To Celebrate VE Day and remember some incredible people, join us to read in full the amazing stories from some of AW staff’s relatives and friends.
|The following diary entries were written by the relative of a Lincolnshire AW employee. While they do not wish to disclose his identity this brave Soldier, was stationed near Naples, Italy and kept the diary against the advice of his superiors. The diaries are unique and we are proud to share this verbatim record of what the soldier wrote in his diary every day in the last few days before VE Day.
Sat 21 April he wrote: War has been on exactly 2057 days today
Mon 30 Apr: News is very good and should have good result in the near future.
Tue 1 May: News still good and everyone very excited.
Wed 2 May: News today that this Italian front has finished and great news from Germany.
Thu 3 May: In cookhouse carrying away empty tins. Officers say war has ended but not officially announced.
Fri 4 May: Still waiting for the BBC to announce the end of the war which should be today.
RAF Officers inspecting the camp.
Sat 5 May: Still waiting for the wireless to broadcast end of war.
Sun 6 May: News not come through yet but plenty of rumours.
Mon 7 May: Heard the 3 o’clock news and the Germans have accepted unconditional surrendour.
Tue 8 May: War ended today after so many rumours Churchill and King speak tonight.
Mon 9 May: Sport and football match. Got drunk with Bert and Henry. Day off.
Hazel from our accounts department remembers her late Grandfather, Gerry Perry who was in the parachute regiment during World War Two, his mission was Arnhem, he left Barkston Heath (local to our Lincolnshire HQ) in September 1944 and after landing in Arnhem they reached the bridge but came under heavy fire, so they took shelter in a house that was facing the bridge, they took turns at keeping watch, it was Gerry’s turn when the Germans came and opened up with mortars, part of the building collapsed and had trapped some of his friends upstairs, Gerry went out in the street to get help but was shot in the leg & thigh. He managed to crawl back into the building and found a cellar door which he never realised was there and found some infantry soldiers hiding out in there. When he heard a lull in the shooting he decided he was going to go back out and try and find his Regiment as he heard his colonel was further up the street. He finally made it to them but because they were all injured they had no choice but to surrender, they were taken by the Germans to Belsen P.O.W hospital. Hazel remembers that Gerry said at the time they never knew the atrocities that was going on at the other end of the camp, but even where they were there was hardly any food, no toilets just a shed that was high in excrement and cockroaches, and all their heads were covered in Lice. He was a prisoner there for seven months, and weighed only seven stone and seven pounds when he returned home. After returning home four weeks later he married Hazel’s (now) grandma Peggy and went on to have 14 children!
AW Repair Group director Emma Walsh is searching for information regarding her paternal step-grandmother. “Rosina married my grandfather in the 1950s. She was Austrian, I think from Kleblach in the state of Carinthia. Although my grandfather never allowed her to speak of her experiences we believe she worked for the British and fled Austria in a hurry. She only ever spoke of carrying a capsule of cyanide in case she was ‘caught’. She had severe arthritis in her latter years and often said she wished she still had it as the pain was so bad.”
Emma found these photographs among the possessions of her step-grandmother, Rosina Ainetter, when she passed away. Rosina is believed to have fled her Austrian birthplace while working for the British. The gravestone is believed to be Rosina’s siblings Michael, Josef, Adelheid and Mathilde in Austria, the house in the mountains is possibly her childhood home in Kleblach and Rosina is the middle child in this photograph with her parents either side. Emma would love to make contact with any surviving relatives of Rosina’s Austrian family.
Joseph Patrick Walsh 1894-1941
On this special VE Day AW would like to remember Joseph Patrick Walsh (our founders paternal grandfather). Joseph joined the Royal Artillary in 1912 and became a Battery Sergeant Major within bomb disposal. From 1919-23 he was posted to India and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and twice mentioned in dispatches.
Following the outbreak of WW2 Joseph re-enlisted in the Army in his rank of Sgt Major and was seconded to the Royal Engineers in bomb disposal. Sgt Major Joseph Patrick Walsh was killed while diffusing a bomb in August 1941 at the South Metropolitan Gasworks in London. There is no known photograph of him.
In 1945 the local newspaper published an article about a family in Billinghay, Lincolnshire: Mr and Mrs George Wells, who had 4 sons and 2 sons-in-law away at war who all, miraculously, returned home safe and well.
Joseph Wells, Jack Wells and Alec Wells and Jack Spencer in the Army, Richard Wells Royal Navy and Charles H Green, AW Repair Group’s founder’s maternal grandfather, in the Army.