Genealogy Blog

20 January 2014

Londonderry, Northern Ireland: Six Brothers and The First World War

Local man David Jenkins has been researching his family history and in the process has uncovered a fascinating tale of bravery, coincidence and tragedy. The story of Samuel, John James, Albert, Austin, Thomas and William Jenkins’ involvement in the ‘Great War’ is one that shows the devastating scale of the First World War and its impact on families throughout Ireland and Britain.

His grandfather, Samuel and five of Samuel’s brothers fought in different regiments and battalions in the war but all six are likely to have witnessed unthinkable horrors as they fought bravely for their country.

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17 January 2014

British Government Accused of 'Social Engineering' Over WW1 Plans

Ministers have been accused of “social engineering” over their plans to mark the centenary of the First World War, by downplaying the role of Australian and New Zealand soldiers in favour of the contribution from New Commonwealth nations.

Critics claim the government is focusing on black and Asian servicemen from other parts of the British Empire, such as India, as well as Caribbean and West African nations, at the expense of the Anzac forces, along with those from Canada and South Africa. They have accused British ministers of “political correctness” and a “whitewashing” of history.

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13 January 2014

Rare Fungus May Have Arrived on WWI Soldiers' Boots

A rare fungus discovered near a former Edinburgh war hospital may have been unwittingly brought to the area by World War One soldiers. The fungi Clavulinopsis cinereoides - rarely seen in Europe - has been spotted for the first time in Scotland.

Ecologist Abbie Patterson made the discovery on a lawn at Napier University's Craiglockhart Campus. She said soldiers' boots may have picked up spores while tramping the fields of Flanders.

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9 January 2014

After 68 Years, Daughter of Anne Frank's Classmate Finally Gets Her Chance To Thank the British Officer Who Saved Her Mother From Nazi Concentration Camp

The daughter of a Jewish classmate of Anne Frank rescued from the horrors of Bergen Belsen concentration camp has met the British officer who saved her mother's life. Grateful Elizabeth Kahn, 59, flew to Israel to meet Major Leonard Berney, 93, from Plymouth, Devon, and present him with a special silver platter paid for by the family in recognition of his heroics.

Jewish Leonard, of the British 11th Armoured division, was one of the first army officers through the gates of Belsen when the camp was liberated on April 15, 1945.

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4 December 2013

World War II Female Secret Agents 'Very Afraid'

The Prince of Wales has unveiled a memorial to the women who were secret agents during World War II. More than 80 British women are believed to have infiltrated enemy lines during the war, with four being awarded the George Cross for their bravery.

Noreen Riols, who was in the Special Operations Executive (SOE), described the women as "very brave, very courageous, and very afraid", and said they mostly acted as couriers behind enemy lines.

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2 December 2013

Awe-Inspiring Spirit of WWI Hero Who Lost Two Brothers In Action And A Sister In A Zeppelin Raid But Survived Being Left For Dead In A Heap of Bodies At Passchendale

A soldier who survived the Somme and fought at Ypres was left for dead after being shot in the stomach at Passchendale, his son has revealed.

The body of Robert Collie was then thrown onto a heap of corpses while he was still alive and he was only saved after a passing India medic saw him twitching. He survived his wounds and returned to the fighting, serving in India after World War I finished and rising through the ranks from Private to Major.

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28 November 2013

Efforts of 20,000 Dogs On the Front Line in World War I Discovered in Records That Show They Carried Aid To The Wounded And Pulled Equipment

The undying loyalty of ‘man’s best friend’ has rarely been in question. But never has the bond between man and dog been tested more so than in the First World War.

It is thought around 20,000 dogs were pressed into service during the war effort, and now researchers have unearthed details of their heart-wrenching exploits. These ‘dogs of war’ became unsung heroes to the men in the trenches.

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19 November 2013

Did Minneapolis Man Order Nazi-Led Attack That Killed Dozens Of Civilians?

A retired Minnesota carpenter, shown in a June investigation to be a former commander in a Nazi SS-led unit, ordered his men to attack a Polish village that was razed to the ground, according to testimony newly uncovered by The Associated Press.

The account of the massacre that killed dozens of women and children contradicts statements by the man's family that he was never at the scene of the 1944 bloodshed.

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15 November 2013

1st-Century Roots of 'Little Red Riding Hood' Found

Folktales can evolve much like species do, taking on new features and dropping others as they spread to different parts of the world.

One researcher in the United Kingdom tested this analogy quite literally, using analytical models that are typically used to study the relationships between species to create an evolutionary tree for "Little Red Riding Hood" and its cousins.

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12 November 2013

Killed in WWI, French Soldier Finally Laid To Rest

A French soldier killed in action during World War I was finally laid to rest in his hometown Monday just months after his remains were discovered by chance by German tourists.

Jean Caillou was 41 when he was gunned down in March 1916 near Verdun in the northeast, the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in the devastating 1914-18 war that claimed the lives of 1.4 million French people.

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The Last Widow of the Great War: Devoted Wife Pays Tribute To Hero Husband Whose Remarkable WWI Story Inspired War Horse

Dorothy Ellis, 93, the last surviving widow of a soldier from the First World War, laid a wreath in memory of her late husband, Wilfred, who died in 1982, at a ceremony commemorating the Armistice in Staffordshire this morning.

Wilfred Ellis survived being shot, gassed and left for dead in the mud of northern France to return home to eventually marry Dorothy, who was born three years after the end of the war.

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22 October 2013

European Court Rebukes Russia for WWII Massacre of Polish Soldiers

The European Court of Human Rights declined Monday to rule on the key points of a claim against Russia by relatives of victims of the 1940 Katyn massacre, but did rebuke Russia for refusing to hand over all of its files on the incident.

The court said it did not have the authority to rule on whether Russia had deprived the victims of their right to life because the World War II massacre happened before Russia joined the European Convention on Human Rights.

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21 October 2013

15th-Century Manuscript Sheds Light On Richard III's Relationship With York

An original manuscript dating back almost 600 years is offering a fascinating glimpse of Richard III and his relationship with the city that claims him as its own.

York is currently embroiled in a row over whether the remains of the medieval monarch, rediscovered last year, should be interred there or in Leicester, where the skeleton was found. And the manuscript reveals how York flamboyantly prepared for his state visits, wrestled with rumours of treason and ultimately what the city leaders felt about the King’s death in 1485.

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18 October 2013

'We Stabbed Each Other, Strangled Each Other, Went For Each Other... Like Mad Dogs': Haunting Interviews With WWI Veterans From Both Sides of The Trenches To Be Heard For The First Time To Commemorate Centenary

Never-before-seen interviews with First World War soldiers revealing the true horror of going 'over the top' in battle are to be shown on television for the first time.

In the heart-wrenching footage the former soldiers tell the true story of life in the trenches, and the emotions that went through the minds of the young men who gave their all in the deadly conflict. In one poignant clip, to be shown on the BBC as part of a series of programmes commemorating the Great War, one unnamed German veteran asks: 'What was it, that we soldiers stabbed each other, strangled each other, went for each other, like mad dogs?'

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16 October 2013

Welsh Soldier's Relatives Back WWI Memorial

The Canadian descendants of a First World War soldier from Bala have backed a campaign to build a memorial in Flanders for Welsh veterans. Campaigners have launched a £90,000 appeal to build a monument or cromlech of a dragon on rocks to be erected in Langemark near Ypres in Belgium.

The Passchendaele Society has already built a memorial to Scottish soldiers who were among the total of 250,000 Allied troops who fell at the battlefield between July and November 1917.

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