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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Public Record Office Problems


Simon Birch

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Afternoon All,

I used to think if you ordered quotes from the PRO for soldiers papers they were pretty good, however they appear to have recently changed their proceedures and now only say they will search for 20 minutes. If it goes any longer then you either have to go personally or pay for someone to go for you. I live in Wales so it is not the easiest of things to pop round and see. The last four quotes I have asked for have been refused - I am also sure that one of the is only about 40 pages long.

Is it only me having this problem or is any one else enduring this decline in service?

Simon

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Welcome to the world of public expenditure cuts, I'm afraid.

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Simon, you did know that the WO364 papers are now online and that A-N of WO363 are too? I presume you are looking for other surnames? Or is it officers you are after?

By the way, "only" 40 pages would make for an exceptionally large other ranks service file. I'm not totally surprised, given their other pressures, that they would not quote for obtaining it. Even copying 40 pages takes a certain amount of time even if you don't have to go looking for it.

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Chaps,

The papers I am currently after relate to 65 Squadron for the month of August 1918 - at roughly a page a day. I cannot send them any money unless I know how much to send them - and they will not tell me that. Maybe I am old fashioned but my view is that the tax payer is paying your wages then you should be doing what the tax payer wants. In view of the fact they are civil servants then a little more service would go a long way.

Any comments?

Simon

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>><<Maybe I am old fashioned but my view is that the tax payer is paying your wages then you should be doing what the tax payer wants.>><<

Any comments?

>><<

"What the tax payer wants" is unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) not what any specific tax payer wants, but what "the typical tax payer wants". I suspect that we can find some tax payers who think that the National Archives is a waste of resources and therefore should be closed down and the money used to do something more "useful". Other tax payers want free beer (or worse?) on the NHS!

If I want something specific from the authorities (planning permission, collection of an old sofa, a new passport, etc.) it is arguable that I should pay. How far one extends this argument (paying for admission to TNA?!, seeing my GP etc.), is debatable. Clearly there has to be a line drawn somewhere.

I think TNA has changed its policy on quoting for copying recently. It does seem to say that you need to know what you are after before you can ask for it - which does seem a bit of a contradiction to me. Perhaps there should be a charge for giving a quote? I think this may be achieved by an FOI request.

HTH

David

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