Gransnet forums


Finding a war record

(24 Posts)
Luckygirl Thu 13-Aug-15 22:15:34

I would be very interested to find out what my Dad did during the war - he always refused to talk about it and I wondered if I could shed some light on this. Clearly the experiences must have been bad ones to stop him talking about it.

durhamjen Thu 13-Aug-15 22:30:10

Where was he, Lucky? What company was he in?

I have lots of books bought from

If there is anything in them, I might be able to find out for you. Are you talking about WWll?
Imperial War Museum has records for both.

Have you watched Paul Hollywood on Who Do You Think You Are? I was surprised when they were talking about his grandfather in that war. He's younger than I thought, but he's actually about the same age as my sons, so that would be their granddad, too.

durhamjen Thu 13-Aug-15 22:52:04

By the way, I'm on Ancestry which has access to full war records.

durhamjen Thu 13-Aug-15 22:56:18

You can search this for free. You just have to pay for transcripts when/if you find anything.

ninathenana Fri 14-Aug-15 07:43:58

I hope you find what your looking for.
My brother has made extensive searches into our fathers records only to draw a blank. He was in a parachute regiment (can't remember which one ) and was at Arnem and in Iceland, which he told us, but never said anymore.
It appears he was undercover shock even IWM said they 'can't' give us any information.

Liz46 Fri 14-Aug-15 07:56:00

I just tried that link durhamjen but they wanted a monthly fee of £8.95. My father was a BOB pilot and I have had contact with a man who is researching his regiment. I have been able to give him copies of photographs, letters etc.

Luckygirl Fri 14-Aug-15 10:23:55

Thank you for all these ideas. I too found that the link wanted a monthly fee.

Is Ancestry very expensive?

I am looking at the 2nd WW, but have no idea what regiment he was in. He was, like me (thanks Dad!), very short-sighted, so I assume he would not have been on the front line.

durhamjen Fri 14-Aug-15 10:40:55

I think Ancestry is over £100, but you can probably get it cheaper as a first timer.

If you buy Who do you Think You Are magazine, the summer edition, you can get a three month gold subscription to the genealogist for free.
However, much of that just gives you basic, and they are already asking me if I want to upgrade.
Haven't found enough that's not on Ancestry to justify the extra expense.

whitewave Fri 14-Aug-15 10:43:09

Maybe he did some secret squirrel stuff?

TriciaF Fri 14-Aug-15 10:43:23

I joined WW2 Talk to find out more about my Dad's record, he was in the RNVR and I have some of his medals, so I had an idea where he had been.
The people on there are very knowledgeable and helpful, it's worth trying.
An interesting forum all round though I keep a low profile because the members, mostly men, are rather gung-ho.

durhamjen Fri 14-Aug-15 11:36:17

I just checked that Tricia. My dad was in the RASC and in Burma. So I searched for RASC Burma; no records. So I just put in Burma; no records. Talk about the forgotten army!

JackyB Fri 14-Aug-15 11:39:51

My Dad was just 19 when the war broke out and he joined the Navy. He told us a few hairy stories and we looked forward to reading more about them when he wrote all his life story down in his "memoires". However, the final version was practically just a list of dates and facts and how-I-met-your-mother. Interesting, but nothing spectacular - he left the juicy bits out. Shame.

JackyB Fri 14-Aug-15 11:45:18

I tried that link given above - I think I spied my Dad, although he was listed as a "living veteran", but his name and the ship he served on were the same. It was supposed to be free. But on following the linke to sign up for free membership, they wanted to charge over 50 quid for the privilege.

henetha Fri 14-Aug-15 11:48:32

I'm so fascinated by all the above. My father joined the Army (RASC which is now the Royal Logistics Corps) in 1938 and stayed in for 30 years. And my grandfather fought in, and survived, WW1.
I would love to know more about it all. I shall check out some of the sites mentioned above.

Falconbird Fri 14-Aug-15 12:01:58

All these lovely Grans with dads who served in WW2.

My dad was in N.Africa and to be honest was never the same after the war. There was always some mystery about his discharge the story being that he was found wandering in the dessert and picked up by the Americans. He had lost his sight which may have been dessert blindness but I never knew for sure. I have his Army Book, number, regiment etc., but have always been nervous about looking him up for some reason.

Troops had to sign a document saying they wouldn't speak about the horrors many of them had seen, maybe the Official Secrets' Act. He's been gone since 1967 and mum has passed away too, so maybe this is the time to find out exactly what happened. I know he was in a Home of some sort for a period of time and had to be escorted to the nearest railway station where my mum had to meet him, so I guess he also had battle fatique.

TriciaF Fri 14-Aug-15 12:02:59

Jen - maybe the search engine only works if you're a member? I searched for RASC Burma and ther were lots of links.

Luckygirl Fri 14-Aug-15 12:27:43

What these poor souls went through doesn't bear thinking about. No wonder they did not ant to talk about it.

I don't know why I suddenly feel the need to know what he really did - perhaps to understand him better now he is gone.

TriciaF Fri 14-Aug-15 16:13:40

Drifting from the topic slightly - when visiting family last week we went to Bletchley Park. It's near Milton Keynes.
It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. Take the whole family, you can spend all day there.
What surprised me was the overwhelming emotion I felt when we first walked in - the atmosphere of those anxious years was re-created and I was in tears for the first few minutes. I was a young child during the war and have many memories of it, especially my Dad leaving us.

Greyduster Fri 14-Aug-15 17:22:21

It might be worth trying individual regimental record offices - every regiment and corps has one. I don't know how far back they retain records, but even if they don't retain someone's records, they might be able to point you in another direction. Problem is, so many of the regiments and corps have now been absorbed into other, larger groupings under different names, it might be difficult to know where to begin.

Luckygirl Fri 14-Aug-15 17:55:19

Unfortunately I do not know the regiment - and I believe he was in more than one as people kept rejecting him and moving him on because of his short sight.

My in-laws met and married at Bletchley Park where they both served as linguists and code breakers.

durhamjen Fri 14-Aug-15 18:51:13

There's a new set on Ancestry at the moment; Francis Frith photos.
Searchable by village.

Could you find out any more about your in-laws or are their records still sensitive?

Luckygirl Fri 14-Aug-15 19:30:31

We are logged into the Bletchley Park association and have their records - but no detail for obvious reasons. The detail is still secret.

Jackthelad Fri 14-Aug-15 20:55:00

Durhamjen You know your dad was in the RASC and in Burma probably with the 14th Army. Do you know which unit he was with and his Army number. With that if you are his next of kin you can contact Army Personnel Records Mail Point 535, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street Glasgow G2 8EX and for £30 you can ask them to send you his Service Record and from that you can do further research. That is how the BBC do it and then go to the Office at Kew where war diaries for all service units are kept. It will incur some expense, but depends how much you really want to know. Hope I have been of some help. I have followed this path in finding my father's war service record with success.

seasider Fri 14-Aug-15 21:16:31

I recently got my granddad war records from the Army Personnel Records . It cost 30 pounds and his next of kin (my aunt ) had to give permission for me to have them. It can take some months to arrive but it had some fascinating information even down to a description of him ( he died before I was born) so I felt I knew him better.