User Forum 8 November MOD service records

User Forum 8th November
MOD service records
Home guard pilot –
Current status of the pilot home guard records (Durham)
All of the Home Guard records for Durham have been digitised and indexed by name. They are
searchable by name in Discovery in the series WO 409. Approximately half of the records are for
people born less than 100 years ago, which means that they are still closed. Records that are
closed are listed in Discovery but not orderable. If you search for a record and find it is closed,
you will see an online form that you can complete to request a review. A search fee is payable for
reviewing the closure status and evidence that the person who served is no longer living needs to
be provided.
Further information on these records can be found here:
Current status of the remainder of the Home Guard records
The remainder of the records are still held by the Ministry of Defence, who provide information on
making a request for access on their website here:
As the pilot has demonstrated that a much larger proportion of the records than expected are
closed (see above), it is not currently practicable to digitise the remainder of the records. We
realise that this is disappointing for many of our users, and we are continuing to investigate
possible ways to overcome the problem. Unfortunately however, this exploratory work will itself
take some time. Therefore for the time being our digitisation activity has moved on to other record
sets on our priority list.
Explanation of issues experienced with the pilot
The data protection act dictates that these records cannot be opened until 100 years after the
date of birth of the individual concerned; unless it can be proved that the individual has died. Prior
to the launch of this project, it was generally assumed that the majority of Home Guard personnel
were too old to serve in the regular army and therefore would have been born more than 100
years ago, although there was no statistical data available to prove this. The pilot has
demonstrated that this assumption was not correct and that in fact a significant proportion were
born less than 100 years ago.
Current status regarding the other 3 ‘inter war collations’
Royal Navy
We are in the process of preparing an internal investment bid for the digitisation of the Royal
Navy CR Cards during the next financial year (April 2013-March 2014). The National Archives
has a structured process for allocating resources to our investment projects, which takes place
between November and January at the start of the annual planning and budget cycle. If the Royal
Navy CR cards bid is successful, we will scan these records during the course of 2013-14 for
publication via Discovery.
Air Force
We recently held supplier days which essentially kicked off the competition between commercial
partners to be our licensed partner for the RAF records. The commercial partners have a fixed
period in which to make their offers and we will then award a contract to one of them in January
2013. As this is a relatively small collection we anticipate that it could take less than 12 months
from January for the company to prepare, scan, transcribe and load the records into their online
service, but we cannot yet confirm a launch date as that will be determined by the budget and
business plans of the winning bidder.
We will be making decisions over the next few months regarding which of our record sets should
be offered to commercial partners during 2013-14. The Army records for soldiers born before
1895 is one of the series under consideration.
Current status / plans regarding the Second World War service records
There are currently no specific plans for making the Second World War service records available,
as we are currently focusing our attentions on the inter war records detailed above.
Due to the likely dates of birth of the individuals concerned, transfer of these records to The
National Archives is not likely to be feasible for a number of years.