Thursday, 23 October 2008

Ordering the Service Record

Over on the WWII Talk Forum I read details of how to obtain a copy of my Grandfather's Service Record, so at the end of September I downloaded the form from the MOD website, and completed the details. The record is only released to the Serviceman or woman themselves, or their next of kin. Mum signed the paperwork and I signed the cheque!

On 2nd October I received a letter from the Historical Disclosure Department. To obtain the record was going to take four months - that made than January 2009, not as bad as I thought. I had heard rumours it took nearly 6 months.

Letter from MOD Historical Disclosure Department - George Butcher Service Record

So, imagine how surprised I was when Mum phoned to say that the record had arrived on 12th October. I can only guess that this was down to the copies of documents that I included with my application form.

These were:
  • A copy of the first page of the Service/Pay book
  • A copy of both the death certificates for my Grandparents
  • The Next of Kin Disclosure form
  • A cheque for £30

Friday, 17 October 2008

An Introduction to the coin

When I was about 2 or 3 my grandfather gave me a small leather purse, measuring about 1.5" x 1". Inside was a small coin, which is square. Its a little tarnished, but from research I did about 15 years ago, It was given to soldiers in Holland during WWII.

My grandfather died in 1974 and I have treasured this little purse and unusual coin ever since.

A couple of years ago, I had a closer look and noticed that on the back is some writing. At the top left it says Watchmaker. Scrolled across the middle it reads H Venables and at the bottom right it gives the address of Market Street Guildford.

According to the Kelly's Directory of 1963, H Venables was a jewellers whose premises was at 22, Market Street, now long since gone.

The coin has been difficult to photograph, even with a good camera, it has not been easy to get a close up of it. On one side is 5c with the date of 1939 and on the reverse KONINGRIJK.DER.NEDERLANDEN, which translates to Kingdom of the Nederlands.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Getting started...

I have always wondered just why my Grandfather choose to join the Army. In 1940 my Grandfather was working as a milk labourer at what became Unigate Milk Company in Guildford, while his three brothers worked at Manor Farm, on the land that now houses the University at Guildford. Many a man (and I guess, woman) would have found work at the farm, and taken what could have been described as the easy life, or at least easy in comparison to war.

My Grandfather returned to Guildford after the war, and didn't discuss his war time efforts, certainly not with me, his only Grand daughter, nor with his wife and grown up child. After his death in the 1970s, all that was left behind of his war time life was a few photos, a square coin in a small leather purse that I had been given as a very small child,a box housing his four medals and a peice of material, with embroidered detail in the corners.

About ten years ago I arranged for a company to professionally frame the medals and the embroidered cloth. Both now hang proudly on the landing, where I see them everyday and feel, like so many of us, very proud of our ancestors.