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My daughter is very keen to see my FILs military records. We know that it involves some secret military operations that have only just been unclassified and I am a bit concerned at what might be uncovered. He was involved in hand to hand jungle fighting amongst other things.
There is a natural curiousity about the families past but I wonder if they will feel bad about their grandad if unpleasant things surface - especially if judged by today's standards?
So you thing the past should stay in the past?
Buddy: Cabriole (Carole)
Fond memories of "Josephine" a real cool buddy
It's a matter of personal choice Sheilah, it's nice to know what our ancestors lives were like and what they did, it's hard to say how someone will react to something unexpected that happened in the past, but what has passed can't be changed.
My main concern is that the jungle clearance was pretty grim by our standards now and I wonder how the children will equate it with Grandad who taught them to do roly polys in the garden!
Discovering things about long gone ancestors is a rather different.
Yes, I see your predicament there Sheilah...........
Brings to mind a story about one of John's uncles, his fathers brother, John's father always said that his brother died during active service in the army. His fathers sister who was some twenty years older than John's dad did confirm that this brother died while serving in the army, the circumstances of his death were somewhat different to the story we had been told, the truth being that he was drunk and fell off a balcony in Gibraltar, but he was buried in the military cemetery there.
So long as your daughter is fully aware of what the second world war was all about..hopefully not be too shocked if at all by what happened with her Grandfather.....My own Father in Law flately refuse to discuss his time in Burma during the war....either he did stuff he isn't proud of...or saw stuff he'd rather forget..but no way will he talk about it.
Also I found out my own father had 2 identiites and another family and did absolutley ziltch in the last war even went as far as to ensure my mother had enough children so she did nothing either...something that could if I let it really bug me....So sometimes digging into ones past can throw up all sorts of stuff and one must accept the not so nice with any heroics..thats life.
Ann Essex Maid in Yorkshire
Sheila, I assume that your Father-in-Law is no longer with us. If he was, then he could explain things to her, leaving out what might upset her and water down the truth a little.
As it is, perhaps you yourself could look at the records and then pass on the information that you think necessary and leave out what is unnecessary and maybe upsetting.
We all know that terrible things happen in war. I don't know how old your daughter is. If she is an adult, then perhaps she will understand that some people had to do certain things, under orders, that they really didn't like doing.
Best of luck with your dilemma
My children and OH nieces are all adults now. My FIL died 10 years ago and MIL in May of this year. MIL didn't want the records opened in her lifetime but accepted that the children may be interested so OH has recently started the application process. It may be that they won't be allowed access even now as it was all hush hush - perhaps that will solve the problem!!
I feel that your daughter needs to know in some part that her granddad's military records may hold difficult information to deal with on her part. Not knowing how old your daughter is its hard to judge how she would take any possible unpleasant news. If you try to stop her knowing this will fire her curiousity maybe and make maters worse
Is there any way that your husband can request any info about his dad's records and find out the nature of the content. This would at least allay fears of any shocking details.before your daughter gets to read anfd learn about it all?
[This Reply has been modified by the Author]
I have to agree, it is your choice whether you would want to expose it to them or not. If were in that situation, I would make them promise never to chit chat about what I am going to show them to keep both parties' interest at best.
It really is hard but your children should accept whatever your decision is, after all, you have lived all your life protecting those records and protecting them as well.
My father wouldn't talk about his service during the war, it just wasn't done. They saw some awful things and probably don't want to be reminded of them.
Just remember, the things they did during the war happened over 60 years ago and no matter what you find, the past can't be changed.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
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