Topic: William Storrier Dashwood (1921-2006)

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Tauranga man William Storrier Dashwood was taken Prisoner of War during World War II. "Generally we went hungry, we suffered tortures both physical and mental and saw the most shocking brutality. We saw men clubbed sometimes to death for the most trivial reasons. We experience terrible sickness and had little or no medication to help, and at times we were even shot at to provide at amusement for the guards" (p. 2).

William Storrier Dashwood was born in Whanganui on 6 August 1921 to William John Henry and Alice Johnson Dashwood (nee Storrier) who married in Timaru on 23 March 1920 (reg. 1920/5299).

He was aged 18 when he joined up for World War II and became a multi-engine pilot and then a pilot instructor. William was a Sergeant with No. 106 Squadron of the Royal Air Force.

William made twenty-one operational flights before his plane was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery on 15 January 1942. The mission was to drop markers (Path-Finder Squadron) 10-15 minutes before the bombers arrival. He and his crew parachuted down near Griinsted, Denmark. William and his navigator were now in enemy territory. On their fourth night on the run a farmer informed the Germans and they were taken prisoner. Later they met up with others from their crew who had survived. They were sent to Stalag VIIA Mooseberg near Munich where William celebrated his 21st birthday on 6 August 1942. Cigarettes were traded with the German guards for a couple of loaves of bread and two bottles of schnapps to mark the occassion.

William Storrier Dashwood (1921-2006)

During his experiences William kept a diary, and although being reluctant to share his experiences with family, 44 years later he used his diary to record his story: "We who have survived that turmoil of World War II have a duty to discuss both the war and it's consequences in an attempt to counter the war glamour effects of films, videos, books and comics we see today. We must enlighten the growing generations to the horrors of war and the condition which caused so much suffering and needless death. If we don't, if we do not do this, who will?" (p. 3) 

In his memoirs William explains that the Red Cross parcels kept them alive. The Russian prisoners missed out as they were not signatories to the Geneva Convention: "Generally we went hungry, we suffered tortures both physical and mental and saw the most shocking brutality. We saw men clubbed sometimes to death for the most trivial reasons. We experience terrible sickness and had little or no medication to help, and at times we were even shot at to provide at amusement for the guards" (p. 2).

He was moved to Stalag 383 and then to Stalag Luft VII, Bankau. On 19 January 1945 they were ordered to march hundreds of miles away from the Russian advance during a harsh winter in blizzard conditions and without proper clothing or food rations. They marched all the way to Gorlitz (Stalag VIIIA) and then went by train, arriving in Luckenwalde (Stalag IIIA) on 9 February. Many died along the way of starvation, fatigue and from the cold. On 26 May the Russians provided transport and William was one of those survivors handed over to the Americans and then transported to England suffering from malnutrition. "Many suffered over the after years, mentally and physically. The anxiety of the time had its effects in later life in the form of gross medical problems and in many cases premature death" (p. 17).

In 1945 William married Eileen Monica Wilson in England before moving back to New Zealand and working in a bank. The 1946 Electoral Roll shows his parents John Henry and Alice Johnson Dashwood living at 7 Durnham Street in Tauranga. William is shown as a Bank Clerk living in 7th Avenue in Tauranga. The 1954  Electoral Roll shows William and Eileen at 51 Campbell Road in Mount Maunganui. By 1969 William is working as a Bank Manager at Whitianga and then in the Wairarpa by 1972 and Otorohanga by 1981.

Retiring as branch manager in 1981 he moved back to Mount Maunganui. William died on 5 July 2006 (reg. 2006/15447). He was cremated at Pyes Pa Cemetery on 10 July 2006.

 

Sources:

Births, Deaths and Marriages (New Zealand)

Electoral Rolls (New Zealand)

Yesterday: Reminiscences of part of my life from 1940 to 1945 (2010) by W. S. Dashwood

See also: http://www.flensted.eu.com/194201.shtml

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William Storrier Dashwood (1921-2006)


First Names:William Storrier
Last Name:Dashwood
Date of Birth:6 August 1921
Place of Birth:Whanganui
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:5 July 2006
Place of death:Tauranga
Place of burial:Pyes Pa Cemetery, Tauranga
Occupation:Pilot
Spouses name:Eileen Monica Wilson
Spouses date of birth:1920
Date of marriage:1945
Place of marriage:Lincolnshire, England
Fathers name:William John Henry Dashwood
Fathers date of birth:11 June 1896
Fathers place of birth:Newmarket, Auckland
Fathers date of death:17 March 1977
Mothers name:Alice Johnson Storrier
Mothers date of birth:31 January 1897
Mothers place of birth:South Canterbury
Mothers date of death:23 July 1967
Military Service:World War II (1939-1945)