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  1. #1
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    Default A note to my grandmother in March 1945...

    Hi!

    I recently found a note directed at my grandmother Catharina Jannetje (Kitty) Zwaan, who died in 2012 and lived in Belgium during the Second World War. Maybe someone can help me understand what this is about, what kind of work my grandmother did, and how I can find more information about this.

    This is the note that I found (together with some Red Cross papers, showing that she was an active volunteer of the Red Cross around that time):

    C.A. Branch
    HQ 8 Corps
    B.L.A.


    12 March 1945


    Miss K. Zwaan,

    Now that the time has come when the British Army is advancing into Germany and you will be no longer working with 212 (R) Det, I should like to extend to you my grateful appreciation of the work you have done while under my command.

    You have been with the Detachment since 3 October 1944 and had many arduous duties to perform, often under difficult circumstances and even under fire. The work has always been carried our in a most efficient manner and Major Jean, the Commander of the Detachment, speaks very highly about you personally.

    I wish you God Speed and Good Luck go with you.

    [I can't read the signature, it looks a bit like G. Phils Van G.]
    Col.
    SCAO
    HQ 8 Corps



    Thanks for your help!
    Greetings,
    Arjen Mulder

  2. #2
    Super Moderator christanel's Avatar
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    Default

    Welcome to the British-Genealogy forums.
    If you came to is from Forces War Records this will explain the connection

    So far the only part of the letter I have found anything for is that SCAO is the UK's Ministry of Defence WW11 acronym - Staff Catering Officer.
    So C.A. Branch = Catering Affairs?

    212 (R) Det, = Detachment?
    Others will be along to help.

    Christina
    Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts.
    William Burroughs

  3. #3
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    So far the only part of the letter I have found anything for is that SCAO is the UK's Ministry of Defence WW11 acronym - Staff Catering Officer.
    Not sure about that. I think SCAO was Senior Civil Affairs Officer - part of the Directorate of Civil Affairs. In Belgium this would have been a fairly transient job while the normal civil administration was being re-established. Most of their duties would be in Germany.

    It looks like a standard letter - I wouldn't mind betting that all civilian staff got the same letter!

    It doesn't shed any light on exactly what Miss Zwaan's duties were.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator christanel's Avatar
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    Thanks Peter, yours certainly sounds more logical.
    This is where I found the information I gave.
    Christina
    Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts.
    William Burroughs

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Goodey View Post
    Not sure about that. I think SCAO was Senior Civil Affairs Officer - part of the Directorate of Civil Affairs. In Belgium this would have been a fairly transient job while the normal civil administration was being re-established. Most of their duties would be in Germany.

    It looks like a standard letter - I wouldn't mind betting that all civilian staff got the same letter!

    It doesn't shed any light on exactly what Miss Zwaan's duties were.
    Thanks Christina and Peter! My own research also points more in the direction of Civil Affairs. I found one (Dutch) source that makes reference to a 212 Civil Affairs (Refugee) Detachment. That would also explain the (R), and might have a link with the Red Cross work of my grandmother. However, I can't find any reference to a Major Jean. Would there be any records of the Civil Affairs Detachments somewhere in Britain, so I can trace where they were employed?

    I agree with Peter that this looks like a fairly standard message that all civil affairs officers have received. I am curious though if indeed my grandmother has worked "under fire" and where.

    Greetings,
    Arjen

  6. #6
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    Has anyone got access to the Army Lists for that period and can find their way around them? I'm wondering if there might be a clue in there.

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