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Requesting UK Service Records

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by alieneyes, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. alieneyes

    alieneyes Member

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    Unlike the United States, Canada and Australia gaining access to the service records of WWII UK veterans, whether they be alive or dead, killed in action or prisoner of war, is not the easiest thing.

    The Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, as components of the Ministry of Defence, must comply with the UK Data Protection Act of 1998.

    If you are not next-of-kin it can be done but will require the ability to locate the veteran and have him apply for his own records or, more often than not at this late date, locate his family and have them apply on your behalf. This can get very expensive and involves applying for birth, marriage and death certificates from the General Register Office, not always with positive results.

    If you are next of kin, and can prove it, then your options change. Keep in mind that in WWII most next of kin would either be parents, spouses or siblings and these are the names the relevant military records will have on file. In most cases parents and spouses have passed away and it is up to you to show the connection.

    If you visit this site:

    Service records

    you can access the required forms and depending on the branch of service your relative served in (click on logo of branch of service) obtain the necessary address where to send your inquiry.

    What if your relative was not a British serviceman but was part of the many exile militaries (eg. Polish, Czech etc) based in the UK in WWII? Click on the link that says "Non UK and Commonwealth Service Personnel" for some additional information and addresses.

    The personnel at these agencies are hardworking people who do their best to get you the information you have requested but as is the case in this age of cutbacks they are trying to do more with less.

    I guess that's the nice way of saying you'll be waiting a while as the internet has opened up a whole new world for genealogy and the MOD has stacks of requests from next-of-kin.
     
    fusilier azza likes this.
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard

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    Thanks for this alieneyes. I'm pinning the thread so that our British members have a handy reference point for accessing British military records. I hope it is as helpful as the thread for US records.
     
  3. bdmalta

    bdmalta Member

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    This detailed account sums the situation up well but don't give up - you may be lucky! I've had mixed fortunes, trying to track down members (or descendants) of RE Bomb Disposal Malta for a book using family history techniques, including 'reunited' sites. I had two major successes: one officer living in the same county as me who'd written a diary, and the cousin of another who was accepted as next of kin, allowing me access to the Army Service Record.
     
  4. Lesleym

    Lesleym Member

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    My father has had the forms to request his fathers records for the past two years. Not knowing whether to send them in or not.

    He FINALLY sent them last week and got a reply today, saying that he could expect a reply to his request within the next 6 - 8 MONTHS !! :eek:

    So if you are thinking about it, do it now and don't wait like my father did.
     
  5. trooper

    trooper recruit

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    having trouble locating british army records .If you know your relative,s regiment or corps . Try regimental museum
    you could be lucky lots of imfomation is available .Get in touch with the curator .
     
  6. BFBSM

    BFBSM Member

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    But remember a large number of the Regimental Museums are run by volunteers and they may not be open every day of the week, so you may be waiting a while for a response from there too. But it would probably be quicker than the records.
     
  7. matt3cx

    matt3cx recruit

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    I could do with some/lots of help in trying to find out about what my granfather done during ww2,like many he didnt talk about it when he returned so my gran didnt know much,and she has now passed away.All we know is there are pictures of egypt, and italy and pictures from Cortina D Ampezzo,he also had a badge with a black cat in a red back ground, his name was wilfred palmer, and i think his number was 1114562, any ideas????
     
  8. sonofacameron

    sonofacameron Member

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  9. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    Nightmare,bloody useless nightmare.4W
     
  10. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Anyone requesting recent RAF records not just ww2..will find some coming back with a comment that fire destroyed the rest of file..Not all..but some I know in RAF who I served with are getting this back in last few years.
     
  11. SirJahn

    SirJahn Member

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    How would one go about requesting service records of Indian soldiers from WWII. I have the names of two Indian Nursing Sepoys that were in the Rennes POW Hospital and would like to follow up on them. In particular if they filed E&E reports.
    CPL Sohan Singh
    N/Sepoy Bashir-Ud-Din Ahmed
     
  12. Toppers

    Toppers recruit

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    I am after my dads ww2 records. He passed away in 91 and my mother in the last 7 years. I am his son and wondered what I need to get a set as I seem to have a hole in his service from May40 to May 44 no photos or records etc.

    He was RAF Police at the end but I think he was an armorer at the time he enlisted.
     
  13. Owen

    Owen O

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    Did you not see link in my post #6 on your earlier thread?
    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/51418-help-on-war-photos/

    Click link, print off forms, fill them in & send them off with payment.
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Member

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    Just noting that there is a change to the information on the original post from 2009, regarding applications in connection to deceased personnel. It is possible to apply without consent of NOK, and there are two tiers of info available depending on time which has elapsed since death.

    A copy of their death certificate should be enclosed as proof along with application and fee. If however they are on eg CWGC register, a printed copy of their online certificate should be sufficient.

    https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records


    Cutbacks aren't the only reason for long turnaround periods when applying. The department doesn't just deal with Historical applications but also with all other enquiries from those on pensions, as well as dependents etc. Any applications by veterans themselves should get priority and are processed free of charge, or for a surviving spouse. Apply as soon as possible, wait turn, keep an eye on bank account to see if cheque has been cleared through account.
     
  15. Toppers

    Toppers recruit

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    cheers just asking, I am waiting for a death certificate from my sister to complete the form and send it off.

    I have items of my dad from May 1940 when he was enlisted, but nothing till May 1944 that's a big hole in his life in WW2. We can find nothing amongst the personal stuff we have between us. It may be lack of recording by him or lost , but it is strange. We feel sure he enlisted as an RAF armorer and transferred to the RAF Police but have no dates etc.

    what is the current fee?
     
  16. Toppers

    Toppers recruit

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    yes sorry just wanted clarification that's all, you have been a big help as me and my elder sister are really keen on finding out more. Like most WW2 men he never talked much, only a little to me when I enlisted in the Army. But he had a stoke soon after and was unable to communicate clearly enough. This may fill in the holes we have...



     
  17. Toppers

    Toppers recruit

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  18. dbf

    dbf Member

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    £30 Fee for application for copy service records, as per link in my post above.


    I think that's an agency.


    I've used General Register Office for copy certificates
    http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/

    Just to be clear, Death certificates aren't available online. You get a physical certified copy in the post.
    You can order them online.
     
  19. Toppers

    Toppers recruit

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    Ok so I got my dads death cert and I have the forms ready, however it is asking for his NI number, dates of joining and leaving. I do not know these, but i know the rest, rank, service number, arm etc.

    Do I need the NI number?
     
  20. dbf

    dbf Member

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    I shouldn't think so - DOB and 'service' number should be enough to ensure correct identity when conducting the search.
     

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