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Those who Served
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
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
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
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
F/O Harold Engman Oddan . Royal Canadian Air Force air gunner. 419 Sqd. (d.13th May 1944)
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
P/O Michael Owen Ogier . Royal Air Force 77 Sqd. (d.12th Mar 1942)
My uncle, Michael Ogier, was with 77 Squadron during its time at RAF Leeming. He was killed on a sortie over Germany on 12 March 1942 but was posted "missing believe killed". I also believe he flew with a John Jordan who told me that my uncle is buried in Yorkshire, presumably near to RAF Leeming. I would love to find out where he is buried so I can visit his grave. His parents and also his brother are no longer with us so I feel it my duty to try and locate his grave.
Editors Note: CWGC records that Michael Ogier has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede in Surrey along with the other members of his crew: P/O J.Spalding, Sgt E.P.Hanrahan, Sgt J.W.Dale and Sgt J.M.Parker.James Ogier
Capt. S. Ogilvie . Home Guard B Coy. Workington Btn.
Signaller. Olby . Royal Navy HMS Forfar
Sig. Olby is listed in the cast of the revue "Get Sailing" which was performed onboard the Forfar on the 19th of June 1940.
Anne Edith Louvain Older . Women's Land Army
My aunt, Anne Edith Louvain Older , who died in 1999, served in the Women's Land Army from 24/07/1942 until 30/11/1950.
She used to tell us many stories of her time during the war and when we cleared her little flat after her death I found some memorabilia.
I found your web site to be most interesting and I know she would have loved to read all the memories, unfortunately we only got our first pc after her death and so she never saw these. I know that for part of her service she was on a farm in Sussex at Pevensey belonging to Mr. Knight where she was billetted with a Mrs. Churcher and she was also in Devon near Tiverton. We live quite near to Pevensey and I think the farm has long gone and been built upon.Carol Boorman
Sgt. John Anthony " " Oldfield . Royal Air Force 76 Squadron from Yorkshire)
On the evening of June 1,1942 a Halifax II, serial number W1064 Code MP—J from 76 Squadron took off from RAF Middleton St. George at 2306 on a bombing Ops to Essan. On its homebound journey the Halifax II's starboard engine began to seize. The aircraft was attacked by a night fighter and severely damaged, the tail section was described later as “virtually exploding”.
The pilot of the night fighter was Lt. Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer. Schnaufer would become the most decorated night fighter from W.W. II with 121 acknowledged victories. And this Halifax, according to the log, was the first bomber he shot down. The attack was certainly successful from his perspective and the Halifax bomber crashed at 0145 in the area of Bossutand Grez-Doiceau (Brabant) 15 km south of Leuven Belgium.
Two members of the six man crew were reported killed in action: Sergeant (Pilot) Thomas Robert Augustus West and Sergeant (Air Gnr.) John Robert Thompson. Four survived and landed by parachute. Two members of the crew, Sergeant W. J. Norfolk and Sergeant P. Wright, managed to evade capture and were eventually returned to the UK.
The other two members of the crew, PO Walter B Mulligan RNZA and W/O John Oldfield, were taken Prisoner of War. Mulligan, POW No 292 was transported to Stalag Luft 3 . Oldfield, POW No 518, like Mulligan, was first taken to the interrogation centre, Dulag Luft, then on to Stalag Luft 3. Oldfield was later moved to Stalag 357 from which he joined The March in 1945. Mulligan, due to his poor health, was repatriated to England in 1944 from Luft 3 as part of a prisoner exchange.
The following is an account taken from my father's diary and refers to how Christmas Day was spent in Camp 357 in 1944.
Christmas Day 1944:
After a month of skimping and scraping and almost literally starving, Christmas Day arrived. A fortunate last-minute issue of coal from the detaining powers enabled us to cook our meals for the day and a very pleasant day we had. The following is an account of our (that is Steve, Oggie, Peter and my day day.
Eight-thirty in the morning double-strength German coffee arrived from the cookhouse and Steve, noble fellow, arose and we had a good brew and two slices of bread and jam in bed. A cigarette and then a wash and shave prior to our early morning parade. It was bitterly cold out there on parade but a wintry sun was half smiling on us. The thought of a fire in the barrack to go back to cheered us somewhat and on dismissal we dashed back to prepare our Christmas Breakfast.
Oggie and Steve were soon at work on the stove and by ten fifteen we sat down to porridge, tea and an oat cake; a good grounding for our day’s feed.
Pots and tins to be washed, Peter and I soon had these done, and away we went on a few brisk circuits of the campground. Hands and feet were soon warm and our bodies glowed with the exercise.
After an hour walking it was “skilly” time and we returned to the room to eat our German soup which for once was really good. The soup was followed by a treacle tart made by Steve, our cook, and was enjoyable. The Christmas Spirit began to enter our souls. Again we perambulated, this time to call on friends. Everyone was happy and in every room a good fire was blazing and the aroma of cooking was in the air. On a quarter parcel issue the show our boys have made has been truly magnificent.
Once more we retired to our room, this time to partake of a mid-afternoon brew, a rare luxury, for this time it was accompanied by an oat cake. The pots washed, we commenced preparations for our Christmas Dinner.
Oggie now became Maitre du Table. Tins were opened and our Christmas Pud (made from crusts of black bread) was put on the stove to warm. All is scurry and bustle and within an hour our meal was ready to be served. After months of “belting”, what a meal: four ounces of bacon, two and half of Spam, a little scrambled egg, potatoes and swedes . . . all delicious and filling.
Then came the pud, a goodly portion each, rather burnt but do we care? No sir! Oggie has made us a little custard and with our spoons, away we go. Now we are really full, satisfied and contented and warm. If only we were home every meal would be like this one. We relax and smoke a cigarette. We are all drowsy and an hour soon passes. Soon we are again washing cups and plates and my duties commence. I am to prepare the table for our little gathering at seven thirty.
I took real care in the layout but at last it was done. A white table cloth, a Christmas Tree and a cake with a frill (made from toilet paper) around it. There was a menu card for each man and the effect was great.
At seven thirty we cut our cake (this of Steve’s making) and really delightful it was. We couldn’t eat it all at so something was saved for later. Then another cigarette and a natter about old times finishing at nine when, in coffee, we toasted Absent Friends. A walk around the compound and then to bed after a quiet but warm and un-hungry Christmas Day.Michael Oldfield
F/O W. Olenake . Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd.
Ella Olinski . Land Army
Cpl. Douglas Phillip Oliver . Britsh Army RASC.
My father-in-law, Douglas Oliver has a photo of his wife, returned to sender. It was sent to him in Stalag 357 in June 44 his hut No was 91/5 and his prison No was 1257. He believes that it was returned, as he was marched along with 100s of other's POW's to Poland Malbork. He was captured at Dunkirk and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.D Baker
George Oliver . RCAF rear gunner 408 Sqd.Larry Romain
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