Class A Release

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Gourami, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. Gourami

    Gourami Faugh a Ballagh

    Putting together my great-grandfather's army service, which began in 1926 when he enlisted as a "Boy" soldier, his service ends in 1947 with the following stamp:

    "Released to Class Z, Royal Army Reserve. Date: 3/10/47 (Class 'A' Release"

    But his Military History Sheet goes on to state "Z Reserve from 3/10/47 - 22/3/51"

    Could any one tell me what this means? Was he demobbed? Would he have had a choice to stay on? Also, what would he have been doing in the 'reserves' between '47 and '51? Would he have been back on civvy street then?
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    As no one else has responded since Thursday evening...

    I’ve numbered your queries for ease of response but it always best to attach the original documents when posing service record queries....

    If he enlisted as a boy soldier in 1926 he was likely aged 14. He would start man’s service on his 18th birthday in 1930. He could’ve elected 12 or 21 years mans service so in either case he would’ve still been serving as a regular soldier as post war demobilisation took place between 1945 and 1947.

    Post war demobilisation was either Class A Release (vast majority of men) or Class B Rease for “men deemed of importance in civil life” - covered variety of trades & professions including skilled craftsmen and Police officers etc. Class B Release men were demobbed more quickly than Class A.

    I think your relative likely elected to serve for 21 years as on a 12 year term he would’ve been “time expired” by 1945 and hence entitled to an early release to Class Z.

    As the post war army contracted in size many 21 year full time servicemen elected to take an early discharge.

    In respect of your queries -

    1. Although men were demobilised and returned to full time civilian life they were usually held on Class Z Reserve until they attained 45 years as it made it easier for the authorities to recall men if there was a threat of war (conflict with Russia). Some Class Z Reservists were recalled for the Korean War and Suez Emergency.

    2. If he was serving on a 21 year enlistment he would’ve been entitled to serve his full time - subject to fulfilling Post war Army health requirements. I know post war Brigade of Guards only retained men with A1 fitness although they could transfer to a unit that accepted a lower fitness classification rather then take an early discharge.

    3. He would’ve been back in civilian life although some Class Z Reservists were recalled for annual/biannual training camps during the Korean War.

    ozzy16 and Gourami like this.
  3. Gourami

    Gourami Faugh a Ballagh

    Apologies for late reply. Thanks very much for clearing that up for me.

    Here are relevant snapshots of his records for a clearer picture. He originally joined up for 12 years a few days short of his 15th birthday, but he extended it to the full 21 by the time that term was up.

    He turned 18 in 1929. At that time he was in Bermuda. He'd been posted to the West Indies since 1927 at the age of 16. Would it have been the norm to be posted overseas so young?
    IMG_20200925_170419.jpg IMG_20200925_171143.jpg
  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    He seems to have been a Boy Piper - boys were usually either trained as Musicians (Bugler/Drummer or Piper in a Scots/Irish Regiment) or Tailors - some continued their “trade” into “Man’s service” although some didn’t do so.

    It would be quite “normal” for a Boy Soldier to proceed overseas with his Battalion. I seem to recall that the late Sir Norman Wisdom went to India in 1930 as a 15 year old Boy Soldier (Musician).

    ozzy16 likes this.
  5. Gourami

    Gourami Faugh a Ballagh

    Thanks Steve, great information. Continue his trade he did. He became a Pipe Major in 1938.

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