Small Arms School, Bisley courses: March-April 1945

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Pember, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Pember

    Pember Junior Member

    I am trying to find out what courses would have been running at the Small Arms School at Bisley, during 20 March - 4 April 1945. Would anyone have copies of war diaries or other documents, that may shed light on which courses were running at that time?

    The reason for my interest is that my grandfather went on a course at Bisley at that time and I would like to find out what course it was.

    In connection with this, I have noticed in a group photograph taken later that year that he was wearing a skill-at-arms badge on his left forearm, which he had not been wearing in photos taken earlier in the war. Unfortunately, it is not possible to make out the detail of the badge. My grandfather was a glider pilot and the only qualification mentioned on his service record is the Army Flying Badge, with no indication of which skill-at-arms badge this might be. Looking at his postings, from his flying log books, the most likely explanation that I can come up with is that he got the badge at the end of the course at Bisley.

    Any insights appreciated!
  2. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    During my time in the Army (well postwar of course), it always amused me that, when one went on a course and gained some qualification, it was never the school one attended (who knew exactly who was on the course and what qualification was gained) that was responsible for 'publishing' the qualification and informing the Record Office of it. No, it was up to the parent unit to 'publish' the qualification on one's return. Sometimes they appeared not to notice; sometimes the person concerned had no wish to be registered as, for example, a Unit Press Officer, and thus did not remind the unit to publish (in Part 2 Orders); and sometimes they just got it wrong (for instance, after three years at the Royal Military College of Science and passing a University of London external degree, I was published as having a degree from quite a different University (though I did succeed in getting this changed later). So the lack of a registered qualification may well be due to unit negligence or ignorance. After all, unit clerks were probably not terribly well trained during the war, and units had more pressing things on their agenda than publishing Sgt Snooks as a qualified small arms instructor.

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