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Service Numbers

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Rachel Report 1 Jun 2015 19:08

Hello everyone,

I gotta admit, I feel like a fish out of water when it comes to military research. I always manage to get the basics, but have no idea how to go any further or get better information on an individual.

But in this particular case, I would like help with my great grandfather. His name is Thomas Martin Thompson (born 1897, but has lied once saying he was born in 1895). He's from Marylebone, London. I've seen a 'record', that gives me basic details on him, it reads as follows:

Corps/Regiment: King's Royal Rifle Corps
Rank: Private
Service Number: R/10032
Corps/Regiment: Royal Irish Rifles
Rank: Private
Service Number: 8/42326
Corps/Regiment: King's Royal Rifle Corps
Rank: Private
Service Number: 51419

I suppose my first question is, why so many service numbers? I thought that number would follow a soldier. Also, what more can I find out about him? Can I send off for a service record, will this give me more details about what battalion he was attached to, his duties...etc? Any information regarding further knowledge on individual soldiers of interest would help, seeing as I have other members who joined! Anyone who can help, thanks. (^_^)

Kind regards,


GlitterBaby Report 1 Jun 2015 21:46

Medal Card on Ancestry

Name: Thomas Martion Thompson
Regiment or Corps: King's Royal Rifle Corps, R Tank Regiment Rifles, King's Royal Rifle Corps
Regimental Number: R/10032, 8/42326, 51419

Do you have access to Ancestry to see if his service record survived the WW2 bombing that destroyed over 60% of the records

Service record but only one image
Name: Thomas Martin Thompson
Gender: Male
Birth Date: abt 1896
Enlistment Age: 19
Marriage Date: 19 Dec 1916
Marriage Place: All Saints Church Northampton
Document Year: 1915
Residence Place: Portman Club Church St, Marylebone W
Regimental Number: 42326
Regiment Name: Royal
Number of Images: 1
Form Title: Short Service Attestation


GlitterBaby Report 1 Jun 2015 21:51

Also this service record

Name: Thomas Martin Thompson
Gender: Male
Birth Date: abt 1895
Birth Place: St Marylebone, Middlesex, England
Enlistment Age: 24
Document Year: 1919
Regiment Name: King's Royal Rifle Corps
Number of Images: 21
Form Title: Attestation


GlitterBaby Report 1 Jun 2015 21:53

Pension record but is this the same person ??

Name: Thomas Martin Thompson
Gender: Male
Birth Date: abt 1895
Birth Place: Marylebone, London
Age: 19
Document Year: 1914
Regimental Number: 10543
Regiment Name: Duke of Cornwell
Form Title: Short Service Attestation
Number of Images: 6
Other Records: Search for 'Thomas Martin Thompson' in other WWI collections
Family Members:
Name Relation to Soldier
Thomas Martin Thompson Self (Head)
Frank Thompson Father
Margaret Theresa Thompson Mother


Rachel Report 1 Jun 2015 22:15

No, I don't have access to ancestry anymore. The Tank Regiment is a new one that I've not seen before! That is him though, 'cause that's the place and date he married my great gran. But that's a real shame about all those records getting destroyed, not sure if he's among them.

And the pension record is him too, as his parents match. But another Regiment, Duke of Cornwell? I suppose that could be part of those others tank, Irish Rifles AND KRRC. If not, wonder why he moved around so much. He is becoming more of an enigma with each new piece of information!

Thanks for helping out, do you have any ideas as to why he moved about so much and where I can find out if he's information got destroyed?


GlitterBaby Report 1 Jun 2015 22:21

Does your local library have access to Ancestry to look at those service and pension records.


Rachel Report 1 Jun 2015 22:27

To be honest, I'm not sure. Guess I could phone up and ask them. Was going to head to Northampton to see what kinda records they had kept at their library concerning the addresses that I know he lived at for awhile during that time.


Potty Report 2 Jun 2015 13:55


All the service and pension records shown above are for the same man. He only served 45 days in 1914 in the Duke of Cornwall Regt before being discharged.

A service No then was really a Regimental number and the same numbers appear more than once in different Regiments. Men were often moved to different Regiments and to different Companies in the same Regiment and would have been issued with a new No each time.

Do try to view the records on line - they make interesting reading. Whilst he doesn't seem to have been an exemplary soldier, he was wounded, gassed and suffered shell shock after being concussed.


Rachel Report 2 Jun 2015 16:09

Hello Potty,

Thanks for re-confirming that this man is indeed my great grandfather. Is it possible to find out why he was discharged so early on? In his marriage, children's birth and estranged wife's certificates, he has put that he is still in the army.

I imagine, like most men, he was scared. WW1 was brutal! When I did have access to paid family tree sites, I did try looking for military records. How did you find out that he was wounded, gassed...etc?

Many thanks for all the help so far!!


Potty Report 3 Jun 2015 12:17

Yes, Rachel, WW1 was brutal. We have just returned from a holiday in France and we visited many WW1 cemeteries and memorials. Walking along rows and rows or gravestones, many just saying "Unknown Soldier" was very sobering . We also did a tour of an underground fortification in Verdun which was very realistic, including hearing and feeling the shell blasts.

The info I gave was from Thomas's Service records on Ancestry.

The first one, the pension record from the Duke of Cornwall Regt, just says discharged "Conduct".

The other two service records are really duplicates of each other and although he was Absent without leave on more than one occasion and was given detention for that, he obviously fought as well. The last record, the one page one, shows him being discharged and joining the Reserve.

If you can't view the records at your local library, could you take out a free trial with Ancestry so that you could download the images to your own computer?


Rachel Report 3 Jun 2015 22:46

Wow, that must have been a really moving visit, Potty. I visited a Navy Memorial in Chatham, for those lost at sea. Found the name of a relative and it really does hit you when you're standing in front of something with their name on it and the thousands that accompany them. Some were so young too. War is ugly.

Oh deary, Thomas sounds like a bit of rogue. Described as being 'tall, dark and handsome', yet he did end up leaving his family, though for reasons unknown. I'm still giving him the benefit over the doubt, as he has been a subject of mystery for a long time, I was hoping to find reason why the family was torn apart through the military side of things.

*gasps* Absent without leave! Couldn't that of eventually been considered as desertion? I thought men got shot over that. If his full service record survived, it would give his description, am I right?

Phoned up the local library and unfortunately they don't offer that service with Ancestry, but I'm heading to Northampton on Friday and they do!! So I'll just pop on there and see what I can find, print it out...etc They don't have FULL service records on there though, do they? Just the fill out cards, kinda things.

Again, thanks for your continued help. :D


mgnv Report 4 Jun 2015 11:59

Anyone can search Ancestry for free.
It's just that, if you've not got a sub, you only get partial info for free.
This is from the "Card Catalog" - Military section. That doesn't mean it's necessarily card records that the catalog cards refer to.

Ancestry's collections include:
Title Collection Records
British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 Military 3,653,052
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 Military 5,280,584
British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920 Military 2,139,613


At the library, go to the Start button - all programs - accessories - then notepad & windows explorer.

Notepad is a crude word processor - double click on it to get a text document that you can copy and paste transcriptions, etc into - then save in say, Downloads, as Notes-2015-06-05.txt or whatever. You can download images into say, the Downloads folder, then you can email all this stuff to yourself as attachments.

Windows explorer looks at your files - I use this to highlight a chunk of files, right-click on the high-lighted chunk, and Send to - a Compressed (zipped) folder (It's easier to attach one zipped folder containing 20 files than attach 20 files).

Cornish Susie

Cornish Susie Report 4 Jun 2015 16:25

There are posts up on several Boards saying that Ancestry are having a 'free weekend' from 5-7th June so worth a look.



Rachel Report 4 Jun 2015 21:25

Thanks everyone :D