Saved from the dustbin, but where do I start?

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by High Wood, Dec 17, 2020.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I can normally find my way around a genealogy site but this photograph has got me stumped. I was given it by a house clearance bloke many rears ago as it was unsaleable. I stupidly forget to ask if he knew anything about where it came from, so I have no information except what is written on the back.

    In my estimation, the photograph was taken in the 1930s and the comments were added many years later by a member of the family who clearly knew those depicted in the photograph. It was almost certainly given to a younger member of the family as no surnames are given except for Mrs Sharp, (Aunt Madge), Sharp is likely to be her married name. The only other clue is that the photograph was, "taken in the corner of the garden at Elmhurst". I do not know if Elmhurst is the name of a town or the name of a large family house.

    I do not know if those depicted are brothers or cousins or are even related at all. that said, it does appear to be a family photograph.

    The very poignant details on the back are as follows: -

    Geoff, RAF Group Captain, accountant.
    Mrs Sharpe (Aunt Madge).
    David. (Sister living in Canada).
    Jimmy, retired Group Captain, R.A.F. D.F.C. and Bar.

    Andrew. Killed R.A.F. in action
    Richard, (BBC in Burma during war. Died in Burma after war).

    Stevie, died since war
    John, Killed R.A.F. in action,

    Taken in corner of garden at Elmhurst.

    Any pointers in the right direction would be appreciated.

    Unknown 001.JPG

    Unknown 005.JPG
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
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  2. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    In the 1930's Madge was usually a shortened version of Margaret, Marjorie, Jeroen, and Maggie, rather than a birth name. My Auntie Madge was a Marjorie.
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  3. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    Not too many Admin Group Captains called Geoff so that would be my starting point.

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  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have discovered that there was an Elmhurst School for Boys in Croydon, Surrey. It may be that these lads are not related but are pupils at the school.

    I have also found that the RAF Commands website has a complete list of the DFC & Bar recipients which,unfortunately, can only be searched by surname. There are over 1,500 entries and I have already found nine James in the first seven pages.
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    If all else fails try the Shropshire Star as you know they always have this type of query
    If it was local to the area
  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I am not sure if the term accountant applies to his time in the R.A.F. or his later career. If it does, how do I search the Air Force List, is there a section for Administrative staff by rank?
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Not sure that they can help as I bought the photograph in Surrey. But, if you think that it is worth a go.....
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Oh righto mate

    perhaps a local paper might help in that area

    Elmhurst could be the name of a house

    Again assumed its Surrey there are a number of mentions of Elmhurst re houses

    Clutching at straws I am methinks
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The Elmhurst School for Boys in South Croydon still exists and their website states that they have been going since the late 19th Century. Sadly, there is no mention of a school war memorial.
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  10. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    Richard, (BBC in Burma during war. Died in Burma after war).

    Is probably Richard Sharp- BBC Correspondent in Burma. Died in 1950 at the age of 48 on the destroyer HMS Nepal in the North Sea while on assignment with the First Sea Lord.

    Reporting War 1944/5 - People

    Have removed second source which had Sharpe and not Sharp as it was red herring.

    Hope this helps

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
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    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Richard Sharp was indeed the BBC war correspondent who famously reported on the fighting at Kohima, the recording of which I have heard, and is still available. He is mentioned in several books about Burma, including Edwards 'Kohima The Furthest Battle'. The text of his report from Kohima is included in White's 'Straight On For Tokyo'.

    ps Had a quick google, but 'Richard Sharp + BBC' turns up a problem, as you will see, but I did find this;
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    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Edwards does call him Sharpe, rather than Sharp.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
  13. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    Found a Charles Geoffrey SHARP (21203) Accountant Branch RAF who was promoted to Group Captain in 1952.

    Hope this helps

  14. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Quality not great, but some info on Richard Sharpe:
    Norwood News, June 21, 1946 [Norwood, South London]
    Sharpe 1.jpg
    Nottingham Evening Post, Monday, June 26. 1944

    Sharpe 2.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
  15. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

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  16. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  17. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Think you're all on right track with Richard Sharp. I've just noticed another possible transcription error. I think the correct one is Richard (BBC in Burma during the war - died in harness after war). This ties in with the newspaper cuttings.

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  18. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  19. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Reference tree, above, all had births registered in Doncaster, Yorkshire, mother's maiden name Leighton and David went to Canada !!!!

    The 1911 census on this tree has the family living at Conisbrough, Yorkshire - using the post code checker there is this address:
    Elmhurst House
    5 High Street
    DN12 3HG
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
  20. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    that is brilliant, and just the "in" that I was hoping for. I can now use the FreeBMD to see who his brothers were.

    Many thanks,


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