Help with grandads service records

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by geosteve, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. geosteve

    geosteve New Member

    Hi all

    I was hoping for some advice on my grandads service records. I have attached a copy of what we have. He was with the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in Burma. But what specifically he got up to I am not sure. Are the records that I posted fairly typical in their general lack of specifics? In other words for the actual details, you have to infer what he was up to from the Regimental history?

    The bit that I find particularly puzzling is the period (?) described as X List. I read the pinned thread on X List designations, but can't be sure which of them applies here. It seems to possibly coincide with him being promoted to Sgt (although maybe that occurs on the line above). The only hint we have is a veiled mention he made of gurkhas at some point, but what, if anything, to make of that I am not sure.

    Any advice in interpreting this would be much appreciated

    Attached Files:

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  2. geosteve

    geosteve New Member

    Actually, it looks as though on 8.6.42 he is posted to X(i) list, which the helpful thread says is:

    "THE X (i) LIST comprises all ranks posted to fill vacancies in authorised WEs [War Establishments] of a 2 NZEF Headquarters or a 2 NZEF extra-regimental unit (such as a base depot, school etc.). An officer placed in X (i) list will be seconded."

    But so many of the entries mean nothing to me, so would be very grateful for any insights into piecing this all together.
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  3. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Well-Known Member

    I have tried a night shift attempt on your Form 103. There should be more than this if you applied to the Army Records Office direct.
    My transcription is as follows:

    Disembarked India 8.6.42
    Posted No 20 Movement Control Section Poona with effect from 14.8.42 Stuck Off Strength
    unit Taken On Strength X(i) List same date. 14.8.42
    (Transferred from original unit to No 20 Movement Control Section Poona)
    Movement Control was probably a Royal Engineers function possibly Railway movement of men and supplies.

    Posted to 16 Movement Control MF Section 13.11.42 – 23.5.43
    Posted to 143 Office Party (MC & MF area) 20 5.43 arrived 23.5.43 Field A/ Sgt 10.5.43
    Granted pay of Appointment W/A Sgt with effect from same date

    X List Granted W/Sub rank of Sgt 6.11.43 (Wartime Substantiated rank of Sergeant)
    143 MCOParty

    Proceed to MC School Bombay to attend course with effect from 10.9.44 (Movement Control School Bombay)
    Embodied within the Establishment of HQ Mov Com Area Lahore
    on the reorganisation and redesignation of unit wef 16.11.44

    Granted ED pay 12/- As pa whilst employed on Movement Control Duties 30.11.44

    Others more familiar with Logistics or British Forces in India might see it differently.

    India being a huge country presented logistical problems in movement of men and supplies.
    To meet the threat of invasion by the Japanese large amounts of military supplies and men were transported by rail from the North West Frontier to the Eastern borders with Assam and Burma.

    Your last entry is 30.11.44 so there are at least another six months of records somewhere.
    His enlistment papers would reveal his previous employment. Perhaps he was an experienced Railwayman.
    Unusual though for the Army to use someone in a skilled Civvy job to do the same one in their ranks.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
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  4. geosteve

    geosteve New Member

    Hi there,

    Many thanks indeed for interpreting that. The Movement Control aspect is certainly very interesting. He had zero background in transport or logistics - before the war he worked as a colour mixer at a paper company in Rochdale. So unless they trained him as a driver in England before shipping out to India (seems unlikely), it would suggest he was involved in more of a logistical support role I suppose, rather than directly driving stuff.

    I know of one story he told that does fit here though. He went on a training course (that must be the trip to Bombay 10.9.44) and at some point after that he ended up helping to drive a steam train because the ordinary driver didn't want to as there had been rumours of Japanese in the area. He ended up having to shoo elephants off the line. He didn't talk much but he did enjoy that story because of the elephant anecdote, although how much of it got muddled in the telling/our memory of it I am not sure.

    So, would a reasonable interpretation of the records I posted suggest that primarily he was involved in some way in logistics during most of his time there? I have contacted the Movement Control Association to see if I can find out more about what that would have entailed.

    The apparent gaps in between the periods of Movement Control still intrigue me though. He did talk of having gone on patrols in the jungle and have been seconded in some way to work with gurkhas. He had a kukri in his cupboard that I remember sneaking upstairs to look at when I was a kid. I suppose they could have been gurkhas doing logistics, but he definitely mentioned actual combat patrols. So maybe he was passed around between units. I wish I could find out more. This came from the Army Records Office, but maybe its worth trying to enquire for further information.

    Here's a photo incidentally. He died in 2005 and was a lovely man.


    Attached Files:

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  5. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    When it comes to interpreting B103 it is often difficult when it is the only document provided. Did the Army Record Office (Glasgow MOD) provide more than this single sheet of paper ? If there are more documents it might help members (to help you) if you posted them all.

    For instance if the inference is that the duties he preformed with Gurkha’s was in the “active service” area of “eastern India” then his presence in that area could be confirmed by his medal entitlement to The Burma Star which should be noted on one of the other forms MOD usually supply. Not all soldiers posted to India earned the Burma Star.

    From other records I’ve seen a man’s age and medical classification often influenced a posting to Movement Control - those details are also usually recorded in the papers provided by MOD.

    The handful of papers provided by MOD are not the entirety of a man’s service file that was created during service. Some of the entries recorded on the B103 in military shorthand are expanded on in other forms that would have been in the original file. MOD policy does not permit the release of all papers in a file but Scots Guards ww2 era service files recently made available on Findmypast provide a more accurate picture of what a man’s file should contain - often 150+ pages.

  6. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Well-Known Member

    The Official records seem somewhat questionable as of late. Many people regard War Diaries and these records as "gospel" citing faded memories or even "romancing" by the veterans.
    The gaps that you mention are not uncommon.
    My own uncle was in Burma. After the war he went through times of trouble when friends and locals thought he was drinking heavily. He would collapse in the street and find himself in hospital.
    He spoke of the Japanese in the jungle and the Chindits. He was a signaller on General Service posted seemingly as a replacement to several units including the Devons, 4th South Lancs, 1st Wilts and 14th Army Signals.
    He was in Deolali, Bawli. Calcutta and Poona School of Infantry then Signals where he ended his service in India as an instructor.
    The family received a telegram to say that he was missing. Unfortunately the telegram was lost but nothing appears on his records. There was also talk of a ship he was on being torpedoed.
    I now wonder what they are holding back and why, no doubt the new 100 year confidentiality rule would be cited.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
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  7. geosteve

    geosteve New Member

    Thanks Steve - I have done a bit of family digging and I am told that more papers are available. I will try and take a look at those, probably in a few weeks, and then come back to the forum.
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