Saturday 7 October 2017

Army Form 11238 - Syphilis case sheet

Venereal disease was a huge problem in the British Army. As Alan Ramsay Skelley writes in The Victorian Army at Home, "The incidence of the disease in 1860 was 369 cases per 1000 men. The loss of service was equivalent to the withdrawal of every soldier from the army for eight days or of two full battalions every year in Britain." He continues, "... although the threat it posed in 1899 was considerably less than in 1860, never less than one man in ten, and for most of the period one in five or an even higher proportion, underwent treatment each year."

Hardly any wonder then that a special Army Form dealing with the treatment of syphilis cases was felt necessary to print. I've removed the man's details from the form on this post, but it states that he probably picked up the disease -and almost certainly from a brothel - at the Suddher Bazaar in Bareilly, India on the 3rd March 1912. He would undergo treatment for the next six months.

Also in this man's papers is Army Form 11237, a Medical Case Sheet which in this particular case shows that the man concerned was having his pulse, breathing and temperature checked every half an hour. The results appear to be normal.

The images on this post are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Army Form W.3484B - Approval of Discharge under King's Regs, Para 392 (xvi)

Those of us who have studied First World War service will be very familiar with men being discharged under paragraph 392 (xvi) of King's Regulations for 1912 (re-printed with amendments to 1st August 1914). Men who were no longer physically fit for war service were discharged under this regulation and this particular form is essentially confirmation of this by the Medical Board.

These forms were printed in booklets and then detached. A note at the bottom of this particular form shows that it was part of a run of 8000 booklets which were printed in August 1916 (a month or more after the opening of the Somme offensive), clinical pessimism about the number of men who would soon be passing through this particular process.

This particular form was issued for 33179 Pte Ernest Riches of the 10th Yorkshire Regiment who was discharged from Norfolk War Hospital, Thorpe on the 30th August 1917.

The image on this page is Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Friday 18 August 2017

WO Form 498 - Attestation 1878

This form is an updated version of WO 497 and, in this case at least, dates to 1878. I suspect that it was introduced in this year as the code at the top left hand corner has a jumbled "1878" as the last four digits. 

This particular form was printed in a run of 12,000 by Ford and Tilt Ltd and appears to have been used principally for cavalry enlistments. The term of enlistment is stated as eight years with the colours and four years on the reserve.

Monday 10 July 2017

Army Form WO.39 - Attestation

This particular example attestation paper dates to July 1874 and, in this case, was used for an attestation on the 12th June. This is a two-page document, the second page showing that this man served nearly seevn years in India. There are separate papers in this man's file which detail his militray history and statement of services.

Images are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Saturday 27 May 2017

Army Form W.3194 - Group Scheme, proof of attestation

I suspect that this document is uncommon. Army Form W.3194 appears to be proof of attestation under the Group Scheme or Derby Scheme. This man fell into Group 37 which indciates that he was a married man, born in 1884, when he attested on the 15th December 1915. Apart from this useful information, we also see the man's home address and that he attested at Melton Mowbray.  Apart from a postage stamp, the reverse of this form is blank.

Army Form Z.53 - Cover

An envelope by any other name, Army Form Z.53 was a "cover for certificates and other documents of a soldier on demobization, transfer to the Reserve, or Discharge". This particualr form dates to 1919.

Monday 1 May 2017

Army Form B.267 - long service attestation

My spreadsheet of attestation forms indicates that Army Form B.267 was first introduced in 1880. Men signing up for long service - 12 years' service - attested using this particular form, and it was certainly still being used in the early twentieth century when a run of 30,000 was printed for what was then the 32nd iteration of this particular form.

The image above shows long service attestation, version 2, issued March 1881 in a print-run of 10,000. This particular version was completed for 4466 Frank Collins when he joined the Rifle Brigade on the 9th June 1881. 

Long service attestation, version 12, July 1885; a print-run of 10,000. This particular version was still in use fifteen years later when James Robert Beatrup joined the Life Guards on the 15th June 1900.

Long service attestation, version 21, September 1894; a print-run of 20,000. This particular version was completed on the 15th April 1889 when James Ayres joined the 2nd Life Guards.

Long service attestation, version 24, September 1898; a print-run of 8,000. This particular version was completed on the 27th June 1899 when James Bennett joined the 2nd Life Guards.

Long service attestation, all arms except cavalry, version 28, March 1901; a print-run of 40,000. This particular version was completed on the 9th June 1902 when Frederick James Frost joined the 2nd Life Guards.

Long service attestation, all arms, version 32, May 1904; a print-run of 30,000. This particular version was completed on the 21st February 1910 when John James Bagley joined the Rifle Brigade.

All images on this blog post are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Friday 28 April 2017

Army Form B.267A - cavalry attestation

Here's a good example of an Army Form that can't seem to make it's mind up: poor old Army Form B.267A. One can hardly blame it for indecisiveness. After all, it doesn't even seem to have a proper place in Army Form hierarchy, somehow squeezed in between Army Form B.267 and Army Form B.268. The version above, printed by Ford & Tilt Ltd was printed in 1898 and professes to be for men wishing to join the Cavalry of the Line for Long Service; that is 12 years' service with the colours and no reserve commitment. Incidentally, Ford and Tilt Ltd had been acquired by Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd in 1884 although here we still see F&T appearing on this form. On later forms, this would become HWV.

Lo and behold, here's version 1 of the Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd B.267A: 6,000 copies printed in February 1900.

Skipping ahead somewhat to version 5, of the Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd form, these 2,500 copies printed in November 1903 are now for short service men who wish to join not the cavalry of the line but the household cavalry. Terms of enlistment are eight years with the colours and four years on the reserve.

Version 6, Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd; 3,000 copies printed in March 1904.

This is still version six, albeit adapted to attest a man joining the line cavalry. The word "Household" has been summarily scored through.

I'll add the missing versions in, as and when I come across them (assuming I remember to do so). All of these images are Crown Copyright, The National Archives. 

Army Form B.133 - drivers

This attestation form for Army Service Corps drivers was first introduced in January 1903 in a print-run of 5000. Terms of service are clearly stated here as two years with the colours and ten years on the reserve.

The document was re-issued in various iterations over the coming years. The one above is the second version of this form which was printed in September 1903 in a print run of 5000 too.

This version of the form dates to May 1904 and was issued in a run of 15,000.

This version of Army Form B.133 dates to November 1905 and was printed in a run of 15,000. The obvious difference here is that this is now to be used for drivers enlisting with the Army Service Corps and the Royal Engineers. Month of printing, print-run quantity and version number appear on all of these documents in the top left hand-corner. HWV stands for Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd, the Aylesbury printers responsible for this rather nice contract with the British Army.

All images on this page are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Sunday 26 February 2017

MP X.9 - Pensioner's record card

This document is commonly seen in soldiers' files in series WO 364 (Soldiers' pensions from the First World War). It's a Ministry of Pensions' form rather than an Army Form, as such, hence the MP title. In the absence of other documents though - or read alongside a partial service history - it can provide useful information such as the year of birth, date of enlistment and degree of disablement.

In this particular case, the date of enlistment is noted as a date of re-enlistment because Arthur Nixon (no relation) had originally enlisted for four years with the 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. That was in 1912 and he'd served in the UK until March 1916. In this man's case, only this Ministry of Pensions card and his original four-page attestation survive and so this card is useful in that indicates subsequent service with the Labour Corps and records that his degree of disablement - aggravated by war service - was still at 20 per cent in 1921.

The images on this post are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Army Form C.309 - 2nd Class Certificate of Education 1923

Here's another example of an Army Certificate of Education, 2nd Class; not the most pristine example, to be sure, but it's good enough. This one was issued to a Coldstream Guardsman in 1926 after he'd passed in English, Maths, Map Reading and History. I am unsure whether "Handicraft" was permanently struck off this particular certificate or just in this guardsman's case. In any event, history strikes me as being a far more entertaining subject than handicraft.

The detail in the bottom left of this document notes that this form was part of a print run of 25,000 in February 1923.

Monday 30 January 2017

Arm Form WO.967 - Militia, conditional discharge

Army Form WO.967 must have been commonly used. It is the document by which a man's commanding officer authorised his discharge from the militia so that he could enlist in Her Majesty's (or HIs Majesty's) Regular Forces.

The example I have chosen (which is Crown Copyright, The National Archives) dates to 1878 and was part of a print run of 16,000 which had been issued in February of that year. 

Documents on Discharge

"When a soldier is to be discharged..." so begins the opening sentence on the back of this form, "the documents specified in the margin, arranged in the same sequence, will be placed inside this form." There are 18 separate forms noted in the margin but it is rare indeed to find all of these still surviving in archival files today. 

The image is Crown Copyright, The National Archives.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Army Form B.131 - Clinical Chart

I've had this image on my desktop for ages. I shudder to think of the thousands of images from soldiers' service paperts that I've looked at over the years, and every so often I come across a page that I don't recall seeing before. This was certainly the case with this Army Form B.131 which is a clinical chart, in this case reporting the temperature, pulse per minute, respiration per minute and motions per 24 hours for 20-year-old 202138 Corporal Vernon Swatman of the 2/5th South Staffordshire Regiment who was at Southmead Hospital, Bristol having had his leg amputated. Note how high his temperature rose after his operation on the 26th January.

Vernon had originally attested under the Derby Scheme in December 1915 and was admitted to hospital on the 26th October 1917 before being discharged nearly five months later in March 1918. He was discharged from the army in October 1918.

Findmypast has a huge amount of information on this man from his birth in December 1897, to school admission records, census returns for 1901 and 1911, military service record in WO 363, marriages in 1925 and 1929, an entry in the 1939 Register, and entry in Kelly's directory for Wolverhampton and finally his death in 1978. 

The image on this post is Crown Copyright, The National Archives.