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New Naval Records on Fold3

June 19, 2018 by | 12 Comments

Fold3 Image - Miscellaneous Record of the Navy Department
We have added another group of naval records to our collection! These records cover several military conflicts and cover a time span of about 150 years!

Navy Court Martial Records, 1799-1867:
This collection has records of Naval Court Martials beginning in 1799. The records are arranged by volumes and case numbers (1-4721) and are also in chronological order. There is an alphabetized, partially completed index that covers trials from 1861-1867. A second index covers the entire collection. Information contained in this collection may include the name of sailor charged; his rating, ship or station; the alleged offense; place and date of trial; and the sentence.

Area File of Naval Records Collection, 1775-1910:
This collection contains documents accumulated from naval officers while in command of squadrons or single vessels. It is divided into geographical areas with each area in chronological order. The collection covers several conflicts including the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, and the Civil War.

Miscellaneous Records of the Navy Department:
This collection is organized by vessel name or station and then by date. It contains miscellaneous letters, muster rolls, pay rolls, war diaries, naval record acceptances, and resignations. The documents cover a broad time span.

Get started searching these collections and other titles now on Fold3!

Military Gear Used for D-day: June 6, 1944

June 13, 2018 by | 72 Comments

Fold3 Image - Soldiers exit ramp on landing craft on D-Day
On June 6, 1944, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. Soldiers were equipped with the best gear and weapons available at the time. Here’s a few examples of what soldiers would have used:

Higgins Landing Crafts: Before the ground assault could begin, Soldiers needed to get to the beach. They boarded Higgins landing crafts (or LCVP “landing craft, vehicle and personnel”) for the trip to shore.

Donald Englar, just 18-years-old, operated a Higgins boat. He recalled the struggle of landing under heavy enemy fire. He tried to deliver the men as close to the beach as possible. Sometimes they unloaded in knee-deep water. On another run he hit a sandbar and the soldiers had to unload in water over their heads. Many of the men died by German gunfire before leaving the boat. Others died on the exit ramp, and some in the pounding surf. One trip he started with 33 men on board and only six survived.

M1 Steel Helmet: On shore, a soldier’s head was protected by the newly designed M1 steel helmet. The M1 helmet was one-size-fits-all, with an inner adjustable lining insert. Although relatively heavy, the design was extremely effective and was used by the military for more than forty years. The M1 was often referred to as the “steel pot” because its design made it handy for a washing bowl or even a cooking pot.

M1 Garand Rifle: On D-Day, soldiers were carrying the M1 Garand Rifle. General George Patton called the M1 Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” The Garand was an auto-loading semi-automatic rifle that gave troops tremendous advantage in firepower.

M-1928 Haversack: The M-1928 Haversack was a pack designed to carry everything a soldier would need to stay alive in the field, including food rations and extra clothing.

M-1910 Shovel: The M-1910 shovel was a collapsible tool essential for trenching. As one soldier said, “If an infantry man thinks he’s going to be in one place for more than five minutes, he digs a hole.”

Cricket: U.S. Paratroopers that dropped in behind enemy lines relied on a simple device called the “cricket” as a way to communicate or signal one another. The small hand-held device produced a sound imitating nature and was unrecognizable to the enemy. One click was a request for identification. Two clicks indicated a friendly response.

Do you have a family member that participated in D-Day? Do you have any of the gear they used? Tell us about it and search our archives for more information on D-Day and WWII.

The Liberation of Rome: June 5, 1944

May 30, 2018 by | 54 Comments

Ciao Rome! On June 5, 1944, the city of Rome was liberated. The people of Rome flooded the streets to welcome Allied troops with cheers, flowers, wine and kisses. Shops closed, and jubilant crowds celebrated. The liberation of Rome was not only important strategically, but culturally as well. In addition to the extensive network of airfields, rail lines, and roads, Rome was a treasure trove of culture, antiquities and artifacts.

Fold3 Image - Curious Yanks examine one of the many enemy tanks knocked out on the roads to Rome, Italy. These Mark IV tanks were thrown into the battle of Rome to stem the relentless Allied ground offensive and serial pounding by the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces. In the background is a wrecked Nazi duck, a big jeep that can ride water.
Liberation day was especially meaningful for 26-year-old Hubbert Guthrie, an American soldier living in Memphis when he was drafted. Plans to liberate Rome started with a surprise amphibious attack on the city of Anzio, just 37-miles away. Guthrie boarded a boat bound for Anzio the morning of January 22, 1944. His flotilla was led by a minesweeping boat circling ahead. It hit a mine and exploded, resulting in casualties. As Guthrie’s boat approached the floating wreckage, he spotted a tattered 48-star American flag floating in the water. He scooped it up, wrung it out and saved it. Though oil-stained and torn, he brought it home as a souvenir. “A lot of men died under that flag, every man on that little ship,” he said. “Old Glory had a hard life, she did.”

Guthrie was one of 36,000 troops that descended on Anzio that first day. The goal was to outflank German troops, draw them away from the Gustav line, (a German defense line running across central Italy) and open up the way to Rome. They hoped for a quick defeat, but the battle of Anzio turned in to 4-month stalemate. The Allies didn’t have enough manpower to push forward and the Germans weren’t able to push the invaders back. After months of steady pressure, the Germans retreated. The battle of Anzio resulted in the loss of 7,000 Allied troops.

Guthrie was wounded at Anzio and spent 10 days in the hospital. “It seems like everything I went into was a slaughter. I don’t know how I missed being killed but I did,” Guthrie said. When the first American tanks finally rolled into Rome on June 5th, they found it largely undamaged. The liberation was seen as a huge military and cultural victory.

Hubbert Guthrie never returned to Europe after WWII. He was interviewed when he was 80-years-old by a Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean, “I never wanted to go back. I left everything over there that I wanted to – part of my soul,” Guthrie said. Along with many other WWII veterans, Hubbert Guthrie has since passed away.

You can learn more about the Liberation of Rome and the Battle of Anzio. Did you have an ancestor that participated? Search for their records now and share their story with us.

New British Military Biographies on Fold3

May 21, 2018 by | 10 Comments

Fold3 Image - Biographies of Irish WWI Fallen Officers
Do you have ancestors that fought for the British military? We’ve added an amazing collection of British biographies! They are loaded with detail and often include photographs.

Biographies of Fallen British Officers, Second Anglo-Afghan War
This collection contains short biographies of 140 British officers (and a few civilians who served in diplomatic service) that died between the years of 1878-1880 in the Second Anglo-Afghan war. The biographies are listed in alphabetical order and include those who died in military service, and also of other causes. The collection also includes records for 13 men who were awarded the Victoria Cross for valor.

Biographies of Irish WWI Fallen Officers
This is a collection of officer casualties of Irish regiments and Irish officers of British regiments who died and were mentioned in official dispatches from August 1914 to July 1916. Includes photographs and extensive genealogical information.

Biographies of British Soldiers Who Fought in India in the 19th Century
This collection covers 1100 soldiers who served the British Empire in India. It covers the geographical area of Punjab, North-West Frontier, Kashmir and Afghanistan. These records also cover major military actions of British India, from the two Anglo-Sikh wars to the Mutiny, the Second Anglo-Afghan war and ongoing skirmishes on the frontier.

Biographies of Fallen British Officers
At the beginning of WWI, officials kept a biography of each officer casualty from the British Expeditionary Force. It included a photograph and extensive biographical information. As the war progressed, officials were not able to keep up with the sheer volume of casualties. The project was discontinued. This collection contains biographies for casualties that occurred from 1914-1915.

We’ve got other British military collections available for you to view. Get started by searching here.

Vietnam War Veterinarians

May 10, 2018 by | 44 Comments

During the Vietnam War, American soldiers relied on working military dogs for a variety of crucial tasks. They could alert a soldier to an enemy presence or detect explosives, trip-wires and landmines. It is estimated that 10,000 lives were saved by more than 4,000 military working dogs in Vietnam.

Fold3 Image - 10 December 1968. Location: Long Binh, Vietnam.  Photographer: SP5 Ronald Delaurier.  US ARMY VETERINARY SERVICES.  CPT Jack H. Crawford, veterinarian, 245th Med Det (Vet), examines a dog's teeth at the pet clinic of the 245th Med Det (Vet) which provides veterinary care and treatment for animals and pets belonging to US government personnel.
These hard-working military war dog required specialty care, and soldiers who were trained veterinarians were the ones to offer it. Vietnam veterinarians provided everything from emergency care to everyday exams and treatment of disease and heat exhaustion. Veterinarian care was essential to keep both soldiers and animals healthy.

Military dogs were not the only animals cared for by Vietnam veterinarians. They often cared for sick animals like unit mascot dogs and adopted pets.

Vietnam veterinarians also participated in a civic project that provided care for animals that belonged to the local Vietnamese people. Captain Harold Lupton, a military veterinarian with the 175th Veterinary Detachment, recalled patching up an injured water buffalo that belonged to a local villager. “First they’ll bring in a dog for treatment. If that goes all right, they’ll bring in their pig. Last week we had a guy in here with 25 chickens to be examined,” Lupton said. Vietnam veterinarians set up hospitals and clinics in locations across Vietnam.

Vietnam veterinarians earned praise and commendations for their exemplary work in Vietnam.
We salute the veterinarians who worked hard to care for our working military dogs and other animals.

Did you or a relative have an experience with a veterinarian in Vietnam? If you would like to learn more about veterinarian care during the Vietnam War, search our archives at Fold3.com!

British and German Navies Clash at the Battle of Jutland: May 31, 1916

May 1, 2018 by | 59 Comments

On May 31, 1916, the British and German navies clashed in the North Sea, off the coast of Denmark, in the biggest naval battle of World War I. This battle, known as the Battle of Jutland, lasted about 12 hours and engaged more than 100,000 men on 250 ships. When it was over, more than 8,000 sailors on both sides had been killed.

Before the Battle of Jutland, the British had established naval dominance in the North Sea and blockaded Germany. Given that the British had the strongest navy in the world, German Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer decided to fight the British fleet one piece at a time, until he had shrunk it enough that he could defeat the rest of it in a full-scale battle.

Fold3 Image - Explosion of the Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland
Accordingly, the Germans devised a plan wherein Rear-Admiral Franz Hipper’s scouting squadron would lure out the British Battle Cruiser Fleet under Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty. Then unbeknownst to Beatty, Scheer would follow with the German High Seas Fleet and destroy Beatty’s forces.

But British intelligence intercepted word that Hipper was putting to sea. This allowed Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, commander of the British Grand Fleet, time to order the Grand Fleet and Beatty’s battlecruisers (for a total of 151 British combat ships) to meet the Germans. However, the British were unaware that the entire German High Seas Fleet, with 99 ships, was at sea due to misinterpreted intelligence; they believed only Hipper was at sea.

The battle began on the afternoon of May 31 after a chance encounter between Beatty’s and Hipper’s ships, and Hipper successfully drew Beatty south toward the main German fleet as planned. When Beatty saw that the High Seas Fleet was in fact at sea and that he was headed straight toward it, he had his ships reverse course and in turn began drawing the Germans toward Jellicoe’s fleet.

Since the Germans didn’t know Jellicoe’s fleet was at sea, Jellicoe was able to arrange his ships at a right angle to the oncoming German ships and “cross the T,” allowing the British the superior position. The fierce battle continued, and the Germans eventually turned away, launching torpedoes in their wake to prevent the British fleet from pursuing them.

Jellicoe positioned his ships between the Germans and their home harbor to try to force a fight the next day. However, despite some localized skirmishes that night, the German ships were able to get around the British fleet in the dark.

When the Germans reached their home port, they declared victory, as the British had lost more men and ships. The British losses totaled 6,094 sailors killed and 14 ships sunk, while German losses were 2,551 killed and 11 ships sunk. However, the British emerged with what many historians consider a strategic victory, since the status quo was maintained: the British fleet still controlled the North Sea and the blockade of Germany continued.

Did you have any family members who fought at the Battle of Jutland? Tell us about them! Or learn more about the battle from the records on Fold3. We even have an entire book of British official dispatches regarding the battle.

New Casualty Records

April 19, 2018 by | 9 Comments

This month, we’re highlighting some of Fold3’s newest casualty records. Check them out!

US Marine Corps Casualty Indexes
This index contains basic information on U.S. Marine Corps casualties from the World War II and Korean War eras, about 1940–1958. Types of information available may include name, location, cause of death, death date, military unit, and service number. The records are organized alphabetically by surname, then given name.

British Battle Casualties of the Crimean War
This index documents British army and navy battle casualties during the Crimean War. It was compiled from contemporary editions of the London Gazette and contains approximately 16,000 names. Types of information available may include name, rank, regiment, regiment number, sub-unit, battle, soldier status, enquiry date, and print date. The records are organized by regiment, then the individual’s name.

British WWI Wounded and Missing
This index lists wounded and missing British, Australian, Canadian, and South African military personnel in all theaters of World War I about whom enquiries were made to the British Red Cross or Order of St. John. Information available may include name, notes, enquiry date, rank, regiment, sub-unit, regiment number, battalion, company, theater, and missing or wounded date. The records are organized by theater, regiment, then the individual’s name.

UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
These records document the money owed to soldiers in the British army who died in service between 1901 and 1929. A small number of soldiers discharged as “insane” are also included. Information available may include the name, regiment, and rank of the soldier, his next of kin and their relationship, the date and place of death, plus the details of the money owed. The records are organized by payment center, year range, then register number.

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