Me and my Army Album

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts.' started by Ron Goldstein, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    It sometimes happens that when I post a story on to a website I get the odd response that says, in effect, “How the hell can you remember such detail and, in particular, how can you be so sure of your dates”.

    I rush to explain.

    My first foray into print was in the Goldstein Family book that was first privately published in 1988 under the title of “And then there were eleven”.
    The title referred to the fact that my father and mother had borne eleven children and the book, edited by my oldest sister, was an effort to place on record individual stories of the surviving eight children up to the outbreak of WW2.
    BBC - WW2 People's War - One family, Five Sons, All Serving in H.M.Forces

    For my portion of this epic I wrote mostly about my wartime experiences as that period was freshest in my mind and this was to form the basis of most of my subsequent wartime stories.

    My original source book was the eponymous “Army Album”

    I’m sure that I was not alone in starting an Army Album at the end of the war. Mine was created in 1946 whilst I was stationed at Opicina just outside Trieste.

    Here I found myself with lots of spare time and plenty of memorabilia that I had accumulated over the preceding 4 years so, presto, I had an album.

    Ron Goldstein's Actual Army Album

    There were of course lots of snaps and postcards, there were the inevitable Army passes to visit such exotic places as Sienna, Florence and Rome. There were propaganda leaflets, currency, and handbills for the local ENSA show, route cards and maps.

    Here was an arm band of the Afrika Corps, there was an Order of the Day, issued by Field Marshal Alexander, expressing his gratitude to his troops for clearing Italy of the last Nazi aggressor.

    Here was a page full of programmes of shows I saw on my first leave back in England, and there was an Italian song sheet.

    Here was a picture taken after the war of my Sgt.Major, Busty Thomas M.M. in his role as Beefeater at the Tower of London, I took my wife and children to meet him and we were given a private tour of the Tower.
    There is five years of memories pasted into this book and it’s already been re-bound once.

    There were two years of diaries to stick in, although I stupidly selected the ones that seemed to capture the mood of the time and pasted them (yes, I said stupidly) into the album so that I could not read the underside!

    Whilst on the point of diaries, originally I had four, starting in 1942 on my call-up. Due to the many moves I was to make over the years, the years ’42 and ’43 were lost forever and I had to rely on my memory and friend’s diaries for salient dates. I transcribed as many readable pages of my 1944 and 1945 diaries as I could and set about getting my dates “right”.

    Once I got involved in computing I was able to locate the Regimental Diaries of both of the units in which I had served, namely the 49th Light Ack Ack Rgt, RA and the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.

    In October 2003 I started posting articles on to the BBC WW2 website and until the site closed for further postings in February 2006 had managed to post one hundred stories which included some that I had posted on behalf of others.

    My final source of reference are my Army Records
    This proved to be an Alladin’s Cave of undisputed accuracy and a wonderful way of checking dates and locations.

    And that, my friends, is how I manage to remember things in detail

    A full "interactive" index of the BBC WW2 stories is now given below.

    An asterisk (*) denotes that the story is about, or was posted on behalf of someone else, other than Ron.

    Day Leave in Rome
    Not My Worst Night, By Any Means: A Young Soldier in North Africa
    Diary Entries 11th April 1945
    One family, Five Sons, All Serving in H.M.Forces
    The War Ends in Italy, 2nd May 1945
    Running a Staging Camp in Germany, August 1945
    Training To Be A Driver/Wireless Operator
    Danke Herr Mix!
    My Welcome Home
    A Driver/Op in Light Ack Ack
    Getting your Army Records
    Ron's Grand Tour
    Trieste, October 1945 to January 1947
    Early Army Days, October 1942
    Two Weeks in Dock in Naples and Not a Wound to Show for it!
    Monte Cassino, March to May 1944
    German Propaganda Leaflets
    What did you eat in the War, Daddy?
    Joining the 4th Queen's Own Hussars
    VE Day, As Seen from a Field near Venice
    The Day My Brother Mick Nearly Killed Me
    Sicily, Then On To Italy
    Not My Worst Night, by Any Means - a Young Soldier in North Africa
    Waiting to be called up
    Keeping a Diary in Wartime: 4th Queen's Own Hussars in Italy and the 49th LAA in Egypt
    The Day I Should Have Died: 4th Queen's Own Hussars in Italy
    The 78th Div Goes to Egypt to Re-Train and Re-Form
    Life in Wartime Austria: 4th Queen's Own Hussars July to August 1945
    Day Leave in Rome
    Transformation from Gunner to Trooper
    Army Transport
    Stick it in your Army.....Album!
    The First Post-War New Years Eve, December 31, 1946
    * Jack Nissenthall- The VC Hero Who Never Was: Part 2
    * No.3 (Jewish) Troop, No.10 Commando
    * Two Jewish Heroines of the SOE Part 1
    * Two Jewish Heroines of the SOE Part 2
    * Two Jewish Heroines of the SOE Part 3
    * Two Jewish Heroines of the SOE Part 4
    * A Jewish Hero in the SOE Part 1
    * A Jewish Hero in the SOE Part 2
    * Jack Nissenthall - The VC Hero Who Never Was (Part 1a)
    * Jack Nissenthall - The VC Hero Who Never Was (Part 1b)
    1939-1947, an ‘interesting’ experience and my 15 minutes of fame.
    Riots in Trieste, circa October 1945
    Day Leave in Alexandria
    Charlie 4 Is Not Answering My Signals
    Getting the facts right
    Dive Bombing in Italy - A Memory Confirmed
    Collapsible beds
    Keeping Clean on Active Service
    New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli
    Images of Wartime, 1939-1946, Ron Goldstein's personal collection
    Ice cold…. But NOT in Alex !
    Gunner Burnard and the Brigadier
    Return to Cassino
    German ‘Tip and Run Raiders’ over Hove in 1943
    Cambridge and Bethnal Green Boy's Club, The club that produced heroes
    Lt.Whitfield's directing debut
    Ron Goldstein’s War — A month at a time
    * Jack Goulden and the prayer book that saved his back
    Commemoration Parade July 10th 2005
    The St.John's Ambulance Brigade in WW2
    Lt.Whitfield and the butterfly spring
    Trieste had its funny moments
    * Field Marshal Keitel's surrender
    Sweating on being released
    Churchill and Ron enjoy a meal together
    Victory Celebrations, 8th June 1946
    A tribute to Edward Arthur Patman, known as ‘Pat’
    Shows running in London during 1945
    Keeping Pets in the Forces
    The correct height of Tank Drivers and the use of KRRS
    Commandeering billets in Italy
    Army Ration Allowance
    * Bernard Jaffa's Record of Service
    The infamous Demob Suit
    Dale Carnegie’s “Pursuit of Happiness”, courtesy of Stalag XVIII
    * Evacuated to Stoke Hammond
    Looking back to 1939 from the relative safety of 2005
    * The day a V2 Rocket hit Tottenham Grammar School
    An Army Convoy On The Move in Italy
    Civil Police in Trieste during the unrest
    A postcard from Sicily, 3rd September 1943
    Algiers, April 1943, Our first sight of Africa
    Sgt.Major Mick Goldstein, Royal Fusiliers and Jewish Brigade
    An unlikely Post War meeting
    A letter to an unknown researcher of the year 2056
    More on German Propaganda leaflets
    * Henry Kaye, Flying Instructor
    The last page in my Army Album
    Trooper Tom Canning, a photo at last!
    Sgt.Jack Goldstein, RAF Bomber Command
    The infamous Burger Brau Keller in Munich
    Dining out in Guelma, North Africa, 1943
    The photo in a serviceman's wallet
    * I'll never forget that day
    * The night our house was sliced in half

    In October 2009 I created a Photo Album of all my individual Army Record sheets and this can be found by clicking on my avatar name (see left) , select "View Public Profile" and finally "Ron's Army Records"
    Slipdigit likes this.
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Thought you'd like an update on the fate of my "old" ( in every sense of the word) Army Album.

    Later this month, I have a date with the Imperial War Museum and will be handing the book over, to be kept in the Archives.

    There was a certain amount of soul-searching in parting with the battered old book , but the thought of the Album being available for future WW2 researchers had too much appeal and so, as the popular song had it, "The time has come, to say goodbye"

    As before, the book can still be seen, page by page, at: Ron Goldstein's Actual Army Album

    Will keep you posted after the handover :)

  3. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Might I say an epic collect of thoughts, memories and deeds that I and am sure fellow members of the forum feel priviledged to have shared in your posts.

    Thank you for sharing and writing down your own history for posterity I hope in years to come people will still access and use as we have now.
  4. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    I echo what Oldman says.

    The wealth of information you have shared almost allows some of us to make up for the fact that we didn't have an opportunity to hear such stories and experiences from our own loved ones.

    Thank you,
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Ron, do you mind if I place a link to this thread at WW2F?
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    No problem, but point out that I am more comfortable on this site :)


  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Well done, that is a terriffic gesture from you.

  8. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member Patron


    A great aquisition for the IWM. Your diary, as I have always said, is a primary source for future historians.

  9. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    When you hand over your Dairy, if you come into contact with Sarah Paterson, who works in the Dome of the IWM (Dept of printed Books) can you please extend greetings from the RBL Berlin Branch.

    Sarah and her husband paid us a visit last year and a good time was had by all.

  10. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

    Hi Ron

    That is unbelievable- what a great reference
    I wish that my Dad had not had his stuff stolen when he moved over here, I would like to have it .


  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    I'm pleased you approve :)

    One of the enjoyable side effects of having assembled all my memorabilia in one spot, is the correspondence I sometimes get regarding the "A" Sqdrn 4th QOH photo on Page 46.

    This was taken in May 1945, immediately after the war finished in Italy, and I had what might be considered a stroke of genius by writing on the back of the pic all the chap's surnames.
    I published them on the BBC site: BBC - WW2 People's War - Joining the 4th Queen's Own Hussars

    Because of the miracle of Search Engines on the internet it is sufficient for someone to key in, for example, "Hatch Hussars WW2" and up will come the link shown above.
    This is usually followed by an e-mail that says" I've just spotted my Dad in your photo".......... wonderful !!!!

    Best regards


    The attached pic also shows the back of the photo :rolleyes:

    Attached Files:

  12. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member


    I wish your'd stop posting links up to your album, I'm in work and should be *wasting* time going through your pages, ive got some very interesting contractor written code thats needs unpicking and writing again properly. I just know that if I click on it it the morning will be gone...

  13. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    I wish your'd stop posting links up to your album, I'm in work and should be *wasting* time going through your pages, ive got some very interesting contractor written code thats needs unpicking and writing again properly. I just know that if I click on it it the morning will be gone...


    Sorry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    A worthy contribution to histories archives.

    Well done Ron.
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    With just a week to go before I hand over my album to the Imperial War Museum I have been busy editing and ammending the Blog that I created to make it available online; Ron Goldstein's Actual Army Album

    My problem has been that the actual album measures 9.75"x 12.25" equivalent to 25cm x 31cm whereas my scanner (and foolscap paper) measures only 8.25" x 11.75", 21cm x 30 cm.

    Wherever a diary entry or some text has been lost in the process of copying the album I have started showing the text below the image.

    In one sense, parting with my album has been conjuring up the same emotions as when my kids went off to university. I knew it was the right thing to do, but in the same breath I knew I was going to bloody miss them !

    I'd appreciate it if members would have a look at the Blog while I still have the album to hand and let me know if any of the individual pages don't make sense or need any extra explanation.

    Thanks, in advance.

  16. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    This is wonderful Ron, just wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with us and glad it has grown up and is moving out on its own to a new home. The time is right friend to do it while it can bring you a sense of joy in the doing.

    Have bookmarked it and will come back for more.

  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    The deed is done !

    At 10:45am today, the 18th of February 2010, accompanied by my personal photographer (who also happens to be my lovely wife, Nita) I arrived at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth Road, London, for the express purpose of donating my Army Album to the Museum's Archives.

    The snaps attached below are pretty self explanatory and the young man receiving the Album on behalf of IWM was Archivist Anthony Richards. I had also previously been asked to deposit a copy of my personal story, plus a transcript of my diaries and I had brought these along on a memory stick for that particular purpose.

    Once the Album has been catalogued etc, it will then be available for viewing by any genuine researcher.

    Until then (and indeed,after that time) it can be seen on my Blogsite that is already set up at:
    Ron Goldstein's Actual Army Album

    Bye-Bye album :(


    I've added a copy of a letter received from the IWM on 26/2/10

    Attached Files:

    dbf likes this.
  18. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    Well done Ron! A very proud moment, tinged no doubt, with a little pang of loss.
    Kind regards,
  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    On the 18th of Feb this year, that's about 3 months ago, I handed over my Army album to the Imperial War Museum.

    Becuase I am a "belt & braces" man I had already set up a blog under the name of: Ron Goldstein's Actual Army Album
    and had also created a physical duplicate of the album in a plastic folder.

    I understood from the outset that the IWM was both under-staffed and fully engaged in researching the vast amount of WW2 documents and memorabilia that had been donated by the general public and that my Album would have to take its turn before it was available for research.

    Having said that, I thought it wouldn't hurt to get some idea as to when the Album would be listed in the IWM's files as available for viewing so I wrote to them asking this very question.

    Their eventual reply included the following statement:

    " At present, I am unable to give an estimate of when details of your album recording your service with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars in Italy during the Second World War will be available on the Museum's Website. This is reliant on technical developments relating to the ongoing improvement of the Museum's website and databases which are due to be completed by the end of 2012. These developments are in progress and are out of my hands, but should provide an improved service when they have been completed."

    In the meantime any interested parties are welcome to visit my Blog, make comment or ask a question concerning anything that is displayed.

    I sincerely hope that I will still be around when the Album is eventually available to view at the museum :)

  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It's at least intriguing to hear they're working on their website Ron.
    A pretty good site already, hopefully it'll get even better.

    The thought occurs, on the 'Belt & Braces' side, would it be OK if we were to try and build a full copy of your album in a thread here as well? Maybe at least the full set of album images from your blog?


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