Archive | January, 2014

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






20 Jan

I have just returned from a most enjoyable visit to Australia. During this visit I went with my son Ian and family to the Sherwood Services Club in Corinda Queensland. I was quite taken aback with hospitality shown to our family by the reception, bar staff and members alike. The club itself had bars, a restaurant, gaming machines, various lottery games, snooker tables. Also a stage and a small dance floor for performing artists which, incidentally was every night. It was all governed by rules which had to be adhered too. One might say, what’s this to do with the blog. Well it was noticeable in the club of plaques and reminders of places and men who gave their lives during the World Wars.

 It was during the early part of World War one, the first Australian Imperial Force and the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force amalgamated together. They were named the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Commonly known as the ANZAC’s. They trained in Egypt before being sent to Gallipoli. The Anzac’s fought with courage and endeavour during the fighting in Gallipoli. The Anzac’s lost many lives during the disastrous campaign in Gallipoli. During, 1915 following the allied evacuation from the Gallipoli Peninsula the Corps was disbanded. Both New Zealand and Australia formed their own divisions, but still fought alongside each other as ANZAC’s even to this present day. During the First World War 60,000 Australian Forces lost their lives and New Zealand forces lost 18,000 lives. Many thousands were casualties and maimed for life. This was a massive contribution by both countries for a war that was so far away.

During The Second World War 27,073 Australian Forces and 11,928 New Zealand Forces lost their lives and again many thousands of casualties. Since the World wars the Australian and New Zealand Forces have fought in many conflicts even to this present day with the same bravery shown by their forefathers.  April 25th is ANZAC day; it is a public holiday in Australia and New Zealand. In years to come the future generations of Australia and New Zealand are being brought up to recognize the contribution and sacrifice, paid by so many men and women.

Going back to what I wrote about the Sherwood Services Club in Corinda. The memory of the Australian forces that lost their lives in all the Wars and conflicts is certainly not forgotten. Every night come what may, at 6PM the last post is sounded and everyone respectively stands, while it is being played. Well done Sherwood Services Club.





Gnr Geoff Wheeler Royal Artillery

12 Jan

Hello I have been reading with interest the stories of times in Suez. I did my national service in the Royal Artillery 1948-49 and after completing my training, I was being posted to Egypt. I first travelled by the troopship to Malta, everyone hanging like bats in their hammocks on the troop decks. Eventually reaching Malta, where I awaited my posting to the 71st HAA RA Regt. I had three good weeks in Malta; before travelling on to Zavia Tripoli It was here I joined the Regt rear party, because the regiment had just left for Suez. I had 2 or three months in Zavia, and then sailed by LST, with AA Guns and Radar Port Said. We then joined a motor convoy on the very hot sweaty drive down to the camp at Fayid in Egypt
Being based in Fayid and very well remember doing Guard duties at C-in Cs residence. What a hot sweaty place Fayid was. I remember quite vividly doing my guard duty on the Suez Canal road with sweat running down my back within 10 minutes of starting my guard. Having to salute every vehicle containing an officer, how the hell you were supposed to know which vehicle to salute with the many vehicles using the road? No doubt quite a few Arabs felt chuffed from receiving a salute!
I travelled home on the troopship Westralia from Port Said to Trieste and then by train all way down to Hook of Holland and eventually Aldershot for my demob.
I would like to thank you for bringing back memories and I wish you all my ex comrades best wishes for the future.

21056640 Gunner Geoff Wheeler ex 187 Bty. 71st HAA R.A

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