PDA

View Full Version : Help me find my Grandad please



jay.s
04-20-2013, 05:25 PM
Hi all
Please can someone help me find out about my Granddad .
Heres a bit about the past, my Grandmother who has now passed away in December
Met an American solder who was serving in England Devon during WW2. They fell in love and he wanted my grandmother to move to America after the war. My great grandmother did not allow her go and stopped her from seeing him, he was then sent to France I think but did send a letter to my great grandmother telling her he was in hell. He did not know that my grandmother was having his baby (my mum) all she has been told is that he died in the war. We have a photo of him and his name , can someone help identify his unit and some of the details on the back of the photo. Any help would be great and if he has died maybe find out where he is now.
64896490

pdf27
04-21-2013, 07:25 AM
http://www.abmc.gov/search/wwii.php may help if you can read the name more clearly than I can - however searching with "635" as the unit suggests no even remotely similar name is on the ABMC register. Unfortunately, it doesn't give any similar unit designations either.

If you have a place (even a state or region) of birth you may be able to trawl through the records in http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/ww2/army-casualties/ - that will at least give you an army number and rank, if not much else.

jay.s
04-21-2013, 09:13 AM
His name was Joe mcginness Irish/amarican and my mother seem to think he came from New york

Nickdfresh
04-21-2013, 09:35 AM
If he was from NY State, try this: http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/ww2/army-casualties/new-york.html

I'll check and see what I come up with as well...

Nickdfresh
04-21-2013, 09:44 AM
There's a PFC "Mc Guiness W J" listed from the New York City-The Bronx listed as KIA: http://media.nara.gov/media/images/29/13/29-1280a.gif

I live in the Western part of the state (Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY) and would contact anyone in my area if need be...

pdf27
04-21-2013, 09:52 AM
6491
Mc Ginness James F 32727311 TEC5 KIA

Nickdfresh
04-21-2013, 09:59 AM
His name was Joe mcginness Irish/amarican and my mother seem to think he came from New york

McGinness or McGuinness? There's also a LT R J McGuinness right below on the page pdf found:

http://media.nara.gov/media/images/29/14/29-1394a.gif

pdf27
04-21-2013, 10:09 AM
Just checked all of them, there are two McGinness names on there, and the one I linked is the only one with the initial J. There are rather a lot of McGuinness names on there, so **IF** the spelling and state of origin is correct then we've almost certainly identified the guy. Not terribly helpful, but at least you now have an army number and rank.

jay.s
04-21-2013, 10:24 AM
Being british and having served in the forces i can tell what unit a solder was from by his uniform, can anyone shed some light on his uniform? or even a unit that would have been over in england Devon at that time.

jay.s
04-21-2013, 10:54 AM
Looking at the piece of paper to the right of the photo it J H mcgiunness. but like pdf27 has said its hard to see the spelling maybe someone can tell me what C A W is or APO 403 or maybe C A H H or is it CHHH ???

jay.s
04-21-2013, 10:57 AM
And thankyou nickdfresh for that kind offer We are all Brothers in arms.

pdf27
04-21-2013, 12:26 PM
APO 403 appears to be the mail routing (Army Post Office 403). I'm scratching my head over the rest.

tankgeezer
04-21-2013, 05:04 PM
The unit designation appears to be CAAH with (CAW)after which is DW. The letter "A" in both those abbreviations match, but do not see the last letter as anything but an "H" (using my big magnifying glass) I am wondering if the C in both those abbrev's denote a Canadian Unit. They may have used a U.S. based Army Post Office. Which may account for the APO being followed by USA rather than a City as was common for mail originating within the U.S. The Number after APO is usually the postal code of the place it is going to, rather than the Stateside location of the APO. Or whatever number the APO service gave to the units being served by it. These are just guesses really, but hope they may provide some assistance. It may help to look for the postal code 403 in the areas he may have served in. 403 may be the entire number, or the first, or last three digits in the postal code.

R Leonard
04-22-2013, 09:43 PM
It looks to me like the writing says 635 CAAA which I would translate as 635th Coast Artillery Anti-Aircraft. There was a 635 Anti-Aircraft Battalion attached to HQ 8th Corps - US Army AA units were branched Coast Artillery rather than Field Artillery. Also believe what looks like “DW” is, rather “Div” as in “Division”.

Nothing on the uniform that would provide further information.

The 635 AA Bn was spread about a bit.
HHBty, Med Det and Battery A were located at Ashford, Kent; Battery B was at Andover, Hampshire; Battery C was at Woodchurch, Kent; and Battery D was stationed at Kingsnorth, Kent.

Of course, just to muddy the waters, there was also a 635 Tank Destroyer Battalion. Companies A, B & C, and HHC were generally located around Toddington, Gloucestershire, before going across the channel. The 635th TD Bn was a Kansas National Guard unit, I believe. There was also a 635th Engineer Camouflage Company at Wallingford, Berkshire and a 635th Medical Clearing Company at Widnes, Lancashire, but my money would be on the anti-aircraft battalion.

Why? well, because the 61st Coast Artillery Regiment (AAA) deployed to England in the summer of 1943 and was initially stationed at Honiton in DEVON - on 14 June 1944 the regiment was deactivated and broken up. 1st Battalion/61st Coast Artillery Regiment (AAA) was redesignated 184th AAA Gun Battalion; 2/61 was redesignated 634th AAA (AW) Battalion and . . . TAA DAA . . . 3/61 was redesignated 635th AAA (AW) Battalion. My suspicion would be that after some time in the Honiton area our Mr. McGinness/McGuinnes went off with whichever battery he was assigned. This battalion did make it across the channel; one can find reference to its 8th Corps assignment during the Battle of the Bulge. Note that the “AW” from the back of the picture appears in the 635th‘s new designation.

APO 403 was a standard US Army Post Office address in New York, NY. Mail to this APO was forwarded to, starting 24 March 1944 - Knutsford, Cheshire; 18 July 1944 - Nehou, France; 3 August 1944 - Beauchamps, France; 11 August 1944 - Poilley, France; 18 August 1944 - St Jean D’Asse, France; 27 August 1944 - Chambon, France; 6 September 1944 - L’Epine, France; 18 September 1944 - Etain, France; 14 October 1944 - Nancy, France; 12 January 1945 - Ech-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg; 9 February 1945 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg; 31 March 1945 - Trier, Germany; 6 April 1945 - Frankfort, Germany; 26 April 1945 - Erlangen, Germany; 22 June 1945 - Munich, Germany; and, finally, 1 April 1946 - Heidelburg, Germany.

Not bad for a Pacific centric naval aviation type researcher, eh?

tankgeezer
04-22-2013, 10:21 PM
BRAVO !! well done.

pdf27
04-23-2013, 01:22 AM
Excellent work R Leonard!
As an aside, would the unit you've identified (convincingly, I must add) have the rank of Tech5 rather than Corporal in it? If so, that would be suggestive that the possible identification further up the page from Queens, New York is correct (and fits with the post office address).

jay.s
04-23-2013, 02:47 AM
This is fantastic work but i think the stange thing about it all is i lived in Honiton too for six years and where i lived would have been the married quarters for the barracks. The barracks its self closed in the 70s i think so its just houses now but if you look around the place you can still see the odd building form when it was a camp. So that stange thing would be i lived where my Grandad would have walked ..... fantastic :D

Rising Sun*
04-23-2013, 05:36 AM
Not bad for a Pacific centric naval aviation type researcher, eh?

Brilliant!

jay.s
04-23-2013, 05:50 AM
Just had a talk to my mother on the phone and she was born in 1944 so that would all fit too. I have now gone on to see if i can get anymore info and i hope (if i have done it right) his service record is being sent to me. I will keep you all in the loop and thanks again for the help.

jay.s
04-23-2013, 06:06 AM
Just looking at the records what does tec5 stand for ?? is it a rank.

Ealdwita
04-23-2013, 10:09 AM
Tech 5 was a special rank above a Corporal. The Tec 5 insignia was 2 stripes with a "T" under the stripe.

The "T" indicates the Technical rank which meant the soldier's promotion was based on his training and the rank did not carry any leadership responsibilities.
This rank was discontinued after WW2 and the "Specialists" rank was introduced.

R Leonard
04-26-2013, 06:38 PM
. . . would the unit you've identified (convincingly, I must add) have the rank of Tech5 rather than Corporal in it?

Ah, you see, I haven't a clue, not Pacific Theater and nothing to do with naval aviation.

And not to get too far off topic . . .


If so, that would be suggestive that the possible identification further up the page from Queens, New York is correct (and fits with the post office address).

You’d think so with a New York mailing address, but New York was just another collection points for mail to overseas units, it had nothing to do with a given soldier being from the city. An APO is an actual army unit, Army Post Office. Mail to army units, including the AAF, outside the continental went to the APOs which served specific units. There were seven collection points, New York City, Minneapolis, Miami, New Orleans, Presque Isle, Seattle and San Francisco. There mail was collected and sorted for further distribution to specific APO units. The vast majority of mail was processed at either New York or San Francisco. Generally, though there were undoubtedly exceptions, Minneapolis handled mostly central and western Canada and Alaska, Miami handled South America, the Caribbean basin, and the South Atlantic, including parts of southwest Africa; New Orleans handled Central America; Presque Isle handled eastern Canada; Seattle handled Alaska and parts of far west Canada; New York handled everything else to the east, the ETO and as far as India and central China and including north Africa and the MTO; San Francisco handled to the west including the entire Pacific theater(s) and POA including east China (as time went on), but excepting, for the most part, Alaska. Some APOs were served by more than one collection site (see below). There were, literally, hundreds of APOs.

Mail to army units would be addressed, for example, to someone stationed at Fort Chimo in Quebec
Named individual (rank plus name)
Unit designation
APO 691
Presque Isle, Maine
(Though this is one of the odd ones, APO 691 was also served by the New York collection site so one could use either city.)

Or, perhaps to someone in Chungking, China
Named individual (rank plus name)
Unit Designation
APO 879
New York, NY
(Unless it happened that one’s Chungking address was APO 908 which was served by San Francisco, but that didn’t start until December 1945; Chungking was also served by APO 1160 processed through the New York collection site. This can get very complicated)

As with the case of APO 403, it can be interesting to track progress across a geographic area by tracking the movements of the APO unit.

I would suspect that, unless one had an in somewhere with the Army’s internal mail system, a letter from a civilian in Great Britain to a US soldier whose unit is on the continent of Europe would have to mail it in Great Britain, it would go all the way back to specified stateside collection point where it would be resorted for distribution to the appropriate APO and thence back to that APO somewhere in the ETO.

Each US Army unit had a designated APO. I don’t have the USAAF list, nor anything below division level for the ground army, but for the HQs of commands listed . . .
6th Army Group - APO 23
12th Army Group - APO 655
15th Army Group - APO 777
First Army - APO 230
Second Army - APO 402
Third Army - APO 403
Fourth Army - APO 20
Fifth Army - APO 464
Sixth Army - APO 442
Seventh Army - APO 758
Eighth Army - APO 343
Ninth Army - APO 339
Tenth Army - APO 357
Fifteenth Army - APO 408
First Airborne Army - APO 740
I Corps - APO 301
II Corps - APO 19
III Corps - APO 303
IV Corps - APO 304
V Corps - APO 305
VI Corps - APO 46
VII Corps - APO 307
VIII Corps - APO 308
IX Corps - APO 309
X Corps - APO 310
XI Corps - APO 471
XII Corps - APO 301
XIII Corps - APO 463
XIV Corps - APO 453
XV Corps - APO 436
XVI Corps - APO 197
XVIII Corps - APO 109
XIX Corps - APO 270
XX Corps - APO 340
XXI Corps - APO 101
XXII Corps - APO 250
XXIII Corps - APO 103
XXIV Corps - APO 235
1st Cavalry Division - APO 201
2nd Cavalry Division - APO 435
1st Armored Division - APO 251
2nd Armored Division - APO 252
3rd Armored Division - APO 253
4th Armored Division - APO 244
5th Armored Division - APO 255
6th Armored Division - APO 256
7th Armored Division - APO 257
8th Armored Division - APO 258
9th Armored Division - APO 259
10th Armored Division - APO 260
11th Armored Division - APO 261
12th Armored Division - APO 262
13th Armored Division - APO 263
14th Armored Division - APO 446
16th Armored Division - APO 412
20th Armored Division - APO 444
1st Infantry Division - APO 1
2nd Infantry Division - APO 2
3rd Infantry Division - APO 3
4th Infantry Division - APO 4
5th Infantry Division - APO 5
6th Infantry Division - APO 6
7th Infantry Division - APO 7
8th Infantry Division - APO 8
9th Infantry Division - APO 9
10th Infantry Division - APO 24
25th Infantry Division - APO 25
26th Infantry Division - APO 26
27th Infantry Division - APO 27
28th Infantry Division - APO 28
29th Infantry Division - APO 29
30th Infantry Division - APO 30
31st Infantry Division - APO 31
32nd Infantry Division - APO 32
33rd Infantry Division - APO 33
34th Infantry Division - APO 34
35th Infantry Division - APO 35
36th Infantry Division - APO 36
37th Infantry Division - APO 37
38th Infantry Division - APO 38
40th Infantry Division - APO 40
41st Infantry Division - APO 41
42nd Infantry Division - APO 411
43rd Infantry Division - APO 43
44th Infantry Division - APO 44
45th Infantry Division - APO 45
63rd Infantry Division - APO 410
65th Infantry Division - APO 200
66th Infantry Division - APO 454
69th Infantry Division - APO 417
70th Infantry Division - APO 461
71st Infantry Division - APO 360
75th Infantry Division - APO 451
76th Infantry Division - APO 76
77th Infantry Division - APO 77
78th Infantry Division - APO 78
79th Infantry Division - APO 79
80th Infantry Division - APO 20
81st Infantry Division - APO 21
83rd Infantry Division - APO 83
84th Infantry Division - APO 84
85th Infantry Division - APO 85
86th Infantry Division - APO 450
87th Infantry Division - APO 448
88th Infantry Division - APO 88
89th Infantry Division - APO 89
90th Infantry Division - APO 90
91st Infantry Division - APO 91
92nd Infantry Division - APO 92
93rd Infantry Division - APO 93
94th Infantry Division - APO 94
95th Infantry Division - APO 95
96th Infantry Division - APO 96
97th Infantry Division - APO 445
98th Infantry Division - APO 98
99th Infantry Division - APO 449
100th Infantry Division - APO 447
102nd Infantry Division - APO 102
103rd Infantry Division - APO 470
104th Infantry Division - APO 104
106th Infantry Division - APO 443
11th Airborne Division - APO 468
13th Airborne Division - APO 333
17th Airborne Division - APO 452
82nd Airborne Division - APO 469
101st Airborne Division - APO 472
10th Mountain Division- APO 345
Americal Division - APO 716


Looks like I got a bit carried away.

Rising Sun*
04-27-2013, 10:17 AM
Named individual (rank plus name)
Unit Designation
APO 879
New York, NY


No service number, to distinguish between people with the same name and rank?

I can't remember the specific order in the address from nearly 45 years ago (at my age, I can't remember what I had for breakfast unless I have the same again for lunch, and then not always), but I think my mail in the Australian Army was addressed:

Rank, Surname, Initials, Service number, e.g.

Tpr Smith, J. W, 3169587
Unit
etc

Or maybe it was the service number first, the same as my son's on his overseas Australian Army service last year:

3169587, Pte Smith, J.W.
Unit etc

EDIT: Nope, looks like service numbers weren't used for US military mail.

6495

Rising Sun*
04-27-2013, 10:27 AM
I would suspect that, unless one had an in somewhere with the Army’s internal mail system, a letter from a civilian in Great Britain to a US soldier whose unit is on the continent of Europe would have to mail it in Great Britain, it would go all the way back to specified stateside collection point where it would be resorted for distribution to the appropriate APO and thence back to that APO somewhere in the ETO.

I wonder?

I was watching a TV program a few days ago about the Australians in the siege of Tobruk in WWII, where it was mentioned that a surprisingly high tonnage of mail was brought in to the troops.

Given what was probably a very much higher logisitical burden in sending mail from Britain to the US and back again, it would have made more sense to have a localised mail sorting and distribution service in Britain for mail to the Continent.

Then again, military administration isn't notable for being founded on common sense, so it is quite likely that your suspicion is correct.

EDIT: Following some Googling, the logistical burden was nowhere as heavy as I suspected following the introduction of V-Mail for American forces. See the photo of the reel of microfilm with the letters it carried.
http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/mailcall/2c.html

Rising Sun*
04-27-2013, 10:45 AM
Here's some Pacific Theatre APOs.


Army Post Offices (APO's) and Fleet Post Offices (FPO's) were used during WW II as a Post Office for military units in a certain area. Each Army Post Office was issued a specific number in a similar way to the Australian Postcodes and U.S. Zipcodes used today.

A typical example of an address for a military person would be as follows:-

Sgt. John Dow, 1907658,
35th Fighter Sqdn.,
APO 922,
C/O Postmaster, San Francisco, California.

The APO 922 would indicate that the 35th Fighter Squadron was stationed in Townsville.

Australian U.S. APO locations:-

APO 921 = Base Section No. 1, Darwin, Northern Territory
APO 922 = Base Section No. 2, Townsville, Queensland
APO 923 = Base Section No. 3, Brisbane, Queensland
APO 924 = Base Section No. 4, Melbourne, Victoria
APO 925 = Base Section No. 5, Adelaide, South Australia until Jan. 1943, then Hqs. 5th Air Force
APO 926 = Base Section No. 6, Fremantle, Western Australia
APO 927 = Base Section No. 7. Sydney, N.S.W.
APO 704 = Cairns, Queensland. After Jan. 1943
APO 714 = Camp Muckley, near Archerfield
APO 711 = Camp Ascot, Brisbane, Q.
APO 500 = General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area. MacArthur's Hqs.
APO 501 = Hqs. U.S. Army Forces Far East

APO 929 = Port Moresby, New Guinea
APO 503 = Base B, Oro Bay, New Guinea
APO 322 = Base F, Finschhafen, New Guinea
APO 565 = Base G, Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea
APO 920 = Base H, Biak, Dutch New Guinea
APO 713 = Base E, Nadzab, New Guinea

APO 75 = Manila, Philippines
http://www.ozatwar.com/ozatwar/apo.htm

royal744
08-10-2013, 08:57 PM
Absolutely fabulous detective work - very impressive! Take a bow...

jay.s
08-27-2013, 01:09 PM
Hi all not to sure where i go from here?? what would be the next step in trying to trace the family or even a bit more about him ( any help would be fantastic )

pdf27
08-28-2013, 12:25 PM
Did you get the service records, and were you able to use them to confirm that he was your Grandfather?

jay.s
08-28-2013, 02:34 PM
No im affraid not (still waiting) maybe somthing to do with me being in England.

jay.s
06-06-2014, 01:02 PM
Its been a while since i have posted, not to sure where to go know? I cant seem to get any more information or any records. please can someone help with this as im now abit lost in what direction to take. I know its a tall ask but with the 70th anniversary of D-Day it seems right to do.

herman2
06-07-2014, 05:25 AM
Its been a while since i have posted, not to sure where to go know? I cant seem to get any more information or any records. please can someone help with this as im now abit lost in what direction to take. I know its a tall ask but with the 70th anniversary of D-Day it seems right to do.

Don't you have any uncles, cousins, etc you can talk to to get more insight? Thats how I found out about my relatives in the war.

jay.s
06-07-2014, 08:16 AM
No sadly not, its a very small family on my Mums side and they have all gone. Anyway that still would not help me track down any family we may have in the US. all I really want from this would be to find out more, Who he was? age ? and where he is buried so I can go and pay some respect.

Rising Sun*
06-07-2014, 08:37 AM
No sadly not, its a very small family on my Mums side and they have all gone. Anyway that still would not help me track down any family we may have in the US. all I really want from this would be to find out more, Who he was? age ? and where he is buried so I can go and pay some respect.

Your first post shows you have a lot more information than many people trying to trace their family history.

With that information, you might find what you're looking for in these liinks.

https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/World_War_II_United_States_Military_Records,_1941_ to_1945

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/wales/posts/GI-babies-researching-American-soldiers-families

tankgeezer
06-07-2014, 10:04 AM
Familysearch is a good resource, I also recommend it.

Cpt_Prahl
11-22-2014, 09:07 PM
Hi all
Please can someone help me find out about my Granddad .
Heres a bit about the past, my Grandmother who has now passed away in December
Met an American solder who was serving in England Devon during WW2. They fell in love and he wanted my grandmother to move to America after the war. My great grandmother did not allow her go and stopped her from seeing him, he was then sent to France I think but did send a letter to my great grandmother telling her he was in hell. He did not know that my grandmother was having his baby (my mum) all she has been told is that he died in the war. We have a photo of him and his name , can someone help identify his unit and some of the details on the back of the photo. Any help would be great and if he has died maybe find out where he is now.
64896490

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=87136238

Your Grandfather was not killed in WWII the 635th had very very low causalities contact me in PM as I don't visit this place anymore and your post came up in a open source search for members of the 635th AAA that I was doing for a Veteran who is researching his Grandfather who was also in said unit.

I will help you find any living relatives.

7241
J.M. Edelstein
WWII Archivist and Historian
WWII Pictures group FB

Cpt_Prahl
11-22-2014, 09:29 PM
72437244

The Photo the Soldier behind the other 2 is my Clients Grandfather. What catches me after examining your photo is the soldier on the left side of the photo, I will get you the Morning Reports and My client has the very very rare book of the units history. The page from the book is the KIA's from the unit in WWII. I will say it took me ONE hour to locate this mans record and his burial plot.