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Expert Q&A :: Battlefield Memorial Travel answers your military history questions

For our Expert Q&A on Thursday, April 18 we had Matt Smith and Tim Lycett from Battlefield Memorial Travel to answer questions about researching your Anzac at home, overseas and using new technologies to fill the gaps in your family history. Thanks again to Matt and Tim for giving us all the benefit of their time and expertise.

Don’t forget our Expert Q&As happen every Thursday night on the Inside History Magazine facebook page

When is the Q&A? NSW-ACT-VIC-TAS: 8:30-9:30pm AEST | QLD: 8:30-9:30pm | WA: 6:30-7:30pm | NT: 8:00-9:00pm | SA: 8:00-9:00pm | Weekly on Thursdays nights!

Read about Tim’s upcoming book, Fromelles: The Final Chapters, co-authored with Sandra Playle and Matt’s projects, the Australian War Graves Photographic Archive and Battlefield Memorial Travel.

Please find the transcript of the Q&A and links below.

Summary of links from the Q&A:


Transcript of Expert Q&A – Matt Smith and Tim Lycett from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Our Expert Q&A on researching your family’s military history starts in 30 minutes at 8:30pm AEST. Tonight the experts will be answering your questions about researching your Anzac at home, overseas and using new technologies to fill the gaps in your family history.

Please ask your questions in a comment below, and either Matt Smith or Tim Lycett will answer in a comment.

Comment: IHM: Welcome everyone, thanks for joining us. Please welcome Matt Smith and Tim Lycett  to tonight’s Q&A!
A. IHM: Tip :: Keep refreshing your browser to see the answers as they appear and remember to look through the entire list of comments, as Facebook may order your questions and answers out of sequence.
A. Tim: Hi everyone.
A. Matt: G’Day All! Great to be here.
A. Denise: Welcome
A. IHM: Thanks for joining, Denise.
A. Matt: Hi Denise! Any questions for us?
A. Denise: No not yet lol

Q. From Pam: I believe wounded British soldiers wore a plain blue ‘uniform’ during recovery. Did Australian wounded soldiers in England have a similar uniform?
A. Tim: Hi Pam, yes, Australian wounded wore the same type of uniform while recovering in England. An example is shown in the photograph held by the AWM here:
A. Pam: Thank you, Tim.

Q. From Corrinne: Good evening 🙂 My father’s cousin Corporal Margery GREENFIELD (NZWA Auxiliary Cprps) was on Special transport Flight LJ668 post war demobilising operation, returning to Suffolk from Castel Benito (Cairo, Egypt) on 6/7 Oct 1945 when the plane crashed at Rennes, France when the fuel ran out killing all onboard. Where would I enquire to get a copy of the official documents pertaining to this incident please?
20:34 A. Matt: Corrine, the best place to start would be the NZ Archives for a Service Record –
20:38 A. Matt: @Corrine – here is a book you might like to follow up on: Halley, James (1999). Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, United Kingdom: Air-Britain (Historians) Litd. ISBN 0 81530 290 4
20:40 A. Tim: @Corrine Ryan – here is some more information – On 7 October 1945 LJ668 a Short Stirling GT.4 of No. 299 Squadron RAF crashed at Rennes, France. The aircraft was flying from Cairo, Egypt back to the United Kingdom when it ran short of fuel. It tried to land in bad visibility at Rennes but crashed into a row of trees, five crew and 21 soldiers and members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service were killed.
20:41 A. Corrinne: Thank you  I also believe there was a report kept in England because it was an English operation but I have been unable to track it down.
A. Matt: @Corrine – I can do some further digging for you, but I would say National Archives in the UK would be a good bet. We can make a note of it and I’ll get back to you.
20:42 A. Tim: Corrine, there are documents related to a Memorial Service held for Margery GREENFIELD in the NZ Archives Archway online search engine here:
20:43: A. Corrinne: WOW! Thank you 🙂
A. IHM: Here’s the link to The National Archives UK online Corrinne  ::
A. IHM: Here’s the link on Trove to “Halley, James (1999). Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents” ::
A. Corrinne: Thank you , another lead 🙂
A. Corrinne: Thank you all so very much 🙂

Q. From Jan: Good evening – I have access to my great uncle’s service record via and there is quite a bit of his service record there however on the first page it states “Do Not Open – This envelope contains material with the date range 1988. Access to this material is not available under the Archives Act 1983 – Item No 420550”. What does this mean and what sort of info would be contained therein ? Will it ever be available ? Thank you.
A. Tim: Hi Jan, what was your great uncle’s name so I can take a look?
A. IHM: Hi Jan, can you give us your Great Uncle’s name?
A. Jan: Hi Tim – James Sarsfield Earls – Service No. 420550 – thanks
A. Tim:  Yep, found him. RAAF. Interesting file. It’s hard to say exactly what might be in the envelope but obviously due to privacy laws and the Archives Act 1983, it can’t be released. Oddly, the NAA record states the date range to be 1939-1948 and yet this envelope states it contains items up to 1988. My guess is that there are repatriation documents etc between the period 1983-1988.
A. Jan: Ah – OK that would explain it – he died in 1992 – amazingly flew many flights and survived the war. Unlike another great uncle William Bryden -Service rec. 422121 shot down over Belgium in RAF 158 Squadron Age 22. Thank you Tim.
Q (b): Jan: Another question if possible about Ernest Herbert Shannon served WWI. Service Record 40. He also served in the Boer War (2-1/2 yrs 3rd Regiment Mounted Rifles?) How can I find out more about this service?
A. Tim: Have you tried the Oz-Boer Database website here:
A. Tim: And you can try the NAA records
Q (c): Jan: Thanks Tim will do – had a quick look at the your first suggestion. Were the records kept as in depth as the WWI Service Records for that war? would like to know what he did or the regiment at least. Will check out your suggestions. Thank you.
A. Tim: Jan, you’ll find the Boer War records are generally no where near as comprehensive as in WW1. But here’s a newspaper report about their return home:
A. Jan: Oh that’s great – not seen that before – thanks Tim very much.
A. Sandra: Jan Lloyds …

Q. From Leonie:  I am travelling to Malta later this year to visit my great uncle’s grave. He died there after being wounded at Gallipoli. Do you know whether there are any records in Malta relating to the men who were hospitalised there?
A. Matt: Hi Leonie, Tim and I have a colleague based in Malta, who might have something, but you would be best to check National Archive here or the AWM.
20.51 Q (b): Leonie: Thanks Matt. I have his service records and information about the Addolorata cemetery where he is buried but would like to find the hospital where he died. Would that be in the National Archive here?
20.54 A. IHM: Hi Leonie, you could try Tim Sherratt’s Australian WW1 Record Search tool :: – which includes the NAA records and Commonwealth War Graves Commission records?
20:53 A. Matt: @Leonie – Can you furnish us with a Service number or name?
A. Leonie: John Hugh McRae. No 724. 1st light horse.
A. IHM: And there’s also the WW1 War diaries for the 1st Light Horse from the Australian War Memorial::
20.55 A. IHM: You might also find something at The National Archives of Malta ::
21:00 A. Leonie: Thank you Inside History. I will definitely give those a try.
21:08 A. IHM: You’re welcome Leonie 🙂
21:09 A. Matt: Leonie, here is a link that you might find useful –
21:14 A. Matt: Leonie, I have looked at his service file and there is not record of hospital unfortunately. There will be hospital records within the NAA and/or the AWM, but they would not be digitised. Worth further investigation.
21:19 A. Leonie: Thanks Matt. I will have a look at that now.
21:19 Q (c): Leonie: Thank you Matt. If those hospital records are there how accessible would they be if I can’t visit in person?
21:22 A. Matt: Leonie, Do you mean at the AWM/NAA or in Malta?
21:28 A. Leonie: Matt, I meant the AWM/NAA. It is not easy for me to visit them in person as I am in country NSW.
21:34 A. Matt: Hi Leonie, the hospital records are not very accessible if you can’t visit in person. You would need to find what you were looking for and even then you could not be sure it would reveal much in the file. Would you like me to do some research for you after the Q and A session finishes tonight?
21:38 A. Leonie: Thank you Matt. That would be wonderful if you could. I would like to have as much information about his story before we travel to Malta and Gallipoli in September as we will only be there for a short while.
21:43 A. IHM: You can also contact the good people at the Australian War Memorial Research Centre :: | And National Archives of Australia at ::

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