Tag Archives: second world war

Treasure Chest Thursday: Royal Engineers Christmas Menu, 1939

7 Jan

I think this is my first Treasure Chest Thursday post, and it is a shame I didn’t think about it a week or two ago when it would have been more topical.

I was looking through the photos on my hard drive the other day when I realised that many of the images I was looking at weren’t photos at all but scans of other items, most of them related to the time my grandfather, Charles Percy GASSON, spent in the Royal Engineers during the Second World War.

These items need almost as much work on them as the photos do, in fact some more so, as many contain clues as to what he was doing and where he was at a given time. Next to nothing is known about his time in the Royal Engineers, so these clues are going to be vital in piecing together his army life.

The first item is pretty self-explanatory, a Christmas Menu from 1939, but even this raises several questions. Who are all those signatures? and where were the breakfast, dinner and tea being held?

Christmas menu 1939 image 1

The actual menu itself looks surprisingly appealing, certainly not as austere as one might imagine for a wartime Christmas dinner. Whether what was served up actually matched the promise of the menu is anyone’s guess.

Christmas menu 1939 image 2

English genealogy news catch up

7 Sep

Whilst I have been busy sorting, scanning and filing there have been a few announcements in the English genealogy world that I need to catch up on.

Findmypast.com have added 1.25 million high resolution images from the 1881 census to their site, to go with the previously available transcriptions (the transcriptions are free to search).

Familyrelatives.com have added details of 120,000 pupils and masters from UK Public Schools, some dating back to 1500. I doubt whether I am going to find any of my ancestors in any of these institutions.

Ancestry.co.uk have published records of over 100,000 British and Commonwealth Prisoners of War held by the Germans during the Second World War, as well as the UK Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945 which features details of British Army personnel killed in action.

192.com have updated 380,000 Electoral Roll records. Now don’t get too excited, these are from the 2009 Electoral Roll and the main focus of this is current information, although they do have some historical data. There is a lot of information on this site, some of which is free, but it is probably the best place to start looking if you are trying to trace a living relation in the UK.

The Autumn 2009 edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine has on it’s cover disc two items connected with the David Mitchell episode of the series. Firstly there is some unseen footage from the episode (I haven’t watched it yet, but will let you know what it’s like) and secondly there is a deal with Ancestry.co.uk providing free access to the 1901 Scottish census (for a limited time only).

The National Archives – War on Film videocasts

3 Sep

The National Archives have today released the first of a series of videocasts entitled “War on Film” focusing on aspects of the Second World War.

The first videocast is Hope and Glory and is a short but useful introduction to life in London at the start of the war and during the Blitz. It features extracts and footage taken from The National Archives. It can be found on The National Archives website or on their YouTube channel.

BBC Radio 4 – Tracing Your Roots – Wartime Losses (available via podcast)

3 Sep

Just when my mp3 player was starting to gather dust from the lack of genealogy podcasts, along comes the latest series of Tracing Your Roots on BBC Radio 4. The good news is that the show is available as a podcast from the BBC website (for a limited time).

This first episode is entitled Wartime Losses, and picks up on the Second World War anniversary theme. The programme synopsis gives brief details of the three case studies featured, all people trying to find out more about their fathers.

There is some really useful advice in this programme (links are provided in the synopsis) for people in a similar situation, trying to trace a parent who had been “lost” after or during the war. Two of the cases prove that there can be a happy ending, but it is still by no means an easy task, but there are now several organisations who may be able to help.

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