First today a "big up", as the yoof say, to GRO Scotland. I applied for a death certificate online and the small print said it could take up to three weeks, not including Royal Mail time. So, expectation duly set low, I was more than pleasantly surprised to receive it in three days!
Actually, I have to say that the Scottish death certificates are a joy to behold for a genealogist as they give so much more information that their English counterparts. Parents, spouse (all deceased too, on this occasion) and more maiden names that you can shake a stick at. And the index includes maiden names too. What's not to like?
Went back to the National Archives last week and found some more stuff. Such an easy journey - down to Kings X, then underground, including the easiest train change ever - get off one, walk ten yards to the other platform and step on the next train. And then, from Kew Gardens station to the Archives ..... signposts for the hard of thinking, and it's only about a six minute walk. I discovered a hitherto-hidden side of my friend Mo as she stopped every few paces to ogle the planes coming into land at Heathrow..... :-)
Having pre-ordered some documents, I was a bit disappointed that the War Diary of the Suffolk Regiment was unavailable because it is being digitised. I know that means I'll be able to see it online but nothing can really replace touching a document written nearly one hundred years ago.
Two officer files *were* available though and fascinating reading they were. Both Culpins, both were sent to Officer Cadet Battalions - one in Oxford, one in Cambridge. The Cambridge lad was coming up from the ranks and it was quite bizarre to read that one of the questions in his application form was: "Born in wedlock?" He was, fortunately, so wasn't turned down! The Oxford chap was a school teacher who had previously been turned down for poor eyesight but was plainly determined to join and got a more accommodating ophthalmic surgeon to approve him. His application was accompanied by a letter from his school housemaster, clearing up a mild confusion: his "real" name was Karl but he changed it to "Charles" - the housemaster explained that his mother was German but his father was pure English!!
Sadly, but inevitably, Karl/Charles was killed in 1917 and I saw a list of his personal effects sent back to his mother. Poignant to notice that it included "Pair of eye-glasses (broken)".