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Thread: Service Records

  1. #1
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    Default Service Records

    Apologies for bringing this up as I'm sure it's been covered before, but is it possible for an outsider to obtain a narrative service record (ie, list of postings) from the Disclosures Branch? I thought it was, but looking at the various websites there doesn't appear to be an option for this. I've two ORs who died at sea within two weeks of each other in June-July 1941 and so far as I've been able to ascertain both were single men without siblings, so there are no blood descendents. All I'm after is a list of the stations on which they served between September 1939 and the dates of their deaths.

    Brian

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    Yes,

    25 years after the death of the serviceman a transcript of the units served, decorations awarded etc can be obtained by anyone without NoK release.

    If they did not die in service then you have to supply proof of death. As you are looking for confirmation of this from MoD then you may have the first stumbling block.

    Details elsewhere on this site or on the MoD one under Service Records

    Regards
    Ross
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    Thank you Ross. They both died on active service (22 June and 1 July 1941) so there's no problem as regards proof of death. There were six men involved, three on each date, and I'm, in touch with the families of four so there's no problem with them. But one of the others, Cpl James Edwin Hedley-Smith (753648), is proving so elusive I can't even identify his birth date.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian

    I think that you will find his birth certificate from the GRO under the following entry

    Smith Edwin J H, Edmonton 3a, Page 1211, 4th Qtr, 1914, Mother Maiden name Oliver.

    MoD details of what can and cannot be supplied
    http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/Personnel/ServiceRecords/MakingARequestForInformationHeldOnThePersonnelReco rdsOfDeceasedServicePersonnel.htm

    Regards
    Ross
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    However, it will cost you 30 per subject regardless of whether they can actually find records fot the men in question. Such is the cost of FOI.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Default SS Arakaka and SS Toronto City

    My thanks Ross and Jonny.

    Just to explain a little further; the six men were meteorologists sailing on the SS Arakaka and SS Toronto City, which had been chartered to act as weather ships. We've traced the familes of four:

    Sqn Ldr S L Portass, Cpl R H R Wrighton and LAC P W H Short (SS Arakaka)
    Flt Lt S Proud (SS Toronto City).

    The families of three of them had independently tried at various times to interest the media in their undoubtedly unusual stories, and earlier this year the BBC (Radio 4) expressed an interest in Sqn Ldr Portass. The programme was recorded last week in the Met Office Archives with yours truly providing the historical background. The producer has since expressed an interest in recording a follow-up about Flt Lt Proud, whose daughter has his letters from his time at sea.

    From my point of view it would be nice to trace the remaining two families, Hedley-Smith and LAC Forbes Vivian Thom, to make the circle complete. Short and Thom were on their first voyages when the ships were sunk, but the others had served at sea almost continuously without seeing their families from the time the operation started in September/October 1940.

    Brian

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    Just thought forumites might be interested to know my request for the service details of Thom and Hedley-Smith has been acknowledged, but that it will take up to 20 weeks to process "as a consequence of diminishing resources and public demand for our services".

    And I, in my innocence/naivety, thought that if there was a demand for a firm's product resources were increased to avoid alienating customers. 'Tis a funny old world.

    Brian

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    Not with the defence cuts we are being hammered with at the moment. I would suggest it is more of a 'sad old world'. They used to be able to turn round FOI requests in a month.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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