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What do the terms mean on service records?
QI have a service record and photograph of my great grandfather John James (Jack) King, who served with the Suffolk Regiment during the First World War. The service records for the 1/4th Suffolks survived, as they remained at the record office in Bury St Edmunds. Trying to understand some of the terms used is quite a challenge, so please could you explain what “frv.s. act (sessions2) 1916” means?
AThe document you’ve copied isn’t Jack’s service record, but a very good summation of his war service. His long number, 200014, shows he was a Territorial Force (TF) part-time soldier and his medal rolls and Medal Index Card (on ancestry.co.uk) confirm service in 1/4th Suffolks, a TF battalion. They show he went to France on 8 November 1914, so had been fully trained, and his original regimental number (212) suggests he’d been in the TF for some time – possibly even joining when it was formed in 1908.
The line you’re specifically querying says “M S Act (Sessions 2) 1916”, referring to additional clauses added to the 1916 Military Service Act. These automatically extended the service of a soldier, who’d enlisted for a fixed term, to the end of the war.
The Regimental Museum website confirms its archive is deposited at Suffolk Record Office in Bury St Edmunds, whose catalogue includes for the 1/4th Battalion “G2 Digests of services and other contemporary narratives”, which I suspect is what you have. Possibly it was inherited from the records of the Suffolk Territorial Association (which ran the TF) long ago.
It could also have come from the Ministry of Defence which, about 15 years ago, dispersed many records to regimental museums. I believe these didn’t contain service records, but did include indexes, digests and registers containing details of individuals (such as defaulters and deserters). Other researchers might find it worth checking these museums to see what they hold. The Army Museums Ogilby Trust at armymuseums.org.uk has contact and website details.