What got you interested?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Gage, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. infoseeker

    infoseeker Member

    Grandad was in RA, never spoke much about it but after he died my Nan spoke about their lives quite often, they had been married for 69 years and knew each other for some years prior to their marriage (she obviously missed him), so there were a hell of a lot of stories, some of the things she spoke of sparked memories of my own so I decided to investigate their lives in more detail. I've found out some interesting things spanning much of the 1900's, relatives long forgotten or never known, work in the cotton mills of Manchester, or in the munitions factories etc.
  2. Noreen

    Noreen Member

    What an interesting thread; I've really enjoyed reading through it.

    I think my interest sparked when I was a kid in the late fifties; we were playing on waste ground and found a tin trunk filled with gas masks. Those who dared put them on and chased the rest of us.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Thought of them today.
    The Peasholm Naval battles played a part. Certainly deserve some blame/credit for an early interest.

    Tolbooth likes this.
  4. The Cooler King

    The Cooler King Elite Member

    What got me interested in WW2....................Well the simplest answer I could give would be by just being a boy!.................Airfix Kits, Playing with my Action Men (Be careful!) War films like the Great Escape, Were Eagles Dare etc........ and it just carried on from their. Helps that most of your mates felt the same way of course!.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    It's a bit of a jumble for me I think for me it was a mounting interest as a child in the late 70s/early 80s with contributions from:

    Seeing old episodes of The Rat Patrol
    Avalon Hill's Squad Leader wargame
    Reading Brazen Chariots

    I had some other wargames at the time as well. (Squad Leader belonged to my older brother.) This phase of my interest lasted some time into my teens. I remember getting some very dense volumes describing many, many naval actions out of the university library with the aid of my grandmother.

    Then I completely lost interest for about 25 years. More recently it was definitely World of Tanks and specifically people also making scale models that got me interested in WW2 again. I felt a strange but STRONG compulsion to make a Crusader tank model. Then I rebought Barry Pitt's books on the desert war. It was all onwards from there.
  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    In 1999 I was managing holiday properties in Umbria, Italy, and in one of the cottages that summer was ex-RAAF pilot Jack Doyle. Jack had come back to Italy after 55 years to try to find out where he had been blown up by a time bomb thoughfully left by the Germans on 29 June 1944. He had just one piece of information on which to base his quest for the villa in which the bomb had been planted, an aerial photograph taken from a height of 26,000 feet on the 22nd of June. He seemed to remember that it was to the north of Lake Trasimeno, though it had been almost dark when he and his team arrived and the following day they had not moved from the attic where they were operating the radio when the explosion took place. In an article written for magazine of 450 Squadron RAAF in 1999 he wrote:

    When my first tour of operations ended, after 14 months, mid-way up Italy, I was placed on Rover David duties. This required me to be up near the front line directing patrolling aircraft on to targets specially selected by the Army just prior to an attack by our troops. Obviously a high vantage point helped. So I chose a large two-storied mansion which I had remembered as being to the north of Lake Trasimeno. It was dusk on 29 June when I drove my jeep up the wide steps and into the reception hall. With my RAAF radio operator and followed by my Army Liaison Officer with his radio man we went to the attic where I removed some roof tiles and looked towards the front line. The Germans had departed the house twenty four hours before we arrived, and some servants were still there so we considered it safe. Unbeknown to all of us the Germans had planted a 500 kg aircraft bomb in the basement as a booby trap, timed to explode at 3 pm, which it did. Some army personnel had been pulled out of the front line for a short rest and these plus others made up the twenty people in the building. It is believed only three of us survived. I was evacuated out by air to Naples hospital from Orvieto, so I knew it was further north of Orvieto than shelling distance. Actually I thought it was just north of Trasimeno, at a guess. I picked the 'Casa di Pan' out of a catalogue which said that the friendly English owner lived upstairs, a wonderful source of information because my Italian is very limited.. 'Billie' Whitford and I with the help of an English lass, Janet Dethick, who lived nearby, found this place.

    Jack put his photo on the kitchen table, around which we were seated, and I immediately recognised the road going past my house at Vitellino and the villa itself, Villa Paolozzi, near Gioiella. He told me that at the time of the explosion there were some British troops in the villa, where they had set up their headquarters, but he didn't know who they were. That started me off of my quest...in the villa were the headquarters of 4 Recce Regiment, 4 British Infantry Division - quite a bit has been posted on this site regarding the explosion. This encounter changed my life - I now have numerous books to my name and three websites and am still looking for information,


    Jack Doyle fotografia.jpg MEC2095  Jack Doyle a Malta 1943.jpg Jack Doyle at Villa Paolozzi.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
    GeoffMNZ, CL1, von Poop and 1 other person like this.
  7. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Well-Known Member

    Inheriting 94 letters from a man who was killed in 1944. They were so well written describing his world of 1940 -1944. His family discussions, politics and interests.
    Not memoires but written as he lived his "Buccaneering" mobile existence in tents and ruined buildings until his death.
    I took them out the week that I retired to begin transcribing them and like a genie out of a bottle the whole thing has grown over the last four years.
  8. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Well-Known Member

    The author of my letters was killed along with three others on the Via di Montughi La Pietra Florence. The map reference is recorded in the war Diaries as it was a great disaster for the Regiment losing three aspiring young officers, the Survey Officer, two Command Post Officers and a Bombardier Driver/ Surveyor. The Recce Jeep went down the lane first followed by the Survey Jeep. The Recce Jeep either missed the mines or struck them but they did not detonate. The Survey Jeep detonated them blowing the jeep over a 2M wall (the lane was walled on both sides) killing all the occupants. They lie in Florence War Cemetery. It was not uncommon to place a torsion bar in the Teller mine cut part way through to prevent it detonating an anything lighter than a tank. They were placed with two or three together to destroy it rather than break the tracks. The week before the lane was used as access to a field base used by the 2nd North Staffs fighting in the area. They were accompanied by 446 Bty 67th FR FOO team who were following a Recce Carrier which was hit by an anti tank gun killing all the occupants nearby on the Via Bolognese. The mine must have blown when the torsion bar finally snapped after a number of passes. The area was familiar to the men in the Regiment so they were unaware of the danger hidden there.
    Owen likes this.
  9. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    I had always had a fascination for WW2 after all both my parents had served, Dad in RAF and Mum was a Wren. Also, there was the family joke that if only Granddad had shot straight in WW1 then WW2 would never have happened (Grandad and Hitler were both wounded in the same WW1 battle)!
    Then in the 80's I met and married and my interest increased out of all proportion. My hubby's father was one of the lucky ones who escaped from Singapore. At that time, we did not know how he had got to Singapore, which service he was with or anything and some of these questions still remain unanswered. To compound the issue, my father in law vanished about March 1942 and resurfaced in the West Indies, in US uniform. Some 14 months later he did it again! This time he turned up in Montreal Canada about May 1944 in the British Merchant Navy.
    Trying to solve the jigsaw has taken many many hours and has introduced me to some wonderful people all over the world, many are members on this site. There are still gaps to fill but I shall keep trying!
    vitellino and Chris C like this.
  10. Jim Klag

    Jim Klag Member

    My dad and my uncles were veterans and I my mom had a couple coffee table books with lots of photos about the war. The very first book I read on the war was by a British author, John Frayn Turner and the book was Invasion '44. I borrowed this book from our local library because I was interested in the Normandy invasion from movies and my "uncle" (a friend of my dad's who we called Uncle Ted) who was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne.
  11. Grasmere

    Grasmere Active Member

    My mum and dad met in a munitions factory during WW2.
    Chris C likes this.

Share This Page