What your grandparents did in the war?


Author Reply
Furbs
Flag
Posts:2018
Comments:45
Thread Kills:37(2%)
AATG Pts:105
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Just saw an interesting thread on this on another forum so decided to steal it.

I only know the family on my mums side so hence only one grandad and nan!

Grandad was in the Royal Corp of Signals, mainly served as batman in North Africa and the middle east. Went over about a week after D-Day I believe. He was never one to talk about his experiences (although seemed to like us playing with toy soldiers) but I do know he survived being blown up by an Egyptian handgrenade when the 3 other guys he was walking down the road with didnt which is pretty scary. He was from Yorkshire so most of his family stayed back to work in the mines. The weird thing is, for a long time they felt resentment towards him because they felt he abandoned what he should have been doing! Although marrying a southerner probably didnt help.

Nan worked at one of the local airfields (whats now Eastleigh Airport) doing maintenance and her claim to fame is having the Luftwaffe try to shoot her as she was cycling to work.

Anyone who can say "ordered the invasion of Poland"?
#1 at 10:44:26 - 20/04/2007
Harry
Flag
Posts:939
Comments:7
Thread Kills:18(2%)
AATG Pts:0
Star Rating
My grandad (on my dad's side) was in the royal engineers during WWII. He was right up on the front line, fixing tanks.

A few years ago when my nan died we found his diary from the period he was in France/Germany.

Until then we'd thought all his work had been behind the lines. It seemed he kept the danger hidden from his family.

Loads of entries about trying to fix tanks while under artillery and tank fire, or being bombed. All sounded rather hairy.

And because he wrote where he was at each point, we managed to plot his journey on a map. Strangely when we got to one place there were four blank pages in a row.

We wondered why, and looking at the map it became clear. He was among one of the first allied units to arrive at Belsen.

I guess it was just too horrid to write down.
#2 at 10:53:22 - 20/04/2007
billdoor
Flag
Posts:3886
Comments:183
Thread Kills:158(4%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
My wifes grandad was a motor cycle messenger in WWII. He made it all over the place: he was involved in the D Day Landings, the invasion of Sicily, he was in North Africa (he got shipwrecked in the Med on his way from Africa to Italy).

He was bombed (twice) by the Americans (somethings never change eh?) and once in Northern France chugged round a corner on a rural lane only to be confronted by a column of German tanks. Fortunately they were facing the other direction and didn't see him.

Him and a mate also found a strange German motorbike that was rear wheel steered?!

My grandad was in what became British Aerospace and he worked on missile systems so he wasn't actually called up. When I was little he used to show me his model railway in his loft- all the engines were handbuilt (aside from the actual electric motor) as he had a lathe in his garage.
#3 at 11:08:05 - 20/04/2007
DocX
Flag
Posts:152
Comments:5
Thread Kills:9(6%)
AATG Pts:50
Star Rating
My grandad was in the Royal Engineers in North Africa (he didn't like the weather) and then in Italy where he built Bailey bridges and other constructions to get the tanks rolling. I remember he built one over the River Po. He never really liked to talk about any of it though & I remember my mum saying he hated army life. My nan worked in a munitions factory. Strangely, I've no idea what my dad's parents did in the war.
#4 at 11:20:27 - 20/04/2007
reality_cheque
Flag
Posts:76
Comments:0
Thread Kills:7(9%)
AATG Pts:0
Star Rating
I don't think either of my grandads actually served in the forces - my paternal grandad definitely didn't as he worked on the railway, and IIRC my maternal grandad worked on Harwich docks (although I'm not 100% sure about that one). No idea what either of my nans did though.

None of my grandparents talked about the war, and I'm pretty sure it only ever came up once, and that was 20 years ago.
#5 at 11:28:42 - 20/04/2007
Carlo
Flag
Posts:931
Comments:67
Thread Kills:39(4%)
AATG Pts:80
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Granfather 1 was in the Royal Navy.
Granfather 2 was in the Polish army and resettled in Britain.
Grandmother 1 stayed in England AFAIK. Actually, thinking about it, she was Irish so she was probably in Ireland during the war.
Grandmother 2 resettled in England after leaving Italy.

I don't in all honesty know much more than that.
#6 at 11:36:42 - 20/04/2007
Jellyhead
Flag
Posts:943
Comments:35
Thread Kills:38(4%)
AATG Pts:50
Star Rating
From what i know one of my grandfathers was a Tank Commander in Africa and Europe. My other grandfather was a fireman on steam engines for the steelworks maybe or maybe for the proper railway system.
My "uncle" who's my dad's dad's brother worked in munitions as he had nimble fingers for a 6ft 9 bloke apparently.

I think gran was a nurse or something like that.
Several of my other relatives were in service in Africa, don't know what they did though but i know they had Jeeps and trucks. There again, so did most. :)
#7 at 11:40:17 - 20/04/2007
peej
Flag
Posts:14637
Comments:4691
Thread Kills:462(3%)
AATG Pts:400
Star Rating
Gold Medal
Grandad Maybe was at Dunkirk. Like most of the veterans who went through hell there, he wouldn't talk about it much.

Grandad Webb (on my mum's side) was an Ack Ack gunner in Suffolk.

Nan was a Land Girl and used to drive sodding great big tractors around.

Peej
#8 at 11:40:43 - 20/04/2007
Roobs
Flag
Posts:322
Comments:4
Thread Kills:7(2%)
AATG Pts:0
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Interesting thread.

My mum's Irish so my maternal grandparents weren't involved in the war, they just stayed in Ireland and looked after a farm and seven kids.

My paternal grandad was in the Navy, but as he died before I was born (as did my other grandad so I never met either of them), I know very little of what happened. What I do know is that he went into the war with auburn hair, came out with white hair and half of his organs missing. My gran and my uncles were evacuated out of London back up to Shetland where she was from, so she managed to avoid most of the troubles.
#9 at 11:53:58 - 20/04/2007
Alastair
Flag
Posts:330
Comments:51
Thread Kills:11(3%)
AATG Pts:80
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Granpa Scarlett was in the Signals Corp. Don't know any more than that.
Granpa Hamilton ran a jumper factory in Nottingham and so didn't serve...
No idea what Grannies on either side did.

Also, a more distant relative was in the Tank Corps in the First World War...
#10 at 11:53:59 - 20/04/2007
Dougs
Flag
Posts:698
Comments:18
Thread Kills:27(4%)
AATG Pts:80
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Think both sets of grandparents were too old by then, so stayed at home. Which is a blessing, I guess!
#11 at 11:57:26 - 20/04/2007
JimJam
Flag
Posts:2586
Comments:189
Thread Kills:162(6%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Grandpa Blake was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and was at Dunkirk. He went to the South Pacific after that.
Granny Blake was a Wren (and is my last living grandparent). Her dad was a Major in WW1.
Granny Woodhead worked for the Bank Of England in the vault. Her dad was a balloon spotter in WW1.
Grandpa Woodhead was an engineer, so was in a reserved occupation.
#12 at 12:07:00 - 20/04/2007
MetalDog
Flag
Posts:279
Comments:5
Thread Kills:7(3%)
AATG Pts:50
Star Rating
My paternal grandfather got stuck behind enemy lines in France. He was almost caught by German patrols and managed to escape by the rather bizzare panic-driven method of trying his house key on a locked door so he could hide inside. It worked, thus demonstrating the family luck which tends to drop us in the shit, then get us out of it again in stupid ways.

I don't know what else he saw and did over there. I gather he was alright before he went to war. He came back a violent, abusive alcoholic. He was just a bit ranty when I knew him - age mellowed him out some - but he beat the crap out of my grandmother and father and uncles. Hooray for war.
#13 at 12:12:26 - 20/04/2007
FairgroundTown
Flag
Posts:44
Comments:3
Thread Kills:6(14%)
AATG Pts:0
Star Rating
My GREAT grandfather was a junior officer in the trenches in WW1 - he knew both Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, and later wrote a book about his experiences, called Undertones of War, which still occasionally crops-up in the A-level English syllabus. And you can still buy it at Amazon.

I read it when I was 19, and it was very strange because that was how old he was when he went through all that, and I felt kinda guilty almost about my conformable, trouble-free life.
#14 at 12:16:58 - 20/04/2007
djchump
Flag
Posts:503
Comments:1
Thread Kills:17(3%)
AATG Pts:0
Star Rating
My grandad (father's side) was an engineer for the air force - so I guess he did a lot of fixing planes.

My grandad on my mum's side is japanese - I'm not sure what he was doing back then, but he was on "t'other side".
#15 at 12:25:01 - 20/04/2007
Legion
Flag
Posts:1752
Comments:18
Thread Kills:54(3%)
AATG Pts:130
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Shoot each other.

/has German and English grandparents
#16 at 12:28:51 - 20/04/2007
Stevas
Flag
Posts:1783
Comments:260
Thread Kills:39(2%)
AATG Pts:195
Star Rating
Gold Medal
My Grandad was in the Navy. He gave me his medals. I miss his stories.

Kids nowadays, man... they're missing out.
#17 at 12:41:01 - 20/04/2007
Furbs
Flag
Posts:2018
Comments:45
Thread Kills:37(2%)
AATG Pts:105
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
True. If I ever had grandkids, the best I could hope to entertain them with is how I completed R6:V on realistic :(
#18 at 12:45:40 - 20/04/2007
JimJam
Flag
Posts:2586
Comments:189
Thread Kills:162(6%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Furbs said:True. If I ever had grandkids, the best I could hope to entertain them with is how I completed R6:V on realistic :(


Plus the fact that in the 1940s your grandad was Batman !
#19 at 13:01:03 - 20/04/2007
ilmaestro
Flag
Posts:6577
Comments:421
Thread Kills:290(4%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Grandad was a CSM in the army, fighting in India and Burma. Spent some time as a Japanese POW.

Granda was a ship builder.

Granny was in the Wrens.

Nan worked in a munitions factory.
#20 at 13:58:43 - 20/04/2007
ilmaestro
Flag
Posts:6577
Comments:421
Thread Kills:290(4%)
AATG Pts:240
Star Rating
Silver Medal
Stevas said:My Grandad was in the Navy. He gave me his medals. I miss his stories.

I totally agree, I was probably closer to my Grandad than anyone.
#21 at 13:59:25 - 20/04/2007
Jellyhead
Flag
Posts:943
Comments:35
Thread Kills:38(4%)
AATG Pts:50
Star Rating
I've got some glass beads and the frayed string that held them together stored in an ammo puch that one of my relatives had during either the Boer war, WWI or some action in India at the turn of the century.
My dad is scanning all the letters and photos my Uncle had, some great pictures of lost times there.

OT: Anyone know of a good scanning/thumbnailing app that isn't Picssa? Please PM me as i don't want to derail the thread too much. :(
#22 at 14:27:42 - 20/04/2007
Whizzo
Flag
Posts:2712
Comments:146
Thread Kills:51(2%)
AATG Pts:165
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Paternal grandfather lied about his age to fight in WWI and served in the cavalry for a while until the brass realised horse didn't really work any more. He got transferred to the artillery. I think he rejoined the arty when WWII broke out, I know he fought in both of them. Exact details hazy as he died quite a while ago.

My maternal grandfather was part of the British Eighth Army and fought in North Africa, Italy and then go shifted over to Greece for a bit. Did lots of lorry driving, trained as a sharpshooter and seemed to frequently lose vehicles like Uncle Albert lost ships in "Only Fools". Doesn't have too high opinion of American troops having spent time with them and constantly brings it up over Iraq. He blames his baldness on wearing a tin hat in the hot desert but has fortunately stopped blowing on the phone receiver when he picks it up, a habit he got into in North Africa and one it only took about 50 years to stop doing it. Claims he never killed anyone during his service which I really doubt but I know he still has bad nights because of things that happened back then. Before and after the war he was a printer but if it hadn't been for Hitler, chances are he would have been a professional footballer, he was rather good and played for the Army when he could.

My grandmothers both spent the war back home doing run of the mill stuff and bringing up my parents. Where I live and they lived is in a bit of a valley which makes it a bit difficult to see from the air properly to bomb so Aldershot and the surrounding areas didn't suffer too badly which is quite good considering the place was heaving with UK/Canadian troops a lot of the war.
#23 at 15:04:46 - 20/04/2007
JimJam
Flag
Posts:2586
Comments:189
Thread Kills:162(6%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
You're near Aldershot Whizzo ?
#24 at 15:10:07 - 20/04/2007
peej
Flag
Posts:14637
Comments:4691
Thread Kills:462(3%)
AATG Pts:400
Star Rating
Gold Medal
Whizzo said:

My maternal grandfather did lots of lorry driving, trained as a sharpshooter and seemed to frequently lose vehicles like Uncle Albert lost ships in "Only Fools".


/pictures Grandad Whizzo mucking around with Satchel charges.


"Ka-FOOM!"

"Er, chaps, I've gone and lost another 2 1/2 ton Scammel..."

Peej
#25 at 15:12:07 - 20/04/2007
billdoor
Flag
Posts:3886
Comments:183
Thread Kills:158(4%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Stevas said:My Grandad was in the Navy. He gave me his medals. I miss his stories.

Kids nowadays, man... they're missing out.


My grandad-in-laws stories are ace and I've never tired of hearing them. He's got a fuck off huge Nazi flag he grabbed as a memento too.
#26 at 15:14:09 - 20/04/2007
Whizzo
Flag
Posts:2712
Comments:146
Thread Kills:51(2%)
AATG Pts:165
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
JimJam said:You're near Aldershot Whizzo ?
I live there, for my sins. My grandparents came from there and Tongham which is right next door across the county border.
#27 at 15:16:12 - 20/04/2007
billdoor
Flag
Posts:3886
Comments:183
Thread Kills:158(4%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Whizzo said: Where I live and they lived is in a bit of a valley which makes it a bit difficult to see from the air properly to bomb so Aldershot and the surrounding areas didn't suffer too badly which is quite good considering the place was heaving with UK/Canadian troops a lot of the war.


Must be where Stevas parents met then.
#28 at 15:17:15 - 20/04/2007
smoothpete
Flag
Posts:311
Comments:6
Thread Kills:3(1%)
AATG Pts:50
Star Rating
I have no idea what my grandparents did, reading your stories has made me wish I knew. They all popped their clogs before I was born unfortunately. I'll see what my folks can tell me.
#29 at 15:18:08 - 20/04/2007
JimJam
Flag
Posts:2586
Comments:189
Thread Kills:162(6%)
AATG Pts:180
Star Rating
Bronze Medal
Whizzo said:
JimJam said:You're near Aldershot Whizzo ?
I live there, for my sins. My grandparents came from there and Tongham which is right next door across the county border.


Oh OK - I'm in Ash Vale, so just up the road across the county border too...
#30 at 15:24:22 - 20/04/2007

home