Need the awesome wisdom of Arrse historians


Hello All:

I’m working on a few family members’ military history and I was hoping that the collective smarts/wisdom of Arrse can help me out.

I was recently doing some family research into members that served in the UK during WWI and WWII. For reasons of a dysfunctional older generation of family members some of my WWII relation’s information has been chucked away. These would include his medals, service record and photographs.

While researching how to go about getting confirmation of medals I noted (and I feel like a mong for forgetting this aspect of the post-war era) that the UK did not mail out medals to service personnel as they had done in WWI. This got a few light bulbs going off for another family member’s service during the war that explained why there has been no trace of any medals for his service time. I did confirm with his NOK as to whether she had ever been in receipt of her father’s medals and she said no.

So story number one…

My husband’s grandfather was born in Newfoundland Canada and joined the RAF in approximately 1939/early 1940 as an Aircraftsman. My MIL was a young babe of approximately 9 months of age when her father left for the war. (Her mother had died giving birth to her earlier that year)
Her father served with 225 Squadron and from what records we can find on the squadron, it was deployed to North Africa, Italy and France and then back to Italy.

On November 5, 1945 while hitching a ride from the Polish Airforce to get them back to the UK from Italy. The aircraft crashed near Corsica killing the aircrew and all passengers.
His name is included in the Canadian Book of Remembrance (Newfoundland) as well as listed on the CWGC Memorial in Malta. I did get my MIL a copy of her father’s page in the Book of Remembrance a few years ago and a very kind Arrser while visiting Malta managed to take some close up pictures for me of his plaque.

She is also in receipt of the Death Scroll signed by His Majesty. What she has never been in receipt of was his medals. Over Christmas we spoke to the folks in Gloucester and all the application forms were filled out and sent off. We are still waiting for the details of any medals that he would be eligible to receive – then to have them issued.

As an aside, the chap I was speaking to in Gloucester was telling me that they get approximately 200 requests per month for un-issued WWII medals and more per month to have them replaced. I’m stunned at these figures.

My husband and I thought that once we get any medals that his grandfather may be eligible for that we would get a nice shadow box put together to display them along with some RAF items, squadron details, crests, cap badges, shoulder flashes etc and if we are very lucky maybe a picture of her father taken while he was deployed. I’m going to be honest, I’m a retired RCN officer and my husband is still a serving officer of the Cdn Army and our collective knowledge of anything RAF is akin to “yup, they wore those blue uniform thingys.” Poor drills for having a severe case of headupbuttitis with respect to all things that has to do with needing a parachute to get down from. My apologies. I really need some help here – especially authenticating badges and proper medal mounting – order etc.

Second dit…

I have a great uncle that was with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 5th/6th Bn during WWI. The poor sod never made it home and lies in Poix-Du-Nord Communal Cemetary Extension. His mother however, had a headstone erected in their home town of Blantyre, Scotland. I found a very poor picture of it online in a Scottish War Grave forum site. I can see by the amount of engraving on it that the stone also serves as a marker for other family. I can make out some of the names but the overall clarity of the marker is unreadable. It also looks as if the headstone has toppled over. I’d like to get the stone fixed and cleaned up but so far, my enquiries to the grave yard have gone unanswered. I’d also like to give the CWGC some further info in his family to add to their records – that info is on the marker in Blantyre. What is very interesting about this branch of the family is that there were five brothers who served in WWI. The other four all served with the CEF as they were living in Nova Scotia and I have their records. What made this one brother go all the way back to the UK to join up is a mystery. I was hoping an Arrser that lives up that way might know how to get a legible photo of the marker as well as who to contact to getting it repaired.

Third story…

My dad was an RM during WWII. I have his service number, service dates and some pics of him in uniform. He died in 2003. Due to a family dust up when he died, my much older siblings took all his medals, service record and his RM collectables and either pitched them or sold them off. My older sib is listed as his executor and controls the release of his death certs and is withholding my request for them to sign off the application form to get my dad’s service record and medal card. I want to replace what I can and maybe if possible, get medal duplicates from the MOD). But the one item I would dearly love to get a replacement of is his boxing medal he won when he was serving. That was the only item of his that I always asked him to leave me. The thought of it possibly being in a landfill makes me sick. His Masonic garb was also tossed but I did speak to the local lodge and they assured me his name won’t be tarnished as giving up the brotherhood secrets.

I’ve been in touch with the MOD and as much as they would like to help me, unless I get permission from the executor to release the info, they can’t help me. They were pretty clear that NOK order is strictly followed and I’m not the oldest surviving child, my idiot siblings are. Mum passed away years before the old fella did otherwise the path to the info would be simple.

The MOD has suggested that I wait out the 20-25 years from his death and apply under a different category – family research but warned that his records may contain heavy censorship. I would be able to get a hold of his death cert by then (Canada makes one wait 20 years after the death to be able to seek out a death cert if they are not the estate’s executor). I was wondering if any other Arrser might have found a different (and legit) route to take to get some info released.

Fourth Story…

My maternal grandfather served in WWI with the Highland Light Infantry. Try as I may with I can’t seem to get into the UK site to have a look around for his medal card etc. I keep getting thrown back to the Canadian records. I’m quite willing to pay but the records are showing 17 men with the same name as my grandfather. At 3 quid a pop it could get expensive. Anyone have any ideas how to narrow down the search so I know I have the right man? Good gawd it seems every generation the first born son bears the same name as well. Not very original was my family in naming.

I am aware that the MOD no longer issues WWI medals but I’d like to see about getting replicates of the uncle and grandfather’s medals (if any were awarded).

My kid and their spouse are both serving members of the RCN and I’d like to give them a nice bit of detailed military family history so they can pass it on to their children (one of whom wants to join the RCAF).
I’d love some help from Arrse. I’ll be more than happy to PM the relevant details/pics to anyone who wishes to give me a hand.

Cheers and my apologies for the length of the post.


War Hero
No reply yet? the lads must not have seen this yet. As far as getting replacement medals, have a look at they cover medals from WW1 onwards. Costs are from £12.50 for the 1914 Star to £ 38.50 for the Victory medal. Same sort of prices for WW2 medals. Good luck.
In so far as I am aware there is no restriction on you obtaining your father's birth certificate if he was born in the UK.
I think that anybody can obtain the death certificate for anybody and it asks you on the form to state if you are a relative or researching.

I got hold of my mother's birth certificate and her marriage certificate as well as another family member's death certificate with absolutely no dramas whatsoever.


Two much info on one thread to reply to it all.

As far as I'm aware CWGC do not update details on their website in the way of family details. They only put on what the MoD gave them at the time - Happy to be proven wrong though.

Ref the Royal Marine if he is your father you can sign the NoK approval form, you don't need the eldest daughters approval. As for proof of death you can but a copy of the death cert online for £10 or alternatively send a photograph of his headstone if he was buried or some similar proof of death like a undertakers receipt. You don't need a birth certificate. Just his date of birth and or service number.

If you find out what RM unit he was with give me a shout - I have around 50 Royal Marine and Commando war diaries from WW2.


Thanks gents.

I wish my father had been born in the UK, he was instead born in Nova Scotia. After his mother died in 1927, my grandfather took his family back to the UK. Vital Stats here won't release his bc without the executor's permission. Same for his death cert. I am working on applying under a special consideration so we'll see if that is successful.


Do you know his date of birth ? If so you don't need a birth certificate to apply for a copy of his service records.

Did he die and was buried in the UK?


Drew, he was in Canada when he died. Canucks have a 20 year rule for releasing a death cert.

I do recall reading something in this forum a while back before I joined of someone being given an address in Whitehall to write to for info on medals or postings/drafts without releasing the whole service record. Darn if I can find that thread again.

Latest Threads