George Williams Service Records

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Emjsw01, May 18, 2019.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Emma - if you have a look through this web site - RA 1939-45 LAA Index then it gives a brief description of where the unit was at certain times.

    For more detailed descriptions you would need to start searching out War Diaries

    Emjsw01 likes this.
  2. Emjsw01

    Emjsw01 Member

    I don't blame you Steve, I too am avoiding the Eurovision!!!!
    That does sound like a better trip to Prague!! Beautiful place to travel to with work, I wish my job would let me do that!! Did you have duck and dumplings whilst you were there?
    I will definitely go to the library to look for some books about it. Apparently the Navy were going to send a ship to rescue them but it was diverted elsewhere.
    I didn't know that they had to fill in Liberation Reports, I don't know if he filled one in but will ask if any of the members that go to Kew if they would mind searching for me.
    Thanks again,
  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Emma,

    Sorry my error. They are all there.

  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Emma,

    I’ve looked through all the scans now.

    Your PDF 5 contains 3 documents. The first is the rear of the Army Form B102 Central Registry Index form that has most of the entries recorded on a mans B103 in shorthand form.

    The other 2 forms in that PDF group are unique in my experience of looking through hundreds of service files on the forum over the years. They are a variation of the B103 forms used solely to record details received about a man taken POW - mostly details received from Swiss Red Cross (that you ought to be able to corroborate with an enquiry there tomorrow) and the last entry notes details of his repatriation to U.K. via 91 Reception Camp at Amersham, Buckinghamshire. There is mention of that Reception Camp in this link -

    Pte. Harry Knox | POW Photographs | 51st Highland Division

    The only mention of POW that is usually recorded on a man’s B103 and or statement of services is a one line entry of “Missing In Action” followed by an entry 5 or 6 weeks later “Confirmed POW” then a one line entry to the effect “Repatriated POW Arrived U.K.”. You will see similar entries on your grandfather’s statement of service & his “normal” B103.

    The other entry that might be of interest is his medical downgrade to A2 in September 1945. All repatriated POW were subject to a medical on their return home sometime during their lengthy period of repatriation leave. My father arrived in U.K. 12th May 1945 and had his medical in mid June. For some reason his medical form was attached to the service papers I received. By 1945 45 Division was a Holding Division for home based soldiers.

    In addition to a medical board your grandfather would’ve been asked at the same time if he wished to attend a resettlement camp and I’d suggest that he declined and was posted to a “holding” unit pending his discharge on normal demobilisation. My father went through the same process and was attached to to Motor Transport Unit (vehicle storage depot) until demobilisation in May 1946 whilst his own Battalion (they’d returned to U.K. from Italy in Feb 1945) went to Palestine in October 1945. These attachments were not very onerous duties if my father’s recollections were anything to go by - men were just “marking time” before their demobilisation.

    Tricky Dicky and Incredibledisc like this.
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Morning Em,

    I hadn’t realised that your PDF attachments were in clusters until this morning and so have updated the analysis I drafted yesterday, as follows:

    He attested on 6 June 1939 and was posted to 171Bty/57 LAA.
    On 31 August 1939 he was posted to 53 LAA.
    On 28 November 1939 he was posted to 69 AA.
    On 23 January 1940 he was posted to 22 LAA.
    On 26 October 1940 he was posted to 142 Bty/45 LAA (Newport).
    On 7 August 1941 he was posted to 289 Bty/212 LAA Training Regiment (at various times and in order Brighton/Harrogate/Clayton nr Preston).
    On 4 November 1941 he was posted to 88 LAA.
    On 28 January 1942 he is appointed P/L/BDR (Paid Lance Bombardier).
    On 19 April 1942 he relinquished this promotion and reverted to the rank of Gnr (Gunner).
    On 7 May 1942, in anticipation of being embarked for overseas duty, he was posted to RA Depot Woolwich from 112 LAA.
    Between 21 May and 22 June 1942 appointed U/BDR (Unpaid Bombardier) for the duration of the voyage from UK to Middle East.
    On 8 July 1942 he was posted to 2/1 LAA and is once again appointed P/L/BDR (Paid Lance Bombardier).
    On 19 August 1942 he again relinquished this promotion and reverted to the rank of Gnr (Gunner).
    On 9 November 1942 he is attached to IRHQ LAA. (HQ = Headquarters. Not sure what IR is).
    On 3 January 1943 he is again appointed P/L/BDR (Paid Lance Bombardier).
    On 19 September 1943 he is moved to an ‘unknown destination’ and I believe this may be when he arrived in Kos.
    On 3 October 1943 he is posted missing on Kos, later reported PoW.
    Spends time as PoW at Stalags 7A, IVB, IVD and IVC - PoW no. 262492.
    On 24 May 1945 he arrives back in the UK liberated.
    On 25 July 1945 he again relinquished this promotion and reverted to the rank of Gnr (Gunner).
    On 7 September 1945 he was posted to 205 Field Regiment for a short while before leaving service.

    Note: Some of his records are contradicted elsewhere within them. He is shown as having served with 88 and 112 LAA after 212 LAA, but elsewhere is shown as being with 212 LAA throughout. I believe the reference to 112 LAA may be a typo and should likely say 212 LAA.
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  6. Emjsw01

    Emjsw01 Member

    Thank you very much for thios link, I will enjoy reading up on this, much appreciated:)
  7. Emjsw01

    Emjsw01 Member

    Thank you for this information Steve,
    I wonder why they used a variation of the standard form? Thank you very much for your link and for sharing your father's experience prior to his demobilisation. It is really interesting to find out where he went and what is might have been like at 91 Reception Camp.
    I have found out so many things I didn't know before, thank you and to other's contributions as well to help me feel a greater link to my Grampa.
    I managed to fill in the rec cross forms this morning as well!
    Best wishes,
  8. Emjsw01

    Emjsw01 Member

    Hi Steve,
    This is amazing, it must have taken you ages, thanks so much for your time and effort spent. I can now draw a time line and plot this out on a map to show my Nanna, who is also really grateful for the help I have been kindly given.
    I wonder why he requested more than once to go back to his former rank? My Nan said that after the transport from Kos to the camp many men died en route and Grampa felt responsible as he felt he should have looked after them more, in reality there was nothing he could have done, but she thinks maybe that was a reason when he got back to the UK.
    Thank you so much,
  9. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Hi Emma,

    There's a good chance they weren't all at his own request.

    There were many variations on promotions, such as paid and unpaid, acting, temporary, war substantive (and maybe others, not sure if there's anywhere that lists and explains all of these variations and why they were granted).

    In your grandad's records he has promotions such as U/A/LBdr (Unpaid Acting Lance Bombardier) and P/A/LBdr (Paid Acting Lance Bombardier). These were 'local' ranks that applied only as long as he remained with his unit.

    Unlike 'official' (or 'substantive') promotions these were pretty much at the discretion of the unit commander and could be granted or removed very easily. If he left the unit for any reason - such as being transferred to another regiment, or being sick/wounded and in hospital for more than 28 days - he would automatically relinquish the promotion and revert to his former rank of Gunner. If or when he returned to the unit, it could be granted again if there was still a vacancy for a job carrying that rank.

    My grandad had the same promotion. He was Paid Acting Lance Bombardier by the time his regiment sailed for India. Then when he was evacuated sick from Burma for 6 weeks in 1943 he reverted to Gunner. When he returned to his unit he was granted P/A/LBdr again, but once more reverted to Gunner as soon as he was 'Struck Off Strength' of the regiment as the war drew to an end in 1945 and he became eligible for repatriation back to the UK due to his length of service. So his 'official' rank right through the war was Gunner, but he had an acting NCO rank for most of it, sometimes paid, sometimes not.

    Some other possible translations from your grandad's records:
    12/9/42 - x (ii) (sick) - Evacuated beyond his unit's Regimental Aid Post due to illness
    1/10/42 - RTU - Returned To Unit
    3/9/42 - Granted SPP - Granted Service Proficiency Pay (a pay rise after serving for 3 years)

    And some other abbreviations on there:
    WEF - With Effect From
    SOS - Struck Off Strength (of a unit)
    TOS - Taken On Strength (of a unit)
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  10. Emjsw01

    Emjsw01 Member

    Thank you very much for explaining that to me, that clears up so many questions for us.
    Thank you also for the further translations of his records.
    I really appreciate your help.
    Best wishes

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