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Alan Greveson's World War 1 Forum (Page 24)

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Posted by: Gloria Kelley {Email left}
Location: Rockhampton Queensland Austrlia
Date: Friday 1st April 2016 at 10:55 PM
Hi, I am looking for information on Ernest Handley (No. 23897) who was Australian & enlisted in the RFC (6 Squadron). He died in a flying accident at Brooklands on 20/8/1917. A document held at the National Archives of Australia shows that he was transferred to the Australian Imperial Force but the transfer seems to be only because he was a casualty. Would this be correct? I have some information on the fatal accident as it is well documented. He was also in Abeele, France in 1916 for a short time. On the transfer form to the AIF, there is a reference: Proelicas 39706/9889 D?? London 19.9.1917. I am trying to put together his service with 6 squadron - I have copies of the accidents forms, his attestation form, the cascard for the Brooklands accident but none of these documents document his service in detail. i.e. when did he return to England from Abeele?, was he still in 6 squadron while he was teaching at the Wireless School at Brooklands (fatal accident)? I am hoping the Proeclicas 39706/9889 may give me further information, but where do I look for it? Would it be held at TNA? Many thanks, Gloria
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 2nd April 2016 at 4:25 PM

Dear Gloria,
No individual service record has survived for Ernest Handley so it is not possible to state his wartime service. Most service records were destroyed in 1940 during the bombing of London. Proelicas was a telegraphic address for the office dealing with casualty reports and the reference you have probably refers to a telegram notifying Sgt Handley’s record office of his accident. The telegram would be signed "Proelicas" which is from the Latin "proelium" meaning battle and the abbreviation "cas" meaning casualty. The telegram might have been placed in his file, in which case it would not have survived.
Ernest Handley qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service outside the United Kingdom before December 31st 1915, he did not serve abroad until some date after January 1st 1916.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Glorie Kelley
Date: Saturday 2nd April 2016 at 10:25 PM

Hi Alan,
Thank you - your response clarifies why there is no service record and saves me many hours of searching for information which no longer exists.
Kind regards,
Goria Kelley

Posted by: Howard Barkell {Email left}
Location: Lydford Devon
Date: Friday 1st April 2016 at 5:04 PM
Dear Alan,
Please can you help put some flesh on my grandfather's war record? Gnr. (Dvr)James Neill, (12733) 1021351, Royal Horse (Field) Artillery was at Ambala when war broke out. I understood that he served in the Dardanelles (never Gallipoli), was hospitalised in Malta, then after a spell in England spent the rest of the war on the Western Front. His medal record might seem to disprove the first, army record just says Mediterranean 16.3.15 -17.7.15 and later France 7.11.15 - 13.10.18. 15th Brigade is mentioned in January 1915, Depot "P" in September '15 and 5th Brigade from November '15 until his return to England and Ripon in October 1918.
Here's hoping!
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 2nd April 2016 at 12:01 PM

Dear Howard,
As I have not seen James Neill’s service record I can’t state his wartime service in detail. It would be necessary to know in which Batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery (R.H.A.) he had served and when. He appears to have been a career soldier serving some 23 years from 1900. In the 1911 census of England he was recorded at Wellington Lines, Aldershot, where he was a storeman with the Royal Horse Artillery alongside the 1st Cavalry Brigade. A storeman was a respected role or task, and the soldier still had to be able to ride a horse or fire the guns if required. A single battery of the R.H.A. included five officers and two hundred men with six 13-pounder field guns and some 228 horses. Royal Horse Artillery units consisted of individual batteries designated by letters (A, B, C, etc.) that were brigaded together, usually in pairs. Batteries were sometimes moved between brigades, particularly during the war when the Artillery was under constant development and reform. Despite the 2016 commemoration of the infantry losses on the Somme in 1916, it is generally appreciated that the First World War was an artillery war. Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail states: “Noted historian John Terraine said in his excellent “White Heat - the New Warfare 1914-18”: “The war of 1914-18 was an artillery war: artillery was the battle-winner, artillery was what caused the greatest loss of life, the most dreadful wounds, and the deepest fear”.
The Brigades of the R.H.A. were formally designated by Roman numerals. The Royal Horse Artillery supported mounted cavalry brigades while the Field Artillery supported the infantry battalions. Recall the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing Royal salutes in Hyde Park and Green Park, London. Details of the R.H.A. Brigades are shown on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail. See:
An Army medal rolls index-card for James Neill, 12733, recorded that the theatre of war (T of W) and dates of entry therein were altered by authority of the R.H.A. from “ (2B) Balkans 16.3.15” to “ (3) 30.3.15” where the (3) indicated landfall in Egypt, possibly en route to Lemnos. It appears that while his record might have retained the dates the complete Battery sailed from Avonmouth for Gallipoli (16.3.15), James was probably in a rear party that sailed two weeks later and arrived in Egypt on March 30th 1915. That would be applicable if James were still a storeman as was shown in the 1911 census.
I Brigade R.H.A. was with the Regular British Army in India at Ambala in 1914 consisting of A Battery (The Chestnut Troop) and B Battery, but with B Battery moving to England in November 1914. India was not a theatre of war and many regular units were removed to England at the outbreak of war. XV [15] Brigade RHA was formed at Leamington, Warwickshire, England, in January 1915 and included B Battery of I Brigade R.H.A. out of Ambala from the 25th January 1915. XV Brigade R.H.A. then served with 29th Division at Gallipoli and was evacuated from Gallipoli, via Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos, to Egypt for a few weeks from January to March 1916 before sailing to Marseilles, France, and the Western Front in March 1916.
Malta was a coaling station on the Mediterranean sea routes and the island was used as a hospital base for the Mediterranean and Dardanelles; whilst Egypt was a landing stage on the way to Mudros, so it is possible James spent some time at Mudros, which was the island base used for operations at Gallipoli, across the Aegean Sea. Again, this would be particularly relevant had he been a storeman, who might well have been based at Mudros and not Gallipoli itself. Having been removed to England from the Aegean or Mediterranean on 17th July 1915, probably by hospital ship, and having become fit again, he would have been at P Battery Woolwich Depot in September 1915 which was part of X [10] Reserve Brigade at the R.H.A. Depot at Woolwich, London. A reserve brigade was a temporary holding and training brigade from which men were posted elsewhere. From there, James would have been posted to France as part of a draft of reinforcements or casualty replacements.
You state James arrived in France on 7th November 1915. He would then have joined V Brigade R.H.A. after spending a few days at a base depot on the French coast from which he would have been posted to V Brigade serving in the field in Flanders or France.
V Brigade R.H.A. served with the 8th Division until 13th January 1917, when V Brigade left 8th Division and became V Army Brigade R.H.A.. In the 1918 order of battle, V Army Brigade R.H.A. was under the control of IV Army at the Armistice. A “Brigade” of the R.H.A. came under the control of an army Division. An “Army Brigade” of R.H.A. came under the control of a higher level of command at Corps or Army level. For the locations of 8 Division, see:
James Neill appears not to have been in France at the time of the Armistice of November 1918 and had been passed through the Royal Artillery Command Depot at Ripon in Yorkshire, England; an ancient cathedral city that had been turned into a very large garrison. The new seven-digit Army number 1021351 showed James continued to serve after August 1920 when the old “regimental numbers” were replaced with individual “Army numbers” in a continuous series. The numbers between 721001 and 1396000 were allotted to the R.H.A..
The war diary (1916 onwards) for 15 Brigade R.H.A. can be purchased for download from:
The war diary of 5 Brigade R.H.A. can be purchased for download (£3.45) from:
The war diary of 5 Army Brigade R.H.A. can be purchased for download from:
James Neill qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and probably the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
As I have not seen James Neill’s service record, the detail presented on this web forum has been suggested in good faith and is offered for general information purposes based on the information and dates you have provided; the fact he was in Ambala; and the Brigades and history of the R.H.A.. It is not possible to warrant the accuracy or completeness of this information.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Howard Barkell
Date: Sunday 3rd April 2016 at 2:04 PM

Dear Alan,
Thank you for your additional information and useful suggestions for follow up. It seems as though my grandfather may have stayed with A Battery through Woolwich, Aldershot, South Africa and India. The Chestnut Troop is mentioned during this time and I believe the families went to Simla during the hot season. No batteries are mentioned during WW1, but he seemed to remember Broken Wheel Battery from my time in the Artillery.
Thank you so much.

Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Thursday 31st March 2016 at 6:34 PM
Alan, I realise that without a service number it is difficult to trace someone but I wonder if you could find "anything" about a soldier named Ray Carlton thought to have served with the Sherwood Forresters.he was injured in France around September 1916 and sent to Tower VAD Hospital,Rainhill
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 31st March 2016 at 9:36 PM

Dear Brian,
There is no record of a Ray or Raymond Carlton in the U.K. prior to the First World War and old enough to have served in the war. There is no medal roll entry for anyone named Carlton serving in the Sherwood Forresters, nor a similar or likely Charlton. There is no comparable record for a Roy Carlton, nor for any R. Carlton. It is possible Ray was a pet name or a middle name that was represented by the initial R. in online indexes but there is still no obvious record.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Jonboy {Email left}
Location: Harlow
Date: Wednesday 30th March 2016 at 8:26 PM
Hi Alan
Strange one here for you if you can help please, back in 2012 I asked about my Gt Uncle Edward Charles Bartlett who I couldn't find on Census after 1881, you came up with being in the Army for a While, well just found a document of some sort saying he was in the Navy at some time back in late 1880s service No 98199, it states his occupation was a Paper Hanger which as History goes in that Family they were mostly all paper Hangers or Decorators could this be the same person ?.
Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 31st March 2016 at 2:42 PM

Dear Jonboy,
Edward Charles Bartlett, born Hoxton, 20th August 1860, enlisted in the Royal Navy as a boy on 20th October 1876 at HMS Fisgard, a training establishment at Woolwich. He was aged 16 and therefore was rated as Boy Second Class (aged between 15 and 17). He was described as being 5ft 2ins tall; dark brown eyes; brown hair; fresh complexion; birthmark on chest. His trade was paper hanger. After a week at Fisgard, on 27th October 1876 he went to HMS Impregnable which was a training ship for boys at Devonport, Plymouth. On November 5th 1876 he joined HMS Implacable, a training ship for boys in the Hamoaze, River Tamar, Devonport.
On 8th January 1878 he deserted from Implacable. On 20th August 1878 he would have been aged 18 and then committed to 10 years continuous man’s service in the Royal Navy.
He was apparently apprehended on 29th April 1879 and on May 2nd 1879 he was sentenced to 54 days with hard labour at Bodmin Gaol. Bodmin Gaol was taken over by the Admiralty in 1869 and used until 1922.
In the 1881 census Edward Bartlett was recorded as aged 23 [he was 21]; paper hanger, living with his wife, Lucy, aged 23, at Mills Buildings, 3, Prince Edward Street, Islington, London.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jonboy
Date: Thursday 31st March 2016 at 2:55 PM

Hi Alan
Thanks for that, now presuming this is the same Edward Charles Bartlett which im 99% sure it is , how did he manage to sign up in the Army with his previous record of Desertion in the Navy ?.Luke says its possible as they did not check up properly on your past and also he could have lied by not telling them about his past. Is this true ?.
Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 31st March 2016 at 3:07 PM

It is the same person as his army record stated his mother was Matilda.
Luke’s correct. The Army of the 1880’s was not bothered about a recruit’s background or whether they were telling the truth; and there was no centralised system for cross-checking of information as there would be today. There was also a money-making scam that men employed by joining the part-time Territorial Army and then offering themselves for transfer to the regular Army for which they were paid a bounty of ten pounds. They would do the basic training; take the money and then desert.
Reply from: Jonboy
Date: Thursday 31st March 2016 at 4:05 PM

Ha Ha thanks Alan its mind boggling. Well done Luke (for the umpteenth time).
Posted by: Katherine Brown {Email left}
Location: Norwich
Date: Wednesday 30th March 2016 at 7:48 PM
Hi Alan,

I'm trying to find information on my grandfather, Henry Albert Brown, who fought in WW1. He enlisted at Edmonton and on the RFA Attestations his Service No. Is listed as 1003811 and his former service no. was 58990. Is there a way to find what brigade/division he was in so I can find out what battles he was involved in please?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 30th March 2016 at 9:59 PM

Dear Katherine,
Henry Albert Brown first served overseas in France from 12th May 1915. As he again served after the war, indicated by his regimental number from 1921, his service record is not in the public domain and would be held by the Ministry of Defence. The MoD will release certain amounts of detail to next-of-kin or general enquirers for a charge of £30 and proof of the former soldier’s death (copy of death certificate). See:
With kind regards,
Posted by: Ian Gotts {Email left}
Location: St Albans
Date: Wednesday 30th March 2016 at 6:11 PM
I have a Matthew Gotts in 178th Tunnellers, who died 8/2/16 in the tunnel he was digging, when the Germans exploded a mine at Tambour Duclos. I assume this is the same as the three Tambour mines west of Fricourt, and these were just behind the New Military Cemetery. I've got the trench map via National Library of Scotland and shows a region due West of Fricourt called Tambour.

I am trying to find where the tunnels were started, and drawing a blank.

The battalion diary states a telephone line was laid to the mines from MEAULTE to the mines three miles away.. Any ideas on where the entrances were?
Reply from: Ian Gotts
Date: Sunday 10th April 2016 at 10:25 AM

Digging into this further, makes me wonder exactly where the position of the three Tambour mines was. Has anyone found a map reference in the Company Orders for where they were supposed to be placed?

The reason I ask is this:
On the NLS overlay maps for 62D 25 April 1916 the blue line for the British front line cuts the top of square '7.3.c' at about 20,100.
The Tambour is not marked, but on the McMaster map http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo%3A4038
it shows the area between two trench systems as named as German Tambour (7.3.c.35.30). This is on the South East corner of the wooded area to the South East of the New Military Cemetery.

On the NLS map for 15 June 1916 there is a Tambour area marked at 7.3.c.30.100. This is on the North West side of the same wooded area.

On 8 Feb 1916 my Matthew Gotts, Tunneller, was buried because the Enemy exploded a mine at 'Tambour Du Clos, ref F.3.c.5.95', (as stated in the Battalion diary) which corresponds to where our front line was in April. To me, it seems that the area marked 'The Tambour' was part of our front line, and unless our front line fell back between Feb & June, our three Tambour mines would have been placed under the German Tambour area on the South East corner of the wood.

I understand this may be slightly at odds with one or two websites, but I can't see why I would be wrong.
Your comments or extra information is welcome!
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 10th April 2016 at 9:26 PM

Dear Ian,
I don’t know if it helps, but the three Tambour mine craters have not moved, although they are perhaps overgrown. If you copy and paste
49°59'58.0"N 2°42'35.8"E
into Google maps and Google Earth you can pin point them and compare the location with older maps.
For precise details of sap entrances it would be necessary to see a Royal Engineers map or plans of the particular mine saps you are referring to, as the small area of the Tambour and Tambour du Clos experienced the explosion of at least nine mines from October 1915 prior to the “Triple Tambour” of July 1st 1916. There was other work in the area, including plans to blow three mines by the British on Boxing Day 1915, apart from the most famous Tambour mines that were exploded by the British on July 1st 1916, although the largest of the three failed to go off at the stipulated time of 7.28 a.m. because after it was completed its chamber had flooded: “Z Day. Mines in G3E, G19A exploded at 7:28 a.m. 2 minutes before Zero. G15b not successful”.
At the time of the explosions, the Tambour was in German hands and for months they had been undermining the French and British positions at depths of 120 feet, trying to hide tons of white chalk spoil from view. It is possible that tunnelling in February 1916 by the 178th Tunnelling Company RE was related to the three Tambour mines planned for July 1916.
Excavations for mining in front of Fricourt began with the French Army and were taken over by the British upon their arrival at Albert in August 1915. The name “Tambour” was given to a bulge (salient) in the French front line by its occupants; the name means “drum”. The Germans named the area: die Kniewerk (from “knee”: a “kick of the knee”) or the “Fricourt west sector”.
There can be no single trench map for any one area as the situation changed frequently and maps were produced regularly at different scales for different purposes and regularly updated.
More specialised maps would be needed to identify the location of sap entrances.
As a general guide, at the end of December 1915, the 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment was attached to 178th Tunnelling Company R.E. and entries in their war diary indicate that the entrances to the saps were in the front of their trenches in the D3 Sector. The tunnels, or “saps”, went forward to beneath the German lines; whilst the Germans were tunnelling towards the English in a similar manner beneath no man’s land which was only about 100 yards wide at this point because of the bulge in the British line.
There is a map showing the British trenches (in blue) in D3 with the bulge in the line under the “o” of Fricourt at:
I am afraid I can only offer that as a guide as my own trench map collection of the period stops just above Fricourt. The maps that would help most would be in square 62D N.E.. but would need to be of a large scale. Various mine craters already blown at Fricourt are marked as red asterisks on the trench map of 25th April 1916 at:
The war diary of Commander Royal Engineers (CRE) 18th Division might include maps and map references of saps begun in 1915 in the sector facing Fricourt, which was occupied by 55th Infantry Brigade of 18th Division in late 1915 when work was begun. The diary of CRE 18 Division is available to download (£3.45) from:
The book “War Underground” by Alexander Barrie might be of interest:
I apologise that your original post has not received a response earlier than today.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Ian Gotts
Date: Sunday 10th April 2016 at 10:00 PM

Hi Alan,
Thanks for your detailed reply.
The NE bearings give you smack bang in the middle of the wooded area. The trench map you referenced shows that No-Mans Land was very narrow, so they weren't tunneling very far, but 120 feet deep is a lot.
I will see what photos I can get when I am out there next week.
Posted by: Cliff {Email left}
Location: Long Island Ny Usa
Date: Tuesday 29th March 2016 at 5:59 PM

Can you please help? I'm trying to find out about my great-uncle, Daniel Falvey. The information

I have on him is a little sketchy. What I think I know is, that he was born in 1896 in Innishannon, Cork,

Ireland. He enlisted into the Army in November of 1915. I believe that he was in the Leinster Regiment,

the 7th or 8th Battalion. His serial numbers were: 3549/658161. He was supposed to have been

wounded in March of 1918, and survived his wounds only to be shipped back in November.

Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 29th March 2016 at 7:21 PM

Dear Cliff,
No individual service record has survived for Daniel Falvey so it is not possible to state his military service. Most records were destroyed during enemy bombing of London in 1940. The Army medal rolls recorded Daniel Falvey first served overseas in France and Flanders from 17th December 1915 as a private soldier number 3549 with the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment. He was discharged from the Labour Corps (numbered 658161) on 11th May 1919. The Labour Corps employed less able men on labouring and farming duties.
There was no 8th Battalion Leinster Regiment. The 7th Battalion Leinster Regiment went to France on the night of 17th/18th December 1915 (a date that matches the medal records). The 7th Battalion served there with the 47th Infantry Brigade in the 16th (Irish) Division until the Battalion was disbanded at Tincourt, Somme, France, on 14th February 1918 during the re-organisation of the British Army. The men were absorbed by the 2nd Battalion Leinster Regiment and the 19th Entrenching Battalion which was a form of holding battalion. The re-organised 2nd Battalion moved from the 47th Brigade to the 88th Brigade (29 Division) on 23rd April 1918. There is no record of when Daniel Falvey transferred to the Labour Corps. His service in the Labour Corps might well have been after he recovered from wounds and might have been in the U.K.
For the engagements of the 16th Division see Chris Baker’s website:
The war diary of the 7th Battalion Leinster Regiment can be purchased for download (£3.45) from:
Being wounded in March 1918 is plausible as the 7th Battalion was enveloped in the German’s Spring Offensive (Operation Michael) from March 21st 1918 at St Quentin.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Cliff
Date: Wednesday 30th March 2016 at 12:57 PM


Thank you so very much for the amazingly quick and informative response. The information you

provided will be a great asset to us.

Thank you again for all that you do.

Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Tuesday 29th March 2016 at 10:17 AM
Hi Alan

I am researching the Beard family, well known and plentious in our village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor up here on Dartmoor. I am trying to find "war service" information in respect of the following 3 men.

WILLIAM RICHARD BEARD b 30.08.1891, father James Beard, mother Eliza (nee French) - family stories say he was a signaller/spotter during the war, but no actual details of his service are known?

WILLIAM THOMAS HAMLYN BEARD b 16.04.1896 - father Thomas Beard (listed in the census as a widower). It is known he served in the 3rd/6th Bat Devonshire Regiment Service No 4019 and later with the Somerset Light Infantry Service No 275133. Could you please tell me where and when he served in France etc?.

ERNEST BEARD b 1879 in Widecombe, married Lucy in Exeter in 1906. He is listed on the 1918 Electoral Roll as being a Military/Naval voter but I can find no records of his service. (Some of the family think he may have been a coastguard?)

Any information on any or all of the "lads" listed above would, as usual, be greatly appreciated.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 29th March 2016 at 7:16 PM

Dear David,
Generally, it is not possible to identify military personnel by their name only and very few surviving military records state a date of birth or parents. Therefore it is not possible to identify records for William Richard Beard or to positively identify Ernest Beard.
A signaller could have served in the Royal Engineers signals section; a spotter could have served in the Royal Artillery.
An army medal roll for a William Thomas Hamlyn Beard recorded he served as a Lance-corporal in the Devonshire Regiment (4019) and Prince Albert’s Somerset Light Infantry (275133). No individual service record has survived so it is not possible to state his military service in detail or to further identify him. There were certainly two men of that name living in Devon at the time; however the older appears to have been born in 1856, so the war-time record probably refers to the younger man, born in 1896. The medal roll stated William Thomas Hamlyn Beard had qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and had served in the 3rd/6th Battalion Devonshire Regiment and the 1st F.S.G. Battalion Somerset Light Infantry. The 3rd/6th Devonshire Regiment was formed on 25th March 1915 at Barnstaple as a third-line battalion and did not serve overseas as a battalion. It became the 6th Reserve Battalion in April 1916 and was absorbed into the 4th Reserve Battalion in September 1916 at Winchester. The 4th Reserve Battalion then trained at Bournemouth, Sutton Veny, and Larkhill until April 1918 when it moved to Ireland. It undertook garrison duties and basic training for men who could be sent abroad as drafts of reinforcements as required.
During the summer of 1915 those personnel who were in third-line battalions and were not available for posting overseas because they were not medically fit enough were moved into what became Provisional Battalions. Provisional Battalions were converted on January 1st 1917 to Home Service Battalions of the Territorial Force units within infantry regiments. On 1st January 1917 the 85th Provisional Battalion at Whitstable, which dated from April 1915, became the 11th (Home Service) Battalion Somerset Light Infantry.
The 11th Battalion was raised for Home Service from Territorial Force soldiers in the South West of England who were of low medical grades and could not serve at the front and had been placed in provisional battalions. The regimental number 275133 in the Somerset Light Infantry was allotted by the 11th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry in January 1917, so his regimental number suggests Lance-corporal Beard served with the 11th Battalion when that number was allotted as the battalion was formed. However, he ended the war with the 1st (Foreign Service) Garrison Battalion Somerset Light Infantry which had been formed in Plymouth in January 1917 and sailed for India in February 1917 where it joined the Rawalpindi Brigade in 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division in May 1917 before moving to Lahore in September 1918. For the various locations of the Division see Chris Baker’s website:
It appears Lance-Corporal Beard served in garrison battalions at Home, with the Devonshire Regiment and a Provisional Battalion until January or February 1917 when he was posted to the newly-raised 1st (Foreign Service) Garrison Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, which then served on Garrison duties in India until the end of the war.

It is not possible to positively identify a record for Ernest Beard. He was born in 1878 (GRO Births, April – June 1898 Newton Abbot; Vol 5B page 134) and appears to have died in 1948 at Newton Abbot. He was baptised on August 30th 1878 at Widecombe-in-the-Moor, the son of William Thomas Hamlyn Beard (senior) of Cator, who had married his first wife Gertrude Ann (née Leaman), on September 20th 1877. There was also an Ernest Beard born at Newton Abbot district in 1896; who appears to have died in 1976 at Newton Abbot (GRO Births Newton Abbot, April – June 1896 volume 5B Page 129).

In the U.K., “Coastguard” is spelled as one word, but it can appear as Coast Guard in some records as well as being Coast Guard in the U.S.A., including Google.
There is a Navy medal index record for a Lg Btn Ernest Beard which would be Leading Boatman, which was a Coastguard shore rating. His number was 205322. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal which were despatched to “C.G. Mablethorpe” [Coastguard Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire]. However, it has not been possible to identify him further although he was the only Ernest Beard listed as a Coastguard rating. A Leading Boatman was a Coastguard rating on shore created in 1907 from the former title of “commissioned boatman” and who had been rated after 1st October, 1907. Additional pay was awarded for duties that could include gunnery; mines; signalling and wireless telegraphy.
Coastguard records are held at the U.K. National Archives at Kew, Surrey. Personnel records are divided between Officers indexes ADM175/103 to 107; 109 and 110 (1886 – 1947); and ADM175 82A to 84B for ratings (1900 -1923 service record cards) and Medal awards (ADM 1771). See:
You would need to visit Kew to see the records. Other coastal duties could include lighthouse and sea-pilot duties operated by The Corporation of Trinity House and Deptford Strond. In the First World War the Corporation undertook various duties such as buoying shipping lanes and naval operations, moving light-vessels and laying hundreds of marker buoys.
Some Trinity House pilots and keepers’ records have survived at the Guildhall Library. See:
Due to the lack of biographical information in the surviving records, the details presented on this web forum have been suggested in good faith and are offered for general information. It is not possible to warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Kerrie Smith {No contact email}
Location: Queensland Australia
Date: Saturday 26th March 2016 at 11:43 PM
Many thanks Alan, much appreciated, Cheers Kerrie
Posted by: Kerrie Smith {No contact email}
Location: Queensland Australia
Date: Saturday 26th March 2016 at 10:45 AM
Hi Alan, I am researching a family tree and have come across the name General Cecil Havelock Williams born 1885. I think he may have been born in India. Would you be able to find any information on him please.
Cheers Kerrie
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 26th March 2016 at 4:55 PM

Dear Kerrie,
There is no formal or military record of a “General” Cecil Havelock Williams.
There is a submitted public entry on the ancestry.co.uk website for a “General Havelock Cecil (sic) Williams”.
Cecil Havelock Williams, aged 26, bachelor, accountant, of Poona, son of Alexander Williams married Constance Jane Hemingway, aged 19, spinster, of Poona, daughter of Joseph Hemingway, on 29th March 1911 at the Methodist Episcopal Church, Poona, India.
Cecil Havelock Williams was baptised on 15th August 1885 at St Paul’s, Poona, the son of Alexander and Jane Elizabeth Williams. Alexander was a civil servant employed by Her Majesty’s Abkari Department at Surat, India. Abkari was an excise or revenue tax on the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors or drugs. Cecil Havelock Williams had been born on July 9th 1885. Jane Elizabeth might have been Jane Elizabeth Harrison who had married an Alexander Williams at Bombay Cathedral on February 10th 1876.
The death of a Cecil Havelock Williams, aged 35 (sic), European, engineer, occurred on May 3rd 1923. He died of Phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis) and was buried on the same date at Sewri Cemetery, India. His age does not quite match (he would have been nearly 38) but ages at death could only be provided by someone else.
(The British army General Havelock who gave his name to a public house, and a ship, was Sir Henry Havelock who was famous for recapturing Cawnpore during the rebellion of 1857).
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 26th March 2016 at 5:59 PM

The Cecil H Williams born Cannock, 1885, submitted to the ancestry website as "General Havelock Cecil Williams" was the son of John Williams, a coal miner, and his wife Elizabeth who lived at Walsall, Staffordshire (1891 and 1901 England censuses).

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