This collection enables you to search for your ancestors in 21,400 Royal Artillery honours and awards for the period 1939-1946. The awards were given to the officers and men of the Royal Regiment of Artillery for their gallantry and dedication during WWII. This is a nominal roll of those awards.

These records could give you the following information about your ancestor:

• Soldier's title, first name (sometimes only initials, last name, rank and number
• Soldiers post nominals at the time of the award
• Date it appears in the London Gazette
• Unit the man was serving in at the time of the award, when known
• Award itself
• Branch of the regiment
• Award itself
• Theatre of operations in which the soldier was serving at the time
• Schedule number
• File number
• Who the award was recommended by
• Theatre of operations
• Remarks on the award*
• Further service notes, when known*
• Status*
• Date of event*
• Cause of death*
• Place of residence
• Date of discharge*
• Reason for discharge*

* For the majority these fields are blank but are being added in as the author carries out more research.

All the recipients are listed, as are their service numbers, their rank, the date of the award, the award type and the theatre of operations along with the command formation who recommended the award and the schedule and file numbers. Many of the other details are being added as they are discovered.

The records explained

Soldier's number

Both officers and soldiers had individual numbers during WWII. When an officer was commissioned from the ranks, he would stop using his soldier's number and was issued a new officers P number. This means a recipient may be recorded here under two different numbers for pre- and post-commission awards.

Soldier's rank

Many of the ranks within the RA have been abbreviated. The soldier's full substantive rank is given with any acting 'A', temporary 'T', or local 'L' rank in brackets afterwards.

• Gnr – gunner
• L/Bdr – lance bombardier
• Bdr – bombardier
• L/Sgt – lance sergeant
• Sgt – sergeant
• S/Sgt – staff sergeant
• QMS – quartermaster sergeant
• TSM – troop sergeant major
• BQMS – battery quartermaster sergeant
• RQMS – regimental quartermaster sergeant
• BSM – battery sergeant major (warrant officer class 2)
• WOII – warrant officer class 2
• SM (AC) – sergeant major (artillery clerk)
• RSM – regimental sergeant major (warrant officer class 1)
• WOI – warrant officer class 1
• 2nd Lt – lieutenant
• Lt – lieutenant
• Lt Col – lieutenant colonel

Other abbreviations explained

• U/P – unpaid
• P/ – paid
• Art. RA – artificer, Royal Artillery
• Dvr – driver
• (AC) – artillery clerk
• (IG) – instructor in gunnery
• (DO) – district officer
• (DOIG) – district officer and instructor in gunnery
• (QM) – quartermaster
• (TIG) –technical instructor in gunnery

The unit the man was serving in at the time of the award

During WWII, the RA was organised with batteries in regiments. Their role was normally included in their title:

• AOP – air observation post
• LAA – light anti-aircraft
• HAA – heavy anti-aircraft
• Hy – heavy
• Obs – observation
• SL – searchlight
• (M) – mixed
• RHU – regimental holding unit
• HQRA – headquarters Royal Artillery
• TD – training depot

When a soldier wasn't serving with a regiment or similar, or on a headquarters staff, they would appear on a list instead. These were called the 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' Lists. They were usually controlled at theatre level.

• BEF – British Expeditionary Force
• CMF – Central Mediterranean Force
• MEF – Middle East Forces

Occasionally their role is mentioned:

• SBO – senior British officers
• OC – officer commanding
• COS – chief of staff
• GSO – general staff officer
• AA&QMG – anti-aircraft and quartermaster general
• DA&QMG – director of artillery and quartermaster general
• BRA – brigade major Royal Artillery
• CRA – commander Royal Artillery
• CCRA – corps commander Royal Artillery
• MGRA – major general Royal Artillery
• IG – instructor in gunnery

Award itself

• VC – Victoria Cross
• GCB – Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the British Empire
• KCB – Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
• KBE – Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
• CB – Companion, the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
• CBE – Commander, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
• OBE – Officer, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
• MBE – Member, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
• BEM – British Empire Medal
• DSO – Distinguished Service Order
• DSC – Distinguished Service Cross
• MC – Military Cross
• DFC – Distinguished Flying Cross
• DCM – Distinguished Conduct Medal
• GM – George Medal
• DSM – Distinguished Service Medal
• MM – Military Medal
• DFM – Distinguished Flying Medal
• MID – Mention in Despatches
• Commendation
• Gallantry Certificate
• CBC –Certificate for Brave Conduct
• CIGS Certificate – Chief of the Imperial General Staff's Certificate
• CinC Certificate – Commander in Chief's Certificate
• MS Certificate – Meritorious Service Certificate
• GC Cert – Good Conduct Certificate
• GS Cert – Good Service Certificate

Schedule number

Parts of these references give an indication on the chain of command of the unit the soldier was serving in:

• 11 AGRO – 11 Army Group Regimental Orders
• 21 AGRO – 21 Army Group Regimental Orders
• AACO – Anti-Aircraft Command Orders
• AGRO – Army Group Regimental Orders
• BEF – British Expeditionary Force
• CMF – Central Mediterranean Force
• MEF – Middle East Forces
• BM – British Military Mission
• DDMI – Department & Directorate of Military Intelligence
• ECO – Eastern Command Orders
• GRO – General Regimental Orders
• LDO – London District Orders
• MRA – Maritime Royal Artillery
• MI – Military Intelligence
• MS – Military Secretariat
• NCO – Northern Command Orders
• PW – Prisoner of War
• RO – Regimental Orders
• SCO – Southern Command Orders
• SECO – South Eastern Command Orders
• WCO – Western Command Orders

File number

These references match those written on the surviving honours and awards recommendations held at the National Archives, Kew.

Recommended by

The general officer commanding would send regular despatches home to the UK describing his actions. These were numbered for every theatre of operations and the last despatch was known as the cease-fire despatch 'CF Despatch.'
The headquarters staff would also send back lists of recommendations. Again their titles suggest the chain of command and/or the unit the soldier was serving in when read in conjunction with the theatre of operations.

Theatre of operations

This is usually the country in which the award was won. During WWII, however, this was expanded to include 'Special Operations', 'Ex-Prisoners of War' and 'Escapees'.