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Finding records of WWII service men.

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Jon - Laser Engines16/08/2018 22:29:22
4443 forum posts
164 photos

My brother has asked me to help him and his girlfriend track down details of her grandfathers service life.

We know he flew RAF B24's in the Burma campaign of WWII and know he earned either a DSO or DFC (perhaps both). We were trying to find out the circumstances of the awards and more about his service life in general.

If anyone has any ideas where we can find this sort of information we would be most appreciative. We will be talking to the RAF museum but if there are other avenues to explore then it would be interesting to know.

Mike Etheridge 116/08/2018 23:00:58
1478 forum posts
407 photos

I just typed in the name of my brother-in-law's pilot (Alan Etheridge) and found out he was awarded the DSO for service in 217 squadron in Beauforts for an attack on the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau. My brother-in-law served as a navigator.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy: — On the afternoon of.the I2th February, 1942, a force of Beaufort and Hudson aircraft carried out an attack on an enemy naval r force, including the . Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau, off the Dutch coast. In the face • of harassing fire from screening destroyers, the attack was pressed home with the utmost determination at very close range. Although it has not been possible to assess the damage inflicted, owing" to the extremely poor visibility, it is believed that several hits were obtained. The operation which demanded a high degree of skill and courage, reflects the greatest credit upon the following officers and •airmen who participated: — Distinguished Service Order. 


Edited By Mike Etheridge 1 on 16/08/2018 23:02:57

John Tee16/08/2018 23:08:43
720 forum posts
65 photos

My wife who does our family trees says type in forces war records into your search engine..


Jon - Laser Engines16/08/2018 23:15:48
4443 forum posts
164 photos

Thanks guys

Mike, we tried that option but unfortunately there is no description of what he did. We know he got it, we just aren't sure why

John, thanks for the tip. I tried the site but they want to mug me 50 quid to view the records. Seems a bit much when they promised a free account!

Mike Etheridge 116/08/2018 23:35:58
1478 forum posts
407 photos

I have found out more on the internet as a result of the 217 commander Roy Conyers Nesbit's books written after the war. I know he contacted my brother-in-law for information included in one or more of the books, and there seems to be more details on the internet I have not seen before.

Kevin 21617/08/2018 06:51:43
190 forum posts

WW2 Service records are held by the MoD it is possible to obtain information or copies of you Grandfather's personal file :

Jon - Laser Engines17/08/2018 08:53:48
4443 forum posts
164 photos

Thanks Kevin, another option to try out

Mike Blandford17/08/2018 12:39:19
477 forum posts
20 photos

Definitely look into getting his service record. My wife got those of both her parents and I got my fathers record. It will probably cost £30.

They can make interesting reading, although sometimes the writing is difficult to read and you need to look up acronyms!


John Stainforth17/08/2018 17:11:52
283 forum posts
38 photos

The National Archives at Kew is the place to go. One can search on line, but in the past one could actually visit Kew and search through the old records. The last time I did that was about 15 years ago, so I don't know whether that is still possible. Anyway, when I went I found the records I wanted. All the military records that exist are there. I think it is probably true to say that if they are not there they don't exist or have been lost.

Jon - Laser Engines17/08/2018 21:51:56
4443 forum posts
164 photos

Kew is dead easy for me to get too so that's another one on the list for sure

Kevin 21618/08/2018 07:00:07
190 forum posts

Jon - As part of a school heritage project I have visited the National Archives a number of times to obtain copies of WW1 Officers Service they are all hard copy and have not been digitized.

One of the officers who served in WW1 also served in WW2.Kew does not have a copy of his papers as they have not been released by the MoD. I have looked at the National Archives website recently and it states that all WW2 servicemens records are held by the MoD..

the NA do have some WW2 of a more general types of records,, for example 'War Diaries'/

There is an outside chance that the RAF Museum may be able to help as they hold some individuals log books and aircraft records..

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