"ON ACTIVE SERVICE" New Testament: 1940, 244 Coy RE

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by IanS, May 2, 2018.

  1. IanS

    IanS Junior Member

    My dad died a couple of years ago and I have some of his wartime items. Included in these is a small New Testament with the following handwritten text, James W W Dundain Belfast. This is on two lines obviously for this purpose and below this is "ON ACTIVE SERVICE". Added at the top of the page is "23/7/40 244 Coy RE.
    These details appear on the inside of the hard front cover.
    I have no idea how this came into my dad's possession. I would however, like to build up some more of a picture and see where it might lead. I put the name into a search under Royal Engineers but nothing came up. I'm working on the basis that Belfast is not part of his name, but where he came from.
    Any feedback would be welcome. IanS
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Ian
    Any chance of posting an image of the name?
  3. IanS

    IanS Junior Member

    Photo as requested, hope I get it right.

    Incidentally, I have registered as IanTS and would like to delete it as I forgot I had registered previously as IanS.

    Attached Files:

  4. IanS

    IanS Junior Member

    dbf, I used to live in Keith Grove, just round the corner from you!!
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Eh? You might have me confused with someone else.:)

    Before seeing the image, I'd thought perhaps the surname was DUNDAS. But looking at the entry on the Testament, I wonder if it's not JAMES as a surname with initials after...second line address. Only I can't think of any district/area in Belfast that'd match up, (doesn't look like Duncairn and that's the closest off the top of my head).
    IanS and Tricky Dicky like this.
  6. IanS

    IanS Junior Member

    Hi, sorry if I got it wrong but I looked at your profile and clicked on "away with the faeries" and got a map location just round the corner where I once lived (a long time ago) just off the Uxbridge Rd.
    Good bit of lateral thinking on the name and/or location, shame nothing clicks.
    The only connection my dad had with the Royal Engineers was when he was in Flushing during the battle of the Scheldt. He was moving out with his snipers when he saw and spoke to a Royal Engineer Sgt, who was lifting a teller mine. He'd got about 30 yards away when the mine exploded, killing the Royal Engineer. It seems the mine was booby-trapped. It did cross my mind that he may have picked up the New Testament then, if it had fallen from the Sgt's battle dress. They had both met a year before on a course and dad had recognized him.
  7. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    According to a RE Order Of Battle document I have. The 244th (Welsh) Field Company Royal Engineers were a first line Territorial Army unit. Formed in July 1938, they joined 53rd (Welsh) Division on 3 Sep 1939 based in Swansea.

    According to Wikipedia, 53 (Welsh) Infantry Division was sent to France in September 1939. After their evacuation at Dunkirk, 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division was sent to Northern Ireland to defend it from invasion. 61 Div got the north of Ulster and 53rd got the south. That would therefore suggest that the bible might have been a gift from a church they were frequenting whilst serving in Belfast.

    Assuming that the chaps name is W W James. I can find only 3 people with that name on the 1939 Register for Wales who were born between 1910 and 1930.

    William W James, Born 1913, living in Llanelly M.B., Carmarthenshire
    William Wilfred James, Born 1915, living in Narberth R.D., Pembrokeshire
    William Woodwell James. Born 1913, living in Neath M.B., Glamorganshire.

    Found one William James in Duncairn, born in 1899, a Carpenters & Joiner. A member of Amalgamated Society Of Woodworkers.

    I have found no one in the Army Casualties 1939-1945 database that match.

    Hope this helps

    Last edited: May 4, 2018
    IanS likes this.
  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Think I agree but also can't find a district to suit. Attached may be clearer.
    Pocket Bible 2.jpg
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  9. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  10. IanS

    IanS Junior Member

    Hi All,
    thanks for the terrific effort you've put in. I tried the districts too without success. I forgot to mention that there is an oval stamp inside the rear cover. Around the outer edge is (top) CAPT. R.J. HILL. (bottom) 49 MARTINEZ AVENUE, BELFAST and in the centre is LIVING LINKS. Looks to be from a rubber stamp using blue ink. The address is currently a private house. I didn't achieve any success here either.
    I can't see that I'm going to win this one, but will keep trying for the present. Thanks to all for your kind help.
  11. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  12. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    Maybe it’s Dun Farm Belfast?
  13. PurpleHaze76

    PurpleHaze76 New Member

    Hi Ian
    I've just come across a new testament with the same blue stamp on the inside of the back cover 16526513513164227088612015804130.jpg
  14. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    There are three web links id'd when using: "belfast" + "CAPTain R.J. HILL" that possibly refer to a Captain R.J. Hill, Military Cross or M.C., formerly of Queens College Belfast (now Queens University Belfast), who was resident in New Zealand in WW1, possibly as a member of the Otago Regiment and part of the '3rd Reinforcement'.

    There are web links to 'Living Links' as a research institution in Belfast and a charity dealing with suicide in Ireland, which has offices in Belfast.

    If the Captain is a New Zealander and winner of the MC then this thread explains a lot, though without a Belfast connection that I can see: Roland Justus Hill - Otago Regiment NZEF There is an excellent Memorial to him, which has contact details for relatives: https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-...online-cenotaph/browse&ordinal=273&lang=en-nz
  15. Susan Hill

    Susan Hill New Member

    Hi I’ve only just joined as I was looking up a New Testament that I have in my possession and it came up with your post. I was wondering if you were able to get anymore information on your bible as mine has the same stamp inside.

    Attached Files:

  16. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    Purple Haze76 has not logged on since 15/5/2022, so we have had no update. I will send her a PM to look at the thread in a moment. She may have flagged the thread. Standby.

    What is the background to the bible you have?
  17. Susan Hill

    Susan Hill New Member

    Hi my Mum had it in her possessions after she died but I do know that I had a great grandfather named George Hill and also My Nan had a brother called George Hill and I’m guessing it was probably my Nans brothers as these were issued out from what I’ve read in WW2 and it’s got a George Hill named on the inside.
  18. IanTS

    IanTS Member

    Good morning, my father died in 2016. Some time before this, he gave me a small bible that he had kept since WW2. He said he had forgotten how he came by it, he was about 90 at the time. He thinks it may have been during the Battle of the Scheldte.

    It was issued by the National Bible Society of Scotland.

    The information on the inside of the front cover board is as follows,

    The information below is handwritten.
    James W W (I think they are W's)
    Dundain Belfast

    At the top left corner is written,
    244.Coy. R.E.

    Can anyone expand on the information I've given please.
    Many thanks,
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Could you please post an image of the inscription?
  20. IanTS

    IanTS Member

    Thanks for replying. I tried to upload an image which was .bmp and too large, I saved as .jpg which worked but I kept getting a mirror image. I'll get my son to resolve the problem for me and will upload as soon as I can.
    dbf likes this.

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