Could I get some help with my grandfather's service records please?

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by dazza_bo, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. dazza_bo

    dazza_bo Member

    Hi all,

    For the last few years my dad and I have been researching my grandfather's service during the second world war. He passed away in 2019 and I have been helping my dad find out as much info as we can about my grandfathers experiences during the war. As you can imagine he never talked about it.

    We are currently trying to find records of what medals he would have been entitled to. My dad seems to remember my grandfather having a few medals but unfortunately they were stolen when my dad was still a young child and were never replaced. Ultimately the goal would be to get replacement medals. Though I'm unsure of how likely this will be, as the medals were stolen so long ago there are no police reports or insurance claims to provide as proof. Failing that, as a last resort we would be happy to at least buy good quality replicas from a reputable dealer. But of course to do this we would need to know which medals he was actually entitled to!

    We sent away for his service records back in May 2020 and they finally arrived a week or so ago. Can't blame the good people at the MOD records department. I'm sure they have a hell of a backlog to get through due to covid restrictions. He served in France and Belgium with the 1/8bn Lancashire Fusiliers before being captured twice (and escaping twice) by the Germans during Dunkirk. He was subsequently hidden by the French and Belgian resistance movement, at great risk to themselves, for 4 and a half years before the town he was hiding in was liberated. We have been looking over the records we received and as far as I can tell the only mention of any medals in any of the records is the 1939-1945 Star. I would have thought he would also be entitled to at least the War Medal and possibly the French and German Star. I wonder if escapees/evaders aren't eligible for certain medals?

    I may just be reading the records wrong. The script is admittedly difficult for me to decipher with my millennial eyes lol :lol: Even my old man was having a hard time figuring out what some words were supposed to say! I've attached the service records below and will also provide a link to his account of escape in case that provides relevant additional details: J E A Blore escape.pdf

    Anyway, enough rambling from me. I don't expect anyone to go through every single page, that would be asking too much. But any help or info you could provide, or even just point me in the direction to figure it out myself I would greatly appreciate it. And I know my dad would too.

    Cheers,
    Dan.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    Medal entitlement.

    War Medal 1939-45. Operational and non-operational service counted, provided it was of 28 days or more duration. As 1/8th Lancashire Fusiliers arrived in France as part of 125 Inf Bde on the 15th April 1944 and he was captured on the 20th May 1944 it looks as if your grandfather qualifies.


    France and Germany Star 1944-45.
    For service in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany between 6 June 1944 – 8 May 1945. The Army qualification was participation in any operation on land in any of these countries. So I don’t think he qualifies.

    There is a similar thread about medal entitlement for PoWs. Prisoner of War Campaign Medal Entitlement Although your grandfather wasn’t a PoW the same rules probably apply to him.

    Richard
     
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  3. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

  4. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    I notice he joins the TA in Jan 1939 & not released to the TA reserve till March 1946. Maybe he would he qualify for Efficiency Medal as well, as war service counted double.
    Efficiency Medal - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
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  5. sjw8

    sjw8 Well-Known Member

    Hi Dan
    Your grandad got around a bit after being repatriated to UK - re-joins Lancashire Fusiliers, transfers to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) and finally goes to the South Wales Borderers (SWB).

    I note from the last document you posted that he was only entitled to one medal - the 1939-43 Star, rather than the 1939-45 Star (?), but as Tim says above you could contact the MOD Medals Office. Travers1940 also makes a good point re the TA Efficiency Medal - service to count would normally be 12 years, so needs only 6 years active WW2 service to count. Again MOD Medal Office would be the final say on this matter.

    It may be that the other medals to which you refer were commemorative ones e.g. the French issued Dunkirk Medal (Dunkirk Medal - Wikipedia ) etc.

    Steve
     
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  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    He would’ve been entitled to the “usual” 1940 BEF & NWEF (Norway) Campaign POW’s “pair” - 39/45 Star and The War Medal. He qualified for the War Medal due to his 28 days embodied service after mobilisation. He didn’t need to serve overseas to earn it.

    Servicemen called up in late July 1945 or early August would’ve also earned the War Medal as long as they completed 28 days service before the end of of the war with Japan - 2nd September 1945.

    If he qualified for the Efficiency Medal he will be listed in The London Gazette as a recipient.

    His papers don’t have the usual post war Medal Office stamp - dated with the number of medals earned and issued - so I would say that he did not apply when applications were invited from mid 1948. His papers do not show the Efficiency Medal was issued.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
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  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    This appears to be his journey through WWII:

    10/01/1939 to 04/05/1940 - 1/8th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers
    01/03/1940 - Attached 125th Brigade Anti-Tank Coy
    15/04/1940 - Disembarked France
    04/05/1940 - Posted 4th Brigade Anti-Tank Coy
    There is then mention that he is a PoW (apparently from a letter to his parents) 05/09/1940, then missing 26/10/1941, then known to be safe and in hiding in occupied France 16/04/1942
    15/10/1944 - Repatriated & arrived UK
    08/12/1944 - Posted 2/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers
    25/01/1945 - Posted 6 Infantry Holding Battalion - Effectively awaiting a permanent posting
    10/07/1945 - Embarked North West Europe and Posted 41 RHU (Regimental Holding Unit?)
    24/07/1945 - Posted 1/4th Bn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
    29/10/1945 - Posted 2nd Bn South Wales Borderers
    01/11/1945 to 18/01/1946 - He appears to have been mostly ill and sent home to the UK for treatment, including a period in a Manchester hospital
    19/01/1946 to 25/03/1946 - Posted 21 Holding Battalion awaiting posting to ‘Y’ list release
    26/03/1946 - Release to Army Reserve

    The 1/8th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers was part of the 125th Infantry Brigade, 42nd Division, but was transferred to the 4th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Division, on 4 May 1940. Your grandfather was an anti-tank specialist and transferred with the 1/8th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers to the 4th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company in the same role.
     
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  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Just for clarification. When instituted in July 1943 it was called the 1939-43 Star. This was later changed to the 1939-45 Star.

    Tim
     
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  9. dazza_bo

    dazza_bo Member

    Thank you all for your help so far. Lots of excellent information to follow up on. Sounds like our next step is to contact the MOD Medal Office then. Does anybody have any personal experience contacting them and know what the process is like?

    We were both very interested to read about him being in an anti-tank company too, as we had no idea. Would I be right in assuming being in an infantry brigade anti-tank company he would have been using the Hotchkiss 25-mm? I know in his account of escape that I linked he mentions his section's gun and truck were put out of action.
     
  10. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Can help with later locations:

    10/07/1945 - Embarked North West Europe and Posted to 41 RHU (Reinforcement Holding Unit)
    Headquarters: Westende south-west of Ostend, Belgium

    24/07/1945 - Posted to 1st/4th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry – 146th Infantry Brigade of 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division
    Battalion Headquarters: Eslohe south-east of Neheim, Germany

    29/10/1945 - Posted to 2nd Battalion South Wales Borders – 56th Infantry Brigade of 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division
    Battalion Headquarters: Erwitte Castle later Monmouth Barracks south of Lippstadt with companies Flak Kaserne later Churchill Barracks Lippstadt, Germany

    21st Army Group later British Army of the Rhine (under construction)
     
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  11. dazza_bo

    dazza_bo Member

    Thanks Steve, that's very helpful
     
  12. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I've never had cause to contact the Medal Office but others have said that they are very helpful and the response time is much quicker than that for Service Record applications.

    Tim
     
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  13. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    Whilst Medal Office may give you a general opinion over the phone on a possible medal entitlement you really ought to complete the application form for a definitive response.

    On receipt of the application they will request his service papers and check his eligibility from the information in his file (his file likely contains alot more paperwork than released to you). Once the assessment is complete they will issue his medal entitlement.

    The collective advice on this forum about his medal eligibility is sound. I’d just complete and submit the application form ASAP and await developments.

    Steve

    Ministry of Defence medal form
     
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  14. dazza_bo

    dazza_bo Member

    Thank you Tim and Steve. I have a quick question if you don't mind. On the Ministry of Defence medal form, the very first box says "I wish to apply for a..." but I'm unsure what I'm supposed to enter here. Apart from that it all looks straightforward.
     
  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    I’d write “WW2 Campaign Medals & TA Efficiency Medal” in the box.

    Steve
     
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  16. Wobbler

    Wobbler Patron Patron

    I very recently applied by post to the Medal Office for three medal entitlements for an uncle and two cousins and they were brilliant, really efficient. The first two entitlements, even telling me whether the medals had been issued, were back with me within a week!

    The third took a little longer, got that back just this week as it happens, but that was a Royal Navy entitlement, which, they explained to me, does take a tad longer. All in all, Dan, the Medal Office was absolutely superb.

    In the “I wish to apply for” box I simply wrote “Entitlement Only”, but I wasn’t next of kin and so wasn’t claiming the medals themselves, but you may be wise to follow Steve’s advice bearing in mind the possibility of the TA Efficiency. If in doubt, email them, they respond very quickly.

    Here, if it’s of interest to you by the way, is how my own grandad’s medal entitlement is recorded on his service record:

    DE277839-B22E-4DBB-8BFD-A93D815910B7.jpeg

    I note also that you may go down the road of replica medals if you cannot get your grandfather’s reissued? To be honest, I’d go for genuine replacements, there are a lot out there and they don’t cost an awful lot, but that’s my personal preference, of course. If you do prefer replicas, I highly recommend Worcestershire Medal Service (with whom I have no connection whatsoever); they did a cracking set of miniatures for me.

    All the best to you with your research mate and keep us updated on how it’s going.
     
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  17. Wobbler

    Wobbler Patron Patron

    Really, I didn’t know that. My grandad should be listed somewhere then…cheers for the heads up Steve :)
     
  18. dazza_bo

    dazza_bo Member

    Cheers Martin, appreciate that mate. I saw my dad today and he let me know that the form we sent to the Medal Office was now in the UK and would be delivered soon. I will report back once we hear from them. Thanks again everyone for your help and advice. Legends.
     

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