An opportunity for you to honour a relative
who fought during the Second World War.


HONOURING;
WILLIAM OWEN DAVIES, R.W.F
THOMAS GLYNNE DAVIES
FREDERICK GEORGE JAMES  D.F.C  R.A.F.
BROTHERS;  CYRIL JONES, EMYR JONES
MERVYN JONES, ARTHUR JONES,
IVOR JONES, VINCENT JONES
EDWARD ASHTON
NORMAN TURNER
GEORGE EDWARD BOOTHERSTONE
NEWTOWN'S ITALIAN CONNECTION
'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
 

FAMILY MEMBERS

My father, William Owen Davies

 ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS 

Fusilier
DAVIES W.O.
14200775

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. 
I
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.  
 

  ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS

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!

Army Book 64
SOLDIER'S SERVICE
and PAY BOOK
RWF Paybook

 

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
.

MY NEXT MOVE
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

D DAY PREPARATIONS
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. 

65th ANNIVERSARY OF
THE NORMANDY LANDINGS
JUNE 2009 

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

THE CROSSING
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.

Arromanches

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

AFTER THE LANDINGS
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.

BREAKTHROUGH
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
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.

BLOWN INTO THE AIR
I was in a shell hole with a boy from Ffestiniog and we decided to move to another hole. Unfortunately, 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'


BRAVERY
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.
 

NORMANDY CAMPAIGN ENDS
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;
http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/ADADD5C6-9F34-4A94-AD03-5C915E25AD51/0/ww2_caen.pdf

CLOTHING COUPONS AFTER THE WAR

Clothing Coupon Book
War Coupns

 After the war, Dad rejoined the Post Office.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT MY FATHER,
WILLIAM OWEN DAVIES


My uncle

T. Glynne Davies

THOMAS 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
.

TOM BECOMES A BEVIN BOY

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
.


Oakdale

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.

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

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.

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.

                

MALTA

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


FREDERICK GEORGE JAMES  D.F.C.


RUNNING THE GAUNTLET
by
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 remaineder 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.

AIRBORNE CIGARS


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.

 LIMITATIONS

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.

BURST OF FIRING

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.

TIME FOR A CUPPA

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?   

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS


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


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

CHESTER FAMILY'S FINE RECORD
(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. 


Corporal
EDWARD ASHTON

Royal Engineers


YOUNG SOLDIER DIES IN ITALY

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.


NORMAN TURNER
1919 - 1995
R.A.F. Pilot

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

 



 
GEORGE EDWARD BOOTHERSTONE
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
 

click here to read about the H.M.S. Prince of Wales

NEWTOWN'S ITALIAN CONNECTIONS



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
www.emiliapublishing.com

where you will find Malcolm's books
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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