INTRODUCTION – Journal 37 Medics.

The reason for this issue’s theme of Medics is twofold. Firstly, it is to honour the men and women who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and other medical services and institutions during the Second World War, and to thank those who contributed their material to the Centre’s archives.
Equally, it is a tribute to our Chairman Robert Fleming who trained as a registered nurse and clinical teacher, serving for eleven years as an airman and officer in the RAF, home and overseas including the Falklands in 1982.

We begin with a detailed description of the role of the Field Ambulance as told by Corporal Peter Walker whose unit provided medical support for the Somerset Light Infantry. Peter saw action in Normandy at Caen and Hill 112 where the casualty rates were so high his unit existed on ‘tea and cigarettes until we dropped.’ Peter also describes soldiers who suffered from battle fatigue, formerly known as shell shock, and mentions his difficulty in maintaining his faith after the events he witnessed. Major Geoffrey Wooler, pioneer of open heart surgery, generously donated a wealth of material to the Centre, including his diaries, medical log books, and a large collection of photographs. Geoffrey was interviewed by Peter Liddle in 2000. Surgeon in War, utilising Geoffrey’s interview and diary extracts, tells of his experience as a surgeon in North Africa and Italy. His recollection of the casualties at the Battle of Monte Cassino leads us to an account of a German paratrooper Gerhard ‘Gerry’ Kaeppner. Gerry was wounded during the German defence of Cassino town during a major Allied bombing raid in which the town ‘practically ceased to exist.’

Dr Harry Silman, a medic in the South-East Asian theatre of war, treated patients in the hospital camps on the Thai- Burma railroad. Medic in the Jungle details his experience of the Selarang Incident, plus the forced labour and the tropical diseases that claimed the lives of so many Far East POWs. For those who survived the railroad, their ordeals make for emotive reading. In Surviving the Railroad, Mathias ‘Fred’ Seiker reveals the physical and psychological hardships he faced as a Japanese POW, including the difficulties he faced in adjusting to civilian life thereafter. In northwest Germany, Sandbostel POW Camp (Stalag X-B), referred to as ‘Little Belsen’, was liberated in April 1945. It was the conditions in this camp that Major Hindmarsh, Chief Interpreter, believed changed General Horrocks’ attitude to the enemy prior to the surrender of Corps Ems (see Everyone’s War, issue No. 35, p. 68). Less well known in the media than Bergen-Belsen, Sandbostel deserves better recognition to remember the c.300,000 prisoners of war who passed through the camp and the untold thousands who died there. The Sandbostel Report, written by surgical specialist Major Hugh McLaren, is his personal impression of the first chaotic days of struggling to provide medical assistance for tens of thousands of POWs. The Centre holds rare images of the original camp, taken just after liberation. The touching story of a young Dutch girl and her reunion with the medics of No. 1 Field Dressing Station who saved her life, is told in Saving Mary. From the Netherlands we move to Britain’s Home Front where Joan Dillon worked as an ambulance driver in the East End during the London Blitz. To complete our cover theme, we have teenager Mike Barnett in London who was seriously injured during a bombing raid. His story is one of optimism and courage where, despite losing his leg, he achieved many of his ambitions in life. RAF100 This year is the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force which has been commemorated with many activities and events across the UK, including a Ceremony of Recognition at Britain’s first operational military air base at Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. We pay tribute to RAF100 by celebrating the life of Wing Commander Roland ‘Bee’ Beamont with an article focusing on his experience as a Hawker Hurricane pilot during the Battle of Britain. Bee was interviewed by Peter Liddle in 2000 and his recording gives a comprehensive account of his service in which his
skill and enthusiasm in flying the Hurricane is apparent. 1,715 Hurricanes flew during the Battle of Britain, making their mark by proving to be fast, agile fighters and scoring high numbers of RAF victories. A preserved Hurricane from the Battle of Britain can be seen at Shuttleworth, Old Warden Aerodrome, Bedfordshire (www.hurricaneheritage.com).

Contributions

We would like to thank author and historian James Goulty for his articles on British Army Battle School Training and the Home Guard. Sociologist Bernard Ineichen has contributed an interesting and amusing piece on authors who became motorcycle despatch riders. In our next issue we will see the return of Michael Bully, war poet historian, with a new piece on poetry of the Second World War.

Amanda Herbert-Davies

 

Cover
Patients recovering in the splendour of Hatfield House, home of theMarquis of Salisbury, which servedas a military hospital during the war.
(Cloudsley-Thompson, A)

Journal 36  Everyone’s War – Explosives

Authors who have generously donated articles for this Explosives issue of the journal include Gillian Mawson, an author and historian. A Patriotic Evacuee tells the story of Guernsey evacuee Winifred West who was interviewed by the Centre in 2006.
Steve Hunnisett of London’s Blitzwalkers, WWII guided London walks, has provided a condensed version of his research on four men from Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. Real Heroes of Football tells of their service in the RAF and the sacrifice they made for their country.
One of our long-term volunteers, Martin Cocker, has spent years studying and giving talks on war hero and Victoria Cross recipient Arthur Aaron. Seldom Equalled: Arthur Aaron is an account of Arthur’s service in the RAFVR and his ultimate act of bravery which went beyond the bounds of duty.
The Centre’s Mossie researchers, Ian, Chris and Emma, have compiled a piece on No. 264 Squadron which includes a rare image of Dutch agent Hilda Bergsma.

Core topics

We begin with an article transcribed from the Centre’s interview of bomb disposal expert Colonel Bertram Archer, OBE, the Bravest of the Brave. We would like to give thanks to Melanie Archer, daughter of Colonel Archer, for the photographs which she kindly supplied for this article.
Immediate post-war bomb disposal work is highlighted in an article drawn from material donated by Jim Wood relating to his father’s work in No. 2 Bomb Disposal Company, London. This is illustrated with some fantastic photography depicting Corporal ‘Timber’ Woods and his team of sappers at work.
Colin Lyall’s service in the 51st Highland Infantry Division is the subject of Always a Sapper. From clearing minefields during the Allied invasion of Sicily to ‘all the dirty jobs’ in Le Havre. Colin’s highly dangerous work resulted in fatalities to his platoon and he was severely wounded while defusing a mine on a remote road in the Ardennes. He later suffered from combat stress as a result. An endnote by Colin’s wife gives credit to her husband’s devotion to duty: ‘…he was always a sapper at heart’.
Continuing the explosive theme, the tragedy of the Fauld Explosion in Staffordshire, one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history, is documented through the donations of Ken and Joyce McLeod. Both witnessed the destruction of RAF Fauld, Britain’s largest munitions dump. Ken, who worked at Fauld, survived the explosion, despite being underground. Joyce tragically lost her fifteen-year-old brotherin the disaster.
Women in munitions is the focus of an article by Dr A. Clifford, technician/engineer in a Royal Ordnance Factory near York. His article gives a rare insight into the work undertaken by women in what was a highly dangerous occupation. Dr Clifford’s donation to the Centre is a valuable contribution tothe history of women’s war effort.

Sicily

Sicily is very much a focus in this issue as 2018 is the 75th anniversary of Operation Husky, the invasion of the German held
island and staging point for the Italian Campaign. We experience the sea-borne landing assault through the detailed memoir of Colonel David Fenner, 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. From his ‘last supper’ to the destruction he witnessed around the bridgehead across the Simeto River.
Operation Ladbroke, the opening air-borne invasion of Sicily, is told through the memories of a glider navigator and an American tug pilot, both of which are emotive accounts of the tragedy that befell the operation. Seventy-five gliders ditched in the sea with great loss of life, the cause of which is still in dispute today.
Continuing with events in 1943 we take a voyage with Lieutenant Charles Coles who was laying mines off the coast of Galita, Algeria, in February of that year. The sinking of his motor torpedo boat led to the loss of some of his crew and, ultimately, his capture. Charles’ article includes his experience of Marlag O POW Camp, his recall of the famous escape ruse of Albert RN, and his liberation from Lübeck POW Camp.

SWWEC Journal 35 Cover  Additional references – Journal 35 ANNIVERSARIES

 

See below further references for some of the articles in Journal 35  “Anniversaries”

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Bibliography (and Primary Sources) for Operation Torch article

Sources consulted and referenced in the article

Anderson, Charles R., (n.d.) Algeria-French Morocco 8 November 1942-11 November 1942(CMH Pub 72-11) [Online], Newport RI, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Available from: U.S. Army Center of Military History http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/algeria/algeria.htm  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Anderson, Kenneth A. N. (Lieutenant General), [1946] Operations in North West Africa from 8th November 1942 – 13th May 1943.London Gazette [Online] issue 37779(Supplement), 5 November 1946. Available from: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37779/supplement/   [Accessed on 4th May 2017], pp.5449-5464.

Anonymous, (n.d.) The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment [Online]. Available from: http://thequeensownbuffs.com/royal-west-kent-regiment/# [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Atkinson, Rick, (2013) An Army At Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, [Online], London UK, Hachette UK, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cEEpZPDnV7EC  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Budanovic, Nikola, (2016) When the Allies Attacked Oran and were Annihilated by Vichy French Soldiers [Online]. War History Online, Alexandria, Virginia [electronic resource]. Available from: https://www.warhistoryonline.com/featured/when-the-allies-attacked-oran.html/2    [ Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Bull, Frank; Bonnett, Chris; Adamson, Steve, (2016) More Than Just A Name, [Online], Raleigh, North Carolina, Lulu.com, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9ER8DgAAQBAJ  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Chen,C. Peter, (n.d.) Operation Torch 8 Nov 1942 – 16 Nov 1942 [Online]. World War II database [electronic resource]. Available from: http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=100  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Chriss, Chuck, (n.d.) November 1942: Operation Torch [Online]. Olive-Drab.com LLC, Wyoming [electronic resource]. Available from: http://olive-drab.com/od_history_ww2_ops_battles_1942torch.php  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Churchill, Winston Spencer, (1978) Memoirs of The Second World War Abridged Edition., New York, Bonanza Books.

The Churchill Project, (2016) Were “Soft Underbelly” and “Fortress Europe” Churchill Phrases? I [Online]. Hillsdale College, Michigan [electronic resource]. Available from: https://winstonchurchill.hillsdale.edu/soft-underbelly-fortress-europe/  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Committee 34, the Armored School Staff, (1997) The Armored Division as an Assault Landing Force, [Online], Hoosick Falls, New York, Merriam Press, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tSRX0s3W6nUC  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Dailey, Franklyn E. Jr, (2013) Operation Torch: TF 34 Commander in USS Augusta led U.S. Forces in North Africa Invasion [Online]. Dailey International Publishers Available from: http://www.daileyint.com/wwii/picwar1.htm   [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

The Daimler Fighting Vehicles Project, (n.d.) Infantry Recce Corps: Part D7h- 56th Infantry Recce [Online] Available from: http://daimler-fighting-vehicles.co.uk/DFV-File%20Part%20D007h-%20Infantry%2056%20Infantry%20Recce.pdf  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Dear, Ian, (1987) On Hostile Shores -Combined Operations Pilotage Parties: World War II. The Elite, vol.11, pp.2441-2445.

Eisenhower, Dwight David, (1997) Crusade in Europe, [Online], Baltimore, Maryland., JHU Press, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WGQLGxE8LyAC  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Frost, John, (1986) Wings over Oudna-2 PARA Oudna 1942. The Elite, vol.8, pp.1915-1920.

Gray, (Major) et.al, (1984) CSI Battlebook 3-A Operation TORCH, [Online], Fort Leavenworth Kansas, Combat Studies Institute, Available from: http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA519192  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Grehan, John; Mace, Martin (2015) Operations in North Africa and the Middle East 1942-1944: El Alamein, Tunisia, Algeria and Operation Torch, [Online], Barnsley UK, Pen and Sword, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=2nc7CQAAQBAJ [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Hinsley, F.H. et al., (1981) British Intelligence in the Second World War: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations vol.II, New York, Cambridge University Press.

Howe, George F., (1957) United States Army in WWII – the Mediterranean – Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West, [Online], La Fayette, CO, HyperWar Foundation, Available from:  https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-MTO-NWA.html  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Isby, David, (2005) C-47/R4D Units of the ETO and MTO Osprey Combat Aircraft :54, Oxford, Osprey Publishing.

Lucas, James, (1985) Duel in The Desert-The 15th Panzer Division Afrika Korps, North Africa 1941.The Elite, vol.1, pp.121-127.

Melton, George E., (1998) Darlan: Admiral and Statesman of France, 1881-1942, [Online], Westport Connecticut, Praeger, Available from: Google Books UK  https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xQeoAAAAIAAJ  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Morison, Samuel Eliot, (2001) History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: Operations in North African Waters October 1942-June 1943, [Online], Champaign IL, University of Illinois Press, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-uTQthrWvIEC  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Niehorster, Leo, (2004) World War II Armed Forces — Orders of Battle and Organizations -Campaign for North Africa Allied Order of Battle Operation Torch 8 November 1942-36 Infantry Brigade [Online]. Available from: http://www.niehorster.org/500_eto/42-11-08/land_36-inf-brig.html   [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

O’Hara,Vincent , (2015) Torch: North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory,[Online], Annapolis Maryland, Naval Institute Press, Available from : Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VmO1CgAAQBAJ  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

ParaData, (2017) North Africa (Operation Torch) 11 November 1942 – 31 May 1943 [Online]. Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford [electronic resource]. Available from: https://paradata.org.uk/events/north-africa-operation-torch   [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

ParaData, (2017) OUDNA [Online]. Airborne Assault Museum, Duxford [electronic resource]. Available from: https://paradata.org.uk/content/oudna  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Patch, John, (2008) FORTUITOUS ENDEAVOR Intelligence and Deception in Operation TORCH, [Online], Newport RI, Naval War College, Available from: Defense Technical Information Center http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA519192  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

‘Ronald, Major Alexander Scott ‘ (1942) Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Details [military record]. Available from: http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2151287/RONALD,%20ALEXANDER%20SCOTT   [Accessed on 4th May 2017].

Roskill, S.W., (n.d.) History of the Second World War-The War at Sea 1939-45-II: The Period of Balance, [Online], La Fayette, CO, HyperWar Foundation, Available From: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/UK-RN-II/UK-RN-II-13.html  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Shores, Christopher; Massimello, Giovanni, (2016) A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945: Volume 3: Tunisia and the End in Africa, November 1942-1943, [Online], Annapolis Maryland, Grub Street Publishing, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6o6eDgAAQBAJ [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Stevens, (Major-General) W.G., (1962) The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–1945, [Online], Wellington, NZ, New Zealand Electronic Text Collection, Available from:  http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Bard-c2-2.html  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Turnbull, Patrick, (1986) Moroccan Spearhead-Moroccan Goums: Italy 1943-44. The Elite, vol.7, pp.1568-1573.

Vaughan, Hal, (2006) FDR’s 12 Apostles: The Spies Who Paved the Way for the Invasion of North Africa, [Online], Lanham Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield, Available from: Google Books UK   https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sk4A80bf2Z8C  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Watson, Bruce Allen, (2006) Exit Rommel: The Tunisian Campaign, 1942–43, [Online], Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Stackpole Military History, Available from: Google Books UK   https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Hn9chmb3PSEC  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Whiting, Charles, (2003) Disaster at Kasserine: Ike and the 1st (US) Army in North Africa 1943, [Online], Barnsley UK, Pen and Sword, Available from: Google Books UK  https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=au-XAwAAQBAJ  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Wikipedia (2017) French Expeditionary Corps (1943–44), 01:52, 17 January 2017‎ ‎[Online].
Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Expeditionary_Corps_(1943-44)  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Wikipedia (2015) Groupe de Chasse I/3, 00:47, 14 October 2015‎ [Online]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupe_de_Chasse_I/3 Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Williams, Mary H., (1999) Special Studies, Chronology, 1941-1945, [Online], Washington D.C., Government Printing Office, Available from: Google Books UK https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=f0jKaqSLP5QC  [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Primary Sources

Hansard Report of proceedings of both the House of Commons
HC Deb. (1942-11-11) 385, col.29.

Leahy, William D. ‘Memorandum for The President: Subject; Commander for TORCH, 6 Aug. 1942’
http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resources/images/mr/mr0013.pdf    [Accessed on 4th May 2017]

Further references for  Desert War Poetry (Michael ‘Bully’ Shankland)

Bibliography

Desmond Graham, Keith Douglas 1920-1944: A Biography (Oxford University Press, 1974).
Vernon Scannell, Collected Poems 1950- 1993 (Robson, 1993).
Vernon Scannell, Of Love & War, New and Selected Poems (Robson Books 2002).
James Andrew Taylor, Walking Wounded – The Life & Poetry of Vernon Scannell (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Anthologies

David Goldie & Roderick Watson, eds., The Line Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945 (The Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2014).
Charles Hamblett, ed., I Burn for England – An Anthology of the Poetry of World War II (Leslie Frewin, 1966).
Victor Selwyn, ed., Return to Oasis – War Poems & Recollection from the Middle East 1940 – 1946 (Shepheard-Walwyn, 1980).

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the literary estate of Vernon Scannell for kind permission to use his work so extensively. The holder of the rights to the work of J. Nugent have been impossible to trace. If it emerges that their poetry is in copyright, it is hoped that whoever holds the rights understands that no deliberate violation of copyright has been intended, and that the reproduction of these poems is on a non-commercial basis.

 

 

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Journal 34 COVER

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SWWEC LogoThe Trustees of
THE SECOND WORLD WAR EXPERIENCE CENTRE
presented their
SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES 2016

at

THE ROYAL AIR FORCE CLUB
128 PICCADILLY, LONDON W1J 7PY

~

Professor JOHN GOOCH
Professor DAVID DILKS

Sponsored by
Serco

~

 

Venue RAF Club 2016 Lectures

Professor DAVID DILKS ‘Churchill and the Russians 1939 – 1955’

Was Presented on Tuesday 18th October 2016 – Sincere thanks of The Centre to Professor Dilks, all attendees and the RAF club

David Dilks was Professor of International History at the University of Leeds for more than 20 years before becoming Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull. As a young man he worked for Sir Anthony Eden, Marshal of the R.A.F. Lord Tedder, Mr. Harold Macmillan, Sir Alexander Cadogan, Mr. R. A. Butler and others who knew Churchill intimately. A supporter of the Second World War Experience Centre from its early days, Professor Dilks has written biographies of Lord Curzon and Neville Chamberlain. His book “The Great Dominion”: Winston Churchill in Canada 1900-1954 appeared in 2005, and a volume of essays Churchill and Company in 2013. A study of Britain’s wartime relations with Russia and British reactions to the Katyn massacre is due to appear in 2017.

The lecture was illustrated by recently-discovered recordings from Churchill’s visits to Canada in 1952 and 1954.

Professor JOHN GOOCH  ‘Mussolini’s War’

Was Presented on Tuesday 20th September 2016 – Sincere thanks of The Centre to Professor Gooch,  all attendees and the RAF Club

Professor John Gooch is Emeritus Professor of International History at the University of Leeds. Educated at King’s College University of London, he has taught at the universities of Lancaster and Leeds, and at Yale University. In 1985-6 he was the first Secretary of the Navy Senior Research Fellow at the United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He is the Founding Chairman of the Army Records Society and the Founding Editor of the Journal of Strategic Studies. He has written extensively on nineteenth and twentieth century British and European military history. His most recent book, ‘The Italian Army and the First World War was published in 2014 and he is currently working on a history of Italy’s War 1940-1943. In 2010 he was created Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta‘ Italiana for services to Italian military history.

One man, and one man alone,’ Winston Churchill declared, was responsible for plunging Italy into war in June 1940. That man – Benito Mussolini – has been depicted as either a bluffer or a buffoon. Using the results of many years of research in the Italian archives, Professor Gooch explored some of the fundamental questions raised by Churchill’s pronouncement: what motivated Mussolini to declare war, how he ran his war, and how far blame for what happened rests solely on his shoulders.

********************************

The Centre is very pleased to have presented the Lectures at The Royal Air Force Club, a stunning building which offers luxurious and peaceful surroundings to serving and former serving officers of the RAF and Allied Air Forces.

raf-logo

Having opened its doors in 1922, the Club’s interior has been enhanced to its present high standard. With striking paintings, a specially designed stained glass window and the very unique badge corridor, a truly fascinating history comes alive about the story of the Royal Air Force.

Please take a look at the Journal Archive pages,
Everyones War Cover 32
Issues 17 to 33 are all available to download as PDF, read on your computer or tablet, iPad etc.

If you would prefer the print version, whilst some are now sold out we do have copies which can be purchased through the website too. A wide range of topics mostly supported by material in the Centre Archive.

For more Women in uniform material ,

Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

see our item on WAAF records at the Centre

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC

The Centre was saddened to hear the news that wartime Fleet Air Arm pilot and later RN Chief Test Pilot Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown died  on the 21st February 2016

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC

Sub Lt. Brown, in the cockpit of a Wildcat aboard HMS Audacity 1941

Eric had a distinguished career in war and in peacetime as a naval pilot, and made a superb recording for the Centre in 2007 in which he related his wartime experiences. He survived the sinking of his first operational posting on HMS Audacity in 1941, going on to become a ‘trials pilot’ testing new aircraft types at the Services Trials Unit, and later at Farnborough in the Aerodynamics Flight, High Speed Flight, and Jet Flight.

As the war ended he was sent to Germany as head of the Enemy Aircraft Flight tasked to find German advanced aircraft and technicians. On arrival at Fassberg, near Hanover he found German jet aircraft which he described as ‘.. very advanced. I would put them at a year to a year and a half ahead of us’.

Eric’s command of the German language was also used by the Allies at the end of the war in the interrogation of Belsen Concentration camp commanders Josef Kramer and Irma Grese, and following the capture of Heinrich Himmler.

Our condolences go to his family and friends.

SWWEC LogoThe Centre will be attending the Family History Day –  Pudsey

On June 11th this year – Come and see us.

Family History Day & Fair

 

Organised by – Your Fair Ladies the Family History Day & Fair at Pudsey Civic Hall

We are pleased to have been invited to be present at this Family History Day & Fair on  June 11th 2016 and look forward to meeting some old friends and hopefully making new ones.

Very many enquiries we receive are to assist with illuminating the history of individuals for those researching their family history.

We have many thousands of lives in the centre and recognise this is a small number in Genealogical research terms. For those whose researches have not located their relatives activity specifically , we are often able to provide a good deal of information about the events and experiences of others who experienced them at the same time and in the same place.

The SWWEC archive is internationally recognised and used by authors, schools and universities , television, radio and print media and private individuals. We are supported entirely by donations and the help of volunteers. Please join us, become a friend or simply donate.. You can do so online. Keep alive the history of the Second World War as seen through the experiences of those who lived through that time.

This item, made from Aluminium , ( suggested potentially from scrap Aeroplane material) and donated to the Centre, depicting a serviceman out walking with a lady, probably in Holland – the couple likely have more on their mind than the stroll….

Out for a Stroll - Front

Out for a Stroll – Front

rear !!! of ashtray

Out for a stroll – rear

SWWEC Logo - The Centre Needs YOU!Become a Friend, The Second World War Experience Centre  in the near Leeds in UK  exists to document the life in those times of anyone who lived through the 1939-1945 years.

Become a Friend!  The Centre Needs YOU!

More than nine thousand people, men and women from many nations who lived through those turbulent times and whose recollections  form an important part of the social history of the world; now have their own life remembered  in the Centre through original documents, photographs, memorabilia and voice or video recordings.      It is an international archive keenly concerned to welcome contact with people who might be able to contribute to and benefit from the Centre’s work.

The Second World War Experience Centre was supported Financially at its formation by a group of Benefactors, several of whom continue their support to this day

Much of the work in gathering, conserving,  cataloging  and researching  the Archive is done by Volunteers. Housing of the Archive, digitising, cataloging  and conservation materials and a very small paid staff necessary to support the Charity, assisting research and enquiries is funded entirely by charitable donations and bequests.

Our sincere thanks to those who support us – PLEASE join them

Become a Friend of the Centre , make a small monthly,  or a single annual donation and know you are supporting SWWEC,  working hard to keep and grow this wonderful educational resource.  Saving the lives through their memories,  of those who lived through World War Two.

If you would prefer to make a single donation and not become an ongoing Friend of the Centre then we would welcome that too.  You can donate securely online from any page on the website via the “make a donation” graphic or we would be pleased to receive a cheque by post.

Why not make a gift of a Friend membership to someone you know who is interested in the WWII period or Social History?  Simply complete the information with their name. There are extra friends only items on the website, reduced price back copies of the journal and free copies of future Journals    to give you a window  for Friends on what we hold in the Centre.

Click the SWWEC Logo  to Become a Friend and join us!

Become a Friend, SWWEC Logo
There are at best less than 10 years left for us  to collect and conserve WWII material and memories,  before a great deal of the material and certainly the personal testimony will have been lost. This creates  the urgent need for help in identifying and preserving material and capturing oral memories, before they are gone forever.  The memories of anyone in whatever capacity that lived through these times, including as children, military , civilian at home, conscientious objectors, etc .

If you have Second World War documentation, memorabilia or memories – either relating to your own wartime experience or that of a family member or friend – we would be delighted to hear from you.

We have for the last 14 years been ensuring that these memories are conserved, properly cared for, and used in education and research.

Typical items in the collection are:

  • Archives (e.g. letters, diaries, log books)
  • Photographs and drawings
  • Medals and citations
  • Ephemera (e.g. cigarette cases, trinket boxes, soldiers’ ‘housewives’ etc.)
  • Books (published volumes are held in our library)
  • The Centre also has circa 5000 oral history interviews and a small collection of video material.

Please contact us if you, a relative or friend has wartime memories or documents, photographs etc that might enhance the ‘picture’ of the time of World War Two held in the archive.

Thank You

Please Contact Us