Certificate of Service

In the immediate post war period soldiers leaving the military were issued with small red hardback records of service. These documents recorded their time in the military and acted as a form of reference for the man seeking employment, with details of all the qualifications and training he had received in the military as well as remarks from his commanding officer on his characters, intelligence and skills. The books were only thin documents, but the hardback covers ensured they would stay in good condition. The covers were red, with the army’s badge printed in black:

The opening pages detailed some basic information about the man and distinguishing features to help reduce the risk of fraud, together with space for the commander’s comments. In this case the book was issued for a soldier who had served in the Life Guards:

The next pages detail his length of service and where he was deployed during his time in the army:

The rest of the booklet details things such as his education:

Trade qualifications:

And service:

The blank space in this book suggests a man who was happy to serve out his time without pursuing any of the possible opportunities the army might have offered him, indeed the statement by his commanding officer alludes to as much saying ‘he has spasms of great enthusiasm, only to allow this to flag as his enthusiasm wanes’. One wonders if a modern appraisal would ever be this blunt?

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