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I realise that this is a shot in the dark, but I would be very grateful for a little help.
It is a lovely story and we would be so happy if we could write a happy ending for it.
I am trying to find a PECK family who had a farm during the Second World War on which at least one German prisoner of war was given work. Mrs Peck's first name was ROSE.
The POW in question was Emil Lautenbach, born in 1913 in Hamburg.
He was taken prisoner in France, seriously wounded with bullet wounds to the chest/stomach. He was later transported to England where, after spending several months in hospital, he was registered to a number of POW camps. At some time during his stay in England, he worked on a farm (owned?) by Mrs Peck or the Peck family.
Mrs Peck treated Emil extremely well. She or her family even insisted on having his much younger brother Gustav (the lad was around 12 years old) sent to them after the war, so that they could care for him for a while and provide him with enough to eat.
The Lautenbach family were so grateful to the Pecks that Emil and his wife named their daughter Birgit Rose, born 1948, in honour of Mrs Peck.
The Lautenbachs had absolutely nothing after the war. Almost everything that Birgit had, from clothes to nappies to a pan for heating her baby food, was sent over to Germany by Mrs Peck.
When Birgit was christened in Hamburg in early 1949, Rose Peck was named as Godmother on the certificate. However, it seems unlikely that Mrs Peck was actually present at the christening.
We don't know why the contact terminated. One possibility is that Mrs Peck passed away - we have no idea how old she was. There is, of course, the possibility that she had children and grandchildren. If we could contact them, it would be wonderful.
I have lived in Germany for 30 years. We moved last year and Birgit is our landlady - and an absolutely wonderful person. I don't know if it is the fact that she now has a Brit living next door ;D, but she would love to find out more about the Peck family.
Her father and uncle are both deceased and no family records, photos, etc. exist from that time. (With the exception of a few baby-photos of Birgit, plus a picture of a washing line full of baby clothes and nappies: the Lautenbachs were so grateful, they even took a photo of the gifts from Mrs Peck!
Birgit would love to find Mrs Peck's descendants and finally say thank you to them. She does not know how to start looking, so I suggested that I try to help.
I realise that our "information" is extremely sparse, but maybe it rings a bell with someone. Alone the fact that Emil's baby brother visited the Pecks at least twice must have been quite unusual, directly after the war. Heaven knows how that was organised.
We have managed to find out (German military records office) which camps Emil was assigned to:
03.01.1945 Camp 18 Featherstone Park Haltwhistle Northumberland
05.03.1945 Camp 191 Crewe Hall Crewe Cheshire
28.02.1946 Camp 296 Racecourse Camp Doncaster West Riding Yorkshire OR Ravenfield Park Rotherham West Riding Yorkshire
04.07.1946 Camp 17 Lodge Moor Camp Sheffield West Riding Yorkshire OR London W.2.
06.07.1947 Camp 19 Happendon Camp Douglas Lanarkshire
01.08.1947 Returned to Germany
03.08.1947 Released from captivity
I have spent some time researching this already and it would appear likely that Emil would probably only have been able to actually live on the farm after the war had ended. if this is true, then his time at Camp 17 (Lodge Moor Camp, Sheffield, also known as Redmires) would be the most likely time period. We are not discounting any other possibilities, though!
We have been wading through census records and everything we can find on the Internet, but with no concrete leads so far. I would therefore be extremely grateful for any suggestions or help which you could give us, however insignificant they may seem.
I look forward very much to your replies!
Many thanks and best regards from Northern Germany,
Though I can't help with Mrs Rose, I can confirm that there was indeed a WW2 POW Camp at Redmires. My grandparents & father talked of it on our many hikes over the moors to Stanage Edge. I also believe that my father stated that as a Bricklayer/Stone Mason after being injuried in WW2 he came back to work in his trade and had help from a POW from that camp.
Good luck in your quest by the way.
Elaine in Florida.
It is a nice story, and it would be so nice if we could find the Pecks, or at least some descendants or even just friends...
I have checked the 1939 register for a Peck family but of the few none seem to be living on a farm. It would help if we could narrow it down to a specific area
Any clue as to the approximate age of Rose Peck in WW2? If she was married any idea of her husbands name?
Someone may be able to spot the Peck family on the 1939 Census on a farm somewhere
Hello Sue, hello Vicki,
We have been through masses of records with the same result: We can't find a farm with a Peck family near any of the camps where Emil was registered.
We have found a number of Rose Pecks, but they were either too young (apparently Mr & Mrs Peck treated Emil "like a son"" - as he was already mid-30s during his time in England, we would assume that the Pecks were at least 10 years older, maybe more) or Mrs Peck was a widow (not the case - Emil referred to Mr & Mrs Peck), etc.
We have no idea what Mr Peck's name was, or if the Pecks had children.
We have so little to go on...
We were hoping that the story itself might ring bells with someone, somewhere. If not because of Emil, then because of his little brother, Gustav, later staying with the Pecks on at least 2 occasions.
The search goes on... :-)
If this is a red herring sorry but here goes so lets see what Vicki etc think
looking on the GRO death index there is a death in Sheffield for a Dorothy ROSE Peck in 1999 born in 1915.
Then looking on the 1939 Register there is a Dorothy Rose Peck living with husband Thomas Peck at 88 Rural Lane Sheffield 6
Now I know this street now has quite a few houses on (from the Sheffield A to Z) but could in 1939 could it have been just a country lane with a farm on it?
Your thoughts please folks!!
The 1911 Directory for Sheffield & Rotherham shows a John Peck, Farmer at Lane Head Grenoside. Directory is online at Historic Directories.
Thanks very much for that, John!
I have just had a llok at a map online and there is a church just around the corner. I have just sent a mail to the contact person there. Maybe they can help!
Thanks for that, Philip!
Grenoside looks nice and rural :-) but I can't find anything like "Lane Head". It was a long time ago, though...
Excuse my ignorance, but what is Historic Directories? I can't find anything on Google.
I can tell you that the Thomas D Peck.and his wife Dorothy Rose Nee Jobling were married iin 1935. They had 5 children , including twins , all born before the end of the war
I believe that once peace came it is likely that most of the many thousands of prisoners would be put out into the community particularly on farms to earn their keep and help with the recovery. Emil may have been on a farm quite far from the camp.
Going back over your first post, I wonder if Rose could have been at Birgit's baptism. Which denomination was she baptised into?
Is the church still there to confirm that they would accept a godmother in absentia?
If she did go, that might explain how Gustav went to England., at least the first time.
It doesn't seem likely that Rose was at the baptism. Birgit thinks that would have been mentioned at some time, had it been the case, but there was never any mention of it.
We have tried every possible source in Hamburg, from the church where she was christened (it has since joined forces - so to speak :-) - with another church and formed a joint congregation), through numerous church archives, to the city archives and various offices in between.
The bottom line of it all is that addresses were apparently not noted for the named Godparents. Which I find a bit strange, but we can't change that fact. :-(
Sorry for the delay in the reply. The correct website is Historical Directories (maintained by University of Leicester). On the site you need to go to Browse by Location select Yorkshire and White's 1911 Directory of Sheffield & Rotherhamwhich is on page 2. Use Peck as the search term and his name is on page 953 (This is the search page number and not the directory page number).
Lane Head Grenoside is on a 1991 map of Sheffield and is at the junction of Skew Hill Lane and Oughtibridge Lane.
Karen, there is today a working farm with campsite just a few hundred yards from the place that Philip has identified. It is called Greenhead House Farm and it has a Facebook account..
Karen can you let me have an email you can see my email at the bottom of the message- I have been looking at the children of Dorothy Rose Peck and may have found an address for one of them - as they may still be alive its inappropriate to post it. Once you have it you could right to them and at least scratch them off the list of possibilities
The system won't let me send you a mail. I don't know what's going on. :-(
I have put my E-Mail address into this mask - are you able to mail me?!
To Dave and Philip,
Many thanks for those things!
I'll have a look at them later.
This is all very exciting. :-) Even if it leads to nothing...
e mail on its way
I have a 1923 directory. It lists a John Peck, farmer, at Shaw Hill, Birley Carr.
I don't know if you use facebook but if you do there is a group on there called Redmires POW Camp Community Heritage Project.
I am noting everything which is suggested here (thanks very much for all your help!) and will check it all out and get back to you. It might take a few days, but I will let you know!
@Bev: I am not on FB and don't really want to get involved in it, but needs must when the Devil rides, etc. :-) and almost everyone I know is on there. So I enlisted some help from an acquaintance and we have entered the details of our search on that FB page (it is a closed group and we had to be accepted). As yet, there have been no replies, but you never know...
There is a Rose Peck & Victor Peck living at "Cawston" 4 Drakehead lane which is the Conisbrough area. They were there all through the war and were still there in 1958.
Just to mention re the Historical Directories site - all the directories can be downloaded as pdfs, which I often do because I find their search engine difficult to use.
It's not a farm, but who knows - maybe it had more land back then. The place next door looks a lot newer.
We had found this Rose once before. She and Victor had one son, who died about 5 years ago.
I'll go into it a bit further.
You may like to try the Sheffield Forum - they have a history section.
I'll give them a try.
I have answered your question and Sheffield Forum and managed to find a possible living relative too on FB. I have details in a word document but can't seem to access your email on here. please send it to me and I will pass it on.
Karen, some background info which may be useful. If you search for Heinz Zabel PoW you get a long article about his experiences. The last two paragraphs indicate that he was in camps in Sheffield and Derby and Notts and he stayed in England after the war and signed up for farm work. However in 1948 he visited his family in Hamburg for a month before returning to England. This would indicate that travel between the north of England and Hamburg was reasonably straightforward in 1948. Incidentally he married in North Kesteven, Lincolnshire in 1950.
Is it possible that Gustav carried back the gifts for Emil's baby?
In times of extreme shortage, could they have been hand me downs from Rose's children?
WE KNOW WHICH ROSE IT WAS AND WHERE SHE LIVED!!! ;D :) ;D :) ;D
Please be so kind and have a little bit of patience. I only received the news today and (typical! :-) I am not at home again until Thursday (hubby is on a training course and Woofy and I have come along with him) and only have limited Internet access here.
We have received a document which tells us, 100% for certain, that we have the right person. She is no longer alive, so I need to try and find out if there are any living children or grandchildren.
I am just so excited about it and totally frustrated that I can't get much further with it from here!
As soon as I find out more, I'll let you know!
I have been away on holiday so came back to find your news - can't wait to hear who and where the Peck family are and come from.
There were parallel threads on this on ancestry and on Rootschat. For those interested the conclusion to the story is on the Rootschat thread. Rose was nee Birdsall and her husband was Victor. They married in Doncaster.
They did not live on a farm. Karen has made contact with descendants.
Sorry not to have replied again earlier, but things have been a bit manic the past few days.
As Dave kindly wrote, "our" Rose did not have a farm. Bit of an enormous red herring, that one, but family history researchers are like terriers and we got there in the end.:relaxed:
Rose had a son, who passed away about 5 years ago. We managed to trace his children, but I was unable to find current telephone or E-Mail data for them. Just as I was about to reach for parchment and quill, I discovered a son (Rose's great-grandson) on a form of social media with which I am completely unfamiliar (I'm not a Facebook/Twitter/What'sApp kind of person :blush: ) and contacted him.
He replied very quickly and confirmed that we have the right family. I sent him a long mail, outlining the whole story, and am waiting for a reply. I sincerely hope that he (or perhaps his mother) does reply...
Apparently, Rose's daughter-in-law is still alive. It would be lovely if I could speak to her - maybe she remembers the German brothers from back then.
As soon as I hear anything (and I hope I do), I'll let you know!
Thanks again for all your help,
P.S. The Rootschat thread is mine, but I'm not on Ancestry. Maybe someone from Rootschat put the story on there for me. :slightly_smiling_face:
Karen, thanks for the update. My mistake: the thread on Ancestry is about a different Emil Lautenbach.
That's a bit of a coincidence..!
The name Peck caught my eye. I have just discovered the person who registered the death of my Father in Sheffield in 1986 was Ronald Peck. If I have the right one - he had been the headmaster at Lydgate Junior School and lived at that time at Crimicar Lane, Sheffield. He would have been born about 1913. Apparently he had a daughter Helen.
As I was not in contact with my father I have no idea what his relationship with Ronald Peck was. It would seem my father, who lived in Coningsbury House, Sandygate Grove, had no next of kin.
I am afraid there is no Ronald in the Pecks we have found, so I don't think I can help you. :disappointed:
Thank you Karen
Just wanted to let you know that I have spoken at length with Rose's granddaughter. We had a lovely chat and she told me something very exciting: Rose & Victor also had an adopted daughter who is not only alive but would also love to speak to me!
Yesterday evening I called her and we had a long conversation. It was absolutely lovely to speak to her. She remembers Gustav, but not Emil. She was, however, only 3 years old when Emil returned to Germany.
She says she definitely has some photos from that time, passed on to her by her parents. She is going to go through them after Christmas and send them to me!
So the suspense continues... (I love this story! It just keeps getting nicer and nicer.:-))
Karen, on behalf of everyone here, thank you for the update. It is so nice to see a successful outcome. You deserve a lot of credit for your persistence, but I am sure that the successful outcome is all the reward you need.
The adopted daughter fits very nicely with hand downs, and the timing with Gustav being the delivery boy.
In case you have not realised, the travel at that time would be fairly straightforward. Train from Doncaster to Newcastle then ferry to Hamburg.
I do hope that photos of Emil turn up.
It certainly is a lovely feeling to have found the people we were searching for!
We are, of course, also very excited about the prospect of photos. I am not getting my hopes up too high, but maybe there is one of Emil in there somewhere.
It was also fascinating to hear about life in the village back then, with the lady from the farm at the end of Rose's road selling fresh milk (none of your pasteurised stuff) from milk churns on a yoke, door-to-door.
Have a lovely Christmas everybody!