I always remember my father best, the evening before Remembrance Sunday, at home, seated at the table in the living room. The table was covered in newspaper, and he was armed to the teeth with button stick, button brush, yellow duster and the familiar tin of Brasso. Before him lay the task of cleaning his medals, which had probably lain neglected in a drawer for some months. To me, as I watched, it all looked a very fiddly and awkward job. Great care had to be maintained not to get any Brasso stains on the ribbons. I admired the old soldier as he sat there, whistling as he worked.

Weren't the stars awkward to clean?

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The button brush was very handy for this. I had a secret ambition: I, too, wanted to be like Pop and have a chestful of medals one day. However, my mother always believed it was an orphanage. She used to spend a month at a time with her aunt, spending a lot of time playing the piano with her and singing.

My great aunt's name was Elsie Shaw, and in she would have been She was from Great Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, and her father was a boat builder. I have a few photos if anyone is interested. I have no idea how long she stayed at Beech-hanger Court, or when she started and finished her job as principal matron there, though. She got married late in life in , at the age of I wonder if you can confirm whether Beech-hanger Court was indeed simply a girls' school; whether there are any records in existence of the staff who worked there during the war period; and whether it was built near, or on, the Guards Depot.

Thank you for any information you can give me. Click here to view it. The primary target of any such attack may in theory have been North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO military forces based in Western Europe, but weapons of mass destruction WMD are typically indiscriminate in their victims, which means that any civilians within the target zone would have been unlikely to have escaped their effects, British forces families included. A revised leaflet published in October entitled British Army of the Rhine NBC Guide above makes chilling reading, setting out as it does crucial information and instructions in the event of an outbreak of nuclear or chemical warfare.


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In the case of chemical warfare see below left , nerve and blister agents are described, as is how to take care of respirators, how to detect a chemical agent, and, in the event of an attack, the required immediate action drill, immediate first aid and immediate decontamination drill. The types airburst, surface burst, underground and effects bright flash, immediate radiation, heat, blast, residual radiation, fallout of nuclear warfare are similarly also outlined see left , along with the necessary immediate action drill, protection from the residual hazard and decontamination procedures, as well as the medical effects of a nuclear attack.

While the guide additionally includes what should be worn in accordance with the different NBC states of green, amber 1, amber 2, amber 3, and red, it seems that the instructions given for nuclear and chemical reporting, and for the marking of contaminated areas, thankfully never had to be followed for real. From 1 August , the Elizabeth Cross, a sterling-silver emblem whose reverse will be engraved with the name of the person in whose memory it is awarded, accompanied by a miniature version and also by a memorial scroll signed by Her Majesty the Queen, will be granted to the next of kin of UK armed forces personnel 'who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism' between 1 January to date including in the Korean War and the Falklands Conflict, and in operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The MoD states that 'the Elizabeth Cross was instituted specifically to recognise the unique challenges that service personnel face on operations and from terrorism, and the particular burden this places on Service families'. Commenting on the announcement, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, added: 'I hope that the families of those who have given their lives will wear the Elizabeth Cross with pride and pass it on to future generations so that they too might know the price that has been paid for their freedom and way of life'.

LINKS The following links provide historical background information that explains much about many army children's lives and times. It also provides details of specialist books and gives advice on researching army ancestors. The lively HistoryNet.

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This absorbing website presents contemporaneous photographs; details of the homes operated by The Waifs and Strays' Society; a list of relevant publications and articles; and a selection of case studies. Jointly funded by KCL and the Joint Information Systems Committee JISC , the stated aim is that: 'The Serving Soldier will eventually provide access to thousands of nationally significant historical archives revealing the broad interests, talents and accomplishments of servicemen and their families at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Their role as peacekeepers, technical innovators, explorers, colonial administrators and veterans is revealed through diaries and first hand accounts, scrapbooks, reports and photographs. The Second World War Experience Centre 's mission is to 'collect and encourage access to the surviving testimony of men and women who lived through the years of the Second World War and to ensure that different audiences share and learn from the personal recollections preserved in the collection'.

Several of its members are former army children, and the stories and memories of some can be read on COFEPOW's sobering, information-filled, reminiscence-rich website. Here you'll find articles, reminiscences and anecdotes, as well as a forum, an online museum and memorial, recommended reading and much more. All army children live with the fear that their soldier parent will be injured or killed in the line of duty. HISTORY MATTERS If you have an army child or two in your family tree, it may be possible to learn more about them by consulting certain family-history resources, while reading about the military conflicts in which the British Army has been involved over the centuries, and their historical context, may help to inform you about the times, and circumstances, in which they lived.

Otherwise, the following basic tips may set you on your way if your army child, or children, were 'on the strength', or 'children of the regiment'. If the child was born in Britain , you should be able to track down details of his or her birth certificate in the same way as you would those for a child of civilian parentage FreeBMD , which contains birth, marriage and death indexes for England and Wales, can be searched for free. The births of army children born abroad during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries should have been registered with the British authorities through the British Army, and their birth certificates should therefore be applied for through the General Record Office GRO.

If their births were not registered, however, then they can apply for a late registration by contacting the general section at the GRO. For further information on ordering birth certificates, click here ; and click here for more on how to register the birth of a baby born abroad. This offers a searchable database of selected birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial records, taken from the India Office Records, for British and European people living in India between around and Non-members will also find viewable social-history-related material on its website, including a range of records and images.

Click here to search for military births on Gibraltar between and ; here for military marriages between and ; and here for military deaths between and On this website, you'll find nineteenth- and twentieth-century registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths in Malta, indexes of the names of those buried in cemeteries on Malta, as well as of British soldiers who were stationed there, an illuminating article on the army chapel-schools in Malta and more besides.


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These records were collated by Peter Goble. He is being mourned by a young mother and her baby, who has not yet been weaned. Above: The Dead Soldier, c.

Information is wanted of Thomas McNamara, of Glandree, - Page 18 - Library Forum

Having been orphaned, he enlisted at five years of age and served in the British Army for twenty-one years, seeing action in the Peninsular War. Janet writes: 'Following our enquiry, the British War Office WO provided quite detailed information on my mother's grandfather, Colour Sergeant John Murray, who was born on Gibraltar in to a serving British soldier. Five years after his birth, his father died on duty cause unknown , and the child was enlisted as a drummer in HM 50th Regiment of Foot.

He later served in many campaigns, including the Peninsular War, and was awarded the Military General Service Medal with five bars. He was discharged without a pension. I am intrigued by the history here, but his parents' names are unknown, so I don't know how to find more information.

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Details on John Murray's death certificate in Collector, Australia, indicated his parents as "father unknown soldier" and "mother unknown", which suggests that the child had no memory or knowledge of either after enlistment. I have been trying not very successfully so far to get information about John Murray's parents as this would shed more light on the circumstances of his early life in the army and that of other children of the time.

The opinion given by the WO was that enlisting children into service at such a young age was not unknown. They said that wives of soldiers were sometimes allowed to accompany their husbands overseas, but no provision was made for their support if their soldier husband was killed.

In this event, the commanding officer of the unit sometimes permitted children younger than the enlisting age to join up, thus saving the mother and child from destitution. I thought that it would have been relatively easy to find some information about John Murray, given that we had the details of his service unit and his years of service, but so far have been frustrated in my searching. I must say that as much as I am interested in the boy, I am perhaps more interested in finding his mother, in particular to find out what her fate was.

Did she also die on Gibraltar? If so, she must have died quite young as it seems that the boy had no real knowledge of his parents. If I can find more information, it could be enhanced by pictures of uniforms and campaigns of the Siege of Gibraltar and the Peninsular War, so I welcome advice on where to look for such information. She spent 43 years as a teacher, county superintendent and elementary principal. It was chilling to think about the possibilities. McKesson, 54, knows the woman born in as her great-great-great-great grandmother Dula.

Safford, 56, knows her as her great-great-great-great grandmother McMullan. The two made the discovery right before Christmas, and they still seem to be in disbelief about it.

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My goodness. She had five children with him, including Patrick McMullen. She had six children with him, including Thomas Dula. McMullans eventually ended up in Jackson, Miss. Caldwell County also is where Theodosia is buried, beside William. Today, part of that land remains connected to the Dulas and is known as Dulatown in Caldwell County.

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McKesson has photos of some of her ancestors and even a couch that belonged to Harriet; as family legend goes, Alfred slept on it when he visited Harriet in the house he had built for her. Safford has learned of a trunk that belonged to John and wonders if it holds answers to the love triangle between him, Theodosia and William. Safford and McKesson also dream of taking a trip to Ireland, where the McMullens, Dulas and Beasleys originated, to see if there are any clues there.

Safford and McKesson encourage others to delve into their family trees. For the most part they were good people who maybe made bad choices. Sweden has kept excellent records of its citizens since the 17th century.