Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: RAF casualty? in1945? named Guy John something?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    359
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default RAF casualty? in1945? named Guy John something?

    Hi, folks,

    I have scant details for our braintrust to work with, and it's an obvious shot in the dark...so here goes. In short, can anyone come up with a viable wartime RAF member's surname to tack on to the names "Guy" and "John"?

    For a couple of years I've helped a woman who was adopted as a baby in Oct 1945, a month after her birth out of wedlock. Her adopted mother recollected some 30 years ago that the birth father's name was Guy John Brailsford, an RAF bomber pilot, that he died in early 1945 ("shot down" is the story), and that he was from the Leicester region. All this was supposedly learned in a quick glance at an open file when adoption papers were being signed. One pilot fits most of the categories pretty well -- Ken Brailsford, a seasoned bomber pilot who died with his RAF 358 Sqn Liberator crew on 22/23 Jan 1945 over Burma. I have extensive details on Ken's long and fascinating RAF wartime career.

    It was a long slog for the woman to finally gather the evidence which was required before the RAF would send her mother's WAAF records. Finally she has received it, and the documents prove that Ken Brailsford could not have been her father. He was in the Far East, the birth mother was in the UK, and they could not possibly have met up in late 1944 when pregnancy started.

    The woman has found no Brailsfords with the names "Guy John". Could it be that the surname is clearly wrong? Could this so-called casualty, in fact, not a casualty? Maybe other alleged details about him are also off. Groundcrew, not aircrew, for example...

    A tough one, I know, but more obscure needles in haystacks have been found via this forum.

    Incidentally, the daughter's original birth certificate does not list the father's name. She has learned that her birth mother died in 1990 (and she never knew her), and just yesterday the daughter obtained a fantastically detailed will listing 12 or 13 relatives by name and address; some of them might be tracked down. Exciting possibilities there for finding more...such as even one photo of her birth mother; she has none.

    Thanks,

    Matt
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 30th May 2011 at 02:47.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Northamptonshire
    Posts
    1,116
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    Have you considered an approach to the CWGC?

    It's worth a try if you explain the circumstances of your unusual enquiry and the research already undertaken.

    They can only say - No.

    BTW, I have searched my own 1945 records which cover transport aircraft throughout the year and all aircraft from VE-Day and I can't find a 'Guy John'.

    Are there any clues as to where the mother was based when she became pregnant? That would offer a possible lead to sqns. Any hints from other sources which might help. A very long and possibly fruitless search might be the periodic casualty lists which appeared in FLIGHT magazine and listed all deaths. This is by rank initials and surname but the process would offer up all G J somethings and a CWGC search would eliminate most quickly - send for the boy scouts!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Zelhem, Netherlands.
    Posts
    6,313
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Matt,
    There was a F/O (Airbomber) "R" BRAILSFORD with 514 Sqn who evaded capture 11/12-5-1944 on Lancaster LL739.
    Regards,
    Henk.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    359
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    I'll keep R. Brailsford in mind, Henk. Many thanks for this tidbit.

    Oldduffer, I did consider painstakingly going through the casualty lists in Flight. I think I'll leave that to the daughter, though. It does look like the accuracy of the info she was told by her adopted parents is in question, and we don't even know if the "Guy John" names are close to the mark or completely wrong. A tough puzzle, I'm afraid, but Flight could reveal something, if a "G.J." casualty does turn up.

    I don't have precise details yet on where her WAAF birth mother was posted in Dec 1944 and Jan 1945 -- conception dates, likely. I've been told that most of the WAAF's postings appear to have been in Lincolnshire. The record sent to the daughter is the usual handwritten scribble, and she must work on the deciphering, I'm told.

    Now that she has accessed her birth mother's will, with its 12 or so kin names and addresses (from 1990), she is hoping that someone in the family was told more of the details and will share them with her...if she can locate kin. Possibilities!!

    And thanks, Oldduffer, for going through your own extensive records. Very kind of you.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Northamptonshire
    Posts
    1,116
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    The individual's Record of Service should have the individual postings written on it and the dates of same. Important courses etc will also be recorded as will date and reason for discharge.

    I believe the narrowing down of the location of the woman in Dec 44/Jan 45, is the key to turning a 'needle in a haystack' search into something with a reasonable chance of success.

    The assumption is also that the father died and that he did not just desert the woman 'cause he was already married or being posted elsewhere and severed all contact.

    Old Duffer

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    359
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi, Oldduffer,

    I forgot to acknowledge your wise suggestion to approach the CWGC for assistance. I've had some very frustrating dealings of late with CWGC brass regarding a verifiable, undeniable communal RAF Liberator crew grave that I've been able to find in the Andaman Islands (KH250, 355 Sqn, downed 17 May '45). Progress is being made (initial CWGC site visit took place in April), but we -- the kin of the missing men and myself -- have found that the CWGC folks are generally tight-lipped, despite receiving tons of evidence from us. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so it is worth the effort to ask them for assistance on the "Guy John Brailsford" mystery.

    The daughter will get back to me soon, I hope, with her birth mother's postings circa 12/44 and 1/45, and that will be extremely valuable for cross-referencing with RAF squadrons, etc.

    Sure wish we had confidence in the accuracy of biographical details the daughter had assumed were solid leads. The fact that, per the Debt of Honour Register, no "Brailsford" casualties except for the now-discounted Ken Brailsford easily fit the bill is troubling, but it's way too soon to assume defeat. Could be that "Guy John" is correct but "Brailsford" is in error...or he was not aircrew...not killed...etc... The shame/backlash factor in 1945 regarding a child out of wedlock must have been significant, so that the true facts may have never been revealed by the birth mother. Skeletons in the closet are not out of the question. And according to the tale, the birth father never knew (was not told...and then he died?) that he'd impregnated the WAAF.

    Thanks,

    Matt
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 31st May 2011 at 23:55.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Northamptonshire
    Posts
    1,116
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    What is the legal position in this?

    I thought that in UK, one was now able to have disclosure on details of natural parents. Your lady might wish to consult a solicitor with the facts as she knows them and hence it might be possible for the original adoption papers to be released. A definitive answer on the legalities might either 'open the gate' to a resolution or close off a blind lead.

    A simple consultation with a solicitor ought not to be too expensive - there might even be a legal eagle on this website who can advise!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tregaron
    Posts
    263
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Using "Geoffs wonderfull Search Engine" with criteria RAF and initials GJ bring 277 hits, no Railsford/Brailsford or anything that could be confused as such. I don't think she will need a solicitor, Social Services sholud be able to tell her if it is feasible.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    359
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    More good ideas from you guys -- thanks. I'll tell the daughter to peek at this forum. I'm hoping she will continue to pursue this, via a solicitor or Social Services or the CWGC, etc. There must be a paper record of the birth father's name somewhere.

    I'd not heard of "Geoff's (Wonderful) Search Engine" before -- a great service which improves upon the Debt of Honour Register.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wheaton, MD, USA (Wash DC area)
    Posts
    359
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi, folks.

    As a followup, I quote from the daughter's e-mail to me today:

    ++++++++++++++++++

    What a brilliant crowd on the RAF forum. I read all the posts. Everyone trying to be so helpful. Thank you for all your time, trouble and gallant efforts on my behalf. I don't mind at all what is put out there now.

    They are bang on with the suggestion of using a third party to try to access original adoption records. These have never been held centrally as so many different organisations were, and still are, involved in organising adoptions. Twenty years ago when I applied for my original birth certificate they would not send it directly to me. I had to liaise with Social Services in Colchester and go to their offices to get the document.

    I was told I might get nightmares; also that one of the reasons I get pretty upset when people I'm close to go away is most probably because, although I was so little, I would have been aware somehow of the emotions/stresses when my mother had to give me up. I found this extraordinary, but evidently this can be so - even for a baby before birth.

    The woman I saw was very helpful and asked if I wanted to find out more as she could apply to get the adoption file on my behalf, but she could not guarantee the file still existed.

    She wrote to the department in Birmingham which handled the adoption, but the reply came back that all the records from that time had been destroyed - I think she said in a fire. She said it was often the case that these older records were not kept. May be it is different in more recent times. I think it is as the law has changed regarding acces to records.

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    As for her WAAF birth mother Mary Beaty's postings, here is what I've been sent, as best the daughter can decipher at this time, with her comments in parentheses:

    Location Reason Date of Movement

    Harrogate 25/3/41 (Joined WAAF)

    STN Digby H.H. 9/4/41

    4 ScPTT (A) H. 7/11/41

    STN Digby H.H. 21/11/41

    11 RC X - /12/41

    Rollestone (A) 18/2/42

    11 RC (No date)

    SHQ Cranwell (a word I can't read before the year) 1942

    HQ 44 Group (UNIT) X 1/1/43 (43 is legible, the 1/1 appears to have a short line through it. The 1/1/43 ties in with promotion date to T/Sergeant). Possible getting-pregnant place?

    SHQ Cranwell (Under column 'Reason' there is a green ink circle with a green dot in the centre. Might this be code for 'pregnant'? No date given for this movement.) No green ink anywhere else on record.

    Now, Mary Beaty must have been pregnant before the following appointments:

    109 O.T.U. X 23/3/45
    (RAF Carlisle, I think.)

    HQ/W 44 X 12/6/45
    (There is a squiggle after HQ/W 44 which I can't decipher)

    Discharged from WAAF 13/8/45
    (Reason: Services no longer required)

    +++++++++++++++++++

    Where was HQ 44 Group located in late 1944 into 1945?

    The daughter is really tickled that respondents on the forum have chimed in with suggestions. Maybe make a fresh of it, in the hope that the adoption records were not really destroyed. An uphill climb, but...

    Cheers,

    Matt

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •