Asking your Dad, or Grandpa .. and your Grandmother as tens of thousands served in the women's services .. just these few questions could save you a great deal of time later, and save many a false trail through records that have no relevance because you guessed the wrong regiment, ship, etc.

My generation mostly missed the chance to get this info from our World War One veterans; I know I did with my grandad, and there is so much I would love to know. Too late now. Don't make the same mistake with our World War Two veterans ... mostly, they will be glad you asked, and pleased to help. Especially when they know why you're asking.

Remember these few points as you ask :

A lot of Veterans, had they had computers and notebooks 50 years ago, would have written this down themselves. They just never got around to it.

Ask them now ... politely, and with compassion. Just remember that many memories are too painful to recall, so don't press matters. Time works wonders.

Remember that many men are even more reluctant to talk to girls about war ... that is why my grandfather didn't tell his four daughters anything, but was willing to tell me, his grandson, a little. But I was young and foolish then, didn't ask the right questions, and even more foolishly didn't write down the answers. Please, don't make the same mistakes as I did.

Good Luck.

Tip : if you Cut & Paste these questions, you can print this page to take your answers.



What made you want to join up (if not conscripted)

Boyhood dream .. out of work .. spur of the moment, join your mates, etc




Why did you choose your particular Service.

Or did you not have a choice.



Where did you sign on, and how old were you.

Which recruiting office

What did your parents think to it. Supportive or what?

How many years did you serve altogether … give dates if poss.





Where did you go to start with .. perhaps for basic training.

What sort of barracks or camp, or ship, was it.

Was it remote, or in a town.





Was the training hard.

Ask about the camp, NCO’s, food, spare time, etc



Did you make many friends.

Any lifelong friends, any mates you got into trouble with ? … any you're still in touch with.




What was your first posting.

Which Army Unit … was it part of a larger outfit, like a brigade or division.

If a ship, was it part of a larger flotilla, or squadron …

Air Force … which squadron, airfields served on ….







Did you specialise for a trade, go on courses …

Trades such as Signals, fitter, marksman, engineer, armoury, gunner, motor transport, wireless, etc

Where …. What was it like. Any qualifications … did your trade fit you for life in Civvy Street.






Talk about some of the officers and leaders you’ve known …

The best of them, the worst of them … include NCO’s

Who was your Commanding Officer. Who was the senior NCO.







Did you get to go abroad, foreign postings …

What was the travel like … did you go by troopship or by air

Describe … first impressions on landing.

Was it how you thought it would be.







Did you lose any mates …

In combat .. … or by accident

Attend any funerals or act as pallbearers or side-party.




On demob ….

What was it like getting back to Civvy Street

Finding a job


Sleep and relaxation

Any regrets. …would you do it again …. Not likely, or wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Just Close the Tab, or Window, when you've done ...
your Sutton page should still be open behind.


In a similar way, here are some suggested


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