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What did your relatives do in WWII?

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This made my father very angry:

three best mates living in Manchester where they had recently graduated, are called up for selection.

Mr A is declared unfit to serve and continues his work as an entertainer.

Mr B is snapped up by the Ministry of Supply.

Mr C is taken by the Army and becomes an Infantry officer.

 

Mr A finishes his day job, goes on firewatch and is then is stood down and whilst playing the piano in a pub has his legs blown off by a delayed land mine.

Mr B spends the war being bombed in Liverpool and Manchester, being terrified on Runcorn bridge by bombs dropping on each side. Working in bombed and leaking oil refineries along the Mersey and later catching the profiteers who knowingly sold substandard chemical products used in ships, planes and tanks. Charges were always dropped in the interests of national security.

Mr C became a Major but never fired a gun in anger. He was posted to Iraq and profited by dealing with the Free French, who delt with the Vichy French, who dealt with the Turkish who dealt with the Germans. He liked his war so much that he refused to leave in 1944 and court-martialed. By 1948 he was a millionaire employing German engineers on oilfields in Iraq. He was pardoned, bemedaled and awarded gongs. He regularly attended the Remembrance services in Manchester and London in "all his puffed up glory". 

 

Mr Bs (my father) relatives served in the Merchant Navy during the Great War and between 6 of them received one medal. They received no wages when their ships were damaged(3)/sunk(1) by enemy action.

 

Mr B would have appreciated the modern "Women of Steel" and Merchant Navy memorials in Liverpool as they help to spread the fact that a military uniform was not necessary to "do your bit".

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My dad was too young for the real thing but served in the home guard, a bit like Pike (stupid boy).
His elder brothers both came through it, one unscathed as a desert rat in North Africa, and the other not so luckily as a POW in Japanese hands.

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My dad broke his ankle badly as a child and always walked with a limp so when he volunteered at the outbreak of war in 1939 he failed the medical and subsequently worked at the S&E dairy on Archer Road.  He'd lost his dad  aged 4  in 1918 when having survived the Great War he succumbed to Spanish Flu aged 32.

Mum worked on the same road operating a turret lathe at Laycock Engineering. They both sheltered in the cellars under Sharrow Lane School during the blitz in 1940.

My uncle joined the Navy and piloted  landing craft when the allies landed in Sicily and then in Southern Italy near Salerno. He died young at the age of 48 in 1972.

I still have a very ornate Italian musical cigarette box which he brought back as a present for Mum. It plays Santa Lucia.

 

Echo.

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My father tried to join the RAF but failed the medical owing to being colour blind. He was advised to go back to his steel making job in a factory in Huddersfield. I believe they produced engine/body parts for the RAF to help keep the planes flying. If Hitler had known of this, I'm sure he would  have had the factory well and truly bombed.

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My dad had his 21st birthday whilst serving in the Middle East as a gunner in the Royal Artillery.

He was then sent to Italy where  he fought in The Battle of Monte Cassino  ( reported to be one of the bloodiest battles of WW2  )  He went in a boy and came out a man.

He never forgot the pals he lost and always wanted to return to Italy which we did as a family in 1970.

As well as the normal holiday things you do, we visited Monte Cassino. Being a 15 year old girl I thought it would be boring  ...... how wrong I was !   We also visited the Cassino War Cemetery ( beautifully kept ) where my dad found the graves of a few of his pals.   I will never forget that experience and am forever grateful to my mom + dad ( who are sadly no longer with us  ) for taking me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My father was in Bomb Disposal in Ww2.He,was in Coventry during the blitz and spent days digging people out of the ruins and defusing unexploded bombs

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My dad was in the RAF as a firefighter in Europe.  He must have witnessed some terrible sights but never mentioned them.  I only got the most of the picture after obtaining his service  records from the RAF about 5 years ago.  Sadly he passed away in 1989 but would have been 100 years old this coming August.

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On planning a trip to Japan I thought I would look up the war record of my late uncle Fred Gunson. Life long Sheffield lad. The family knew he was a prisoner of the Japanese but not much more.  I found he was captured in Hong Cong at the age of 19.  I think he was 24 when he got home.  Two parts of his record.  Prison in Japan but also 'Lisbon Maru'  Looked it up and WOW. This was a ship taking  allied prisoners with Japanese guards to Japan which was torpedoed by the Americans.  The prisoners were locked in the bowels of the sinking ship.  Some managed to escape, including Fred, but many lost. They were rescued by fishermen and taken to Japan and prison.  I contacted the Lisbon Maru Society lots more information on Fred including his registration cards in  English and Japanese. Gave his next of kin as my Gran in Crooks. Very moving

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On 30/03/2021 at 12:15, francypants said:

My dad had his 21st birthday whilst serving in the Middle East as a gunner in the Royal Artillery.

He was then sent to Italy where  he fought in The Battle of Monte Cassino  ( reported to be one of the bloodiest battles of WW2  )  He went in a boy and came out a man.

He never forgot the pals he lost and always wanted to return to Italy which we did as a family in 1970.

As well as the normal holiday things you do, we visited Monte Cassino. Being a 15 year old girl I thought it would be boring  ...... how wrong I was !   We also visited the Cassino War Cemetery ( beautifully kept ) where my dad found the graves of a few of his pals.   I will never forget that experience and am forever grateful to my mom + dad ( who are sadly no longer with us  ) for taking me.

 

 

 

Your post francypants reminds me of a short holiday my wife and I had in Rome six years ago. We'd been there twice before and, having visited most of the usual sights, decided to take the two hour rail journey south  to visit Monte Cassino.

With my uncle having been involved in the allied landings in Sicily and at Salerno I had a personal interest.

Anyhow we reached the monastery and in looking down the mountain we noticed the Polish war cemetery just below the summit. It was apparently the Polish troops who made the final assault to seize the buildings (what was left of them!) in 1944.

After that we returned to Cassino  town and walked to the Commonwealth War Cemetery, kept in pristine condition like many others in foreign fields. To see the names, nationalities and young ages of those who fell fighting for our freedom was a profound moment for both of us.

Whilst there we met a group of retired Scottish soldiers who were seeking out the graves of those who died and were in their regiment. One member told us that he had also been to Polish Cemetery and, although he considered himself to be an unemotional type of person, when two young Polish women arrived and began singing a hymn he burst into tears.

It's such a beautiful, poignant and emotional place and it's difficult to imagine the horrors which took place there 77 years ago but like you I wouldn't have missed it for the world and it's a visit I'll also never forget.    

Echo.

 

On 30/03/2021 at 12:15, francypants said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Mum was a WAAF in the store dept at a couple of Air Fields in Lincolnshire, and said the girls dreaded the bell

going and the lads going out in the planes , because there was the greatest possibility 'some' wouldn't be coming back

that a lot of the girls had coupled up with. The girls used to go to the windows and doors and blow kisses and wave

them off, regardless of whether they should or not! and later after the planes returned, consoling, heartbreak and

tears for some, was something they all had to deal with. Very hard to forget. Towards the end of the war, Mum was

sent to RAF Finningly in Doncaster, where she was demobbed from there Aug 1945. 

My Mum-in-law worked in a machine factory in Nottingham, as she went to stay there with her sister, so got a job

there. I'm not sure what they were producing, but it was 'something' for the War Effort she said. 

My Uncle-in-law was a Lancaster pilot, he had flown his quota, and was on the way home with one engine shot up.

4 miles off the coast the other engine failed. He told the lads to "get out , we're going down" sadly, the only one that

survived was the Tail Gunner. He told my Aunt-in-law "what a good brave man he was, trying to give us all a chance

when he knew he couldn't get out". Just to add to the sadness, it happened as my Mum was home on leave, on the eve

of her wedding.

 

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Echo beach  ............

What a profound impact that holiday had on me.   At the time I was just 15 years old .... I'm now almost 66.

It makes me angry to hear people moaning about how difficult it has been during the current pandemic.

Yes we've all had to alter our way of living but the small sacrifices we've had to make pale into insignificance

compared to what our parents/grandparents went through.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, francypants said:

Echo beach  ............

What a profound impact that holiday had on me.   At the time I was just 15 years old .... I'm now almost 66.

It makes me angry to hear people moaning about how difficult it has been during the current pandemic.

Yes we've all had to alter our way of living but the small sacrifices we've had to make pale into insignificance

compared to what our parents/grandparents went through.

 

 

Yes, francypants I agree totally.

 

It also beggars belief that many of the European countries who the Allies fought to liberate from Nazi oppression are currently treating us like a pariah simply because we decided that we didn't want to be part of and be dictated to by a EU super state. Thousands of our lads lie in Commonwealth cemeteries like Cassino in Europe and all over the world as testament to that. 

With their petty and petulant attitude the  EU member states obviously have short term or selective memories.

 

Echo.

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