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Explanation of abbreviations in WO 338


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I'm trying to track down my grandfather's (William Lord) WWI service records. I've found a couple of William Lord's in the pdf of WO 338 I downloaded but I can't make enough sense of the comments to know if the first one in particular might be the right man. In the column where they appear to list the unit details etc it looks like it says SP 7 A and then SR. I presume SR is special reserve? If so, I know he was in the TA for a time before the war, although he resigned in 1912. Would he have been called up in the special reserve? And can anyone make any sense of the other abbreviations for me?

Secondly, the only other possibility is the last WM Lord and the long number is given as LO/184 but I can't find him in the lists of service papers held. Does that mean they're lost?

Many thanks for any help anyone can give me


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LO/ is the first two letters of his surname - this usually means his records are not in the numbered WO339 section but in the alphabetic WO374 section which often contains the records of Territorial officers.

The other one - with "Long number" 178082 says R.F.A. S.R. = Royal Field Artillery Special Reserve.

This record equates to:

Piece reference WO 339/92198


Scope and content LORD W

Covering dates [1914-1922]

Held by The National Archives, Kew

Former reference (Department) 178082

Legal status Public Record(s)


Don't forget that WO338 and WO374 are officers records and that the surviving records for non-officers are in WO363 and WO364.


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Thanks for that Steve - do you happen to know why someone would end up in the Special Reserve? He was in the army from very early in the war but commissioned in August 1917 so I'm presuming his records were moved and put with the officers after that.

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The pre-commissioning records of an officer are usually appended to the officers file - in fact these tend to be more complete than the officers section in many cases.

This is his commissioning in the London Gazette if you don't have it:

War Office,

19th September, 1917.


The undermentioned, from Officer Cadet Units, to be 2nd Lts.: —


28th Aug. 1917.

William Lord.


Assuming he is the William Lord who served in France from 16-4-1915 with the Army Service Corps with No. M2/076174, then his number prefix suggests that he was in the Motor Transport section of the Army Service Corps.

The "Emblems" reference suggests that he was mentioned in despatches at least once.

One MID is here:

Lord, No. M2/076174 Company Quartermaster-Serjeant W.



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Thank you so much for this Steve - I hadn't managed to track down the record of his commissioning in the London Gazette so that's great! It's the right man you've found and I might just take a punt on the first record I found in WO338 being the right one as the, admittedly limited, details do seem to match up. Thanks again for your help


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