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Thread: World War 2 Blackpool

  1. #1
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    Default World War 2 Blackpool

    My name is Ms. Gail Watson. I am so hoping you may be able to help me please. . I will try to tell you exacting what I have been trying to do for the past 1 Ĺ yrs. I will give you all details to the best of my ability in hopes that you may be able to help me as I have been hitting my head against a brick wall. I have used all resources that I can think of.


    My Grandfather served in World War 2. He lived in Scotland, however was stationed I believe in Blackpool and was responsible for the Balloon barrages. The Almanac of Brechin Library shows he was on the Muster Roll of 1941- Instructor with the R.A.F. I am looking for a copy of his records and sent all what is needed to obtain them to the R.A.F. Disclosures in Sleaford , Lincolnshire. Unfortunately I was told they had no record for him. I am questioning he might have been with the Royal Observer Corps. My understanding they were a combination of radiolocation units and Observer Corps alerting fighter group HQ that in turn relayed the information to the Anti-Craft Operations Room and Balloon Command. All my family are deceased, only next of kin is my Mum who is not well. She was only a wee girl at the time of the war. These are the details of my Grandfather and I am so hoping you will be able to help me please. I donít know where else to go from here. I now know that he was employed as a civilian Instructor having a skilled background which the R.A.F. wanted to make use of but may not of required to join the R.A.F. Would there be a record out there for him?



    Details as follows:

    Frank Lawson Smart

    Born-Apr.2/1901 in Kirriemuir,Angus Scotland

    Resided however at 3B Castle Street in Brechin

    Wife-Elizabeth Lindsay Nicoll

    Parents-William Smart and Anne Lawson

    Stationed in Blackpool during World War 2

    Responsible for the Balloon Barrages.



    Look forward to hearing from you.



    Thankyou

    Gail Watson

    Ontario/Canada

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    Gail

    I don't know if this is going to help or just confuse matters more; 227 Regt Royal Artillery were based in Blackpool and they were a Anti Aircraft Training Regiment. Is it possible that he served with the RA and not the RAF hence why the RAF have no record of him?

    Regards

    Daz

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    Default World War 2 Blackpool

    Hello Daz:

    Thankyou for your response. You know I am just going on a dear friend of my Grandfathers who told me he was responsible for the Barrage Balloons and stationed in Blackpool. As I said the Muster Roll of 1941 In Brechin Library where my Grandfather lived shows he was an instructor with the R.A.F. Not much to go on I know. Do you have any suggestions where I could look for the Royal Artillary Regt? I am open to anything at this point?

    Thankyou
    Gail
    Last edited by gwatson; 21st February 2009 at 19:38.

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    You can try the R.A. Museum at:-
    http://www.firepower.org.uk/
    who are very quick in answering questions but "do you know how many Gunners we have had..." is a typical reply when seeking details of personnel. They don't really stock that kind of info and won't release anything anyway to non-relatives and refer those that are to the normal military record office in Glasgow. They will however confirm whether he was/not in the R.A.
    Stewart

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    Gail, Hi,
    Welcome aboard!
    Yr Grandfather would have been 38 when WW2 broke out so not likely to be in the first waves of Conscription?
    IF there were Barrage Balloons at Blackpool then they might have been connected with the following Balloon Sqns
    919 (West Lancashire) Balloon Sqn, 921 ditto, 922 ditto, or 923 ditto.
    Yr Grandfather may(?) not have passed the required medical fitness tests to wear uniform?
    A number of RAF Units did, indeed, have Civilian Instructors.
    Have a go at http://www.rafweb.org/Sqn900.htm. A Len Bacon appears to be an expert on Balloon Sqns - there will probably be others.
    Good luck.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Just a thought Gail, and really following on from Stewart's post. If the Army is a possibility it might be better to try the Army Disclosures unit at:

    Army Personnel Centre,
    Historical Disclosures,
    Mail Point 555,
    Kentigern House,
    65 Brown Street,
    Glasgow,
    G2 8EX

    Alternatively go to http://www.veterans-uk.com/service_records/army.html

    The fee is the same as that charged by the RAF, but it's a darn sight cheaper than that charged by Firepower.

    One thing I think most of us have found when researching the past is that accounts that are handed down through the generations are quite often incorrect, not that they've been changed deliberately but memory is sometimes frail.

    Brian

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    Mr Davies:

    Thankyou for responding to my posting. I will give it a go. I have nothing to lose. I feel I'm so close but yet so far away as the expression goes.

    All the best
    Gail

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    Stewart:

    Thankyou for responding to my posting. I will give it a go and like you said maybe they will be able to tell me if he was an RA or not.

    All the best
    Gail

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    Gentlemen,

    Gail tells me that her mother's birth certificate records her grandfather (Frank Smart) as being an engineer. If, in 1941 at the age of 40, he is listed as an Instructor with the RAF it is more likely he would have been in a reserved occupation. If he had been called up the probability has to be that it would have been into the RAFVR rather than the Army - but the RAF has no record of him.

    The reference Peter gives for the balloon squadrons shows that the land based ones were used soley for the defence of docks or industrial centres, and Blackpool certainly doesn't fall into that catagory.

    I'm wondering if the 'responsible for balloons' is a red herring (the units being manned by RAF personnel) and he was actually at Blackpool instructing recruits in something like mechanical engineering. I believe some RAF training (basic?) was conducted at Blackpool which would fit with that hypothesis.

    Anyone like to comment or suggest a possible training unit?

    Brian

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    Brian,
    Rafweb states that the Blackpool area was the biggest RAF Trade Training area in the country with camps at Weeton (6 miles NE of Blackpool) and Kirkham (6 miles E).
    USAAF Warton (6 miles SE) housed 2 Base Air Depot with 16,000 personnel there by 1944 (Willis & Holliss)
    Squires Gate saw a number of RAF Fighter Sqns but - more importantly - had a Vickers 'Shadow Factory' which made more than 2500 Wimpy's during WW2.
    However, there was an interesting 'disclosure' in the Daily Telegraph the other day when some researcher claims to have discovered papers that show that Hitler gave strict instructions that Blackpool was not to be bombed. Apparently he wanted to use it as his own beach resort, flying the swastika from the top of the Tower!!! No accounting for taste!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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