Hi. Im new to researching and have lots of Questions

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by RBau, May 25, 2021.

  1. RBau

    RBau New Member

    I live in Australia, but originate from the UK. I have recently begun the fun and educating task of family research. I have begun researching my Great Grandfather and his WW1 service, and now I have begun trying to find service information on my Grand Father.
    My Dad has next to no information on his Dad serving in WW2. He says my Grand Father refused to talk about the war and would walk out of the room if it was brought up in conversation.
    All my Dad knows is my Grandfather was colour blind, and served in the British Pay Corp. As he lived in the NW of the UK and Wales, he more than likely enlisted locally.
    Dad thinks he may have been shipped to Europe toward the end of the war to aide with the rebuild. Could this be correct?
    We cannot find a R/N for him, but have read that the "less fit" "non combat service"? didnt always get issued an R/N.

    Where, if possible, would I start to look to trace his service?

  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    WW1 research is “easier” than WW2 as more WW1 records are available to the public.

    You may want to post on Great War Forum for WW1 queries.

    Unlike in Australia where most WW2 service files are freely available online via NAA the only place you will find U.K. WW2 soldiers records are by applying to U.K. MOD and paying the £30 fee. There is a very very long wait at the moment due to Covid. You will need a full name and DOB.

    Use the forms in this link -

    Requests for personal data and service records: a detailed guide

    I don’t really understand your “R/N” but guess it means rank/name but as above you will find very little online and I would strongly advise that you don’t pay for access to any site that promises WW2 information as the only accurate source is U.K. MOD.

    Good Luck

    gash hand, RBau, 4jonboy and 4 others like this.
  3. RBau

    RBau New Member

    Thanks for the reply Tullybrone. Im beginning to find WW2 is a hard search. But as a bonus, Im learning about and placing geographically what is where.
    Th RN, refers to Regimental Number. I have found by researching my Great Grandfather, the RN make pin pointing the correct information, all be it very little at this stage. I have though been able to trace his Btn movements in WW1.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Thanks your explanation of your use of “R/N“.

    Regimental Numbers were used pre 1921 so that in WW1 a man might have a handful of regimental numbers as he was transferred from regiment to regiment - often on recovery from sickness or wounds.

    Army service numbers were introduced in 1921 and a man retained that number (there were blocks of 7 digit army service numbers allocated to each Regiment or Corps so you could work out the first regiment served with) even if he was transferred on numerous occasions from his original regiment (or Corps ie Royal Engineers, Cavalry etc). The army service number was replaced by a Personal Number for officers.

    Your below comment is incorrect -

    “We cannot find a R/N for him, but have read that the "less fit" "non combat service"? didnt always get issued an R/N.”

    All enlisted/conscripted men and women were allocated an army service number until the Army Service Number system was itself replaced by General Service Corps numbering.

    From about October 1942 recruits were not allocated to a Regiment or Corps until they had served 6 to 8 weeks and they had completed various army education and psychometric tests to establish where they could best serve - an attempt to place round pegs in round holes.

    Consequently it is impossible to deduce a mans first regiment if he enlisted (or more likely was conscripted) after about October 1942.

    RBau, 4jonboy and Tricky Dicky like this.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    In case you need to know - you do not need his service number to apply for his WW2 service records from the MOD - if you read the forms that are in the link provided by Tullybrone they ask for service number OR date of birth

    RBau likes this.
  6. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    You will need a death certificate, if you haven't got one post his full name, date of birth and death, where he died, we should be able to get you the necessary information to enable you to get one.
    Tricky Dicky and RBau like this.

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