Trying to research my Granddad - Cecil Thomas Smith

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Darren Rose, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member


    I am trying to research my granddad, but not sure where to start as only have some basic information and don't have his service number

    Below I will put what I know - hopefully someone can advise:-

    Name: Cecil Thomas Smith
    Home: Norfolk
    Date Of Birth: 04/02/1916
    Date Of Death: 21/05/1964 (Age 48) - Norwich, Norfolk

    Have several photos of him from the war period, one of sent home at Christmas 1940, one showing him in Class 128 - HMS Royal Arthur, and one which has RNAS Donibristle 1943 written on back, and finally one with 4 men in uniform from 1941

    I will attach photos below in case they help

    Attached Files:

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  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    Your best bet would be to apply for his Naval Service records from RN Disclosure Dept at Portsmouth using the downloadable forms in this link.

    Get a copy of military service records

    Lack of a RN service number is no bar to a successful search for the service record.

    I’m sure you’ve learned the significance of HMS Royal Arthur via the internet and seen the many online class photographs.

    Good Luck

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  3. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    Hi Steve
    Thanks for your reply - I have completed the forms and will get them posted off on Monday - just hope it isn't a wasted £30 and I get something back
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Suggest you follow Tullybrones advise - its worth the effort

    I guess you have this Ancestry tree
    Cecil Thomas Smith
    Birth: 04 Feb 1916 (4 Feb 1916) - Norfolk, England
    Death: 21 May 1964 - Norwich, Norfolk, England
    Marriage: 18 Apr 1938 - Norwich, Norfolk, England
    Spouse: Joyce Rose Whitham
    F: Frederick William Smith
    M: (Name Unknown)

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  5. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    @TD - yes that is my tree (or my brothers) - and yes I will apply for the records on Monday

    steve - just to check I haven't missed anything - re: Royal Arthur - it was an on-shore training base? anything else I should know
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Ask Hugh MacLean for help, he's the resident naval expert.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  8. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    Hi, got initial reply from Royal Navy - Navy Command and they have give me a photocopy of his CRC (Central Record Card) and said that further research can take longer - anything up to 12 months, but they will be in touch when looked through P&V ledgers

    I have attached what they sent me in case anyone here can tell me anything useful from what it tells us?

    CRC page 1.jpg CRC page 2.jpg
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Really need to contact Hugh McLean - as noted above, he's a naval man

    Seems he was an accountant who spent the majority of his time [Nov 1940 - Nov 1941} based at HMS Merlin - HMS Merlin was an air station of the Royal Naval Air Service, at Donibristle, Fife

    Then seems he was released to the Reserve list, but this was delayed because something arrived too late

    Thats the best I can do for a non naval man

  10. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    Thanks TD for reply - not sure how I can get in touch with Hugh - couldn't see a way to send a private message or similar to him
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Click on your username and you have an option 'Conversation' - select this then you can choose another member to chat with, enter Hugh's username, add a title and hopefully away you go


    Actually its the other way around, once in the section for 'Conversations', select 'Start a conversation' then you can select the user you wish to contact
  12. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    Thanks, will try that now
  13. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Darren got your message. If nobody can add anything further i will take a look at it at the weekend. I am away from home with work at the moment and only have a mobile.
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  14. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    Thank you Hugh, much appreciated
  15. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Hugh will no doubt correct me if I get this wrong.
    In the RN the original Certificate of Service (S549) is handed to the rating on discharge and no duplicate exists. Information has to be compiled from other records and at times this can be scant.
    In the case of Cecil Smith his service was very short. In WW2 there were reserved occupations exempting claimants from conscription. This could be due either to their skills or the actual work on which they were employed. Some were totally exempt others had to undergo 6 months initial training before claiming exemption thus giving the Services a reserve pool of trained men. This is what I believe happened here. To confirm it one would need to know what work Cecil was doing prior to and after his naval service.
    To explain some of the abbreviations:
    Rating: Sy Prob = Supply Probationer. SA = Supply Assistant
    Character. VG = Very Good. This is the standard assessment and is only reduced to Good or lower for misdemeanors or offences.
    Efficiency. Sat = Satisfactory. This is a mid range assessment and is the standard entry unless efficiency is markedly better or poorer.
    Released 14/5/46 Europa. HMS Europa was a shore establishment and would be where his records were kept prior to demobilisation.

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  16. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    Hi Tim, thanks for your reply and explanation of abbreviations etc

    Before and after his naval service Cecil was working as an accountant and treasurer for Forehoe and Henstead Rural District Council
  17. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    That I think explains his exemption. He would only be recalled in a case of dire emergency or manpower shortage.

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  18. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Darren,

    His service number was C/MX 70276. C = Chatham his (Home Port). MX denotes his trade (Supply) and his pay structure.
    Tim has summarised things quite well but you may need to wait till they get back to you with the P & V ledgers. What annoys me with RN records is the detail they miss out a lot of the time - for example any sea time. This can sometimes be rectified by the checking of those ledgers but it is not fool proof and I have seen many such service records that still remain incomplete because only shore establishments are recorded on the record. I can't work out yet why they are all wearing Petty Officer's caps in the photos as in 1940 he was a Supply Probationer and then a Supply Assistant (I should really know the answer to this).

    I note he was demobbed from HMS EUROPA which was the parent accounting base at Lowestoft for the Royal Naval Patrol Service [RNPS]

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  19. Darren Rose

    Darren Rose Member

    Hi Hugh

    Thank you very much for your response and the information provided - very useful indeed and helps me get more of an understanding of his military career. I will come back on the forum when I get the P & V ledgers - but the letter from Royal Navy did say this could take up to 12 months as so busy.

    We were confused by the uniform and caps so anything more you can find about this would be great
  20. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    He's wearing the uniform of a Miscellaneous Junior Rating. The Supply Branch falling into the category of Miscellaneous. The cap badge is very like that of a Petty Officer but is a red crown and anchor. The Petty Officer's is gold. Not sure when the Regulations changed and the Supply Branch dressed the same as Seaman.


    Edit to add from
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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