Researchers Trace Soldier’s Story From 1940

03 Aug

A ‘Research Weekend’ staged at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre proved so successful that it was repeated weeks later.

Lynette Fenwick, of Pembroke Dock, discusses her family story with researcher Ian Macrae at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre. PICTURE: Martin Cavaney Photography.

Lynette Fenwick, of Pembroke Dock, discusses her family story with researcher Ian Macrae at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.
PICTURE: Martin Cavaney Photography.

Centre Volunteer Ian Macrae was at the Heritage Centre to help guide those delving into family history through the often confusing avenues of research.

An experienced researcher at the National Archives in London, Ian had copies of his newly published Research Guide available for purchase. This was produced for the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust, which runs the Heritage Centre, and has already proved very popular. The guide identifies many areas of research into the Armed Forces, the Merchant Marine and the Royal Dockyard.

Ian has already helped a Pembroke Dock family trace the wartime story of a soldier who married a local girl in early 1940, rejoining his unit in France just three days later. That soldier, Bill Fenwick, was captured in May 1940 and was a prisoner of war for five years.

At the end of World War II Bill Fenwick returned to Pembroke Dock but in 1946 he left the family home and contact was lost in the following years. Now, thanks to Ian and Sunderland Trust colleague Marcia Heaviside the family know much more about Bill Fenwick and the dramatic story of his Army battalion which was in the thick of the fighting in France following the German invasion of May 1940.

Bill’s paternal granddaughters, Natasha and Lynette Fenwick, contacted the Sunderland Trust following a newspaper article which referred to him and she is delighted with the new-found family information.

“Natasha and I are so impressed with what Ian and Marcia have been able to find out. We find it fascinating and we are very grateful for all their work,” said Lynette.

More Research Weekends are planned at the Heritage Centre later in the year. www.sunderlandtrust.com