Medical records

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by daverobson33, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. daverobson33

    daverobson33 Junior Member

    Following his release from Stalag 7A in May 1945 my Father was hospitalised on his return to the U.K.
    He was eventually discharged from the Army on February 15th 1946 as (according to his discharge certificate) "Ceasing to fullfil Army physical requirements".

    I would really like to find out which hospital he was in, his injuries, treatment etc.

    Could anyone let me know if these details would be in his service records or would they be in a seperate medical record?

    Thank you,


    Attached Files:

  2. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Dave - in my experience this information should be in two places - firstly, yes, in his service records. Those records I have seen have references to hospital admittance on them - but usually in that fanatically abbreviated form that the forces have, so you might well get something like 'admitted h Bv 18/4/40. - followed by 'to unit 23/4/40'. Because I know the man in question was in a training regiment at Bovington, I guessed this was hospital in the camp, but sometimes it's just the hospital number and a date. The records I have requested came with a list of abbreviations longer than the actual records, but even then, there are some mysteries. My dad's pay book - army form AB64 - definitely has references to medical occurrences -a complete list of his innoculations on his way to Korea for instance. You may also, dependent on how the unit did things, be able to find a record card, kept by the Records Office for the unit concerned - the Royal Armoured Corps was based in Bovington Dorset of course, but for some reason, the RAC records office was in the drill hall in Barnet - still there - of course the Tank Museum have all the cards now. But again, the details are often buried in abbreviations - there are veterans on this forum who could help decipher such things. I wallowed in misery for years with PYTHON, LILOP and so forth until coming to this forum. There are websites with lists of military hospitals in the UK and overseas -particularly good for WW1, not so sure about WW2. The Wellcome Institute (history of medicine) is a fantastic resource and I think I'm right in saying they have digitised their complete archive.
  3. daverobson33

    daverobson33 Junior Member


    Thank you for your reply.
    I'll apply for his service records & hope there are also some answers to his medical history in there.
    I found out in his later years that just before & during his capture he suffered shrapnel & bayonet wounds but there were also other injuries that he would just not talk about.

    Thanks again,

  4. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Dave, you'll wait between 9 months and a year for army records due to popularity of requests, so in the meantime, you could try

    The DLI records office was at York - where most infantry records were based. It's rare to find records kept, transferred and archived and it sounds fom the information on the website as if they've done a thorough job here - I've been to places where they don't even have an index or where stuff has just been junked in a skip - I quote:

    "The Durham Light Infantry archive collection was transferred to Durham County Record Office from the DLI Museum in 1998. This allowed Record Office staff to catalogue the archives and make them more accessible, both in our Search Room and online.
    Now our online catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the records, and images of the thousands of photographs in the collection.
    We hold the collection on loan from the Trustees of the former DLI Regiment. People donate additional archive material to the collection on a regular basis. We also accept Durham Light Infantry records on long-term loan. Contact us for advice on how to preserve records for future generations. Please make an appointment to consult the Durham Light Infantry records in our Search Room.

    Some of the most popular records, including war diaries and enlistment and discharge books, have been microfilmed to preserve the originals and you will need to book a microfilm reader to view them."

    You never know, you might be lucky and it would certainly be worth having a visit - good archivist will save you months of work, and help you find the right questions to ask. Even if they make a charge for detailed work, it's often nominal. Of course I'm not sure these days now Eric Pickles is eating his way through the counties of England, but Liverpool used to charge £20 an hour for an archivist to do particular task and I never spent more than £20.

    Also there are definitely DLI buffs on here -Jim (Verrieres) is one and if you put a post up with a DLI heading, I'm sure you'll get a response.

    Good luck.
  5. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad


    Theres no service/medical records at Durham.War Diaries etc even Hospital Registers,Coroners reports but nothing relating to DLI personnel records.

  6. daverobson33

    daverobson33 Junior Member

    Hi Brian & Kyle,

    Many thanks for your replies.
    Although I'll be able to obtain service records it looks as though the medical side will remain a mystery.
    I know my Father was injured at Gheel, during his capture & during his time in Stalag 7A but it seems i'll be unable to find out the exact details.

    Thanks again for your help.

  7. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Thanks Kyle - I was going on my experience with the RAC mainly, who do hold casualty record cards. Dave - it's not over yet, there may be hospital unit diaries, his returned POW questionnaire, if he filled one in, missing persons files for when he was captured....great thing about this forum is, as you've just seen, there's always someone who knows a bit more.
  8. daverobson33

    daverobson33 Junior Member

    Thanks Brian,

    I'll not give up yet, there must be something out there!
    Until his service records arrive all I have so far are his Durham Home Guard enlistment forms (joined on his 17th Birthday & discharged on 27/8/43, "joined H.M. Forces" 8/9/43, I've attached them for you.
    I also received his POW registration card from the IRC in Geneva, that was a strange one as it claims he was uninjured.

    HG1.jpg HG2.jpg
  9. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Dave - that suggests to me that the cause of his hospitalisation might have been his imprisonment - malnutrition was common, never mind what we would now call PTSD. Also, there were forced marches from these camps to get away from the advancing Russians - there is an account of one from Stalag 7a here:

    I'm sure a search will reveal other material, most likely on this forum.
  10. alimason

    alimason Junior Member

    I have very detailed service records for my Grandfather who served extensively but i wondered how i obtain more detail about why he was in 70 field hospital while fighting in Italy ?

  11. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    At the time of his 'demob', there should have been a medical examination and an 'Army Form W.3149' completed. This includes a section headed 'Medical History' which has to be signed by the serviceman. However, I have the impression that it is based on own declaration. Most non-permanent injuries or illnesses don't seem to have been retained on a central record.
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Getting medical records was like hiking up Everest - if he was in a Field -Ambulance more likely than Hospital - it couldn't have been too serious most likely

    gyppy tummy - anything serious he would have been in a CCS or General Hospital - we had lots of those...

  13. alimason

    alimason Junior Member

    His service record States he was in 70 general hospital , which I think was located near Taranto and was there for 3 weeks...his final demob form didn't list anything.

    My mum recalls that he did lose all his teeth during the war so maybe he had some kind of infection. Just would like to piece as much together as I can

    Thanks for the replies guys
  14. hutt

    hutt Member

    Several years ago I found in my mothers loft the paperwork for a Pensions Tribunal in which my father was appealing against an earlier decision. This documentation is dated June 1957. It totals 17 pages and includes details of every medical event during my fathers service from 1937 in the TA through to demob in early 1946. It was this document and a stash of letters that effectively started my journey to discover more about his service.

    It gave precise details of dates, conditions and most interestingly the medical facility where he was being treated so even before obtaining his service record, I already had a pretty good idea of where he had been and when.

    Interestingly I also possess some miscellaneous paperwork such as discharge slips and malaria treatment cards with dates that tally to the medical record.

    So, even before obtaining his service record (which incidentally took only 17 days to be returned) I was able to visit Kew and begin looking through his unit diaries (thanks to PsyWar for his initial pointers as to the correct documents).

    Remarkably within half an hour I had found a reference to my father in a section recording 'other ranks who's return to the unit is specifically requested' with details of which medical facility he was in and again found that it tallied precisely with the medical record.

    I have subsequently found several other references in the diaries such as '1 OR SOS to Hosp' and found these tallied with my fathers medical record so would assume they were referring to him.

    Now, back to the topic. Attached below is a copy of the letter sent with his record. It is the second paragraph that is of interest as it would seem to imply that these records certainly did and possibly still do exist at Glasgow. In our case we already had them!

    My understanding is that you need to specify you would like these when applying.

    I have also attached a short excerpt from the record to give people some idea of what information must still have been available in 1957 to compile the appeal documentation.

    Hopefully this may be of interest and encourage others to find out more. I would also recommend researching the medical unit diaries. I always understood my father was flown at one point from Tunisia back to Algeria for what was probably his first Malaria attack. In the medical unit diary it records in the narrative that at the same time, casualties were being flown in by plane from Tunis. I always find it fascinating when personal accounts can be corroborated with both the service record and unit diaries.

    Attached Files:

  15. j22mdr

    j22mdr Member

    I have my grandfathers service records from world war2, he was hospitalised twice during the war.
    St Richards in Chichester and No 8 RAF Hospital, Brussels but nothing in the records of why. How could I find out this information? Thanks in advance
  16. hutt

    hutt Member

    Others may offer a different view but the paragraph below was included in the letter with my fathers service record. From it I would assume that if the medical record is available and you have specifically requested it (which we did) then they would send it. Fortunately we do actually have the details of the 1957 correspondence which we presumed was assembled from the documents that the MOD say in this letter had been forwarded to the Veterans Agency and were now presumed to be destroyed.

    I would suggest you make a further enquiry specifically requesting the medical records and see how you get on.


    Attached Files:

  17. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I asked for an uncle's medical papers last year and received a phone call from Glasgow informing me they would not be released with his service papers.

    It was explained that they do release medical papers in "exceptional circumstances" but the member of staff didn't say what was an "exceptional circumstance" but did say that family history research was not an "exceptional" reason.

    I didn't pursue it as my enquiry was for family history purposes.

    Please let us know how you get on with your enquiry.

    Good Luck

    Steve Y


    My fathers papers contained part of his POW release medical examination form BUT only the page covering his length of service and his condition at the time of the medical examination.

    Similarly I received part of a page of the pre release medical form for another uncle but it was only the page dealing with the countries where he served.
  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    My understanding from another thread (I can't locate it at the moment) is that medical records are often not released as they may contain contentious information affecting persons still living, such as STDs, 'experiments' relating to chemical warfare etc.

    Please don't take these comments as authoritative but as possibly simplistic guidance.
  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    My father applied for his own records which I believe comes under a different ruling as it is a Freedom of Information request. There was quite a lot on file such as dental records and original medical reports etc., but apart from a footnote in the release documents mentioning the fact, no details of why he was hospitalised in Bayeux in July 1944. I suspect that conditions which had no lasting consequences were not always forwarded through to central records.
  20. j22mdr

    j22mdr Member

    Thank you very much for your replies to this post

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