The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War

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Those who Served

Allied Forces - Browse by Surname.

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Axis Forces - Browse by Surname.

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AC/2 Alan Leo O'Grady .     Royal Canadian Air Force 426 (Thunderbird) Sqdn.   from Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

When my dad was on his way to England, he was talking to a guy aboard the ship and told him his name was Al O'Grady. This man said "That's funny - I was just talking to another O'Grady, named Wilfrid, on the other side of the ship." It turns out that was my dad's brother, who was in the army. They didn't know they were on the same ship.

The only thing he mentioned about being in York was that they would go to Bettys Bar and that he'd signed his name on the mirror there (along with 600 others). When I went there in the 1980s I couldn't find his name. I found a list of names online but it's not complete, and apparently part of the mirror was destroyed in a bombing attack.

Joyce O'Grady .     Women's Land Army   from Leeds)

Joyce O'Grady

Joyce O'Grady served in the Land Army at Ilmer Burches Farm in Buckinghamshire. The photo shows L-R Joyce O'Grady, Unknown, Bill Byre and Daphne in about 1945.

O'Hagan .    

O'Hagan is amongst the names commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall. Can anyone provide additional details?

Greaser Michael O'Hagan .     Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar   from Glasgow, Scotland)

(d.2nd Dec 1940)

F/O Walter O'Hagan .     Royal Canadian Air Force 402 Squadron (d.23rd June 1944)

I am looking for information on F/O Walter O'Hagan, 402 Squadron, RCAF. His Spitfire went missing over France 1943-44. I think he was stationed at Digby.

O'Halloran .     British Army

O'Halloran (first name unknown) served with the British Army and died in active service. He is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance to Jarrow Town Hall, South Tyneside.

Trimmer Thomas O'Hanlon .     Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar   from Liverpool)

(d.2nd Dec 1940)

Hugh O'Hara .     British Army Royal Engineers   from Airdrie)

My father Hugie O'Hara was amongst the troops who liberated Bergen Belsen on 15th April 1945 I think. He was in the Royal Engineers up untill 1952 and then from 1955 till 1959 in the TA 240 field Squadron RE's.

Pte. James O'Hara .     British Army 6th Btn. Durham Light Infantry (d.17th Aug 1942)

James O'Hara died aged 28, he was born in Jarrow in 1913, son of Timothy and Mary O'Hara (nee King) of Jarrow. James is buried in Johannesburg (Brixton) Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

F/S Leo Francis "Pat" O'Hara .     RCAF mid upper gunner 419 Sqd.   from Canada)

(d.10th Oct 1944)

F/Sgt. Leo Francis O'Hara .     Royal Canadian Air Force air gunner. 419 Sqd. (d.9th Oct 1944)

Lilian O'Hara .     Land Army

My mother-in-law, Lilian O'Hara, died last year, and amongst her posessions were two badges - one which I think is a Land Army hat badge and the other looks like the Olympic rings. We also found a photo of her with the Olympics ring badge fastening her shirt at the collar. Please can anyone tell me if the Olympics badge is something to do with the Land Army? We would love to know.

Ron O'Hare .     British Army Intelligence Corps   from Northern Ireland)

Ron O'Hare served in Intelligence Corps in WWII. In 1946 he was based in Lienz, Austria with Frank O'Leary. They both married Austrian girls.

Cook John Joseph O'Keefe .     Merch. Sea. Cook RMS Athenia   from Helensburgh, Scotland)

(d.4th Sep 1939)

My maternal Grandad John Joseph O'Keefe was the ship's cook onboard the fated Athenia, the 1st ship to be torpedoed in the 2nd World War. His name is on the Cenotaph in our local park in Helensburgh, Hermitage Park, although my Nanny, Mary O'Keefe was never given a war widows pension. He didnt die straight away but did die eventually as a result of his injuries sustained during the attack. He was landed at Galway and spent several months in hospital. A lot of his injuries were burns due to the stock pot pouring over him during the blasts.

He left behind his wife Mary and 6 children, Margaret, Rose, Frances (my Mum), Mary, Effie and his only son, John.

I would love to have any other information that anyone may have about the crew and survivors. Many thanks.

Warren O'Keefe .     Australian Army

Cpl. Daniel O'Leary .     British Army South Wales Borderers

My granddad - Cpl Daniel O'Leary, South Wales Borderers - was held at Stalag 4b. He was originally captured at Tobruk. He was sent there after escaping from an Italian camp and being recaptured by the Germans. He had his uniform taken from him by the Italians. On his escape and recapture (with his best friend), they had to tell the Germans they were RAF aircrew in order to save their lives. They were taken to Stalag 4b where the RAF officers vouched for them and looked after them. He spent his 21st birthday at Stalag 4b. He also became a boxing champ there. My granddad made two further escapes, and was finally successful. The Germans used the camp - in 1943 - for propaganda to show that they treated the British prisoners with due respect and care - this was, of course, not true.

Danny O'Leary .     British Army 6th Btn. Queen's Own Royal West Kent

I am trying to find information about Danny O'Leary, 6th Btn Queen's Own Royal West Kents.

Francis O'Leary .     British Army Intelligence Corps

My father, Frank O'Leary was stationed in Lienz, Austria in 1946 as part of the intelligence corps. I am in the process of trying to research his story. Any information would be gratefully received. He remembers Ron O'Hare from Northern Ireland who was stationed there with him. They both married Austrian girls.

Flight Lieutentant John "Jack" O'Leary D.F.C. A.F.C..     RAF 106 Squadron   from 9, Glendower Rd Liverpool)

My late father John O'Leary flew with 106 squadron from Oct 1943 till June 1944. I am still in posession of his log books covering all the missions he flew. There are names in the logs that I heard mentioned when I was very young. Names like F/O Harvey, P/O Perry, P/O Starkey and P/O Miffin. Sadley my father died from a heart attack when I was only 15 years old (now 63). and I never got to find out what part these people played in my parents life. I say parents because my Mother Winifred Boddy and her sister Mary Boddy, as they were then know were attached to 106 Sqd. Why do we always leave it till late in life to wonder about our parents or is it just me. I would be interested if anyone knew my father and can shed some light on his wartime activities

Pte. Micheal John O'Leary .     British Army

Micheal O'Leary was my mum's step father. He landed on 6th June and, in his own words, lasted until 26th of September when he was hit by mortar shrapnel in Holland. Some 15 years ago he spoke to me for hours telling me all about his part in the invasion, something I will never forget. I saw a letter his captain sent to my nan explaining that he had been wounded and that he bore the pain well.

W. K. O'Leary .     Royal Air Force 49 Sqdn.

Hampden P4404 of 49 Squadron had been brought down about 50 miles south of Paris and all the crew became POWs.

Two of them were subsequently shot: Sgt John Cecil Shaw was shot dead attempting to escape from Stalag Luft 1 on or about 4th January 1942. Another shooting of a member of the crew occurred after the "Great Escape" from Stalag Luft 3. F/Lt Brian Herbert Evans was one of the many escapees, but was recaptured. The Gestapo executed him on 31st March 1944. He is buried in Poznam Old Garrison Cemetery.

The full crew were:

  • Sgt J.C. Shaw (pilot)
  • F/Lt B.H. Evans (navigator)
  • Sgt D. Young (wop/airgunner)
  • W.K. O'Leary (wop/airgunner)

  • Pte. Patrick O'Malley .     British Army Durham Light Infantry (d.12th Dec 1946)

    Patrick O'Malley died aged 34, he was the son of Patrick and Bridget O'Malley amd husband of Catherine O'Malley of Jarrow. He is buried in Jarrow Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

    Ella O'Neal .    

    Bernard Whitney O'Neil .    

    My uncle, Bernard Whitney O'Neil, was reported missing in action in Belgium on 21st December 1944 and ended up at Stalag IVB. I'm searching for details about his escape in March 1945, which led to his death.

    James O'Neill .     Bevin Boys

    My father James O'Neill, who is still alive, served as a Bevin boy from start to finish. Although he was an air cadet and wanted to join the RAF as a rear gunner, he was dismissed and sent down the mines. He did his initial training at Humber Hill and Victory mines in County Durham where he lived and then went onto Bettshanger Collery in Kent for the remainder of the war. He was one of the last to be demobbed in 1948.

    If anyone has any records that I can pass on to him of people, places and names that would help him to remember I would be eternally grateful.

    RSM James O'Neill DCM.     British Army Cameron Highlanders

    My grandad, James O'Neill, was awarded the DCM in WWII in Burma. A truly great man, humble, hard working and honest. He was an RSM in the Cameron Highlanders. He never spoke of his bravery. My hero.

    Able Sea. James O'Neill .     Royal Navy HMS Athene

    My late father, James O’Neill, joined HMS Athene in October 1941. He was an AB and was usually referred to as “Peggy” or “Darkie”. From conversations with my father I drew the impression that the “Athene” was fortunate to have, generally, a friendly and happy crew and I am certain he enjoyed his time aboard her. Some of his oppos were, Jack Cresdy (a 12-year man from the Fareham or Gosport area), Rattler Morgan (he was, I think, a T124X rating - transferred from the merchant service), Bing [?] and Taffy Davis. His Divisional Officer was Lt. Pollyblanc (I do not know the correct spelling, but phonetically it sounded like Pollyblank). He came from Richmond in Surrey.

    I have a few photographs of various members of the crew but unfortunately not the photograph of the whole ship's company. Some of the photographs I do have are of Arty Shaw playing the Athene into port, a few of the burial of the Captain in Simonstown. One is of the burial party, a number of the officers, part of the ship’s company and lowering the coffin. There is also one of Sunday morning divisions taking place on the hatch top and one or two of members of the crew. Should anyone wish to have copies of any of these, I’ll be quite happy to arrange for them to be emailed on.

    Although I know some of the ports visited, not too long after he arrived home, I was away at sea myself and he didn’t manage to live to a ripe old age, so I never did get the full itinerary.

    Peter Paul O'Neill .     British Army   from Dublin, Ireland)

    My grandad, Peter O'Neill was in the British Army and survived the war. He was only nineteen when he joined the Army and fought in Dunkirk. My auntie lived in England and was watching the television and saw her father coming off the boat.

    S/Sgt Victor O'Neill .     British Army Royal Armoured Corps   from Manchester, Lancs)

    My Dad, Victor O'Neill had served in the 1st World War in the 2/6th Dragoon Guards. He was demobbed in 1921 and then joined the RAC for the 2nd World War. He was captured in Crete in 1941 and was taken to Stalag 8b in Ciezyn, Poland. His POW number was 22148.

    Pte. W. O'Neill .     British Army Pioneer Corps (d.17th Jun 1940)

    Pte. W O'Neill of the Pioneer Corps lost his life in the sinking of the Lancastria.

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