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Thread: Who do documents belong to after serviceman passes away?

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    Default Who do documents belong to after serviceman passes away?

    Hi all

    My question is - who do the original documents of a serviceman belong to? Either whilst alive or after death?

    When my Grandfather passed away his Flying Log and Service Release book have been passed down through the family.

    A colleague at work says they still belong to the MOD and we could be asked to return them?

    Any ideas on this please?

    Thank you

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    As far as I am aware, there is no inclination on the part of the MOD to assert ownership over documents that they have already offered to subjects or family members. There would be a huge outcry if they did and the whole issue would be a legal minefield (and quite indefensible in law in my opinion).

    I have a fairly decent log book collection and the men from the Ministry would have to step over my wire entanglements, sand bagged trench and twitching (but still damned good looking) corpse, if they did try to get them back!!

    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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    Thankyou Jonny

    A serious answer with a touch of humour. Exactly what I wanted to hear and made me smile too. I think they'd find it hard to reclaim the documents due to the enormity of the task but wondered anyway.

    Thankyou

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    As with many things, the MOD/Air Ministry/Government et al, make a great play about items being 'official documents' or whatever.

    Whilst I am too boring an old f&^t to match Jonny's sense of humour, I think it true to say that it is unlikely that the 'snowdrops' will be calling on you in the near future.

    My father's discharge book effectively became his property because without it, he would still be in the RAF or perhaps in the 'slammer' as a deserter.

    When you can buy a copy of Guy Gibson's logbook from the RAF Museum or wherever, I think that probably gives you a good idea as to how keen the MOD is to retain the book.

    Colin Cummings

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    Thanks guys

    As with most documents it probably says it belongs to an official organisation and should be returned if lost/found etc etc.

    i just wondered how it stood after a serviceman passes away. I'm fascinated by his history and am proud to have his documents.

    Thankyou for reassurance.

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    A very interesting question. Several documents and photos have notes about crown ownership or copyright. Is there any regulation, that states clearly, if crown, mod, or any other body foregoes any claim or ownership of those? I mean that the fact a third party manages certain object, it does not mean it owns it. I recall that a number of awards over the world cannot be sold and should be returned after the death of the recipient. The fact, nobody pursues the case does not mean it is not in existence.

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    Franek is correct.

    In the UK, certain orders of chivalry and the stars of the various grades of knighthood have to be returned on the death of the recipient or - horror of horrors - the recipient forfeits them because they commit a serious crime, for example.

    There is 'Crown Copyright' and this applies to photographs and documents. Theoretically, one cannot make copies without permission and so if one obtains a photograph from a public body, it might require the payment of a fee to acquire but another fee to copy it further or use it, say, in a book.

    It can get very bureaucratic - something at which the British are world leaders - but in the scale of things, it no longer counts as a major crime unless it relates to a current or sensitive issue.

    Colin Cummings

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    What are the names of the airmen whose log books etc Sam and Jonny have?

    it mght be of assistance to others to know they exist for research etc.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Er.... excuse me for adding that sometimes, and by no means all the time the Air Ministry returned Log Books to the Next of Kin, with a small printed note along the lines of 'We think you would like to have this as a reminder of the sacrifice made by.....' or words to that effect. I am sure some of the forum members will be able to come up with the exact wording. Also, in the 1950s or early 60s the MOD apparently let it be known (in the press perhaps) that if you wanted your Log Book apply for it now as we are going to dispose of the ones we hold if you don't. And they did by pulping or burning them! I bet they wish they hadn't now!

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    But by the law it still may not mean handing ownership. I think it was England, who introduced tenancy instead of ownership somewhere in the middle ages, was not it?
    I think the easiest would be to approach respective MoD body or branch, and ask them for an official reply.

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