Unless you are the next-of-kin or a family member, trying to find information about the man who owned your helmet, cap, jacket or other, can be a daunting and mostly fruitless expedition.
However you can try some things before you give up hope. If you have only the initials of the soldier then there is not much you can do, on the other hand, if you know the surname and atleast an initial, then you have something to work with.
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WW2 German soldiers on parade.
The London Gazette.
This Newspaper is an essentiel source for tracing British Military Officers from WWII, among other eras. It notes when an Officer was promoted and retired, aswell as listings for all ranks who were MID and/or given awards. Not all the names will come up but it is definitely an important place to look. Use the advanced search option and "with the exact phrase:" option. You will then get a list of names that fit your search. You can narrow this down by looking for the Supplement closest to the years in question, or use the "historic event" option.
Tip. If a search result comes up but you are still not satisfied, try to guess the first name, or type in the rank abbreviation together with the surname, and hopefully more results should appear. Try a few things out and you will soon see what works to your advantage.
Another useful website with a broad range of information on Officers who took part in WWII. Mostly British and Commonwealth men. Of course not all the serving Officers of WWII are listed however this site is indeed an interesting read. http://www.unithistories.com/
An Artists impression of the noble 'Tommy'.
Ok, this may sound obvious, however when typing Captain Brown into Google you will be bombarded with results, and unless your are extremely lucky, they will probably not be the results you are looking for. Now try the search again, but this time select the "Advanced Search" option on the right of the search box, and then proceed to insert your search name into the box named "this exact wording or phrase". Again you might get lots for results, but if you search for initials with the surname then you should hopefully get something interesting.
Rolls of Honour, Regimental Associations / websites.
Regiment websites often list names for Officers and men who were active in their certain Battalions. Not all names will be listed but perhaps you could look around the site, look at the photo gallery, Roll of Honours, POW lists, Awards etc. Contacting the Regimental website or Association might also drum up some background on your man, that is of course providing you know what regiment he served. A last resort are Rolls of Honour, which can usually be found with a little internet based searching.
Military Lists and Books.
Official Army lists and Official Regiment history books / War diaries can be a great resource. Look for the list most relevantly dated, however Military lists are hard to come by, but Ebay offers Unit books from time to time.