The Famous Raider Website
WW1 British Military Research
Army - Navy - RFC - RAF
How To Send Me An Enquiry
Some tips which may speed things up and avoid confusion.
Details of any children born before the end of service career ?
Any known addresses before or during service, or at time of discharge ?
For searches involving units I need you to give me the full unit title as you understand it - please do not launch straight into abbreviations as this can cause untold confusion !
"RIR", - do you mean Royal Irish Regiment or Royal Irish Rifles ?
"Cams", - Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) or Camerons (Queens Own, - Highlanders) ?
"RIF", - Royal Irish Fusiliers or Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers ?
Don’t even dream about telling me that someone was in the "King's" or the "Queen's" !
Same applies to ranks, awards, decorations, honours, sub-unit titles, trades, etc., etc., etc. - On first use always spell out what you mean in full please.
If your enquiry involves a man or woman who served in the forces then the first thing which I need to know is their full Christian and surnames, or, if you are working "blind" (ie to medals only, for example) their surname and initials as given. If you are working to even less information than that, then let me know what you do have and what you are trying to achieve and I'll let you know what may be done.
Before reading the next bits, don’t worry too much if you have little more than a name and say "served in the Army during WWI" to go on, - there are often ways out of that problem. Let me know what you do have, and I'll tell you what may be achievable.
But, - if you have any of the following information then please let me know up-front; it's far from the case that this is all crucial, but the more that's known at the outset the better:-
When did they serve ? - WWI, WWII, even approximations such as "about 1880 - 1900" are better than nothing at all.
Did they serve in the Ranks or as an Officer ?
Is the discharge year known, even approximately ?
What was their Army number ?
What Regiment or Corps did they serve in ?
Did they die in service ?
For service record searches, especially where the Army number or unit attachment cannot be established from medal records (or any other source) the following information may be extremely useful:-
Date of birth ? - even an approximation may be helpful.
Place of birth ?
Name and relationship of next of kin about the time of enlistment ?
Detail of any wife; maiden name, year of marriage, etc ?
Things I don’t need to know !
Some of the following may seem to be quite daft, but please bear with me and take it in the spirit in which it is intended - remember that the aim is that we should have a clear understanding at the outset. The following "problems" crop up time and time again, and the one thing they do not engender is "a clear understanding" !
I definitely do not need to be told a man's life history, the life history of all his relations, his dog's name, the name of the postman he held a lifelong grudge against, the type of motorcycle that his brother owned, who his mother was in domestic service with, - when the question is, "what was his medal entitlement" ?
The "he, she, they and it" enquiry ! - "I'd like to find out about granddad Fred who was in the Essex Regiment during WW1 and his brother Nigel who was in the Lancashire Fusiliers and their cousin Dennis who we think was in the Welsh Guards but may have been in the same regiment as his cousin ... anyway, my granny said when he came home on leave he said that he's bumped into the other one in France but I don’t think she'd seen him for a while and when I wrote to the regiment they said they had no record of him but the other one's regiment said that they were not in France that week so it couldn’t have been him anyway and it must have been the other one.
His army number was 12345 so that might help you to find him, and aunty Doris says her uncle's number was 67890 so that will help with him, and ....." - Please - if your enquiry involves more than one person or subject do not muddle them together - set each case out separately from the other(s) and don’t use "he, she, it, they" etc, please always spell out who or what you are talking about.
The "secret service" enquiry ! - despite the fact that I keep stressing that I need to know the name of the man or woman to be researched up-front I continually get enquiries which don’t give this basic information, - and without it I cannot provide a sensible fixed price quotation for searches of service records and the like (the search time for a John Michael Blenkinsop will be considerably less than for a John Smith, for example). Occasionally I even get enquiries from people who refuse to divulge this information when I query it because they "don’t think it's necessary" ! - I'm afraid that in cases like that I'm unable to be of assistance and the enquiry should probably be redirected to MI5 !
Clear, concise, and relevant information up-front is to our mutual benefit - let’s aim for that.