Tracing relatives off WW2 photo, too big a job for what it's worth?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by MerseyMan, Aug 26, 2012.

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  1. Hi
    As part of a collection of about 80 photos taken by my gt uncle while he was serving in the REME's in North Africa I found one group photo with my gt uncle in but on the back of the photo are the names of everyone else in the photo including what must be the hometown of that particular soldier. My first reaction is to try and find anyone related to these fella's, but with work and a baby is it going to be too much of a pain? Or would anyone related to these men want to see a photo of their father/grandfather? I could easily get sucked into this but on the other hand my other first post on these forums will show I already have my hands full trying to find a daughter out of wedlock by my grandad on the other side of the family.
    Anyway I will post the photo up here and the reverse of the photo. Maybe anyone with ancestry and some time on their hands might like to look up these guys, maybe some of them never reached the end of the war.
    My gt uncle is Alfred Burton the guy in the front row with something in his hand, he was from Birkenhead so I know about him.
    He was in the Cheshiress but this photo seems to have everyone from all over the UK.

    scan0039.jpg scan0043.jpg
  2. There were two MG Battalions of the Cheshire Regiment in the Western Desert, 2nd Battalion in the 50th (Northumbrian) Division and 6th Battalion in the 44th (Home Counties Division). Each would have a Light Aid Detachment REME of a WO1, Sergeant and ten other ranks plus about half a dozen REME mechanics and armourers scattered around the Admin Platoon and Company HQs.

    Look for dates or arm abadges in the other photos.
  3. I think it's likely that more than one or two of these men didn't survive the war. A search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database might come up with some relative's details. It would be a good place to start:


    Could I also suggest that you open a (completely free) Flickr account and post them all on there, in full size? Each photo would then be viewable by millions of people. If tags were applied to the pictures (which is dead easy on Flickr) where names are known, they would also come up on name searches for people browsing for relatives. Other Flickr users would be able to share the pictures in various 'interest groups' on Flickr such as WW2 images and Army images.

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  4. What would be helpful would be if all the names and places were transcribed rather than in a picture, thus making them searchable. To this end, this is what I see:
    J F Stephens, Swansea, Wales.
    Arthur Swan, Plymouth.
    Leslie Bedrock, Port Sunlight.
    A H Burton, Birkenhead.
    Cpl Thomas W P, Cardiff S.W.
    Cpl MacDonald, Elgin, Scotland.
    G E Beasby, Wednesbury. (That could be G E Beasley)
    Reg E W Dye, Bristol.
    Cpl D Holland, Bedford.
    J A Smith, Dumfries.
    Jock Campbell, Glasgow.
    R A Gayles, Bournemouth.
    J ????, Leyton, Essex. (Looks like it starts Ri.. and ends ..son or
    Sandy Burgess, Methil, Fife.
    The only word I can stab a guess at on this line is the last, which might be 'Sheffield'.
    Ernest P Grossman, Worthing.
  5. Thanks for all your replies will have a look at the CWGC site now and report back.
  6. Going by the information about Alfred Burton's seating position, the names on the reverse are listed: front row, left to right, followed by back row, left to right.
  7. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Kit Reviewer

    Castleton via Sheffield, second from bottom.

    And the Leyton chap looks like Rigelford when I try to write it. Not a name I've heard before but a search brings up names from Southampton to Camden, so the right part of the world.
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  8. CountryGal

    CountryGal LE Book Reviewer

    or post them up in a thread on forces reunited - theres a lot of similar im looking for people threads on the site.
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  9. That Dye's parents and wife are from Hertfordshire, according to that, whereas the Dye in your photo wrote that he was from Bristol.
  10. They must both have had war attributable injuries that they died from in order to be added to the CWGC database. The end cut off date for WW2 is 31st December 1947.
  11. Look at the pic of the cemetery from that link, On the left handside there's an unusual war grave look at the shape of it Muslim burial?
  12. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Kit Reviewer

  13. It's probably a Polish grave.

    Edited to add: After further research it is the grave of Jan Ksiazek and it is the only Polish war grave in there.
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  14. Cheers looked like one of the Muslim ones were my dad's G/F is buried