The World War Forum (Page 270)

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Posted by: Lou {Email left}
Location: Blackpool
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 12:58 AM
Hi, I am trying to find out more information on my great great uncle second lieutenant Isaac Sowerby of the 6th Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment who died age 34 on 03 September 1917, he was the Son of Thomas and the late Mary Jane Sowerby, of Penrith; husband of Lilian Mary Sowerby, of 6, Union Terrace, Penrith, Cumberland. He is buried at Ypres reservoir cemetery in Belgium and is listed on the war memorial in St Andrew's Church in Penrith. I would be very grateful to know more about his role in the first world war and the events leafing to his death. Thank you. Lou
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 7:54 PM

Dear Lou,
The information you require for a detailed record of the service of Isaac Sowerby is held at The National Archives at Kew in London. The CWGC Debt of Honour recorded he was with the 6th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he died. It gave his date of death as 3rd September 1917. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded that he died on September 4th 1917 while with the 6th Battalion. A Medal Rolls index card available on the Ancestry website (charges apply) recorded his date of death as September 4th 1917. The medal card also showed the date he entered France which was 10th March 1917.
You need to see his service record and the Battalion war diary to provide evidence that he served with that battalion throughout his time in France. The war diary is held at the National Archives in Catalogue reference WO 95/2755 "1/6 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment 48 Division
Date: 1915 1917". There is one service record for a 2Lt I Sowerby, which may be his, in the index of Catalogue series WO 374 "War Office: Officers' Services, First World War, personal files (alphabetical)".
At the time of his death (3rd or 4th September) the 1st/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment was in Belgium with the 143rd Infantry Brigade. The Brigade had fought in the Third Battle of Ypres and had been engaged the Battle of Langemarck on August 16th and at St Julien, near Ypres, on August 27th 1917. It is possible Isaac had been wounded and died in hospital afterwards. The Brigade was out of the front line, staying at St Jan ter Biezen near Poperinghe on September 3rd and 4th.
See:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-person/default.htm
Kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Mandy {Email left}
Location: Bracknell
Date: Friday 29th October 2010 at 4:08 PM
Hi, I wondered if anybody knows anything about the Colchester War Memorial. I am trying to find my Great Grandfather and I believe his name may be on the War Memorial. His name was Ernest Mann but went by the name "Harry" and there is a Harry Mann on the Memorial. The only thing is that I cannot find any record of a Harry Mann from Colchester anywhere. I have a feeling he died fighting for this country as I cannot find any death certificate for him as he died before 1918, that is when his wife remarried a soldier. Please help!
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 4:20 PM

Dear Mandy,
War memorials are not the best place to start searching as they rarely identify a person. The names of the people commemorated at Colchester town memorial are in a roll of honour kept at the town hall as, I understand, the memorial itself has no names on it.
Death certificates for soldiers and sailors who died in the First World War are indexed in the GRO Naval war deaths and Army Other Ranks and Army Officers war deaths 1914-1921. These wartime certificates rarely give much detail. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a Debt of Honour which records all deaths at least by initial and surname. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) lists Army deaths and generally records a parish of birth and a place of enlistment and residence at the time of enlistment. By searching and cross-referencing these three sources it can be possible to identify a likely candidate for an anonymous "Harry Mann".
Unfortunately the search did not reveal an obvious candidate, but it did throw up some anomalies.

Genealogical proof of evidence requires access to the birth and marriage certificates which I don't have. A search of the GRO marriage index for the 1918 marriage of a female Mann showed a Lizzie Mann married Ernest Cannon (GRO Marriages Q2 1918 Tendring vol 4a page 1296). The spouse's surname was indexed as Hamm. A search of the pre-war census for a Lizzie Mann married to an Ernest Mann returned a "Lizel"[Lizzie] Mann and Ernest Mann living at Magdalen Street, Colchester with a 10 month old daughter Phillis Mann and two visitors: Cyril Albert Bear and Arthur Bear, both children. This Ernest Mann was a farm labourer, aged 26, born at Thorpe, Essex. He signed the household schedule as "E. Mann".
This Ernest Mann was probably born in 1885 (GRO Births Q2 1885 Tendring vol 4a page 439). In earlier censuses he was shown as being born at Thorpe-le-Soken. If this is the same person he was the son of James and Mary Ann Mann who had ten or more children all born at Kirby-le-Soken; Thorpe-le-Soken or Little Holland.
The child visitor, Cyril Bear, appears to be Cyril Albert B Beere (GRO Births Q4 1899 Tendring, vol 4a page 678). In 1901 this child was recorded as the grandson of William and Eliza Bere of Mill Street, St Osyth. William and Eliza had four daughters: Clara, Eliza, Ada and Lilly. Eliza was probably born Eliza Beer (GRO Births Q3 1878 Tendring vol 4a page 337). An Eliza Beere married at Tendring in 1904 and the same page index showed a Harry Mann (GRO Marriages Q3 1904 Tendring vol 4a page 1231). This marriage would appear to match the pre-war census entry for Ernest Mann and Lizzie Mann who had been married seven years.
However, there is another pre-war census entry which could also match. A Harry Mann and Eliza Mann who had been married six years were living at Maidenburgh Street Colchester.

If the evidence for Ernest Mann using the name Harry is based on the 1904 marriage it would be necessary to have sight of both the marriage certificates to prove which Harry had married which Eliza. In the pre-war census Ernest Mann had called himself Ernest Mann and had signed the form E. Mann. What was apparently his birth registration was in the single name of Ernest.

Without seeing the GRO certificates it is not possible to say with certainty that the above information is correct. While it replicates a possible trail it does not provide substantive evidence and it does highlight the conflict between two census entries which could relate to the one marriage entry.

Let's return to the war deaths. The GRO Naval war deaths index showed only one Ernest Mann who was a gunner in the Royal Marine Artillery, the son of Frederick and Elizabeth Mann, of 42, Winter Rd., Southsea, Portsmouth. There was no Harry Mann. The GRO Army (other ranks) war deaths index showed three soldiers named Ernest Mann (with no additional forename). Comparing these deaths with "Soldiers Died in the Great War" two of these men were from Derbyshire and Devonshire. The third enlisted at Leeds and the CWGC showed he was the son of James and Eliza Mann of Harewood, Leeds. This family appear at Harewood in the 1901 census. There was no Ernest Mann in the officers' index. All the Ernest Mann's (with no middle name) were accounted for.

The GRO Army (other ranks) war dead index listed seven men named Harry Mann (with no middle name). Comparing these seven men with "Soldiers Died in the Great War" and the CWGC revealed none of them came from Essex. There was no Harry Mann in the officers' index.
There were some miss-matches in the search for Harry Mann. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" recorded three more Harry Manns who died in the UK. One lived at Hawkhurst and enlisted at Maidstone. He died 30 November 1916 and remains otherwise unidentified. A second man called Harry Mann died on 9 July 1916 and he was identified as the husband of H. Mann, of 16, Baker's Rd., St. Augustines, Norwich. A third man was Harry Mann of the Labour Corps, born in Leeds and enlisted at Leeds who died in the UK on 27th October 1918.
Another miss-match was a Henry Mann listed in the Army war deaths index but described as Harry Mann in "Soldiers Died in the Great War" and listed as Harry Mann on the CWGC Debt of Honour. He was the husband of Agnes Mann, of 59, Shearbridge Terrace, Great Horton Rd., Bradford, Yorks.
One final possibility for the Harry Mann on the Colchester War Memorial was listed by the CWGC as H Mann who died in May 1917. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" listed this man as Henry Mann, born at Colchester but living and enlisted at Woolwich. Harry is a diminutive of Henry.

Two men who could be brothers of Ernest Mann of Thorpe-le-Soken died in the First World War. A William Mann, born Kirby Cross, died 24 October 1917. He was the husband of Rosetta Mann of Harrow, London. A Charles Mann, born Thorpe-le-Soken died on July 1st 1916. He had enlisted at Hull.

The conclusion is that the Harry Mann on the Colchester war memorial cannot be positively identified yet. There is also an unresolved conflict between the identity of the Harry Mann with the wife Eliza and the Ernest Mann with the wife Lizzie. While the search cannot be considered exhaustive, it has failed to establish the death of Ernest Mann aka Harry Mann during the First World War. Two men who may have been his brothers demonstrated mobility to Harrow and Hull before the First World War and it may be that Ernest Mann himself moved away.

The local newspapers of the time may have reported on his death. He may also have been registered in the Absent Voters' List for the Colchester area which may or may not have survived. The absent voters' list recorded a man's regiment and number. Both sources would require physical searching, possibly at the Colchester local studies library. See
http://www.essexcc.gov.uk/vip8/ecc/ECCWebsite/dis/guc.jsp?channelOid=13813&guideOid=140366&guideContentOid=140865
where there is an e-mail link to the library so you can ask what resources they hold.

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Mandy
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 4:57 PM

Hi Alan

Thanks for the lengthy reply! I thank you very much for your effort, it is much appreciated. I cant believe you found out all that information.

You are right, Lizzie Mann married Ernest Cannon in 1918 in Colchester stating that she was a widow. Her marriage to Harry Mann in 1904 stated that he was Harry but in fact his name was Ernest. Lizzie's (actually her name was Eliza) maiden name was Beere so where are you getting the surname Hamm from?

It get a bit confusing with the Ernest and Harry names. But everybody called him Harry. So I dont know if he enlisted under Harry or Ernest Mann.

I have all the GRO Certificates. I have Ernest's (Harry's, birth and marriage).I also have Eliza's birth, marriages and death certificates. I cant understand if he didnt die in the war, why I cannot find a death for him at all. Lizzie married Ernest Cannon, who is in fact a soldier. I thought he may have been in the same regiment as Harry. Yes, his parents were called James and Mary Ann Mann.

Incidentally, would you be able to find anything out about Ernest Cannon. According to the family, he was a Major in the Army, but I cannot find any record for him. My Grandmother was called Phyllis Mann and she was the 10 month old baby in the 1911 census. When her Mum died in 1923, she was thrown out and put into a workhouse at the age of 13. She hated the "Major" and would never speak about him. She died in 1968 and I am only going on what the family say. I cannot even find out where Ernest Cannon was born. All I know from the marriage certificate was that his Father was called Tom Cannon and was a Builder and he was a bachelor when he married Eliza.

I will try to get hold of Colchester Library to see what records they hold.

Look forward to any reply you may have on Ernest Cannon.

Thanks again.
Mandy
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 9:06 PM

Dear Mandy,
I searched for Ernest Cannon and couldn't find anything positive on him. If he were a major he should have appeared in the London Gazette (which you can search online). There was a William Ernest Cannon in the Bedfordshire Regiment but tracing him through the census showed he was the son of a George Cannon and he appeared to have married by 1911 (if he were the same man) so he wouldn't have been a bachelor. The reason I mentioned Mann was indexed as Hamm was to illustrate how the online indexes are not always accurate. It is a sad story that Phyllis was in a workhouse at the age of 13. I hope you get to the bottom of the mystery.
Kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Rachel {Email left}
Location: Weymouth
Date: Friday 29th October 2010 at 2:19 PM
Hello

I have just obtained my grandfathers service records from Ancestry. I see on looking at them that he was stated as having a category Bii disability. Is there any way I can find out what this is? I also see that he served in the 124th Labour Company, and I am not sure what sort of regiment this is. How can I find out more details? I will be grateful for any information, thank you

His name is William Robinson Sharman no. 74043 and 47487
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 29th October 2010 at 7:19 PM

Dear Rachel,
William Sharman's health improved while he was in the army. He signed that he did not have a disability when he left the army.
William volunteered to join the army under the Derby Scheme which was a final call for volunteers before the implementation of compulsory conscription. The scheme encouraged men to "volunteer now; serve later". The deadline was December 15th 1915 and William volunteered on December 12th 1915. He was attested (sworn in) at the depot of the Northamptonshire Regiment at Northampton on December 12th and immediately placed on the reserve to return to his civilian job as a postman. He may have been issued with an armband bearing a red crown to show he had volunteered and was waiting call-up. These volunteers were classed in groups depending on age, marital status and employment. In theory the single, younger men were called up first. William was nearly 40 and married so he would be called up later.
William was medically re-examined on June 9th 1916 at Northampton and was passed fit in medical category CII. Medical category AI indicated a man was ready to be sent overseas to fight. The various categories included CII (C2) where C stood for "free from serious diseases and able to stand service in garrisons at home". C2 indicated a man was able to walk for five miles and could see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes.
When he was called up on 26th February1917 William was initially allocated to the Royal West Kent Regiment but that entry was struck through and on February 28th he joined The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) in their 16th Labour Company with the regimental number 47487. Each regiment had labour companies to provide a workforce from the older and the less fit men. While training with The Queen's, William would have become fitter through military training and route marches. He went to France on March 11th 1917 from Folkestone to Boulogne with the 16th Labour Company of The Queen's, so his health must have improved since June 1916. When he left the army in 1919 he was classified BII (B2) where B stood for "free from serious organic diseases, able to stand service on lines of communication in France or garrisons in the tropics". B2 meant he was "able to walk for five miles and could see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes".
Lines of Communication (L of C) were all the roads, railways and waterways and the installations on them that led from the coast to the fighting front. Work on the L of C did not involve fighting, although the L of C had to be defended. Work on the L o C was exposed to the weather. Garrisons included barracks where men could, if necessary, be protected from the weather.
On May 14th 1917 William was transferred to the 124th Labour Company of the Labour Corps and got a new cap-badge and a new regimental number 74043 of the Labour Corps. The Labour Corps was created to provide all forms of labour for the war effort at home and in the field of operations. Men were employed on tasks ranging from unloading ships to farming. The Labour Corps employed men who had been wounded, were less fit or over-age. The Labour Corps also took over the labour companies of the infantry regiments, so it is likely the whole of William's Labour Company from The Queen's was transferred to the Labour Corps.
On June 6th 1917 William was admitted to hospital at 130 Field Ambulance. This placed him in the Ypres sector. He was treated there for six days for gastritis. He was with the Labour Corps by this date, although his Casualty Form was marked Royal West Surrey and stamped "Labour Corps".
On 18th July 1917 William was "attchd to DAD of S Corps HQ" which meant he was attached (on loan to) the Deputy Assistant Director of Signals at an Army Corps Headquarters. A month later a daughter was born and William's wife stated William was with the 2nd Platoon of the 124th Labour Company Labour Corps "now at Field Post Office, Headquarters 19 Corps".
This placed William with the headquarters of XIX Corps which included the 15th (Scottish) Division and the 55th (West Lancashire) Division which were, at the time, fighting in the Third Battle of Ypres which lasted from 31 July 1917 until 10 November 1917.
It is possible William was employed at headquarters in a similar role to his civilian job as a postal worker.
On 21st November 1917 William was transferred to the Headquarters of VIII Corps where he remained until 22 February 1918 when he rejoined the 124th Labour Company. He remained in France until March 1919. William was medically examined when he left the army and was classified as B2 with no claim for any disability caused by war. He returned to the UK and was transferred to the Z Class Reserve on 28th April 1919. The Z Reserve was for men who would be re-called if the Armistice didn't hold. Commitment to the Z Reserve was deemed to have ended on March 31st 1920.
William's military character was "good". He qualified for the Victory and the British War Medal.
For more on the Labour Corps, see:
http://www.labourcorps.co.uk/Pages/No%20Labour,%20No%20Battle.html
William's record showed he was vaccinated in childhood and in 1901. It is possible that his 1901 vaccination was for service in the Second Anglo-Boer Boer War (1899-1902). Online records of the Second Anglo-Boer War are not complete and often do not positively identify a soldier. It would be necessary to visit the National Archives. See:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/ifa_m11_south_african_war_1899_1902.pdf

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Rachel
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 3:31 PM

Dear Alan,

How very kind of you to reply so quickly and in such depth. I had tried googling to find out about the disability and the Labour Corps but I could only find limited information. I am amazed at the amount and detail you have discovered. It seems to tie in with what I know about him, and what I do know is family hearsay, as he had died before I was born. I had never heard of a disability, hence my interest and it seems from what you say, it was more age related than anything, and that he actually became fitter with all the training. I understand that in his civilian job as a postman he certainly walked a few miles a week! I had tried to understand what the service records meant but could only pick out some things. I saw the entry about gastritis and did notice the Bii and Cii, but the C was badly formed to my eyes, so I thought it could be a B. The rest of your email was so interesting and gives me more direction for my research. I wonder what happened to his war medals, I will have to ask around the family to see if they know anything.
Once again, thank you very much, I will be making a donation to the charity in thanks for your help very soon. It is a good time of the year to do so with remembrance Sunday coming up.

Rachel
Posted by: Patch {Email left}
Location: Aldershot
Date: Wednesday 27th October 2010 at 7:50 PM
Good evening,

I am desperately trying to track down some information about the actions of my Great-Grandfather and his Regiment in WW1. His name was Walter Hunter McNea and he was from Walton, Liverpool. He joined the 2/5 Bn Kings Liverpool Regiment in 1915 and then went to France in 1917. He spoke very little of his war time service on the Western Front and later at Archangel, Russia in 1919. Anecdotally, it is believed he took part in the 3rd Battle of Ypres and was shot in the hand.

If anyone out there is a 2/5 KLR buff or could add any meat to this incredible mans service I would be exceptionally grateful.

Sincere thanks, Patch.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 28th October 2010 at 6:34 PM

Dear Patch,
Walter McNea was attested on May 25th 1915 as private 3761 in The King's (Liverpool Regiment) at the age of 19 and eleven months (GRO Births Jul-Aug-Sept 1895 West Derby; Lancashire vol 8B Page 316). He was posted to the 2nd/5th Battalion which trained at Bourley, Aldershot and then Woking. It formed up in the 171st (2/1st Liverpool) Brigade in the 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. The Division moved to France in February 1917.
A service record for Walter McNea showed he served in France from February 13th 1917 until January 14th 1918.
The 2nd/5th Battalion KLR was a Territorial Force battalion and as such its men would have been re-numbered during the re-numbering of all TF soldiers in March 1917, a process designed to tidy up the allotment of regimental numbers. The numbers in the range 200001 to 240000 were allotted to the three battalions of the 5th King's Liverpool Regiment and Walter's new number was 201404 which is consistent with that allocation. The 2nd/5th Battalion's only major engagement at that time was the Second Battle of Passchendaele fought between 26th October and November 7th 1917. From about November 10th 1917 Walter McNea was away from his battalion for a week and rejoined his battalion on November 17th 1917. The paperwork is so water-damaged it is not easy to read and the entry could suggest a "course" at GHQ.
His record showed that on December 29th 1917 he was admitted to hospital in the 3/2 WLFA which was the West Lancashire Field Ambulance RAMC and the 2/3 WFA which was the Wessex Field Ambulance both of which served with the Division. On January 5th 1918 he was admitted to 2/2 ELFA (East Lancashire Field Ambulance) and then admitted to 55 Field Ambulance RAMC through 15 Casualty Clearing Station to 54 General Hospital which was at Wimereux on the French coast above Boulogne. He remained there for a week before being sent to the UK on 15th January 1918.
None of these entries indicated what he was being treated for. On the day he arrived in England, 15th January 1918, Walter was admitted to the Ardmillan Auxiliary Military Hospital at Oswestry. This was at a gentleman's country house which was on loan to the Red Cross. There is a history and photo of some patients at:
http://www.oswestry-history.co.uk/ardmillan.html
Walter's record showed he was treated at Ardmillan for two months for "I C T Feet" which stood for Inflamed Connective Tissue of the feet. This was a disability in the style of trench foot caused by standing for long periods in the wet and cold. In one extreme, trench foot could lead to gangrene or it could be cured over a three month period. An article published in Vol. XLI Number 5 of the Association of Military Surgeons in the USA in November 1917 distinguished between ICT and Trench Foot by the severity of pain; trench foot being the less tolerable: "I have already mentioned the diagnostic value of nocturnal pain and of intolerance of warmth. In addition, close examination will usually reveal the polished wrinkling of the skin caused by past swelling. A pink color over the tips of the toes and over the first metatarsophalangeal joint is suggestive. Lastly, blurred sensation and pain on pressure should be looked for."
On March 18th 1918 Walter was transferred to the Berrington War Hospital at Shrewsbury until 23rd March 1918. This three month period of treatment might indicate he had been treated for trench foot.
The Berrington War Hospital was located in a former workhouse at Cross Houses, Berrington and has since been converted into housing.
During his time in the UK his battalion, the 2nd/5th Bn KLR, was disbanded in France during the army reforms of February 1918. The 2nd/5th Battalion was broken up on February 1st 1918 and the men dispersed to other KLR battalions.
The next entry after 23rd March 1918 is for 21st June 1918 which showed Walter was posted to the 7th Reserve Battalion KLR at Oswestry. On 2nd August 1918 he was passed fit [for overseas service] and was posted to "D" Company in the 17th Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment on August 8th 1918 in the UK. On September 9th he was inoculated. That same day the 17th Battalion became part of a new formation called 236th Brigade which was destined for service in North Russia with the 6th Yorkshire Regiment; 11th Royal Sussex Regiment; 17th King's (Liverpool Regiment); Brigade Trench Mortar Battery and men of the Finnish Legion making up the 236th Brigade.
In October 1918 the Battalion moved from Aldershot to Glasgow from where it was to sail to Murmansk on 10th October 1918. The Battalion disembarked 23rd October 1918 and then started the move to Archangel which is about 400 miles from Murmansk by sea along the North Russian coast.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Russia, France and England were bound by the Triple Entente. The British maintained the ports of Murmansk and Archangel to allow the Navy to maintain the despatch of war materiel to the Russian allies. The alliance had been with the Tsar of Russia but after the Bolshevik Revolution when the Russians made peace with Germany the purpose of the two ports altered as the need to supply arms ceased. The Bolshevik peace allowed the Germans to free-up thousands of men to fight on the Western Front. However, Britain couldn't let go of the two ports as that would have allowed the Germans to plunder the arms and equipment as well as to use the ports as submarine bases. Another reason for maintaining Allied troops in the area was to try and release many thousands of Czech soldiers taken prisoner by the Russians when the Czechs had been forced to fight with Austria. The Czech prisoners were prepared to join the Allies if they could meet up. In August 1918 the Allies decided it was essential to send a force of British, American, French and Italian troops to North Russia to hold the two ports and to control an area about 100 miles inland in an attempt to reach out to the Czechs. Because of this Allied presence, the Germans had to stop sending troops from their Eastern Front to France.

When the Armistice was signed in November 1918 the Allies could have withdrawn from North Russia where they were supported by White Russians of the new North Russian Government. However, when winter had set in the ports became ice-bound, marooning the troops. To add to the Allies' problems of the winter, many of the Russians changed sides and went to join the Bolsheviks. Consequently the fighting between the Allies and the Bolsheviks continued. There were some 29,000 British and 13,000 Allies troops still fighting in North Russia in1918 and 1919. In February 1919 the British Government decided the force should withdraw but in effect had to rescue them by sending another force to help deal a final blow to the Bolsheviks and to pull everyone out by sea.
In February the seas were still frozen and the relief force did not arrive at the Subornaya Quay at Archangel until May 1919.
On 11th April 1919 Walter's record showed he "re-joined the battalion" but it is not possible to say where from. However, his battalion was in the Syren Force of the North Russian Expeditionary Force
And he had at an "unknown date" re-joined the HQ of the Vaga Column, so he may have been on attachment.
On 21st April 1919, Walter McNea was attached to the Billeting Officer Archangel, and remained in that post until May 1919 when he rejoined the HQ of the Vaga Column on a date entered as "unknown". This time-scale matches the arrival of the relief force part of which landed at Archangel on May 27th to be given the traditional Russian welcome of bread and salt. They were billeted in the Olga Barracks and on barges on the river.
On June 2nd the relief force moved in barges down the Dwina river to an advanced post near that river's junction with the Vaga and then on to Ust Vaga on the left bank of the Vaga river. Ust Vaga, a village with a blockhouse and wire defences, was the HQ of the Vaga Column. The forward area was about 14 versts (equal to 14 kilometres) from Ust Vaga and included the villages of Kara Beresnik, Nijni Kitsa, Koslovo and Seltso, most of which were on the right bank of the river. The forward area was within range of enemy artillery.
On June 24th with the relief force able to cover the withdrawal, Walter McNae was transferred to the UK. He sailed on the SS "Quilpue" [Pacific Steam Navigation Company].
Walter was demobilized on 4th or 5th July 1919 at Press Heath in the UK. The war diaries covering Walter's service are at the National Archives in WO 95/2983 "2/5 Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment. 2/5 Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment 57 Division Date: 1917 1918" and WO 95/ 5427 "236 Infantry Brigade: 17 Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment. Date: 1918 1919."
Walter's service record is available free at the National Archives or via the Ancestry website (charges apply). Your local library may offer free access to Ancestry.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Patch
Date: Thursday 28th October 2010 at 7:57 PM

Alan,

I do not know quite what to say. The facts are amazing; that you managed to enable this in such quick order, with such articulation and detail is brilliant. Thank you so much indeed. I will pass this around the family. You have done in one day what would take me months!

Yours thankfully

Patch Reehal
Aldershot
Posted by: Fred {No contact email}
Location: Liverpool
Date: Tuesday 26th October 2010 at 8:10 PM
Hi alan been on your site wonder if you can help me, im trying to find my husbands dad, he was a ww2 german pow and was in a camp in huyton. my husband was born in june 1951 so i think his dad would have left liverpool around about then. his dads name is ralph wyrich. my husbands mum is dead and her side of the family dont seem to know much, but i think they know more. we have two grown up kids and they want to know where there roots come from. alan i hope you can help put some light on this quest of mine for my husband and our kids. fred
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 27th October 2010 at 5:04 PM

Dear Fred,
The records that you are seeking will not be held in the public domain you will have to apply for them. Most agencies retain records securely for between 70 and 100 years and will release details to next of kin, often providing you can prove the person in question has died.
If Ralph Wyrich was at Huyton in Liverpool in the 1940s he may have been a civilian internee or he may have been a prisoner of war. He could even have been an American G.I. as all three groups were camped at Huyton. If he were a prisoner of war it would help to know which branch of the services he had served in.
To identify a particular individual you will need more than a name: perhaps his age, date of birth or marriage particulars. The name Ralph in German is often written Ralf or it may even be a diminutive of Radulf. The surname Wyrich does occur, as does Weyrich and Weirich.
The first agency to approach would be the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva who will conduct a search of POW records for 200 Swiss Francs. You can apply online at:
http://www.icrc.org/eng/contact-archives
The Museum of the British Red Cross may have some information about the camps at Huyton.
http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/Museum-and-archives/Resources-for-researchers
It is possible the Liverpool Museum may have some records of the camps.
http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/
If Ralph Wyrich served in the German Army his records may be held at WehrmachtsAuskunftSTelle für Kriegsverluste und Kriegsgefangene (Wehrmacht Information Office for War Losses and Prisoners Of War) which is at Eichborndamm 179, D-13403 Berlin. Their website is in English. You can apply online using the "private matters" link at:
http://www.dd-wast.de/frame_e.htm
A commercial service is available to purchase German birth, marriage and death certificates. See:
http://www.germany-service.com/

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Fred
Date: Wednesday 27th October 2010 at 8:38 PM

Hi alan thank you for your quick reply. another thought has come to me, there were ww2 german pows who married local girls and settled in huyton and liverpool. some of them might have known ralph wyrich or might have even been in the same pow camp. how would i go about finding such folk to see if they knew ralph and where ralph went to in 1951. thanks alan fred.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 27th October 2010 at 9:04 PM

Dear Fred,
You could write a letter to the local newspaper or approach the local radio station. They would probably publish an appeal for anyone to get in touch with you. See:
http://www.merseyworld.com/media/newspapers/
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Jo Howarth {Email left}
Location: Leeds
Date: Monday 25th October 2010 at 10:15 PM
I obtained the following details from Horace Crosthwaite's WW1 service record on Ancestry and I would be most grateful if you could give me any further details, as I can't be sure what it all means?
Horace Crosthwaite (Number: 188619)
Rank: GR with the RGA (Unit 488 SB)
It looks like his theatre of war was the East. It did give an enlistment date of 11.12.1915 but it looks like he wasn't called for action until 1917, what would be the reason for this?

Many thanks in anticipation for any light you can shed on this.

Best wishes
Jo
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 26th October 2010 at 5:55 PM

Dear Jo,
Horace Crosthwaite joined the army in 1915 under the "Derby Scheme" which was the final attempt by Lord Derby, the Director General of Recruitment, to boost the recruitment of volunteers before compulsory conscription was introduced early in 1916. In essence it was a "volunteer now; join-up later" offer. The last day was December 15th 1915. Men who volunteered were classified into groups and were eventually called-up depending on their age, marital status and occupation. In theory single men were called up before married men and then married men were called up by age group. Horace volunteered at Leeds on December 11th 1915. He would have been sent back to his civilian job and may have worn an armband bearing a red crown to show he had volunteered and was waiting call-up.
He was sent for in December 1917 and was medically examined on December 29th 1917 at Leeds and passed A1. He was posted to No 4 Depot Royal Garrison Artillery at Ripon on 31 December 1917 and his paperwork was approved on January 3rd 1918 at South [illegible]. This was probably South Camp, Ripon.
The Royal Regiment of Artillery was divided between the "Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery" and the "Royal Garrison Artillery". The pre-war distinction was to differentiate between the guns pulled by horses and the fixed guns of the coastal garrisons which faced out to sea. During the war the Army sought more powerful artillery and the larger guns (often Howitzers) were operated by the Royal Garrison Artillery which was largely expanded from 1917.
Horace Crosthwaite, like his father George William, worked at a pottery. His father was shown in the pre-war census as a foreman. When Horace enlisted he described his trade as terra cotta presser and glass brick maker. Horace lived with his wife (Harriet Swithenbank Nichols) at Florence Avenue in Harehills, Leeds. Based on that location he was probably employed at the Leeds Fireclay Company on Torre Road nearby.
On 17th January 1918 he was posted from the depot at Ripon. A depot was the location of a unit that took-in and started training recruits. Horace was sent to Catterick where he joined the 2nd Siege Battery Reserve Brigade which was his training establishment. He remained there until November 1918 when he qualified as a "gun layer" on November 1st 1918. The gun layer was responsible for adjusting the elevation of the gun depending on the target selected. On 25th November 1918 he was "posted overseas" with the rank of gunner (private soldier). He was later promoted to Corporal, the rank he had when he left the army.
His record does not state which battery he served with when he arrived in France. His military conduct sheet was countersigned twice to show there were no entries on it "certified no entry". The first signature is stamped A Battery No 2 Siege Artillery Reserve Brigade which would have been when he left Catterick and went abroad. The second is illegible but is certainly a Siege Battery RGA and may be "143" or "145".
His service record is only partially legible but the next legible entry is posted to 264 Siege Battery RGA on 5th December 1918. This was a six-inch howitzer battery in the 52nd Brigade RGA which served in France until November 1919. On March 1st 1919 Horace was posted to what appears to be 444 Battery and on 15th April 1919 there is an entry which appears to refer to 488 Battery RGA. The posting from one battery to another was probably to allow time-served gunners to return home with Horace among those who remained in France. All the batteries served in France, but his record does not show where.
In September 1919 he returned to the UK and was at a dispersal camp at Sandling which was a hutted camp near Folkestone in Kent. His Protection Certificate was dated 25.9.1919 and recorded the unit he was last with as 488 SB (Siege Battery). The theatre of war or Command was "East" which was the UK Eastern Command which controlled the Home Counties and Kent where the Sandling camp was situated. The records office was marked as Dover. A protection certificate allowed a soldier to draw his pay from a post office counter. Horace was transferred to the Z Class Reserve on 23.10.1919 which is the date he officially left the army but he would have gone home on September 25th. The Class Z Reserve was for all war-time soldiers who were likely to be re-called if the Armistice did not hold. The Class Z Reserve was deemed to have ended on March 31st 1920.
Horace did not qualify for any campaign medals as he did not serve abroad until after the Armistice.
His service record is very water-damaged and difficult to read, so any mistakes are entirely mine.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Jo H
Date: Tuesday 26th October 2010 at 9:48 PM

Alan

As ever, I am absolutely astounded at how you can pull together so much information and detail from so little. I cannot thank you enough for your time and trouble and I'm delighted to have this information for my family tree now. I am about to make a donation to the British Legion.

As we speak, I am awaiting your recommended read from Gordon Corrigan. I am a million light years away from your knowledge, and I feel it will be a slow process, but a very worthwhile one.

Best wishes
Jo
Posted by: Jules {No contact email}
Location: Germany
Date: Sunday 24th October 2010 at 7:44 PM
Hi - I have my grandad's army service records which I would appreciate some help with please. He was with The RAOC as a regular from 1929 and was posted to France with the BEF in September 1939. It says on the service record that he was 'attached to No 1 Ordnance Store Coy' but I can't find anything about this company and so I don't know where in France he was. Could someone help with this please?

Thanks very much.

Jules.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 24th October 2010 at 9:50 PM

Dear Jules,
I don't want to send you in the wrong direction but it struck me that there are two clues: "attached" and Stores without an "s".
"Attached" meant he was not serving with his own unit and was on loan to another unit.
The RAOC used the term "Stores Company" with an "s" on the end of stores.
The Canadian Army described their Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (RCOC) Ordnance companies as "Ordnance Store Company" with no final "s". Your search might want to consider the possibility he was attached to a Canadian Unit. The Canadian "No 1 Ordnance Store Company" was based at Ottawa, Ontario, and was mobilized for war on September 1st 1939 as Divisional Troops of the Canadian 1st Division with the CASF Canadian Active Service Force. After the British evacuation of Dunkirk, the Canadians went to France in June 1940. Only The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment actually stayed on the continent for a very short time and the 1st Canadian Division then trained in England for three years before taking part in the landing on Sicily and the fighting in Italy from July 1943.
I may be hopelessly wrong, but it is worth investigating the possible link.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Jules
Date: Sunday 24th October 2010 at 10:45 PM

Thank you Alan for your quick reply. I double checked the spelling on the service record and I am fairly sure it says 'store' so I will check the Canadian link you have mentioned and see what I can find out. When you said that they were mobilised in September 1939 would that have meant that they would have also been in France in September do you know or is that something I will need to find out?

Thanks again for your help.

Jules.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 24th October 2010 at 11:04 PM

Dear Jules,
The 1st Canadian Division arrived in England on January 1, 1940. I don't know if that helps or hinders your search.

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Jules
Date: Monday 25th October 2010 at 7:40 AM

Dear Alan,

Any information is always a help and never a hindrance. Curiously he was in France around the second week in September but he left France around the time the RCOC arrived!

Thank you very much for all your help.

Jules.
Posted by: Patrick {Email left}
Location: Sheffield
Date: Friday 22nd October 2010 at 12:04 PM
Can anyone tell me which English troops camped overnight in Crosthwaite Park, Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) prior to marching in to Dublin in April 1916 to quell the 'Easter Rising'?

My father was a boy of 9 at the time, and told me how he and his friends went round collecting the officers' silver-topped batons (which they threw away, before going into battle). The family also have 3 photos of troops taken at the time: two lads in uniform on the steps of my father's home, and a guncarriage drawn by four horses being pulled past the house. I want to try to identify who these are.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 23rd October 2010 at 6:58 PM

Dear Patrick,
This has proved a very challenging question to answer. The Easter Rising started on Monday April 24th 1916 and the number of troops in Dublin at the time was 1,269. The following day, Tuesday April 25th, the British army was able to reinforce the local garrison with soldiers from the Curragh and Belfast. In 1916, before the partition of Ireland, the country consistently had garrisons of local troops and regiments from England. Telegraphic communications with London were lost during the first days of the Rising and the British Government did not send reinforcements from England until the Wednesday, 26th April when it was announced that 2,000 troops had been sent. These were the soldiers who arrived to help put down the Rising and they landed at Kingstown Pier. By the end of the week it was reported that the British had 16,000 troops available to them although many of these would have been based in Ireland before the Rising.
Using various sources, including casualties named in The Times Newspaper, London, April 1916, it would appear that among the first troops already available in Ireland to go to Dublin to quell the Rising were the 3rd Battalion Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers); the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars; the 3rd/1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry which moved from the Curragh; 5th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers and others.
The artillery came from the Royal Field Artillery garrison at Athlone and by the patrol vessel Helga which sailed up the Liffey from the port at Kingstown.

The troops who camped at Crosthwaite Park may have been fresh from England having arrived at the pier or they could have been troops from the Curragh and other garrisons who were temporarily based at the park. At the time the British Army was committed to the First World War and the troops available for deployment in an emergency from England would have been the "second-line" Territorial Force troops recruited at the outbreak of war to replenish the Territorial battalions that had been sent abroad. These battalions had fractional numbers staring with "2".

The British Parliament announced that two battalions had arrived at Dublin from England on the Wednesday, April 26th ("The Times", London, Sat April 29th 1916). The standard reference for the deployment of battalions in the First World War is "British Regiments 1914-18" by Brig E A James (1974) which gives dates based on war diaries. As service in Ireland was Home Service there was no need to keep a "war" diary, so while James's work indicates battalions that served in Ireland in "April 1916" it does not give precise dates.

A search of "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) restricted to deaths in the "Home" theatre on April 26th showed of 46 men who died on that date, 13 served with the 2nd/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). No men from that battalion died on April 25th 1916. Brig. James recorded that the 2nd/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters went to Ireland in April 1916; Dublin and in July, 1916 the Curragh. James also recorded the 2nd/5th Bn Sherwood Foresters made a similar move although there were no fatalities recorded for the 2nd/5th Battalion.

This provides compelling evidence that one of the two battalions sent on April 26th was the 2nd/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters.

"The Times" of May 1st 1916 printed a list of 27 casualties in Dublin which included the regiments already named and an officer of the South Staffordshire Regiment. A search of "Soldiers Died in the Great War" on the lines outlined above returned the result that the 2nd/6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment sustained fatalities on April 27th and April 29th 1916. Brig. James recorded that the 2nd/6th Bn South Staffordshire Regiment moved from the St Albans area to Ireland in April 1916; Dublin then the Curragh. The 2nd/5th Battalion South Staffs also went to Ireland in April 1916 but there were no recorded fatalities in April 1916 for the2nd/5th Battalion.

It seems likely that the second of the two battalions which arrived at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) in time to help quell the Rising in Dublin was the 2nd/6th Bn South Staffordshire Regiment. The Rising itself was over by Sunday April 30th.

I have only tried to establish which battalions arrived at Kingstown as an immediate response to the crisis as you out it, to march into Dublin to quell the Rising. As this is based on my own research any mistakes are entirely mine.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Patrick
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 11:01 AM

Hi Alan,
Thanks very much for your detailed reply, working out which battalions could have camped overnight in Kingstown. It seems to me likely that my father was referring to the 2nd/6th South Staffs. Regt, which may well have spent the night of 26/27 April in Crosthwaite Park after having disembarked at Kingstown on evening of 26th. I have 2 old photos of two lads in uniform outside my father's house and a third of a horse-drawn gun carriage in the same place. If I were to scan them and email them to you, would you be likely to be able to identify the regiment? But I would have to say that cap badges are pretty indestinct in the photos.
Kind regards,

PATRICK
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 30th October 2010 at 4:23 PM

Dear Patrick,
You can e-mail the photos to the website editor using the link at the bottom of this page. He will pass them on to me.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Patrick
Date: Thursday 4th November 2010 at 12:41 PM

Alan,
I have posted 3 photos of troops in Crosthwaite Park in April 1916 on
http://www.4shared.com/account/home.jsp?startPage=1

Can you access them here, and let me know whether you can identify whether they are Sherwood Foresters or South / North Staffs Rgts or something else? Does the horse-drawn gun carriage tell you anything?

Do you think these photos (not in best of condition!) would be of any interest to Regimental records?
Kind regards,

PATRICK
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 4th November 2010 at 9:53 PM

Dear Patrick
The link to the 4shared site doesn't take me to any pictures I can see.

Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 8th November 2010 at 10:18 PM

Dear Patrick,
I have now seen the photographs. Unfortunately, the cap badge are too indistict to identify a regiment from them. If you have a maginfying glass and can compare them to images on the internet you may be able to decipher a regiment. Search for "British Army Cap Badges" in Google Images for some suitable websites to work from.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Patrick
Date: Tuesday 9th November 2010 at 9:39 AM

Alan,
Many thanks for your help and suggestion.
Kind regards,
PATRICK
Posted by: Perry Nz {Email left}
Location: Auckland Nz
Date: Thursday 21st October 2010 at 12:32 AM
Hi Alan,
I've read your posts and you have done some marvellous work. I wonder if you can help me.

I have got some records and research and am trying to piece together to get a better picture.

Michael Connor (my maternal Grandfather) in picture was in the Kings Liverpool Rgt.

We can tell by the cap badge. What I'm trying to acertain is which battalion as there were 49.

I have medal roll information for two records both of which suggest a Michael Connor in the 4th (Extra reserve) Battalion

the MIC for both records 11655 and 25269 the former the individual may be too young.

Question would the battalion keep recruiting/replacing men once deployed, is records say he was deployed in France 30 Nov 1915?

Can you confirm that the cap badge is one worn by the 4th extra reserve? I know the cap badge was worn by the 7th and 9th battalions?

Also I believe he was quite young B. July 1899 and was in a liverpool orphanage so would it be likely for him to go direct to the army?-Not sure you can answer that

/Users/perrycornish/Desktop/MichaelConnor.jpg

your views would be much appreciated
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 21st October 2010 at 7:01 PM

Dear Perry,
The difficulty with Medal Rolls Index cards is that they cannot be matched to an individual unless you already know the soldier's regimental number. The regimental numbers on the cards don't always provide an indication of the battalion as many battalions used the same numbers.
There were three soldiers called Michael Connor who qualified for medals with The King's (Liverpool Regiment). The first was numbered 25269. This man had two index cards, one in the name Michael Connor; the other Michael Conner. He enlisted on 10.9.1915. He was discharged because of sickness on 30.6.1916. He regiment was shown as Liverpool Regiment Depot. As soldiers who were struck off the strength of a fighting battalion because of wounds or sickness were administered by the Regimental Depot while in hospital in the UK, this card does not indicate a battalion. A second card for this man, spelled Conner, showed he entered France on 30.11.1915.
If this man entered France with his battalion he would have served in the 18th, 19th or 20th Battalions as they were the only battalions of the King's that landed in France later in the month of November 1915. Equally, he could have been part of a draft of replacements for any other battalion already serving in France.
The card for Michael Conner 11655 showed he entered France on 1.5.1915. This may have been with the 8th Battalion which is recorded as having entered France on 3.5.1915. (Some cards showed the date a man entered a theatre of war, others showed the date he left England.) This man was granted the Silver War Badge for sickness or wounds and was "dis"[charged] from the army on an unspecified date.
The third Michael Connor was 7255 King's Liverpool Regiment who later transferred to the Royal Munster Fusiliers. This man did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad before December 31st 1915, therefore he did not serve overseas until after January 1st 1916.
No service records appear to have survived for these three men so it is not possible to identify them further.
There is nothing to indicate service with the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion which went to France on 6.3.1915. Do you have evidence he served with that battalion?
The date of entry shown on the index card can indicate the deployment of a whole battalion, or as you suggest, the deployment of a draft of replacements to a battalion already serving at the front.
All battalions of the regiment would wear the regiment's cap badge.
I am not able to see the photograph so I cannot comment on it I'm afraid.

In the pre-war census there were two Michael Connors who were resident in institutions. One was shown as aged 14 the other aged 11 on census night in April 1911. If Michael Connor was born in July 1899 he would have been shown as aged 11 in the census. The 11 year old Michael Connor was a schoolboy living at the St George's R.C. Certified Industrial School for Boys, West Derby Road, Liverpool. This Industrial School had been founded in 1854 by Belgian nuns and moved to a former fever hospital in West Derby Road in 1863.

At the outbreak of war this Michael Connor would have been 15 years old. If he joined the army under-age, any of the medal cards could apply to him, providing he served abroad and qualified for medals. If he joined the army by being conscripted when he was eighteen in 1917 he may have only served in the UK and therefore there would be no medal index card for him. If he joined at the age of 18, the most applicable index card would be the one for 7255 who did not serve abroad until sometime after January 1st 1916.

In conclusion, it is not possible to identify a soldier by the medal index cards alone unless you already know his regimental number.

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Perry Nz
Date: Thursday 21st October 2010 at 9:11 PM

Thank you so much Alan

Your reasoning is very clear. Your research fantastic

I have not heard of that school. So will investigate. I know that as his parents didn't die until 1912 so maybe not that individual. It makes the puzzle that much harder. I think I mentioned that I have the medal records for the MIC cards 11625 and 25269 which show a soldier of the 4 th extra reserve. So the question would be could he have joined the kings liverpool 4th extra reserve as a replacement in 1915 aged 16?

Thanks again and best wishes

Perry
Posted by: Christine Dawson {Email left}
Location: Edinburgh
Date: Wednesday 20th October 2010 at 1:08 AM
I am trying to find out more about my grandfather , Frank Amager Dawson , who was a regular soldier serving in India prior to WW1 and he returned to India after the war as my father was born there in 1921.

He was in the 92nd battery RFA as a gunner and a cook and stationed in Trimulgherry in 1911.

From his war record card he was in the Balkans so I presume that was Gallipolli.
I have also been told that he was in France where he was awarded an MM(which the family have) but have been unable to find this on the London Gazette lists.

Where can I find out more about his Military service in India and also his service during WW1?
Thanks for any help.
Christine Dawson
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 20th October 2010 at 4:44 PM

Dear Christine,
The award of Frank Dawson's Military Medal was published in the London Gazette Issue number 29953 Page number: 1751 on 19 February 1917.
"War Office,19th February, 1917. His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the undermentioned Non-Commissioned Officers and
Men" (London Gazette 19 February 1917 Page 1749)...
"37636 Actg. Sjt. F. A. Dawson, R.F.A." (London Gazette 19 February 1917 Page 1751)
Search in First World War and enter the exact phrase F A Dawson then look for the issue of 19 February 1919 in the results.
There is no citation for the award. However, you may be interested in a book that is available which lists the awards of the artillerymen of the 17th Brigade RFA serving with 29 Division. It is "29th Division Artillery War Record and Honours" by Lt-Col R M Johnson (1921) reprinted 2004 Naval and Military Press ISBN: 9781843429760. See the National Army Museum website shop:-
http://books.national-army-museum.ac.uk/29th-divisional-artillery-war-record-and-honours-book-1915-1918-pr-26509.html
The birth of Frank Armiger Dawson was registered in Swaffham, Norfolk, England, in April-May-June 1884 (England GRO Births Q2 1884 Swaffham vol 4b 384). He was born at Necton, Norfolk, the son of Esdras and Elizabeth Dawson. In the pre-war England census he was shown as Frank Amager Dawson serving as a 27 year old gunner in the 92nd Battery Royal Field Artillery with the 17th Brigade RFA which was stationed at Trimulgherry, Deccan, India. His entry showed he was employed as a cook in civilian life. An Artillery Brigade was a man's "family unit" and had four batteries. During the First World War the batteries were given letters A to D and the Brigade number was shown in Roman numerals: XVII Brigade. XVII Brigade was one of the brigades that fought with the army's 29th Division.

A Medal Rolls Index card for Frank A. Dawson 37636 RFA showed he was a bombardier who entered his first theatre of war on 25th July 1915 (27/7/15). The theatre of war was (2B) Balkans. 2B indicated Gallipoli. He was later promoted to sergeant.

This date of entry doesn't match that of the 29th Division. The Division landed at Cape Helles on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Frank Dawson may have been in a rear party; he may have transferred to another unit; or the medal card has shown the wrong date: possibly transposing a 4 to a 7. The XVII Brigade remained with the 29th Division, so if Frank remained with the XVII Brigade he should have moved with that Division in the First World War. The XVII Brigade was at Allahbad, India at the outbreak of war and was mobilized on 19th of January 1915 after the War Office was able to replace its regular troops in India with Territorials from Britain. Many of the units from India were recalled to England to form the 29th Division which was expecting to serve in France. The Division trained and formed up in the Nuneaton area where it learned it was to be sent to Gallipoli. The Division embarked at Avonmouth on 16-22 March 1915 and sailed via Malta to Alexandria in Egypt. From there it moved to Mudros, a harbour on the Greek island of Lemnos which was the jumping off point for the Dardanelles. The landing was made at Cape Helles on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and when Gallipoli was evacuated on 7-8 January 1916, the Division returned to Egypt. On 25 February 1916 the Division was warned to sail for France where it arrived at Marseilles and moved to the area east of Pont Remy by 29th March 1916. The Division remained on the Western Front for the remainder of the war. For details of its major engagements see:
http://www.1914-1918.net/29div.htm
At the end of the war XVII brigade RFA was at Beaureux, (East of Celles in Belgium) on 10th November 1918 and at the river Rhosnes at 11am on November 11th 1918. The 29th Division then formed part of the army that occupied Germany and became the Southern Division of the Army of Occupation of the Rhine in April 1919. In 1922 the XVII Brigade joined the 28th Division which moved to Turkey.
The war diaries of the XVII Brigade RFA are held at the UK National Archives at Kew in Catalogue references WO 95/4308 (1915) and WO 95/2291 (1916 to 1919).
There is a published history of the 29th Division. See:
http://www.naval-military-press.com/product.php?productid=20478&cat=0&page=1
For the peacetime deployment of the XVII Brigade the Museum of the Royal regiment of Artillery may be able to help. See:
http://www.firepower.org.uk/
If Frank was still in the army in 1920-21 his service record may still be held by the Ministry of Defence. The MoD will release certain amounts of information depending on whether you are 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. See:
http://www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html
You may need proof of death; date of birth; next of kin's permission unless you are the direct next of kin; a cheque and completed forms Part 1 and 2. The next of kin form (Part 1) is for completion by the next of kin of deceased service personnel (or enquirers with the consent of next of kin). Look for "Service records publications" under "Related pages" and follow the instructions. The Part 2 form is entitled: "Request forms for service personnel Army" found under "Related Pages". A cheque for GBP 30 should be made payable to "The MoD Accounting Officer" and sent to Army Personnel Centre Secretariat, Disclosures 2, Mail Point 515, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX Scotland with all the paperwork.

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Christine Dawson
Date: Wednesday 20th October 2010 at 7:07 PM

Hi Alan,
As stated by others on this site , your knowledge is amazing and comprehensive!
Thank you so much for all the info and advice, which was sent so speedily, and is so detailed.
Regards ,
Christine

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