Author Topic: Singapore, late 1950s - can't even find out which branch somebody was with.  (Read 406 times)

Offline SLT1984

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TL;DR: My grandfather spent time in Singapore in the late 1950s. I can find nothing to match him on any military record sites. How do I find out why he was there or what he did?


My family has pretty much always been estranged from my maternal grandfather. I met him twice, I think; once as an infant, and once at the age of ten. I did exchange letters with him as a child / young teen, but remember very little of the content and have only ever found one surviving note. I wasn't even certain of his name until my partner suggested I have a play about using their account at a popular subscription-based website. As time and lives go by, I myself have become estranged from most of my family (which does, I suppose, make genealogy an odd choice of hobby!). Anyhow, all of that makes for unrelated stories - my original point was going to be that there is nobody I can ask questions of in 'real life'.

I grew up believing that he had spent time in the military (specifically with the air force - though I can't remember why). I knew (or thought I knew) that my mother had been born in Singapore while he was stationed over there, and that they remained there until she was two years old.

When I started researching my family history I struggled to find evidence to verify anything that I thought I knew about him, including his supposed time with the military. I have searched the biggest military records website along with other subscription-based sites and found nothing. I had begun to feel doubtful of the whole thing (I had grown up with the understanding that he was somewhat fanciful with his stories).

I recently revisited him in my notes and thought to actually look for my mother's birth record (basic stuff, I know, but it had never previously occurred to me to collect records for living people!). I found her birth registration immediately, filed under British Armed Forces and Overseas Births and Baptisms, sourced from the GRO Army Birth Indices 1881-1965. The document itself is titled 'Service Departments Returns - Births - 1956-1960' and confirms she was indeed born in Singapore. I then searched for a record of his second daughter's birth and found hers straight away, too - in 1960 in Aldershot.

With his first daughter's birth in the Army Birth Indices records, and his second daughter born in Aldershot, 'Home of the British Army', I have renewed belief that he was involved with the armed forces in some capacity after all. I'm presuming I'm simply not looking in the right places or with the right terms (or names, even), and I'd be ever-so appreciative if anybody could suggest where I could find some answers.

I'm not even fussed about seeing the small print of any records - at this stage of my life I'd genuinely be pleased just to know which branch of the military he was with (or if he was a civilian working for the military).

Many thanks =]


The facts:

name: Allan David BINGHAM (birth registration lists 'Alan D' but I always knew him to have the double L. marriage registration lists 'Allan D')
aka: he was known at various points of his life as Ben or Benjamin. There are two GRO records for his death (is that normal?) one for 'Alan David BINGHAM' and another for 'Benjamin Alan D BINGHAM'.

1935: birth, Peterborough (parents: Reuben Kenneth BINGHAM and Katherine Mary COZENS)
1951 - 1953: apprenticeship, Peterborough
1955: marriage, Bournemouth
1959: return to UK
1960s: separation from wife
2018: death, Hereford
BINGHAM - Stamford & Peterborough
COZENS - Marylebone from Dorset via Norfolk (Blofield)
GUNNINGHAM - West Somerset (Williton / Lydeard / Stogumber) & Bristol (Bedminster)
HAYWARD - Fordingbridge
LEGG - Bournemouth
MEDLAND - moved from Newton Abbot in Devon to Hampreston in Dorset
STEELE - Bournemouth & Poole
TUCKER - North Dorset (Cheselbourne / Hilton / Lydlinch)

Also my partner's most frustrating brick wall - Alexander McDOUGALL of Knightsbridge / Kensington (1820 - 1856) and his son, James

Offline mckha489

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Re: Singapore, late 1950s - can't even find out which branch somebody was with.
« Reply #1 on: Friday 17 April 20 07:41 BST (UK) »
Does your motherís or your auntís birth certificate, or the marriage certificate give any indication as to rank, regiment etc etc?
even ww2 records are not freely available yet, so I am not surprised you havenít found anything for the period post war.

Offline MaxD

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Re: Singapore, late 1950s - can't even find out which branch somebody was with.
« Reply #2 on: Friday 17 April 20 10:14 BST (UK) »
As Mckhae489 is saying, the route won't be found on line as all service records post 1921 are still held by the relevant branch of the Ministry of Defence.  As he died so recently you would only be able to get his full record if you are, or are able to get the consent of, his next of kin.  You would also have to take a guess as to which branch of the service he was in (unless you apply to all 3 for a total of £90), my guess would be army.  If you can't satisfy the NoK requirement than you will get only minimal information.  Process is here:  In each event you need a death certificate and accurate date of birth - you don't need a unit or service number.

Are you in touch (or one of?) with the two daughters.

I am Zoe Northeast, granddaughter of Maximilian Double.
It is with great difficulty I share with you that in the early hours of 07 August 2021, Maximilian passed away unexpectedly but peacefully.

With deep sadness,

Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia