The stories behind the story
When Bill Cheall joined up in April 1939, he could not have imagined the drama, rewards and near continuous action that lay in store. First and foremost a Green Howard, as a member of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) he saw the sharp end of Hitler’s May 1940 Blitzkrieg and was evacuated exhausted from Dunkirk. His next move was to North Africa, courtesy of the Queen Mary, to be part of Monty’s 8th Army.
After eventual victory in Tunisia, the Sicily invasion followed. Alongside a number of other battle-hardened units, the Green Howards were ordered back to England to form the vanguard of the Normandy Invasion. In the fierce fighting that followed the D-Day landing on GOLD Beach, he was wounded and evacuated. His comrade Sergeant Major Stan Hollis, won the only VC to be awarded on 6 June 1944.
Every cloud has a silver lining and Bill fell in love with his nurse. That did not prevent his return, once fit, to the war zone and he finished the war with the East Lancs as a Regimental Policeman in devastated occupied Germany. For all this he earned seven medals and a wounded-in-action stripe.
Bill experienced many adventures during those action-packed years. Unlike too many, he survived to share these with the reader. Told with humility and humour, Fighting Through From Dunkirk to Hamburg is, by any measure, a superb fighting soldier’s memoir. Bill passed away peacefully in 1999 following a battle with prostate cancer.
Pen & Sword books
Hello! I’m Paul Cheall, the son and editor of my late father Bill Cheall’s second world war memoirs, Fighting Through From Dunkirk to Hamburg. Since Dad's memoirs were published, I've been in contact with the families of several of his former comrades. The amazing amount of original, unpublished WW2 material I've been sent inspired me to produce a podcast to share with the whole world what these brave men, women and boys went through. I've got letters home, anecdotes, memoirs, battles, photographs, interviews with veterans ... the lot. All blended into an engaging edge of the seat offering. There's comedy, drama, poignancy and tragedy in abundance.
My first three episodes attracted 20,000 iTunes downloads in two years. So, in 2016, I decided to extend the series and I have enough material and ideas for many more episodes. There are some staggeringly good tales still to tell, about flying Lancasters, winning a military medal on D-Day, captaining a ship during Dunkirk and many more - all true and far more intriguing than any fiction.
My mother, Anne, has a degenerative eye disease and can no longer read - but she delights in listening to my podcasts which I download onto a disc for her and which she listens to again and again. So I hope I am playing some small part in bringing this rare history to an audience who would otherwise so often be the last to hear it. And I know my Mum's own wartime experiences will inspire at least one future podcast episode!
So, my friends, enjoy.
Bye bye now,
PS - Do get in touch about any aspect of this podcast or the book.
Email: FightingThrough@yahoo.com. I'd love to hear from you!
Excellent podcast. I started listening last week and I cannot wait for new ones to come out. So far, every single podcast has read like battle narrative, filled with history. First-hand, small-unit accounts of individual struggles as well as the bigger battle around them. Very interesting and well done. Five stars! Sturmcat
I really enjoy this podcast! I've been studying WW II history since I was very young, especially since my Dad fought in the Royal Navy. I find this very enlightening and informative. Excellent and interesting! MnWreckingCrew