The World War Forum (Page 128)

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Posted by: Helen {Email left}
Location: Sevenoaks
Date: Thursday 4th April 2013 at 10:31 PM
Dear Alan,

My Great Great Grandfather was Henry Charles Ford (known as Harry), he served in the First Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers during World War I and was awarded the military cross (and then subsequently also the bar) for an attack on a machine gun post at some point before 1917. Apparently, so my Grandfather used to tell me, as he was over 6" tall the king had to stand on a stool to award him the cross! I have just been informed that his military cross is on display in Carmarthen Castle so the answer to my question may well be there but I shall have to organise a visit. I would very much like to know where he was when this attack on the machine gun post took place and if there is any additional information available about him please.
Many thanks and kind regards

Posted by: Alastair Macdonald {Email left}
Location: Reuters London
Date: Thursday 4th April 2013 at 5:52 PM
Would you like to share your experience of tracing your relatives' service in the First World War?
I'm a journalist with Reuters news agency in London and am working on a story related to next year's centenary of the outbreak of the conflict. I would very much like to hear from anyone who has been researching the war records, whether for years or just a few days, to hear what motivates you, what you have found out and what you think is important about the memory of the fighting as the 100-year mark approaches. If you are interested, please drop me an email at (alastair.macdonald at thomsonreuters dot com) .
Twitter: @macdonaldrtr
Posted by: David Blithing {Email left}
Location: Harrow Middlesex
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 6:03 PM
Hi Alan, i am researching my grandfather who sevred in ww1 with the 1st Battalion The East Kent he join the East Kenst in 1903 age the age of 16 years I think? any other information will be a big bonus
David Blithing
Reply from: David Blithing
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 6:04 PM

Hi Alan
Sorry it does help His name is Percy William Blything
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 7:44 PM

Dear David,
There are no surviving military records in the name of Percy William Blything (or variations). He appears to have enlisted under the name of William Blything. In the 1901 census he was recorded as a 14 year old butcher's shop assistant at Brook Street, Erith. In the 1911 census he was recorded living with his mother as "no employment" ex-Army reserve. He could have served seven years with the colours and five in reserve which was a typical term of engagement. "Ex-Army" reserve could be interpreted that he was "ex-Army" and in the reserve, as opposed to being a former Army reservist. Consequently, in 1914 he would have been recalled from the reserve to serve in the war.
An Army medal rolls index card recorded a W. P. Blything who served with the East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) as L/7242, where the L pre-fix stood for local enlistment. He later served with the Army Service Corps as a serjeant M2/202503. His term of engagement ended on 24th May 1916, which may have been at the end of 12 years' service with the colours and the reserve, suggesting enlistment in about 1904. Engagements that ended while a man was serving overseas were extended by one year, which would give the date of enlistment as 1903. In that year the 1st battalion The Buffs returned from a tour in India.
William Blything qualified for the 1914 Star with Mons clasp; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He served overseas from 7th September 1914. The 1st Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) landed at St Nazaire with the 6th Division on 10th September 1914. They fought in the 16th Infantry Brigade. See:

It is not possible to state when he transferred to the ASC. The M2 prefix to his number indicated Mechanical Transport.
A brief service record for a William Blything born in Hatcham who enlisted in the Rifle Brigade and then transferred to the East Kent Regiment is available at the National Archives which is free to visit at Kew, Surrey, or via the website (pay as you go; 30 credits required). Copyright law prevents me from transcribing information from the Findmypast website.
The regimental records are held at The Buffs, Royal East Kent Regiment Museum Collection, National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HT.
Kind regards,
Reply from: David Blithing
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 8:44 PM

Hi Alan thank you for you very quick reply most helpful
kindest Regards
Posted by: Sigy {No contact email}
Location: Worthing West Sussex
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 5:01 PM
Hello Alan , Can you help me, I am researching my mums first husband, my sisters father. He is Isaac Frondigoun, born 1891

at Gravesend. Died 1931 at Newmarket. He was in the RAVC, joined in1915. His Reg number SE/7816. Can you tell me

what he did in WW1 please. I thought he was jockey. I believe he was awarded medals. It also seems he received a medal

in 1930. Thank you for any help you can give me. Sigy
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 6:56 PM

Dear Sigy,
No individual service record has survived for Isaac Frondigoun so it is not possible to state his service. He enlisted on 10th May 1915 as a special enlistment (indicated by the SE prefix to his regimental number 7816). He was sent to France just eleven days later on 21st May 1915 with the Army Veterinary Corps. Special enlistment often entailed a soldier continuing his civilian skills in uniform. An Army medal index card showed he qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The Star was returned for correction to the naming and was re-issued in 1930. He qualified for the silver War Badge for being discharged through sickness on 15th April 1916.
You may wish to consider spending £25 to ask the Western Front Association to manually search the 6.5 million pension record cards (PRCs) which are not available elsewhere. This is a new service launched this week. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Jeanette Tipping
Date: Sunday 14th June 2015 at 12:37 PM

Isaac Frondigoun was the half brother of my father James Fuller Frondigoun. Isaac and James had the same father but different mothers and there was 20 years difference in age between them. If Sigy would like any more information, I may be able to help.
Posted by: John {Email left}
Location: Herts
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 2:26 PM
I am researching the brother of my grandmother...his name was FREDERICK GEORGE RICHARDSON...he was born in Dec 1886 in Hammersmith, London and served in WW1 with the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry (I have a photo of him in uniform)...I know he survived the war and have much detail post-war.
I have found a record in the National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918 (Find My Past) of a Private F RICHARDSON who enlisted in June 1913 with the RASC, drafted to France in Aug 1914 and later transferred to the Oxf & Bucks LI, but I don't know if this is the same person. The address listed in exit details is in Camberwell which is close to Wandsworth where he married in August 1913 (was he a reserve after he enlisted and got married before being drafted abroad?).
If anyone can throw light onto his time during the war I would much appreciate it...John
Posted by: Sue {Email left}
Location: Winchester
Date: Tuesday 2nd April 2013 at 5:25 PM
Hi, I am looking for some information about 3 people who served in the first world war. The first is William Henry Hall born 1895 coddenham Suffolk . He was in the RAF service number 9715 and I would be very interested in what he did.
Also I am looking for 2 brothers Edward John Bullen born 1885 in shoreditch london. He was a bootmaker in kingston and I was told he served in the Horse Artillery but I have found a record for someone of the same name and age in the engineers(no 19017 and I am sure this is he as the address fits as well as the occupation) and his brother George Henry Bullen born 1897 east molesey surrey. I know he was also in the war but I dont know what he did perhaps he was the one in the artillery.
I have some photos in Khaki and tropical gear along with ones that look european but I dont know if it is the brothers in the photos .The european ones have artillery cap badges so did the engineers wear khaki?
I am quite puzzled so would be grateful for any help.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 3:19 PM

Dear Sue,
George Henry Bullen, of 58 Walton Road, East Moseley, Surrey enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on 1st October 1915. His medical notes on entry stated he would improve physically after a period of army drill. On January 29th 1916 he was appointed as a saddler; a trade related to being a boot maker. The appointment as a saddler was classed as being an "artificer" and qualified him for higher pay as a skilled tradesman. He served with the 190th (Wimbledon) Brigade RFA which was designated with Roman numerals as CXC Brigade RFA. The Brigade served with 41st Division. George Bullen went overseas to France on 5th May 1916. He also served with the 41st Division in Italy. The 41st Divisional Ammunition Column (41 DAC) would have administered him on occasions, such as when he was admitted for medical treatment for boils. On 1st January 1917 he reverted to being a driver (private soldier) with the RFA at his own request. He returned to the UK in November 1918 and was posted to the Royal Artillery and Tank Corps Command Depot at Catterick in North Yorkshire. He was discharged at Christmas 1918 and was formally transferred to the reserves on 21st January 1919. Commitment to the reserves was deemed to have ended on 31st March 1920.
The history of the 41st Division in France and Italy is outlined at:

There are no obvious medal rolls index cards for the other two men, so, if they did not qualify for medals, they would have served only in the UK before the Armistice. RAF roll numbers are available to search on the website (charges apply).
No records for Edward Bullen appear to have survived.
The Royal Engineers wore the same khaki uniform as all other soldiers, including the Royal Flying Corps, which did not become the Royal Air Force until April 1st 1918. From July 1918, RAF officers had the option of purchasing a grey-blue jacket. Buying new officers' uniforms in the middle of a war was extravagant and the RAF could only be offered surplus stocks of grey-blue serge that was previously used to manufacture Russian officer's uniforms, items that were no longer required after the Russian Revolution.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Sue
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 4:09 PM

Thank you so much.
I have 2 medals for w h Hall,which is how I knew his number they are the one with the horse on (service medal?) and the one with the writing on the front about the war for civilisation.
With regard to edward Bullen I found he was in the engineers with a regiment number 203147 and I wondered what it was as I do have some photos which I think are of him in Khaki and tropical type hats. He joined the surrey regiment in Kingston in 1916 and it said he was a sapper.
Also is there any chance you could find out about my other grandfather. His name was Frederick William Harle born Newbury 1895. He was a saddler by trade .
Thank you
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 3rd April 2013 at 6:50 PM

Dear Sue,
There is a very brief and unhelpful service record for a William Henry Hall who was born 19th July 1895 and who served in the RFC/RAF as a clerk at Farnborough in 1917. It is held at the National Archives but does not identify him further than the date of birth. The record says nothing more than above. The RAF nominal roll at the website may provide a date of entry. I still have been unable to find him on the medal rolls. You can download the service record for a cost of £3.36 at

Gathering verifiable evidence from more than one record for First World War soldiers is not easy because so many records have been destroyed. E J Bullen, 19017, Royal Engineers was conscripted into the Royal Engineers in 1916 in the county of Surrey; not into "The Surrey Regiment", which did not exist in that name. A recruitment record provides no evidence the man continued to serve (for example he may have been medically unfit). There is no obvious further record for him with the number 19017 and as there is no matching entry in the medal rolls index it appears he did not serve overseas. There is no evidence the man named Edward Bullen J. 203147, is the same man. A man serving in the Royal Engineers would not have worn the cap badge of the Royal Artillery.
Unfortunately, there is insufficient detail to positively identify Frederick William Harle from the numerous Frederick Harles.
You may wish to consider spending £25 to ask the Western Front Association to manually search the 6.5 million pension record cards (PRCs) which are not available elsewhere. This is a new service launched this week. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Ann Smith Nee Bullen
Date: Tuesday 17th November 2015 at 11:37 AM

Hello I have just come across your forum and noticed that someone wanted to know about Edward John Bullen, he was my grandad, his brother george I never got to meet but I have been doing some family research and may be able to help with further information. My email is (alicevictoriasmith at gmail dot com)

Posted by: Brian {Email left}
Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne
Date: Saturday 30th March 2013 at 7:39 PM
Hi there
my grand-dad alfred pipe served with the 3rd Dragoon Gaurds and arrived in france on the 17 october 1915. he was awarded the 1915 star, british war medal and the victory medal. it was thought he died in 1918 ,but i found him on the electoral register in 1920. would like to find out what action he went through,
many thanks Brian
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 31st March 2013 at 12:15 PM

Dear Brian,
No individual service record appears to have survived for Alfred Pipe so it is not possible to state his wartime service. An Army medal rolls index card recorded he went to France on 17th October 1915 with the regimental number GS/13219 in the 3rd (Prince of Wales's) Dragoon Guards. The prefix indicated he enlisted for wartime service only (GS = General Service). The 3rd Dragoon Guards had been in France since 31st October 1914, so Alfred Pipe would have been part of a draft of reinforcements that arrived in France on that date. The index card recorded he also had the regimental number D/14514 for General Service in the Corps of Dragoons. He could have served for some time with the 3rd Dragoon Guards, but it is also possible the second regimental number could have been allotted on his arrival in France, when men were posted from base camps to the regiments most in need of casualty replacements. Therefore, once he arrived overseas, he could have served in any of the ten Dragoon Guards or Dragoon Regiments.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Brian
Date: Sunday 31st March 2013 at 4:32 PM

Hi Alan
thanks for the quick reply, i will send this of to australia where my elder brother is researching the family tree, this may be of help to him , many thanks
Posted by: Richard {Email left}
Location: Maidenhead
Date: Saturday 30th March 2013 at 1:04 PM
Hi Alan
You kindly gave me some excellent info on my father Christopher Byrnes who served in the 2nd Battalion through the Great War.
May I enquire further re my uncle Lt Col Richard Charles Byrne who was in the 1st battalion and served in the Boer War as well.
It was presumtion of mine that my dad had joined the 1st because of his brother but I'm now confident that my dad was only in the 2nd. My uncle Dick enlisted as a private and was a quatermaster through most of WW1 and was commissioned progresively and was a Captain at the end of WW1.His nickname was Stuffer.
Could you please set out the history of the 1st in WW1 and before if possible with any info on him personally.
I earlier used the term Up the Buffs when I should have said up the Toughs re the 2nd.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 30th March 2013 at 10:01 PM

Dear Richard,
Tracing Army officers can be both complicated and straightforward. Service records for officers who served during the First World War are usually held at the UK National Archives at Kew, Surrey. See:

However, as Richard Byrne appears to have served after 1922 his record most probably would be held by the UK Ministry of Defence and the next-of-kin would need to pay for a search to be undertaken under British data protection laws. (Generally, documents that are fewer than 100 years old are not in the public domain.) Officer's records sometimes consist of annual confidential reports, the sum of which is known as an "officer's book". It was a sheaf of brief reports on foolscap forms of his conduct and skills, signed-off each year by his superiors.
The "London Gazette" recorded every promotion and award for officers (that's the straightforward part). It is free to search online, but the "Gazette" can be cumbersome to search because officers could be referred to by forename or initial and those could be placed before or after the surname. (R. Byrne; R.C. Byrne; Byrne R.; Byrne R.C.; Richard Byrne; Richard Charles Byrne; Byrne Richard; Byrne Richard Charles). You can use the "relevance" button to adjust the date within selected conflicts (Boer War, WW1, or your chosen dates) from the menu, i.e. "oldest first" or "newest first" and click on "apply". Patience pays dividends.

The 1st Battalion was in Madras at the outbreak of the First World War and sailed from Bombay for the UK on 19 Nov 1914, arriving at Plymouth on 21 Dec and being put into billets in Torquay. In Jan 1915, it went to Nuneaton where it joined 86th Brigade in 29th Division. On 16 Mar 1915 it sailed from Avonmouth and landed at Alexandria, Egypt on 30th March. On 9th April 1915 it moved to Mudros, a camp and harbour on the Greek island of Lemnos which was used as the jumping-off point for Gallipoli. On 25th April 1915 the Brigade landed at Helles Beach and on the 30th April, after suffering heavy casualties, it was amalgamated with1st Royal Munster Fusiliers to form a composite battalion known locally as the "Dubsters" which joined 87th Brigade. On 19 May 1915, after casualty replacement, the battalion resumed its identity.
A medal rolls index card for Lt. (later Capt.) Richard Charles Byrne recorded he landed at Gallipoli on 7th July 1915. This may have been correct because the honorary rank of Lieutenant and quartermaster suggested he may have been in the rear party as quartermaster.

On 1st January 1916 the battalion left Gallipoli for Mudros and arrived on 8th January 1916 in Egypt. On 13th March 1916 the battalion sailed from Alexandria for France, landing at Marseilles on 19th March. For engagements in the Balkans and France up to October 1917 see:

On 19th October 1917 it transferred to 48th Brigade in 16th Division. On 10th February 1918 the battalion absorbed 10 officers and 200 men from the disbanded 8th and 9th Battalions. On 14th April 1918 the 1st and 2nd Battalions amalgamated at Clety, south of St Omer. On 19th Apr 1918 the 1st Battalion was reconstituted with personnel from the 2nd Battalion, which was then reduced to a cadre. For engagements with 16th Division see:

On 25th April 1918 the battalion was transferred back to 86th Brigade in 29th Division from the 16th Division. The battalion ended the war at St Genois, south-east of Courtrai, in Belgium. See also:

To identify his service as a private soldier rising through the ranks you would need to know his enlistment details in the RDF. These would be held by the National Archives if they had not been merged with his officer's file. There was certainly more than one R. Byrne in the 1st Battalion RDF in the Victorian period. He probably rose to the rank of Regimental Serjeant Major who attained 21 years' service and so was granted honorary Lieutenant and Quartermaster instead of retirement. He was Mentioned in Despatches in June 1918. He was awarded the Military Cross and the OBE. Records of those latter awards will be recorded in the "London Gazette".

After the war, he joined the Tank Corps as a quartermaster and Captain. His address in 1920 was "4th Tank Corps", Wareham, Dorset. He appears to have joined the Hampshire Regiment in 1925 as quartermaster. For a listing of the 1st Battalion's postings during Richard's time and a photograph of the Officers' Mess see:

The MOD will release certain amounts of information about a deceased person depending on whether you are the direct next-of-kin, or not. You can apply for a search using the different application forms for next-of-kin, or with permission of next-of-kin, or as a general enquirer. See:

Click on the link and then look for "Service records - requests for service records of deceased service personnel and home guard" in the left-hand column.
You will need proof of death (copy of death certificate); the soldier's date of birth or service number; and next-of-kin's signed permission (unless you are the direct next-of-kin), known as form Part 1. You then need a completed form Part 2 (search details), and cheque for payment. 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). The Part 2 form is entitled: "Request forms for service personnel Army" 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.
Searches take several months to complete.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Richard
Date: Sunday 31st March 2013 at 10:45 AM

Once again my sincere thanks Alan for your excellent help
Posted by: Paul Davies {Email left}
Location: Regina Sask
Date: Friday 29th March 2013 at 3:31 PM
Good Morning Mr. Greveson - can you give me a hand with Pte. W.H. Ebdon R.A.MC. - he only had one medal from WW1? and a kurdistan medal with clasp ?
Reply from: Paul Davies
Date: Friday 29th March 2013 at 3:33 PM

I'm such a silly - I forgot to give you his number is 79920
Reply from: Paul Davies
Date: Friday 29th March 2013 at 3:39 PM

The medal William received was a Victory medal - and a Government Service Medal ? with Kurdistan Clasp ? I must admit I'm very confused
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 30th March 2013 at 10:40 AM

Dear Paul,
William Henry Ebdon was born at Cardiff in November 1896. He was a quarry labourer and at the age of 19 he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 20th November 1915 with the regimental number 79920. He served overseas for a short time in 1916 when he was wounded and returned to the UK for treatment to a gunshot wound which healed in October 1916. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. After the First World War he continued to serve in the RAMC with the Army number 7254893 and took part in the Kurdistan Operation of 1923 for which he qualified for the General Service Medal. The Kurdistan Operation was a small force which quelled dissent amongst Kurdish people in the North of the newly created British Mandate of Iraq. Iraq achieved independence in 1932. William Ebdon served with 31st Company RAMC which was based in India in the 1920s and was at one stage based at Deolali (1925) and then Lahore (1928). His service record would be held by the UK Ministry of Defence and is not in the public domain.
Kind regards,
Posted by: Bella {No contact email}
Location: Esher
Date: Sunday 24th March 2013 at 7:56 PM
Dear Alan,
Can you help?

Alice Mabel Johnson, born Otford, Kent about 1877, parents James and Jane Johnson. Given to understand she married a George, Arthur Clarke 1908, Suffolk? Trying to establish any information from that marriage, children, deaths etc.

Would be extremely grateful if you can assist.

Hope you are keeping well, despite this deplorable weather.

Regards, Bella
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 25th March 2013 at 3:08 PM

Dear Bella,
You would need to establish accurate information for Alice Johnson and any reputed husband to identify her positively. Do not rely on a middle name identifying her.
Otford in Kent was in the Sevenoaks registration district. The birth of an Alice Mabel Johnson was registered at Sevenoaks in Jan-Feb-Mar 1879 (GRO Births, Sevenoaks, Kent 1879 Q1, Vol 2A page 589). In the 1881 census she was recorded born Sevenoaks, 1879, living in Otford with her parents. In the 1891 census she was recorded with her parents at Otford as being born at Great Ness in 1879. In the 1901 census an Alice Johnson, born Otford, Kent, in 1879, was a domestic cook for Henry W Fitz G Powell, surgeon, in Paddington, London.
Having checked by name; county; parish and year of birth, there is no obvious entry for her in the 1911 census but as explained below, she was probably not married to George Clarke.
After the 1901 census entry specific information about her death, marriage or emigration would be required to identify her.
The actual certificate for the presumed marriage in 1908 would have to be purchased to provide the details for George Alfred Clarke (GRO Marriages, Risbridge, Suffolk, 1908 Q4, Vol 4A, page 1581).
However, there was an Alice Mabel Johnson born at Risbridge, Suffolk in Jan-Mar 1890 who would have been 18 in 1908. Marriages usually took place in the bride's parish of residence.
It is possible to match an Alice born in Risbridge, Suffolk in 1890 with a George Clarke living in the Risbridge district in the 1911 census, so this was probably a different Alice Mabel Johnson.
As not all records state both forenames, and often used initials (e.g. Alice M.) it would be necessary to search through all deaths, marriages and emigration records in the name of Alice Johnson after 1901in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Bella
Date: Monday 25th March 2013 at 6:16 PM

Dear Alan,

Many thanks for your time and effort.

Will plough on.

Happy Easter.

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