Tag Archives: national service books

THE CANADIANS

25 Apr

Canada has been shoulder to shoulder with Great Britain in times of conflict over the years. Without doubt the armed forces of Canada are really formidable when it comes to the crunch. I will mention a few of those very notable battles the Canadian forces were very involved with.

During the First World War in 1917 there was heavy fighting in the Arras offensive. The Canadian Corps which was made up of men from all parts of Canada was given the task of capturing the heavily fortified positions held by the Germans. The Germans were well dug in on high ground, which overlooked the surrounding area known has Vimy Ridge. The battle took place 9th to 12th April 1917. Supported by a creeping barrage the Canadians attacked the German positions and during the course of heavy fighting, captured most of the ridge on the first day of attack. The town of Thelus and the rest of the ridge were captured on the second day. Taking many casualties the Canadian forces overcame heavy resistance outside the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle. The town was eventually captured on the 12th April with the German forces retreating. With Vimy Ridge now in the Canadian forces hands the British advanced without the fear of German fire.

During this battle for Vimy Ridge the Canadian Corps suffered 3,598 killed and 7,004 wounded. Four members of the Canadian Corps received Victoria Crosses for valour during the course of this battle. One can only try to visualise the bravery shown in taking Vimy Ridge. The area of the battle is now a memorial park dedicated to the 59,544 Canadian forces that lost their lives in the First World War. If you are ever in this area, please take a visit and see this wonderful memorial to the brave men of Canada.

During the dark days of World War two, thankfully we had Canadian Forces fighting alongside British troops. On the 18th August 1942 a large force of troops mainly from Canadian Regiments set sail for Dieppe on Operation Jubilee. The attack on the French Port area was destined to start just before dawn on the 19th. It involved 5000 Canadian Troops 1000 British Troops and 50 U.S Rangers.

The objective was to capture and hold the Port, gather intelligence and destroy the coastal batteries. The attack was meant to be a morale booster for things to come in the future. The Germans had got wind of the attack and were on high alert, of which spelled disaster to the attacking force. The well-fortified German forces held the Canadian forces that did land on the beach. The Canadians on one sector were pinned against the sea wall by devastating fire. Unable to advance The Royal Regiment of Canada was just about annihilated of the 556 men in the attacking Regiment 200 was killed and 264 men who were suffering injuries were captured. Within a few hours of the landing, the order went out for a retreat back to the landing crafts. It can only be described as carnage and many brave men lost their lives with many more captured. The South Saskatchewan Regiment and The Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada landed on Green Beach without being detected but in their advance to Pourville, met with positioned German Machine guns and took heavy casualties on a bridge just outside Pourville fighting bravely before retreating back to the beach.

In the Dieppe attack in general, virtually none of the objectives were met. The fire support was totally inadequate leaving the attacking force mainly trapped on the beach by obstacles and well positioned German troops. Within 10 hours of the initial landing. The men who had not been killed or captured were evacuated back to England.

It was said later by Mountbatten who justified the raid by arguing that lessons learned at Dieppe in 1942 were put to good use later in the war. He later claimed by saying the Battle of Normandy was won on the beaches of Dieppe. For every man killed at Dieppe, at least 10 were saved at Normandy. Winston Churchill said that his impression of Operation Jubilee is that the results fully justified the heavy cost and it was the Canadian contribution of the greatest significance to final victory. To many especially the Canadians it was a major disaster. Of the attacking force of 5000 Canadian soldiers 900 were killed and 1874 taken prisoner. Whatever has been said about this raid, many brave men of Canada paid the supreme sacrifice towards the eventual victory in Europe.

On 6th June 1944 The Canadian Forces were given Juno Beach for their landings. Many of these troops had fought two years previously at Dieppe. At the close of D-Day one The Canadian Forces had pushed further in land than any other landing force. This speaks volumes for the well trained Canadian Forces. Approximately 44,198 Canadians were killed in WW2 with 55,368 wounded.

Going back to the opening lines I wrote. We in Great Britain are really grateful that we have the shoulder of Canada to be alongside us, in times of peace and conflict

 Alan

Stuart Williams RAF 1954-57

26 Jan

Hello Alan

My Granddaughter found your ‘story’ on the Web which I am reading with great interest. I was born at Barrow in 1936, and lived at 15 Hastings St with my brother Ralph Williams, my Mum, ‘Molly’ (Mary) Williams and my Dad, Jack (John) Williams, and my elder sister Joan Williams. My Father’s Father lived on the same side of the street, further up probably about opposite to your house. He was called John Williams I think. My Father worked in Vickers as a Capstan Lathe Machinist throughout the war.
I remember VE day and the party outside Joe Condron’s. We used to play with his son Colin regularly. I would very much like a copy of the street party if you can supply one. I think myself and my brother is among the boys seated on the right of the picture. I am struggling to remember you by name. In 1941 (I think) I was playing at the bottom of the street with some other boys, when a small group of other boys came around the corner from the rear of the back of your side of the street. They were calling names and throwing stones at us. One struck me directly on the left eyeball. My eye swelled up very badly, and my parents trailed me all over Barrow to various Doctors and the Hospital and they all said that the eye would have to come out. With careful nursing however I still have it although there is a tiny mark on the front of it as a reminder.

 Also I remember being snowed in during the very bad winter of 45/46 I think. The snow was drifted right to the top of the downstairs front window and my Dad had to dig a way out of the front door.
Most of the early war years seemed to have been spent at night in the Air-raid shelters that were built in the back streets, with guns firing all around and plenty of pieces of shrapnel in the streets the following day. I had quite a collection at one time. There was a big searchlight and anti-aircraft gun on some ground behind the Picture House. We used go the Saturday morning matinee for kids watching Flash Gordon and cowboy films. The place was a riot with everyone shouting and stamping their feet when the ‘baddies’ came on. I remember a bakery nearby having a sign saying ‘Closed for the duration’ and I couldn’t understand at the time what it meant. Men coming home on Leave in Uniform and local families upset when they had received news by telegram of a family member being K.I.A. There seemed to be a lot of waste ground and the Lakeland Laundry electric vans and electric milk floats coming and going from street to street. . I also remember vividly going with my father, to look at the bomb damage in and around Barrow and also watching ships and submarines being launched into Walney Channel.
.I did go to Ocean Rd School until 1946, but I don’t remember any of the teacher’s names.
.In 1946 our family moved to Haverigg in Cumbria. Just across the Bay from the Northern tip of Walney and eventually into a Council House in Millom.
In 1954 I left Millom to do my National Service and it will be 60 years this June since I left and haven’t been back since. I joined the Royal Air Force in 1954 for 3years for the better pay and served at RAF Hornchurch and RAF Kirton in Lindsey as a RAF Policeman. I met my wife Maureen who was from the village of Kirton. I ought to say that my full name is john Stuart Richard Williams. When I joined the RAF everyone called me by my first name John. Only my family still use the Stuart name. Leaving the RAF in 1957 (the year we were married) I worked for 5 years in Scunthorpe Steel Works and on the 10th December 1962 (Very bad winter) I joined the West Riding Police. I served for 30 years in and around Yorkshire retiring back to Lincolnshire in 1996. We have lived in Sleaford for the past 17years.

Sadly Maureen passed away on 31.12.2013 after bravely fighting an illness for many years. We had been married for 57 years and had two sons PAUL and IAN. Paul was on HMS Hermes for the Falklands War. He went away a bright young lad and came back a completely different man. It certainly affected him and sadly he died aged 36years of age, leaving a wife and four young girls. The eldest girl 11years of age died suddenly at home with a heart defect not detected. As one can imagine, it was a very sad time for the family. We are a close knit family and life goes on

I am enjoying reading your story, with memories of my early days flooding back. Finally I would like to wish all my family and friends, good luck and best wishes for the future

 Thanking you

Stuart Williams

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Day

13 Nov

Hello Everybody
Having been born just before the War in 1938 Remembrance Day has always been a truly main event in the calendar. Both civilian, ex and present servicemen appreciate the ultimate sacrifice the men and women did in the service of their country in both World Wars. We cannot forget the many conflicts around the world we have been involved in. Also, not to forget the sacrifice the people of our great country who died in the blitz during World War Two?
I watched the parade in Whitehall on the television and every year it brings a tear to my eye. The ex-servicemen still march in step after all those years. The eyes left at the cenotaph was done in unison. I am not alone in saying how proud they all were in paying their respects to their fallen comrades, for some it will be the last time. You all did your country proud both then and now.
I have only been on one Remembrance Day parade. It was on the 11thNovember 1960 while serving in the Cameroons. We formed up that Sunday with the two Companies who were serving at Bamenda. We had about forty ex King’s African rifles who had served in various fields of battle during World War Two including Burma. We marched along the red dusty tack until we came to a large clearing where the service was held. What I can never forget was a bugler from our regiment The King’s Own Royal Border appearing on a cliff edge overlooking the clearing .The bugler played the last post to perfection, with the sound echoing down the valley. A truly memorable day I will never forget.
What I am disillusioned with, is the attitude of an Irish born Sunderland footballer who chose not to wear a poppy on his shirt. It wasn’t a lot to ask for, this to me was total disrespect for the many Irishmen from both sides of the border, who lost their lives during both world Wars. Not forgetting the Sunderland citizens who died in the bombing of Sunderland. He should be taken to the Sunderland cenotaph and shown the names of the men who died so that he can live in a free country and play football. I do not know what the people of Sunderland think of it all, but I have got a good Idea!
Long may Remembrance Day be observed for the brave men and women who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our country?
Alan

Get In Get Out and Get Away – Memoirs of a National Serviceman

16 Jun

My book has been on sale for over a year now and sales are far in excess of where I expected.

For any new readers to the blog, a link can be found here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Get-Out-Away-National-Serviceman/dp/B0050I6A2E or check out my other website http://www.getingetoutandgetaway.co.uk/

Also dont forget to click on follow the blog, you will only receive emails when I add new posts to the Blog

 

My blog has recently been added to Military Blogs, which is part of one of the largest networks of blog directories on the
Web.
Please visit my blog’s personal page to vote for my blog and comment to other blog users.</div

February Sales Update for Get In ‘Get Out and Get Away’ – my National Service Story

1 Mar

Another great month, just missing out on the record month by a couple of books. Thanks to all who purchased my National Service book, for more details click the picture above to take you to Amazon or try my other website www.getingetoutandgetaway.co.uk

The details of the book are:

Get In Get Out and Get Away. This may sound strange but not for your uncles, brothers, fathers or grandads. They knew from an early age that one day they would be called up to do their two years National Service.
I am sure the countless millions of ex-National Servicemen will have many things in common in these memoirs, hopefully they are happy ones. I was born in a small terraced house on Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, England in 1938. In that era, the toilet was outside and the bath which was made of tin was kept in the backyard and brought into the house when needed.
Whilst growing up, the cloud above one’s head of having to do National Service got closer and closer. I knew older lads who were getting called up on a regular basis. I was twenty one years old and had just finished my apprenticeship in 1960 when it was my turn. This was the last year of National Servicemen being called up for the services.
I served my two years National Service in the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment reporting to Fulwood Barracks, Preston. For ten weeks, the drill instructors shaped the platoon from a rag tag outfit to smart soldiers. From Fulwood the platoon was sent to Barnard Castle, County Durham and later to the British Cameroons, West Africa for ten months. The regiment was chosen to keep the peace and oversee a vote on the Cameroons future. There was a terrorist organisation on the French border that was intent on disrupting the process and the memoirs include numerous encounters and an eventful raid on a terrorist camp.
This true story is mixed with amusing anecdotes of growing up in post War Britain through the swinging sixties. I was given an eye opener in life then and I am sure when you read my detailed account, you will agree, and also see the parallels to the modern day operations undertaken by the American, British and United Nations military.
It is all history now but it has been a privilege on behalf of my fellow countrymen to put it all down on paper.
We all had one thing in common, that was to Get In Get Out and Get Away.

Record Month for my National Service Book

5 Feb

Well January turned out to be the best month since launching the book Get In Get Out and Get Away – Memoirs of a National Serviceman. I think the sales of ebook readers are increasing massively so allowing book’s like me a chance to compete with the established publishers. The book has frequently been in the top 50 military history books.

More details can be found here

link www.getingetoutandgetaway.co.uk or from this Amazon link

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Get-Out-Away-National-Serviceman/dp/B0050I6A2E

Get In Get Out and Get Away - Memoirs of a National Serviceman

Blog now listed on www.milblogging.com

15 Jan

Delighted today that the blog is now featured on Milblogging.com the best and largest listing for military blogs. The listing is here http://milblogging.com/listingDetail.php?id=5437 and the site general is here http://milblogging.com

For new readers to the blog I am featuring the history of National Service (send in your own stories as well please) and have also published a book on the subject:

The book Get In Get Out and Get Away can be found on Amazon or from this link http://www.getingetoutandgetaway.co.uk or from this Amazon link http://www.amazon.co.uk/Get-Out-Away-National-Serviceman/dp/B0050I6A2E or for US readers  here http://www.amazon.com/Get-Out-Away-Serviceman-ebook/dp/B0050I6A2E.

The website www.getingetoutandgetaway.co.uk  contains pictures to accompany the story and the description of the book is here:

Get In Get Out and Get Away. This may sound strange but not for your uncles, brothers, fathers or grandads. They knew from an early age that one day they would be called up to do their two years National Service. I am sure the countless millions of ex-National Servicemen will have many things in common in these memoirs, hopefully they are happy ones. I was born in a small terraced house on Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, England in 1938. In that era, the toilet was outside and the bath which was made of tin was kept in the backyard and brought into the house when needed. Whilst growing up, the cloud above one’s head of having to do National Service got closer and closer. I knew older lads who were getting called up on a regular basis. I was twenty one years old and had just finished my apprenticeship in 1960 when it was my turn. This was the last year of National Servicemen being called up for the services. I served my two years National Service in the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment reporting to Fulwood Barracks, Preston. For ten weeks, the drill instructors shaped the platoon from a rag tag outfit to smart soldiers. From Fulwood the platoon was sent to Barnard Castle, County Durham and later to the British Cameroons, West Africa for ten months. The regiment was chosen to keep the peace and oversee a vote on the Cameroons future. There was a terrorist organisation on the French border that was intent on disrupting the process and the memoirs include numerous encounters and an eventful raid on a terrorist camp. This true story is mixed with amusing anecdotes of growing up in post War Britain through the swinging sixties. I was given an eye opener in life then and I am sure when you read my detailed account, you will agree, and also see the parallels to the modern day operations undertaken by the American, British and United Nations military. It is all history now but it has been a privilege on behalf of my fellow countrymen to put it all down on paper. We all had one thing in common, that was to Get In Get Out and Get Away.

Record Sales Week and Month for Get In Get Out and Get Away – Memoirs of a National Serviceman

4 Jan

Christmas delivered a massive boost to sales of the book Get In Get Out and Get Away – Memoirs of a National Serviceman with the record week and month both being smashed in Decemeber. For more detail on my National Service Memoirs check out Amazon or http://www.getingetoutandgetaway.co.uk

Christmas

22 Dec

with Xmas coming up I am expecting a boost to sales of the book Get In Get Out and Get Away – Memoirs of a National Serviceman as people receive their new Kindles for Xmas. I note the Kindle is the bestselling item on Amaxon, for more details check out Amazon or http://www.getingetoutandgetaway.co.uk

Other Stories From Ex-Kings Own Royal Border Regiment – Paul Maxwell

15 Dec

STORY FROM PAUL MAXWELL EX-DRUM MAJOR

Well Alan what great memories, I enclose a few lines about my time serving in the Army
My name is Paul Maxwell and with being a Lancaster lad it was not surprising I joined the local regiment the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment. I enlisted on the 17th August 1963 on my 17th birthday and like you went to Fulwood Barracks Preston for my training.
Whilst at Fulwood I also remember the provost sergeant named Aristademo and I do agree he was probably the smartest soldier in the British Army. I am not sure how his name was spelt, but I think he was from Greece or Cyprus.

At this time the regiment had moved from Barnard Castle to Wupertal in Germany. On joining the regiment in Germany, I was posted to C Company to continue my infantry training. After completing this training I was posted to A Company.
The first man I met was CSM Driver who was the A Company Sergeant major. I am sure this is the same CSM Driver you spoke of in your memoirs. He had a nickname throughout the regiment. The name he was called behind his back of course was Bobby the Bastard and a right so and so he was! I recall doing 4-24 hour consecutive Sunday guard duties. I went to CSM Driver to complain, he replied right son you can do Saturday instead. Of course we all know Saturday is a 24 hour guard the same as Sunday, what a so and so.

Shortly after this episode I transferred over to the Corps of Drums. Having played the bugle in the church lads brigade prior to enlisting, I was soon doing duty Drummer.
It was doing these duties that brought me into close contact with RSM Garner. I agree with you, RSM Garner was gentleman of the highest order and a man who I personally had enormous respect for. I think the RSM also had a fondness for the Corps of Drums, because he got to know the duty drummers so well and we with him.
At the time there was a Corporal in the Motor Section of the regiment named Stewart, I think he was the same Stewart you referred to. He eventually became Provost Sergeant in Cyprus for a short time. I do not know what became of him, but I did hear that he had died, if this is true or not I do not know.

When I first arrived in the Drum Corps, I was only a young lad and most of the other lads were a lot older and had been to the Cameroons. Some of the names that spring to my mind are Spud Murphy, George Cain and Walter Raven they were all from Barrow, also Smudge Smith and George Garrity. There were a few more, but I am sorry I cannot remember their names.

I remained with the Corps of Drums throughout my Army career and eventually finished as the Drum Major at the Depot the Kings Division, but that is another story.

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my ex-comrades both serving and retired, best wishes and good luck for the future

Paul

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