Did any of your family serve during WW2; if so what did they do?

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by nickc, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    For fairly obvious reasons, I was proud of my family's contribution to WW2 and first posted details on the BBC People's War project.

    I was promply cut down to size when someone else pointed out that his family had 12 boys in the forces !

    As usual, give me time, and I will return to this thread and supply the link :)

    The Goldstein Boys at War.jpg

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  2. Anthony Burns

    Anthony Burns Member

    My grandfather was in the royal army ordinance corps he died in 1943 his name was Thomas Hugh burns from Lisburn northern Ireland I am trying to find out where he served and how he died
  3. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Grandfather on my dad's side served as a Royal Navy Stoker in various Combined Ops units from 1941. However he was suffering an illness at the time (no idea what but as he had a brain tumour in the early 1950's and died in 1954 aged 46 I believe the two things could be linked) and was invalided out in 1943. He spent time on HMS Sobieski from 8th Jan to 3rd Mar 1943 when I think it was used to ferry troops to North Africa.

    My other Grandfather served in the Royal Navy in WW-1.
  4. My father served, along with his 5 older brothers. All 6 came home safely.

    He was in the 88th division, 350th regiment. He entered late in the war and says he never saw heavy combat, "just skirmishes". He also guarded German POWs.

    He is 89 now and fading a bit. He does light up though when I ask him about his past. My hope is to get him to our local annual WW2 reeanactment next Fall. (He missed this past one because he wasn't feeling up to it.) He liked the photos I took from the event, so I think he would get a kick out of the reenactors and would enjoy meeting them.

    I look forward to going through everyone's stories here.
  5. DOM

    DOM Member

    My grandfather Martin O'Mahony was in the 1st Battalion Hertfordshire regiment with the Motor Transport section. He also had 2 other brothers in the Herts. 1 of them Christopher O'Mahony was with my grandfather in the same section. There regimental numbers are the same except for the last digit. The other brother James was with the 5th Battalion and was captured by the Japanese in Singapore. He was eventually rescued by the US Navy from a POW slave labour camp in Sendai Japan at the end of the war. He was working a lead and tin mine for the Mitsubishi corporation at Sendai #3.

    They were all from Cork City in Ireland. It was very unusual for someone from the republic of Ireland to join up for WW2. My grandfather and Christopher traveled to Belfast to join up and the other brother James was already living and working in England when he joined.

    My grandfather was quiet the photographer during the war. He has a collection from his time in Gibraltar, Palestine and Egypt. He also has a number of photos under the title of "North African Invasion". They are pictures of the armada of ships and landing on beaches but I've no idea where or when as they are not dated. Curiously he has 5 medals but no African Star. He has a Palestine medal, Defence medal, Italy star, 1939 - 1945 star and the war medal.

    It is obvious from the photos that it is US troops on the ships and landing on the beach. There is also a US flag flying in one of the photos.

    I'd love to know why he didn't receive the African Star and to know his exact movements during the war.

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Fixed it for you. :) Thanks for sharing.

    Have you applied to MOD for copy service records for your grandfather / grand uncles? These records would state entitlement to medals. Going on from there you could contact MOD Medal Office if your grandfather was indeed entitled to Africa Star but never applied for it.

    Qualification criteria is mentioned in this linked post,
    WW2 Campaign Stars & Medals info thread
    the main one being:
    "The Africa Star is awarded for a minimum of one day's operational service in North Africa west of the Suez Canal, Egypt, Malta between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943 and in Syria between 8 June 1941 and 11 July 1941."
  7. DOM

    DOM Member

    Thanks for fixing that for me :)

    I need to apply for the service records. I've been almost overwhelmed with the amount of information I am digging up so haven't got around to it yet as I researching various family members from both world wars. My grandfather was a quiet man so I suspect he didn't apply for the African Star when it didn't arrive with the other ones. Either that or the dates of the landing were outside the medal dates which would be unusual in the context of photos he has. I will attach another couple to this post.

    IMG_0093.JPG IMG_0192.JPG
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  8. steviebyday

    steviebyday Junior Member

    father called up 1942. royal artillery 86th field regiment, landed in France D-day.
  9. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    My grandfather on my father's side, Louis Pierre Jeltes, served in the KNIL (the Dutch army in the Dutch East Indies). He was taken Prisoner of War by the Japanese in Bandung, Java on March 8th, 1942 and was subsequently shipped to Thailand to work on the Burma Railroad. His wife and two children (one of them being my father) were interned in a Japanese prison camp on Java. Although nearly starved to death they all survived (my grandfather minus part of his little finger, amputated without anesthesia because of some kind of tropical sore) and were rejoined in the autumn of 1945. Even after this, with my grandfather at the age of 43 found to be unfit for further service, the war was not over for them. They still had to go through the war of independence which, although in principle justifiable from the Indonesian point of view, again held a number of horrors for all of them. After living in the Dutch East Indies for four generation my family left for Holland in 1950. The whole period, lasting from early 1942 to 1950 has traumatized my father for the rest of his life...
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  10. I've been a member of this forum for a few years and dip into it from time to time but I've not come across this thread before. Reading some of these post raises the hairs on the back of my neck and I feel humbled. The hundreds of posts here will be typical of hundreds of thousands of similar stories of service to their nation which will probably never be recorded anywhere. However, enough of this maudlin' talk !

    My father Bombardier Edward "Andy" Anderson was called up to the Royal Scots but volunteered for the Maritime Regiment Royal Artillery in February 1941. He served as a gunner on merchant ships through to November 1945, surviving a torpedoing in the Atlantic in April 1943. His last trip was on a Liberty ship on Operation Zipper which would have been the invasion of Malaya but the atomic bomb meant it was an unopposed landing. I sometimes think my existence may be due to President Truman taking the decision to drop the bomb.

    My mother's brother Sgt George Durie, an Observer in a Blenheim of 107 Sqdn RAF was KIA over Stavanger on 21st April 1940. His name is on the Runnymead Memorial.

    My mother's brother Lt Bill Durie was in the Black Watch, later transferring to the Reconnaissance Corps. He did not see action, being invalided out in 1942.

    My mother's brother Capt John Durie was in the RASC later being commission into the Indian Army serving in PAIFORCE and later in Italy. I don't think he saw action but I haven't fully checked that out.

    My mother's brother Christopher "Kit" Durie was in the RAF towards the end of the war but did not see action.

    My father's sister Private Margaret Anderson was in the ATS serving all her time in UK. Margaret married Fred Gubb, a Welshman from Port Talbot, who was in the REME and served in northern Europe. I don't know anything else about Fred's service.

    My father's sister Kathy married Capt Boleslaw Kudelski of the Polish Army. He served in the UK and did not see action after his escape from Poland in1939 via Rumania, Italy and France. That would be a story in itself.

    Looking forward to reading the whole of this thread.

    Chris Anderson
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  11. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Dear Chris,

    Great to read your above thread. Right after mine I found your remark about the atom bomb quite a coincidence. This is because I have very similar feelings about the atom bomb. Not a nice weapon - but then again none of them are - but I am quite sure it caused my father to survive the war and therefore it made possible my very existence. Given the fact that my father (7 years old at the time) and his little brother were mainly living on starch in the final months, I have little doubt they would have perished had the war lasted much longer...

    Kind regards,

  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    My Father finished the war in NW Europe but the great fear of all of them was that they would be sent to the Far East. His next posting should have been there but once again thankfully it all ended.

    The next draft was entered in the AB64s of his unit on 25/5/1945 - "Far East 1" and countersigned and initialled by an officer - W.A. Greaves - WAG. They joked at the time that it was as if the entry showed "Far East - 1 Way" !

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  13. Dear Ronald,

    My father was on a troopship Kosciuszko loaded with Australian troops in convoy BM 13 from Bombay bound for Batavia. They were to be reinforcing the allied forces in Java but the convoy turned back around 20th February. It was clear by then that there was no point in landing more troops on Java. So my father was not far from your father in Feb '42.


  14. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Member

    Colonial here. My father served in Italy from Salerno on. He went in as a member of the 900th AAA. As he always told it, when there were no more planes to shoot down, his unit was converted to the 473rd Infantry Regiment. It was attached to the 92nd Infantry Division. That was the unit he always was associated with. He was in Company K. I was fortunate enough to attend some of the reunions in the late 50s and early 60s. I got to know some of the men he served with. He mustered out as a Staff Sergeant.
    My Father-in-law served in the Pacific as a Finance Officer. I'm not sure what unit he was in, but he reached the rank of Master Sergeant. He told me he was in Bouganville, and we have some photos he took in the harbor at Sendai, Japan.
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  15. BereniceUK

    BereniceUK Well-Known Member

    Me dad were in the Signals, but all I know is that he served in Egypt at some point, because I remember him still having a book on learning to speak Arabic. Was in the Territorial Army up to the early 1960s, but had left before 1963.
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  16. red ling

    red ling Member

    My father Basil Blake, 6403631, had a very "interesting" war. He was called up and started with 1st Bat. The Royal Sussex and left Liverpool Aug 1940 as re enforcement and arrived Port Said 18.09.1940 and was with 4th Indian Division. Arrived Port Sudan Dec 1940 and by July 1941 transferred to RASC. In Feb 1942 was in Cairo and by July 1942 sent to Aswan on the train with papers to be flown to London (July 1942 known as Ash Wednesday). By August 1942 he was tranferred to Sudan Defence Force, Equatorial Corps. In June 1943 transferred to RASC and by September 1943 transferred to ISLD GHQ MEF. Dec 1943 He was in Beirut and in Oct 1944 moved to CMF and served in Greece, Italy and the Balkans - sometimes behind enemy lines.He was posted back home Feb 1945 and served with the Foreign Office until being released Feb 1946. See my album for photos.
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  17. Warren Matthews

    Warren Matthews New Member

    I joined this site to research my grand father.
    Harry Matthews was in the King's Royal Rifle Corp (KRRC). I think he was in the first battalion.
    He was in North Africa with the 8th Army desert rats.
    I hope to find out more about the KRRC and Harry's war.
  18. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Don't think I've posted about my grandfathers. Sadly I did not know either of them - one passed away before I was born, and the other when I was still a young boy, in the 1970s.

    My paternal grandfather, Donald Alan Camfield, somehow (not sure of the exact details) enrolled with the tanks, but when the Army discovered he had studied German at university he got taken out and placed in Intelligence. He worked at Bletchley in message translation and was a Captain (acting Major) at the end of the war.

    My maternal grandfather Thomas Edmund James May was a Mate and eventually made Captain in the Merchant Marine before the end of the war. He had a rather lucky experience in that he was never torpedoed.


    my granddad William Cannon (known as Les) was RSM of the BEDS and HERTS during ww2 . he served in N.Africa , Burma , and finished the war in the Black Forest in Germany . After this he went on to Palestine
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  20. gaj306

    gaj306 Junior Member

    I had six great uncles, all brothers, who served during the war.
    Richard Henry Rose of the 2nd battalion Green Howards died 18.05.1943. Has no known grave.
    Norman Rose of the 6th battalion Green Howards died 15.11.1944 He is buried in Jonkerbosh commonwealth war graves cemetery in Nijmegen Netherlands.
    Jonn Rose of the 6th battalion Green Howards, survived the war.
    Cyril Rose of the Kings own Scottish borderers, wounded twice but survived the war.
    Louis Rose, unit unknown wounded but survived the war.
    Bill Rose served in the RAF and survived the war.

    Norman Rose is the story I am researching. The family story is that Norman and John were together crossing a bridge when something happened and Norman was wounded but John was ok. I asked Louis about it and he wouldn't tell me, he said ask your uncle Bill. Unfortunately Bill died before I could ask him. Norman was initially buried at the northern end of Nijmegen bridge before he was moved to Jonkerbosh in 1947.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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