Author Topic: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?  (Read 8328 times)

sasmsb

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Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« on: October 30, 2012, 01:09:24 AM »
Hello all. I'm the son-in-law of James Wolstenholme, who was in the Manchesters from 1948-58. I'm hoping to find out more about his service from the men who served with him, or from their children.
Sorry for the long post, but I'm hoping the detail may help me connect with others who may have served with him. Before he died in 2005, I talked to him about it and he told me this:

"Joined British Armed Forces at age 17 1/2, was stationed at Chester and given opportunity to be 2nd Lieutenant. Turned it down because 2nd Lt. were known to be cannon fodder, and because it would entail money his father didn’t have, and was sent back and re-joined with all of the young men of his neighborhood. Because of his education (was in his first year at what is now Salford University), he was assigned to the QM (Quartermasters). All the rest of his friends eventually ended up dying in D-Day; he didn’t because as a QM he was assigned to supply. Was assigned later to “the Manchesters”, which his uncle had been a part of, and continued in the QM. Near the end of WWII was posted in Africa (Gibraltar, Cairo, etc). Was in battles along the major route of Japanese movement...as a QM his job was to keep the machine gunners supplied with food and ammo, so he was continually running to the front armed with only a sidearm, delivering whatever was needed. After the end of the war he was stationed in India and later Malaya as part of the British occupying forces (about 1000 British soldiers were the entire force for Madras). In 1946 or so he was involved in a riot in Madras, India, where a company (about 140-160 men), led by a green Lt., were surrounded by rioters and were getting pounded with Molotov cocktails, bricks, stones, etc. Standing orders were to fire three rounds over the heads of the rioters; the rioters knew the procedure and took no notice. His unit, including the cooks and mechanics, were called in to rescue the company and were to do so “at all costs”. They arrived in Ford trucks with machine guns mounted in the rear, the ammo belts draped on the side of the trucks so that the rioters could see as the ammuntion was loaded into the gun (so they knew it was live ammo). They were ordered to lock and load, and then to level their weapons and fire one round into the front line of the rioters. There were three of these trucks/machine guns, with James being one of the gunners. “You just tried not to think about who you were shooting--men, women, and children--and hoping that the rioters in the back saw what had happenend in the front. In normal circumstances we’d have been court-martialed for what we did, but we were ordered to get that company out at all costs. We killed about 150 people. Each burst released 25 rounds. Back home in England all the reports were how peaceful it was, but it wasn’t.” After that incident, he was stabbed in another riot in 1950 in Malaya; a rioter used a machete and cut him down the left side of his chest; his ammunition kept the blade from cutting through bone."

Just yesterday I sat down with my mother-in-law, who gave me some more information:

“Called up when he was 18, did 3 years national service. That was 1944. Did 12 weeks of training and then immediately posted to India. Didn’t see much action until the “clearing up”.  Fought pockets of Japanese in Burma. He was not stabbed in the chest in Malaya, but in Somalia. He was stabbed in the wrist and leg in Malaya.  In Aldershot, he was with the Medical Corps training medical doctors how to shoot to defend their patients. Trained Roger Bannister. He won the army team shooting medal, in Aldershot. He was the only non-medic on the team.

He was posted to Italian Somalialand in Africa (Somalia) in 1948. He was there for 18 months.  He got stabbed just below the heart.  In October of 1950, was posted to Barnard Castle in Durham. Moved the family, which lived in the Cattrick Garrison. At this time he was with the Border Regiment. Then he was posted to Chester, England.  Moved to Malay in April 1953. His wife and daughter followed on The Chesire, a troop ship. He was stationed at Butterworth, Malaya. Married quarters were on Penang. He was on the mainland and came home on the weekends. James was in the Quartermasters. There was an uprising. He joined the Manchester Regiment. Stayed there until 1954. His wife (my mother-in-law) remembers Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Aspinall, Mrs. Wamsley, next door neighbor whose husband was the drum major in the band. Every time he came to Panang, he was picking up ammunition to take to the troops. That was a worrying time. Came back to England in May of 1954. And then they moved to Berlin in August of 1954, guarding Spandau Prison where Rudolph Hess was held.  Lived in a flat overlooking olypic stadium. There about 12 months, then moved to Aldershot in 1955/56. James finished his service in 1958. He had signed on in India, for 7 and 5. He did 12 years, and did 15 years all tolled (National Service was part of it). "

Thanks for any information,
Mark Britt
North Carolina, USA

Offline tonyrod

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2012, 09:07:08 AM »
hi marK welcome to the forum, I am sure someone will be along to help , enjoy your stay. tonyrod
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 10:25:22 AM by tonyrod »

Offline Wendi

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 09:39:53 AM »
Hi sasmsb and a Warm Welcome to our Forum.

I hope you are faring well in North Carolina with Sandy! and that you have no damage.

With regard to your father in law did you realize that your mother in law can obtain his service record free of charge? (not that it is going to help you connect with others who have served with him, but I just thought I'd mention it!

Wendi  :)

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it!  No matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and with your own common sense" ~ Buddha

Offline george.theshed197

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 10:59:29 AM »
Hi there Mark,
Welcome to the Forum, I also served in Italian Somaliland in 1948 - at that time there were only two British Regiment in that area, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and The Border Regiment. The first were based at the Aerodrome out to the west of Mogadishu and the Borders in the Coastal Battery Camp in the town area itself.
I later re-badged into the Manchester Regiment at Wuppertal in 1949 from whence we moved up to Berlin in 1950 where we did one of the Guards at Spandau Prison looking after the German  Senior Government Officers including  Donetz, Speer, and amongs others Hess. In 1951 the Manchester Regiment had moved back to the UK , The Dale Camp or/Saighton Camp, Chester and from there the Bn moved out to Malaya with our HQ based in Minden Barrack, Georgtown , Penang with outlying companies making bases at A Coy -Alor Star; B Coy- Kroh; C Coy - Cameron Highlands and with Support Coy - Split between training Coy in Penang and with outlying companies as Mortar Support Platoons. as required.
Yes there were three families as mentioned  Mrs Hughes ( Roy Hughes); Mrs Aspinal ( Stan Aspinal of the Orderley Room and Mrs Walmesley ( George Walmsley of the Corps of Drums).
Yes also the Manchester returned to the UK in May 1954 to Harrington Barracks, Formby from whence we returned to Berlin in August September 1954.
Right, from there there seems to be some confusion with his memory dates but that is typical, mixed up memories etc.
I am trying to tie James up with my own service, so far I have a possibly three or four potentials would it be possilbe to let me have the details of your father's marriage, his wifes maiden name etc and area of marriage to help me tie and therefore maybe aid me to answer more of your questions.
Looking forward to your response,
George.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 01:00:38 PM by tonyrod »

Offline rafboy

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 11:37:34 AM »
Hi Mark
Second attempt to post, don't know where the first one went.

Keep your head down whilst "Sandy" passes.

Take a look at this Forum page (There are 3 pages of photos from the Regiments time in Malaya, select the page from the numbers at the bottom of the first one) :-
http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=627.0

I remember your father in laws name but that is about all, I was there with my father and went to Slim School an Army boarding school in the Cameron Highlands.

Was your wife there or was she born later?

Cliff
Cliff P Son of 3525679 Sgt Arthur Phillips 1st Bn Manchester Regiment and RAPC

Offline artyhughes

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 09:00:11 PM »
Hello Mark,further to the posts posted on the forum in reply to your search concerning James Wolstenholme,I do not remember him,however I was in married quarters on Penang Island,the Mrs Hughes you refer to was an Edie Hughes,the wife of Sergeant Dibber Hughes(also of the mortar platoon)Mrs Aspinall was the wife of a Stan Aspinall who was either chief clerk or orderly room sergeant,Mrs Walmsley was the wife of Cpl George Walmsley of the regiments corp of drums,he was what is known as the leading tipper in the corp of drums.The name Wolstenholme sounds familiar but I cannot place it,the old grey matter is not what it used to be.Good luck in your search,you have found the right place to start.

sasmsb

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 07:40:15 AM »
Wow, what a great forum! Thank you all for your responses. I will show this to my mother-in-law and get her responses. I'll also tell her about getting his service record (tip-o-the-hat to Wendi) for free.

Tony thank you for moving my post to this forum.

In response to George: My father-in-law was with the Border Regiment in Somaliland, is that the same regiment you were in? My mother-in-law's maiden name is Jean Shaw. She is originally from Widnes.

To Cliff: Sandy's gone and we're all OK here, thanks :). I'll look at the photos page. I assume I can post a photo there as well? If so I have photos of James Wolstenholme from the time and you and/or others might remember him by sight. My wife's older sister, Avril, was in Malaya, and would have been about 4 years old at the time.

To Arty: thanks!

- Mark

P.S. Cliff I just checked the photos and will show them to my mother-in-law; I'm sure they will take her down memory lane. The pic you posted on page two with the caption "Cpl Charlie Pickles with some 'Newies' on Familiarisation Training at Bleukar Semang near Tasek Village." Do you know what date that was taken? Of course I can't be sure, but the man standing up, second from the right, looks a lot like James Wolstenholme.

« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 07:58:28 AM by sasmsb »

Offline george.theshed197

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 10:33:22 AM »
Good morning once again Mark,
We do not beiieve in wasting time hanging around !! ;D
Now then I have been doing some thinking back - Yes I was with the 1st Bn The Border Regiment in Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland. Prior to that the Battalion had been over in British Somailand with the HQ and main party based at Hargeisha with the QM and a Transport Section down at Mandera and a smaller rear part and subsequent transport unit down at Berbera (the main Port of Entry).
Prior to that we had been based at El Ballah in Egypt following our withdrawal from Palestine, Camp Julis, on the UN Changes in the Post WW! Mandate which resulted in the formation of Israel.
I must now go back slightly further in History to another major point in the Partition of India and Formation of Pakistan and Banghla Desh because the time also had an serious effect on the British Army/India in that a large number of British Soldiers were forced into many changes over the period 1947 to 1948. Among those primary changes were the immediate loss of ALL the Second Battalions of the majority of Infantry Units. Originally any one with less than six months or so to serve were to be posted to the UK or BAOR (pending further changes for demobilisation etc). Other units of such locale as any of  the Lancashire Regiments were temperoraly attached to The 1st Bn The Border Regiment - suddenly the Bn jumped in size to close on 2000 damn near; then slightly better organisation moved some of them down into Egypt, Eritraia, The Soudan etc. The Loyals for instance were in Eritrae.
Now then it is my belief that it may well be that James Wolstenholme had been serving within the 2nd  Bn. The Border Regiment in India immediately post war and ultimately following the Partition of India found himself enroute to the 1st Bn The Border Regiment in 1947/48 within Palestine, thence on along into Egypt and down on into British Somaliland and on into Italian because this then ties in with his posting to Barnerd Castle in 1950. Followed by his Home posting into Cattrick, his posting to Chester and due to reinforcements required by us in Malaya he
was posted to The 1st Bn The Manchester Regiment in Penang and Butterworth.
Sorry for being so long-winded but it seems to resolv a series of probems with his memories.

Now then this results in futher questions - as he served in Malaya he was entitled to The General Service Medal with Malaya Clasp - his number and rank will be engraved along the rim of that medal!! If as I have presumed he came to the Border Regiment in 1948 he will also have been entitled to The same General Servive Medal with Palestine Clasp but numbered with his Border details!!

Does his widow have that Medal!! or does some other member of the family have it?

Thanks for Arty Hughes also for reminding me of George 'Dibber' Hughes and his wife Edie, I had forgotten about them also being out there.

Right then hopefully I will take a breather after that lot, enjoy and I will sit back awaiting the Further Queries after this lot.
Cheers for the time being,
George.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 10:35:03 AM by george.theshed197 »

Offline george.theshed197

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 11:32:07 AM »
Morning again Mark.
I had forgotten the query re the photograph taken of Cpl Charlie Pickles and lads at Bleuker Semang,

I think that was taken some time around late 1951 or during fairly early 1952.

I would doubt that it may include James Wolstenholme because by the time he joined us at Butterworth in 1953 the Battalion had moved following Retraining at Penang in September 1952 to Tapah which was way down south of Butterworth and a long way away from Kroh and Bleuker Semang. Sorry bout that. :( :(

Cheers. ;D ;D Will see if a can get a scam of a map of the area.
George.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 12:00:33 PM by george.theshed197 »

Offline rafboy

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2012, 12:00:35 PM »
Hi again Mark
George beat me to it, I was going to say that the photo was one of Georges that I posted for him.
I found this video which includes coverage of Minden Barracks inluding the swimming pool which has not changed much since I swam there 60 years ago.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlASD7K-mnY  
The former barracks are now a university.
If you search on Minden Barracks there is a lot that comes up on Google.
Avril would have been too young to go to Slim School which was probably somewhere between a Secondary and a Grammar School.  She may have started school at the infants school in Minden Barracks.
If my memory serves me right our married quarter was No 6 U Block Minden Barracks.  See if your mother in law can remember where she lived.
I have attached information and an application form for your mother in law to apply for his service records.
Cliff  
Cliff P Son of 3525679 Sgt Arthur Phillips 1st Bn Manchester Regiment and RAPC

Offline rafboy

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2012, 12:20:24 PM »
Here is a link to part 1 of the Malay video posted earlier, you can find the other 3 parts to this series on the right of the page.  Some interesting coverage which brought back many memories.  Places visited include the Cameron Highlands, Ipoh, Kroh and some of the cemeteries.
See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hKedjx4YnU&feature=relmfu
Cliff
Cliff P Son of 3525679 Sgt Arthur Phillips 1st Bn Manchester Regiment and RAPC

sasmsb

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 12:17:27 AM »
Hi all. I have my mother-in-law (Jean) with me now to respond to some of your wonderful posts. Thank you all so much. She says that James ("Jimmy") was in the QMs and that while in Malaya, Jean and Avril were next-door-neighbors to the Walmsleys.

George, Mrs. Wolstenholme does not have the General Service Medal and doesn't remember seeing it. He did have some ribbons and a bar, and she says she still has one of his jackets at home. She says he mightn't have applied for it. His service number was 14779445. She says also that he was only with the Borders for a short while before being assigned to the Manchesters. He was at Satan Camp in Chester. I'm trying to type this as she tells me..."Jimmy was in the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in India, and there he was a QM sergeant. That was before I met him, and he came back in late '47 or '48 and was stationed in Aldershot, and that's where I met him. As a conscript, he went to India, and then he signed on in India as a regular soldier. The person he had most to do with there was Orderly Sergeant Major Downey. He used to be very friendly with him." She's not quite sure about his time in the Borders. "When I was in the NAAFI, Jimmy was transferred to a hospital in London because Altringham was closed down. This was before we were married and before he went to the Borders. Captain Clutterbuck was with the Borders at Barnett Castle."

Cliff, Mrs. Wolstenholme says that Avril didn't go to the infants school but did go to school in Berlin. Mrs. Wolstenholme says that they lived in the last house in the old barracks in Minden, but she doesn't remember the number or the block. But it was next door to the Walmsleys. Also, thanks for the application form.

"He had a wartime rank of color sergeant but had to go down to corporal. Finally got his sergeant's stripes back in Aldershot."

That's all for now  :)

OK...sorry here for rambling but we're looking at the photos now... Mrs. Wolstenholme remembers RSM Lomas and Commander Close-Brooks. "His wife came to our house once to make sure we were all right". She also remembers a Mrs. Leach. Remembers Stan Aspinall's wife, " she was very friendly with Mrs. Wood, and I was friendly with Mrs. Wood." She thinks she remembers Ted Widdowson...wonders if he was also in Germany. Recognizes the photo of him.

Wow...she came home with James and Avril on the Asturias in May of 1954. "That's the boat! I came home on that boat!"

She remembers the Cold Storage Creamaries..."If you wanted to get out of the heat, that's where you went. They had orange sodas."

She also remembers the Butterworth Ferry.

She has a photograph of herself and Avril in the Minden Barracks Pool.

She says that one of Jimmy's best friends in Malaya was a medical orderly, maybe a corporal, named Timpley.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 12:45:07 AM by sasmsb »

Offline george.theshed197

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2012, 10:37:06 AM »
Morning Mark.

Another one sorted, sort of, I as estimating that his regiment number from his potential service as being somewhat at around  my own group. It has raised my own problems in that I cannot find any reference  to him in any of the photographs in Butterworth W.O.s and Sgt Mess  Christmas Malaya, I still have to find and look at the Mess photographs taken at Harrington Barracks following the Presentation of The New Colours by HM Queen Elizabeth, however, so be it, at least we have sorted out who and where he was.
Another query thats come to my mind was his GSM Medal for Malaya - they were all issued at Harrington Barracks the week before the Parade, we didn't have to apply for them, they were all listed as per the Bn Nominal Roll - I can remember us sorting our company out in C Coy with C/Sgt Johnny Heason and myself and the reason I primarily remembered them was the fact the the trestle table on which they had been laid out ready for issuing them out had just collapsed and we had to pick them all up again and recheck.Strange how things of that nature just come to mind.
Right then so his widow has the details how to get access to his records and all in all a very satisfactory result for your venture onto the Forum - If only others were so relatively straight forward.
I can remember most if not all of the names your mentioned ( the prerogrative of AGE  ;D ;D ::))
Whether or not we can be of further assistance we have yet to find out.
All the best and take care.
George.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 11:50:48 AM by george.theshed197 »

Offline rafboy

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2012, 04:31:01 PM »
Thanks for your replies Mark. Best of luck in finding more information.
I was on the Asturias with my parents.  Most if not all of the Battalion were on it, we had a few weeks in Singapore waiting for the ship.  It was the first troopship back from the Far East after the Windrush sank.
All my photos from that time are in the Regimental archive in Ashton Under Lyne.
Cliff 
Cliff P Son of 3525679 Sgt Arthur Phillips 1st Bn Manchester Regiment and RAPC

sasmsb

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Re: Hello. Anyone Remember James Wolstenholme, Manchesters 1948-58?
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2012, 09:52:13 PM »
Hello George,

Going back to what Jean said here: "He had a wartime rank of color sergeant but had to go down to corporal. Finally got his sergeant's stripes back in Aldershot." I've never been in the military so don't know about such things, but if James were a Corporal while in Malaya, could that be why you didn't know him?

As for the GSM Medals, can these be obtained posthumously by his widow and/or descendants?

Cliff: My mother-in-law and brother-in-law left to return to their home in Manchester this morning, and I've asked them to send in the application for James' service records. Thanks much. Also, this morning we watched the youtube video link you sent...Jean remembered a lot of it, so thanks for that as well.

Thanks all! I'm going to find a picture of James from the time, scan it, and post it here...maybe you'll remember him by sight?

OK, I'm attaching a photo of James Wolstenholme from about the time frame he would've been in the service.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 10:39:14 PM by rafboy »