View Full Version : Service records for WWII army personnel
16-08-2006, 7:20 PM
I am trying to trace my Grandfather who fought in the army in the 2nd World War. I have his service number, surname and initials, and I also know that he was in the 1st Battalion Kensington Regiment that fought in Sicily.
Do you know if I would be able to get copies of his service record, and if so how do I go about doing this? I have seen on some websites that you need the next of kin permission and a copy of the death certificate to get army service records... is this true??
If anyone can help me with this I will be extremely grateful.
Many thanks in advance.
16-08-2006, 7:53 PM
These are the people you need to contact:
Army Personnel Centre
Mail Point 400
65 Brown Street
Tel: 0845 600 9663, option 1, then option 3
17-08-2006, 4:38 PM
Thanks for your advice.
I rang the Army Personnel Centre today, about my grandfathers war records, and they are sending me the request forms in the post :-)
19-08-2006, 10:41 PM
I have today received the forms to be filled in to obtain the service records of my grandfather.
One of the forms requires the permission of the next of kin - however I don't know who that is. My father was adopted during the war and has since passed away and its been left to me to carry on the search for his father. It may be that my father was the only child of my grandfather and hence I would be next of kin..... but there may be other out there that I don't know about :-/
The other thing is that they require a copy of my grandfathers death certificate, but as I only know his surname intials, nickname and service number and regiment, I can't trace any certificates at all. I dont know where he was born or his date of birth.
Does anyone know if its worth me still applying for the records?? Has anyone else tried when they have limited info..... or have had problems with the next of kin issue???
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated, before I send the forms and the £30 to the Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow.
Thanks in advance.
20-08-2006, 12:51 PM
I would be inclined to pursue basic information about your grandfather first. On your dad's marriage certificate, who is shown as his father? Is it the chap who adopted him?
To narrow down some options for you - Do you know when your grandfather died? - or can you narrow it down to a period of a few years? Did he survive WW2? Was he a PoW? If he survived WW2, do you know where he lived?
20-08-2006, 2:28 PM
My Dad didn't try to trace his birth parents until 1984 which is when he requested a copy of his birth certificate which showed his birth mother but didn't mention a father. His birth mother died in 1982 so he was too late to gain any info from her re his father, and so he came to stop with his investigation.
My Dad died in 1990 and its only recently that I thought I must carry on his quest in tracing his birth parents. Through genes reunited I traced his birth mothers extended family, and amazingly they had been waiting for my father to contact them for years, as they were in the possession of letters and photos regarding my Dad's adoption. Included in these letters was one from a "Danky" Morton (his father. my grandfather) explaining why he couldn't play a part in the babies life, and from this letter I have obtained his service number etc. No-one knows his real first name (initals C H) or where they met or where he was from. I thought by obtaining his service records I would then know his first name and date of birth so that I could then trace other records such as his birth / death / marriage certificates, and hence find out if I have any other relatives out there.
I know that Private C.H Morton was injured in Sicily and was taken to the Mount Vernon Hospital in Middlesex - which is where he wrote the letter to my grandmother from. I understand he was injured quiet badly - I don't know if he ultimately survived. He asked my grandmother to write back to him but I don't know if she ever did :-(
Anyway, this is the brief story and if you know of any other way (given the the info I have got so far) of tracing his date of birth etc, then I could be grateful to know.
29-09-2006, 2:18 PM
In case this helps others trying to access family World War II records..... As previously mentioned I contacted the Army Centre in Glasgow and they sent me the forms to fill in to request my grandfathers war records, however the forms require the next of kin agreement and a copy of my grandfathers death certificate.
I wrote to them to explain the situation, that I was unsure if I was the next kin (due to the adoption issue) and also that I didn't have a copy of the death certificate. They advised that they could take it in trust of my word that I was the next of kin (if I said I was), however without a copy of the death certificate they must take it that my grandfather is still alive, and on that basis they would not release the information that I require.
I have now gone down another route to try and trace his dob / death, by contacting the hospital that he was at during the war..... as yet I have had no reply, but fingers crossed :-)
28-10-2006, 11:37 AM
If anyone else is trying to do something similar to me then this may be of interest.
I have still not had a reply from the hospital archives department for the hospital that my grandfather was taken to during the war (I had the idea of contacting the hospital archives through research on the National Archives website, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/hospitalrecords/ ). However, as I sent a sae I'm hoping that no news means that they are looking, and that I might get a reply in the near future.
Someone else suggested that I contact the Salvation Army to see if they could help. I wrote to them and received a reply but they are not able to help. They said that they may only trace living relatives and require (or have the means of obtaining) the persons full present name, together with the exact birthdate and a last address. Hence my request doesn't fall within their 'family tracing' criteria.
If only there was somewhere that I could give my grandfathers service number and regiment and someone could tell me who he was. I found one website that you could put in the service number (www.familyrelatives.org) but I think this is just for servicemen that died during the war - my grandfather wasn't listed.
I will carry on with my quest.
29-10-2006, 8:38 PM
As the 1st Kensington were a TA Unit your Grandfather could have lived in Kensington or Hammersmith, as a very long shot he could also have been born there. Have you tried looking at the births in that part of London from 1924 and working back, with both his initails you could strike lucky.
In case you don't already know this is there war service.
During the Second World War, the Kensingtons became the first TA unit to guard the Tower, including the ceremony of the Keys. It also changed its role from Infantry to Heavy Support equipped with Mortars, Medium Machine Guns and Oerlikon Anti Aircraft Guns. The 1st Kensingtons served with the British Expeditionary Force in France, and later deployed to North Africa to be part of 1st Army to prepare for the Sicilian Campaign.
30-10-2006, 4:14 PM
Relatives have now told me that they remember my Nan (who adopted my Dad) saying that my Dad's father was in the army and that he was American!!
Would an American guy have been in the 1st Kensingtons over here?
Were soldiers in this regiment over a certain age.... ??? (I'm trying to work out how old he might've been, as my grandmother was 38 years old at the time).
If he is American, any ideas where I can start searching??
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou
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