The World War Forum (Page 34)

The forum currently has 318 pages with a total of 3176 messages
-10  Prev Page  30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38  Next Page  10+

Posted by: Molly {Email left}
Location: South Yorks
Date: Sunday 6th March 2016 at 7:47 AM
I am trying to find out about my great uncle Gunner Patrick Meleady who died in 1918 and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery Dublin.
Thank you
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 6th March 2016 at 4:43 PM

Dear Molly,
No individual service record has survived for Patrick Meleady, so it is not possible to state his military service. An Army medal roll recorded he served as Gunner 656798 in the Royal Field Artillery and he qualified for the British War Medal and Victory medal for serving overseas. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service overseas before December 31st 1915, he did not serve abroad until some date after January 1st 1916. He wrote his will on April 7th 1918 leaving his effects to his mother, so he might not have gone abroad until 1918. He died on 15th January 1919 at the “King George Hospital”. The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects recorded he was a repatriated prisoner of war who died in London. However, I have been unable to find any surviving record for him in the International Red Cross P.O.W. archive. He was born on Easter Sunday, April 10th 1898, the son of Bernard and Ellen Meleady. Patrick appears to have died at the King George Hospital that was a war hospital on Stamford Street, London, SE1. His death certificate appears to be Patrick Meleady, male, born 1898, died Jan-Mar 1919, Lambeth, London, Volume 1D page 307. It can be ordered from:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Molly
Date: Sunday 6th March 2016 at 5:18 PM

Thank you so very much Alan.
It is wonderful of you to have sourced this very valuable information so quickly.
Is there anywhere I might look to find out where he was held as a Prisoner of War and what happened to him to precipitate his being taken into St George's Hospital and his death shortly after this? Might the hospital hold records?
Is it normal for a soldiers War Records to not be in existence?
Once more thank you so much.
Kind Regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 6th March 2016 at 7:32 PM

Dear Molly,
You would be fortunate to find further records for Patrick Meleady. The majority of soldiers’ records were completely destroyed in 1940 during the London blitz when the War Office repository in Arnside Street, Walworth, was bombed on September 8th 1940. Prisoner of War records were kept in the form of index cards and paper registers by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. Not all soldiers’ details were forwarded to the Red Cross and not all records have survived through the past century. The ICRC digital archive at
can be searched online. However the surnames are not indexed alphabetically but phonetically. I have been unable to find a record for Patrick Meleady.
The King George Hospital was a war-time auxiliary war hospital run by the Red Cross and St John’s Voluntary Aid Detachments in London Command and ceased functioning in June 1919. The majority of such military hospital records were destroyed after the war although a small fraction survived and are held at the UK National Archives in Catalogue Reference MH 106, which does not include King George Hospital. Even if they have survived somewhere, medical records are generally not open to public view for 100 years. If military hospital records have survived they could be in the Wellcome Library or one of the university special collections. The Wellcome collection of war hospital records is shown at:
During the Second World War many archived records were re-cycled to alleviate the paper shortages.
Patrick could have been admitted to hospital when he was repatriated or he might have been infected during the flu pandemic of late 1918. His death certificate will give the cause of death. There is a history of the King George Hospital at:
and there is a general article on wartime hospital records at:
With kind regards,
Reply from: John Meleady
Date: Saturday 9th April 2016 at 7:50 PM

Hi Molly,

We must be cousins.I remember visiting Moss Side to see your family in the late 60's or early 70's .I have one of Patrick Meleady's war medals which I inherited from my father Barney Meleady.I believe it is the Victory medal On the rim of it is the following information '101554 G N R P. Meleady. R.A.'I also have a copy of a photograph of Patrick Meleady in uniform and a copy of his commemoration scroll.He is remembered on the Glasnevin Cemetery war memorial near the front gate on the Finglas Road. The Cross of Sacrifice was erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Many thanks Alan for the above information and research. I was unaware of most of the information you have kindly provided.
Best wishes,
John Meleady
Reply from: Molly
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 6:44 PM

Dear John,
We are cousins, my grandfather was your father's brother and you visited my mum when she was a little girl ( Chrissy Meleady MBE) as you said, after she had come over from Dublin with her mum and her brothers and sisters to England to her maternal grandparents house in Hulton Street.
I would love to be able to see the items you referenced and to catch up with you on other areas we have uncovered this end too, with the kind help of Conor from Glasenevin and others if you would like to do this to.
I am not sure Alan, whether you have a mechanism of passing on private details through another avenue other than through this public one, that you so brilliantly deliver?
I am now searching up where he might have been held as a Prisoner of War during WW1 and the conditions there, as best I can.
Thank you John for coming back to me and sharing the information as you have done and thank you once more Alan for your expert input to.
Best Wishes
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 7:16 PM

Dear Molly,
Not all replies to messages have an e-mail address so the site editor might not have a contact for John. Please see the instructions at the top of page 1 of the Forum for contacting other people.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Molly
Date: Saturday 2nd June 2018 at 1:01 PM

Dear Alan,
I found a further link to Patrick Meleady.
He is featured in the Dedication of the Cross of Sacrifice
by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins
and centenary commemoration of the First World War
attended by HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent,
President, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
31 July 2014 which can be sourced at:-

I am continuing to try, through the leads you very kindly shared with me, to find out about his internment in a POW Camp etc.
Many Thanks once more for all your expert assistance
Best Wishes

Posted by: Karen {Email left}
Location: France
Date: Saturday 5th March 2016 at 12:23 AM
Hi Alan,

i am trying to find info on a Harry Southworth b 1896 Liverpool, who won a military medal in WW1
i cant trace service records on ancestry; so im guessing there are none, and the info fro the military medal citation is 427938 pioneer H Southworth, Div. Signal Coy att RFA which i now think means division signals company attached to royal field artillery (althought no. on the citation actually is written 437938 i am presuming it was a typing error, as the newsclip i have also states the first one).

but i have a possible medal roll card that matches the number on his medal citation
which states corps RFA rank ?gnr 676038
-..- (T) 2695
R E 427938
under medals victory and british RE/101B 164or 1b4 page-38764

Harry Southworth
Regiment or Corps:
Royal Field Artillery, Royal Field Artillery, Royal Engineers
Regimental Number:
676038, 2695, 427938

i would attach the jpegs but i dont seem to be able to.
i remember my grandfather telling me he rode horses, and later motorbike , laying cables i believe in France; or conveying messages ??

i think i am trying to find out perhaps what part of the army he may have been in regiment or ?? the army and war is not quite my area of expertise.
if you can shed any light for me i would be grateful ( his father was john southworth b 1866)
kindest regards
Karen Southworth
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 5th March 2016 at 2:53 PM

Dear Karen,
Citations for the Military Medal were presented to the soldier to be held with the actual medal and were not published nationally, so there is not a public record of how or where he won the medal. The awards were promulgated in the official Government publication The London Gazette some months after the event. The award of the Military Medal for Harry Southworth was published in the Gazette on July 23rd 1919. It stated he served with the 57th Division Signal Company and he lived in Liverpool.
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.
The 57th Division Signal Company served with the 57th Division in France from February 1917. See:
The war diaries of 57 Division Signal Company might name medal recipients. They are available to download (charges apply) from
With kind regards,
Reply from: Karen
Date: Sunday 6th March 2016 at 3:54 PM

Thank you so much for this info,
I shall have a look into what you have given me.
great forum, and so helpful.
all the best;

Posted by: Jan1910 {Email left}
Location: Craigavon
Date: Friday 4th March 2016 at 9:41 PM

Can you help me with a problem I cannot find out. the details below are the details are those of my Great Uncle, my grandfather was told that my G uncle got killed when a shell landed on them, I am trying to see if I can put him on the Martinsart Road on 28th Jun, where he may have got wounded and later died of wounds or killed instead of the 1 Jul.

Any help would be appreciated.


Name: Francis Cheevers

Birth Place: Cookstown, Co. Tyrone

Residence: Killyleagh, Co. Down

Death Date: 1 Jul 1916

Death Location: France & Flanders

Enlistment Location: Downpatrick, Co. Down

Rank: Rifleman

Regiment: Royal Irish Rifles

Battalion: 13th Battalion (C Company)

Number: 13/17434

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Theatre of War: Western European Theatre
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 5th March 2016 at 2:52 PM

Dear Jan,
On the evening of the 28th June 1916, the 13th Battalion R.I.R. was relieving a battalion in Thiepval Wood, and marching out of Martinsart by platoons. As 11 Platoon (of C Company) and Battalion HQ were about to set off, a single shell fell amongst them. Fourteen were killed immediately, and ten more died later. Many more were wounded. The CWGC Debt of Honour records the details of the 14 men and one other of the 13th Battalion R.I.R. who were killed on June 28th 1916 and buried in Martinsart British Cemetery which was created on the occasion of their deaths. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” named seven men of the battalion who died on June 29th and two who died on June 30th. The records, therefore, named the 14 men who died immediately and the ten who died later. Rifleman Francis Cheevers is not among those named as being killed on June 28th or the two days before July 1st.
The Register of Soldiers’ Effects and the Army medal rolls both recorded Francis Cheevers was “presumed dead on or since July 1st 1916”. He has no marked grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
Had he died of wounds after June 28th, it would be expected the Register of Soldiers’ Effects would have recorded where he had died of wounds, such as a casualty clearing station or hospital, and he would probably have been buried in a marked grave; although many graves were afterwards destroyed beyond identification in artillery bombardments. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” would also have recorded him as having “died of wounds” and not “killed in action”.
The British artillery fired 250,000 shells on July 1st 1916 and the enemy retaliated with their own artillery barrages on the same day.
Documentation after such a major engagement of July 1st 1916 was not necessarily complete or accurate despite the great lengths taken by the Directorate of Graves Registration & Enquiries (DGR&E) to locate graves and identify the dead. Many battlefield graves on the Somme were destroyed in subsequent fighting and that could have led to the entry on the Thiepval Memorial for Francis Cheevers being one of the missing. The official record states Rifleman Cheevers was presumed dead “on or since” July 1st. Had he been wounded on June 28th the medical authorities would have known of his whereabouts and his death, and he would not have been “presumed dead”, unless his grave or grave marker had been destroyed afterwards. Normally, a man who was presumed dead was someone who had failed to answer his name at the next roll call and had died in No Man’s Land or some other inaccessible place and could not be accounted for or identified.
“Soldiers Died in the Great War” recorded 227 men of the 13th Royal Irish Rifles were killed on July 1st 1916; two died on July 2nd and none died on July 3rd.
Anecdotal evidence from family members is often impossible to substantiate and might have been influenced by collective memory; written histories; or word of mouth without written evidence. So the jury is remains out. Grandfather might be correct. The contemporary records indicate otherwise.
The war diary of the 13th Battalion R.I.R. can be purchased (£3.45) to download from:
A report about July 1st 1916 is reproduced at:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jan
Date: Saturday 5th March 2016 at 10:37 PM


Thank you so much, this does make a lot of sense to me, it just that I can find no record of 11 platoon taking part on the 1st Jul and thought that perhaps he had died earlier, he must have joined one of the other platoons. I have the 13 RIR War diary and quite a few of the other 36 Div, I am researching them all at the moment, I have visited Theipval many times, in fact when I go in May it will be my 16th time. I am planning to follow the movements of the 13th Battalion from Boulogne on their journey right through to the 1st of July. If you have any thoughts please share, I would like to visit and see if anything remains of the billets, or locations they trained at.

Thank you again.
Posted by: Proudgrandchild {Email left}
Location: Canterbury
Date: Friday 4th March 2016 at 10:18 AM
Please can anyone help me I am trying to find details of my grandfather who I am told served in the Royal Scots Greys during the first world war, his name was James Aloysius Fowler He achieved rank of seargent I believe and was awarded a Tsar medal and Connaught? left the army in 1922 after serving in the Great War and then Palestine, he was I believe a bandmaster then was at Shornciffe Barracks looking after the houses etc there
the reason for the search is that my father really wants to know why he got the Tzar medal and more of his military history, it seems odd too as I am in a band love music ride horses and have a penchant for greys! I never knew my grandfather he died suddenly 1955 but I too would love to know more about him.
He was born in London and married my grandmother after meeting her in tidmouth?
Any help would be most appreciated.thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 4th March 2016 at 4:57 PM

If James Fowler served after the First World War his service record will not be in the public domain and would be held by the Ministry of Defence. It is possible to apply for service records for a fee of £30. See:
There was an acting sergeant James Fowler, D/711, who served in the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) who 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 would not have served overseas until some date after January 1st 1916. It is not clear what the “Tsar Medal” was but it might have been the St George Medal of which more than a million were awarded between 1914 and 1917. The St. George Medal came in four classes with “gold” medallions for the 1st and 2nd class and “silver” medallions for 3rd and 4th classes. A bow on the ribbon denoted 1st class and 3rd class. The medal was awarded for merit to other Allied soldiers as well as Russians. The obverse showed the bust of the reigning Emperor with his title but after the Revolution and during the time of the Provisional Government (March - November 1917), the bust of the Emperor was replaced by St George slaying the dragon. The reverse was numbered and had the words “for bravery”. The 2nd Dragoons did not serve in Russia so the award would probably have been a reciprocal reward for acts of merit for which medals were exchanged between Allied nations to foster allegiance and gratitude.
The award of the Russian St George Medal was published in the official British Government publication “The London Gazette” in alphabetical lists for each of the four orders, each time the medals were awarded under a heading which stated: “The following Russian Decorations and Medals have been awarded at various dates for distinguished services rendered during the course of the Campaign. His Majesty the King has given unrestricted permission in all cases to wear the Decorations and Medals in question.” The actual decoration was entrusted to the Army Council and sent to soldier via his local army record office. The Gazette can be searched online at:
However, I have not found an entry for James Aloysius Fowler.
No citations were published for the medal although the soldier’s service record might indicate when it was awarded.
The Duke of Connaught’s Jubilee Medal was a jewel of the Masonic Order issued in 1917 to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the formation of the first Grand Lodge. It was in white metal with a crown over the Duke’s head.
The 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) reversed their title in 1921 to The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons). In the First World War they served in the 5th Cavalry Brigade of the 2nd Cavalry Division. See Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Proudgrandchild
Date: Monday 7th March 2016 at 7:28 AM

Thank you so much this is really helpful and informative.
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at 11:41 AM
Hi Alan,
I hope you can help me with a question that has just occurred to me.
I have been researching a 2nd LT L F Struben, formerly of the Dragoon Guards (Cheshire Rgt) attch to the RFC. I have found he was flying in Sopwith 11/2 strutter A882 from LXX squadron based at Fienvillers in France on 16th November 1916 and he failed to return to base on that day. He was posted as "missing" but casualty cards indicate this was amended to "Killed in Action" a week later.
My question is , as the plane he was flying in was a two seater, was he the pilot or observer and was the other member of the crew killed also, if so what was his name??.

On a different tack, but still related to Fienvillers airfield, I believe a water colour painting of the Airfield was
made by Walter P Starmer, have you any idea how I could get a print of this painting?
Thanks once again for your assistance and ongoing patience with my enquiries.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at 7:59 PM

Dear David,
In the mid-1800s the Struben family from Germany emigrated to South Africa. Hendrik Wilhelm Struben (1840 – 1915) called himself Harry. His brother, Frederick Pine Theophilus Struben stated he was born at Pietermaritzburg, Natal, in 1851. He went by the name Fred. The two brothers acquired the Sterkfontein and Wilgespruit farms in the 1880s where they established the Sterkfontein Junction Gold Mining Company. Fred retired to Devon where he died in 1931, aged 80 on his estate at Spitchwick Manor, Ashburton.
Oberleutnant Stefan Kirmaier was born at Lachen in Bavaria on 28th July 1889. He was 25 when the war started and was posted to the 8th Infantrie Regiment before he joined the Imperial German Army Air Service (Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches) in 1915. He first flew with FA(A)203 (Fliegerabteilung 203 (Artillerie) or General Purpose flying unit 203 (artillery)) at Jametz. He scored his first three victories in July 1916 while attached to KEK Jametz which was a newly formed Kampfeinsitzer Kommando (single-seat battle unit) abbreviated as "KEK" within the re-named Deutschen Luftstreitkräfte (German Air Force). On 5th October 1916 he was appointed to fly a fighter under the command of Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke, who was the leading fighter pilot of the day and commanded Jasta 2 (Jagdstaffel 2) of the new Jagdstaffeln "hunting squadrons". Manfred von Richthofen was among the Jasta 2 pilots under Boelcke. When Boelcke was killed in an air collision on October 28 1916, Kirmaier took command of Jasta 2 as Staffelfuhrer (Squadronleader) but did not alter Boelcke’s tactics of aggressive formation flying known as the “Dicta Boelcke”. While in command, Kirmaier scored four more victories, all in November 1916. Jasta 2 was stationed at Bertincourt, Somme, between 27th August and 24th September 1916. It then moved to Lagnicourt until 5th December 1916.
In the afternoon of November 16th 1916, Oberleutnant Stefan Kirmaier took off from Jasta 2’s airfield at Lagnicourt in an Albatross (D.I or D.II) and started patrolling to the south of Bancourt, near Bapaume, Pas de Calais, when, at 3.15 p.m., he spotted a Sopwith “one and a half” Strutter bi-plane (the first British aircraft to enter service with a synchronised machine gun) flying over the area, occupied by the Germans. It was A3432 (sic) of 70 Squadron Royal Flying Corps. On this occasion the Strutter was being flown by one of the youngest and earliest Serjeant-pilots of the Royal Flying Corps. The observer was Second-lieutenant Leicester Frederick Struben of the 7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards, attached to the Royal Flying Corps. Kirmaier succeeded in shooting down the Strutter near Bancourt. On 22nd November 1916 Kirmaier died in action from a bullet through the head fired by either John Oliver Andrews or Kelvin Crawford. Kirmaier was awarded the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern.
Second-lieutenant Leicester Frederick Struben was posted as missing and was recorded as being killed in action “on or since November 16th 1916” in the Register of Soldier’s Effects.
The records are somewhat confused as the Dutch website “Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog”, First World War Forum for the Netherlands and Flanders, stated the aircraft shot down by Kirmaier on 16th November 1916 was A3432. See:
This aircraft was also listed with Sgt R S Evans and 2/Lt L P (sic) Struben at:
The same website lists A882 in 70 Squadron with 2/Lt E B Mason and 2/LT L F Struben. The CWGC does not list an E B Mason as being killed, so this was probably an earlier partnership in A882.
A list of the Observers of 70 Squadron who were killed recorded L.F. Struben as an observer.
If Struben was the observer, then Sgt R.S. Evans would have been the pilot.
I have identified him as Robert Stonell Evans, aged 18, who was killed in action on 16th November 1916 and was buried in the civil cemetery of Bancourt commune in Pas de Calais. There are only seven war graves in the cemetery. The CWGC Debt of Honour recorded: “Son of Robert and Isabel Evans, of 10, Marina Crescent, Herne Bay, Kent. One of the first Serjeant Pilots in the R.F.C.”. His mother, Mrs I.C. Evans, chose the words: “The eternal God is our refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms” to be engraved on his headstone. It is a biblical quote from Deuteronomy 33:27.
Leicester Frederick Struben, of Kya Lami, Torquay, (from Kyalami, meaning My home in Zulu) and later of Spitchwick Manor, Ashburton, was born in the Torquay district in 1893, the son of Frederick Pine Theophilus Struben and his wife Mabel (née Dicey) who came from Walmer in Kent. They had married in 1890. Leicester Struben was educated at Eton. He left in 1911. In 1906 and 1912 he had travelled to Cape Town with his parents and at some stage after leaving Eton he served as a Trooper in the Mounted Rifles, South African Defence Force. On August 25th 1914 he was appointed as a University Candidate to a Second Lieutenancy in the Cheshire Regiment. His appointment was also described as “among the candidates from the self-governing Dominions and Crown Colonies”. In December 1914, Leicester F. Struben from the Cheshire Regiment was appointed to the 7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards as a Second-lieutenant (London Gazette 15 December 1914 page 10772). He was seconded to the R.F.C. and on November 1st 1916 was promoted to Lieutenant whilst seconded, but the Gazette promulgating the appointment was not published until December 1917.
2/Lt Struben was 23 when he died. His grave today is at Bancourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. However, that cemetery was not begun until 1918 and it is likely that he was among the graves of the three Beaulencourt Road cemeteries on the North-East side of Gueudecourt which had contained the graves of 88 soldiers from the United Kingdom who died in the autumn of 1916, or Cloudy Trench Cemetery, Gueudecourt, that had contained the graves of 40 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in October or November, 1916. These graves were moved to Bancourt British Cemetery after the war. The CWGC states that Bancourt was occupied by the Commonwealth forces in March 1917, so the two men were probably buried by the Germans. Probate was granted to his father in 1920 and his effects were £4,026 which is today’s equivalent of a quarter of a million pounds.
The story of the founding of the Witwatersrand by Fred Struben, and the Gold Rush in general, was told in “Out of the Crucible” by Hedley A. Chilvers, published in 1929 and in “The Romance of the Golden Rand” by Dr William McDonald, Cassell, 1933, which has as its frontispiece a portrait of Frederick Pine Theophilus Struben. See also the Johannesburg pioneers web-page at:
Walter Percival Starmer (1871 – 1961) was with the Red Cross in France and Flanders. The author Alan Walker has managed to track down and reproduce several of the paintings Starmer made when serving with the Red Cross on the Western Front. The book about the life and work of “Walter P Starmer” by Alan Walker includes many prints from the war paintings. It has 80 colour and 46 monochrome illustrations. Published April 2015, ISBN-10: 0956951813. It is available from Amazon and other sources for £22.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Tuesday 1st March 2016 at 7:47 PM
Alan,I wonder if you could clarify something about Cpl 1316 Frank Hankinson of the Lancashire Husars.We have it that he died in the Third Scottish Hospital,Glasgow from an unknown accident and he is interred in in St.Ann's Churchyard,Rainhill with aninscription on the family headstone that says "died in the service of his country". However we also have a note that he is commemorated on the Thiepval Monument,this can't be correct can it ?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at 7:57 PM

Dear Brian,
The Imperial War Graves Commission’s grave record for St Ann’s Churchyard, Rainhill (undated) was compiled by Major H.T. Stanham, of what was then the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries. It recorded Frank Hankinson had been buried in a plot in St Ann’s churchyard identified as N.C. 640; P.P.; Pr; which indicated it was in plot 640 marked by a Private Permanent Memorial (P.P.) and was a Private Grave (Pr) with rights of exclusive burial acquired by a private individual (his father Alfred). N.C. might have referred to an area of the churchyard. The Parish register of burials of St Ann’s Church recorded simply grave 640. Readers may be interested in the photograph of the headstone on your website:
The burial register of St Ann’s, Rainhill, recorded Frank Hankinson of Waterworks Cottage, Rainhill, was buried in grave 640 on 20th April 1916 (which was the Thursday before Good Friday in 1916). In the column to indicate who took the ceremony (probably the Rev. Swainson) it read: “certified under the Burial Laws Amendment Act by Alfred Hankinson”. That probably referred to an 1880 ruling that an order of a coroner or certificate of registrar could be delivered to relative instead of the person who performed the burial, as Alfred had registered the death in Glasgow on 18th April 1916 and presumably had accompanied the coffin by train to Rainhill carrying with him the Scottish death certificate.
There are two primary, documentary, sources of evidence proving Frank was buried in a grave at St Ann’s, Rainhill in April 1916.
The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing related to those who died in the Somme sector in France before the 20th of March 1918 and have no known grave. Frank Hankinson died in Scotland in April 1916 and has a grave in which he was buried some weeks before The Battles of the Somme had started on 1st July 1916.
The grave headstone at St Ann’s, Rainhill, states his age was 32, whereas the CWGC Debt of Honour recorded him as aged 29 (purportedly born in 1887). The Glasgow hospital stated he was 31 when he died. There were two boys named Frank Hankinson whose births were registered in the Prescot registration district of Lancashire in the 1880s and they were in 1884 and 1887. It seems probable from the age on the grave headstone that Frank was born in 1884.
The 1891 census showed the family living at St Helens Road, Sutton, St Helens, with Frank aged 6, born at Sutton in about 1885. Frank was the son of Alfred and Ellen who recorded one son, Samuel, being born in Derbyshire, where Ellen originated. It was common for mother’s to have their confinement at a close relative’s home, where older women were experienced in births (GRO Births: Samuel Smedley Hankinson, registered July-September 1882, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, Volume 7b page 631).
In 1901 the family was living at Rainhill Waterworks, St Helens, where the father Alfred was a stationary engine driver (perhaps at the waterworks or at a colliery; see 1911); Frank was a bread baker, aged 16, recorded as being born at Rainhill, as were all his siblings. In 1911, Frank, aged 26, single, had moved to 579 Prescot Road, Old Swan, Liverpool, where he was a boarder in the home of Josephine Johnston who ran a newsagents’ shop. Frank was a bakery shop manager. He stated he was born at Rainhill (579 Prescot Road is still on a shopping parade today).
In the 1911 census Frank’s parents were among three families living at Waterworks, Rainhill, in the West Sutton ward of St Helens. The postal address was Water Works, Rainhill Road, St Helens. His father, Alfred, was an assistant surface foreman at a colliery. Two sons, Ernest and David, living at home, both in their 20s, were recorded as having been born at Rainhill. (The Rainhill Gas and Water Works Company had been set up in 1866 and originally supplied the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company with gas; and later water and gas to the township. Thomas Melling, the owner of an iron foundry and then the Rainhill Gas and Water Works, purchased the land from the Owen family of the Lawton estate). By 1911, another son, Samuel Smedley Hankinson (mother’s maiden name: Ellen Smedley) who was born at Bonsall, Derbyshire, in 1882, had married and was living at Sutton New Road, Rainhill, Lancashire, with his wife and two young sons.
The closest contemporary census (1891) to Frank’s birth appears to have been the most accurate regarding the places of birth of the family. It seems probable Frank was born at St Helens Road, Sutton, St Helens, in 1884.
The “Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects” and the “England and Wales National Probate Calendar” both recorded the full title of Frank’s unit as the 2nd/1st Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” (HMSO 1921) recorded Frank had enlisted at Knowsley Park, Prescot and lived at Rainhill.
Knowsley Park was the estate of Knowsley Hall, the residence of the 17th Earl of Derby, Lord Derby (Edward), who was prominent in recruiting Kitchener’s Army, the Derby Scheme and the Pals battalions and was appointed Under-Secretary of State for War by H. H. Asquith, and in December 1916, was promoted to Secretary of State for War by David Lloyd George. Knowsley Park is now a wedding venue and safari park.
The original, pre-war, Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry (bring your own horse) was part of the Territorial Force and had its headquarters at Liverpool. It was part of the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade under Colonel W.L. Pilkington (probably William Lee Pilkington of Pilkington Brothers glass manufacturers). The Hussars had a drill hall at Rainhill (and others at Ashston, Newton le Willows and St Helens). In 1914, when the Territorial Force was expanded, the Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry created a second-line, sister, regiment which joined the newly formed Western Mounted Brigade in 1915. The two regiments had to take fractional titles, with the original unit becoming the 1st or 1st/1st and the new unit becoming the 2nd/1st Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry. By March 1916, the 2nd/1st Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry had moved to Cupar in Fife, Scotland, between the River Tay and the Firth of Forth. The Western Mounted Brigade became re-numbered as the 21st Mounted Brigade and remained in Great Britain and Ireland throughout the war.
Corporal Frank Hankinson died in the 3rd Scottish General Hospital at Glasgow (Stobhill Hospital) on 17th April 1916 at 8.15 in the evening having been treated for two weeks for a compound fracture of the radius and a simple fracture of the ulna in his right arm which had been complicated by the highly toxic tetanus infection. [Tetanus is caused by bacteria called Clostridium tetani commonly found in soil and the manure of animals such as horses and cows. If they enter the body through a wound, the bacteria can quickly multiply and release a fatal toxin that affects the nerves, causing symptoms such as muscle stiffness, lockjaw and spasms.]
Frank’s address was given as Waterworks Cottages (sic), Rainhill, Lancashire. He was aged 31 (sic) and single. His civilian occupation was a grocer’s manager and he was serving in the 2nd Lancashire Hussars as a corporal. His father Alfred was a colliery manager of Waterworks Cottages, Rainhill, and his mother was Ellen, née Smedley.
His father, Alfred, was at his bedside when Frank died (GRO Scotland, 1916, Springburn, Lanark, Statutory Deaths, 644/06 0134 © Crown Copyright via
His military circumstances provide evidence that Frank did not serve overseas. After he had died, his unit went on to serve in Scotland, Lincolnshire and Ireland. The nature of his injuries suggests an accident, perhaps being kicked by a horse or falling from his horse.
His name does not appear in any medal rolls for overseas service.
The surname Hankinson is particular to Lancashire and means the son of Hann, where Hankin is a diminutive pet name of Hann in old English.
The Thiepval Memorial bears the names of four missing men named Hankinson. They do not appear to be directly connected to Rainhill and came from Manchester; Hinsdford, Lancs; Birmingham and Rossendale. There was also an F.B. Hankinson who was killed at Gezaincourt in April 1918 but his forename was Frederick.
In the censuses mentioned above, it was shown that Frank had a brother named Ernest.
There was another Ernest Hankinson who also enlisted at Knowsley Park, Prescot, and also served in the Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry and then The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). He was the son of Edward Statham Hankinson and Henrietta Hankinson, of 28, Liverpool Rd., Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan. He went missing and was presumed dead on 8th May 1918 and was commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Perhaps a researcher noted the entry for Ernest for further examination?
Conclusion: There is compelling evidence that Frank Hankinson did not serve overseas and is not commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He did die while serving his country in 1916.
Quad erat demonstrandum.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Wednesday 2nd March 2016 at 8:10 PM

Once again Alan a very exhaustive and comprehensive report.Thank you very much
Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Monday 29th February 2016 at 8:09 PM
Alan,could you provide any information on Pte 97416 William Percival Ball,RGA in particular his birth place. Thank you
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 1st March 2016 at 1:05 PM

Dear Brian,
William Ball volunteered under the Derby Scheme of deferred enlistment on 11th December 1915. He would have returned to his civilian job as a contractor’s carter the same day and awaited his call-up which was on 2nd June 1916 when he was posted to the No 2 Depot Royal Garrison Artillery at Fort Brockhurst at Gosport (Portsmouth) as a gunner for basic training. On 15th July 1916 he was posted to No. 34 Company R.G.A. at Culver (Sandown), Isle of Wight which formed part of the Southern Coast Defences. On 25th July 1916, William was posted to a Siege Battery of the R.G.A. in anticipation of serving overseas. He joined 202 Siege Battery and sailed for France from Folkestone to Boulogne on the night of 2nd/3rd December 1916. His wife, Margaret (Roscoe) whom he had married in May 1909 was heavily pregnant at the time and ten days later on December 13th 1916, she gave birth to a baby boy, Francis William Ball.
William served with the guns in the Ypres sector and was killed in action on 14th August 1917 at Boesinghe (now Boezinge) in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He was buried in Bard Cottage British Cemetery. His death coincided with a move forward of some artillery in preparation for the Battle of Langemarck, 16th to 18th August 1917, during The Battles of Ypres, 1917 (Third Ypres).
Gunner Ball qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal which were sent to his widow, Margaret. In 1927 his medals were found as lost property by a railway company and returned to the medals branch of the War Office.
William Ball stated he was 31 years and six months old when he enlisted. In fact he was 30 years and six months old. He stated he had married Margaret Roscoe in March 1910 at Whiston.
The parish register of St Ann’s, Rainhill, recorded William was born on 6th July 1885 and was baptised on 2nd August 1885 as William Percy Ball, the son of William and Margaret Ball of Rainhill. His father was a file cutter. The 1891 census recorded the family living at Holt Lane, Rainhill, with William recorded as “Willie P.”, so it would appear he had been born at Holt Lane. In 1901 the family was recorded at 3 Fairgrove Cottages, Holt Lane, Rainhill, St Ann’s parish, with William being recorded as William Percy Ball a 15 year old moulder’s apprentice at a wire works. His father was a brass finisher. In 1911, William was recorded as William Ball living at 2 Gerrard’s Entry, Holt Lane, Rainhill.
William and Margaret Ball moved to 6 Dale Row, Whiston Pottery, Prescot, which was his address in 1915 and his widow’s address in 1922 when the Imperial War Graves Committee sent out their verification form. His parents moved to 2 Ellaby Road, Rainhill.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Tuesday 1st March 2016 at 1:22 PM

Alan, thank you so much for this information which has filled in many gaps surrounding William Percy Ball,your efforts are very much appreciated.
Posted by: Gerry Ryder {Email left}
Location: Prescot
Date: Saturday 27th February 2016 at 3:52 PM
Hi Alan,

I was wondering whether you could help to fill in some details about my grandfather's WW1 service history? His name Harold Edwin Norris and as far as I know he enlisted in Jan 1917 and ultimately became a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery (but that may have been in WW2). His service number was I believe 22209274.

Anything you can add would be gratefully received.


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 27th February 2016 at 6:16 PM

Dear Gerry,
Service records for men who served after the First World War are not in the public domain and are held by the Ministry of Defence. Applications for a search of the records cost £30. For details on how to apply see:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Gerry Ryder
Date: Sunday 28th February 2016 at 11:15 AM

Many thanks Alan.

My uncle (now 95 and Harold's son) tells me he enlisted in the South Lancs Regiment Regular Army in Jan 1917 (he was from St.Helens) and served in the South Wales Borders and Royal Welch? Fusiliers, being demobbed in 1920.

Is there anything further you can add?


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 28th February 2016 at 4:47 PM

Dear Gerry,
There is no service record online for Harold Edwin Norris and if he served again in the Second World War his first service record would be transferred to his later service record. A Royal Welsh Fusiliers medal roll records Harold E. Norris qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He would have been compulsorily conscripted if he joined in 1917 and would have undergone four to six months’ training. He first served abroad with the South Wales Borderers, 48551, and then with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 70490. At some stage he transferred to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and served in their 9th Battalion and was appointed a Lance-corporal with them. However, without a service record it is not possible to state where or when he served with these regiments.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Gerry Ryder
Date: Monday 29th February 2016 at 5:59 PM

Many thanks Alan. Much appreciated.

Posted by: Peter {Email left}
Location: Billingham
Date: Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 2:56 PM
Dear Alan when you have time can you please look at John Shaw's brother in law
Ernest Arthur Adams service No 113751 RA. Died Oct/Nov 1965 last address Norton Stockton on Tees
Best Regards Peter.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 8:19 PM

Dear Peter,
Unfortunately, there is no record of Ernest Arthur Adams, 113751, other than a medal record which recorded he served in a battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery and qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His regimental number is no help, as men with numbers in the same sequence served in various batteries of the R.G.A.. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad before December 31st 1915, he did not serve overseas until some date after January 1st 1916.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Peter
Date: Wednesday 24th February 2016 at 5:36 PM

Thank you Alan for all your help very Best Regards, Peter.
Posted by: Hjw {Email left}
Location: Cambrian Mountains Wales
Date: Monday 22nd February 2016 at 10:37 PM
Please can anyone advise how I trace my Gt.Grandad's Field Coy& service record?

SAPPER Telegraphist REG No 148834 Served with 2nd Signal Company, Light Signal Corps. Royal Engineers from 10.1.16 to 3.4.19 John (“Jack”) Small Laburn of 8 Bellefield Ave. Dundee, Forfar. Angus. Born 1884 Dundee Jack was a Telegraphist for Post Office. He joined up aged 32 in January 1916 as a Telegraphist Sapper with 2nd Signal Company, Light Signal Corps. Royal Engineers.
He was posted to France March 1916 & saw action in France/Belgium (Flanders, Frevent April1916, Rue de Maubeuge? poss.Cambrai? -from clues in effects, e.g.Field post office D7BOC9 July 10th 1916) & marched through Belgium to Cologne.( Hautment: Rue de Maubeuge 20.11.1918 “En Route for Germany walking all the way across Belgium, should cross border in next few days’ trek. Weather not too bad am OK & hope you are both ditto Best Love JL”)
Discharged 3rd April 1919 No 1 Dispersal Unit Kinross.
Chatham issue No. 2263 Medals: Victory medal & British War medal
I'd be grateful for ANY clues or directions on researching.
Many thanks, HJW
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 3:57 PM

Dear Hjw,
There are no surviving individual service records for John Laburn so it is not possible to state his military service. Most records were destroyed in the London blitz in 1940.
The suggestion he served with “2nd Signal Company, Light Signal Corps. Royal Engineers” does not reflect any recognisable military unit. Signals companies were part of the Corps of Royal Engineers but were not Field Companies.
The Army divisions did each have a signals company and the 2nd Division of the British Army did become known as the Light Division in March 1919 until November 1919, and had served in Germany after the Armistice. So a 2nd Signal Company served in the Light Division and was part of the Corps of Royal Engineers. See Chris Baker’s website, the Long, Long Trail, for details of the 2nd Division.
John Laburn qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Having been called – up in 1916 he would have formed part of a draft of reinforcements to any signals company serving overseas as most had been sent abroad before 1916.
The war diaries of the 2nd Division Signals Company can be downloaded from The National Archives for the relevant years at a cost of £3.45 each. See:
Rue de Maubeuge was probably the road of that name in the town of Hautmont on the River Sambre.
Because of the lack of evidence for John Laburn’s service, the information presented on and through this website is made available solely for general information purposes and we cannot warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of this information. Any reliance you place on such information is your own responsibility.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Whinrigg
Date: Friday 4th March 2016 at 5:16 PM


I have been researching 2nd Signal Company for a few years, as it was my Grandfather's unit. Drop me a mail to schgreen(at)btinternet dotcom
Reply from: Whinrigg
Date: Monday 7th March 2016 at 2:01 PM

Just read the Forum contact details , so posting again.

Hi HJW,I have been researching 2nd Signal Company for a few years, as it was my Grandfather's unit. Drop me a mail by contacting the editor using the Contact button at the bottom of the page. Your Great Grandad's name is in some field returns I have.
Reply from: Helen Whittle
Date: Saturday 12th March 2016 at 5:03 PM

Many many thanks to Alan & Whinrigg for all your help: glad it's not just my incompetent searching preventing the discovery of his service record. I now have copies of the medal rolls and Unit Diaries for the Signals, & I will message you now Whinrigg. Anyone requiring info just get in touch
Kind Regards

(Don't forget to save this page to your favorites)