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Those who Served
F/Sgt. William Charles Udell . Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 514 Sqdn. from Blockley)
(d.30th June 1944)
Lancaster Bomber LL620 JI-T was brought down by flak near Villers Bocage on 30th June 1944. It is thought that the tail had been damaged. There were no survivors. The crew are all buried in Coulvain Churchyard, Calvados, France. They were:
F/O Douglas Austin Woods, pilot F/Sgt Eric Charles Coles, flight engineer Sgt Kenneth Royston Heron, wireless operator F/O Francis Longson, navigator F/Sgt Ernest Thomas Shanks, airbomber F/Sgt William Charles Udell, airgunner P/O Hilary Louis Doherty, airgunner
Sgt Uff . Royal Air Force 58 Sqd.
Thomas Ulm . from Canada)
My grandpa was in WWII, but that's all I know. Does anyone remember him?
Elmer Umbenhauer . United States Army from Cape May Courthouse, NJ)
Elmer Umbenhauer recalls the house-to-house fighting in Nenning, Germany, and the unrelenting cold that went through to the bone. "It was the luck of the draw whether you made it or didn't make it" Elmer was 18 in 1943 when he joined the Army, and he found himself at Nenning the following year. GIs had pushed German troops from the town three times and were forced out three times. In a fourth attempt, his fresh unit finally held the town. "It was our first time in combat. There was nothing but mass confusion. Our company commander was killed in the first five minutes. There was house-to-house fighting, and you never knew what was behind the next door." The severity of that winter and biting wind is one of the memories he'll never forget. "We'd have snow up to our knees and had no way of getting warm. If I'm sitting with my kids and there's a terrible snowstorm, I'd say, 'Look out there; that's the way it was during the Battle of the Bulge.'"
F/L C. R. Underhill . 97 Squadron
Cpl. John Underhill . British Army Worcestershire Regiment from Hickmans Avenue, Old Hill, Staffs )
My father was John Underhill, he was a POW in Stalag IVB. He and a few other sick prisoners escaped while on a march to cross the Elbe in the final days of the war. They hid in the woods for days then a German farmer took them in. We just found a book it belonged to dad who died 9 years ago; on the front is Stalag and in Dad's writing IV B inside on Wednesday April 18th is written "5th day. Landed on our feet, right in, feet under the table. Oh Boy a real meal, knife fork and spoon." There was also a name and an address and I contacted the family who still live there. The young farmer was only 22 years old yet he risked everything to give enemy soldiers a bed and meals for a few days. The men with my father were Arthur ,Slim and Bob, can anyone help? We are eager to know more. They joined up with the 11th Arm. Div Inns of Court Regiment and returned home to England.
Cpl. John Underhill . British Army Worcestershire Regiment from Hickmans Avenue, Old Hill, Staffs)
My father was John Underhill who served with the Worcestershire Regiment in the 2nd World War. He was a prisoner of war in Stalag 4B up to just prior to the end of the war. It was only after he died that my sisters and I found a diary with STALAG XX4 imprinted on the front. Inside on 6th of April 1945 it dad had written "issued with 6 days rations consisting of 1 loaf of bread, 2 pats of margarine, pearl barley, sugar and flour. Left Fallingbuttel on the march. Spent night in a barn. On April 9th "ever onward we know not where". The next day he wrote that they had come full circle. On the 12th April he wrote that they were marching for a bridge to get them over the Elbe.
On the 14th of April my Dad and 4 other POW's broke free from the others and hid in the woods for a few days, some were sick along with my Dad who had stomach pains and groin pain and very loose he writes on 15th "Arthur worse and Slim down." On 16th "Arthur better, Slim the same and Bob down."
Then on the 18th April he writes "Landed on our feet, right in, feet under the table. Oh boy a real meal at last." On the page was written a name and address Adolf Stegen Wholenbuttel, Amelinghausen, Luneburg Germany. Dad and his fellow POW's were fed and spent at least one night in the farm eating good meals which he lists. Then he writes of setting off and meeting 11th division, Inns of Court Regiment who got them home.
I would like to hear from anyone who knows who Arthur, Slim or Bob were. I wrote to the Stegen family and though Adolf himself had died I got to know his daughter over the internet. I wanted to thank her father for his kind treatment to dad and others. I also saw where Dad spent his time there.
Sgt. Harless Cornelious "Woody" Underwood . United States Army 191st Tank Battalion. from Herndon, W. Va.)
Harless Cornelious Underwood inducted 19 April 1941 Roanoke, Va. Age 22. Completed 3 Yrs. 9 Mon.16 days. Training Ft. Meade, Md., Indo, Calif., Ft. Benning, Ga; Maneuvers N.C & S.C., Camp Kilmer, N.J., Ft. Bragg, N.C.,North Africa. He was wounded at Anzio, Italy, May 21, 1943, and was behind Enemy Lines 5 days until wounded, severely burned, when morter round came down the hatch of tank killing one man wounded three. He refused Medal Of Honor from company Commander, stated only the fighting until dead deserved this medal. He pushed two men, stuck in the hatch together to save him self with clothing on fire. He was wrapped like a mummy in a burn center for a while until he grew a beard under the bandage.
Later he was put back into combat. The 191st Tank Bn. was attached to the 45th Infantry, 157th Regiment which broke through the Gustau Line on May 15, 1943 their mission was to destroy German communication and was to draw German units from the beach landing which was to begin in Jan. 1944. They ran into 5 Div. of Germans in the Liri valley, nick named mouse trap valley. They lost 100 tanks the first day of battle on the Gustau Line. The 101 & 82nd Paratroopers were to link up with the 191st plus 3rd Marine Div. behind enemy lines. There were two movies made from the fighting force there, which were Darby's Rangers, and the Devil's Brigade.
I have researched the 191st for two years now and finally got information when I typed behind enemy lines May 15, 1943. Many of military records were shredded to prevent falling into enemy hands. I got a lot of information from a diary belonging to Lt. Gen, Welborn G. Dolvin Sr. Commander of 191st deployed to North Africa. Little is given of what happened to the 191st Tank Bn. which my Dad, Sgt. Harless C. Underwood, was a tank Commander with behind Enemy Lines. I found a report with the 67th Medial Hosp. that has my dad's name as David Underwood which is wrong.
My Dad passed away Feb. 1 1975 and I never knew he was ever behind enemy lines only that he was burned severely of which he had scars to prove this and that he did refuse the Medal of Honor that his commander wanted him to receive. Harless C. Underwood name and picture is in the blue book titled Young American Patriots WWll West Virginia Volume ll.
Capt. Harris R Underwood . United States Army Air Corps from Oklahoma)
Cook. Jimmy Underwood . Royal Navy HMS Nelson
Pte. Leonard Underwood . British Army 5th Btn. The King's Regiment (Liverpool) (d.28th Aug 1940)
Leonard Underwood who died age 24 was the son of George and Esther Underwood of Jarrow. He is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall and buried in Jarrow Cemetery.
F/Sgt. Ronald Underwood DFM. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)
F/Sgt Underwood was a Lancaster airgunner in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.
The members of the crew were:
P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer P/O A Morassi - Navigator F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner
The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.
Pte. Constantine Carl Ungurean . United States Army Infantry from Ohio, USA)
My great-grandfather, Carl Ungurean, was taken as a POW during WWII and was in Stalag 2b at Hammerstein until he was liberated. He never talked to me about it, and he passed away a couple years ago.
Does anyone remember him or has heard stories about him? I had no idea he was even a POW until after he passed away.
Unknown . Polish Air Force from Poland)
I live in Clayton North Carolina, the following is a story I heard from a 92 year old woman in the grocery yesterday 18th July 2013. She was English, from Leicester. She was 16 when she was to be married to a Polish Bomber Pilot. Ten days before the wedding he went out on a mission over the North Sea Where he was shot down. He was picked up by a German Gunboat. He was treated well and even given Brandy. He was in a prison camp for over three years. She stated he was in Stalag Luft 3 and was one of the men who dug the tunnels for the escape that "they made the movie the Great Escape from He spoke very little English when she met him, however, three weeks after the war ended there was a knock on her mothers door and there he stood. They traveled around after the war as he was in the textile business, working in the Channel Islands and Ireland for 9 years until approached by a business here in Clayton. they moved here in 1963. She said they were married for 51 years and that he died 17 years ago. She was a very lively woman and she left the grocery quickly . I never got her name. I wish I knew who this man was. His wife was remarkable. I wonder how many Polish Bomber pilots who had been in England were released at the end of the war from Stalag Luft 3.
My Grandfather was a child in Liege Belguim on a farm of 13 brothers and sisters. An American Pilot was shot down and lived. My grandfathers family hide him in a barn from the Germans. He lived in a box for a week or so. I wanted to find that pilot, can anyone help?.
Major. Unknown . British Army Royal Artillery
I have found a portrait photo of a soldier hidden behind an old picture (which was a newspaper cutting of st Anthony, Roseland, of 3/9/1949). The picture was bought in a junk shop in Limerick Ireland. I would love to help find the family of this soldier but I have very little to go on... I know the photo was taken by J. Weinberg in Cairo it has the number 22496 printed on back of photo.. So far I think he was a major in the RA and received a MiD( but looks like the Older WW1 oak leaf from it shape on the photo), his uniform was American made (apparently)! (Historians from twitter helped me out). I know this is probably WW2 but I am trying any/ every available source to try to name him... Any information you give would be so great. I attach the picture of him in the hope you might be able to help or redirect me. I was wondering if anyone could help me... Anything at all would help.
A Twitter appeal identified the coastal scene as Cadgwith and has given certain details about the soldier, whom Claire and her daughter have nicknamed ‘SAM’ (short for Soldier And Mystery). The khaki colours of the shirt and tie on the uniform are in line with desert colours and from the badge on his cap he was a Commonwealth Royal Artillery Officer. He also has an artillery stripe on his arm. The epaulette on his shoulder looks to be a crown, meaning he was a major, and the badge near his collar appears to be an MiD award – “mentioned in dispatches” for gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy – a silver oak leaf symbol. His uniform has been suggested as a 1940s pattern battle dress, from the pockets and buttons, issued from 1942 onwards. The Canadian army did not adopt this jacket, although it is possible Australia and/or New Zealand may have, while the upright bar at the end of the oak leaf may be the start of a Star of Africa ribbon.
The picture appears to have been taken by J Weinberg in Cairo with the number 22496 printed on the back. Jean Weinberg was a Romanian Jewish photographer based in Cairo between 1938 and approx 1948 and photographed members of the Egyptian royal family, so it may have been prestigious for a military man to be photographed by him at the time. It suggests the photograph was taken during World War Two.
Anyone who has information on the identity of the soldier, or who can suggest why his photograph would be wrapped in a cutting about Cornwall, can contact Claire via Twitter using @clairemsb
Unknown . British Army Royal Army Ordnace Corps
The man in the photo used to work on ammunition in a regiment somewhere in Cannock, Staffordshire with my Granddad's Mother, sadly she has just passed away, before she passed away her family members found a photo of a young looking guy, they asked who he was and she told them that she was engaged to him during the war and that he was her one true love. That was all the information she gave before she passed. I want to know more, I found that he could have possibly been from Richmond, Yorkshire and I found a picture of three guys who wore the same outfit and are in the same position as him. I want to know more, I've tried my best to research as much as I possibly can. Does anyone know who he is?
Unknown . Polish Air Force
I am trying to identify my grandfather and all I have is the attached picture. I know that he was in the Polish Air Force, stationed near Liverpool, around 1942. I have tried many avenues to identify him to no avail - if anyone recognises this picture, or has any idea of how I could further try to identify the picture, please do contact me. Thank you.
Unknown . British Army Norfolk Regiment
I recently purchased medals with this soldiers photograph and would love to know anything about his life. I know he was in the Norfolk regiment he received 5 medals the war medal, the defence medal, 1939-1945 star, the Italian star and African star with the 1st army clasp. If you could please help me out in anyway to see if I can put a name to the photo that would be great.
Basil Unknown . Royal Air Force
The picture of Basil and his wife were on my mothers sideboard throughout the late 1940s and 1950s. They said he died in the rear turret of a Lancaster bomber. I would recognise his face, I can picture it now. I dont know the surname but believe there cannot be more than one Basil from Yorkshire killed in a Lancaster bomber. If there is a list of rear gunners who died I would love to know.
Editors Note: CWGC lists 1514 airmen named Basil who were lost during the Second World War, we suggest you contact The Airgunners Database
Sgt. Bill Unknown . USAAF 326th Squadron 92nd Bomber Group
My story is identical to many who have lived a life of not knowing their father as a result of the effects of war. Many would have been in this situation due to the loss of their father in combat. They would have been told the facts surrounding his loss. Killed in action, Missing in Combat, Prisoner of War. Others may know that their existence was due to a period of time when it was important to grab a moment of happiness when they could.
One day, at junior school, my teacher asked the class to say what their mother and father did at work. I knew my mother worked in an office but I did not have a father. I asked my mother and she told me that he was killed in the war. At that time in London children played in streets where bomb sites were normal. We knew about the war so there was no reason to ask further questions. My mother found a partner when I was 9 years old and after several years he became my step-father. My name was changed by deed poll when I moved to Secondary school.
At various times in my childhood and early teenage years I had occasions to question my fathers demise. My Grand-mother (my mothers mother) once told me that my mother had the opportunity to move to America but had decided not to. I remembered being carried on the shoulders of soldier in Trafalgar Square with my mother. At this time I had been given a toy car which I now realise was an american model convertible. It was fantastic, with a steering wheel that worked and individual suspension. In my early teens I became interested in who my Father was. My Mother would not tell me of any detail other then he was killed in a battle at Caen, France. My Grandmother told me that he was an American who my mother had met whilst working as a bus conductress in Bushy. My grandmother asked me not to discuss this any further and especially not with my mother as she had been warned not to tell me the truth. I had already been threatened by my step father with being put in a children’s home if I was disobedient so decided to give up the questioning.
In 1998 my step-father died leaving my widowed mother living on her own and subsequently relying on me as the only child with few other relatives. To my surprise, one day she produced a photograph of a British army soldier and informed me that this was my father. She gave me the details of his regiment and service number and I was able to confirm he was killed in action in Caen following the D Day invasion. I decided to tell her that her mother had told me that my father was an American serviceman. My grandmother had died many years before. She looked shocked and then denied that the story was true. There was little point in pursuing the subject and nothing more was said.
Following my mothers death I dealt with the disposal of her belongings and was surprised to find a photograph of an American Airforce Sergeant signed on the reverse, Love from Bill, 13033949, 92nd Bomber Group, 326th Squadron USAAF 11th November 1942. My wife, on viewing the photo, said, 'you have his eyes and smile. That's your father'. My only other relative, a cousin, when told of my discovery, said, 'We were told that your father was an American'
I carried out a search on the internet and confirmed that the bomber squadron were on active service from Bovingdon Airfield during the relevant time My birth date also coincided with the possibility that Bill was my father. I discovered that there was a veterans association for the 92nd Bomber Group in the USA. I made contact and was informed that without a surname and the State in which Bill had been recruited it would not be possible to identify him. According to the archivist for the Vets Association each State in America issued the service number. Therefore it could not be used in isolation as a means of identification. I had to accept this as a fact and gave up on the quest.
I reasoned that such time had passed that it was probable that Bill was dead. I had to assume there was a surviving family in the USA and that they would be unaware of my mothers brief encounter during the war. Let sleeping dogs lie…..
Dennis Unknown . Polish Air Force 300 Sqd.
A number of years ago I knew a gentleman known as Dennis the Pole. He had escaped the German occupation of his homeland, made his way to Britain by circuitous means, and eventually becoming a navigator on 300 Masovian Squadron in Lancasters flying out of RAF Faldingworth. Dennis never really talked much about his wartime service to anyone, although he did discuss some things with me - like getting lost for several hours and landing very short of fuel. However one evening in the late 70's I was sharing a pint with Dennis when in came my cousin, himself very interested in bomber command history. Knowing that Dennis had been in 5 group bomber command asked what did you do in the war, Dennis replied "I made car parks in Germany" and quietly carried on drinking his pint. Great understatement from a man that saw much.
Jean Unknown . Canadian Army
My father was a French Canadian soldier in WW2. I only know his first name, Jean. He met my mother in Rochdale, Lancashire, England, I was born June 20th 1945. Would it be possible for me to find out a list of French Canadian soldiers billeted in North England around 1944? I do have a lot of questions and would like to find out an appropriate venue for information. Can anyone help?
Cpl. Ken Unknown . British Army Royal Horse Artillery
I found this photograph among my mother's belongings when she had to go into a home and I have been trying to find out who the person is. My Mum and her sister, 94 and 96 years old, both have dementia and there is no-one else left in the family who would remember. I wondered if anybody would know who he is. The photo was sent to my aunt as it says on the back 'to Dot with bags of kisses Ken'. I know it is probably a long shot but as my cousin is compiling a family history it would add to the story. Thanking you in anticipation.
Thomas Unknown . Royal Navy HMS Royal Arthur from London)
I have come across a picture of my aunts fiancee who was based at HMS Royal Arthur and who then was transferred to HMS Thracian. He is the one in the middle of the picture and I only know his name was Tom. Unfortunately my aunt died in 1945 before he came home from the war. I was only a baby. I have attached a photo in case anyone remembers him.
L/Cpl. Albert John Unsted . British Army 1st Btn. Grenadier Guards from Berwick Station, E. Sussex)
L/Cpl Unsted served in Germany in the last moments of WW2 and was at the relief of the concentration camp at Sandbostel.
Alice Unsworth . Munitions Worker ROF Aycliffe from Wingate)
My Aunt, Alice Unsworth was an Aycliffe Angel
Isabella Unsworth . Munitions Worker ROF Aycliffe from Wingate)
My Grandmother Isabella Unsworth was an Aycliffe Angel during the war.
Sgt. Walter Unsworth . British Army 663 Artisan Works Company Royal Engineers (d.17th Jun 1940)
Walter Unsworth of 663 Artisan Works Company, Royal Engineers lost his life in the sinking of the Lancastria.
George Cecil "Grumpy" Unwin . Royal Air Force 19 Squadron
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