One of the fun things about the work I do is I never know what is going to show up in a military record. Am I going to discover a family secret the family did not mention to me in our initial call or emails? Am I going to see codes I’ve never seen before? Will the report writer give so much detail I know every pair of new clean socks an infantry regiment gets or every whiskey ration?
Sometimes the military records throw things at me that are difficult to sort out. British Modified System location codes are one such thing.
What are these codes? They are letters plus numbers that correspond to a map grid to show where a unit was located at various times.
Usually the Morning Reports have actual locations named rather than all these codes. But some writers used codes. You will often see code words in some variation in unit records. This article only focuses on Morning Reports and the British Modified System codes shown here.
What do I do with this information?
Use the British Modified System website to “translate” these codes. Pay attention to which map is being used on the Morning Report because you need to select this from the dropdown on the website. Enter the code on your report like VR9689 and convert it.
Once you convert the code, a map shows up to give you a location. You might copy the coordinates into Google Maps to get a more accurate location. Often the locations are somewhere in between towns like a field or wooded area. This can make it difficult to know exactly which town they were focused on. I often find the answers to those questions in the unit histories, maps, journals, and other records.
Don’t be afraid of these codes. Might take a little more work on your part to find the answers you need if you are working with these kinds of Morning Reports, but the time will be well spent.
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