Please do not use this Guestbook for archive enquiries. If you would like information from museum staff regarding past regiments or family research, please look through 'Research Centre' then click on the Enquiries section.
The guestbook is provided for visitors to contribute their views about the site, and to share items of regimental history.
Apart from comments on the site all messages should have a link to our Regiments:–The 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment; The 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment; The 66th (Berkshire) Regiment; The 99th (Lanarkshire) Regiment; The (Royal) Berkshire Regiment; The Wiltshire Regiment; The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment; The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment; The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and the people who served in them.
Information about The Gloucestershire Regiment should be directed to The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Custom House, Gloucester GL1 2HE.
The Guestbook is moderated. All items are sent to the site administrator who will decide if they are suitable for inclusion. There may therefore be a delay of a few days before your message appears.
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Martin Mcintyre - 10th Mar 2017
Message for Michael McIntyre regarding Alfred BIRCH - 2nd Wiltshire Regt. If you already have not done so, go the the relevant page on the War Diary section located on this website. The entry for that day gives a good sense of what happened that day. Home in one the HENIN - NEUVILLE VITASSE ROAD. That done I suggest the following to avoid missing the right location on your visit. Good Luck and I hope it goes well. Several guidebooks are available which cover Arras; there is a section in the Holt's Concise Guide to the Western Front - North, and an excellent guide devoted to the Arras battles and battlefields is Paul Reed's Walking Arras, published in the Battleground Europe series by Pen & Sword in 2007.
Michael McIntyre - 9th Mar 2017
Dear Sirs, my great-grandfather Alfred Birch was KIA while serving in The Wiltshire Regiment on the 9th April 1917, near Neuville Vitasse in Northern France. His daughter (my grandmother) was born 9 days later on the 18th April 1917. Myself and some siblings along with our Mother (his grandaughter), are visiting Arras Cemetery, where he is remembered (no remains were found), on the 100th anniversary of his death on 9th April 2017 to pay tribute to Alfred. This will be our first visit and a very poignant time for us all. We wondered if there were any other remembrance services taking place on this weekend as I believe the battle Alfred died in was a major battle resulting in approximately 350 other ranks casualties on the day he died. We look forward to hearing from you. Regards,
Curator's Comment:Dear Michael For you information On 9th April in the early hours of the morning, at 6:30 (French Time), in front of the Memorial Wall of the Wellington Quarry, a ceremony of remembrance will take place. This annual ceremony is a tribute to the British soldiers who took part in the Battle of Arras. A sculpture by Martin Fountain called "The Earth Remembers", in memory of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company will be unveiled. The ceremony is open to the public to attend and there will be official representatives attending. For up to date information you can visit the official Arras Centenary Website and if you wish to make an enquiry you can do so through the contact page www.arras1418.com or you can contact the Arras Tourist Office direct: email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We got these details from www.greatwar.co.uk/events/French-Flanders-events.htm Hope that gives you enough detail for the family to have a great day remembering Alfred Birch Yours Aye Michael Cornwell Guest Book Administrator
David Cooke - 11th Dec 2016
Sir just a note to inform you of my fatheres death at 07.30 this morning peacefully in his sleep. Ronald Edward Cooke late of the 1st btn Royal Berkshire Regiment. His story Dad was in France with the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment 6 Brigade he spent his 21st birthday (24th October) on the Belgium border later they retreated to a place called St Venant in northern France where his platoon was guarding a crossroads near a footbridge over the canal when they were hit by there own artillery killing most and wounding Dad he tells me his mate Jonno (the son of a retired Brigadier) died in his arms at the crossroads and he buried him there, after this a forward artillery controller ran up saying how sorry he was they thought the Germans were in that area. Dad was evacuated from Brey sands and returned to England to hospital in Warwick where he knew Jonno,s parents lived so he asked a nurse to get the Brigadier and his wife to come and see him so he could tell them what had happened to there son, after leaving hospital he was told he was not going back to the Royal Berks but was going for Parachute training. He went to RAF Cardington (Home of the airships) and did parachute drops from balloons (yes i know all para training was supposedly done at Ringway but he is adamant). Next he was sent to the South coast at Shorncliff to a small airfield close by and remembers on nights off going to a ballroom overlooking the cliffs and it was from that airfield he made a lot of landings or para drops into occupied Northern France delivering equipment and people to the resistance, i asked him why he was chosen and he said because they wanted people with a knowledge of the area and who spoke fluent French (which until then i did not know he spoke French). Whilst on one of his trips to France he was wounded in the wrist by a Feldgendarme,s MP40 later he was sent to India and somewhere in Burma he was wounded again This is as much as i have been able to get out of him im afraid, he keeps telling me he didnt know who he was working for which i dont believe though apparently many working for MI5 and SOE did not, difficult to prove since most of SOE,s records were destroyed by fire in there offices in Baker street just after the war. Sorry i cant tell you more but i only got this out of him because he asked me to find out if Jonno was buried in a proper cemetary (which i did and he is (Haverskerque) just North of where he was killed and quickly buried.
Curator's Comment:Dear David, We are sorry to hear of your loss and thank you for the fascinating background that you have provided to his service. We will work with the Regimental Association to pass on the details. Yours Aye Michael Cornwell, Guest Book Administrator.
Michael Kew - 29th Sep 2016
Sir. For a number of years now, I have been researching my grandfather Dan Kew MC and Bar, DCM, MM who served with both the 1st and 2/4th Battalions of the Royal Berkshire Regiment during WW1, to this end I have purchased a number of publications from the museum shop which have proved invaluable. It was actually Martin McIntyre who set me off on this journey, never did I think it would be so fascinating, so thanks Mac I am currently trying to establish exactly where Dan won the DCM, I know it was in the area of Greenland Hill near Fampoux and I have his citation and a newspaper account of the incident which may be of interest to your archivers. It is both an interesting and tragic event. According to the War Diary of 2/4th Battalion dated 15/10/1917 - France, Greenland Hill, there is an 'Appendix A' to the entry, I wonder if Appendix A might refer to an Ops Order or Map Reference which may assist me in identifying the exact location I am looking for and I wonder if you have access to Appendix A. It is my intention to pay a visit to the Somme / Arras / Ypres areas next year and whilst most of my research is complete, identifying this location is proving a bit of a problem. if any of my research regarding Dan Kew is of interest to your researchers I would be very happy to share it. Thank you in anticipation. Michael Kew
Curator's Comment:Micahel, Apologies for the delay in responding but I have been away for a fortnight. We do have the Appendix A for the entry of 15/10/1917. The appendix covers the Operation Order No 105 and a report covering what actually happened. I can find no trace of Dan Kew Being mentioned but if it is locations you are after then the Operation Order will provide that detail I think the easiest thing for me to do is to maintain email contact and discuss how you wish to take this forward. Yours Aye Michael Cornwell
Julie Bevan - 15th May 2016
Nice to see where my grandfathers medals and sword are hopefully we will visit the museum soon.
Curator's Comment:Dear Julie, Obviously when you visit the Museum is dependent on family travelling arrangements but if you were to email Researcher3@thewardobe.org.uk we might be able to arrange for one of the Regimental Volunteers to be on hand. Yours Aye Michael Cornwell, Guest Book Administrator.
Terry Hissey - 14th Apr 2016
Hello, I am the Archivist for the Waterloo Band of the Rifles and am writing a paper on the Bands of the Rifles. An annex will be forebear regiment reserve bands. Can you let me know what material you hold on Reserve Bands. I am hopeful a chronology or paper for reference within the Rifles will be the end result.
Curator's Comment:Dear Terry, Apologies for the tardy response, I have been heavily involved with importing a substantial number of images from the seven Rifles Battalions onto our database. As recompense I am emailing a PDF document which will give you an idea of what we hold. Yours Aye, Michael Cornwell Guest Book Adminstrator
Julia Bateson - 27th Mar 2016
My father William Edward Ludford served with the Wiltshires in some difficult places but one he was in charge of was the Victims of Yalta at Newlands Corner and he had the death of those poor people on his conscience until he died. This episode of the war does not appear to be recorded in the Wiltshire's history.
Curator's Comment:Dear Julia, I apologise that it has taken so long to reply and authorise your guestbook entry, the recent upgrade by our web provider had unwittingly caused a minor blip in the programming and was not allowing my reply to be installed. We may be wrong but Newlands Corner is, I believe in Surrey, and at the end of the Second World War the Wiltshire Regiment had 4 battalions. The 1st were in India, the 2nd were in Goslar, Germany, the 4th and 5th Battalions were also in Germany awaiting return to UK. If your grandfather had been guarding Victims of Yalta in England he may have done so as a Wiltshire Soldier stationed in England. If that were the case the War Diaries would not have recorded that as the battalions were in India or Germany. If your grandfather had guarded the Victims whilst serving with one of the Battalions in Germany, it may well be that it was on a detached duty or because of the sensitive nature of the topic a Public Information black out out may have been imposed. Either way you are right in observing that the regimental history does not record the Regiment as having undertaken any such duties. Yours Aye, Michael Cornwell Guest Book Administrator
Emma Banfield - 27th Jan 2016
I visited your museum and this site a couple of years ago but didn't actually sign the guestbook so thought I would do so on this visit. My Great-Great-Grandfather John Lewis and his son John Frederick Lewis were both in the Berkshire regiment. John Frederick was killed in The First World War and John served in Afghanistan and would have been killed in the battle of Maiwand 1880 if he hadn't been in the regiment hospital ill. I see he's been discussed in earlier posts in the guestbook and there's a link to photos of his medals and your curator mentions his Great-Grandson has been in touch, though I'm unsure who as he has a lot of descendants. It was great to visit your museum and see the information you had on Maiwand and we even purchased a book which mentioned him and his family by name which my Nan, his Grand-Daughter, cherishes. Your staff were very helpful and friendly and I hope to come back and visit again in the future.
Curator's Comment:Dear Emma Many thanks for your detailed guestbook entry. It is always interesting and pleasing to receive visits from relatives of our former soldiers. If on your return visit you are able to give prior warning we could try to provide a guided tour around the museum for you. Yours Aye Michael Cornwell - Guest Book Administrator
Keith Vaughan - 11th Nov 2015
Dear Sirs, The entry for SBYRW:42481 and the accompanying image are at utter variance to one another.You may wish to correct the anomaly. K.Vaughan.
Curator's Comment:Dear Keith, Please forgive the delay in authorising your guestbook entry, the museum has been updating the web site and updating all its PCs to Windows 10 which caused some anomalies on our return from the Christmas break. Thank you for pointing out the error with SBYRW 42481. Once we have located the real image we will carry out the remedial action Michael Cornwell, Guest Book Administrator
Rob Enderink - 1st Nov 2015
Hello, I am looking for information about the 4th and the 5th battalion of the wiltshire regiment that fought around October 1944 in Arnhem (Netherlands). The two battalions were at that time at a farm which was called The Laar. Now the area is a residential area (Schuytgraaf). There is a monument that is dedicated to this regiment and the events that has took place. Each year we also have a commemoration. I would like to know how these two battalions were made up, for example an organization chart. Also looking for any tactical positions which they had adopted. I want to make this visible on a map. I will use my reference for my hobby, but i also want to use this to inform people by a kind of battlefield tour. I also would like to see if i can do something for the school in this neighborhood. It would be good if I can involve the youth by letting them know what took place and why it is Important that we commemorate each year. Perhaps the school can play a role during the commemorations. Thanks! Yours sincerely, Rob E (Arnhem, Netherlands) email@example.com