13 January 2010

Another TNA visit

On Tuesday 12th of January 2010 I had the pleasure of once again making my way through frozen South West London on a quick day trip to Kew and The National Archives. The ponds outside the building were almost completely frozen over with only a few miserable looking water birds to enliven the scene.

The research part of the trip went well. I was looking for information on RAF 288 Squadron that my uncle, Edward Cowan, served with during the Second World War. He flew as a wireless operator and gunner with Coastal Command based in Scotland. I found brief records for each of his missions, each with a complete crew list, in microfilmed records in series AIR 27, including the fatal flight on 6 September 1942 when his Sunderland flying boat was forced down in bad weather. The helpful military expert at the inquiry desk had directed me to these records, and also a book "Coastal Command Losses" by Ross McNeil, Unfortunately only volume one of the book, covering the period to the end of 1941, has been published. Volumes 2 and 3 have been prepared but not published, perhaps for economic reasons. Bomber Command and Fighter Command have faired better with multiple volumes published on their losses, all available on the TNA bookshelves.

A disappointment was the cancellation of the advertised lecture on digitized newspapers that had been my reason for choosing to go on that particular day. Surprisingly no substitute lecture was offered. This may mark a bit of disarray as TNA adjusts to the departure of David Annal who previously organized these lectures.

I had the pleasure of sharing afternoon tea with Simon Fowler, editor of Ancestors magazine. He mentioned that the magazine, which has pretty much held its subscriber base through economically troubled times.

Finally, I can confirm that TNA has not reverted to requiring you to have a user card and pass through security to get above the ground floor. I was surprised to read that in a recent article in Family Chronicle Magazine. It appears the article was just terribly dated.


Paul Jones said...

Not a gold star for you, my friend. The article, by me, said: "You’ll note the security station at the head of the stairs from the ground floor as you proceed into the reading room." Nothing about a security station on the ground floor.

Audrey Collins said...

I'm glad you had a good day at TNA, but I'm very sorry that you were disappointed not to be able to hear the talk on newspapers.

I am the guilty party, I'm afraid, who should have delivered it. I called in sick for the first time in about 15 years. My only consolation was that so many people would be discouraged by the weather that there wouldn't have been much of a turnout anyway! I can only apologise again.

Hopefully we will be able to re-schedule the talk for a later date, and like most of our talks it will be recorded as a podcast.

And we miss Dave too!

Paul Jones said...


Why would you leave my correction here in Comments where no one is going to find it, while the original incorrect statement remains, for anyone to read and believe, in the blog?

I'm not a happy camper about this.