The World War Forum (Page 14)

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Posted by: Peter {Email left}
Location: Billingham
Date: Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 2:25 PM
Dear Alan. Can you please look at this man
Edward Thomas Roberts Born 1879 Died 1957. Lived at 13 Nolan Street Stockton on Tees Co Durham.
Territorial Army Labour Corps Service No 425764.
Regards Peter.
Thanks for the reply to my last man. I will Donate to the Royal British Legion
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 10:16 PM

Dear Peter,
Thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion.
Edward Thomas Roberts was born at Thornaby-on-Tees in 1880. He was a long-serving rifleman in the Durham Light Infantry Volunteers, enlisting in about 1901. The volunteers at Stockton first came about in 1797 as the Stockton Independent Volunteers. In 1859 Stockton raised the Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps which, in 1880, became the 1st Volunteer Battalion Durham Light Infantry. In the 1908 reforms the Battalion was re-named 5th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (D.L.I.) and was the senior Territorial Army battalion in the D.L.I. with its headquarters at Stockton-on-Tees. The 5th Battalion held its annual camps at Scarborough, 1908; Richmond 1909 and 1910; Haltwhistle 1911 and Scarborough 1912.
In 1913, Edward Roberts was awarded the Territorial Efficiency Medal for at least 12 years’ service. His regimental number was 131 which was a very early number, considering a battalion would have about a thousand men.
At the declaration of war in 1914, the 5th D.L.I. were mobilised at the Drill Hall, Stockton-on-Tees. They moved to their war stations for coastal defence at the Hartlepools on 10th August 1914 and on 5th September 1914 they joined the York and Durham Brigade camp at Ravensworth Park near Gateshead. In October 1914 they moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The Battalion sailed for France and landed at Boulogne on 18th April 1915 where they became part of the 150th Infantry Brigade in the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. Within days the Division was in the Ypres sector when the Germans attacked using chlorine gas and the men went into battle immediately. They then fought in the Second Battle of Ypres at St Julien; The Battle of Frezenburg Ridge and The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge.
Edward Roberts was gassed in May 1915 and was listed in a “previously unpublished” casualty list dated 24th September 1915 (“Newcastle Journal”; Friday 24th September 1915 © Trinity Mirror via British Newspaper Archive). He remained in France but was later treated in hospital in England for bronchitis in 1916. In January 1917 he was re-numbered 201279 in the 5th D.L.I. when all Territorial soldiers were re-numbered. He later returned to France where he was transferred to the Labour Corps in 1917 where he served with 29th Labour Company. In 1918 he served with 198 Armed Labour Company which was probably guarding prisoners of war. He was demobilized in February 1919 and re-joined the peacetime 5th Battalion D.L.I. with the post-war number 4438167. He was awarded a bar to his Efficiency Medal in 1927.
In addition to the T.E.M. Edward qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,

Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Prescot
Date: Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 9:50 AM
Good Morning Alan
Thank you for the work done on Amos and the information about soldier Hitchcox.
We are getting very near the end of the soldiers who wrote in the Autograph book now and some have little information to identify them by. But here goes with two more
1. R Maxwell. Royal Irish Guards. R M CSM 1916
2. H Thomas 2nd The Buffs. Wounded at Ypres 2nd May 1915
As always any information that you can find will be gratefully received.
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 1st November 2016 at 10:21 PM

Dear Judith,
It has not proved possible to positively identify R. Maxwell. There was no regiment named “Royal Irish Guards”. There were the Irish Guards; the Royal Irish Rifles; Royal Irish Regiment and Royal Irish Fusiliers and consequently there were numerous men named R. Maxwell. Perhaps we should add him to the names that need clarification from the original book.
H. Thomas of The Buffs initially proved elusive. A 1915 casualty list with an H. Thomas of The Buffs had the regimental number “8907”. That number did not appear elsewhere. However, the regimental number 6907 was allotted in 1903 to a Henry Thomas – who was wounded with the 2nd Battalion The Buffs on 3rd (sic) May 1915.
This Henry Thomas was born at Bredgar near Sittingbourne in Kent in about 1881, the son of William and Susanna Thomas. At the stated age of 17 years and eleven months he joined the Royal West Kent Militia on 2nd November 1898 at Maidstone, and underwent 49 days’ basic training. On 11th December 1899 Henry Thomas was mobilised for service in Malta to replace regular army troops being sent to the war in South Africa. He served at Malta garrison with the militia from 4th January 1900 until 9th June 1901.
On 25th April 1902, Henry enlisted in the regular army and joined the 2nd Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment in South Africa from 25th April 1902. The war in South Africa ended on 31st May 1902. Henry remained in South Africa until November 1902 when he moved to Ceylon until the end of March 1903. Between 1796 and 1948, Ceylon was a British crown colony. It is now Sri Lanka.
On 28th March 1903 Henry was transferred to 1st Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) in India where he remained until 9th December 1904 when he returned to the U.K.. He left The Buffs and was transferred to the Reserve in March 1910.
When Britain declared war on Germany on the night of 4th August 1914 the Reserves were mobilised and Henry was recalled to the depot of The Buffs at Canterbury. He remained with the 3rd Battalion The Buffs at Dover until 26th December 1914 when he was posted to the 2nd Buffs who had just arrived in England after sailing home from Madras. The 2nd Battalion joined 85th Infantry Brigade in the 28th Division at Winchester, and on 17th January 1915 embarked at Southampton for Havre, France. Henry was appointed a Lance-corporal in April 1915. The 2nd Buffs fought in the Second Battle of Ypres, and Henry Thomas was recorded as being wounded on 3rd May 1915 by gun-shot wounds to the head and breast. He was transferred to England on 11th May 1915. After hospital treatment he was posted to the 3rd Buffs at Dover on 25th August 1915.
On 11th May 1917 Henry was transferred to the Labour Corps, Lance-corporal 126725, when he joined 301 Reserve Labour Company before being posted to France. He went to France on 3rd July 1917 and after passing through the Labour Corps Base Depot at Boulogne on 5th July 1917 he was posted to 186 Labour Company in France. He was promoted to Sergeant in the 186 Labour Company where he remained until 26th January 1919. He then returned to the U.K. and was demobilized on 25th February 1919.
Henry Thomas qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
His military conduct was “exemplary”.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 8:39 PM
Hi Alan, thanks for your efforts in looking at Crowther and Ingram. I will get someone to look at the initials more carefully with me and get back to you. Hope this is ok.
Two more soldiers you may be able to help with are
1. Private P G Amos. 2?/4 Buffs. In Oakdene 7th October 1915
2. E-cm. J Hitchcox. 337or maybe 5 or 9. 12th Battalion KR? B Coy. Dartmouth Street, Edgeworth Cottages
West Bromwich
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 31st October 2016 at 6:30 PM

Dear Judith,
It has not been possible to identify P.G. Amos. There were up to eight men named Amos in The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) who were wounded, but mainly after 1915 and there is no obvious P.G. Amos.
J. Hitchcox was James Jacob Hitchcox, one of at least nine children of John and Emila (correct) Hitchcox of 73, Dartmouth Street, West Bromwich. James was born on 15th January 1894. He was employed as an iron dresser in an iron foundry. He was 5ft 7ins tall; with blue eyes and brown hair when, aged 20, he enlisted on 5th September 1914 and joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps at their depot in Winchester as a rifleman, 3352. For ten days he served with the 9th Battalion K.R.R.C. at Winchester but he was soon posted to the 12th Battalion on 21st September 1914, the date the 12th Battalion was formed. He underwent his training with them at Cowshot, Bisley, then at Blackdown from November 1914; then the Battalion was in billets at Hindhead, Surrey, from 17th February 1915 until it moved to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, on 10th April 1915. James was with the 12th Battalion K.R.R.C. when it landed in France on 23rd July 1915 with the 60th Infantry Brigade in the 20th (Light) Division. James qualified as a “bomber” i.e. a grenade thrower.
During the daily trench routine James was wounded and was soon afterwards returned to the U.K. on November 23rd 1915. From 11th January 1916 he spent some time with the 15th Reserve Battalion K.R.R.C. at Seaford before going back to France and re-joining the 12th Battalion as a Lance-corporal on 25th April 1916. While fighting at Delville Wood on August 9th 1916, James received a bullet wound to the forehead. He was treated at No. 23 General Hospital R.A.M.C. at Etaples. He remained in France with the 12th Battalion fighting on the Somme in 1916 and at the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. On 17th August 1917 he received a bullet or shrapnel wound in the left knee while fighting in The Battle of Langemarck (16th –18th August 1917) and he was treated at No. 55 General Hospital at Wimereux near Boulogne. He was sent to England where he arrived on 23rd August 1917 and remained until 30th October 1917. After medical treatment he spent a week with the 6th Reserve Battalion K.R.R.C. at Queenborough (Thames and Medway) before going back to France on 31st October 1917. On 25th March 1918, James was shot again, this time in the left arm. He was treated at the 1st South African General Hospital at Abbeville before returning to England on 21st April 1918. On 21st July 1918 he came under the administration of the Depot at Winchester and was posted to the 6th Battalion K.R.R.C. on 20th August 1918.
On 5th September 1918, James was transferred to the Labour Corps as a Corporal where he passed through 301 Reserve Labour Company to join 383 Home Service Labour Company on 22nd November 1918. He remained in England and was discharged from Clipstone Camp on 26th February 1919.
James qualified for the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
James married Lenora Wythes (born 1897) at West Bromwich in 1919. The couple had six children. James died at West Bromwich in 1956, aged 62. His widow died in 1959.
With kind regards,

Posted by: John Doherty {No contact email}
Location: Ireland
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 3:26 PM
Hi Alan

Hoping to find information on George Doherty 12404 of the Royal Inniskillings, I believe he died in 1915.

My appreciation in advance.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 6:17 PM

Dear John,
Private George Doherty, 12404, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers outlived the war. No individual service record has survived for him, so it is not possible to state his service in detail. He served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. George had enlisted on 8th September 1914 at the height of the recruitment campaign of Lord Kitchener. It is probable he trained with the 3rd or 4th Reserve Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. George went to France on 19th December 1914, so he would have been part of a draft of reinforcements because the 2nd Battalion had been in France since 22nd August 1914.
The 2nd Battalion were serving as G.H.Q. Troops until 26th January 1915 when they joined the 5th Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Division. Apart from the routine of trench warfare, the 2nd Battalion fought in the Winter Operations of 1914-15 (23 November 1914 – 6 February 1915) in Flanders, and the Battle of Festubert (15th to 27th May 1915).
George Doherty was wounded. A casualty list issued Tuesday evening, 22nd June 1915, included 180 names of wounded from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers including Doherty 12404, G. (“Larne Times” Saturday 25th June 1915 © Johnston Press via British Newspaper Archive). Casualty lists were published some weeks after the men had been killed or wounded.
The war diary of the 2nd Battalion showed the Battalion was not heavily engaged in June 1915. But in May 1915 the Battalion was in trenches near Richebourg St Vaast, near Festubert, where they suffered some casualties and on May 15th and 16th 1915 the Battalion suffered heavy casualties whilst being employed in an attack on the enemy’s trenches which began at 11.30 p.m. on May 15th. The right half of the Battalion’s advance was successful and captured a German trench in which they spent the night until relieved the next morning, although they suffered severe losses. This was the last engagement before the publication of the June casualty list so it might have been the occasion on which George Doherty was wounded.
He was returned to the U.K. and was discharged from the Army on 22nd November 1915 on longer physically fit for war service because of wounds.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was granted a silver War Badge for being discharged through wounds.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Bella {Email left}
Location: Esher
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 11:32 AM
Good day Alan, I trust I find you in good health.

Sometime past you gave me a website to find why William J Whitehead born 21 August 1862, Bermondsey, Surrey, invalided out Royal Navy 4th March 1887 No.105967. You found out so much info on him for me for which I am eternally grateful and feel guilty for this message but as yet, haven't found an answer.

Is there another route you can direct me to so that, hopefully, I can find an answer?

With kind regards.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 3:21 PM

Dear Bella,
The Register of Seamen’s Services for William John Whitehead simply gives the cause of discharge in 1887 as “invalided”. At the time, there would have been some medical record perhaps, or even a hospital admission but it would be difficult to establish where that might have occurred. You would be fortunate to find surviving medical records and there wouldn’t be anything online so it would be necessary to trawl through the files at the archives.
The largest naval hospital was Haslar at Portsmouth. Some of their records are held at The National Archives. See:
William Whitehead might have been based at Devonport where there was the Royal Naval Hospital, East Stonehouse, Plymouth. Some administrative records are held at Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. See:
There was also The Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, which became Medway Maritime Hospital.
Try searching those names at The National Archives hospital database:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Bella
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 6:11 PM

Dear Alan,

Many many thanks for your (as always) prompt reply.

I have taken note and will persue the lines of communication you have given.

"Happy Halloween"!!! (I jest)

With kind regards.

Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 8:17 AM
Good morning Alan
Thanks for the super swift reply with information about Quigley and Taylor. Once again two very interseting stories.My next two queries are:
1. Private J ( or possibly F Crowther) 1st KOYLI
2. Private J E Ingham 1/4 East Lancashire Regiment ,42nd Division,MEF, September 23rd 1915.
Any information you can find on either of these two will be much appreciated.
Kind Regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 6:16 PM

Dear Judith,
I’ve been a little less successful today:
There were too many soldiers named J or F Crowther in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry to identify an individual casualty.
There was no identifiable J.E. Ingham in the 4th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment. There was one J.N. Ingham, who was James N. Ingham 1747, 4th East Lancashire Regiment. He went to Egypt as part of a draft of reinforcements on 5th November 1914 and was wounded after the 4th Battalion had landed at Gallipoli on 10th May 1915. He was listed as a casualty on 17th July 1915, one of three men of the 4th Battalion named in the Manchester Evening News of that date (© Trinity Mirror). He later transferred as a sapper to the Royal Engineers, 208808, and was demobilized on 19th April 1919. There are no biographical details for him.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Pete {Email left}
Location: Yorkshire
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 3:35 PM
Hello again Alan
I am currently researching the Broome family, and am interested in knowing more about Master Gunner
John Broom No 4742 who was with the Royal Artillery. I would be so grateful if you could supply any information about him.
With Kind regards

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 12:29 PM

Dear Peter,
The Victorian Army discharge records (1715 -1913) that you require are pre-First World War and are available at The National Archives at Kew or on the subscription website Search under name John Broom with no ‘e’. The result is dated 1836 - 1856. I cannot post details from the Findmypast website on this forum because that would be a breach of their copyright and contravene their terms of use. You can access the records for a few pounds using pay as you go which starts at 60 Credits for £6.95. Search under Military from the drop-down menu and refine the search field to John Broom, regimental number 4742, but with no regiment in the search field.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Pete
Date: Sunday 30th October 2016 at 6:03 PM

Hello Alan,
Many thanks for this information, which I shall follow and look forward to finding more about John.
Kind regards
Posted by: Susan Windsor {Email left}
Location: West Midlands
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 6:01 PM
Trying to find information on grandfather Edward Murphy, died Ypes 25 4 16. He was in the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment. He was from South Shields. He is buried in Essex Farm in Belgium.

Any information would be appreciated.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 8:56 PM

Dear Susan,
No individual service record has survived for Edward Murphy so it is not possible to state his military service. The Army medal rolls showed he was a Lance-corporal with the regimental number 3/9297. The ‘3’ prefix indicated he was a part-time Special Reservist before the war and would have been called-up at York when war was declared. He was sent to France on 28th December 1914 where he joined the 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own) which served in the 6th Division. He would have been part of a draft of reinforcements to the 1st Battalion. The engagements of the 6th Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail, at:
The war diary of the 1st Battalion is available to download for £3.45 from:
He was killed in action on 25th April 1916. Essex Farm was used by a dressing station as a cemetery between 1915 and 1917. It was at Essex Farm Cemetery that Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps had written the poem “In Flanders Fields” in May 1915.
Edward Murphy qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Sue Windsor
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 7:43 AM

Thanks for replying so quickly. Do you know the difference between a Special Reservist and a TA soldier at that time. My husband did over 40 years in the army and he does not know.

Last weekend my husband, son and I visited Essex Farm, it was very moving. My brother said my father went over the France may be in the 50s but could not find his father's grave.
Reply from: Susan Windsor
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 10:36 AM

Cannot get the hang of these boards, seem to have replied to myself. Do you know the difference between the TA and Special Reservists at this time. Visited Essex Farm last weekend with husband and son very sad and emotional. Knew nothing about grandfather till recently.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 2:28 PM

Dear Sue,
The Territorial Army was formed in 1908 from the former Volunteers. The men were part time and signed up for four years, which was renewable. They trained in local drill halls one night a week and exercised at weekend camps. There was an annual camp of two weeks which they were expected to attend. The T.A. was administered by County Associations and the men had no commitment to serve overseas. They were paid according to their attendance.
The Special Reserve was a “beefed up” version of part-time soldiering. It was administered by the Regular Army and the men became part of a regiment’s 3rd Battalion based at the regimental depot. Men enlisted for six years’ service and trained full-time for six months on full Army pay. They were committed to being called-up if the Army was mobilised. They could serve overseas. After six months’ initial training the men underwent three or four weeks training a year.
At the outbreak of the First World War it was realised the Territorial Force would be better employed overseas and men voluntarily signed the Imperial Service Obligation by which they agreed to serve overseas.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 12:22 PM
Hello Alan
Thanks so much for last information received on Allen and Payne. Two very interesting men.
I thought that I had sent you the names of these next two soldiers but it transpires that I did not press the send button. Anyway here are their names and details:
1. Private A Quigley. Royal Irish Fusiliers. Wounded at Ypres 14th February 1915
2. Private P W Taylor. 6th Battalion Essex Regiment

Any help that you can be with these two men will be much appreciated.
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016 at 6:53 PM

Dear Judith,
A. Quigley was Arthur Quigley who had been born at Birkenhead, Cheshire, in 1885, the son of William and Jane Quigley. Arthur became a dock labourer and married Elizabeth Broad at Birkenhead in 1910. At the age of 29, he enlisted voluntarily at Birkenhead Recruiting Office on 24th November 1914 and was posted to the depot battalion of Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers which was then at Londonderry. He was a private soldier allotted the regimental number 6337. After basic training Arthur was posted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers which was serving in France. He arrived in France on 1st February 1915 and was shot in the left leg on 14th February 1915, just a couple of weeks into his war. The bullet caused a compound fracture of his left tibia and left a 3ins by 2ins hole in his leg. Arthur was treated in hospital at Le Havre, France, and was returned to England on 1st March 1915 for further treatment at Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool (1st Western General Hospital).
Arthur spent some time at a convalescent depot from 5th December 1915 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers at Buncrana, County Donegal, on 27th June 1916. On 24th February 1917, Arthur was transferred to the 3rd Home Service Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers which was stationed in Ireland.
On 14th January 1918, Arthur was transferred to the Army Service Corps where he undertook his former civilian role as a packer and unloader at docks in France. He served with No. 12 GHQ Reserve Mechanical Transport Company and ended the war at Boulogne. In the Spring of 1919 he returned to England and was demobilized from Prees Heath Camp, Shropshire, on 5th June 1919.
He gave his address as 7, Alvanley Place, Birkenhead.
Arthur Quigley qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He appears to have died at the age of 64 on 15th June 1949 at The Home for the Aged, Parkfield Avenue, Birkenhead. His wife, Elizabeth, had died in 1944.
Percival Walter Taylor was born in 1891 and was baptised at Islington, London, the son of Herbert Breedon Taylor, a commercial traveller in coal briquettes, and his wife Alice Maud. Percival had two brothers and was brought up on the Essex coast as the family moved to Prittlewell, which was at Southend-on-Sea. Percival became a porter in a fancy-goods warehouse. On 23rd November 1914 he enlisted in the 6th Battalion The Essex Regiment along with his younger brother, Augustus Norman Taylor, who was aged16. Percival had the regimental number 3933. The 6th Battalion trained at Norwich, Colchester and St Albans. The Battalion then sailed from Devonport to Lemnos, in July 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on 12th August 1915.
Percival was wounded during the Landings by a bullet wound in the left leg and appears to have been treated in hospital in Egypt as he did not return to the U.K. until 23rd September 1916. He remained in the U.K. until returning to the 6th Battalion on 11th January 1917 when the Battalion was in Palestine.
On the first day of the Battle of Gaza, March 26th 1917, Percival Taylor was captured by the Turks and held prisoner at Jerusalem. Jerusalem was entered on 11th December 1917, but Percival might have been moved as his record showed he was a P.O.W. until February 1918. Percival returned to England and was admitted to the King George Hospital, Stamford Street, London, on 18th February 1918. He was discharged from hospital on 23rd April 1918 and was granted two months home leave at Southend-on-Sea. He was then posted to the 18th Battalion Essex Regiment at Great Yarmouth on 24th June 1918 where his medical category was B2, for garrison service. On 4th December 1918 Percival was transferred to the Army Service Corps (No. T/447463) and was posted to 239 Horse Transport Company A.S.C.. He was discharged on 17th April 1919, aged 23.
Percival qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
His younger brother, Augustus, also served in both the 6th Essex Regiment and the Labour Corps, suggesting he too had been wounded.
Percival married Caroline Hobbs in 1921 and continued to live at Southend-on-Sea where he died in 1966, aged 75.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Paul {Email left}
Location: Manchester
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 4:43 AM
Dear Alan,

On trying to research my great grandfathers military history I have encountered this site and really hoping you will be able to help.

His name was Alfred William Bodley born in June 1896 in Loughton, Buckinghamshire.

He served as a Gunner in the RFA regimental number 179143.

On searching the internet I found the below which I presume was printed in local gazette at the time.

"Gunner Alf Bodley, R.F.A., the son of Mr. and Mrs. David Bodley, of Loughton, is now in Eastleigh Hospital, suffering from wounds in the muscle of an arm. These were inflicted whilst in action on June 1st, and he has just been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry at Kemmell Hill."

Just wondering if you would be able to shed any light on his service and the circumstances of his injury and award for gallantry.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards

Paul Bodley
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 at 2:53 PM

Dear Paul,
No individual service record has survived for Alfred Bodley so it is not possible to state his military service in detail. The Army medal rolls showed he qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service overseas before December 31st 1915, he did not go abroad until some date after January 1st 1916.
The London Gazette of 13th September 1918 promulgate his award of the Military Medal and recorded he was a driver serving with ‘C’ Battery of 87 Brigade Royal Field Artillery (LXXXVII Brigade RFA). This Brigade had served with the 19th Western Division in France from July 1915. ‘C’ Battery was augmented on 9th September 1916 with a section from ‘A’ Battery of 89 Brigade when battery of four 18-pounders was made up to six guns. Both Brigades were in the 19th Division, so their histories would have been similar. Citations for the Military Medal were not published nationally so it is not possible to describe the circumstances in which it was awarded.
Alfred Bodley was transferred to the Labour Corps after he had recovered from his wounds and was allotted a new regimental number: 672459.
The war diary of 87 Brigade RFA can be downloaded from the U.K. National Archives for £3.45 . See:
The newspaper article you mention was from the Wolverton Express of June 14th 1918. Kemmel Hill was the highest point in the Ypres salient to the West of Ploegsteert.
The engagements of 19th Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long Long Trail:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Paul
Date: Saturday 26th November 2016 at 10:03 PM


I wasn't expecting such a quick response. Thanks.

I've downloaded and reviewed the war diary of 87 RFA. In the month that my great grandfather was injured at Kemmel Hill the brigade is described as being in the areas of Chaumuzy and Marfaux (approximately 150 miles away from Ypres).

What reasons could there be for this? Could the brigade have been reorganised and as such Alfred would have been with a different division or brigade?

I've done some research around Eastleigh Hospital where he spent some time after being wounded. Interestingly archives have an autograph book that one of the nurses kept. Some of the returning soldiers had written poems and drawn sketches in it. However, there was nothing that furthered my research of my great grandfather.

Are there any other resources you suggest looking at?

Again, many thanks for your time. I've made a donation to the Royal British Legion.


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 26th November 2016 at 10:52 PM

Dear Paul,
Thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion.
As there is no individual service record for Alfred it is not possible to state where he served or with which Brigades of the R.F.A. he served other than to identify the period that he served with the 87th Brigade when he earned the Military Medal as published in The London Gazette of 13th September 1918.
Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail places 87th Brigade R.F.A. with 19th Division at Kemmel Hill in 1918, so whether an individual or a battery was detached to Chaumuzy is unclear. See:
The local newspaper reported that Alfred was at Kemmel Hill in 1918. Mont Kemmel to the south of Ypres was held in a thin defensive line by the British 19th Division. The Battle opened on April 17th 1918 when at 08:30 hours following two and a half hours of bombardment, the German infantry attacked the British lines but were beaten off and failed to break through. That evening the French 28th Division took over responsibility for the Front Line at Kemmel and the hill itself.
The 19th Division was not at Kemmel Hill in June 1918.
The next engagement of the 19th Division was The Battle of the Aisne 1918 during the Advance in Picardy between 27th May and 6th June 1918, known as the (Third) Battle of the Aisne, 1918. So Alfred could have been on the Aisne on June 1st.
It is plausible that he had been posted to another battery of the R.F.A. that remained in the Ypres sector. A study of the artillery brigades listed for 19th Division shows a shortfall in 1918 – there are only two listed that would have been with the Division in the summer 1918. They are 87 and 88 Brigades. There should have been more. Men could also be attached to the Divisional Ammunition Column which acted both as an ammunition supplier and a holding unit for men waiting for a posting.
Of course, you should never believe what you read in the papers.
It is plausible that Alfred applied for a pension. The Western Front Association has a collection of millions of pension records not available elsewhere. They charge for a manual look-up because someone has to go to the archive and search the files. See:
With kind regards,

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