Swordman 1941.......1944

swordman

RIP
RIP
Hi Everyone! Now I don't know if there is much interest from the younger generation, in the little snippets that I occasionally post here? They are memories of a time long past. A completely different time. A time perhaps of your grandfathers, and even further back.
As a brief history ? I ran away from home during the war, to learn to be an engineer to help my country get back on its feet. (Silly little patriotic Prat) That was in Southampton, where the Blitz was in full swing. Bombed out twice. Joined the Home Guard, out at night helping, and looking for unexploded bombs. In a reserved occupation. managed to get in the army. Sappers. Normandy to The German border . wounded twice, once with an S mine "Vire" have a steel ball in my head. Wounded again in Holland, (Overloon) but this time severely, fractured lower spine, smashed knee, Lots of cracked bones, and a lower leg with only little fragments of bone left. Year in hospital, Discharged, war disabled pensioner. Now in the exceptionally severe injuries class.
I must make it very clear...I only write these snippets to keep the memory of my mates alive. I have no axe to grind, and I look for nothing, other than a genuine interest in what your grandfathers did, and the sacrifices they made for all our people. Just to paint a picture, and the atmosphere, of the days of long ago.
Swordman
 
Swordman,

Have you considered asking one of the Mods on here whether you can post your snippets in a 'Sticky' thread, so it always stays at the top of the page?
I doubt you would find many on here that would begrudge you doing that.

Shiny
 
Yep make it a sticky please! Swordsman you have some very interesting memories and they should be recorded for posterity!
 
You really should record it somewhere, even if it's just for your relatives. You're part of a sadly diminishing generation of, and I know the word's thrown about these days, heroes. It wouldn't do to have only the "official" version of events.
Thank you.
 
It would be an excellent idea to have an official thread for swordman to post his memoirs. Perhaps in the Military History forum?

Personally I'd like to see a forum for verified veterans or any of those with experience elsewhere to post their thoughts too. Although it might be a bit difficult if the waltenkommando caught wind of it and it would be difficult to ascertain whether someone was telling the truth.

Swordman, may I enquire whether you've had your memoirs recorded elsewhere and whether you're part of a Veteran's group? I'm sure if you have a museum nearby or if you contact your regimental association or the National Army Museum they might be able to help.
 

swordman

RIP
RIP
Thanks mates!
I already have a sticky elsewhere. I tread very warily, a contributor here accused me of looking for sympathy...Not me my old sausages.... Bugger that for a game of soldiers! The last thing I want is bloody sympathy. That sort of thing just does not fit well with this Old Dorset Buzzard. Nor with my sense of humour.

The question about posting seems to have met with general approval, so I will post when something reminds me of times long past. Or that may be interesting to you.....Cheers.
Swordman :) :) :)
Just seen your post. Yes, I was a founder member of the Bournemouth Poole Normandy Veterans Association... And the Dorset branch. Number 88 and 84. Now defunct! I was also a founder member of the "Market Garden Association, Poole branch. The seven bridges to Arnhem....Also now defunct. They are still around. The youngest is 88/89 as am I.

I write regularly for other outlets. if they are interested. But for one reason only. To keep the memory of my mates alive, and for nothing else! I do not do it for the dosh!...Never take anything.....There are already publishers that keep hounding me to publish... Not much interested.....

I have been roped in to appear live on TV for the D day anniversary and have been the subject of two documentaries, one for BBC South, where I was filmed at "Stings" Elizabethan Manor. I place I love.... My war time convalescent home! And a Documentary for the "Yesterday channel" "After the war was won"

I am in the process of writing a column for a local journal. I am now on the 15 monthly issue.
 
I always enjoy reading what you have to say, reminds me of the great war films like Dunkirk or A Bridge Too Far.

I agree with the others, make it a sticky, "Confessions of a Swordsman" has a certain ring and double entendre about it!
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
Hi Everyone! Now I don't know if there is much interest from the younger generation, in the little snippets that I occasionally post here? They are memories of a time long past. A completely different time. A time perhaps of your grandfathers, and even further back.
As a brief history ? I ran away from home during the war, to learn to be an engineer to help my country get back on its feet. (Silly little patriotic Prat) That was in Southampton, where the Blitz was in full swing. Bombed out twice. Joined the Home Guard, out at night helping, and looking for unexploded bombs. In a reserved occupation. managed to get in the army. Sappers. Normandy to The German border . wounded twice, once with an S mine "Vire" have a steel ball in my head. Wounded again in Holland, (Overloon) but this time severely, fractured lower spine, smashed knee, Lots of cracked bones, and a lower leg with only little fragments of bone left. Year in hospital, Discharged, war disabled pensioner. Now in the exceptionally severe injuries class.
I must make it very clear...I only write these snippets to keep the memory of my mates alive. I have no axe to grind, and I look for nothing, other than a genuine interest in what your grandfathers did, and the sacrifices they made for all our people. Just to paint a picture, and the atmosphere, of the days of long ago.
Swordman
The poster was Dingerr, who is perhaps even more bashed up than you and it was thanks he suggested you were looking for, not sympathy. You could have been percieved that way - as he rightly pointed out, we get our thanks on remembrance day. Most posters don't start threads with tales of their own derring do, whatever the motivation.

A sticky gets my vote. After all, I'm sure you're more interesting than Ravers and his little trip down memory lane was well received.

D_L
 

swordman

RIP
RIP
So I will be off now. But one little bit before I go.
Brussels!Brussels, Beautiful Brussels.
Over the border and straight on, in fact we never stopped until we had swept right through Brussels and arrived in a wood a few miles the other side of the city. Our officers decided that the men ought to get the chance to see Brussels. "Just one day men, we have to move on" recently I managed to get hold of the Company history and in there I discovered that officially, and I quote: September the 13-16th "Company training in unit location, with one platoon at a time away for a day and a night on assault rafting in Brussels" What a wonderful excuse to cover our 24 hours in the big city! I cannot imagine for one second where we were supposed to go rafting? All of a sudden, out came uniforms, dirty old denims that we wore nearly all the time were discarded, and this scruffy bunch with long hair. (Not the cleanest of Her Majesties Service Men,) having lived in holes in the ground for three months, tried their very best to smarten up, I even saw gaiters being scrubbed and boots polished! We had always tried to keep as tidy as possible in action, though it is difficult, living in holes in the ground in all weathers. For the first time for three months we began to look like soldiers again, some even looked smart! One fly in the ointment that threatened our trip to the fleshpots of Brussels was that some men had to stay behind to guard the company vehicles, the half tracks, carriers, plus that captured from the Enemy, all that goes to make an R. E. Field Company. It was decided that men would gather in groups and toss coins to see who would stay as guards, about ten men were required for this duty. Yes! Who else but me would manage to lose the toss all the way through. One of the men keeping his mates in mind, drove back to our harbour area all the way from Brussels in a taxi, with a prostitute! Great big wench! Not pretty either! This great Big lass offered her services free to those staying behind. Me, an innocent Nineteen year old country boy from Dorset, knew all about war, but nothing about the Ladies! Not a damn thing. This lady tried to convince me that all would be well. Yours truly was not too sure! I decided that rather than make a complete fool of myself, I would try my hand with the female sex in my own good time. HUGE GRIN
Swordman
 
My Great Grandad was in the Navy, he spent the war onboard ship sailing backwards and not knowing who his allies were.
Still life was better when they emigrated from Italy after the war.
 
I very much appreciate Swordman sharing his memories and hope he doesn’t mind if I add what little I know about my grandfathers’ time serving in WWII (it would be interesting if others did the same).

My paternal grandfather had just qualified as a mechanic before the war and became an RAF fitter by (I think) 1940. He was stationed at RAF Driffield when it was bombed with high loss of life. As a kid I was vaguely aware that although he was quietly proud of his service he would quickly and cleverly change the subject whenever I tried to talk to him about it. A year or so after joining up I was on leave from driver training from former RAF Driffield, now renamed Alamein Barracks, and happened to mention it to him, not knowing he had served there during the war. He instantly opened up and we went into a corner and chatted for hours. Despite it being well over 30 years before he could remember the place in very fine detail, including AAA gun emplacements and the like.

I innocently tried to draw him on other stations he’d served at but, although I know he served until the end of the war, he still kept much to himself. The nearest he came to “giving anything away” was a brief mention of the dead and wounded coming back and in particular those in the rear turrets. He quickly caught himself, stopped and moved on.

What I found remarkable was his still detailed memory of aircraft engines, fuel types and so on, although at times he completely lost me. He also made it clear that he resented the war and the impact on his young family and that although there were very many brave individuals it wasn’t quite the glorious undertaking seen in the films of the day. They were fighting for survival in the early days and very frightened of what would happen if the Nazis won.


My maternal grandfather was an anti-aircraft gunner in the RA. Again, he hardly said a word about the war until I met him not long after I’d left the Army and a few months before he died. He gave a gentleman’s excuse for us to leave the room and although very weak seemed to come alive when “talking to another soldier” (which was kind of him to say and may just have been an excuse to open up, but even so I couldn’t hope to hold a candle to his service.)

He had served in the UK, North Africa (as part of the 8th Army) and then into France and Germany. He utterly despised the Nazis and I never heard him say a word against anyone but them. His young wife and children had been bombed in the raids on Liverpool and he told me how he and his gun crew cheered when they “shot one of the bastards down”. There’s nothing to fault in that. He always walked with a limp and I later found out that it was something to do with an action in North Africa that gained him an MiD, although he never once mentioned it.

He asked me what it was like being posted to and based in Germany and if I knew any Germans. When I told him some of my best friends were German he nodded and said that he could never forgive them, but there were Germans and there were Nazis. He was a projectionist by trade and talked about the films he showed of Hitler’s rise before the war and those that showed the horrors discovered shortly after he’d gone back to his trade towards the end of the conflict. I never got a sense that he was proud of anything other than taking part in stopping an evil regime. Soldiering to him was something that he needed to do to protect the people he loved. Although very tall and somewhat frightening looking to a child, he was, without doubt, the kindest and most gentle man I’ve ever known. As a small child I remember he would gather me, my siblings and the street’s kids into his living room and show early cartoons on his home-built projector. He had such a presence, temperate but disciplined bearing and effortless authority that I can’t remember any one of the huge number of kids misbehaving during the “fliks” he showed. Top bloke.

Again, apologies if I’m intruding, but time’s passing and a lot of these “ordinary” memories will soon be lost.
 

swordman

RIP
RIP
Never Ever intruding..... Never
Although I can only talk and post about my own experiences. I have always had great admiration for the other forces that gave us freedom BLESS THEM!
Cheers Swordman
 

oldpara

Old-Salt
I like Swordmans stories. My Pops 93 and a WW2 vet but he will never tell us anything. He's got a tobacco tin with a German pocket watch and a beautiful swastika ring in it. We are always asking him "where did you get them Pops" ? but we always get the same reply "Tha wunt wont to no son, tha wunt wont to no".
 
Hi Everyone! Now I don't know if there is much interest from the younger generation, in the little snippets that I occasionally post here? They are memories of a time long past. A completely different time. A time perhaps of your grandfathers, and even further back.
As a brief history ? I ran away from home during the war, to learn to be an engineer to help my country get back on its feet. (Silly little patriotic Prat) That was in Southampton, where the Blitz was in full swing. Bombed out twice. Joined the Home Guard, out at night helping, and looking for unexploded bombs. In a reserved occupation. managed to get in the army. Sappers. Normandy to The German border . wounded twice, once with an S mine "Vire" have a steel ball in my head. Wounded again in Holland, (Overloon) but this time severely, fractured lower spine, smashed knee, Lots of cracked bones, and a lower leg with only little fragments of bone left. Year in hospital, Discharged, war disabled pensioner. Now in the exceptionally severe injuries class.
I must make it very clear...I only write these snippets to keep the memory of my mates alive. I have no axe to grind, and I look for nothing, other than a genuine interest in what your grandfathers did, and the sacrifices they made for all our people. Just to paint a picture, and the atmosphere, of the days of long ago.
Swordman
My bold. Serious question - my Dad was in a Reserved Occupation (Clydeside shipbuilding, the Commie B*****). What was yours?
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
Never met either of my grandfathers. They both died before I was born. My maternal grandfather I do know was reserve occupation as a metal worker at the Crewe Rolls Royce plant building Merlin engines. I haven't got a clue about my dad's dad though I suspect he was a medical case- my dad and both his sisters' first memories are regular TB screenings and their father died in either '46 or '47 from TB.

Wilf however served in the RAF as a naigator. He was my maternal grandmother's cousin (well one of fecking 'undreds). He was always flying mad apparently and had been wanting to join the RAF Reserve on his 18th birthday in August 1939, but was ingformed that they were no longer accepting reservists, only regulars. He put his application in and got to spend Christmas 1939 at home before being sent for training and was assigned to 22 Squadron just after the posthumous award of the VC to one of their pilots that attack the Gneisenau in Brest harbour.

His best story concerns the squadron being transferred to the Middle East. While flying from Gib to either Crete or Cyprus (I forget which) his aircraft got bumped by a Me 110. The Bristol Beaufort had a rear-facing turret on the top of the fuselage about halfway between nose and tail, mounting a pair of .303 machine guns. The gunner attempted to return fire only to find one gun would not fire and the other stopped after a single round. So he cocked the gun and opened fire... with another single round. This continued for a fair while (probably a good 5 seconds that just felt a hell of a lot longer), being only able to fire a single round at a time, until the Me 110 broke off. The co-pilot had been wounded from either a machine gun round or a cannon shell fragment through the should. They came in to land at the air strip where they were due to be refuelled at and the landing gear collapsed from damage that had been sustained and they crashed through a perimiter fence and wrote the airframe off. The gunner, on inspecting the guns concluded that the Me 110's forst burst had destroyed one gun and shot the gas parts of the second turning it into a bolt action.

By the time they had reunited with their squadron, they were due to be transferred from Eygpt to the Far East, Ceylon to be precise. Wilf ended up in shark infested waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans three times after the pilot had to ditch the aircraft. This may have been a motivating factor in him leaving torpedo bombers to take the job of squadron navigator in Transport Command in the Far East where he finished the war.
 

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