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Alan Greveson's World War 1 Forum (Page 128)

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Posted by: Dingo {Email left}
Location: Maidstone
Date: Friday 10th August 2012 at 8:20 PM
Can any one help i am looking for help to find an areial map or any plans relateing to a large army camp that was at badgells wood whitehorse rd harvel moepham and was part of a larger complex takeing in vigo and some of the surrounding area the camp was set up between 1942 1946 and was a large training camp takeing in some 10.000 men any help wuld be greatfuly recieved why i am looking for a camp copy is i am tryingto log the biuldings where they once stood many thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 10th August 2012 at 9:49 PM

Dear Dingo,
The Army establishment that you are seeking was known as "Wrotham Camp" or more formally the Pre-Officer Cadet Training Unit (148 Pre-OTCU Training Centre), Wrotham, Kent. The information you want, aerial photographs or plans, would be held by the archives of government departments other than the Army. The Royal Air Force was responsible for aerial photography and the Ministry of Works would have supervised the plans.
The camp was established in 1942 with five wings (A to E), approached on what is now the A227 road at Culverstone Green, Kent. It was administered by 148th Training Brigade whose headquarters were at Hamilton Lodge, on Harvel Road.
Aerial photographs of England taken by the RAF were held by the Air Historical Branch and are now conserved by English Heritage in their National Monuments Record (NMR) archive. In 1984 the NMR took responsibility for the National Library of Aerial Photographs, with the two million RAF and Ordnance Survey aerial photographs contained in it. According to the Air Historical Branch, the NMR's current holdings constitute the largest public archive of aerial photographs of England.
The first place to try would be The NMR archive which is open to the public and has a searchable website. The address is: National Monuments Record; Great Western Village, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2GZ. Telephone : (+44) 1793 414600.
Their website is:

Other sources would be old Ordnance Survey maps from the post war period from second-hand bookshops. Records of the Ministry of Works would be held at the UK National Archives at Kew.
The Sherwood Foresters were responsible for administering the camp and their regimental museum may have some records. The National Army Museum and the Imperial War Museum collections would be worth searching.
Kind regards,
Posted by: Joyce {Email left}
Location: Ontario Canada
Date: Wednesday 8th August 2012 at 10:54 PM
I just received a death certificate that is supposed to be that of a cousin
Bertie Evans, but parents are not shown on certificate.

He is shown as a Pte 12th Bn in the Royal Scots Regiment in the war of 1914 to 1921 age 19 born in England died 24 Jun 1918 in France killed in action

Would anyone know if there is another place I could search for his name along with his parents?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 9th August 2012 at 12:34 PM

Dear Joyce,
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour recorded Bertie Evans was the adopted son of Mr W J Powell of 11, Watergate Street, Ellesmere, Shropshire.
The 1911 England census showed Bertie Evans, aged 12, was the adopted son of William John Powell, a canal worker, of Ellesmere, Shropshire. William's wife was named Pamela. They had been married 23 years and had four children of their own and had two adopted children.
In the 1901 census, Bertie Evans, aged 2, was recorded as a visitor to the same family. Another visitor was Matilda Evans, aged 25, unmarried.
In the 1891 census Matilda Evans was recorded as a domestic servant on a farm at Frankton, near Ellesmere. In 1881 she was recorded as the daughter of Charles and Harriet Evans, of Welshamton, near Ellesmere. Among the couple's other children was a daughter named Pamela.

A William John Powell married Pamela Evans in 1887. (GRO Marriages: POWELL, William John; Ellesmere; Shropshire; 1887, Oct-Nov-Dec Volume 6A page 1355). It appears that Bertie's unmarried mother was William Powell's sister-in-law.

Bertie's birth was registered in 1898 (GRO Births EVANS Bertie; Ellesmere, Shropshire; 1898 Oct-Nov-Dec; Volume 6A; page 657).

Pamela Powell died in 1914 at the age of 47.

The CWGC Debt of Honour can be searched online:

English birth, marriage and death certificates can be ordered online (charges apply):

Kind regards,
Reply from: Joyce
Date: Sunday 12th August 2012 at 2:03 AM

Hi Alan - FYI - You message confirms what information I have on Bertie Evans, except
that if he was legally adopted by W.J.Powell, why wasn't his name shown as Powell
instead of his mothers name - whereas there is another Bertie Evans (female-per certificate) that
is supposed to be the daughter of Powell's sister-in-law Matilda - so I'm still confused with their children.
It seems odd that Matilda had two children one boy and one girl both named Bertie.
I have most certificates - will go and recheck them Monday

I tried the Cwgc but no result for Bertie Evans or Powell, and am trying to get more info
icw the Royal Scots Reg.t too.Joyce
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 12th August 2012 at 4:52 PM

Dear Joyce,
Before the 1920s it was common for children to be adopted by relatives who raised them as their own. These children often maintained contact with their maternal family and they did not have to change their names. Families made the arrangements amongst themselves.
Bertie Evans would not have been "legally adopted" by William Powell. The expression "legal adoption" implies the modern sense of an adult assuming full legal and parental responsibility for a child who subsequently severs all legal ties with the birth family, and so would have a change of surname. This concept of legal adoption did not exist until 1926 when adoption was first introduced into the UK under the Adoption of Children Act 1926. Children raised under these formal Adoption Orders often did not know their original identity.
Prior to that date it was common for families to raise the children of relatives and the children may have been aware of their circumstances.
The two extant documents that show Bertie was the "adopted son of W J Powell" are the CWGC Debt of Honour and the 1911 England census returns. Biographical information for the CWGC was provided to the CWGC by the next-of-kin in about 1920. This next-of-kin would have been William J. Powell. The 1911 census return was for William Powell's family and listed two adopted children; one of them Bertie Evans. The evidence suggests that Bertie Evans kept his own identity and that William Powell was pleased to identify himself as his adoptive father before and after Bertie's death. It would not be unusual for a child to be brought up by an aunt and uncle, particularly if the aunt and uncle were in a better position to provide a stable upbringing.
If Matilda Evans had a daughter named Bertie, then that name could have been a diminutive of Bertha. It is always possible that the name Bertie was chosen after the name of the putative father.
In the 1911 census, William John Powell was also recorded as having another adopted son: William Evans Powell, aged 1.
The CWGC Debt of Honour lists Bertie Evans as "Bert Evans" 53375 Royal Scots.
Kind regards,
Posted by: George Taylor {Email left}
Location: Reading
Date: Tuesday 7th August 2012 at 5:55 PM

My partner is looking into her grandfarthers past and was wondering if anyone could help with some info.
what we have already found is

Name: Arthur Atkins
Number: 54138
Joined: 23/11/14 aged 20 yrs and 10 months.
Sent to Great Yarmoth depot 24/11/14 GS RGA
25/1/15 22 Heavy Battery as a GNR
listed as Home 23/11/14 to 29/8/15 280 days
BEF 30/8/15 to 22/9/18 3 yrs 13 days
Home 23/9/18

Embarked 31/8/15 Southampton
Disembarked Harve 1/9/15

looking for more info on 22Btry RGA, where they were durin WW1, battles and locations.

Also know he had 2 stints in hospital one 2/2/18 to 22/2/18 in 3rd Weastern Gen Cardiff for trench fever(?)
and the second from 23/9/18 to 6/12/18 for Dysentery.

Demobed 28/2/19.


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 7th August 2012 at 11:31 PM

Dear George,
Accurately tracking the movements of men in the Royal Artillery is very difficult. Ideally, the primary sources for information about specific units need to be read at the UK National Archives at Kew, near London.
Arthur Atkins enlisted at Newport on 23rd November 1914 and was posted to No 4 Coastal Depot of the Royal Garrison Artillery at Great Yarmouth the next day. He was then posted to the 22nd Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery on 25 January 1915. This battery arrived in France on 1st September 1915. Arthur was appointed an acting (paid) bombardier on 25th July 1916 and promoted to (paid) Bombardier on 1st April 1917. The difference between an appointment and a promotion was that an appointment was in the control of the local commanding officer and could be removed at his discretion whilst a promotion was permanent and in the control of higher authorities. Appointments could be with extra pay, or without. Arthur received the pay that went with the rank.

The last year of the war, from August 1917, took its toll on Arthur. On August 28th 1917 he was sent to a hospital or a field ambulance in France after being gassed and he returned to duty, a week later, on 3rd September 1917. A month later, on 3rd October 1917, he was admitted to hospital described as "sick" and on 21 November 1917 he was posted to "base details" with what appears to have been 13 Brigade RGA, before he was sent on leave to the UK on 18th December 1917 . While on leave he reported sick at Newport (possibly Woolaston House, Newport, which was part of 3rd Western General Hospital ) and was admitted to hospital with trench fever being treated at the 3rd Western General Hospital at Cardiff. Trench fever was caused by infections from lice which were prevalent in the war. From Cardiff he returned to France on April 10th 1918 where he remained with "13 Brigade RGA" until rejoining 22 Heavy Battery RGA on June 10th 1918. He appears to have been away from 22 Heavy Battery for most of the period between 3rd October 1917 and 10th June 1918.
In August 1918 he attended a gas course at XV Corps School and rejoined his unit on 22nd August 1918. On 1st September 1918 he was admitted to No 6 Field Ambulance with dysentery and was sent to No 21 Casualty Clearing Station (probably then at Gezaincourt) the next day. He was then returned to England from No 14 General Hospital (at Boulogne) on 22nd September 1918 and was then treated at Addington Park War Hospital (at Croydon). He was treated at an un-named hospital (probably 3rd Western General Hospital at Cardiff) until 30 January 1919 and was then discharged after 2 days at the 3rd Western General Hospital, Neath section (dispersal hospital) on February 1st 1919. He was transferred to the Class Z Reserve, medically fit, on February 28th 1919. The Class Z reserve was for soldiers who would be recalled of the Armistice of November 1918 did not hold. The men went back to civilian life and the Class Z Reserve existed on paper until March 31st 1921 when it was deemed to have ended.

Tracing the locations of his unit is more problematic. The 22nd (Heavy) Battery R.G.A. was formed at Woolwich on 13th September 1914 with 60-pounder guns and moved to France on the night of 31 August / 1st September 1915. Once in France, the battery became part of a Heavy Artillery Brigade on September 5th 1915. Some sources say they were part of the 22nd Heavy Artillery Brigade (XXII HAB RGA); others say the 23rd (XXIII HAB RGA). The titles are confusing, and did not always stay the same. Heavy Artillery Brigades were known also as Heavy Artillery Groups. It seems the 22nd may have joined 44 Heavy Artillery Group in September 1916. On March 19th 1917 they may have come under command of 27 Heavy Artillery Group and on September 12th 1917 came under command of 13 Heavy Artillery Group. By November 1918 they apparently ended the war with 13th Mobile Brigade RGA. (In late 1918, the war became "mobile" as the Allies were advancing).
The "13th Brigade RGA" was also known as the 2nd London Brigade. It appears to have served in the same Heavy Artillery Group as the 22nd Heavy Battery RGA.
The artillery units can be very difficult to research which is why you need to see the primary sources at the National Archives. The artillery underwent many structural changes during the war and units came under different commands. Added to that, individual soldiers could serve with different batteries or brigades at different times. Arthur appears to have spent some weeks with "13th Brigade RGA" especially in April and May 1918.
The war diary of the 22 Heavy Battery RGA for 1915 is at the National Archives in Catalogue reference WO 95/387 which would be the starting point. For later periods the diaries appear to be in WO 95/389.
Some archives from the 3rd Western General Hospital are held at the Wellcome Library.
I apologise if the reply seems complicated. Any mistakes are entirely mine.
Kind regards,
Reply from: George Taylor
Date: Thursday 9th August 2012 at 2:54 PM

Hi Alan,

Thank you for the infomation.
I have found a couple of 22 Hb RGA in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery and buffs Road Cemetery who were all killed between 19/09/1917 and 25/09/1917. I will pay them a vist when im in Ypres in Sept for the Tatoo with the RBL Riders branch.


Reply from: David Carr
Date: Monday 17th November 2014 at 11:03 PM

Dear Alan,

I have just been reading your response to George Taylor's email concerning Arthur Atkins of 22 HB RGA and must say that your knowledge in this field is quite remarkable!

My problem has been to trace the WW1 activities of 21 HB, RGA leading up to my grandfather's (Gunner Albert Carr #56235), death from wounds at 2 Field Ambulance in Fricourt, France (the Somme) on 14 July 1916.

As far as I can gather, 21 HB was formed with 21 Division in 1914 but proceeded to France in 1915 to join either XXII HAB or XXIII HAB. There seems to be confusion over which Brigade they joined, and where they fought. I believe they were at Loos before going to the Somme.

I am in the USA and don't have ready access to the National Archives but anticipate that is a likely starting point for me. However, after reading your detailed response to Geroge I am wondering if you are able to point me in a more specifice direction and possibly enlighten me a little too?

I would appreciate any help you can provide. thanks.

David Carr
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 18th November 2014 at 12:26 AM

Dear David,
No individual service record has survived for Albert Carr so it is not possible to state his military service. An Army Medal Rolls index-card showed he first entered France on 20th August 1915 as 56325 Royal Garrison Artillery. When he died of wounds on 14th July 1916 he had been serving with 21st Heavy Battery R.G.A.
The 21st Heavy Battery R.G.A. was formed at Woolwich, London, on the 13th September 1914. It went to France on 20th August 1915, a date which matches that of Albert Carr, so it is probable he served with them during his time in France and Flanders. The 21st Heavy Battery R.G.A. which was armed with six 6-inch howitzers, served initially with 22nd Heavy Artillery Brigade R.G.A. and became part of 44th Heavy Artillery Group, R.G.A. on 6th September 1916 and remained there until 19th March 1917. It is not clear where they served after that.
The war diary of 21st Heavy Battery R.G.A. does not appear to have survived. The war diary of 22nd Heavy Artillery Brigade dates from June 1915 to March 1919 under Third Army: Army Troops: 22 Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery and is held at the UK National Archives in Catalogue reference WO 95/389 which is currently (29 September 2014 19 December 2014) being conserved and prepared for digital download and is unavailable between those dates.

To obtain copies of the war diaries, you can wait for them to be put online, at a future date, or you can have them digitally copied by a regular research visitor to the National Archives for a few cents per page. I have employed Lee Richards to good effect:
He will not have access to the diaries if they are being conserved in accordance with the published schedule.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Adrienne Murray {Email left}
Location: Dublin
Date: Monday 6th August 2012 at 7:13 PM
Hi alan,

You have helped me before but I have one more relative who served in WW1 His name was Francis Murray of 44 Abercrombie St, Glasgow and his no was 4384. I have found a service record and a pension record on ancestry but I need help deceiphering them. I am not sure if he served abroad or received any medals. also I think he died in 1918. I can't even make out which regiment he was with.

any assistance you could give me is much appreciated.

thank you.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 6th August 2012 at 10:02 PM

Dear Adrienne,
Francis Murray volunteered to join the Army on 7th December 1915 under the Derby Scheme which was a final opportunity for men to enlist of their own accord in anticipation of compulsory conscription which was to be introduced in March 1916. The scheme allowed men to "enlist now and serve when needed". On 7th December 1915, he put his name down and signed the oath of allegiance. On the same day was sent back to his job as a civilian postman to await call-up. He had been allocated to the 2nd/5th Battalion (Princess Louise's) Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, with the regimental number 4384. He was eventually called up on 12th September 1916, aged 30, but was declared temporarily medically unfit to serve and was placed on the army reserve for three months until his health improved.
Francis was then re-mobilized on January 8th 1917 and posted to his battalion which by that time had merged with, and had been renumbered as, the 2nd/8th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. This battalion trained recruits in England at Norwich and Sherringham in Norfolk and then it moved to Taverham, north-west of Norwich in April 1917. Its role was to provide replacements for the 8th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders which was already serving in France (hence the fractional title: "the Second Eighth"). In March 1917, Private Murray, along with others in his battalion, was re-numbered and his regimental number changed from 4384 to 202250. His medal index card is under his new number.
After three months' basic training, Francis Murray was sent to France on 17th April 1917 as part of a draft of reinforcements for the 8th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders which served with the 152nd Infantry Brigade in the 51st (Highland) Division. Most drafts of reinforcements spent a week or more at a base depot on the coast before being sent forwards to join their battalions at the front, so it is not possible to say whether Francis arrived before or after the Second Battle of the Scarpe which was fought by the 51st Division on the 23rd and 24th April 1917. On May 27th 1917, forty days after he landed in France, Francis was admitted to No 24 General Hospital, at Etaples on the French coast, where he was diagnosed with TB which had been aggravated by, but not caused by, active service. This was not an uncommon condition during the war. Francis was returned to England as a casualty on 5th June 1917 and was immediately admitted to St Andrew's Hospital, Dollis Hill, in London. (He would have sailed on a hospital ship and travelled by hospital train to London). He was eventually recommended by a medical examination board to be discharged as permanently unfit for further military service on 5th July 1917. He received an army pension and was eventually moved from St Andrew's Hospital to Ruchill Hospital, Glasgow, where he died from pulmonary tuberculosis on March 11th 1918. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for having served overseas, and received a Silver War Badge for being discharged through sickness before the end of the war. These were sent to his widow. His death certificate is available from the Scotlandspeople.gov.uk website.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Adrienne Murray
Date: Monday 6th August 2012 at 10:38 PM

Hi Alan,

Thank you for your reply and explaining the records in such an informative way.

I really appreciate it and will donote to the British legion in Dublin
Reply from: Wendy
Date: Sunday 6th September 2015 at 2:01 AM

I am wondering if there is any contact info for Adrienne Murray as I believe that Frances was my Great Grandfather and am looking for members of the Murray family.
Posted by: Ken Kinsella {Email left}
Location: Kilkenny Ireland
Date: Friday 3rd August 2012 at 3:35 PM
Dear Alan,

My research project is nearing the end, but I am stuck for a War Diary for Major Edmund William Butler M.C. of, 2nd Life Guards attached to the Worcestershire Regiment, 5th & 6th Battalion, and formerly of the 8th Gloucestershire Regiment. He died on 18 April 1918 from wounds received in an attack at Etaples in early April 1918. He was aged 27.
I have unable to find a War Diary for the 2nd Guards or 5/10 Worcesters at the National Archives in London and his Original Documents are of no assistance on this occasion. I would be most grateful for any details on his last days in action, or information on other action, in which he was involved.
I do have details of his citation for the Military Cross, Published in the London Gazette on 16 September 1918.

My sincere best wishes,

Ken Kinsella.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 3rd August 2012 at 8:46 PM

Dear Ken,
Unfortunately, the records that should provide information about Edmund William Butler are not very forthcoming. He appears to have been commissioned into a reserve regiment of Cavalry as a Temporary (wartime only) Second Lieutenant and was posted to the Reserve Regiment of the 2nd Life Guards of the Household Cavalry on 17th August 1915. The 2nd Life Guards Reserve Regiment had been raised at Windsor in August 1914 as a home-based reserve to feed the regiments abroad. He received the temporary rank of Lieutenant while at Windsor and relinquished that rank on the day he was sent abroad. The London Gazette recorded: CAVALRY. Reserve Regiment of 2nd Life Guards.
The undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants relinquish the temporary rank of Lieutenant on ceasing to be employed with a Reserve Regiment: E. W. Butler. Dated 27th December, 1915."

Officers "relinquished" a rank when they were posted and where their posting did not require, or did not have the vacancy in seniority for, someone of a higher rank. They didn't relish losing their higher status as it could mean a loss of pay and allowances. So when he joined the 2nd Life Guards in France, they would only have been able to employ him as a Second-Lieutenant until his seniority meant he could go higher. His army medal rolls index card showed he entered France on 27th December 1915, joinging the 2nd Life Guards who were already serving in France. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star by just five days. The medal card also noted "emblems" indicating he had been awarded the oak leaf emblem for having been Mentioned In Despatches. A possible entry in the London Gazette of 11 December 1917 was for second Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) E W Butler, Household Cavalry. That could have placed him with the 2nd Life Guards in the later part of 1917. The war diary of the 2nd Life Guards is held at the National Archives at Kew. It is in Catalogue reference WO 95/1155: - "2 Life Guards 3 Cavalry Division Date: 1914 1918".
He may not have spent much time with the Worcestershire Regiment, because he joined the Gloucestershire Regiment in December 1917. The 5th and 6th Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment were training and reserve battalions which, from August 1917, were based at Harwich. As they did not serve overseas there was no requirement for them to keep war diaries. The London Gazette recorded: "Glouc. R. -Temp. Capt. E. W. Butler (temp. 2nd Lt., Res. R., L. Gds,), from Worc. R., to be temp. Capt., and to be actg. Maj. While 2nd in comd. of a Bn. 6 Jan. 1918, and to be temp. Maj. 9 Jan. 1918."
That places him as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Reserve Regiment of Life Guards, promoted to Temporary Captain in the Worcestershire Regiment, moving to the Gloucestershire Regiment as a Temporary Captain and there being appointed an acting Major while Second in Command of a Battalion (of the Gloucestershire Regiment). The "acting" rank gave him the pay and allowances of the higher rank.
The war diary of the 8th Bn The Gloucestershire Regiment recorded on the 22nd December 1917 "Major E W Butler joined the battalion and assumed the duties of second in command". The battalion became embroiled in the retreat of March 21st 26th on the Somme ("Operation Michael") but Major Butler was among the survivors as he actually signed the war diary on March 31st 1918.
He died of wounds at Etaples, which was a hospital centre on the French coast, on April 18th 1918. He must have been wounded between April 1st and April 18th. The war diary is uninformative: Messin[e]s:
2.4.18 - Battalion in front line trenches. This entry is followed by ditto marks until 10th April. Perhaps it was the calm before the storm. At 3.30 am on 10th April 1918 the battalion was bombarded for five hours before the enemy attacked and outflanked them. The Battalion withdrew to a line near "Stinking Farm" and were eventually relived on the 12th April.
This may have been when Major Butler was wounded. The war diary of the 8th Bn Gloucestershire Regiment is available online from the National Archives (charges apply). It is: Online Document WO 95/2085.
Major Butler was buried at Etaples, but there appears to be a private memorial at Glasnevin Cemetery (also known as Prospect Cemtery). See:

The Gloucestershire Regiment has a website:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Ken Kinsella
Date: Saturday 4th August 2012 at 11:17 AM

Dear Alan,

Thank you for your considerable information on the military life of Major E. W. Butler. May I ask, in which regiment would you place him on 9 June 1917, when he received multiple shrapnel wounds to his right side back, near the lung, right leg and right thigh, during the attack on Messines Ridge and was receiving treatment in the Officers' Hospital, Park Lane, London, for a period of six weeks. His treatment and rehabilitation continued at the Queen Alexandra's Red Cross Hospital for Officers (now the Eccles Hotel), Glengarriff, Co. Cork. During his time in Glengarriff, he applied for a 'wound gratuity'on the 24 August. In a letter to the War Office he stated that he had been advised that his injuries were serious and would affect his subsequent career. Following his recovery, in October 1917, he transferred to the Worcestershire Regiment, 5th Battalion. He was promoted to acting major while in second command of a battalion, on 6 January 1918. This information was taken from his 'original documents'.

Kind regards,

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 4th August 2012 at 2:36 PM

Dear Ken,
E.W. Butler appears to have been Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette, dated 11 December 1917 page 12924. The list was prefaced by the following in the London Gazette of 11 December 1917: "General Headquarters, 7th November, 1917. SIR,I have the honour to submit a list of names of those officers, ladies, non-commissioned officers and men serving, or who have served, under my command during the period February 26th to midnight, September 20/21st, 1917, whose distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty I consider deserving of special mention. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant, D. HAIG, Field-Marshal, Commander-in-Chief, The British Armies in France."
E.W. Butler was listed under "Household Cavalry" which would have placed him with the 2nd Life Guards when he was wounded at the time of the attack on the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge. Although part of the Household Cavalry, 2nd Life Guards fought dismounted in the infantry role. See Sir Douglas Haig's despatch:


It was War office policy to allow soldiers to recuperate in a hospital nearer their home town, to allow their families to visit. He would then have been posted to the 5th Bn Worcestershire Regiment which moved from Plymouth to Harwich "in the autumn of 1917". This posting would have given him the opportunity to get fit again and to provide troops who were under training with the experience of an officer who had fought at the front.
The war diary of the 8th Bn The Gloucestershire Regiment recorded he joined them on the 22nd December 1917 and the London Gazette recorded his promotion to acting Major while he was their second-in-command. The dates in the London Gazette and his original documents are the dates of "seniority" rather than the dates of an event. Officers were placed in an order of seniority by date, so each major within a battalion was given his place in the pecking order by his date of seniority.
In army medical parlance a "severe" wound was one from which a soldier was expected to recover after hospital treatment. A "very severe" wound (such as amputation) was one from which he would not fully recover. The payment of wound gratuities was at the discretion of the War Office on the recommendation of a medical examination board.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Ken Kinsella
Date: Saturday 4th August 2012 at 8:43 PM

Dear Alan,
Thank you for the additional information, which is most helpful. I also appreciate the educational aspect of your responses; in this case referring to army terminology relating to the severity of wounds.
Thank you so much for your wonderful assistance.


Reply from: Ken Kinsella
Date: Tuesday 22nd October 2013 at 11:01 PM

Dear Alan,
I have one last query, relating to Corporal Michael Archbold MM, Service No 27247, 9th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, killed aged 23, on 16 August 1917, while engaged in a battle at the Bremen and Frezenberg Redoubts.

He won the Military Medal for gallantry in the field during the Battle of Ginchy on 9 September 1916. I have found the announcement in the London Gazette, but despite searching every relevant archive in Britain and Ireland, I have been unable to find details of the action in which he was awarded the MM. Can you please assist me?

Best wishes,

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 23rd October 2013 at 5:26 PM

Dear Ken,
It would be very fortunate to see a citation as the citation for the Military Medal was given to the soldier with the medal and may have survived among private family papers. Copies of a commanding officer's recommendations for awards have occasionally survived among regimental archives. Unit war diaries may give details of the action in which the medal was earned (National Archives, Kew, Catalogue reference WO 95/1974/4, 9 Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers). Local newspapers of the time may have reported on the award of the medal.
Kind regards,
Posted by: Beth {Email left}
Location: Missouri Usa
Date: Thursday 2nd August 2012 at 3:46 AM
Dear Alan,

I wish to learn more about William Henry Puddicombe. He died May 21st, 1916 in Flanders and is mentioned on the The Arras Memorial in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery in Arras, France. Apparently, his grave is listed as unknown.

He was in the "1st/7th Bn., London Regiment". I've tried to figure out what battle he died in but could not find anything for that specific date. I guess he could have had injuries from an earlier incident.

Can you tell me if his widow might have received a pension?

He had a son, also named William, who served in WWI. I believe he enlisted after his father's death.

Thank you!

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 2nd August 2012 at 9:33 PM

Dear Beth,
No individual army service record has survived for William Henry Puddicombe so it is not possible to be specific about his army service. An army medal rolls index card recorded he served with the 7th (City of London) Battalion The London Regiment and first entered France on 14th November 1915. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The medals were issued in the early 1920s and would have been sent to his widow's address.
The 7th Battalion The London Regiment existed before the outbreak of war and was based at Sun Street, Finsbury Square, London E.C. (East Central London). The Battalion was sent to France on March 18th 1915. That date indicates that William was a wartime recruit who was sent to France as part of a draft of reinforcements eight months later. He may have enlisted in late 1914 when the 7th Battalion recruited a sister battalion which was numbered the 2nd/7th Battalion. The original battalion then had to adopt the fractional number 1st/7th Battalion. It is plausible that William trained with the 2nd/7th Battalion and when he was ready to go abroad was posted to the 1st/7th Battalion which was by then in France.
The 1st/7th Battalion served with the 140th Infantry Brigade in the 47th (2nd London) Division of the British Expeditionary Force. In late 1915, the Battalion had fought at the Battle of Loos (September 25th to 1st October) and The Action of the Hohenzollern Redoubt (October 13th to 19th) so they would have required casualty replacements from their sister battalion in November. After the winter of 1915/1916, the 47th Division was at Vimy Ridge where the enemy launched an attack on the 21st May 1916, the day William died.
The 47th Division held the Carency and Berthonval sectors with 141st and 140th Brigades. For a description of the battle, see "The German attack at Vimy Ridge, 21 May 1916" at:

William was killed-in-action and has no identifiable grave. His widow, Catherine, should have received a war widow's pension, but the system was complicated. In general, a widow received thirteen shillings and sixpence a week which was half the average weekly wage of 1914. For each child she received a little extra allowance: from five shillings for the first child to half that amount for the fourth and subsequent children she would have received about two pounds ten shillings for the children, by my calculation. The total of her pension and her child allowance would have matched an average weekly wage. However, claims could not be made as a right and they were scrutinised and could be withdrawn in the cases of what was described as "a widow or dependant who is unworthy of favour". Children's allowances were paid until they reached the age of sixteen. A widow lost her own pension rights if she re-married, although she received a lump-sum on re-marriage and payments to children could be continued after re-marriage.
Catherine also had had assistance with her passage to Canada under the arrangements of the 1921 Overseas Settlement Committee, established in Britain with government support to provide assistance to people who wanted to emigrate. The Committee granted free passage to the Dominions to ex-servicemen and women until the end of March 1923. The Canadian arrivals documents for the family did show their passage had been paid for by the Committee.
As with so many records, war widows' pension records have not survived. There is an 8 per-cent sample held at the UK National Archives but the original documents had been passed from the Ministry of Pensions to the Department of Health and Social Security where the decision was taken to destroy all but the small remaining sample.
The documents described on the Ancestry website as soldiers' "pension records" are, in fact, the opposite. They are the surviving documents of soldiers whose applications for a pension had been declined, or who were no longer receiving a pension. They are the "not-receiving-a-pension records". The documents were stored at Blackpool in the 1940s and so escaped the destruction of wartime London, but, valuable though they are, they do not form a complete record of First World War (WW1) pensions.

William's son, William, did not appear to have emigrated to Canada with Catherine when all the other children went. He had been born in late 1902 which would mean that he was only 16 when the war ended in 1918. By then, the Military Services Acts of 1916 had set the age of conscription at 18 and under-age enlistment was difficult. It is therefore likely that William joined the British Army and served after the war. There is no surviving wartime record to identify him. Records for soldiers who continued to serve after 1921 are still held by the UK Ministry of Defence. They will conduct a search for a fee providing you complete certain data protection requirements (two forms to fill in). See:

A William Puddicombe of the right age entered Canada in 1952 and was described as "Army", but I have not been able to satisfy myself this would be the same person. His London address was shown as 33, Coopersdale Road, London E 9. His intended place of permanent residence was "Canada".
Kind regards,
Reply from: Norma Hurst
Date: Tuesday 30th April 2013 at 9:00 PM

William Puddicombe was my mother's cousin and he did return to Canada in 1952 he did reside at 33 Coopersale London E9.
My grandmother was Catherines Puddicombes youngest sister.Is it possible to get in touch with the lady from Missouri ...and is she related to the Puddicombes.
Reply from: Beth
Date: Tuesday 30th April 2013 at 9:34 PM

Hi Norma,

Yes, Catherine Puddicombe was my great-great-grandmother (Bill's mother). I'd love to get in touch with you! Where do you live?

Are you okay sharing an email address?

Reply from: Cheryl
Date: Wednesday 24th July 2013 at 5:10 AM

Hi Beth,

Are you sure you are talking about the Catherine Puddicombe (n.Tuck) that moved to Canada after her husband was killed in the war? I am her great-granddaughter & am confused since I have no cousin named Beth. ? You can email me if you wish: (cpudd71 at hotmail dot com)
Posted by: David Lloyd {Email left}
Location: Petersfield
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 2:15 PM
Dear Alan,

I am trying to find details of an air accident at RAF Seletar 1941 involving Wildebeest aircraft - on or about 10/12/41 - Flt Lt Kenneth Ernest Langley is mentioned as one casualty.


David Lloyd
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 7:11 PM

Dear David,
I do not research the Second World War. You could start with the following link:

Kind regards,
Reply from: David Lloyd
Date: Thursday 2nd August 2012 at 8:34 AM

Thanks for your help Alan - I will check the link.


Posted by: David Lloyd {Email left}
Location: Petersfield
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 2:10 PM
Dear Alan,

I have been asked to find Petersfield's Boer War casualties, but am at a loss where to begin. There are no memorials marking the Boer War that I can find. Please point me in the right direction.


David Lloyd
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 7:10 PM

Dear David,
The only way to search would be to read the local newspapers or parish magazines of the time from 1899 to 1902 to find any lists of casualties that mention Petersfield. Casualties of the war and medal rolls are available online at subscription websites such as ancestry.co.uk and Findmypast.co.uk. However, it is very difficult to identify individual soldiers as they were listed by initial, surname, regiment and regimental number, so you would need to know those details before searching the lists.
"The Portsmouth Evening News" has been digitized by the British Newspaper Archive which is a subscription website. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: David Lloyd
Date: Thursday 2nd August 2012 at 8:37 AM

Thanks Alan,

I will pass this information on to our local Historian.


Posted by: Paul {Email left}
Location: Belfast
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 10:57 AM
Hi Alan, you kindly replied to me recently with details about 2 soldiers called James Liddy, both from Belfast, who died in WW1. We were unable to establish if either of them was the relative I was told about many years ago. I have now discovered that the soldier called William Liddy who died in the first world war while serving with a Scottish regiment, the Highland Light Infantry, was born in Belfast. I was wondering if any records for him survived and if these would throw any light on my quest for our relative.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 7:16 PM

Dear Paul,
Unfortunately, there is no biographical information to identify William Liddy.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Paul
Date: Thursday 2nd August 2012 at 9:47 PM

Hi Alan, sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for checking anyway.

Posted by: Beth {Email left}
Location: Columbia Mo Usa
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 2:15 AM
Dear Alan,

I'm trying to research my great-grandfather, Harry Bloom. On my grandmother's birth certificate, his occupation is listed as: Private, Rifle Brigade of 106 Bouverie Road, Stoke Newington.

He was divorced from his wife in about 1926 and she moved to Canada soon after. I know very little about him other than he was listed as a coal merchant on his marriage license in 1916 but was in the Rifle Brigade by July 1917.

I would appreciate any help you can provide either about Harry or about the Rifle Brigade of 106 Bouverie Road.

Thank you,

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012 at 7:11 PM

Dear Beth,
The address stated on a birth certificate is only evidence that the mother and child were there. The father may have been at that address or may have been elsewhere. 106 Bouverie Road, Stoke Newington, is today a residential address in north London.
No individual army service record has survived for Harry Bloom of the Rifle Brigade. An army medal rolls index card recorded he served in the Rifle Brigade and the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was also awarded a Silver War Badge for being wounded. The record for the SWB stated he enlisted on 29th February 1916 and was discharged from the KOYLI on 19th August 1919 having served abroad and having been wounded. He was aged 33 on discharge. It is not possible to say in which country he saw wartime service as battalions of the Rifle Brigade and KOYLI had served in various theatres of war.
By his age on discharge, he would have been born in about 1886. To provide evidence for his birth it would be necessary to see the registration certificate, but it is possible to search for likely candidates in the England census returns. In the 1911 England census there was a Harry Bloom, aged 24 who was a coal porter, living with his widowed mother, Susan Bloom, who was born about 1856 in Hackney, London. They lived in St John Parish, Hackney.
In the 1901 census this family was headed by Henry Bloom, born at Cambridge Heath in London in about 1857. In 1891 "Harry" was recorded in the census as Henry Bloom.
His father, Henry Bloom senior, appears to have married a Susan French at the church of St John of Jerusalem, South Hackney, on December 3rd 1876. Henry stated he was a coal porter of full age (over 21) the son of Carl Bloom, a teacher of languages. Susan French was a minor (under 21).

Harry's father Henry Bloom, stated he was the son of Carl, a language teacher. It has not been possible to positively identify Harry or Henry's birth records. Henry, the father, was born about 1854. In the 1871 and 1861 censuses a Henry J Blum, was recorded living with his widowed mother Hannah Blum, born about 1808 at Dusseldorf, Germany. They were living at Lark Row, John Street, South Hackney. The birth of a Henry James Blum was recorded at Hackney in July-Sept 1854. In 1851 a Carl Blum, whose wife was Hannah, was recorded in the census living at Lark Row, John Street, South Hackney. Carl Blum was a "teacher of German" and had been born in Germany in about 1791. The census recorded four children born in Germany and the first child to be born in England, Reynard, was in about 1844. The baptism records of St John's Church, Bethnal Green show a Reynard Blum was the son of Carl and Hannah Blum. Carl was a "Dealer" of 5, Martha Street, Cambridge Heath. The record showed the ceremony was conducted by a J.C. Reichardt whereas the vicar was a G.R. Jones. The record was marked in the margin: "Epis Jews Chapel".
This appears to refer to the Episcopalian Jewish Chapel at the junction of Hackney Road and Cambridge Heath Road. The chapel had been established about 1815 by the London Jews Society which was the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.
In 1851 the birth of a daughter, Bersha Sarah Blum, was recorded in the same register. She was the daughter of Hannah and Carl Blum of Lark Row. Carl was a "teacher of languages". The record was marked "from Epis. Jew's Chapel".
The burial of Carl Blum, aged 75, of Lark Row, was recorded on March 14th 1860 at St John of Jerusalem church, South Hackney.
It therefore seems likely that Harry Bloom was the son of Henry Blum and his grandfather was Carl Blum, a German Jew who migrated to England about 1844.

A Harry Bloom married Marie Puddicombe at Hackney, London in Oct-Dec 1916. A Marie Puddicombe was listed in the 1911 census, born 1896, living at 37 John Street, Bush Hill Park Enfield, as the step daughter of William Puddicombe who had married Catherine Tuck in 1902. (This was a different John Street to the one above). In the 1901 census, Catherine Tuck was shown as single, with a daughter Marie born in 1896.

A child, Marie A. Bloom was born in 1917 with the mother's maiden name registered as Puddicombe. A Marie Bloom, aged 4, entered Canada in September 1921 under the guardianship of her grandmother, Catherine Puddicombe, who sailed with eight children of her own. Catherine gave her address as 37 John Street, Bush Hill Park, Enfield.

A Marie Bloom sailed for Canada in 1927 accompanied by a child, Millicent Bloom, aged 5. The birth of a Millicent A. Bloom was registered in 1922 in the mother's name of Bloom.
A Harry Bloom, aged 76, died in London in 1963.
You would need to conduct further research to establish primary sources of evidence, and any mistakes are entirely mine.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Beth
Date: Thursday 2nd August 2012 at 3:33 AM

Dear Alan,

Thank you so much for responding so quickly. Your informaton on Harry Bloom's ancestry is very helpful. I do have his birth certificate with Henry Bloom as father and Susan Bloom, formerly French, as mother. I also have Harry and Susan's marriage certificate with Carl Bloom as father. Your information concerning Carl's background will be helpful as I search for more records. I had considered the possibility that the Bloom name originated as a Jewish name but did not think of trying Blum. (And I studied German for years!)

The Marie A. Bloom you noted above was my grandmother. Catherine Puddicombe raised Marie for most of her life as her own mother, Marie Puddicombe Bloom did not come to Canada until 1927 as you noted. By then, Marie A. Bloom wanted to stay with her Granny Puddicombe and did for most of her unmarried life.

Harry Bloom married Marie Puddicombe who was the illegitimate daughter of Catherine Tuck. Catherine later married Wm. Puddicombe. Marie Tuck eventually adopted her stepfather's name. Family legend has it that he legally adopted her but I don't have any proof of it. My mother also said she was told Harry Bloom was in the coal business when she was growing up. Of course, she heard most things second hand because most of the family was in Ontario, Canada. Harry and Marie P. Bloom divorced in 1926. As you noted above, she went to Canada and he stayed behind.

My grandfather (his son-in-law) met Harry Bloom in England during WWII when Grandad was serving with the Canadian tank corp. He stayed with him for a few days and met his new wife and small daughter. We have a photo but no written documentation of the visit.

I am especially grateful for the military information you have provided. I'll dig further into those records. I had found a few military records for Harry Bloom earlier but was not sure enough that they were the same Harry Bloom because I had found other Harry Blooms of a different age. Now that I know how old he was (from his birth certificate), I can go forward and gather that information.

You have been very helpful and your genorosity is large to do this research without charge. I looked for quite some time last night at your preferred charity's website and will do my best to support their cause. We are believers in the poppies here as well and each year I purchase poppies as part of our Memorial Day celebrations. Our state has a fantastic WWI museum in Kansas City, MO. At the entrance, they've built a floor of strong glass over a poppy field where each poppy represents so many thousands of WWI dead. It's an awesome sight and very poignant. If you are ever in the USA near Missouri, it would be worth a visit.

The William Puddicombe you mentioned above died during WWI leaving Catherine a widow will all those children. I will send a separate request for his information. His son, also a William, enlisted in the service during WWI.

Thank you again.

Reply from: Wendy
Date: Tuesday 24th December 2013 at 3:34 PM

Hi Beth My gg grandmother was Catherine Tuck
I have info email (wendy at nequity dot net)

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