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Fighting Through: From Dunkirk to Hamburg- A Green Howards Wartime Memoir Hardcover – 19 May 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848844743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848844742
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Bill Cheall left school aged 14 and worked in the family grocery business. He died in 1999 at Cambridge.

The Editor - Paul Cheall, Bill's son, started a business selling car insurance on the internet and he is now semi-retired. He lives in Norfolk.

After leaving school at fourteen, BILL CHEALL worked in the family grocery business. He joined the Territorial Army in April 1939 and was called up just before the outbreak of war and became a Green Howard. His wartime experiences with the BEF in France, North Africa, Sicily and North West Europe are the subject of this book. After recovering from his D-Day wounds he was assigned to the Regimental Police of the East Lancashire Regiment in Germany. He was discharged on 8 January 1946 and returned to the family grocery business which he ran until he retired. He passed away peacefully in 1999 and is much missed by his wife Anne and children, Pauline and Paul.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By thegreypanther on 29 May 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bill Cheall's story is a remarkable one, in that it is written with compassion. His story shows us that the companionship found within the regiment provided the bond that enabled the men to endure many hardships, much danger, sudden death, injury, - and lengthy periods of routine and training.

The book is an absorbing one, and is highly readable. It is valuable in providing a picture of war seen from the point of view of an ordinary soldier, and is a story that every member of the Forces should be encouraged to read. But the story, being a very human one, should be read by others as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a remarkable account of this gentleman's wartime experiences and an important piece of social history. Whilst it is not a literary work, the detail and observation is acute. Bill must have had a remarkable memory. Some of the insights into the attitudes and customs of the time are revealing - at his interview for a commission as an officer being asked whether he was of independent means for instance - perhaps considering whether he could adequately support his mess bill.

This is a truly captivating account of some of the major events of the Second World War - the evacuation from Dunkirk, fighting on the Mareth line; the battle of Wadi Akrit, the invasion of Sicily and the D Day landings were reported in a self-effacing, straightforward manner but no less impressive for that. Bill's report of the landing at Gold beach was as explicit as the opening scene from "Saving Private Ryan" and for those who have visited the beaches it is memorable. Equally interesting was the account of his peacekeeping duties after the war ended in Hamburg and Duisburg - a period lightly covered.

I found this account enormously interesting, especially because it follows the same progress as my Greek mother in law who joined the British army as a VAD nurse, served in the same theatres of war and is also the subject of a novel published as an Ebook. She also met and married her British army NCO - also Bill.

This is a document that should be read by our young schoolchildren because it communicates directly with the reader and Bill's personality shines through. It is a real eye-opener to what life was really like as an infantryman in the Second World War.

He must have been made of tough stuff and Paul and his family must be justifiably proud of his memory.

Gavin James
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By peteboro64 on 23 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book was a fantastic read and incredibly interesting and eye-opening. Having been brought up in and around Richmond, and lived and worked in Middlesbrough I have always had a fascination with the Green Howards as quite a few family members have served with the 19th over the years. However, I've never really read such a good first hand account and I've read a LOT of military history.

Right from the start the book reveals how these young lads were thrown against the all conquering German Wermacht having never even fired a rifle - it makes you wonder how on earth we prevailed given how terribly ill prepared we were. A large part of the reason was undoubtedly down to soldiers like Bill Cheall and countless others like him.

Bill's view of the war is largely from the ground up - often in the dark about what was happening strategically, he got on and dealt with what was in front of him, showing equal measures of grim determination to slog on through, tremendous loyalty and comradeship and a "lets make the best of it" attitude.

The book is packed full of insight and surprises. For example, I was really surprised just how often Bill praises his officers and the leadership they showed. So this is just a great book for understanding the mind set of a "typical" soldier and just how extraordinary they actually were.

I thoroughly recommend the book at full price and at the time of writing it's available at a large discount so definitely a bargain!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. R. Howard on 8 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
What it covers: Major action at Dunkirk, North Africa, Sicily and D-Day as well as a fascinating account of the period in Hamburg as the war ended. There were no punches pulled in describing the tragic scenes during some of these battles. It certainly brought it home to me what my own grandfather must have gone through. But if war has a funny side then Bill certainly managed to capture it, with many heartwarming episodes. I thoroughly recommend this war memoir as an excellent and absorbing read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Greg LS on 18 July 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story is riveting and offers an amazing insight into the battlefield actions that took place and I learnt a lot about what drove these young men to carry out the brave acts they did. How the author got through the war in one piece I'll never know and I breathed an unconscious sigh of relief when I got to the end of this uplifting memoir. Very well written. Excellent!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rod on 16 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Bill Cheall brings it home just how brave these young men were. His narrative is matter of fact in it's description of the horrors of war, and how his generation just got on with what had to be done. A tremendous read from start to finish.Very hard to put this book down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rodders on 29 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Please read this book to get at least some impression of WW2. How inspiring that Paul cheall has ensured that his father's story has come out. Bill Cheall was the living embodiment of a hero. We're he still with us e would not accept this accolade in public or in his heart. So many things that he did simply beyond someone like me who enjoys the freedom that Bill and his mates purchased for us. How did he manage to carry on in a high level of combat when his mates were killed in front of his eyes? How did he survive incredible odds over an olmost 7 ear period. Ultimately it was down to his resolve to do his duty, to defend his comrades and above all the grace of God which Bill invoked through prayer throughout his war time experience. It is obvious throughout that Bill undersells his own strength of character and achievements. Nevertheless his bravery, care for others and faith in God shine through. There is so much here - he starts to question building close friendships as they usually end in sudden death and grief. A very moving section in the book (there are many such) is in the epilogue when Bill goes back to the Dunkirk and d-day battlefields 40 ears later. He has one key goal in mind - on a piece of paper he has written down the names of his mates who died at those places. One by one he tracks down their headstones stands before them and salutes, another name is crossed of the list. He brings truth to the satement'they shall grow not old' as it is clear Bill thinks of them as nineteen year olds full of life and hope. There is so much more to say about this book..
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