The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War



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Those who Served




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Ed "Mac" McNeil .     US Navy 103 Sqd. Fleet Air Wing 7

Ed McNeil flew with crew 20 from Dunkeswell in 1944/5



Ronald William "Mac" McNichol .     RCAF   from Manitoba, Canada)

I am very grateful to have found this site. My father, Dr. Ronald McNichol, was trained in England and flew bombing raids over North Africa. He was a navigator/bombadier (Wellington) who survived being shot down twice, and was a POW in P.G. 78 in Sulmona, Italy. He and his dear friend, Jack Harlton, escaped from P.G. 78 during a time of confusion when the guards thought the war had ended and opened the gates. It had not, and it is my understanding that many of them were shot as a result. For my family, Daddy's service and adventures in World War II are rich sources of pride and gratitude. He is our hero. Before his death, he wrote about several of his wartime adventures. I would be glad to post them if anyone is interested. Also, if there is anyone who knew my Dad or knows of P.G. 78, I would like to hear from them. Many thanks for preserving these priceless histories.



Pte Haskell McNutt .     (d.27th April 1945)

Held as a Prisoner in Fukuoka 3b.



Bosns-mate. McPhail .     Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar



Sergeant Alistair Mcphail .     Cameronians Scottish Rifles

I am trying to find any information on my uncle Alistair Mcphail. I don't really know much about him, but I think he was killed. I dont know any dates etc. but I have some pics.



Ldg, Seaman John George McPhail .     Royal Naval Reserve HMS Forfar   from Dagenham, Essex)

(d.2nd Dec 1940)



Flt.Sgt. William Stevenson "Mac" McPhail .     Royal Air Force 106 Squadron   from Paisley)

My Father, William Stevenson McPhail, was Flight Engineer on Lancaster LL 975 ZN-H, in 106 Squadron based in Metheringham. On June 24th 1944, on a bombing mission over Pommereval attacking a rocket construction site, his Lancaster was shot down. Only he and the Bomb Aimer, Bill Knaggs managed to bail out. Bill Knaggs was picked up by the resistance and spent the rest of the war as an evader. My Father, however, was picked up by the Germans, found hanging by his parachute in trees surrounding the target. After interrogation by the Gestapo, he was transferred to Stalag Luft 7, from where he escaped, returning the the UK via Poland and Russia. Before his death, Bill Knaggs wrote a short book, The Easy trip, recounting his evader exploits. My Father died in 1984 and Bill Knaggs in 2007.



Dorothy Mary "Doff" McPhee .     Land Army

hi i would like to find out if i could get my moms badage Ihave alot of pics of her in the land army thanks James Mcphee



Mo Mcpherson .     Land Army



Theodore Pershing "Mac" McPherson .     US Army 4th Armored Corps

We discovered after my father died that he was a member of the Patton’s 3rd Army, 4th Armored Corps. His name was Theodore Pershing "Mac" McPherson and he was captured near Hammelburg, Germany on March 28th 1945 while with Task Force Baum. He arrived at Stalag VIIA at Moosberg on the 19th and liberated on April 29th. Dad kept a journal in a Christmas card he received from Mom. My brother and I have always wanted to know more about his service. > >



Pte. James Neil "Red" McQuarrie .     Canadian Expeditionary Force   from Oak Lake, Manitoba)

My Dad, James Neil McQuarrie was the third Canadian on the Beach at Normandy. My Auntie recently gave me a container with some of Dad's things in it that Gramma saved. I came across a sketch that Dad had done in 1944 while imprisoned in Staleg XIII B. A self portrait with a poem. It is very touching. Hard to read, when its your Dad and all. He is 91 years old and living in a retirement home here.



W/O J. E. McQueen .     Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd.



Jack McQueen .     RCAF 419 Squadron   from Winnipeg)

I'm one of the daughters of Jack McQueen, Squadron 419, and we finally have his story down on paper. He was a rear gunner on the Lancaster and the only survivor of his crew. He was a POW. It took him all these years to be able to talk about the detail of his experience.

John F. McQueen, rear gunner, 419 Squadron

When he was 17 Dad wanted to enlist in the Navy but he couldn’t gain enough weight to meet the requirements. He went many times to be weighed but finally decided to join the Air Force. He had to get his dad to sign for him since he was 17 and should have been 18 to join.

He started at the Brandon Manning Depot where all recruits began their first training. He went on to more specific training and when in training at Mt. Pleasant, P.E.I. he met Pat O’Hara who became dad’s best friend. He was with dad right through training including O.T.U., Operations Training Centre, and they ended up in the same squadron, 419. Dad became the rear gunner of the Lancaster.

The night dad’s Lancaster was shot down he remembers a small plane coming at them so fast. He called for evasive action but nothing seemed to be able to stop the small plane. He found out later it was an 18 year old pilot and the small plane had been upgraded to 50 calibre bullets and the Lancaster only had 30 calibre so the pilot was able to continually stay out of dad’s range. When dad’s plane was shot down, dad had his parachute on and ejected. His boot got stuck and it ripped right off. A week or so before being shot down dad had asked permission to put a seatpack (parachute) on for extra speed to avoid losing time instead of leaving it just inside the plane as standard procedure. It would save lost time in opening and closing the hatch door. He never would have been able to open the door and pull out the parachute in time.

Dad remembers landing in a tree and didn’t know what he should do. He could hear dogs barking and a farmhouse was close by. His Lancaster was close enough to him that he could see it and knew no one else survived. He listened to kids getting closer so he stayed very quiet. He could see they had guns and they had gone over to look at the plane. In the morning he crawled down from the tree and over to a hedge row and tried to hide behind a bit of growth. A small dog started sniffing in the hedge and came across dad and started barking at him. Dad tried to coax it to stop barking but it wouldn’t quit. A Russian prisoner, forced to work on the farm, went over with a pitch fork and found dad and motioned for him to stand up. Then a German farmer came over and yelled at the Russian who was only there to help with chores. The farmer helped dad over the fence and said he’d like to let dad go free but couldn’t. It would have been too risky for him and his family. He brought dad into his house and he met his wife and 12 year old daughter. She could speak some English and went right away for a map to see where dad lived. He showed her Winnipeg and the daughter showed her father where dad lived and the farmer said “do you know my brother?”, as he measured with his finger on the map from Manitoba to Illinois. Dad, of course, said no he didn’t know him. The farmer said he wished he could hide dad but said it would be too dangerous. He didn’t want the “kids” getting dad and said not to say anything bad to them or they would instantly kill him. He told dad he would call his friend who was the mayor of Hosfeld, the town nearby. The mayor went out to their home the next morning on his bicycle and brought a rope. He tied dad to the rope and dad walked behind him into town. He was missing a boot but the farmer had given him a pair of wooden shoes to wear. He tied dad to the rope so that the “kids” wouldn’t shoot him. When they got into town the mayor tried to make arrangements for an army group to guard dad but then the commander of the “kids” got hold of dad and tore his cigarettes out of his pocket and then put dad into a cell. The “kids” took everything they could from him. Then they got a Homeguard fellow to come and guard.

In the morning a young pilot came in and he told dad he was the one who shot dad’s plane down. That’s when he explained the 50 calibre bullets. He took dad to a train and sat beside him the entire time. They went to a building in Frankfurt where the interrogation area was. They kept dad there for 3 weeks. He was in a boarded up room with a hanging light that never went out. The same fellow came to him each morning and yelled at him and got very mad. He was trying to break him down. Dad said he felt very numb.

After 3 weeks of interrogation he was sent to the distribution point where he was given shoes and clothing. Most everything had “U.S. Army” written on them. They were the belongings from the dead U.S. soldiers. Then they went on a train and everyone was jammed in and standing up and traveled to the first concentration camp called Stalagluft 7 at Bankau. Dad was a prisoner from October 1944 to June 1945.

When the Germans were being pushed out by the Russians and Allies they had to take the prisoners on the “forced torture walk” to get to the next POW camp. Dad has the original newspaper articles written in August 1945 by Joseph John Walkty who wrote from his diaries of the torture walk dad was on. Sgt. Walkty was the commander of dad’s POW group. He was the one who negotiated the things they needed from the Germans. Dad said his account of the march is exactly what they all went through.

After the walk they ended up at Luckenwalde POW camp and stayed there until they were finally freed by the Russians. When the Russians were closing in, the German guards threw their guns to the prisoners so it would look like the Germans were the prisoners. When the tanks came in to free the prisoners they started tearing down the fencing and dad’s group just started walking and in a few days were picked up by the Americans who were there to take them back. On the march the Germans had blown up every bridge they crossed so when they were walking with the Americans and came upon a blown up bridge the Americans put a cable across and everyone had to hold on tight to make it across. A few fell off and were washed away in the current never to be seen again.

They were taken to Brussels and were washed thoroughly with brushes and then sprayed and then after they had a nice shower. All of their clothes were washed and dried for them. Then they were taken to a big room for a feast and they couldn’t believe how good the food smelled. When they saw so much food they started filling their plates and the women serving them said they could eat as much as they wanted but should only take small portions to begin with. Afterwards they knew why. Their stomachs had shrunk and they couldn’t eat what they had hoped they could.

Dad arrived back in Winnipeg and was so happy to be home at last. He still has the original copy of the newspaper clipping saying he was missing in action, his squadron crest from his hat, his wings, a German label with a swastika emblem that a guard had given him in the POW camp, as well as pictures and original news clippings of the torture march. Kathleen McQueen had sent away for the pictures that were taken in the POW camp, which were taken at dad’s camp.

Two days after arriving home he went to a dance and met mom…and they lived happily ever after!

Dad never talked about his experience all of those years because he not only wanted to leave the memories of terror behind, but he had always blamed himself for being shot down and felt guilty being the only crew member to survive.

The crew were:

  • P/O A.I.Cohen RCAF
  • Sgt R.A.Campbell RCAF
  • F/O G.W.Murphy RCAF
  • F/S J.H.E.Goldfinch RCAF
  • Sgt R.F.Emerson RCAF
  • F/S L.F.O'Hara RCAF
  • F/S J.F.Mcqueen RCAF



F/Sgt. Jack F. McQueen .     Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd.



Paddy McQueen .     British Army Gordon Highlanders   from Aberdeen)

My Grandad, Paddy McQueen, who I never met was held in Stalag 9c. He died before I was born and I just recently really found out about his war history, does anyone remember him?



Flying Officer Hector Earl McRae .     RCAF 428 Squadron (d.22nd September 1943)

I would be glad to get in contact with anyone who may remember the crew of Halifax LK-635 NA-H of 428 squadron, pilot F/O Mcrae. In his crew was Sgt James Wright an great-uncle of my wife. All killed on Ops 22/23 Sept 1943 Hannover Raid.

The crew were:

  • F/O Hector Earl McRae RCAF J/20195, killed age 23 (Runnymede Memorial)
  • Sgt Donald Ernest Jeffery, RAF VR 1862968, killed (Runnymede Memorial)
  • Sgt Leonard Cotton, RAF VR 1516171, killed (Runnymede Memorial)
  • Flt/Sgt Walter Edward Dickson RCAF R/1556913, killed (Runnymede Memorial)
  • Sgt Arthur Reginald Bohn, RAF VR 1415741, killed (Runnymede Memorial)
  • Sgt James Wright, RAF VR 1590868, killed (Runnymede Memorial)
  • Sgt Edward George Miller, RCAF R/183626, killed, age 19 (Runnymede Memorial)



  • John Glendinning McRobert .     Bevin Boy   from Canonbie)

    My Father Jack McRobert was a Bevin Boy who wanted to be a pilot. He studied Engineering at Falkirk Mining College and worked at Denny, Plean and Machrahanish Mine. He was a Shot-firer and was always involved in humorous events. On one occasion he put grease on a telephone ear piece and waited for the Ganger to lift the phone.



    Pte. John McShane .     British Army 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry   from Sunnylaw St. Glasgow, Scotland)

    My father John McShane, served in the HLI during WW11. He was very proud of this fact and often told us stories when we were children. Two of his friends that I remember him talking about were Colin Brown and Rab McGrath both also from Glasgow. If anyone knew my Dad I would be very interested in hearing from you



    2nd Lt. John B. McShane .     United States Army COM L 28th   from JERSEY CITY N.J )

    My dad Jack McShane spent 4 years in Europe. He was wounded 3 times from 42 to 45. He lost his brother at Normandy and cousin, Francis McGovern, on the beach. He had to endure running with his brains on his shoulder which turned his hair white. I have several hundred of his letters to my Mom, all intact, from Antwerp, Bastone, Bulge, Normandy, Hurtgen etc. But, I don't know what he really endured as when he came home he never spoke about it and endured the nightmares til his passing in 84. Please e-mail me with any info. Also, I have his officer's uniform he was married in and if there is a memorial place I would donate it to further honor him.



    Don McTaggart .     Royal Canadian Air Force rear gunner 419 Sqd.



    F/Sgt. W. J. McTaggart .     Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd.



    Sgt. Anthony Patrick "Mac" McTeer .     Royal Air Force 150 Squadron   from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne)

    My Dad, Anothony McTeer was shot down on the first night raid on Budapest Hungary on the night of the 3rd/4th of April 1944, he was a rear Gunner on LN858 Wellington MK X based at Amendola Italy 1944. His Pilot Sgt G G Pemberton, four of the crew survived although wounded. In my Dad's case his ear was shot off, and the bullet went into his head, which he carried until the day he died. He thought, at the time, he was keeping a bit of his flying helmet for a keepsake! The Wop lost an eye, he was Sgt Redpath RAAF, the other two Sgts Taylor and Bennett were uninjured. The pilot Pemberton pulled off a masterful landing on Lake Balaton however he bled to death from a leg injury as he was hit. I have no knowledge of Taylor and Bennett, which is a shame.

    I have been in contact with the German Pilot Hans Krause of NJG 101 based at Parnsdorf Austria, he was flying a Dornier Do 217N a converted Bomber, Hans told me that my Dad's aircraft was his last kill with Nose Guns as he then flew a Junker JU88. He said that he attacked LN858 from the rear but he got caught in the propeller back wash, causing him to use more ammo on this occasion than on any other. He hit the Port Engine and he waited for it to cause the aricraft to crash which he said happened more often that not, but the fire in the engine died out and all he could see was a red glow, he wanted to attack again but because of the hills all around Budapest he did not. He put in for a kill but the Luftwaffe Command said no as there was no proof. The next day he and his crew took off to have a look, and sure enough he saw LN858 in the water. Hans sent me more than ten shots of LN858 where I had only two photos of it, Hans also said that my Dad hit him quite a few times but no bad damage occurred.

    My Dad wound up in Stalag 344 Lamsdorf where he stayed until he went on the Death March eventually being rescued by the Russians, which is another story.



    A B Francis Gordon "Mac" McVittie MID.     Royal Navy HMS Nelson   from Stoke on Trent )

    My father, Gordon McVittie (known as Mac),volunteered to join the Royal Navy in Nov.1941 when he was 17. He, in fact, altered his birth certificate so it looked as though he was born in 1923 and not in 1924 his actual birth year. His certificate of service shows that Mac's first posting was the 'Collingwood'. Presumably this was a training ship? In Jan.1942, he was sent to HMS Victory and served there until his transfer to HMS Nelson in March 1942.He stayed on Nelson until Jan.1944, during which time he was made up to Able Seaman. The certificate then shows that Mac served on a number of ships including; The Pembrook, Odyssey, Dartmouth and Vernon. HMS Vernon was where he under took training to become a deep sea diver and was instructed on the dismantling of unexploded bombs, the clearance of mines and underwater obstructions. Following this training Mac was sent to wherever he was needed in order to clear the seas and create a safe passage.It was during this time that he was twice mentioned in despatches.He then returned to HMS Victoria in Jan.1946 from where he was discharged in June 1946. Mac had very fond memories of serving on HMS Nelson and always considered this to be his ship,despite having served on many others. After the war,Mac married Norma,joined first the fire service and then the police service, from which he retired at the rank of Inspector in 1976.At the time of his death in June 1986,he was survived by Norma,two children and three grandchildren.All of whom love and miss him, especially his 'old sea tales'.



    Albert William Mead .     Army Royal Artillery   from Birmingham)

    My granddad, Bill Mead, is a veteran of WW2 and I am currently trying to find anyone who remembers him or has any photos that may be of interest to him. He was a member of the Royal Artillery, is from Birmingham and was in Stalag VIIIB Lammsdorf and Stalag XXA.



    Albert William Mead .     Army Royal Artillery   from Birmingham)

    My granddad, Bill Mead, is a veteran of WW2 and I am currently trying to find anyone who remembers him or has any photos that may be of interest to him. He was a member of the Royal Artillery, is from Birmingham and was in Stalag VIIIB Lammsdorf and Stalag XXA.



    Private Robert Lional Mead .     Army Royal Army Service Corps (d.2004)

    My Dad, Private Robert Lional Mead, served with the Royal Army Service Corps. He was captured at Dunkirk and spent the duration of the war in Stalag XXB. He is in the picture sent in by Robert Hedges' family. We have several photos taken in Stalag XXB. He died in 2004 aged 91.



    F/O Victor Francis Dobell Meade .     Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 630 Sqd. (d.17th May 1945)



    Private James Albert Meadowcroft .     Army 1st Bucks. Battalion Oxford & Bucks. Light Infantry

    My father was in the BEF defending Hazebrouk in France as part of the Dunkirk retreat. He was captured and sent to Stalag XXI B and at the end of the war walked across Germany, returning home by USAF transport plane. I was born in 1940 and did not see my father until his return home in 1944. He lived until 1990 but hardly ever spoke of his wartime experiences. I have photos etc. similar to those on your site and have also been to Hazebrouk.



    Pte. James Albert Meadowcroft .     British Army 1st Battalion Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry   from Aylesbury, Bucks)

    My father, James Meadowcroft, was captured at 2130 hrs in Hazebrouk, Northern France on 27 May 1940 with a group headed by Major Elliot Viney who had been in an orphanage garden. He was taken by train across Germany to Stalag XXB in Poland.

    I was born in 1940 and did not see my father until he returned home. I understand he walked out across Poland and was picked up by the Americans who flew him back to Wescott Bucks. He was taken to Hartwell House near Aylesbury to clean up, which was only a mile or so across the fields from home.

    I have a few POW photos from this time but otherwise know nothing about his time in the POW camp. For years after I can remember him waking in the night, swearing in German as described by another writer on this site.

    I would appreciate if anyone has any further information as he would never talk to me about his experiences. Two years ago I attended a ceremony in Hazebrouk where they have set up a plaque remembering the stand taken by the Ox and Bucks and others. Also a similar ceremony at Cassel.



    Alfred Ernest Meadows .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire   from Plymouth)




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