camerons fought a counter-attack action on the River Escaut, and on the 25th May 1940, held a defensive position on the La Bassée canal against an order of about 300 German tanks, until they were ordered to withdraw to Dunkirk. On 31st May 1940 the 1st Camerons embarked at Dunkirk, seventy nine strong. They still wore the kilt, and were the last Battalion to wear it in action". Extract from ‘Queens Own Highlanders’ By Lt Col Angus Fairie
In late November 1939, while passing through Orleans, France, Wilf was struck down with a ‘mysterious illness”, which had him creased in agonising pain for several hours. It took a sharp-witted doctor to ask a very simple question… “By any chance – is your wife expecting??” Wilf answered that Dot was, indeed due at any time, to which the wise doctor told him – well I think the baby is born now!! Sure enough, a few days later, word came through that Wilf had a baby daughter, and that miraculously, Dot had suffered no labour pains – it seems that Wilf had had them for her! The baby was christened Joan (after Joan of Arc, to celebrate the Maid of Orleans).
Wilf's duty was to drive a petrol tanker across France and Belgium. He told his wife, Dot,: “If you ever get a telegram saying I am missing in action, don’t expect them to find much of me if a bomb or grenade hits my tanker!” Eventually, Wilf found himself heading for Dunkirk, staying in (when he was lucky) draughty old tin huts, until he finally made it to the beaches, where was he ordered to destroy his vehicle. Then he had to watch helplessly as friends around him were killed or injured when enemy planes bombed and strafed them. At sea, he saw a troop ship carrying over 600 wounded men have a bomb dropped down one of its funnels and the whole ship was blown apart! He spent 3 days on the beach and in the water, amongst the bodies of his friends, until he was finally picked up by a little boat, shattered, wet and weary, and brought home to England. His division had been over 700. He was one of the 79 to return!
By the time the re-formed Battalion embarked for India, in 1942, Wilf (no longer fit enough to fight) was in Scotland. He was broken-hearted that he couldn't be with his comrades, but he was posted to Perth, to a small Scottish village called Auchtermuchty. He remained in the Army until he was formerly medically discharged in April 1944. From being: 'A1 - Fit for service anywhere in the world' his Discharge papers read: "..permanently unfit for any form of military service."
Wilf never worked a proper full-time job again. He drove for National Express buses and then Windsorian coach for a while, until his health broke down again. After that, a friend gave him a very temporary job as a delivery driver for Oakleigh Animal Products in Ascot, Berkshire. But he was never a fit man again after the war, and died at the age of just 52 years old, on 8th June 1965.
P/O Michael Isaac Archibald Medoza . Royal Air Force air gunner. 149 Sqd. from Chailey, Sussex, England)
(d.18th Aug 1941)
Michael Mendoza was fatally wounded on Ops to Duisburg when his Wellington was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Haelen in Holland. He is in Jonkerbos War Cemetery near Nijmegen in Holland, he was 36 years old and was married.
John Megginson . British Army Royal Northumberland Fusiliers from Scarborough)
My Grandfather, John Megginson, was 16-18 when he joined the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. He served in World War 2 not sure where but would love to find out. After the war he served in Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, Bahrain and many other places I'm sure he told me but I cannot remember. Any information on where he served or served with would be greatly appreciated.
P/O D. L. Meier . RCAF pilot 101 Sqd.
Sgt. Antoon Joannis Meijer . Koninklijke Nederlandse Landmacht from Delft)
Second Radio Officer James Mein . Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar (d.2nd Dec 1940)
John Meirion-Jones . Royal Air Force 6127 Servicing Echelon from Ansel, Poplar Cres, Porthcawl, Wales)
I found a dictionary Dutch-English and English-Dutch on B.85 Schijndel, This was a small airfield during 1945 near Schijndel and Eerde. In this dictionary John Meirion Jones wrote a note 'To Marie'. Did John survived the war? Who was Marie?
William Melland . Royal Navy HMS Ramilies
My Grandfather served on the Ramillies during its tour in the Indian Ocean, his name was William (Bill) Melland, I know very little about his service as he never talked about it when he was alive, I am currently attempting to aquire his service details from the admiralty, easier said than done.
Stoker William Edward Melland . Royal Navy HMS Ramillies from Chapel en Frith, Derbyshire.)
I believe my grandfather, William Melland served upon the HMS Ramillies, hearing that he'd been sunk on HMS Iron Duke previously, as a very gallant Stoker and only being of roughly 3 survivors of the sinking, he was rewarded the duty of chief Stoker upon HMS Ramillies serving the Queen and country and surviving. He died in 1982 aged 82, in my opinion, he was a magnificent man that helped us all in our British freedom from Hitler. R.I.P all that gave so much.
Sgt. Andrew Innes Mellis MID.. from Abbottsford, British Columbia)
My father, Sergeant Andrew Innes Mellis was Mentioned in Despatches, whilst flying from Skipton-on-Swale, Award effective 14 June 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1600/45 dated 12th October 1945. He had enlisted in Vancouver, on the 25th of June 1940 and served 23 months in Canada and 32 months overseas. His citation reads:
"This NCO has exceptional qualities of leadership. For the last year, he has had to assume a Flight Sergeant's responsibilities and has discharged them in commendable manner. When operational necessity demanded it, he has worked for thirty-six hours without ceasing. This quality of not leaving a job until it is satisfactorily completed has been the driving influence of his section."
Sgt. Walter Mellor . British Army 3rd Btn. Grenadier Guards
My grandfather was Walter Mellor, he was a Sergeant in the 3rd battalion Grenadier Guards. In the photo above, my grandfather is sat down on the front row third from the left. He was taken prisoner and held in Stalag VIII B, he was an artist who helped forge documents and papers for prisoners to escape, please could you help me find something of him.
Catherine Melloy . Women's Land Army from Rossie Brae, Collessie, Fife)
My grandmother Catherine Melloy served as a land girl during ww2. I think she worked in either Perthshire or Fife somewhere, I'm not 100% sure. She was born in 1921 so she would have been in her early twenties. If anyone knew her I'd be really grateful to hear from them.
Pte. John William "Bill " Melnechenko . Canadian Army 1st Btn. Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) from Sheho, Saskatchewan, Canada)
My Uncle Bill never talked much about the War, but what he did tell us, is that he fought for us so we never would have to go to war again.
My uncle was 32 years of age when he joined the Canadian Army in Vancouver, British Columbia. After training he was stationed at South Saskatchewan Regiment near Regina, Sask.
Upon hearing of need for men for special duties, he volunteered and was sent to Scotland for special training. He has a number of medals listed in his files but just recently we discovered why and how he was a POW.
He became a member of the Duke of Wellington Division 656003, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Battalion Royal Highlanders "The Black Watch". He did tell a few stories but they are not for the faint of heart. They had to do whatever it took to push forward and survive.
He was wounded in France in July 44, and after 6 weeks returned to duty. On October 8th, 1944 his regiment was under heavy fire and he tells of how two of his best friends were shot down. He saw the first one shot and ran out and pulled him into a trench, and then he ran out again and pulled back another of his buddies. Then he saw his last closest friend get gunned down and he ran out to pull him to safety when he was gunned down himself.
My uncle had bullet wounds from the top of his right shoulder down along his right side of his spine to just above his waist and then across his right side. He laid in a ditch for three days, weak and awaiting death when two old German soldiers found him, cleaned his wounds and carried him to a German Con. Camp. He was reported October 11th, 1944 as a POW at Stalog 6C.
Somehow, he make it home, recovered and spoiled us nephews and nieces. He was a silent man but I remember him having very bad dreams and how he didn't trust himself when he slept. He never married or had any children that we know of. He said after the war, he was not good material to be a husband or father. I don't know if I agree with that, as he was a wonderful uncle who always wanted the best for us. He just didn't want to see me with a gun in my hands even though it was for hunting geese or skunks.
He told me one time " He fought so I wouldn't or any of our family would ever have to carry a gun again."
Well, I'm married to a Canadian Forces service man and I may not be carrying a gun but we are at war again and my husband has been with the mission since its beginning. Have we lost what so many died and fought for not so long ago? If anyone knows of my uncle, I would sure like to hear your story.
Mjr. J. L. Melville DSO.. Army 5th Btn. The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Rifleman Thomas " " Melvin . British Army 9th Battalion Cameronians from Glasgow)
(d.26th June 1944)
My father, Thomas Melvin was killed before I was born. I believe he could have been killed at Haut du Bosq after having only been in France a matter of days, if anyone has any information on the regiment at that time or possibly a regiment photo I would be glad to hear from them. My mother died when I was 9 months old so I have never known very much about him. I try to build a mental picture of him in my mind, I am now 63 but think of him often and what my life would have been like if he had returned home from the war.
Private Fidel Luera Mendoza . US Army 110th Infantry Regiment from San Antonio, Texas)
My uncle Fidel died before I was born, but I remember my father telling me that my my uncle had been a POW in Germany. My father recalled only that his brother mentioned about having to work in the potato fields. My uncle got sick while a POW but I don't remember what illness he had. I found out later, that he was a prisoner in Stalag 2B but I do not know how long he stayed at that camp. If anyone remembers my uncle, Fidel, please let me know. Thank you
RSM. Arthur George Mends . British Army Royal Signals from Derby)
My Grandfather, George Mends was from Pembrokeshire. He joined the Army at a young age and was sent to Chilwell Barracks. He was in Iceland on 29th March 1941, the day my Mum was born. My Gran, Lavinia, wrote to him, asking what to call the baby and waited for his reply before naming her. She was 3 years old when she saw him for the first time and ran screaming that a strange man was coming.
George kept his silver-topped cane by the fire all his life. Does anyone remember him?
Pvt. Delbert L. Meneley . United States Army 1st Armd Regt. (L), Reconnaissance Co
My father, Delbert L. Meneley, was in Stalag 3B. He was captured February 1943 in N. Africa during the Battle of Kasserine Pass in N. Africa. He was interned 30 months.
Aircraftman 1st Class Thomas Menzies . RAF (d.6th January 1942)
My uncle, Sgt Anthony John Browne 643058 (Newmarket Cemetery) was killed on 6 January 1942 when a Wellington bomber from RAF Stradishall, No 3 Group Training Flight piloted by Flight Sergeant Frederick Thomas Miniken 903047 (Clacton Cemetery) crashed shortly after take off. Would anyone have any idea of the squadron markings as I am building a replica model?
Others killed were
Sergeant John Philpin Williams 983072 (Uzmaston (St. Ismael) Churchyard) C J Cornes Sergeant Herbert Wolstenholm 545778 (Hucknall Cemetery) Sergeant Albert David Matthews 615644 (Yeovil Cemetery) Sergeant Reginald Alfred Butcher 1200354 (Dover (St. Mary's) New Cemetery) A/C1 Thomas Menzies 1037647 (Manchester Southern Cemetery)
RWH Lawrence and MT Coon survived.
Any other information of the event or of my uncle would be most welcome. God Bless them all.
D Mercer . Navy HMS Nigeria
I have a photo of H.M.S. Nigeria with lots of signatures on the back. It says Torpedo Division 1945 and is dated 19th September 1945.
The names are:
R G Stocker Geordie Burns Ronald J Harris G Kent P Rayment W Wheatley D Chapman H J Fisher D P Sweeney A Whithead H Lockear Blimp Palmer G. Kent J Arnold ~(Sussex) A Chapman James Robertson(Jock) R E Fisher D Mercer R E Riley W L Gilbert F J Fulcher (Wind Bo'sun 1st class) D Hughes TGM G L Bowers E Ticehurst F C Welch G W Downes
Ord. Seaman E. Mercer . Royal Navy HMS Forfar
E. Mercer was amongst the crew members who survived the sinking of HMS Forfar in 1940.
Pte. Frank Belgium Mercer . British Army Kings Royal Rifles Corps from Croydon)
Frank Mercer my father died in 1995, sorting through his effects I found two photos. At first I thought they were from a training camp until I saw the address. His middle name was 'Belgium' as in the Country as his father (another Frank) was there in WW1 when he was born. His regiment was the Kings Royal Rifles, his P.O.W. number from the address side of card appears to be 7732. He did say the actor Sam Kydd was in the same camp. He spoke very little of his time as a P.O.W, but I do recall him saying he was captured at or near Dunkirk and was taken to Poland in a way that involved a lot of walking. In the late sixties when I was about 18, I went on a charity walk from Croydon to Brighton, overnight. I got back late next day and collapsed in a chair. I said "I made it dad, 49 miles!" He did not even look up from his paper but said "Huh, you want to try walking to Poland!". I also found his bank book, opened in June 1945, the first (and only) deposit was a cheque for £337, a large amount in those days. I realise this was his wartime back pay. It turns out he did not claim his medals, probably just glad it was all over and get back to normal life. I did contact the army medal unit and got them.
Pte. Herbert Mercer . Army 140th Field Rgt ,367 Battery Royal Artillery
My father, Pvt Herbert Mercer, Royal Artillery, 140th Field Reg, 367 Battery, was held as a prisoner at Stalag 8B - E3 Blechhammer he lived in hut 33 for about 4 years.
Sqn. Ldr. James Mercer . RAF pilot 78 Sqd. (d.2nd Nov 1941)
I need some information of a crew stationed at Croft till the night of the 2nd November 1941 at 0106 hours as the Whitley V got lost after a run on Kiel. After writing to the MoD I found out the Names of the Crew which are as follows:
- Sqn/Ldr J. Mercer – Pilot (my uncle)
- Sgt R. F. Duggan – 2nd Pilot
- Flt/Lt J. R. Campbell – Observer
- Sgt. T. P. Woodhouse – Wireless operator
- F/Sgt V. G. Wright – Air gunner
The R.A.F. No. for the aircraft of the Whitley Mk. V was Z9132. I now want to build a plastic model with the same markings as the one from my uncle. So it really would be nice if you could help me in my research for maybe the Identification letters on the Aircraft and nearer information on the other four chaps that got killed, for example Photographs or maybe the an E-Mail address from the relatives. The first two where EY anyway for the 78 Sqn. But the third letter is missing. It really would be great if anyone could help me with that. Thank you. It really would help me.
Kenneth Mercer . Royal Air Force from St Helens, Lancashire)
Ken Mercer was married to my mother's cousin and we are trying to complete that section of the family tree. He was from St Helens, Lancashire and was shot down flying a Halifax on the 5 March 1943 and was sent to Stalag 8B in Poland. I am looking for any information
Tpr. Allan J. "George" Meredith . British Army Derbyshire Yeomonry from Reading)
(d.10th Apr 1943)
Allan Meredith was born into extreem poverty in 1916 in Cork, where his mother lived while father served in France. His mother was in poor health and later died in Wales in 1924 leaving Allan in the care of his 14 year old sister and the Salvation Army. He survived and worked through the hard times until war came and Allan joined The Derbyshire Yeomanry A scrap of a letter dated 1942 described him being in an Army camp somewhere in UK, bored and waiting for something, he knew not what! All he longed for was "roast duck and peas like Auntie Bell cooked" and to see if he could get the nice little girl from the International Store to go out with him. In 1943 the news came to his Father that his only son was killed in Tunisia This is my Tribute to the Uncle I never knew.
Claison Meredith . Navy Class 220 HMS Royal Arthur from Neath, Glamorganshire)
I attach a photograph in my possession of Class 220, HMS Royal Arthur, taken during WW2. It came to me via a relative who knew the mother of one of the men photographed. He is Claison Meredith, back row, 5th from the left. He survived the war and was later an Anglican vicar (in Weston-Super-Mare at one time I believe). Originally he was from Neath, Glamorganshire, Wales.
F/Sgt. Peter William Merrick . Royal Canadian Air Force bomb aimer 419 Sqd. from Strathroy, Ontario, Canada)
(d.8th Aug 1944)
Peter Merrick flew with my uncle William Longmore. The aircraft, Lancaster X KB-755 coded VR-F and entire crew were lost on the 8th Aug.1944 on a mission near Caen
The crew were:
- F/O B. Walker RCAF
- Sgt. B. Jones RAF
- P/O J. Durrant RCAF
- F/O P. Merrick RCAF
- W/O1 J. Schryer RCAF
- F/Sgt. W. Longmore RAF
- F/Lt M. Wilson RCAF
I would like to contact any relatives of the crew members, any and all info will be greatly appreciated.
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