I've been researching my family for years and only during the last 10 months or so have I ventured into the Military history. My Grandfather, William Bellew, was in the Army Airforce during WWII and was injured (lost his left eye) during a mission on July 29 1944. Already having his military documents in hand, I set out to find out what else there was to know - the rest of the story if you will. I came across a message board for his bomb group that put me in touch with a now dear friend in England, Chris, who lives near the base where Granddad was stationed. He is very knowledgeable in this area and, unbelievably, he managed to track down a living member of my Grandfather's regular crew! I was amazed and very nervous to call and speak to this man on the phone. He and his wife are just wonderful people and they were very glad to hear from me. He told me that Grandad volunteered to go up with another crew who was short a gunner on that day that he was wounded, and he was never seen again by his regular crew - they were never even told what became of him. He was glad to know that Granddad lived, returned home, had more children and lots of grandchildren.
Connections come in strange ways sometimes. It certainly pays to venture into other areas of the internet, such as message boards, rather than sticking to the records sites. You never know, a post might put you in touch with someone who actually knew your relative and you might make some really great friendships along the way! I called this post #1 because there's much more of this story to share... next week.
3 days ago