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Remembered Today:

Move to WWII?


Kathie
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I have a technical problem - I cannot find threads which I start. So forgive me if I cnanot find one I started on this exact topic. On the other hand, I have a aging problem which is that I think I have started a thread and asked my question and I frequently find that I haven't. So please bear with me - this might be one of both or neither?

Anyway, the question relates to how Pals on the Forum see their future? Mine I now realise is not to do another memorial of WWI soldiers but to stick with my memorial and do the WWII soldiers on it.

This is a cultural shock but I am becoming quite interested.

The questions?

1. Have other people stuck to a memorial and moved on to a different war or are they loyal to their wars?

2. Is my move advisable or not.

3. I just think I may become a bit bored with the local news of the period which I have already covred.

4. I assume that I start the same way I have done the WWI soliders - CWGC, military records, local newspapers and lots of books. I have already put ads in the local papers.

5. Are there forums like the Great War Forum?

Ideas and comfort please. thanks

Kathie

Kathie

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Kathie, try this. Click on your name where it says "Logged in as" (top left of the page). Another page comes up. It has a blue box top right, marked Options. Click that. You'll see one that lets you see all your own threads and posts without having to search for them.

And as for Q5, sing with me. "There's no forum, like the Great War Forum, like no Forum I know". A touch of the Ethel Mermans!

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I'm still on WWI but during research into post war stuff the WW2 local newspapers didn't seem as 'good' for local news as for WWI. More censorship? The fact that 'Pals Battalions' weren't formed meaning there was not so much 'local focus' for the papers to get hold of? Not sure...

Also I don't think you can get e.g. officer service records for WW2. On the other hand a lot of them are still alive so oral testimony is possible unlike WWI (now down to a handful of survivors).

Whats that noise? Has a cat got in? Oh! Sorry, Chris..

Bernard

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Hi Kathie,

Stick with the one memorial and then move on to others in your area. It really is worth it.

There are websites & forums for the WW2 period and a wealth of expertise and experience to draw from.

Take a look at my website and see what you think. It's not finished, as there are a few gaps yet to fill and pages to be added but it's well under way.

The main message is, don't give up. Their names will stay alive as long as people like us keep remembering them.

Regards

Paul Johnson

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And as for Q5, sing with me. "There's no forum, like the Great War Forum, like no Forum I know"...

Everything about it is appealing...

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Ive allways been on the side of WW2 but only because dad was in the RAF and mum the ATS. over the past few years I collected the majority of WW1 I have but went back to WW2 as it was more available.

Since buying a WW2 Iron Cross 1st class from a dealer as genuine, since told a copy!!) I have gone back to WW1 as to me the value is in the name around the medal. This is far more researchable than un named WW2 unless you collect South African or can afford the better medals.

When you get to WW2 the brick walls are up, dads service record, he has to apply for as he is still here, from Innsworth. If you are looking at German, then its a lot more difficult without very good German dealing with the Volksbund.

Some info is available , say Canadian records, but generally you need it straight from the horses mouth.

I collect signed Robert Taylor prints , one day I happened across Luftwaffe fighting aces portfolio, £200 seemed reasonable, then I got the RAF Fighter, and the majority of RAF bomber folios. I spoke to the publisher and asked about a USAF folio. They told me it had been suggested, and they went to contact a few 'aces'. The stories they came out with should have meant they won the war on their own on day 2!! the folio was never completed or published.

getting back to the forum question, Ive been lurking on a couple, the German fieldgrau one hasnt much to offer , I was told 'the information you want is not available', the other WW2 forum seemed made up of Americans bragging about their gun collection.

Think Ill stay here!!

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Can't see me ever getting bored with the Great War.

Over the years, I have been fascinated/obsessed by Cambridge United, the Great War and Mrs Broomfield, in that order.

I've stuck with the other two through thick and thin - the thin bit refers mostly to CUFC B) - so I see no likelihood of moving on to WW2......

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Kathie

When I started doing my first batch of memorials, it was because of an inyerest in WW1. Once finished, I felt that I should do "something" about the WW2 men and women. But my heart wasnt in it. So the notes on the men are, comparitively, very brief.

My newer town-wide project is just WW1 and will not touch WW2. I can get to feel a bit "samey" but I think anyone who "does" a memorial may well tell you that. There are only a limited number of ways you can describe how Tommy got killed and the language can certainly get repetitive. But, I find I'm becoming increasingly fascinated more by the social history of the time, rather than the precise events which caused Tommy's death. Lots of scope there.

In terms of the future, I have a definate "10 year plan". The current project has about another 4 years of research. At the end of it, there should be some information publically available about just about all the casualties from the town.

I then want to return to my first interest - 17/Manchester - and do some research into the orginal Pals members.

Then there's the book(s).

John

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The whole notion of "moving on" perplexes me. It suggests that there's a glass wall (or ceiling, even) and you're not a 'proper' WW1 historian if you 'do' WW2. You've 'betrayed the cause', almost. If your interest is focussed on local memorials, why SHOULDN'T you research the WW2 casualties? There is absolutely nothing wrong with specialising, but it's the very thought that it's 'forbidden fruit'; or 'don't go there'.

I was on a battlefield tour once of a very high calibre with a combination of WW1, WW2 even French Revolutionary War stands. There had just been an exemplary WW2 presentation. One of the WW1 experts (a published author, whose books are sought after) on reboarding the bus for the next - WW1 - stand said very loudly and without humour "Oh good. Back to the REAL war". Crass.

Similarly, at a broad ranging conference in the mid-80s I met Peter Liddell's student body - or some of them. They sat together permanently, moved as one almost. (I was heavily reminded of The Midwich Cuckoos..) On hearing that my postgraduate study was WW2 based they literally turned their backs on me... I always wondered what happened to them when his centre branched out into WW2!

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Kathie,

I've just begun looking at the WW2 names from my village's memorial, although there are still a few men from the Great War on the memorial that I know nothing about other that the name......

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Hi Kathie

Its a great question and one with no right or wrong answer.

I am currently writing about both the World War 1 and 2 men on our memorial and am thoroughly interested in both, but am learning more and more about the WW2 soldiers life than I knew before.

WW2 is indeed harder in many ways to research but can sometimes be more productive in terms of what you actually find. For example whilst you can't access individual records, being a generation later you can sometimes track down family members who can often provide great pictures and often relate stories about them.

Newspapers often provide glimpses of how and where the person did but for security no detail, this can often be frustrating but equally so rewarding when you find exactly what happened. I have had a number of them, basic CWGC date, then a small newspaper piece such as a guy 'leaving Dunkirk on a paddle steamer' and never heard from again. Tracking down from this shows that 3 steamers were lost and all on dates that coincide with his presumed dates of death. Dead end you think, then a tiny piece in a post war paper tells me he was last seen on the 'Waverely', bingo, but no there were two Waverelys at Dunkirk!! More research shows that only one though was sunk on the dates in question so problem finally solved, I then find pictures of it and indeed find out it was discovered by divers in the 1980's who send pictures of it today and leave a plaque.... and thats just one story amongst so many.

My advice, sure by all means have a preference, I think we all do, but to ignore the WW2 guys would be a mistake in my opinion as you can learn so much from doing it and help ensure that in the longer term these chaps are remembered too.

Steve

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Thank you for all this.

I think Phil hit the nail on the head for me - I do rather feel Im betraying a cause if I move on. Its my cause and I only know two people in this country who share it - so I feel I mustnt give up.

As far as records are concerned. We have good and accesible records - when I can get to Pretoria. Our WWI just live in many many metal card boxes and you can help yourself. Then you ask for the personnel records and medicals which is a repeat of what is on the card. But there are the soldiers own handwriting. Same (so far) for WWII. I have looked up a couple of those and had access but I do hear murmours about confidentiality and 100 year controls so I may find those records more difficult.

I think my concern is that. 1. I have trawled through every old newspaper and school magazine for the period and the area. I have written on nearly every contextual issue. I have been to state archives and checked up on a suspected outbreak of plague on my one soldier's family farm in 1889. No stone is left unturned. I fear there will not be any more for the area.

Now, my problem arises. I dont want to change region. I have no emotiional attachment for anywhere else.

BUT - I am conflicted. I think I will start with the rest on this memorial. I ahve family and friends and survivors to whom I can talk. If I peter off then perhaps I must go back to WWI. There are 152 names on the next town. That will keep me busy. But.......

also - the South Africans ( if my men were not in British forces) were in North AFrica (boring, boring to visit) and in Italy ( too hot in summer when I can visit). But perhaps I will come to feel about Italy the way I feel now about the Somme.

Incidentally I have a colleague who was in the SA forces at Monte Cassino. He tells me he wore his something or other tie every Friday for years as a sign of respect for those who were with him. And then the tie became too tatty. Now he doesnt. Who else has a colleague who served in this war. In fact, until three years ago I had one colleague who was the grandson of Jan Smuts and flew planes in the War, another who flew planes and afterwards was asked to set up the Israeli air force and did so, another who droppped napalm in Korea (yet a thoughtful man), and quite a few others. Suddenly there are gone.

Kathie

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It is a matter of personal taste.

That said, there are some considerations. The number of people left who remember the Great War is very small. There are, however Second War veterans and their families still around to contribute their stories. If you want a good example of what can be done (or happen) look at Rich Allenby's Yorkshire aviation website.

http://www.allenby.info/aircraft/planes/44/kep2.html

I first contributed the photo of Evans's medals and newspaper photos of Evans and Ballentine.

Now several families have found the site, and their contributions have made this one of the most comprehensive that I have ever seen.

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Kathie

I am researching both the WW1 and WW2 names on my local Memorial and currently writing a book on them.

Initially I thought WW2 would be harder to cover and left it till the end, which is now, and I have been pleasantly surprised as to how much info I hace collected.

In my opinion with WW2 there is far more to be told personally but its not as easy to research online.

Like JH's comment earlier I too found it hard to put my all into WW2 but after a while it all started coming together.

Glyn

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The whole notion of "moving on" perplexes me. It suggests that there's a glass wall (or ceiling, even) and you're not a 'proper' WW1 historian if you 'do' WW2. You've 'betrayed the cause', almost.

It annoys me intensely too. I think it is very difficult to understand either war in isolation. When looking at say the performance of the British Army in either war, the 'compare & contrast' is always illuminating and helps to dispel the myths.

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Hi Kathie

Moved on? No, I've moved back. As a child in the 50's and 60's I was regaled with war stories from my father and an uncle or three. My grandfathers who both served in WW1 died when I was young though I did meet them both and heard many of their stories repeated by my parents. I started my militaria collection when I was about 7 as you could get lots of WWII stuff all over the place. There was even a crashed V1 left abandoned a few miles from my current house until 1968! Crashed aircraft could still be found out on marshes near the Thames even as late as the early 1980s, but WW1 was history.

For many years I was fascinated by WWII and the technology in it. I've always been an aircraft buff and eventually got my 'wings'. However, as I've got older and started to research what my grandfathers did in WW1 I've come to appreciate the sheer depth of human endurance, suffering and spirit needed to get through WW1. WWII was a war where the technology leapt forwards. We started the war with Gloucester Gladiators and finished 5 years later with Meteors. Amazing. WW1 was a war of endurance toughness and learning.

WWI is about the human spirit and the British Army displayed it in bucket loads in my estimation. They entered the war outnumbered and very much the junior partner after France. The ended the war as the only complete fighting force capable of beating the Germans in trench and open warfare. Huge lessons were learnt after the Somme in 1916 and the army that attacked Messines was in a different league.

Although the technology of WW2 is interesting the human aspects of WW1 are what have me hooked.

Gunner Bailey

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  • 3 weeks later...
Now, my problem arises. I dont want to change region. I have no emotiional attachment for anywhere else.

Kathie,

Can I suggest that you research your WW2 people before going onto another memorial? I may be wrong but it seems to me that you interest is more about the men of your district than just about WW1.

My reasons for advocating this revolves around access to more than just records. Time marches on and our WW2 veteran ranks are thinning rapidly, all of our WW1 veterans are dead. For WW1 we only have records to go on and I just wish that I had spent far more time questioning the WW1 veterans when they were around. Those that I did question for an article I was writing were a mine of information that no-one can find in the records now. One officer provided much more about his actions at Gallipoli on the 25th April then I could have gleaned from the primary sources available to us and he was instrumental in supporting my thesis about what happened at ANZAC on 25th April as opposed to the account in the Official History. The other veterans of the 25th April I spoke with provided similar confirmatory evidence.

In Australia we are now making an effort to record what we can from the WW2 veterans before they all pass on, once they have gone we will be left with simply searching the records as we do with the WW1 veterans.

Do the WW2 veterans now, the information on WW1 men on other memorials will always be there. The additional information you will only glean from the WW2 veterans, and their families, of your district is rapidly disappearing. Best to capture it now before it is too late.

Regards

Crunchy

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I moved from WW2 to WW1

I was brought up on a diet of WW2 movies and talk from the older generation about their wartime experiences. My mother and her family lived through the blitz of Liverpool. The bomb damage was still evident throughout Merseyside. The whole era fascinated me

After my father's death and probably through grief I became obsessed with finding out his history and this of course included his wartime service in the Royal Marines

I read mainly first hand accounts of other people's service, trying to fing out from them what he may have experienced and to some extent what made him the person he was. He was a very quiet man who never discussed anything personal to him. I knew nothing of his wartime experience. He never mentioned it

I read the occasional fictional books about WW1. Birdsong sparked an interest and then I started to read first hand experiences of WW1

Every year around Armistice day I watched black and white newsreel footage of men walking disjointedly into smoke. The tragic stories moved me, it just seemed so horrific, and the casualty figures really shocked me but it didn't seem personal to me

Although I was heavily into family history research and love anything historical and knew that my ancestors had lived around that time I naively thought that none of my ancestors had been involved. Both of my grandfathers had been in reserved occupations, dock workers. There was nothing for me to research, or so I thought

Then my uncle, the custodian of family records and photos on my mother's side died and photographs and documents were distributed throughout the family by my cousins. I saw soldiers in uniform. I knew that my mothers uncles and grandfather had been in the army and that there were a lot of medals but no-one seemed to know which regiment they had been in. I started posting names and photographs to a military mailing list and astonishing facts rolled in

Then I joined this forum and found out so much more. Overwhelming

Now I am obsessed with WW1. I've learned so much. Why on earth wasn't I more interested before?

The whole time period interests me now. What went on at home too during that time. How did they cope afterwards. What legacy did this leave behind for those who survived and the families of those who didn't and the legacy left to us. How on earth did they cope. Could we cope with such a thing now?. I doubt it

How on earth did they live through another World War? God knows

There you go I've rabbited on enough

Caryl

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Chris – love the song – when’s it coming out on CD?

Kathie - WW2 or not? - an interesting dilemma.

I’ve lived in the same Melbourne suburb for over 20 years, but I may never find time to research our WW1 Memorial. It all began with the Memorial of the country town where my Grandfather (WW1 Vet) lived his whole life. I discovered endless links with families & mates in other towns in the same district – so I’m trying to keep my research down to 8 Memorials in country Victoria at the moment.

Most of our Memorials in Victoria list all soldiers who fought (not just those who died). Some (WW1 Soldiers) had previously served in the Sth African War, some went on to serve in WW2, and many had children or younger siblings who served in WW2. So, in the course of my research, I’ve had to touch on these 2 wars – but I cannot get passionate about them. I would like to be able to tell the story of these Memorials (ie Communities) as a whole – but my heart’s not in it.

If anything I’ve moved on in another way – as well as researching my Memorials (WW1 part only) – I’ve also started endless other projects – all WW1 related! I guess I’ve just become a WW1 junkie – but if the bug hasn’t struck you down yet – I think it’s a good time for you to move on to WW2 before it’s too late!

Happy researching, Frev

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The WW1 names on our war memorial have been researched, but there is little information about some of them and one is still a complete mystery. Had someone embarked on the research a few years earlier, there would probably have been people still alive who could have shed more light on these men. Now it is too late.

Yet our WW2 names are still unresearched. This is something I hope to help with myself, as I can see that if nothing is done, we will soon all be saying, “If only we had asked old Mrs So and So, she would have known all about him”…. And so on. I say go for it!

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