A WW2 soldier's war memoir and book - Bill Cheall, my father, started in the Territorials, followed by action at Dunkirk, Tunisia, Sicily, D Day and Hamburg. He had a Queen Mary voyage to Egypt, was wounded in action and witnessed the devastation of post-war Germany.
He was a 50th division (50 Div) soldier, amongst others. World war 2 diary and 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 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.
Bill at Alexandria in May 1943, Aged 26.
I built this web site as a companion to the published book of Dad's World War 2 memoirs, so please explore the various war photos, souvenirs, sounds and war diary extracts, most of which are not available in the book.
Enjoy, too, the increasing number of war memoirs and anecdotes being posted from other sources, which make this a site to return to. Every week I hear from people with a connection to Dad's war, whether it be the family of an old comrade, or someone else, like Wilf Shaw, who fought in some of the same battles as Dad and, at 96, is still remembering things about it. Read about Wilf and many other contacts in the War Diary News section.
I look forward to hearing from any visitors who may have a story to tell.
Thanks for looking
Son and editor