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15 October 2014
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Ernest Spye’s story

by actiondesksheffield

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Ernest Spye, Patricia D Spye Burrows, Johnny Hotchin
Location of story: 
Sutton Trust, East Hull
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 September 2005

The top photograph was taken in 1943 and shows Patricia D Spye Burrows with her mother Ellen Spye and father Ernest Spye. Ernest Spye is also shown on the bottom photograph he is on the second row fourth from the left .

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Roger Marsh of the ‘Action Desk — Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Patricia D Spye Burrows and has been added to the site with the author’s permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

Ernest Spye’s story
Patricia D Spye Burrows

My dad, Ernest Spye, joined up in the army as soon as World War II was declared. He married my mother on August 22, 1940 and I was born on September 5, 1942.

My dad only spoke about the war in later years. He was in the second wave of the D-Day Normandy landings on June 6, 1944. The Lincolnshire Regiment made good progress.

My story is about what my dad had told me about how he had won the Military Medal, on March 3, 1945. Corporal Ernest Spye was in charge of a Bren gun platoon. He told me that his platoon had become pinned down, in Winnehendonk in Holland, by enemy fire from a German machine gun nest. My dad saw that his lads were being picked off one by one, and so he said come on lads lets get them. My dad ran, he had told me that he had learned how to run dodging bullets on the Sword Beach at Normandy, he knocked the machine gun nest out and turned round to see that none of of the others had followed him.

That was why he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field, he was 26 years old and he also received a letter from King George VI.

My dad had a best friend from City Road, Sheffield who served with him his name was Johnny Hotchin and he had a little boy called John. They went all through the war together from June 6, 1942 to the last attack before the end of the war. In that attack the Germans had fired tracer bullets, which by that time had been banned. John was standing beside my dad when the bullets killed John outright. This was something that my dad never forgot. He wrote to my mum and she went to tell John’s wife Mary.

When my mum died in 1992 Mary rang my dad because she had seen the announcement of my mum’s death in the Sheffield Star. The Military Medal awarded to my dad had also been reported in the Star together with his photograph.

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - L/Cpl Joshua Reed

Posted on: 05 September 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Kenneth

You will find the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's perpetual Internet memorial to your father here links



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