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

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Posted by: John Plimmer {Email left}
Location: Derby
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 7:32 PM
Hi
I can't find anything about my granddad John Plimmer he was in the royal air force I remember seeing a photo of him in his blues and twos when I was younger he came home after the war world war 1 ... he also went back to war in ww2 as did my dad fought in ww2 was in the royal corpse signals my dad john Alfred Plimmer aka jack
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 8:50 PM

Dear John,
Service records for men who served in the Second World War are not in the public domain and are held by the Ministry of Defence. The MoD will release certain amounts of information about a deceased person depending on whether you are the direct next-of-kin, or not. You can apply using the forms for next-of-kin, or with permission of next- of-kin, or as a general enquirer. Refer to:
https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records
You will need proof of death (a copy of the death certificate); date of birth or service number; next-of- kin's permission (unless you are the direct next-of-kin); a cheque (currently for £30) and the completed Application forms Part 1 and 2. The addresses for RAF and Army enquiries are separate and are shown on the relevant form.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: John
Date: Thursday 13th November 2014 at 11:10 AM

Thank you alan

my granddad was in ww1 I can't find anything about my granddad John Plimmer he was in the royal air force I remember seeing a photo of him in his blues and twos when I was younger he came home after the war world war 1 ..
Posted by: Julie {Email left}
Location: Nottingham
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 7:31 PM
I had three Great uncles who fought in the first world war. there was Charlie Brookes but my other two great uncles I dont know their first names. Charlie came back from the great war he had been gassed.But his brothers were both killed. I think it was in belgium. All my great uncles came from Nottingham lived on Hyson Green Fisher street.I do know the two great uncles that died had their names on memorial plaques for the dead in St Stevens Church Bobbers Mill Rd Hyson Green . Nottingham. I would so like to find out more and would like some advice on how to go about it. Please
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 8:52 PM

Dear Julie,
You would be fortunate to identify any records without knowing the men's names, regiments and regimental numbers. Having said that, in the 1911 Census there was a Charles Brookes who had three sons who lived at 36 Fisher Street, Nottingham. One son was Charles whose two brothers were Edward born about 1889 and John born about 1880.
It is not possible to identify them in surviving army records, many of which have no biographical details. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) did record there was an Edward Brookes who was born and lived at Nottingham who was killed at Hooge on 4th October 1917, serving as Private 21849 2nd Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers. There is no entry for a John Brookes born or resident in Nottingham.
To positively identify the brothers you would need to know their regiment and regimental numbers from family sources. Then look up their entries on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Debt of Honour at:
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Geoff
Location: Sowerby Bridge
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 2:29 PM
Hi Alan

You very kindly provided with information for a great uncle who died in 1915. I am most grateful as this has provided me with knowledge that I would never have known.

Amongst his medals was one that couldn't be attributed to him. I have given this medal a good clean and found the following engraved.

No: 133698

PNR H T Cumber

R.B

I wonder if would be possible to provide any further information, I do not have any knowledge of who this relation is and unfortunately no surviving relatives to ask.

Many thanks

Geoff
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:28 PM

Dear Geoff,
Pioneer Henry T. Cumber 133689 Royal Engineers qualified for the British War and Victory Medals. Medal records do not provide any biographical information so it is not possible to identify him further. He appears to survived the war.
There is only one immediately obvious 19th Century GRO birth entry for a Henry T Cumber. He was born in 1882. His baptism was at Paddington, London, in St Mary Magdalene Church, the son of Henry and Louisa Cumber. He appears to have died at Exeter in 1970.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Geoff
Date: Wednesday 12th November 2014 at 2:19 PM

Dear Alan

Many thanks once again for your prompt reply. The information you supplied makes sense to me and fills in a gap of the family tree.

I will be making a donation to your chosen charity.

Regards

Geoff
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 12th November 2014 at 2:49 PM

Dear Geoff,
Thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion. It makes it all worthwhile.
with kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Richard {Email left}
Location: West Midlands
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 11:46 AM
Hi
I would really appreciate some information on my Great Grand Father if Possible. His name is James Betts and he died on the 19th September 1918, Service Number 486469 , Rank Sapper , 468th Field Coy , Royal Engineers , Buried at Lapognoy Military cemetery. Any details regarding His death , service would be overwhelmingly appreciative ,Many thanks in advance
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 3:53 PM

Dear Richard,
No individual service record has survived for James Betts so it is not possible to state his military service in detail. He first went to France on 22nd October 1915 as a sapper with the Territorial Force Royal Engineers regimental number 495. When the Territorial Force soldiers were re-numbered in early 1917, he was allotted the number 486469 which was in a batch allotted to the North Midland Field Company Royal Engineers. The 2nd/1st North Midland Field Company RE, became the 468th Field Company. The 468th Field Company served in the 46th Division which went to France in February 1915, so Sapper Betts would probably have been part of a draft of reinforcements when he arrived in October 1915.
The engagements of the 46th Division are shown at:
http://www.1914-1918.net/46div.htm
Sapper Betts "died" on 19th September 1918 aged 50. "Died" meant he died of sickness or accident. His death certificate can be ordered from the General Register Office in the normal way for a fee of £9.25. It is indexed as GRO War Deaths, Army other ranks 1914-1921; James Betts, sapper, 486469, Royal Engineers; Volume E.2; page 404. See:
https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/
The war diary of the 468th Field Company RE can be downloaded online from the National Archives for £3.30. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354486
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Richard
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:11 PM

Dear Alan
Thank you so much for your help
Posted by: William Ingram Baker {Email left}
Location: Derby
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 11:30 AM
Alan, I hope you can help.I am trying to find info on William Ingram Baker M G Corps killed 1917 .I have found his army record but info on where he was killed

Yours W I Baker
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 3:54 PM

It is not possible to state how an individual soldier was killed unless the family has correspondence from a chaplain, commanding officer or a friend describing the circumstances. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded Lance Corporal William Ingram Baker was killed in action on 7th June 1917. He served with the 70th Company Machine Gun Corps from 14th July 1916. The 70th Company MGC served in the 70th Infantry Brigade with the 23rd Division. The Division fought at The Battle of Messines from 7th June 1917 to 14th June 1917.
Lance Corporal Baker has no marked grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial. The
70th Brigade Machine Gun Company war diary for April 1916 to October 1917 can be downloaded from the National Archives for £3.30. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353272
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: John Bowman {Email left}
Location: Chelmsford
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 10:46 AM
What battle was Pty 21493 F Bedford Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in when he was fatally wounded on 8th July 1915 and buried in Kemmel Military Cemetery along with two colleagues who died the same day - Pte 10734 M Parkinson and Cpl 16667 E Garwell.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:09 PM

Dear John,
The 1st Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was not in a major battle in June 1915. They were in trench routine at La Clytte, near Ypres. There was intermittent trench mortar fire during their time in the trenches. At noon on 8th July 1915 a rifle grenade landed in the trench killing one man immediately and wounding three other men and an officer, 2nd Lt W.D. Bentall. Three men died that day: Pte 10734 Matthew Parkinson; Cpl 16667 Ernest Garwell and 21493 Frederick Bedford.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: John Bowman
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:32 PM

Alan, many thanks for your prompt response. Fred Bedford was my Great Uncle. In August my grandson, James Bowman (13yrs) and I visited Kemmel, to pay homage.
This Saturday James is appearing in a concert 'Beyond the Sphere of Grief', in Norwich, to honour those who lived and died during WW1, where he will be reciting his reflections. Once again many thanks from both of us. John.
Reply from: Jeanette Lunn
Date: Wednesday 12th November 2014 at 11:56 AM

Hi John
Just saw your message regarding Frederick Bedford- he is a relation on my fathers side who came from Swillington, Leeds. We have also visied Kemmell, a lovely pretty cemetery.
According to Ansestry ( which the Bedford family tree is on) Frederick Bedford is my firstcousin 3rd removed.
Great to see someone else is researching him
Regards
jeanette
Reply from: John Bowman
Date: Thursday 13th November 2014 at 8:57 AM

Jeanette,
This is interesting, my Father George, (1908-1983), came from Methley - his mother Emily, my grand mother, was Fred's sister. Most of my paternal family still live in and around Methley, Too my knowledge I am the only southerner. I agree Kemmel is a very quiet peaceful place and we both had a moving time. James's poem, I understand, is about Fred and would be happy to share it with you after Saturday's performance when I will hear it for the first time. John
Posted by: Lorraine Scott Wilson {Email left}
Location: New Zealand
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:33 AM
Hi Alan,

I have in my possession a 'Kings Empire Services Rendered' badge in the name of George Dunn of The Royal Fusiliers 6th Battalion. The number is 2109 - sickness 392, enlisted on 30/1/1914 and discharged 12/1/1917.

I am wondering if any of his family are still alive as it would be nice to return it to them if they are interested.

Some information I have gathered (not sure if it is correct) is that he came to New Zealand and died 31/5/1958 and is supposedly buried in Kelvin Grove Cemetery, Palmerston North. Any help would be appreciated, otherwise it will be donated to the Dannevirke Gallery of History.

Kind regards,
Lorraine
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:13 PM

Dear Lorraine,
I am not able to identify living relatives of George Dunn. Perhaps someone who does recognise him will see the message.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Lorraine Scott Wilson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 9:35 PM

Dea Alan,

Many thanks for your reply. I feel it would be like looking for a needle in the haystack as it seems to have been a very common name, so will proceed with donating it to our local Museum with the condition that if a proven member of his family want it then it shall be returned.

Kind regards,
Lorraine.
Posted by: David {Email left}
Location: Southampton
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 8:54 PM
Dear Alan,

I stumbled across your website whilst looking for information about my Father's half brother.

In the course of my rather stinting and haphazard research, I began to wonder why he hadn't received the 1914-1915 Star. Then I turned up his medal card (which records his entitlement to the Star), and then the original medal records themselves. However, due to an error in the recording of his middle initial, the medal record in which his entitlement to the 1914-15 Star was first registered, did not appear in the same record search. Now, I know the record in question is his, as it carries his old 4 figure service number, and the correct date for his death. Additionally, the record of his entitlement to the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal is duplicated for the same reason - an error in recording his middle initial.

This has led me to wonder if the reason why I don't have his 1914-1915 Star is because it was never delivered to his family - after all, I have the other two medals and his death plaque.

Any insight would be most valuable.

Cheers,

David
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 9:02 PM

Dear David,
If you have his name, regiment and number I can look at the records to see if there is a clue. In general, the 1914-15 Star, authorised in 1918, was posted separately to the British War and Victory Medals which were instigated in 1919. All medals were automatically posted to the soldiers address, or that of his next-of-kin.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: David
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 9:07 PM

Alan,

Many thanks for such a swift reply.

His name is Charles Henry Seer; service numbers 1001 & 740457; and he served with what became the Egyptian Expeditionary Force - A bty. the 266th RFA.

The erroneous records list him as C. E. Seer.

Cheers,

DS.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 3:52 PM

Dear David,
The R.H & R.F.A. (Royal Artillery) medal roll, dated 1920, for the entitlement to Charles's 1914-15 Star did record the wrong initials, but they were later corrected on the Army medal rolls index-cards, apparently in 1921 or later, and should not have led to the failure of the medal being delivered to his next-of-kin.
There is no record of the medal being returned through non-delivery by the General Post Office, who required a signature for its receipt, or for returning for correction to the impressed details around the rim, either of which eventualities would normally have been recorded on the medal index-cards.
Whilst the three medals are considered as a complete set, the 1914-15 Star was despatched separately. The 1914-15 Star was instigated on 23rd December 1918, which was the year before the two 'end-of-the-war' medals were thought of in 1919. The wearing of the riband only of the 1914-15 Star on uniform was permitted from the first two weeks of January 1919.
The instigation of the "British War Medal" (which was originally, incorrectly, considered to be the "General Service Medal") was announced in July 1919 (Army Order 266 of 1919) and the establishment of an "Allied Victory Medal", common to all Allied nations, had been first announced in June 1919.

The First World War Medal and Award Rolls for the Territorial Royal Artillery 1914-15 Star (Roll RFA (T) 23 A&B; page 3067; National Archives WO 329/2558) was dated 28th February 1920. It recorded the qualification of C.E. Seer, Driver, 1001 RFA (T), noting he had entered France (1) on 22/11/15 and had "died" 5/9/18. The "C.E." had been written-in by hand to replace a typed and erased "T.N.". Both would have been clerical errors but the man would have been identified by his regimental number. The details recorded on the medal roll were those that were copied to the medal rolls index-cards and also to an 'indent voucher' for the medal to be ordered from the Ordnance Factory at Woolwich and then impressed around the rim with the man's details which would have appeared probably as: "Dvr. Seer C.E. 1001 RFA (T)". There is a medal rolls-index card which matches C.E. Seer. The card was produced after October 1919 (10/19 was the date on the blank card manufacturer's batch code) and was originally written in red ink and would have originally referred only to the 1914-15 Star.
A second index card produced after 24th May 1921 (again, the date of the printing company's batch code) corrected the name to Charles H. Seer. This second card had originally been produced for the British War and Victory Medals (written in blue) and the note for the earlier 1914-15 Star added in black with the addition of his date of death and with the note "See C.E." also in black. This same hand, writing in black, then re-visited the first "red" C.E. Seer card (for the 1914-15 Star) and added the British War & Victory medal details in black with the comment: "See Seer Charles H. identical", also written in black. This identified the two medal cards created at different times referring to, first, the issue of the 1914-15 Star and, later, the British War and Victory Medals to the same man. The British War and Victory Medals were recorded on the medal roll RFA (TF) 126/B1 Page 5182 (National Archives WO 329/0223) which was dated 9th August 1920 as Chas. Hny. Seer Dvr 740457 RFA.
A clerk at the War Office Medals Branch eventually annotated the 1914-15 Star medal card with: "Correct initials C.H. Auth[ority] 7A" written in a blue ink in a different hand. It is not recorded what "7A" refrred to.
Despite the paper trail, there is no reason to believe the medals were not automatically sent to his next-of-kin who were recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as his parents, Alfred and Margaret Seer, Newport, Monmouthshire. The 1914-15 Star might have had the wrong initials and could have been returned for correction, but that would normally have been recorded on the medal index card as a new medal would have to have been indented for.
The medals would have been delivered by the General Post Office on two different occasions, perhaps many months apart, some two or three years after Charles's death. The 1914-15 Star would have been sent separately, whilst the British War and Victory Medals would have been sent later, as a pair contained in a small white box. The General Post Office required a signature and if the medals could not be delivered, they were returned to the regiment's district record office (Shrewsbury) where they were held for at least a year before being returned to Woolwich for destruction.
It is possible the three medals have become separated over the years. Other members of the extended family might know of the existence of the 1914-15 Star.
Charles Seer served with the 4th Welsh Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force) which consisted of the part-time, volunteer, pre-war 1st, 2nd and 3rd Monmouthshire Batteries of the RFA and the 4th Welsh Ammunition Column dating from the 1908 Territorial Army reforms. Their lineage was from the "Worcestershire and Monmouthshire Brigade" of the Welsh Division and the later 1st Monmouthshire Royal Garrison Artillery Volunteers. They served in the Welsh Division. During the Great War these regional titles were replaced by numbers. The Welsh Division became the 53rd Division. To avoid confusion with the Infantry, The Royal Artillery used Roman numerals to identify their brigades, and in May 1915 the 4th Welsh Brigade initially became "CCLXVIII (H) Brigade Royal Field Artillery (TF)" which was the "268th (Howitzer) Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Territorials)". Once the Brigade was mobilized in August 1914 the elements of the Brigade were stationed at Shrewsbury, Wellington, Oswestry and Fort Scoveston by 11th August 1914. At the end of August, the entire Welsh Division moved to Northampton. The 4th Welsh Brigade RFA did not sail with the Welsh Division to Gallipoli in July 1915 but remained at Bedford in the UK to be re-armed and modernised. In November 1915 the 4th Welsh Brigade RFA moved to Pont Remy in France. From France, it left Marseille in February 1916 and sailed for Egypt where it concentrated at Wardan, near the village of Beni Salama, which is about 25 miles North of the pyramids of Cairo. In December 1916 the CCLXVIII (268th) Brigade RFA was partially broken-up and was merged with units of the CCLXVI (266th) Brigade RFA. Early in 1917 all Territorial Force soldiers were re-numbered, as part of an administrative exercise to simplify their regimental numbers, and Charles Seer became Driver 740457 of the CCLXVI (266th) Brigade RFA. See also:
http://www.1914-1918.net/53div.htm
Charles died on 5th September 1918, although the online version of "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded the year incorrectly as 1917. "Died" meant he had died of sickness or by accident, as opposed to "killed in action" or "died of wounds". He is buried at Kantara which was a large base camp and hospital centre, 160 km North-east of Cairo. His death certificate might record the cause of death if he died in hospital. It is available to order in the normal way from the England and Wales General Register Office, online, at a cost of £9.25. It is GRO War Deaths 1914-1921, Army Other Ranks, Charles H Seer, 740457, Driver RFA, 1918, Volume A.8, page 171.
https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/
The Ministry of Defence Medal Office no longer issues replacement medals of the First World War. Medal dealers or private collectors might hold the original 1914-15 Star issued to Charles Seer; or you could post a request on the lost medals website:
http://www.lostmedals.co.uk/
Otherwise a replica medal can be purchased from commercial producers such as
http://www.awardmedals.com/
http://replicamedals.co.uk/
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: David
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:18 PM

Alan,

That's brilliant - many thanks for all the time you've spent on this, and indeed all the information as to the history of his unit.

You're right about his having dies through sickness - his obituary states that he died of septicaemia, although I don't know what could have caused it.

One other question; what would have been the duties of a Driver ?

I'll certainly try lost medals. I'm also trying to pin down descendants of his Mother's sisters, as they would have been her next of kin after her death in 1927.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 4:46 PM

Dear David,
Each gun and limber was pulled by a team of six horses with three drivers. From the front, the drivers were known as the "lead driver"; "centre driver" and "wheel driver". Horses were harnessed in pairs either side of the limber pole. Each pair was controlled by a driver riding the horse on the left of the pair, known as the "near" horse. The driver held the reins for the near horse and the "off" horse. Each driver cared for his horses but was also capable of undertaking any of the duties of a gunner in action.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Dawn {Email left}
Location: Llandinam
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 2:11 PM
Hi. I have a photograph of my Grandfather during WW1 in his uniform with a Welsh Guards cap badge. We know he fought in the Somme as he very briefly talked about it to my Mother. On the edge of his medal it says 2861 Pte T Deakins however I have searched and searched and can't find this service no. Anywhere. It doesn't help that his real name was Arthur John but all his life he went by Tom/Thomas. The family name also goes by either Deakin or Deakins in records. I've paid a fortune looking for his name that matches this service no. To no avail. He was born in 1885 in Bettws y Crwyn, Salop. I know that in WW1 some soldiers changed regiments but surely the number on his medal would be his number whilst fighting in the war? I am finding it so frustrating as I can find his brothers but not him. I've been searching for years on and off and am getting so disheartened so if anyone can give any advice on what to do next I'd greatly appreciate it.
Many Thanks,
Dawn Williams nee Deakins
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 11:13 PM

Dear Dawn,
It would be helpful to identify the medal. The inscription on a First World War campaign medal should also state the name of the regiment in an abbreviated form. There certainly is no obvious First World War campaign medal record for a Deakin(s) with the regimental number 2861. Guardsmen's service records are not in the public domain. The proven next of kin can apply in writing for a search (costing £30) to: Regimental Archivist, Regimental Headquarters, Welsh Guards, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. A certificate of kinship and a "subject access request" form have to be completed and a copy of the man's death certificate is required. A cheque for £30.00 should be made payable to: "Welsh Guards Lt Col Central Fund". See
http://www.army.mod.uk/infantry/regiments/29824.aspx
With Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Dawn
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 8:26 AM

Hi Alan,

Thank You so much for your response. He has two Medals, a Campaign Medal and Victory Medal and also a small shield shaped medal with his Name and Parish on the back. I will write to the address you've kindly given me and see if I can trace him that way.

Once again many thanks.

Regards,

Dawn
Reply from: Dawn
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 7:44 PM

Hi Alan.,
Just one more thing. My Grandfathers brothers also fought in WW1. W.Deakin served with the 8th Yorkshire Regiment and John Deakin served with the 14th Gloucester Regiment. We know that John was killed on 22.10.1917 his service no. 31996 and is named at the Pachendaele memorial, however he came from Pipe Aston, Herefordshire and his death penny was sent to his parents there. What we are trying to find is his address when going to war as Pipe Aston is known as a 'Thankful Village' meaning no one that came from there was killed in the War but I believe that John did live there. How would I find his address at the time of going to War?
Any advice or information on this could take Pipe Aston off the Thankful Village list.
Once again many Thanks,
Dawn
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 9:03 PM

Dear Dawn,
No individual service record has survived for John Deakin so it is not possible to say what his full address might have been. The CWGC Debt of Honour stated John Deakin was the "son of James and Aleathea Deakin, of Aston Village, Wigmore Rd., Ludlow. Native of Aston, Salop."
There was a village named Aston in Shropshire in the parish of Woore. Pipe Aston is on the Herefordshire - Shropshire border within Herefordshire, but the nearest town, Ludlow, is in Shropshire.
"Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded John Deakin's birthplace as "Pipe-Aston Herefords[hire]". He enlisted at Ludlow. In the 1911 census the family of James and Aleathea Deakins (sic) included three of their children: John, Walter and Amy Deakins living at Pipe Aston.
Whether John joined up from Pipe Aston or whether he had moved away from his home village is unclear.
It would seem likely that if the village had a war memorial, John Deakin's name would be on it.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Dawn
Date: Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 10:24 PM

Thank you Alan. I very much appreciate your help. I will continue with my research :)
Kind Regards,
Dawn
Posted by: Penny {Email left}
Location: Wordsley
Date: Sunday 9th November 2014 at 6:25 PM
Hi Alan, I've only stumbled across your website today, whilst searching for more information about my Great-Uncle, Private Herbert Palmer (9126).
Herbert was born in Norwich in 1889 and originally joined the Royal Norfolk Regiment, although I have been unable to find details about his service. It seems his service records were amongst those lost in the air raids of 1940. As I grew up my grandmother used to say that he had been 'blown to pieces' on Hill 60 and was never found. However, a number of years ago we discovered that he had, in fact, been buried in the CWGC cemetery at Oosttaverne Wood in Belgium and we have visited a number of time over the past few years.
I have been interested to read your research on the forum into the movements of 2 KOYLI, which he appears to have joined sometime between February 1905 and May 1907, according to records of enlistment numbers. The family story goes that he left the Royal Norfolks but was unable to find a job so rejoined, although I'm unsure as to how he ended up in 2 KOYLI where he is recorded in the 1911 census as serving in China/Hong Kong. There seems to be a small group of lads from Norwich in the same regiment at the time. I have a pair of mother-of-pearl shells on ebony stands that seem to date from his service in the East.
I have contacted the KOYLI museum who have sent me copies of the relevant war diaries for the days surrounding his death on Hill 60 on 18th April 1915. I have also acquired a copy of his medal roll through Ancestry which shows his qualifying date as 26th August 1914. It records the Victory, British and Star medals and a 'clasp 2/2636'. I wonder if you would be able to explain these terms to me? His record shows 'Rep'd dead' which presumably explains why the family never knew of his grave, although I wonder why they wouldn't have been informed later? I also wonder what would have happened to his medals in that situation?
As you can tell I've been able to do a fair bit of research myself so am really just asking for anything that you might be able to add to make the picture a little clearer!
Thanks, Penny
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 9th November 2014 at 8:10 PM

Dear Penny,
Grandma was partially correct.
Herbert Palmer of Lakenham appears to have joined the Norfolk Regiment Militia (4th Battalion) before transferring to the full-time Norfolk Regiment. What appears to be his brief Norfolk Regiment service record is available under "Military, armed forces and conflict" on the Findmypast.co.uk website for 30 "pay as you go" credits. However, the website is offering free access for this Remembrance weekend until midday Monday 10th November only.
Rifleman Palmer's Army medal rolls index-card recorded he went to France on 26th August 1918 as a private soldier with the KOYLI (known as a "Rifleman in the KOYLI"). That date was ten days after the 2nd Battalion KOYLI had landed at Havre so he might have been a reservist called up later or a member of a rear party. The card showed he qualified for the wartime campaign medals: The 1914 Star with Mons clasp (instigated in April 1917), The British War Medal and the Victory Medal (1919). The Mons clasp was granted to the members of the original British Expeditionary Force who fought between 5th August and midnight 22nd/23rd November 1914. The references identify the actual nominal rolls and page number which recorded the medal qualification. They add little to what is recorded on the index-card, but are also available on the Ancestry website under H. Palmer (1914 Star) and Herbert Palmer (War and Victory Medals). The medals would have been posted with recorded delivery in about 1920 to the last address the Army had on record, which would have been that of his next-of-kin. If the medals could not be delivered they were held for a year and then destroyed. The card noted Herbert Palmer was reported dead on 18.4.15. That meant that no surviving witness saw him killed; no evidence had been forwarded and no marked grave had been identified by the time the medal card was made out, which would have been in 1919 when the later medals were instigated. His death appears to have been originally listed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. Initially, it seemed likely therefore that his body was discovered when the battlefields were cleared in 1918 1920. In fact, his body was found among others on Hill 60 in 1926 and identified by his identity disc which gave name, regiment and number (Concentration of Graves: Exhumations and Reburials; Wytschaete, Belgium, 12.5.1926, IWGC). The disc was afterwards sent to the next-of-kin (ibid; where "FF" indicated a coffin was supplied by the IWGC burial officer for the re-burial. The EF reference was a file pre-fix referring to internal documents used by the CWGC. Most of these files were destroyed during the Second World War.) The then Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) would have informed the next-of-kin of the discovery by writing to them at their last available address in 1926. In 1920, the IWGC Debt of Honour collected biographical information from families through the post and that for Herbert Palmer described him as "son of the late John and Susan Palmer" which implies either his father or both his parents were dead by about 1920. However, the biographical entry could have been made in 1926 after the body had been discovered. The archived exhumation and subsequent burial documentation is available at:
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/105225/PALMER,%20HERBERT
The war diary for the 2nd Battalion KOYLI up to the end of 1915 can be downloaded (charge £3.30) from The National Archives:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352257
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Penny
Date: Sunday 9th November 2014 at 10:26 PM

Hi Alan - thank you so much for your detailed reply. It has answered a lot of queries but also thrown up a few more... I need to look through all my records before I get back to you! The links you provided have been extremely useful, although I can't find the records relating to the service with the Royal Norfolks that you referred to. A search for tomorrow morning I think!
Regards, Penny
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 9th November 2014 at 10:47 PM

Dear Penny,
On the Findmypast.co.uk website home page enter Herbert Palmer as the name; enter 1889 +/- 2 in the "Birth" box and select "United Kingdom" under "Where". That produces 42,284 results. Click on the white box next to "Military, Armed forces, & conflict". After the green "wait" wheel there are 944 results. The likely entry is the fifth one down the results list as Herbert Palmer 1897 - 1904 New Lakenham Norwich. The GRO birth index has no Herbert Palmer born 1887 Norfolk, so he probably miss-stated his age. His father was John and there are addresses that will help you identify him.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Penny
Date: Sunday 9th November 2014 at 11:09 PM

Thanks again Alan - will look first thing tomorrow!
Regards, Penny
Reply from: Penny
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 11:55 AM

Morning Alan!
Just finished downloading all the documents relating to Herbert Palmer and also his brother (Charles) William, who died from TB in 1920 as a result of an injury during training in 1915. I'm very grateful for the instructions you sent - I think I was probably restricting my search by just entering the known year of birth. Herbert obviously altered the facts slightly about his age in order to enlist, which I know wasn't uncommon. He was the youngest of 6 children and his mother had died by 1901, and his father in 1911. He was only 15 when he signed up in 1904.

Having read through the documentation from IWGC it seems that Herbert's eldest sister (my grandmother Sarah) was listed as next of kin. The inscription on his headstone seems to be different from the rest listed on the page and I wonder if this would have been her choice? If so that suggests that she did in fact know that his remains had been found and buried - contrary to the family story. By 1926 my father, uncles and aunts were in their 20s and I would be surprised if it was a collective lapse of memory, so I wonder if she decided to keep the information to herself - the remaining brother William had died in 1920 so perhaps she felt it best not to bring back memories. Whatever the reasons we are unlikely to know now, so I'll just have to put that to one side!

Can't tell you how grateful I am for the information you have given me about the circumstances surrounding Herbert's death!
Kind Regards, Penny
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 1:20 PM

Dear Penny,
I am pleased you found the documents. The text for the headstone would have been chosen by the next-of-kin (Miss S.E. Patteson) as the IWGC would have written to her and asked for the biographical details to be entered in the cemetery register and offering the opportunity to suggest an epitaph to be engraved on the headstone. It was taken from the Latin Requiem Mass "Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine" which translates as: "Eternal Rest Grant Him O Lord". The document that this appeared on is actually the second page of a two-page spreadsheet listing the soldiers' details. Most of the headstones were to be of A Soldier of the Great War with the epitaph "Known Unto God", suggested by Rudyard Kipling whose own son, John, had no known grave. It was taken from the King James's Bible, Acts, 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Penny
Date: Monday 10th November 2014 at 2:38 PM

Thanks Alan, I think I've probably exhausted my investigations for now, Appreciate all your help in getting this far,
Kind regards, Penny

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