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Researching War Records

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Macd View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 25 2018 at 7:22am
This is a segue from another thread.

I thought it might be useful to start a thread on researching war records.  I fell into this pastime honestly when I decided to learn all I could about my maternal grandfather's service history.  It was a journey through time that put me in touch with others who were also discovering their own relatives history.  I have concentrated on WWI but have also done some research on the 2nd Boer War.  WWII records are a harder as statutory privacy limitations still apply in many cases.   My knowledge of my father's service in the RCAF and my mother's in the WAAF is still  incomplete.

One of the most poignant discoveries was about an uncle I didn't know about.  He died in 1918 and my grandfather never mentioned him that I can remember.  I stumbled across his name while doing some genealogy research.  I can't quite explain the exilaration tinged with a bit of sadness that accompanied getting a copy of his Attestation from an online archive.  Here it is.  You will immediately see it is tattered from the bombing of the records office in London during the second world war.


My uncle Arthur is now remembered.  I have a picture of the cemetery where he is buried and know the location of his grave.  One day I hope to visit it.  From my grandsfather's records, of which I have a full copy from the National Archives, and the War diary of his unit I have been able to follow his movements including his participation in the excavation of the Messines mines.  One of the clues that assisted me was a record of a tooth extraction in his medical record.  It was done by an Australian medical unit.  I referenced their location at the time from their war diary.  

I am willing to help others with links and sources I have used.  It has been a number of years but, if anything, the online access to many records has got much better.  I would be very interested in seeing others relate their own knowledge of their relative's service in the Great War or WWII.
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hoadie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hoadie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 25 2018 at 3:33pm
I did a whole parcel of research for some Canadians in bomber command, for some friends. Even ended up getting the name & date of the German that shot the uncle's plane down - what happened to the German - & some pics of the wreckage. (Brought a whole lot of closure to Bill's mother)
But my own grandfather, I came up empty.
He was in the Simcoe - Greys twixt the wars. Even have a picture of him & his unit. But my Grandmother threw out his service info before she died, thinking no-one would be interested in that stuff.
My search led me to Tunney's Pasture in Ottawa - who said they had no records back that far.(I KNEW that was crapola- they were just too lazy) Then I found out he used to be the plant chief @ Tunney's Pasture..still got stonewalled.
Loose wimmen tightened here
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Macd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2018 at 7:18am
This may help restart your research.  I have found the people at Library and Archives Canada helpful to a point but they can't do research for people.  They would be overwhelmed with requests.    As far as records go do not be surprised there are gaps.  Some militia units were careful to ship dormant files to Archives and some not so good.  The pay records are usually available and this can really help as they will have the member's service number.

https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/Documents/RG9-58_EN-final.pdf
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Macd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Macd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2018 at 8:24am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2018 at 12:23pm
My wife's Grandfather (Dennis) served in the Irish Guards with the BEF in 1914. However he never spoke about the war to his son's. 
My wifes Father (Tom) wanted to know more about Denns's wartime activity; because all he knew was that he had been wounded near Ypres in late 1914. He was released from service due to injuries and joined the merchant navy for the remainder of the war.
I got the grandfathers army number and contacted the Irish Guards. Their records department were very helpful. I got copies of all of his service records. (for 25 pounds)
We found that he had joined the reserves in 1910 then joining the regular army in 1912. 
Details of fines for being late on parade etc. His signature on different paper's etc.
We got the date and details of his wound; which was not shrapnel as believed by the family; but a rifle shot that broke his upper arm. 
We presented the info to Tom for Christmas 2007 with the promise of a visit to Ypres in the following spring. Getting a copy of the Guards WWI diary; we were able to find out the area of battle the day that Dennis was wounded and visit the area.
It was a great weekend and remains a great memory for my wife and I. (Tom passed away 2 years later).
It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Macd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2018 at 12:35pm
Zed,
My uncle is in Premont Cemetery which is just SE of Cambrai and NE of Saint - Quentin.  I may never get there but you never know.
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