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

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Posted by: Becca {Email left}
Location: East Yorkshire
Date: Thursday 1st December 2011 at 11:29 PM
Dear Alan,
You have been so helpful in the past assisting me in finding information about my husband's family. I wonder if you can help me again please. This time to find out if there is a miltary record for his grandfather GEORGE HARRY COUPLAND born 29 April 1867 in Hull, the son of ENOCH and HANNAH (nee BARTHOLOMEW).

He died of TB in 1920 having had the infection for over a year. I just wonder if this was as a result of military action.
I have nothing else to go on, but would be very grateful if you could come up with anything about him.

With kind regards

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 4:51 PM

Dear Becca,
There is no military record for George Harry Coupland born 1867. He may have served in the First World War but he would have been rather old.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Becca
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 6:57 PM

Thank you Alan, it was worth a try.

Our very best wishes for the festive season and 2012

Posted by: Bella
Location: Esher
Date: Thursday 1st December 2011 at 7:51 PM
Dear Alan,

I understand that you only like to deal with one name at a time but as there are 2 brothers and 2 sisters of the same family (two other brothers I have details of) I wonder if you might be able to help.

1. William Charles Whitehead - born Camberwell 1888
2. Earnest Hing Whitehead - born Camberwell 1893
3. Jane Whitehead - born Camberwell 1897
4. Lily Whitehead - born Enfield 1901

I have census returns of 1911 but no further information after that. I have been told that Lily was a Matron and never married but nothing about the rest. I would love to know if the remaining 3 died early, married or what became of them.

I know it's asking much but anything would be great.

Kind regards.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 4:52 PM

Dear Bella,
I do not research multiple inquiries. Once you get beyond the 1911 census entries, the search for individuals boils down to finding their marriages and deaths. To identify likely marriages or deaths, it is necessary to search the GRO indexes starting in the area where they last lived and broadening the search by their ages. The five points of identification are usually name, age, occupation, parents, and address. As the only proof of identity is from the actual GRO certificates it would be necessary to track each individual by their age, parents and place of residence through the GRO certificates.
When dealing with members of your family it is best to work backwards from a more recent known event, such as a death or marriage or birth of a child, rather than to work forwards from the 1911 census.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Bella
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 6:48 PM

Dear Allan,

Many thanks for your prompt reply and I will take all your comments on board.

May I take this opportunity of wishing you and yours a very Happy Xmas and New Year.

Kind regards.

Posted by: Walter Burton {Email left}
Location: Norfolk
Date: Wednesday 30th November 2011 at 9:14 PM
Hi, am looking for a walter burton who was in the army in ww1. possibly from the dereham or fakenham norfolk area. his wife was emily nee jonas. thankyou
Reply from: Christine
Date: Tuesday 9th October 2012 at 7:59 PM

Hi, am looking for walter burton who served in france in ww1. he was born in scarning norfolk approx 1890. he married emily sinclair jonas in 1913. he was possibly living in east dereham or fakenham norfolk when he joined up. he had a daughter marjorie burton born 1914 in east dereham nfk and a son albert horace born 1916 in toftwood nfk. this is the only information i have. thankyou. chritine
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 9th October 2012 at 10:33 PM

Dear Christine,
The soldiers' service records from the First World War that identified a soldier by his place of birth, age, or residence have not survived in great numbers. There is no obvious such record for Walter Burton born about 1890 at Scarning, Norfolk. Unfortunately, because he has a frequently recurring name, without knowing in which regiment he served and his regimental number it is not possible to identify him in any other military records. Any evidence for his regiment or regimental number might be found in private family papers kept by his family or descendants.
Other sources might be any surviving Absent Voters' List for 1918/19 for Dereham, or reports about local men enlisting or returning in local newspapers published during the war. The Absent Voters' Lists (where they have survived) recorded a soldier's eligibility to vote by his name, home address, regiment and regimental number. These, and the Eastern Daily Press and Eastern Evening News, would be held at the Norfolk Heritage Centre. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Christine
Date: Wednesday 10th October 2012 at 3:19 PM

Dear alan, thankyou for your reply. will try absent voters list as you suggested. regards christine
Reply from: Nick Hartley
Date: Wednesday 27th November 2013 at 11:55 AM

To Christine. Hi, I am researching the men from Scarning who served in the Great War for a booklet to be printed next year. I wonder if you are able to tell me any more about Walter Burton. In the local paper, early in 1914, there is a list of men from Scarning who had enlisted. This includes 'Burton - two brothers'. Unfortunately it does not give their christian names. Any information you can provide would be useful.

Nick Hartley
(nicklouise.hartley at btinternet dot com)
Posted by: Mrs Valerie Anderson Nee Lawrence {Email left}
Location: Clapham Sw8 2sd
Date: Wednesday 30th November 2011 at 6:41 PM
My Dad

PTE . C. LAWRENCE was awarded with the following 4 medals which I now am the proud owner of and I would like to pass it down to my son, as I am unaware what these medals stand for I would be greatful if you would please enlighten me:

For Long Service in the Volunteer Force (on the back) and GEORGIVS V BRITT ... REX ET IND IMP (on front)

The Great War For Civilisation 1914-1918 (on the back) and an angel on the front (colour gold).

Man on a Horse with 1914 - 1918 on the back, GEORGIVS V BRITT OMN REX ET IND IMP on the front.

RANGOON BN A.F.I PRETORIA CUP 1934 PTE.C, LAWRENCE on the back and I think Pagoda encircled with leaves.

I would also like to know where I can purchase the ribbons to attach to them, thank you in advance for your assistance.

(Mrs) Valerie Anderson
3, Rydal House,
Larkhall Rise
London SW8 2SD
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 30th November 2011 at 7:51 PM

Dear Mrs Anderson,
The medals in the order in which they were worn are:
The British War Medal with St George on a horse trampling the Prussian Shield. The ribband, or ribbon, was broad yellow with white and blue edging.

The Allied Victory medal (the "gold" one) with a winged Victory. The ribband was a rainbow colour.

These Two medals may be impressed on the rim with name and number.

The Long Service and Good Conduct Medal of the Volunteer Force. It would have had a grey-green ribband. It is not clear whether this is a British or an Indian issue, but I imagine it was an Indian issue as the medal was awarded in India until 1930, whereas in England it was replaced in 1908 by the Territorial Efficiency Medal.

A sports medal, not worn with the others. It identifies someone in the Rangoon Battalion of the Auxiliary Force India, which was a part-time force rather like the Territorial Army. See:

Medal ribbands can be bought from reputable medal dealers such as Spink. See

Kind regards,
Posted by: Alastair {Email left}
Location: St Helens
Date: Tuesday 29th November 2011 at 11:13 PM
Dear Alan

Just found your forum today - staggered at your helpfulness and breadth of knowledge!

I know it says to mention only one person at a time, but as the three I'm researching were all either brothers or brothers-in-law, with similar experiences - and have presented me with similar problems! - I hope you don't mind.

My wife's grandfather, James Mercer enlisted with the Cheshires (2966) at Birkenhead in 1915. In 1916, he was transferred to the 22nd Manchesters (40719). My theory, for what it's worth, is that the Manchesters suffered terribly in the early days of the Somme, and may have sought replacements from a nearby regiment ie the Cheshires. Was this common - especially where the soldier in question had no particular field of expertise (James was a Corporal at the time). He went on to win the Military Medal soon afterwards, which earned him promotion to Sergeant. He was killed near Bapaume in April 1917.

Unfortunately, I have found no service records of James - unlike his younger brother Joseph. He too seems to have changed his regiment. Fortunately, his service records have survived - but like James, he seems to have begun with the 18th Cheshires (59753, then 61294), in 1917, then been transferred to the 23rd (Works) King's Liverpool (33234). I think this later became known as a Labour Battalion. He was wounded - "gsw, right thigh, slt" - I presume that's gun shot wound, but what is "slt"? And again, why all the changes in regiment and numbers?

Finally, their brother-in-law, another Joseph, has intrigued me. Not a single record of any war service, but when I found his grave the other week in Wallasey (he died in 1933), it said "died of war wounds"! I then checked the local paper, and there was indeed a small entry for him, based on the Coroner's report, whereby he had suffered head wounds in France in 1916 from which he never recovered and, although he died 17 years later, the Coroner's verdict was "death from war wounds".

But I cannot find any war record at all for this Joseph! The nearest I have got is finding a Joseph Mercer, of the King's Liverpool (43156), in a list of Silver Badge holders; I also found from a medal record in the National Archives that he enlisted in 1916 and was discharged as unfit for military service, ironically in December 1918, under para 392 xvia ii - which I think means unfit for further duties, not in a hospital?

This could this be 'my Joseph', but I cannot be sure. As I can find absolutely nothing else about either of them, I am at a loss as to how I can prove it one way or the other - unless you have any ideas, Alan?

Sorry to have gone on a bit, and asked so many questions. Any help at all which you could give me would be really appreciated, Alan - whenever you have a moment!

My sincere thanks - and kindest regards
Reply from: Alastair
Date: Saturday 10th December 2011 at 9:22 AM

Dear Alan

I sent this message nearly two weeks ago, but have not had a reply

While not for a moment complaining, the fact that you have replied to virtually every other message with incredible promptness makes me wonder if - either there has been a glitch in the system, in which case I ought to let you know, or else you have taken exception to my message, in which case please accept my apologies.

Hoping to hear from you

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 10th December 2011 at 4:54 PM

Dear Alastair,
I do not answer multiple enquiries as they take too much time to research. That is why the rule exists because the forum is too busy for the limited amount of time I have. Don't take it personally; it is a rule I have invoked three times in the last fortnight. If you post one question at a time, it will be answered in the order it is received.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Alastair
Date: Sunday 11th December 2011 at 1:51 PM

Dear Alan

That explains it - point taken. Thought it might be within the rules as my queries were similar, but rules are rules - fair dos.

So I'll limit this query to my wife's grandfather, James Mercer, who enlisted with the Cheshires (2966) at Birkenhead in 1915. In 1916, he was transferred to the 22nd Manchesters (40719). My theory, for what it's worth, is that the Manchesters suffered terribly in the early days of the Somme, and may have sought replacements from a nearby regiment ie the Cheshires. Was this common - especially where the soldier in question had no particular field of expertise (James was a Corporal at the time). He went on to win the Military Medal soon afterwards, which earned him promotion to Sergeant. He was killed near Bapaume in April 1917.

Unfortunately, I have found no service records of James, just his medal record.

Any clarification on the above would be really appreciated.

Apologies once again.

Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 11th December 2011 at 3:53 PM

Dear Alastair,
The normal procedure to replace battle casualties was to accept drafts of reinforcements that were sent from England via base camps on the French coast, from where soldiers were dispersed to the regiments that required replacements. Often a soldier changed cap badges, i.e. changed regiments, at a base camp in France. Base camps were the packs from which the soldiers were dealt.
James Mercer did not go to France until 1916 as he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad before December 31st 1915. He would have gone abroad as part of the Cheshire Regiment but it is not possible to say when he was transferred to the Manchester Regiment. It may well have been as soon as he arrived in France; it could have been later. The 22nd Manchester Regiment served with the 7th Division. The 1st/6th Cheshire Regiment spent a month with 7th Division but was moved to the 39th Division in February 1916 and after that date there was no battalion of the Cheshire Regiment in 7th Division after February 1916. The award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette on 12 March 1917 to Private (appointed lance-corporal) J. Mercer 40719 Manchester Regiment. He was killed in action on April 17th 1917. Lance-corporal was an appointment rather than a rank, and lance-corporals were privates for pay purposes. His medal card showed he was a sergeant, so he was obviously promoted between the nomination of the award and his death.

Joseph Mercer was conscripted into the army on 9th January 1917 and was medically graded as B2,
(able to stand service on lines of communication in France) and was posted to the 23rd Works Battalion of the King's Liverpool regiment. A month later he was sent to France via No 4 Infantry Base Depot from where he was sent to the 18th Battalion Cheshire Regiment on 17th February 1917. This battalion became the 56th Labour Company of the Labour Corps in April 1917 when the Labour Corps was formed. Joseph received a GSW (gun shot or shrapnel wound) which was "slt" which meant slight.
He was treated at No 2 Stationary Hospital (Abbeville) for five days and then returned to No. 4 Base Depot (which was at Rouen). He rejoined 56th labour Company Labour Corps on 5th June 1917.
On 22 September 1918 he attended a cookery school and then joined 178 Labour Company.
He was discharged from the Army on March 9th 1919.
He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal by the Labour Corps in the name of Joseph Mecer [sic].

It is not possible to positively trace a soldier by his name only, so it is not possible to identify the other Joseph Mercer without knowing his number or regiment.

Thank you for your patience.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Alastair
Date: Wednesday 14th December 2011 at 11:19 PM

Dear Alan

Many thanks for such a detailed and helpful response - especially as you answered my queries about the two Josephs as well. You have filled in a lot of gaps for me - it is very much appreciated.

Yes, I knew about Joseph attending the Cookery School - but thought it odd, though, that he was sent there only two months before the end of the War.

Thanks again Alan.

Kind regards
Posted by: Bella
Location: Esher
Date: Tuesday 29th November 2011 at 8:20 PM
Dear Allan,

In the past months you have been a mind of information regarding ancestors of mine for which I am eternally grateful.

The next is a request, more on the lines of curiosity than for my own personal requirements.

Much footage has been shot on WW1 and there is a particular shot of a tall soldier (English) who is carrying a wounded comrade in the trenches who I find has a haunting face. Hundreds of us must have seen this particular footage over the years - he looks up to the camera. Do you think that there is the slightest chance that the tall soldier could ever be identified?

I just want to know if you think that his face and details could ever be identified. Maybe anyone asking you for your help on their ancestors could know! Challenging.

Kind regards. Bella
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 30th November 2011 at 12:03 AM

Dear Bella,
There are numerous images from film of the First World War which you may be referring to, but the most likely one is the sequence shot on the Somme on 1st July 1916 in which an English soldier looks directly at the camera while carrying a wounded man on his back (Imperial War Museum, Q79501).
This part of the film was shot by Ernest Brooks, who worked with Geoffrey Mallins. It was shot at New Beaumont Road, Tenderloins, on July 1st 1916 with the 29th Division. The film was analysed in depth by Fraser, Robertshaw and Roberts (Ghosts on the Somme 2009) who stated the two rescuers could not be identified. One became known as "shirt sleeve man" and the other as "cardigan man". They stated that the Imperial War Museum has a file of 50 individuals who have been stated to be the men involved. The only man identified in the sequence was a stretcher bearer, Lance Bombardier Walter Henry Lydamore of the Royal Garrison Artillery who helped removed casualties.
("Ghosts on the Somme", by Alastair Fraser, Andrew Robertshaw and Steve Roberts, Pen and Sword, 2009; pages 979-99).
Kind regards
Reply from: Bella
Date: Thursday 1st December 2011 at 12:18 PM

Dear Alan,

What can I say! There you are furnishing information that I wasn"t expecting. Thank you. I am sure many other "readers "will have found this most interesting.Can I ask you. If a soldier died in WW! in France. (1) would a death certificate have been issued (in France or England) and if so, where would one locate a copy and (2) Informing the parent of a dead soldier, presumably there would have been a telegram from the war office, am I correct. If so, can a copy of this be located?

I look forward in anticipation (better than opening a present on xmas morning!)

Kind regards.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 1st December 2011 at 6:32 PM

Dear Bella,
When a soldier was killed or died in France during the First World War the Army Records Office that dealt with his pay would inform the Registrar General of the death. The deceased was identified by his name, army number and regiment. The death was recorded by the General Register Office in ledgers entitled War Deaths; Army (or Navy) with a volume number and a page number. The GRO reference then looks something like: Tommy Atkins, 12345, King's Own, 1915, Vol I.19 page 411.
A death certificate can then be ordered in the usual way from the GRO. However, wartime death certificates do not usually add any more information. The cause of death would be "on active service" and the place of death may be: "France". The armed forces death index can be searched on the Findmypast website (pay as you go).

Soldier's parents did not receive telegrams. Relatives of commissioned officers were sent a telegram. Relatives of other ranks were sent a standard pre-printed letter from the man's Army Records Office. Often the first communication would be to inform the relatives that a man had been reported as missing. "Sir or Madam, I regret to have to inform you that a report has been received from the War Office to the effect that No. 12345 Private Thomas Atkins, King's Own, was posted as missing on the 24th April 1915. The report that he is missing does not necessarily mean that he has been killed, as he may be a prisoner of war or temporarily separated from his regiment...
Should any further official information be received it will be at once communicated to you."

The standard letter reporting the death was more succinct: "It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has this day been received from the War Office notifying the death of: 12345 Private T. Atkins, King's Own, which occurred on the 24th April 1915 and I am to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Army Council at your loss. The cause of death was: Killed in Action. I am, sir, your obedient servant..."

Officers' relatives received a telegram: "Deeply regret Capt T Atkins King's Own killed in action April 24th. Army Council express their sympathy."

If a man had been reported missing for a year and had not been notified as a prisoner, he was presumed to be dead and the family would receive a letter to that effect on the anniversary of his being reported as missing.

Because the letters and telegrams were personal to the next of kin, and were delivered to them, they remained with the family and would be found amongst family papers. Copies of the official letters were sometimes filed with a soldier's individual service record where that has survived.

The official notification would have been followed by a letter from the man's officer commanding, or chaplain, offering condolences and usually stating "death was instantaneous and without any suffering." Very often, a friend would also write to the family, perhaps explaining how the man died.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Bella
Date: Thursday 1st December 2011 at 7:35 PM

Dear Alan,

Once again a thousand thankyous for your information on the above.

May I also say "thanks to you" furnishing me with details of how to locate people, I have now found a long lost cousin who lives in America and we are now in constant touch. She had no photographs of our grandparents and family and I have been able to email these to her which go back from the early 1900s. Much more to follow.

There should be a medal for you!

Kind regards.

Posted by: Jimchelsea {Email left}
Location: Belfast
Date: Tuesday 29th November 2011 at 6:38 PM
Hi Alan
i wonder if you could help with the following request i recieved on Belfastforum

Hello Jim I hope you don't mind that I contact you personally, but Iam hoping that you may be able to assist with the aide of any contacts you mayhave up your sleeve. I have triedposting just about everywhere I can think of & never seem to get a replyand simply cannot move forward. It would appear that my ggrandfather b approx. 1838/39appears to have been in the army however, I cannot find him. I started with what appears to be hismarriage record in Belfast 1874. Hisname is given as Patrick BYRNE, townland/address: MILITARY BARRACKS. He had x5 children of which x3 name the father as Patrick BURNSand x2 Peter BURNS. The first two children'sbirth records show him as a soldier and after that he is shown as alabourer. Looking at the records, hewas still in the army in Jan 1874 and by December the same year he was alabourer. All the children were born inArtillery Street. Thinking laterally, I checked all the civil records in thehope that one would give me the name of his regiment, without success. Further checks revealed that the twowitnesses at his marriage, Edward HAYES and Mary BULMAN were married 6 monthslater. I checked their marriage recordhoping that I would find a link that showed they were buddies from the army,alas no luck there, nor was there any luck with any record of thismarriage. The witness of Edward's firstborn son was an Andrew MALLON who again, I had hoped was a buddy from thearmy. A search for his marriage record also proved futile. By chance, I was searching the BMD's in 1870 when I cameacross Edward & Andrew living next door to each other in Gt. PatrickSt. Edward was listed as Staff Sergeantand Andrew, Recruiting Sergeant. Bingo Ithought, hoping to find which regiment they served in, leading me to Patrick/Peter. Thinking that Edward & Andrew being ofsenior ranking, I searched for their Pension records. Next problem, I have no idea where or when they were born tonarrow down any searches. I have lookedthrough records for around the Crimean hoping to find the three names with aregiment of a common denominator again with no concrete luck! Contacting the various museums etc doesn't really appeal asan option as I am unable to give any real specifics about any of the men &simply don't know where to go from here. To make matters worse, I have just received confirmation from GRO (andpreviously Rosscommon) that there is NO civil record of his marriage which, would help to identify other aspects of hislife! Even a clue as to which regimentswere based near the barracks at Artillery Street may help. If you can help in any way, I would be very grateful as Idon't think there is much hair left for me to tear out! Regards Hopeful

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 29th November 2011 at 11:25 PM

Dear Jim,
Your subscriber has not provided sufficient information to conduct a search of military records. The name Patrick Byrne is so common in military records it would be necessary to know his year of birth and parish of birth to begin searching. The pension records for the name Patrick Byrne alone list 29 men born about 1838. The records that have survived for the period 1838 1874 are for soldiers who received a pension, so evidence would be needed he served long enough to receive a pension to expect to find a record.
If Byrne married in 1874 and had two children "whose births showed him as a soldier", and yet he was a labourer by December 1874, the information cannot be reconciled unless his first two children were twins. I note the subscriber says "what appears to be his marriage record".
It is not possible to suggest which regiments were stationed in a given barracks at any time. A very time consuming search of the Army List for the years concerned would need to be made. It is easier to know the regiment first and then establish where it was based; it doesn't really work the other way round.
Local newspapers of the time may have reported on Barracks life and may have printed a wedding report for Byrne in 1874.
Pension documents can be searched on the Findmypast website although a subscription would be required for the amount of searching that would be required: Byrne, Burn, Peter, Patrick; surname only, initial and surname etc.
Searches should also be made for members of the Royal Marine Artillery at:
as their records were held separately, but do include Byrne.
Searching for the witnesses should follow the same lines.
To give your subscriber some hope, I did once trace two army families in India from one marriage certificate in Scotland, because the "witness" turned out to be a soldier in the same regiment.

Where pension records can be found they may state the soldier's intended place of residence on leaving the army, which can be of help. Evidence needs to be gathered for the place as well as the approximate year of birth to start the search.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Jimchelsea
Date: Wednesday 30th November 2011 at 1:48 PM

Again Alan many thanks for your help and expert advice,i shall pass your reply on.
Posted by: Kate
Location: Bradford
Date: Monday 28th November 2011 at 7:28 AM
In March last year you were kind enough to find out for me a great deal of information about three Faulkner brothers who all lost their lives in WW1. However you were not at that stage able to locate any records for another brother, Thomas Faulkner, as all we knew was that he had been committed to an 'asylum' as a result of shell-shock. I have now got a bit more information on him, and wonder if this might be an aid to finding him in military records? Apparently he served with the East Yorkshire Regiment where his number was 15146. He was first taken to a war hospital in Paisley at the end of 1917/early 1918.
I hope you do not mind this further question about the Faulkners and anything you can add would be greatly appreciated.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 28th November 2011 at 4:42 PM

Dear Kate,
No individual service record appears to have survived for Thomas Faulkner, so it is not possible to suggest his wartime service. An Army medal rolls index card showed he entered France on 8th April 1915. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. A record for the Silver War Badge, for being discharged through wounds or sickness, was in the name of Thomas Faulker. It showed he enlisted on 12th November 1914 and was discharged on 29th March 1918.
His date of entry into France did not match any particular battalion being deployed to France, so it is probable that he was part of a draft of reinforcements sent to one of the Battalions already serving in France. It is not possible to suggest which battalion he spent the war with as many men served in more than one battalion of the same regiment.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Kate
Date: Monday 28th November 2011 at 7:30 PM

Just to say a big thank-you for your efforts, Alan. I am so grateful, even though Thomas' experience in war remains elusive.
As ever with thanks,
Posted by: Sean Carleton {Email left}
Location: Sligo
Date: Sunday 27th November 2011 at 9:23 PM
Hi Alan,

I was pointed to your website from somone on rootsweb.

I am trying to find details on my grandfather . .. his name was Francis Patrick Carleton, he was in the Connaght Rangers, and fought in and survived WWI. I have found his Medal list, his Reg number is 6378 .. he had a Victory and a British Medal.

any into on his war record would be great


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 27th November 2011 at 11:28 PM

Dear Sean,
The medal index card for Francis Carleton provides no evidence for his war service other than he served with the Connaught Rangers after January 1st 1916, as he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service overseas before December 31st 1915.
The Connaught Rangers raised only two wartime service battalions in the First World War. It would be worth checking with their regimental museum to see if they are aware of the allocation of regimental numbers which may indicate which battalion he served with.
Kind regards,
Posted by: Bill Marsh
Location: Skegness Lincolnshire
Date: Sunday 27th November 2011 at 8:26 PM
Dear Alan so glad I have found this forum,.
I am grasping at straws but can you find any details re my father the details are veryfew .
Born in 1898 Joined The Royal Navy and served on H.M.S.Bluebell. ( I know this because I found a picture of him in uniform.)
He died when I was 10 and also lost my Mother and so details are nearly none existant.Have served in the service my self and now in my 70s I am realy curious. He was a stoker .his name William Horton Marsh It would be great if more information was found .First world war.
Thank you .Bill Marsh
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 27th November 2011 at 10:59 PM

Dear Bill,
There is only one birth registration for a William Horton Marsh and that was in 1894 at Blean in Kent (GRO Births Jan-March 1894 Blean Kent vol 2a page 851). He lived at Well Court Farm at Blean, the son of William and Esther Marsh, and was a farm labourer in 1911 working with his father who was a farm bailiff.
The local council says: "Well Court Farm is a locally listed 17th Century farmhouse. It is of brick and oak framed construction under a Kent peg tile roof. It is approached by private road and the building and farmyard are surrounded by fields used for arable and fruit farming."

A William Horton Marsh born 25th February 1894 at "Canterbury", farm labourer and carter, enlisted in the Royal Navy at Chatham on 26th April 1915 for the duration of hostilities. He was 5ft 4ins tall; light brown hair; grey eyes; fresh complexion. From 26th April to 22 August 1915 he served as a Stoker second class with HMS Pembroke II which was a shore station on the Isle of Sheppey at the time. His character was very good and his ability was satisfactory.
He joined HMS Bluebell as a Stoker second class on 23rd August 1915. HMS Bluebell was an Acacia-class minesweeping sloop dating from July 1915. She had a crew of 90, and was armed with two 2pdr guns. She was capable of 16 knots. She was operating in the Irish Sea and in 1916 she was involved in the detention of the "Aud", a vessel carrying illegal arm for the Easter Rising.

On 24th November 1915, William was attached to HMS Colleen which was a shore-based static ship moored at Queenstown, Ireland, which is now named Cobh in County Cork. It is pronounced "Cove". He was still part of the crew of Bluebell which was shown in brackets on his record. On 4th February 1916 he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class, after his time with Colleen, until the 22nd April 1919. The entry is simply marked with ditto marks as "Colleen (Bluebell)". His character was very good, his ability superior.

HMS Bluebell ended the war with the 1st Sloop Flotilla at Queenstown.

William earned the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was discharged on 29th May 1919.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Bill Marsh
Date: Monday 28th November 2011 at 11:16 AM

Oh Alan thank you so much for the details you found, I support two charities The British Legion and the Salvation Army.
both are there in all parts of the world in times of need. I will be making an extra donation to the legion for your time
and help.
I Have tried several avenues to try and get details. and you have come up trumps.
Kind regards
Bill. ex R.N H M Submarines 9 years during the cold war.
Reply from: Bill Marsh
Date: Sunday 18th December 2011 at 10:40 AM

Dear Alan, Regarding your valued help on 27th November 2011, I am trying to find the service number of My Father William Horton Marsh, despite finding
a contact address (wm@reference-service info) and having sent 3 E mails to request information re service number giving all the details you provided me with plus identyfying my self with my own service details to show it was a genuine inquiry, not even a reply. From them, and so
can you help me once again.
kind regards Bill
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 18th December 2011 at 11:11 AM

Dear Bill,
I think it is K25617.
Have a look for his service record at:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Bill Marsh
Date: Monday 19th December 2011 at 11:03 AM

Dear Alan, thanks once again.
I can now pass on to my Children and Grand children and Great gran children.Some details of Family History.
Up untill now all we had was my Father buried in a unmarked council pourpers grave with another poor soul. in a Maidstone cemetary..
Kind Regards. Bill.
Reply from: Elaine Parton
Date: Saturday 14th January 2012 at 10:10 PM

Dear Bill

What a surprise to find that my grandpa served on the Blue Bell and Colleen RN ships during WW1 at the same time as your father. Sidney Herbert Baker served in RN during July 1915 to May 1919. His rating was an Officer Standards (we think) and had previously been in the merchant Navy. Sidney was discharged from the Navy on 29th May 1919-same date!. He returned to Plaistow in London, where he became a clerk at the Gas works, and settle down with my grandma. My mother was born in 1922 in West Ham.

Sidney died in late sixties. My father must have been influenced by his father in-law.He joined the RN in WW2 and served on minesweepers around the globe.

Best Wishes

Elaine and David Parton
Reply from: Bill Marsh
Date: Sunday 6th January 2013 at 8:36 PM

Dear Elaine thank you so much for your message. How nice to hear from you with regards to H.M.S. Bluebell. Before contacting Alan I had a difficult time trying to get details of my Father and The Bluebell. Have not been able to source a photo of the Bluebell yet, and the photo of my Father in his uniform was missing on the death of my Mother.

Oh well thats two members of the crew. Just to think Sidney would have known my Dad (being a relatively small ship) and served together.

Sorry about the delay replying . If you are interested I have put some photos of a sub smash in the old photos section and my father with his Shire Horses. Thanks again All the best to you in this the new year. Bill Marsh.
Reply from: Bill To Elaine
Date: Sunday 6th January 2013 at 8:58 PM

Didn,t want to mislead you when I said I wanted to source a photo of the Bluebell. I can find 2nd world war Diesel driven
but the Bluebell Sidney and Bill were on were Coal producing steam. Regards Bill.

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