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Well, My part was nothing... compared to the sacrafice of the soldier or in fact his surviving family who never forgot him. That was the motivation for me....
I'm sure many other amateur researchers have done similar things.
A happier occasion i was involved with was back in 1997 when i researched and located a missing ww2 commando gallantry award (The UK's " Military Medal")citation of 50+ years.This was for a good radio ham friend.He was with No.4 Commando on D-Day
Lord Lovat and won his medal at Walcheren/Vlissingen.
He never knew exactly what he got the medal for.(see website below).
in 1997 the medal recipient was facing major heart surgery. Time was precious.After going through micro fiche/film at the Manchester Library in England, I located his citation entry in the London Gazette Newspaper June 31st 1945.(he wasnt aware of the recorded entry was published but still no citation and reason why he won the medal).
He showed me his medal (name engraved on teh side)and he also showed me a letter from King George(Buckingham Palace) apologizing that he couldnt make
the presentation due to ill health(the King actually wrote "a right royal sore stomach" !)
Harold was a WW2 Royal Marine Commando Signaller.
I called his regimental museum.With that information from the London Gazette(NEWSPAPER) the curator located an out of print book.Despite its scarcity and by good fortune within several days I had used the ISBN book number to locate the publishing rights of the owner of the book. (Sheratt and Hughes UK bookshop chain were big help obtaining the phone number)
I spoke with the book owner and he kindly gave me a free exisitng copy of the book,one for the medal winner, one at half price(i thought a spare copy for his son ) and i had to argue with him to let me buy one at full price chuckle.A kind person.
So a 50+ year mystery was solved.That was the hardest work i have ever done for one cup of tea, which was all i wanted in return much to his amusement.
I got to know him and his family very well. His heart surgery gave him 5 years extra. He visited me here for a week in California 2000 in between travelling in Asia. He died a year later almost 6 years ago on March 31st. Dont think i have met a finer person.
As a tribute to him, i thought these brave acts of soldiers would go into obscurity with the book being out of print.(A historical disaster in my eyes.)
I then pursued research on other ww2 commando gallantry awards adding ones which were outside/in addition to the book.
Many from No.10(Inter Allied) Commando (French Belgian Dutch Polish etc . Also i managed to locate some photographs.
The French D-Day museum and others links to this website.Dont expect a well designed website ..... the web editing software went obsolete halfway through the project and i was out of work/unemployed at the time.
But...the information and records of military heroism of ww2 is still available.
your help of these fallen veterans families is a noble endeavor. it reminds me of when i got orders for europe, and my grandmother told me of a cousin of hers who had fallen at Achen with a sucking chest wound. she wanted me to find where he was buried and place a flower on his grave for her. being poor mountain folks, no one of our family could afford the trip. it turns out my uncle Ted was in belgium in WW2 as well, and he told me when he discovered his cousin Guy was wounded, he tried to get to Liege but Guy died before Ted made it there. anyway, i found Guy's grave in Maastricht, with the help of the local Dutch. i took pictures and placed a flower from my Grandmother on Guy's grave. as far as i know, i'm the only family member who ever visited him. it was a deeply emotional experience, but i'm glad i got to do it.
Yes M, it becomes very emotional and its important to always be considering the families sensitivity.Such plights are often difficult to explain to people..etc
Your own experience was very interesting and good on you for your endeavor to pay respects to you relations.Often i think of the poor warwidows who never remarried and kept the candle of hope for the remainder of their life.
I think we did our bit, and helped let the loved ones spirit rest.best wishes Hank