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Anniversary of The British First Fleet – 26 January 1788

233 years today, the 26th January 1788, The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on Australia. Marked nowadays as Australia Day.

 

I was looking around the Internet for an interesting article to add to this post when I came across this piece from 2015. It was first published at the time of a BBC TV programme Banished . While it was a ficticious drama by Jimmy McGovern, it turns out that some of the characters were based on real people that can be found in the records of people transported! This includes James Freeman the convict that, as "Finisher of the Law", had the dreadful task of executing his fellow prisoners who had stepped out of line in the penal colony. His task each time was to hang or be hanged himself.

See some of the fascinating records for James Freeman that were found here:

https://www.thegenealogist.com/featuredarticles/2015/hang-or-be-hanged-the-finisher-of-the-law-237/

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New RAF Operations Book Records released on TheGenealogist

This is the first time that these RAF records are fully searchable by name, aircraft, location and many other fields, making it easier to find your aviation ancestors.

In a release of over half a million records, this is the first batch of RAF Operations Records Books (ORBs) to join TheGenealogist’s ever-expanding military records collection.

 

 The operations records books are for squadrons primarily after the First World War but there are a few early squadron records from 1911 to 1918.

 

 These documents tell the stories of these brave aircrew who battled against the odds and give insights into their everyday lives. You can use the collection to follow an airman’s war time experiences from these fully searchable Air Ministry operations record books which cover various Royal Air Force, dominion and Allied Air Force squadrons that came under British Command. The AIR 27 records allow the family history researcher a fascinating insight into their relatives serving in a number of wartime air force units.

 

In the last week we have been sad to hear of the death of the last surviving Battle of Britain ace pilot from World War Two. Wing Cdr Paul Farnes died aged 101 a few days ago and so it is, therefore, poignant that as one of the last from among the 3,000 airmen – known as The Few – who had defended Britain's skies in 1940 he appears in this release of RAF records from TheGenealogist.

 

Wing Commander Farnes had six confirmed enemy aircraft destroyed, two shared destroyed, two possible destroyed and 11 damaged in his impressive war time tally making him qualify as an ace (a pilot who shot down five or more enemy planes).

 

 Wing Commander Paul Farnes   Oem89 [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

 

The records provide summaries of events and can reveal the death of aviators, crashes, as well as less traumatic details such as weather and places patrolled by the planes and where the squadrons were based as the war wore on. As aircrew personnel are named in these reports, those wanting to follow where an ancestor had been posted to and what may have happened to them will find these records extremely informative.