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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Edward, The Black Prince

A Family History of Warfare

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Hi all,

I think a lot of people out there have (have had) relatives who have been involved in the armed forces.

A bit of research can reveal some interesting history.

I've only scratched the surface but I know my grandfather on my dads side served in the merchant navy (GB) in World War II supplying the Red Army on the Russian convoy runs known for the u-boat peril and terrible icy conditions as shown below (not my photos):

russianconvoys3.jpg

article-0-11865A7E000005DC-147_634x400.j

He sadly died before I was born and my dad doesn't really talk about him as "it wasn't a very happy period in my life" in relation to when he died of some rare disease or other in 1960s when he was a teenager.

I do know however that he was sunk twice on the run from England to Russia and survived!

The chance of survival must have been very slim but to survive being torpedoed and sunk twice in ice cold conditions? One of a very small number I would imagine.

I knew my great uncle thankfully and know he followed up the Normandy invasion in "mop up" actions and then served with one of the British tank regiments all the way into Germany. He was a gunner in a Sherman tank (below is again not my image). He wouldn't talk about the war which is very common with British veterans. The exception being he told me when they blew up a truck from a long long way away. He mentioned the Sherman was pretty accurate. He confirmed nobody liked Stuka's and that the Sherman had a habit of setting fire when they were hit.

755d13771bdd0000e065a232b23f1dc4.jpg

He died back in 2007 sadly. His wife and my great auntie is still alive although sadly has dementia and doesn't remember me anymore or my family.

She actually worked at Bletchley Park during the war. The primary site of British code-braking during the war where Alan Turing and his colleagues worked and broke the Enigma code and built the world's first electronic digital programmable computer. Historians believe the work carried out at Bletchley Park shortened the war by 2-4 years.

I don't think she was a key player in this but she did work there.

I know my great granddad fought at the Somme during world war 1 and my grandma (his daughter - obviously!) has a photo of him in her living room in full army gear. I don't know any more than he survived which is an achievement in itself and that his surname was Franklin. 3 million people fought in the conflict and 1 million were killed or injured in the 5 month blood bath. There were 57,500 casualties on the first day alone. It is one of the most deadly battles of all time and the worst ever for Britain. 485,000 British and 630,000 German sadly died for an inconclusive result.

Somme_trench_web.jpg?itok=3uwUHcHR

Probably the most left-field story I have is one of my family married a German in the immediate post war and subsequently had children with him. Through my granddad I know he was called Helmut and that he was a successful Stuka pilot and took part in the Battle of Britain and bombed Portsmouth and Southampton and the surrounding airfields and radar stations of Hampshire and Sussex in which I, my family now, and the family he married into then, lived! He lived in the same area and visited the same places where he a few years previously bombed! He used to fly light aircraft over the same areas post war too. He is long dead and my grandad remembers his as "typically German!"

Its a funny and surreal image of previous combatants and civilians all in the same room watching television about the war! My grandparents remember watching the dogfights as children. 

My grandfather himself was in the army in the early fifties I believe or it may have been national service.

Being from Britain almost everyone has a relative or other who was involved in the first and/or second war.

It is interesting what you can find!

 

 

 

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Stunning stories, thank you very much for sharing. 

My grandparents (mothers side) lived on a farm (in occupied Holland). They were hiding a Jewish man who survived the war. 

In another of those weird coincidences. Where those grandparents had their farm was in a low lying polder land. In April 1945, because they could and not for a reason other than revenge, the Germans opened the floodgates and the area flooded. 

This caused them to give up on farming and move to Amsterdam. That is where my parents met years later. 

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32 minutes ago, Able502 said:

Stunning stories, thank you very much for sharing. 

My grandparents (mothers side) lived on a farm (in occupied Holland). They were hiding a Jewish man who survived the war. 

In another of those weird coincidences. Where those grandparents had their farm was in a low lying polder land. In April 1945, because they could and not for a reason other than revenge, the Germans opened the floodgates and the area flooded. 

This caused them to give up on farming and move to Amsterdam. That is where my parents met years later. 

Amazing story too! Great histories.

I have read some of what happened during the occupation of Holland which is very unpleasant and a bit on the quality Dutch resistance and of course Operation Market Garden.

I mentioned my granddad on my dad's side dieing before I was born of some rare disease. Well, on medical advice, they told him to move from the north of England (Sheffield) to the south coast where the air is much cleaner (Sheffield was very industrial - particularly steel industry) which he did with my grandmother.

They had my father and he met my mum.

If he wasn't ill I wouldn't be alive!

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 My grandfather on fathers side was a medic for the Belgian army, he was deported to Germany to work on a farm.

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Grandfather in the SS, but his story as a Nazi goes right back to the thirties, even before he fought for Franco and with the SA in the streets in Germany. He died in 43 and the story about him is rather wild. You wouldn't believe me. (A book was recently released about him here in Norway and he can be googled under the name Per Imerslund). His brother in law was a Prussian. A lieutenant before the war and a Wehrmacht colonel in the end in Leningrad. He was one of the about 5000 to get back from Siberia after Paulus' surrendered with 300 000 or so. Grandmothers brother however was on the right side since he was a sailor. He got torpedoed twice as well and never spoke about how it was. Both my grandfathers sister in Berlin, and my grandmother in Norway got raped by the Allies.    

Edited by Per Christian Veberg
Grammar
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Paternal grandfather served in 59th pioneer infantry, 1917,1918.  3 engagement bars on his WWI victory medal, wounded by gas in 1918, spent most of the rest of his life in VA hospitals, with what would be considered PTSD, died in late 58. My fathers brother drafted into USA and served in Europe, Sicily through V-E day. My father served in USN aboard USS Washington (BB-56) from North Atlantic (Murmansk) duty through operation magic carpet after VJ Day. 13 battle stars including sinking of IJN Kirashima at 3rd Savo Island. Died in 94. My little brother served USN- 83–87, M61 cannon tech- various VF/VA squadrons. Me- USN- 74-85, electronics, radio, radar, crypto, data link maintenance on DDG, CV, and various shore stations including Persian Gulf convoy duty in 79-80. We are a military family I suppose. 

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Hi all,

Bit of an update to my original post.

After speaking to my grand parents I found out that my great oncle was indeed a gunner in a Sherman and took part in Operation Market Garden which does slightly clash with previous info in him being in mop up operations post Normandy.

One of the tanks he was in was hit and he was the sole survivor. 

I'm trying to do more research now to make things clearer although I'm lucky his sister and brother in law are still alive.

The German who married into my family who was a Luftwaffe pilot I am slowly getting more info on.

His name was Helmut Endlich and he served on the Eastern Front as well as the Battle of Britain.

I have found out after Stukas he switched to BF 109's and then FW 190's and my grandfather stated he was injured on the eastern front.

I typed his name into 'aircrewremembered.com' and although there is not much information I did get one hit and it is him crashing his FW 190 on the eastern front in 1945 and that he was a Oberleutnant (high lieutenant officer rank) along with the actual plane reference and mark amazingly. FW 190 F-8 number. 586635.

http://www.aircrewremembered.com/KrackerDatabase/?q=endlich

He was in 'Schlachtsgeschwader 2' which was a famous regiment with the CO Hans-Ulrich Rudel who was the most highly rated German serviceman in World War 2. The FW190 were the fighter wing of what was predominantly an air support squadron. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlachtgeschwader_2

I'm trying to find out more information currently.

My relative who fought at the Somme my grandma confirmed was actually gassed.

Lovely!

 

 

Edited by Edward, The Black Prince
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On 12/28/2017 at 1:52 AM, Edward, The Black Prince said:

Hi all,

Bit of an update to my original post.

After speaking to my grand parents I found out that my great oncle was indeed a gunner in a Sherman and took part in Operation Market Garden which does slightly clash with previous info in him being in mop up operations post Normandy.

One of the tanks he was in was hit and he was the sole survivor. 

I'm trying to do more research now to make things clearer although I'm lucky his sister and brother in law are still alive.

The German who married into my family who was a Luftwaffe pilot I am slowly getting more info on.

His name was Helmut Endlich and he served on the Eastern Front as well as the Battle of Britain.

I have found out after Stukas he switched to BF 109's and then FW 190's and my grandfather stated he was injured on the eastern front.

I typed his name into 'aircrewremembered.com' and although there is not much information I did get one hit and it is him crashing his FW 190 on the eastern front in 1945 and that he was a Oberleutnant (high lieutenant officer rank) along with the actual plane reference and mark amazingly. FW 190 F-8 number. 586635.

http://www.aircrewremembered.com/KrackerDatabase/?q=endlich

He was in 'Schlachtsgeschwader 2' which was a famous regiment with the CO Hans-Ulrich Rudel who was the most highly rated German serviceman in World War 2. The FW190 were the fighter wing of what was predominantly an air support squadron. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlachtgeschwader_2

I'm trying to find out more information currently.

My relative who fought at the Somme my grandma confirmed was actually gassed.

Lovely!

 

 

Do you know which unit your (tanker) grandfather was in? Maybe I can help with some information about Operation Market Garden.

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