11    Nov 20123 comments

Your Stories: Honoring unsung war heroes

Leading up to Veterans Day (US) and Remembrance/Armistice Day (UK), we asked you to share stories of your family's unsung war heroes.

We were overwhelmed with the number of stories and photos we received via our social media platforms and email.

In honor of today's events, here are some of the stories. We hope that recording them here will help preserve them, along with the memories of the brave men and women, lest we forget.

Merv Lamb

My uncle, John Denham, was on Convoy Escort Duty on board the HMS Penzance off Nova Scotia during WWII. His ship was attacked by a submarine and Uncle John was killed and went down with his ship and crew.

Nicola Clarke

My great-uncle Flt. Sgt. James Ellis Jones was one of three men who survived when their Halifax was shot down over Germany during a bombing mission. He was taken to a POW camp outside Berlin where the men risked their lives by sneaking over the boundary to get wood. One night, he was spotted going, was shot and wounded, dying three weeks later from peritonitis. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM).

Aine Reynolds

My great-great-grandfather William Stedman served in the British Army in the Boer War and in other places. He died in 1969 aged nearly 100. He never forgot all the friends he lost during the Great War.

Diana Burt

My great-great-uncle Fred, 38, was killed in action in France in 1918, after being shot in the chest. His name is on a memorial in France. He left behind a wife and five children.

Kim Lacey

My grandfather's eldest brother James Terry, a Sherwood Forester, was killed at the Somme aged 20 in 1916 and his name is on the Thiepval Memorial. We have a photo of him and a poignant postcard that he sent back to his sister Anne from the trenches. I feel so sad that he like many others had their whole life ahead of them which they were never able to experience. His brother Arthur was killed in WWII.

Sasha Musgrave Travers

My grandfather, Christopher Musgrave, fought in WWI, and had his own trench, apparently, My father, Richard Musgrave, served in The Poona Horse Regiment, and was in India and El Alamein , fighting with Montgomery against Rommel. My uncle ,Michael Musgrave, served in the Irish Guards and was killed in action in Anzio, Italy, aged 21 in 1944, and is buried there, along with his colleagues.

Pamela Kirkam

My father, Frank Embury, took part in the Bruneval Raid February 27/28, 1942, The people of Etretat /Lituell and Bruneval celebrate the occasion every year - this year was the 70th anniversary - and a new monument has been built on the cliffs where the paratroopers were dropped. There is also a plaque dedicated to his memory in the village, unveiled by my mother and me in 1994. In June, we were invited to attend the unveiling of the new memorial, our sons and grandson also attended and we were most warmly welcomed. It was a very emotional experience.

From Ernest Kaye: "Alfred Leigh Kaye 43rd Gloucestershire Regt Killed in Action 13th March 1943. Remembered with Honour."

From Ernest Kaye: "Alfred Leigh Kaye 43rd Gloucestershire Regt Killed in Action 13th March 1943. Remembered with Honour."

Alexandra Quinn

My grandfather - from the highlands of Lewis - was killed in Basra on February 22, 1917. He doesn't have a grave - he was just gone. I never had the chance to meet him, but I think of him often and the sacrifice he made, and the loss to my gran and their two little boys. Judging by the kind of men his sons grew up to be, he must have been a lovely man. Every year I pay my respects to him and to all the people in the services who have given their lives. God bless.....

Elizabeth C C Grieve

My great-great-uncle Robert Winter Patterson was part of the expeditionary force that fought in Greece in what is known as the "forgotten war" during the WWI. He died in 1917 and I never knew him. Through doing my family history, I feel I know him now and feel sad for him and his family. His nephew, Robert Biggar, son of his sister Jane, also died during war time.

Phyllis Boyes

My grandmother's brother, Mathew Goundry, was killed in Ypres in WWI. He was only 20. RIP, great-uncle Matt. We will never forget you.

Lynn Terrazas Dietlin

Don't forget the women in service. My mother was a Navy Wave. We were having Easter dinner at a restaurant two years ago and my mother brought us the Fresno Bee newspaper with a big article and photos of fellow Waves about what they did during WWII. We, the kids, read the article and our jaws dropped.

My Wave mother was a highly classified code decipher - copying coded messages from the Japanese. She kept this secret for 50 years. She probably would have kept it forever and not told us what she did if not for the newspaper calling her and asking for quotes for her friend's article. What a humble and serving generation that was. I am in awe of them, especially my mother. She is 90 years young and looks 70. She is my hero.

François Clément

My great-great-grandfather belonged to the 87th Infantry Regiment of the French Army. Left Saint Quentin, Aisne, he was "killed in action," on October 2, 1914, at the Four de Paris, in the Argonne. His death was recorded in the log run by the regiment's commander. A few pages earlier,we note that he has been cited for bravery in the order of the regiment.

His comrades were buried in the Argonne forest and, according to my great-great grandmother, they scored the tree near where they were buried. The Argonne Forest was destroyed by the bombing and the body of my great-great grandfather, Louis Jules François, is still somewhere in the land of Argonne.

Louis, 33, left a widow Marthe, 29, and two children (my great-grandmother Yvonne, 7 and another, aged 5).

Shanyn Coolen

My great-uncle Edgar was at Vimy Ridge and was a trench digger. He was shot and killed just three days into his service and his body is now in an unmarked grave.

Kathryn Jane Pulman

My great-uncle was a pilot during WWII. He ended up in Stalag Luft 3, where he took part in "The Great Escape." He almost reached Denmark, but sadly was recaptured, and then became one of 50 men who were killed on Hitler's orders. He was just shy of his 22nd birthday. My son and I are reading through all the letters he sent home from overseas, so we feel as if we knew him.

We thank our readers for sharing their personal stories.

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Comments (3) Trackbacks (1)
  1. For over 50 years my Mom kept the secret about what she did in the Navy WAVES during World War II. She simply said she was a radio operator if anyone asked. "Spy" would have been closer to the truth. She was part of an elite group of intercept operators who typed up Japanese radio broadcasts to be decoded. It was top secret and highly classified work. The Navy told them that they could not tell anyone what they did for 50 years or they would be shot.(That is REALLY what they told them).Mom kept quiet about this for well over 50 years. The only reason my family knows about her service job is because she brought us a copy of the local paper of her friend and fellow WAVE 3 years ago at our family Easter dinner. The reporter had called my Mom for some quotes for the article so she asked her friend to mail her a copy of the newspaper. Boy, did our jaws drop with "Why did'nt you tell us". I am in total of my mother's generation..dedication, service, and humility. My Mom will soon be 91 years young and looks like she's 75. She is MY hero.
  2. From been young we have always known that our grandad was a solider and that he was a japenese prison of war .As a child you do not understand what that means but when you get older you realise what this means 1 story was he was put in a oven for punishment thought oven (my age )now I realise it was a wooden box in the blazing sun for days on end ,he watched his friends get there kneecaps shot at this is the appalling things these men and women had to endure . Rip Robert Christie .so much respect for all these fallen heros .
  3. my grandad,albert threadgale was in trenches in france in ww1,he was born in 1899,so probbaly lied about his age,like so many others.he took a german sniper bullet just above the heart,went right through him.he thought it was a stonr kicked up by one of the field guns,until a comrade said"bert,you're bleeding!he was patched up and thrown back into the system.he was taken prisoner at dunkirk,and spent the rest of ww2,as a pow in stalag xxb.he saw many men escape,but he was considered too old for escape.he died in 1976,i still miss him,he was aproper grandad..

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