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The very latest news from the world of genealogy

New Digital Archive from International Bomber Command Centre

The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) has announced a new digital archive that reports stories from those who had been involved in RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War.

The archive was launched at a service at the University of Lincoln on 6 September when Frances Zagni, the daughter of Bomber Command veteran and prisoner of war John Valentine, presented them with a unique collection of her parents' wartime letters.

The IBCC website already offers researchers the chance to gain free access to more than 1,000 interviews with those affected by the bombing, including Bomber Command and Women's Auxiliary Air Force veterans as well as people from the bombed countries.

There is also 2,000 photographs and 1,500 documents, including letters, diaries and log books digitised on the site.

https://internationalbcc.co.uk/

 

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Find World War II Prisoners Of War online

Leading British Genealogy Website, TheGenealogist, has added over 150,000 World War II Prisoner of War records to its already significant military records collection. These new records detail Officers and other ranks from the British Army, Royal Navy, RAF and those members of the British Empire land forces that were held as Prisoners of War in Germany and German Occupied territories.

This release will allow researchers to discover servicemen held by the Germans between 1939-1945 and includes many of the brave escapees whose stories of breaking out and dashing to freedom have captured the imagination for decades.

These records allow us to:

  • Research POWs who served in Armies and other land forces of Britain and the Empire 1939-45 along with the Naval and Air Forces of Great Britain and the Empire 1939-1945

  • Find names and details of men who were captured and incarcerated in German POW camps in Europe

  • Check the details such as names, service numbers, and regiments of ancestors that were German POWs

  • Search for daring escapees from within the camp lists

  • Research where your military ancestors were held, revealing their camp number and location

  • Discover the ranks, POW numbers, Service numbers and Regiments of those held

Covering the Nazi German camps in Europe, these lists are taken from official alphabetical nominal registers and reveal names and other particulars of:

  • 94,608 British POWs in Germany, including Officers and other ranks

  • 39,805 POWs from Empire Land Forces

  • 19,250 Naval & Air Force POWs from Britain & its Empire

Joining an already comprehensive range of military records on TheGenealogist that span from 1661 to the 1940s, these lists are a useful addition for researchers. TheGenealogist’s military collections already include Army, Navy and Air Force Lists, Dambuster records, First World War POWs, plus many other records.

Examining some of the names of WWII Prisoners of War released online at TheGenealogist.co.uk allows us to uncover the brave and determined Allied servicemen who made escape attempts from the Nazi German PoW Camps. One brave serviceman, although hampered by being a double amputee from an air accident from before the war, still did his duty to try and escape.

The famous WW2 Air Ace with no legs - Douglas Bader

POW WW2 on TheGenealogist

Bader didn't appreciate being a prisoner of war and made a number of escape attempts. Because he was considered likely to break out again by his captors, he was eventually sent to the infamous Colditz Castle - as we can see from the record on TheGenealogist, it shows he was incarcerated in Camp No: O4C which relates to Oflag 4C Saalhaus Colditz. It was here that Douglas Bader remained for the rest of the war until April 1945 when the camp was eventually liberated by the United States Army.

His name can be seen on the Battle of Britain War Memorial on the Victoria Embankment. A record, plus an image of this memorial, can be found on TheGenealogist amongst other military records that also include mentions of Douglas Bader in the various Air Lists.

The addition of the World War II Prisoner of War records to TheGenealogist gives family historians a fascinating insight into this period of recent history and allows them to add more depth to their research.

War Memorial Records on TheGenealogist

War Memorial Records on TheGenealogist

 

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New records released by The National Archives reveals a highly successful 'agent provocatrice' in Th

The National Archives this week announced the release of more than 3,300 Security Service records available online to view. Within these new records is a fascinating file on the use of an 'agent provocatrice' by The Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Second World War Operations. The SOE used this 'agent provocatrice', known as 'Fifi' but real name Marie Christine Chilver, as part of the training programme for SOE students before they were sent out into enemy territory. Students would use the skills they learned at SOE's security training school at Beaulieu to carry out secret training activities all over Britain. The trainers would lay traps, either police interrogations or the temptation to part with secret information to a pretty young lady. Fifi played her part in these training schemes and managed to trip up many of the SOE trainees. The release of this file (HS 9/307/3) reveals Fifi's identity and her special talent for character assessment which enabled her to extract information from up and coming trainee secret agents. The file contains Fifi's reports on trainee agents and handwritten correspondence from her relating to SOE training operations. There's more details on the new records and the role of Fifi and the Special Operations Executive in The National Archives blog.    
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