Help deciphering service record page pls....

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by wibs12, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Can anyone help transcribe the attached page from my dad's uncles service record. There's 31 pages of info arrived today from the MOD (like a kid in a sweet shop!) and whilst there's lot's I've been able to decipher, there's a good chunk of this particular page I don't understand.

    • All of the 'Units;'.... 3 WD ITC?, posted to HE?, H Bn?, T Bn?
    • Place of casualty..... W.A.?, can't read next two before London?
    • What does 'relegated indefinitely mean (it mentions merchant navy, I know he served in MN in the 1920's and had continuous service via other army regiments from 1929 to 1940)
    • Discharged due to 'his service no longer required, something to do with overseas'.... he emigrated to NZ in the late '40s so is this likely something to do with that.
    • Does it mean he left the army in 1943 or 1950?

    Lots of questions I know, but any and all help as usual appreciated. I'll post more on his records morrow, it's an interesting collection of service!


    Attached Files:

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  2. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Just realised should have put this in the service record thread but unsure how to move - admin help pls?
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I'm just about to log off, but to get you started:

    3 WD is a badly written 3 WA:

    3rd West African Brigade, Royal West African Frontier Force Infantry Training Camp.

    I am open to correction, but I think the 3rd West African Brigade was made up of three Nigerian battalions, for whom this man, a company sergeant-major, would presumably be training men.

    W.A. is West Africa (these locations are not actually for 'casualties' despite the name of the columns, they are better thought of as 'events' in his service), the next entry, incidentally, is Sierra Leone (not two separate locations).

    Do we have a date of birth for this man? I wonder if he was sent back to Britain (H.E.: home establishment--first to a Home (or Holding--see Tullybrone's post) Battalion, then to a Training Battalion) because he was too old and then refused permission to serve overseas. The text when he left the 3WA ITC on 16/7/43, by the way, says 'struck of strength', which means removed from the list of soldiers under their control.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Wikipedia says it was the 7th, 9th & 12th Battalions of the Nigerian Regiment.

    The 3rd (West African) Brigade was part of the 81st (West African) Division, which fought in Burma.
  5. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Thanks re the whole WA thing........... William was born 3rd January 1907 in Amballah, India so in 1943 would have been 36 years old.
  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    His “home” Regiment was Coldstream Guards and he appears to have been seconded/ERE (Extra Regimental Employment) to the West Africa Infantry Training Centre (Royal West Africa Field Force) per the first line entry which refers to a period of leave in UK in October 1942.

    He returns to Coldstream Guards Home Establishment (He) from Sierra Leone in January 1943 (I think it is 1/43 rather than 7/43) and is posted to the Coldstream Guards Holding Battalion (at Regents Park Barracks) as CSM.

    He reverts to the rank of Guardsman at his own request in June 1943 and posted to the Training Battalion (at Pirbright).

    He is temporarily discharged to the reserve as an essential “worker” in the Merchant Navy in August 1943 under Army Council Regulations.

    The final entry concerns his final discharge in 1950. He would’ve likely gone onto Class Z Royal Army Reserve on his post war demobilisation and would’ve been obliged to inform his parent Regiment of his intention to emigrate with the consequence he would be “struck off”.



    It wasn't unusual for Brigade of Guards RSM & CSM to be attached to WAFF for training purposes.

    The Coldstream Official History mentions various men including -

    A. S. Edwards RSM Gambia Regt.

    M. G. Evans RSM 5 Bn Nigeria Regt.

    F. G. C. Fishlock RSM 4 Bn Nigeria Regt

    Unfortunately it does not list CSM by name.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've been trying to make out the first location, the one that has been struck through and replaced with W.A.


    I was struck with the first idea that it said Ascension, but that would be... odd.
  8. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Hi Steve,

    are the chaps above mentioned in The Coldstream Guards 1920-1946 by Michael Howard and John Sparrow? If so, which page is it on? I was the under the opinion that the above book that i mention was the only (Official History) on the guards.

    Here are the pages of the Holding Battalion.. Its quite interesting to read page 17: (Rudolf Hess.)


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  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Full WW2 CG History searchable/downloadable online (as Steve as posted many times before):
    The Coldstream Guards, 1920-1946, by Michael Howard and John Sparrow.
    Handy especially for those who just want to check content.

    (For the record, each of the Guards Regiments does have an official WW2 History.)
    wibs12 likes this.
  10. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Thank-you for providing the link. I'm sure that all forum members will find it handy.

    I'm aware that each of the Guards Regiments did have an official WW2 History. I've worked with Steve off the board & he has done more than his bit to help me out. I do have to doff my cap to the person who has copied your link. Not a easy thing to do when it comes to scanning pages, or using ones phone.

    (For the record, each of the original Guards Regiments official histories are not cheap!) Even more so of a rather rare copy of the Scots Guards 1919-1955 by ERSKINE.

    I only questioned the Official History. I think Steve has nailed it regards his post #6.

  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Your first comment was confusing then, but it seems you are aware now.

    Seeing that not everyone wants, or can afford, first editions:
    N&MP reprints - £10 - 30 depending on offers

    GRENADIER GUARDS IN THE WAR OF 1939-1945 - Naval & Military Press
    SCOTS GUARDS 1919-1955 - Naval & Military Press
    WELSH GUARDS AT WAR - Naval & Military Press

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  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Might be helpful if the page previous to this was also posted
    Screenshot 2019-08-10 at 01.13.11.png
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  13. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Good suggestion re previous page......... have posted below......... gives some additional info leading up to the next page, but I still can't nail the lovcation. Can see he was posted to SL Reg't (Sierra Leonne?) and arrived Port Loko.

    Does it help anyone else identify the location on 31.10.42....... and what is the line at 25.11.41..... Posted (xxxxxx ? Sierra Leonne Regt).

    Attached Files:

  14. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Entry at 31/10/42 that has been deleted is A.P.O.S101 which appears elsewhere but I do not know what it means.
    Entry at 25/11/41 is Posted (I.T.C. Sierra Leone).

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  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I’d hazard a guess that A P O S 101 is shorthand for Army Post Office “Station?” 101. Any mail would be addressed to him there. No need to list a physical location of a camp.

  16. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Good guess. If you're right I rather think the 'S' would stand for 'Section' as that is used a lot within the Army PO system.

  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    History of the British Army postal service - Wikipedia
    The importance of this address style was that it meant letters so addressed were circulated under APS control thus providing a simple but effective weapon in the Staff's deception arsenal. The GPO circulated "APO England" mail to the HPC RE, where it was sorted and forwarded under military control to the correct destination thereby providing the necessary security to mask troop movements and locations. During the buildup to the invasion planners ordered that UK units adopt this address style.

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  18. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Cracking help as always............. think the location may remain unknown but you've given me plenty to go on to learn more about RWAFF for now, so thanks.

    Hope you don't mind but I want to tag two final questions before I leave it alone rather than start a new thread ....... I've copied another few lines of his service record below........ looking for information / suggestions on the following two comments please:

    1. May '43... comments re him being "medically boarded at Regents Park Barracks, placed in category C (indoor/outdoor for 3 months)...... there's no record of him ever being a casualty..... any ideas on what the category C is or where to search for further info?

    2. June '43 comments re ".... reverts to the ranks at his own request"..... any suggestions as to why he'd request this? Seems a strange one to me; he had a 21 year continuous service record from the age of 16 years through to 1943 covering the merchant navy, RNR, RA, East Lans Regt and finally ending up as a CSM in the Coldstream Guards, so really at a loss as to why he'd want to lose the WO2 rank and return to being
    a Guardsman voluntarily.

    That's it, no more questions from me for now - promise!


  19. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Medical Category C = fit for Home Service only.

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  20. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    I always find that it’s always more difficult to interpret extracts of records rather than having sight of all documents but here goes....

    Medical questions are impossible to answer definitively as MOD don’t release medical information with the files.

    Re your Point 1 -

    Men didn’t need to have been a casualty to have an army medical.

    Class C medical category men were fit for home service only.

    From an RAMC site -


    Cl Able to march 5 miles, see to shoot with glasses, and hear well
    C2 Able to walk 5 miles, see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes
    C3 Only suitable for sedentary work

    I would therefore interpret the entry on his papers that he was fit for all sub categories of Category C.

    Re your Point 2 -

    Impossible to offer a definitive answer.

    After his medical downgrade he might’ve been put in a role that he wasn’t happy with and perhaps there wasn’t another suitable “senior” NCO role to redeploy him to. I think a factor might have been that his “speedy” promotion to CSM had been made while he had been in West Africa seconded away from Coldstream Guards.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
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