- Warming WW2 stories from your area..
Mums dad was a nav in the RAF, he was in a liberator going from the USA to back home, across the Atlantic was a dull few hours, eating his dinner at his little table, a bit of sauce fell out if his sandwich onto the map, he had the pilot fly ” around” the stain.
Mum still has the bit of map and the log entry that says ” course corrections to avoid Worcester”Posted 5 years agogavtheoldskaterMember
grew up on an island on the south coast, they used to light fires on the marshes to confuse the bombers that it was porstsmouth. remember a kid digging in the mud and finding a flying helmet, i found a medal in the same area, another guy found a bomb.
went surfing once in devon over some rocks at high tide. came back later and was not allowed to go in, a mine had come up on the rocks. watched it get exploded, a very unsatisfactory ‘pop’.
wife’s grandad was the super secret dads army. apparently their munitions dumps were in the hills above the local village.
when we lived in the village i had very visual recurring dreams of planes crashing, different scenarios but always a plane coming down or landing suddenly somewhere it should’nt. found out later that a german bomber had come down in the fields (as they were then, now a housing estate) behind our house. since moving 5 years ago i have not once had the dream.Posted 5 years agomuddydwarfSubscriber
My paternal great-grandfather was part of the AA gun crew that shot down the first Zeppelin over Britain during the great war.
My maternal grandfather was an artilleryman in the 8th Army during WWII. I heard my dad ask him about North Africa and Tobruk.
“Bloody loved it i did, birds, beer and sunshine, bloody great”. The fact that the entire Afrika Korps were shelling him across the Quattara Depression didn’t seem to bother him!
When asked about the Italian Campaign he was heard to say “Hated it, every town we went to was nothing but bloody rubble, no bars, no beer, no women, bloody **** it was”
Yes grandad, that’s because you’d been dropping 8lb shells on the place for a week beforehand!Posted 5 years agopeterfileMember
When I was a kid, we used to tease an old man who lived nearby.
He was slow on his feet and always used to be wandering around.
As I got older (about 16) my mum started driving him to her work (a secondary school), because at the age of 70+) he regretted never having achieved much at school and wanted to study for some higher exams. He sat in lessons every day with 15-16 year old pupils from a pretty rough area.
He took a keen interest in my family, mostly due my mother’s generosity, but he always bought thoughtful gifts for birthdays and would listen at great length to how my brother and I were getting on (despite us not taking much to do with him).
One day, he passed me a book, rather timidly, and suggested that I might enjoy it.
It was about Russian Convoys during WW2.
It was about him.
As a young lad, my emotions weren’t quite developed yet, but thinking about it all now makes the room very very dusty indeed.
Donald was a true hero from 15 years of age, the same age as me when I used join in the mickey taking with the other lads from school.
He’s still going on regular walks around the village where I grew up, only now when I see him I relish the opportunity to find out everything I can about him and his utterly engaging life.
Posted 5 years agofatsimon mk2Member
not heart warming but quite funny as told to me by a quite old employee of suffolk council whilst doing some bridge maintence on a very rural bridge in the 70’s some very strange shaped qbjects were found under the bridge these”objects” had been painted over several times over the years one of the road crew working on the bridge had been in the royal engineers during the 60’s and had a quick look and thought they looked like demoltion charges bomb disposal from colchester were called and sure enough they were what he thought seams the bridge had been wired during the early 40’s in case of invasion and they had been forgotten about 😯Posted 5 years agoworldrallyteamMember
This is what my daughter dug up in out back garden.
Thankfully decommissioned as she came up the garden with it on the prong of a garden fork, she was about 8 at the time.
There are still some gardens with the old green corrugated huts, being used as sheds. The bomb disposal who came out for this said that people used to hide munitions in case we were ever invaded.Posted 5 years agosamuriMember
A few. We lived in New Mills. The largest fuel tanks in Britain were held in the tunnels at Chapen en le Frith over the hill. Apparently, accordingling to my dad, of the bombs w3ould have hit them they’d have blown Buxton off the map.
Mor personal then,the only two bombs dropped on New Mills during the war were two. One dropped on the labour exhange and went off. One dropped on my Uncle Harrie’s back outhouse and didn’t go off. He had a photo of it. It was the size of a small car, just sat there, half cocked on his demolished outhouse.
My uncle Harry fought in the first world war. He hated Germans. Re3ally **** heated the. He fought in one war and thought that was in, then they started a second war and dropped a bomb on his crapper. He had this big eff off knife that looked like ut had been used to gut elephants, he showed it me once and told me if any Germans called at his house he’d stick it in them.
Later, just before he died, he gave me a toy gun to play with. My dad took it off me when I got home. You know, what with it being a real gun and everything.Posted 5 years agoRussell96Subscriber
One of my Great Uncles was in R&D in Rhydymwyn Works but he was then shipped off to to Los Alamos for the rest of the war, he never said to anyone what he did, but I have a guess that one of his older brothers had a serious effect on him, as I remember sitting on the knee of my Great Uncle Wid when I was a nipper about 1970 in the nursing home with him wheezing away with his oxygen mask due to the mess made of his lungs in the first war by being gassed in the trenches.Posted 5 years ago3bikemanMember
Watching the yesterday channel makes you realise how close we were to being invaded and how brave the people were that were out fighting. – the Taunton stop line is an interesting visit, lots to see. Watching D day landings and visiting the landing beaches makes you realise also how lucky we were and it was down to the bravery of people like our fathers/mothers/grandfathers /grandmothers etc etc Having got to 62 I am grateful not to have gone through what the country did both in ww1 and ww2.Posted 5 years ago
Good thread, enjoyed reading itpasstherizlaMember
During the start of the war My grandad’s Twin brother (Eddie) was enlisted in the postal regiments of the Army.
He was based in Nottingham at christmas time, Colin their younger brother was getting very little for Chistmas and Eddie was owed some leave and had what was to him a big wad of cash. He went to the Raleigh factory and bought Colin a 3 speed bike direct and rode it 50 miles to West Bromwich in time for Christmas lunch.Posted 5 years agoneninjaMember
My Grandad had joined the Fire Brigade before the war started, much to his family’s annoyance that as their eldest son, he hadn’t stayed with the family funeral director and wheelwright business.
When the German bombing raids started he was posted to a mobile rapid reaction Fire team and had to race to which ever Midlands/North West city was being targeted. He could be in Liverpool one night and Coventry the next. He was in Coventry during the worst of the raids on the City and was amongst the firemen who tried in vain to save the Cathedral.
He told a few stories like the time they rescued the crew from a downed German bomber that had crash landed in fields nr Manchester. Moments later the plane was in flames and the remaining bomb load went up.
He actually ended up living in Coventry as the Chief Fire Officer for the city.
My folks live in the countryside nr Barnard Castle – 50m away in the field behind their house there are 3 large holes which fill with water after heavy rain. A german bomber had released it’s remaining bomb load on it’s way home after a raid on Newcastle or Sunderland.Posted 5 years agograhamhMember
Old cycling club mate of my parents Bill, was left behind in France after the BEF withdrew. Managing to evade capture and was taken in by a French family, they used the cover story that he was a cousin from another part of France.
Over a period of time he was taught to speak fluent French, and the resistance arranged false papers for him to make his way down to Spain.
Having made is way across occupied France he reached Vichy France, reaching a town not far from the border, where failing to find the safe house he asked a police man for directions. Even with his flawless French the office then said “Your from Birmingham”.
Tuned out he has spent some time before the war in the midlands so recognised the accent. Copper turned him in and he spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.
When he died (and that was a story in its self) there was a deputation from the French resistance organisation at his funeralPosted 5 years agonovaswiftMember
Different kind of story really. When my dad was in his early teens he used to pal around with his cousin George who was 2years older In September 1944 George joined up and left with the Argyll and Southern Highlanders. Sadly dad never saw George again as he was killed in NW Europe in March 1945 aged only 18. Dad always said he regretted never visiting his grave so last week he and I travelled to the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany where he finally paid his respects 68 years after his death. This week my dad suffered two heart attacks and is facing major surgery at the age of 84 Whatever happens I think we’re both glad to have gonePosted 5 years agojock-muttleyMember
Dad joined the Navy in ’38. Specialised as a Wireless Telegrapher, was the youngest Petty Officer & CPO of his generation (a boxing victory against the army mid-heavyweight “champion” may have helped here 😉 )
Served at Dunkirk (where he lost his best mate (who was sitting next to him) to a german 88mm shell that failed to detonate as the armour in the radio room was so thin so it passed through!) North Atlantic, the Med (task force H), the north atlantic convoys (russian), then out to the far east. As a regular he served till ’57 was comissioned in ’51 for the Korean War. He had 5 ships sunk from under him (4 of them in a row) – he always said it was like the Germans were taking his participation personally! To quote him direct,
“Steve Duffy’s on that ship… Sink it!”
Best tale he ever told was when he was serving on a Destroyer (could have been Cossack) on convoy escort duty, they were escorting the RMS Queen Mary full of US troops into the Mull of Kintyre. They were into the Mull itself when the alert went out that a U boat had got past the submarine nets.
The escorts closed alongside the Queen Mary (thus acting as sacrificial shields), they were in blackout, the QM obviously towered way above the escorts, dad stepped out onto the Bridge wing and looked up…. all he could see from the QM were the red trails of cigarettes & cigars of the yanks as they ran around on the upper decks… Dad says they were obviously in a major panic and must have thought the sound of the escort destroyers closing on the QM (effectively colliding) were torpedo hits, next thing he sees a shape descending towards them… BAROOOOOOOOMMMM … cue one of QM’s lifeboats with 40+ americans landing on the hapless british destroyer thankfully with only minor injuries.. the silly buggers had started to abandon ship in panic.
The escorts immidiately began to turn on their deck lights as their commanders realised that the risk of being torpedoed was less than being sunk by falling life boats… bearing in mind a liner of that eras lifeboats are something like 30′ – 40′ in length and about 10 – 15 tons.. so a couple landing on a small warship potentially could capsize it.Posted 5 years agopihaSubscriber
Not so much a local story, however…
When I was living in Moscow (1997/8ish) we decided to take our local workers for a couple of beers after work. We went to the local workers drinking emporium, a bit of a grim affair with poor beer, no music, chairs or bar to speak of but it did have a couple of Formica tables that stood at at chest height.
Anyway, there was about 10 of us stood round the table – 3 UK expats and 7 local lads. Now in 1997/8 there weren’t too many British workers in Moscow (not sure how many there are now!) and I guess we could stand out a bit with the clothes that we wore and speaking English of course.
After we had been in the bar for about an hour-ish, a pensioner in a well worn suit pushed his way through the crowd and up to our table. Once he had managed to shuffle in between a couple of us, he banged his fist on top of the Formica table in order to get our attention.
“Excuse, are you young men from England” he enquired.
“Yes” I replied.
I thought he was about to give us a speech about the English needing to come to Moscow for work or a lecture on politics but instead he nodded and wandered off through the crowd of drinkers without saying another word…..
A little later the elderly gent returned to our table with something concealed in a brown paper bag. He banged his paper bag down on our table and produced 11 small white plastic glasses from his suit pocket. He presented all of us with a glass and removed the brown paper bag to reveal a bottle of Vodka!
He carefully removed the top from the bottle of Vodka, crushed the metal bottle top with his hands and threw it to the floor.
He poured each of us a small amount of Vodka, he poured his own drink last of all.
“Nostravia” he shouted as he held the Vodka above his head and then emptied the contents of the glass into his mouth and carefully placed the empty glass on the Formica table.
We all looked at each other, smiled, shrugged our shoulders and copied him, shouting “Nostravia” and drinking the surprisingly good Vodka. One of the local lads commented that the Vodka was indeed very good and went on to state “Bolshoi dengi Vodka”.
The old man then filled all the eleven glasses again, emptying the bottle of Vodka.
Once again, “Nostravia” he shouted and the Vodka was gone in one! We followed he lead without pause this time.
He hadn’t said a word apart from his salute to the Vodka since his return.
We thanked him for his generosity and said it was now our turn to buy him a drink.
“No, no , no my new English friends. I do not need another drink today” he replied. His English was better than my Russian and I noticed that he had a great many badges (politic party?) on his tatty lapel. He came across as a very proud man.
We insisted but he firmly refused our offer. Money was very tight for the average person in Moscow at the time and the bottle of Vodka must have cost him a lot of money.
We asked why he had bought us the Vodka and after a long pause me told us his story…
“When I was a young man, about the same age as you, I was fighting in WWII. I was fighting the Nazis with my comrades, we fought shoulder to shoulder. We fought for our lives and for our country. The fighting was fierce and I got separated from my friends, my comrades, my countrymen”
“I was lost and frightened. I stumbled across some men, I thought they would kill me but they helped me. They were English”
“We fought together, shoulder to shoulder, like comrades. Me and the young English men. They were very brave. I knew that I had to return to my countrymen and when I had the opportunity I thanked the English men for their kindness and left them to return to my company”
“As I left them I promised myself that the next Englishmen I meet I would buy them a drink, I have now bought my English friends that drink”
With that he thanked us and left the room. His story still makes me feel humble after all these years.Posted 5 years agobrooessMember
Nothing much but my Dad told me recently about getting blown out of bed from the impact of the bombs falling in the Blitz – he grew up in East London. Was evacuated not long after, which he hated.
It was weird hearing this from my own father, who must’ve been about 4 at the time. WW2 seems like a story to our generation.
Harder to hear was in WW1, my great grandfather (who was German but had emigrated to London) was conscripted back to the German army and had to fight the English. The family saw this as treachery and refused to talk to him ever again… and he died in the 60’s having never spoken to his family again. I think the impact of this on my Gran was significant – feeling abandoned by her father. She also had to go through the pain of racial abuse (being half-German). An unglamorous and unheard impact of war…Posted 5 years ago
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