Are there likely to be records to access for more information for my father (deceased in 1993)?

He served aboard a number of ships (land sites) from 1943-46.

I have his certificate of service which shows not much except Glendower, Pembroke and 3 others with dates and a Port division with official number.

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    What are the dates? What is the rank? Which country we are referencing? What kind of information would you like to find? Add these to your question and I'll see what I can locate. Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 1:06
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    I'm also keen to find about about various establishments relating to my father in law in WWII. I've already received his papers and it names a number of bases, and I think they are all likely to be shore establishments. Is there a resource where I can check and find our more information
    – Chadwi
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 16:47
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    @Chadwi I would encourage you to research/ask this as a separate question. It is currently only a comment and as such it is far less likely to be seen by a potential answerer.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 23:42

5 Answers 5


I am going through this process at the moment. I am applying to the MOD for service records for my Great Uncle who was killed in action during WW2.

Follow this link. You then need to download the relevant forms and send them off to the department indicated within the forms.

It costs £30, but beware the records may not exist, as lots were lost during the bombing at Portsmouth. Unfortunately there is no way to tell if the service records are in tact until the search has been made.

Seeing as your father passed away after service, it think you will need to provide a copy of the Death Certificate.

On the MOD website, they state the following:

Under the scheme, and in recognition of the duty of care owed to the family of the deceased subject, for a period of 25 years following the date of death of the subject and without the consent of the next of kin, MOD will disclose only:

  • Surname
  • Forename
  • Rank
  • Service Number
  • Regiment/Corps
  • Place of birth
  • Date of death (where it occurred in service)
  • The date the individual joined the service
  • The date of leaving
  • Good conduct medals

After this period, and if it is held, in addition MOD will disclose without the requirement for next of kin consent:

  • The units in which he/she served
  • The date of this service and the locations of those units
  • The ranks in which the service was carried out and details of WWII campaign medals

I assume that your father's service was with the Royal Navy during WWII.

The "ships" you have named (HMS Glendower and HMS Pembroke) were in fact shore bases.

HMS Glendower was a training establishment at Caernarfonshire, Wales in what had been a Butlin's holiday camp. That was probably where he did his basic recruit training.

HMS Pembroke is a very popular name in RN History that might refer to any one of several different bases. Did your father work in finance or cryptography?

  • HMS Pembroke II - accounting base at Chatham between 1940 and 1957.
  • HMS Pembroke III - accounting base at London and outstations between 1942 and 1952.
  • HMS Pembroke V - secret base at Bletchley Park between 1941 and 1945

When you think about it, giving the naval group at the (secret) code-breaking establishment the same name as the pay office would have allowed them to move people with a mathematical bent there without attracting too much attention.

So the relative shortage of detailed information might mean that your father had a very boring war service or a highly classified one.

If you have his service number, make your next stop The National Archives.

  • Do You Hear There , Able Seaman ,RP3, Lindop.J,D/JX 540875 ( ret) here, re HMS Glendower, this was not a Butlins Holiday camp taken over by the RN,it was built by Butlin for the RN with an eye on being such a camp after the war, which it became. I did my Seaman and Gunnery training there
    – user4038
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 21:00
  • Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user of this site I recommend taking its Tour because it operates quite differently to bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites that you may be used to. The first hand information that you have provided is very useful so I will convert it to a comment on the answer that said it had been a Butlin's holiday camp originally.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 23:52

As it seems that Bletchley Park is a possibility you should check the Roll of Honour that the Bletchley Park Trust maintains.

It's not complete, so if he isn't listed there and you manage to determine that he did serve there then I'm they would love to here from you so they can add him.


As mentioned in an answer to Tracing records of Royal Navy personnel from World War 2?, it is possible to order personnel records for servicemen from the MOD.

However, this is a very expensive option and the records can take a long time to arrive.


I have a WW2 medal from an F.C Howling C.P.O.S.M RN HMS PEMBROKE around the rim. Can't find anyhthing about this guy anywhere. It's like he is a ghost and never existed.

  • Welcome to G&FH:SE. This doesn't actually answer the question. To ask a new question, click on the Ask question button at the top of the page. By all means link back to this question for context of you think that will help. You will probably find it helpful to review our Tour and Help Centre, and in particular How to Ask. Commented May 19, 2023 at 19:11
  • Also, the F.C. may be Francis Clarence, since a Francis Clarence Howling based at HMS Pembroke is recorded in the UK Naval Medal and Award Rolls on Ancestry. Commented May 19, 2023 at 19:19

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