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

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Posted by: Brian386 {Email left}
Location: Maidstone
Date: Thursday 8th December 2011 at 7:04 PM
My uncle spent 1940-1945 as a POW at Stalag VIIIB (Lamsborf). Supposedly he returned to the UK with his health broken. At least that is what I and my siblings were told. He died 1961 aged 48. Again his period as a POW was blamed for his early death. I do not recall ever seeing him physically exerting himself. Most often he was in an armchair surrounded by a fog of cigarette smoke.
I presumed that because of this he would have been discharged from the army very soon after returning to the UK.
His army service papers are now in my possession and contain the following
o POW DNK (date not known) to 01/05/46
o Home 02/05/45 to 18/11/45
o Release Leave 19/11/45 to 20/03/1946
o Class Z Reserve 21/03/46 to 10/02/54.
o Discharged on completion of engagement;authority: QR para 519 (vii). Allocated to the Army General Reserve Group P and eligible for recall to age 48. Authority: Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Act 1954.
o AGR"P" 11/02/54 to 18/04/58
o Attained the age of 45: no further ability for recall 18.4.58. Authority: Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Act 1954.

Would the 'Home 02/05/45 to 18/11/45' be an expected entry for someone who had returned in broken health. Or would it infer something to the contrary.
What was Class Z Reserve. Was it similar to the same created after WW1. Who were nominated for it. How were they nominated. Did a health consideration form part of the nomination to it.
What was Army General Reserve Group P. Who were nominated for it. How were they nominated. Did a health consideration form part of the nomination to it.

Lastly were POWs eligible for the Defence Medal. The service record as a stamp on it saying 'Defence Medal' but unlike his 1939-45 Star nothing wriiten by the relevent medal official to confirm the award.

Thank you.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th December 2011 at 8:02 PM

Dear Brian,
I am not really a Second World War historian, but as the questions you ask are general I'll make some suggestions.
"Home 02/05/45 to 18/11/45" indicated paid military service in the UK, whether on duty or in hospital. It applied to any soldier not serving abroad. "Home" differentiated from a "theatre of war". Dates did not include transit times, so any travelling or voyage was not included in the dates. Hence he was "overseas" until 1 May 1945 and in the UK from 2 May 1945. He was on leave (ie. he was entitled to return to his family home) from 19.11.45. He was discharged from the Army (ceased to be paid by them) on 20 March 1946.

The Class Z Reserve was for men who had been discharged from the Army and were likely to be the first to be re-called if hostilities resumed. Normally, they would be expected to be fit and young enough to serve (under 45). Many were re-called to serve in Korea in 1951. Mr Michael Maitland Stewart addressing the House of Commons in 1951 stated: "The units selected to train reservists this year will represent only a small proportion of the units which would be mobilised in an emergency. In selecting reservists for the units required in an emergency, the general principle of "last out, first back" has been applied. This has involved using the reservist's age and service group, and although this reflects accurately the date of his release, it does not, because of the Service element, bear any close relationship to his age. Moreover, there are certain arms and trades where the needs of mobilisation demand the recall of most, if not all, reservists trained in those duties".

Sir Archer Baldwin had suggested in the House in 1949 that the army was unaware of where many men in Class Z Reserve then lived; or what their state of health was.

Army General Reserve Group P included men who if discharged would qualify for a pension on account of their previous service. To defer payment of pensions, men were transferred to Group P for "services deemed to be temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the Army". In other words, they were taken off the Class Z Reserve and put into Group P, which effectively was their civilian employment. Any pension would then only be paid at the end of time in Group P.

An individual's entitlement for the Defence Medal can only be determined by the MOD Medal Office. Qualification was by length of time served overseas, a minimum of a year or six months, depending on location. Without knowing on what date he was taken prisoner or went abroad, it is not possible to suggest whether he qualified. After the Second World War soldiers had to apply for their medals, so there is no public record as there was for the First World War.

Kind regards
Reply from: Brian386
Date: Friday 9th December 2011 at 11:05 AM

Thanks Alan for your superfast advice.
Your comments appreciated. My view on the Reserve was pretty well summed up by the comments from Sir Archer Baldwin. It did not come up when I put a search on Google/Hansard although some later statements did. I just had the impression of a clerk applying his stamp because he needed to do something. My father on the other hand was discharged without being put on the reserve according to his papers.
MOD Medal Office - I will pass on them. Another enquiry there about another man got me know where.

Best regards
Posted by: John Taylor {Email left}
Location: New York U S A
Date: Monday 5th December 2011 at 8:53 PM
Hi Alan, I was wondering if you could find any information about my grandfathers service in the Royal Engineers during WW1. Unfortunately he didn't make it through the war and is buried in the CWG cemetery in Policastro, Greece. His name the same as mine, John Wood Taylor and he was a Sapper in the 131st Field Company, Royal Engineers, his service number is 159267. His death is recorded as 28/11/1917, I am assuming he died on the Doiran front, only because of the location of the cemetery. My grandmother is listed as living in Harrogate at the time of his death, but he is a native of Whitley Bay, (then) Northumberland. I do remember i had two medals, which I believe belonged to him, but I can't remember which medals they were. As family history goes, he was always just referred to as grandad who died in the war, my father didn't speak much about him and my grandmother either moved back or kept her residency in Harrogate. As I no longer live in the U.K. it is impossible for me to go to Kew and look up the information myself.
Posted by: Alan Laird
Location: Ireland
Date: Sunday 4th December 2011 at 11:16 PM
Ex ww2 raf, Has anyone any info please on Thomas ( Boy ) Laird
Posted by: Becca {Email left}
Location: E Yorks
Date: Sunday 4th December 2011 at 7:06 PM
Hello Alan, first of all I must apologise for making more than one request, but still hope that you may help me with one of the WALKER brothers. You kindly found out some information for me about HAROLD WALKER who had served with the Royal Scots (your letter dated 23 August 2010)

His brother was HERBERT WALKER born in February 1900 at 7 Queen's Tce, Portland St Hull the son of THOMAS ARTHUR WALKER and his wife ELIZABETH

I have now looked at the photograph again (dated 26 October 1918) and enlarged it as much as possible. From this I believe that he may have served with the Durham Light Infantry

I should be grateful for any help you may be able to give me.

With thanks

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th December 2011 at 8:46 PM

Dear Becca,
There is no obvious individual service record for Herbert Walker born 1900 at Hull. He would have been 14 when war was declared in August 1914. Unless he enlisted under age before compulsory conscription in 1916, he would have been called-up after his 18th birthday which would have been in Spring 1918 or later. If he had his photograph taken in October 1918, it is likely that he was in England at the time as individual photography was rare overseas and most soldiers had a photograph taken when they first got their uniform. He may have served overseas in 1918-1919. In 1918, officially, a man had to be aged 18 and-a-half before he could be sent abroad and 19 to serve at the front. There were five Herbert Walkers who served in the Durham Light Infantry (who were not killed) and were listed in the Army medal rolls index. However, that can only be searched knowing the man's regimental number so it is not possible to say whether he qualified for any medals for overseas service. It is possible he served overseas after the war, replacing men who had been demobilised, but there would have been no medal for that.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Becca
Date: Sunday 4th December 2011 at 9:45 PM

Hello Alan
Thank you for the information about Herbert Walker. I know nothing of his service number, so it looks as if I shall be unlucky to find anything further.

Would you now be able to look for his brother Fred Walker born February 1891 please? On the same family photograph it looks as though the cap badge is that of the E Yorks regt.. I should have mentioned that the photograph was taken to celebrate the Golden Wedding of their parents, so all three brothers were on leave at that time.

I have got a donation ready to send off to your charity, with my thanks to yourself.


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 5th December 2011 at 11:48 AM

Dear Becca,
There is no obvious service record for Frederick or Fred Walker born 1891. There were 13 men named Frederick Walker who served abroad with the East Yorkshire Regiment in the Army medals rolls index, so without his regimental number it is not possible to positively identify him.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Becca
Date: Monday 5th December 2011 at 2:59 PM

Thank yo Alan for all you have done on our family's behalf. It is much appreciated

Posted by: Grace
Location: High Wycombe
Date: Saturday 3rd December 2011 at 7:48 PM
My name is Grace and I'm doing a history project on a world war one soldier called W.V Spicer who fought in the Mediterranean expeditionary force and died in Naserieh hospital in Cairo. He died from Pneumonia and Bronchitis on February 3rd aged 26. I was wondering if you could give me any more information on W.V Spicer and on the Mediterranean expeditionary force and more specifically D subsection C battery R.F.A 59th Brigade, 11th division in which W.V.Spicer.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd December 2011 at 8:35 PM

Dear Grace,
Wilfred Victor Spicer was born in 1889 at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. His name was indexed in the birth registers as Wilfrid, but elsewhere it was spelled Wilfred. He lived with his parents, Albert and Annie, but his father died in 1897. His father had been a chair-maker, and Wilfred became a chair-maker also. Wilfred volunteered for the Army after the outbreak of war and joined the Royal Field Artillery. He became a gunner in the 59th Brigade of the R.F.A. The Brigade was also known by its number in Roman numerals which was LIX Brigade. "C" Battery was one of the batteries of guns that made up the brigade. See:

It is not possible to provide details about sections within a Battery.
After training with the artillery at Leeds, Sheffield, Norwich and Weedon in Northamptonshire early in 1915, Wilfred went abroad with the LIX Brigade RFA which supported the infantry of 11 (Northern) Division. They sailed from Liverpool on July 1st 1915 to Alexandria in Egypt and then on to Lemnos. He arrived abroad on 14th July 1915 when the 11th Division landed at Mudros which was a military port and encampment on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea. The island was the jumping off point for the landings by sea at Gallipoli.
Wilfred fought at Gallipoli. See:

In the winter (November and December 1915) on Gallipoli the men suffered terrible weather conditions including flooding and snowstorms. That is where he probably contracted pneumonia. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the official list "Soldiers Died in the Great War" stated he died on February 2nd 1916 at Cairo. The 11th Division was evacuated from Gallipoli and started to move back to Egypt on January 26th 1916 from Mudros. They arrived at Alexandria on February 2nd 1916. So, Wilfred could have been sent to hospital earlier or he could have died there shortly after arriving with the rest of the division.
He is buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Grace
Date: Sunday 4th December 2011 at 10:55 AM

Dear Alan

Thank you so much for taking your time to help me, it's much appreciated.It has really helped me with my project and I'm really grateful for what you've done
Have a great christmas and new year
Posted by: Becca {Email left}
Location: E Yorks
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 9:42 PM
Hello Alan, it's me again.
You kindly found out some information for me about Harold Walker who had served with the Royal Scots (your letter dated 23 August 2010) so I wonder if there is anything about his two brothers. However, I do not know anything about their service or regiments, but we do have photographs of them in uniform.
FRED WALKER was born in Hull in February 1891 and married to a lady called MILLICENT.
His brother was HERBERT WALKER born in February 1900 at 7 Queen's Tce, Portland St Hull
Both were the sons of THOMAS ARTHUR WALKER and his wife ELIZABETH

I know this is not related to Army service, but you may be able to tell me where to look for details of this incident.
THOMAS ARTHUR WALKER was a young seaman on a barque THE GUIDING STAR on which the Captian WILLIAM JENNESON died on 16 June 1869, when sailing between Salonica and Malta. The ship had to put into Malta to take off the body of the captain and another seaman. I have made many searches, and the only thing I can find in the local paper is the obituary for Capt. Jenneson in an issue of the Hull Packet & E R Times Fri 2 July 1869.
Any information abbut any of these would be very much appreciated.

With thanks

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd December 2011 at 2:46 PM

Dear Becca,
As it says at the top of the page, I'm sorry but I can't undertake multiple searches.
Kind regards,
Posted by: Jimbo {Email left}
Location: Newtownabbey
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 10:06 AM
Hi Alan,Ihope you can help me in my search for peter Norris. Now what I know is he was in the 2nd South Wales Borderers And is Number was 6694.and he was killed in action 29/01/1891. What i would like to know was he married to Ellen Hynes,if not I have got the wrong Peter Norris.
Yours James McClurg
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 4:50 PM

Dear James,
Private P. Norris 6694 of the South Wales Borderers died on January 31 1901 at Modderfontein. The surviving military records for his death and his award of the Queen's South Africa medal do not record his forename.
Service records for soldiers who died in the Victorian wars were usually destroyed after their death.
His death certificate may provide his forename and age. It is registered as: "Norris, P. 2 S Wales Borderers (GRO Natal & South African Forces Death (1899 to 1902) Page 607).
You could establish where and when he was married and then search the April 1901 census for an Ellen Norris who was a widow.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Jimbo
Date: Friday 2nd December 2011 at 5:36 PM

Thanks Alan for the info I will try out what you said and thanks again Yours Jimbo
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)

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