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Helpful Hints on Researching Military Family History

The Airborne Assault Museum and ParaData receives a large number of enquiries each week. We have compiled a list of questions and answers to help you make the most of your research.

Have you contacted the Army Personnel Centre for a copy of the Service Record?

Website: https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records

The service record contains information such as when and where they joined, where they went to, if they were promoted and any courses they attended.

The Army Personnel Centre Historical Disclosures Section has access to Army records dating back to the 1920s and can supply information to the next of kin of deceased former soldiers and officers who have served since 1920, and to other enquirers, provided that 25 years have passed since the death of the subject.

This website also gives details of the MOD Medal office.

If you have not done so already this would be a good place to begin, before contacting the Airborne Assault Archive. Please note that there is a charge for this service.

For information on the Free Polish Forces contact:

Polish Records.
Royal Navy and Army:
Polish Correspondence Section
Room 28B
RAF Northolt
West end Road
Ruislip
Middlesex
HA4 6NG
Email: polishasstdisoff@northolt.raf.mod.uk

Why is the Service Number important in my research?

Each soldier is given a service or army number that normally stays with them throughout their career. In our records there is likely to be a number of men with the same surname, with the same initials or even no initials. There may also be a spelling error of the surname. The service number accurately identifies the individual. If you do not have a service number, try contacting the Army Personnel Centre.

Have you considered contacting other museums and archives?

If the person you are researching transferred into the Airborne, another museum may hold information on them. If they belonged to a unit such as the Royal Artillery, Royal Army Medical Corp or Royal Engineers, you could try their respective units. For more information on Army Museums visit www.armymuseums.org.uk .

You may also like to try the Commonwealth War Graves site www.cwgc.org who have an online database of all those who died in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. Another useful resource is the National Archive site who hold the war diaries for units http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk .

 

Enquiries to Airborne Assault

What does the Airborne Assault Archive hold?

In terms of research about individuals we do not hold large amounts of data. We may be able to find some information relating to an individual, such as parachute course records, as long as we have a service number and details of the units served with. We do not hold their individual service record.

What information does the Airborne Assault Archive need for an enquiry?

The more information we have, the easier it will be to answer your question. Include names of regiments/battalions, full names of persons, places and dates in your enquiry. If you are not sure of the information, still include it, but tell us you’re not sure.

How do I put an enquiry into the Airborne Assault Archive?

You can email askthearchive@paradata.org.uk and ask for an enquiry form. We will send you the form back for you to complete.

Is there a charge for enquiries to the Airborne Assault Archive?

For each enquiry we would ask for a minimum donation of £25, based on an hour’s research. The donation is regardless of whether we find information or not, so please make sure you provide all the information you have and ask clear questions for our researchers to answer.

The donation supports the conservation of our records held in the archive and helps us to meet the costs incurred by our volunteer researchers.

How long does an enquiry take?

It depends on the individual enquiry and volunteers available to answer it. We aim to answer them within a month.

by Rebecca Skinner


Paradata Survey

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