The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War



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F/O. William J. Mawdsley .     Royal Australian Air Force 23rd Operational Training Unit   from Nathalia, Victoria, Australia)

(d.2nd June 1942)

Bill Mawdsley was born in 1912 and became a school teacher. In early 1941 he took part in No 9 Course, No 4 Empire Flight Training Scheme at Mascot New South Wales. He was then posted to "Y" Depot, Halifax, Canada leaving his wife Lorna at home in Australia.

After arrival in England he was completing his training at the 23rd OTU at Pershore when he was sent with his crew as part of the second "Thousand Force" night raid to Essen in Germany. He was in command of a Wellington 1c bomber - No R1266-GZ and took off from Pershore at 23.05 and did not return from the mission.

Nothing was known of them until 8 years later when Dutch bulldozers excavated the plane with its dead crew. They had been shot down over Holland and crashed near the Terwindt Brickyard at Kerkdriel (Gelderland) on the west bank of the Maas and and some 13kms west-south-west of Oss in the neighboring province of Noord Braleant. It was thought that two of the crew had perhaps bailed out but not survived. He is buried with his crew at Uden War Cemetery.

Noel Thompson



Lt/Capt Jesse Frederick Mawer .     British Army 279 GT Coy Royal Army Service Corps

My father served as a lieutenant, then captain, with the Royal Army Service Corps during WWII from 1940/41 until 1946. I have a collection of photographs of him in the Middle East in 1942/43 in Baghdad (279 GT Coy RASC), Damascus, Cairo, Jerusalem and then in Holland and Germany in 1944/5.

Nick Mawer



N. Maxer .     428 Sqd




Eric Maxton .     Royal Air Force 460 Sqd.

Rob Richer



Murray Maxton .     Royal Air Force 460 Sqd.

Rob Richer



PFC. James Maxwell .     United States Army 2nd Btn. 415th Infantry   from Claymont, Delaware, United States)

My father James Maxwell was an assistant machine gunner in F Company, 2nd Battalion, 415th Infantry. He requested to switch places with the gunner, PFC Needles, on 31st October 1944, while preparing a defensive position. An enemy artillery and mortar barrage commenced on the same day. My father was wounded and PFC Needles was killed. Some soldiers stated they were going to leave him next to a tree and come back for him later, but my father was afraid the Germans would get him. With the aid of a medic he made it to the Battalion Aid Station. His wound was in the left shoulder blade area, and he also suffered a collapsed lung in addition to shrapnel in his lung. For many years, he kept the shrapnel in his Purple Heart case. He recovered in England and Camp Pickett, Virginia.

He graduated from the University of Delaware, where he was President of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He worked as GE Sales Engineer for over 30 years and passed away suddenly in 1983.




Sgt. Thomas Maxwell .     Royal Marines Guncrew HMS Cairo   from Newtownards, Co. Down, Northern Ireland)

My grandfather, Thomas Maxwell joined the Marines at 14, boy service. He saw service on HMS Cairo, Kenya, Caroline & HMS Indefatigable. He was in pre war Palestine then Norway, Dunkirk, Russian convoys, Crete, Malta, Dieppe, Italy, Burma and other units 45, 44 commando att sbs. He was badly wounded in Burma headshot by a Jap sniper. If any vets of 44 cdo knew him I would like to hear from them.

Ray Maxwell



PFC. William Martin Maxwell .     US Army 422nd Infantry Reg.   from Lapwai, Idaho)

William Maxwell

My father, William M. Maxwell, served with the 106th Infantry Division. 422nd Infantry Regiment was captured on 16th of December 1944. He was interned in Stalag IX Bad Orb Germany until he repatriated on 2nd of April 1945. Since my parents divorced when I was very young I only found out this information recently through research. I would appreciate any additional information about my father.

MSgt. Robert Maxwell USAF (Retired)



Angus May .    




WO Angus May .     Royal Air Force

My father is WO Angus May, a RAF navigator in Bomber Command who was a POW in Stalag 8b. He escaped during the `death march' in early 1945 with fellow airman Bill Varnham. He would be interested in hearing from anyone else from Stalag 8b.

Nanette May



Arthur May .     British Army 3rd Btn. Royal Tank Rgt.

My grandfather, Arthur May, was in the 3rd Btn Royal Tank Regiment and was captured in Crete in April 1941. He was held in Stalag 18a and then sent to Stalag 383 where he spent most of the rest of the war until he escaped to Switzerland early in 1945. Any information would be great as he did not talk about his POW days a lot.

Phil Stride



F/Sgt. Ben John May .     Royal Canadian Air Force 420 Squadron

I joined No. 420 Squadron R.C.A.F. in December 1944 after training as flight engineer at St. Athan S. Wales and Locking in Somerset and being selected for flying Halifaxes. The weather was very bad with much snow consequently there was no flying until February. Our first operation was to Rheine in the Ruhr and we went on to complete ten more before the war ended including the long 700 mile each way flight over water to Heligoland.

The Squadron celebrated the end of hostilities now with a huge party on the airfield and I still don't know where all the beer came from! I am the only survivor of our crew and would be very pleased to hear from anyone connected with 420 Sqadron or this time.




Cmdr Cecil Wakeford May .     Royal Navy HMS Electra




Mjr. Frank William John May .     British Army Royal Army Service Corps   from Stoke Grove, Westbury on Trym, Bristol, UK)

We have been trying to discover some information regarding my husband's father Frank May, who we understand was with the BEF and evacuated from Dunkirk. He was about to swim to a ship close to the beach but as he was a strong swimmer made for one further out. A lucky choice as the inshore vessel was hit and sank. He also served in Iceland, went to Jamaica and we think Germany. This is all we know as he never spoke of his experiences and later separated from his wife. Any information reagrding Major May, or how we can get more information would be greatly appreciated.

April May



Frederick John May .     British Army Royal Middlesex Regiment

John May was born in 1923 and joined the army about 1941 where he served with the Royal Middlesex Regiment until 1945. It is believed most of his service was in Belgium where these photographs were taken. He died in 1979.

John is front, far right.

Seated right with legs crossed.

Standing on the right

Chris Lordan



George William May .     Army Royal Engineers   from Sittingbourne, Kent)

George William May was my late grandfather who in 1943/44 was an engineer at Catterick. He was from Sittingbourne in Kent and went to Catterick, for how long I do not know. Apparently he drove tanks and met the Duke of Kent. I was wondering if you had any record of him and if by chance any photos?

Sarah Maddison



CSM. John May .     British Army Royal Signals   from Wishaw.)

D-Day Jump - Wishaw Paratrooper's Thrilling Story

The following letter has been received by his sister, Margaret, from Sergt. John May, of an airborne division son of the late C.S.M. Thomas May, D.C.M. and Bar, Wishaw, formerly of 3rd Lk. Bn. Of the Home Guard.

Shortly before 1 am on D Day we jumped, dropped, or fell from our aircraft, over the allotted area, with mingled feelings of fear, hope and determation to do the job in the manner we had been taught. A terrific hail of A.A. and small-arms fire met us as we floated to earth. It was like Blackpool illuminations, whilst overhead roared scores more planes, dropping their troops all over the pre-arranged zones.

I landed rather awkwardly in a small garden set out like a plantation, and badly twisted my ankle. Whilst struggling to get out of my parachute harness, I heard a voice call out “O.K. Tommy,” with a pronounced foreign accent. I immediately challenged him and received no reply. Having had some previous experience of Jerry’s tricks in N. Africa, I immediately threw a grenade in the direction of the voice, and ran after it as best I could. I found my man to be a French civilian wearing an armband of some kind, and he alleged to be a member of the Resistance movement. Not feeling like trusting him very much, I questioned him closely in French (Vive La Wishaw High School), and discovered I was in the back garden of a German H.Q. I then decided that it was time to put a move on, and as he and I climbed over the wall a machine-gun opened fire on us. Fortunately, we got over the wall O.K., but in doing so I finished my other ankle as well and could only hobble along.

En route to my rendez-vous, I collected several members of another infantry battalion (still paratroopers), and we were attacked by German troops. Six of my fellows were wounded, but we shot two Jerries and captured their machine-guns, and continued on our way.

Then the glider borne troops began to come in and we had a ringside seat at the most amazing spectacle I have ever seen. A.A. was filling the sky and the gliders just floated through it. Several were hit, but very few were actually shot down out of the scores and scores that came in. No film ever made could depict such a scene.

My next adventure was the capture of a chateau, in company with two officers and two men. The place was very quiet, but we didn’t take any chances, believe me it, and it was just as well. We finished up with four prisoners, one a Frenchman in German uniform. The days following, and the general performance of all the airborne units have, I believe, been pretty well reported already, so I won’t go into any more detail about it, but all I can say is that the organisation of this party was terrific.

Having been previously in France and North Africa, I can definitely state that as far as I am concerned, with the exception of Dunkirk, itself, they were sideshows compared to this. Nevertheless, everyone here is full of confidence that we cannot fail, and we will not fail to carry out any task allotted to us. I fully expect that German propaganda will be at work at home now, but disregard it entirely and trust the BBC - slow, maybe, but none the less true.

This newspaper article is about my mother's sister's husband Uncle John, who went through Dunkirk, D-Day (with 6th Airbourne), Market Garden, and died pecefully at home some 10 years ago.

Alan Taylor



K. May .    




S/Sgt. Richard May .     US Army 54th Field Artillery   from USA)

Diana May



Sgt. Thomas Kevin May .     Royal Air Force 37 Squadron   from Farnworth, Lancs)

I believe my father, Thomas May served in 37 Squadron and fought in the Battle of Heliogland. He was shot down in 1939 and was imprisoned for the rest of the war, in Stalag Luft 111 & 1. But I'm not sure of the dates. I was only 7 years old so I have no real first-hand information.

Ursula Duval



Pte. Wilfred "Biff" May .     British Army Royal Artillery   from Bishop Auckland )

I am looking to find some information on my late father Wilfred May known as Biff. He was born in Bishop Auckland, in 1908. I understand that he was in the Royal Artillery from 1939-1945 and possibly served in Burma, India and Gibralter. The latter towards the end of WW11 on one of the Gun Emplacments. He was a keen semi pro footballer prior to the war and may have played for his regiment during the war . I recall a photo of him in a Pith Helmet and uniform whilst tending his horse .

I recall an old story (true or false) of my Father and his best friend, Ron being stationed on a "Martello Tower" in the North Sea at the beginning of the War. He became fed up with the lack of action so decided to take a rowing boat and row to shore for a night out! When caught the story goes that my Father allegedly said "He was bored stiff sitting in a concrete box and joined the army to fight and see some action". I understand the Army duly obliged and he was then dispatched abroad with the Royal Horse Artillary ??? and the rest is unclear and history as they say.

My Father never spoke about the war. Like so many of his generation.Just proud to have served his country and saddened to have lost so many friends. If anybody remembers him or where I may find some information about his exploits I would be very appreciative

Nick May



Betty Maybank .     Women's Land Army

I was stationed in the Land Army in Wales during the year of 1943. I was with a great group of girls, they were the best, we were stationed in a castle in South Wales. It was near the town of Hayes (I am not quite sure of the spelling) Our work consisted of potato picking, stacking hay and pest destruction. There was a group of Italian prisoners nearby that helped us on the land. Also nearby was an American medical army,that would meet us in a little pub in the village. They were a wonderful bunch of guys. We had lots of laughs. If anyone out there was part of this group of girls please get in touch. I still have two brothers and one sister living in England. Those years are special memories that my girls and their families want to hear about. Hope to hear from someone who was there, soon.

Betty Maybank



Sgt. Ronald Maycock .     Royal Air Force observer 15 Sqd   from Sunderland, Co. Durham)

(d.18th May 1942)

Sgt Maycock was killed when Stirling W7531 crashed on the 18th of May 1942, he was 21 years old. For many years he had no known grave but was remembered on a special memorial in the cemetery at Odense in Denmark, where the rest of his crew were buried. His remains were recently recovered and interred in the cemetery, finally reunited with his crewmates.

  • F/O Ryan
  • S/L J.C.Hall DFC MiD
  • F/L N.G.R.Booth
  • Sgt A.Spriggs
  • F/O J.P.Ryan RCAF
  • Sgt R.Maycock
  • Sgt J.B.Butterworth
  • Sgt F.L.Sharp
  • Sgt R.Nicholson
  • Sgt D.J.Jeffs, the only survivor was taken PoW and held in Stalag 8b.

For the full story see Don Jeff's Story




Lance Corporal Frank John Mayes .     Army Despatch Rider Royal Artillery   from Keysoe, Bedfordshire)

My Dad, Frank Mayes was imprisoned in Stalag 8b, he was in the camp for about 3 years, I have his old pow book.

Ray Mayes



Pvt William Mabry Mayfield .     United States Army Company E 414 Infantry Regiment   from Shreveport,La)

(d.7th Nov 1944)

My uncle William Mabry Mayfield received training at Fordham University and later at Carson Springs, Colorado. He arrived in Cherbourg, France in August of 44 and was killed in the Battle if the Dykes on November 7th, 1944.

He was in Company E of the Timberwolves 414 Infantry. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 7th. I have just inherited a trunk of letters which tell his story. After a letter sent to Mabry was returned and marked Missing, my grandmother began contacting the mothers of the men in the same division to find out what happened to her boy. She received many letters from the mothers and finally a letter from Bill Myers, a good friend of Mabry's who had reported that he was hunkered down in a fox hole near Moerdjik, Holland and had received an 88 mm direct hit into the fox hole.

My grandmother immediately sent a letter to the Mayor of Moerdjik, Holland and began corresponding with a family who searched in vain for his grave. The family's name was Kieboom and in 1949 Ann Baltussen came from Holland to Shreveport, La to visit my grandmother.

These letters tell the story of a mother desperate to bring her boy home. When I was a child we would visit the family cemetery. My grandmother would always tell me that Mabry was in the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. My grandmother also received letters from Gen. Eisenhower and the White House. She stopped at nothing.

A funny story that Dean Hopson wrote to my grandmother was that it was Mabry's lot to carry the Bazooka and since it was named after a musical instrument, he took it upon himself to sing all the current popular tunes using the barrel of the gun. A soldier named Bill Myers was so kind to my grandmother and continued to write to her and show concern for her after her loss. I don't know if these gentlemen, Dean Hopson and Bill Myers are around but I would love to thank them for their friendship.

I have some interesting photos, letters and artifacts and I would love to hear from any one who has any information about my uncle. He isn't listed under missing in the archives. I am wondering about this also.

Peggy Mayfield Gouras



Pte. William Mabry "Molly" Mayfield .     United States Army 114th Infantry, Company E Timberwolf Infantry   from Shreveport, LA)

(d.7th Nov 1944)

My Uncle, William Mabry Mayfield was reported missing in action on Nov. 7th, 1944. In April of 1944 The War Department sent word that he was a prisoner of war. Soon after there was correspondence from them that that had been a mistake. I inherited a chest of letters from my grandmother that tells a fascinating story of a mother trying to bring her boy home.

Right after my grandmother, Josephine Mabry Mayfield received word that Maybry (Bill) had gone missing, she began to write a series of letters to the other mothers who had had sons in Company E asking them to please write to her to let her know what had happened to her boy. The mothers wrote that they had written to their sons asking for information. A wonderful friend, Bill Myers, (I would love some info on him) began to write my grandmother on what an amazing young man her son was. Everybody loved him and they gave him the nickname "Molly Mayfield" after an advice to the lovelorn columnist. He also wrote that after landing at Cherbourg, it became Bill's lot to carry the bazooka, since it was named after a musical instrument, he began tooting out the current popular tunes while carrying the cumbersome gun.

Letters came that said Charles Juday was Bill's buddy and if my grandmother could just get in touch with him, he would know of Mabry's plight. There is a letter signed by Eisenhower telling my grandmother that he had received her information and that they were seaching for Mabry. She also received letters signed by Ulio and letters from the White House all saying the same thing. This is the story of a mother's frantic search for her boy.

Finally, after interviewing some of the few remaining guys, (My research is showing that Company E had about 180-190 guys and only 20 remained after the war's end) a letter arrived from that sweet friend, Bill Myers who said he had interviewed someone who had withnessed an 88 mm. shell with a direct hit on Bill and Charles Juday's foxhole. He said they felt no pain. He was killed about 10:00 pm. They were relieved by the first Canadian Army at midnight.

My grandmother then began to write to mayors in Holland post war to see if anyone would go look for her boy. A family answered her letters in English. My grandmother described some artifacts on Bill's body, watch etc. and this family began their search. After several years of correspondence, my grandmother hosted the daughter of this family, Ann Balthesson at her home in Shreveport, Louisiana. Also she wrote the Timberwolf newspaper asking for eyewitness information. She received wonderful and informative letters from David Bossler from Miles City, Montana that described details that are so valuable to a searching mother in November of 1946.

He was with Bill at Fordham in New York where the program they were in got cancelled so they were sent off to Camp Carson to train for the infantry. They went by train to St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and finally to New York City where they boarded a ship captured in the previous war from the Germans and renamed the George Washington.

He told the details of arriving at Cherbourg 10 days later; Marching to the other side of the peninsula near the Guernsey Islands. They then left by boxcar around the first of October then went on to a town called Mallnes north of Brussels. She also received a letter from his mother. From the article in The Timberwolf, she also received another informative letter from Dean Hopson. Also several other letters. One stating that the Timberwolves were dug in in foxholes about 500 yards from Moerdijik Holland. Any information would be appreciated.

Peggy Gouras



Sgt. James Frederick Mayhew .     Royal Air Force (d.4th Aug 1942)

My uncle, James known as Jim Frederick Mayhew was a Sergeant Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died on 4 August 1942 following a plane crash in Nigeria. He is buried in Maiduguri Cemetery, European Section Grave 1. I believe he was the only one in the plane to loose his life. Are there any photographs of the cemetery available or does anybody know more information about the accident?

Sally Kimber



F/Sgt. L. C.G. Mayhew .     97 Squadron




Corporal Frank Ernest Mayle .     Army III Brigade 2 Signals Regiment / 9 Gurkha Regiment

I am researching the life and times of my late father-in-law. He was sent to Burma in 1943 or 1944 and joined the Chindits. He may have been a Corporal or an NCO with 2 Signals Regiment. He may have been part of the 111 Brigade and 9 Gurkha Regiment commanded by Brigadier J. Morris, landing during March 1944 at Chowringhee. I know of 3 other Corporals who may have been with him at the time: G Ewens, J.E. Kirke and H.M. Jones.

Can anyone help me retrace his steps during those horrible times in Burma fighting a Japanese soldiers who would rather die than surrender ?

Gilbert Viegas



Sgt. Ernest Walter Maylin .     Royal Artillery 365 Battery 92nd Field Regiment   from Kennington, London)

Only recently started to look into my grandfather's military career. I have discovered that Ernest Maylin was involved in the defensive action with the BEF throughout the month of May 1940. He was injured and captured 31st May 1940 and after healing was transferred to Stalag VIIIB on 28th Jan 1941. As to what else happened I have no idea, but I would like to eventually find out who he bunked with during his time as a POW.

Jason Kingsley-Brown




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