Uncovering New Family Stories

I have known for a long time that my husband’s grandfather had been a prisoner of war. Over the past couple of days, both my husband and I have learned even more about his grandfather thanks to a newspaper article that someone else in the family found and shared with us. Interestingly enough, the person who found the article was not from the same side of my husband’s family that my husband’s grandfather was from. Ronald Delaney was my husband’s paternal grandfather. One of my husband’s uncles on his mother’s side of the family recognized the name when he came across the article in the newspaper a year ago, and he saved it for my husband. When we met up with this uncle at the family reunion this past weekend, he gave the article to my husband.

The newspaper article revealed to us that my husband’s grandfather had started a newspaper while he was in prison camp. My husband’s grandfather was an airman in World War II. When his plane was shot down over Nazi Germany he was captured and sent to the Stalag Luft III prison camp. While he was there, he established the Gefangenen Gazette. Apparently that newspaper was one of the most notable prison camp newspapers of the World War II era.

Since I met my husband, he has always expressed just how important his grandfather is to him. He feels a very strong connection to him, even though he lost the ability to speak (due to long term health effects of malnutrition from his POW days) when my husband was just a boy. They shared many experiences together. I am very happy that there seems to be quite a bit of information out there about him. This is the type of situation which makes me want to put on my genealogist’s hat and start digging, because there is a major family story here that just has to be recorded for posterity.

Photo by hotblack on morguefile.com.

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