Tag Archives: world war two

Family Heirloom: Grandad’s Shoe Brush

1 Apr

Some family heirlooms are more useful than others and this is definitely one of them. Some are meant to be put on display, but this one lives in the cupboard under the kitchen sink.

This is my grandad’s army issue shoe brush, used by him during has service with the Royal Engineers and used by me this morning to polish my shoes ready for work on Monday morning.

Although it is not particularly clear I know it was his brush because it has his service number (1879445) stamped on the top.

One side has the words “WARRANTED ALL HORSE-HAIR  1939″, which is presumably the year and on the other side are the words “BEECHWOOD LTD” which is probably the manufacturer and a War Department broad arrow.

I’m sure my grandad would be pleased to know it is still being used after all these years.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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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

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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