Friday, 25 September 2015

Don't Panic!

Did you know that you might be able to find some First World War service information in Second World War records? A lot of the First World War service records were destroyed during the bombing of the Second World War so it can be difficult to find out what our ancestors did. 
Home Guard Regulations (D/DLI 5/1/1)
D/DLI 5/1/1 Home Guard Regulations
In 2012, The National Archives undertook a pilot project to digitise some of their home guard records.   The good news for us is that the group of records selected were those for County Durham.  The press release from the time says ‘The County of Durham was selected as a representative sample to digitise for this project, as it contains a number of different patterns of settlement; urban, rural, mining and coastal, and can therefore be considered a microcosm of the whole collection.’

The reason this is great is because one of the questions on the enrolment form is about previous military service:
“Do you now belong to, or have you ever served in, the Armed Forces of the Crown?  If so, state particulars of all engagements.”
The National Archives WO 409/27/50/959 extract from Home Guard enrolment form
Now this won’t contain the same amount of information as a service record might, and it was also up to the man enrolling to put what he thought was relevant.  However, in the absence of any other information, this is a source worth checking.  In the case of William Francis Corner, who I was looking at, it gave me the reason why the solider had only received the British War Medal despite enlisting with his brother in the Durham Pals and training with them.  He was transferred to munitions, likely due to his civilian work as a chemical analyst. 

As mentioned earlier, the man you are researching must have served with the Durham Home Guard during the Second World War period.  The records can be downloaded for £3.30 and searched here:

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