Military Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

59 Days of Desertion!

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


AndyTG Report 17 Jul 2018 20:49

I have discovered tonight on Find My Past "British Royal Air Force, Airmen's service records 1912-1939" that my wife's great uncle Joseph Boulton (b 21/6/1901-1966) deserted the RAF for 59 days from 15/1/1922 and served 56 days punishment! I wonder if I would be able to request from RAF the details of his case? Or if they would exist or held on another Genealogy web site? I also wonder if any one can read the pencil writing on front page of his records "??? to be given opportunity to ????? formal service within prescribed limits" etc.. I will try and screen shot page later this evening and share.


AndyTG Report 17 Jul 2018 22:34

Joseph Boulton RAF Service Records Page 1.


PatinCyprus Report 18 Jul 2018 11:32

Military records after 1922 are still with the MOD. They have to be ordered and cost £30. You don't need the service number but it does help.


AndyTG Report 18 Jul 2018 21:25

The records show his detail of his service from 1921 to 1927, the question is if I would get any additional material with a formal request, to see if the detail of the desertion and case are recorded additionally, so I was very surprised the summary of records on Find My Past below.

British Royal Air Force, Airmen's service records 1912-1939

Discover your ancestors who served as Warrant Officers, non commissioned officers, or airmen in the Royal Air Force (RAF) between 1912 and 1945. The record set contains records of almost 343,000 airmen, who were born in over 30 countries. You may be able to explore the personal lives of these airmen, including details of their birthplaces, civilian occupations, religious denominations, and wives and children. In addition, the records may reveal details of their military lives, including attestation year, service number, military training, and awards or decorations. etc...


PatinCyprus Report 19 Jul 2018 07:22

They may have all be born more than 100 yrs ago so MOD allowed them into the public domain. There is a 100 yr rule in UK. That's why we haven't got the 1921 census and so much of the 1939 register is blacked out.

There is a mistake somewhere, the RAF is only 100 yrs old and was not established until 1st April 1918 so the earlier documents from 1912 must relate to the army's Royal Flying Corps and the Navy's Royal Naval Air Service.

I have never seen any records from this time in the RAF so can't help you on what you would find. If they have selected sections to release more info may be in his docs. but as we don't know if that's so, you'll have to work out if the cost is worth the risk.

The details of his charge sheet and what happened may be filed elsewhere or destroyed by now. He would have been marched in front of an officer, charges read and after the charges were read he'd be asked to guilty or not and for an explanation. The officer would then tell him his punishment when he'd considered what he'd been told. I think all the details would be on the charge sheet not his records, that just contains the bare minimum info.

My husbands records have several mistakes in them e.g. on paper his rank went up 2 ranks then down one then eventually back up. First hike didn't happen, when it went down on paper it was in really going up and they were 2 yrs late with his next rank advancement. :-S

Places he served weren't quite right, several detachment were missed off. They never kept up with all the courses he went on.

My husband did much more than the paperwork states.

My docs. were correct but then I was in the only branch that looked after there own docs. all the rest were centralised by then which was the 1960s - 1980s


greyghost Report 19 Jul 2018 10:23

Don't know about the first of your ???? but the second - I believe the word is "Reckon" so ?? giving him the chance to include his former service towards future advancement or pension maybe.

There is something similar on the second page where it says ???? service prior to 23.3.22 forfeited on conviction for desertion. Service now "reckons" from 23.3.22
and then - service forfeited for desertion restored under KR's etc

Could the ?? on page 2 stand for accrued (shortened or as initials)

Leaning towards the first page being his rank/rate - on lines of initials for Aircraftsman


greyghost Report 19 Jul 2018 11:36

A great resource. Mum was born 1920 and by the time I asked her about her parents who I never met, she was more than a tad confused. She thought, but wasn't sure, her Father had served. I didn't find anything Army wise about him, so either burnt documents or he didn't serve I thought.

Anyway, playing around one day and up he came in the RAF records. Looks like he was in the Army initially - 3rd Reserves Hussars from April '17 - could he ride I ask myself? He transferred to RFC October '17 and to RAF April '18 until his transfer to RAF Reserve Feb '19 and discharge April' 20.

Maybe he transferred as it looks as though the reserve cavalry regiments started to become ground fighting Infantry men as a major reorganisation took place in 1917.


ArgyllGran Report 19 Jul 2018 15:45

[ Deleted example of info contained in an army record, posted as a light-hearted response to GG's previous comment, although knowingly irrelevant to AndyTG's query. AndyTG thinks it misplaced. ]


AndyTG Report 19 Jul 2018 22:04

Thank you PatinCyprus & greyghost for replies, last 2 seem miss placed replies. I have had RAF records for 2 relatives so had a phone number but got answer message at RAF Cranwell today. The charge record is the item we would love to see if he explains why he deserted. The last RAF service records we received on cover letter "medical or Disciplinary information is exempt from disclosure by virtue of sections 40 (personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998) its disclosure would breach Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights". So based on that may never see it or have to wait 100 years from the desertion date.


greyghost Report 21 Jul 2018 11:48

What's misplaced AndyTG - a reply that indicated what a useful resource the records were. Maybe someone else in my position might see the thread and find a relative they didn't know about!

Your query about what the missing words might be were answered. And it looks from what you say that previous correspondence said you wouldn't be able to access the disciplinary records, although I would think possibly 100 years from when it happened, not 100 years from now.


AndyTG Report 21 Jul 2018 21:41

greyghost if you read all the messages in order those posted on 19 Jul 2018 11:36 & 19 Jul 2018 15:45, do not make any sense to me with respect to my request for help. Thank you again for the help with the text on the service and I have corrected my reply of 100 years to read correctly.


greyghost Report 21 Jul 2018 22:34

I can see which records you refer to when you say "the last two messages". Don't need the times etc. And I stand by the "what 's misplaced" when my comments refer to the usefulness of the resource you have pointed out and that the records could also help someone else. Does it hurt to give an example from my own experience with a little background information, when it doesn't specifically refer to you but is within context. Plenty of people on these boards do. I've picked up plenty of hints and tips within answers on threads not dead on point to the original question raised.

was plain ann now annielaurie

was plain ann now annielaurie Report 31 Jul 2018 22:48

As far as I'm aware, you should be able to get full records as his year of birth was over 116 years ago (that's if MOD have records). I very much doubt whether you'd get reasons for desertion. He deserted, for whatever reason,and was punished - that's how it was