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Thread: Help finding out about a family member

  1. #1
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    Default Help finding out about a family member

    Hello All,
    I'm new to the forums here, so any help at all would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to find out anything I can about my great uncle, who was killed during the Second World War. His name was F/Sgt John W Barber, and he was a Coastal Command pilot flying Wellingtons with 172 squadron out of RAF Chivenor. He was killed in May 1944. I found an old post by Henk Welting:
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?3865-172-Squadron-24-5-1944
    Unfortunately, my private message to Mr Welting was just a little too late, God rest him.
    I have very little to go on in finding out much more about my Great Uncle Jack - he was the oldest of three brothers, the middle brother being my grandfather, and grandad understandably never spoke about him, he only had a large photograph of Jack in his study. Anyhow, all three brothers have tragically passed away now and I'm trying to do anything I can to record their military careers for the rest of my family. I sent off a cheque to the RAF Historical Branch, who were very helpful and sent me Jack's service record, but any other information whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.
    Very many thanks,
    Mark

  2. #2
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    Regarding you Great Uncle's operations in 172 Squadron, i would recommend consulting the squadron operational record book, either by visiting Kew or by ordering digital or physical images of these records
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/raf-operations-record-books.htm

    Regards

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

  3. #3
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    May I suggest that you set out to 'interpret' Uncle Jack's service record. That is, turn the information it contains into a chronological sequence on a large sheet of paper or a spreadsheet. This will then let you trace where he went, when, what he was doing, what rank he held, what courses he attended. This way you will gather a general overview.

    Next comes the detailed research and you have already been pointed by Mikkel to the Operational Record Books - ORBs usually called the RAF Forms 540 and the sortie records, the Form 541.

    Sometimes, the most difficult part is actually interpreting what all the abbreviations mean but you will find boundless support and help on this site and most of the abbreviations are straight forward and many books on RAF/aircraft history have glossaries anyway.

    One thing is certain, you have many interesting and some frustrating hours ahead of you, so don't think you'll be able to go to bed early, any night soon!!!

    Good Luck.

    Colin Cummings

    PS There are likely to be other suggestions offered as to how to go about this research and each will have its merit; it's up to you to decide which suits you best.

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    I hope you wont mind me saying Colin but that was very straightforward and nicely put.

    Can't add to that Max, Good Luck

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 21st September 2012 at 15:16. Reason: adding line for Max

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