It’s fascinating to see how a network of contacts can pool information together and come up with some global connections. Wokingham Remembers has published hundreds of family trees on its website, as well as the genealogy site, www.ancestry.co.uk . The result of this has been a number of families contacting each other after going their separate ways prior to the Second World War; there have even been two separate incidents of families from Australia and the UK meeting up following a look at this website. Along the way, we have met some talented researchers who can go the extra mile and find pieces of information which would have been lost forever. This week we received information from Alan Clark of Binfield who sent us a complete biography of two soldiers who we just couldn’t trace and another friend, Andrew Radgick has provided the same on more than one occasion. Then there is Peter Shilham who is an expert on all things Emmbrook and Jim Bell, who continues to unfold the secrets of Wokingham’s past and passes them onto us for publication. John Chapman has also provided a huge digest of information on the Wokingham men who served in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. So here is another tale of connectivity.
Grahame Smith lives in Devon and wrote to us about his uncle Ken Manifould, a WW2 pilot who was killed when his Spitfire was shot down in 1941. He and his brother Howard, who has lived in Texas for 30 years compiled a huge family tree and very generously sent us a complete biography of their Uncle Ken’s war time activities. This week a Philip Tice wrote to the Wokingham Times asking about any information on Ken as they were friends in Wokingham prior to the war. Word got around and Grahame wrote to me about the letter from Philip. There is already quite a lot of serendipity in all this and the final piece is that Philip lives in Eastbourne; about a five minute drive from my home ! Notepad in hand, wild horses were not going to stop me from calling in to see him and I was greeted by a rather stunned 95 year old gentleman as I passed on Grahame and Howard’s research into their Uncle Ken. Although Ken Manifould was an RAF pilot, Philip was unable to join him due to colour blindness and was enlisted into the army as a result. Philip saw service in many of the theatres known to military historians, including Africa, Iraq, Italy, France and Germany. I hope to have the opportunity to talk to this venerable gentleman, originally from the Wokingham side of the Reading Road and will write up the wealth of information he has at his disposal.
Written by Mike