Friday, August 17, 2007

Naval service records

Has anyone looking sent for RN service records, I am interested in knowing how long they are taking just now . I seem to have been waiting forever.


Blogger Nick Clark said...

Yes some years a go now I sent for my late fathers RN Service Record but it took many months to arrive. When it eventually did, it was very basic containing date he joined up and location of demob, service number, previous occupation, and a list of Naval Pay bases with dates. So as in so many cases, if the original service record has been lost, that’s all you’ll get. However, if the man you are researching was an officer then you’ll probably get a little more.
All I had in the way of a war-time record on my father was a book called 'The Lilliput Fleet' in which he had underlined some of the ships he was at sea with, plus a list of vessels he once wrote down for me in which he served. Anything else came from remembering little details in the many stories he told me about his Naval service.

To find out more on his service, I first began to gather war-time movement records for all his ships from the RN Historical Branch (now located at Portsmouth). Once I had these, I cross-referenced the dates with those that corresponded on the list of the RN pay bases. After this I could pretty much tell where he would have been during the months of the war. Needless to say, I had to also rely on what I could remember from his stories about starting out on the Icelandic patrols, heading down to Gibraltar and finally convoy duty around the west coast of Africa.

Would be interested to hear more on your own research



Friday, 17 August, 2007  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Don't know about the Navy but the Air Force is just as bad as the Army for taking their time - the gestation period for an Elephant is slightly longer at 22 months

My wife sent for her WAAF records many years ago - which took months - for one sheet and they claimed that her records had been lost in a fire - amazing the amount of fires which occur at Record Offices.

All she wanted to confirm was the start of the building for Heathrow as she was stationed in Colnbrook and saw them start the initial digging.

Friday, 17 August, 2007  
Blogger Boabbie said...

Hi Nick if you look for uncle Jimmy in this blog you'll see who I'm looking for. I know the two ships he served most time on and with his photo album I have followed him in the med over to the states for repairs and to south Africa on convoy duty i'm just trying to fill in the spaces.

Tom I must have been very fortunate
that I started sending for army records before the big rush started.I have had three sets and none of them took more than six weeks. The only thing is the Yanks are much much better. My wifes brother was in the usaaf when he died I sent off for his records having got the forms by email and I had them in three weeks and totally free and a very comprehensive set of records.

Saturday, 18 August, 2007  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Boabbie -
The one thing in which the Americans excel is in their records keeping and statistical analysis and in this they are exceptional.

In their sports programmes they can fill you in completely even to the point of how often their favourite baseball player has been to the bathroom !

David Beckham will now come under the same scrutiny i.e - 65 mins playing time - 1 yellow card - 1 goal
Churchill would invariably go berserk when it was pointed out to him that of all the 160,000 men in 8th Army at the time of Alamein - only 100,000 were available for fighting... he would have gone purple if he had seen the office personnel and equipment of the American units !
whereas our squadron clerk had a scratchy old pen and ink

You were lucky to beat the crowd for records !

Saturday, 18 August, 2007  
Blogger Peter G said...


You mentioned the start of Heathrow. You may find this (history of Heathrow) of interest.

Saturday, 18 August, 2007  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Peter - Interesting history of Heathrow as it was in 1944 that Veronica was transferred from Sheffield to Colnbrook to take over the Office of the "Dead and Missing Airmen Effects"

All personal effects of these airmen were sent to that office for sorting out the obvious, and sent back to the families.

It was there that a WAAF handed her the details of an airman who had her surname - it was her brother Leo !

Saturday, 18 August, 2007  

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