Saturday 23 May 2015

Army Form B.268 - Proceedings on Discharge


There have been occasions, when no other useful documents in man's service record survive, that I have used the information contained in paragraph 10 (below) to precisely calculate the exact date that the man joined the army. This approach however, is fraught with difficulties that include on the one hand, the adding in of leap years, and on the other, the presumption that the man joined the same regiment that he is being discharged from. Nevertheless, these army forms are extremely useful, giving a picture of the man at the end of his military career.

In the example above we can see that the man was discharged from the Queen Victoria Hospital at Netley. The soldier, Lance-Corporal Arthur Henry Abbey was only 21 years and three months old at the time of his discharge and yet had already served three years and 70 days with the colours and so must have joined very shortly after his eighteenth birthday. The discharge is confirmed at Netley, although the process was started when Lance-Corporal Abbey was stationed in India at Ambala (paragraphs seven and eight).

Abbey appears to have had a promising career cut short. He had been awarded one good conduct badge (with an attendant increase in his service pay) and he had been appointed lance-corporal. We do not know the actual medical reason that occasioned his discharge and although his attestation papers also survive, they give no additional helpful information about his discharge other than to state that he was invalided to the UK on the 16th April 1909.

Almost as interesting as the three pages of this form that contain information about the man, is the final page at the back which reveals the documents to be contained within Army Form B.268; no fewer than up to 18 separate documents which, if nothing else, demonstrate the shocking levels of weeding which have occurred at the MoD over the years.

All images reproduced on this page are from series WO 97 at The National Archives and are Crown Copyright, The National Archives. 

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