littlebro

WW2 Nottingham & Nottinghamshire

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littlebro    226

With today being the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Germany that resulted in war being declared on the 3rd September 1939 we should of course take a moment to remember all the UK forces and civilians that fell or were injured in WW2.

During the 6 years of conflict there must be many treasured memories of Notts families, stories to tell and experences to relate. At 70 years there is a danger that these stories will be lost forever.

How about making a point of recording the stories and, if possible, images relating to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in WW2?

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Pollie    0

What a brilliant idea.

A short story told to me by my grandparents....

During the war my Grandfather Danny Littleboy (cockney lad born and bred) was posted to Nottingham as an ack ack gunner. He was stationed at Bulwell Forest - I think him and his army mates slept in what is now the golf club opposite the Golden Ball pub (I dont think the pub was there during the war). They were to take up positions on the roof on what was (I think) a cinema at the time - the Adelphi, at the bottom of St Albans Road, it later became a bingo hall and was demolished some 20 odd years ago and is now a KFC.

He told me how during the days after their arrival they had to set up their base during the night time hours in the blackout and how one of his friends had stepped off the roof, fallen and died on the street below.

Their orders were to switch on search lights when enemy plains were coming over and to shoot them down before they could reach the airfield at Hucknall. He described how on the first night that they switched on the lights they lit up the area like a fair ground and the enemy air planes droppe their load over Bulwell instead of the airfield - needless to say he wasnt impressed with the officers choice of location for the lights!!

It was during this time that he met my grandmother Mary, fell in love, married and the rest as they say is history.

My grandfather Danny died three years ago aged 89.

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Beefsteak    258

Great tale there Pollie, thanks for sharing . More any body??

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Ashley    271

will repeat a story I've mentioned before here, 2 actually, the first told by my mother who said following dunkirk the home guard set up a road block on church st old basford where the bridge crosses the railway, troops who returned from france then billited at at house laughed about it, not least because western boulevard bridge at the side of it was wide open, maybe they put up an arrow sign saying "panzers this way" pointing up church st? whether such was maintained at night I don't know, but that wasn't the case at junction of hucknall rd/arnold road with the road block there (45 gallon oil drums filled with rubble) wheeled away at night in case someone crashed into them!

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littlebro    226

“This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by eleven o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you that no such understanding has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.”

"This is a sad day for all of us, and to none is it sadder than to me. Everything that I have worked for, everything that I have believed in during my public life, has crashed into ruins. There is only one thing left for me to do: That is, to devote what strength and powers I have to forwarding the victory of the cause for which we have to sacrifice so much... I trust I may live to see the day when Hitlerism has been destroyed and a liberated Europe has been re-established."

Neville Chamberlain - 3rd September 1939

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Ashley    271

Pollie, your grandfather came to Nottingham, my uncle aged 19 went the other way, to London on bomb disposal throughout the blitz, he's the guy on the right giving a piggy back.

bds2.jpg No hairy moments himself as main job was driving however did return from leave to find the unit decimated after one went off, carried the officers coffin and said it was empty! After the bombing eased he was sent to Eygpt,on his 21st birthday was being chased across the desert by the afrika korps, then up to Italy and finally Germany itself.

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firbeck    844

I trust I may live to see the day when Hitlerism has been destroyed and a liberated Europe has been re-established."

Neville Chamberlain - 3rd September 1939

Chamberlain never did see the day, he was diagnosed with bowel and stomach cancer and had to retire from Government, eventually dying in November 1940. By special permission of Churchill and the King he was always sent the PM's papers up to his death, in order that he could keep up with the war situation, at least he lived long enough to see the Luftwaffe defeated in the Battle of Britain and the immediate invasion threat removed.

Ashley, a great photo, have any more of you got some gems like this hidden away.

On this day, 70 years ago, my old man decided to enlist, pre-conscription. He played the trombone in a band and tried to join the Sherwood Foresters as a bandsman. Apparently bandsmen were over subscribed so he wasn't accepted, eventually being called up in 1940 on returning from his honeymoon. He was lucky, the Sherwood Foresters bandsmen were caught by an SS Panzer Div on the retreat to Dunkirk and were massacared to the last man, they didn't take prisoners.

Mother worked at a hosiery factory in the Lace Market, Custance? and was employed making mosquito nets as well as being a fire watcher, luckily she had the night off because dad was on leave when it was Nottinghams bad night.

The old man eventually joined the Royal Artillery, despite wanting to be a pilot.

Here he is bravely facing the Hun at Mablethorpe in 1940:-

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I'm sure you'll recognise the old man in the rest of these pictures, this is the gun crew with their ancient artillery piece hoping to prevent the Hun from sweeping across the Lincolnshire Wolds:-

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More coastal defence, Scarborough 1941:-

scan0004-1.jpg

Then Cromer 1943:-

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Eventually a bit of real action, this is the old mans artillery battery saving the Yanks backsides during the Battle of the Bulge and giving the Germans a good pounding:-

scan0006-3.jpg

I have some fantastic pictures that he took during this battle but I can't find the flipping things, I know that there is a fantastic panoramic shot of his 5.5's all lined up in the snow, blasting away.

Lets hear some more good stories today, there must be loads out there.

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Limey    240
...he was sent to Eygpt,on his 21st birthday was being chased across the desert by the afrika korps, then up to Italy and finally Germany itself.

That was pretty much my Dad's experience too - ne was draughted in 1940 and was sent to Egypt. He caught malaria and was sent to Palestine to recover, then back to north Africa and then following the Americans up into Italy which I believe was a pretty miserable experience. On one of the few occasions that he talked about the war, he told me that when they arrived in Italy there were dead Americans stacked at the side of the roads like logs!

Sadly, Stanley Marshall, my dad, died in 1997 at age 82. I suspect your dad may have known him Ashley.

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firbeck    844

Your dad's stories sound awsome Ashley and Limey, the desert campaign and the subsequent drag through Sicily and Italy were appalling with many cock ups on behalf of the High Command, were they at Anzio, how much do you know.

I'm lucky enough to have my old mans war diaries from 1940 onwards, though they understandably get a bit haphazard during the nasty bits following D-Day, though his descriptions of them crossing the Rhine are quite fantastic, being strafed by Luftwaffe Me262 jet fighters at the time is an incredible thing to read about.

I had agreed with him to get his experiences all written down properly, but unfortunately he died a tragic death in 2005 when we had only just started to get the ball rolling, what a sad loss of memories, unbelievable some of them as well, he was pulling things out of his head that he'd never told me about before, how to take out a Tiger tank with a Sten for instance, stand in front of the effing thing and take out the driver, then the commander, they won't believe you have the nerve, he actually did it.

Could we have done these sort of things, who knows, we cringe and say not, but under the circumstances, I suppose it was kill or be killed, the human race never learns, does it.

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Ashley    271

Actually it was my uncle Dennis McCracken from Basford who was with The Bomb Disposal Squad etc he too was lucky as "volunteered" his services as a driver, at time he didn't think so! as no idea he was going into the BDS however he too missed the BEF, it was the luck (or bad luck) of the draw? told me he never even saw a german soldier except some POW's

My dad Ernest "Dick" Durose also Basford was never called up as working at the gun factory in the meadows, he was later sent to Newport Wales, I've a half sister there! didn't find that out till last member of that side of the family died in the 1980's, pre war he had been in The RAF 504 squadron based at Hucknall, think like the equiv of the TA?

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littlebro    226

Can we have our railings back now?

Does anyone recall having their railings cut away for the war effort? Was there any compensation?

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Ashley    271

wasn't alive when railings cut down! I didn't realise The Forest was a "closed " park, ie railings all around till they cut them down, funny how some parks kept theirs though?

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Paulus    532

In 1986 my uncle 'Pym', real name Percy Robinson, wrote a book (never to be published) about his time as a Gunner with the South Notts Hussars.

It details his 4 years abroad, vividly recalling the 'breakout' from Tobruk, in 1941, and the Gazala Battles in 1942, out of 600 present, only 40 survivors mustered at the end, rest were MIA's or POW's...........

Pym was finally taken prisoner at the Battle of Knightsbridge, on 6th June 1942, it was also called 'The Cauldron-Battle of Attrition' fought in Libya, it lasted 14 days, a painting of the battle hangs in the TA centre, in Bulwell Hall Estate.

It was the most famous battle of WW2 in which the Hussars participated, Pym passed away 4 years ago, he was and still remains, our family hero................God bless them all!!

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littlebro    226

WW2 Reserved Occupations

Civil Servants - some

Dock Workers

Doctors (Unless in the Territorial Army)

Farmers

Journalists, Artists involved in propaganda work and some other media workers

Merchant Seamen

Miners

Police officers

Priests, Monks, Nuns and anyone in Holy orders

Railway Workers

Scientists

Students (Undergraduates could be deferred, but not exempted)

Teachers and University lecturers

Utility Workers - Water, Gas, Electricity

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Limey    240

All the male members of both my Mum's and Dad's families were miners so it was only my Dad who was called up! Having worked in coal mines, I'm not sure who got the better deal!

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firbeck    844

I think that most of the 'Bevan Boys' hated going down the mines.

I reckon that the reserved occupations covered more than that, my uncle was a fireman for instance, before, during and after the war, a pretty dangerous job during the blitz. I recall some resentment was felt towards my parents neighbour who 'got away with it' because he worked at Stanton Ironworks, nothing wrong with that, because iron and steel production was of paramount importance, trouble is, they always insisted that he did nothing more than sweep up!!

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Ashley    271

yes lots of engineering jobs covered too, also after the war the govt had rules on where a skilled man could work (or maybe those who'd been on reserved list?) he was laid off from gun factory and in 1946 working at Petite Typewriters, Ministry of labour said he had to leave and go to derby to work on the railways, being an LNER fan he wouldn't work on LMS!!!!! no actually didn't fancy the heavy work and travel so joined the army and after intial training spent 18 month in malta sunning himself and oiling AA guns!

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firbeck    844

It's interesting what happened to servicemen after the war. They must have thought that my old man was of the 'Right Stuff' because when he got back from India in 1946, the military offered him a promotion to RSM, when he turned that down, they offered him a commision, but all he wanted to do was go back to his old job at Walter Blacks as a compositor. They did however keep him listed as a 'Z Reservist' and when the Korean War was getting nasty, he was called up for training. I gather that he ended up in a barracks where a bunch of thick, inexperienced NCO's tried to order around this bunch of battle hardened, veteran, former senior sergeants and got told to f### off in no uncertain terms. After refusing to drill and be intimidated, he was sent home after a few days and he never heard from them again.

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littlebro    226

Petrol Rationing

Petrol in 1939 cost 1 shilling & 8 pence per gallon (= in new money £0.08p per gallon or £0.02p per litre).

By 1945 it had risen to 2 shillings per gallon (£0.10p per gallon!)

Article first published in the Daily Telegraph, Sept 8, 1939.

After that date no petrol for any purpose will be obtainable except against ration coupons.

Applicants who must produce the car registration book, will receive from the issuing clerk, two ration books one marked “first month” and one marked “second month” containing coupons for the quantity allowed them according to the rating of the car as shown in the registration book.

Each coupon represents one unit, which for the present represents one gallon, but the unit may be changed later.

Car owners should note that ration books are only valid during the period for which they are issued – the first between Sept. 16 and Oct. 15 and the second between Oct. 16 and Nov. 15. In other words, you cannot hoard your coupons.

Extra rations

Persons requiring more than the minimum ration represented by the books should apply to the Divisional Petroleum Officer for the area which the petrol is required. The names and addresses of these will be issued in a day or two.

A form of application for those who want motor spirit for stationary engines and purposes other than for use in road or agricultural vehicles is also to be had at post offices.

Commercial vehicle operators will also be unable to obtain motor spirit after Sept. 16 except on rations. They will get supplies through their group organisers

Example ration coupons

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In 1986 my uncle 'Pym', real name Percy Robinson, wrote a book (never to be published) about his time as a Gunner with the South Notts Hussars.

It details his 4 years abroad, vividly recalling the 'breakout' from Tobruk, in 1941, and the Gazala Battles in 1942, out of 600 present, only 40 survivors mustered at the end, rest were MIA's or POW's...........

Pym was finally taken prisoner at the Battle of Knightsbridge, on 6th June 1942, it was also called 'The Cauldron-Battle of Attrition' fought in Libya, it lasted 14 days, a painting of the battle hangs in the TA centre, in Bulwell Hall Estate.

It was the most famous battle of WW2 in which the Hussars participated, Pym passed away 4 years ago, he was and still remains, our family hero................God bless them all!!

Paulus, my Grandfather was also a Gnr with the SNH, captured at Knightsbridge. I imagine that they spent some time together in the camp in Italy? I would love sight of the book to see if my Grandfather (Ched Turner) is mentioned. I know from other veterans that he took his squeezebox to war with him, and put on weekly shows in the camp for the other POW's. Drop me an e-mail on ************************

Cheers,

Phil

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mick2me    2,949

Welcome Phil

Are you originally from Nottingham?

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Ashley    271

Glad of the help of the following, do you think we could have won without them?

1945 January 20 Hungary declares war on Germany.

February 2 Ecuador announces that it has been at war with Japan since Dec. 7, 1941.

February 7 Paraguay declares war on Germany and Japan.

February 12 Peru in state of belligerency with Germany and Japan.

February 15 Venezuela and Uruguay declare war on Germany and Japan.

February 23 Turkey declares war on Germany and Japan effective Mar. 1, 1945.

February 24 Egypt declares war on Germany and Japan.

February 26 Syria declares war on Germany and Japan.

February 27 Lebanon declares war on Germany and Japan.

March 1 Iran declares war on Japan retroactive to Feb. 28, 1945.

March 2 Saudi Arabia declares war on Japan.

March 3 Finland declares war on Germany

March 7 Romania declares war on Japan.

April 11 Chile declares war on Japan.

April 12 Spain breaks diplomatic relations with Germay and Japan.

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