There’s always a catch. This is how they get around charging for WW2 records:
“Service records of deceased service personnel
The MOD is the custodian of the records of service of service personnel and Home Guard
records until they are opened to general public access at the National Archives. Subject
to the payment of an administration fee of £30 per record and provision of a death
certificate (except where death was in service), certain information can be provided from
the records of service of service personnel on request under the publication scheme.
All information contained in the Home Guard records will normally be provided in full. The
scheme allows for information in these records to be exempt from the general provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act by virtue of section 21(1) of the Act (information
accessible to an applicant by other means).”
From memory, prior to the FMP release, something similar applied to
request to the NHS for 1939 information only they also claimed it took longer than 2.5
working days to blow the dust off.
From: Andrew McKenzie [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 20 November 2015 12:13
To: paul.hockie(a)talk21.com; devon(a)rootsweb.com
Subject: Re: [DEV] ww2 Merchant Navy Records query
On 20 April 2015 at 17:45, paul.hockie via <devon(a)rootsweb.com> wrote:
Current FoI applications cost around £40.
Being a Freedom of Information Officer myself, FOI requests are free unless it exceeds
the appropriate limit of 2.5 working days to retrieve the information. Responses must be
released (where held) within 20 working days. Don't be conned into paying for
something that is free!