The stories behind the story
Bill Cheall fought at Dunkirk, North Africa and Sicily. He was in the first wave on Gold Beach on D-Day, and finally went to Germany. Since Bill's WW2 memoirs were published, many former comrades and families have come forward with stories and diaries of their own, all connected to Bill's history in some way. Welcome!
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A gripping veteran account of the Beaches at Dunkirk, 1940 - Bill Cheall’s traumatic experience on the beaches at Bray-Dunes, France, 1940, trying to get back to England.
The recently discovered personal WW2 diary and letters home from Major Petch offer a unique glimpse into the lives of the British soldiers before and after Germany invaded in 1940. A dramatic blow by blow account of the Major's writings. Would they get off the beaches at Dunkirk? Furious - Fascinating - Funny! Great unpublished history.
A rare and rewarding opportunity to hear 96 year old war veteran Wilf Shaw's WW2 memories, sometimes tragic, often hilarious. Paul Cheall has a coffee and chat with Wilf Shaw of 6th Battalion the Green Howards, 50th infantry division, in the British Army.
Wilf fought in many campaigns including fighting for Monty’s 8th army in Alamein, Wadi Akarit in Tunisia, Sicily and of course Normandy. He was wounded twice and still returned to battle. Great unpublished history!
Graphic accounts of the D-Day landings taken from two WW2 veteran memoirs
Startling accounts from two different perspectives - one from an infantryman, the other from a Royal Engineer, both landing on Gold Beach under heavy fire. Great unpublished history!
Three soldiers, one battle! Allied victory at the brutal battle of Wadi Akarit led to the Axis forces being kicked off the continent. Hear unpublished history from veterans' memoirs. Wadi Akarit - WW2's own Charge of the Light Brigade!
Bill Cheall was plucked off the Dunkirk beaches on 31 May 1940 by the ship Lady of Mann, which had a heroic part to play at Dunkirk. The ship was captained by civilian seaman, Tom Woods, who would later be honoured with an OBE for his gallant efforts.
Doug Gray was there on D-Day and beyond. He wrote his diary and fascinating it is too. He even wrote a diary entry on the day he won his military medal, before he knew he'd won it.
This WW2 diary has been supplied by Doug’s family. The entries start just before D-Day and finish several weeks after, so it’s quite a rare historical record because soldiers were forbidden to keep diaries in case they got captured. Doug's diary tells a really excellent WW2 story with drama, tragedy and humour. Great unpublished history.
A privileged opportunity to hear 96 year old Flight Sergeant Claude Reynolds' WW2 memories, sometimes frightening, often fascinating history.
Claude had the unenviable role of being rear gunner in a Lancaster during the 2nd world war and flew many sorties all over Europe. And he experienced no end of scary moments during his time as a member of 49 Squadron in the much-regaled No 5 Group Bomber Command. So he’s got plenty of stories to tell.
In wartime ordinary men and women are asked to do extraordinary things. This is a WW2 history of the part some Isle of Wight British merchant sailors played in rescuing allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk – in Operation Dynamo. From a gripping original memoir written by ship's engineer, Fred Reynard.
A second opportunity to hear 95 year old Flight Sergeant Claude Reynolds' WW2 memories, sometimes frightening, often fascinating, frequently funny! Two episodes: 5 - Coffee and 12 - More Coffee! Great unpublished history.
The story of one man’s brave war against unexploded bombs in wartime London, during the 1940 Blitz:
Brian Moss, Platoon Sergeant in 233 Field Company, Royal Engineers. Great unpublished history!
The story of Lancaster bomber LL678 together with its courageous crew, including my Dad’s best pal, Don Savage, during WW2 in 1944. Great unpublished history!
In April 1940 John went to France with the British Expeditionary Force as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. He took his weapons of choice with him - gun, pencil and paper!
Poignant poetry of loyalty and comradeship, crafted during the London Blitz bombing!
The brutal memoir of World War 1 (WWI) battle of Gallipoli, written by Sergeant Fred Reynard of the Isle of Wight Rifles. Landing at Suvla Bay, August 1915.
Don't listen, it's awful!
Revisit the first five years' favourites from episodes 1-17.
The best, the bloopers, the funniest and scariest moments, plus loads of new material.
The beaches of Dunkirk revisited, tales of North Africa
Much more – including new tales never before heard anywhere
In wartime ordinary men and women are asked to do extraordinary things. This is a WW2 podcast of the part some British merchant sailors played in rescuing allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk – in Operation Dynamo. From a gripping original memoir written by ship's engineer, Fred Reynard. This full version of the memoir was only discovered after the shorter version was used in episode 11.
I’m feeling very honoured to be interviewed by Angus Wallace, the host of the WW2 Podcast, about my Dad’s memoirs. Angus’s show is about chats with people who’ve had books published on military history and he asks me all sorts of questions about Dad and his memoirs. If you subscribe to The WW2 podcast you may have already heard this interview before.
More of 97 year old Wilf Shaw's WW2 memories.
Three episodes: 4 , 22 and 23. Ask him the one about ....!
Learn how the Dunkirk spirit of 1940 became the Christmas spirit of ‘45.
Hear the story behind the photograph, as Bill Cheall keeps the peace as a regimental policeman in war-torn and defeated Germany.
Celebrate the full glory of this recently colourised photograph in a great WW2 podcast
Poignant tale of 5 brave WWII men. The story goes back to the start of the war, how these lads met, what special connection brought them together, & what tragedy befell some of them. The backdrop to this true story is this recently restored and colourised photo of the quintet clowning around in a photo booth in Limassol, 1941 ...
Some of the army's best kept secrets revealed! Dramatic highlights of letters Private Fred Zilken sent to comrade Wilf Shaw over a number of years after WWII. Great unpublished history!
92 year-old Royal Marine Roy Bennett remembers his WWII Juno beach landing and more:
"There was a horrendous noise as we landed, people were dying leaving the landing craft boat"
Bill Cheall re-visits France and Gold beach on the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994
"We arrived 50 years later at 12.15 hrs and it was still drizzling with rain, and windy, just like it was on D-Day"
Special episode about WW2 veteran Wilf Shaw RIP. Listener tributes plus the best and funniest parts of his interviews. "You were always a rebel Wilf and it was those types of blokes who won this bloody War for us" Fred Zilken.
Memoirs of a British POW in WWII Poland - and much more
Brian Asquith was captured at Dunkirk 1940 and exposes secrets from five years in captivity in WW2 Poland. His memoir demonstrates how the Polish nation proudly and compassionately looked after our troops.
Two WW2 servicemen. Two accounts of the same very special voyage in 1943. Great unpublished history!
Volker, born 1944, tells some fascinating tales about the dangers his Dad faced in returning to his home country ahead of the advancing Russians, as WW2 ended. Many family stories include a daring bid to escape from Stalingrad and escape from a train bound for Siberia.
How Anne Cheall made the best of limited rations with her wartime recipes plus:
A Wren's Story, by Audrey Johnson - the memoirs of a WREN in a signals team during WW2, based in N Ireland
Hear the diary Anne Cheall wrote on holiday in Wales in July 1943, aged 21. A brief sojourn before returning to the bomb making factory.
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Capt Stanley Perry was in the British tank regiment the Sherwood Rangers and saw a lot of action in Normandy and Germany. He survived WW2 battles, bombs and booby traps to tell of his amazing exploits some 75 years later!
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Hear about his adventures in France, Italy, Greece, Singapore and Indonesia. And what a great new set of revelations we’re about to learn about the war! There’ll be some paradoxical encounters with Greek resistance fighters and legal hysterics on the back of a mutiny by the British soldiers.