Fighting Through WW2 Podcast

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The stories connected to the story

Great unpublished history!

Bill Cheall fought at Dunkirk, North Africa and Sicily, was in the first wave on Gold Beach on D-Day, and finally went to Germany. Since Bill's WW2 memoirs were published, many former comrades and families have come forward with stories and diaries of their own, all forming part of the jigsaw of Bill's war. The aim of these podcasts is to bring the memories to life and honour the soldiers, airmen and seamen who were connected to Bill in some way.

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Paul Cheall

Monday, 8 May 2017

13 Danger - Unexploded Bomb!

Danger - Unexploded Bomb! 

Great, unpublished history! 

 The story of one man’s brave war against unexploded bombs in wartime London, during the 1940 Blitz: Brian Moss, Platoon Sergeant in 233 Field Company, Royal Engineers. 

"Imagine the shock when your pick clangs against steel. You wonder if you have started the clock ticking. On your knees, you use a trowel to carefully uncover the bomb."


Episode shownotes here 


Please rate and review on iTunes - Thanks! 




Latest podcast episode release ...

Saturday, 4 March 2017

I DARE you to listen! Scary Dunkirk podcast on brave little ship the Bee. The courageous crew saved hundreds of lives in a daring Dunkirk adventure in 1940. 

Hear all at…. Or subscribe 100% free in iTunes at

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Podcast - Kindle - iBook news

A podcast is now available free from iTunes. The first two episodes are on Dunkirk and North Africa. Please click here for more info:

Also, Dad’s memoirs are now available on Kindle at or Apple ibook at

Monday, 1 October 2012

Mrs Fish, Highcliffe, Hampshire - World War 2 Army memoir

This lady is fondly remembered by my Dad in his WW2 memoir. After Dunkirk, Dad was stationed at Highcliffe, near Bournemouth:

"Some mornings, I had to go into the village to make purchases for Major Petch and one of the shops we patronised was run by a little old lady named Mrs Fish. After a while, she asked me to have coffee with her and, only for five minutes, to listen to a short sermon and a hymn on the radio at 0955 hrs every morning. That five minutes always gave me a great peace of mind"

My mum, Anne Cheall, tells me this lady's shop was called The Jolly Roger and later became an Indian Restaurant and then a dress shop.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Newly released - WW2 diary of Major Leslie Petch - Army Officer

It is with great pleasure that I have just posted up a number of letters which Major Petch posted home during the early days of the BEF at Dunkirk, together with some memoirs written soon after the Dunkirk evacuation. The papers make interesting reading and contain a number of humorous anecdotes. His letters and diary were kindly provided by Mrs Jill Garrett, the daughter of Major Petch.

Major Leslie Petch was mentioned many times in Dad's WW2 autobiography. Dad was his batman and despatch rider during the time of the British Expeditionary Force in France and at Dunkirk, when they were on the beaches together, when Dad observed, 'Major Petch, was a tower of strength to us all and I could almost feel him suffering inwardly for the safety of his lads.'
Dad described Major Petch as "a good, kindly man and I enjoyed attending to his needs. He adored his B Company and looking after him gave me much pleasure. He would say, ‘Now then, Cheall - I am doing so-and-so today. I will need you to accompany me’. It was good while it lasted. He really was a gentleman and never forgot that the lads were human beings as well as soldiers."

Click this War Diary link to read more.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Wilf Shaw's recent comments on his El Alamein experience with the 8th Army.

On the anniversary of El Alamein, Wilf  gave me the following summary of what it was like to be at El Alamein with Monty's 8th Army.

"My feelings, bearing in mind what had happened previously at Gazala and in the most appropriate phrase I can think of, were "Fatalistic resignation". I just could'nt see how I was going to get through it without serious injury or worse, which I didn't, but, thank God, I didn't lose a limb.  I am not ashamed to say I was scared as hell, I was part of a section of 8 or 9 who advanced towards dug-in Italians with Bredas, no more than 40 or 50 yards away. They opened up as we advanced and hit most of us, I hit the deck and jammed the rim of my steel helmet into the ground, it was an action that surely saved my life because a bullet smashed straight into it, it broke through the steel and dropped on the inside of the camouflage net which covered my helmet. I was on the right extremity of the advancing section, the lad on my left had been hit around his mouth and neck and was in a bit of a state. I can still remember his name, it was either Diggle or Dibble, I found out later that he didn't die from his injuries.
An officer leading us gave the order to charge forward. I did and threw hand grenades and we overran the enemy positions. I ended up in an enemy trench on top of a dead Italian. There was only the officer and myself who managed to get that far. I think if I was hearing this from anyone else I would find it hard to believe.
It was the following day when I got hit when doing the same thing in broad daylight and this time it was shellfire and, of all the places to get a shell splinter, it was beneath my left armpit. It penetrated almost, but not quite through to the front, no bones hit or no blood vessels, which I think is remarkable considering all the blood vessels there are there.
I was taken away by a modified 3-tonner with others who were casualties. The three tonner made its way out through a minefield. I passed through 2 or 3 casualty clearing stations over the next few hours, finally ending up at 106 South African field hospital late at night on 24 October. We were attended to and finally got to bed. The tented ward had 2 radio speakers and the song being sung when I finally got my head down was, " When you come to the end of a perfect day" !
That's some tale isn't it? And I would'nt blame anyone if they found it hard to believe.
Yours truthfully and sincerely
Wilfred Shaw
24 October 2011

Editor's note:
Thanks very much to Wilf for this El Alamein memory. Wilf, there was no shame in being afraid. Time and time again we read of soldiers saying they were afraid and very likely they all were. But what is important is that despite this you didn't let your comrades down.

To see more material from Wilf click on the following WW2 Diary link


Friday, 7 October 2011

Memories and photos from Wilf Shaw - WW2 vet - Green Howards

I’m writing to let people know of some new additions to my web site. Wilf Shaw, of Oldham, has been in touch with me and has provided a bucketful of war photos and memories. He was at Dunkirk, Alamein, Tobruk, Wadi Akarit, Sicily, D-Day, Holland and more! He was wounded twice and still returned to battle. He is 92 years of age.
Of particular interest to me are some photos he sent in of many comrades at Qassasin Camp in North Africa. Dad mentions Qassasin in his war memoirs and describes it as follows:
" We ended up at a large, tented camp about a mile west of the Suez Canal, which was the main British military base in Egypt, Qassasin Camp, and it was indeed just that, there were very few brick-built buildings. Qassasin was described as ‘that bugbear of all British troops newly arrived in the Middle East.’ It was alleged, if you hadn’t already got ‘jippy tummy’, this was the place you could expect it. There were swarms of thousands of flies and when we were eating or drinking they would settle on our lips and we had to constantly wave them off our food." - Bill Cheall
It was great for me personally to see some pictures of Qassasin for the first time. Some of the comrades are named so may be of interest to genealogists researching their family history.

Read more about Wilf and see his super photo set at this war photo link. I’m attaching a few of his photos for you to see.
Many thanks Wilf!