TORRANCE, California, USA (PRWEB) May 17, 2015
American military casualty researcher William L. “Bill” Beigel, who has researched over 1600 military records of Americans who were killed or went missing in World War II, has donated his collection of records relating to American airmen based in England to the American Air Museum at IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England. The collection includes 231 airmen’s Individual Deceased Personnel Files (IDPFs), focused on the final missions and circumstances of the deaths of these airmen, most of who were members of the 8th Air Force and based in England during WWII. Scant details were provided to families who lost loved-ones in active service in wartime; learning these details remains difficult to this day. The William L. Beigel Collection can be viewed at the American Air Museum's new interactive web site at http://www.AmericanAirMuseum.com/media.
The donated IDPFs are the result of hundreds of hours of research over a 15-year period by Beigel. Having received the IDPFs as paper files, Beigel hired a vendor to scan the files and convert them to high-resolution, searchable PDFs. The conversion makes it possible for the American Air Museum to electronically catalog the donated airmen’s records and allow relatives or friends to search for and locate information about loved ones who were killed in service in World War II.
The timing of the donation coincides with the launch of a state-of-the-art web site by the American Air Museum in Britain at IWM Duxford (part of Imperial War Museums). The web site can be accessed at http://AmericanAirMuseum.com and includes many thousands of photographs, most from the Roger Freeman Collection, and stories of the men and women of the U.S. Army Air Forces, along with memories of British citizens who became their friends. Site visitors can contribute their own stories through the web site, or support the project in a number of other ways.
Carl Warner, Research and Information Manager at IWM Duxford made these comments about the donated files: “The Individual Deceased Personnel Files uncovered by Bill Beigel and generously donated to the American Air Museum in Britain are fascinating documents. They remind us of the huge and painstaking efforts undertaken to identify and properly commemorate the men of the USAAF who made the ultimate sacrifice. We are honoured to be able to include parts of them in the American Air Museum web site. Bill Beigel's tireless research perfectly complements our aims: to provide a place where American and British researchers, historians, veterans and families can come together to help create the definitive account of the air war fought by American airmen from the UK.”
In addition to donating the airmen’s records, Beigel has added contextual summaries to each of the 231 airmen’s records in the American Air Museum’s database, which is accessible to the public. In-depth stories about some of the airmen can also be found on Beigel’s web site, http://WW2Research.com.
About the donation, Beigel remarks, "So many Americans are still searching for answers about what happened to their loved ones in World War II. I hear stories every week about brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews of men who died, still seeking these answers. I want these donated records to be a tribute to these lost airmen – to keep their stories alive. And I want to try to help a few more people find the answers they've been seeking."
About William L. Beigel
Bill Beigel is an American military casualty researcher, specializing in facts relating to Americans who died or went missing in active duty in World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. Bill’s research is intended to assist individuals and groups in learning the circumstances of military deaths in 20th-Century wars, as next-of-kin usually received very little information during wartime. To date, Beigel has researched more than sixteen hundred individuals for over a thousand clients. Beigel holds a BA in History and a Masters in Geography, both from UCLA. A large collection of Beigel’s research was recently accepted into the American Air Museum at Imperial War Museum Duxford, England. Beigel’s book about the forgotten history of the Return of the World War II Dead will be published in 2016. For more information, please visit http://ww2research.com.
About the American Air Museum website
The American Air Museum website (http://AmericanAirMuseum.com) was launched by Imperial War Museum Duxford in 2014. The website is a digital record of the memories and stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces who found themselves serving their country from somewhere in England during the Second World War. It also records the memories of the British people who met and befriended them.
In its first four months (Nov 2014 – Feb 2015), the site received nearly a million page views by over 66,000 visitors from across the United Kingdom, United States and beyond. Regular users contribute their stories and photographs, including key individuals who have made nearly 2,000 additions to the site.
A series of new features have recently been added to the website, including the ability to upload PDFs. In addition to the Beigel collection, the American Air Museum team will also be sharing PDF copies of the unit histories in the Roger Freeman collection.
Visitors to the American Air Museum website can also now share video and audio content on the website that they have previously uploaded onto You Tube and Vimeo, find out more about the American Air Museum website through the new blog and, with an improved search function, can refine the information that they want to view.
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