In this episode we’re going to be discussing Bill Cheall.
Bill joined the Green Howard’s in 1939, a regiment in the British army, and fought throughout the whole war. He was evacuated through Dunkirk, fought in the Desert, took part in the invasion of Sicily and in 1944 landed on Gold beach on D-Day…
Bill wrote his memoirs which have been edited by his son Paul and publish as “Fighting Through from Dunkirk to Hamburg: A Green Howard’s Wartime Memoir”.
When Bill Cheall joined up in April 1939, he could not have imagined the drama, trauma, rewards and anguish that lay in store.First and foremost a Green Howard, he saw the sharp end of the Nazis’ Blitzkrieg and was evacuated exhausted. Next step, courtesy of the Queen Mary, was North Africa as partrica as part of Monty’s 8th Army. After victory in Tunisia, the Sicily invasion followed. The Green Howards returned to England to be in the vanguard of the Normandy Landings on GOLD Beach (his colleague, Sergeant Major Stan Hollis won the only VC on 6 June and Bill Cheall was wounded).
Once fit, Cheall returned to the war zone and finished the war as a Regimental Policeman in occupied Germany.
Bill’s many and varied experiences make fascinating reading. He tells his story with modesty, humility and humor.
The Green Howard’s are of particular interest to me as they are my local regiment. I have two grandfathers who service in WW1 with them, and a great uncle who served in WW2. Uncle Jack. reputedly, like Bill was plucked from the beaches of Dunkirk, though he was later shipped to India and saw fighting in Burma.