Where to get records fast before funeral ... MOD or forces-war-records.co.uk

Dad died a few days ago aged 92 Raymond William English Royal Engineers 339482. He served from Feb 1945 to Aug 1955 but would say little as many experiences shocked him. While he was 'post war' he served in India, Malaya, Singapore, Burma and Germany. He sank one of our merchant vessels in India by dropping a steam roller through it, as you do (home made crane). He fought the Japanese somewhere and was shocked by seeing our troops fall into their clever pits and be impaled. He killed many Japanese using a flame thrower as they tried to exit large underground holes. I guess this was Malaya. In Burma he was shocked to come across British troops skinned alive using bamboo knives or split apart having been tied to sprung trees. I don't know what he saw our troops do to others. He has a Burma medal, perhaps just a campaign medal, uncollected as he was so disgusted by that campaign. Like many who saw horrors he has said very little over the years. His funeral is on Dec 15th and I'd like to fill in some blanks before then. The MOD website wants me to post forms to them with a £30 cheque which already suggests a lengthy delay. A civvy website www.forces-war-records.co.uk/records/ asks for £8.95 to log in & get reco0rds which sounds both cheaper & faster, any experience gratefully received ie I will try the latter unless I get quick feedback that they are a scam?
 
I can`t offer much help with your search for your Father`s military records, sorry, but I wanted to say sorry for your loss. Your Father sounds like an incrediblely brave man, although I bet he would deny that, and it`s a pity he never told you of his exploits during WW2, as it sounds as if he fought on hell of a campaign. Burma was a nasty, viscous war and only the toughest would survive. Unfortunately, many of your Father`s comrades are leaving us here and the void they do leave is massive.

Have you tried the RE Regt association or museum.I would imagine there will be War Diaries somewhere, just a matter of locating them I guess.

You don`t say where you`re located nor where the funeral is to be held....no matter, I am sure you will give your Father the send off he deserves and you wil do him proud.
 
Stop!! Do NOT sign up or pay anything to anyone other than MoD.

Online websites will not be able to provide you with his records as WWII are not in the public domain.

Speak to MoD and state your (genuine and heartfelt) desire for the information about Dad-you may be pleasantly surprised as to how receptive they are.
 
PS: given his date of joining up and-if his areas served is correct-then his medal entitlement is (at a minimum) 39-45 Star, Burma Star and War Medal with (possibly) a 1918-62 GSM w/c 'MALAYA'.

Good luck, chap!
 
Quickest way would be the MoD website. If you contact them and explain your situation I am sure that they would accommodate you.
Was your father a member of the Royal Engineers Association or any other ex forces group ?

REA HQ - About Us

If he was then perhaps they could provide some information ?

Its a long shot but try the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham

Royal Engineers Museum - Wikipedia

Although they will not hold records as such they may be able to help you in light of your circumstances. Lastly condolences on your loss.
 
Thank you, I had a gut feeling that these other 'pay for' online sites may be a bit of a scam. MOD it is then. I'm in Somerset, funeral will be in Yeovil. He was certainly braver than me, but he was almost impossible as a father, everything was black or white with all ideas other than his usually wrong. This had been very hard for my sister & I to come to terms with, his attitude towards us had left us bitter. But as I slowly piece together his bloody awful father and childhood with endless beatings, his time at boys school in Chepstow being regularly beaten up (until he learned boxing when it all changed) where his father even stole his King's Shilling from him and the chief instructor tried to steal his passing out work piece, the mix of great pleasure and absolute horrors in his 10 years of 'peacetime' Army service, his Libyan desert work and mine clearance in 1957, and amongst many other odd experiences finding that the Bahamian property development company he once managed had been sold to the mafia by its owner (a minor Royal) .... well I could go on but I am starting to understand why he was such a difficult and demanding father and indeed husband. Talk of being unable to come up to a father's expectations .....
 

anglo

LE
Dad died a few days ago aged 92 Raymond William English Royal Engineers 339482. He served from Feb 1945 to Aug 1955 but would say little as many experiences shocked him. While he was 'post war' he served in India, Malaya, Singapore, Burma and Germany. He sank one of our merchant vessels in India by dropping a steam roller through it, as you do (home made crane). He fought the Japanese somewhere and was shocked by seeing our troops fall into their clever pits and be impaled. He killed many Japanese using a flame thrower as they tried to exit large underground holes. I guess this was Malaya. In Burma he was shocked to come across British troops skinned alive using bamboo knives or split apart having been tied to sprung trees. I don't know what he saw our troops do to others. He has a Burma medal, perhaps just a campaign medal, uncollected as he was so disgusted by that campaign. Like many who saw horrors he has said very little over the years. His funeral is on Dec 15th and I'd like to fill in some blanks before then. The MOD website wants me to post forms to them with a £30 cheque which already suggests a lengthy delay. A civvy website www.forces-war-records.co.uk/records/ asks for £8.95 to log in & get reco0rds which sounds both cheaper & faster, any experience gratefully received ie I will try the latter unless I get quick feedback that they are a scam?


You could try here, in the wording it says "Your application will be prioritised if it’s urgent."

Get a copy of military service records - GOV.UK

Sorry for your loss. good luck with your search
 
Condolences, Michael.

I'd be another voice suggesting going down the MoD route because the online sites will not deliver the detail (as Four Zero Charlie says).

You've probably seen these and the detail is basic to say the least, but if you've not had sight of them - your father is referenced in the London Gazette here (2nd column, 9 names down) and here (1st column about halfway down) in terms of his Emergency Commission as a 2nd Lt in 1945 and then his translation to a Commission from his EC in 1946..
 
Thank you all. I have sent off to MOD. Seems he was not in the Engineers Association. I found some papers that said he at least talked to Madras Sappers & Miners, he regretted not going to a reunion in India about 10-15 years ago. Times obit from 2 sisters mentions Korea, I doubt it but maybe.
 
Somewhat late to the thread and hopefully the MOD have been able to sort out a service record, but there is a photo of a painting that can be seen online which shows a ribbon bar. FourZeroCharlie has covered the options but in the painting there's the Defence Medal, War Medal and General Service Medal (clasp is Malaya - although rolls at the National Archives (WO 212/695) for the GSM aren't digitised as yet, they can be viewed at Kew).
If you can get to a main library, at any stage, you could see if they have the Army Lists. These are a four-times-a-year listings of serving officers. They used to have a resume of an officer's service, although the practice may have been curtailed in later years, but this may also provide some information for you. If you get the Index Volume for 1954 or 55 and look for your father's name this will identify the page on which his entry will appear in he main volumes and see what it says.
 

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