Sunday, 5 February 2017

Army Form C.309 - 2nd Class Certificate of Education 1923

Here's another example of an Army Certificate of Education, 2nd Class; not the most pristine example, to be sure, but it's good enough. This one was issued to a Coldstream Guardsman in 1926 after he'd passed in English, Maths, Map Reading and History. I am unsure whether "Handicraft" was permanently struck off this particular certificate or just in this guardsman's case. In any event, history strikes me as being a far more entertaining subject than handicraft.

The detail in the bottom left of this document notes that this form was part of a print run of 25,000 in February 1923.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Arm Form WO.967 - Militia, conditional discharge

Army Form WO.967 must have been commonly used. It is the document by which a man's commanding officer authorised his discharge from the militia so that he could enlist in Her Majesty's (or HIs Majesty's) Regular Forces.

The example I have chosen (which is Crown Copyright, The National Archives) dates to 1878 and was part of a print run of 16,000 which had been issued in February of that year. 

Documents on Discharge

"When a soldier is to be discharged..." so begins the opening sentence on the back of this form, "the documents specified in the margin, arranged in the same sequence, will be placed inside this form." There are 18 separate forms noted in the margin but it is rare indeed to find all of these still surviving in archival files today. 

The image is Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Army Form B.131 - Clinical Chart

I've had this image on my desktop for ages. I shudder to think of the thousands of images from soldiers' service paperts that I've looked at over the years, and every so often I come across a page that I don't recall seeing before. This was certainly the case with this Army Form B.131 which is a clinical chart, in this case reporting the temperature, pulse per minute, respiration per minute and motions per 24 hours for 20-year-old 202138 Corporal Vernon Swatman of the 2/5th South Staffordshire Regiment who was at Southmead Hospital, Bristol having had his leg amputated. Note how high his temperature rose after his operation on the 26th January.

Vernon had originally attested under the Derby Scheme in December 1915 and was admitted to hospital on the 26th October 1917 before being discharged nearly five months later in March 1918. He was discharged from the army in October 1918.

Findmypast has a huge amount of information on this man from his birth in December 1897, to school admission records, census returns for 1901 and 1911, military service record in WO 363, marriages in 1925 and 1929, an entry in the 1939 Register, and entry in Kelly's directory for Wolverhampton and finally his death in 1978. 

The image on this post is Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Army Form W.3118 - Field Medical Card

This Field Medical Card, officially Army Form W.3118, is uncommonly seen in surviving service records. It would have been completed when a man was admitted as a casualty to a Field Ambulance and would have accompanied him on his journey to the casualty clearing station and then base hospital - if he made it that far.

This particular card was part of a run printed in March 1917 and started its particular journey in September 1917 when Corporal Vernon Swatman of the 2/5th South Staffordshire Regiment was admitted to the 2/2nd North Midland Field Ambulance as a battle casualty with a smashed kneecap.

The images on this blog post are Crown Copyright The National Archives.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Army Form B.271A - Attestation

This attestation form which, so it says at the top, came into effect from September 1921, marks quite a departure from those attestation forms used prior to this date. For a start, this is a two-page document rather than a three or four-page form, and of these two pages, the first page is almost entirely given over to the conditions; the "contract" of enlistment between the man and the "Crown".

Page two asks for some new information but there is also a lot missing. The nationality of the recruit's parents is requested, as is the recruit's date of birth and number of dependent children. Missing from this form though are next of kin details, marriage details, children's birth details and a physical description on enlistment.

Also, noticably missing from this 14-year-old's paper is his regimental number which would normally have been applied when he presented himself at the regimental depot. It makes me wonder whether this lad did actually see the attestation through.

My grateful thanks to Graham Thompson for sending this form to me. This particular issue dates to June 1927 and was obviously still in use when Frederick Gray signed up in April 1928.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

New monarch, old attestation form

This from, which was completed in December 1837, is lovely, but it's lovelier still if you read from bottom up, starting with that hugely ornate Royal cypher.

What a lovely piece of artwork. Now scroll up further still:

King William IV had died on the 20th June 1837 and Queen Victoria would be crowned a little over a year later on the 28th June 1838. Nevertheless, she was the uncrowned queen by December 1837, although new stationery had obviously not been ordered. Whoever attempted to alter "His" to "Her" did a pretty good job of the letter I, but in those pre-corrective fluid days, changing a letter S into a letter T was always going to be problematic.  It seems almost pedantic to point out that the royal crown should also have been changed. The one guarded by the lion and the unicorn is King William's crown, Queen Victoria's would be a different shape.