What Did You Do In The War Dad/Mum/Grandad

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10 years

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I dont know how it will work but I think we are loosing to much history and access to the details of events.But most of us should have been affected by a member of the family who had a tale to tell who was in the Second world war or any of the other conflicts since.

So I will start it off.

My late Mum at 18 worked in the war office in London from 1942 she always told of the office she was in being just down the corridor from General de Gauls and you could always hear him when he was upset as he shouted an awful lot.
I would really like to know what she did but she would never say I know she had training for her memory and some language stuff thats about it.

My Late dad ran away from home at 14 and was a rear gunner in a Bristol as he used to say on the front in India in the 1930's.He was dragged back byy my Grandad but then when he was old enough re joined and spent 27 years in the army his speciality was unarmed combat and blowing things up,he was on the Dieppe raids and spent a time as an instructor at No ! training school at Ringway instructing parachute jumping and other things.he ended up as an RSM and there are a lot of very interesting medals etc in his book.

My Mother in law (bless her) is 96 and still with us she worked at a firm in Leeds manufacturing the tail wheel assemblies for Fairey Swordfish and spent some time at Sherburn in Elmet at the factory installing the gear.

Does anyone else have something interesting to tell I wish I knew more but sadly I dont.
But this sort of thing should be preserved somewhere.

Mike E

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Profile picture for user G-ASEA

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My grandma worked at Handley Pages during the first world war.


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My late grandfather worked as a RAF fitter in WWII and worked on spits and I think did a run to Malta on HMS Eagle, after the war he worked at RAE Farnborough and I have a couple of photos of what I think are Bristol aircraft. Have his service books so may dig out his records from the RAF.

My nan was in the wrens and did a stint in Liverpool sorting convoy survivors, served in scotland as well, she has never really talked much about it.

Back in the early/mid 80's my step mums great grandfather who was in his 90's pulled out of a box a Luger pistol and his officers pistol from WWI, some rounds as well! They were removed very soon after!

Talking of dieppe ...... My old ATC warrant officer as it turns out had been at dieppe and d-day when he was in the Royal Marines. Only found out after he had passed away ... Shame as I am sure he would of kept us going for hours with his stories.

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My grandma's sister worked at Handley Page during the Second World War.

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Dad was to young for sevice in WW2 . But did sleep with a Luger under his pillow. Witch he bought of a boy at school. My uncle was with AASF headquaters in Reims in 1939/40, later killed in 1942. Grandad was in the trenches in WW1, But he did see the Red Devil (Red Baron) in his Albatross.


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My grandfather worked in a factory (Slingsby I think) making Mosquito parts. They also had a sideline building fishing rods and cabinets on the sly!

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Dad in the CMP,based in Liverpool motorcycle patrol and gang plank duties,Father in law a RM-DUKW driver.1 uncle at Tobruk,1 in Iceland till D-day,and 1 uncle in USAAF replacement depot,1 in a tunneling co. on Gibralta,other uncle,s in mining and aunties in armament factories.The wife,s uncle won the VC at Arnhem.My only regret not having spoken to them about their war service but they never mentioned even being in the forces,only heard from my mother long after their death,s.

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One Grandad was is ARP in London (too old). Uncle was a young boy...bombed out twice from London. Dad born in 1941 and evacuated with rest of family to Morecambe.

Great Uncle in RN. Other Great Uncle 'helped' build the Burma Railway.

Cousin, Major, killed by IRA.

Other Grandad flew Catalinas (as I have bored you with) - just finished the last bits of proof reading - in all good book shops and Amazon from 18th Jan 2012, Catalina over arctic oceans.

Very proud....

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11 years 1 month

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Some Aussie input,

Great grandfather a member of the Carlton Mounted Rifles and sent as part of the Australian contingient to the Boer War.
Other Great grandfather copped some Mustard Gas on the Western Front maybe lucky for him as he was there for only a few weeks.
Great Uncle was in the Army but was caught in the fall of Singapore and spent the war as a POW in Changi.
Grandfather served in the RAAF in an Airfield construction squadron building airfields at Morotai Labuan etc.


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Grandad was a gunner in the Royal Navy on merchant ships carrying iron ore from Canada to the uk, Did nothing exciting except steel a crate of rum and drank it over a few weeks with the crew while on watch duties.:D

Suspected topedo attack a loud band many jumped over board at Nova Scotia but my grandad couldn't swim he stayed and got a medal for bravery for staying it was a blown engine componant.

Grandma was in the Land Army near cornwall & loved every bit of it especially dancing with American GI's.

Mums uncle was in Burma saw no Spitfires but did see many Japanese soldiers the tales he told of them coming over the ridge while he worked the machine gun to stop them were shocking.:(

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My Grandfather was Works Superintendant at Avro's Newton Heath factory. He produced the Lancaster outer mainplane jig drawings by converting the ones for the Manchester - on his kitchen table. My mother worked in the offices at Newton Heath and was straffed by the bomber that attacked the factory.
My father wrote to my mother from his fox hole about watching "one of their Lancasters" being shot down over Le Havre. When I checked the serial it was indeed one that would have contained Newton Heath parts. My father also wrote to my Grandfather from the normandy frontline to congratulate him on recieving the BEM for services to the war effort in the 1944 Birthday Honours list..

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Dads parents both worked the land around here, so did their bit outside of the armed forces. Mums parents were too young! Mums mums dad was in the army. gran reckons though a Devon man he was in the kings own Scottish borderers. He saw action in Dunkirk and was taken PoW during action, which I have taken an educated guess at being the loss of Crete. Apparently hit on the head during an ammo drop, gran then thinks he was placed into a Stalag Luft camp (huh?), escaping and avoiding contact all the way home upon liberation. I really ought to get his service record and properly research this.

Grans grandad and his brother were apparently riggers or fitters in the RFC.

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My dad joined the LDV along with his dad. My grandad had tried to join the RAF in 1918 and would have been in the second RAF intake but failed his medical as it was found he had had TB. He became a sergeant in the LDV in Lee on Solent. Dad was in a reserved occupation but lied about his age and volunteered for the Royal Marines. This was following his uncle Victor who had been on the raid to Zeebrugge (if you are not aware of this one, look it up - it is a goody). Dad went to South Africa to finish his training and then sailed up the east coast of Africa and then out to Adu Atoll on a convoy. Saw action against a Japanese Sub that sank the Khedive D-Ishmael (Highest loss of Wrens in W2) and then returned home via the Suez canal to be ready to go to a little do called Normandy. On 6 June my dad was on HMS Hawkins bombarding the defences on Omaha and Utah. He then came back tio the UK and Hawkins was used as a target ship for highball Mosquitos. Dad said that was a lot more dangerous than fighting Germans.

Mum's dad, Henry, was a groundsman in the RAF at West Malling among other places. Mum became an active participant on 18 October 1940 when an aeroplane (Do17?) did a hit and run on HMS Collingwood in Fareham and shot off a few rounds at mum and her bother as they played. She did not go out of the house for three months. My mum's mum remembered seeing Zeppelins over London.

After the war Dad could never work out why is Home Guard dad was always more up to date on weapons than he was. Not long before he died, my grandad owned up that he had done some additional training. Grandad Harold was a poacher and a good shot, he had to be , that was how they survived. It was poachers that were recruited into the Resistance. Obviously we have no proof but we have enough circumstantial to accept that My dad's dad was a member of the undercover 'secret army' that would have been activated if the Germans had invaded.

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Of my family.
My Father Bomber Pilot Liberators mostly, Then test pilot for HP on Halifax's
My Mother working for H Lebus making Mossie parts
My(maternal) Grandfather ARP and Heavy Rescue(Horse Artillery in WW1 gassed but recovered and back to the flanders mud)
My(maternal) Grandmother usually in residence in our Anderson Shelter!
My(paternal) Grandfather Royal Marine died in 1926 of wounds received in the Zebrugge raid in 1918(HMS Thetis)
My(paternal) Grandmother again mainly in residence in an air raid shelter!

Two world wars(and Korea)had not been kind to our family we lost 17 dead or what is now called live changing injuries either fighting or at home.

I must mention my Father in Law. A true gentleman a Sgt in the Sherwood Foresters who fought in probably the most bloody battle of WW11 "Anzio" and then up through Italy. It broke his mind and lived out the rest of his life as a very withdrawn but hard working man who I was proud to have known.

William Ronald Hunt 1915-1999 R I P.

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Very mundane - my maternal grandfather a Staff Sergeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery was killed just before the end of WW1 in Italy - my patenal grandfather was German, came to the UK in 1902 and was forced to change his name in 1914. My father was in a reserved occupation and the Home Guard in WW2.

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My paternal grandfather was a Leading Aircraftsman Merlin mechanic with 515 Sqn/100 Group (Defiant/Beaufighter/Mosquito/Lancaster/Halifax, etc.) in WW2.

My paternal grandfather was an Airframe fitter. Initially in WW1 with the RFC, and subsequently tought airframe assembly/repair in the RAF in WW2.

My maternal grandfather was an anti-aircraft gunner with the Army in WW2.

My maternal great uncle was a radio operator on RAF Marauders in WW2.

My wife's maternal father was a Lancaster tail gunner with the RAF in WW2.

Various other maternal distant relations who were in the Army in WW1+2.

All were fortunate enough to survive the conflicts.

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Dad trained as pilot in Canada war finished before deployment - memoirs posted here
Mum worked in telephone exchange in Devizes, quite enjoyed her war parties with GI's and Italian prisoners working the land
Paternal grandfather fought in Russia with Shackleton was ship wrecked I have pictures of Russia from that time.
Cousin shot down in R5679 killed on first mission details posted here Memorial to be unveiled 25th May 2013 Denmark.
Children's god parent tank instructor was wounded by strafing aircraft witnessed Zeppelin attack on London and memories of soldiers marching through Swindon on the way to the front WW1

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Maternal Grandfather served in the RNAS during WW1, and Home Guard in WW2.

Uncle served with 8th Army as an A.A. gunner in WW2, his wife was in the WRNS (wrens).

Another Uncle served with 2TAF on Typhoons as groundcrew.

One other Uncle worked on Halifax aircraft in N. Africa, before being invalided home.

My Father served from 1942 until 1944 as groundcrew at various Bomber Command airfields in Lincolnshire & Yorkshire. Eventually accepted for aircrew training, he spent the rest of the war at Terrel in Texas, learning to fly. After returning to Blighty, he eventually joined 51 & 511 Squadrons flying Avro Yorks to and from the Far East (as a Sergeant Pilot). His one claim to fame being on the relief crew for Earl Mountbatten, when the regular crew went sick.
He was made redundant from the RAF, just before the Berlin Airlift, and became a Church of Scotland Minister. In 1961 he rejoined the RAF and served up to 1977, including 6 months in Aden, and was among the last Service people to leave there in 1967.

Regards, Cabbage

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This has taken off in a very short spell in a way I did not even think it would reading through the posts so far is so touching all the different roles played during conflicts and I think it was one family alone affected by the loss of 17 family members.

Two posts have jogged my memory and may lead to some further information I don't know.My Mums Brother Wynn Jones he was in the RE was taken prisoner at Singapore and was at Changi and died on the Death Railway he is buried at Thanbyziat just near the infamous bridge over the river.

Mike E

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OK, here goes….

My Paternal Grandmother worked in a munitions factory during WWI, her Australian boyfriend at the time flew Sopwith Camels and there is even a photograph of him in a two seater one. He died before the end of the war.

My Paternal Grandfather fought at Amiens and was gassed, from which he did not ever fully recover. His brothers Will and Jack were at Passchendaele. Only Will returned.

My Maternal Grandmother was a nurse during WWII and possibly WWI as well.

My Maternal Grandfather was a compulsive gambler and divorced from my Grandmother so I have no idea what he might have done.

And that’s about it until I got married to an Australian and gained Great Uncle Bill who flew Spitfires and went MIA in 1942. Our very own reinstated Tangmere1940 dug him up last year and there is a thread on the forum about it.

All the best,


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Does anyone else have something interesting to tell I wish I knew more but sadly I dont.
But this sort of thing should be preserved somewhere.

Mike E

Mike a lot of it is preserved.
Here http://www.wartimememories.co.uk/main.html

and here.
Mothers story.

Mother in law

Paternal Grandfather and grandmother (too old)
Maternal Grandfather Reserve Occ and Home guard
Maternal grandmother looking after her eight children.

Father in law Reserved occ and Home guard.

Father, Scraper driver building airfields in Norfolk and suffolk till Dec 44 then RE until 1948.
His brothers.
Fred, Artillary in Shetland or Orkney isles.
John, RE. Nth Africa,Germany.
Levi, 2nd Norfolk Reg. Burma.

Service records can be obtained here.
Can take up to a year to arrive.