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Phil Tomaselli (Second World War)

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Phil Tomaselli (Second World War)

Postby Jon Bauckham » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:39 pm

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Re: Phil Tomaselli

Postby Editor » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:24 pm

It's great to have Phil, who writes so much for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine and helps so many of our readers with their family history queries, come onto our forum to help our forum users. If you've got a WW2 question for him, then please click on 'Post reply' below. You can post your question in advance and if you come on between 1pm and 2pm tomorrow you can respond to his answers.

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LCT 7086 and the D-Day Landings

Postby David Lea » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:09 pm

Hi Phil

I'm trying to find out more about my Uncle who was an Ordinary Seaman on board LCT 7086 during D-Day. I know he was with 6 LCT Flotilla, ‘H’ LCT Squadron, Force ‘L’ which was based in Harwich and from what he told us when he was alive, his LCT was involved in conveying US servicemen to the Omaha beaches at Normandy. We also know his LCT was damaged by the great storms on 19/06/44 and had to be rescued by a tug called The Griper.

I have his service record which only really gives dates and postings but I would like to put 'some meat on the bones' and find out what he was actually involved in on D-Day itself.

Any help, info or pointers would be very much appreciated.

Thank you in advance

David
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Phil Tomaselli

Postby coopernicola » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:23 pm

Hello Phil

I would love to discover more about my grandfathers role on a "trawler gun ship, with the Arctic convoys" during WWII. The information I have put in quotes as my father only has this sketchy memory! My grandfather, George Wood b1907 Hull, was not as far as I know, a trawler fisherman nor was he in the merchant service at any time. We have a photograph of him on deck of the gunship but dressed only in a t-shirt and without any visible ship identifiers. My father believes he served at sea for the whole period of the war, so I guess he may have been awarded a medal as part of the Arctic Convoys.
Is there any chance I can locate any further details or will lack of ship name/number and my grandfathers common name make this impossible?

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Re: Phil Tomaselli

Postby Phil Tomaselli » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:47 am

coopernicola wrote:Hello Phil

I would love to discover more about my grandfathers role on a "trawler gun ship, with the Arctic convoys" during WWII. The information I have put in quotes as my father only has this sketchy memory! My grandfather, George Wood b1907 Hull, was not as far as I know, a trawler fisherman nor was he in the merchant service at any time. We have a photograph of him on deck of the gunship but dressed only in a t-shirt and without any visible ship identifiers. My father believes he served at sea for the whole period of the war, so I guess he may have been awarded a medal as part of the Arctic Convoys.
Is there any chance I can locate any further details or will lack of ship name/number and my grandfathers common name make this impossible?

Nicola


To have served on an armed trawler George would normally have to have been in the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy. Merchant Navy (MN) is most likely (he could have been conscripted into it or allowed to volunteer instead of joining the armed forces. MN service records are scattered and not all survive. Records for MN seamen 1918 -1941 are on Findmypast. I can't find a surviving Seaman's Pouch for him at Kew (you can search on their website) but records may be in BT 364 or BT 382 but you'll need to visit Kew to see these.

If he was in the MN and applied for an Atlantic Star (awarded for Russian convoys) there should be a record in BT 395 which can be searched on TNA website and the record downloaded for £3.30. I can find three possibles, though one is a James George Wood.

If he was in the Royal Navy his service record can be applied for and information on how to do this is at https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-persona ... ce-records.

It's remotely possible he was in the army as a few men served on merchant ships as gunners - army records can also be obtained via https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-persona ... ce-records.

His service record should show which ships he served on and http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/russian/ind ... htm~rumain should match the ship to particular convoys. Ships Logs and convoy records are at Kew.
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Phil Tomaselli

Postby coopernicola » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:51 am

Hello Phil
Thanks for this, it seems most likely he volunteered for the MN and looks like I should try FMP first then Kew. He was plain 'George' so thankfully only two to check out, I thought there would be many more! We know he had no medals so perhaps did not realise he could apply for one. He is sadly no longer with us.
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Re: Phil Tomaselli

Postby ExLeper » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:13 am

Hi Phil,

I am trying to find out what my grandfather did during WW2. This is all I know of him:

His name was William Harris. He was born in Gower, Wales in 1916. He was orphaned by 1926. Then I have no record of him until he gets married in Woolwich, London in 1945. My father tells me William was a driver during the war. I have no idea what he drove. Tanks? Jeeps? Ambulance? Limos? This is all I have.

How can I find out more?
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Re: Phil Tomaselli

Postby JaneyH » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:07 am

Hello Phil,

Do any records exist of the Home Guard during WW2? My grandfather was disabled in the mid-1920s after an accident and therefore not fit enough to serve in the military. However I know that he served in the Home Guard in north Devon. One story my Mum tells is of him shooting a salmon in the river while on duty, because he "thought" it might be a German soldier. No doubt with rationing in place this was a crafty way to supplement the family's meal-times! However I would love to know if I can discover more about what he did at this time.


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Re: Phil Tomaselli

Postby Phil Tomaselli » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am

JaneyH wrote:Hello Phil,

Do any records exist of the Home Guard during WW2? My grandfather was disabled in the mid-1920s after an accident and therefore not fit enough to serve in the military. However I know that he served in the Home Guard in north Devon. One story my Mum tells is of him shooting a salmon in the river while on duty, because he "thought" it might be a German soldier. No doubt with rationing in place this was a crafty way to supplement the family's meal-times! However I would love to know if I can discover more about what he did at this time.


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Unlike the regular army the Home Guard weren't required to keep War Diaries, but many did, especially if their officers had served in WW1. Others were proud of what they did and produced semi official histories. There are 95 of these at TNA, Kew in WO 199 series but none I can see immediately from North Devon. This doesn't mean they don't exist though. Lots will have been passed to local record offices and some, possibly, to the museum of the local regiment (with whom the Home Guard were associated). TNA website has a link to "Access to Archives" which allows you to search for locally held records - type in Home Guard and restrict the search to Devon and this will help you find them. There are, for example, records of Bideford Home Guard (which probably covered a bigger area than the town itself) at the North Devon Record Office. The Devon Regiment Museum doesn't seem to have anything I can see on their website from the Home Guard. Given many young men joined the Home Guard (they could join at 17) there may still be men around who remember serving with your Grandfather.
http://www.airfieldinformationexchange. ... -June-1944 has a list of local Home Guard units.
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Re: Phil Tomaselli

Postby Phil Tomaselli » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:06 pm

ExLeper wrote:Hi Phil,

I am trying to find out what my grandfather did during WW2. This is all I know of him:

His name was William Harris. He was born in Gower, Wales in 1916. He was orphaned by 1926. Then I have no record of him until he gets married in Woolwich, London in 1945. My father tells me William was a driver during the war. I have no idea what he drove. Tanks? Jeeps? Ambulance? Limos? This is all I have.

How can I find out more?


It sounds like he was a soldier. Does his marriage certificate give a rank, regiment or number?

It's possible to obtain his service record from the Ministry of Defence if you are next of kin or can obtain their permission (I assume he is no longer with us).

https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-persona ... ce-records explains how this can be done and provides the necessary paperwork. It will help if you can provide as much information about your grandfather as possible - date and place of birth are essential. It will cost £30 but unlike WW1, where most army service records were destroyed in the Blitz, nearly all survive from WW2.
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