Catalogue description War Office: Selected Smaller Corps Other Ranks: Service Records

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Details of WO 421
Reference: WO 421
Title: War Office: Selected Smaller Corps Other Ranks: Service Records

This series consists of 94,242 service records of soldiers (but not officers) who served in 12 different smaller units/corps of the British Army during the Second World War and immediately after, and who were discharged from the armed forces as over age before their time expired.

Individuals may have served in other regiments/corps during the course of their military careers (details of which will be recorded on their service record), but this series contains those whose service ended in one of the following:

  • Army Air Corps Royal
  • Army Veterinary Corps
  • Royal Military Police (or Corps of Military Police)
  • Royal Army Pay Corps
  • Royal Army Physical Training Corps
  • Military Provost Staff Corps
  • Royal Corps of Army Music
  • Royal Army Education Corps
  • Royal Pioneer Corps
  • Intelligence Corps
  • Officer Training Corps
  • Non-Combatant Corps

The types of documents that are most commonly found within the service records comprising this series are:

  • Attestation forms, which are the documents signed by the new recruit, or created upon transfer between units;
  • Statement of service, which outline an individual's postings whilst in service;
  • Discharge forms, which were issued when a soldier left the regiment;
  • A variety of supporting correspondence.
Date: [1939-1963]

Some pieces appear to have been organised according to surname or date of birth, however for large parts of this series there is no discernible order to the pieces

Related material:

For Soldiers service records pre-1914 see WO 97

For First World War soldiers documents see WO 363

For First World War soldiers documents see WO 364

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

War Office, 1857-1964

Physical description: 94234 file(s)
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2020 Ministry of Defence

Accruals: No further accruals are anticipated.
Administrative / biographical background:

The service records for individuals in these smaller corps/units were originally held at the Combined Manning and Record Office, Bournemouth. This Record Office provided a location for the administration of service records to a number of small Corps which did not have an individual Record Office, or had those functions transferred to Bournemouth. With effect from May 1971, the Combined Record Office was moved from Bournemouth to be co-located with the Infantry Record Office and Central Clearing Wing based at Higher Barracks, Exeter.

In many cases, records were added to after 1945, as individuals remained in the Army Reserve and liable for recall to the armed forces up until 1959 or until they reached the age of 45. The records were also used for pension purposes after 1945.

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