A MAJOR search is underway to locate more than a dozen WWII servicemen in Scotland who were once welcomed by a New York family.

The servicemen, including Victor MacSorley from Blairhoyle in the neighbouring Stirling area, were welcomed by the Caseys, a US Navy family.

Mrs Eleanor Casey made notes and took photographs of each of the men, collecting them in what later became known as the Book of Memories.

Gloria Winfield, who previously featured in the Advertiser when VC stones were unveiled for John Crawford Buchan and John McDermond in Alloa, is supporting Barrie Holden and Nicola Girling in a bid to bring together these notes and the families of the men they concern.

It comes after the book came into the care of Mr Holden, who now lives in England.

His father was one of the sailors who visited the Caseys at the time.

The book itself was rescued from the bin following the death of Mrs Casey, explained her daughter Pat, who can still remember the servicemen visiting their home.

Many were in New York for training while others were enjoying shore leave while waiting for convoys to assemble before the next trip across the Atlantic.

Mrs Casey took the time to write to their families, letting them know their loved ones were safe.

She also sent parcels of food and clothing as well as Christmas cards across the Atlantic.

And within the warm family home, good food, coffee, bananas, sailing, bowling, skating, sledging and swimming lessons were just some of the activities mentioned in the notes.

According to the note on leading signaller MacSorley, he was on convoy duty when his ship was torpedoed 500miles off Bermuda.

He spent 16 hours in a lifeboat and Mrs Casey described the around 20-year-old at the time as "very jolly". The note added he also had an address in Liverpool.

Altogether, some 160 notes and photographs survived.

Gloria, one of the people looking to trace the men mentioned in the book, or their families, said: "This is a monumental task, one we are hoping to complete before Christmas.

"Any help you can provide would be very much appreciated."

She is kindly asking people only to get in touch if they have information on any of the names on the list.

Those who reckon they do so can email historiangmw@hotmail.com to get in touch.

To view the full list of names, please visit the Alloa Advertiser website.

The list of Scottish servicemen, their contact details at the time and Mrs Casey's notes:

FX.96335 A/PO Reginald Cooper - Fleet Air Arm

c/o Mr & Mrs A H Cooper

78 Grove Road

West Ferry


“Two married brothers and two nieces. Apprentice clerk in Civvy Street. Wishes to remain in Fleet Air Arm after the war. Nearly 19 – around 1942-1944?”

Leading writer John Currie – HMS Biter

c/o Mrs John Currie

813 Tollcross Road


Glasgow G1

“Recently married, in early thirties. Very quiet. Good sport, sings well.”

C/MX.9646 leading writer John Hopper

c/o Mrs Mable Hopper


Whinn Road


East Lothian

“Wife in WRENS about to go home. In the building trade at home. Age 27? Seems to have been in New York for past year.”

FAA/FX.582812 A/PO John Mitchell – FAA observer

c/o Mr & Mrs J Mitchell

Muir of Ord


“FAA Observer on way home from Trinidad (HMS GOSHAWK). Bank Clerk in Civvy Street. 2 older brothers and sisters and Margaret who is 14 years old. Age about 20.”

C/JX.27041 leading signaller Victor MacSorley

c/o Blairhoyle

Port of Mentieth


“On convoy duty had been torpedoed 500 miles off Bermuda. 16 hrs in life boat. Very jolly. About 20 - 1941-1945? Also had an address in Liverpool.”

LT/JX256479 telegraphist John Hamilton McNair – Minesweeper BYMS 15

c/o Rosslyn

94 Arkelston Road


“Has one older brother James? One of the best and practically part of the family. Loves hot rolls and coffee. A yachting enthusiast. About 30.”

Additional: “Sadly John was accidentally drowned in Freetown Harbour Sierra Leone, August 1945, HMS Eland. Son of James and Isabella, commemorated on Lowestoft Naval Memorial. There is also a reference to Stichson and McNair Ltd 160 Howard St Glasgow. Produce Merchants?”

FX.88540 -ALA - Gilbert Christie

c/o Mrs W J Christie

16 Arkleston Road


“Brought along by John McNair a charming excellent brilliant chap who we became quite fond of. FAA Pilot who was in the RAF. Younger brother RAF Pilot killed over Italy. A law student, studied in France. Very sensitive and a good friend who I hope we will keep in touch with. 1940-1945 age 25.”

FX.705093 - ALA - James Carlin III

c/o Mr and Mrs James Carlin

86 Russell Street


“An only child on way to Trinidad likes Gilbert and Sullivan. A customs officer before the war. Likes ping pong. About 19 in 1945.”

RD7 Alexander Craig

c/o Mr Alexander Craig

2 Greens Crescent


“RD7 on the liner Queen Elizabeth. Tall and quiet.”

R/JX96626 riggers mate Harry Sladen

c/o Mrs Harry Sladen

69 Backmarch Road



“Riggers mate on way home for 2 years in Trinidad. 2 sons. Keith 11, Moray 3. A shipyard worker in Civvy Street. Great with children lots of fun.”

P/LYX100709 Douglas LM Wright

c/o Mrs J Wright

22 Bank Place



“Fleet Air Arm cadet pilot – on way home from St Louis “Dipped”. Two older brothers and sisters. Was in Marines for 3 years and a boxer. Very quiet. Wants to live in South Africa. About 22. August 1944.”

Additional: There is also a reference on his note possibly regarding Parramatta NSW Australia

LT/JX Douglas MacArthur – HMS Skye

c/o Mrs DH MacArthur

7 Princess Street



“Seaman, five children at home. Very friendly, headed to Jamaica. Was a fisherman and shoe salesman in Civvy Street.”

FX/606501 – A/LA - James S Windsor

c/o Mrs Edith Windsor


Marchhill Drive

Moffat Road


“On way to Bunker Hill. One older sister and a younger brother. Age 19 – April 1945 New York. Wants to study forestry after the war.”