Thursday, 12 June 2014

Desk Ramblings.....(19)

The last few months (well since my last Desk Ramblings in March this year) have been busy. I am finishing a day job project. Working on another project with a September deadline and have been scoping out a further project. I have just worked through a list of literary agents and weeded down a list of thirty to eight. Not to mention the various genealogical obligations I have. Sometimes volunteering overtakes our expectations and what we signed up to do.Such is life I guess.

Whilst looking for something yesterday I had reason to call Southend Museum in Essex. I had a vague recollection of something involving my late Great Uncle and I wanted to familiarise myself with the details. I had some earlier notes, but being a piler rather than a filer I could not locate the paper.

My Cousin has the military papers of his father and shared them with me in the summer of 2000.

They reveal that my Uncle enlisted at Maidstone in November 1922 in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. He then served at home within the confines of the UK for 2 years. He then trained into the Military Police and was then posted to Germany between 1924 - 1928. He returned home, still in the Military Police between 1928 and 1936 and went overseas to Singapore between 1936 and 1938. He then returned home and remained serving again in the Military Police in Essex until February 1939 when he was discharged from the army. He served just under 17 years.

When Frank enlisted in 1922, he was no stranger to the army, as he had served in the British Army during the First World War, enlisting in 1916 and was discharged in October 1922. He married my Aunt in June 1924 at Guildford, although without the permission of his commanding officer and they had to repeat the ceremony at the registry office. I am guessing that my Aunt went with Frank to Germany, as she went to Singapore with him during the 1930's.

Frank & Gladys Thorneycroft (nee Butcher) Shoeburyness circa 1960
I knew from my Mum that Uncle was in the police and he would often be sitting in those police huts that occupied the streets of post Second World War Britain. How did he move from the military to the police?

During the Second World War he remained living in his home, which was owned by the Ministry of Defence. He worked from what I can establish from the limited knowledge in the military barracks in a defence position.

Having relayed that to the Museum in a short and concise conversation I asked what he could have been doing? I have vague recollections of something involving military testing, but I could not be sure. Did that sound potentially right I asked the curator?

The answer was yes, he was probably been based at Foulness Island off the coast and he would have been invaluable with his experience. His work there would have been TOP SECRET. Even now, seventy years on I much doubt that I can unravel his second world war service.besides the fact that I am not his next of kin, his record will be undoubtedly classified.

I was completely shocked, surprised and proud of someone who Mum had great affection for. I am so sad she was not here to hear about Uncle Frank and more so because his Grandson arrives from Australia next week.

Other news is the quilt project in memory of my late Mum has been progressing nicely. The first square for the quilt arrived on Friday last week. You can read the post about the first square a little of the story behind that square HERE.

Finally the sun is out in south west England! - We have had some very strange weather and when I walked Alfie one day early last week we had hailstones. I bumped into the postman on my route and we looked at each other in complete amazement!

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