Fighting Through Podcast WW2 Dunkirk and D-Day WWII 8 Margaret Jones 1940 cropped monolow res

The stories behind the story

Great, unpublished


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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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WW2 history Podcast WWII website Established Sep 2016

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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.

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 Great unpublished history.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 Great unpublished history!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 Great unpublished history!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 Hear unpublished history from veterans' memoirs.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!

Major Petch, Bill Cheall's company commander at Dunkirk Capt Tom Woods of Lady of Mann - WW2 WWII war dunkirk ships Sgt BJ Moss 1943  - enthralling war memoir Wilf Shaw 6 Green Howards, WW2 With two pals after Dunkirk - we had been through a hard time. Podcast 1939 - Sgt D E Gray - WW2 diary podcast

Bill Cheall was plucked off the Dunkirk beaches by the Lady of Mann, captained by civilian seaman, Tom Woods. Great unpublished history!

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. 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.

4 -  Coffee with WW2 Veteran Wilf Shaw (Also see episodes 22 and 23)

1 - Dunkirk WW2 - Veteran Bill Cheall's story of the beaches

2 - Wadi Akarit, North Africa WW2 - Gripping veterans' accounts

5 - Coffee with WW2 Lancaster veteran Claude Reynolds

6-8 - The D-Day Diary of CSM D E Gray MM

3 - D-Day WW2 - Two veterans' accounts

9  - The Dunkirk Diary of Major Petch OBE

Young Claude ww2 lancaster veteran podcast

10 - The Dunkirk Diary of Captain Tom Woods OBE

The part some Isle of Wight British merchant sailors played in rescuing allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk – in Operation Dynamo.

11- The Bee - A Dunkirk little ship story - Short version but with all the back story

File 03-03-2017, 20 55 34

12 - More Coffee with Flight Sergeant  Claude Reynolds - WW2 Lancaster Rear Gunner

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.

Claude in contemplation during podcast interview 2016

13 Danger - Unexpoloded Bomb!

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!

Sgt BJ Moss Bomb Demolition expert WW2, war diary

14 The Last Flight of Lancaster Lily Mars

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!

Lanc from forum

15 The Poems of Sapper John Smith, WWII

John proudly displaying his medals 1981 Armistice Day

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!

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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. Great unpublished history!


Don't listen, it's awful!

16/17 - Gallipoli WW1 - Sgt Fred Reynard Pt 1 and Pt 2

Fred Reynard - Hero of Gallipoli and Dunkirk, WW1 podcast

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

18/19 Best of 5 years - International Podcast Day special

Arthur Oxley's badge - showing damage

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.

20 - The Bee - A Dunkirk little ship story EXTENDED VERSION)

Dunkirk Little Ship Bee story WWII

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. Great unpublished history!

21 - Angus Wallace of  The WW2 Podcast interviews Paul Cheall

Angus Wallace, host of the WW2 podcast

More of 97 year old Wilf Shaw's WW2 memories.

Three episodes: 4 , 22 and 23. Ask him the one about ....!

22/23 - More coffee with Wilf Shaw - WWII army veteran

Wilf Shaw 6 Green Howards, WW2 1 Dad - Bill Cheall at  Sports gala at Duisberg, O

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

24 - Christmas at war

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 ... Great unpublished history!

25 Sgt Rufty Hill meets Winston Churchill

Rufty and Pals with Winston WWII

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!

26 The Zilken Letters - Rogue veteran exposes the army's best kept secrets!

Fred Zilken TELLS ALL Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links 48 RM Commando Roy Bennett WWII podcast

27 - Veterans Bennett and Cheall remember D-Day, WWII

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" Great unpublished history!

Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links

28 Wilf Shaw RIP Tribute

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. Great unpublished history!

Play, shownotes, pics & links Wilf Shaw Born 6 Feb 1920, Died 21 March 2018 Young German soldier, aged 13, captured by US army

29 Prisoner of War WWII

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. Great unpublished history!

Play, shownotes, pics & links

30 The Queen Mary in WWII

Queen Mary arriving in New York post WW2

Two WW2 servicemen. Two accounts of the same very special voyage in 1943. Great unpublished history!

Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links

31 Child of War - Volker Wehrum - WWII

Escape from Stalingrad - much more!

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.

Volker Wehrum 2018. Tells of his relative's daring bid to escape from Stalingrad in WWII


32 Women at War 1, Anne Cheall

Bill and wife Anne

Anne recalls what it was like being a young civilian in WW2. Great unpublished history!

Play, shownotes, pics & links

33 Women at War 2, Wartime Recipes and a WREN's morse coding memoir

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. Great unpublished history!

Anne Cheall celebrates her birthday in Cambridge, 2017 aged 95 Play, shownotes, pics & links Play, shownotes, pics & links 1954 Borrowdale

34 Women at War 3, Wartime Holidays

Anne Cheall visits Wales

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.

35 Freddie Linacre veteran interview

A WW2 veteran recounts his violent desert and painful POW experiences. Great unpublished history!

Play, shownotes, pics & links Listen on Google Podcasts

NEW! ON ANDROID. Listen and subscribe with Google Podcasts App (available to download globally in 47 languages on Android only:

Death March, Poland ww2

36/37 Interview with Capt Stanley Perry, Tank Commander

Stan has fun trying on an old WW2 Tommy helmet

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!

"My gunner suddenly shot one. I said, 'Christ what have you done? Geneva Convention - they're prisoners of war!'"

Play, shownotes, pics & links Take the survey

Please take my anonymous podcast survey.

Only 9 simple questions. Mobiles only. Click button to the right.

38 Diary of Eion McEwan, 5th Scottish Parachute Regiment

"8th May - Massive attack on enemy - went in last night terrific barrage - shelling and machine gun fire"


Encounters with Greek resistance fighters and a mutiny by the British soldiers. Great unpublished history!

Eion  McEwan wearing his coveted paratrooper's red beret and badges WWII Play, shownotes, pics & links

Latest episode

40 - Four Brits and a Frenchman at Dunkirk

The extraordinary turns of events that brought four Brits to the shores of Dunkirk at the same time as a Frenchman.


The story of hero Fred Gardiner of the Kings’s Royal Rifles who died as part of the brave Dunkirk rear guard

Fred Gardiner, Dunkirk rear guard hero. Died 28 May 1940 WWII Play, shownotes, pics & links

30 sec Sampler Trailer ...

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Wilf spills the beans on some more of his pranks as he and his brave pal Henry Jeffries, help win the war for Britain.

Play, shownotes, pics & links A final coffee with WIlf Shaw, WWII veteran.

41 - A last coffee with Wilf Shaw

42 D-Day 75 - 75th Anniversary of D-Day, WWII

Two accounts from crewmen aboard Landing Craft Tanks delivering troops and tanks to Normandy!


"We were close to our shores when we pancaked down so hard in the sea that we broke our craft’s back". Eric Ernest Clark, Leading Wireman, Royal Navy, D-Day. WW2 History

Eric Clark D-Day veteran, Royal Navy hero WWII Play, shownotes, pics & links Normandy Memorial Trust - 75 stories & more 5 stars ww2 podcast rating


Play, shownotes, pics & links

43 – Canadian Able Seaman Ray Fitchett, POW

Royal Navy Seaman Ray Fitchett recalls action on HMS Exeter and his time as a POW in Japan during world war two.


"We started convoys to the Far East. We got tangled up with the Japanese fleet and got hit in the shell room with a Japanese shell.

Ray Fitchett WW2 sailor

44 Coffee with Sidney Stevens Lancaster Pilot WW2 history podcast

"I came out of the clouds and the German fighter was there waiting for me ...

"This thing was bumping up and down and sometimes you could lose 600 feet and you'd just drop vertically ...

Sidney Stevens WW2 Lancaster bomber pilot Sidney Stevens Lancaster veteran remembers - WW2 p Play, shownotes, pics & links Player fm Podcasting