University of Oxford
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What My Grandparents Gave for All

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:20 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

I would like to tell the stories of my grandparents. Iris Coles and Regnald Pope. My grandmother Iris, was in the Wrens, no idea what she did as I could not find out, but she has been serving for about 4 years.

At that time her childhood sweetheart, George was captured by the Japs, worked on the Bridge on the River Kwai, and was brutally tortured and died in Japan. Iris's brother Selwyn Jones was serviced on the Navy ship the Kanderha, which was hit in the Mediterranean in December 1942. Selwyn died a horrible death.

The Pope family were told of his death on Christmas day. Robert Selwyn Jones is mentioned on the naval memorial, Plymouth Hoe. My grandfather Regnald was first in the navy having lied about his age, when he was found out, being only 15. Enlisted in the army. He served at Dunkirk and then went on to serve in India, Burma and Japan.

Regnald was a sniper who killed hundreds of men, given the Burma Cross, but never wanted the metal and sent it back. He was in the first platoon that walked into Hiroshima, after the Atom bomb, and Japan had surrendered, through waste high of white waste, he always said, no one deserved an atomic bomb on them, but it was the only way to stop the Japs, they would have gone on forever. Both my grandparents never spoke of the war, my grandmother always stood in her kitchen and cried on Armistice Day and never did she put up Christmas decorations.

Both throughout their lives suffered from mental health issues, my Grandmother was admitted to a mental health hospital, 'Didby' throughout her life. My grandfather was never the same man that went to War. Both of them died very young in their early 60s. My grandfather Regnald had his leg chopped off and died of gangrene, and my grandmother of a bleed on her brain, more than likely caused by the electric shock treatment she suffered, many times through her life.

Reg and Iris, meet at the end of the war. Regnald told Iris, if when I get back you are still here, we will get married, and Iris was. They were married for over 30 years. Loved each other very much, and died within a year of each other, both having given their lives to Britain to be 'stood up and counted'. Silent Heroes. All of them.


Item list and details


Person the story/items relate to

Regnald Pope, Iris Jones, Robert 'Selwyn' Jones and "George"

Person who shared the story/items

Suzanne O'Sullivan

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Family, Grandparents and Great Uncle

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID