World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                            Ernest Spye 

A Military Medal for Corporal Ernest Spye

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Ernest Spye, Johnny Hotchin
Location of story: Winnekendonk, Germany
Unit name: Lincolnshire Regiment
Background to story: Army

                                                                  Top Picture Ernest with wife Ellen and Daughter Patricia 

My dad, Ernest Spye, joined up as soon as war was declared. He married my mum Ellen on 22 August 1940, and I was born on 5 September 1942. My dad only spoke about the war in later years. He was with the Lincolnshire regiment in the second wave of the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, from where they made good progress, and my dad was later awarded the military medal. This is what my dad told me about how he earned his military medal.

On 3 March 1945 Corporal Ernest Spye, was in charge of a Bren Gun platoon fighting in Germany. He said his platoon was pinned down by enemy fire from a German machine gun nest in Winnekendonk. My dad saw his lads were being picked off one by one, so he said "Come on lads, let's get them." My dad had learned how to run, dodging bullets on the beach at Normandy, on Sword Beach. He knocked the machine gun nest out, turned round and saw none of the others had followed him. That’s why he was awarded the military medal for bravery in the field. He was 26 years old. He also had a letter from the king.

My dad had a best friend from City Road in Sheffield, who was with him. His name was Johnny Hotchin and he had a little boy called John. They went through the war together from 6 June until the last attack before the end of the war. The Germans fired tracer bullets, which by then were banned. John was beside my dad and the bullets killed John outright. This really was something my dad never forgot. He wrote to my mum and she went to tell John’s wife Mary.

Later on, when my mum died in 1992, Mary rang my dad as she had seen my mum’s death in The Star. My dad’s Military Medal was reported in The Star with his picture.