I've read several threads where the genealogical and military buffs among you have managed to produce a wealth of information from the most unpromising leads, so I thought to try my luck by posting some information of my own relatives - grandfathers to be precise - and seeing whether anyone can produce a rabbit from the hat. Both men have passed on and are sorely missed. I wonder whether anyone would be able to: first, tell me how and where to apply for official records such as service records (what else is available?) and, second, give any suggestions as to their broad whereabouts based on the information I have so far. On the one side of the family is: Pte. Thomas John Everett Service(?) Number: 6013556 Date of Birth: 13/08/18 Place of Birth: Kerry, Wales. He was called up and served in the Essex Regiment during the Second World War, but I don't have the details yet. I'm looking at a poor quality scan photograph of him in uniform surrounded by his medals and he appears to have (I've strained my eyes but am fairly confident) the Africa Star, The Italy Star, the 1939-1945 Star, and The War Medal 1939-1945. I know next to nothing about medals, but this seems all pretty standard and in keeping with my father having told me he fought across North Africa in the Eighth Army. He never spoke of his war service to me - he died when I was about twelve - but the last time I saw him he was on powerful painkillers and seemed convinced that the Germans were nearby and we weren't in a safe position. That probably sounds quite comical unless you were there to see the earnestness with which he told me this while ripping off his medical bracelet and telling me to make sure they didn't get hold of it - whatever part he played stayed with him right until the end. My other grandfather died less than a decade ago now and I had a much closer relationship with him. He missed the war but was in the regular army, having joined as a boy - again I have little as of yet: Gunner Frederick Newman Army Number: 14189713 Date of Birth: 10th October 1928 Royal Regiment of Artillery Enlisted at Croydon on 16th April 1946 Transferred to Reserve: 30th June 1952 Discharged: 15th April 1958 Passed Classes of Instruction: Regimental Signaller (does this mean he was one or just qualified to be one?) It would be great if anyone could figure out precisely which battalion of the Essex Regiment he was in - or point me towards somewhere where I could find out. Handwriting for the scans [of his 'pay book' - it doesn't look like one] my mother has sent is hard to read, but the following seems correct: General Service Corps - Home - 16/04/46 to 16/04/46 - 1 day Home - ??/04/46 to 31/07/46 - 56 days Royal Artillery - Home - 01/08/46 to 08/02/47 - 192 days NWE (Northwest Europe probably, but where? BAOR?) - 09/02/47 to 08/04/48 - 1 year 59 days Home - 09/04/48 to 18/08/48 - 132 Days Farelf (hard to read - Far East Land forces?) - 19/08/48 to 07/06/51 - 2 years 293 days Home - 08/06/51 to 22/11/51 - 168 days. Melf/Cyprus (hard to read - Middle East Land Forces?) - 23/11/51 to 12/02/52 - 82 days Melf/Egypt - 13/02/52 to 30/05/52 - 108 days Home - 31/05/52 to 30/07/52 - 61 days I'd really love someone to provide some details of what he was likely to have been doing in the various places. He did tell me some things about his service, but it was very much a different part of his life (he married and started a family after being discharged) and he didn't like to bore anyone (as he saw it) with yarns about his travels. Now, of course, I dearly wish I'd asked more and written it all down. The only parts that spring to mind are his waiting in Malayan trenches - not being a terribly good shot (so he wasn't always on big guns) unless someone was heading his way - not having been a smoker until he reached Malaya and then being told he was a fool for not taking his share and picking up the habit - destroying/damaging some kind of artillery piece in Cyprus on icy roads (did he drive regularly) (!) - and being in the Canal Zone for one of the flare-ups that preceded the Suez Crisis. This man was a enormous influence on my life and I really want to find out what he was doing as a young man. Any ideas?