The World War Two Memories Project - Army Life

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Trace your family's war heros now!

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I hope one aspect of your wartime stories collection, will be that the truth about the utter futility of war, will come through to the present younger generation, with their increasingly realistic video games of "bopping off everying in sight".

I had a chap visit me in a workshop I had in 1980 who told me of the needless killing of those who might easily have been captured as prisoners of war. It was his grimmest moment to hear their cries and the comments betweem his comrades, as they treated them as rats, while jokingly routinely dispatched them silently nearby, in the dark. He said it was at that point, he thought it was actually hell that he was in, where humanity had departed. It was essentially from a particular comment he heard, as the Germans were bayonetted in the dark. It was one of his comrades from another company, about 100 feet away casually saying, "That was a fat one". He said it was the signal to him, that it was as degrading and horrible as it gets, with human dignity and all semblance of decency absent. However, I asked my friend of about 75, if he had told others of this worst incident for him, over the years and he said, "No, actually, you are the first person that I've mentioned it to."

He was 35 when fighting overseas, whereas the others were about 20, he was with. He wasn't included in their conversations and was "grandad" to them. He saved their lives though, when he noticed a recently disturbed part of the gravel road these younger chaps were nearing while, as usual, he trailed behind as too old to join in their chatter. "Stop it right there you chaps, I think it could be a mine up front!" One them cut a piece of wire off a nearby fence for a hooked feeler, and soon had lifted a "jump-up" mine out of the road they were to walk. He was their hero after that.

Another told me of x-raying bayonetted soldiers at a hospital, after the Italian Casino attack and him saying to me in utter disgust and incomprehension, that it was where "human beings were bayonetting other human beings" and his absolute proof of the pointless, insane, degradation of war.

An 82 year old friend, who landed at a French beach on D Day, said he couldn't understand why a bunker full of Germans, had been brutally, needlessly, individually, summarily executed by allied troops and commented that they all had families and meant something to a family member at home, waiting for their hoped-for return. He was also shocked to see the graves of 16 and 17 year old soldiers in Galipoli, Turkey, on a recent visit. He saw the hundreds of graves, which were, nevertheless, a small fraction of the total killed there.

I was just 12 when my father passed away Albert Stanley Brown originally from Hackney and a superb football player. Born nine months after he returned home following the War, I have only photos to remind me of him. He and my Mum were married for one week before he left for the British Army. Captured in Salonika Greece, he was held in Graz, Austria. My mother passed away in 1974 and I have very little information. She (Peggy Soole Brown) worked for the British Ministry and was sent to Washington, DC during the War. When she found out that my dad was coming home to England, she left Washington where she had lived for at least three years and returned to be reunited with him. My family left England in 1952 to move to Montreal, Canada and a better life. Sadly, he died in 1959 and the following year, we moved to New Jersey where I've lived ever since. I'd like to learn more about my Dad and his wartime experiences.

Denise Brown Kahney

If you have any recollections of world war two and would like to share them please: Add Your Story

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