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

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Posted by: Gill Railton {Email left}
Location: Hull East Yorkshire
Date: Wednesday 6th June 2012 at 4:40 PM
Hello Alan
I am hoping you can help me find out a little more about my great grandfather's Millitary Service. His name was FREDERICK HARRINGTON and his. army service is as follow.

Joined the Army at 18yrs 11mths, and was previously a railway porter, on 15th November 1888.Army number 3783 also 26943
Joined the 1st Dragoons, 19th Hussars, and was in for 13 years.

21-11-1888 to 31-12-1889 ?

1-1-1890 to 31-3-1896 India

1-1-1896 to 4-4-1896 Home

5-4-1896 to 14-1-1900 Army reserve

15-1-1900 to 17-2-1900 Home

18-2-1900 to 21-11-1901 South Africa

22-11-1901 to 9-12-1901 Home


South Africa 1899 to 1901


South Africa ( 4 clasps ) Laing's nek
Grange River Colony
South Africa 1901

The Great War (Home) 1914 to 1918

Frederick was recalled to service 20th December 1899 posted South Africa 15th January 1900.
Discharged 9th December 1901.

Recalled to army reserve 8th September 1914

Hussar of the line rank Private 8-9-1914

Reserve ? rank Private 11-9-1914

Reserve Cavalry 14th paid as Cpl 8-11-1915

Reserve cavalry 14th acting Cpl 11-1-1917

Reserve Cavalry 14th Private 13-2-1917

3rd ? Cavalry Regiment 13-2-1917

Army Pay Corp (The Priory Shewsbury) 23-7-1918

Demobed 18 - 7 1919

Although I have quite alot of information , I have been unable to find out anything about his time in India,an old aunt once told me he was at the Relief of Maffeking but have not been able to confirm this .I am also finding it hard to discover what he was doing in the 1st World War in the pay corp, in Shewsbury. are you able to help or maybe point me in the right direction. Any help would be much appreciated.

Thank you
Gill Railton.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 6th June 2012 at 9:37 PM

Dear Gill,
Frederick Harrington served in the Dragoon Guards in England from November 1888 until he went with them to India in January 1890. In September 1891 at Meerut in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh he was transferred to the 19th Hussars and remained with them in India until 1896 when he was transferred to the army reserve: i.e. back to civilian life, but with a commitment to annual refresher training and to be recalled in the event of general mobilization. He had enlisted for seven years with the colours and five in the reserve. As he was in India when his seven years was completed, he remained there a short while (extended his service) until the trooping season when ships returned to England.
After the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) Frederick was recalled to the colours and arrived in South Africa in February 1900 where the 19th (Princess of Wales's Own) Hussars fought with General Buller in the Relief of Ladysmith (March 1st 1900) and then fought North of Ladysmith to Alleman's Neck and Botha's Pass (June 11th 1900). Between March and June 1900 the 19th Hussars were in the area of Ladysmith. Mafeking is 310 miles (500 km) North-west of Ladysmith.
Frederick qualified for the Queen's South Africa Medal with four clasps: Orange Free State, Belfast, Laing's Nek, South Africa 1901. Orange Free State was a state clasp indicating presence there any time between 28th February 1900 and 31st May 1902; South Africa 1901 was a state clasp awarded to those not eligible for the later King's Medal although they had served at the front sometime between 1st January and 31st December 1901. Belfast was a awarded to troops who on 26th or 27th August 1900, were "east of a north and south line drawn through Wonderfontein, and west of a north and south line through Dalmanutha Station, and north of an east and west line drawn through Carolina (Transvaal)". Laing's Nek was awarded for fighting on 12th June 1900 (Natal). Frederick returned to the UK and left the army on 9th December 1901 with no further commitment.
In 1914 at the age of 43, he was a civilian clerk. He enlisted in the Hussars of the Line (reserves of the Hussars) on 8th September 1914 and was sent to the Southern Cavalry Depot, which was at The Barracks, Filton Road, Horfield, Bristol. As a 43 year old with an orange, yellow and blue QSA medal ribband on his chest he would have been considered an "old sweat" by the younger recruits. Within three days he was posted to the 14th Reserve Cavalry Regiment which was a home-based training and administrative (i.e. Reserve) unit affiliated to the 15th and 19th Hussars. The Regiment was raised at Longmoor near Liss in Hampshire at the outbreak of war and helped train and accommodate the Territorial Army Yeomanry from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as well as men for the Hussars. In the autumn of 1916 the regiment moved to Ireland to join the larger organisation, 3rd Reserve Cavalry Brigade, based at The Curragh. They had arrived shortly after the Easter Rising of 1916 which had earlier involved the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Brigade.
In February 1917 the Reserve Cavalry was re-organised and the 14th Reserve Cavalry Regiment became part of the newly constituted 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot. Frederick arrived there on 13 February 1917. The regiment was now formed of men at various stages of training destined for the 11th Hussars; 13th Hussars; 15th Hussars; 19th Hussars; Buckinghamshire Yeomanry; Leicestershire Yeomanry; Staffordshire Yeomanry; Wiltshire Yeomanry; and Sherwood Rangers.
Frederick took a course in signalling and qualified, on May 18th 1917, as an instructor in first aid and stretcher drill. He was apparently training recruits for the front.
On 23rd July 1917 he was transferred to the Army Pay Corps. He was a clerk in civilian life and was now aged 46. It is likely the transfer was as a result of the Pay Corps trawling for qualified clerks to administer the expanding army. He was based at "The Priory" in Shrewsbury which was possibly the Priory School for Boys which had been built on the riverside in 1911 and may have been commandeered by the War Office. As a pay clerk he would certainly have known about mental arithmetic adding-up pounds, shillings and pence, as well as triple-column cash books completed with nib and ink.
He did not serve overseas in the First World War and was discharged on 18th July 1919.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Gill Railton
Date: Thursday 7th June 2012 at 1:30 PM

Dear Alan

Thank you so much for this information, the depth of your knowledge is amazing, I will be making a donation to The British Legion today.

Thankyou and Best Wishes

Posted by: Paul {Email left}
Location: Belfast
Date: Tuesday 5th June 2012 at 10:46 PM
Hi Alan, I'm sorry but I'm back again. So much for me not bothering you any more! I wonder can you help me again?
The soldier I am interested in getting more information about is;

McKEE, Robert
Rank: Private
Service No: 6607
Date of Death: 06/12/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Irish Regiment

Family history says he died in an accidental shooting in County Cork while training to go over to France/Flanders.
Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 6th June 2012 at 8:10 PM

Dear Paul,
There is no surviving individual service record for Robert McKee. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded he "died" as opposed to being killed in action. He served at "Home", meaning the UK. The CWGC recorded that he was buried in the south-west corner of Rossglass (St Mary Star of the Sea) RC churchyard.
At the date of his death, the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, which was a home based training battalion, was at Queenstown (renamed Cobh in 1922). His death certificate should record the cause of death. It is probably the death recorded at Cork in the last quarter of 1917:
Robert McKee Estimated Birth Year: abt 1899 Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1917 Death Age: 18 Registration district: Cork Death Country: Ireland Volume: 5 Page: 105.
Certificates can be ordered from the GRO in Rosscommon. See:

The regimental museum may have some record if there was a board of inquiry or a court martial. See:

Kind regards
Reply from: Paul
Date: Friday 8th June 2012 at 1:27 AM

Hi Alan, as always, thanks for your reply. I will be visiting Dublin shortly and will get a photo copy of his death Cert in the GRO 'sub-office' which is situated in central Dublin in Abbey Street. It only costs 4 euro for a copy.
Posted by: Judy Ballanger {Email left}
Location: Epsom Surrey
Date: Tuesday 5th June 2012 at 1:45 PM
I do hope you can help I am trying to find out about the WW2 service of my father in law. His name was Cyril Ballanger, Private number 6292570, and he was a Driver Mechanic Class 2 Group D [I do not understand this] with the 9th Batt. Buffs, the East Kents.
This seems to be a Territorial Regiment. Does this mean he was not in the Regular Army? He enlisted on 24th June 1940.
He was in the UK and Ireland until 1944 and I would be interested to know where: he has photos, all undated, and some are of Beachy Head. We only know he was posted to Dover on 14th Nov. 1941, He then moved to Buckfastleigh Devon in Dec. 1941, as he was in the sick bay for 6 days.
It is all the abbreviations that I do not understand.
He was granted Leave with LRA. for 7 days, then 48 hours, in 1942. His son was not born until 1948 but he was married on 19th Jul 1941.. Could there be a problem at home?
9th Jul 1944 he was posted to draft RXMNM and SOS On 15th Jul 1944 he embarked to S MEF, then MEF on 2nd Aug. 1944.
There is then a list of abbreviations. SOS XNA ITD 27.8.1944
TOS from ME ITD X (IV) 27.8.1944
SOS ME to CMF 6.9.1944
Posted 3CRV CMF 25.9.1944

On 27th Aug.1944 he was posted to 5th Buffs.and the form becomes unreadable. We have photos of him skiing at Cortina, Italy, and a postcard of Montecassino Monastery. Also him at leisure in Venice and Egypt. He ended his war on sentry duty at Schonnbrum Palace, Vienna.

And that is all we know! We think he missed a lot of terrible battles and was lucky to do so, but to know more would be marvellous!
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 5th June 2012 at 5:37 PM

Dear Judy,
I'm afraid I do not research the Second World War. But as you've asked I'll try to answer some general points. A Driver Mechanic Class 2 Group D was a trade test for a particular type of vehicle, so he was a driver-mechanic.
Wartime enlistment in the Second World War was into wartime battalions which were designated as Territorial battalions, so he was probably a conscripted soldier. A Military Training Act of April 1939 introduced conscription for men aged 20 and 21 who were required to undertake six months' full-time military training. The National Service (Armed Forces) Act made men between 18 and 41 liable for conscription. By May 1940, men aged up to 27 were being enlisted and those aged about 40 were enlisted in 1941. The 9th East Kent was raised for wartime service and went to Northern Ireland on 21 December 1943 and was returned to England 26 July 1944. The 9th Battalion was disbanded then.

He was posted to draft RXMNM on 9th July. SOS meant "Struck off Strength" as opposed to TOS which meant "Taken on Strength". I do not recognise RXNMN.
S MEF would be S(outhern?) Middle East Forces. ITD would be Infantry Training Depot. NA could be North Africa and X might be "ten" in Roman numerals. ME was Middle East. CMF was Central Mediterranean Force.
The date 27 August 1944 matches Taken on Strength from ME ITD X (IV) with being posted to 5th East Kent Regiment who served in Italy with 36th Infantry Brigade of 78th Division until 31 August 1945. (It served under 1st Infantry Division between 29 Dec 1944 and 11 Jan 1945).
The 36th Infantry Brigade left the fighting in Sicily and Italy on 17 July 1944 and sailed for Egypt arriving 22 July 1944 and remained there until 7th September 1944 when it again sailed for the fighting in Italy, arriving 15th September 1944. So that accounts for a change from Central Mediterranean Force to Middle East and again to CMF. The 5th Buffs then took part in the advance up Italy, with major engagements at The Senio (April 9 12 1945) and Argenta Gap (13-21 April 1945). From 8th May 1945 to 31 August 1945 it remained in Austria.
He was posted to 3 CRV CMF on 29 September 1944, but I haven't discovered what 3 CRV was.
I can't comment on his marital arrangements, although many couples decided not to have the responsibility of bringing up children during the war when the father's future was unpredictable. LRA could be "Local Ration Allowance" which was three shillings and twopence a day.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Judy Ballanger
Date: Wednesday 6th June 2012 at 8:23 AM

Dear Alan,

I was thrilled to receive your incredibly informative and detailed reply, and so prompt, too! It is a start for me to look at specific battle arenas in the Med. Family rumour tells us that Cyril had extraordinary night vision and in fact led the convoys with the senior officer whom he was driving. Not sure when or where this was, however. I'm still amazed he had such a charmed life as those battle were fierce in the extreme.
Thank you again!
Kind regards,
Reply from: Judy Ballanger
Date: Thursday 7th June 2012 at 12:15 PM

Dear Alan,
Following all your detailed information about these confusing abbreviations I have been able to research so much about the theatres of war for Cyril Ballanger, so many thanks again. I am a member of the BL so will donate today.

I do have one moe enquiry: Am not sure you can help but here goes.

A relative was called Frederick George Robinson. He was born on 28th January 1888 in Nottingham and joined up in the Royal Engineers at the start of WW1. He was a building manager, by trade. He saw service at the Somme, Ypres and Passcendaele [apologies for spelling.] He was gassed and lost the partial use of one lung.

During early 1918 he was invalided out with shell shock when a shell exploded nearby and buried him alive. He had to be dug out and could not stand: his nerves were shattered. His employer, William Crane, sent him to a specialist and paid for his treatment, which lasted for 18 months, but he made a good recovery.

I do not have any details of servce number or medals and there are bound to be many Frederick Robinsons in the Royal Engineers. Can you help, at all, to discover any more about where he may have been injured and what his duties were, as a Royal Engineer in these terrible battles? I am not too far from Kew, if you think the war diaries could help me.

I think the website is amazing, I learnt so much just from looking at other enquiries and replies about the Royal Engineers.

Kind regards,
Judy Ballanger.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 7th June 2012 at 7:31 PM

Dear Judy,
There were more than 50 men with the name Frederick Robinson who served in the Royal Engineers in the First World War. There are no surviving records for such a man born about 1888, so without knowing his regimental number and unit I'm afraid it is not possible to trace his wartime service or to identify a relevant war diary.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Judy Ballanger
Date: Friday 8th June 2012 at 8:42 AM

Dear Alan,

Yes, I did feel it would not be possible to find him, so thank you for confirming this for me. I will continue to enjoy reading the forum and learning from the posts in future, however!
Kind regards,
Posted by: Denis Menton {Email left}
Location: London
Date: Monday 4th June 2012 at 2:59 PM
Army Number 4686103
Looking for any help with tracing the military history of my fathers uncle Denis Patrick Menton born in Dublin in 1909 and in the British army from 1924-1954.
He originally enlisted in the KOYLI [Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry] in 1926 and left in 1934. He remained on the reserves and so was called up in WW2 and was eventually discharged completely in 1954 due to turning 45 years of age.

He joined the KOYLI as a young man and spent a number of years in India in the North West Frontier and saw some action there.
On recall for the 2nd WW his Regiment was sent to Norway, a quite disastrous affair. He was wounded quite badly in the leg but was only evacuated when Allied troops finally pulled out.
He was deemed unfit for fighting and so was posted to the RMP where he saw the war out.
He was a Sergeant in the RMP (Red Caps).
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 4th June 2012 at 8:19 PM

Dear Denis,
As he served after 1922, you will need to apply to the Ministry of Defence for his service records. The mod will release certain amounts of information about a deceased person depending on whether you are next of kin or not. You can apply using the forms for next of kin, or with permission of next of kin, or as a general enquirer. See:


You will need proof of death; date of birth or service number; next of kin's permission (unless you are the direct next of kin); a cheque and completed forms Part 1 and 2. The next of kin form (Part 1) is for completion by the next of kin of deceased service personnel (or enquirers with the consent of next of kin). Look for "Service records publications" under "Related pages" and follow the instructions. The Part 2 form is entitled: "Request forms for service personnel Army" found under "Related Pages". Otherwise use a general enquirer's form. A cheque for GBP 30 should be made payable to "The mod Accounting Officer" and sent to Army Personnel Centre Secretariat, Disclosures 2, Mail Point 515, Kentigern House, 65, Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX Scotland with all the paperwork.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Denis Menton
Date: Monday 4th June 2012 at 9:14 PM

Thanks Alan..you were brilliant help with my grandads WW1 history of his regiment earlier this year.

I was really interested in the history of the regiments my Dads uncle served in in India and WW2 moreso than getting his record, as his daughter has already given me some stuff.

This record I was reluctant to apply to Glasgow for, as I tried to enquire about applying for the record of my wifes grandad who was also a POW in WW2 and it was a nightmare trying to get a response, but eventually I persevered and was asked to pay the £30 with letter from next of kin, birth cert, death cert.

This had taken about 4 months before I was asked for the cheque and documents but eventually I sent off everyrthing.
I never heard anything, not even an acknowledgement by email, and after about 6 weeks I emailed to verify they had received the stuff and asked how long I should expect to wait.
I got a reply saying there were no records found, and that was despite him having an army pension until his death in 1987.
It just looked like I was never going to have received that negative response until I queried it by email.

I emailed and asked why was there no records found despite the pension, and the ignoring started again, and I still have not had a reply.
Maybe I was dealing with someone who was too overworked or did not like working too hard and just ignores people hoping they will go away.

I also dealt with the department for living ex servicemen and that was so easy and quick to get the records for my mother...this girl also helped me get a response from the other department initially when they would not reply some months previously.

Any tips for me Alan on how to try resolve this without incurring the wrath of the research lady in Glasgow.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 4th June 2012 at 9:45 PM

Dear Denis,
I can't comment on the service provided by the MoD and I'm afraid I do not research the Second World War. You might be able to get some help from the KOYLI Museum about which battalions served in India between 1926 and 1934 and later in Norway. See their website at:


Between the wars the KOYLI would have had two battalions and their depot at Pontefract so it would be a question of asking which battalion served in India and when. And which battalion(s) went to Norway. The Museum is in Yorkshire where people are generally helpful. Their phone number and e-mail address are on the website.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Denis Menton
Date: Tuesday 5th June 2012 at 12:48 PM

Thanks Alan for the museum link and I have emailed them with yur suggestions.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 5th June 2012 at 2:13 PM

Dear Denis,
I hope the museum can help you further, meanwhile I found this: The 2nd Battalion KOYLI went to India in February 1927 during a period of unrest which flared up in the winter of 1929/30 in the Vale of Peshawar where the Congress Party's "red shirts" were causing disturbances that needed policing. The 2nd Battalion then moved to Burma in 1936 and were at Maymyo in September 1939.
When war was declared the 1st Battalion was at Strensall Camp, York, England and was despatched to France on October 4th 1939 with 5th Infantry Division on the Belgian border. The Territorial Army battalions were mobilized and the 1st/4th Battalion (TA) went to Norway from Rosyth on April 7th 1940 with the 146th Infantry Brigade. Meanwhile, in France, the 1st Battalion KOYLI (in 15th Infantry Brigade) was told to return to England in anticipation of going to Norway immediately. The 1st Battalion travelled 2,000 miles in 16 days during this expedition. They lost 39 killed; 129 taken prisoner; and brought 46 wounded with them when they returned (from "The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry", Leonard Cooper, 1970 pp 98-102).
Kind regards,
Reply from: Denis Menton
Date: Tuesday 5th June 2012 at 2:45 PM

Thanks again Alan for being a unique source of information as always.
Posted by: James Bourhill {Email left}
Location: South Africa
Date: Monday 4th June 2012 at 7:19 AM
You seem to know your stuff. I am researching three brothers: Alexander Daniel Reid, Henry Francis Reid and William Steuart (or Stewart) Reid. I know quite a lot about the first, he was a Lt-Col with the Royal Irish Rifles when he was killed on 31 July 1917. I know less about the second who served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusileers but I would live to have his record. What I am really interested in in the last one who died in Springfield mental hospital in Tooting. His occupation was "soldier". I would love to know what his military record was. Please can you help as I will never get to London to look for myself.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 4th June 2012 at 8:18 PM

Dear James,
It is not possible to identify records of a soldier by his name only. William Stewart Reid was born in Edinburgh on September 13th 1883 and may have served any time from about 1900 to his death. He does not appear in any obvious record after the 1891 census. He may have served under the name of William, William Stewart, or Stewart Reid, or any variant of Reid. You would need to know when he served as records of men serving after 1922 are still held by the UK Ministry of Defence. Before that date you would need to know whether he was a soldier or an officer. Officers' records are often identified only by initials and there would be numerous W S Reids so it may not be possible to identify him in the indexes. If he served as an officer in India his records would be held by the British Library. His brothers appear to have moved to Canada and South Africa, so it would be necessary to establish whether William enlisted in the UK or other commonwealth forces. You would need to know at least the name of his regiment and when he served.
The records for his brothers, Alexander and Henry can be ordered (charges apply) from the UK National Archives. They can be found in the indexes as Piece No. WO339/15463 (Alexander Daniel Reid) and WO 339/22914 (Henry Francis Reid). See:


If he continued to serve after 1922 you will need to apply to the Ministry of Defence for his service records. The MOD will release certain amounts of information about a deceased person depending on whether you are next of kin or not. You can apply using the forms for next of kin, or with permission of next of kin, or as a general enquirer. See:


You will need proof of death; date of birth or service number; next of kin's permission (unless you are the direct next of kin); a cheque and completed forms Part 1 and 2. The next of kin form (Part 1) is for completion by the next of kin of deceased service personnel (or enquirers with the consent of next of kin). Look for "Service records publications" under "Related pages" and follow the instructions. The Part 2 form is entitled: "Request forms for service personnel Army" found under "Related Pages". Otherwise use a general enquirer's form. A cheque for GBP 30 should be made payable to "The mod Accounting Officer" and sent to Army Personnel Centre Secretariat, Disclosures 2, Mail Point 515, Kentigern House, 65, Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX Scotland with all the paperwork.
Kind regards,
Reply from: James Bourhill
Date: Monday 4th June 2012 at 8:32 PM

Thank you so much Alan, you have given me a lot to go on. I don't know how you get all your information, I just stumbled on your web site. I am in South Africa and I have access to the military archives here so if I can ever help you out just give me a shout. Kind regards, James.
Posted by: Chris Smith {Email left}
Location: Dudley West Midlands
Date: Sunday 3rd June 2012 at 6:45 PM
I am desperately trying to find out details of WILLIAM EDWARD HEMMINGS who was lived in Dudley and was born in 1885. In 1911 he was serving with the 11th Battalion of the RFA in Jabulapur but he obviously left the service because he is listed as enlisting in Lichfield in 1914 into 22 Reserve Battalion RFA. He seems then to have been posted to Kildare and in August went to Dublin where his unit sailed for France on 17 August 1914. William died on 28th November 1916 and was buried at Sutton Veny. Cause of death was given as cirrhosis of the liver. If anyone can fill in any of the gaps I would be extremely grateful.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 3rd June 2012 at 10:12 PM

Dear Chris,
No individual service record has survived for William Edward Hemmings so it is not possible to state his service. He was in the pre-war regular army, as shown in the 1911 census, serving with 11th Battery Royal Field Artillery.
"Soldiers Died in the Great War" recorded that he enlisted at Lichfield, but that does not mean he enlisted for wartime service at Lichfield, as it could easily refer to when he had enlisted in the pre-war army. "Soldier Died in the Great War" does not state a date of enlistment and any pre-war regular army soldier who died would have a place of enlistment recorded. When war was declared he may have been still serving with the 11th Battery in Ireland or he may have been a reservist who was re-called on mobilization.
The CWGC recorded on the date he died he was with the 22nd Reserve Battery RFA. This was a home-based training and administrative battery that took him onto their books once he was returned to the UK and hospitalised. He would have been struck of the strength of the 11th Battery when he was sent back to England and had to be put onto someone else's books. It was the Reserve Brigades that undertook that task even if the soldier never actually slept under their roof but was in a hospital. The Royal Artillery did not have battalions but had batteries which were grouped into brigades. So the 22 Reserve Battalion you suggest was the 22nd Reserve Battery of the 4B Reserve Brigade which was based at Boyton Camp, Wiltshire, which was, in fact, three miles from Sutton Veny.
A medal rolls index card recorded he arrived in France on 19 August 1914 and he was listed as being with 15th Brigade (XV Brigade) Royal Field Artillery which included 11th Battery among its three batteries. The XV Brigade Royal Field Artillery served with the 5th Division in France and Flanders. See:

If he had been born in 1885 and joined the army at about 18, he would have enlisted in about 1903. Depending on his terms of service he could still have been serving when war was declared, or equally, he could have been a reservist. A reservist could have left the army after a minimum of seven years' service with the colours, so he could have left after 1911 and before 1914, or he could have continued to serve.
It is not possible to say when William returned to the UK prior to his death in 1916.
William Hemmings qualified for the 1914 Star with Mons clasp, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
It may well be that there are no gaps to fill in. He was with 11th Battery RFA in 1911 and he went to France with them in 1914, so he might never have left the army. On the day he died, he was attached to 22nd Reserve Battery RFA which was a home-based battery that would have administered his pay and affairs while he was in hospital in the UK. Without an individual service record it is not possible to be certain.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Chris Smith
Date: Sunday 3rd June 2012 at 10:29 PM

Many thanks for your fabulous reply. I am most grateful. A donation to the British Legion will be made in recognition.

Posted by: Lisa {Email left}
Location: London
Date: Saturday 2nd June 2012 at 7:31 PM

I am looking for information about an ancestor - Ernest Augustus Baites born 1885. Ernest came from Walworth and at a young age was a coal porter. But at the age of 20 he had joined the army. I know he was in the Royal Artillary Force and also the 3rd battalion of the Royal West Surrey Regiment. I have found his service records on Ancestry but am unsure what all the places mean ie. what the military interests would have been. I thought that may be you would know.

I know Ernest was at Dundalk in Ireland in 1905. And also that he was at Kemptes (I think that's what the place is - it is difficult to read the writing) in India . But I'm not sure what the British Army would have been doing there at the time.

By the looks of his service record he also seemed to have been in quite a bit of trouble with frequent detentions for insubordinate language or disobeying an order. He was, for example, given 3 months detention in 1914. And a strange thing is that although his surname was 'Baites' he referred to himself as the more common 'Bates'..

In 1917 Ernest was granted a month's leave between 7 August and 6 Sept. His record says he returned to the British Expeditionary Force in France and a few weeks later on 23 September 1917 he was killed in action. I know he is buried at Ypres, grave NH45 Bard Cottage. But any more detail you might have on Ernest would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 2nd June 2012 at 11:12 PM

Dear Lisa,
Ernest Bates (or Baites) joined the part-time Militia of The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment in 1902. The Militia was the predecessor of the Territorial Army which was formed in 1908. Men trained for a few weeks and then met on drill-nights and on occasional weekends with an annual camp each year. On 7th March 1904, Ernest joined the regular army and enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery. He trained with 134 Battery RFA at Weedon Barracks near Daventry. On June 2nd 1905 he was posted to the 83rd Battery RFA which served in 11 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
His postings pre-war were routine postings for the Artillery of the time: Ireland was not then divided and was part of Great Britain. India was part of the British Empire and was policed by the Army with units spending a few years at a time in India. Kamptee was in the Nagpur District in Maharashtra and is now called Kamthi. While in India he was punished for insubordination. However, charges of insubordination frequently arose out of personal animosity between a Non Commissioned Officer and a soldier ('he's got it in for me') although the army enforced its discipline rigidly to support its NCOs.
Ernest had signed on for seven years' service in uniform with five years in the reserves. His uniformed service ended on 29th February 1912 when he returned to civilian life, but with a commitment for annual training for the next five years. War intervened and he was mobilized to No 6 Reserve Brigade RFA at Glasgow on 5th August 1914. He was posted to the 36th Reserve Battery (Piershill Barracks, Edinburgh).
As a reservist soldier he should have gone to war in France. Instead he went to prison for three months. He was tried by a District Court Martial, but his record did not state what the offence was. He was released on 29th December 1914. His record does not make it clear what he did between December 1914 and July 1915 when he went to France, although he probably returned to 36th Reserve Battery in Scotland. On 25th July 1915 he embarked at Southampton and sailed to Havre where he rejoined the 11th Brigade Royal Field Artillery which was serving in France. The 11th Brigade originally served with the Lahore (3rd Indian) Division on the Western Front but moved to be attached to the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions in 1915 and 1916. Ernest was posted to the 84th Battery and then to his old 83rd Battery (on 9 September 1916). On 7th March 1917 (the anniversary of his having joined the Army) he was retained in the Army under the Military Service Acts of 1916. This was because he had served 12 years in total. Because he was on active service abroad when his 12 years' were done, he automatically had to serve another year on active service. The additional year was part of the contract when a regular soldier was serving overseas. Therefore his contract ran out on 6th March 1916, but had been extended to 6th March 1917. On 7th March 1917 he was told under the Military Service Acts (which had brought in conscription) that he had to keep on serving for the duration of the war.
He was killed in action on September 23rd 1917 while serving with 11 Brigade RFA under the command of Fourth Army.
The war diaries of 11 Brigade are held at the National Archives at Kew. (WO 95/3918 11 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1914 Aug. - 1915 Dec. WO 95/3889 11 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1916 Jan. - 1917 July and WO 95/293 11 Army Field Artillery Brigade 1917 Sept. - 1919 Jan.)

There is nothing unusual in his name being spelled in different ways: it was quite common for names to be recorded as they sounded or for extra vowels to be added depending on who was writing the name.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Lisa
Date: Sunday 3rd June 2012 at 9:34 AM

Thank you so much Alan. I didn't expect something back so quickly and in such detail. How interesting. In terms of the circumstances in which Ernest died and where he was in France, is it only the records at Kew that can tell me that? I wondered if names were printed in newspapers for example.

Thanks again and just to say I will be making a contribution to show my gratitude - not just to you but also to Ernest and the many others like him.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 3rd June 2012 at 1:26 PM

Dear Lisa,
Ernest was buried near Ypres so it is likely that he was involved in the Third Battle of Ypres 1917, otherwise known as "Passchendaele". The deployment of artillery was quite complex and the 11 Brigade war diaries at Kew would be the most accurate contemporary source of information. Opposing forces targeted each other's artillery with what was called "counter battery fire" intended to destroy each other's guns.
Official casualty lists only indicated the soldier's name and number by regiment. The "Daily Telegraph" and the "Morning Post" ceased publishing the lists at the end of 1916 and towards the end of 1917 "The Times" restricted them to officers only. Local weekly newspapers sometimes published obituaries of residents' sons who had been killed. These might be held by the Southwark local studies library on Borough High Street. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Lisa
Date: Sunday 3rd June 2012 at 3:48 PM

Many thanks again Alan.

Posted by: Michael Ludlow {Email left}
Location: London
Date: Friday 1st June 2012 at 11:35 AM
My father Richard Robert Ludlow, born 15/4/1882 in Limerick, joined the Inns of Court OTC after the outbreak of WW1 and on being commissioned went to the DCLI in which he served 1915-1917. From my investigations he was in the 7th Service Battalion, sent to the Western Front in WW1 to form part of the 20th (Light) Division. He died in 1956. His entry in Who's Who for 1954 states he was "wounded". My understanding was that his injury was "shell shock" which resulted in his being invalided out of the army in 1917. I believe he was a captain at that time. I am trying to find out more about the details of his injury and what happened between its commencement and his demobilisationj. I believe he was helped in his rehabilitation by a stone deaf lady, Daria Seymour Haden, granddaughter of surgeon and artist Sir Francis Seymour Haden and Great nephew of the artist James McNeill Whistler, and that she may have been a voluntary aid worker, in France. Information about this would also be helpful to me.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 1st June 2012 at 6:30 PM

Dear Michael,
The information you are seeking may not have survived in any detail. Officers' service records are held at the National Archives at Kew. They may include details of hospital admissions, but many officers' files were weeded by the War Office before being archived so the amount of detail they contain is varied.
Richard Robert Ludlow sat Council of Legal Education examinations at Gray's Inn passing Constitutional Law and Legal History at Michaelmas 1912 and Real Property and Conveyancing at Easter 1913. He studied Political Science at Balliol College, Oxford and served in the Inns of Court Officers' Training Corps from 1915.
He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 7th July 1916 and was posted to The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (London Gazette 4 Aug 1916). He was posted to a service battalion of the DCLI on 8 November 1916. "Service" Battalions were those raised for wartime service in Kitchener's New Armies. This may indicate an approximate date he went abroad.
The "London Gazette" of 5th October 1917 recorded: "Temp. 2nd Lt. R. R. Ludlow relinquishes his commission on account of ill-health contracted on active service, and is granted the hon. rank of 2nd Lt."
A Silver War Badge record card showed he had served with the 7th Battalion DCLI, which was a service battalion. It spent the winter of 1916-17 on the Somme and was engaged in the Retreat to the Hindenburg Line 14 March - 5 April 1917 before moving to the Ypres sector. Second Lieutenant Ludlow returned to Balliol College where he took his degree in 1918 (BA Honours) and was called to the bar as Second-Lieutenant R R Ludlow, by Gray's Inn in 1919. He married in 1919.

Officers' service records are not easy to identify in the National Archives catalogue without studying the indexes. It may be Piece reference WO 339/60603 LUDLOW R. However, the index should be studied before ordering any documents as there may have been more than one officer of that name. See the advice at:

The war diary of the 7th Battalion should indicate when he joined the Battalion in the field and when he was wounded. It may mention him on other dates. You would have to visit the National Archives to read it. The diary is: "War Office: First World War and Army of Occupation... WO 95/2126/ 7 Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. 20 Division Date: 1915 1919".

Daria Ethel Seymour Haden, daughter and only child of Francis Seymour Haden CMG and his wife Ethel, was born at Pietermaritzburg, Natal, on 2nd January 1886. Daria was confirmed at St Jude's Church, Kensington, at the age of 18 in 1904. Her grandfather, Sir Francis, was married to Whistler's (half) sister, Deborah Delano Whistler. In 1891 he lived at Woodcote Manor, Alresford and Daria was listed as being there in the 1891 census. Sir Francis, the etcher, took a first Paris Salon prize for his works, pushing Whistler to second place. A "Times" review of an exhibition for war charities at the French Gallery, Pall Mall, on March 4th 1915 stated: "[Whistler's] 'Lady at the Piano' - his own sister was married to a man (Seymour Haden) with whom Whistler soon afterwards had a deadly quarrel, never healed." [The Times, London, March 4th 1915 ©]
On April 18th 1918, etchings by both men were sold on the ninth day of a charity sale in aid of The Red Cross. It is therefore possible that Daria Haden was connected with The Red Cross. In 1911 she was described as an art student, single, age 25. She lived as an artist and died in 1974 at Little Woodcote, Shripney Lane, Shripney, near Bognor Regis, Sussex.
The VAD was a large organisation formed by the St John Ambulance and the Red Cross. However, there were many other nursing services at home and abroad. As there are no centralised records it would be necessary to establish with which organisation she was working. For research suggestions see:

Some of Miss Haden's correspondence has survived at the University of Glasgow. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Michael Ludlow
Date: Thursday 14th June 2012 at 5:15 PM

In thanks for your help, I have just used my CAF card to make a gift of £25 to the British Legion
Posted by: Hazel {Email left}
Location: Cornwall
Date: Thursday 31st May 2012 at 12:05 AM
Thankyou so much for helping me with my grandfathers army details .
I hope you can help me again if at all possible , only if you have time .
My uncle David Annear able seaman D/JX 345082 was on board HMS Mahratta when it was torpedoed on 24 february 1944 . He was only 20 years old .
I would like to know if he was on board any other ships during his short time as a sailor and if there is any other information on him .
Many, many thanks for your excellent assistance in my quest .
Kindest Regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 31st May 2012 at 1:57 PM

Dear Hazel,
Records from the Second World War are still held by the UK Ministry of Defence who will make a search on behalf of the next of kin, or a general enquirer, for a fee of 30 GBP. You will need to fill in two application forms (Royal Navy part 1 and part 2) ; provide a copy of the death certificate or other proof of death and apply to the Navy Records section RN Disclosure Cell, Room 48, West Battery, Whale Island, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO2 8DX. For instructions and to download the forms, see their webiste at:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Hazel
Date: Thursday 31st May 2012 at 3:09 PM

Thankyou very much , i'll look into it . Appreciate your help .
Posted by: Bella
Location: Esher
Date: Wednesday 30th May 2012 at 10:02 PM
Dear Alan

Am afraid I have to call upon your gracious service once again . Having trouble finding where my Grandfather was in the 1901 census. Born FRANCIS Johnson 1881, Otford in Kent (but known to all as FRANK). Am I missing something?

Grateful for any information.

Kind regards.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 31st May 2012 at 1:48 PM

Dear Bella,
It is not always possible to positively identify individuals in the census once the family members have gone their own way. Frank certainly ended up marrying and living in London. The only two entries in the 1901 census for Fran* John* born in Kent in 1880 plus/minus 5 years, who were not living with their parents, are Frank Johnson a drayman, age 21, born Berlin [Berling] Kent, living as a boarder at Mile End Old Town; and a Frank Johnson, age 18 (born abt 1883), barman, born Gillingham, Kent, living at Cann Hall, South Leyton. There was a Frank C Johnstone, but he also appears in the 1911 census, so it is not him.
Berling and Gillingham are both to the east of Otford, so both are unsatisfactory locations, but he could have been one of these two. Berling was in the Malling registration district and there was a GRO births entry for Frank Johnson born Jul-Aug-Sep 1879 Malling, Kent.
Gillingham was in the Medway registration district and there is no obvious birth entry for Frank Johnson in Medway in 1883. It is possible that, as a barman, the census return was filled in by his landlord and may not have been accurate, so the barman is the Frank Johnson who remains unaccounted for.
Otford was in the Sevenoaks district and there is no obvious birth entry for a "Francis" in the GRO birth registers, but there is a Frank Johnson, Jan Feb Mar 1881 Sevenoaks vol 2a page 622.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Bella
Date: Friday 1st June 2012 at 8:52 PM

Dear Alan

Many thanks for your investigation re Frank Johnson but as you suggested, neither of the Franks' apply.

Kind regards and have a great jubilee.


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