Memories of WW2


William R Nicks

Sergeant William R Nicks     

Grew up in Oxford, enlisted into the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Demobbed at Hardwick Hall then settled in Clay Cross where he lived until he died in 2003. Thanks to Ann Frost.

John Lowry

John Lowry vividly remembers his days as a ‘desert rat’. He was one of a small group of Chesterfield men attached to a Glossop contingent in the Signals, laying vital communications cables across hundreds of miles of the North African desert.

It meant keeping in touch with the front line – and that’s how he came to be captured. “We were having breakfast at about six o’clock when a few of our lads came tearing through the camp shouting ‘Get out quick’.

On the horizon we could see a black line of advancing German troops but by the time we got into our track its canvas top was riddled with bullets from a German officers’ armoured car. We stopped, they disarmed us, put one of their own armed men on board and we had to follow them.”

They were imprisoned near Milan and then they had to walk all the way to another PoW camp in Poland and later walk back to Austria. John worked as a Sheepbridge Company engineering Inspector until he retired. He lived on Thornbridge Crescent, off Langer Lane in Chesterfield.

Sadly, he passed away the following year of cancer after doing the above interview and during the pain relief he had flash backs and thought he was there again. His daughters recall that as children it was quite horrific to hear of the things he had (along with his companions) been put through.


Italian tank and rifles abandoned in the desert with, left to right, Harry Meakin (who was to become John Lowry’s best man), Timmy Turner and John Lowry.

A largely Chesterfield squad in a signals unit in Egypt.

Left to right, back row, Bill Purser, Lofty Rowe, Harry Meakin, Codger Peach; third row. Weston brothers Tommy and Sid Yeomans, Archie Foster; second row, Arthur Ash (of Glossop), Jack Bennett, Timmy Turner, Alf Turner; front row, Jack Keen, John Lowry, Knobby Shaw, Bell and Jimmy Greenall.

Thanks to Joy Lowry

Geoffrey Gelsthorpe


Thanks to Philip Pringle