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Posted by: Helen Devine {Email left}
Location: Manchester
Date: Wednesday 1st June 2016 at 2:28 PM
Dear Alan
I would appreciate any information regarding Walter Norman Evans Private 6739 in the 16th battalion of The Manchester Regiment. I know he died on 1st July 1916 possibly at The Somme.
Kind Regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 1st June 2016 at 8:24 PM

Dear Helen,
No individual service record has survived for Walter Evans, 6739, so it is not possible to state his wartime service in detail. However, an army medal roll recorded he served with the 16th Battalion Manchester Regiment (1st Manchester City Pals) and first entered France on 8th November 1915. That was the date the 16th Battalion entered France, so it seems certain Walter had been with them from the beginning.
The 16th Battalion was raised by the Lord Mayor of Manchester from 28th August 1914 at Heaton Park, Manchester. In April 1915 the Battalion moved to Belton Park near Grantham, Lincolnshire, where it joined the 90th Infantry Brigade in the 30th Division. In September 1915 they moved to Larkhill on Salisbury Plain and travelled from Amesbury railway station on November 7th and November 8th 1915 to the coast to Folkestone and Southampton to sail for France.
Their first major action other than defensive trench routine was on July 1st 1916 in the Battle of Albert (The First Day of the Somme) where they fought to capture the village of Montauban which was held and fortified by the enemy. The Battalion moved up to the assembly trenches at 8.30 a.m. on July 1st 1916 and advanced under the protection of the British artillery barrage. Unfortunately, while they had the 17th Manchesters on their right, there were no supporting troops on their left and they were fired upon by the enemy from that direction forcing them to come to a halt at 9.20 a.m.. At 10.5 a.m. the leading friendly troops to their left arrived and the advance was resumed. By 10.30 a.m. the 16th Battalion had successfully entered Montauban Alley and consolidated the area they had captured.
At night on the 1st/2nd July, the enemy counter-attacked at 9.30 p.m. on July 1st and 3.30 a.m. on July 2nd, while continuing ceaseless shelling on the British positions holding Montauban. The 2nd Wiltshire Regiment sent men to support the 16th Battalion in fighting off the enemy and the Germans withdrew at 4 a.m. on July 2nd.
The 16th Battalion was then withdrawn later on July 2nd by 1.30 p.m.. The 16th Battalion had lost 81 men killed on the day, which for the First day of the Somme was a comparatively small number, and they had achieved their objective for the day.
Walter Evans was killed in action on July 1st 1916 and has no marked grave. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His legatee was his sister Dorothy Evans.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Helen Devine
Date: Wednesday 15th June 2016 at 1:13 PM

Thank you Alan that is so enlightening will make a donation
Posted by: L Miller {No contact email}
Location: Greater London
Date: Tuesday 31st May 2016 at 9:02 AM
Hello Alan
I would appreciate any information you can find out about Rifleman Arthur Warr, He was a rifleman his wifes name was Eliza,his parents names were Richard and martha Warr,I think his family lived in London, He had at least two children namedArthur and Albert. I think he died serving in Belgium He would have been in his 30s.Any info you can find will be appreciated.
Thank You and have a great day.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 31st May 2016 at 1:32 PM

Dear L Miller,
Very few military records have survived that provide biographical information and so it is not possible to positively identify a serviceman’s records from his name only. There were a dozen men named A. Warr who were killed in the First World War and the most likely person named Arthur Warr served in the Rifle Brigade. Private soldiers in the Rifle Brigade were known as riflemen. Arthur Warr 6/7480 had been born at Islington and resided at Spitalfields.
He trained with the 6th Battalion Rifle Brigade and served with the 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade in France and Flanders from 23rd October 1914. He was killed in action on 7th March 1915 and has no marked grave. He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial which commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Pleogsteert sector during the First World War and have no known grave.
Arthur Warr qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: L Miller
Date: Wednesday 1st June 2016 at 10:35 AM

Thank you so much for this information.
kind regards
Reply from: Greg Rogers
Date: Thursday 1st September 2016 at 12:50 PM

Greetings from Australia.

Yes there was more than one Arthur Warr only one who served with The Rifle Brigade The soldier so named as having spouse Eliza is connected to my family genealogy. After Arthur was killed, Eliza married an Australian soldier in December of 1916 who was convalescing from wounds received in the Moquet Farm offensive on 4 Sept 16. That soldier's name was Sidney Leonard Deacon.

Deacon was discharged in England 1917 as not fit for service due to injuries. They migrated to Australia sometime after 1918.

Arthur Warr's WW1 medal entitlement was posted on militaria site here in 2009. I tried unsuccessfully but contact the person who acquired the lot. They probably came to light as a garage find from the estate of Eliza who died in 1978.

Message to L. Miller: I have some content for Warr antecedent history on my tree under Rogers/Goldsborough. Key in Sidney Leonard Deacon to find me. You can contact me from there if you so wish.

Kind regards,
Posted by: Pete {Email left}
Location: East Yorkshire
Date: Monday 30th May 2016 at 6:41 PM
Hello again Alan, trust you are well. I hope you are going to be able to solve a mystery for me.
Recently a nephew made a surprise visit, bringing with him a wonderful parcel of various family history documents, which I had no idea existed.
Amongst them is a photograph of a memorial headstone to Abraham Hawes and another comrade.
The wording is "To the memory of Pte. Abraham Hawes K O YL I died 13 May 1918 aged 31 years 4 months, and Pte C Bishop, R I F died May 9 1918 aged 24 years. After a verse are the words
Erected by his comrades" His Service number was 8501
Abraham was born 14 December 1886 in Norwich.

I am wondering why his comrades would erect such a lovely headstone. Did he perform some brave deed to warrant this? From what I have gleaned, it appears he was in a German P O W camp in 1915, so what happened for him to be remembered in 1918?
I should be most grateful if you can tell me more about him, and in doing so solve my mystery.
I know nothing about Pte. C Bishop.

With kindest regards

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 31st May 2016 at 12:06 PM

Dear Peter,
A memorial to two men from different regiments who died on separate dates can only mean the men were in the same location in similar circumstances when they died and were amongst colleagues who were capable of erecting a memorial at the time or at a later date.
Abraham appears to have died on May 19th 1918 not May 13th.
In the 1911 census Abraham Hawes was recorded as a 24-year-old widower with a three-year-old son at 138 Woodcock Street, Hull. His housekeeper was his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Fox, single, aged 18. He married a Mary Elizabeth Fox in the Pocklington district in 1912. Abraham Hawes was a police constable employed by Hull Corporation.
At the outbreak of war he was with The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and served in the 2nd Battalion. A 1914 Star medal roll suggested he embarked for France on 1st September 1914 but this is probably incorrect as a separate roll listed his name in numerical sequence with the 2nd Battalion, so it is likely he served with them from the outbreak of the war either as a reserve or a regular soldier. The 2nd Battalion, which had been in Dublin in 1914, had sailed to France on 16th August 1914, and was with 13th Infantry Brigade in the 5th Division. Abraham would have fought at The Battle of Mons and the following retreat, including the Action of Elouges and then The Battle of Le Cateau and the Affair of Crepy-en-Valois where he was probably captured.
International Red Cross records show Abraham Hawes was first recorded as a prisoner of the German Army at St Quentin, France, on 31st August 1914 at a time when that French town was occupied by the German Army.
On the night of 26th August 1914, the French and British withdrew from Le Cateau to St. Quentin and the French Army with British support was counter-attacking St Quentin on 29th August. On August 31st, in retreat, the 2nd K.O.Y.L.I. and 13th Infantry Brigade marched 23 miles to Crépy-en-Valois destined for the defence of Paris. The 13th Brigade held Crépy-en-Valois during the night of 31st August/1st September 1914 when the Germans launched an attack at 6 a.m. on September 1st, but the British withdrew and two days later crossed the River Marne on September 3rd 1914.
The records in the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva include prison camp registers that show Abraham Hawes, geboren (born) 14th December 1886, Norwich; heimat (homeland) Hull, was first imprisoned at Gefangenenlager Crefeld (Prison camp Crefeld). Since 1929 that city has been known as Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. On 23rd June 1915 Abraham Hawes was registered at Munster Camp II. On March 3rd 1916 he was attached to Munster Camp I and employed at Neuenkirchen on detachment. On 29th April 1916 he returned to Munster II. On 30th November 1917 he was moved to Kriegsgefangenenlager Chemnitz (Prisoner of War camp, Chemnitz), Franzosenlager, Chemnitz, Saxony. Chemnitz was known as Karl-Marx-Stadt from 1953 to 1990 in East Germany. At some point in 1918 Abraham was admitted to the Reservelazarett (Reserve Infirmary) at Borna in Saxony. On 19th May 1918 he died “as a result of pneumonia” (“infolge lungenentzundung gestorben”). Abraham Hawes was buried in Friedhof Borna (Borna Cemetery) [Leipzigstrasse 4, Borna, Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany]. His next-of-kin was Elizabeth Hawes of 2 Keldspring, Barmby Moor. [Pocklington].
Abraham qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
C. Bishop R.I.F. has not been positively identified but a German register of deaths recorded a Charles Bishop 2nd Infantry Regiment (sic) who died at Reservelazarett Borna on 9th May 1918. This was probably Charles Arthur Bishop, 42472, 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who had first gone to France in November 1915. He was single with his sole legatee his mother, Elizabeth and died on 9th May 1918.
The Prisoner records for Abraham (in German) are arranged phonetically and can be accessed online by searching under the name Haw for his named index card and then searching each PA number from the card at:
For a picture, see also:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Pete
Date: Friday 3rd June 2016 at 9:16 PM

Hello Alan, I want to thank you for the wonderful report into Abraham Hawes' military record. It amazes me as to how quickly you are able to come up with such detailed information. As I mentioned in my letter, my nephew brought a parcel of documents, and I have now found another piece of paper, which I am interested in, and would like your help.

It gives details of James Fox No 134I who enlisted in October 1870 at Sheffield, where he had been born in 1849. At some time he deserted. On Find my Past there are 4 pages related to him, but I wondered if you would be able to give me in more detail where he actually served and in what unit.
With many thanks
Kind regards

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 4th June 2016 at 8:03 PM

Dear Pete, retain the copyright of documents they have digitized and so records from their site cannot be transcribed on the internet, including this forum.
However, some background information will help illustrate James Fox’s service and to interpret his service records that you already have. The 1st Battalion 14th Regiment of Foot was associated with Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire until 1881 when it became known as the West Yorkshire Regiment and established a depot at the Barracks on Fulford Road in York. It was part of the 10th Brigade which had a Depot at Bradford that supplied recruits within the Northern Military District, whose District HQ was based at York. James Fox served in Great Britain for 45 days before being sent to India from November 1870 to February 1875. The 1st Battalion 14th Regiment’s service in India saw detachments serving seasonally in various places including Allahabad (1871) and a battalion headquarters at Cawnpore. Their role was to police the empire and they were not engaged in any war during James’s time. On his return to England on 25th February 1875 he served in Great Britain. The 1st Battalion 14th Regiment remained in India until 1879/80, so James would have served in the 2nd Battalion once he was back in the U.K.. The 2nd Battalion 14th Regiment served in the 3rd Infantry Brigade and was at Aldershot when James returned from India in February 1875. In June 1875 the 2nd Battalion moved to Devonport, Plymouth. The 2nd Battalion was warned in June 1876 it would be moved to Ireland in July (“Hampshire County Advertiser” June 14th 1876 © British Library Board via British Newspaper Archive). That news might have prompted James to desert in June. With James absent, the battalion’s move to Belfast actually took place on 12th November 1876 sailing from Devonport to Belfast. In May/June 1877 the 2nd Battalion moved from Belfast to the Curragh Camp, Ireland. In 1878, the 2nd Battalion sailed for India arriving at Bombay about 8th November 1878 to proceed to Lucknow (Second Afghan War).
James was later detained in October 1879 and was imprisoned until 22nd February 1880. He then served one year and four months in Great Britain which would have been with the 1st Battalion 14th Regiment which by then was back in England and garrisoned at Parkhurst, Isle of Wight, in 1880. They moved to Portland, Weymouth, in February 1881. James transferred to the Army Reserve on 25th August 1881. Reservists maintained their commitment to be re-called in an emergency and received three shillings and sixpence a week Reservists’ pay in addition to any civilian earnings.
The Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882 saw Reservists called-up in the U.K. in August 1882 but after four days of being recalled to the West Yorkshire Regiment, James Fox volunteered for the Commissariat and Transport Corps (C.T.C.) and served on active service in Egypt with them from August to December 1882. They were the fore-runners of the Royal Logistics Corps.
The Anglo-Egyptian conflict of 1882 was caused after the Egyptian Army had mutinied as a result of not being paid, while Arabs attacked the Europeans in anti-Christian raids at Alexandria. Britain and France sent warships in May 1882 to demand law and order because they were reliant on the Suez Canal. France withdrew and then the Royal Navy bombarded Alexandria, destroying much of the city. In August, a British force of over 40,000 men commanded by Garnet Wolseley invaded the Suez Canal Zone and cleared the country of rebels. British troops then occupied Egypt until the Anglo–Egyptian Treaties of 1922 and 1936.
The original medal roll for the Egypt Medal 1882 ( listed Private J. Fox, 97, No. 1 Company Commissariat and Transport Corps as qualifying for the 1882 medal without the clasp for Tel-el-Kebir, which is contrary to the note in his service record. No 1 Company C.T.C. served in Egypt in the Second Division under Lt Gen Sir Edward Hamley. James returned to England and went back to the Army Reserve in December 1882 until February 1887. James volunteered to extend his Reserve commitment in the D Section Army Reserve for four years with the reserve of the Commissariat and Transport Corps between March 1887 and 1891, thus continuing to receive the three shillings and sixpence a week.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Pete
Date: Monday 6th June 2016 at 7:21 PM

Thank you Alan for the great insight into James' life in the service. It has given me a lot to think about and I shall look up this information you have given me - (“Hampshire County Advertiser” June 14th 1876 © British Library Board via British Newspaper Archive).

I shall be sending off a donation to our local British Legion, to show my thanks for all this hard work done for me.
Many thanks again, it is much appreciated.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 6th June 2016 at 8:12 PM

Dear Pete,
Thank you for making a donation to your local Royal British Legion.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Julie Bell {Email left}
Location: Bradford
Date: Monday 30th May 2016 at 6:00 PM
I forgot to mention - Joseph Bell lived in George Street, Saltaire; Shipley West Yorkshire in 1911 - he + wife Emily ( Picker ) might HV lived there at time of ' Enlistment ' in 1914 but in 1918 he + wife Emily ( Picker )might hv lived at Herbert Street - he migty Hv might lived there at time of ' Enlistment ' in 1914
Joseph married Emily in 1911
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 30th May 2016 at 8:27 PM

Dear Julie,
Unfortunately, very few military records have survived that provide biographical information and so it is not possible to identify a serviceman’s records from his name only. There is no obvious surviving individual army service record for a Joseph Bell from Saltaire, but most of those types of records were destroyed in 1940 during the London Blitz so the survival rate is very low. To identify any other surviving records it is necessary to know in which service (Army; Navy; RAF) he had enlisted and his regimental number, as the services recorded details by surname, rank and number within a regiment.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Julie Bell {Email left}
Location: Bradford
Date: Monday 30th May 2016 at 5:45 PM
I need help looking for Record of Joseph Bell born 10 December 1887 from Saltaire, Shipley, West Yorkshire; England - husband of Emily Picker. Joseph + Emily married in 1911
According to ' Saltaire Village Roll Of Honour ' - Joseph served + survived World War One - no mention of Rank, Unit etc
I tried ' Find My Past ' typed in Year of Birth, Birth Place, Death Date etc - but I had to pay monthly subscription in order to access the Records of First World War, Military etc - I could not find him
Also on ' Ancestry ' there is a Subscription to pay as well
I'm unemployed with not a lot of money

Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Thursday 26th May 2016 at 6:43 PM
Alan,firstly just to let you know that in recognition of all the help you have provided with our research the committee of Rainhill Civic Society have agreed that a donation be made to the local branch of the British Legion.,
Secondly we have recently carried out research for a lady in Slovenia who was trying to find out where her grandfather was buried(he served in the Yugoslavian navy in WW2 and somehow ended up in a hospital in Rainhill. I am pleased to say we found that he is buried with a CWGC Headstone in St.Helens Cemetary and have informed of this and sent photos.

Here's the question the records at the Cemetary Office record that he is in a "Free Servicemans Grave"
Do you know what this means ? Strangely his next of kin where not informed of his death but a 'friend' who lived in Cardiff,we are assuming his friend applied for a CWGC Headstone but if he didn't how would the CWGC come to provide one ? Sorry that's two questions !!!
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 26th May 2016 at 11:52 PM

Dear Brian,
Please pass on my thanks to Rainhill Civic Society for agreeing to make a donation to their local branch of the Royal British Legion. It is a pleasure to help with your commemorative project.
It is rewarding that your members have been able to help respondents from Slovenia. See:
Public cemeteries, such as St Helens Cemetery, were operated by committees or burial boards that wee empowered to employ a cemetery registrar and a clerk whose salaries were paid by the ratepayers. There was public outcry during the First World War when it emerged that many soldiers who died away from home in Britain were frequently buried anonymously by the local council in pauper’s graves that usually contained more than one burial (Birkenhead in 1916, for example). Subsequently, burial boards became sensitive to the need to respect the burial of the dead who had served their country in wartime and consequently many burial boards passed a resolution to waive the fees for providing individual graves for deceased servicemen when necessary because the serviceman or woman had no relatives or estate. The provision of a free grave did not necessarily include the cost of a headstone.
The death of Petty Officer Aleksandar [Nikola] Ninčić, Royal Yugoslavian Navy, 3739/39, is not recorded in the CWGC Debt of Honour, even though the Debt of Honour extended to 1946.
His headstone is among 12 war graves dating from the Second World War in section 50 of St Helens Cemetery, Lancashire. However, by visual comparison with the other headstones, his grave marker is very plain and has a straight edge along the top, not accurately in the CWGC standard design. Is it possibly a later addition; perhaps made to look similar to a CWGC headstone? For images to compare the 12 headstones follow the links at:
Petty Officer (gunner) Ninčić appears to have volunteered in the Royal Yugoslavian Navy (Jugoslavenska kraljevska ratna mornarica; or J.K.R.M.) from 1941 at the age of about 18. He was serving on the Navy Torpedo Boat “Durmitor” (Kraljeva torpiljarka "Durmitor") when she and another torpedo boat evaded the German invasion of Yugoslavia on 6th April 1941. “Durmitor”, named after a mountain, continued serving with the Allies under the command of the British Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet, escorting convoys to Alexandria, Egypt. Petty Officer Ninčić was severely wounded in the chest on 21st July 1943 and was treated in hospital at Alexandria, Egypt, before being transferred to the British Royal Navy Hospital Bighi (R.N.H. Bighi) at Kalkara on the island of Malta. After the war, in 1945, doctors at Malta decided it would not be sensible for him to be returned to Yugoslavia, and Petty Officer Ninčić was sent to England where he arrived at Southport. His chest injury led to Tuberculosis and he was admitted to the Auxiliary Hospital at Rainhill on 1st September 1946. He died on 2nd October 1946 from T.B. and an infected left lung, five days before his 23rd birthday.
Notice of his death was sent to Mr L.R. Evans, 43 Bedford Street, Roath, Cardiff. Telegrams were sent to General Radovic, the Yugoslav naval, military and air attaché, at Queensgate, London SWI, and to a Mr Hristich, of the Yugoslav Navy Committee, 12 Lennox Gardens, London SWI. The Medical Officer of the Royal Navy Auxiliary Hospital at Seaforth, Liverpool, was also informed as was the Royal Navy Medical Director General at Plymouth.
(Source:; in the public domain)
It is possible the hospital at Rainhill did not have an address for the next-of-kin or relatives of Petty Officer Ninčić and only had an address of Mr Evans, perhaps from correspondence if he had been a friend during convalescence. The other people who were notified of his death were all officials in England.
Yugoslavian partisans had expelled the Germans from Yugoslavia in 1945. The partisans were opposed to the pre-war government and the king in exile, so Josip Broz Tito held control as a prime minister desiring a communist state. With the support of London and Moscow, Yugoslavia became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia when a communist government was established on 31st January 1946.
Following the communist take-over, those Yugoslavians who had remained loyal to the Royal Yugoslav forces of King Peter II, serving with the Allies, were not widely commemorated by their newly communist homeland, nor did the British Government go to any great lengths to permanently record their contribution to the Allied war effort.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Friday 27th May 2016 at 7:20 AM

Alan thank you so much for your extremely comprehensive reply. We will of course pass this information on to Al'eksandars granddaughter Ivana,who I'm sure will be thrilled to learn what happened to him and the circumstances of his death.
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 7:46 PM

Alan, you will be pleased to know that Ivana will be visiting St.Helens in February next year where she will of course attend her Grandfathers grave. Myself and other members of Rainhill Civic Society will be meeting her.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 7:51 PM

It's good to know Ivana will be able to visit her grandfather's grave. A fitting end to the story.
Reply from: Ivana Mihailovic
Date: Friday 9th December 2016 at 8:18 AM

Dear friends, thank you for helping me. I am looking forward to meet you too and express all my gratitude in personal. Just to make some correction, I am not from Slovenia but Serbia, Belgrade. These days I am on my way to demand legal admition for my grandfather and other that were with him in April war. I wrote to our Royal familiy for help but without any answer?! Thats why I regret all young man like Aleksandar, seems he/they did not exist for any goverment. Sadly! People like you give me hope that freedom is not worthless neither any ones life. Once again, thank you!!!
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Friday 9th December 2016 at 7:42 PM

Dear Ivana, We are also looking forward to your visit which will of course be a very personal and emotional one for you. We are sorry you have not had a reply from your Royal Family but at least you know that here in Great Britain he and his comrades ARE RECOGNISED for all they did to help our country and yours during the war. Your Grandfather will of course be forever remembered by his headstone in St.Helens Cemetery which will always remain there.

Best wishes

Brian Renshall

Rainhill Civic Society.
Posted by: Kez {Email left}
Location: Australia
Date: Thursday 26th May 2016 at 3:08 AM
Afternoon Alan,
Could you advise me please. I know it's not WW1 but my knowledge of England's history is a bit vague being an Australian.
Would you be able to'point me in the right direction ' please. I have come across an ancestor Jane Burns who was born at Kurrachee, Bombay India 1858. Father Alexander Burns mother Mary.
Was the English army or navy in that area at the time? which would mean her father was in either?
I would surmise between 1853-1859 as another daughter was born back in Scotland 1859.
Sorry for my ignorance on English history!
Cheers Kez
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 26th May 2016 at 6:42 PM

Dear Kez,
From December 1600 British merchants traded in India through the East India Company which dealt in tea, cotton, silk, spices and opium. The East India Company employed its own soldiers and eventually the Company controlled most of India through agreements with local princes, purchase or, if necessary, by force. The Company divided India into three Presidencies: Madras, Bombay and Bengal. Each presidency had its own army of native troops (sepoys), with Bengal being the largest and most influential. The Company eventually employed 300,000 Indian soldiers and 50,000 British soldiers, who were known as “European” soldiers.
From 1773 the British Government ruled that the Company’s acquisition of power was on behalf of the British Crown. From 1784 political issues in India were placed in the hands of the British government while the Company continued to have a monopoly on trade. By the end of the 1790s the Company’s influence extended over most of India; neighbouring Burma; Malaya; Singapore and Hong Kong.
The Company raised capital to purchase China tea by selling Indian opium to China, which led to the First Opium War with China in 1839-42.
Over time, the British Government imposed tighter controls on the Company and undertook a greater influence in the territorial management of the Indian sub-continent creating a Board of Control; a Governor General and even granting Christian missionaries the right to preach in India.
Eventually, there was disquiet among local troops with the Company’s policies and, in 1857, there was a mutiny among sepoys of the Company’s armies which began the Indian Rebellion against Company rule.
The following year, the British Government dissolved the East India Company and control of India passed to the British Crown under Queen Victoria from 1858. Consequently, control of the East India Company’s armies in the three presidencies passed to the British Crown in 1858 and in 1903 the three Company armies merged to become the Indian Army, composed of native soldiers. The Indian Army was supplemented by white troops from Britain, known as The British Army in India with a headquarters at Delhi. All were under the control of Britain. Queen Victoria later became Empress of India.
From 1947, India gained independence when the British Government partitioned British India into two independent dominions: India, mainly Hindu; and Pakistan, mainly Muslim.
So, soldiers from Britain had been in India since the 1600s serving with the East India Company, and from 1858 the British Army garrisoned troops throughout India. One of their main tasks was controlling the North West Frontier (of India) against incursions from Afghanistan and the expansion of the Russian Empire. The main access route was the Khyber Pass.
A Jane Burns was born on 17th February 1858 at Karachee (Karachi). Karachee was the capital of Lower Sindh, which is now in Pakistan. Jane Burns was baptised on 26th February 1858, the daughter of Mary and Alexander Burns. The baptism was probably at Holy Trinity Church, Karachee, built by army engineers in 1855. Alexander Burns was a private in the 1st Bombay (European) Fusiliers. The Regiment had been raised by King Charles II of England in 1662 to protect Bombay and a few years later it came under the control of the East India Company. The Regiment fought during the Indian Rebellion (1857-59) and came under Crown control in 1858. In 1862, as part of the British Army, the Regiment was given a Royal prefix and was numbered the 103rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Bombay Fusiliers). In 1871 the 103rd Regiment moved to England. In 1876 it was sent to Ireland until 1881 when it returned to England and was merged with the 102nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Madras Fusiliers), to form The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Kez
Date: Thursday 26th May 2016 at 10:52 PM

Morning Alan,
many thanks for that information! It is wonderful. with appreciation as usual! Kez
Posted by: David Hirst {No contact email}
Location: Salisbury
Date: Wednesday 25th May 2016 at 1:37 PM
Good afternoon Alan. I am trying to find out has much has can about my great grandfather who was in WW1 and got injured. I know his number KW/188. He served in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry for a short period and that is what i am trying to find out, his number was 12691 i am interested to see why he only served there for 6 days before joining the R.N.V.R. Also is there any chance of getting hold of the medals he was awarded? I do have alot of info already to be honest but any more information about him will be much appreciated.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 25th May 2016 at 1:54 PM

What was his name?
Reply from: David Hirst
Date: Tuesday 31st May 2016 at 10:15 AM

Thanks for the reply. His name was James Pyrah and he lived in Bradford.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 31st May 2016 at 1:32 PM

Dear David,
James Pyrah enlisted in the K.O.Y.L.I. on 2nd September 1914 and transferred to the Royal Naval Division on 8th September 1914. It is likely he was a volunteer for the Royal Naval Division, or he was surplus to the K.O.Y.L.I.’s requirements at the time. The records of the Royal Naval Division are available on the Findmypast subscription website. For copyright reasons they cannot be transcribed on this forum.
James Pyrah qualified for the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He was awarded the Military Medal on 21st September 1918. These medals belonged to the man himself and it is not possible to re-issue them. They might be in private hands or might have been sold.
With kind regards,
Reply from: David Hirst
Date: Wednesday 1st June 2016 at 7:35 AM

Dear Alan

Thanks for the info.


Posted by: Carol Cheetham {Email left}
Location: Bradford
Date: Tuesday 24th May 2016 at 8:56 PM
I wonder if you would be able to shed some light on something I've found whilst researching my grandfather? I only recently discovered that my grandfather, James Henry Cheetham, fought and died in WW1. I know very little about him other than what I have found online and have no picture of him, so I'm trying to find out as much as I can.

He was in the York and Lancaster Regiment, 13th Service Battalion (1st Barnsley Pals) service number 13/174. I have found his medal record card, CWGC records etc and know that he died, "killed in action" on 11.5.1917. He was buried, presumably close to where he died and then exhumed and re-buried at Orchard Dump Cemetery.

There doesn't seem to be a mention of his death in the Battalion diary for that date. I know that "other ranks" aren't mentioned by name, only officers. But it usually lists how many "other ranks" were wounded or killed? However it does mention that a Captain C.H.Robin was killed by a shell on 11/5/1917. However he is buried in a different cemetery to my grandfather, even though they were both apparently killed on the same date whilst serving in the same Battalion? Why would their bodies not have been sent to the same cemetery? Or would it depend on whereabouts exactly they were when they were killed?

I can't help wondering if my grandfather died out in no-man's land and his body lay there until it could be recovered? Is there any way I can check where/how he actually died? I would be grateful for any help in getting a bit more information. Thank you.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 25th May 2016 at 1:54 PM

Dear Carol,
It is not possible to state how a man died unless there is a first-hand record of events, such as a letter to the family or an obituary. On May 11th 1917, the Barnsley Pals were in trenches at Oppy and were occupied in night raids and experiencing heavy shelling and gun-fire by the enemy.
The war diary of the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment is vague about the night patrols of the 10th, 11th, and 12th May 1917 which were described as “bombing raids by “D” Company 2/Lt J S Siddell in charge.” The diary does not enumerate the casualties among other ranks that occurred on those dates, so it is not possible to state whether the deaths were caused by enemy shelling of the British positions or were among soldiers going out on raids. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” (HMSO 1921) and the CWGC Debt of Honour both record eight deaths of other ranks of the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment that occurred on 11th May 1917; one of which was “died of wounds”, while the others were “killed in action”. It seems probable therefore that seven men’s names could not be answered at roll call on the morning of 11th May 1917, after the previous night’s bombing raid by the Battalion on the night of 10th/11th May. Had a man died on the night of 10th/11th May his date of death would have been recorded as 11th May when roll call was taken in the morning. A bombing raid was an attack with hand-grenades on enemy trenches. Grenades were known as “bombs” at the time. Of the seven men from the 13th Battalion killed in action on 11th May; four have no marked grave; two are buried at Orchard Dump and one (along with Captain Robin) at Albuera Cemetery which is one kilometre away in the neighbouring commune of Bailleul sir Berthoult, Pas de Calais, France.
Captain Robin appears to have been killed by the artillery shelling of the 13th Battalion’s trenches on May 11th. The other soldiers could have been killed by artillery shelling but it seems likely the other men died while out in No Man’s Land where the bodies of privates Cheetham, Grundy and Mellor were later recovered while those of four others (Cunliffe; Mullins; Samson; Holdsworth) were never identified. The men could have been buried in separate cemeteries if their bodies had been discovered on separate occasions. There is an article about trench raids at:
2/Lt J.L. Siddell, from Sheffield, was later awarded the Military Cross.
The play, “Journey’s End” by R.C. Sherriff (1928) concerns the lives of British officers in a dug-out and the promise of a Military Cross to a young officer once he has led a group of soldiers on a trench raid.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Carol Cheetham
Date: Wednesday 25th May 2016 at 8:50 PM

Hi Alan.
Thank you so much for your prompt and informative reply. Although I had the basic facts, somehow you have managed to fill them out into a detailed and compelling narrative. Owing to my father and grandmother dying while I was quite young, I never had the opportunity to ask about family history and any documentation that may have pertained to my grandfather is long gone.

I had noticed too that the battalion diary is vague on the dates in question, it looks as though the rough facts were filled in after the event. I can only imagine that the conditions were so awful at the time, with the trenches being under constant bombardment, that it was not possible to complete the diary in any great detail.

I am grateful that my grandfather was found and was buried and has a named grave. I am visiting his grave this summer and knowing the conditions in which he probably died have made me even more proud that I am able to honour his memory.

Thank you again for your help. Your website is a fantastic resource and your knowledge is amazing.I'm so glad I found it.
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Thursday 19th May 2016 at 3:49 PM
Hello Alan,
I am trying to find information about the following soldier who served in the Devonshire Regiment. His name was Harold Arthur Reynolds, b. December 1890 and service no 20636. I have only been able to trace his medal record card which seems to indicate he did not go overseas until at least 1915, but I have been unable to trace anything else. Another who's records were destroyed in the "blitz" of the Second World War ?.
Anything you can tell me will be a great help.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 19th May 2016 at 9:23 PM

Dear David,
There is no surviving individual service record for Harold Arthur Reynolds. He appears to be the son of Mary Elizabeth Reynolds, born at Totnes on 7th December 1890. He appeared in the 1891 census as a five month old boarder, Harry Arthur Reynolds, at the home of a 58 year old spinster, Hannah Poole, of Moorashes, Totnes. A Mary Elizabeth Reynolds was a single house-servant at a farm in Widecombe in 1891. In the 1901 census he appeared as Harry Arthur Renolds (sic) aged 10, the step-son of Harry Bray, Newpark Cottage, Widecombe. Harry Bray had married Elizabeth Mary Reynolds in 1894. In 1911, Harold was living with his mother and step-father at Lower Dunston, Widecombe, where he was a horseman on a farm.
Harold appears to have married Florence [Florrie] L[ouisa] Hewings in the July-September quarter of 1916 (GRO Marriages, Q3 1896, Newton Abbot, Volume 5B Page 238).
An Army medal roll (C/2/103B18 page 1346) recorded Private Harold Reynolds, 20636, served in the 10th Battalion Devonshire Regiment to qualify for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star, he did not go abroad until some date after January 1st 1916. He married in the summer of 1916, so it is probable he went abroad after he had married. The 10th Battalion Devonshire Regiment was in Macedonia (Salonika, Greece) from November 1915 having gone to France in September 1915. Therefore, Harold must have been part of a draft of reinforcements sent in 1916 or later. The 10th Battalion Devonshire Regiment served in the 79th Infantry Brigade in the 26th Division. See:
Harold was demobilized on 2nd March 1919.
The war diary of the 10th Battalion Devonshire Regiment has not been digitized yet.
With kind regards,

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