Looking for soldiers who fought in Africa in WW II

Started by Sharon Lee Doubell on Sunday, January 8, 2012


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Showing 1-30 of 34 posts
1/8/2012 at 11:00 AM

I'm looking for Geni profiles of soldiers who fought in Africa in WW II
So far I have:
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
Field Marshal Harold Alexander
Field Marshal Jan Smuts
Major General Dan Pienaar †
Capt. Gilbert McBride †
Patrick McBride
Joel Doubell
William Doubell
Dwight Eisenhower
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

The project is WWII North African Campaign

Private User
1/9/2012 at 1:37 AM

Hi Sharon.
Some profiles for you: Pilot Pi Pienaar (Don't know what his rank was, will add a document for you on him). People without rank: C.J.C. Pienaar (my dad), C.P.J. Pienaar (his brother), W. Cloete (their brother-in-law).
I have added to my documents details from my dad's service file which I have a copy of. I've also posted a picture of one of the troop ships that took them to Egypt etc.

Private User
1/9/2012 at 1:44 AM
1/9/2012 at 2:29 AM

What do you mean with this question mark ? (Erwin Rommel?)

Did you never hear about the Afrikakorps? or may be you just clasified the allied participants as "soldiers" and the German army as "barbarian"?

Of course - Erwin Rommel, the German Field Marshal and commander of the Afrikakorps, should be on this list.

Dear Sharon,

Just re-search the web sites. There are many, many sites e.g. with the war cementaries in Africa (Libya, Oran in Algerie etc. etc.) and with descriptions of the North Africa compaing where you may find tousand of names...

Wojciech Kauczynski

1/9/2012 at 3:03 AM

Wojciech Eugeniusz Kauczynski, I think Bjorn is asking if I have him. Yes, Bjorn I do - thanks.

The reason I'm asking here is so I can collect a list of the soldiers' profiles who are on Geni.
You know - the everyday soldiers: your grandfather and my grandfather, and the 'real' people's stories from the Allies and the Axis.

If this is something you're interested in, maybe you'd like to come and work with me on it :-) Just go to the project and ask to be added. I'd love all the help I can get.

Private User
1/9/2012 at 3:17 AM

The question-mark was because I got the impression that there was an interest in only one part of that war (as many other projects) ;-)

1/9/2012 at 3:17 AM

Thank you to everyone who is helping me on this one: I’m really enjoying the contributions with snippets about ‘everyday’ soldiers:
Eg From SA:
Capt. Gilbert Leonard McBride Pilot in the South African Air Force, part of 21 Squadron in North Africa, He died flying a twin-engined bomber over Sicily on 3 July 1943, aged 23.

From New Zealand:
Bernard Cyril Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO Received Victoria Cross in WW I. In WWII commanded the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in North Africa, including the Battle of El Alamein.
Kahi Takimoana Harawira 28th Maori Battalion
Roy Townsend Roy Townsend Ammunitions truck driver in Egypt

1/9/2012 at 3:19 AM

Private User - I'm going to do a search for them now, but if you send me the links that would quicker. I've added you as a collaborator if you want to add them yourself.

1/9/2012 at 3:20 AM

My father-in-law

<private> Meise

Not sure about his rank but I think he was involved with the defeat of Rommel

1/9/2012 at 3:25 AM

Wojciech Eugeniusz Kauczynski &
Private User

Nope - I'm really working hard here to get 'on the ground' stories of all the soldiers. That's why I'm calling for the here. If you know people who would be interested, please alert them too!

From the Axis countries all I have to research on so far are the big names, and I'm battling to find them on Geni:

>'''[Field Marshal Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel]

>'''Hans-Jürgen von Arnim'''

>'''Albert Kesselring'''

*'''Italy & Italian Libya
>'''Pietro Badoglio'''

>'''Rodolfo Graziani'''

>'''Ugo Cavallero'''

>'''Giovanni Messe'''

*'''Vichy France
>'''François Darlan''' † (Not on Geni!)

1/9/2012 at 3:38 AM

Sorry 'typo': = That's why I'm calling for theM here=

Yaay Brendan Swemmer! I've added him into the text. (It's amazing how many WWII vets are still alive!) but I can't attach his profile - either because it's private, or because he's still living (?).
Can you do it? I've added you as a collaborator to make it easier.

1/9/2012 at 4:10 AM

Ag no, Caroline :-) I'm busy reading your story of your Dad, <private> Pienaar's, and I'm laughing so much I'm crying! What a wonderful character, and what a great gift for writing his daughter has.

1/9/2012 at 4:48 AM


Sorry - I do NOT understand your answer:

(The question-mark was because I got the impression that there was an interest in only one part of that war (as many other projects) ;-)

Sharon had already listed TWO parts of that war i.e. e.g.

allied: Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
axis/German: Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

so ... which additional part has been omitted????


1/9/2012 at 4:55 AM

Dear Sharon,

I can not add additional profile /since my non-pro limit has already been exceeded.

But you may add one soldier from my family:

Roman Klisz (m), ltn.
Polish pilot/navigator of a bombing plane

born: 13 Nov 1904 Przemysl/Poland
killed (downed) over North Africa in 1944(?)
buried: War Cemetery Oran/Algerie

Best regards
Wojciech Kauczynski

Private User
1/9/2012 at 5:05 AM

Wojciech, - I did not notice that Rommel was mentioned in the initial post and like you I reacted that only allied "soldiers" was listed.

1/9/2012 at 5:26 AM

Dear Sharon,

Stanislaw Kopanski (1895-1976), Polish general.
The commander of the Polish Carpathian Brigade
(participating in the Tobruk defence)


Wojciech Kauczynski

1/9/2012 at 7:38 AM

Fantastic - I added them both Wojciech. (Although Kopanski doesn't seem to be on Geni, unfortunately.)
Sorry about the new Geni rules; they're driving us mad. Can you at least still view the project?
I've added Roman into the text, but I can't attach his profile to the project unless you make it public.
Let me know if I can help adding family of yours.

You and Bjorn are right - we need the Axis soldiers to do this properly. I'm hoping we'll get a response from this message.

Private User
1/9/2012 at 10:37 AM

Article for Pi Pienaar added!

1/9/2012 at 10:58 AM

Thanks Caroline - I read it with some delight (what a wonderfully exciting first person account of a dog fight) but I still can't find Pi himself on the tree. Is he on?

Private User
1/9/2012 at 11:30 AM

I haven't been able to find him and I do not know his exact connection to our Pienaars - if indeed he is related. All I can recall is my dad raving about him as being one of the best pilots ever!!!

1/10/2012 at 3:37 AM

I saw that someone thought his name might be Saloman??? (seems unlikely) while searching for him?? Also that he might subsequently have been CEO of SAA??

Private User
1/10/2012 at 6:41 AM

I think he was!! I'll see if the original article I found has his credentials ...

Private User
1/10/2012 at 4:08 PM

Another fantastic story is about Ted Stever. A pilot who HIJACKED an enemy plane and flew it to the Allied airfield in, I think, Malta. I will get in touch with his son for the full details of this funny story for you.

1/11/2012 at 2:18 AM

OOoh yes Caroline.

Guys, take a look at how many great stories being added to this project!

1/11/2012 at 3:18 AM

Egs of the great war story snippets about everyone’s dad, grandpa, uncle etc I’m receiving daily for this project: http://www.geni.com/projects/World-War-II-North-African-Campaign

<private> Pienaar joined the forces during World War 2 and was in the Louis Botha Regiment. He and his cousins, Andries (Oom Dries) de Jager, and Andries (Oom Rooi Dries) Coetzer and their friends Mannie Schoeman and Fred and Santie Drake all fought in Egypt (Santie drove ambulances). They fought at the Battles of El Alemein and Sidi Rizeg. When the war was finally over, Coesie's uncle, Major-General Dan Pienaar (haven't worked out how they're connected yet, but they were also house friends), offered Coesie a seat on the aeroplane back to South Africa. Coesie declined the offer because he wanted to come back with "the boys". On that return flight, General Dan Pienaar was killed just off Kenya in a plane crash.

Domingo Nunes served in the South African Army's North African campaign,captured by the Italians,where he had a whale of a time, being of Madeiran (Portuguese) parentage,his temperament was so like that of the Italians,he got on with them like a house on fire! Reached the rank of Sergeant-Major (he could really yell of course,according to Monica his wife)

<private> Smallhorne served in WW2.Captured in North Africa? & sent to German tank factory- bad idea: sabotaged everything he could! Can't have had a good time like Madeiran Portuguese brother in law [Domingo Nunes Sergeant Major Domingo Nunes](captured by Italians), as wouldn't talk about his experiences.

Kenneth James Godlonton Richards who, at 17, lied about his age & enlisted in WW2 SA Army, most likely to get away from his overbearing mother who he hated all his life! En route to Cairo to join the war, was sent back-the show was over. One of thousands of demobilised soldiers, he lived at Pollsmoor (then army camp) along with wife and her sister & brother in law Domingo Nunes, also demobilised.

David John Knox Served in WW2 Allied invasion of Italy.Shot and badly wounded in upper arm.The Canadian field hospital was overworked,so had no time to try to save the arm:amputation being the only recourse ;fortunately,noting that he was South African,they sent him to the South African field hospital,where he was the first 'customer' so they had plenty of time to save it.The horrible scar was evident in an old family photo.At centre of British spy scandal when arrested as spy in Haiti in 1967-may have worked for postwar British intelligence,quite an adventurer. (Dunno whether he served in N Africa,but must have as the right age & Italy was the next stop after Rommel was beaten.Will ask my older brother or surviving aunt for any more details.

Roy Townsend New Zealand ammunitions truck driver in Egypt. Roy left home with the outbreak of World War II, where he drove an ammunition truck in the Middle East. The only war story he ever told my mother was when he was stationed in Egypt his commander told him if he were to ever hit a person with his truck, he was to reverse over them and make sure they were dead to prevent the army being sued. One time he hit a child but didn't have the heart to go back, so sped off.

Private User
1/12/2012 at 12:57 AM

Sharon gee my kans tot Maandag en ek stuur vir jou heelwat. My oupa Marnewick het daar geveg- Egipte - sowel as sybroer wat ook daar oorlede is.
Ek het priceless foto's wat hy geneem het. Ook skoonsus Hettie se ma se 1st man het in Italië geveg ek is daar dood. Ek het al sy gegwens asook die brief wat aan sy vweduwee gestuur is.
Ook 'n pragtig foto van die huidige begrafplaas met 'n pyltjie waar my oom Joacim Petrus Marnewick se graf is.

1/12/2012 at 4:22 AM

Dit sal wonderlik wees, Judi. Ek sal jou as 'n medewerker daarvoeg, en jy kan hom self daar sit.

Private User
1/13/2012 at 8:49 PM

Sharon I am sending you the links of my grandfather, his brother, as well as my sisiter in laws father and her mom's 1st husband.


1/13/2012 at 11:48 PM

Dankie baie - ek gaan kyk

1/14/2012 at 1:20 AM

I'm doing so well with the SA soldier list that I've had to alphabetise them to keep family together.
Thanks Jason Scott Wills, Alistair Moncur Knox, Pam Karp - partial hiatus till end January for adding more & Daniel Jacobus Botes for adding more.

Besides New Zealand and Poland (thank you!!) I'm really short of other countries represented.

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