World War Research (225)

Tutor: Simon Fowler

Almost everybody has ancestors and family who fought in the two world wars. This three-week course will help you find out about their service whether they spent their time in a cookhouse at Catterick or, in Winston Churchill's words "at the sharp end".

We look at online resources available from The National Archives, the commercial data providers, and those maintained by enthusiasts. Offline, we examine original records at Kew and consider resources available at the Imperial War Museum and other military museums across Britain, as well as how best to use these records. Women's war service records are included and records for men from the Dominions who came to the aid of the Mother Country during both world wars. This course will answer your questions about: service records, where to find them and how to interpret them; medal records, including how to discover more about why they were awarded; casualty records, including researching how and why a man lost his life and also operational records, which give you a good idea of a man's career in the services.

Two of the three weeks will be spent looking at the major resources for the First World War and suggesting alternatives where there are gaps in the records. The last lesson will concentrate on the Second World War, where there are many records which are rarely used by family historians. For both conflicts research strategies will be offered, together with tips to speed your research along.

Lesson Headings:
  • WWI - The basics: Service records, Medal cards, Resources online, The Fallen
  • WWI - Advanced: War diaries, RAF, Royal Navy, Women, Commonwealth
  • WWII - How to use the records: Service records, Medals, Operational records, the Home Front

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID "I very much enjoyed the chat sessions and learned a lot through them. I found the practical exercises very helpful to reinforce the information I had read."

"I enjoyed the whole course. I was especially interested in world war one and enjoyed reading the lesson notes for this part as well as attempting to do the associated exercises."

Relevant Countries: Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada

Course Length: 3 weeks
Start Date:  Nov 2019
Cost: £34.99

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