Sunday 28 July 2013

The 'Burnt Records'

It's common knowledge to anyone researching family members who served in the Great War that a large percentage of service records were destroyed by the German bombing of London in September 1940. Less well-known is the immense scope of the loss which went far beyond service records.  A while ago I came across a list of records that were destroyed that night.  I'm not sure where it came from, but I believe the original is held at the Imperial War Museum.  So for general interest, here is the list - read it and weep.


AMD 4 Card Index Nurses
Confidential Reports (Nurses) Army Records Centre
Rejects (Nurses) from 1934
All TANS Records 

AMD 5 VD Cards
6 volumes of extracts from CRs (RAMC officers 1825 to 1857)
Complete medical history of the war – card index to same
Almeric Paget’s records
Various records of the QAIMNS

AG 4 (Medals) BMs – Bundles 1 to 93
(Corridor) BM Bundles
Medal receipts
Medal Rolls of the Kings West African Rifles

C 1 Chaplains records
Confidential reports
Colonel Whitton’s reports

CDRD Chemical warfare files

C 4 Records of Civil Subordinates and card index

F 2 Agents Officer Pay Lists 1914 to 1921 and later

F 2d Schedules and Vouchers

F 3 Letter books from 1885

F 7 War Office Cashier’s Accounts
China and Malaya Accounts from July 1934
Malta and Gibraltar Accounts

F 8 Principal Personal ledgers
Contract ledger sheets
General states
Remittances and vouchers
PMA accounts
Post Office Savings Accounts
APL ledger cards
PPL ledger cards
O and F ledger cards

ID Various old books

Lands Branch Maps various

MI (one) Card index of staff employed (military)
All intelligence records including various missions; Russia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Black Sea, Italy, Portugal, Persia, Egypt

MS 2 Officers Commission cards
Confidential reports (officers) all branches of the service, 1870 to 1880; 1910 to 1938. 30 CRs of 1939 RAMC

MS 3 Honours and Awards Card Index (Old and New)
Honour and Award bundles giving a description of the deed which earned the award
Rolls of the VC’s awarded from the commencement
South African awards

MGOF Accounts

QMG 3 Blue prints and drawings (1914 to 1919 period)

QMG 12 Stationary (9 tons)

SD 1 Confidential documents dealing with officers examinations

M1D Files (Munitions inventions) 1 – 5000

WO Library Volumes of leading London papers dating back over 100 years

C4 Tels Secret Cipher Telegrams

A Section BMs from 1926 and reference books and Letter Books
Clerical BMs and Letter Books
K & E Sections BMs and Letter Books

AG4 Medals Bronze Plaques and King’s Certificates unclaimed

C1 General Vennings Reports

CIGS Documents


Q Files
C2 Casualty r

JAG Court Martial proceedings

AFB 199As Officers record of service
ADB 158 Officers strength returns
Volumes of officer strength returns from 1880
Various registers of Civil Subordinates all branches of the service with complete card index
AB 404 Civil Subordinates loose leaf ledgers (AFSC 334)
Roll books of various ordnance factories
Card index of Foreign Honours and Awards
Books containing rolls of Officers RAMC
Numerous Boer War records, including Town Guard, i.e. Kitchener’s Horse, etc.
Amy Lists from 1775, also Indian Army lists
Several volumes of Court Martial proceedings
Records of Horse Breeding
Medway Coast Defence records
Packages of photographic plates (Great War period)
Irish Rebellion. Files and card index
Irish Coastal Command (Registered Files)
General Redcliffe’s documents relating to Italy
Nominal Rolls of the Black Sea Labour Corps
Embarkation returns
Colonial regiments – Nominal Rolls
Officer’s and Men’s Casualty Cards
South African Casualty Card index
GHQ France files
AFsB 199 TA Officers
AFsB 103 Officers
2 tin boxes containing documents relating to 1st Echelon France 1939/40
Part II Orders and Card Index Officers and Men 2nd Echelon NWEF
Routine Orders of the various Commands 1940
RA Reference Books of officers served home and abroad including card index
Card Index of officers serving in the Middle East
Officer Unit and demobilisation Card Index
First commission cards
Card index of deceased officers
Card index of TA and temporary commissions
Staff card index
Officers promotion and Exam Card index
Card Index of Officers and men taken P of W
Card index of prison camps in Germany
Documents relating to conditions under which our troops were interned in P of W Camps
War Diaries of nearly all regiments (Great War)
Duplicate Great War Diaries
Grey books of officers and men killed and missing 1914/18
Nominal rolls of pre-war volunteers
Reference books of pre-war officers volunteers
Reference books of TA officers pre-war
Nominal rolls of the OTC and card index
USA RAMC records
SA RAMC records
Chinese Labour Corps records
Mob Directorate
Documents relating to Harrow Schools
Documents relating to Portugese Labour Corps
Documents relating to Russian Labour Corps
1 case of effects
Vote 10C Accounts ( F 7)
Great War volunteer records
1 parcel of photographs of old guns used by the RA
Documents relating to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force
3040 Card Index (particulars of soldier service)
ABs 358 all like regiments
ABs 216 TA
ABs 359 Special Reserve and index books
ABs 72 Lists of soldiers documents forwarded to Chealsea
Part II Orders all branches of the service 1914 to 1921
2 South African Rifles and 1 sword
Reference books of the various ammunition columns
Company Rolls of the Labour Corps
WAAC documents and card index (3040’s)
Various records of the QAIMNS
Reports on German atrocities
Approximately 50 files of 26/records/series
Various records of the Royal Air Force
GHQ files
Numerous copies of the London Gazette
Zion Mule Corps
Various records of the Kings West African Rifles
BW1 Records
WIR records – pre-war
Card index of the various divisions, bridges, etc.
Army orders
Cinque Ports
Allied Police Commission, Constantinople
Reference books of the Young Soldiers Battalions Great War
Various records not scheduled (MT 4)
All reference books dealing with the work at Arnside Street including a complete summary of the documents held
4 books of Kings Regulations (Key copies) 1912 to 1913 from Marshelsea Road
Documents relating to the Camel Corps
Reference books of Widows Pensions

The following documents were waiting to be transferred to the Public Records Office at their convenience:

Documents relating to the conquest of Florida and Louisiana
Map of Gibraltar about 1770
Correspondence relating to the relief of Mafeking
Correspondence between Lord Kitchener and the Archbishop of Canterbury re the appointment of Roman Catholic Priests
Diary. Journal of Egypt 1800
Correspondence relating to the West Indian Regiment 1790
PWIB BM Bundles

Approximately 2 tons of oddments including parts of two Machine Guns, barbed wire, periscopes and a Range Finder from Great War
Card Index of the Military Hospitals
Card index relating to the BOAR
Regimental Histories from various Records Offices including one volume of the Prince of Wales
All these volumes were received under Mob 32
Royal Hibernian Military School. Documents and Registers
Great War Soldiers documents received from Record Offices.

Great War Soldiers non-effective documents up to 7th August 1920 inclusive
Soldiers documents of M G Corps up to disbandment 1922
(Out of 6.5 million documents only 1.25 million have been saved)

Documents relating to War Department Constabulary

Sunday 21 July 2013

Snatches of Life

Because there are so few official records of the pre-WW1 military nursing services still surviving today, piecing together the details of the nurses' lives can be hard. So coming across little snatches of information can be useful, both for adding to the story of the service, and also the background of the women themselves. The National Archives hold copies of the minutes of meetings of the Nursing Board of Q.A.I.M.N.S. between 1902 and 1911, and they provide one of the few sources for discovering how original decisions were made. For those who find pleasure in being immersed in the most minute and boring of detail (me) they're a gold mine of both useful and useless information. Yesterday I found this little gem, which refers to a nurse born in Aberdeen in 1876, the daughter of a farmer, and who trained as a nurse at Liverpool Royal Infirmary between 1905 and 1909:

13 October 1909
The case of Miss J. F___, a candidate for Q.A.I.M.N.S., medically unfit owing to loss of teeth, referred by Selecting Sub-Committee was considered. The Board decided that this lady should be accepted on condition that she provides herself with a second set of artificial teeth, in the event of being ordered abroad.

Miss J. F. was accepted, and went on to serve at home and abroad and throughout the Great War, teeth or no teeth. I'm not sure what I learnt from this little extract, but somehow it says a lot about life at that time and the official reaction to it.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Edith Hope - by the purest chance ...

While travelling back from Cornwall a couple of days ago, I just happened to stop briefly in Salisbury for lunch. Not having time to get as far as the Cathedral, I popped into a local church - St. Thomas and St. Edmund - to spend a cool few minutes.  The organist was practicing, and to a background of 'Jerusalem' I wandered around looking at the various memorials.  I suddenly stopped at one small plaque, which was placed in memory of Edith Hope, who died on September 23rd, 1954.  Next to her name were the magic letters 'R.R.C.' - Royal Red Cross - which made her one of those who have a place in my fold.
There was something familiar about 'Edith Hope' which I couldn't place, but the penny dropped when I sat down in front of my computer and realised that Edith and I had met before, here:

Edith Hope - Naval Nursing Sister

Out of all the thousands of women who received the award, not only had I picked her out, at random, to write about last year, but had then discovered this week, by the merest chance, where she spent the final years of her life and is remembered. A long time resident of Thornton Heath in Surrey, how did she get to Salisbury? Her service record shows that her brother spent his later years in the city, so she must have made her home near to him after she finally retired.

So coincidence, serendipity, or maybe something more spiritual? I shall keep a look-out for Edith in the future!