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Two Germans and Harry Taylor, my Father


Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
Hi John:

There is a thread on this forum about Yardley Wood and it's cemeteries.
If you put Yardley Wood Cemetery at the top of the page in "Search" the thread will come up. Among the posts is this site for Christchurch. If this is the Church were your parents are buried you could send them an e-mail from the "Contact" menu about where to find the records, etc. Good luck



Warstock Boy
Thanks Jennyann

I didn't know Christ Church had a website. Wonder if Brandwood End does?

Anyway, I'll follow this up and let you know if I get a result.


Warstock Boy
Well friends, over 4 months since I last posted on this thread and I have some great news to report:

First is that I recently discovered my dad's army number, which I desperately needed but thought I'd never find. Before I found it, the Army Personel Centre had already initiated a records search just on the basis of dad's name and DOB, but they told me the odds were against us without his army number, and that in any case it was likely his records would be part of a large tranche that had been sent to the MOD and destroyed some years ago.

Then, something happened by serendipity (I've been dying to have a genuine reason to use that word!). A male relative told me that Sandra, a once-close cousin of mine who I had long since lost touch with, had moved house and was now living near to him in Lincolnshire, and he agreed to take me to see her on my next visit. During our re-union, and our discussion of old times, I mentioned that I was looking back into dad's story but was struggling without his army number. Keith, Sandra's husband, said "I'm sure I have seen an old letter that has that information on it in the papers left by Sandra's deceased parents."

Two days later, Keith sent me a scanned copy of the letter, written from Cairo in January 1945 by my dad to Sandra's mother May (by now his sister in law), thanking her for a well-wish letter she had sent him, and congratulating her on the news that she had just got engaged. The letter was of course on army stationery, and there at the top, faded, but clear enough to read, was his army number and details of his regiment and unit.

Bingo! I got on to the Army Personel Centre people in Scotland. They were almost as excited as me to get this vital information. I had written a long account of my dad's fire accident and of his life being saved by German POWs. They said this would make the record searches a lot easier.

The second piece of news is that my dad's records have not been destroyed - they have been found, and a full copy of them will soon be coming through my letter-box!

I will be getting his full service record; also the redacted (a word currently in the news, re politicians' expense claim details) details of the Board of Inquiry carried out to investigate his fire accident (which includes his own statement and the evidence given by the German POWs who saved him); and, although medical files are not released, the file will include numerous clues as to what injuries dad suffered and the different hospitals he was sent to in Egypt and then back in England. I cannot wait to read through all this stuff!

The attitude and help I have had from the APC people in Scotland has really impressed me. The research person I normally deal with has shown a genuine interest in my case from the outset, she talks to me on first name terms and she has advised me patiently on the process all the way through. As she was on leave when the main records came through her team manager rang me personally to tell me what they had got and what they would be sending me. He said he didn't think my dad's file had been opened since 1946. He had read through the records himself and it was the first he had seen in his many years in the job that actually included information about German POWs. Because of the twist in the story that some 'gerries' had saved the life of a 'tommy' (they called my dad "Our best friend" when they were asked how they felt about him at the Board of Inquiry), and that the tommy's son was wanting to track the Germans down, or their families if they are passed now, to thank them 60-odd years later, he said the case was currently the talk of the office. He told me he and his team in any case have a strong conviction that such individual stories of the second world war should be known, not left to be never heard of, turning to parchment and dust on archive shelves.

Army regulations are such that the names of the German POWs have to be blacked out (redacted) of the papers I am to be sent. But, my family search and these clues have turned these up. I know who they were. The German side of the search is about to begin!

Back in February, some of you suggested you might be able to help. I think I will need it. :beam::thumbsup: