I’m being really optimistic. My Dad has always known that his father, William Harris, had been in the Merchant Navy during the war at some time, BUT never knew anything about what he did, or about what happened while he was there. This I think is going to change very soon. I recently discovered that the Merchant Navy website offers a service for £50, for which they research their records and supply information they may have on an individual who served in the Merchant Navy during the war.
But to apply for this information we wanted to supply the Merchant Navy my grandfathers date of birth. And we had no clue as to when or where he died until now. My father even thought he may have actually died in the war as he had never heard ever again since he vanished in 1943. Read more in the the post -> William Harris rediscovered. Morlin, who’s parents had been good friends with William Harris in Wales after the war, had no record of the date he died, and she only suspected he had probably died in a nursing home or hospital in Llandudno or Colwyn Bay between 1981 and 1984.
Back in October 2009, I contacted the Gwynedd Registry office, and they tried to be so helpful, but they could not find any record of William Harris with the little information that I supplied. No wonder, I had no date of birth, no exact place of death, and only a date of death that was somewhere between 1980 and 1985. I also had no idea which nursing home or hospital in North Wales that he had died in. Not much to go on, no wonder we got no results back in October.
About a month later, I had made contact with Sophia and as a result my parents travelled to Caernarfon to meet her to try to learn more about the life of William Harris after the war. We managed to narrow down the date of Williams death to either 1982 or 1983, and then just a couple of weeks ago Morlin somehow tracked down Williams will and registration of probate, and sent me copies. What a result!!! We finally have a date of death – 10th December 1982. Thank you Morlin! Any chance I can publish the will and probate on this post please?
Now finally, having his actual date of death, I provided my father with contact details for Gwynedd registry office, and he arranged for Cathy who works there to attempt another search for William. She got a hit almost straight away. She promply contacted my parents, received a small payment for the document, and immediately posted it to them. My parents are finally the proud owners of my grandfathers death certificate, which has not only provided us with his date of birth, but also with the fact that he died at the Great Orme nursing home in Llandudno.
Now finally, knowing William Harris’s date of birth, my father has been able to complete the Merchant Navy’s application form in the hope of discovering even more about his fathers life time during the war. We hope to learn more about his rescues from the sea after two different torpedo attacks (his hair turned white overnight after one of them) , and you never know, some information provided by the Merchant Navy may even hold a clue as to why he returned to his wife and family in 1943, one last time, never to return again.
The Merchant Navy’s application form has now been sent along with payment. Confirmation of its receipt and a contact name of their assigned researcher has already been emailed to us.. Wow! What an amazing service…. So, my family and I are now waiting in the greatest anticipation – for more news about William Harris..
I will write more as soon as I know any more. If you want to automatically receive the next published post by email, please click this link here and enter your email address.
More to come – I hope 😉