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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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.

Gerald O'Hara

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.

Vin Mullen

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.

Alison O'Hara

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(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

Warren O'Keefe .     Australian Army

Phil O'Keefe

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.

Damian West

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.

Eric J Waterhouse

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.

Maureen Williams

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

Shaun 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

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.

Peter Cipkowski

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

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.

Dominick Campbell

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.

Terry O'Neill

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 1941-1945

Patrick 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.


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

Clarence "Reg" Oakley .     Royal Air Force 44 Sqdn.

My father, Clarence "Reg" Oakley, was a pilot for 44 Rhodesia Squadron. His Lancaster was shot down and he ended up in Stalag Luft III. In think the year was 1943. I am looking for more information.

Ian Oakley

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)

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