How Do I Obtain My Father's / Grandfather's / Uncle's Service Certificate and/or Full Service History?
TO ACCESS AND DOWNLOAD A WAR SERVICE CERTIFICATE
- Log onto www.antiaircraft.org.au
- Click on Web Links
- Click on Item 20 of “Web Links” – World War Two Nominal Roll
A. If you do not have a SERVICE NUMBER
- Click on NAME
- Select Army from the Service option
- Enter Surname, First and Second Given Names and Date of Birth (if known)
- Click on Search
A one-page Service Record Summary is displayed, which can be downloaded and printed.
B. If you have a SERVICE NUMBER
- Select Army from the Service option
- Enter the Service Number (e.g. VX123456)
- Click on Search
A one-page Service Record Summary is displayed, which can be downloaded and printed
TO ACCESS A FULL SERVICE RECORD (Multiple Pages)
- Follow the steps above for a single page Certificate
- Click on “request a full service record”
- Select National Archives of Australia WW2 section from the Army, September 1939 - June 1947
- Select “Second Australian Imperial Forces personnel dossiers” from the National Archives web site
- Click on Name Search
- Enter Family Name - e.g. Paton
- Select World War II from “Category of records”
- Click on search – the total number of records with the surname Paton will be disclosed / displayed
A. If you do not have a Service Number:
- Enter Given names
- Click on search - the total number of records matching the full name will be disclosed.
- Click on Display
- Select the specific record relating to your father / grandfather / uncle
- Click on his Service Number (Control Symbol), which will take you to the next page where you can either "View digital copy" or "Request copy"
- Follow the links to either request the Full Service Record or simply view and download the Full Service History if it has previously been requested.
B. If you have a SERVICE NUMBER:
- Enter the Given Names and Service Number
- Click on search - which will disclose the one record which satisfies the criteria
- Click on Display
- Click on "View digital copy" or "Request copy"
Follow the links to either request the Full Service Record or simply view and download the Full Service History if it has previously been requested.
My father's / grandfather's Service Certificate states he was a member of the "2nd/3rd LAA" on his discharge. Why isn't his name on the Regimental Rolls?
The original hand written Regimental Rolls contain the names and Service Numbers of those who originally enlisted with the Regiment in July 1940 as well as those who subsequently joined the Regiment as Reinforcements. Prior to leaving the Middle East in 1942 the three Batteries of the Regiment were separated and were attached to other Units and/or newly formed Composite Regiments comprising a variety of Light and Heavy anti-aircraft guns. Some of these Composite Units had similar designations such as " 2/3 ALAA Battery" or "2/3 Australian Anti-Aircraft Regiment", which appear on the Service Certificates, and lead readers to understand their father / grandfather was a member of the 2/3 Australian LIGHT Anti-Aircraft Regiment. The Regimental Rolls on our web site have been compiled from the original hand written Rolls, cross referenced to the Nominal Roll which is included as an Appendix at the rear of the official Regimental History, "On Target".
What was the composition of the Regiment?
The Regiment comprised Regimental headquarter, three gun batteries (7 Bty, 8 Bty & 9 Bty), Signals Section, Workshops Section plus personnel attached to provide specific services including cooks, clerical workers, etc. See details at http://www.antiaircraft.org.au/regiment-members/regiment-structure .
From where were the members of the Regiment recruited?
Most of the members of Regimental Headquarters and the three gun batteries were recruited in Victoria in 1940. Most of the members of Signals Section came from New South Wales and were trained, within 1 Aust Corps of Signals, at Seymour, Victoria, before joining the Regiment. Most of the members of Workshops Section also came from New South Wales, being members of 1 Aust Brigade Anti-aircraft Workshops.
How can I obtain a copy of the official history of the Regiment, On Target?
The Regiment’s official history is Rae, CJE, Harris, AL & Bryant, RK 1987, On target: the story of the 2/3 Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment from formation on 18th July 1940 until disbandment on 14 July 1943 and the subsequent service of 7th Battery, 8th Battery, and 9th Battery, until the end of World War II, 2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Association, [Melbourne]. The book is been out of print for many years. Occasionally, copies become available on the commercial market but are always expensive owing to their rarity, check http://www.bookfinder.com .
As a service to members of the Regiment Association, and the public at large, the Association has had the book digitised and made available online in free full text at http://www.antiaircraft.org.au/about-us/on-target - there click on the link ‘On Target – The Book’.
What memorials exist to the Regiment?
A number of memorials exist, with these being the most prominent:
Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne
The memorial is placed at the base of a Simon Poplar tree, close to St Kilda Road, just uphill from tram stop 19, approximately 50 metres south of Dorcas Street. It was dedicated on 4 May 1997 and is officially known as the 12th Plaque. See http://www.shrine.org.au/Remembrance/Remembrance-Trees .
Werribee (Vic.) Racecourse
A memorial to the Regiment is located at the Werribee racecourse where the Regiment undertook its initial training in 1940 before embarking for the Middle East. It was unveiled on 24 Sep 2003. Each year the Werribee sub-branch of the RSL conducts a commemorative service there.
Beaumaris (Melbourne) RSL Club
A plaque commemorating the Regiment is affixed to a World War 2 40 mm Bofors gun at the clubhouse. The plaque, commemorating the Regiment and its service, was presented to the Club by the Regiment Association on 24 June 1987.
North Balwyn (Melbourne) RSL Club
A bronze plaque commemorating the Regiment is affixed to a World War 2 40 mm Bofors gun at the entrance to the clubhouse. The gun was restored by members of the Club and the plaque was unveiled on 21 Feb 1997.
In what combat zones did the Regiment serve, and what are its Battle Honours?
The Australian Army explains that ‘A Battle Honour is the public recognition and commemoration of an outstanding achievement on the battlefield by a unit or formation of the Australian Army’. By tradition, however, battle honours are not awarded to artillery units. Instead, we acknowledge that the Regiment's Theatre Honours are Tobruk, Crete, the Western Desert (Egypt and Libya), Syria, Port Moresby, Milne Bay, Lae, Buna and Borneo. Individual members also served in other parts of the world, and many were incarcerated in prisoner of war camps, particularly in Italy and Germany.
What casualties did the Regiment suffer?
The Regiment had a very high level of casualties through deaths, wounded and prisoners of war. Although records are incomplete, the casualties have been recorded as 66 men killed in action and 135 taken prisoners of war. These casualties were incurred in various theatres of war but particularly during the battle of Crete where 7th Battery incurred 175 casualties: 49 men killed in action, 2 presumed dead, 4 died of wounds, 14 wounded in action and 106 taken prisoners of war. Tragically, 7 Battery lost more men killed in action on Crete than any other Australian unit there. This is despite the fact that, being comprised of just 230 men, it had far fewer men than the infantry battalions that also participated in the battle.
What colour patch did the Regiment’s members wear?
The colour patches are shown at the top of each page on this website, they were the insignia of the Royal Australian Artillery, 1 Aust Corps, to which the Regiment belonged. Red and blue are the traditional colours of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery (RAA). The colour patches were worn on both shoulders, with the points where the narrow angles of the red and blue join, towards the front. They were also worn on the puggaree (hat band) of members’ slouch hats. The grey boundary to the colour patch indicate that the Regiment was part of the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF), that is, the all-volunteer army the members of which could be sent anywhere in the world. The members of Signals Section and Workshops Section wore the colour patches of their respective corps, not of the RAA. Colour patches were generally not meant to be worn in battle after the Middle East campaigns, an order that was widely ignored.
What weapons did the Regiment use?
The guns of Australian light anti-aircraft regiments were meant to be 40 mm Bofors. However, these were not available when the Regiment was raised in 1940 and so the men have to train on wooden mockups. They were not equipped with the guns until well into the Middle East campaigns. Indeed, during the Tobruk and related campaigns the Regiment was still not equipped with its own guns and had to use seized Italian light anti-aircraft weapons. The personal weapons of the members included .303 rifles (SMLE), Owen submachine guns and Thompson submachine guns, and S&W .38” revolvers.
Where are the Regimental colours laid up?
Unlike units from other parts of the Australian Army, Artillery units do not have regimental colours. This is because, as part of a long-standing tradition that evolved in the Royal Artillery, an artillery unit’s guns are themselves the regimental colours. Traditionally, in the heat of battle, members of artillery units rally around their guns, not around unit colours.
What are war diaries, and where can I find them?
As the Australian War Memorial explains, ‘While on active service army headquarters, formations, and units are required to keep war diaries recording their daily activities. The purpose of the diaries is twofold: to provide data on which future improvements in training, equipment, organisation, and administration can be based; and to provide future historians with a record of activities of units and formations in operational periods’. Further information on war diaries generally is online at http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/war-diaries/ .
The Regiment’s War Diaries are held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. There is only one copy of each diary, the original, in existence. Unfortunately they have not been digitised. The Committee of the Regiment Association has approached the War Memorial requesting them to digitise the diaries, and have offered to pay for this work, but our approach has been unsuccessful. Apparently the War Memorial has a policy of digitising certain diaries ahead of others, probably reflecting patterns of demand for access to those resources.
The Regiment’s war diaries held at the War Memorial are reasonably complete, although some gaps exist. They are available for the public to inspect at the War Memorial’s Research Centre.
What are the elements that make up the order of service of an Anzac Day ceremony?
The Australian Government Department of Veterans affairs provides details: 'Many Anzac Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies are based around this established and simple Order of Service. The service can be easily adapted to suit your particular group. There is flexibility in the choice of prayers, readings and poems, in whether to sing the popular hymns or sing or play modern music. The personality of your chosen speaker and the theme of the address given also makes your ceremony familiar, yet unique'. Visit http://www.dva.gov.au/commems_oawg/commemorations/commemorative_events/organise_events/Pages/index.aspx for a range of useful resources.
Where can I find more information on the traditions of the Australian Army?
The website of the Australian Army History Unit provides a wealth of information about the Army’s traditions: see http://www.army.gov.au/Our-history/Traditions .