22 November 2017

In the beginning...

Having started down the road of researching and compiling this short history, I soon decided that it would be better to place it on the internet, rather than leave it tucked away in a PDF, somewhere on my laptop.

It is over 70 years since the end of WW2, so the number of men and women that served with Allied or Axis armed forces during that period of history, and are still with us, must be relatively small.

However, there are probably many (like me) who had relatives that experienced the realities of war time life, who may either be interested in the subject, or may even have input they can offer.

I managed to give up History at school by the time I was 12. It was so boring; just a list of time-stamped events. What brings history alive for me is empathy. By understanding what your relatives went through, in the words they have chosen to describe their experiences, gives you a better 'feel' for their lives.

You share so much with your ancestors. Their day-to-day thoughts, self-doubts & sense of humour were probably very similar to your own. Its just that they lived in a different age, surrounded by different technology, and threatened by different dangers.

I keep putting this project down, thinking I've finished, only to think of another question about the guns used or the timing of events, or some other related issue. I have come to the conclusion that it will never be finished.

And then there are the missed opportunities; I could have (should have) quizzed my dad and others while they were still alive!

about this blog layout

I've written this history into this blog as a series of blog pages. Unfortunately the base address to this site takes you to the latest 'Post' rather than the starting 'Page', so users need to click the link at the top of the page to start reading the history.

There are currently 17 pages which are individually listed and accessible from the right-hand column of each page.

Further research

The starting point for me was The Eagle & Gun Regimental Association notes. I'd love to know if any members are still alive and whether any remain in contact (or maybe they still hold annual meetings). I'd like to access their full set of annual meeting notes, as they are sure to contain more "memories" and individual accounts of life in the 59th Regiment.

I want to go look at the A.A. guns they used. Unfortunately the Royal Artillery Museum at Woolwich closed in 2016 and all the exhibits have been put into storage. Hopefully this stuff will resurface in 2020 when the new exhibition centre is due to open at Larkhill:  http://www.salisburyplainheritagecentre.com/

However, we did swing by Fort Amherst in Chatham at the weekend and have a play with a QF 3.7 inch Vickers Armstrong gun.

The QF 3.7 was one of three guns that my dad would have used in WW2, and he would have laughed to see his son and grandson clowning around with it.

In the background of this picture there is an 18 pounder, which was a gun dad mentioned from his time in a field artillery unit. Judging by this Facebook video, it looks like they still fire this gun occasionally.