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Researching a Royal Engineers member -Help required!

Article about: Hi, after following a successful thread on here requesting info on a soldier of WW1, I thought I too would seek help! I'm looking to research Harold Belson, a member of the British Royal Eng

  1. #1

    Default Researching a Royal Engineers member -Help required!

    Hi, after following a successful thread on here requesting info on a soldier of WW1, I thought I too would seek help! I'm looking to research Harold Belson, a member of the British Royal Engineers who served in WW2. He is not a relative, but the Uncle of the man I bought the Totenkopf in my display picture from. This is what he told me about it:

    "I was given this badge in 1953 by an uncle who served in the Royal Engineers and was in action in France and Germany. From what I was told and he didn’t like talking about it but in his words. He was sent to Belsen to undertake a clean up operation which included maintenance on bulldozers which were used to bury bodies. Whilst he was there one of the inmates came over to him and pressed your badge into his hand and said,”This is token for you to keep.” My uncle felt so sorry for him he gave him his leather jerkin which is a sleeveless leather jacket that the engineers used to wear and told the man your one of us now so you can help me out. My uncle insists because he gave the man something to do, a purpose, it kept that man alive. My uncle was only there for two days and he was moved on but he said it took a week to get the smell out of his clothes and never knew whether the man survived."

    -I would love to find any photos, military records or information about this man. I have tried searching his name, along with 'Belsen' and 'Royal Engineers', but I have found nothing. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, as I don't know where to start! I've asked about further details on him, but this is all he could tell me- and Harold has passed away.

    Mat
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  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Researching a Royal Engineers member -Help required!

    I'm not a member of ancestry or anything but as you mentioned, my own WWI soldier Martin Daniels was pretty well researched here; I hope someone else has the facilities to look yours up!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Researching a Royal Engineers member -Help required!

    Hi Mat, sadly you cannot reseach WW2 soldiers in the UK.

    See here:

    service records sar form requests

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Researching a Royal Engineers member -Help required!

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Hi Mat, sadly you cannot reseach WW2 soldiers in the UK.

    See here:

    service records sar form requests

    Cheers, Ade.

    I never knew this was the case! That's annoying... surely enough time has passed to justify making this info public? I don't quite understand these laws. I suppose I won't be finding anything out at all about him then, since Google turns up nothing and neither did a search on a military records site I found. Still, it's interesting just to know the name and role of the soldier who brought the insignia back, and his very personal encounter at Belsen. It's just a shame I can't discover more of his service leading to that point.

    Thanks for letting me know Ade.

    Mat

  5. #5
    kc1
    kc1 is offline
    ?

    Default Re: Researching a Royal Engineers member -Help required!

    Looking at the form if you are in contact with the chap you brought your item from , he as next of kin can apply or give permission for you to apply for the service record. Nephews are in the list of NOK. If Harold passed away 25 or more years ago and you can produce a death certificate, this would involve some digging on the likes of Ancestry, to get details to obtain a certificate then you yourself could apply for Harolds service record. You would need details like his service number which could probably only be obtained from his service record, catch 22, unless the nephew has his soldiers book or some other correspondance with it on. Ancestry do a 'free' 2 week trial. You can obtain certificates much cheaper by approaching the records office where a death certificate is held rather than let ancestry get it for you. You need to be certain its the right person before applying otherwise it can be expensive collecting certificates to everyone called Harold.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Researching a Royal Engineers member -Help required!

    Kc1, thanks for the comment! I think I may get in contact with him about that then, I'm sure he'd be happy to assist- he mentioned he'd be interested in finding out more too, as Harold didn't talk much of it. I'll post back here if I get further with it.

    Mat

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