An opportunity for you to honour a relative
who fought during the Second World War,
or add any project that a member
of the younger generation has completed.


Special Features:


'British Prisoners of War in Italy:
Paths to Freedom'
by Malcolm Tudor
'Harsh memories of wartorn Naples for Ada'

by Jamez Wilson
Newtown Observer Corps  

Special Feature:

A while ago, I was asked if I'd like to read a project undertaken
by a young 10 year old lady, about Evacuation during World War II.

I readily agreed, and was both amazed  and delighted by 
its  precise content and  presentation.

I was so impressed that I asked her permission to reproduce 
her remarkable account on my Penmon website.

I was so proud and honoured when the young lady agreed.
It is special to me because Katherine Morris is
the youngest to contribute on "Penmon",
but most importantly, it is written by a 10 year old,
reflecting how she would felt at that age, and herself an evacuee
Thank you Katherine - very well done indeed.
Ken Davies


My name is Katherine, I'm 10 years old and go to a primary school.

I have chosen to do my project on evacuation because the majority of people that were evacuees were children,
so I could understand what they were feeling at times.

I think that evacuation was very important in the war making millions of peoples lives safer every day.
It make me wonder how I would feel if I had to be evacuated in the twenty first century, seeing the faces of children who who were being evacuated in the war would make me feel homesick, scared, worried and nervous.
The most exciting part of this project was interviewing a real war time evacuee, my neighbour.

Chapter 1
Why it started
People expected cities to be bombed and destroyed
by enemy planes trying to target factories and landmarks.
They expected lots of people to be there,
but it also hit schools and homes 
so evacuation was needed.

Evacuation tried to make the safety of children safer from cities
or busy places that were considered in danger
 from German weapons, 
like London, Birmingham, Blackpool, Coventry, Manchester, Portsmouth and Sunderland.
They needed to be evacuated because
their mothers would either be working

or looking after the house and the children,
or their dads would be representing our country in the war. 
The government put billeting officers to be in charge of deciding
where they were evacuated to.

It all started on 1st September 1939 when the official evacuations began.
Some evacuees didn't even go back to their first home.

Chapter 2
The Main Transports

Not everyone went to the same place and the same country.
People might not have even had the choice to be evacuated.
Evacuees went by either: train, car, aeroplane or boat.

Rich people got to go abroad to be evacuated like Africa,
Australia and Caribbean.
The government put people in charge of deciding where evacuees went, were called billeting officers.
It often all started with a small walk to school, then off to the bus
special evacuation trains were waiting for the evacuees to be taken
to their evacuated home.
As the steam train puffed away, most children felt sad and a little bit excited as they waved away to their mothers and other relatives.

 Pinned to the evacuees coats were labels.
On the label was written each child's name, home address, school
and where the evacuee was going to.
The journey would normally take several hours
to go to the country.


Chapter 3
What they took with them

People were very strict on what and how much evacuees
took with them.

There was only a certain amount they could have:

2 vests
2 pairs of pants
Pair of pants (trousers)
2 Pairs of socks
Pullover jersey
6 handkerchiefs

A cardigan
a vest
2 pairs of knickers
a petticoat
a slip
6 handkerchiefs

They would also pack in their suitcase;
1 pair of wellingtons, a towel and Face cloth,
a toothbrush and soap, a pair of shoes and plimsolls,
sandwiches and apple, packet of nuts or raisins,
dry biscuits, barley sugar

Chapter 4
Life for an evacuee

For this part of the project, I will write it in the form of a diary,
so this is part of what an evacuee's diary might look like at the time.

The character I have created is a 10 year old girl called Edyth from Blackpool, with two 12 year old twin brothers called
Myles and Wilfred.

She has a mum who works in a munitions factory and dad
who is a captain on a sailor boat at war.
She is about to be evacuated to another country.

At home.
Dear diary,
Today could have been the saddest day of my life because today was the day I was told I was going to be evacuated.
Mum and I were just reading a book when she found a letter by the door and her smile faded. She called Myles and Wilfred downstairs  and told us to sit down on the sofa.
She said Germans were starting to bomb England so we were going to be evacuated. We didn't know what to say, so I comfortingly walked up to her as she had just started to cry, so I gave her a big cuddle and I whispered into hear ear "Don't worry, it is OK".
We were told to go to our room and start packing certain things for the journey, so we did what we were told and started packing. Myles and Wilfred looked miserable after what they had just seen. I asked them what evacuation means and Wilfred explained to me that it meant that people had to be taken to another place or even country as it is not safe. At that exact moment I burst into tears with fear and sadness filling my heart, just the thought of not being with mum when I came home from school gave me the shivers.
It was already bad enough that dad wasn't here. Myles gave me big soft cuddle and reassuring smile.
After we had packed most of our stuff mum called us down for tea. It was "corned beef and cabbage" as it was pretty much all we had in the house until we get our rations next week.
When we sat down at the table and mum told us that she knew where we were going. She quietly sobbed to us "Edyth, darling you are going to ............ Grasmere, Lake District in North West England.
My heart filled with sorrow as she continued "Myles and Wilfred you two will be going to ...... Devon, both of you will be going in just under a week's time in the first lot of evacuees".
My eyes filled with water trying not to cry but I couldn't hold it and I burst out into tears. Mum put her knife and fork down and came over and gave me a kiss on my forehead to say it's OK.
She said I am going to a family called Edwards, while Myles and Wilfred will be going to a farm, with a couple called Hopkins. As it was soon bedtime mum gave me a kiss on the head, pulled the curtains over and turned the light out.


A week's time
Dear diary
Life has turned into a roller coaster that won't end. I have been very nervous for the past 6 days. All week I have been spending as much time with my family that I have left with them.
With not much notice we packed our bags in a rush trying not to miss anything out. Even though I am being evacuated, I am kind of excited that I am going to the Lake District, since we have never even been further than Southport.
In only half an hour's time I am going to the station to start this different kind of adventure. I am scared that I won't fit in with others and I will get homesick.
Even though I have been told that I may have to go through all my clothes and make sure that I have everything , right now I am just writing in my diary hoping that the Edwards are really kind.
Even though I hope I'm alright, I am still worrying about Wilfred and Myles going to Devon and that they are OK.
I know that they are fine when it comes to things like making friends but not so confident when they are going to new places. I am going to the station in a minute for the journey of a lifetime.
Wish me luck that I will have a good time.  

On the train
Dear diary
Right now I am on the train to Grasmere with my suitcase on my knee next to two girls that are called Eleanor and Nora from London, who are also going to the Lake District as well.
They are very relaxed and chilled out about having to be evacuated. I was I was chilled and relaxed about it
As the train stopped off at the Lake District station, there was a loud group of children pushing and shoving to get to the front of the queue trying to get off the train and on to the grey concrete into the fresh air, out of the scruffy cramped train.
When I got off the train we went into a large room where the families were. The entire host families were waiting to pick up their evacuees from the station. I waved goodbye to Nora and Eleanor  hoping that it would not be the last time I see them. I looked around the room to see if the Edwards were there and sure enough they were there in the centre of the room with three other children and one aged about 10.
They were all talking about something when the warden whispered to me that that was my new family.
I stood there with nervously thinking of what to say. What if I said; 'Hello er my name is Edyth and I come from er Blackpool and er I am an evacuee' but I thought that didn't sound right, so I went with "Hello I am Edyth and I am your evacuee. I hope I will have a wonderful time with you". 

At the station
Dear diary
They observed me and said they were the Edwards. The children with them looked and carried on talking, except for one child who stayed behind and introduced herself as Victoria Edwards and she is one of the Edwards children.
When we were walking to the car I told her that I am scared that no one will like me because I have a different accent and I might seem different because I am a little bit shy. She told me that I will be fine and that everyone at her school is really kind.
She also told me that the family are in a family business that makes children's toys, called "Non Stop Fun". Mrs Edwards is called Sylvia and Mr Edwards is called Robert, I must address them by Auntie and Uncle thought and the other two children were called Elsie and Mary who were also 10 and that she was 12 in 6 months' time.

In the car
Dear diary
When we got in the posh car it was the colour of a black hole.
When we were at Blackpool we didn't have a car so it felt really wierd sitting in the comfy seat.
While we were driving they asked me about my family and what they were like. I told them about Wilfred and Myles and about dad as a sailor in war and that mum is working in a munitions factory for the time being.
I saw them whispering and so they then told me about calling them auntie and uncle, so I quickly but quietly told them that Victoria has explained it before.
When we arrived I saw a sign saying Meadow View, overlooking big fields and mountains. I gasped with delight as we pulled up outside a small white and brown detached house next to a flowery green garden

At the house
Then they stopped the car and told me "This is our home, come on in".
I got out of the car and held Victoria's hand as I stepped onto the door step nearly tripping over while looking around in astonishment.
I stepped into the house and there were posh paintings all over the wall hall of pilots flying in their aeroplanes in the war and of toys made by the business.
I walked through the hall to a small and posh living room with antique furniture embroidered with patterns of flowers and ancient book shelves on the wall.
On the table was a letter with the words "missing you" on the front. They said the first thing I should do is write a letter to my mum and tell her what has happened.
Elsie and Mary strolled towards me and asked politely would I like a small tour of Meadow View. I uncertainly said that I would love to but I still had my suitcase. They told me to go and put them in my room.
In shock I asked where my room was, since at home I had to share with Wilfred and Myles.

They told me to go straight up the stairs and one door on the left. Victoria  helped me bring my suitcase up and showed me my room. I walked in with my eyes closed waiting for the biggest surprise I will never forget.
When I uncovered my eyes I was speechless. My room was a bright blue colour with black shelves on the wall, a brown single bed with a sky blue cover, a brown wooden floor and blue curtains. I gave Victoria a hug and said I absolutely loved it.
She said it was the best they could do with "Make do and mend". She put my luggage in the wardrobe and took me down stairs to Elsie and Mary for my mini tour.
They told me that they would start downstairs. We went into the kitchen where a small variety of flavoursome spices and 2 cupboards of rationed foods with a wooden floor.
Then we went to the study room. They showed me the work and sketches of the toys that Uncle Robert makes designing the toys. I looked at the designs plastered on the walls framed with pretty designs of card collections, rag dolls and battleships.
Then they took me upstairs to their room. It was like mine, with the curtains and the carpet. Then we went into Victoria's room. It was a bit different with a unique colour to ours.
Then we went to the bathroom with a sink, a bath and toilet. They finished the tour with a look around the garden. It was lovely looking at the vegetable patch and the vibrant colours poking out of the ground.
I gratefully thanked them and they asked me if I would like to come and play up in their room. I said that would be lovely. We went up to their room and we played with the rag dolls for half an hour right up to dinner time.
Uncle Robert and Auntie Sylvia called us down for tea, I was very nervous because I was not sure if they thought I would be too fussy or too greedy and that it was my first of many meals at Meadow View.
I strolled  downstairs into the dining room and on the table was a hot bowl of handmade vegetable soup. I picked up my spoon and we did a prayer to God. I said that the soup tasted like the most divine chocolate in the world. They said that was very kind.
I asked them about my school and when I start. They presumed I am going to Sunnyside Grasmere primary school, and I shall be going in 3 days. I said that would be a wonderful time to go.
I also asked them what my bedtime was. They told me my bedtime was quarter to eight like Mary and Elsie's but Victoria's bedtime was a little bit later. They said I will have a good nights sleep in my new bed tonight. I said I probably will since my room is so lovely.
After tea we got into our pyjamas and we played a game of snakes and ladders in the living room. I won it, it was really fun.
I thought that it was a really good first day.
At quarter to eight as we expected they gave us a kiss, pulled the curtains over and said "hope you have a wonderful night's sleep." When she said that it made me think that mum used to do the same, since I had already wrote my letter to them I knew that everything would be fine.

The next day
Dear diary
I have probably had one of the best ever sleeps I have ever had.
As soon as my head hit the pillow I instantly fell into a wonderful dream all about mum and dad and how Wilfred and Myles are. I woke up all refreshed and happy ready to start the next day.
I went downstairs at eight o clock since it was Saturday. I went down to 6 bowls of crisp cornflakes with a pot of milk on the side of the posh wooden table.
I figured that there was oner for everyone. I sat down and poured the little amount of milk onto my delicious cereal.
After a few minutes of eating I saw Victoria coming down the stairs so I waved and gave a big smile even though I was still in my pyjamas. She gave me a wave and came down to the dining room table and sat next to me eating our cornflakes.
After a while everybody was down stairs talking.

After eating breakfast we went upstairs to get dressed. When I got dressed I started to write a letter to Wilfred and Myles.
I started with "Hello how are you, are you having a nice time time at Devon? I am having a wonderful time here in Grasmere. I hope the Hopkins are lovely because the Edwards are wonderful.
I have made friends with Victoria."
I thought I could finish the letter in a while so I knocked on Victoria's door and asked if I could come and play in her room. She said that would be really fun.
When I got in we started to talk about what it would be like at school. She said it would be really fun and that everybody would be really welcoming.
I said that everybody sounds very kind and generous. 
At the end we were called down for lunch. It was a hot delicious cod pie with carrots, cabbage and roast potatoes. We sat down and tucked into the delightful food.
We started to talk about the toy company. They told me that they make all sorts of toys from ragdolls to collectibles and cards as well as soldiers and sailors figures.
I told them Wilfred and Myles probably have some of the soldier figures.
After lunch I went up to my room to finish my letter. Then after writing the letter it was tea, We were having home-made vegetable hotpot.
I went upstairs after dinner, I brushed my teeth and fell asleep thinking of my day at school soon.

A few days time
Dear diary
Today is the first day of my new school/ I am so scared. Mary and Elsie said they would look after me when I am there.
I arrived at the school gates and I saw loads of children around the playground laughing and talking.
I got out of the car and Auntie Sylvia wished me good luck and I jumped out and I walked to the gates beside Mary.
I walked in and introduced myself to the teacher. She was wearing a grey tweed dress with black glasses. She viewed me and said she was Mrs Harris and that she is head teacher at Meadow View School.
I introduced myself as an evacuee from Blackpool called Edyth. She said she hopes I have a wonderful time here. I said I'm sure I will.
When I got into class I sat next to a girl called Susan. We quickly became friends and we played with each other at playtime after maths.
When the day ended we played with each other after school which surprisingly, Susan lived in an estate near me. We went down to the park with Elsie and Mary who are also friends with Susan.

A few weeks' time
Dear diary
I have made friends with lots more friends like Carol, Betty and Dorothy. Carol is an evacuee from London as well. I am keeping in touch with my family. Wilfred and Myles are having a wonderful time with the Hopkins on the farm feeding the chickens and the pigs each morning.
I have heard from mum. She said that she is coping well and she has got promotion.


Chapter 5

This is the interview with a real wartime evacuee.

What age were you when you were evacuated?
Six and a half.
When were you evacuated?
Where were you living before you were evacuated?
Did you remember the address?
Yes, Driffield Road, Nafferton, East Yorkshire.
What were the people's names names who you were evacuated to?

They were two sisters, Mary and Lilly.
How old were they?
About 45 to 50.
What were they like?
Firm but fair.
Were you with any siblings?
No, my brothers were evacuated to another place in Yorkshire on a farm.
What transport did you use to be evacuated?
I took the train.
What job did your mum have before and in the war?
She stayed at home and helped out with the house.
What job did your dad have in the war?
Before: he was bus driver.
In the war: RAF, maintaining the planes.
What were the first thoughts of the house that you'd be living in as an evacuee?
A bit carried away and happy with what the house looked like.
If you went to school as an evacuee what was it called?
The Village School.
Did you make friends in Nafferton?
Yes a girl called Pauline senior.
Do you still keep in touch with any of your friends?
Yes at Christmas.
Did you go to the same places as your friends?
No I was in hospital for a long time so I didn't have that many friends.
What did you do to entertain yourself?
Playing with Pauline and my friends, knitting, sewing and reading.
Did you ever write to your family when you were away?
Auntie Mary and Aunty Lilly as I used to call them would help me write a letter to mum and dad as I couldn't properly write a letter yet but I would write a letter myself occasionally.
Did you feel any different from the local children at Yorkshire?
No but I did come back with a bit of a Yorkshire accent.
Could you take a pet?
Were there any other evacuees at The Village School?
Yes there must have been.



This is the quiz on evacuation in World War 2.
Have lots of fun trying to get the answers right.
They are all written in this project.
Each answer is worth 2 points.
Good luck!

1) Who was bombing Britain in the war?
2) What were the enemies trying to hit?
3) What did it all start with on the Journey?
4) Name two cities that were mainly bombed.
5) What did the evacuees have written on their label?
6) When was the first official evacuation?
7) What were the 4 main transports for evacuation?
8) Who was in charge of deciding where the evacuees went?
9) What were the 3 main overseas countries they were taken to?
10) Did all children go with siblings to the same place?



1) The Germans (The Axis).
2) Factories and landmarks.
3) A walk to school.
4) Birmingham, Blackpool, Coventry, Manchester, Portsmouth and Sunderland.
5) Name, home address, school and where they were going.
6) 1st September 1939.
7) Car, aeroplane, train or boat.
8) Billeting Officers.
9) Africa, Australia, Carribean.
10) No.


Teacher's Comments on Katherine's Project.
An excellent project Kathrine!
You have obviously put a lot of time and effort
into completing this.

Your diary entries are very descriptive, and include
many of
the details appropriate to the time period -
Well done.

Super work as well on your interview of an evacuee,
that must have been very exciting and helpful
in completing your diary entries.

You asked a really interesting range of questions.
You have achieved all of the success criteria - Well done.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your project.

Learn more about the use and introduction of military vehicles, tanks, and aircraft throughout World War II
in this comprehensive resource contributed by
Alex Owens,

a sixth grade student at Spring Hill Middle School.
Images taken from the links within Alex's webpage.
I am very grateful to Alex Owens
and his teacher Jordan Christian,

for the wonderful opportunity of including Alex's research
on this page about World War II.
A great opportunity to learn about the U.S.A.'s involvement during the War.

Ken Davies 

Royal Welch Fusiliers, 4th and 8th Battalion

Dad, like so many others, would not talk a lot about his war days. However his granddaughter Kim was asked to talk to their grandparents about what they did during the war, and Dad wrote this account for her. 
was called up to the army in 1942, and am pictured here with my mother Winifred Myfanwy, Anti Carrie and sister Ceinwen, during some war leave.

I was in the Grammar School (form 5) when war broke out. There I remained until August 1940, when I started work at the Post Office in Llanrwst as a counter clerk.

However, on the 12th February 1942, I was conscripted into the army. A day which would change my life completely.

I very well remember leaving home for the first time, aged eighteen. I had to catch the 8 o'clock train from Llanrwst to Cardiff. On the way to the way to the station, I heard a Welsh programme on everyone's wireless set as I walked along, and I could hear a party singing "R wyf innau'n milwr bychan, yn cychwyn ar fy nhaith!" - I am a little soldier, starting on my journey!
I was initially attached to the 4th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers as:
Fusilier DAVIES W.O. 14200775

Llandudno Junction
Llandudno Junction

I had to change trains at Llandudno Junction, where I met Huw Jones from Pencaerisiog, Anglesey, who could not speak English and he asked me if I would keep him company.
I agreed and we were together at Heath Camp. Cardiff, where we practised marching and treating different types of illnesses.

I soon realised that strangely, many of my friends, who were more like brothers to me, were being stationed overseas, including Huw - and I was being left behind all the time.  

Army Book 64
RWF Paybook

However, my turn soon came to join the 8th Battalion of The Royal Welch Fusiliers, in Yeovil, Somerset.

This would be the first time for me to camp in a tent with the rest of the soldiers.

By now, I was well used to the uniform and nailed boots!
 RWF 1942
B Company 8th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers. November 1942

In time, I was moved to Swanage, Dorset. From there, on to work at Corfe Castle. By now marching ten miles meant nothing to me but sore feet.

Time soon came to move again, this time to Bournemouth, where I learned to ride a 500cc Norton motorbike, and spent some time with the Field Security Police. I was now enrolled in the Battalion's 'Intelligence Section', where I had to learn about military aircraft from each country and how to read maps, as I had to arrange convoy routes from one place to another. Again several of my friends were being sent abroad, but I had to remain here. This happened throughout the time I was in the army.

I was sent to the Isle of Wight to learn more about explosives. From here to Beaulieu, where two of us looked after gallons of petrol. Then to Dover and a stay at The Citadel.  - a castle on high ground, where it was possible to tell the time on a Calais clock in France, through a telescope!

Here there were four large cannons which would fire shells over to France. I was also at Dover Castle, learning more about military work

In the twentieth century the castle played an important role in both world wars. The castle was armed with anti-aircraft guns and searchlights, supplemented during the Second World War with Radar

In May 1940, the evacuation of 338,000 allied soldiers from Dunkirk was directed from a command centre in the converted Georgian underground barracks, at Dover Castle.

New tunnels were built to house an underground hospital and the combined headquarters for the three services.

After the war the army remained in the castle until 1958; five years later the whole of Dover Castle was handed over to the Ministry of Works for preservation

I moved  on to St Margaret's Bay, where I stayed in underground offices. Here I received details of German shipping in codified form. I had to decode and forward the information to the relevant administrative sections. There soon followed a long journey for me from Dover to Berwick on Tweed by motorbike, to show convoy drivers the way there, and stopping overnight in Saffron Waldren, where I taught American soldiers how to read maps and find their way during day or night. Then on to St Neots, Morpeth before reaching Berwick on Tweed. 

Following this excursion, I went to Maidstone. Here five of us were guinea pigs. Each of us were given a sedative of three different colours, followed by an IQ test. The results differed greatly.

On another occasion, we were given a map of a part of France and had to state its suitability for infantry and tank warfare - it was an area between the beaches and Caen, where we later operated!

By this time, plans were afoot to land in France

The Normandy landings were the beginning of Operation Overlord - or the invasion of German-occupied Europe. Originally planned to take place on 1 May 1944, the operation was postponed a month to allow time to gather more troops and equipment. The timing was important to allow for the right weather, a full moon, and tidal conditions.

To keep the destination of the landings secret, a deception plan Operation Fortitude was mounted which led the Germans to believe the main target was the Pas de Calais, much farther east.
When the landings finally began there were only 14 of the 58 German divisions in France facing the Allies. While there was stiff resistance at other beaches, Omaha was the only one where the success of the Allied mission was in serious doubt.

The invasion of Normandy was the largest amphibious assault ever launched. It involved five army divisions in the initial assault and over 7,000 ships. In addition there were 11,000 aircraft.
In total 75,215 British and Canadian troops and 57,500 US troops were landed by sea on D-Day. Another 23,400 were landed by air. By 11 June the Allies had secured the Cotentin Peninsula beyond Cherbourg but progress continued slowly as the Germans put up fierce resistance. 

JUNE 2009

Click here to see the magnificent photos from D-Day 6th June 1944
courtesy of Dave Weber and THE DENVER POST

I stayed at Hayward's Heath. We were billeted in tents in the woods. We were supposed to sail from New Haven on D-Day plus 2, but the boat we were meant to sail in was sunk and no other boat was available until the 23rd June.


So, on the 23rd June 1944, we crossed the English Channel to the beaches of Arromanches, following British, Canadian and American troops through Bayeaux and on to Caen, where there was fierce fighting. We could hear our own shells, fired from our ships, whistling over our heads and anding on the German army. Fierce fighting continued the Germans bombarded us endlessly with their 9 barrelled mortars.

British troops having a wash at Bayeux

Both sides faced difficulties after the landings. The Germans hoped to contain the Allied beach head with infantry forces, while saving their mobile reserves for a major counter-attack. The numerous hedgerows, sunken lanes and small villages of the Normandy countryside offered them good cover and restricted Allied mobility.Because they still feared another Allied landing in the Pas de Calais, however, the Germans held some troops back and reinforcements were slow to arrive. The movement of German forces was also slowed by bomb damage to railways and bridges, by the constant menace of air attack and by the activities of the French resistance. In addition, Hitler's insistence on holding ground meant high mortality among German troops.

The Allied conduct of the battle developed in two ways. The British and Canadians engaged the German mobile reserves in a series of attritional battles around Caen, while the Americans, facing less resistance, were able to gain more ground to the west. Although Montgomery (commander of the Allied land forces) faced some criticism because progress seemed slow, in the end his strategy of wearing down the German forces and keeping them off balance paid off.

British troops in Caen Caen
Devastation in the city of Caen

The long-awaited, decisive breakthrough came during late July and early August. Another British attack pinned down the German mobile forces south of Caen, while the Americans broke through against depleted opposition.

5 French Franks 5 French Franks
5 French Francs. Serie de 1944. This special 'liberation money' was issued to some soldiers while they were in secure camps prior to boarding ships.

I was in a shell hole with a boy from Ffestiniog and we decided to move to another hole. Unfor
tunately, I was blown several yards into the air. I was not injured. I was treated in 202 and 129 Field Ambulances on the 4th July 1944, and then to the Corps Exhaustion Centre on the 7th July 1944, but I knew nothing of this.

The General Hospital, Nottingham, in 1939.

They transferred me to a hospital ship and I crossed over back to England to Southampton hospital on the 8th July, I moved to General Hospital, Nottingham (left) on the 11th July, prior to being admitted to Northfield Military Hospital, Birmingham on the 12th July for a spell, where I underwent thorough investigation.

A decision was made to transfer me on the 28th August to Regent's Park Rehabilitation Centre, London for three months - the treatment? - three months physical education!

Following that period, I was went to Newtown, Powys for 9 months. I was moved to 122 Medical Convalescent Depot in Blythe Bridge, where I was in charge of the injured. Having attended a pay course in Chester, I returned to Newtown as a clerk, paying the soldiers on a weekly basis.It was here in 1945 working as a Welfare Officer Clerk and Pay Clerk, I was promoted to Lance Corporal, and was due to be Corporal, but was discharged, as I had a job to go to in the Post Office.

My last day in the Army came, and I went to Oldham to be fitted for my grey and white de-mob suit, together with other items of clothing. It was at this time that I got to discover why I was never sent overseas in the earlier days of my war - my records had been destroyed in the blitz in London, on the month I joined up.

I considered myself to have been very lucky indeed.

My service number was 14200775 Fusilier Davies W. O.. I was called '75'. 

This is where Dad's report ends. However, the one thing he did not mention, was the act of extreme bravery he undertook near Caen. He volunteered to go, and went into 'no man's land', to fetch water for the rest of the troops, under heavy enemy fire. He was the only single soldier in the group - the others were married.  He was to be mentioned in despatches for his bravery, but his reporting officer was killed, and the act of bravery was never recorded.

Forced to commit their reserves against the British, the Germans were too weak to oppose the American breakthrough after 25 July. As the Americans poured out into the open countryside, a counter-attack ordered by Hitler failed and by mid-August the Germans were facing encirclement. They retreated in chaos and the Allies had taken Paris by 25 August.
The end of the Normandy campaign came with the destruction of the German 7th Army in the Falaise pocket in August.

Although the Allies had reached the German frontier by September they decided to re-group during the winter, because of the failure of Market-Garden and the setback in the battle of the Bulge, and the invasion of Germany only began in January 1945.

To read more on the Drive on Caen, please click on the following link;


Clothing Coupon Book
War Coupns
 After the war, Dad rejoined the Post Office.


My uncle

T. Glynne Davies

Coal was in short supply in World War II, so it was decided by the then Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin, that there would be a ballot to determine whether the conscript should go into the armed services or work in the mines. These conscript miners were given the nick name Bevin Boys. They came to North Staffordshire from the whole range of classes and professions. No one was given preference and all were treated the same. T Glynne was one of these Bevin Boys, and worked at the Oakdale Colliery

Oakdale Colliery 1908 - 1989

The sinking of Oakdale's shafts was started in 1908. At the height of it's life, Oakdale provided employment for over 2,000 men. As with any mine of the time, coal cutting and filling was achieved entirely by hand.
We are told that in 1912 the mine used around 30 ponies to haul the coal from the pit. Oakdale's one claim to fame is a visit by the Duke of York in 1923. Production came to a halt and the mine was closed in 1989


Here is an account of the process he would have faced at the time  

From December 1943 until the end of the war, 48,000 Bevin Boys were directed to work in the coalmines. Bevin Boys represented 10% of male conscript's aged between 18 and 25 during the Second World War and were chosen by ballot to serve in the mining industry rather than in the armed services. They were named after the Rt. Hon Ernest Bevin, the wartime Minister of Labour and former leader of the Transport and General Workers Union


The mining work was not popular either with the miners or the boys themselves, many of whom had no mining background at all. The Bevin Boys received no medal, badge or uniform and little recognition at the time or afterwards. Many were not released from their war work until several years after the war had ended.      

Background and Selection Process. When war was declared against Germany in September 1939, the British Government made the mistake of allowing experienced coal miners to be called up into the armed services, either as reservists or as conscripts. Miners were also allowed to transfer into other higher paid industries. It was thought at the time, that the gaps in the coal mining industry would be replaced by previously unemployed men and by making the industry the subject of a reserved occupation for key workers. But by mid-1943, over 36,000 coal miners had left the industry for better paid work. The British Government decided it needed 40,000 more miners. Despite asking service men and conscripts to opt for this reserved occupation, little impact was made on the numbers needed. In September 1943 an appeal was made to Head Teachers of relevant schools but this was largely ignored.

In consequence in December 1943 Ernest Bevin masterminded a scheme whereby a ballot took place to put a proportion of conscripted men into the mines instead of the armed services. armed services, and were so classified as Optants or Volunteers.      
Training. After medical examinations, travel warrants and instructions quickly followed to report to one of the thirteen Government Training Centre Collieries in England, Scotland, and Wales. Upon arrival at the assigned destination, a Ministry of Labour official would be waiting to allocate accommodation in either a purpose built Miners Hostel similar to an army camp or in billets, at a cost of 25 shillings per week deducted out of an average wage of three pounds, ten shillings. Training would last for a duration of four weeks and take the form of 25% physical training, 25% classroom lectures, 20% surface work and 30% underground. At the end of this period, final allocation would be made to a colliery normally within the region where the training had taken place.

Living and Working. On arrival at the assigned pit, accommodation would be either in a hostel or private billets and a further two weeks local training given before commencing the real hard work that Bevin Boys were required to carry out.

Upon emerging from the cage after descending anything up to a mile deep into the earth's interior, invariably a long walk had to be made in uneven terrain to finally arrive and work in cramped conditions with a headroom often as low as eighteen inches. However, the majority of Bevin Boys worked on haulage and conveyor belts with few graduating to work at the coalface. Most forms of haulage involved the use of cables for the movement of tubs. In most cases Bevin Boys were regarded with suspicion by the regular pitmen. This was inevitable with young inexperienced men with little knowledge of the industry, and many of who had never got their hands dirty in their lives.

Here is a group of Oakdale's Bevin Boys. They were supplied with a safety helmet; a pair of overalls and steel capped boots and like other miners carried their safety lamp, a snap tin containing sandwiches and a water bottle

Regular miners, many of whom were born and bred in a mining community, relied on bonuses earned by hard work. They did not relish the idea of working alongside a disinterested Bevin Boy. The work of the miners was hard in appalling conditions with no toilet facilities in areas that were either hot, cold, wet, draughty, dirty, dusty and smelly. The constant noise of machinery was also deafening coupled with the daily hazards of enduring cuts and bruises. Dangers and risks were numerous with always the fear that perhaps there might be an explosion resulting in fire or even a rock fall and it was always a relief to step out of the cage into the fresh air at the end of the days shift. Some of the larger collieries were lucky enough to have pit head baths in order to shower and change into clean clothes, but where these were not provided it would mean going back to the hostel or billets.

Bevin Boys did not have a uniform and therefore only wore civilian clothes when off duty. This could lead to challenges by members of the public as to why they were not in Army, Royal Navy, or Royal Air Force uniform.These are the huts at Oakdale.

Additionally being of military age prompted suspicion of either being a draft dodger or deserter from the forces or a possible enemy agent thus leading to regular challenges by local police. If a man was found to be physically unfit for work underground, he had to be reassigned to surface work. There was no opportunity to transfer to other industry or the forces. Those Bevin Boys who were injured did not receive a Government pension as they were legally regarded as civilian Demobilisation With the ending of the Second World War in Europe, a Bevin Boy release scheme was brought into being similar to that of the armed services. But the Bevin Boys received no medals or other form of recognition or reward for their services to the war effort in which the played a very vital part. This contrasted with demobilised servicemen who were allowed to keep their uniform, given a demobilisation outfit, paid leave and received war and campaign medals. Bevin Boys had no right to return to their pre-war jobs, as could demobbed servicemen. The last of the Bevin Boys were demobbed in 1948 well after the British coalmines were nationalised in 1947. Very few opted to stay on in the mining industry.

Tom was later stationed in Malta.
Here is a picture of
Melisha Church, Malta, during World War 2.



Eric Swain

Fred James has vivid memories of the night of June 22, 1944.

It was the most action packed night of his life and now 66 years on, he still has little difficulty in recalling how he nursed his huge bomber back home with one of its engines out of action.

It was immediatelty after the opening of the second front. The Allied invasion of Europe was in its 16th day and F/O James found himself in the air in his beloved Lancaster bomber - I for Ink - far from the peace of his home village.

Fred James, second from the right,
with five of the crew of I for Ink
part of the 101 Squadron.


Fred had not been on many missions, but there he was at the controls of a massive four engined Lancaster - described by some as the noblest aircraft of them all. And this was no ordinary Lancaster I for Ink and the remainder of the Lancs in the 101 Squadron were very special. "Secret" was the official word, and the equipment aboard gave them just that bit of edge over the Germans.

There was a crew of eight aboard instead of the usual seven. The eighth man was the crewman with the box of tricks. Interception of enemy radio signals, jamming them and sending false messages had been a trick used by the British for some time. But until recently it had only been used on points on the mainland.


Photo and text courtesy of Wikipedia

101 Squadron Lancasters were equipped with a top secret radio jamming system codenamed "Airborne Cigar" (ABC) operated by German-speaking members known as "special operators" commonly abbreviated to "spec ops".
They sat in a curtained off area towards the rear of the aircraft and located and jammed German fighter controllers broadcasts, occasionally posing as controllers to spread disinformation. The aircraft fitted with the system were distinctive due to the two large vertical antennae rising from the middle of the fuselage.
Deliberately breaking the standing operating procedure of radio silence to conduct the jamming made the aircraft highly vulnerable to being tracked and attacked, which resulted in 101 Squadron having the highest casualty rate of any RAF squadron.

Bomber Command War Diaries 5/6th June
110 aircraft of 1 and 100 Groups carried out extensive bomber-support operations: 24 A.B.C.-equipped Lancasters of 101 Squadron patrolled all likely night-fighter approaches, so that their German-speaking operators could jam the German controllers' instructions; 100 Group flew 34 R.C.M. sorties and 27 Serrate and 25 Intruder Mosquito patrols. 2 Intruders and 1 A.B.C Lancaster were lost.



But Ground Control Interception had its limitations. It was only effective as far as the French and Dutch coasts. Now it had been taken ine important step further. GCI had become ACI - Airbourne Control Interception.

No. 8 man on each of the Rolls Royce Merlin-engined planes was German-speaking, trained conning the enemy into believing untruths. But even his skill and that of his pilot and fellow crewmen could not bring I for Ink through unscathed that night.

Fred was an experienced pilot, but until he had joined 101 Squadron only a few weeks before he had been out of action from December, 1942 - badly injured when a Wellington bomber crashed in bad weather.

From his home, Fred recalled feeling that this was going to be "one of those nights". But he was not afraid. He did not think he knew fear on any of his 40 raids and he believed most airmen were the same. There just was not time to think about fear when the enemy was throwing everything in their direction.

The fear and the jitters came at other times. "I used to lie awake at night with visions of myself being enveloped in fire when the aircraft caught fire," he said.

With the Allied forces trying to gain ground against strong enemy oppostion on of Bomber Command's important tasks was to distrupt the German lines of communication.

The target for June 22 was a railway nerve-centre - the marshalling yards at Rhiems. Take-off time from Ludford Magna, between Market Rasen and Louth, was 8p.m..

Beyond Beachy Head darkness gave the planes welcome cover, but it was darkness the enemy penetrated very quickly.


The Luftwaffe was in the air. I for Ink had barely crossed the water before there was a burst of firing from the port side and a large ball of falling flame illuminated the night as a Lancaster fell victim to an enemy nightfighter. It was not the last Lancaster to go down in flames that night, but Fred's plane forged ahead, escaping as if by a miracle the dozens of brilliant searchlights which probed the sky.

I for Ink turned for its run into its target. Ten minutes to go before the bomb aimer was due to press the button which would release tons of bombs on the rail yards far below. Fred and his crew were alert for target markers being dropped from a master bomber. Timing and navigation were spot on, but the markers just did not appear.

The mission as far as I for Ink was concerned would be a failure, but on the turn for home markers went down astern. Fred took a quick and vital decision. He had to go round again and make another run in. "It took us ten, maybe twenty minutes, but it seemed like an eternity to run the gauntlet again", said Fred.

The the bombs were away and Fred turned for home - a run fraught with even more danger than the outward one. The second run meant they were at the tail end of the returning squadron or even completely alone in enemy airspace.

Then it came : the aircraft shuddered as if in collision, followed by a sharp vibration. Tracer shells smashed into the starboard forward quarter of the Lancaster and flame shot from one of the engines.

The attack had come from behind and below - a position favoured by German night-fighter pilots. But the attack had not gone unanswered. "I think I hit him" came a voice from the rear turret where a crewman was stationed with his twin guns.

Fred's reflexes reacted swiftly, following a frequently practiced drill. He throttled back, switched off, cut the petrol, feathered the engine and pressed the extinguisher button. Luckily for the crew of I for Ink, it worked. Out went the flame, but with speed cut by the loss of one engine the Lancaster became an even easier target.

Searchlights lit up the sky and one by one planes around them were picked off by enemy fighters. Many of them went down in balls of fire, some exploding as they went, and to make things worse for I for Ink, one of its fuel tanks was holed. A gauge showed  zero fuel in one tank, possibly holed by a shell. On just three engines the pilot repeatedly took the Lancaster through violent dives and corscrews in an attempt to escape the limpet-like beams. Time after time it was recaptured and held, only to escape again as streams of tracer screamed by.

Fred's flight engineer was shouting for him to dive, but by now that was out of the question. They were battling for survival at less than 1,000 feet. They were down so low the searclight crews were unable to hold them in their sights and finally they broke away from the beams.


It was time for a "cuppa", and time for the Irish flight engineer to kiss the rag doll mascot. Was there enough fuel left for the haul back to Ludford Magna? Possibly not, so Fred headed for an emergency landing strip in Essex, before rejecting that thought in favour of sending out an emergency call.

The reaction was immediate. Light which not long before had been an enemy became a welcoming angel as a searchlight probed upwards and dipped forwards while further ahead three more coned skywards to pinpoint their have - RAF Thorney Island. But even at this late moment I for Ink was still in jeopardy.

Only one green light winked to indicate a landing wheel was down. What had happened to the other? To add to Fred's problems there was apparently damage to one of the planes's wing flaps. It seemed a perfect toich down, but Fred could not hold it straight.

A cannon shell had holed the starboard tyre and the plane swung in an arc before it came to rest - not on the runway, but behind the officer's mess.

Was there, after all, some point in Flight Engineer Paddy Orr kissing his good luck doll?   


Officers & Warrant Officers for exceptional valour, courage and devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy. Collective or immediate award

Bomber Command War Diaries 22/23 June 1944
221 aircraft - 111 Lancasters, 100 Halifaxes, 10 Mosquitoes - of 1, 4 and 8 Groups attacked railway yards at Laon and Rhiems. 4 Halifaxes lost from the Laon raid and 4 Lancasters from the Rheims raid. The bombing at both targets was successful.

DEBATE ! Daily Mail 9th October 2009 

Did the RAF target German civilians deliberately?

I was a wartime Lancaster bomber pilot who took part in 38 raids over Germany during that conflict and can state categorically that we were never required to bomb purely civilian areas.

We targetted factories and railway marshalling yards and other areas geared to the German war effort.

It's an insult to the many men who were killed helping to save this country from Nazi Germany to state otherwise.
F.G. James

(an extract from the Chester Chronicle
during World War II)

Brothers Cyril, Emyr, Mervyn, Arthur, Ivor and Vincent

Mrs Elizabeth Ellen Jones (nee Williams), widow of Mr Richard Jones, Devinia, 120 Vicar's Cross, has six sons, five of whom are in the Forces. Her only daughter is also on War work. (NB - Mrs Elizabeth Ellen Jones is a descendant of our Williams, Tan y Graig family, Nant y Rhiw.) 

Cyril (31), her oldest son, is an aero engine inspector at an aircraft factory. Before the war,  he was employed by Brookhirst Switengear Ltd., Last week he volunteered for the Home Guard.

Emyr (29) a private in the Argyles, has been in the Army for three years and is now with the First Army in North Africa. He was wounded on March 3rd this year. He was formerly employed in the Frodsham-street branch of the Chester Co-operative Society. 

Mervyn (26), a telegraphist in the Royal Navy has been serving for two and a half years and was formerly employed by the local branch of Messrs George Mason's and afterwards with the firm in Yorkshire.

Arthur (24) is a corporal in the R.E.M.E. and was called up with the Militia in May 1939. He was sent to France at Christmas, was in the Dunkirk evacuation and was drafted overseas. He was formerly employed as an electrician at the Grosvenor Hotel, having served his apprenticeship with Messrs F. J. Jones electricians.

Ivor (22), a gunner, has been in the Royal Artillery for two years. He is now overseas. He served his apprenticeship at Brookhirst Switchgear Ltd..

Vincent (20), the youngest, has been on the ground staff of the R.A.F. for two years. He was formerly employed by Messrs Barretts, Foregate Street.

The daughter, Elinor who is 19, is employed in the office of an aircraft factory. 

Royal Engineers


News of the death in Italy, following wounds sustained in action, of Corporal Edward Evan Ashton, RE, came as a great shock to Treorchy and Cwmparc residents. He was the son of Will and Agnes Ashton

Corporal Ashton had served some years in the Forces, landing in Algiers to go through the North African campaign with the First Army and eventually fighting in Italy. He also served in Burma. First news of his death came through his soldier 'pal' Corporal Ossie Thomas, Cemetery Road, Treorchy. They had been close chums at Porth County School and had by an amazing coincidence been drafted together. They went through the entire campaign side by side.

The parents have received many letters of condolence, including one from Miss Shepard, an elderly lady colleague who had practically 'mothered' him at Southend and one from Mr Henson, Inspector of Taxes, Southend. They both write glowingly of his fine traits of character and lovely disposition. He married a young lady in the Civil  Service, who is now living in Bromley, Kent. It has been a terrible blow to his people and only the passage of time can perhaps blunt the keen edge of sorrow. 

Edward, left, with brother Pryce and parents William and Agnes Ashton.
Agnes was a great aunt to my wife, Marian Davies nee Wilson.


1919 - 1995

R.A.F. Pilot

Norman's World
click here to read about his R.A.F. days

1911 - 1941
Ordinary Seaman,
D/JX 267916
Royal Navy

George Edward Bootherstone, was born 6 May 1911, Ashton-upon-Mersey. Married in 1939 to Maud Winifred Clark.  Maude was an actress who's stage name was  Wynne Clark.
The couple had no children.
George was killed in action on 10 December 1941, when the Japanese sank the battleship HMS Prince of Wales in the South China Sea.

H.M.S. Prince of Wales
click here to read about George, whose memory is recorded among other sailors from
H.M.S Prince of Wales


ISBN 9780953896479
Price: £10.99 and delivered free in the UK

British Prisoners of War in Italy: Paths to Freedom,
provides dozens of individual stories of daring escapers and brave Italian helpers.

The greatest story of World War II escape and evasion
In September 1943 fifty thousand British and Allied prisoners of war
fled from their camps after the Italian Armistice and Surrender.

The Allies had landed in the south. The Germans occupied the rest of the country and brought back Benito Mussolini as head of a puppet Fascist Republic. 

The servicemen were assisted by a secret army of civilians and members of the Resistance. They included the author's mother and grandparents, who helped 20 British and South African soldiers in the Apennines of northern Italy.

Many of the escapers followed the mountain trails to neutral Switzerland or through the enemy lines to Allied forces. The country tracks became paths to freedom.

This new, expanded and revised second edition is a real page-turner. It gives the reader a fascinating, informative and gripping account of escape and evasion in Wartime Italy. 

Malcolm Tudor is an Anglo-Italian historian.
His British father was a soldier with the 8th Army in Italy and his Italian mother and grandparents helped many Allied escaped prisoners of war.

Please visit the website
where you will find Malcolm's books
on World War II Italy covering
British and Allied prisoners of war,
escape and evasion, special operations,
air supply and Resistance.
The books can be purchased on line
from the website

Harsh memories of wartorn Naples for Ada
How an Italian and a Pole
found love in Mid Wales

County Times, Friday, October 16th 2009

SECURE IN MID WALES; The family after the war
and the move from Naples to Newtown.
From left; Ada, her mother, Olga's daughter, Olga, Olga's son, Olga's husband, Ronnie Patrick

"NAPLES was the city of song and laughter," reminisced Ada Rosinski from her home in Newtown.

"People were always singing in the street. Life was beautiful, everyone was happy. Men worked while the girls stayed at home to cook and clean, as it was back in those days.

"I remember the occasional parties in the streets for weddings or birthdays. I had a beautiful voice and used to sing and dance for people. But then it all changed."
Life was pleasant for Ada Rosinski, a 17-year-old at the time, as she was greeted by sunny, easy going mornings with her family. But all of a sudden, "it became very, very hard."

The sun faded away on November 1, 1940, when Naples was bombed for the first time after reports war was coming.

"Announcements were made over the radio," Ada told the County Times. It disrupted happy families when males as young as 16 joined, were taken, or were convinced to fight against the enemy and support their home country.

Shopkeepers abandoned their businesses and fled as air sirens pitched the skies acting un-purposely like a warm up sound before the plane engines came to be heard. Life in a beautiful, peaceful city had just taken a turn for the worse, with soldiers invading the streets.

"Water and food, they were taking over everything," says Ada, looking down as she slightly shakes her head to the horrible memories, with her right hand's two first fingers touching her lip.

"There was a pump in the middle of the town which the boys would try and rush to to pick up some water for the family. But sometimes they would never return.

"Some were found dead in the street." Mothers used to hide their sons in their rooms to protect them from lurking soldiers, who, when knocked on their doors, used to ask for the men. "There's no one here," Ada said they used to claim, "Sometimes they would break in and search the house and if boys were found, they were taken.

"They had no respect, breaking everything around. They were awful, and cruel. We saw a few soldiers far away, we would never dream of going near them. They started shooting if someone went near."

Food was scarce and findings were carefully rationed, but shared with the neighbours as community friends stuck together through, what must have been, a nightmare.

"We used to sleep fully clothed just in case we heard the sirens, then we'd all run to the basement. Myself, my mum and my sister were terrified."

Meanwhile, in Poland, a young man had just started his own printing company.

But as news broke that war had begun, Czes Rosinski, who had to serve his country, crossed over to England to fight against the Nazi German soldiers, "walking miles and miles every day," says Ada, who had never met or heard of this man at the time.

Czes was captured by the invading Germans and held prisoner before managing to escape and travelling to London where he stayed for a long time.

After noticing a place in the paper, he moved to Newtown, which seemed like a much quieter, more peaceful place to live in.

He stayed in Newtown working at a printing company, which is now where St Mary's Close flats have been erected after the demolition years ago.

After the war had ended in 1945, Ada's sister, Olga, had found love with a British soldier in Naples. They got married and both moved to his home here in Newtown to find work. But Olga was feeling very home-sick leaving her mother and sister behind especially after the family-uniting war and the times they had experienced together over the last few years and decades

Seeing as Olga was so happy being with her new husband, but missing the rest of her family, her mother moved to Newtown to be with them - and Ada joined. This was another hard time for the family, in a strange new place with a different language and a different culture. But once again, they fought through it.

"We started going to the Catholic church. And one day they announced a 'dance' up on the top floor of the Pryce Jones building," said Ada. "It was a St Patrick's Day dance and I went with a friend."

It was there that Czes noticed Ada and they began to chat, which led to a few more meetings and only six months after Ada had introduced Czes to her family, who were a bit wary before the meeting. But soon they were engaged, and not long after Ada and Czes, as refugees from Poland and Italy, were married in Wales.

It was the war that moved people around, only for them to find love. Whether it be the need for comfort, the vulnerability of peace, or the celebration of happiness, the impact had affected the lives of millions around the world and for people to find love after it, Ada's story shows that with determination and support for one another then happiness can be found after anything, no matter how hard.

Newtown Observer Corps

This photograph shows the Observer Corps who managed the post at Newtown during the war.
(Back left to right) William Bumford, Griff Ellis, Richard T. Pryce,
Arthur (Nat) Williams, Rev. S. Richards, Robert Richards, Harold Morris and Nolan Oliver.

(Front, left to right), Humphrey Owen, Edgar P. Windsor, Charles R. Griffiths, Trevor Brandrick, Maitland Taylor, Charles Parry, and Robson Andrew.
Inset Mr Arthur Williams