Welcome Back News Letter
11 Sep 2021




Class One's Family Wartime Heroes!

05 May 2020

VE Week 2020

This week marks a very special time for Britain; On Friday it is the 75th Anniversary of VE Day (Victory In Europe Day) which marked the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Below are some of the heroes in our own families that played their part in World War Two!

  • My maternal Great Grandad was called John Knowles, also known as Jack! He is on the middle row, second from the left! He lived in Barnard Castle in County Durham and worked as a farmer at Pecknell Farm, Lartington. As he had a reserved occupation (farming) he was needed at home, so he served as a home guard!
  • My paternal Great Grandad was called John Cox, also known as Jack (it must have been a popular nickname!). He lived in Kirklington which is only 10 minutes down the road from North Stainley! He worked as a farmer and a woodman and therefore he had a reserved occupation, so he served as a home guard, just like my other Great Grandad! He also had a little hut where he kept his woodwork tools in that he often went to during the war! I plan to go and explore this now I know it exists so I will keep you posted on what I find!
Ben and James
  • Ben's Mummy has been telling Ben all about what his Great Grandparents from her Dad's side (paternal) did during the war.
  • Their Great Gran (who was called Olive Joan Martin- standing second from the right), joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) in 1942 and her main job was to inspect the service kitchens to make sure that the equipment and food for the service men and women was safe. For the first part of her service she was at Catterick Garrison but went to what was then Palestine in 1944 where she met Ben and James' Great Grandpa.
  • Their Great Grandpa (who was called Desmond John Riordan- the one on the right), was an officer in the British Army. During the war he served in Northern Island, in Tunisia at the time of the North Africa campaign and as part of the Salerno landings during the Allied campaign in Italy prior to D-Day. He stayed in Italy after liberation to help with restoring civil functions, including banks. He then went to Palestine as part of the pay corps where he met their Great Gran.
  • The other gentleman in the second photograph is Ben and James' Great Grandpa's brother/ their Uncle Terry, who was a pilot in the RAF. He flew missions over Europe to gain information about enemy positions etc. Sadly he was killed in action in an accidental crash as he and his squadron were returning to base in bad weather. 


 Luke has looked at his family tree and found the following:

  • His maternal Great Grandma was in the Land Army
  • His maternal Great, Great Grandparents had reserved occupations
  • His maternal Great Grandad was a decoder at Bletchley Park
  • His maternal Great, Great Grandad was a medic
  • His maternal Great, Great Grandma had a grocery store
  • In the picture above is Luke's Great Great Grandad Harry Dalby!


 Jasmine has written all about her family in wartime, have a read <<<


This is Cecil George Black, he was Annie’s Great Grandad, her Dad’s Mum’s Dad. He was a lieutenant in Royal Artillery during Second World War and fought in Africa and India!


Hector and Felix

Felix and Hector's Grandpa (paternal) John was a little boy of 7 on VE Day - he can remember it happening! He can also remember a bomb being dropped on the house next door to his in Leeds - he and his mother and two brothers had a lucky escape! His father Walter, Hector and Felix's great-grandfather Watson, had an adventurous war too - he was a bomb disposal engineer and won a special medal and an MBE for his bravery and skill - he invented a remote control bomb disposal device that cleared mines all through Italy so the Allies could take back control of the country!


On Hector and Felix's mummy's side of the family, all their great-grandparents were involved in the war - Great-grandad Donald in the Navy, Great-granny Donald as a nurse, and Great granny and grandad Wilson both in the RAF. They are in the pictures here - Great-grandad in his desert outfit when he was stationed in Sierra Leone fixing planes. Granny's brother Charles was very sadly killed during his time in the RAF, his bomber plane went missing over the North Sea. He is on the far left in the picture of all the men standing in a group. Great-granny was an electrician in the RAF, and went up in all sorts of planes fixing them and making sure they were safe to fly!


Ollie's Grand-nan was living in Kinross, Scotland when the war started and she was 16 at the time! Ollie has interviews her and she had a very relaxed attittude towards the war! She told Ollie that most of the bombing happened outside of their town and that the planes flew over at night time, so during the day life went on as normal!! Her family were quite poor so they didn’t have many luxuries it seems. No electricity and used gas lamps! She said that they lived on rations and got little bits each week, and to top up their food supplies they grew vegetables to make soup! To keep entertained she didn't have TV's or a radio, so they played cards and dominoes! She also told Ollie that she wore a gas mark but they were horribly uncomfortable and smelt of rubber!


Tom and his brother Isaac were very lucky to to get to virtually interview 91 year old Dot, whom is a family friend! It was a very special interview as Dot was evacuated in WW2 and answers Tom and Isaacs questions. She talks of the homes she was sent to live at (some more than once!) and how she was sadly seperated from her sisters! She had a party on VE Day  like many of you will have on Friday! The video has been kindly uploaded to Yuotube so you can go adn have a watch too!




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