Berkshire Family History: Conflict and Change 18th Oct 2014

On the 18th of this month I will be appearing at this event…

I will be talking about how to identify your wartime memorabilia, how to date military photographs and how to interpret paperwork.

I will be appearing with a number of other experts in family history and the conference is going to be quite an interesting event. I commend it to you all.


My apologies for not keeping up on the blog. Things this past year have become interesting and there have been huge changes for me. I hope that I am now able to continue with this and update regularly. As an addenda, I have just had to remove 3.5k spam comments….That will teach me to keep abreast of things!

Anniversary of VE Day – 8th May 1945

On the anniversary of VE Day I have been taking a look at some old newsreel of the celebrations and trying to imagine what it must have been like to hear the news and know that a six year nightmare was nearly at an end.

But try as I might, I find that it is almost easier to imagine what it must have felt like to be “at war” than what it must have felt like on the 8th May 1945 when you knew that, at least in Europe, the war was over.

These scenes captured by Pathe and shown in cinemas in a special extended Pathe Gazette, can only provide a snapshot of the “spontaneous” celebrations.  A series of black and white newsreel shots, many set up for the camera, which are now such familiar images we almost take them for granted.

But inside each and every head in the crowd are memories of hardship, pain and fear, grief for loved ones lost, lives on hold, homes and families destroyed, friendships made, courage, relief, disbelief, joy and so much more – such intensity and variety of emotions that there isn’t a word which encapsulates it all.

With luck it is a word we will never need to define again.

The Fruits of Victory, 1945, Pathe Gazette



An Interesting WW2 Northamptonshire Regiment Picture

Nptn SL RA

An interesting picture from my collection…401 Searchlight Battery Royal Artillery….They are all badged Northamptonshire Regt, including the officers, but they have RA collar dogs.

This unit formed part of 50th (The Northamptonshire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, R.A. (T.A.) – South Midland Area, Southern Command

HQ, Northampton

400th Company – Northampton

401st Company – Northampton

402nd Company-Peterborough

403rd Company-Kettering

They were converted from the 4th bn The Northamptonshire Regt

A couple of other points to note…x2 of the ORs are wearing the Northamptonshire black FSC, and the officers are all wearing the silver and gilt cap badge, although this wasn’t “officially” sanctioned until late 1944/early 1945

The ATS girls are seen also to be wearing Northamptonshire cap badges just above the left breast pocket. When attached to a unit is was the norm that the badge of the parent unit was worn thus

The picture was taken at Quebec Bks which later became Simpson Bks, home of the Royal Pioneer Corps, now sadly demolished and built over

Todays activity

This afternoon has been spent sewing together an original officers bed….Sadly some of the stitching  decided to separate from the canvas at my last event. I have used some rather thick thread which required the use of a huge darning needle type thing. Luckily, as I can suture, it was quite an easy job. We will find out if it is secure over the weekend!!!