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Military Records

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Samantha Report 8 Apr 2024 20:04

I am struggling to find any information on my grandfathers Military history.
I have hear say that he joined the Somerset Light Infantry, Aldershot. (i do have an old black and white photo of him with others saying "taken at Aldershot)

I've been given an old book from where he used to work with an article "Personality Of The Month" it states that, He has served in India in the 26th British Military Mission at Poona and the North West Frontier.
He was also one of those who helped to organise the release and evacuation of the Polish people from the Russian prison-of-war camps via the Caspian Sea and Teheran Persia.

If I'm honest I don't really know where to start, I am on Find my Past but no Military Records have appeared.

Please could I have some advice and guidance.

Grandfathers name was Leonard Charles Oswald Ebdon, born 12/10/1918 Devon.

Any help would be most grateful.


greyghost Report 8 Apr 2024 22:19

England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007
Hillingdon, Middlesex, England

Transcript of Leonard Charles O's record
Copy to clipboard
First name(s) Leonard Charles O
District number 2361C
Last name Ebdon
Register number C31B
Sex Male
Entry number 115
Birth day 21
Date of registration mm/yy 0196
Birth month 10
County Middlesex
Birth year 1918
Country England
Death quarter 1
Record set England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007
Registration month 1
Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
Death year 1996
Subcategory Civil Deaths & Burials
District Hillingdon
Collections from Great Britain, England
© Findmypast


greyghost Report 8 Apr 2024 22:20

WW2 records are not online

Have a look at this site for info re applying for service records

If you do go ahead and order - be aware that they can take months to reach you.


greyghost Report 8 Apr 2024 22:25

Looks like his birth registration, - transcribed as initials C G - but looks like C O on original
Births Dec 1918 (>99%)

Surname First name(s) Mother District Vol Page
Ebdon Leonard C G Ebdon Exeter 5b 103

If you have FMP you have probably seen the 1921 census for him - there his initials are transcribed as CA, but clearly CO on original.


greyghost Report 8 Apr 2024 22:32

Some history here re Somerset LI


Samantha Report 8 Apr 2024 23:36


Thank you ever so much for the above information.
This would explain why I have not been able to find any military info for him.

If i do decide to order the paperwork will they ask for his service number as i do not have any of this information.


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 00:09

Just to let you know that your application for Grandfathers service record could take up to a year to process. The application form will require a death certificate attached. If you know your Grandfathers service number that would be useful. If not, you could try the following Centre for any information they may have regarding him.

As an example Somerset Heritage Centre holds records entitled


Here is a shortcut to the catalogue contents

Here is their contact information

Somerset Heritage Centre
Brunel Way
Norton Fitzwarren

Telephone: 01823 278 805

Email: [email protected]

You could also consider speaking to them about Absent voters lists
Reference: Q\REr/19/3
Title: Absent voters lists
(all constituencies)
Qualifying Date: -(G)
Date: 1934-38


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 00:14

I also found this information which was held on Ancestry initially.

The tree member on this site has information specific to your Grandfather, which claims he enlisted aged 14.

Perhaps this may be able to shortcut your search for your Grandfathers service record


Samantha Report 9 Apr 2024 00:16


Thank you for the above.

Unfortunately I do not have a service number for my Grandfather and do not know how to obtain.

May I ask, what is absent voters lists please.


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 00:28

Out of interest do you know where your Grandfathers medals are?
The 1st Battalion S.L.I, were deployed in India before Burma. (The Burma Star was awarded for service between 11 December 1941 and 2 September 1945.) Therefore you would have expected him to have been presented with one.


Samantha Report 9 Apr 2024 00:46

Unfortunately, when he passed away my Grandmother disposed of all his belongings including all of his war papers and medals.

I can not believe she did such a thing, but she did.


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 01:06

Absent voters list recorded persons who did not appear on the 1939 Register for example, as they were on active service etc etc

You do not have to have your GF's service number to make the application

However, if you have a look at the 9 Apr 2024 00:09 entry I posted, the content on that page identifies records that the Heritage centre hold for the SLI. These include Muster rolls, discharge registers and pay lists. Enlistment and discharge registers.
They MAY be able to obtain you GF's service number from one of the Registers that they hold.
If they don't hold it, you could then ask about any deployment history they have for the SLI in Poona (Pune) or any other theatre, if it interests you.

The Imperial War Museum website currently holds 230 records for the S.L.I during World War 2. They may be something of interest there for you depending on how deep you want to research the Regiment

If you want further information you could also sign up the National Archives (TNA) website. It is free. I had a brief look to see if I could find Ebdon mentioned in their Discovery search. There was 171 results.
From previous searches I am aware that the TNA hold War Diaries which are a Diary of a Regiment's movements etc etc. I do not know whether or not the War Diaries for the S.L.I would be available online or if you would have to visit Kew to look at them. Again these documents would give you insight to where the Battalion was and what they got up to, but would probably not contain specific information about your GF. Although some Diaries have previously held Casualty information with Names and Service numbers, but it is not always the case.

There may some documents held within TNA War Office (WO) records. You mentioned some theatres your GF was involved in, as an example there are WO records specific to the following location

Middle East WO 169 1939-1946 Aden, East Africa, Sudan, Malta, Persia and Iraq

Again, these are specific to the Battalions and not the individual.

You could also try to find your GF through Casualty lists. If he was a casualty you may be able to find him amongst those records and that would be another way of confirming/identifying his service number.


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 01:15

If the photograph you mentioned shows your GF in uniform (with a beret) you may be able to verify his regiment from this cap badge.


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 01:28

There is also about 234 records including photographs of Polish refugees sent to Iran on the Imperial War Museum website using the following filter

Deportation of the Polish Population from the Soviet Occupied Part of Poland, 1940-1941


ErikaH Report 9 Apr 2024 10:03

His DoB and full names should be enough to apply for his records.

Not sure whether you would have to pay for them, as criteria have changed in recent years

In case you don't pay the extra sub to FMP....................1921 info for him

Leonard C O Ebdon, Age 2yrs 8 months. Mother alive
Institution name Poor Law Institution 14 Heavitree Road Exeter


ErikaH Report 9 Apr 2024 10:08

GRO Reference: 1918 D Quarter in EXETER Volume 05B Page 103

Unless you already know his mother's name, you could find out by downloading the digital image from the GRO site..............cost £2.50


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 11:40

Yes, there are fees for "paid search service" 24.35 GBP (no VAT added)


Jink20 Report 9 Apr 2024 12:07

Re Erika's entry 9 Apr 2024 10:03

Here is a link to the 14 Heavitree Road Exeter address, if it is of interest to you

According to their website Devon Heritage Centre, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Exeter, EX2 7NL apparently hold ledgers 1857-1949 as well as other records


ArgyllGran Report 9 Apr 2024 17:39

Some WW2 service records are with the MOD, and some with the National Archives.

The MOD is gradually transferring all records to the NA.

If the record you want is still with the MOD, there's no fee.
There may be a fee if it's with the NA.

All the necessary info is on the link given to you by Greyghost on 8 April at 22:20.

You should apply first to the MOD, because it's free.
If they don't have the record, they'll tell you to apply to the NA.

Amongst the info on that link, you'll see that it says it can take "up to a year".
There is very high demand, ever since the MOD stopped charging a fee, last year.


Samantha Report 9 Apr 2024 20:28

Thank you for all the information you have provided, looks like I have enough to keep me busy for awhile.

Thank you for the information you have found, I do use FMP and have this information.
I shall be taking a look at the link provided as that i do not have.
His mothers maiden name was Ebdon, two children out of wedlock.
We do not know who the father was to the boys as it was never spoken about.
Ive been told two stories but without census/paperwork stating where she was living and with who, i doubt we will ever know.