A bit of help deciphering please!

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by paulrun26, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    So this is grandad's pay book, It's not in the best of condition (naturally), but it's scanned and...it's mine!

    I wouldn't mind just a little help if anyone can in working out some of the writing of the time. Also what some of the text might mean. So -
    1. Page 2 - Enlisted, Northampton For the Duration ?
    2. He signed at the foot of the page in 23/11/41, but joined up in 22/04/40 . I know he was training in 40/41. Is there anything significant with the date?
    3. Page 3 - distinctive marks - I don't understand any of that!
    4. Page 4 - I understand almost all of that.
    5. Page 9 - Specialist employment - 1/3/41 - Cook, I get that, but the next word, officer? , I kow he was a cokk and he alsways said he enjoyed making meals for the officers!.
    6. Page 7 - I sort of get, Free Warrants, Sick Leave but what was a Privaledge Warrant.
      1. I'm interested in the last date too, as I'm trying to work out when he left for North Africa, I'm assuming part of Operation Torch (at some point), so I'm sort of thinking he's still in this country 9/1/43.
    7. Page 8 - Medical classification any ideas, other than he was a blood donor.
    I had to snip pages as the book itself was too large a file to upload.

    Seemed like he was in this country for a long time prior to leaving for North Africa, almost 3 years in fact.

    I think that's it for now.

    If anyone gets the chance to fill some of the gaps that would be great.

    Attached Files:

  2. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    1. Is Duration, sometimes down as Duration of Present Emergency - basically until the War ends (in effect I believe it became War End plus 6 months)
    2. The later date will tie in with him getting a replacement book the one he got in 1940 must have been considered unusable by 1941 so he got a new one and dated it on the day he received and signed it
    3. is basically physical marks (moles/scars/tattoos etc) not sure the first line, is second "spot holes shoulder" so maybe scarring from spots or something, next line again I'm not sure - the next bit is age/service group, in this case 23C, when the War ended and men were being released it was done in a specific order based on age and other factors that I cant remember (I'm sure there are threads on the forum about age service group) so basically those most deserving got out first in theory - then its signed/dated by the officer who made the entry
    5. "officers mess" I think
    6. Its not privilege warrant but privilege leave - I think that's just the basic leave but someone else can confirm - the warrant relates to a rail warrant, so with warrant means you got given a ticket to go home or whatever, without warrant was basically time off but you had to sort out your own travel
    7. he was A1 so top category, first one was classified by RMO so Regimental Medical Officer, 2nd one relates to an ACI which is an Army Council Instruction but I don't know what this ACI is - as you say next bit is clear blood group and that he was a donor - the rest seems to be a basic issued glasses, vaccinated and inoculated

    Hope this helps a bit, if its not clear or you have any other questions about entries just ask, I collect paybooks so have seen loads of examples, I don't understand all the entries but can take a reasonable stab at most.

  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    With reference to 3

    The date of discharge could be subject to a number of factors and leave was one of these. Certain kinds of leave could affect ones date for discharge as in effect the time away from service got added back. For example agricultural leave when a man was allowed to return to help his family with the harvest meant he got discharged later. I don't know what the rules were in general but it seems that any kind of unpaid leave did this and so would be relevant in pay book entries
  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Royal Artillery attestation attached. If I were you I would send off for his official service records, only available from the MOD:
    Get a copy of military service records
    As far as the Africa Star is concerned, November 1943 was when he qualified, not when he went there, his records will make all clear.
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  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    His Africa Star is mentioned as having 1st Army clasp so -

    Africa Star - Wikipedia
    The 1st Army Clasp was awarded for service with the First Army between 8 November 1942 and 12 May 1943 inclusive. An Arabic numeral "1" is worn on the ribbon bar in undress to denote the award of this clasp

    First step must be sending off for his service records, forms as per link in post above

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  6. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    It would seem odd to effectively punish a man for agricultural leave, surely that was given for the benefit of the nation as part of the War effort. From checking I believe the following were considered as reducing length of qualifying service - leave without pay (maybe agricultural leave fell under this), absent without leave, time deserted, time in detention/imprisonment
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  7. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    I can find "harvest" in the index to my Army KR for 1935 at para 45, but not in my RAF or Navy editions ( under "leave", I don't have an RN index ).
    Para 45 comes under

    "1. Duties of Commanders

    General Officer Commanding-in-Chief.

    45. "He will use his discretion in allowing soldiers to be employed in harvest work, provided that the employment of the civil population is not thereby interfered with. Such permission will not be granted where strikes or disputes between farmers and their labourers exist."
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  8. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    Thanks for your efforts, makes sense - Paul
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  9. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    Thanks - I have his medals, and some evidence of his time there, he is in Tunis in May 43, but not much before that.
  10. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    Thanks - I have his medals; I have the Africa Star and the clasp, however, the clasp has been sewn on to the 1939-1945 Star and not the Africa Star
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hopefully you will correct that, take care with them, sometimes its better to find a company that deals with medals to sort it out, but thats only a suggestion on my part, would still suggest applying for his full service records as they should give you chapter and verse on which units he was in, when he was in them, and where he was

  12. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    There was some opposition from the War Office to the release of soldiers for agriculture - see for example Hansard Volume 377 c188, 20th January 1942 when the Minister refuses to extend the period allowed for agricultural leave. Soldiers taking agricultural leave lost army pay for the time spent. see Norman Wilson, Youlgrave Remembers, The Bugle, Alport, Middleton and Youlgrave newsletter, Special edition 2005. Page 12 for local soldiers accounts including the change in their demob group
  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I'm rushing out tomorrow to buy myself a copy - sounds a riveting read

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  14. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    It says ‘Cook (Offrs Mess)’ which in full is Officers’ Mess.

    Did I read that he served in 30 Field Regiment RA?


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  15. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    If I am right that he was in 30 Fd Regt RA then that would put him in Italy from Mar 44 to Sep/Oct 44 when the Regt went to Greece.

    30 Fd Regt RA were one of three Field Regiments who directly supported 4 Infantry Division - where the Division went, they went with them.

    That would place him at the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino where 4 Division were one of the two initial assaulting Divisions in the Liri Valley. It was a grim task.

    The Division then fought up Italy over the Summer before taking part in the assault on the massive Gothic Line near Rimini. They were under command 1 Canadian Corps for the last half of Sep 44 during that assault.


  16. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    Just re read your post - thankfully he kept his certified copy of attestation ,so I have that. Thanks
  17. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    Frank - thank you, I have most of that, but not 4th Battle of Cassino, nor you last paragraph, I'm grateful, for that info, I have some books that I'll refer to. He went on to serve in Greece for some time , then back to Italy before making his way home.
  18. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    He told me he cooked for officers - never really cooked much at home (not least when I was around), but I do have the handwritten notes from training, e.g cooking for 100 men etc.
  19. paulrun26

    paulrun26 Junior Member

    I’m leaving them the way they are, that’s how they came to me and that’s now part of their heritage. I’ve noted this in my research notes so that others will know. Thanks.
  20. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    " A bit of help" with links to the documents referred to by Robert at post 12 above. "Tom Birds" ( at page 12 ) of "Youlgrave Remembers" had to serve a further six months because he had received extra leave to help his incapacitated father on his farm, but thereby avoided a very unpleasant draft to Burma and a possible " POW of the Japanese" status.
    http://www.thebugle.org.uk/Back_Issues/Bugle WWII commem issue v3.pdf

    As for use of soldiers to help with the harvest as part of their ordinary duties my local War Advisory Committee was responsible for 72,000 acres in Essex ( bordering Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.) In 1941 it was minuted that 300 soldiers were available to help with the harvest and pay of 9d per day was to be paid to the army, not directly to the men. ( Possibly these were men of the 18th Division about to be transported to the Far East to help build a railway....) It is not minuted how many were used but the school holidays were adjusted for a late harvest, expiring on 22nd September. Apparently 80% of pupils at a local grammar school worked on the 1941 harvest. The dates of school holidays were adjusted every year to suit the likely time of harvest.

    For the Hansard proceedings see this link ( for "wore" read "work".)
    AGRICULTURAL WORE (LEAVE). (Hansard, 20 January 1942)
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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