raygunn

World War 2 Veterans

275 posts in this topic

My father's father was in the Australian army and was captured when Singapore fell. He spent the rest of the war in Changi.

My mother's father was in the Royal Australian Airforce as a flight instructor and apparently was quite upset that he never saw combat (during the war that is).

Not sure on the exact relation but someone else on my mother's side was in the Australian army and they were killed at Tobruk.

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My Grandfather on my Father's side was a partisan in the "Pesant Batallions" in the Warsaw area of Poland. He blew up bridges and derailed rolling stock bound for Gen. Paulus and Stalingrad.

My Great Uncle died in the BoB flying with a Polish squadron over the Channel.

My Grandfather on my Mother's side served in the 1st Polish Army raised by the Russians. He was a medical doctor and retired after the war with the rank of full colonel.

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grandfather on moms side was a wehrmacht clerk, worked for the Americans in vienna after the war.

Two other relatives, father and son, fought and died in the wehrmacht. The son died in 43, dont know anything else (what unit, what front) but trying to find out. From the pictures i have it looks like it was infantry, but from black and white pictures its anyones guess.

The father has a rank of gefreiter (e2) in the pictures i have.

A great uncle drove trains for the reichsbahn, hauling supplies in the east. Got hit by a fighter plane and was injured, went on engineerin' after the war.

Dads side saw things from the other end... Eritreans living under Mussolini's rule, then the Brits when the Italians got kicked out of Abyssinia.

They all speak fluent Italian as well as Tigrinia.

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My Grandfather on fathers side, born 1913 was an officer in the german army.

He served in Poland, France and Russia and was sent back to France in 1944 where he was the Commander of the Gren.Reg.959.

In April 1945 he earned the Knightscross.

At the end of the war he was captured and held by american forces.

After being liason-officer for the US-Army he was recruited as part of the new founded german Bundeswehr. In 1964 he had to retire as Colonel because of a serious heart disease.

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My granddad didn't really speak about it that much. As far as I can remember he served his early years in London before getting shipped off to North Africa. The only story I can remember was him and his mates cooking their food on the top of their red hot tanks. Never really heard about the combat side of it, probably didn't want to tell.

My mums uncle was in the D-day landings and he had some grizzly storys im sure. All I know is that he wasn't the same when he got back.

My mums other uncle was in the Royal Fusaliers and fought in the battle of Monte Casino. He just used to say the enemy were "young men just like us".

Heres a bit of trivia for you lot. I actually live about 5 minutes away from the Hornchurch airfield thats in the game. The airfiled isn't their any more but the buildings used to house the pilots and familys are. Theres even a pub named 'The good intent' after a spit pilot that carried on flying his damaged plane, to make sure it didnt hit the nearby school. He bailed out at the very last minute but I don't think he made it. And their used to be an AA gun at the top of my road. Thinking about it, theres loads of WW2 related things round where I live.

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WW1

Three uncles killed with the Ulster division on the first day of the Somme. The third one was 17 and had been found out the night before that he was too young and sent back down the line, he was killed in a barage as he made his way back.

WW2

Partners Relatives

Her Grandfather Killed in Sciliy with the Italian army by US bombers

Her other Grandfather served with Totenkopf, wounded in the Demansk pocket. Went to France until 44 and then was captured by the AMericans.

Her uncle served with Das Reich as an opel driver all the way to Berlin till they killed their officers and ran west. Captured and handed over to the Russians they were marched east to siberia but pretended to be dead and made it back west.

My relatives

1 Grandfather was sunk twice in the battle of adlantic with the British merchant navy

Grandfather number 2 was in the British Signal regiment, was in Northern Ireland against a possible invasion by the republic and then went to France on D-Day +3 and spent most of the war in Brussels after that

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Grand Pops served in the Royal Navy. He was disabled out before the war, but convinced a surgeon to let him back in for the war. He served on the HMS Pegasus on the Murmansk run. He also served in India at a Naval

Air Station until 1946.

Dad was a bit too young for the war. He served in Royal Army (Norfolk Regiment) and fought communists in Northern Italy after the war.

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My father (yes I am that old!) was in the home guard - affiliated to the Gloucesters Regt - the original Pvt Pike judging by the photos. He then volunteered for the RAF and served in Gibralta, Ghana and Nigeria. He still hates yams!

Jamesc

The Wild Geese

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I cant remember much but i do know that my grandfather was in the german navy , on a u-boat and was captured at the end of the war and had to walk through france to germany.

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I use to work with a gent called Bill Grey or as he was known in 1944 Private Billy Grey worked at our place for years as a Handyman , Caretaker and Chauffer. No one knew he had been in the war (to be honest he didn’t look old enough). One day my boss had just got back from holiday to Normandy , he was showing us some photo’s and Bill came in, my boss asked if Bill had ever been to Normandy as he knew he went on holiday to France most years.

Bill – “Yes”

My Boss – “Many times Bill ?”

Bill – “Oh quite a few”

My Boss – “Bet it has changed a lot over the years then ?”

Bill – “Yep , you could say that”

My Boss – “So when was the first time you went then Bill ?”

Bill – “That would be about 20 past midnight on June the sixth 1944”

Bills story is at 15 in 1940 he would spend the week working in an arms factory , where they would spend the night in digs near-by. At weekends he would go home to his mum and sister in the East End of London. One weekend he gets home to find they have been moved out due to the bombing. He spent the weekend having to cook and clean for himself and got bored doing that , so on the Monday morning he goes to the Army recruiting office and signed up. They asked his age and he said 18 , could he prove it , sorry mate all my papers have been lost in the Blitz.

So after basic training he signed up for the Paras , he was put in the Ox and Bucks. They spent the next two years training over and over again for one thing , D-Day. Basically as early as 1942 the Allies knew it would be Normandy and certain operations were planned that far ahead. Bill picked to be a Bren gunner in the paras , all because they got more pay. He had picked the paras because they got extra pay each month for Jump Practice.

So to D-Day , Bill was 18 years old still and in the first glider to land , they hit the deck and the bottom disappeared from the Horsa. Everyone on the glider was out cold. The next thing Bill knew was Major John Howard, the CO, banging his Sten on Bills helmet and shouting “GUN OUT” – basically when you leave a glider , you leave with your biggest gun first, for the Ox and Bucks on D-Day that was a Bren Gunner. So that made Bill the first man out of the first glider on D-0ay. They got across the bridge after a fast fire-fight and Bill carried on running to the road. He got to the road and stared into the darkness to see a figure a few hundred yards away at the same time as each other they both emptied clips , Bills Bren and the figure , an MP-38. Bill ran off into a barn , where finally he got to have a piss, he had wanted to got sometime over the Channel.

Years later at a joint Para Meeting of British , American and German paras Bill got talking to a German Para.

German – “I see you were at Pegasus Bridge, so was I”

Bill – “There were no German Paras there mate !”

German – “I was , me and some friends had been on leave in Caen and had been out for the night to a local village, we heard all this firing and drove off to have a look. The others stayed in the car , I grabbed an SMG and ran down the road only to see this huge Tommy with a Bren gun , we fired together and thank god he was a bad shot , I turned around and ran off.”

Bill – “Thank god you were such a bad shot too , else we wouldn’t be talking today.”

The two of them were best friends for the next 10 years that the German was alive.

A brilliant man , who is still alive now and fathered his last child at 67 , to his newly married wife In her 30’s.

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I'm 3rd or 4th cousins with Gen.Omar Bradley. Hard to believe,but I am.

Not many relatives I KNOW of,probably some who did. But my grandmother was a riveter.

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Lets go more Northern at Europe, to Finland for awhile.

My granpa from mom side was a group leader of artillery spotting and calculator group, dunno what is correct word for that. But small group who operate at frontline and spot friendly artillery fire and make corrections by phone to the artillery battery. Served from 1942 till war ended here at september 1944.

He didnt ever speak about his WW2 experience and died 2000.

My granpa from father side was too young when continuation war started at june 1941. He went to service something like 1942 at carelian isthmus (dunno how to spell it right, sorry) as a anti-tank-rifle gunner. He got hit by mortar shell shrapnels and was lucky to survive, got severe hits and was at hospital rest of the war, but is alive in age of 84.

My granmoms brother from father side, he was a part of one of four Finnish highest trained infrantry unit there was at WW2; Special Operation Detachment´s called Paatsalo, Marttina, Vehniäinen and Kuismanen.

Those did operate directly under our Field Marshall Mannerheim and his chief of staff at Mikkeli. They did highly secret intelligence gather tours deep into the enemy territory (usually atleast 30-70 miles behind enemy lines by foot) and one of these, usually 2 weeks to over a month length trips, he got KIA during 1943. Not much details because my granma doesn´t like to talk about WW2 at all.

Unfortunately theres aint much public at these Detachements, nor English language but if interested, here is a short story about not so known Finnish Spec Ops during WW2 (scrool to middle of page):

http://bkpforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=8066

Edit:

These troops were so good against Ruskies supply lines, supply bases etc that during Continuation war the Ruskies High Command promised a special Reward money for each captured SpecOp member.

Edit2: Link didnt work.

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My both grandpas have been fighting during WW2. My grandpa from fathers side was a machine gunner but I never got to know him well because he died before I was born (a drunk police drove over him). My grandpa from my mothers side was wounded during Continuation War (the scar on his leg looks very bad even today, bullet went through his leg) and after getting better he was fighting against Germans in Lapland. So he actually had to fight against Soviets and then against Germans.

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I have an Uncle who was a Wellington pilot. I know very few details as he won't talk about it, except that he once said he remembered flying above a burning Berlin sometime towards the end of the war. He described it as 'a sea of fire'. I asked if he didn't mean Dresden, but he said no, it was definately Berlin. I know he completed at least one full tour, and possibly more as he made some comment at the same time about having the time to look at Berlin burning 'cos they didn't have to worry about nightfighters anymore.

My Father had just finished basic training in the British army when the European war finished. Because he spoke good German he was transfered to an intelligence unit and sent to Germany a few weeks after VE day. He ended up doing something as part of the effort to hunt war criminals. He didn't actively hunt then himself though, I think he more searched records and did interrigations, again he won't talk about it. He has mentioned that he visited several concentration camps relatively shortly after their liberation. He won't talk about that either and always gets very upset whenever he mentions it and we have to leave him alone for a while afterwards to recover his composure. :(

My maternal grandfather was the intelligence officer for one of New Zealand's (2?) Pacific fighter squadrons. I know very little about their operations except that they flew Coursairs towards the end of the war, primarily in a ground support role. Unfortunately I have no idea what they flew before the US entered the war. He kept a private diary (a big no-no) alongside the official squadron diary, and both are now on display at the New Zealand Air Force Museam. The only time he ever talked about the war he said how much he hated having to write the letters to the families of the men who'd died. He said he wrote them because the Sqd. CO just couldn't handle doing it. My Grandfather was very specific about how much he hated doing it, it was one of the very few times I ever heard him swear. He also started crying a bit and because I was only a young fella (12 or 13) I got embarresed and stopped asking him quesitons. My brother read through his diary after our Grandfather died and said Pa had personaly written over 60 of those letters during '42-'44. He also found a copy of one my Grandfather had been working on and said it was beautifully written (he was a very good lawyer in civilian life), very caring and kind. So much so that my brother copied it for his own use as an Army officer, fortunately however he never had to write one.

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Lets go more Northern at Europe, to Finland for awhile.

My granpa from mom side was a group leader of artillery spotting and calculator group, dunno what is correct word for that. But small group who operate at frontline and spot friendly artillery fire and make corrections by phone to the artillery battery. Served from 1942 till war ended here at september 1944.

He didnt ever speak about his WW2 experience and died 2000.

This would be called a FO, or Forward Observer in the US military.

cool story.

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all i know is that someone on my granmas side was stationed on the karelin line fighting the russians. but thats about all i know since she never really talked about the details... she was born in Wasa finland btw

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I had one Uncle who was a Marine sniper in the 1st Marine division. He was fairly wrecked by the war, mentally, he also never talked about any of the war with people. He had a few flags and Arisaka rifles, and a sword in his garage. Other uncles (paternal) were in the US Navy on destroyers, one was a prison guard for the Army somewhere. They are all deceased now.

On my mother's side, I had one uncle who was in the US Merchant Marine in the Pacific, he had a girlfriend who drew pinup girls on all of his mail. By the time he got the letters, they were very well handled. His wife burned them.

Another uncle was an electrician at Bethlehem Steel building Liberty ships 7 days a week.

Every one of my dad's brothers (7) served in the military at some point. My dad joined the US Navy at 17 and was on the Hevay Cruiser USS Bremerton CA38 at the Inchon invasion. He also was in the Cuban Blockade on the USS Northhampton, the Atlantic Fleet flagship. He then volunteered for Viet Nam and was with the Riverine Forces/Black Berets during Tet. He was in over 100 firefights and is very proudf that nobody on his PBR was ever wounded or killed (this in the part of the USN that had the highest casualties of the war).

I have a maternal great great grandpop who was in WWI at Belleau Wood. I have his Smith & Wesson .45 revolver still. I know very little about him. I also have some letters from a relative named Garrett who owned a barn that was burned down by the Union Army because some actor named James Wilkes Booth was hiding in it. He never was compensated for that.

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So many great stories here. My grandfather was a cook during WWII. Nothing in the comparison of your stories. However, I am still very proud. He was drafted and sent to Ft. Bragg. He served with the Ozarks at the end of the war. When he discharged he was the rank of a Master Seargent. He died before I could really ask him any questions(I was only 5 and I never knew he was in the war). All of the information I have are from pictures that my grandmother gave me. I will have to post some here when I get the chance.

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Well 1 of my grandfathers fought as a soldier in the German Army. He was conscripted into the army at 14. I don't know much about his action, he doesn't like talking about it, says it brings back pain and bad memories. I do know he fought on the Western Front. I once asked if he had any pictures from the war, he showed me one of himself when he was first conscripted w/ his tags around his neck. It was like a profile shot, from about the shoulders up. I should be ashamed, but I'm kinda mad he won't tell me more, but I also understand why he might not want to talk about it. I do hope to learn about it someday though, I like history.

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My dad was aboard an LST in the South Pacific during 44/45. He survived several hot landings and attacks from hostile shores and planes. His ship was one of the first to land in Japan. His skipper ordered dad and the others to go ashore and disarm the soldiers who were guarding the port. Dad did not speak the language so he traded the Jap his cap for the Arisaka Rifle. He still has the rifle in his closet. Dad still keeps in contact with the few surviving members of his crew via the net. His ship is still in use today in Asia even with the bent shaft from the sandbar they came into contact after the skipper had a few to many. My mom worked in a WW2 munitions factory in Iowa making 20mm and 40mm shells. Both are alive and doing very well at 80 since retiring in 1988. They travel between their summer and winter homes like a couple of care free teens.

My wife's great uncle Carl Eifler was 001 in the OSS under Wild Bill Donovan. He died a couple of years ago in Salinas Ca. He headed OSS Det 101 in Burma early in the war and was known as “The Deadliest Colonel.” He later went to Europe and N Africa. He was also an expert at designing disguised weapons and explosives.

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My grand father was in the french army in 1940.

He was in a... Cavalry regiment !!!

A part of southern france ("Camargue") produced cavalry regiment at the beginning of the war. (it is the french far west..:-))

At the beginning of the german invasion, he entered Belgium with the big part of the french army, where he do some sporadic and low level fights against the german battle group. (this german battle group was the decoy...).

As german main attack broke the line near sedan and began to surround the primary french armies in belgium, all the army retreated in order to avoid being trapped, and so my grandfather.

His cavalry unit do not manage to escape to south, and were blocked with the entire English/French forces at dunkirk, but, as a horse is a very reliable mean to flee, (No oil and no road needed....:-) No problem with refugees on road and ennemy air bombing... No technical problem...:-)), he was one of the first on the dunkirk beach and so get into an english destroyer during the emergency evacuation. (He had to abandon its horse... snifff.....).

He landed on england, wait for the french surrender, returned to france (End 1940) and waited for the end of the war in the south, peacefully in its farm without any more involment in the war.

Stelteck.

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I lost a great-uncle over western Europe in 1944. He was a top turret gunner in a B-17.

An uncle was on a troopship staging for Operation Olympic when the war ended.

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My fam has a long history. The first lewis here named John, was the first white man to settle in what is now West Virginia. His 4 sons were all generals under Washington in the Continental Army. One of their sons, Charles Lewis commanded the Virginia Militia at the battle of Point Pleasant against (i think) the Shawnee. My maternal Great grandfather served in Toombs Brigade which held the Stone Bridge against Burnside at Antietam and who was later WIA at gettysburg. My grandfather served in the spanish american war and was stationed in the Phillipines during the Insurrection. My dad served in the USN during ww2 in Adm Kinkaids 7th fleet. He was a naval liason officer to the Marine General Commanding during the invasion of Palau. One story he told was one time he was sent in with dispatches for the General from the Adms flagship and when he returned the higgins boast had left leaving him stranded. he saw some navy types in a rubber raft geting ready to shove off and he asked them for a lift. they said 'No problem Sir. Hop in. We can drop you but we have to make a short stop first.' They went out and pulled up next to some freighter and began to spend a lot of time looking over the side. After a while my dad grew somewhat impatient and asked what the delay was. The chief replied ' wont be long now Sir we almost have the fuse out' My dad looked over the side and saw they were defusing an enormous Japanese Mine. Afterwards he always used caution when hitching rides. :)

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Only one of my grandparents seved in WWII, and he was a pilot trainer. He joined the RCAF, but for some reason was sent to the RAF, who made him a training pilot (when he argued that he wanted to fight, the british officer said "Your a God damn colonial and you will be a trainer pilot"). He trained pilots for 2 engine planes.

He always seems to regret he never got to fight, but I am just glad he didnt die, because I wouldnt be here, and because his family would of starved to death as his father died when he was 5 years old and he had been keeping the family alive by dilivering mail on a goverment contract between recesses at his school. When he enlisted they had to get rid of that contract and the only money the family got was from his pay. He did have a chance to be an infatry officer though.

Before joining the RCAF He was from St. Katharines in Ontario, and was offered a comission in the reserve company along with 2 others. He wanted to fly so he turned it down. Another young man with a wife and two kids got my the commission my grandfather turned down. The reserve company went to fight in italy, but one of the officers were stationed at home because his father was was a general or something and kept him as home guard. Anyways the 2 other went off to italy and were killed within 2 weeks of eachother.

My other grandparent signed up for the navy, but war ended before he went for testing.

One of my great grandfathers cousins was in the trenches in WWI, but I dont know much about him. I have once of those special letters they were given to send home in WWI, you know, circle this answer, sign your name, any writing on the card will result in the card being destroyed. He was wounded once. Apperently he never recovered from what he saw in WWI, wasn't the same man when he came back. Basically had all the worst things from the war. He had nightmeres almost every night, screamed out the names of people (assuming they were dead friends). He fought at Passchendaele where he was wounded, dont know much else, but sounds pretty sad.

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