just thought I'd post my assessment for anybody who finds themselves in a similar situation
turns out I was correct in thinking this was a double submit issue,
I tested this by calling submit several times from the command line
$('#form').submit(); $('#form').submit(); $('#form').submit();....
so it wasn't affecting my users, but it was causing unnecessary queries on the back end.
solved now by preventing form submit twice, unless there's an error callback first, at which point they can submit again.. which obviously I should have done in the first place ;)
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