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Thread: Service records

  1. #1
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    Default Service records

    Earlier today the Meteorological Office dedicated a new Roll of Honour to those meteorologists who never returned home from WW1 and WW2. The majority of those remembered from WW2 were RAFVR (Met Branch). As I think most of you know, Peter and I have been researching their stories for some time, and our Book of Remembrance now sits alongside the memorial.

    In the course of our research we have always had the same difficulty in obtaining service records that so many others have experienced, but in some cases where we've traced a family, we've been fortunate in that distant cousins or nephews/nieces have obtained a record without difficulty.

    About two weeks ago I traced the daughter of one of the six RAFVR meteorologists who died when two undefended ships, which had been chartered as weather ships, were torpedoed in the summer of 1941. Her father had been at sea, in a defenceless ship, almost continuously for 9 months at the height of the Battle of the Atlantic - think on it!

    She was not aware she could obtain her father's service record until I advised her of the procedure. Her request was accompanied by a completed the Next of Kin certificate and the usual fee. I was stunned to learn today that the RAF Disclosures Section at Cranwell was demanding her parents' marriage certificate, her mother's death certificate and her own birth certificate (which is actually 6000 ft down in mid-Atlantic).

    Has anyone else encountered, or heard of, such an insensitive response recently?

    Brian

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    Default Service Records

    Brian,

    Depending on how their letter was worded I am not sure they are being particularly insensitive.

    What is to stop someone, not related to the casualty, filling out the NOK form and submitting the amount required? The MoD, I am sure, does not want to be in violation of the Data Protection Act.

    From what you have said here it seems that the casualty's NOK was his wife, hence the need for proof of her death. The daughter's birth certificate, although lost, will still exist at the GRO and will prove she is the NOK.

    I located the niece of a 101 Squadron casualty and as she was willing to approach the RAF on my behalf to obtain her uncle's service record I sent her her father's birth certificate showing that he had the same parents as this casualty. Two weeks later the niece was told as the casualty had married a few weeks before his loss the wife was the official NOK even though she is not blood.

    We then had to locate the wife who had remarried in 1948. We subsequently learned that she had died in 1990 so it was back to the GRO to obtain her death certificate.

    Once all this documentation was sent to the RAF they came back with four pages of A5 paper showing a VERY brief synopsis of his flying career.

    All told, from start to finish, it took us a year to get them to cough up the records. The plus side was that they did not charge the usual fee which made up for some of the costs of ordering the many birth, marriage and death certificates needed to satisfy the RAF.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    All points noted Dave, and my comment about the documents being at the bottom of the Atlantic were tongue in cheek - although the daughter was very angry.

    No, my point was that in previous instances this had never arisen, even distance relatives being given the information without question. If the powers that be have changed the rules then why is that not stated on the Next of Kin certificate? Besides which, anyone can obtain a copy of a Birth/Marriage/Death certificate - our files are full of them even though we have no connection with the people to whom they refer.

    To ask for such proof is totally pointless.

    Brian

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    Default I am having the same problem

    with the MOD I want my 2nd cousins RAF Service record - so far I have sent my great grandparents marrriage cert, grandfathers, birth cert, death certs, my fathers birth and death cert, my birth cert, my marriage cert - my cousin was not married all his family are deceased, three did not marry, I have even got a letter from our Parish Priest (we are a typical Irish Catholic family and all went to the same church and we were were all "family") giving our family connection, also my 2nd cousins brother was a partner in a law firm and I have got them to certify my blood relationship and I still cant get the records, but they have debited my Visa for the money, now they want the birth, death,marriage certs of his parents. I have also sent them a copy of our family tree - nothing will shift them. This is going to cost me an arm and a leg to get all these certs due to the currency conversion and overseas fees I live in NZ, with no guarantee that I will get anything. I am going to give up as I dont really need them its just out of interest and to check a few details. I have been told that even if I give up they will not refund the fee. I am not impressed.

    Dyan

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    That's absolutely disgraceful Dyan - when did you first place your request? I obviously can't talk for others, but I received my fathers SR last year without any such problem, no request for my birth certificate. And, as I wrote in my first message, I've had second cousins obtain SRs for me without query.

    If this is a new approach it needs to be taken up with either MOD or our MPs (OK I know you're in New Zealand).

    Whatever, if they won't give the information get that money back.

    Brian

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    Dyan,

    Further to my last post, my friend has just advised that her mother's death certificate has been returned - no covering letter or compliments slip, just the certificate in a brown envelope. You don't say if your certificates have been returned, but clearly it's something they should do, so it might be worth asking.

    Thinking about the money taken from your account; if you have decided there is no point in taking your inquiry further it might be worthwhile contacting Visa and asking for the money back. I'm not really au fait with this (no doubt someone will correct me) but if you've paid for something this way, and the goods are not supplied, then the card company is equally liable with company supplying the goods and must return the money.

    Had you been in this country you could have taken the RAF to the small claims court for non-provision of goods paid for - now that would really cause a stink.

    Brian

    PS. My friend is even angrier with these 'rude people'.

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    I have just looked at the Certificate of Kinship form that you need to fill in to obtain Service Records.
    It would appear that things have been tightened up as there is a note on the bottom of the form that reads:
    "Please return this form to the address given. You must
    enclose also:
    a. The written authority of the Next of Kin, if not yourself.
    b. Evidence of the ex-serviceman’s/woman’s death (e.g. a
    photocopy of the Death Certificate) if he/she died after
    discharge from the Service.
    c. Evidence of the link with you, if appropriate (i.e.
    marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc).
    d. If you are NOT the surviving spouse of the deceased,
    Payment [Cheque for £30 made payable to “HMG Sub
    Accounts 3627”]"

    I know its been said before but why can't the MOD release this data.
    It doesn't seem to be a problem in other commonwealth countries.
    Andy

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    ...in fact Andy, instead of things getting easier and more relaxed as time goes on, the converse appears to be true. Totally and utterly bewildering, the rationale escapes me completely.
    Max

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    Default Oh I am not stupid enough to send the

    originals I sent certified copies (comes in handy having a lawyer as a brother in law) I will contact Visa and get them to reverse it if they can, as I have decided that for the information I want, which is only of interest and I am sure I can get it from 228's ORB if I can locate them - I do have a lead, it is going to be too costly an exercise. I had one heck of a problem - late night phone calls and all - to get them to accept the Visa - being on the opposite time scale meant some mindnight oil being burnt. However if you read the info I have got it is called an "Admin Fee" and as they had started the process by asking for more info.........you get the drift. If I was to go ahead and it would cost me about $NZ 1000 + to get all the info they want and I may only get a couple of A5 pages with little or nothing on them, as has been the case by a previous post. Do I need it? NO 30 pounds has cost me $180 NZ already, I think it is time to cut my losses. Once again the MOD has done the dirty on us.....my family were not too "delighted" about the way they were treated when my 2 cousins died, my dad was injured (seriously) and my cousin was a POW, but we put it all behind us it was War time.........now - well to coin a phrase used here in NZ "b****r them" I will get around it another way, I may not get all the info I want and I wont be around in 30 years when they put it on Ancestry or whatever so I will have to have the help of my "friends" on here.

    Dyan

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    Dyan,

    There are two cheap and easy ways to get copies of the pages from the ORB.

    Cheapest is to ask on this board if someone going to The National Records Office at Kew will look up the ORB for you and copy the relevant pages.

    The next method is to ask for a quote for a microfilm copy. This will be the entire ORB and will cost about 45 GBP plus postage (this is because the ORB has already been microfilmed at Kew). All you need then is to pop down to a local library or place who have a microfim reader and look through the pages at you own pace.

    Regards
    Ross
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