So with the last six in the mail, we kept on looking to see what we could find next and wow, it gets better and better. Katie contacted me saying that she was so excited about the next tag, his name JA TAYLOR 14403352 who was with the 250 Composite Coy (Airbourne) , Katey is a big fan of anything Arnhem and for this to pop up was a little too much to bare. She has various memberships with what seems like every organisation know to man. Before long she had found sadly that he had died a couple of years ago, but before this he had written his memoirs and that they have been published online! I won't replicate them here, but here is the link for you to have a look at. Makes it all so much more personal seeing this information written by the soldier himself. https://community.lincolnshire.gov.uk/Files/Community/365/CotswoldstoArnhem.pdf
So after the article I was asked to write went live on Forces War Records website, we have had hundreds of messages through this website, not only that but a lovely young woman called Sarah who works for the South West News Service. Which is a news agency that works with the national tabloids to take local news stories and turn them around for the attention of the nationals. She was very interested in these dog-tags and asked me lots of questions over Facebook, then
over the phone, emails were sent and later today photographs will be taken. Hopefully this story will spread and it will help to return many more of these dog-tags! Exciting, but a little weird'ed out by having to be photographed. Again!
Well last night I was advised by someone with more knowledge of raising money that I should start a crowdfunding page. I hadn't clue what that even was, however we all know that Google is everyone's best friend. So off I went, found the website and got to work, typing in my usual rambly-style it was soon completed. For those not familiar with crowdfunder, there is an interesting part to it called 'rewards'. I had the option to offer rewards for donating a certain amount. So, I set both the books up on there, so that all the money that would be profit goes to the project. Then thought, they aren't very exciting and to be honest weren't exactly that adventurous. I was joking about online Facebook about my new found fame and the ridiculous idea was formed that someone might actually donate to spend the day with me. We can go through my militaria collection, have a few beers, champagne, have a copy of each of my books and my wife would cook dinner, take my dirt-bikes out for a spin and we could relax in the hot-tub. Now, nobody in their right mind would donate £200 to spend time with me, surely! At 21:00 the crowdfunder went live and I post it on Facebook. Sure enough, bless them some of the member of ERH F/B pledged some money, the first person to do so took great credit in being 'the first to donate' and why not!
I have been out all day today, once I returned late this evening it was time to catch up on all the emails, F/B messages etc. I noticed some 'pledges' as crowdfunder calls them. One for £10, one for £20, one for £30, then one for £200... wait what????!!!!???? I must have read that wrong Nope, I didn't, someone had actually donated £200. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence and that they didn't click the offer and just randomly donated £200, or maybe meant to type £20. It seems making an error like that unlikely and they definitely meant to click the offer. So, first point of call. I needed to tell me wife what I had put on the offer (I hadn't as I didn't think there was any point) and that she would in fact be making dinner for someone! Of course all the offers we get are amazing, regardless of the amount, to know some many people are behind what we are doing and still have to do is amazing. When this project started I knew it was big, but the scale it has got with the support, the people flocking forwards to help us with all research the research is truly wonderful and really does make me feel like we are on to a good thing here! Katey, ERH's lead researcher is pretty much solely now in charge of all the research and is building a system with the volunteers to battle through a larger amount of these dog-tags. This system should take effect this week (I maybe wrong!) and fingers crossed. To up date everyone, so far the following tags have gone home and the last 5 will be in the post tomorrow morning.
V Berrett 556457 - never heard from again :(
F Bills 14245294 - written up on here with photographs
JE Lock 14459059 - photograph of him now wearing the dog-tag and two wartime shots.
RW Duckmanton 14459059 - photographs and details
DF Holbeche 14604606 - fingers crossed on a photo
RG Teecey - 14461882 - fingers crossed on a photo
GT Holyoake - 14480394 - fingers crossed on a photo
DG Battenbo 14481930 - fingers crossed on a photo
KH Oakhill - 14557184 - photos and paperwork
AE Tyte 14808419 - fingers crossed on a photo
GR Laidlow 14884705 - fingers crossed on a photo
FG Ostick 19006208 - National Service in Germany 1946-1948
GJ Lowthin 22091638 - I will be meeting in May
JA Taylor 14403352 - pdf giving his exciting & interesting wartime history, sadly no war time photo found
The team have leads on lots of others and on some they are only waiting for an address for me to post them out to! Lets hope some of those photographs start coming in soon, it gives that final closure as to who are these names and numbers. It really does 'put a face to the name'.