Friday 24 December 2010

Sgt Boardman and The Red Baron

This entry is really what the Blog is all about. I have had an article on my site for a number of years about those civilians who died in the Second World War as a result of German bombing in the Pitsmoor district of Sheffield. It was heavily bombed the night of Dec 12-13th 1940, and the casualities and damage were some of  the worst the city experienced

A few of the descendents of those killed that night have contacted me, and one in particular had a unusual twist to it. The first mail I received was from Neil in Ontario Canada last month - November 2010

"Hi , my name is  Neil Noble and the Neales were my grandparents. My mother Dorothy Edna Neale was born Aug 27 1937, she told me was sick and was not allowed near her younger brother Tony ,and was at her Aunts on the night of Dec 12 1940. Eventually she was adopted by her aunt who she assumed was her  mum until they told her differently when she was 16. Her dads family wanted her and her mothers sister adopted her.  Caused all kinds of problems !! Anyway she lost her mum , dad, brother and her granma's family all in a short space of time. She decided to name me Neil to remember the family name , all be it slightly different"

In subsequent mails I answered the best I could some questions Neil had raised regarding the Sheffield Blitz,during which he disclosed that he and his family had emigrated to Canada from Manchester in the mid seventies.

Then last week I received a mail from Neil's brother Derek who asked me for help in tracing the descendents of  a Sgt Boardman

Back in 1976 when I was 14 my family emigrated from Manchester England to Canada. I was only allowed to bring what I could get into my one suit case. I had to down size! I had a bomb sight from a Lancaster bomber that was fairly big. I swapped this to a friend (Colin Boardman) from school (Littlemoss Boys Secondary) that had also gotten me interested in the Air Cadets (430 Sqd. Droylsden ) for an artillery case. Not just any old one but one that was engraved by his granddad. Engraved by a bayonet “Sgt Boardman
Somme 1916” and it has a brass R.A.C button soldered to the front of it. > (The R.A.F. prior to 1918 were the R.A.C.) 

Now the story I was told by Colin and his brother Kevin was that their granddad had been shot down by “ The Red Barron” after which he made it to the allied trenches. Here he made this piece of trench art with a button from his ruined uniform and an artillary case he got from the French who were in the trenches.
I have been trying to find the family to give this back too. Any ideas? "  

A second mail had corrections - "The button has no letters on it just a crown with a bird flying below it. After trying to find the Boardmans for several years I decided that maybe I could find them by tacking their granddad, Sgt. Boardman, It was my mistake calling the button a "R.A.C" button. I did mean R.F.C. Other markings on the Case 37-85 P.D.P.s 85 1.17 and what looks like a little bomb."

Any way I placed the information Derek provided on the excellent Great War Forum and to date I've had two responses!
which sort of confirm my initial reservations about young Colin Boardman's story.

Any further information would be welcome

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