Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

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Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby Liz » 11 Jun 2009 09:24

We are frequently asked for assistance with deciphering particular abbreviations etc. in service records. Here is a nifty list put together by no lesser body than the British Library. Despite the banner emphasising that the hard work was put in by the India Office, many of the items on the list are of general application. And the location, you ask?
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Re: Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby Brett Hendey » 12 Jun 2009 06:31


Many thanks for the link to a very useful list. I tested it by checking an abbreviation that has long puzzled me and got the answer at last!

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Re: Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby Norwood » 12 Jun 2009 18:28

Another useful resource ... Thank You
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Re: Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby Berkshire Dragon » 03 Aug 2009 18:54


Thanks for this link.

I had been struggling with several abbreviations in the service records for my ancestor G A Harrison, spotted your thread and voila, they they were! I can now look to complete my write up (hopefully soon) and post it into Mark's recent thread where he is plaintively looking for completed research projects on men where help has been obtained through the forum. :)

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Re: Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby Kent Young » 29 Dec 2009 05:48

I am having trouble interpreting a Victorian sailor's service record. It appears under "Gunnery Engagements" that he was tested in his gunnery skills and called S.G. 1C on 18.12.91, but he is not promoted to PO1 until 16 May 93. He remains a PO1 for the remainder of his career, although under the "Gunnery Engagement" column, it appears that he was reevaluated on HMS Excellent as S.G. 2C on 1.10.98, and then apparently he was changed to Q.G. on 1.9.01 and reqs Q.G. on 12.2.03. What is S.G. and Q.G. specifically?
Also, in his earliest years of service, the record shows in the rate column that he enters as a B 2C and then B1C (I know these are Boy 2nd and 1st Class) next he is shown as what appears as C rd (maybe G rd) [what is this?], and next he is called a T.M.28.2.84 (which happens to be the same date he reported to Duke of Wellington from HMS Hector. What is this? - Torpedoman perhaps? And finally he becomes an AB (Able Seaman) on 28 May 85.
In Remarks, while he was a Boy 1 or 2, it states C.G. L5 xmas 81 and C.G. L2.10.xmas 82 - are these payments? One last question - In remarks, occassionally there is an entry T.M. reqd [followed by a date]. It appears to be the required time period since the last GCB was issued has been satisfied. So what does T.M. specifically represent?
Thanks to anyone who offers any help.
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Re: Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby crimea1854 » 29 Dec 2009 09:33


I think I can answer some of your questions:

SG - Seaman Gunner - this confirms that he had undergone gunnery training, possibly at HMS Excellent, the Navys gunnery school.

QG - ?

TM - Trained Man - I'm not entirely sure what was entailed to receive the qualification, but it was necessary to have this renewed every few years, which added an extra penny/day to a mans' pay.

I think that he then entered the Coast Guard Service, hence the 'C/G rd'. Duke of Wellington and Hector were both CG Establishment ships. You could try the CG records in ADM 175 to confirm this.

CG - I believe this actually reads GC (Good Conduct). For each GC Badge a man was awarded a penny/day extra pay, there being a maximum of 3 badges available. This money was paid either at Xmas or on Lady Day (25th March). I'm guessing, but 'L' was used as an abbreviation for 'Pounds' so you have two payments, one of £5, and the other of £2 10/- .

I hope your record is a little clearer now.


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Re: Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby Waggoner » 29 Dec 2009 13:10

Kent and Martin,

Is it possible that QG = Qualified Gunner? Just a guess.

All the best,

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Re: Abbreviations & terms that crop up in service records

Postby crimea1854 » 29 Dec 2009 13:33

Kent and Gary

I've been doing a little research and now believe QG means Quarter Gunner - a junior petty officer. This rate would have assisted the Gunner, who was rated as a Warrant Officer, at one man per four guns.

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Militia attestation 1900, help please

Postby daggers » 13 Dec 2012 22:30

Hello. I have just joined here and after browsing can recognise familiar names from the GWF, which is my main interest.

A family history search has led me to a 1900 Militia attestation for 5th Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Tower Hamlets) on which the Approving Officer has filled in "LRD6509" as the Regulation under which the militiaman was enlisted "by special authority".

Is there anyone here who can explain this, please?

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Re: Militia attestation 1900, help please

Postby zerostate » 20 Dec 2012 20:52

I believe this refers to special enlistment, authorisation for which had to be obtained.

It was for when a recruit did not meet the age requirements (too old or too young), or the physical requirements (too small), but would either get older and bigger, or fitter and make a good soldier with training.

It also applied when the recruit was married, a widower with dependent children, or foreign! It should always have been used for boys wishing to join up.


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Re: Militia attestation 1900, help please

Postby Frogsmile » 20 Dec 2012 23:12

Chris has explained it very well I feel. A particular problem at that time was stature (many young men were malnourished and huge numbers did not meet the 'minimum' requirements). Rather than lose a promising lad who seemed to have a lot to offer, special authorisation could be sought. It was in effect management of risk, in the hope that with good food, fresh air and exercise the lad would grow and meet the standard laid down.
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Need help with terminology and abbreviations

Postby quoddy » 16 Jan 2013 01:45

I believe that I have identified my ancestor and have downloaded his discharge papers (W.O. Form 83) from FMP. Everything looks good until the final page provides a list of events during the years following his service. I'm assuming this list was put together by the "Regimental Board" from other documents.

Each line is preceded with a letter number designation (F1234, K5678). I'm assuming the letter references a book and the number is an entry in the book. Is there a way to identify the document where these entries were originally recorded?

I find reference to "A37" "A44" "A 14/4" "A36" "A58". What do this codes represent?

Finally, my ancestor was settled in Canada during this time but entries like "Admitted to Inpension Kilmainham" seem to suggest he was in Dublin on this date. Does this indicate the ancestor had travelled back to Ireland for a visit or could this indicate a change in status that didn't require him to be present?

Thanks for the help.

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Please help with service record

Postby Dannemois » 10 Jul 2013 17:59

I would appreciate if someone could tell me what the comment 'E.L.Ply' written in the 'Cause of Discharge from Division or Ship column on a Royal Marines' service record signifies. I appreciate Ply would be Plymouth but I am not sure what the initials E.L. stands for.
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Re: Please help with service record

Postby jersey » 30 Sep 2013 00:55

The only thing I can think of is ENGAGEMENT LAPSED or ENLISTMENT LAPSED and I stress that this only a

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Re: Please help with service record

Postby crimea1854 » 30 Sep 2013 10:42

Another guess: EFFECTIVE LIST.

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