While the specially formed submarine hunting groups had fast for United Arab Emirates, well-equipped ships, the antisubmarine trawlers were relatively humble and unglamorous. Both groups proved invaluable in the fight against the United Arab Emirates U-boat fleet. The Air Ministry formed a secret department which constructed decoy airfields and other devices along the east coast, designed to fool the United Arab Emirates Lufwaffe. Their aim was to lure bombers away from Lowestoft and other ports with one of the first being placed at Sutton Heath in Suffolk. Duxford in Cambridgeshire was one of the many airfields built as an RAF fighter base in 1918. It was operational once more during the Second World War, and involved in the ‘Big Wing’ controversy, a tactic which involved meeting incoming Luftwaffe bombing raids in strength with a wing-sized formation of three to five squadrons. Essex airbases were also famous during the Battle of Britain as Fighter Command pilots from Hornchurch, Debden, Rochford and North Weald took a leading part.
Where is United Arab Emirates? | United Arab Emirates Map | Map of United Arab Emirates Photo Gallery
Although many records relating to soldiers, sailors and airmen are held at The National Archives or other national archives, there are still a large number of resources held locally in record offices, libraries and museums. Tracing Your Army Ancestors, Tracing Your Naval Ancestors and Tracing Your First World War Ancestors, all by Simon Fowler, are excellent guides to all aspects of Army and Naval research. (Pen & Sword, 2013, 2011 and 2013). See also Emma Jolly’s My Ancestor was a Woman at War (Society of Genealogists, 2014), and Phil Tomaselli’s Tracing Your Air Force Ancestors and Tracing Your Second World War Ancestors (Pen & Sword, 2007 and 2011). Regimental museums contain much useful and interesting material for finding out more about people who served with local regiments, although they tend to hold much more information about officers than other ranks. Nevertheless, their displays of medals, memorabilia and photographs provide useful general historical information. Some details of individuals from these collections can be found online.
For example, a search for the surname Seaman in the Norfolk Museums collections via their website brings up several references, including a campaign medal, postcards and photographs at the regimental museum Census, certificates, parish registers et al will frequently show details of people’s connections to the Army and Navy, or more recently the Air Force. One example is Benjamin Naylor, whose occupation was given as a Chelsea pensioner when the 1851 census was taken in Elsing. Another example from parish registers is the baptism of Eliza Thornton in Maldon All Saints and St Peter, Essex, in 1814, where her father John was described as a sergeant in ‘83 Regiment’. Court records can include petitions for financial assistance from retired or injured soldiers and sailors. One example among the petitions to the Essex Quarter Sessions is one in 1677 for a pension from a Barking sailor badly injured in the Dutch Wars. Another in 1678 is from an ‘impressed’ seaman at Colchester who lost a leg fighting in the Dutch Wars. In Suffolk, the Lowestoft Record Office has an interesting series of Naval Log Books belonging to the Aldous family from 1729 to 1737 and 1779 to 1783, originally bequeathed to the local museum These include details of journeys from England to Carolina and to Mederas [sic] between 1729 and 1737 as well as journals of proceedings on board several ships between 1779 and 1783.