Getting hold of war records/postings

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NikNak

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Morning all...

One of my wife's friends in the village (late 70's) wants to try and get hold of her late fathers military history records and has asked if i'd help.

As I'm sure there must be a few of you out there thats done the same, i thought i'd start by asking here first :)

Never having done anything like this before where should i start.?

I've had a very quick look on google and it seems theres loads of places that offer 'free' service/searches, but when you look just a little deeper its not free at all.

There is the Gov.co.uk site where you download a pdf form fill it in and return with your cheque. Would i be right in thinking 'if they dont know no one else will'.?

She's given me the basic(?) information.... name, date of birth, date of joining, service number, regiment etc.

She'd like to know places he got posted, what he did while there, and any other history that she doesn't know because he never talked about his time in the army.

Is it best just to go to the Gov site and pay the fee and see what comes back.?


Cheers in advance :)(y)


Nick
 

dickm

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Been trying to do something similar with regard to my late Father. The .gov sites have quite a lot of information for Post-WW1, and limited stuff before then, but often it seems the most informative sources can be Regimental Records, which don't necessarily get on to the general site. My Father served in the Shropshire Yeomanry in the early part of WW1, and was possibly with them in Egypt, but even the Regimental Museum in Shrewsbury doesn't seem to be able to confirm that.
He subsequently joined the Royal Flying Corps, then the RAF and I have some good records from then on, including his first log book, which seemed to have a lot of records of the form "crashed on landing". But despite this, he spent most of a decade with the RAF in the Middle East. Given military (ir)rationality, have wondered whether he got sent out there because of previous experience in Egypt. With the passing of time, it's not clear whether the tales I remember of experience in mid-East referred to wartime of subsequent "peacekeeping".
 

Droogs

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That is probably your best bet but if he was with a particular regiment for his entire service career such as he was in the 1st/15th Bradford Winkle Pickers rather than being in the Corps of Street Lighters & Sweepers, who served as attatched personnel to lots of different regiments then you could contact his Regimental Association and try there.
 

Richard_C

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National archives website is good. Because their reading rooms are closed they have made downloads free, limited to a certain number but its a big number. You have to register.

I was able to download the pdfs of my pilot father's squadron monthly records which had all 82 of his operations in Italy and beyond described, aircraft number, crew, target, etc.

Comments like heavy ack ack for 22 miles into target all aircraft holed....makes you think.
 

Linus

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Best bet is the Gov.uk site which costs £30 for all details held. I believe you must be NOK or have their written permission. As already stated, for additional information try Regimental record etc.

Before doing this has your friend checked whether she, or other relatives, have posession of her father's discharge book (a large red cardboard bound document with WD on the front) that will give her most of the info she seeks?
 

AES

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I did much the same for my Father, also WWI. And if you have both the guy's service number AND his Regiment you're better off than I was.

The military sites are your best bet, especially a Regimental site if there is one.

But remember that some time in early WWII some of the existing WWI records were lost due to German bombing and couldn't be replaced, so there are gaps.

The other thing I learnt during my searches was that just because a guy started off in Droogs's " 1st/15th Bradford Winkle Pickers" (for example) that doesn't mean he stayed there for the duration - maybe he was there only a short time. Because of the very high losses during WWI, it seems that although a soldier may have been sent up to the Front as part of a certain Regiment, they were rotated in and out between the Front itself and "ear rest areas". Due to the above losses that same soldier may well have been sent back into the Front with a completely different Regiment as a replacement.

But with the guy's name, date and place of birth, service number, and original Regiment you're off to a very good start - better than my own searches, as although I knew date of birth, it was possible Dad had a different surname at that time, I wasn't exactly sure where he was born, and I have no service number or Regiment.

With all the info you have, you should be in much better shape than I was (I didn't get very far), and I think you'll have enough info to be able to get at least a good start with basic info for free.

Note also, there are a number of "free" websites (a couple I found genuinely without fees) that will offer you a lot of guidance on how and where to search. But I can't remember any names now, sorry, but Google (& all that).

Don't know if it helps you, but as per another poster above, after my Dad left the army at end of WWI, he was in the RAF in the 1920's and their records were very helpful in my case. No charge either, though voluntary contribution asked for.

HTH
 

NikNak

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Thanks for the replies so far. I've done a bit more searching around and found out that you can hire a researcher to do it for you. Cost is likely to be in the region of £300ish, but first you must submit a request to the Gov.co.uk site and pay your £30 because...

All Official 'Service Records' for WW2 veterans are still restricted and only held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as they are still protected under the UK Data Protection Act and the MOD's own Policies.

You can still obtain these through us, but you will be required to contact the MOD and pay a fee of £30 to them. We will help you do this, once you have submitted the form.

Currently due to covid restrictions at the MOD, applications are likely to be severely delayed.


So i'm thinking fill in the pdf form and send it along with the £30 fee and see what comes back before dishing out a further £300 for something that may be included in the Gov/MOD records.

@Linus i will also ask if she has his discharge book like you've suggested before parting with any monies.

Cheers guys, keep the suggestions coming......


Nick
 

dickm

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Don't know if it helps you, but as per another poster above, after my Dad left the army at end of WWI, he was in the RAF in the 1920's and their records were very helpful in my case. No charge either, though voluntary contribution asked for.
As it happens, I did that, which indeed supplied quite a lot of useful information, including some hints about why Father left the RAF (looks like he got wind of something dodgy going on, and refused to be part of it). For me, the disappointing response has been from the Shropshire Yeomanry, who probably do have some relevant records but despite a fairly generous donation, can't seem to be bothered to search for anything. If Shrewsbury were nearer, I could probably ferret through their stuff, but it's 400+ miles away!
 

Jonm

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Thanks for the replies so far. I've done a bit more searching around and found out that you can hire a researcher to do it for you. Cost is likely to be in the region of £300ish, but first you must submit a request to the Gov.co.uk site and pay your £30 because...

All Official 'Service Records' for WW2 veterans are still restricted and only held by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as they are still protected under the UK Data Protection Act and the MOD's own Policies.

You can still obtain these through us, but you will be required to contact the MOD and pay a fee of £30 to them. We will help you do this, once you have submitted the form.

Currently due to covid restrictions at the MOD, applications are likely to be severely delayed.


So i'm thinking fill in the pdf form and send it along with the £30 fee and see what comes back before dishing out a further £300 for something that may be included in the Gov/MOD records.

@Linus i will also ask if she has his discharge book like you've suggested before parting with any monies.

Cheers guys, keep the suggestions coming......


Nick
My wife has recently tried the £30 MOD approach to get her fathers war records. Filled in the forms and sent the cheque in February 2020. In May 2020 phoned them up to be told that Covid was slowing everything down and asked us to be patient. Subsequent phone calls have not been answered. Cheque has not been cashed. I think she will chase it up. She got the impression they were relying on volunteers.
 

johnny

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I would join a UK Geneaology community like Find My past and ask for help and advice on there. There are thousands of members that have lots of expensive subscriptions to ancestry sources like the Imperial War Museum records who will happily look up records for you for free and search for records. Its a great community and there are many professional and experienced Geneaology experts there to help and advise Trace your Family Tree Online | Genealogy & Ancestry from Findmypast
 

niall Y

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Morning all...

One of my wife's friends in the village (late 70's) wants to try and get hold of her late fathers military history records and has asked if i'd help.

As I'm sure there must be a few of you out there thats done the same, i thought i'd start by asking here first :)

Never having done anything like this before where should i start.?

I've had a very quick look on google and it seems theres loads of places that offer 'free' service/searches, but when you look just a little deeper its not free at all.

There is the Gov.co.uk site where you download a pdf form fill it in and return with your cheque. Would i be right in thinking 'if they dont know no one else will'.?

She's given me the basic(?) information.... name, date of birth, date of joining, service number, regiment etc.

She'd like to know places he got posted, what he did while there, and any other history that she doesn't know because he never talked about his time in the army.

Is it best just to go to the Gov site and pay the fee and see what comes back.?


Cheers in advance :)(y)


Nick
You could try www.forces-war-records.co.uk They send me e-mails from time to time - because I once showed an interest!
Having had a go at looking up my ancestors, it's a lot easier and more convenient if you join a proper site. It's not free of charge, but 'Forces War Records' does occasionally offer cheap introductory offers.
 

Phill05

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I would second the 'Forces War Records' I have used them and got the information I was looking for it does help time wise "to pay your moneys" get all the information from your wife's friend you can to start with then go for it. all the best.
 

accipiter

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My wife has recently tried the £30 MOD approach to get her fathers war records. Filled in the forms and sent the cheque in February 2020. In May 2020 phoned them up to be told that Covid was slowing everything down and asked us to be patient. Subsequent phone calls have not been answered. Cheque has not been cashed. I think she will chase it up. She got the impression they were relying on volunteers.
If the cheque has not been cashed within six months of the date written then my understanding is that it is unable to be cashed. You may want to double check this with your bank having written it back in 2020. You'll possibly have to resubmit the forms and payment again sadly.
 
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