Second World War Lives
A Guide For Family Historians
Date of publication: May 2012
Publisher: Pen and Sword
The Second World War was a momentous event in twentieth-century history and it is a fascinating period for family historians to explore. Numerous records are available to researchers whose relatives served in the war, and James Goulty’s book is an accessible guide on how to locate and understand these sources - and get the most out of them.
Using evidence gleaned from a range of sources – archives, official records, books, libraries, oral history and the internet – he reconstructs the wartime records of a revealing and representative group of ordinary men and women: a signaller, an infantryman, a doctor, an artillery officer, a woman serving with anti-aircraft units, a commando, a Royal Navy bomb disposal officer, RAF fighter and bomber pilots, and others.
He describes their wartime careers and experiences and demonstrates how they fitted into contemporary military organizations and operations. He looks at their backgrounds, their wartime training and duties, their frontline service, and the conditions they endured. In each case he shows how the research was conducted and explains how the lives of such individuals can be explored – highlighting methods that can be used and sources that can be consulted. James Goulty’s informative book will be essential reading and reference for anyone who wants to find out about the Second World War and is keen to understand the part an ancestor played in it.