Abbreviations in Service Records (UK/ Army/ WWII) : For ref.

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Philip of Lee, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. Philip of Lee

    Philip of Lee Active Member

    I have compiled a list of abbreviations found in my father's Service Record (he was in the Intelligence Corps, in the British Army, during WWII); I have been through the whole lot by now, having started in late 2013 and doing a bit of it once a week...

    You may find this recap useful. Obviously, it does not cover everything and you also need to use the list provided by the MoD.

    If you find things that need correcting, feel free to point them out.

    Attached is the document in WORD (formatted).




    39/45 + Campaign medal for service during WWII
    1939/45 Star Same as above
    A1 Fit for active service (medical category)
    A/CPL Acting Corporal (rank)
    Adm Admitted (to)
    Afm Aforementioned
    AGIB Army General Instruction Bulletin
    Apptd Appointed
    BFH British Field Hospital
    BGH British General Hospital
    BM Brigade Major (rank)
    Bn Battalion
    BNAF British North Africa Force
    Capt Captain (rank)
    CE Church of England (or C of E)
    Class Z See note 1 (below)
    CMF Central Mediterranean Force (covering Italy and Greece)
    CMP Corps of Military Police (see note 7, below)
    Coy Company (as a unit)
    CPL Corporal (rank)
    D of E Duration of Engagement (in the forces)
    Dis Discharged (from)
    Disch Discharged (from): same as above
    Emb Embarked (on a ship)
    entl Entitled (to)
    ex- Out of (a unit). E.g.: ex-GSC = transferred out of GS

    FSS Field Security Section: IC field unit attached to a division (see note 7)

    FSW Field Security Wing: other name for IC, according to records (see note 7)

    Fus Fusilier (equivalent of Private in the Royal Fusiliers)
    General Service General Service Corps (GSC)
    GSC General Service Corps (see above)
    Gt Granted
    Hosp Hospital
    HRM Higher Rate Messing (with regard to rate of pay)
    HRM @ Egypt rates Higher Rate Messing at Egypt rates
    HRM @ Pal rates Higher Rate Messing at Palestine rates
    IC Intelligence Corps (see note 7, below)
    i/c In charge of
    ICD Intelligence Corps Depot
    Inf Recs Infantry Records
    Inits Initials (of person on document)
    Int Corps Intelligence Corps (IC) : see note 7 (below)
    Italy Star Campaign medal for service in Italy (see note 9)
    ITC Infantry Training Centre
    L/Sgt Lance Sergeant (rank); see note 2 (below)
    LDRD London District Reception Depot
    LIAP Leave in Addition to Python (see note 4, below)
    Med Allce Mediterranean Allowance (when serving in the region)
    MEF Middle Eastern Force (covering Egypt and Palestine)
    MELF Middle Eastern Land Force
    N/Africa North Africa
    OC Officer Commanding
    O i/c Officer in charge (of)
    O/SEAS Overseas
    O/SEAS NETT Overseas Net amount (for pay)
    P/A Permanently attached to (followed by name of unit)
    P/A/CPL Paid Acting Corporal (rank)
    Pal Palestine
    PFC Private First Class (rank)
    P/L/CPL Paid Lance Corporal (rank)
    P /L/Sgt Paid Lance Sergeant (rank)
    Pte Private (rank)
    PTW Primary Training Wing
    PYTHON See note 4, below (in relation to LIAP and PYTHON, or Python)
    RA Royal Artillery
    RA Ration Allowance
    RF Royal Fusiliers
    R FUS Royal Fusiliers (as alternative to above)
    Royal Fus Royal Fusiliers (as alternative to above)
    Sgt Sergeant (rank); also written SGT
    SOS Struck off strength, i.e. removed from the unit referred to
    TOS Taken on strength, i.e. transferred over to the unit referred to
    U & P/A/CPL Unpaid and Paid Acting Corporal (rank)
    U & P/A/Sgt Unpaid and Paid Acting Sergeant (rank)
    U & P /L/Sgt Unpaid and Paid Lance Sergeant (rank)
    U/A/CPL Unpaid Acting Corporal (rank)
    U/L/C Unpaid Lance Corporal (rank): see note 1 (below)
    U/L/Sgt Unpaid Lance Sergeant (rank)
    W/CPL War Corporal (rank given for duration of hostilities)
    wef With effect from (followed by date)
    WOL War Office Letter (giving authority for decision)
    W/Sgt War Sergeant (rank given for duration of hostilities)
    X (i) See note 8 below
    X (ii) See note 8 below
    X (iv) See note 8 below
    X (4) See note 8 below
    YRS Years
    Z (Class —) See under ‘Class Z’ (above)


    1— U/L/C means that the acting rank is that of L/C or Lance Corporal, which is above Private, but the pay would not have been adjusted and would still be that of a Private. The reason someone was made a U/L/C could be: (a) That it was probationary, before full/paid rank; That it was a temporary measure in order to fill a short-term vacancy, which means reverting to Private eventually; (c) That it was after a demotion from full rank, i.e. for a man punished for some transgression.

    2— The rank of Lance Sergeant was abolished in the British Army in 1946, but for the Guards Regiments and the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC). In certain cases, in Service Records, “L” can also stand for “Local”, meaning that the rank has been given locally (under local circumstances), which, in turn, usually means that it is temporary. In this sense, “L/Sgt” would mean “Local Sergeant”.

    3— Class Z traditionally stood for the Army Reserve: when a soldier was demobilised, he was first transferred to “Class Z” (hence the expression: “Released to Class ‘Z’”). “Class Z” was abolished at the end of WWI (in 1920, according to one source), but re-instated at the end of WWII, in anticipation of war against Communism/the USSR. “Class Z” stood for the Army Reserve: when a soldier was demobilised, he was first transferred to “Class Z”.

    4— LIAP means “Leave in Addition to Python”. “LIAP” was an additional scheme for regular soldiers who had served overseas (outside the UK) for >4 years. — Information found on British Army Forum (on line: “PYTHON was the name given to the scheme started after VE Day that concerned repatriation and accumulated leave of regulars who had been serving overseas and, also, demobilization of overseas non-regulars, plus leave entitlement. The favourite item of conversation in messes and canteens was one's PYTHON number. This number was based on a points system, with points allowed for total length of service and the length of time one had been overseas. Points were also given for decorations awarded and for married men with children under 18 years of age.”

    5— The General Service Corps (GSC) is a corps of the British Army, within Combat Services. Its main function is to act as a holding unit for specialists who have not been assigned to other units or corps; these are primarily reservists and the GSC is usually only active in wartime.

    6— The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) was an infantry regiment of the British Army until 1968, when it was amalgamated with other regiments to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

    7— The Intelligence Corps is responsible for gathering, analysing and disseminating military intelligence and also for counter-intelligence and security. The Director of the Intelligence Corps is a Brigadier.

    On 19 July 1940, a new Intelligence Corps was created (a forerunner had existed during WWI) and has existed since that time. The FSW, or Field Security Wing (known as the Green Caps, in contrast with the Red Caps of the Military Police), was separated from the CMP (or Corps of Military Police) in 1940 to form a specific corps, in its own right, known as the Intelligence Corps (or IC). Members of the FSW wore the CMP cap badge, but without the scroll (saying ‘Royal Military Police’).

    The Army had been unprepared for collecting intelligence for deployment to France. The corps grew rapidly during the war, eventually reaching 3,040 officers and 5,930 other ranks. In addition, c.1,050 officers were attached to the Intelligence Corps. When the Intelligence Corps was formed, officers and men were transferred in from other Arms and Services. (The IC only started to accept direct-entry officers in 1958.) Around 40% of British Army personnel at Bletchley Park were in the Intelligence Corps, and another important function was analysing aerial photography for ground support.

    The IC’s motto is Manui Dat Cognitio Vires (i.e. Knowledge gives Strength to the Arm). The corps has a particularly high proportion of commissioned officers, many of them commissioned from the ranks, and also a high percentage of female members. Non-commissioned personnel join as an Operator Military Intelligence [or OPMI], or Operator Military Intelligence (Linguist) [or OPMI(L)]. They do basic 14-week military training at an Army Training Centre. An OPMI will complete a 27-week special-to-arm training, at the end of which he is promoted to Lance Corporal. An OPMI(L) will complete a 78-week language course, during which he will be promoted to Lance Corporal and, also, will qualify for specialist pay.

    The most common unit within the Intelligence Corps was the Field Security Section (FSS). Each division had one section allocated. Each section had 2 Jeeps (4 x 4) and 9 motorcycles allocated. The War Establishment of a section was:-

    ●Captain or Lieutenant (officer commanding);
    ●Warrant Officer Class II;
    ●2 x Sergeants [spelt with a ‘j’ in the document but this would appear to be an error]
    ●4 x Corporals;
    ●4 x Lance Corporals.

    8— The ‘X List’ was used to identify a soldier and his place/role in the system. The ‘X’ was followed by a Roman numeral, as follows; if a Service Record features an ‘X’ item followed by an Arabic numeral, it is incorrect.

    ●X(i) for all ranks posted to fill vacancies;

    ●X(ii) for all ranks evacuated on medical grounds (and the idea being that they would return to their unit of origin in due course); thus, X (ii) referred to soldiers awaiting transfer to a hospital, etc., i.e. being on the sick list;

    ●X(iii) was for prisoners of war, deserters, and soldiers held further to disciplinary action;

    ●X(iv) were un-posted reinforcements, i.e. soldiers waiting to be posted to a unit; e.g.: an escaped PoW who is fit for duty and has returned to Army lines would be on the X(iv) list while waiting to be posted to a unit. In other words, when on the X (iv) list, the soldier is awaiting integration into his unit of destination; e.g.: he might be stationed in a transit camp while waiting to be integrated into his regiment. Even if X (iv) covers a very short period (it could be a day or a few days only), it is important to the Army in order to attest to where the soldier is, and doing what.

    ●X(v) is for soldiers attending training/courses.

    9— The Italy Star was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in World War II to British and Commonwealth troops. The medal was awarded for operational service (on land) in Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Aegean area and Dodecanese Islands at any time between 11 June 1943 and 8 May 1945.

    End of document (abbreviations in Service Record)

    Attached Files:

  2. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting the info I'm sure it will prove useful
  3. Philip of Lee

    Philip of Lee Active Member

    Hopefully, it will be. And anyone can add their own, also to the WORD document, of course.

    All the best,

  4. RRTB

    RRTB 145 Fd Regt (Berkshire Yeomanry) RA

    I know this is almost 16 months after your last post, Philip, but I thought you might like to know that some of the elements you've posted there have indeed helped me to identify some of the acronyms on a service record I'm helping someone with. So thank you for your effort.

  5. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    Cross posting from the R.E. thread for information.

    ...... C.M.D. & D.C.U. This is an intriguing one as there are several mentions of C.M.D. & D.C.U. in the forum and online (relating to No 11 C.M.D. & D.C.U.). There are two interpretations of this abbreviation:
    a. Command Military Dispersal & Dispersal Control Unit - as referenced in the description of badge(s) sold at auction and on E-bay. However I am disinclined against this one as the use of word "dispersal" twice is unusual to say the least.
    b. Combined Military Dispersal & Demobilisation Camp Unit - this is the description used by the auctioneers Bonhams and the one that I prefer, as Bonhams would have access to the best military experts, and the name does suggest a unit to manage the dispersal and/or demobilisation of personnel. In addition Aldershot was one of the biggest bases (camps) to accommodate the large amount of service personnel in transit following mass demobilisation.

  6. Philip of Lee

    Philip of Lee Active Member

    Glad the document is proving useful! I have another Service Record to dissect (my uncle's) and will return to all this in due course. I will update the document in due course.
    dbf likes this.
  7. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member


    BM indeed means brigade major, but the guys RANK is major; Brigade Major is an appointment; i.e indicates the job this major is doing.

    Fus; is indeed the equivalent in the Royal Fusiliers of a Private in many other infantry regiments. But Fus means the same in all other Fusilier Regiments: Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Lancashire Fusiliers etc.

    A Private First Class is not (and never has been) a rank in the British Army. The American Army is where you find these.


  8. I have some abbreviations and acronyms, which are for a chap who was in the Royal Artillery in WWII, which I am having some trouble with. If anyone can shed light, it would be most appreciated.
    SG 3 Plus O/S NIL 2 Sep 1944?
    A Part Two Order listed as 2/43 180 Rm Fd, and in the Postings column is Perm Cadre, so Permanent Cadre?
    Another Part Two Order 182/45 and under Postings - RAHXG 31-7-45?
    Another Part Two Order 1582/45 ?
    Army Form D.475 has M.N.I. code 19?
    Age and Service Group 23C (His age was 23, but what does the C mean?)
    Officer in charge Records R/NS/Stats No 1 being d/d/ 23.10.41?
    Post Mob. Sig?
    Proceeded on No 32 PMRSI Course Bat B?
    He was noted as being posted to Cadre Strength 272/120 Field Regiment RA, any idea where this was?
    Term of Service 21 A/Gp?
    46 Reinforcement Holding Unit from Draft RAXHG?
    46/ARTY/67G & 68H?

    If anyone can help with any of those I would be very grateful!

  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Post pictures of the original document if possible. Context provides many clues
  10. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    As Charley says easier to work from original document.
    Cadre explained here.
    Cadre (military) - Wikipedia
    RAHXG. is a code used to mark every piece of equipment that is being sent abroad or returning home. this is to ensure that everything belong to that unit is loaded unto the same ship.
    others should be fairly easy to work out when seen in context.
  11. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    It's probably better starting a new topic as well - unless Admin can move your post into a thread of it's own.

    As others have said it's better if you post original documents so members can see context. In addition you may not be reading the original records correctly - loads of examples of that on the forum!

    Steve Y

  12. Good idea. I shall start a new topic. And include scans of the documents.
  13. Philip of Lee

    Philip of Lee Active Member

    Glad my original post has proved useful and thanks for clarifications and corrections.
    CL1 and dbf like this.
  14. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Okay so what would LUL stand for in front of someone's rank?
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    What is the rank?

    Possibly: Local Unpaid Lance (Corporal or Serjeant).

    As ever, sight of the document is worth countless questions.
    S54 likes this.
  16. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Cheers, it all makes sense now!
  17. Archaepon

    Archaepon Member

    This has helped me no end on working out my Dad's records! Some of the abbreviations were puzzling, but no more. Many thanks.
    4jonboy likes this.
  18. Graham Anstey

    Graham Anstey Member

    Hi, I've been researching my father's WW2 service and have come across an abbreviation on his service card that I just can't decode. The entry reads "FB/5/16 [???} RGHFZ 14.2.42" followed by the officer's initials. To give context, he was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers (17 Fld Coy, later 4 Fld Sqn) based in Hampshore (Portsmouth). On 14/2/1942 (same date as above) he embarked for the middle east (Glasgow to Port Tewfik at the southern end of the Suez Canal aboard the TSS "Nea Hellas"). The previous entry reads "2.FB.DBRE 15.1.42" which I believe refers to a Depot Battalion, but unsure of what the 2.FB refers to here, although I believe that the 17th was part of the Hampshire Fortress Battalion.

    The best I've been able to come up with is that the RGH refers to the Royal Cloucestershire Hussars, but this doesn't really tie up as they were already in North Africa and were fighting in Operation Crusader around this time.

    Any help would be much appreciated as Google isn't helping.

    Attached Files:

  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Draft recognition codes.

    Its the same as a flight number today - everyone and everything going on that ship sailing at that time would have the same code reference - its randomly generated

    Archaepon, Owen and Tony56 like this.
  20. Graham Anstey

    Graham Anstey Member

    Many thanks TD. That explains why it was so hard to find/decode!!

Share This Page