Error on service records

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by janice Boakes, Oct 27, 2021.

  1. janice Boakes

    janice Boakes Member

    My Uncle served in The Cameronians, L/Cpl William Cunningham 3248714. He was killed in action on 7th September 1943 and is buried in Salerno, Italy. Last year I applied for his service records which arrived this morning. But there seems to be an error or an almagemation of two soldiers. The Army form B200b has service number 3248713 (last digit one number out) but it contains all his correct information on the front page i.e. address and date of birth or my uncle. Page 2 shows that he transferred to the Gordon Highlanders in Nov 1942. It also shows he was released to the army reserves in March 1946 and discharged on 1951. Page 3 showing service abroad and at home is very different to the information I have from my father. The papers say his first service abroad was in South Africa in 1942 but my father said he was evacuated from Dunkirk. The medal information is also incorrect, it claims he recieved a MM in 1944, I have found the information of this medal and it was allocated to a William Cunningham in the Gordon Highlanders number 3248714 not 3248713. I have my Uncles medals and he was awarded the 1939-1945 star, the Africa Star, the Italy star, the Defence medal and the 1939-1945 war medal. There are many more anomalies in the records I've recieved. Can anyone suggest a way forward to obtain the correct service papers?
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Janice your best bet is to email /phone and explain the issues
    Tel: 0345 600 9663

    AT = @

    This shows for service number 3248713 Recommendation for Award for Cunningham, William Rank: Acting Corporal ... | The National Archives
    I have attached this for your information

    Below is your Uncle 3248714

    Service Number: 3248714
    Regiment & Unit/Ship
    Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

    2nd Bn.

    Date of Death
    Died 07 September 1943

    Age 24 years old

    Buried or commemorated at

    V. D. 3.


    • Country of ServiceUnited Kingdom
    • Additional InfoSon of James and Mary Ann Cunningham, of Uddingston, Lanarkshire.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
  3. janice Boakes

    janice Boakes Member

    Thank you Clive, I'll give them a call. There are definately two William Cunninghams amalgamated in one set of records.
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Please let us know how yo get on

    also if you have time you could post the service records you have on here to see if forum menbers can assist further
    janice Boakes likes this.
  5. janice Boakes

    janice Boakes Member

    Thank you Clive. I have scanned in the Army form B 200d. I also have A.F. B. 102 (2 pages), Notification of Impending Release, Notification of Release and 4 Military History Sheets ( these just have army number 3248713, not my uncles number. the name Cunningham but Next of Kin is my Grandfather J Cunningham of 20 Croftbank St, Uddingston and my uncles date of birth). Let me know if other documents are of interest.

    Attached Files:

  6. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    2 Cameronians were definitely at Dunkirk as part of 13 Infantry Brigade in 5 Infantry Division so his memory stacks up. 2 Cameronians landed as part of the same Brigade and the same Division on 3 Sep 43 at Reggio di Calabria in the toe of Italy and moved slowly up the country to meet the US Fifth Army at Salerno. US Fifth Army had landed on 9 Sep 43.

    LCpl W Cunningham would have been killed somewhere just north of Reggio di Calabria. There is no CWGC cemetery in that part of Italy hence his burial in Salerno CWGC.

    I was in Salerno CWGC two weeks ago. He is being very well looked after.


    Osborne2, CL1 and janice Boakes like this.
  7. janice Boakes

    janice Boakes Member

    Thank you Frank, he died at Roserno as you say he was relocated later to Salerno. He died on 7th of September so obviously an early part of the invasion. I have visited his grave twice. Once with my father before he died, the cemetery is really well cared for.
  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Yes, Rosarno would fit perfectly.

    The 2 Cameronians War Diary might mention his death - not by name because naming Other Ranks was rare in War Diaries but it might say something like:

    ‘During the attack, Lt Jones and 3 Other Ranks were killed’.


  9. janice Boakes

    janice Boakes Member

    Thank you Frank. I have a number of letters that were sent from different people in his regiment to his father. Two were Captains, one was a Lt Col and the other a Reverand. They give an insight into what happened. William was a stretcher bearer one said "He was wounded in the evening in the chest and abdomen by enemy shell fire and died shortly afterwards. The following morning his body was brought in to the Regimental Aid Post and buried near by. That was a sad morning for us who knew him well." Another said "Rfm Cunningham’s death came at the end of a rather “sticky” day, when we had been under a good deal of artillery and machine gun fire. The company captured the town it had been given as an objective, but while we were “mopping up” the Germans brought down a lot more mortar and shellfire right on to Coy Headquarters. We were crossing the Town Square at the time, with no cover available, and one shot landed alongside your son, wounding him very severely in the stomach. He was still conscious as we lifted him on to a stretcher, but the other Stretcher-bearers told me after, that he died very soon after they started carrying him back. He was buried by our Padre in a garden in that town, but his body will later be re-interned in a War Cemetery. All his personal belongings I put in a Bag and sent back through our headquarters, so I trust they will reach you eventually." The Rev. said "We had time the next morning before pushing on to bury him and mark the grave with a cross bearing his name, unit and number. His wounds, which I think were to his stomach, were very severe, and I am sure that he was killed instantaneously or almost"

    I assume it is normal for these letters to be sent to the family. Each letter describes William, giving an insight to his personality and how much he would be missed by the other men.
    GeorgyB and CL1 like this.
  10. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Yes, perfectly normal. Because he was a stretcher bearer he would have been very well known to the Padre - the name given to the priest who looked after the spiritual welfare of the battalion. The Padre spent a large amount of his time at the Regimental Aid Post working closely with the Capt Regimental Medical Officer.

    The Regimental Medical Officer looked at each casualty and decided if they could survive the trauma of being moved to the rear and then operated on. If he assessed that the trauma was too much, he would pass the soldier into the care of the Padre because that soldier would probably die in the RAP.

    The Lt Col would have been the Battalion’s Commanding Officer. He would have spent a lot of time writing such letters.

    An Infantry Battalion is a very close knit family and a good Commanding Officer would have known all his men. Indeed, he would have approved his promotion to Lance Corporal.


  11. janice Boakes

    janice Boakes Member

    Hi Frank, This is really helpful and fills in some information I was not aware of. William was Roman Catholic and appears to have had a strong religious conviction. Letters to his father talk about the need to say a special prayer each day. I assume that was why he was a stretcher bearer but if I ever get the correct service record I might find out more. Thank you for your help.

    Kind regards
    Osborne2 and 4jonboy like this.

Share This Page