Stories My Parents Told Me: Tales of Growing Up in Wartime Malta

Stories My Parents Told Me: Tales of Growing Up in Wartime Malta
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The second from my late great uncle who was working with radar in Darwin when it was bombed by the Japanese. Diving for the nearest cover he launched himself in to what he thought was a slit trench but was in fact a latrine. I found your site yesterday…Already on episode 6…. I look forward to listening to all the episodes over and over.

Well after catching up I have finally gotten around to looking at the website and Facebook pages. Great show Ray, much thanks! He started off as a Private in WW1 as an infantryman, was commissioned 2nd Lt and moved into these new fangled things called Tanks. After this he joined the Civil Service and served in the African Colonies. He was made Administrator of Somali-land after the Italians were pushed out for the period and was re-commissioned as a Brigadier but am not sure if he saw any service or was just essentially a Military Governor of sorts.

He then got his Knighthood in Happen to be living overseas in Germany. I have a weekly long road trip to do and have enjoyed listening. I am only on episode Really like all the explanations of what was happening behind the scenes.

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I have a story of how we discovered what happened to my grandfather, using all the info, technology and a bit of luck. To me it was quite amazing how close we got to the events leading to his capture in Italy in After being released he left the army and married his pen friend, my grandmother. A year later my mother was born and sadly my grandmother died of TB. We are unsure of the reasons, but after seeing constant action, followed by captivity, then release, joy of marriage, first child and then loss of his wife, these events lead to what we might now call post traumatic stress syndrome.

For most of the rest of his life he lived in care, whilst my mother was raised by her extended family. Then just 2 years ago mother read through a box of POW postcards that Frank had sent home.

‘Always travel with an open mind’

She felt compelled to know what he had experienced and feel closer to her father. As a family we discussed what we might do. We had very little to go, just a broad range of dates that suggested he was a POW. A little internet search lead us to the regimental museum and the war diary. It was a very slim lead but we decided to search for Lnt X on the ancestry website.

Not only did we find somebody, that actuall lived, but when we wrote to them, it was the very same Lnt X.

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A delightful man who was very helpful and agreed to meet my father. As it turned out he remembered Frank and was able to explain what happened.

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Stories My Parents Told Me: Tales of Growing Up in Wartime Malta is a collection of seven short stories based on actual events during World. Stories My Parents Told Me: Tales of Growing Up in Wartime Malta is a collection of seven short stories based on actual events during World War II on the.

There were on a morning foot patrol we had assumed as Frank was in a tank crew, he was knocked out, maybe experiencing the deaths of his comrades and looking for fresh eggs, approached a farm house where they saw a woman hanging out washing. This was close to a river that marked the front line with the Germans, which had been static for sometime.

As they approached, they suddenly came under machine gun fire from the farmhouse, upstairs window. They took cover in a shell hole but were pinned down and after several attempts to withdraw, they were offered the chance to surrender from the German unit. They were taken prisoner in the farmhouse and at nightfall were taken by raft across the river. The German patrol had been sent across to take prisoners for intelligence gathering, however when they were on the German side they were separated and Lnt X did not see Frank again. This came as some relief to mother who finally knew what had lead to the capture and the experience could have been more horrific.

However our discovery did not end there.

My father managed to get copies from the museum of the military maps of the time and Lnt X was able to pinpoint the location of the farmhouse….. The farmhouse still stands and we were able to see ground level images of the building, the field alongside and the river they were taken across.

The Army Children Archive (TACA)

It put us right in the place it happened. My mums father passed away the year i was born so a lot of what i know of his service was found though an extensive search of his war time logs and records. He flew in both the pacific and in Europe at the end of the war, and we were shocked to find that he had been twice shot down by the Japanese and forced to trek back through the jungle for 2 days back to friendly lines. He told me once how during a raid by a large group of Ju stukas he was sure his time was up, One came screaming down towards his position, he saw a huge black object drop from the plane as it pulled up sharply, suffice to say the gun crew scattered and tried to seek cover in the few seconds they had before it landed.

There was a huge crash and then nothing. My grandad kept his head tight to the floor thinking it was a delayed action fuse on the bomb. They quickly explained there was a bomb feet away. The platoon commander looked around and saw no bomb just a pile a broken electronics.

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What had actually happened was the stukas engine had been hit and the radio operators had thrown his radio and other loss equipment out to try and lose weight and in the process scared everyone to death. He would also tell me how when the few supply ships made it in the first thing they would eat from their rations was a small tin of rice pudding.

Whenever we went out for a meal he would always want rice pudding for his desert. My grandfather on my mothers side fought in the Burma campaign, a soldier in the Chindits regiment.

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He was very young when the war broke out. Coming from a naval family his first instinct was to enlist in the RN and attempted to lie about his age in order to join. His lie was uncovered but was then successful in joining the army!

My Parents Divorced And Made Me Choose

I guess they were desperate for the manpower for the far east campaign. Eventually he suffered a shrapnel wound and was captured by the Japanese.

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He then suffered horrifically along with many of his friends in a POW camp, caught malaria and was tortured. At the end of the war he was repatriated although many of his friends did not return. Most of what I know of his story was told to me by my grandmother. He very rarely spoke of any of his time in the war, though he did tell many travel stories, having seen most of the far east. As I have grown older and studied history myself I still cannot begin to comprehend the suffering my grandfather and his buddies must have gone through.

I think his job was fuel and supplies. After the war he stayed in the navy and was stationed in Japan and liked to throw parties for Japanese students learning English — for intercultural understanding and because he liked to have parties. But my wife is from Russia — from Kaliningrad actually and both her parents were born just before the war obviously not in Kaliningrad. She has some stories.

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One of her uncles was in a German POW camp. Her mother described being so hungry during the war that she found some old piece of whatever behind some furniture and got sick eating it. Her mother would tell her to distract herself by dancing if she got too hungry. I know that there is a lot writen about D-day but mayeby you cloud make a special series of casts. I have just caught up with all your episodes now in the less than a month since listening to the first.

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Even though I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable about WW2, your podcast has shown me how little I knew and I am eagerly awaiting any new material you put out. My father was one of the early evacuees in the war moving out of Harwich to live in thornbury along with his brother. I always wondered why Harwich was evacuated early on but having listened to the number of times you mention it even if you did butcher the pronounciation : I know realise it was a key strategic naval location.

Hi Ray Really enjoy your podcats while driving which I do a lot. Just wanted to share our experience in when my wife and I crossed the Channel by Hovercraft and rented a car in Calais. We drove east up the coast to Dunkirk.