When I refer here to compilation of the Nominal Rolls I mean the extraction of information from the Rolls (including subsequent ‘Errata‘ published) and the compilation of same into the downloadable database spreadsheet.
This project started out about eleven years ago when I made the conscious decision to make a digital database of those appearing on the Nominal Rolls who’d had a clear identity in some way, either pre or during WWII, to the central area of Northland. The primary markers I used were place of enlistment, last known address and/or address of next of kin.
A little later I added in the names of a few returned servicemen whom I felt should be included given their lengthy association with the district post-war, even though they didn’t meet these criteria. Those persons not otherwise connected have an asterisk * displayed after their surname.
No such similar database was to be found anywhere else, commemorating those who had served in the region. The idea was to provide local town and city libraries with a useful resource for those looking to find out more information about forebears or friends who had served, or who were interested in the military history of Northland (North Auckland).
In those early days many weeks were spent in Auckland’s Central Library sifting through the microfiches of the Nominal Rolls and other relevant records. Now the fiches are available online to paid members of Ancestry, although the quality of reproduction is often very poor and some other city and town libraries also have them on microfiche.
Not being comfortable with a laptop, I opted to record everything manually into journals and having done that once back at home set to entering them into an Excel spreadsheet. They say there is no fool like an old fool!
It had never been my intention to have J-Force here but these embarkations were part and parcel of the World War II rolls, so it seemed sensible to also include them. You will see that quite a number of those who went away with J-Force had earlier seen service between 1940-1945.
As more and more information became available online, the next logical step was to extend the spreadsheet database to provide as much information as might assist, for as many personnel as possible. That meant reaching out over the whole area south, from the North Cape down to a rough line extending across from Port Albert to Wellsford and over to Great Barrier Island. It also meant I could bring in some other markers such as birth in Northland or previous study or work in the region. It also meant that it was now time to get a website up and running so that the database might be accessed by as many people as possible.
A point to note is that not all embarkations for an individual are found listed on the Cenotaph record.
In all there are over 5,800 personnel listed on the spreadsheet database.
I am fairly confident you will find few names not featuring on the database (based on the criteria I have applied).
There will be some who lived and/or died in the district, with a number of these being ‘mopped up’ in the course of visits to the Maunu Cemetery, in Whangarei. I would class these as ‘bonus entries’ as they don’t meet the base criteria I set when creating the database. Even as far as Maunu goes (and that is just one of many Northland cemeteries) there will be names of a number of servicemen and perhaps women, not interred in the RSA section, which will slip through the noose. I envisage quite a few visits back to that one cemetery.
If you have a loved one or know of anyone at all whom you feel should have been included on the roll please refer first to this page for my contact address and the information that I will need if I am to include this person.
Data from the Nominal Rolls:
No guarantee is given as to the accuracy or otherwise of the records contained either in the rolls themselves or in the resulting database, although every effort has been made to faithfully reproduce all entries exactly as they appeared on the rolls; even where clearly a number of errors were obvious. You will see misspellings which I have not corrected so as to assist the researcher looking to view the rolls first hand.
Example: Occasionally one finds details such as name incorrectly recorded in the rolls. As an example, Ronald Charles Hardaker is incorrectly listed as Richard Charles Hardaker in the J 40-M 41 roll.
Where a cell is left blank in the spreadsheet then such data for that person did not appear on the roll in question.
The researcher will often find multiple entries for the one person shown. Each entry denotes a separate embarkation date.
I make no guarantees that all embarkations are shown. For example, if a serviceman embarked twice, but the data on one of the rolls points to no connection to Northland whatsoever, while the other shows a connection, then only the one may have been entered on the spreadsheet, i.e. the one where the connection was established.
I cannot emphasize enough, that it is imperative that before conducting any research you first check the ‘Details’ column, for any supporting information which may have been recorded.
Column headings should be self-evident but a brief summary of what these represent is below:
1. Surname – no explanation is required other than to mention that occasionally this has been incorrectly spelt. Where a surname is hyphenated, the surname listed is the name after the hyphen.
2. Christian Name – incorrect spellings were found to be more frequent with Christian names. Sometimes placement of Christian and middle name was changed in a subsequent roll entry.
3. Regimental Number – a few of these numbers were not fully legible. In such circumstances you will see I have entered a ? at the end of the numbers I was unable to read.
It should be noted that the Regimental Numbers as recorded are as at date of embarkation. These may well have changed in circumstances where the person was reassigned to another unit or redeployed to another arm of the forces. This was not at all uncommon.
4. Rank – this denotes the rank held at date of embarkation. In the event of promotion prior to a second or subsequent embarkation the new rank is also shown.
5. Formations, Units, Corps – this shows where the person was assigned at time of embarkation. He/she may well have been reassigned elsewhere, later.
A full glossary of Formations, Units and Corps is presented here.
6. Embarkation Dates – these are self-explanatory. In all there are 16 roll registers. An index of these entries is also to be found in the top left area of the spreadsheet. The index matches colour coding of the individual entries here. This may be helpful to those wishing to see who else in the district may have been on the same roll, e.g other family members, other workmates, friends, neighbours etc.
7. Status – denotes marital status at date of embarkation.
S – Single
M – Married
L/S or L.S. – Legally Separated
Sep – Separated
W – Widower
Div. – Divorced
8. Enlistment – denotes place of enlistment.
The researcher will sometimes find that two or more members of the same family enlisted at the same time, as evidenced by consecutive or ‘close’ regimental numbers. In some instances they ended up in the same unit, but not always.
9. Occupation – as at date of enlistment.
10. Address – address as supplied and recorded as at date of enlistment.
11. Next of Kin – a subsequent enlistment often saw a change in next of kin details. A mother may have previously been shown and next time around a father, or a parent may have been replaced by a spouse, thus indicating that the person had got married some time in the intervening period. This also then often gave rise to a changed address.
Sometimes letters or abbreviations were used to express a relationship. These were:
w – wife
m – mother
f – father
g-m. g’m or gm– grandmother
u – uncle
a – aunt
b – brother
half-b – half brother
s – sister
sis-in-law – sister in law
m-in-law – mother in law
f-m or foster m – foster mother
step-f – stepfather
step-d – stepdaughter
neph. – nephew
nce – niece
csn – cousin
fr. – friend
You will see that in some instances next of kin details and/or the nature of the relationship have not been entered. Sometimes the name of a friend or an attorney is shown.
Northern Advocate ‘Shot of the Day’; leading up to Anzac Day 2015.