The World War Forum (Page 36)

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Posted by: Bella {No contact email}
Location: Esher
Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 7:16 PM
Dear Alan,

Wonder if you can help as it is really a matter or urgency and I'm not having much luck, With your help and info a few years ago, I found a cousin (our mothers' were sisters) which was really exciting.
She came to visit in October of last year and the intention was for me to visit her in California in September of this year. Sadly only a few weeks after arriving home, she was diagnosed with cancer almost everywhere and is having the most severe radiotherapy half an hour every day for 30 treatments. so far she has had six but is not sure that she can take it much longer in which case she will go to a Hospice. Finding the following would be a great comfort, if possible and would be a way for me, though you to help. Alice Greenwood born 25th January 1896, Enfield, Middx. parents Annie and Arthur Ernest Greenwood. Trying to find whether she married, had a family and death. I hope you don't feel pressured but I know you will help if you can.

Hope you are dryer now.

With kind regards.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 8:47 PM

Dear Bella,
Romance and tragedy.
Alice Greenwood, of 12 Folkestone Road, Edmonton, a spinster aged 20, daughter of Arthur Greenwood, a carman, married George John Richard Little, aged 23, a bachelor, plumber and gas fitter, of 22 Durban Road, Edmonton, the son of George Little, a carpenter. The wedding took place at the parish church Tottenham (All Hallows), on January 11th 1917. One of the witnesses was A.J. Greenwood, who would have been Arthur John Greenwood, Alice’s elder brother.
This was a wartime wedding and the very next day George Little reported to Brompton Barracks, Chatham to answer his call-up. George Little, of 12 Folkestone Road, Edmonton enlisted in the Royal Engineers on 12th January1917. He was sent overseas to France on 9th September 1917 and ended up being transferred to the 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment which was a pioneer, or labour, battalion serving in 11th Division which was fighting in the Third Battle of Ypres. He remained with them for nearly three months before he was moved back to the Royal Engineers on 16th December 1917. He was posted to 231 Field Company Royal Engineers on January 23rd 1918. That company was strongly associated with the Yorkshire town of Doncaster. The Field Company was with the 40th Division fighting in the Somme region early in 1918. They suffered the German advance on the Somme (Operation Michael) on March 21st 1918 and subsequently continued fighting at Estaires in April 1918 where George received a severe fracture of the left leg caused by a bullet or shell on 12th April 1918. He was admitted to a casualty clearing station and on 19th April 1918 he was transferred to hospitals in England for treatment. While he was recovering from his wounds in hospital, his wife Alice Little, of 12 Folkestone Road, Edmonton was admitted to the Prince of Wales General Hospital, Tottenham, suffering influenza. Her influenza turned into Broncho-pneumonia with septic parotitis (salivary glands) and Alice, aged 22, died on 27th October 1918 while under the care of Dr J. Benson Young.
George remained under medical treatment on his leg until his release from the Army on 17th November 1920. He was a widower and he returned to his father’s address at 22 Durban Road, Tottenham.
There were no children from the marriage.
George appears to have died at Edmonton in 1943.
With kind regards,

P.S. We are clear of water but still clearing up.
Reply from: Bella
Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 9:15 PM

Dear Alan,

Thank you so very much for such a prompt reply for which I am extremely grateful. Whole situation sad.

Glad you are slowly returning to normal.

With kind regards.

Posted by: Martin Mc Gowan {Email left}
Location: Belfast
Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 12:04 PM
Hi I am trying to get information on my grandfather who served with the 1st Bat Royal Irish Fusiliers
his name is Captain Charles Mc Gowan he was based at Police Bungalow Colaba Bombay Feb 1917 as I have a few of his letters he wrote home any information would be great
Regards Martin Mc Gowan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 8:49 PM

Dear Martin,
The 1st Battalion Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers served in France, not India, during the First World War. The 1st Garrison Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers did serve in India and Burma. The Garrison Battalion consisted of men who were medically unsuited for combat and who served in garrisons overseas in order to release fit men for fighting.
The UK National Archives index of officers’ records (WO 338_13_4) has no entry for a Charles McGowan. The London Gazette, which publishes officers’ appointments, has no entry.
The Army medal rolls (B/103a page 12) record a Lance Corporal Charles McGowan, G/283, who served in the 1st Garrison Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. The 1st Garrison Battalion had been raised in Dublin in September 1915. In February 1916 it sailed for India where it arrived on March 4th 1916 and remained until May 1917 when it joined the Burma Division.
Lance Corporal Charles McGowan qualified for the British War Medal, as he had served in a garrison overseas. There are no further records for him.
With kind regards,

Posted by: Bob Clayton {Email left}
Location: Bedford
Date: Monday 25th January 2016 at 4:53 PM
I am trying to trace (unsuccessfully!) the WW1 record of my great uncle. His name is Robert O Williams, he was born on January 25th 1897 in Llaniden, Anglesey, Wales and served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. According to his obituary, he served for five years, obtaining officer status and spent his last year of enlistment in Murmansk.

Any help would be gratefully received.

Bob Clayton
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 25th January 2016 at 8:59 PM

Dear Bob,
Service records of officers will not be found online.
Records of officers who served from 1913 to late 1921 are held at the UK National Archives at Kew, Surrey. Records of officers who continued to serve after 1922 are still held by the Ministry of Defence and are protected under the Data Protection Act. See:
The National Archives index of officers (WO338 -21-2.2) lists just one Robert O. under the surname Williams, who was a Second-lieutenant. His Archives file reference number 81534 was prefixed with a letter P which indicated the service record was still held by the Ministry of Defence.
The Ministry of Defence will provide certain information about the records of deceased officers for a fee of £30 and proof of death (death certificate).
The quarterly Army Lists and The London Gazette recorded officers’ appointments. Gallantry awards are promulgated in the London Gazette. However, officers can be difficult to identify as they were often listed by their surname, initials, rank and regiment, with a date of seniority. Only later did they have individual service numbers.
Robert O. Williams might have been Robert Owen Williams. As might be expected, there were numerous men named Robert Owen Williams serving in the First World War in Welsh regiments. From the medal indexes one potential candidate who did become an officer was a Robert Owen Williams who initially served as an Able-seaman L.7./2954 in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and qualified for the 1914 Star with the R.N.V.R. He went on to serve as a Second-lieutenant with the Royal Welsh (Welch) Fusiliers, was promoted to Lieutenant on the General List and then transferred to the Royal Air Force where his rank was Captain. However the medal rolls do not further identify him with any biographical information.
The London Gazette of 20th August 1915 recorded a Robert Owen Williams was appointed a Second-lieutenant with the 14th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers dated 31st July 1915. The Gazette of 24th February 1916 recorded a Robert O. Williams from a service battalion was to be a Second-lieutenant in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers dated 14th December 1914, so there could have been two officers of the same name.
You could apply to the R.A.F. section of the M.o.D. for a copy of the service record using his date of birth as an additional identifier. See:
You need a “non next-of-kin” request form and a search form; death certificate and cheque for £30.
As there is insufficient biographical evidence available to positively identify Robert O. Williams in the records, the suggestions provided here are for information only and cannot be guaranteed to identify your great uncle.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Bob Clayton
Date: Monday 25th January 2016 at 10:11 PM

Dear Alan

I am very grateful and hugely impressed with the speed and quality of your response!

Any further enquries, via MOD, for example, may prove difficult, as my great uncle Bob emigrated to and eventually died in America! Nevertheless, you have provided me with valuable information to continue my research.

I will take the opportunity to donate to Royal British Legion, as you suggest.

Kind regards

Posted by: Kate {Email left}
Location: Ipswich
Date: Saturday 23rd January 2016 at 9:30 PM
Hi Alan
Wondered whether you would be able to help me. I am trying to locate any information on my Grandfather. When he married my Grandmother in 1922, the name on the marriage certificate was Alfred Ryder. On the marriage certificate it shows him as being in the 83rd Battery RFA as a Gunner (No 1010857). There is a note on the side of the certificate (as this is a certificated copy) which says that “Alfred should be read as Albert Edward and was corrected on 21st July 1944. I have a medal which has the number 76875 on it and have found a medal record card that shows this number and that he was discharged in 1917. I don’t know why he changed his name, where he was born or anything else. Can you help?

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 23rd January 2016 at 10:59 PM

Dear Kate,
The soldier who served as Alfred Ryder 76875 was a regular army soldier, a bombardier who served in the First World War in the 24th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) which was usually recorded as XXIV Brigade RFA in Roman numerals. He would have served prior to the war as he arrived in France on 11th September 1914 when the regular army’s 24th Brigade Royal Field Artillery arrived in France with 6th Division. See:
(source © Chris Baker’s Long, Long Trail website).
His service record is not accessible online, so it is not certain that he remained with 24th Brigade RFA throughout the war, as there were many changes to artillery brigade structures as the war developed.
Bombardier Ryder was discharged from the army on 26th October 1917. There is no record of the issue of a silver War Badge for discharge through wounds or sickness, so it is probable that Bombardier Ryder had reached the end of his term of service, which was probably seven or eight years from his date of enlistment. Common pre-war lengths of service were seven years with the colours and five on reserve, with an extension of one year if serving overseas: hence the likelihood of eight years’ service ending in 1917. He could have stayed on to continue the service in war but there was no compulsion to do so.
He must have re-enlisted as the number 1010857 was a post-war seven-digit number of the type that was introduced in 1920/21. Records from this period are not in the public domain. To access a service record for someone who served after 1920 it is necessary to apply to the Ministry of Defence. Searches cost £30 and you will be required to complete two forms and provide a death certificate. See:
The war diary of the 24th Brigade RFA can be downloaded from the UK National Archives for a charge of £3.30. See:
Bombardier Ryder qualified for the 1914 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
To establish his birth you would need to search birth records and census records using his name, age and details of his father, and address, taken from his marriage certificate.
Searching on the website is free this weekend until noon Monday 25th January.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 23rd January 2016 at 11:06 PM

Reply from: Kate
Date: Sunday 24th January 2016 at 9:16 AM

Hi Alan
Thank you for your quick and informative response. It has given me more avenues to investigate. I will be giving a donation.
Thanks again
Posted by: Janet {Email left}
Location: Dorking
Date: Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 4:13 PM
Hi Alan

I hope you can help me - I am looking for any information on a Cpl Jack Smith SE/16217 who was in the Royal Army Veterinary Corp. I found the medal card index at the National Archives but nothing else. I think there may have also been an initial M (which has been crossed out). I think he also served towards the end of the war.

Many Thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 6:38 PM

Dear Janet,
Unfortunately there is no surviving individual service record for Corporal Jack Smith, SE/16217 Army Veterinary Corps, so it is not possible to state his military service. It is possible he received a pension after the war, although most men took a gratuity. The Western Front Association holds a collection of six million pension records which they will search manually for a fee of £25. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Janet
Date: Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 6:50 PM

Thank you Alan, you have given me another avenue to search. I will make a donation to the British Legion for your efforts. Many Thanks

Posted by: Gerald Tidswell {Email left}
Location: Astley
Date: Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 1:55 PM
8404 Private Archibald Brisco 2nd batt South Lans Regiment...CWGC cemetery at Kemmel.
This chap is also remembered at Agecroft Cemetery in Salford.
Sadly there is not one word about in the local papers.
Can you help?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 6:36 PM

Dear Gerald,
Archibald Allison Brisco was born in 1886 at Boston in Lincolnshire, the fifth son of Joseph and Hannah Brisco. By the time of the 1891 census the family had moved to Cheetham, Prestwich, Lancashire. In 1901 the family lived at 55 George Street, Broughton, Salford. By 1911, Archibald Brisco had enlisted at Manchester and was serving as a private soldier in the 1st Battalion Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) at Napier Barracks, Lahore Cantonment, India. On returning to England he married Gertrude Lowin in 1913. At the outbreak of war, Archibald was serving with the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment at Tidworth. The Battalion arrived in France on the night of 13th/14th August 1914 and was one of the first battalions of the B.E.F., serving with 7th Infantry Brigade in the 3rd Division. The Division fought at: The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the Rearguard action of Solesmes; The Battle of Le Cateau; The Battle of the Marne; The Battle of the Aisne including participation in the Actions on the Aisne heights; The Battles of La Bassee and Messines 1914 and First Battle of Ypres. (source: © Chris Baker’s Long Long Trail website). In early 1915, the Division was in trenches in the area of Kemmel in the Ypres sector.
The 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment was in trench routine in February 1915, with a few days in billets alternating with a few days in the trenches facing the enemy. On February 6th 1915, the day Lance Corporal Archibald Brisco, 8404, was killed, the Battalion was in trenches at Kemmel. Archibald was the only man of the Battalion to be killed on that day. He was buried at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery which was established in the chateau grounds in December 1914. Archibald qualified for the 1914 Star with dated “Mons” clasp; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Gerakd Tidswell
Date: Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 7:19 PM

many thanks for all your help and time.
best regards
Firends of Salford Cemeteries Trust
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Tuesday 19th January 2016 at 5:56 PM
Hi Alan,
This one has been driving me mad for some time can you help?
Eric George Faulkner Smith, b 24.4.1898 in Stamford Hill. He appears to have been a Second Lieutenant, Machine Gun Corps on 5.8.1916, I have been unable to find any details of his military service after this date.He died on 31st December 1919 at Iioilo in the Philippines, it is said of a heart disease stemming from a war wound. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory medal in 1921.These are all the facts I know can you add anything?.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 19th January 2016 at 8:20 PM

Dear David,
Individual service records for officers are held at The National Archives at Kew, Surrey, and are not available online although they are in the public domain. See:
Eric George Faulkner Smith enlisted as a private soldier in the London Regiment with the regimental number 4611. He then attended an officer cadet school in England and was appointed a Second Lieutenant on 5th August 1916 as one of a batch of 154 cadets commissioned into the Machine Gun Corps at the same time (London Gazette 1st September 1916). The Gazette of 14th November 1916 recorded he had been attached, on probation, to Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was then transferred (as opposed to being temporarily attached) to the Royal Berkshire Regiment and was sent to join the 2nd Battalion in France in February 1917.
The Battalion war diary (WO95 1729) noted his arrival on February 17th 1917 while the Battalion was in Camp 13, GHQ Reserve. They were in rest billets at Bray later in the month. On March 4th the Battalion was in the front line near Bouchavesnes when they advanced to attack Pallas (Pallis) and Fritz trenches. Pallas Trench was the old German front line overlooking the Bouchavesnes Valley and Fritz was the old German second line beyond it. They succeeded in gaining both trenches and had to endure five counter attacks by the enemy on March 4th and 5th. Second-Lieutenant E G F Smith was among the wounded. He had been with the Battalion in France for 16 days.
His name was included in the official casualty list re-published in some local newspapers dated Saturday 17 March 1917 (British Newspaper Archive).
On 9th October 1917 he relinquished his commission on account of ill health caused by wounds. He was allowed to retain the honorary rank of Second Lieutenant (Gazette 8 October 1917). He qualified for a silver War Badge which was sent to his home address 14 Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex where he lived with his father, George, in 1917.
His death certificate is Eric G F Smith, age 31 [it should be 21], died 1916-1920, Iloilo, Philippines, GRO Consular Death Indices, Vol 14, page 1314.
With kind regards,
Posted by: R T Forrester {Email left}
Location: Fife Scotland
Date: Tuesday 19th January 2016 at 3:16 PM
I came across your wonderful site and wondered if you could give me any information about my grandfather – perhaps even general information to add to what I know. I wrote to you two years ago but didn’t seem to have a response – perhaps I didn’t go about it the correct way.

He was William Forrester, born 18 Nov 1891, Markinch, Fife, and was a coalminer. I imagine that although that would have been a reserved occupation, he joined the 10th Service Battallion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), possibly attesting to the Black Watch in Perth or Kirkcaldy, Fife in September 1914. The 10th Service Division of the Black Watch formed at Perth as part of K3 and came under command of 77th Brigade in 26th Division. 26th Division was established in September as part of Army Order 388 authorising Kitchener's Third New Army, K3, so I have found out.

He was based in Bristol late 1914, then moved to Sutton Veny Camp, Salisbury Plain (near Warminster, Wiltshire) between March and September 1915. I have a wonderful picture book taken in august as I expect they were preparing to leave for the front. They left for France in September 1915. Perhaps at the Somme? They then left for Salonika around November 1915, where he seemed to spend the next three years. At the end of June 1918 the Batallion seemed to return to France. (This is all a bit sketchy]

He was married in Markinch, Fife, Scotland on 4 October 1918, and I am puzzled as to how he was home so early – was he injured? Had he been given special leave as I don’t think any of the troops in Salonika would have been given leave home in all that time due to distance and circumstances. The Banns which were read out in Church on 1 October 1918 said he was a Lance Sergeant of 10th Service battalion, serving abroad, and yet three days later he was in Markinch, being married! I should imagine he would have returned to France as at that time they wouldn’t know the end of the war was imminent. It would be good to know when he left the Army.

Anything you can tell me would be amazing. Thank you so much for your consideration.

R T Forrester
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 19th January 2016 at 7:56 PM

It is not possible to positively identify a soldier by his name only as there were numerous men named William Forrester who served in the Black Watch from 1914. It is possible he was William Forrester S/5291 who served in the 10th Battalion and then the 1st Battalion Black Watch. Coal mining was not a reserved occupation in 1914 and many miners enlisted in the Army. The 10th Battalion Black Watch went to France on 20th September 1915 and moved to the area around Guignemicourt , West of Amiens. On 2nd November 1915, the Division concentrated at Flesselles and moved to Salonika via Marseilles. The 10th Black Watch fought at the Battle of Horseshoe Hill (10th -18th August 1916) and the Battles of Doiran (24th – 25th April and 8th – 9th May 1917) at Salonika.
The 10th Battalion had returned to France in July 1918 and joined 197th Infantry Brigade in the 66th Division and then served on Lines of Communication from 20th September 1918, employed in training drafts and reinforcements, so men could readily have been granted leave from France. The 10th Battalion Black Watch was disbanded in France on 15th October 1918. On returning to France from leave in the U.K. a man could be posted to any battalion of the Army although the men of the 10th Black Watch were dispersed to the 1st, 6th and 14th Black Watch. S/5291 ended the war with the 1st Battalion Black Watch and was discharged from the Army on 19th February 1919.
With kind regards,
Reply from: R T Caldwell
Date: Thursday 21st January 2016 at 9:29 PM

Dear Alan

Thank you so much for your helpful reply.

I ascertained from the Black Watch 1914 DEPOT ROLL BOOK ( 1914 BWRA O489) that my grandfather, William Forrester had the Reg No 4975. He was 22 years old and had attested in Markinch (Kirkcaldy area, Fife) on 8 September 1914. He joined the 10th Service Battalion of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), his rank being Lance Sergeant, 10th Black Watch, A Company and he was in No 2 Platoon.

Thank you for informing me that in 1914 Mining was not a reserved occupation. There were many coal mines in the area and I found a little snapshot (next paragraph) from the local paper of 15 August 1914, detailing the many hundreds of recruits in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which also gives an idea of the fevered atmosphere that August.

During Monday and Tuesday it was impossible to deal with all those who were offering their services. A large crowd, in which young miners predominated, formed in front of the recruiting offices and at times the thoroughfare was quite blocked. About 400 men have been enlisted for the Regular Army, General Reserve, and Special Service. A good deal of time was lost in dealing with the crowd through the men having come without their insurance cards and wishing to go back to their employers and lift their lie time. Further delay was caused by the men having to be forwarded to Perth before they could be approved.

Much of what I gleaned from the Depot Roll book and from the book, ‘Under the Devil’s Eye’ confirms what you said in your reply. I was puzzled as to how my grandfather was described in the Church Banns on 1 October as ‘serving abroad’ when three days later, on 3rd October, he married my grandmother in Markinch, Fife. I wondered if he would have been given leave due to the fact he had been in the Balkans for three years, and what you said seems to confirm this. The Battalion was then disbanded on the 15 October 1918.

You say that it is possible that my grandfather was William Forrester S/5291 who served in the 10th Battalion and then the 1st Battalion Black Watch. I haven’t come across anything which identifies my grandfather with S/5291 – the only number I have for him is the Reg No 4975. Could these two numbers possibly refer to the same man? I am interested to find this out as I don’t know what happened to him, regarding his war service after his marriage – unless you have correctly identified him, in which case you have detailed his last months of service very well.

What I did find out from the Depot Roll book was that 10th Black Watch A Company under Captain H A F McLaren, MC, joined the 6th Batallion. Would my grandfather still have been in A Company (as he had been placed there at the beginning of the War?) So many questions and all a bit muddling!

Thank you so much for your forbearance. If you can help me clear up these glitches - with your experience - I should be most grateful. Any help at all is very much appreciated.

Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 22nd January 2016 at 1:22 PM

Dear Robina,
There were two men named William Forrester who served alongside each other in the 10th Black Watch.
I suggested S/5291 as a possibility because the evidence was that he had served in the 10th Battalion from the start and had been transferred to the 1st Battalion when the 10th was disbanded, which indicated he could have returned to France after October 1918 and had remained in the Black Watch after October 1918. The name of William Forrester S/5291 (where “S” stood for general wartime service) was typed in the medal rolls on the line beneath your William Forrester S/4975.
The William Forrester with the number S/4975 had the substantive rank of corporal who was recorded in the Black Watch medal rolls as being discharged from the Army under Paragraph 392 xvi(a) of King’s Regulations [which stated: surplus to military requirements having suffered impairment since entry into the service.] His discharge date was 14th December 1918. It is possible he had been returned, injured or sick, to Scotland and then discharged, or he might have remained with Battalion HQ in France on light duties, under the medical officer’s sick parade. There is no record to say whether he returned to the U.K., impaired, before or after his marriage.
The rank of Lance-sergeant has generally fallen into disuse. Lance-sergeants performed the same duties as corporals in other regiments and were not acting in place of sergeants. William was appointed a Lance-sergeant from early on and therefore he would have been singled-out as showing leadership qualities, which were so often learned down the mines.
William might well have served in “A” company throughout the war, but could have changed between companies depending on the Battalion’s requirements, and promotions.
Banns identified the man and woman by their names and parish of residence. Banns would be read in both or one of the parish churches. Banns were read over three Sundays prior to the wedding. William probably got one or two weeks’ leave from France after his time in the Balkans, so he might not have been present for the reading of the earlier banns. When the final banns were read William could have been in uniform in Scotland, holding his fiancée’s hand in church, yet described as being a soldier serving abroad, which was a true description of his circumstances of the previous three years, as opposed to being “of this parish” or of another parish.
The army medal rolls recorded that William Forrester went to France on 20th September 1915 which was the date the 10th Battalion went to France. The rolls listed him as serving only in the 10th Battalion.
“A History of the Black Watch in the Great War” does state that Captain H. A. F. McLaren, MC and “A” Company were sent to the 6th Battalion Black Watch on disbandment in 1918. However it also states: “This left Battalion Headquarters with 13 officers and about 170 other ranks, of whom nearly one-third were sick or detained by the medical officer, in addition to five officers and 66 other ranks attached to the 197th Brigade, L.T.M. Battery” [Light Trench Mortar Battery].
Given his discharge in December as having suffered impairment, it is possible he was medically downgraded and had remained under the care of the medical officer at Battalion H.Q. in France or he had been posted to the Black Watch Depot in Perth to see out his military service before eventually being discharged. As there is no surviving individual record for him, it is not possible to say what occurred between October and December 1918.
The 10th Battalion had been disbanded; the Armistice had been signed; William was discharged from the Army and was home for Christmas; and he was newly married.
The war diaries of the 10th Battalion Black Watch are held at the (English) National Archives at Kew, Surrey, and only two parts (early and late war in France) have been digitised for downloading. They cost £3.30 each from:
The main body of the diaries for Salonika will be digitised in due course. It is: WO95 4870; 10 Battalion Black Watch; November 1915 to June 1918. The National Archives do not copy war diaries on demand, despite the “order a copy” box on the relevant web-page. However, if you do not want to wait for the main diary to be digitised, there is a professional, swift, economical digital copying service provided by Lee Richards which I can recommend. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Robina Forrester
Date: Friday 22nd January 2016 at 10:43 PM

Dear Alan

I can't tell you what it means to me to have the information you have given me about William Forrester, my dear grandfather. I seemed to remember that he was sick or injured at the end of the war..perhaps heard this from my it was good to have this confirmed. I heard from his sister's daughter that as a young man he was bold and audacious but on his return from War he sat quietly and had not much to say when in company. She said he was profoundly changed. He did not speak of war to his family apparently but when I was doing WW1 in my final exams at High School I asked him about his experiences and I remember he described the trenches quite graphically. How I wish I had asked more questions.

Thank you, Alan, so much for your information about his service record and also your advice on where to look next. I have some of his photos of his time in Bristol and Wiltshire and intend to complete a record to leave my family, as my father did for us about his time in the 8th Army in WW2..El Alamein and his journey through Sicily..finishing in Palestine after 1945. I shall leave both books for them and I cannot thank you enough. I shall take up your suggestions for the next step. Meanwhile I shall print off all these lovely details you have given me and put them with my papers on him.

Kind regards
Reply from: Robina Forrester
Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 4:36 PM

Dear Alan
Once more, thank you so much for your help. I have gone through the papers I had and found out the details of my grandfather's illness. I had taken notes when visited some time ago by his niece and she told me what had been passed on to her by her mother.

'Elizabeth found that on his return from war his personality had undergone a dramatic change. From a bubbling personality, he was very withdrawn and mostly sat observing conversations etc rather than participating. He had also been very ill - after the Balkan campaign - he had a bad bout of Malaria and subsequently had a tubercule ( leg bone]'.

The information you have given me has helped me to fill in many gaps. Thank you so much. I shall be delighted to give a donation to the British Legion on your behalf.

May thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 4:44 PM

Dear Robina,
Thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion. I am pleased to have helped and am glad you have been able to fill in some gaps.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Becca {Email left}
Location: E Yorks
Date: Monday 18th January 2016 at 7:09 PM
Hello again Alan,
You have been so helpful to me in sorting out military members of our family, and wonder if you can help me again please?
I have been looking for a Jabez Farrar born c 1840 without success, but have now come up with this and suspect that he is the man I am looking for, as details of his father fit in .Name: FARRAR, John William Jabez Registration district: Hull County: Yorkshire Year of registration: 1840 Quarter of registration: Oct-Nov-Dec Volume no: 22 Page no 381

Following that I have also found this on
John William Jabey Farrar
Marriage 5 June 1868 Trimulgherry, Madras, India. Father Benjamin Samuel Farrar.
Spouse Sarah Amelia, d. of John Alexander Moore. FHL Film No. 521856

Birth Sarah Amelia Moore DOB 2.Oct BPT. 1 Jan 1843 Booldanah Dau. of
John Alexander Moore & Elizabeth Agnes REf.v21 p217 FHL Film No. 52184

Could you please give me any further information about is military career?
With many thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 18th January 2016 at 8:49 PM

Dear Becca,
I am not aware of any surviving military records for John William Jabez Farrar who served in the British Army in India in the 1860s. There were two armies: The British Army in India which was made up of British soldiers serving in India for a few years and The Indian Army. His marriage certificate might have recorded in which regiment he was serving at the time. The certificate would be held at The British Library in London on microfilm in their Asia, Pacific and Africa Reading Room under Parish Register Transcripts from the Presidency of Madras, 1698-1948. You can also conduct a surname search the FIBIS database which is not complete but can be useful.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 18th January 2016 at 9:54 PM

Dear Becca,
The FHL (Family History Library) films might be available at (or to order)
Hull England Family History Center, Holderness Road HULL HU9 3JA. See:
With kind regards,
Posted by: Sue {Email left}
Location: Ashford
Date: Sunday 17th January 2016 at 4:35 PM
Hi Alan

I am now trying to find out about Ernest Harold Scamell. Reg No 13544, He enlisted on September 22, 1914 in Canada at the age of 15yrs. and was originally from Salisbury. He was awarded the Military Medal and I am trying to find when and for what he was awarded this. your help would be greatly appreciated Kind regards Sue
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 18th January 2016 at 12:15 AM

Dear Sue,
Citations for the Military Medal were presented to the soldier individually and were not published nationally, so there is no reference point for them. You would need to purchase his individual service record from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to establish his unit(s) during the war. He enlisted in the 4th Battalion C.E.F. and was eventually commissioned into the Saskatchewan Regiment on 23rd November 1918, so he would have served in more than one unit. His MM was awarded in November 1917, some months after the date of the actual event. Once you have purchased his service record, you can look at his unit’s war diary on the LAC website. See:
His service record is held in the Canadian Archives as RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 8683 – 15; Item Number: 215898.
Ernest Harold Scamell would have been aged 19 on enlistment, not 15. His birth was registered in Salisbury in July-September 1893. So you would need to establish you have the right person.
With kind regards,
Reply from: David
Date: Thursday 21st January 2016 at 11:59 AM

I am researching the Scamell (and variants) worldwide and Ernest Harold Scamell (1895-1981) is known from my research.

He was born in Salisbury 30 Aug 1895, the son of Charles & Rose Scamell. He emigrated to Canada circa 1912 and found work as a Jeweller before enlisting in the Canadian Army.

The London Gazette (LG) for 19 Nov 1917 simply states that Corporal, Acting Sergeant E. H. Scamell was in the Infantry.

Then the LG for 26 June 1919 states that he retired to the British Isles 8 Jun 1919.

I have him subsequently marrying.

Hope this helps

(john.gardner90 at ntlworld dot com)

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