Family history afternoon

I honestly couldn’t think of a better title. Sorry about that.

Yesterday my great-aunt and nan came over for a few hours and my aunt had brought up some things that I’d asked to see. First of all I showed my aunt and nan everything we’d found out on my great-granddad’s side (their dad) and then so far what we’d found out on my great-nan’s side (their mum). We then chatted and looked through old photos, and my aunt showed me one of my great-aunt Louie (Louisa). I know she has furs on her (ugh) but I was so happy to put a face to a name that I could look past it. Here she is:
It’s not great quality as I took it on my phone but there we are. Next came my favourite bit (or *cough* the bit that my followers on twitter are sick of hearing about but is my favourite part because family history + WWII knowledge = happy Jess). My aunt had brought with her, two war diaries that her dad wrote and a book about his skills at arms. I forgot to take a picture of the 1940 diary but here is the 1942 one. 🙂

The cover of it ! 😀 I felt really weirded out. I’m not sure whether the thought of it being in the places he was at during the war or that I could read what happened from a soldier’s view. So interesting.
Inside 😀
Then the Skill at Arms record book. I couldn’t really understand any of it, didn’t really have a proper look to be fair but I’m sure some of my military interested friends would have loved to read it!

So, last night, after my aunt and nan and gone back home, mum and I scanned the 1940s diary then started to decipher my granddad’s writing. We managed to complete April, May and June, as obviously Dunkirk happened in those months and then he went to Iceland so we thought it was important to get that done. Mum finished January as I was tired and ended up going to bed. Took over two hours, nearly three, I think, to get those four months done. It was fun though. 😀 This morning we did February, March and July of 1940 but that’s all we could do for that as mum wanted to try to decipher a bit of 1941 that he had scribbled in the back of the diary. That was a bit harder but we got January 1941 done and dusted, as mum was too tired to carry on. So, that was our time deciphering my granddad’s 1940 diary. This evening (after delivering transcripts to my aunt, nan and great-aunt) I have started work on the 1942 diary. He wrote most of it in ink so it’s a little easier to read than in pencil. I thought I’d take a break from doing that, though, to update you on it all, as I did promise!

I must say, there was one funny (awkwardly funny, in terms of it would probably have been one of those “oh really, oh god it’s scary. I laugh looking back at it” moments at the time) moment. My granddad and several other people were in the baths when a bomb dropped 20 yards from them, luckily it landed in a river (not so lucky if that was the only water supply though). We all had a little giggle at that, just because it happened at an inconvenient time. S’pose the war was all about that though, eh?

I really do love reading his “adventures” and I’m so glad that we didn’t let my nan get rid of them. It’s quite nice to see it from the perspective of the soldier. 🙂

So, that’s all for today folks! 😀 I should hopefully write soon, maybe more about the diaries or something else, you may get bored if I keep waffling on.
See you all soon!
Jess x


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