World War Two Enquiries
What records does the Museum have?
1. Although the Museum does not hold copies of individual soldiers’ records, it has the Border Regiment’s enlistment, transfer and discharge books for all soldiers who served from 1920 to 1949. These provide some basic information on a man’s service. There are occasional references in documents to individuals. For individual soldiers’ service documents contact the Historical Disclosures Section at The Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow.
2. Officers’ Service records The Museum only holds a small number of documents donated to our archives by individual or their descendants. Officers can usually be traced through the Army Lists for the period, but they provide very little information. Officers’ names are often mentioned in other documents in the archives.
3. Battalion War Diaries for the 1st, 2nd and 9th Battalions only (original copies are held in the National Archives at Kew) and there are numerous general documents including a WW2 Roll of Honour, other casualty information and information on POWs. There is access to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery and Memorial Registers of where soldiers are buried, or if they have no known grave, on which Memorial overseas they are commemorated www.cwgc.org Details can also be found on some officers and men of 51st (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA TA.
4. There is a good Regimental History book covering the service of all battalions during the War.
5. Campaign Medals & Gallantry awards – access to campaign medals rolls for the India General Service Medal 1908 (Afghanistan-NW Frontier 1919, Waziristan 1921-24, NW Frontier 1930-31, 1936-37), General Service Medal (Palestine & Palestine 1945-48); DSO, DCM, MC, MM, MiDs (Mentions-in-Despatches), foreign and other awards – details include some citations and date of publication in the London Gazette
6. Photographs – the Museum holds several thousand photographs, some of which are named.
7. Any records relating to The King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) should be directed to the King’s Own Royal Regiment’s Museum, Lancaster City Museum, Market Square, Lancaster LA1 1HT (Curator Mr. Peter Donnelly BA AMA) tel. 01524 64637 fax 01524 841692 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you have to tell the Museum when making an enquiry?
A soldier’s full name, regimental number, battalion number, and any other personal details known.
PLEASE NOTE – It is virtually impossible to search through any of our records or write to other museums and the Ministry of Defence for information without knowing a soldier’s regimental number, as initials, Christian names and other personal details are not always given in the documents we hold and common surnames are regularly repeated in our lists. It is also extremely useful to know with which Battalion of the Regiment a man served with, simply so that we can indicate where he served (the Border Regiment had 7 Battalions which saw active service during WW2, three of them in Burma).
What can the Museum provide for someone making an enquiry?
The Museum will provide as much information about an individual as can be traced in our records and a detailed reply will include, where relevant, photocopies from our WW2 Regimental History, War Diary or other documents.
Where can you find more information other than in the local regimental museum?
1. Family – for documents and paperwork, photographs, medals and memorabilia – medals and paperwork will give details of a man’s name. number, regiment and possibly the battalion in which he served
2. Local Libraries and Record Offices – copies of regimental histories, local studies information, local company, local authority and parish records.
3. Local newspapers for WW2, original or on microfilm – these are a good source of information and may be available from the nearest local library with a reference/local studies section or County Record Office.
4. Local War Memorials and Rolls of Honour – check these for details.
5. Officers’ Service and Soldiers’ Service Papers – all soldiers and officers papers from 1920 to date are held by the Ministry of Defence – contact address Historical Disclosures Section, MP400, Army Personnel Centre, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX tel 0141-224-3030 Information will only be given to an individual serviceman/woman, his or her next or nearest next-of-kin. A search fee is charged (currently £30).
6. The National Archives at Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU tel. 020-8876-3444 fax 020-8878-8905 holds copies of battalion, brigade, division and other unit war diaries and many other documents. There are some references to individuals, mainly officers.
7. Medal Records – after WW2 most families of servicemen/women killed or died whilst serving and many of those who served, were sent the relevant service medals for WW2. However, many thousands of medals were un-claimed. Medals un-claimed by servicemen and women may be claimed by them, or their nearest next-of-kin from The Armed Forces Personnel Agency, Ministry of Defence Medals Office, Building 250, RAF Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, GL3 1HW. Applications should be made in writing and the Office will send a form out to be completed. To replace lost campaign service medals, the Medal Office can provide replacements for which there is a charge, or, as they were issued un-named, they can be obtained through a reputable medal dealer.
9. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission at 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead in Berkshire SL6 2DX tel. 01628 634221; will provide details of where servicemen from all other regiments/corps/services are buried, or commemorated and the location/directions to any of their cemeteries and memorials.