World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                     Edward Flanagan 

Life In The Cameronian Scottish Rifles

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Edward James Flanagan
Location of story: Northumberland to Normandie, Brussels & Eindhoven.
Unit name: Cameronian Scottish Rifles, 15th Division.


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Edward Flanagan.

I joined the army in January 1942 at the age of 16; I gave my age as 18, otherwise I wouldn’t have been allowed to join. I did my training in Northumberland, then I went to Keighley in Yorkshire, where I joined the 21st Army Brigade, Fifteenth Scottish Division.

When it came to the D-Day landings, we went down to Brighton, then to Harwich. We sailed from Harwich over the Channel, well, so far across the Channel, then we boarded landing craft and landed on the beaches at Normandy. When we landed, we were being held back, so they made our division a ‘Push Division’; we had to push through, all the way to Caen. They called that area from the beaches to Caen, the ‘Scottish Corridor’. Caen was the first big town that we captured in France.

After that, they brought us back for a rest, and whilst we were back, the Americans, who were in Saint-Lo, were unable to get through, so they took us to Saint-Lo, and we pushed through for the Yanks and got them moving. They went from there up to Paris. Once this was done, we went right through France, and into Belgium, where we liberated Brussels; we were the first troop to go into Brussels. Then we went on to Eindhoven. I was wounded in Eindhoven; I got two machine gun bullets in my leg. They fetched me back then and that was the end of the war for me. We’d just captured the aerodrome in Eindhoven. What we were doing was, we were trying to get the paratroops out of Arnhem; we were trying to push through to get them out, but we got held back at Eindhoven. Nevertheless, we had captured the aerodrome at there, so planes were landing. They flew all the wounded out from there, and took us to Brussels; we were in hospital there for a couple of weeks. Then we were brought back to England and I was in hospital in Kidderminster, in Warwickshire, for about three months.

When I left hospital, I went up to Ayr in Scotland, to the racecourse in fact. That was used as a depot during the war. There I remained until I became fit, then they were going to send us out to Burma, but first they sent me on fourteen days’ leave. As we were coming down to Yorkshire, we got as far as Morpeth, where we had to change trains for Sheffield, when they announced that the war had ended. Everyone was going wild, so we joined in the celebrations. In fact, we were in Morpeth for two days, but eventually, we arrived in Sheffield. However, when we went back to Ayr, instead of sending us to Burma, they sent us to Germany as Occupation Troops. I remained in Germany from 1945 to 1947. And that was my army experience.