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Posted by: Julie {Email left}
Location: Horsham
Date: Thursday 28th April 2016 at 11:02 AM
Dear Alan,

You have been very helpful in the past with inquiries about my family members that served in WW1.

Could you help me with another matter that isn't WW1 related, but army terminology in WW2?

I have just found a diary my dad wrote detailing his activities from 1st Jan-31st Dec 1944 and I have decided to write a blog detailing the whole diary. The problem is, is that its a Lett's pocket diary and the writing is small and sometimes abbreviated.

Could you help me with any of these abbreviations:

M5 Are these some sort of army vehicle?


B. R .O

He also keeps mentioning 'scheme', at least that 's what it looks like. eg. 'Scheme returns'. This word is mentioned quite a few times.

'Fire piquet'

The word Sycamore keeps cropping up, but I have suspicions that it is a pub, unless you know otherwise!

CB cropped up a few times, but I soon realised that it meant 'confined to barracks'!!

If you can help, that would be great, if not I understand,

Kind regards,

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 28th April 2016 at 7:48 PM

Dear Julie,
Military abbreviations are best understood in the context of the writing, and might vary between the branch of service (Royal Navy, R.A.F., Army) so I can only make helpful suggestions for some of them. Abbreviations could be written or spoken and were constantly being added to, especially as technical innovations progressed, or fell into dis-use. In January 1942, when the Unites States Army first arrived in Britain, abbreviations were changed to avoid confusion and misunderstandings between the two nations’ forces. For example, the British “Zero hour” was replaced with the American “H Hour” to indicate the start-time of an attack or forward movement. Hence: “D Day” for the day of invasion. Abbreviations and acronyms would have been easily understood in local use, such as amongst infantry soldiers or engineers, but often not understood beyond their specialized context. Some abbreviations fell out of use, such as the E1 referring to the sequential numbering of the E Class Submarines which ceased to be in service after 1922. After 1922, E1, for example, might have been used to define a map grid-square; refer back to the E Class submarine; or, from 1936, the suffix of an A13 tank manufactured by Nuffield Mechanisations and Aero Ltd known as the Cruiser Mark III Tank, with models numbered as the A13-E1 or the A13-E3, where E originally stood for “experimental”. From 1928 to 1934, both Vickers and the Royal Ordnance Factory at Woolwich produced versions of the A6 tank which were known as: A6E1, A6E2 and A6E3, but these were the only three tanks built and production ceased. Then another model of tank known as the Medium Mark III was produced with the vehicles designated Medium III E1, E2 and E3. The three Mark IIIs were taken into use by the HQ of the Tank Brigade in 1934.There was also an E1 light mortar made in India. “E” could also refer to Echelon, which was a formation of troops, one beyond the other, which could be described as: a fighting echelon, support echelon; forward echelon or rear echelon; or they could be numbered (E1) or lettered “A Ech”. The Officer in Charge of 2nd Echelon would be abbreviated to O2E. There were also echelons for the repair of vehicles, so a base repair depot could also be known as “fourth echelon maintenance”.
In the context of tanks, the Light Tank M5 was nick-named the “Honey”, seemingly after a British driver said: “She’s a honey” when concluding his first experience of controlling one. Provided to British tank units by America from 1942 under the lend-lease programme, the M5 tank in British service had twin Cadillac V-8 engines and was a derivative of the American M3 Stuart tank.
“C.B.” was properly the form of light punishment known as “confinement to barracks”; so a man would say he had been confined to barracks.
“Bty” with a capital initial was Battery as in an artillery Battery which was the company-level sized unit forming part of an artillery Brigade. A Brigade was the basic tactical unit of the field artillery. Without the capital initial, “bty” stood for battery, as in vehicle battery.
“B.R.O.” could stand for a variety of things or people. In the Royal Navy in 1945 it stood for British Routing Officer. In the army it could have been a reporting officer or range officer or it could stand for Battery or Battalion Routine Orders. Routine Orders were posted daily, before noon, and were the printed instructions issued about non-operational matters of day-to-day affairs such as allotting individual soldiers to particular administrative duties; details of parades; church services; meal times and so on. The orders might be read-out on parade or pinned to notice boards and it was each man’s duty to be familiar with them.
A “scheme” was what would be called today an “exercise”. It was a plan of action or a manoeuvre. So if on Thursday a battery or battalion was to practice attacking a strong-point; the scheme of things would be that “A” Company would advance at 10 p.m. followed by “B” Company at 10.20 p.m. with “C” Company in reserve. The enemy would be played by “D” Company who would be in position by 9.30 p.m.; and so on. The scheme might end at 2 a.m..
“Scheme returns” might be the physical return of those men involved at 2 a.m.; or a paper return (an administrative form) stating how much fuel and blank ammunition was expended during the scheme.
The noun “scheme”, or a “scheme of manoeuvre”, was a definite military expression used during the Second World War to refer to “a fully-planned exercise or manoeuvre which set out a commander’s plan for subordinate units to accomplish a mission”, as defined in “British Military Terminology”, Military Intelligence Service Special Series No. 13, dated Washington, May 15th 1943; whereas, more recently, both the noun and the verb “scheme” have acquired a taint of planning something devious or intending to do something that is wrong, although its correct meaning of a systematic arrangement is still used as in “colour scheme” or “pension scheme” or the layout of a housing development.
A “Fire Piquet” (pronounced “picket”) was a variation of “picket” which in military parlance was a small group of soldiers or an individual detailed to undertake a specific task. In this case, the fire piquet was the patrol detailed to watch for any fire; sound an alarm; and begin tackling the blaze, often with a hand water-cart and hoses, or stirrup pump and sand. The Fire Piquet could be mobile, such as patrolling and watching for the fall of incendiary bombs; or static, sitting in the guard-room and waiting for the sergeant-major to set fire to a packing case at the far side of the camp at two in the morning and testing the reaction of the piquet. Picket duty could last 24 hours or a week, depending on the camp and local circumstances.
I cannot think of a military term for Sycamore other than the Bristol Type 171 Sycamore helicopter, but that was not flown until 1947. I note there are pubs named the Sycamore Tree but there was also a Sycamore Club in a corrugated iron hut behind the Free Church in Amersham, which between 1940 and 1946 was operated by volunteers as a canteen for servicemen between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. serving tea, cakes and sandwiches. A modern version for the elderly is still run by the Free Church in Amersham under the name “Sycamore Club”.
I hope this helps you put the abbreviations into context. If not, let me know what the wording appears to be and we’ll have another go.
Any mistakes are entirely mine.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Julie
Date: Thursday 28th April 2016 at 9:36 PM

Dear Alan,

Thank you so much for your detailed reply it has answered all of my questions. The word Sycamore kept cropping up and I was baffled, I Googled it several times but couldn't find any information. However, you are quite right as he mentions 'Amersham', and also 'canteen' and Sycamore on several occasions. The other words often used were 'scheme' and 'piquet', now I know exactly what these words are referring to.

I started typing the blog verbatim, but now I'm up to the beginning of July I've started scanning the pages as the entries are longer. From July to December after landing in Normandy, he travels up through France, Belgium and then Holland.

I've never written a blog before and it's still a work in progress, but if you want to take a look here is the link:

As this is a WW1 forum I wasn't sure if you would be willing to answer my question, I'm so grateful that you have as it has been such a have a wealth of knowledge,

Thanks again,

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 29th April 2016 at 11:09 AM

Dear Julie,
Congratulations on the blog.
I have now realised what E1, E2 and E3 were. I was charmed by the entry for June 7th 1944 “saved another girl from the Yanks. Fish suppers then home.” The cardboard sign “frying tonight” displayed in the windows of fish-and-chip shops was a wartime innovation to announce to the public the availability of fried fish later in the day. Fish and chips were not rationed and were known as “Good Companions” in the 1940s but they were not always available and depended on local deliveries, announced in the shop window.
“Played W.L.A. girl T.T. before leaving canteen” suggests a challenge to table tennis with a Women’s Land Army girl [29 June 1944].
“Serg. mens?? fatigues” would be fatigue duties in the Sergeants’ Mess (washing-up). A pellet range was a practice range for the guns (May 22). The photograph of Rose appears to show her in Land Army or Women’s Voluntary Services pullover and hat. Transcribing a year’s diary is an arduous effort but it would be worth the perseverance because you begin to query, and remember every entry and then you learn so much more than glimpsing over the days’ entries. A 1944 diary is a rare possession.
Having read through the images, I am now certain that E1, 2 and 3 are Royal Artillery gun tractor vehicles known as a “Quad”. This photo shows one with the number A2:
The letter probably refers to a Battery; the number to the vehicle. 19 May 1944: “E3 now on road”. 6 July 1944: “Stan’s V[ehicle] loaded on [SS] Empire Deed in morning, my E3 in afternoon”. SS Empire Deed was a cargo vessel which plied between Southend and the Seine Bay in July 1944. It is interesting to read that security was increasing (and pubs closing) on the approach to June 6th 1944.
I am sure the pubs he visited are still there, waiting for you to visit.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Julie
Date: Friday 29th April 2016 at 11:32 AM

Dear Alan,

Thank you for another interesting reply, I'm certainly learning a lot from this diary. Fortunately, all the young women he met were before he met my mum otherwise I would have been horrified!

I have found that I have to keep re reading it as there are bits that you can quite easily miss, like 2nd June...'bloke shut in chicken pen', I wonder what that was about.

When I first started reading, there were several entries about 'waterproofing', and I had no idea what he meant. Then after landing in Normandy, there's one entry 'de waterpoofing' then it dawned on me, the water proofing was to protect the vehicles from the sea when landing.

I have another 6 months to add, with photographs, I hope you will continue to read and I would appreciate any helpful comments,

Thanks again,

Reply from: Julie
Date: Friday 29th April 2016 at 4:51 PM

Hi Alan,

Last message I promise, just to say I took a look at the link you sent me:

It has a photograph of 51st Highland division in Italy, this was my dad's division (he was in Sicily and has an Italy Star medal) perhaps that was him in 1943.

His details were as follows:
5th Field Training Regiment RA
490 Battery 126 (H) Field Regiments RA.
51st Highland Division

The thing is, the only thing my dad told me about the war was that in Germany after the war had ended, he had to protect the German civilians from the Russians, I also know that he was at Belsen at one point (liberation of), so I don't actually know the dates etc of where he was. If only I had diaries for the whole time he was in the army and not just 1944!

Once again, thanks for the information,

Best regards


(Donation on it's way to Royal British Legion)
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 29th April 2016 at 6:41 PM

Dear Julie,
Thank you for making a donation to the Royal British Legion.
The 5th Field Training Regiment R.A. was based at Connaught Barracks, Dover in 1939, although it might not have remained there.
51st Highland Division served in the U.K. until 23rd January 1940 when it crossed to France. After the evacuation of the B.E.F., the 51st Highland Division was captured in France on 12th June 1940.
126 Field Regiment R.A. was formed at the outbreak of war as part of the 9th Highland Infantry Division which was raised for wartime service as a sister division to the existing pre-war 51st Highland Division. After “Dunkirk” the 9th Division became the re-formed 51st Division on 7th August 1940. 125 Field Regiment R.A. was armed with twenty-four 25-pounder guns.
After a period in the U.K., the new 51st Division sailed to Egypt arriving 12th August 1942. On November 21st 1942 the 51st entered Libya and continued fighting in North Africa until 8th July 1943. It then sailed for the landing at Sicily on 10th July 1943 where it remained until 7th November 1943. It then sailed for England arriving on November 26th 1943. The Division then prepared for the anticipated “second front”. In June 1944 the Division crossed the Channel and fought in N.W. Europe where it remained until 31st August 1945. See:
The main battles of the 51st Division were fought at: El Alamein 23 October to 4 November 1942; Medenine, 6 March 1943; Mareth, 16 – 23 March; Akarit, 6 – 7 April; Enfidaville, 19 – 29th April; Tunis 5 – 12 May; The Landing in Sicily, 9 – 12 July 1943; Adrano, 29 July – 3rd August. Then: Bourguebus Ridge, 18 – 23 July 1944; Falaise 7 – 22 August; The Rhineland, 8 February – 10 March 1945; The Rhine, 23 March – 1 April 1945.
Another one from the diary: 27 June 1944 “H.G. Scheme” would be Home Guard Scheme, a training exercise from 9 p.m.; lasted all night, cold, wet and dog tired and no rations. On the next day he was “still on scheme” and got “shot” at Lavenham before getting back to camp about 2-30 p.m.. [At a guess, the Home Guard exercise was probably tasked with defending the new RAF Station Lavenham, home to the United States Air Force from March 1944, and Tony’s Battery would have been acting as the enemy].
With kind regards,
Reply from: Julie
Date: Saturday 30th April 2016 at 8:52 AM

Thank you so much Alan,

I will include this information with his medals which were 1939-45 Star Battle of Britain, Africa Star 8th Army or 1st Army of North Africa 1942-1943, Italy Star, France and Germany Star Atlantic, and War medal 1939-45 Oak Leaf. I found his regiment information on the leaflet which came with his medals (1116013 Driver IC).

Soon I will continue to scan his diary (holiday will delay this a bit) and then update with all of the information you have given me which is invaluable,

Best regards

Reply from: Julie
Date: Tuesday 17th May 2016 at 3:35 PM

Dear Alan,

If you are interested, I have now added the July 1944 part of my dad's diary.

12th, 18th and 21st are quite poignant. August to December to follow shortly,

Best regards,

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 4:04 PM

Dear Julie,
It makes an interesting read.
Why not add some abbreviations and explanations?
T.L.C. would be “tank landing craft”; more properly “Landing Craft; Tank”: L.C.T.
B Ech is “B Echelon” which was the vehicle lines further to the rear of the guns that were themselves in “A Echelon” i.e. the guns were in the fighting line with armoured vehicles. B Echelon, further to the rear was also known as waggon lines and included non-armoured vehicles referred to as “soft-skinned” vehicles.
Gun and L: Gun and limber, which were towed behind the “Quad” Field Artillery Tractor.
“Dug out B- mess inside”: “B-” being a redacted swear word. In 1944 this was considered a fairly rude profanity, often made milder by changing it to "ruddy". A dug out provided with a meatal roof (July 15th) and a layer of straw bedding could be more comfortable than sleeping in the vehicles, until it flooded in the rain. It gave protection from air raids. Compared to 21st July: “Slept with Jack again in E1 [Quad numbered E1]. The vehicles would be sheltered in pits dug as slopes into the ground to provide protection from shellfire; with camouflage overhead to provide protection from air reconnaissance. When it rained, the pits became flooded.
Canteen: The first N.A.A.F.I. [Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes] canteens arrived with “canteen packs” selling cigarettes, razor blades, soap, matches, boot laces, tooth paste, shaving cream and letter cards. They arrived six days behind schedule because of the poor weather, hence the relevance of a mention in the diary when they eventually appeared for the men’s welfare: “including beer”.
15th July: “under enemy ob”: under enemy observation.
Colville: was probably Colleville-sur-Mer.
Canal Bridge: possibly “Pegasus Bridge”?
18th July: “Thousands of planes pass overhead”: Montgomery’s controversial “Operation Goodwood”, which aimed at breaking through the East and South-eastern areas of Caen was launched on 18th July 1944. The offensive began with a three-hour bombardment where 2,500 bombers dropped 6,000 tons of bombs, while the naval artillery and the ground artillery fired nearly 250,000 shells.
18th July: “Gun Quads got order to move. Harry Wait [Tony’s colleague] broke down so I took B[attery?] of Coxend’s gun and limber”.
July 19th: “London Bridge” was used during Operation Goodwood. See:
July 21st: “Heard of attempt on Hitler’s life”: This was the planting of a bomb on July 20th by Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg at Hitler’s headquarters at Rastenberg in East Prussia. Adolf Hitler escaped death after the bomb exploded at 12.42 p.m.. Hitler sustained minor burns and concussion. Von Stauffenberg and others were executed afterwards.
July 26th: “Told to expect 406 at 9 a.m.”. A “406 Inspection Parade” was a monthly inspection by an officer of the gun tractor from top to bottom. Road-worthiness, cleanliness, maintenance and every nut and bolt were checked followed by a brief road test. If there were more than a couple of faults the driver would be reported for negligence, although in reality he was told to get on with the job of fixing the faults. More serious defects were listed on a “406 Inspection Sheet” and the vehicle and sheet would be sent to the mechanics for repairs.
G.P.: gun position.
A.A.: anti-aircraft [fire]
Ack Ack: anti-aircraft fire. From First World War phonetic alphabet for A. (Ack) which was eventually replaced by Apple; then Able and today’s Alpha for A.
Typhoon: Hawker Typhoon single seat low-level interceptor aircraft armed with rockets.
26th July: “Gunners come down for rest!”: A sarcastic Army supposition that the boys in the waggon lines did all the work without rest, while the gunners who appeared to live the good life actually had the temerity to arrive in the rear for a rest.
29th & 30th July: Painting the Quad green in places and then black would be references to painting the vehicle in camouflage pattern.
I have been unable to identify the entry for 14th July: “Saw B[?] bomb go toward Jerry”.
Jerry: a diminutive term for German from the First World War, possibly derived from the style of their helmet which resembled an under-bed chamber-pot popularly referred to as a “jerry”.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Julie
Date: Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 4:19 PM

Thanks once again, I didn't know any of this. At the moment my printer is playing up, I have so much to add and I want to include as much of the information that you have supplied, it makes the whole thing much more interesting.

I still have August to December to add, along with photographs of more young ladies that he met along the way and photographs of Antwerp.

I'll keep you informed,

Best regards

Reply from: Julie
Date: Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 4:34 PM

Hi Alan, I've just taken a look at the link you have sent, crossing the London Bridge 18th July so much,

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 8:59 PM

Dear Julie,
I look forward to reading August - December. I have researched my father's Second World War footsteps in Tunisia and Italy so it is interesting to put together the events in Normandy from a first hand witness.
With kind regards,

Posted by: Christine Hewitt {Email left}
Location: Wakefield
Date: Tuesday 26th April 2016 at 5:56 AM
Hi all
Have drawn a blank in my family history research and would be very grateful for any advice / information anyone can offer.
I have the photograph album from my father's parents who lived mainly in the Isle of Axholme area (now Lincolnshire).
In it is a photograph of a young soldier from World War 1 I believe.
On the back is handwritten Pt A. Barrett AOC (which I believe is Army Ordnance Corps) 112th S Company, No 027600, HM Gun Wharf, Granby Barracks, Devonport.
I think the cap badge confirms the AOC link.
I have searched for both A Barrett and A Barratt just in case but with no success.
Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 26th April 2016 at 5:59 PM

Dear Christine,
A. Barrett was Private Arthur Barrett, 027600 Army Ordnance Corps. No individual service record has survived for him so it is not possible to provide any biographical information. An Army medal roll recorded he qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, so he would have served overseas during the First World War. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service overseas before December 31st 1915, he did not go abroad until some date after January 1st 1916. He was demobilized on 12th February 1920, a date which suggests he might have been conscripted later in the war, as most soldiers were demobilized early in 1919 while the most recent recruits served later. This means he might have been born about 1898 if he was a young man in the photo and had been conscripted at the age of 18.
The Company was probably 112 Supply Company A.O.C. However, it is not clear whether 112 Company served overseas or was permanently shore-based at Devonport, so it is not possible to state where or when Arthur Barrett saw his service abroad.
When overseas during the First World War, A.O.C. Companies were organised under an Assistant Director Ordnance Services within each army Division.
The Army Ordnance Corps supplied ammunition (ordnance) and repaired weapons and other equipment. In France and Flanders there was a complex and efficient logistic infrastructure centred on base depots with distribution organised along railways and rail-heads. Similar methods were used to support operations in the other theatres of war, including Italy, Gallipoli, Salonika, Palestine and Mesopotamia.
The Gun Wharf at Devonport dated from 1719 when the Board of Ordnance leased land from Sir Nicholas Morice in order to provide an expanded wharf for ships and storage for guns, powder; cannon balls and even cutlasses to the north of the then Devonport Dockyard. The adjacent “Morice Ordnance Yard” was establishment with workshops, offices and storehouses covering 20 acres and eventually passed to the Army and was known as “Gun Wharf”. Originally intended for storing guns and gunpowder for the Navy, all such peacetime Ordnance stores and Magazines were expanded during the First World War. See:
Granby Barracks dated from 1757 and had been modernised in the 1860s. The Barracks was named after Lt-General John Manners, Marquis of Granby.
The Ordnance Store Branch was renamed the Ordnance Store Corps in 1881 and became the Army Ordnance Corps in 1896, alongside the Army Ordnance Department. On 28th November 1918 the Army Ordnance Department was amalgamated into the Army Ordnance Corps. In recognition of its wartime achievements The Army Ordnance Corps was granted the prefix “Royal” by Royal Warrant printed in Army Orders on 27th November 1918.
The Royal Army Service Corps amalgamated with the Transportation Service of the Royal Engineers in 1965 to form the Royal Corps of Transport.
On 5th April 1993, the Royal Corps of Transport joined with other units to form the Royal Logistic Corps. Their museum is at:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Christine Hewitt
Date: Friday 29th April 2016 at 8:08 AM

Hi Alan
Did anyone ever tell you how amazing you are?
Many, many thanks for your time, dedication and effort.
Kindest regards

Posted by: Tony Walmsley {Email left}
Location: Lowestoft
Date: Sunday 24th April 2016 at 4:26 PM
Dear Alan,
My Father John Walmsley 201471 was posted to 3rd battalion Machine Gun Corps Heavy section which became 3rd battalion tank corps. He was in C company. I've found relevant war diaries but because he was other ranks no reference to him by name. Are there any record sources that might refer to him by name. He was not wounded or awarded and gallantry medals.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 24th April 2016 at 9:44 PM

Dear Tony,
Fortunately John Walmsley’s service record has survived amongst the burnt documents that were reclaimed after the bombing of the War Office repository in Arnside Street, London, on September 8th 1940. The documents are held at The National Archives at Kew in the series WO 363. Due to fire and water damage, they are too delicate to be handled and are consequently only available to the public on microfilm at Kew or, more conveniently, they can be downloaded from commercial websites for a comparatively small fee.
The records show John Walmsley’s service in France was with the 7th Battalion Tank Corps.
John Walmsley was born in Darwen, Lancashire. His father was James Edward Walmsley and they lived at 488 Blackburn Road, Darwen. On May 2nd 1916, John Walmsley was compulsorily conscripted at the stated age of 19 and was initially posted as a private soldier, number 38065, to 2nd Battalion Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps on May 19th 1916. The Heavy Section M.G.C. was formed in March 1916 at Bisley. On 14th November 1916 he was posted to the 3rd Battalion H.S. M.G.C. in the U.K..
On the night of May 24th 1917 John sailed from Southampton to Havre arriving the next morning with G Battalion, which was to become 7th Battalion Tank Corps, with the regimental number 201471. [From 27th/28th July 1917 the Heavy Section M.G.C. became the Tank Corps with a new badge]. John was graded for pay as a 1st Class Mechanic on 6th August 1917. On 24th June 1918 he was admitted to 30 Casualty Clearing Station for a week [reason unstated] [located at Wavrans-sur-l'Aa, Pas-de-Calais]. From 1st August 1918 he had a fortnight’s leave to the U.K.. On his return he was appointed Lance Corporal and soon afterwards acting Corporal. He was appointed First Class Tank Mechanic on 1st October 1918. He was promoted to Corporal on 27th December 1918. On 28th January 1919 John was admitted to hospital with a dislocated cartilage in his left knee. He was treated at No. 7 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, before being returned to the U.K. on 15th February 1919 on the Hospital Ship “Jan Buydel” (sic) [probably the Belgian ship “Jan Breydel”, named after a 14th Century Flemish nationalist]. He was treated at Military Hospitals at Devonport and Exeter (while administered on paper by the Tank Corps Depot at Wareham) and nearer to home at Whalley [Queen Mary’s War Hospital]. After some convalescent home leave he was posted to the Central Workshop Training Centre, Tank Corps, at Wareham, before being administered by the Depot and passing out of the dispersal centre at Prees Heath Camp, Shropshire, for demobilization on 29th November 1919, when he was transferred to the Class Z Reserve that was for men who would be recalled if the Armistice with Germany did not hold. Service in the Z Reserve was deemed to have ended on March 31st 1920. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His military character was the highest category: “very good”; “honest, sober and reliable”.
His records are available, among other websites, from the Ancestry subscription website which is free to view at most large libraries. Libraries may charge for printing or downloading to a tablet. The records are difficult to read and would be better downloaded so they can be enlarged. From home, the website is economical, using pay-as-you-go (£6.95) to download the numerous pages. Search their military records using his name under both regimental numbers, with no year of birth.
See also:
The Tank Museum appears to hold war diaries and a war history for the G and 7th
Two other records survive online, but are of lesser interest. There is a single typed line on a medal roll that recorded John qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal with 7th Tank Corps. A medal rolls index-card recorded the same detail.
There exists an (expensive) antiquarian book: “Narrative History of "G" and 7th Tank Battalion (Compiled by a Committee of Officers) Gale and Polden; London, 1919.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Tony Walmsley
Date: Monday 25th April 2016 at 3:52 PM

Thank you so much for this. I had been going down the wrong track assuming that because he was in 3rd battalion Heavy Machine Gun Corps that he moved to 3rd or C battalion tank corps.
Posted by: J Rushby {Email left}
Location: Worksop
Date: Thursday 21st April 2016 at 3:08 PM
Hi Alan, just discovered my husbands grandad died in Ww1. His name was C H Rushby and he was a sergeant in the 6 battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. He is buried at Mesingherbe( think that's how they spell it) He died 26 April 1918. Would he have died at the battle of Lys? Any other info would be great. Thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 21st April 2016 at 7:57 PM

No individual service record has survived for Charles Henry Rushby, so it is not possible to state his military service with accuracy. His regimental number, 202510, was a six-digit regimental number that was allotted in January 1917 in the batch 200001 – 240000 to the 4th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, when all Territorial Force soldiers were re-numbered at the time the numbering system was rationalised. The official publication “Soldiers Died in the Great War” (HMSO 1921) recorded Charles Henry Rushby served in the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and had lived an enlisted at Grimsby. He was killed in action on 26th April 1918.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Debt of Honour and the “Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects” stated Charles Henry Rushby died on 26th April 1918 while serving with the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, which was a wartime service battalion raised during the war and not part of the pre-war Territorial Force.
An Army medal roll recorded Charles Henry Rushby qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal while serving with the 6th Battalion. The medal rolls recorded the details of the man as they were when he first went overseas, which implies Charles Henry Rushby did not go abroad until after January 1st 1917 when his number 202510 had been allotted. He did not qualify for a Star medal for service abroad before December 31st 1915.
One possible course of events is that Charles Henry Rushby served as a sergeant in the United Kingdom, training the second-line unit of the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and was sent overseas after January 1st 1917. On arrival in France, or at a later date, he was posted to the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. Many soldiers were posted to different battalions on arrival in France as they were held at a base camp for a week or two before being posted and would be sent to battalions with a priority need for casualty replacements.
Another possibility is that he arrived in France in February 1917 with the 2nd/4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. That Battalion was disbanded in January 1918 and absorbed into the 1st/4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. If he was a sergeant and the 4th Battalion had no need for additional sergeants, he might have been post to the 6th Battalion at that stage, in January 1918.
The 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment had arrived in France from Egypt in July 1916 and served with the 33rd Infantry Brigade in the 11th (Northern) Division. On April 26th 1918, the 6th Battalion was undertaking routine trench and patrolling duties in the Hulloch Tunnel Sector in the Loos-en-Gohelle area near Lens, which was further South than the area of The Battle of the Lys 1918.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jrushby
Date: Friday 22nd April 2016 at 5:54 AM

Thanks Alan. That's helped quite a lot. Can pass the info on to the family now.
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Wednesday 20th April 2016 at 4:58 PM
Dear Alan,

Can you help with the Military service undertaken by two brothers from this village who served during the Great War.
William Herbert Hannaford born 19.8.1893 and who served with the 1/4th Devonshire Regiment his regimental no 202011, and his younger brother Sidney Owen Hannaford b 1895 who served with the Somerset Light Infantry service no 27110. Can you possibly let me know the details of their service .
Thank you for your continuing help.
Best wishes

David Ashman.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 20th April 2016 at 8:31 PM

Dear David,
Sadly, there are less-than-adequate records for the two brothers. Before the War they both worked on the family farm at Blackslade, Widecombe.
There is no surviving individual service record for William Hannaford. An Army medal roll recorded him as William Hubert (sic) Hannaford with the regimental number 202011 in the 1st/4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment. The six-digit regimental number was allotted to the 4th Battalion in January 1917 when the Territorial Force numbering system was rationalised. The medal roll recorded his details as they were when he first served overseas. Therefore when William went abroad he already had the regimental number 202011 and consequently the roll implies he did not go overseas until after January 1917, once the number had been allotted. In February 1917 the 1st/4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment was serving on the Lines of Communication in the River Tigris defences based at Amara in Mesopotamia. When the war ceased in Mesopotamia on 31st October 1918, the Battalion was at Baquaba, north east of Baghdad. William survived the war and qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Sidney Owen Hannaford was born on 9th March 1895 (GRO Death Certificate; Newton Abbot Oct –Dec 1976; Vol 21; Page 1435). There is no individual service record for him so it is not possible to state Sidney’s service in detail. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service overseas before December 31st 1915, he did not go abroad until some date after January 1st 1916. An Army medal roll recorded he served with the 7th Battalion Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry) and also the 6th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry. The typed entries in the roll were supposed to be in sequence, but the “6th Battalion” was inserted by hand, so it is not certain in which battalion he served first, and there is no record for the date of posting between the two. Both battalions had served in France and Flanders from 1915 but in different divisions. The 7th Battalion remained with 20th (Light) Division throughout the war. The 6th Battalion first served with 14th (Light) Division until April 1918 when the battalion was dispersed to the 16th Division in England where it was reformed at Cromer by absorbing the 13th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, returning to France in August 1918 to serve with 49th Division. Sidney was discharged from the Army on 30th September 1919.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Julie Fiveash {Email left}
Location: Horsham
Date: Tuesday 19th April 2016 at 3:28 PM
Dear Alan,

I had a Great Uncle (by marriage), James Ellis, RFA 38026, WW1, is there anything you could tell me about his service record,

Many thanks

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 19th April 2016 at 10:15 PM

Dear Julie,
James Ellis enlisted at Poplar, London, on 30th September 1914, aged 24, and served as a driver with the Royal Field Artillery, training at Preston, Lancashire. He was posted to 101 Battery R.F.A. (CI Battery in Roman numerals) and went to France from Southampton on 4th September 1915. The Battery served with the 22nd Division, a division that was almost immediately notified it would be deployed to Macedonia. The move was made after a period of training at Marseilles and James arrived at Salonika, Greece, at the beginning of December 1915.
On 19th July 1916, James Ellis was posted to 98th Brigade R.F.A. which was an administrative rather than a physical move as the 98th Brigade (XCVIII Brigade) was also within the 22nd Division. The Division was engaged at the Battle of Horseshoe Hill (10th – 18th August 1916; the Battle of Machukovo (13th – 14th September 1916) and the Battles of Doiran in April and May 1917.
For an overview of the fighting in Macedonia see Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail at:
In March 1918, James Ellis contracted malaria. He was treated from 22nd March 1918 at 60th General Hospital, Salonika, and was removed to Malta which was the location of numerous hospitals. He sailed for England in May 1918, arriving on the 22nd. He was treated at the Southern Command Malaria Concentration Centre at Larkhill. Once recovered, in June 1918 he was posted to 30th Brigade, a reserve R.F.A. brigade at Swanage, and then sent to France on 22nd September 1918 where he joined 32nd Brigade (XXXII) which had been serving with 4th Division throughout the war from 1914. James would have been in France at the time of the Division’s engagements at The Battle of the Canal du Nord; The Battle of the Selle and The Battle of Valenciennes during the advances of late 1918.
On 26th March 1919, James sailed for the UK from Havre, France, aboard SS “Duke of Clarence”. He was discharged from Aldershot on 3rd May 1919. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Julie
Date: Wednesday 20th April 2016 at 8:12 AM

Dear Alan,

Thank you so much. I was looking through some of my late mum's thinks and found a crucifix with his tag attached with his details. We actually knew little about him, so this information has been well received.

Thank you again

Posted by: Pete {Email left}
Location: Yorkshire
Date: Monday 18th April 2016 at 9:10 PM
Hello again Alan,
You will recall helping me last week with Frederick Cornish, and in my letter of thanks I mentioned his father Henry J Cornish. I have been searching for more information about him, and so far have been unsuccessful, so I wonder if I may call upon your skills once more.
All I have found is this - 1861 RG9 4479 P 6 7 April Census County
British Ships in Home Ports - Vessel name Wellesley. Number of guns 72
Moored in River Medway at Chatham Capt G Goldsmith C B
Henry J Cornish 15 1846 Boy 2nd Class Born St Clement Danes Middlesex

With kind regards

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 19th April 2016 at 5:09 PM

Dear Peter,
The parish of St Clement Danes relates to The Strand, London. It is one of the churches claiming the rhyme “Oranges and Lemons; the Bells of St Clements”. Henry John Cornish, born 30th August 1845 at St Clement Danes enlisted in the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class, aged 16, on 21st February 1861 at HMS Fisgard, Woolwich. He was 5ft tall; with dark complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. On 30th August 1863 (his eighteenth birthday) he agreed to serve 10 years as a man. However, it appears he did not continue to serve. His service record (ADM139/559.158) is blank. In 1861 HMS Wellesley was a receiving ship housing recruits at Chatham and moored in the river Medway. The UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1853-1928 for Henry Jno Cornish appears to record that he was with the training ship HMS St Vincent on 31st March 1866 and served three years as a man up to May 1867.

The 1841 census for Newcastle Street, off The Strand, London, recorded a house occupied in New Castle Street by a John Cornish, carpenter, born in Middlesex, aged 51. Ages above 15 in the 1814 census were rounded down to the nearest five, so the age of 51 was unusually recorded as being what appears to be an accurate age. John Cornish would have been born in 1790. The next entry appears to be his wife, Martha, who was aged 45 (born between 1791 -96) with the following residents: Henry Cornish, aged 20 (1816 – 1821) born Middlesex; Ann Cornish, 16; Thomas Cornish 14; Emma Cornish, 5. In the same house were Augusta Nettle, a servant, and three German musicians: Les Cahn; Christian Frisch; and Frederick Schneider. There was also John Harvey; 34, carrier (not born Middlesex); John Livett, 30, clerk; born Middlesex; Sarah Livett (wife?) 30; not born Middlesex; and Charles Livett; aged one, born Middlesex (England and Wales census, 1841; HO107; Piece no. 731; book 10; folio 5 page 2).
The Henry Cornish born in 1821 was the son of John Boon Cornish, a carpenter, and his wife Martha, and was baptised at St Giles Without Cripplegate on January 31st 1821; born 10th January 1821.
The 1851 census recorded a Martha Cornish, widow, aged 54, born at sea, British; carpenter (sic) living at Newcastle Street with an unmarried daughter, Ann, 25, dressmaker, and a married son, Henry, 30; mariner; with, Henry J. Cornish, aged 5, grandson, born Middlesex. The household also had an Irish servant Helen Vaughan and a widowed visitor named Albertine de la Ginandieu (indexed as “Ginandine”) from France (1851 census HO 107; piece 1511; folio 293; page 2).
From the censuses, Henry John Cornish, born 1845, appears to be the son of Henry Cornish, born about 1821. The 1861 census entry is the only record for Henry John Cornish serving in the Royal Navy with HMS Wellesley. In all the subsequent census records, Henry J. Cornish, born St Clement Danes, was recorded as a house painter. He married Letitia Josephine Walker at St Saviours Church, Upper Chelsea in 1869. They had six surviving sons, Herbert, Albert, Arthur, Henry, Walter and Frederick.
The family lived at Exeter Place, Chelsea, in 1871 and 1881 and at Surrey Lane, Battersea, in 1891 and 1901. Letitia died in January 1897; Henry John Cornish died in 1903.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Pete
Date: Tuesday 19th April 2016 at 9:07 PM

Hello again Alan,
Thank you so much for such a detailed history of Henry John Cornish and his family. It is a pity that there are no other records of his time at sea, even though it was so short.
You absolutely amaze me as to how much you can find in such a short time.
Thank you again,
Kind regards

Posted by: Tess {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Sunday 17th April 2016 at 9:33 PM
Hello Alan,
I am seeking, please, any record for Walter Robert Griffin. Born 1901 in Limehouse-Tower Hamlets
His family believe he was a PE instructor and something to do with secret Airfields but told them he had signed the official secret act and couldn't talk about it.

The nearest I can get is a Royal Tank Corps Enlistment Record for Walter Robert Griffin, son of Walter Griffin of 22 Oban Street, Poplar.Age 18, Birth year 1901. Birth parish: Stepney, London
Occupation: furniture maker. Royal Tank Corps Service number: 535860. Previous service number 78864 in 13th Hussars
Enlistment date: 01 Sep 1919 at Stratford
Discharged: 31.08.1931 at Canterbury, Kent under Kings Regulations Para 497 (vii)
Rank on discharge: Tpr = Trooper?. Character on discharge=Good
Remarks: B108:- 13/18/H/594 = no idea!

This might be the right man - but doesn't accord with what they know - and doesn't sound like a secret life?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 17th April 2016 at 10:32 PM

Dear Tess,
Records of men who served after 1920 are held by the Ministry of Defence and are protected by the Data Protection Act. The MoD will conduct a search for £30 and release certain information to next-of-kin or general enquirers who can provide proof of the serviceman’s death. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Tess
Date: Sunday 17th April 2016 at 10:58 PM

Thanks Alan,
A helpful note. I will pass this information on to the relatives.
Posted by: Charlie Cockerline {Email left}
Location: St Thomas Ontario Canada
Date: Saturday 16th April 2016 at 12:14 AM
Hi Alan:
Now for something completely different. I am researching Nurse Cockerline employed at the Chesterton Union Workhouse infirmary (in Chesterton, Cambridgeshire I think) who requests termination of her employment as of Saturday, March 28, 1914 in order to take up a new position at the "British Hospital" in France. And that is where my information dries up. This from a newspaper item: Cambridge Independent Press, 27 March, 1914, p. 8.
I was hoping you might know of where to look for photos/images of old workhouses and possibly the whereabouts of nursing records of those who served in France. I's searching for the proverbial needle. Any tips would be most welcome.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 16th April 2016 at 7:48 PM

Dear Charlie,
You would be very fortunate to find biographical records relating to a British nurse who was employed in France before the outbreak of the First World War. There is no evidence nurse Cockerline remained in France during the War, nor is there evidence for which nursing service might have employed her. So, some analytical vigour needs to be applied.
In 1913, The Cambridge Independent Press of Friday 26th December 1913 stated the Chesterton Board of Guardians had received a letter from the Local Government Board sanctioning the appointment of Miss Cockerline as a nurse at the Chesterton Workhouse (© Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror, courtesy British Library Board via British Newspaper Archive). Three months later, nurse Cockerline sought termination of her employment at Chesterton as of Saturday, March 28, 1914, in order to take up a new position at the “British Hospital” in France.
In March 1915, the Exeter Workhouse in Devonshire appointed a Miss A.S. Cockerline, aged 27, of Hull, as a nurse. She held a midwifery certificate (Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Wednesday 10 March 1915 © Local World Limited; ibid). In May 1915, the governors of the Exeter Workhouse received nurse Cockerline’s resignation from her post as an assistant nurse because she had accepted a position for which she had applied before joining the Exeter Workhouse (Western Times - Wednesday 19 May 1915 © Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror; ibid).
The 1911 census of England and Wales recorded an Ada Sophia Cockerline, born at Weeton, East Yorkshire, who was employed as a 24 year old asylum nurse at the East Riding Lunatic Asylum, Walkington, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire. The 1891 census recorded her as the daughter of George Cockerline, a farm bailiff, and Leah Cockerline, living in a cottage at Weeton Road, Welwick, Patrington, East Riding of Yorkshire. Welwick is a village close to Weeton. The General Register Office recorded the birth of Ada Sophia Cockerline at Patrington district in 1887 (GRO Births April – June 1887, Patrington, Yorkshire East Riding, volume 9d; page 306). Yorkshire was divided into three geographical areas, known as “ridings”, each of which formed a separate administrative county. The East Riding of Yorkshire was centred on the port of Hull and the county town of Beverley.
An Ada Sophia Cockerline married George H. Moore at Chelmsford, Essex, in 1917 (GRO Marriages July-September 1917, Chelmsford, Essex, Volume 4a; page 1147). Ada Sophia Moore died in 1971 (GRO Deaths July-September 1971, age at death 84; date of birth 16th March 1887; Holderness, Yorkshire East Riding, volume 2a; Page 274). Patrington registration district was absorbed by Holderness district in 1937. Holderness is the coastal and agricultural area of the East Riding.

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, female nursing services were not rudimentary but did rely on skilled improvisation and widespread voluntary effort. British nurses in France could be volunteers of the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Voluntary Aid Detachments, or they could be enlisted in the uniformed military nursing organisations of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAINMS); the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) QAIMNS(R); or the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS).
Most individual records of British military nurses were destroyed during the German bombing of London in 1940. Records of volunteer nurses of the Red Cross and the Voluntary Aid Detachments trained by the St John Ambulance have not survived in their entirety.
According to the newspaper article, Nurse Cockerline left the Chesterton workhouse in March 1914. Details of the Chesterton workhouse can be seen at:
Cambridge Archives holds the workhouse Guardians’ minutes which might record her letter requesting her release in more detail but it is unlikely any individual workhouse staff records have survived. The infirmary of a workhouse was available to the general public, not just to workhouse inmates, and served as a local hospital.
The newspaper article was published in March 1914, five months before the outbreak of the Great War, so the “British Hospital” would have been a pre-war, civilian, establishment; which by its nature implied it would have been operated by a charitable organisation.
The British Hospital Association had been founded by 1904 to establish charitable hospitals through the work of Conrad Thies, secretary of the Royal Free Hospital in London, but many countries had an establishment named “The British Hospital”. The most likely locations for a British Hospital in France in 1914 would be the capital, Paris, and the French Mediterranean coast which had a British expatriate community and a large seasonal British population escaping the English winter months for the warmer French winter season: “la saison hivernale”. Queen Victoria made the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) on the Mediterranean sea a fashionable destination. On her first visits to Nice in 1895 and 1896 the Queen stayed in the Grand Hôtel in Cimiez above Nice. On her next three visits she stayed in the Excelsior Hôtel Regina, Cimiez, which had been built with royal requirements in mind. The Queen travelled with a staff of one hundred people.
While the “British Hospital” in France is a vague reference, it was probably the British Hospital in western Paris. It was formally named the Hertford British Hospital and had been founded in 1871 by Sir Richard Wallace for the medical and surgical treatment of “indigent [needy] and sick British nationals in and around Paris”. It was named after Sir Richard’s father, the 4th Marquess of Hertford. The Hertford British Hospital retains some original buildings which were opened on its site at Levallois-Perret outside the Fort de Champerret, Neuilly-sur-Seine, in 1879. The hospital is still active as the Institut Hospitalier Franco-Britannique. The hospital is administered from the Hertford British Hospital Corporation, 3 Rue Barbes, Levallois-Perrett, Paris, France, 92300.
Another “British Hospital” in France was the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital at Mont Boron in Nice on the Mediterranean Coast (Hôpital Anglais au Col de Nice) which opened in 1906. It was the first facility to be offered to the French at the outbreak of war in 1914.
There was also the Sunny Bank Hospital in Cannes, established in 1892 “for the treatment of grave medical and surgical cases of illness occurring in the families of residents for the Season, and visitors to the hotels”. It was demolished on 8th April 1997.
If nurse Cockerline was in fact Ada Sophia Cockerline, she might have remained employed by the “British Hospital” in France in 1914, or she might have returned to the U.K. to serve at Exeter in 1915, or joined a uniformed nursing service. Had she married in 1917, subsequent records would be in her married surname which would have been Moore.
The first volunteer nurses in Belgium and France were known as “dressers” because they dressed wounds. The earliest to arrive from England were in Brussels, Belgium, by 14th August 1914, with a small Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross who had to escape when Brussels was captured by the Germans on August 16th 1914. Another early group was founded by Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland, who arranged for an ambulance unit bearing her name to be sent to Namur in Belgium. This group was over-run by the Germans, while caring for wounded Belgian soldiers before managing to return to Britain via the Netherlands. In France, wartime nursing needs in French Army military hospitals were first met by British certificated nurses in the French Flag Nursing Corps, founded in October, 1914, by an English lady educated in France. The central body of the Red Cross in London co-ordinated and expedited the various units accepted by the French, to prevent overlapping and waste and, in conjunction with the Anglo-French Committee of the British Red Cross and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, checked the credentials of volunteers. The first offer made to the French Government was that of the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital at Nice in August, 1914. Then, two complete hospital units under the charge of women surgeons left England for France by September 12th 1914.
British Military general hospitals and stationary hospitals were established on the West coast of France, first at Rouen but eventually at 61 locations in France by the end of 1914. The hospitals were named or numbered and the numbering ran into the 80s. These military hospitals of the Royal Army Medical Corps were supplemented by charitable hospitals such as the British Hospital at the Chateau d’Arc-en-Barrois, in a small village located in the north east of France in the Haut-Marne département of the Champagne-Ardenne. This was the Hôpital Temporaire d’Arc-en-Barrois which was managed by Miss Madeleine Bromley-Martin during the War. At the end of 1914, there was discussion about providing hospitals for British officers at Nice, Cannes and Monaco on the French Riviera.
The American Red Cross was also very active in France and Flanders.
The best online over-view of military nursing is the Scarlet Finders website at:
The U.K. National Archives has a research-guide which links to various resources, but none of them record a nurse named by her maiden name, Cockerline. The guide is at:
The British Red Cross museum will conduct searches of records for a minimum donation of £10. See:
There was an Ada Moore who served with the French Red Cross. The only record is a medal record card. See:
And there was an Ada Moore who served in the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (1917 -1918) which provided cooks, waiting staff and workers. See:
However, Ada Moore is a frequently occurring name and there is no indication these names relate to one and the same person.
Given the lack of initial information about nurse Cockerline, the detail presented here has been suggested in good faith and is offered for general purposes. It is not possible to warrant the accuracy or completeness of this information.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Pete {Email left}
Location: Yorkshire
Date: Wednesday 13th April 2016 at 10:49 PM
Dear Alan
I would be most grateful if you can give me any information about Frederick Cornish. It would appear that he served in both the Navy --British Royal Navy Seamen 1899-1924 Frederick Cornish Service number 230718 Birth date 26 Feb 1888 Birth place Battersea, London and then in the RAF for the period of WW1. I am not sure what happened to him during that time, as I have not traced him in later years.

Many thanks,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 14th April 2016 at 7:35 PM

Dear Pete,
Frederick Cornish enlisted in the Royal Navy on 17th May 1904, aged 16. He was 5ft 4ins; had black hair, blue eyes and a dark complexion. He trained as a Boy Second Class at Torpoint, Devon, on HMS Lion. On 5th December 1904 he was rated Boy First Class. On 5th February 1906 he joined HMS Ocean on which he served in the Mediterranean and Home waters until June 1908 when he was based at Chatham. He was rated Ordinary Seaman on 26th February 1906, which was his eighteenth birthday, when he started 12 years continuous service as a man. Eleven months later he was rated Able Seaman in January 1907. He was based at Chatham until 23rd September 1908. He then served on HMS Cadmus in the Far East. In the 1911 census he was recorded on board HMS Cadmus “in harbour” in China. From 12th October 1911 he joined the shore station “Tamar” at Hong Kong. He spent three months administered by Tamar and a few weeks on HMS Kent before returning to the UK at the end of 1911. In March 1912 he joined HMS Glory (Home Fleet, the Nore, Thames estuary) for a year. From June to November 1913 he was with HMS Endeavour (survey ship). He was administered by Chatham until April 15th 1914 when he was again with Endeavour until 5th February 1915, probably at the Nore, Thames estuary. He then joined HMS Forward for three weeks with the 7th Destroyer Flotilla in the Humber.
From 25th March 1915 he served with the Royal Naval Air Service. He was rated Air Mechanic Class 1 on 5th June 1915; then Leading Mechanic (15th December 1916) and then Petty Officer Mechanic from 1st August 1917. It appears he spent from 1915 to the end of 1917 with the R.N.A.S. in the “E.M. Sqdn” which would have been in the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron that was later re-named the Aegean Squadron. His R.N.A.S. record does not identify any ships or bases.
At the end of 1917, Frederick returned to England and he was at Crystal Palace and Wormwood Scrubs, London, from January to March 1918. Wormwood Scrubs (the open space, not the prison) had been the site of an airship base since 1910. The Daily Mail Airship Garage was built shortly afterwards on the site of what is now the Linford Christie Stadium. In the Great War there was a Wormwood Scrubs Royal Naval Air Station and its airship shed was used to train RNAS armoured car crews. Curiously, the Royal Naval Air Service operated Rolls Royce armoured cars intended for rescuing downed air-crew from enemy territory. Wormwood Scrubs was also home to what became the R.A.F.’s No. 10 Mechanical Transport Repair Depot, so it would be logical that Frederick was working on Mechanical Transport at Wormwood Scrubs just before and after the formation of the R.A.F. in April 1918.
On April 1st 1918 the R.N.A.S. and the Royal Flying Corps became the newly-formed Royal Air Force. Frederick Cornish served with the R.A.F. until January 1919 when he reverted to the Royal Navy until 29th April 1920.
On Friday 26th September 1919, Goddard and Smith Auctioneers offered on behalf of the Ministry of Munitions a Leyland and Peerless mobile Workshop (Peerless was a U.S. chassis manufacturer); a Leyland Ambulance; a Clement-Talbot Wagonette; and a number of second-hand motor lorries; tenders and vans by Maudsley; Peerless; A.E.C.; Crossley and Ford, for auction at 11 a.m. precisely at No 10 M.T. Repair Depot (Royal Air Force) Wormwood Scrubs (The Times [London] 23rd September 1919: page 18; via The Times Digital Archive.) And so began the British road haulage industry.
Records of individuals in the Royal Air Force are available at The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, or online via the (pay as you go) website. I am unable to transcribe any information from that website as it would be a breach of their terms and conditions.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Pete
Date: Friday 15th April 2016 at 10:12 PM

Hello Alan, Many thanks for this wonderful description of Frederick's service. It just amazes me as to how quickly and efficiently you manage to retrieve all the information for us.
It really does fill in a good part of his life history. I have now discovered that his father Henry J Cornish born 1845 also went to sea as a boy.

Once again, many thanks


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