This week, we are pleased to feature Lance-Sergeant Jack Dean, 292 Field Company, Royal Engineers.
Sources for Jack Dean’s story come from personal correspondence with his widow Iris and by cross-reference with Ken Millington’s account in the BBC’s Peoples’ War series – Ken was also a Sapper in 292 Coy RE. Other ex-members of 292 Coy contributing to the Brotherhood archives and with relevance to Jack Dean’s own experiences are Allan Slocombe, Ernie Carroll and Malcolm Young.
Much more data is held in Jack’s Archive at the 2nd World War Experience Centre at Otley, West Yorkshire. These include many documents and photographs plus some medals, including the Greek-awarded Campaign Medal.
Jack and Iris were keen members of The Brotherhood and greatly appreciated the chance to meet up with other veterans in both Kalamata and UK.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Jack’s experiences.
This week, we are pleased to feature George Dexter who, until his death in 2014 aged 97, was the last living survivor of the SS Slamat. George was a very lucky man. On being evacuated from Greece, he survived being sunk twice. First on the SS Slamat, then on one of her rescue vessels, HMS Wryneck. A third vessel, HMS Diamond was also sunk. George was one of only eight soldiers, one naval officer and 41 seamen to survive the worst sea disaster of Operation Demon, the maritime evacuation of the Allied Forces involved in the 1941 Greek Campaign.
Many years later, George presented a memorial stone in honour of those who died on the day he was saved. This memorial stone sits in The Greek Grove at the National Memorial Arboretum, Lichfield. For those of you attending the 80th anniversary service at the NMA this Saturday, 11th September 2021, you will be able to visit the stone and pay your respects.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about George’s experiences.
This week, we are pleased to feature Leslie Donald Haslewood, an Australian signalman who served in the Greek campaign.
Les was involved in fighting in Egypt, Greece and New Guinea and was wounded In action twice before returning to Australia after the war. Les wrote about some of his experiences and his cousin Kenneth Duus has included these with research of his official service records, unit diaries and photos to write his detailed military service history.
Kenneth has very kindly shared with us a copy of this very comprehensive and compelling account. Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Les’s experiences.
This week, we are pleased to feature Ronald Ramsay, who was a radio operator with the Levant Fishing Patrol from late 1943 to April 1945.
His son, Kevin Ramsay has very kindly provided us with a copy of this incredibly comprehensive and personal account comprising 298 pages covering his father’s time in the war (and afterwards) including: radio operator’s log for the 1944 operation “Noah’s Ark”; 40-50 photographs; various letters and passes; photos of his time in the Middle East as well as other correspondence, maps and memorabilia. Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Ron’s experiences.
Ron’s story also refers to Sergeant-Major Medley of the QO 4th Hussars as well as photos and reference to Ronald Haggar who served as a wireless operator with SOE. Please click on this link which will take you to the Ronald Haggar Imperial War Museum interview
This week, we are pleased to feature (David) Allan Slocombe, 292 Army Field Company, Royal Engineers. Allan was a very active member of The Brotherhood until his death in 2018, aged 99 years of age. Sources for Allan’s story include his account featured in “Tell Them We Were Here” as well A Prisoner’s Tale Retold from the the BBC Archive ” People’s War”. Further insights can also be gained from Yvonne Speak’s fictionalised account “The Wrath of the Gods” based on some of her father Ernie Carroll’s experiences in the same Unit.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Allan’s experiences.
This week, we are pleased to feature Ralph Ford Tredre, a Major in the RAMC, who was assigned a unique and special mission to map out malaria zones on mainland Greece in February 1941. Leading a Malaria Field Laboratory of six men, Ralph undertook a tour throughout Greece over several weeks, ending with his evacuation on 27th April 1941.
His very detailed account, written in late 1941, amounting to many thousands of words, provides insights into the atmosphere at this time and the sense of chaos and encroaching disaster. This account has never been published or shared until now. His grandson, Roger Tredre, has very kindly provided us with a copy of his grandfather’s wartime diaries of his time in Greece. (Please note these diaries are still be published and are the copyright of Ralph’s son Alec Ford Tredre and grandson Roger Ford Tredre).
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Ralph’s experiences.
We are pleased to feature Ernest Chapman aka Kiriakos this week. Ernest was a private soldier who became a real hero for the Greeks. Left stranded in Greece in 1941 and having made several escapes after being captured, he later joined and fought with the partisans who named him Kiriakos. Ernest’s story was ghost written by Don Turner in his book “Kiriakos, a British Partisan in Wartime Greece” and is also included in Edwin Horlington’s book “Tell Them We Were Here”. Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Ernest’s experiences.
We are pleased to feature Edgar Harrison OBE MC BEM this week. A truly incredible veteran and early member of The Brotherhood, Edgar was awarded the British Empire Medal (Mil) for gallantry at Kalamata; Military Cross for conspicuous service in Yugoslavia; MBE in 1958 for service to communications in Moscow and OBE in 1974 for service to Diplomatic Wireless Communications. A member of MI6 (Section VIII) Special Communications unit he was Churchill’s personal radio operator. Fellow MI6 operator Geoffrey Pidgeon wrote about Edgar in his book “Edgar Harrison – soldier, patriot and ULTRA Wireless Operator to Winston Churchill”. Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Edgar’s experiences.
We are pleased to feature Dai Davies this week. Dai (known as DT) Davies OBE was captured during the battle of Crete in 1941 and transported to Austria where he was taken to Stalag 18A. He escaped from the camp and made his way to Hungary but was later recaptured. He escaped again and was recaptured twice more. He was taken to the concentration camp Zemum, near Belgrade, described as ‘hell on earth’. He escaped one last time and joined the Partisans to fight in Yugoslavia. Awarded the Military Medal for his wartime services, DT only spoke about his experiences much later in life and wrote about them in his book ‘All for Freedom: A True Story of Escape from the Nazis’. When you read his story you will find references to his friends Joe Burke and Joe Beckett.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Dai’s experiences.
We are pleased to feature Eric Bardsley’s story this week. Author of ‘Barbed Wire & Balkans’, Eric was a member of The Brotherhood and regularly attended the UK services. He was a PoW in Wolfsberg and participated in the 2013 Wolfsberg trip. As the only ex PoW and oldest member of the group that weekend, Eric was very warmly welcomed. At the Mayor’s Reception on the Friday night, Eric delivered a speech in German and received a standing ovation.
A note from our Archive: Eric ‘declined’ to make the march north to the Markt Pongau – Salzberg area as the Russians approached eastern Austria in March 1945. He and some others stayed hidden in the countryside around Friedberg until it was liberated by the Russians. He eventually made his way home via Odessa on the Black Sea coast.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to STORY where you will be able to read about Eric’s experiences.