This blog records the journey to discover the details of my grandfather’s military service.
My sister and I knew that our grandfather was stationed overseas during WWII. He served with the RCAF as a pilot. Beyond this, we know very little.
He’s been gone for nearly 20 years now.
Our own father was an avid historian and built an admirable collection of WWII books. Perhaps he was just curious about the subject, but there was always an undercurrent- that he was looking for answers about his own father (who didn’t really care to speak about the war).
Now that he is gone as well, it felt as though it was time to pick up the trail. Our father didn’t have the same easy access to technology that we have (where there are so many ways to discover information- including blogs).
I don’t really know what I’m looking for. I’m not an historian and I don’t think that there is a specific puzzle to solve. In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if our grandfather’s experience is entirely typical.
When I wrote my first post, I intended to use this site as a repository, with a few useful links and documents for my sister. I expected this to be a short, efficient trawl through a few facts. However, within days of starting work on it, I realised that there wasn’t any point trying to understand my grandfather’s place in history without having a better understanding of the wider picture. So, the site has grown to include articles, reviews and rambling thoughts about the nature of recording history.
The air conflict of WWII not only decided Britain’s very survival as an independent nation, but was also imbued with an epic moral purpose. The epochal months of the Battle of Britain and the long war of attrition for Bomber Command, represented the classic fight between good and evil, between freedom and tyranny. This romantic symbolism was given added strength by the soaring rhetoric of Winston Churchill.
In time, I hope we might be able to weave the story of our grandfather, a young pilot far from home, into this history.