Service Record/Info on Military ancestor

Apologies if this is the wrong forum, but I need a bit of advice. My mate (civvy) has asked me (in my capacity as recently finished, battle-scarred and craggy veteran) if I can track down any info on his Granda's service history.

Apparently he joined the Durham LI at the turn of the last century, but at the outbreak of WW1 transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and thus to the Tank Corps and had the surname 'Loving', which is not that common.

Are there any buffs on here who can advise me on where to start or hold info regarding the access to records for these units? I know the Tank Corps records are at Bovington, but can any of this stuff be accessed on line yet? Also who looks after the DLI heritage now? There have been so many amalgamations now that I've lost track.

Sorry again if there is a specific forum for anything like this, but any help will be greatly appreciated...


Quis Separabit

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Try the Western Front Association Web site
First World War service records can be accessed on-line, from the National Archives, or via - but, and it is a huge but, the great majority of 1914-1918 era records were destroyed during World War Two. The building they were stored in was hit and burned what with all that paper stored inside it. You might be lucky, I was.

My wifes uncles records were part of those that survived, fire damaged but just about readable. He was Durham Light Infantry too.

I have to warn you though, if you get the records it might be a bit of a tear-jerker. Some of what you will read and see is tough going. Uncle was killed at the age of 20 years and 4 months, and to see an army form listing his personal effects that were returned to his father............. Need I say more?

Good luck with your research.

Try here:

If anyone knows, they should. That forum turns over pretty quickly, so topics can disappear within 2 or 3 days. Don't post in there then wander back in a week thinking you'll find all the answsers. Also, the search function isn't that useful on a forum with 1178 pages (29,000 topics), unless you're specific.

I looked at the Medal Cards on Ancestry, and only found 17 Lovings, one (John) of whom was in the MGC then the Labour Corps, and didn't make it to France before 1916. None in the DLI, none in the Tank Corps. Doesn't mean it didn't happen, but it knocks down the odds that the story as remembered is what actually happened.

Other than that, you have about a one in three chance of finding Service Records. None of those for my relatives has survived.


Book Reviewer
There are DLI records held on microfilm and fiche at Durham County Hall Archive Room (my phone tells me it's 0191-383-3253 but it's several years since I called). I stumbled across a battalion's War Diary for Normandy, 1944 whilst researching my family tree.

You could call them and ask if they can tell you what records they hold.

Thanks very much for the extremely helpful advice and weblinks etc. These should set me off on the right direction.

Now I just need to get my BT HomeHub connection working... :roll:


Quis Separabit

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See link below, my money is on him, John Loving. He's the only one listed as Machine Gun Corps. If it is him your mate is lucky, He has 58 Pages on ancestry two pages makes a reference to coming from the Tank Depot.

Living at New Road, Belper, Derby in 1919

Medal card of Loving, John
Corps Regiment No Rank
Machine Gun Corps 200558 Gunner
Labour Corps 669640 Gunner

My money is on this chap John Loving

You can joing ancestry for 2 weeks free.
The first three entries in the link below are for him

John Loving on Ancestry

Thanks very much for that mate - yes I think that is him also. Unfortunately I can't access the net unless I'm at work (just moved house and BT are p*ssing me about) and our system won't let me log in. Not to worry though, I should be on by the end of the week.

I've just texted my mate the Regtl Numbers and address reference to see if anything matches the scant info that he has.

Cheers buddy and thanks once again fellow arrsers...


Quis Separabit

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