If you enjoy this site
please consider making a donation.
Allied Air Forces
Prisoners of War
Women at War
Those Who Served
The Great War
TWMP on Facebook
Your Family History
British Army Royal Army Service Corps
Extract from newspaper report from an Interview with Private Payne from Luton, Chatham August 1940.
With the collapse of the French army Private Payne was involved in the evacuation of the 2nd BEF and he and other troops found themselves aboard the ill fated SS Lancastria.
‘The story of the Lancastria has now been told’ he said, ’but one thing that was not sufficiently emphasised was the courage of the troops on board.
‘It has been suggested that the enemy were not aware of the Lancastria’s identity after she had sunk I think I can confirm that’ ‘A Corporal Williamson and myself, both clerks with the R.A.S.C., were manning a Bren gun on the top deck. He was firing and I was feeding the gun. We brought down the plane that bombed the boat and it therefore did not return to its base to tell the tale.
In the explosion which followed the bombing my comrade was severely injured. I think I can say that I saved his life because although he was practically unconscious I managed to dress his wounds and get him safely on a boat. I placed him on the last lifeboat to leave the ship. I tried to get into a boat myself, but overbalanced and fell into the water. I had no life belt and I could not swim, but I found an oar in the water and was able to hold myself up. I was in the water more than 2 hours. We were machine gunned during part of it, but I came through okay and was finally picked up by a French trawler.
When I got aboard I found my comrade was there too. He was lying unconscious on the deck and although I was terribly wet and weary I made a pillow for him out of some wet clothing and stayed with him until we were transferred to a bigger ship. Here he was operated on and is, I believe, now in hospital in England.
I think his feat in shooting down the German plane is deserving of some recognition.
Private Payne added that his experience had somewhat affected his help and that he has now been graded B.1.
Corporal Williamson was my father John Derek Williamson, who died when he was 68 years old in 1988.
Can you help us to add to our records?
The names and stories on this website have been submitted by their relatives and friends. If your relations are not listed please add their names so that others can read about them
Did you or your relatives live through the Second World War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial? Were you or your relative evacuated? Did an air raid affect your area?
If so please let us know.
Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.
Celebrate your own Family History
Celebrate by honouring members of your family who served in the Secomd World War both in the forces and at home. We love to hear about the soldiers, but also remember the many who served in support roles, nurses, doctors, land army, muntions workers etc.
Please use our Family History resources to find out more about your relatives. Then please send in a short article, with a photo if possible, so that they can be remembered on these pages.
The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.
This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.
If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.
Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
- All Rights Reserved