So, I’ve finished processing the names from Portsmouth City Council’s list of men and women who died in between 1939 and 1947.
Thanks to Tim Backhouse, the creator and webmaster of Memorials in Portsmouth, I have another list of names of Portsmouth people who are known to have died in the Second World War but for whatever reason do not appear on the PCC list. Many of them are from local memorials. I have managed to confirm that many of them were in fact from Portsmouth, so should take their place on the memorial. I’ve also managed to find a number of mistakes, such as units, or spelling errors. Hopefully these can be put right for perpetuity. I have found medal citations, and researched some of the interesting stories that have emerged.
At some point in the near future I also plan to spend some time using Geoff’s WW2 search engine to search for individuals who may have completely slipped the net. Sadly, given how the CWGC roll of honour was compiled its highly likely that some Portsmouth people who died during the war will never be recorded. The Comission’s roll was compiled after the war, and casualties details were given by their next of kin. In most cases the next of kin and address are recorded. In some cases, however, this information is not known.
Having gone a long way to compiling the database, what next? Clearly it would be a shame to not make the database available for other people to access, search and use. Not being an IT-Geek, I would welcome any advice about websites and how I could make this happen.
Secondly, by the wonders of Microsoft Access, I can produce reports, queries, and all kinds of things to analyse the database. I can find out totals for services, regiments and ships, average ages, all kinds of statistics that will tell us a lot about the armed forces in the Second World War. This information is about Portsmouth, but my findings will tell us much more than that – it should be a useful micro-study about Britain’s war losses overall.
The other logical step is to repeat the process for the list of WW1 Dead. This time there is no PCC list, but thankfully Tim Backhouse has transcribed the list of names from the Portsmouth Cenotaph on Memorials in Portsmouth. This time, there will be even more information – each casualties entry on the CWGC often includes their house number and street.