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The Book





(First edition)

(Second edition)

Also available in Kindle, iBook & more.

Not available in Audio format ... yet!


Available from:

Pen and Sword




As always, shop around for the best deal. I also have a small quantity of stock which comes with a Fighting Through bookmark, souvenir photos, a signature and a smile - contact me. 

Published by Pen and Sword

When Bill Cheall joined up in April 1939, he could not have imagined the drama, rewards and near continuous action that lay in store. First and foremost a Green Howard, as a member of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) he saw the sharp end of Hitler’s May 1940 Blitzkrieg and was evacuated exhausted from Dunkirk. His next move was to North Africa, courtesy of the Queen Mary, to be part of Monty’s 8th Army.

After eventual victory in Tunisia, the Sicily invasion followed. Alongside a number of other battle-hardened units, the Green Howards were ordered back to England to form the vanguard of the Normandy Invasion. In the fierce fighting that followed the D-Day landing on GOLD Beach, he was wounded and evacuated. His comrade Sergeant Major Stan Hollis, won the only VC to be awarded on 6 June 1944.

Every cloud has a silver lining and Bill fell in love with his nurse. That did not prevent his return, once fit, to the war zone and he finished the war with the East Lancs as a Regimental Policeman in devastated occupied Germany. For all this he earned seven medals and a wounded-in-action stripe.

Bill experienced many adventures during those action-packed years. Unlike too many, he survived to share these with the reader. Told with humility and humour, Fighting Through From Dunkirk to Hamburg is, by any measure, a superb fighting soldier’s memoir. Bill passed away peacefully in 1999 following a battle with prostate cancer.

Bill Cheall's intro to his book

This is my own true story of an ordinary soldier in the Green Howards during World War 2. The story includes, amongst others, my experiences at Dunkirk, D Day, a voyage on the Queen Mary and being wounded in action.

Many of the events described have been taken from notes written soon after those events took place. The remainder has been compiled from my memoirs which I set down more than forty years ago while they were still fresh in my mind and, more recently, I was given the inspiration to write everything down in book form so that other ex-servicemen may share some of the memories I have of that period in our lives.

Writing my memoirs gave me the opportunity to relive the years from 1939 to 1946. Looking back over the most traumatic and dare I say, exciting, time of my life causes me to delve very deeply into my thoughts and bring to the surface events which happened so long ago that only a shadow remains; others have gone with the passage of time. However, some of the happenings are still so vivid in my mind that I can recall almost every detail.

What you are about to read is a true story of my service during World War 2 - nothing is invented or imagined. It is a story of events as I saw and experienced them and I will try, to the best of my ability, to describe vividly just how it was. At the beginning, little did I realise that my life would change forever as a result of my experience.

Come with me on a journey of reminiscence about The Second World War 1939-45

Bill Cheall 4390717,  May 1994

The chapters

For those visitors carrying out research on the Second World War, please find below a copy of the Contents page that appears in the published book.



     Dunkirk, Prologue: Looking for Bray-Dunes (opens in a new window)

1.   The Beginning – The Territorial Army – 1939

2.   Call Up

3.   Dunkirk - We Join the British Expeditionary Force

4.  Dunkirk 

5.   Dunkirk - The Aftermath

6.   Dunkirk - We Reorganize

7.   Training Begins

8.   I Am Posted

9.   North Africa - To the Middle East (on the Queen Mary) - Click to see original war diary pages

10. North Africa - Egypt, The Desert

11. North Africa - Back to the Green Howards

12. North Africa - Wadi Akarit, Into Battle

13. Sicily - Preparing

14. Sicily, Into Battle

15. Our Return to England

16. D-Day - Intensive Training (for D-Day)

17. D-Day - Time for Action

18. D-Day - D minus 1 to D-Day

19. D-Day - Grim Determination – D-Day, 6 June 1944

20. D-Day - D plus 1 to D plus 30

21. My Rest Cure

22. Back to Duty

23. Germany - Hamburg and Peace

24. Germany - Oberhausen, Germany

25. Germany - Duisburg, The End of my War

Epilogue: Back to Normandy, June 1984


Battalions mentioned in the book