Research Update 16th April 2019

George Charles BOHAN (1913 – 1985)

For a few months now I’ve been researching my family tree on the usual Geneology sites which is for the most part is great. You can very quickly get a family tree going and it’s great.

However in the case of my Grandfather there is at least one interesting story that has been passed down to me from family members about his service in World War 2. The story is he was at Dunkirk, and was ordered on to a boat by an officer because he initially refused to get on, preferring to help wounded soldiers on to the boats first.

I have no reason to doubt the oral family history but in order to document this formally, I’d like to back this up with some facts if possible. What would be brilliant is to have access to his service records to try to back this story up with supporting facts.

I managed to find using findmypast and ancestry that my Grandfather was in the Royal Artillery, his service number and that he reached the rank of Sergeant. It also says he was awarded the Service And Good Conduct Medal.

Unfortunately the detailed WW2 service records are still held by the Ministry of Defense. However I found out for a £30 fee you can request the service records which would greatly enhance my knowledge of his service.

Link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-records-of-deceased-service-personnel

The only downside was that I had to include a copy of the death certificate which I had to request. I requested a priority copy and it arrived today (a day earlier than expected) so I was able to fill in the two forms needed and get it posted off. I’m told the services are quite busy with requests so it may be many months before I hear anything back but this is a small price to pay. At least things are moving.

Francis von Malachowski (1886 – 1948

Francis von Malachowski

Francis Malachowski is my great grandfather. In terms of the usual facts I know about him is that he was born in 1886 in Dalhousie, India. He married Alice Hardy in July 1913 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. They had nine children in 15 years. He died in March 1948 in Norwich, Norfolk, at the age of 61.

I can’t trace his parents at all which is very frustrating, presumably because he was born in India. With an interesting surname such as von Malachowski I’d really like to know more about this side of the family.

As much as I wasn’t able to find out is balanced by the sheer amount I was able to find out about his life. He joined the 16th Lancers (a cavalry regiment) in India (at a rank of “Boy”). He worked his way up to Private and then to Bandsman, which would fit the oral history handed down that he was a musician.

I know he served in India, Ireland and South Africa from his service record.

The real gem is that from newspaper archives I found out that he was a keen sportsman and even regularly played for the 16 Lancers football team in the Norfolk & Suffolk League. I even found references to him playing Cricket for a Norwich Union team (after he left the army). The Norwich Union reference is particularly interesting for me as I work for Aviva (I’m obviously continuing a family tradition!)

Due to the sheer wealth of information I have found on Francis I think I will be making him one of the first people I properly document on this site. If anyone has any information or pictures on the 16th Lancers between 1898 and 1912 or Francis Von Malachowski I would be extremely grateful.


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