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Understanding service records

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Understanding service records

Postby Whiteblade » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:59 pm

I have downloaded a service record for my great grandfather Charles Smart, North Staffs Regt, army no: 4002. Most of it I understand, but under "correspondance etc after discharge" there are several abbreviations used that baffle me. For example, letters are given reference numbers, such as K46504. Are the full letters available anywhere like TNA?
There are other things such as "DD to OC" and what I presume are standard letters to the man with codes like A36, A44 etc.

Can anyone help?
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Re: Understanding service records

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:23 pm


To be honest, most of that is way above my head, so I suspect only somewhere like the Victorian Wars Forum might, just vaguely, possibly might, contain someone who can elucidate a bit more. At the very least, they might understand the issues that the regimental office were trying to follow up.

I suspect that you are right - A36, A44, etc, do sound like standard form letters, when written out in that context, so well done for thinking that. (Although I'm not promising that you're right!) The exact contents of those letters would only, I suspect, have been recorded in the chap's personnel file - and what remains of that, we see here. I don't think that there will be any other source of those letters as written - the problem is that, while the War Office instructed what should be kept (thanks guys!), it also allowed the "weeding" of what was not to be kept. I have compared one or two of the Canadian Expeditionary Force service records with ours, and can only conclude that the Canadians couldn't be bothered to scrap unwanted stuff because the stuff that's left in those I looked at, makes me weep when compared to the typical UK records.... :cry:

Beyond being fairly certain that OC will be Officer Commanding, I can't help. Don't even know what DD might mean.... When it appears, it seems to be in conjunction with a (presumed) form, as if A50/5 & DD meant an A50/5 with extra details on the DD page???? This is a guess. I would speculate that A50/5 means the 5th update to the standard A50 form. I have a vague idea that's how the form references printed on the form were recorded.
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Re: Understanding service records

Postby Amazinggrace » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:25 pm

When I obtained my late faythers service record some time ago,there were a lot of
codes in it which were impossible to work out.Someone gave me a website that listed all the Army
abbreviations. Took some ploughing through but got there in the end. I cannot remember now which website, but I'm sure someone more knowlegeable will come back with the answer.
Good Luck
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Re: Understanding service records

Postby MaureenE » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:06 am

A Great War Forum topic "List of Army Forms" ... nt-1979340 lists the forms as follows

A General
Army Form A 36 Hospitals, Nominal Roll of Admissions and Discharges
A44 not listed initially, but the forms around it related to the Proceedings of a Medical Board. Perhaps may be mentioned later in the topic

There is a cross reference to another topic
army form scans was A R M Y F O R M database. ... -database/

Regarding the link mentioned by Grace, there are two links for help in interpreting the records on the FIBIS Fibiwiki page British Army, section Army personnel serving after January 1921. However, these may not be relevant for earlier periods. ... nuary_1921

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Re: Understanding service records

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:15 am

Thank you Maureen. I have saved that link to the List of Army Forms - nothing is too obscure for the GWF!

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