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

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

  1. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    Hi Graham

    Just seen your post above.

    Re the entry "2.FB.DBRE 15.1.42", it does indeed refer to a Royal Engineers Depot Battalion (even though battalion is normally thought of as infantry). "FB" in this instance stands for "Field Branch" which dealt with soldiers' postings and movements. Later in the war it changed title from "Field Branch - FB to "Postings Branch - PB", based in Halifax.

    In your father's case, from the extract you posted, he was originally with 17 Field Company. He was then earmarked to go to North Africa so therefore was temporarily attached to 2 (FB) DBRE w.e.f. 15.1.42, pending transfer etc., and from which a Posting Order was issued - "FB/5/16 [???} RGHFZ 14.2.42" - indicating which draft he was to join (RGHFZ) and date. He was then medically examined to confirm his fitness to serve overseas. (He may been on pre-embarkation leave between 15/1/42 and 14/2/42 - if so, this should be recorded on the documents you received).

    On arrival he was then posted to list X(iv) (i.e held in a reinforcement unit - RHU) pending his posting to 4 Field Squadron.

    if you want more information re 17 Field Company, there is a thread under Royal Engineers within Unit Histories sub forum - 17th Field Company Royal Engineers

    There is also the following re 4 Field Squadron - 4 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers war diary

    From one RE Sapper's son to another,
    Hope this helps,

    Steve W a.k.a. sjw8
    Graham Anstey and Tricky Dicky like this.
  2. Graham Anstey

    Graham Anstey Member

    Thanks very much Steve, that confirms much of what I've been able to decode. I did find that the war diaries for both 17 Fld Coy and 4 Fld Sqn are held by the National Archives, but it appears they are sealed until 2050. I'll investigate the links you provided. I'm hoping to be able to tie up his service with the more general Desert Rats history as published in the many books I have.
    sjw8 likes this.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Are you reading the 'sealed for 29 years' comment on TNA website.
    That refers to 29 years from when they were written .
    Not 29 years from now.
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  4. Graham Anstey

    Graham Anstey Member

    Aha! Thanks Owen. Yes, I was, and interpreting it as from now. That's good news, now I just need to wait for Kew to reopen.
  5. JCD

    JCD Member

    Hi, I've come across an abbreviation relating to punishments for minor offences that I cannot find an explanation for; PB, it seems to be followed by 'Serial No 2 or 4'. This refers to incidents that occured when based in the UK. Does anyone have any knowledge of exactly what this refers to?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2021

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