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markinbelfast
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I always understood it to be pretty much the norm during the period. Even German Shepherd dogs became Alsations.

Certainly it depended on the standing of the family in the community, but anyone that wanted to continue trading in business had to change thieir names pretty quick.

I would assume it would make sense if you were living amongst ill educated, highly volitile locals who would not consider their actions too closely after a few at the local.

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Yesterday, I was snooping around a local cemetery (as you do), and came across a headstone for Ernest Scholer - Welsh Regiment. He was a local lad (Bristol), but it almost feels that he could have had some stick by the neighbours etc - to Ernst Scholer......... or am I clutching at straws (probably) :P

Les.

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How about 15001 Cyril Henry Von Schwartz, kia 27/6/16. A very, very early enlister into the 17th Liverpool pals battalion.

Bill

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It was quite common for people to change their German-sounding names. This was happening well before the Great War and the idea was to make yourself sound British so you and your immigrant family could fit in better. It wasn't done (at that time anyway) because of any fear of being singled out as a German. Among my ancestors were a German family called Weissmann who changed their name to Wiseman. Similarly, the founder of the Velocette motorcycle firm, Johannes Gutgemann, changed his name to John Goodman around 1908.

The practice took on a new kind of urgency during the strong anti-German feeling of 1914 and 1915, I guess.

Tom

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Bill,

Just had a quick look around the CWGC site for "Von" "ww1" & "British"..... here's a few of the good ones!!

Major Herman Walter Von Poellnitz - RAF

Major Carl Otto Von Treuenfels - RFA

Sapper W G Von Ahn - RE

OK... so the officers were probably "named" persons.... I pity the sole that was in the trenches!

Regarding Major Von Poellnitz... his father was "Arthur James Charles Robert McKenzie von Poellnitz" but to confuse matters, the Major was born in Italy :blink:

Major Von Treuenfels came from Highgate, London and was a DSO.

Les.

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In Australia in a response to anti-German sentiment during WW1, 69 place names of German origin were wiped out but in 1935 the town, then known as Ambleside, reverted to ‘Hahndorf’. The town was named after Captain Hahn who brought the first boat carrying the German fathers (the Zebra) to South Australia in 1839

Peter

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I wonder how much stick the soldiers with German sounding names recieved? I recall reading an article regarding anti-German riots in Liverpool either during the Great War or just after.

Regarding name changes though. My family originate from Italy and changed their surname very early (well before 1914). If they hadn't would they have been treated as an ' alien ' during the Second World War even though my great grandfather and grandfather fought in the Great War?

Bill

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... I would assume it would make sense if you were living amongst ill educated, highly volitile locals who would not consider their actions too closely after a few at the local.

I see the Agatha Christie school of social analysis lives on. I think you will find, then as now, that prejudice and its unlovely companions truculence and vigilantism are not confined to any one part of society.

On the wider issue, I am not sure whether your remarks referred to New Zealand or Britain. I would certainly be very interested to learn whether New Zealand experienced the anti-German sentiment and spy fever that was a feature of British life and played a part in the run up to war. It intensified when hostilities commenced and probably peaked in May 1915 when the Lusitania went down. Some authorities trace its origin as far back as the Kruger telegram of 1895.

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Name changes happened here in Canada as well, the best known being when the city of Berlin, Ontario, changed its name to - you guessed it, Kitchener!

Growing up, my next door neighbour was a former WW2 RCAF bomber pilot named Miller. I only found out years later that he had changed his name from Muller.

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Strangely My Great Grandfather Changed the Name of his Business in London's East End to Vann,adopting it as his Family surname until well after the War;from Vanhinsbergh,yet his Sons & Nephew's all served in WW1 under their full name,even though of Belgian ExtractionGG felt that it might be unwise to try to explain to a Mob that they were Not German!! Feeling in the East End was very anti~German,years after the War Ended.

Also The Battenburg's became the Mountbattens[one was KiA in 1914]

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Regarding name changes though. My family originate from Italy and changed their surname very early (well before 1914). If they hadn't would they have been treated as an ' alien ' during the Second World War even though my great grandfather and grandfather fought in the Great War?

Bill

Bill

Yes they would.

My Italian born great uncle was in the Lancashire Fusiliers in WW1, and interned in WW2.

My great aunt, by marriage, was born in London of Italian parents. Her elder brother was killed in WW1 whilst serving the the London Regiment (The Rangers). Her son was in RAF Air-Sea Rescue in WW2, and yet she had to report to the police regularly. Also, she was not allowed to own a bicycle or a radio etc etc.

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Wasn't Jaguar cars once known as SS cars?...maybe a myth..

also on the Shankill Road in Belfast we've Berlin as well as Cambrai (named after the flax-linen connections)...wonder if there was ever a lets change Berlin Street campaign?

SS was "Super Swallow" the fore runners of Jaguar,they changed from SS in the late 1940s due to the unsavoury connotations of the SS logo

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Among my ancestors were a German family called Weissmann who changed their name to Wiseman.

Tom... was this name change truly to 'fit it' or were there higher ambitions.. or maybe a little ego? :D

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I had real problems trying to trace Pte Francis Clyne, 5th Seaforth and AOC.

After a great deal of digging and a very lucky find via Google, it emerged that he was born, enlisted and served in 5th Seaforth as KLEIN, changing his name by deed poll when he transfered to the AOC in 1916.

He presumably adopted 'Clyne' because that is how a lot of people in the 5th Seaforth would have spelt it anyway. Clyne is a not uncommon surname in the 5th Seaforth's home area and it is actually a parish in Sutherland.

Jock

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Guest Pete Wood
Wasn't Jaguar cars once known as SS cars?...maybe a myth..

SS was "Super Swallow" the fore runners of Jaguar,they changed from SS in the late 1940s due to the unsavoury connotations of the SS logo

That's the first time I've heard that the SS initials mean 'Super Swallow.' The company started as the Swallow Sidecar Company, based in Blackpool. It then went on to build its own car bodies, based on the Austin A7, called the Swallow (I have the remains of one).

I have seen SS to mean Standard Swallow, Swallow Sidecar, Super Sports, Swallow Sixteen, Standard Swallow.

The fact is, no one is sure - including Jaguar.

I was lucky enough to drive a SS100 a few years ago. A glorious, wonderful car.

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