Do you remember I was trying to find out if Max would have needed a passport or some other form of identity papers to get a marriage licence in the 1940's, well here is the definitive answer from the ONS (that's The Office of National Statistics to you and me) - and all it took was one email -
I am writing in response to your recent email in which you enquire about giving notice in the second world war. For the purposes of taking a notice of marriage in the 1930's and 1940's the Superintendent Registrar had to be satisfied that the information supplied by each person was correct. However, I can confirm that there was no legislation that required documentary evidence to be supplied to support the information given.
I am afraid I cannot advise on the requirements of a refugee to be allowed to enter the United Kingdom during the second world war. Perhaps the National Archives, or the Red Cross may be able to help.
I have had so much fun writing Spanish Steps that I now want to take my writing one stage further and have a go at writing my first novel.
My problem is that I am far too gregarious to be able to lock myself away for the next year all alone with only the dogs for conversation. So what should I do? I know I'll write it online - brilliant!
You will be able to see where all the research material is coming from and where I'm upto with it. If I have queries or problems I can share them with you, after all a problem shared is a problem halved.
And the when I start writing you will be seeing it in real time - warts and all. The story will probably change direction, the spelling will be dodgy and the grammar might need correcting half a dozen times but in the end I hope that there will be a real proper pucka novel, and who know I might even get a publisher interested!
This may be a totally mad idea but until I give it a try I will never know if it will work or not.
So wish me luck and I hope that your ready for the journey
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Polish names. The old man Maksymilian, his parents, 2 brothers Marek and Pawel and 1 sister Anka Family Name Napierkowski his son John/ Janusz his Grandson Dominic/Dominik
Work out route he would have taken across Europe remembering it was during the last year of the war. Possibly Down to the South of France before the French surrender in June 1940. Then to the Spanish/French border St Jean de Luz where there were 2 Polish liners anchored in the harbour - hold on this will get in to England in 1940 - will this still work? A ship, the MV Sobieski sailed on 21st June 1940 for America but it changed direction and ended up in Plymouth with 3500 people on board when it was designed to carry 1100. Some of the men off the ship travelled up to Liverpool to the Army Camp that had been set up on Aintree Racecourse.
Who does he kill and why
Is he Jewish and if so would he have escaped earlier than 1944 (need to alter his age accordingly - he would have been born in 1929) He might have escaped during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in January 1943. Would it be better to make him non Jewish so that we could use the escape route via the South of France?
Street map of Liverpool for 1944 Can't find street map but I have listed a lot of the streets that were destroyed by bombs and I might be able to work out street names from them. I will try the Museum of Liverpool for maps but I will have to visit in person, they are not available online.
Investigate the post war building plans for the city. After the war there was a huge programme of building social housing in Liverpool to house those who had been made homeless by bomb damage. e.g Everton Valley in the 50's and 60's terraced streets were demolished and whole communities were broken up. Cantril Farm Estate 1946-50, Speke almost complete by 1957, Croxteth work started in 1949, Kirby 1952-61Where would the builder have been working and is he just a landlord at first or is he an actual builder? How about he was a landlord who lost property in the bombings - he started off clearing bomb damage and progressed into the building game and after the war he got involved in the building of Cantril farm. By this point he was a wealthy man/a hard man/known as a gangster during the war which various rackets including black market. Runs his building gangs like the Mafia, uses Max as an enforcer.
What was the posh area of the city where the father-in-law would have lived Woolton, Childwall or Orrell Park
Was there a big Polish community in Liverpool and would our character have found them, maybe through the church? Max arrives in Liverpool as a young man but looks older, he doesn't look up the Polish community he is completely taken in by the builder and soon becomes his right hand man - feared for his ruthless streak.
When was the building boom in London? hopefully our story would move on to there in the 1970s. It would be grand if the family were also involved in the development of Canary Wharf Housing in East London was destroyed in the blitz. In the 50's and 60's there was a huge demand for housing. The scandel in the 60's was the buidling of Cetre Point which due to the greed of the builders/owners remained empty for years when there was a severe housing shortage. Canary Wharf phase 1 was started in 1988 and was finished in 1991. - World property prices collapsed in the early 90's. 1995 a new consortium was set up for phase 2 and work started on the Jubilee Line in 1995. Phase 2 1997 - 2002.
How were Polish names anglicized? Przystawski to PrestonKaye from KwiatkovskiRomanowski to Roman (I like the sound of Preston for his surname) Polish names form the basic Polish patronymic using the ending -ewicz/-owicz, but -czyk, -czak, -czok, -czuk, -nik, -ak, -uk, -icz, -ura, -iga, -arz, -ula, and a variety of other suffixes of agency or association also function as patronymics (1). Hence the son of John, once anglicized, might be Janik, Janousek, Janocek, Janosik, Janczak, or Janusz.
Where would he have found a ship bound for Liverpool and under what circumstances would he have been either given a job on it or stowed away on it. see #2
When did the kinder ships leave Nazi Germany and did any Jewish refugee children end up in Liverpool? I don't think that I will go down this route it could be too complicated to try and make the ages fit. I think I'd rather have him escaping the Nazi's
Get A-Z's of London and Liverpool Done
Read up on Polish resistance fighters Lots of information on the BBC People's War website ( see Research list at the bottom of this screen)