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Minnie Driver's episode

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Minnie Driver's episode

Postby Jon Bauckham » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:45 pm

Hello all,

With tales of flying heroes, bigamous marriages and long-lost kin, tonight Who Do You Think You Are? uncovers the ancestry of Hollwood star Minnie Driver. From what I gather, the story could easily be a film script!

As before, please let us know what you thought about the episode by posting below. Claire, our Deputy Editor, will also be tweeting away here


I've now left Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. Please contact regarding any forum queries.
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Jon Bauckham
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Re: Minnie Driver's episode

Postby isobelc » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:19 pm

Really enjoyed this episode. Nice change to see a line being worked forwards as well as back.
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Re: Minnie Driver's episode

Postby CK1 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:59 pm

Great episode. Very close to home. My Uncle John Henry Waterfall was a rear gunner in a Wellington at around the same time. He was training at the time of Heligoland Bight but went on his first mission in January 1940. He too was awarded a DFM at RAF Feltwell , but in May 1940, for shooting down a Messerschmitt 109 and severely damaging a Messerschmitt 110. Unfortunately he and his crew were shot down over Jever in Germany in July 1940 with no survivors. My Grandfather and Father never knew what happened to Jack except that he was shot down somewhere, probably over the English Channel. It was not until my cousin and I started to search that we discovered he and the crew had been given a military funeral in Jever by the towns people and the Luftwaffe. On a visit to the archives in Jever we discovered German newspaper clippings and a photograph of a wooden memorial cross placed at their grave in Jever cemetery. Their bodies were later exhumed after the war and reinterred at Sage War Cemetery near Oldenburg. With the help of some German colleagues, Jever inhabitants and volunteers at Brooklands Air Museum together with records from The National Archives we have been able to discover a wealth of information. We plan to hold a memorial service in July 2015 in Jever to commemorate the crew of Wellington R3236 and are trying to discover if any family related to the other crew members would like to attend. So far we have only managed to make contact with the relatives of one crew member.
Other crew members were Alexander AITKEN from Balornock, Alexander GLEN of Montrose, Ralph Alan Anthony BALL from Holborn, and Douglas Weatherall LINDSAY from Edinburgh.
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Re: Minnie Driver's episode

Postby Pipsypo » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:06 pm

Fabulous episode last night, can anyone tell me which website they were on when searching forward to "find a spouse"
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Re: Minnie Driver's episode

Postby andylong » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:11 pm

Hi. I wanted to come here and say that Walter Lilley who was featured in the programme was my Grandad's cousin.

It was a complete surprise to hear the name at first - I knew in the back of my mind that he had been killed in the war, but the exact circumstances were a little hazy - my Grandad must have told me the story when I was a little boy. The confirmation came when it was revealed that Walter was from Kippax, which is where my Grandad grew up. I knew at this point that it must be him.

I spoke to my Mum this morning (who missed the show) to clarify some details. My Grandad died in 2001, however I understand that he and Walter were quite close as they were of a similar age. In fact, my Mum believes that he and Walter went together to sign up for the RAF - Walter was accepted, however my Grandad was denied entry due to him having a reserved occupation. If he hadn't have had that job, there's a very strong possibility that history would have taken a different course and I wouldn't be here writing this now!

My Mum recalls Grandad telling her that when Walter had been killed, he went to visit his Auntie and her family up the road in Kippax (Grandad lived in Castleford) and a lot of the family were shocked as they hadn't seen my Grandad for a few years and apparently he looked just like Walter - they could have been mistaken for brothers - some people thought it was him at first.

The programme was wonderful, though I'm sure Walter would have been horrified to know the effect the circumstances of his death and the publicity of Ronnie's actions would have had on his friend.

I'm hoping to find out some more information about Walter (I'm not sure if he was my Grandad's first cousin, and therefore what relation Walter was to me etc.) and of my Grandad's side of the family. My Mum had been researching her family tree for a while in fact, and had traced the family back to Dudley in the West Midlands - however the trail went cold due to the loss of records at Dudley registry office in a fire.

My Nanna is still alive at 93, so she may know more about Walter. I'm hoping to find a picture of him somewhere.
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Re: Minnie Driver's episode

Postby ritah » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:30 pm

An excellent episode, it was such a change to see someone discovering information about someone they actually knew and not just people on their family tree but never knew.

In answer to Pipsypo's question, they were using Ancestry. Put in the details you know into the marriage search, click search, then click on 'view record' on the entry you think might be yours then 'find spouse' appears, click on that and there you are.

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Re: Minnie Driver's episode

Postby CK1 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:00 pm

In regard to Andy Long's comment I would like to let him know that I am currently involved in a project to find living relatives of all those who took part in The Battle Of Heligoland Bight on 18th December 1939, with a view to having a remembrance service at Ely Cathedral, Cambs. December 2018 and a Commemoration event in December 2019 - the 80th Anniversary of the event. The International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln, is helping with our research. Details of our project can be found on Facebook page: Heligoland39 Project
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