To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Blitz, Pro Genealogist Simon Pearce will be answering some of your questions on how to research your ancestor’s WWII story.
How can I find out more about the RAF? – Annie
If you’re researching the RAF, the Ministry of Defence is a great starting point. You can apply for your relative’s service records which include information on the squadrons they served with, any promotions earned and the locations they served in. Once you have this detail, explore the Royal Air Force Operations Books from The National Archives, which can tell you where the squadron was based and provide detail on their experiences.
How do I find out about people’s occupations in WWII? – Echo
The 1939 England and Wales Register is a wonderful resource which can offer insight into your ancestor’s occupations at the outbreak of war as well as the voluntary war work carried out during the conflict. Marriage, baptism and death records can also hold information about a person’s occupation.
My Dad fought in WWII, where can I find out more about his experiences? – Carol
If your ancestor served in WWII, you can obtain their service record from the Ministry of Defence. Whether they served in the army, navy or air force, these records can tell you about which units they served in, promotions earned, theatres of war and any medals awarded.
How can I find out more about life during the Blitz? – Nor
When starting to research your ancestors WWII stories, the 1939 England and Wales Register can provide a wealth of information including a person’s address. Use this address to research the local areas in which your ancestors lived. This can help to answer some key questions about your ancestor’s wartime experience. Did their street suffer damage during the Blitz? Were there many casualties in the area?
How can I find out about their experiences, journals, pictures and who they would have fought with? – Sade
Once you’ve obtained service records from the Ministry of Defence, head to The National Archive to find the relevant British Army War Diaries, Royal Air Force Operations Record Books or Royal Navy Ships’ Logs. These are invaluable sources which can provide a day-to-day account of what your