Desert Rats Unknown unit

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by RachelS, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. RachelS

    RachelS New Member

    698AA26C-A7D1-4BAD-8F55-EFD63A46EB72.jpeg Hi, I’m new to this forum and never posted before so hope I’m in the right area? I’m researching my great great grandfather John George Richardson who was born on 17th October 1905 in Birkenhead, Merseyside, I am unable to find any service records for him and unfortunately no one in my family knows his service number, so assume unable to request his service records? I have attached a photo of John (on the left) on his motorbike, would anyone recognise anything that would give me clues as to his unit, possibly what his role would be on a motorbike? Any help anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated.
    8RB likes this.
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    No - you can apply to the MoD with just his full name and date of birth. That's the wsy to go!
    Chris C likes this.
  3. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    With the details you have it is possible to request records (you will need a death certificate or other proof of death) there are restrictions, check out this page: Get a copy of military service records
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    As for the photo, it's pre-war or very-early-war at the latest.

    The white lanyard suggests Royal Artillery but the collar dogs aren't their flaming grenades/shells. Motorbikes might suggest Royal Signals despatch riders but most units would have had motorbikes on strength for liaison duties.

    I don't know if the data exists to match the registrations to a unit...

    Both the RA and RSigs had units converted from Yeomanry (part-time cavalry) units so that is another possibility. That could possibly explain the badges - some converted Yeomanry units kept their own.

    The 'Desert Rats' were, strictly speaking, 7th Armoured Division and a handful of direct offshoots. It is sometimes misused to mean 'anyone who was in the desert'.

    The bottom line is you need his records because pretty much anything is possible.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You do not need his service number to obtain his records - you will need a copy of his death certificate which should include his date if birth - service records can ONLY be obtained from the MOD
    There are web sites with fancy names that imply records are available but for WW2 the MOD is the place to go

  6. RachelS

    RachelS New Member

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the warm welcome and reply. Next stop will definitely be to obtain his records. Again many thanks for your help.
    BFBSM and Chris C like this.
  7. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Attached Files:

    RachelS likes this.
  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    They look more like R SIGNALS despatch riders to me.


    RachelS likes this.
  9. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    Do I see RASC on the fuel tank of the right hand motorcycle? Shoulder titles could be the same, but they are not clear. Formation badge looks like 36 Inf Div, but they were formed in 1944 in India so not that.

    RachelS likes this.
  10. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    The lanyard is white which was a R SIGNALS thing. Also if you look carefully on the left hand person’s left arm you can see a white square. That could be one half of the R SIGNALS Tactical Recognition Flash which was white and blue. Left rectangle was white and right rectangle was dark blue.

    RachelS likes this.
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


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