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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

How were service records originally filed?


annswabey

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I am not sure there is a definitive answer. For the RGA I would say by number, but for one infantry regiment I was trying to research I would say by name.

Kevin

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I cannot give a definitive answer either, but as they were microfilmed in alphabetical order, I think it most unlikely that Hayes (or the firm doing the filming) did a massive re-sort before filming them! The filmed records were also released in alphabetical blocks.

Also, if they were required for reference purposes, alphabetical seems far more likely. After all, you might not know your grandfather's service number, or even his regiment, but you would certainly know his name. Also, service numbers were not unique before the 1920s and each regiment had its own series.

Ron

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I am not sure there is a definitive answer.

I presume there is a definitive answer that'll be known to the NA from the original microfilming exercise.

Responses on a recent thread of mine about missings suggest that the files were probably filed by firstly in battalion order (which is why I and another member are getting no hits - the whole having gone up in smoke in the 40s) and then, within that, alpha or numerical. Alpha would be the most usual in a government filing system, IMO.

John

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I suppose it may depend on what you mean by "originally filed".

I may be under the misapprehension that they would have been held by the original regiments record office, before being sent to the central warehouse where they were bombed. If each regiment had their own record offfice then I have presumed they knew their own numbering system.

I cannot explain why whole groups of gunners records are not available in some numbers, but are in others, other than by number. You may like to see how many records you get for say SNs 90960 to 90970 in the RGA, and I can give you others, which belies the 30/40% chance of survival.

Were the authorities that concerned about people trying to locate their grandfathers records in the 1920s,30s or 40s?

If each regiment originally held their own records, how were they sorted when they were brought together?

Kevin

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I didn't think that each regiment held their own records and they were all then brought together. I thought they were all held together from the start, but I might be wrong. I've looked for so many at Kew and haven't found any sort of pattern of survival.

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I didn't think that each regiment held their own records and they were all then brought together. I thought they were all held together from the start, but I might be wrong. I've looked for so many at Kew and haven't found any sort of pattern of survival.

As far as the infantry were concerned, the Foot Guards held (and still hold) their own records, but the records of "line" and Rifle regiments were held by District Record Offices, in geographical groups.

The records which were lost in 1940 in the Arnside Street fire had already been transferred to the War Office, and the surviving records then went to Hayes, where they remained after "release" to the PRO.

Ron

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I've come across the odd page (via ancestry) of a soldier's file in the soldier's file with the next service number.

Only put two and two together, because both were 4th Lincs, and I had just finished looking at the other lad's. Thought I'd screwed something up, and rechecked.

Jim

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  • 1 month later...
As far as the infantry were concerned, the Foot Guards held (and still hold) their own records, but the records of "line" and Rifle regiments were held by District Record Offices, in geographical groups.

The records which were lost in 1940 in the Arnside Street fire had already been transferred to the War Office, and the surviving records then went to Hayes, where they remained after "release" to the PRO.

Ron

I do have a copy of a letter from "The War office,Records Section,Arnside Street,Walworth,S.E.17",dated 10th January 1939,quoting their ref.no.as "MGC/101977/174(?) to a greatuncle,a former Lance Corporal in the Cavalry Machine Gun Corps(previously Hampshire Yeomanry),giving his date of enlistment and discharge,character,medals,and age on enlistment.His service no.was 101977.

Sadly,I have not fouond his records,except for medal card and roll,so assume they were lost in the bombing,two years later,and because I don't know which CMGC squadron,cannot get further!.

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