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Research of Col Denys Richard Martin (FOI231206)

This Freedom of Information request asks for details of Col Denys Richard Martin's employment at Ordnance Survey.

Request for information - Ref No: FOI231206


We received your request on 20 December 2023 and your clarification of your request on 1 January 2024.

We have handled your request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.

A copy of your original request and your clarification are set out in the extracts below:

Email of 20 December 2023

"I am researching the life of Col Denys Richard Martin RE who was an eminent philatelist and author. I believe that he spent one or more periods with OS Southampton on an Officers Course in the approximate period 1929 - 1936. Would it be possible to provide me with any details of Col Martin's time with OS? I am a member of the Charles Close Society but I do not think that their archive at Cambridge University Library would hold any OS staff records."

Clarification email of 1 January 2024

"I refer to my request for information regarding the OS service of Col Denys Martin RE , reference FOI123-1206.

Col Martin had served as a junior officer with No. 14 Field Company QVO Sappers & Miners, Royal Engineers in India in the early 1920’s. After a period at Cambridge he attended an RE Officers Course at OS Southampton.

I have letters addressed to him at the OS Office, 23 Westfield Park, Redland, Bristol on 23rd October 1925, and to OS Southampton on 11th February 1926 and 23rd December 1929, also a letter headed Ordnance Survey Office, Southampton from Martin dated 11th August 1929.

 Can you confirm for me please the dates of Martin’s service with OS, and provide if possible details of the Officers Course. I understand from Owen & Pilbeam’s History of the OS that from 1930 all RE officers spent six months at Southampton training in trigonometry and topography, before joining OS. The fact that Martin spent some 4 years with OS suggests that following an initial course attendance he was either on secondment from the Royal Engineers or that he became a member of OS staff. By 1931 he had left Southampton and had returned to the Royal Engineers at Catterick.

I would appreciate any details of Col Martin’s time with OS that you can provide me with.”

Our response

I confirm that Ordnance Survey does not hold the information you have requested.

Advice and Assistance

However, under the duty to provide information and assistance in accordance with section 16 of FOIA, we can provide the following information which may assist you in this matter:

We have checked our archive and do not hold any records on Col Denys Richard Martin. The relevant records may have been archived at some point between 1936 and 2015 as part of the Civil Service archiving exercise.

You therefore may wish to contact the following:

  • The National Archives;
  • Ministry of Defence, for any potential military records, as while indicated that he worked at OS for a period, it would appear from your request this was part of a Royal Engineers career;
  • Ordnance Survey retired and Ex staff Facebook Group; and
  • Charles Close Society 

Please note, I am unable to confirm whether the above will be able to help you with the information you have requested.

Internal review

Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our Internal Review Officer by contacting them, within two months of receipt of our final response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as follows:

Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

Contact us via our FoI form

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

If you are still dissatisfied after our internal review, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). You should make complaints to the ICO within six weeks of receiving the outcome of an internal review. The easiest way to lodge a complaint is through the ICO website.