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Father's service records

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Barbara Report 29 Apr 2013 19:47

Last year i received a copy of my father's army record. I paid £30 and had a 12 month wait. However, they do not appear to be complete. He served from 1931 to 1946 yet there is no mention of his wartime deployment. Also I know he represented the army in Show Jumping events (horses) and won a medal in the King George V Cup at Olympia in 1937 and was presented with this by the then Prince of Wales. Surely this should all be noted in his record? Can anyone throw any light on this?


JMW Report 29 Apr 2013 19:59

I applied 7 months ago for my father's and an uncle's service records, and have luckily received them a few days ago.
They do make it clear that they will send you all that they have but the service record may not be complete. It depends who wrote what at the time and if it all was sent to the central records dept.


Barbara Report 29 Apr 2013 20:42

Thank you for your response but there does seem to be huge chunks missing. I certainly did not get value for money. It was so disappointing as I have been waiting in great expectation for so long.

was plain ann now annielaurie

was plain ann now annielaurie Report 29 Apr 2013 21:41

I'm not sure that the Show Jumping medal would necessarily be recorded in his service records. However, it should really cover the whole period of his service - perhaps you could contact them to ask whether they have sent the full record.


Lyndi Report 29 Apr 2013 22:05

Was very disappointed with my father's record as well.
It does state on it Special List not available, so not sure what that means.

Things my father told us (he died when I was 8) and also that my mother told us, plus poetry that he wrote led us to believe he had served abroad, but his record says all home service (though a few years missing on the record!)

After Patrick Moore died his 'sons' (really sons of deceased friends who he helped care for and support) wrote an article and said that Patrick had done some secret work in the war but that there was no written record of it.


InspectorGreenPen Report 30 Apr 2013 07:43

Military personnel records are primarily administrative records and do not contain information regarding the persons participation in military battles and engagements.

Many of the things we might have learned as a child from fathers and uncles were not necessarily the entire truth either. We found out one particular fact from my father's records that came as quite a surprise and not what we had expected.


Porkie_Pie Report 30 Apr 2013 09:25

Medals won in civilian events are not military medals so I don't see why it should be included in his records, Military medal are not "won" they are awarded so not the same thing.

If he served from 1931 to 1946 then theirs a good chance that he was not deployed overseas,

What rank and regiment was he in? having 8 years experience before the outbreak of WW2 could have meant he was more valuable to the Army as a Trainer? than by sending him off to war,

I did some research several years ago about WW2 and was surprised to find that the more experienced soldiers where often used to train new recruits rather than sending them off to war, I suppose it makes sense when you think about it otherwise who would train any replacements/recruits



Barbara Report 30 Apr 2013 09:45

Many thanks for all the helpful info.
My father was a CSM so yes Porkie_Pie that does make sense that he was probably most useful back home, although he did mention briefly that he was somewhere abroad but no details.
With regard to the Show Jumping medal, I just thought as he was representing the Army and wearing his uniform at the time it would be recorded but I take on board the fact that it was a civilian event.
I think on the strength of the comments I will write back and ask.


DazedConfused Report 30 Apr 2013 10:29


I got my fathers army records and it contained very little that I did not already know, but he also represented his unit/the army in Boxing and this too was not mentioned, however, this did not surprise me as it was not part of his military service.

You would now be better off trying to get hold copies of the regimental diaries. These are held in 1 of the following three places in the order where they are most likely to be held.

1: The National Archives
2: The Imperial War Museum
3: Regimental Museum

This will give you a very good idea of where his unit were based and may also mention some of the 'social' aspects of the unit, if the writer thought they were worthy of recording. Many are.

Worth a try

was plain ann now annielaurie

was plain ann now annielaurie Report 30 Apr 2013 17:59

War Diaries for his battalion(s) will, as Porkie Pie says give a day by day account of what they were involved in and where. I've looked at quite a few WW2 War Diaries and they are often more informative on individual men than the WW1 diaries. However, in this case, you can't look at Diaries for the WW2 period without knowing which battalions he was with, due to the absence of info in the service records.