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.
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 WWII memoirs were published by Pen and Sword, 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 The amazing amount of original, unpublished WW2 material I've been sent inspired me to produce a podcast to share with the whole world what these brave men, women and boys went through.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.
And the collection of material continues to expand, gradually extending beyond Dad's immediate circle to other wars and spheres of battle, such as the brutal WWI battle of Gallipoli.
I live in Norwich, Norfolk, UK and look foward to hearing from any listener or podcaster from all over the world
My late mother, Anne, had a degenerative eye disease and could not read in later years - but she delighted in listening to my podcasts which I downloaded onto a disc for her and which she listened 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 my Mum's own wartime experiences have inspired several episodes of this podcast. I recently discovered that 10% of my listeners are using the Victor Reader technology aimed at people with sight difficulties.
Bye, bye now,
PS - Do get in touch about any aspect of this podcast or the book.
Email: [email protected] I'd love to hear from you!