Research & pet projects - what are you doing; how's it progressing?

Discussion in 'General' started by dbf, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. TijgerB

    TijgerB Member

    Well my favorite research is the Indonesian revolution and the Tiger Brigade on Mid-Java.
    Then I started to research the British occupation 45/46 and started to build a database with casualties finding more names than cwgc and statistics say diedo_O
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    I began my research with the initial target of finding one third of the casualties from Operation Longcloth, starting with the men from the 13th Battalion, the King's Regiment. The official figure for participants of Chindit 1 is 3056.

    I achieved my first goal about three years ago, when a gentleman from the USA kindly sent me the 3/2 Gurkha Rifles casualty roll for WW2. Although I have now expanded my horizons to include additional personnel associated with Longcloth; aircrew who flew supply drops to the Brigade in Burma and Medical Staff that tended the sick and wounded survivors back in India for instance, my Excel Roll now stands at 3029 names. It is a monstrous listing, compiled by a crazy person!!:screwy:
  3. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Still researching my fathers war, unfortunatley I am unable to devote much time to the project. I still owe Ron photo's of the Whitby pillboxes.
    When I can put the present family problems and health issues behind me then I will get up to date and move on with said research.
    von Poop, Deacs, CL1 and 1 other person like this.
  4. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Thanks to this forum and a little exchange between "stenotholus" ( one post ) and "stevin" ( last seen in 2011 ) on this thread: Japanese Hell Ships - POW Deaths I was made aware of a personal account by a Dutch soldier who survived the shipwreck which caused the death of my uncle. ( see the Hofuku Maru thread ). Published in a rare book in 1946 I have just bought one of the first editions from a very pleasant bookseller in Holland. It is about 57,000 Dutch words in total ( about 10,000 about the voyage and subsequent events ) so I will now spend some time with the Google translation service, or may actually get a Dutch dictionary.
    von Poop, Reid, Deacs and 5 others like this.
  5. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    I haven't got very far. Living in rural SW France, and speaking french (a bit), I'm in an ideal position to find out how things were here during the Occupation (from 1943.) But I've found that the many very elderly folks around, who must have interesting stories to tell, are reluctant to open up. Still such a sensitive topic. Or they don't want to remember.
    There are still ceremonies every year at the sites where there were massacres of Resistance fighters, so maybe more on that sad topic.
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  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I see fathers loom large in many of our research backgrounds.
    Deacs, Charley Fortnum and CL1 like this.
  7. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    About three years or so, my Mother pulled out a box from under the stairs,or from the attic. Amongst other things, there was a narrative of the doings of the 2/7 Middlesex Regt at Anzio. With the help of this forum, I've managed to obtain a lot of information. My old Queen thinks that I was some what obsessed ( she now sees it as a worth while hobby).. Thank the lord for Mothers who have kept a treasure trove of important documents over the years... She was spitting feathers when her Fathers service records was obtained.. My project is still on going.. One day, I might obtain all the the Divisional / Regimental Histories of the US 5th Army.:unsure:

    von Poop, Reid, Deacs and 2 others like this.
  8. RRTB

    RRTB 145 Fd Regt (Berkshire Yeomanry) RA

    Just as an addendum to my previous post here : Through being sent the wrong application form to attend the Drumhead Service to mark the 70th Anniversary of VJ-Day I had the pleasure of discovering that my father had probably been entitled to receive a General Service Medal with SE Asia 1945-46 clasp. He had never applied for this, so I contacted the Medal Office and gave them all his details. They wrote back a couple of months or so later confirming that he was indeed entitled to the medal. I now am in possession of his GSM, albeit 69 years "late".

    While clearing my mother's house following her passing in January 2015, I found a small cardboard box in the writing desk which was full of "rubbish" like loose drawing pins, stubby pencils, paperclips, etc etc. At the bottom of the box were four strange things on a string - two grey and two of a reddish colour. Imagine my total surprise when I realised I had just found my father's dogtags: one set for when he was of Gunner rank with the 126th HAA and the other when he had been commissioned and posted to 145 Fd Regt Berkshire Yeomanry RA.

    The research into the Berkshires continues, as does that into the South Irish Horse. I wish I knew where the SIH Regimental Museum had been moved to. It used to be housed in Carrickfergus Castle but that was a good number of years ago and its whereabouts now I have no idea. If anyone happens to be able to help with that I would be extremely grateful.

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  9. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Many of us seem to have started with our fathers War Service.
    I actually got the bug by getting involved many years ago with the RBL Hockley Branch where a couple of old sweats had started compiling a Roll of Honour for the town. They'd been doing it since the end of WW2 and had amassed a lot of handwritten info but not decided what to do or how to continue.
    Being a pain in the *rse, I decided to help, using the CWGC Debt of Honour database, when computer usage was very new, so was able to come up with more Names. Eventually we were able to come up with a list that all believed comprehensive and only one family objected to the Names being put onto a concrete plaque outside the Branch.
    That family had a pilot lost over Burma but as they were on the parish boundary they actually were more involved with the next town, which was where they wanted him commemorated.
    I then got quite expert in using the CWGC database, then discovered Geoffs Search Engine which knocked spots off the CWGC's own database, until the last revamp. It still out performs in a few areas, but using a combination of CWGC and Geoff's, I was able to help build up many more Rolls of Honour.
    I enjoy the challenge and following little clues to find more than just an initial and surname that no one now knows much about.

    It seems to defeat the whole point of Remembrance if no one knows WHO those initials and Names belong to.
    So, I'll pitch in locally or anywhere if someone needs help or just to add more connections (not to "shame" the original War Memorial founders) but showing links that may not have been apparent when the Memorial had been commissioned.

    One other project that is bubbling at the back of my mind is those "Missing" Luftwaffe airmen that are known to have fallen on English soil, yet currently have no known graves, I think very few were not recovered but due to the hectic nature of the Battle of Britain, burials may have been misrecorded, so that known crashes and their crew have accidentally disappeared.

    But something else may catch my imagination!
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  10. Reid

    Reid Historian & Architectural Photographer

    I started researching my grandfather's service back on 1986 - 4 years after his death. As this was well before the age of the internet (and I'm an Australian so information had to come by mail from the UK) it has been a long, slow process.

    Since finding this wonderful site and such a great bunch of fellow WW2 enthusiasts, I've been able to find out things I would have never otherwise discovered. A huge shout-out to Drew and Lee who have been a major force with diaries etc from the NA and to Hugh, who has been a big help with everything DEMS; as he said, it's a very difficult branch of service to research.

    It has been a great research project for me, and I love finding out little things in the most unexpected places, which are helping me build a bigger picture of his involvement in WW2. My most favourite of these to date: receiving transcripts of letters sent from the HMT Banfora, during his time aboard, to a group of schoolgirls who were part of the Merchant Ship Adoption Society, and connecting with the radio operator on his ship, when they were taking part in Operation Dragoon.

    Perhaps the biggest discovery for me so far has been the discovery of him being part of the convoy in which the Rohna sank (KMF26) and serving in Iceland, on resupply missions for the Arctic Convoys.

    It has been a long, involved process, but I am so very happy to have started it and continually sharing the findings with my mum (his daughter); I just wish I'd asked some questions before he passed away. Eventually, I'll put it into a semblance of order so that my nieces can also see what their (unknown) great-grandad did during WW2 and help them understand the huge sacrifices made by so many people to overthrow tyranny and preserve freedom.
    von Poop, Deacs, Hugh MacLean and 3 others like this.
  11. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

  12. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    If you are interested Kevin there were two airmen killed at Ashby St Mary in 1944 who have no known grave. My father in law as a young lad scoured the area soon after the crash and remembered finding a thumb. Apparently the Home Guard cleared up useing bayonets and sacks, a bit like litter picking. It is thought that some remains were put in the churchyard but some were just kicked down rabbit holes. The crew were Kruger and Reichardt and we still have the cloth iron cross that belonged to one of them.
  13. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

  14. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Glad you found that Kevin. By this stage of the war people were becoming hardened to the effects of bombing and held little respect for the perpetrators.
  15. TijgerB

    TijgerB Member

    The wind blow me way out of course last weekend. I was asked to search for the grave of a Dane killed in an accident in Canada in 1918 but buried in Denmark. The grave is cancelled by now I am sorry to tell but I found the date the burial took place. Nothing like a mission impossible now and then.
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  16. Aeronut

    Aeronut Junior Member

    For several years I've been slowly working on compiling my father's letters with portions of a history written by his CO all packed out with pieces of explanation or background information for future publication.
    In one of his letter's my father wrote this prior to Operation Totalise:
    "I have just had my chaps sat around me and have given them the final pep talk; a War Office official photographer has taken several shots of my little group, and maybe they will appear in some of the papers. The setting is as follows: - Me as the center of attraction sitting on a box against an armoured car wearing my T.O.S. with the blokes sat around me informal like."
    This intrigued me, did these shots still exist,and could I find them? First port of call was the IWM website and a search of the stills they have there. No luck. However eventually I found this description of a newsreel film;
    THE 51ST (HIGHLAND) DIVISION TAKES PART IN A NIGHT ATTACK SOUTH OF CAEN with the following description 'A soldier serving with the 1st Battalion Black Watch writes a letter home before going into action. A lieutenant briefs a group of NCOs and men from the battalion's HQ Company (?) for the forthcoming attack; likewise, Major Benson, temporarily in command of the battalion, gives his NCOs a pep talk. 144th RAC's tank crews prepare for action at Cormelles;
    Well could it be? Totalise was a night attack South of Caen, its the right Battalion (Father may have been commision in the Lancashire Fusileers but he fought with 1 BW) and as Battalion Signal Officer he was in the HQ company.
    Well the IWM got my money and I recieved a CD and yes the lieutenant briefing is indeed my father (on screen for 5 seconds) not only that but the soldier writing a letter home is also my father shot from above , the letter is in fact his maps and notes for the briefing.
    Now I just need to go back to the IWM and pay a lot more money for a better quality frame grab of the newsreel and get on with finishing the manuscript.
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The stills may well be there, but haven't been digitised yet. The film catalogue entries sometimes list the corresponding stills references, but I'm guessing this one doesn't. Unfortunately, I think it's a case of going down to the photo archive and going through their albums.
    dbf likes this.
  18. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

  19. Mathsmal

    Mathsmal Senior Member

    I have been kept busy with various things, but these are a bit different to everyone else it seems -

    Interviewing people for the SWWEC and SOFO archives and the associated research relating to those conversations - this has kept me busy for the last 10 years or so, but sadly the number of interviewees is inevitably declining. But it has lead me to doing multiple small research projects to put stories into context, etc.

    Researching POW camps in the UK - bit of an ongoing thing which I pick up every now and then

    War graves research - both local cemeteries and war memorials, but also foreign burials in the UK. Quite a lot of trawling through microfilms at Records Offices!
    dbf likes this.
  20. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Currently re-reading my self published biography of RSM John Kemp of 76th HAA Regt (part three, on the Italian campaign) to check for and pick up those annoying little things that slipped through the net of the various proof readers, so that I can now include photographs of some of the gun positions on the Gothic Line that I took during a visit in September, and reprint as second edition. Having done that am now bitten and very much wanting to go to Bari to photograph the docks to illustrate the extensive research I've uncovered on the notorious raid of Dec 1943. A researcher's research is never done!
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