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

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Posted by: Andy Jones {Email left}
Location: Mullagh Co Cavan Roi
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 7:09 PM
Hi Alan.
My grandfather, Walter Hopkins, served with the DCLI in South Africa. He was ill on board the hospital ship Simla in Delagoa Bay in 1902, believed to be Malaria. He settled in Dublin where he had been based prior to the second Boer War, married my Gran and produced a large family. I am very keen to find out anything I can about him, his UK family, and his service. He died in the early 1920's in Dublin, having lost contact with his British relatives. My Mum told me many years ago that he was a proud Englishman. I myself definitely have some of his blood in my veins, as I love British Military history (and the great Irish contribution to it. My other Grandad was in the Inniskillings, and my recently deceased uncle Frank served with the Somerset LI in WW2.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 10:04 PM

Dear Andy,
It is not possible to positively identify someone knowing only their name. If Walter served in the Second Anglo Boer War his service record will be held at the UK National Archives at Kew, Surrey. The same records are available to download from the findmypast.co.uk website (charges apply, about 6 GBP). I am unable to provide transcriptions of those records for copyright reasons. Army records are not always a reliable source of years of birth as men often lied about their age and may not have known precisely where they were born. A Walter Hopkins died at Dublin in 1927 aged 53, which would give a year of birth of about 1874. In the 1911 census a Walter Hopkins gave his age as 40, which would give a date of birth of 1871, so already there is a wide range of birth years to consider. Walter would not have been recorded in the 1901 census as he was in South Africa, but his family may have been recorded. I have tried to trace one Walter Hopkins who stated he was born in Walthamstow, Essex in about 1873 with a mother called Mary Ann that lived in Birmingham, but with no luck, possibly because he had moved to Ireland. I haven't identified Mary Ann Hopkins. It is not possible to say whether he served in the First World War - there is no immediately obvious surviving record.
Walter qualified for the Queen's South Africa Medal with the DCLI.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Andy Jones
Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 9:36 AM

Thanks Alan. I think you found him all right, I did manage to find out that Walter was from Walthamstow, but enlisted at Birmingham. That ties up nicely. Thanks again for your help.
Posted by: Madbat63 {Email left}
Location: Rotherham
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 7:07 PM
Hi Alan

My great uncle was in the Royal Field Artillery "C" Bty. 317th Bde. attd. 63rd R.N. Div. He died at Passchendale in 1917 of his wounds. I believe he was in the Territorial Army prior to the war. His name was John William Sawyer, from Hull. I am trying to find out some more information about where he may have fought/been stationed. I know he was in France but have no idea whereabouts. any help/advice would be gratefully received.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 11:06 PM

No individual service record has survived for John William Sawyer so it is not possible to state his wartime service with certainty, particularly as the Royal Artillery underwent many re-organisations. The First World War was an artillery war and the organisation of the guns was frequently changed, with men moving between brigades, or brigades being re-numbered. For a general understanding of the structure of the artillery brigades see Chris Baker's website:
http://www.1914-1918.net/whatartbrig.htm

There is, however, sufficient evidence to suggest John Sawyer's most likely movements. An Army medal rolls index-card showed he went abroad as an acting bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery with the regimental numbers 1423 and (after March 1917) 761233. Medal records recorded the rank and number held by the person when he first went overseas. This provides evidence that John served in the Territorial artillery, as the number 761233 was allotted in March 1917 to the Northumbrian Brigade RFA and 317 Battery was designated the 2nd/3rd Northumbrian Brigade. All Territorial soldiers were re-numbered in 1917 during a rationalisation of the numbering system. So, we know he served before March 1917 as "1423" and after March 1917 as "761233".
John Sawyer qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In addition, he qualified for the Territorial Force Medal. The TFM was awarded to those volunteer soldiers who, before the outbreak of war on August 4th 1914, had already completed four years' service in the Territorial Army; who had served overseas and who could not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad
before December 31st 1915. The TFM is the least well known of the First World War medals as only 34,000 were issued, compared to six and a half million British War Medals.

That provides evidence that John Sawyer was serving in 317 Brigade RFA in March 1917 when his new number was issued. He died while serving with 317 Brigade in October 1917. No members of 317 Brigade RFA qualified for the 1914-15 Star, because that unit first went to France in 1916.
As he had had at least four years' service in the TA before the war, John Sawyer's wartime record is probably similar to 317 Brigade's record.
317 Brigade was designated with Roman numerals as CCCXVII (2/III Northumbrian) Brigade, RFA (CCC= 300, X= 10 and VII = 7). It joined the 63rd Royal Naval Division in France on 5th July 1916, having left England on July 1st 1916. When in France, the 63rd Royal Naval Division fought at The Battle of the Ancre (13th to 19th November 1916) which was part of The Battles of the Somme 1916. In 1917 the Division fought at The Operations on the Ancre (January to March 1917); The Second Battle of the Scarpe (23-24 April 1917) in which the Division captured Gavrelle; The Battle of Arleux (28-29 April 1917) during the Arras Offensive and The Second Battle of Passchendaele (26 October - 10 November 1917) a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres 1917. John Sawyer had died on 20th October 1917 and had probably been wounded that day as he died of wounds at a dressing station. He was at St Julien, near Ypres, when he died. The most likely cause of death was counter-battery artillery fire from the enemy's artillery.
317 Brigade was originally designated as part of the second-line 3rd Northumbrian (County of Durham) Brigade of the RFA. Before the outbreak of war, the 3rd Northumbrian (County of Durham) Brigade of the RFA was based at TA drill halls in Seaham and Hartlepool. These second-line units were raised at the outbreak of war to provide drafts of replacements once the original pre-war Territorials had let for overseas service.
Before the war, the Territorial artillery brigades had regional names, rather than numbers which were allotted during the war.
It seems likely that coming from Hull, John's pre-war Territorial service may have been with the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA which was based at Wenlock Barracks on Anlaby Road in Hull. The Hull artillery became numbered as 316 Brigade. After arriving in France, 316 Brigade (2nd Northumbrian) RFA was re-organised in August 1916 and it appears their 'C' Battery became 'C' Battery 317 Brigade. So, there is some evidence to suggest John was in the pre-war Hull Territorial artillery of the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA at Hull and went to France with them in July 1916 to join 63rd Royal Naval Division. Once in France, 316 Battery was re-organised and his battery became part of 317 Brigade. That did not affect his wartime service as 316 and 317 Brigades fought in the same Division, although that does not confer a precise geographical stability.
Before going to France in 1916, 316 and 317 Batteries had belonged to the 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division of the Home Forces, before that division rendered its number to the Royal Naval Division in France in 1916. At the outbreak of war, Divisional HQ was at Newcastle upon Tyne and took responsibility for coastal defences from Seaham Harbour to Sunderland and Tynemouth. The artillery was based at Newcastle, Gosforth Park and Gateshead. King George V inspected the Division at Newcastle on 20th May 1915 and on 30th November 1915, the Division's HQ moved to Retford in Nottinghamshire. The artillery moved to Retford, York and Doncaster. At the end of May 1916, the artillery left for France, via Heytesbury in Wiltshire before sailing to France to join the Royal Naval Division that was then to be re-numbered the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division on 21 July 1916. For a history see:
http://www.1914-1918.net/63%282N%29div.htm

The war diary of 317 Brigade RFA is held at the National Archives at Kew, Surrey, in catalogue reference WO 95/3102/4. You would need to visit the archives to study it.

Summary: John probably served in the pre-war Hull TA artillery. At the outbreak of war his battery was initially part of the home East Coast defences and was then sent to France in July 1916 where John became a member of 317 Battery RFA which fought at The Battle of the Ancre (13th to19th November 1916); The Operations on the Ancre (January-March 1917); The Second Battle of the Scarpe (23th 24th April 1917), in which the Division captured Gavrelle; and The Battle of Arleux (28th -29th April 1917). He died of wounds on 20th October 1917 at St Julien near Ypres in the build-up to the Second Battle of Passchendaele (26th October 10th November 1917).
I apologise for the history being complicated. Any mistakes are entirely mine.

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Madbat63
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 8:43 AM

Hi Alan
WoW! Thank you so much for your reply, it makes things a bit clearer, i had realised that various brigades etc had been renamed, but it just made everything even more confusing.It's very interesting, just one question, is it possible that he could have been sent to France as early as July 1914? The reason i ask is , that whilst sorting through my grandmother's things we have found a letter written by John, asking that the family don't wast anymore money buying him cigarettes as he can get them at the War Price instead. The letter is dated July1914 and clearly gives the address as France- no town or any other details.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 5:36 PM

There is no documentary evidence John served overseas before July 1st 1916. If he was in France in July 1914 when he wrote the letter he would have been a tourist as Britain did not declare war until 11pm on August 4th 1914. "War price" cigarettes were those that had been sent to France under bond, and had been exempted from Board of Customs and Excise duty. When sold by the YMCA or other organisations, they could be a third of the price that would be paid at home. As he refers to "war price" the letter must have been written after the start of the war, so the date of the letter may be in question.
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Lindsay {Email left}
Location: Bangor Co Down
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 11:54 AM
Dear Alan,
I am researching my family tree in particular, my great uncle Robert Angus Malcolm Cecil, who served with the Royal Engineers Railway Construction Troop Depot, Reg.No. WR/209016 Rank Pioneer.
He died at Frensham Military Hospital on 1 November 1918.
Born in Dublin 15 August 1885.
I have been trying without success, to trace his military records e.g.
When did he enlist?
Where did he enlist?
Did he serve on active service?
Was he awarded any medals?
Who were his next of kin names of brother or sister?
Can you help ? Any information would be appreciated
Regards

Lindsay
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 4:20 PM

Dear Lindsay,
No individual service record has survived for Robert Angus Malcolm Cecil so it is not possible to suggest his military service. His name does not appear in the Army medal rolls index which suggests that he did not serve abroad and did not qualify for any medals. He died while serving at the Railway Operating Troops Depot (ROTD) at Bordon and Longmoor in Hampshire. He was buried at Bordon. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded he "died" which meant his death was from illness and not a result of being killed in action or dying of wounds. He is buried in a grave with a civilian headstone. See:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33894481@N04/4543492433/

and
http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2067524/BORDON%20MILITARY%20CEMETERY

He was born in Dublin and lived at Seafield Avenue, Dublin, with his mother, Jeanette, and a sister. His mother later re-married to Robert McKee after the death of her husband Robert Cecil. For the 1901 and 1911 census returns see:
http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/

He was a Bachelor of Science (London University), yet his rank was only that of a "pioneer" which was a private soldier with no trade skills. It is feasible he had only just joined up and had not been trade tested. If he had been living in England, he would have been subject to compulsory conscription after March 1916. Had he been living in Ireland, he would have been a volunteer, as compulsory service was not introduced in Ireland.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Lindsay
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 4:44 PM

Dear Alan
many thanks for such a quick reply

Regards

Lindsay
Posted by: Fred {Email left}
Location: Cockermouth
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 8:47 PM
Dear Alan
I am researching a member of my friend`s family who died the day after the Armistice in 1918. He was my friend`s great uncle and his name was Thomas Farrell. From family history we are quite sure that he died on 12/11/1918 from wounds that he received the day before. I am interested in researching his career during WW1. From the record of deaths and medal roll I know that he was in the Household Cavalry and his battalion was the 5th Lancers (Royal Irish). His number was L/15367. He was born in Lucan near Dublin and lived in Navan County Meath.
I have tried to research his life through the Irish censuses of 1901 and 1911. However, there are simply too many Thomas Farrells to make any headway!
I know that it is unlikely that he served from the start of the war because he only has a five figure regimental number and he did not receive the 1914/1915 star.
Can you help please?
Many thanks,
Allan F Sykes
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 10:19 PM

Dear Allan,
There is no obvious surviving service record for Thomas Farrell so it is not possible to suggest his service history. The 5th Lancers entered Mons on 11th November 1918. One of the 5th Lancers was killed by a sniper on the 11th November. The war diary of the 5th Lancers appears to record one man dying of sickness on 12.11.18. See the discussion and war diary image at:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=20971

"The Harp and Crown, The History of the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers, 1902 1922" by Ciaran Byrne stated that there were three fatalities "that morning" and Private Farrell was mortally wounded on 11th November and died the next day.
"Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded that only one soldier of the 5th Lancers died on 11th November 1918; George Edwin Ellison. George Robert Pottle, of the 5th Lancers, died of wounds on the 13th November 1918.
"Soldiers Died in the Great War" recorded there were, overall, 513 deaths on November 11th 1918 and 188 deaths on November 12th 1918.

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Mairead
Date: Friday 31st October 2014 at 6:24 PM

Hello,
We are most interested in this person in Navan. We would like to ask the question if you are certain he was born in Lucan or where the information came from that he was born in Lucan. Could it be that Lucan would be a misprint of Navan in truth.

We believe he may well have been born in Meath and must ask if him having a sister Annie or a brother Patrick would make sense in your friends family history.

Many Thanks. Mairead
Reply from: Mairead
Date: Thursday 6th November 2014 at 10:30 PM

If Allan or the family he enquired for should get in touch please use the Contact Editor link to get in touch with me.

Many Thanks, Mairead
Posted by: Hazel {Email left}
Location: Cornwall
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 6:15 PM
Hi , Please can you find anything on Joseph Henry Mance he served in the Royal Engineers reg numbers 308081/ WR22804 and also the The Royal Field Artillery Regiment number L46235
Many Thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 9:21 PM

Dear Hazel,
Joseph Henry Mance enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on 11 October 1915. He went to France on 5th May 1916 and joined 190th Brigade RFA on May 27th 1916. The 190th brigade served with the 41st Division which fought at The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of the Transloy Ridges in 1916.
On February 5th 1917 he was transferred to the Royal Engineers and served in 342 and 314 Road Construction Companies until the end of the war. He was discharged on February 8th 1919. To know where the road construction companies were you would need to see their war diaries. Copies are
held at the Royal Engineers Museum.
He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Hazel
Date: Tuesday 27th August 2013 at 3:50 PM

Hi Alan , Could you please tell me any information on Harold K Jeffcock from Sheffield . Reg nos 34170...57943...and 368685
i appreciate any information given , many thanks
Posted by: Anto {Email left}
Location: Harlow
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 4:37 PM
Hi Alan,

I was wondering if you could help me obtain some information about my Great Granddad Michael Joseph Carragher who was born in Co Cavan in Ireland in 1880.

What we actually want to find is the town/village he was born in and we were hoping his Army records might have these details.

I don't have his Army number (maybe you could find out what it is and let me know) but I do have some details of his Army career.

I believe he was with the 11th Battery Royal Field Artillery in 1907 at Salisbury and then moved to Clonmel in Co. Tipperary to train with Horse?

In1908 the Battery was sent to Jalandhar in the Punjab and was there until arriving back in Avonmouth on the 7/12/1915.

He was in Kingscourt Co. Cavan from the 11/01/1916 until being posted back to Hyderabad Sindh by the 13/08/1916.

I believe around about this time he became the RMS of the Battery.

I'm not sure how much information the above is to go on, however anything you could find out would be most welcome. Even if you could point me in the direction of somebody else who might be able to help.

Thanks in Advance,

Anthony
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 6:44 PM

Dear Anthony,
There was a Michael Carragher who served in the Royal Field Artillery and became a Warrant Officer Class I. His number was 5704. As he was serving as an RSM in August 1921, when his family returned from India, his service record may still be held by Ministry of Defence. 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:

http://www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html

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,
Alan
Reply from: Anto
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 9:02 AM

Thanks for the prompt reply Alan.

Regards

Anthony
Reply from: Anto
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 9:15 AM

Alan,

Just one quick question.
As his Great Grandson would I be considered "next of kin" by the MOD in this instance?
He died in 1950 and my Uncle (his Grandson) would be his closest living relative.

Thanks again.

Anthony
Reply from: Anto
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 10:50 AM

Hi Alan,

Ignore my last question, as looking at the form (I should have done that first) I see that my Uncle will be the official next of kin.

Regards

Anthony
Posted by: Dee {Email left}
Location: Devon
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 2:29 PM
I have two letters written by my grandfather - Frank Marsingale Jones - about his life during the 1st WW. The first is written to his mother in 1915 from Perham Down, and the second to a 'Mr Gregery' from France in January 1916. Both have as an address - 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. I cannot find any information about his war record. I would be very grateful to hear from anyone how might have any information about him.
Reply from: Andrew Hesketh
Date: Saturday 15th February 2014 at 12:19 PM

Son of late Canon Thomas Jones, formerly Vicar of Abergele. Commissioned Second Lieutenant 12 September 1914 into 2nd RWF. Married Ursula Alice Wells of Plungar (?), Nottinghamshire, February 1916, whilst already a Captain in the 9th RWF, and with an address in Colwyn Bay at that time. Went overseas July 1915 as a Captain in the 9th RWF. Brother of Edgar Wilkinson Jones, KIA 9 April 1917. Mentioned in Sir. Douglas Haig's Dispatches, London Gazette, Issue 29623 published on the 13 June 1916, page 5941.

I am researching the men of Abergele in WWI, and would be very grateful, in return, for a view of the letters to which you refer. I can be contacted at andrew(underscore)hesketh at hotmail.com
Posted by: Michael Fairey {Email left}
Location: Pouzolles France
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 10:07 AM
I am looking for information on the service record of my father Christopher Isaac Fairey. Using family anecdotal information I found a "Serjeant" Christopher J Fairey , number 45787 Rifle Brigade, under record WO 327/7/9375, in the Arras area in 1916. As my father was born in 1898 it seems a very young age to have to have reached the rank of Sergeant. Again according to family history he finished the war as a Company Sergeant Major. Does this seem unlikely? Of course this record might not even apply to my father as the middle initial is wrong, but I'm hoping it may only be a badly written "I".
He was born in London and initially, I think, volunteered in the Kings Royal Rifles which later became the Rifle Brigade.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 4:45 PM

Dear Michael,
There is no surviving military record for Christopher Isaac Fairey. The medal index card could be for Christopher J Fairey. There was a Christopher Joseph Fairey old enough to have served in the war so it is not possible to say who the card belongs to.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: David Fairey
Date: Tuesday 13th August 2013 at 7:52 PM

Michael, Please send me any information you find as your my Great Uncle, I'm Tony's Grandson. I'm trying to find out information about our family as much as possible. I do have CI's army pay book from WW1 so will share what information I can.

Kind Regards, David
Reply from: Michael Fairey
Date: Thursday 15th August 2013 at 10:07 AM

David. Nice to meet you. Delighted to know you are researching family and to know that you have CI's Army Paybook. We might be able to find out more about his WW1 record and any medals. Please contact me on (michael.fairey34 at orange dot fr) and I will send you what I have. Gt Uncle Mike.
Posted by: Angela {Email left}
Location: Messingham
Date: Saturday 3rd November 2012 at 9:48 PM
Dear Alan,

My Dad is 91 and a couple of years ago whilst researching family history, I discovered he had an uncle who was killed during WW1. My Dad served in the Royal Navy from just before WW2 and he usually lays the British Legion wreath in our village, with his great grandchildren now laying a cross in remembrance of his uncle.

I wondered if you would be able to find out any information about him. His name was Walter Broom, Service Number 40811 of the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. He was killed on 19th September, 1918, and is remembered on the Memorial at Vis en Artois, but under the name of Walter Brown.

I have contacted the WGC and they have updated their information on the Internet, but it could be some years before they alter the memorial.

I feel that he has been forgotten for all these years, although he is on the War Memorial in Oakham; we have no photograph of him, when he joined up, and where he was killed, or where he served.

Thank you,
Angela.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 12:20 PM

Dear Angela,
There is no surviving service record for Walter Broom, so it is not possible to suggest his wartime service. An Army medal rolls index card recorded that he qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad before December 31st 1915, he did not serve abroad until after January 1st 1916. He served in the Leicestshire Regiment with a five-digit wartime regimental number which suggests that he was conscripted on or after his 18th birthday and was sent abroad as part of a draft of reinforcements. On the day he died he was serving in the 1st Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment but there is no record of when he was posted to that battalion. The 1st Battalion served with the 6th Division which had fought The Battle of Epehy on September 18th 1918.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Angela
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 12:23 PM

Dear Alan,

Thank you very much for your speedy reply; presumably Vis en Artois is the nearest memorial to Epehy. Hopefully the WGC will have his name corrected in the near future.

Would you know if the 1st Battalion Leicester Regiment have any war diaries available to look at?

Thanks again,
Kind regards,
Angela.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 5:39 PM

Dear Angela,
The war diaries are held at the National Archives at Kew, Surrey. They are in Catalogue references WO95/1611/2; WO95/ 1621 and WO95/1622. You would need to visit the archives to read them.
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Karen Rice {Email left}
Location: Stourbridge
Date: Friday 2nd November 2012 at 11:51 PM
Hi Alan
Can you help me. I am trying to trace any information for a soldier who enlisted in 1911 and was discharged in 1923, for an elderly uncle (by marriage) who doesn't know anything about his father's history- like where he was born, his date of birth etc. We have his discharge papers and they show his name as William Cooke, whereas my uncle has always used the surname Cook. I am a keen family history person but cannot track this man down to find a birth certificate. I have discovered that William married in 1918- October 14th ( certificate shows Cook) and we know he died of emphysema and other problems bought on by the war- he was apparently gassed at some point.
His discharge shows he was in the RH & RFA , the discharge papers show number 1006840, Gunner William Cooke. enlisted B'ham 28.8.1911 and discharged 27.8.1923 having served 7 years 269 days with the colours and 4 years 96 days in the Army Reserve. It has his year of birth as 1893 but I have not been able to track a birth certificate as I don't know where he came from for sure. Among the things uncle has is a Christmas tin from Princess Mary in 1914 wrapped in an envelope sent back to a friend in Birmingham . It bears the details of him serving as batman to Major R G Maturin, in 29th Brigade,187th Battery RFA and my uncle remembers being told that he was with him the whole war and served in France as well as Italy. William died in 1936 at the age of 42, when his son was just 10.
Any extra information that you could give us would be wonderful for uncle as his paternal family history is a blank at the moment and this is all he has about his father.

Yours Hopefully Karen
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd November 2012 at 5:33 PM

Dear Karen,
The most likely source for a place of birth would be recorded on his enlistment papers, however, service records for soldiers who remained in the Reserves up to 1923 are not in the public domain and are held by the Ministry of Defence.
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:

http://www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html

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.

Service records might not provide details of birth, although when he enlisted in 1911 William Cooke should have stated his parish and county of birth as well as his age.
His marriage certificate should name his father and his father's profession which would help identify William in the 1901 and 1911 censuses.

William would have left the Army in 1919 and would have been a reservist for the next four years. The number 1006840 was a post-war number and when he enlisted in 1911 he would have had a different number. There was a William Cooke who served in the 29th Brigade of the RFA with the number 66781, although there is no biographical evidence to identify him. He qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He entered France on the same date as Major Reginald George Maturin DSO who rose to the temporary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and eventually commanded 22nd Brigade RFA. The 29th Brigade served in France and Flanders with the 4th Division. The 187th Battery was a different unit, raised in November 1915 which did serve in Italy for a short time between December 1917 and February 1918 with the 41st Division, before returning to France. William Cooke appears to have transferred from the 29th Brigade to the 187th Battery at some stage.

The names Cook and Cooke are interchangeable, but William does appear to have been recorded as Cooke in military records.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Karen Rice
Date: Saturday 3rd November 2012 at 8:32 PM

Dear Alan

Thanks for the information on service records I will get the form completed by uncle and see what we can learn. Unfortunately I have tried to trace William from the marriage certificate using his father details but unfortunately as his father was deceased it hasn't helped much as the few I have investigated have been the wrong ones. The censuses have proved little help either as yet. I am trying to find a death for his father at the moment. William's place of abode at the time of his marriage was his new wife's address as he must have come home on leave married and gone back again. We think must have come from around the area we live in but no one knows for sure, so we will have to wait for his service details and see what we can get.

Many thanks for the additional army information. the one thing uncle remembers is his father talking about the officer he was batman to and where they went but only in terms on the countries as uncle was a young child he wouldn't take in much more than that.

Many thanks

Karen
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd November 2012 at 9:23 PM

Dear Karen,
If you can give me his father's details and any other details from the marriage certificate, I can have a further look.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Karen
Date: Saturday 3rd November 2012 at 9:33 PM

Dear Alan

His fathers details from the marriage certificate are Edward Cook, Deceased, occupation galvaniser. The wedding certificate is dated 14th October 1918 and was in Stourbridge, Worcestershire which is where uncle was born.William married Alice Smith. Uncle has all the details for her but she seldom spoke of his father once he died as she found it incredibly hard he tells me, that's why he doesn't know any background beyond the army.
The only deaths I have found have been wrong when I have traced the people back on the census. Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

Much appreciated

Karen
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th November 2012 at 4:43 PM

Dear Karen,
The only clue I have found is an Edward Cook who was born about 1844 who was a galvanizer in the 1881 census at 1 Franklin Street, Birmingham, single, born Sedgley Staffordshire. In 1891 at the same address and same year of birth he was a widower with two sons born 1884 and 1885. He may have re-married between 1891 and 1901 to have further children. I can't find him in the 1901 census.
In the 1901 census there is a stray William Cooke, born 1895, Birmingham, who was living with his grand-parents Philip and Clara Leppard of 106 Wellington Street, Birmingham. Franklin Street and Wellington Street were adjacent streets.
Kind regards,
Alan

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