Gransnet forums


I can't find my dad

(22 Posts)
ninathenana Sun 07-Jul-19 12:57:46

Ancestry have currently got a free search of military records.
Dad was a member of one of the parachute regiments that dropped into Arnhem. I've entered all his details but no match found.
My brother has tried to investigate dad's war record before and came across a few dead ends. It appears he may have worked with the resistance shock
I'd just love to know and wonder why after all this time even the war office or regimental history can't help.

Pittcity Sun 07-Jul-19 13:08:28

Ancestry don't have many WW2 records yet because some of those featured may still be alive. Most of these sites have a hundred year rule.
I have also found that a lot of written records were destroyed eg. the 1931 census was lost in a fire in 1942.

The next of kin is entitled to war records held by the government.

Septimia Sun 07-Jul-19 13:08:30

My FiL worked with the Psychological Warfare Branch in Greece and thereabouts for part of the War. When he enquired for information/medals he was told that he didn't and nothing went on there. Some stuff must still be under wraps, but I don't know why.

BlueBelle Sun 07-Jul-19 13:36:50

I can’t find my grandad and he was an ordinary army bloke I have photos so I know he served and I have souvenirs from abroad he brought back

BrandyButter Sun 07-Jul-19 14:48:57

I have my Grandad's medals and other military belongings, also my great uncle's and neither came up on the site. It was before the free offer so they refunded my money.

EllanVannin Sun 07-Jul-19 14:53:04

I have tons of respect for those who worked for the Resistance during the war----both British and French. They did an excellent job and sadly not as recognised as much as they should be.

I knew an elderly "insignificant" woman who'd worked at Bletchley Park during the war and spoke about 6 languages.
Died alone---no fanfare or remembrance of her skills sad

Nannarose Sun 07-Jul-19 15:56:19

Lots of reasons that people don't turn up on such searches. It was common for names to be mis-spelled (or spelled as the clerk thought they should be!) or put in the wrong order.
Written orders directing someone to go to a certain place, or be attached to a different unit could easily go astray. When someone puts it all on a computer, they can only put what is in front of them, in writing, several decades later, and that isn't necessarily the whole story.
I know that doesn't really help you in your search, but I think it important to remember that.
I understand that although the Bletchley story was under wraps for a long time, their records were better than most, so now it's out, the searches are more accurate.

Nannyxthree Sun 07-Jul-19 16:33:48

Unfortunately it is quite common. I've found some information for my Dad as he was a POW for much of the war. Also been lucky with one of his brothers, but nothing at all for the other three brothers and brother in law.
Most of WW1 records destroyed in Blitz.

BradfordLass72 Mon 08-Jul-19 09:33:38

If you know what he was - Royal Artillery for instance, especially if you have battalion details or even his service number, they often have webpages of their own because so many people want to trace their relatives.

They may not have specific details there but they will tell you who has.

Military Museums also can advise

jaylucy Mon 08-Jul-19 11:46:09

If he worked with the Resistance, there may not be many things that were actually written down so records may be few and far between and it might depend on which country he was in

seadragon Mon 08-Jul-19 13:03:04

My grandad's trawler was converted to a minesweeper during WW2. He and his crew patrolled the Thames estuary for most of the war. He lost his hair with the stress and it came back in white. I have been unable to find his records but have recently discovered that much of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve was destroyed during the blitz.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:16:16

I was able to find my missing grandfather he went awol?and jumped ship in Canada. I did that through his naval records. He was recorded as a runner. Once I established that I was able to follow him all the way to his house in Toronto. I googled earthed it. He lived there with his “wife” and never returned to the U.K. although his wife did to visit her parents, presumably because he would have been arrested.

Fascinating stuff.

Whitewavemark2 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:17:00

Oh I meant to add that was WW1 records are freely available now.

Jaycee5 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:18:48

I found the same thing with my great great grandfather. I know the regiment he was in but there was only one line of information about him. I know that he was in Ireland because my great grandmother was born in Limerick but all the records were lost during the Troubles and that he died in India because my great grandmother was on her way to join him when she got news of his death. She was working in Whitechapel when Jack the Ripper was about and that was in 1888. There is no register of his birth or baptism but we know the date because of a note in a copy of Pilgrims Progress given to him when he graduated from Aldershot and that it was in Wythenshawe. So the information I have is virtually all from fragments of family history that my mother remembered. Unfortunately paper records only take you so far especially when people are poor. Even though he has an unusual name, the trail is very cold.

omega1 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:40:14

Go on DNA Detectives Facebook page and you will get lots of tips and advice.

Notsooldat75 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:46:08

My dad died at Arnhem in 1944, and I got lots of information about him from the Arnhem museum at Oosterbeek, it might be worth checking with them. They are very helpful ( and all speak wonderful English), check it out on the internet.
I’m going over there in September to take part in the 75th anniversary celebrations, so if I can help on your behalf, I’d be happy to see what I can do.

ninathenana Mon 08-Jul-19 13:51:14

Sorry, I think I may have confused you. I grew up with dad until his death in 1985. It is his military records we can find nothing about. Apart from Arnhem he was in Iceland. My brother who is good at all this could find nothing.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:58:17

If whatever your father did was of a very sensitive nature or connected to military intelligence his war record could still be classified.

And if he was connected to military intelligence he may have been forced to tell you that he was somewhere he wasn't.

I know this isn't particularly helpful, but it could be the explanation.

Otherwise there might just be a clerical error, such as a wrong Christian name, battalion no. which is making it difficult to find his records.

Notsooldat75 Mon 08-Jul-19 17:20:38

O, I see! I got my father’s military records from the first address, ‘get copy military service records’ it cost me about £30, and even then they were incomplete. Handwritten, almost illegible in places, and still missing a lot of information.
So it could be that your father was doing something that wasn’t recorded, or that record simply didn’t survive the fire mentioned above.

floorflock Mon 08-Jul-19 18:50:54

We used a government link to get copies of my husband and FIL's military records. You may be able to get information that way but I believe we needed to know their service numbers.

NfkDumpling Mon 08-Jul-19 19:39:22

I couldn’t find either of my granddads. But my nana, who was in the engineers working on bi-planes in the First World War for just 18 months popped up with no problem!

Grandmama Mon 08-Jul-19 21:06:35

You can put 'wildcards' in a search engine. One grandfather didn't appear in one set of records but his name had been wrongly transcribed when I found it. So for example if you are looking for Sawdon try putting an asterisk for some of the letters. The first letter of my grandfather's surname had been transcribed as L whereas it should have been S.

Lost Cousins website has some help on 'brick walls'.