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Those who Served
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(d) and 6 children, Margaret(d), Rose(d), Frances (my Mum), Mary(d), Effie and his only son, John(d).
I would love to have any other information that anyone may have about the crew and survivors. Many thanks.Carolann Cameron
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 activitiesShaun O'Leary
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.Mark Jeavons
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.Vin Mullen
Ella O'Neal .Susan Tait
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.Mary Nah
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.Jean Kelly
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.Ray O'Neill
F/O. D. H.O. O'Niell . Royal Air Force 41 Squadron (d.11th Oct 1940)
Capt. Albert Joseph "Paddy" O'Shea . British Army 1st Batt/2nd Batt Irish Guards/Inniskilling Fusiliers from London)
My father, Captain Albert J. O'Shea, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was a Guardsman in the 1st Battalion Irish Guards from 1931 until commissioned in July 1942 in the 2nd Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers in India. In the Guards, on April 10 1940 the day I was born, he was sent to Norway. In the Narvik campaign he saw a lot of action on the ground and was also on the Troopship HMT Chobry was sunk at 2 AM above the Arctic Circle in May 1940 with many casualties including all the officers. A month later, after several more weeks of fighting, with the German invasion of France, the Narvik campaign was concluded and the troops came home. Norway was a disaster and in 2 months the British and Allied French, Norwegian and Polish lost about 7 thousand dead, wounded and missing from all Services. A disaster with poorly equipped British troops facing German ski troops with command of the air. Only the Navy was superior to the enemy
On his return he was a DI at the Guards Depot in Caterham, close to RAF Kenley a prime target of the Luftwaffe. On September 1, 1940 the house next door received a direct hit and our house was uninhabitable. A Guardsman in September 1939, he was a Sergeant and Temporary Company Sergeant Major in December 1941 en route to Officer Training in India. In July 1942 he was a 2nd Lieutenant and in August a Lieutenant. He was in Persia/Iraq Force, Syria and Egypt until September 1943. My mother died in a raid on my third birthday, April 10 1943. He had volunteered for the Long Range Desert Group and was doing Commando Training in Syria at this time. He was in hospital in Cairo missing the invasion of Sicily. Of the two other platoon commanders in his company the 2nd Battalion Inniskilling, one was killed and one wounded, so his dysentery may have saved him. He returned to the UK in September 1943
I only remember seeing him once during the war. I went to boarding school on my third birthday in April 1943 and he was posted to St Helena, S. Atlantic in August 1944 and came to visit me. I did not know him and thought he was very demanding. My "safe" school in Heathfield, Sussex was in Doodlebug Alley and we were in the air raid shelters almost daily from mid 1944 until early 1945 and one day I ran from the shelter and saw one just overhead. The first V 2 landed in Chiswick 200 yards from my grandfather's furniture store and his accountants' child was one of the first three killed by V2's
He became very ill in St Helena, was sent home in 1945, in and out of hospital for the next two years. He was promoted Captain in November 1945 Father was invalided from the Army in 1948 with a 100% War Disability pension and never recovered, passing away in November 1955. My mothers' 2 brothers both served in the RAF for the duration. One did 3 years in Malta throughout the siege and the other went to India and Burma. He was on embarkation leave in April 1943 when my mother died and left shortly after. He was in 3207 RAF Servicing Commando in Burma until the Japanese surrender.The two brothers did not see each other from 1940-1946
My grandfather, a WW1 soldier 1916-1918 was in the home Guard throughout WW 2 and my stepmother was a WAAD from 1941-1945Patrick J. O'Shea
AC. Arthur Charles Oakes . Royal Air Force HQ 206 Group
My Grandfather, Arthur Oakes was in the Royal Air Force HQ206 Group. He was an aircraftsman, but not sure what his job involved. We have a few photographs which he obtained in Gezira in 1942, and a Christmas dinner menu from 1939.Adele
Warrant Officer Norman Oakes . Royal Australian Air Force 460 Sqd. from Bolton)
My Grandfather Norman Oakes, was in the flight crews of RAAF 460 Squadron. He was one of a handful of British men assigned to this squadron but apart from this information, we don't anything more about his service during WWII. If anyone knows more please get in touch.
Editor's note: It's quite likely that your Grandfather was a Flight Engineer, as only British air crew were trained for this role.Lucy Park
Able Sea. Eric Leonard Oakford . Royal Navy HMS Abdiel from Trowbridge, Wiltshire)
(d.10th Sept 1943)
Eric Oakford would have been my uncle if he had survived the WW2. I do not have any photographs of him or much information but would like to hear from any other members that had relatives who served on the ship and who may have more information.Garry Oakford
James William Charles Oakley . British Army 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade from London UK)
I was wondering if anyone had any information on where my grandad James(Jim) Oakley ( 6911761 ) was imprisoned as a POW during WW2. Unfortunatly it was a traumatic event for him - like all of those involved and he never spoke of his experiences to us. We know he was in the Rifle Brigade and that he had served in India as an army regular in the later part of the 1920's. He fought at Dunkirk where he was captured during the fighting on about the 2nd of June. We think he was ordered north from Bastion 1 in Calais to Dunkirk as reinforcements possibly being captured on the way as we have spent time in France looking for information and found references pertaining to this in the Calais war museum. My sister and I would dearly love to see where he spent most of the war-as some sort of closure for all of us. He remembered a long journey through Belgium when he was liberated and before he died would always holiday there. We do not, however, know where he passed through all those years ago.
If anyone knew him or could help us then we would appreciate the help. Thank you.Chris Reeves
Able Seaman Joseph Cecil Oakman . Royal Navy HMS Forfar from Eltham, London)
(d.2nd Dec 1940)
Capt. Arthur Henry "Titus" Oates MC.. British Army 2nd Battallion East Yorkshire Regiment from 6 Brooklyn St, Beverley Road,Hull)
Dad joined up I think early 1940 and I have his letters written during training when he served in Iceland, Scotand and then D Day where he was awarded the MC. I have pictures of Dad training, in Iceland, and newspaper reports of his landing on Sword Beach on D Day and commendation for MC, also pictures of him with FM Montgomery and his medal.Jane Milne
Joseph Dennis Oates . Royal Navy from Goit Terrace, Stocksbridge, Yorkshire)
Does anyone remember my father Joseph Dennis Oates? He served in WW2 in the Royal Navy We would like to know the ships he served on so we can trace more information on him. If anyone remembers him, I'd be grateful for any recollections.Alan Oates
Sgt R. H. Oats . (d.6th May 1943)
Sgt Oats was a Navigator, killed on Ops. 6 May 1943 flying from RAF Elvington.
Wing Cdr. Victor Rundle Oats . Royal Air Force 21 Squadron from St Just-in-Penwith, Cornwall)
(d.12th Mar 1945)
Victor Rundle Oats took over command of 21 Squadron on 9 February 1945. He flew a number of missions with his navigator, Flight Sergeant F. C. Gubbings, in the Munich and Cologne areas, at night. The squadron took part in Opertion Clarion, the destruction of German traffic centers in smaller cities; the marshalling yard in Hildesheim was targeted in the afternoon of February 22, 1945. Due to good weather and clear sight the marshalling yard was heavily damaged, the city itself received considerable damage: 102 houses were completely destroyed, and 106 houses and two churches (St. Bernward's Church and St. Lamberti Church) suffered severe damage. 998 houses and four churches, among them the Cathedral and Saint Michael's Church were slightly damaged. About 250 people were killed. One aircraft and crew was lost during the raid.
On 12 March 1945 the squadron was sent out to bomb road and rail communications East of the Ruhr leading to Magdeburg. Oats' and Gubbings' Mosquito VI, no. SZ963, failed to return. Eyewitness accounts stated that Mosquito attacked the Frankenberger Bahnhof (Railway station) and then the Thonet Werk (Industrial). During this attack it was noted that the aircraft was on fire and flying very low. The crew must have realised the danger and Oats tried desperately to gain altitude so that they would have sufficient height to bale out. Instead, the aircraft flew on a curved course towards Willesdorf but crashed on the Linnerberg, between Bottendorf and Willesdorf. The crew were found the next day and laid to rest by an old Oak tree at the Linner Mill. The two crew members were later exhumed and re-buried at Hanover War Cemetery.
During the potato harvest of 1963 a small watch was found, engraved with the initials V. R. Oats RAF 15.4.36. on the backplate. This watch had stopped at 10 minutes past 12. The people who found the watch were the Doels family, who contacted the then priest of the village Dr. Gustav Hammann who was a keen and well known local history researcher. He contacted the families of Oats and Gubbings and in 1969, Lieutenant Colonel Gilesa Oats, Victor's brother, travelled to Germany to receive the watch. During 1994 searches were made of the crash site area. A year later one of the engines was recovered and, a year later, the second. About three tons of material has been recovered so far.
There is a memorial to Victor Rundle Oats in the parish church of St Just-in-Penwith, Cornwall, his home town.Pete Joseph
Roy Obermeister . British Army Royal Sussex Regiment
Looking for information on the gentleman. His son wants to buy him a membership into the American Legion for Father's Day, but wants to surprise him. He is also wanting to join the Sons of the American Legion so he and his father can share something in common. Thank you for your time and considerationReverend Jack Le Roy
Lt. Joseph Obosla . USAAF 360th Fighter Squadron 356th Fighter Group (d.8th Jun 1944)
My uncle, Lt. Joseph Obosla, served at Martlesham Heath during World War II. He served in the 360th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group until he was KIA on June 8, 1944. He served with Captain Bertrum E. Ellingson.Joseph Obosla
Sgt Jim OBrien . RAF
F/O Harold Engman Oddan . Royal Canadian Air Force air gunner. 419 Sqd. (d.13th May 1944)
Peter Odell . Royal Air Force 460 Sqd.
Peter Odell served as a flight engineer with 460 Sqd.
Jan Odé . from Holland)
(d.24th December 1944)
My uncle, Jan Odé, Dutch citizen, was held in Fukuoka Branch Camp No.17. He died there on Dec. 24, 1944. Can anyone tell me anything else about the camp?Carla Odé
2nd Lt. Joe Leroy Ogan . US Army Air Corps 741st Bomb Squadron 455th Bomb Group from Pawhuska, Oklahoma, USA)
I was a B-24 pilot flying combat missions out of Cerignola, Italy with the. On 30 May 1944, I flew a mission to Wells, Austria where I was knocked down. The wing of my airplane was blown off between the 1st and 2nd engines. I was taken prisoner and transferred to the interrogation center at Frankfurt.
Later, I was transferred to Stalag Luft 3. On 27 January, as the Russians were advancing, I was marched out of there in the deep snow and several days later was sent to Muremburg. After some time, I was marched out of there toward Moosburg. I was liberated by Patton's 3rd Army.Joe L. Ogan
Pte. Clifford Ogden . British Army 1st Btn. York & Lancaster Regiment
On 28 January 1944, during World War II, the Orvieto North railway bridge at Allerona, Italy, was the site of the inadvertent bombing by the American 320th Bombardment Group of a train filled with Allied prisoners. Most of the POWs had come from Camp P.G. 54, Fara in Sabina, 35 kilometres to the north of Rome, and had been evacuated in anticipation of the Allied advance. One of the men on the train, Richard Morris of the U.S. Army, wrote that the train was halted on the bridge over the river when the Allied bombs started to fall, and that the German guards fled the train, leaving the prisoners locked inside. Many escaped, Morris included, through holes in the boxcars caused by the bombing, and jumped into the river below. Historian Iris Origo wrote that 450 were killed when the cars ultimately tumbled into the river.
Private Ogden was Captured at Garigliano. He survived the wreck with wounds to his left ear and left hand. He was then sent to Stalag 344 Lamsdorf.S. Flynn
F/Lt. Micky Ogden . Royal Air Force 236 Squadron
Hi My father, then F/Lt Micky Ogden served there very briefly in 1942 with 236 Squadron as it is recorded in his logbook 18-1-42. He flew Beaufighter "F" to St Eval and back with F/lt Cairns and Sgt Thomas for 1 hour 30 minutes and then Beaufighter "M" for airtest for 15 minutes. Two weeks later on 2-2-42 he flew a new Beaufighter from Filton to Portreath on route to Gibraltar, Malta, and Egypt,Michael Ogden
F/Lt Micky Ogden . RAF 236 Squadron
My father, then F/Lt Micky Ogden, served at RAF Carew Cheriton very briefly in 1942 with 236 Squadron. It is recorded in his logbook 18-1-42 he flew Beaufighter "F" to St Eval and back with F/Lt Cairns and Sgt Thomas for 1 hour 30 minutes and then Beaufighter "M" for airtest for 15 minutes. Two weeks later on 2-2-42 he flew a new Beaufighter from Filton to Portreath on route to Gibraltar, Malta, and Egypt.Michael Ogden
CabinBoy. Robert Ogden . Merchant Navy SS Stanleigh (d.14th March 1941)
Robert Ogden died aged 17, he was born in Jarrow in 1923, son of Thomas and Barbara Ogden (nee Smith) of Jarrow. He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
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