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Feb 10, 2018

WW2 veteran, Fred Zilken, reminisces in letters written 50 years after the war ended.

"In the hot desert, while on guard, some of us drank the rusty water from the radiators of the Bren Gun carriers.  I would lie on my back - mouth under the drain plug of the carrier! 

"I didn’t get far before Jerry had me in range and dropped a few mortars all around me.  I froze, as each bomb seem to get nearer.  I could feel the heat off them as they exploded …".

"They were all court martialled and two or three were sentenced to be shot!".

Revealing highlights of letters Private Fred Zilken sent to comrade Wilf Shaw over a number of years after WWII. 

More great unpublished history - of the Second World War.

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Full show notes at

Please note that photos below may or may not display depending on which listening platform you’re using.

Below: Fred Zilken proudly wears the 50th Infantry Division TT badge, denoting the catchment areas of the battalion, the Rivers Tyne, Tees and Humber in Yorkshire. Drawn Sicily 1943.

Fred Zilken sketch WWII, Sicily

Below: Signal platoon outside Marston House 1941, WW2. Fred top right.

Signal platoon outside Marston House 1941, WW2


 So, a pic of Fed exists after all!Fred Zilken enlarged, WWii

A WW2 history podcast on Bill Cheall's war diary and memoirs.