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Lightsteve

Why are the officers service papers not digitised yet?

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westkent78

Anyone have a rough ballpark figure for digitizing a page? Are we talking pennies or pounds? 

 

I assume the indexing is where the big costs are, how much for a competent transcriber?

 

Is the cost of digitizing WO363 and WO364 publicly available?  If not, shouldn't it be given they're public records?

 

How about the War Diaries- how much would it take to digitize the remainder of the Diaries?

 

Is this something that could be crowdfunded or involve a sympathetic millionaire, such as Lord Ashcroft, to digitize in a non-commercial manner for the end users but sees TNA's cost recovery requirements met?

 

 

 

And now rant mode. ;)

 

Have there been actual complaints about the exposure of  'sensitive' information in the WO363 & WO364 files, or any of the other series released online, from the general public? 

 

It's the double standards that seem out of kilter in this situation. I've seen and downloaded plenty of Naval Officer files where the Officer in question is described in less than flattering terms by his superiors, or acquired an 'ailment'. Likewise with the Service Papers. We can read the Officers' files in all their glory in person! If the cat is out of the bag with regard to a certain proportion of the armed forces in WW1, then why shouldn't the rest be released?

 

Statute trumps precedent? Then we need to amend the Statute! :lol: I'll refrain from quoting Mr. Bumble with regard to this particular instance.

 

Data Protection with regard to long dead individuals seems to me to be a convenient screen to hide behind for agencies who don't want to release information, especially given what is readily accessible online for most of us alive today.

 

 

 

 

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David_Underdown

If individuals are known to be dead then data protection doesn't apply - the issue is typically the mention of other people in the files, such as children of the officers.  Yes I appreciate that that could also be said about other files, but again we are talking about a different era, even though it's not that long ago.  The danger of drawing too much attention to this apparent double standard is that files that are currently open end up having to be closed.

 

The digitisation of WO 363 and 364 is not directly comparable as it was first microfilmed (I think there might have been some lottery funding at that stage), and then digitised from that - which is a lot cheaper.  A lot of cost is also in the conservation work required to make material fit for imaging.

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voltaire60
16 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

Interesting. There are medical records of two female SOE agents available at TNA. These are not WW2 either but post-war, not that they reveal anything.

 

TR

 

 

 

 

     Items will always slip through-  I found the 1910-1911 offer to the Argentine of giving it  South Georgia  in exchange for relinquishing claims against the Falklands most interesting-Found at a time when all Falklands stuff had been "repoed" by FCO during the Falklands War.  Stuff does wander and often it is the odd survivals that show what has been destroyed or withheld.

   As  Jane says- there appears to be little holding back of drivel.

But,again, an odd chance disclosure does not set a general principle that all must be disclosed. Given the vast extent of TNA, some items will always turn up in odd places.  Personally, I am unhappy that WW2 records  are on long closure. Given the advances in digitisation and the records available-or potentially available- then I would have expected some reversal of the closure- open NOW unless a living survivor  objects to his/her records being opened. Given the interest in family history and the chances of doing something worthwhile while veterans were still alive, the closure of service records  just seems bloody-minded-Keep 'em until the users can't ask the subject what's what 'cos they have snuffed it.

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

Voltaire

 

I am quite sure the medical records I mentioned did not "slip through." With regard to FCO records , there are records available showing the Admiralty was happy to swap Gibraltar for Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, because they regarded the harbour as being much better, this despite the British Government having spent some 9 million pounds creating a new harbour in Gib. That didn't just slip through either and has connotation with the situation there today.    

 

With regard to the situation regarding relatives, the children of WW1 service personnel will all be gone within a decade. Most are now in their late eighties, indeed, well into their nineties so a refusal to digitise these records on these grounds really doesn't add up, particularly in mind bearing soldiers records have been which I commented on originally.

 

TR

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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Perth Digger

The value of officers' files depends on what you're interested in. In my case, it's officers who were declared missing and especially those who had to be officially declared presumed dead. Except in a very few cases where family papers still remain (and have either been used in print or are open to inspection), the only way to discover how a) the process worked in practice and b) the families responded is to read the files. The fact of presumption of death can be found in the Effects files now on Ancestry and it is possible to glean some information from newspapers, but officers' files usually include the Memo strings between MS 3 Cas (officer casualty dept) and MS 2 Cas (the main casualty dept), as well as correspondence to and from families. I have a number of "articles" on my website (below) which show how valuable the officer files can be (in this instance at least).

 

Many of the files also have enlistment files etc that give much information on officers' families, schools etc.

 

I would agree, however, that many files are filled with hospital reports and, of course, much detail on financial accounts that might interest only a few people, making digitalisation problematic. Incidentally, the TF files are smaller and have less interesting information (for me).

 

Mike

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David_Underdown
On 29/06/2019 at 10:29, voltaire60 said:

Personally, I am unhappy that WW2 records  are on long closure. Given the advances in digitisation and the records available-or potentially available- then I would have expected some reversal of the closure- open NOW unless a living survivor  objects to his/her records being opened. Given the interest in family history and the chances of doing something worthwhile while veterans were still alive, the closure of service records  just seems bloody-minded-Keep 'em until the users can't ask the subject what's what 'cos they have snuffed it.

There are two aspects to later records, they are currently still retained by MoD, even had they been transferred to TNA then we would be bound by data protection and cannot open records unless the record subject is known to be deceased or would be over 100 - that is the point at which we are currently allowed to assume that the record subject is deceased without requiring  direct evidence (and if anything that age is likely to increase as life expectancy changes - and if someone is living over 100 then they can still request takedown).  A living data subject can of course always request their own file, or at least agree to allow a representative to request it on their behalf.

 

A lot of this is about risk management, with the volume of records involved it's impossible to check every one individually, but it can be possibe to cross-check records against other sources.  This has been done extensively in the 1939 Registers (and the pilot Home Guard transfer) to open as much as legally can be (and of course there remains some risk that an incorrect match has been made).

 

With all of this there is rarely a single factor that decides for or against digitisation, it's all about balancing cost, data protection and so on.

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voltaire60

No complaints from what you say David-well aware of the DP restrictions-but about time a chunk if the WW2 stuff was legislated for being on shorter closure and earlier transfer to you..

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