Is a man's original service record the same as that held by the MOD?

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by annieb, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. annieb

    annieb Member

    Hi. I've just registered and have some questions which I hope aren't too stupid.

    My brother has the original WW2 Certificate of Service for my grandpa who was in the British Royal Marines during the war. Would the information on it be exactly the same as what I would receive if I were to apply for his official service record? I have to admit to not understanding some of the information on it and wondered whether anything further would be available from the official sources.

    Here are the details:

    Name: William Hellyer Geake (They mispelt his middle name as Hillyar)
    Division and Register Number: PO X102216 (T) - the PO and (T) are written above the X number. Is X102216 his service number?
    He enlisted on 1 Jan 1941 at Eastney Barracks.

    His movements appear to be...

    1 Jan 41 - 15 Jan 41 - Portsmouth Division.
    16 Jan 41 - 26 Mch 44 - HBL. MNBDO.
    27 Mch 44 - 11 Sep 45 - HBL 5th A/A BDE.
    12 Sep 45 - 13 Sep 45 - HBLR.M.T.T. Depot.
    14 Sep 45 - 18 Oct 45 - HMS Mathew.
    19 Oct 45 - 10 Dec 45 - Quebec.
    11 Dec 45 - 11 Apr 46 - Portsmouth Division. Released Class "A".

    What is HBL? It seems to crop up a few times.

    Other information on the record includes...

    1/1/41 - Driver Mechanic Class II.
    15 Dec 41 - Fitter M/V (Group A) CP. III.
    30 Nov 44 - Vehicle Mechanic (Group A) Class II.

    From what I've been told, my grandpa spent time in India, Ceylon, Egypt, Africa, Palestine and Belgium and that his war wasn't 'a bad war' which I think means he didn't see too much in the way of action. Of course, there's a chance this might not have been the case as I know veterans didn't always talk about everything.

    He was awarded the following medals: 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Africa Star, France & Germany Star, the Defence Medal and War Medal.

    From the above information, would anyone be able to fill me in on any aspect of my grandpa's war.

    I can post images of the actual service record if required.

    I hope I've posted this in the correct place. Apologies if not as I'm new here.

  2. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Annie,

    HBL = Home Based Ledger, i.e. miscellaneous personnel

    MNBDO = Marines Base Defence Organisation

    5th A/A BDE = Probably Marines 5th Anti-Aircraft Brigade

    Hope this helps.


  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

  5. annieb

    annieb Member

    Hi Steve and thank you for your replies.

    I've read the information about HMS St Mathew and Quebec and am wondering what sort of training would have been going on when my grandpa was there as this would have been after the war had finished. Would these bases have been acting as some sort of holding camps before demob or was training still going on in case the war was to begin again?

    Thanks fot the tips about HBL and MNBDO. After googling MNBDO, it apparently stands for Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation and someone on these forums has suggested a book by Julian Thompson which may throw some more light on theses establishments.

    Outside of what is listed on the service record and more general information that I may find in the book, am Iikely to discover any further sources to narrow down exactly where my grandpa was and when?

    The only other things I have to go on is...

    1) A letter he wrote on 10 April 1941 when he says he's been in a 'modern town' in South Africa and is now on a ship.
    2) His medals which my brother has. From researching the medals, it appears they may be mounted in the wrong order but I've checked a photograph of my grandpa wearing them and he also has them in the same order as I listed in my previous post. What I have learnt is that the Africa Star should be before the Burma Star so I am wondering why my grandpa has placed them the other way round.
  6. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    Hi Annie,

    Completely unfamiliar with naval records, I just rang the JPAC Enquiry Centre (0800 085 3600) to check and they've confirmed your 'Certificate' to merely be a summary - to get everything, incidentally including said certificate, you need to specifically apply for a copy of his 'personnel file'. Depending on whether you feel your brother was short-changed, due to a misunderstanding, I'd be inclined to ring and ask whether they can maybe circumstantially waive the usual £30 fee - 'don't ask, don't get' and all that ;)

    To meanwhile browse around here for possibly-useful related threads, here's a ready-made starter search:

    Re the letter, Winston's Special convoys plied their way to & from the far-east - often splitting to partly dock at Capetown/Durban for a couple of days. Maybe your granddad took the opportunity, on his outbound voyage, to send a letter to be conveyed back on the returning convoy next due to dock there. Even if you can't yet identify the 'draft' transferring him east, his full record ought to allow you to do that to test my letter theory - 2 principal links for that being:
    * WS Convoys in World War 2 - the 'Winston's Specials' (c/o Naval History)
    * ConvoyWeb

    Good luck,
    yet another Steve

    PS: Whoops - just spotted the letter's date which doesn't precisely tally with any one convey but perhaps he arrived on WS6 and left on WS7 for some reason ? (ref. WS (Winston Specials) Convoys in WW2 - 1941 Sailings) I'm assuming, as a Marine, he wasn't ship's crew in this instance but there again I'm probably exposing my ignorance of naval matters !
  7. annieb

    annieb Member

    Thank you for your reply Red Goblin Steve.

    I've posted pages 1 and 2 of the record my brother has. For clarification, we didn't send for this, it was the actual record that my grandpa had in his possession which I presume they gave to every man at some point, or perhaps they kept it with them.

    So are we saying that the MOD will be able to supply more detail? If so, I'll pay the £30 but I didn't want to do this if it was going to be the same information. It would be great to be able to fine-tune his movements.

    Service Record - Page 1 - W H Geake.jpg

    Service Record - Page 2 - W H Geake.jpg
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Hello and welcome to the Forum.

    Good luck with your Research.

  9. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Annie,

    He was definitely at HMS St Mathew.

    What the records you posted don't show is otherwise in which locations and specific units he spent his service. You should apply for his full service records and revert when you have them.

    Why he was sent to the Combined Operations Centre/Base, who knows. Maybe they needed to put him somewhere and his skills led him there, or he had skills the centres/bases needed...


  10. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    I also answer to RG if it helps :)

    The best things I can suggest to clarify the difference between certificates and full personnel files are:
    At the end of the day, though, the precise difference will vary from individual to individual.

  11. annieb

    annieb Member

    Many thanks for the advice. I will follow it up.

  12. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    mndbo was sent to Addul attol during ww2 and would have qualified for the defence and or Burma star as my own grand father was there, Ceylon def qualified for defence medal as my grandfather was finally awarded his this year, he was awarded the 39-45 star Burma star and france and Germany star and war medal in 1948.
    he may have worn the Burma star first as he was awarded it first? he then came back to Europe after 1941

    did gibralter qualify for the Africa star?
  13. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

  14. annieb

    annieb Member

    Thanks for the information. I know my grandpa was in Ceylon so I'm fairly certain he got the Burma Star for this. I imagine you are right James in that he was probably in Ceylon before he went to Egypt. The letter he wrote from South Africa in April 1941 is possibly a red herring in respect of earning medals.

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