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How to research a war memorial (beginners version)

 
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:45 am    Post subject: How to research a war memorial (beginners version) Reply with quote

Here are some guidance notes on what types of war memorial you might find in Scotland and how you may begin to research them. All online resources mentioned are free. First some background information about the key resources .

UK National Inventory of War Memorials (UKNIWM) part of the Imperial War Museum, this is an online resource that holds an inventory of all War Memorials in UK. Although there are some errors and omissions, it is an excellent resource. http://www.ukniwm.org.uk/

Crimea and Boer Wars there is little in the way of general online resources to help in researching these memorials.

The Great War (sometimes referred to as WW1) the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has an online resource listing all war graves for soldiers who died in the war, whether their final resting place is known or not (the site is generally fairly accurate) http://www.cwgc.org/. The Scottish National War Memorial (SNWM) has a listing of all those with connections to Scotland who died (the site has some errors and omissions) http://www.snwm.org/. There is a further resource, Soldiers Who Died in the Great War (SDGW) not available online. This was originally published in book form in a number of volumes but is now also available on CD it is quite expensive to buy but it may be available in local libraries or family history societies, sometimes members of the Great War Forum (GWF) will be prepared to lookup an individual http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/.

Second World War (WW2) CWGC and SNWM are the best online resources. There is a WW2 version of the SDGW. It's not as detailed as the WW1 version and effectively has much the same information as the SNWM (expensive as well). http://www.naval-military-press.com/FMPro?-db=nmp_Orders.fp5&-format=nmpweb/frameset.htm&-new.

Conflicts since WW2 CWGC is not used after WW2 but individuals will appear on SNWM. The main online resource is the Palace Barracks memorial at http://www.palacebarracksmemorialgarden.org/, and for the Korean War a Roll of Honour can be found at http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/bkvaroh/ROH/ack.htm.

Other online resources are available e.g. VC holders, http://www.victoria-cross.co.uk/.

Creation of memorials - for the great war, numerous local committees and organisations created war memorials to those who had died, and sometimes Rolls of Honour to those who served and returned. There was no central set of rules as to how to set them up, the type of memorial, who should be included or what details should be listed. Some localities did not set up memorials. All this resulted in some soldiers being listed on one, two or three memorials (even up to six or seven) and some being listed on none at all. In addition to Surname, memorials may include any of; rank, regiment, first name(s), date of death or place of residence. By and large, these memorials included those who were born, lived or had connections with the area. Often the memorials were by parish but larger towns usually had their own Burgh memorial as well. So a soldier who was born in one parish, lived in a second and had parents who had moved to a third could easily appear in all three plus any burgh memorial. Then of course his local church may also have a memorial (if it was not also the parish memorial) plus school and office/factory memorials.

For WW2, some new memorials were created, others had additions to the Great War memorial and sometimes nothing was done at all.

Using the resources to identify a soldier tips and an example. For a soldier of the Great War, a good starting point is to try and identify him from CWGC and SNWM. Be prepared that the soldier may have changed regiments, his name, rank or initials may be wrong, he may have served under a different name and even his service number may differ if he changed regiments or the regiment changed from Territorial to Regular. SNWM may contain place of birth and CWGC may contain next of kin details and these will help considerably. In SNWM, searches using the name box checked will bring exact matches, e.g. JOHNSTON will return only those names, but if you uncheck the box, you will also get JOHNSTONE (a common alternative or miss-spelling). On a CWGC search, a search for JOHNSTON will automatically pull up JOHNSTONE as well but even adding the initial G and selecting First World War, Army and UK you still get a list of 75 names, however in CWGC you can sort the records by clicking on the head of any column so you could put them all in order of date of death, or regiment. So if you knew the man you were looking for served in the KOSB for example, they would be grouped together and you could see there were 4 (one spelt JOHNSTON compared with SNWM which has him as JOHNSTONE). If you then use the information on all the possible candidates to eliminate those that are not the one you want, hopefully you will end up with the man you are looking for.

Wildcards - use of wildcards allows even greater flexibility, on CWGC the % sign is a wildcard, so searching for JOHN%ON will bring up JOHNSON, JOHNSTON and JOHNSTONE. SNWM does not allow wildcards so you would have to use JOHNS with the name unchecked to catch all the names wanted (but you might also get others).
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DerekR
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Hawick, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the Great War, if your man is British, he'll have a Medal Index Card (MIC). You can search for it online here:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=10&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query
Provided his surname isn't too common, just put that in without a first name, since some cards have the first name spelled out, others just initials. This way you'll get hits for both. Then see if you can start narrowing it down.
The MIC will give you rank, service number, unit, and date of entry into the theatre of war if before 1916.
It currently costs 3.50 to download MIC's but the initial (and free search) will show if a man has transferred units during the course of his military service.
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the death is post WW2, be sure to look him up on the Armed Forces Memorial at http://www.forcesmemorial.org.uk/index.asp

\Paul
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Roxy
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Elgin, Moray

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue of gallantry medals is reported in the London Gazette. It is available to be searched online. The search is not particularly user friendly (IMHO!). The London Gazette

Roxy
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Remembering my ggf, Pte Thomas Roberts, 10 SR, killed 25 Sep 15 at Loos.
Also remembering Flt Lt Al Squires and CXX/3 killed 2 Sep 06 in Afghanistan.


Last edited by Roxy on Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4822
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are researching an RAF man who died post 1945, I have a set of books that can help.

WW1 Army Service Records that survive plus MICs are now online at ancestry.co.uk but you will need a subscription or to pay to look them up. I have a subscription so could check the odd one or two for you.

\Paul
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