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Posted by: 16 Aa Corporal Danny {Email left}
Location: Solihull
Date: Thursday 22nd October 2015 at 8:29 PM
Hello. As my name suggests i was a corporal within the infantry as part of 16AA brigade.
I have always been interested in the Great War and this year myself and my father will be travelling to the grave of his grandfather which is located in vendegies sur ecallion not far from Lille in France.
My Great Grandfathers name was Corporal Horrace Penny 240701 and was killed on the 24th October 1918. He was serving with the 2nd/6th Warwickshire Regiment.

I would greatly appreciate any information as to his length of service, battles he may have been involved...medals or awards or the events in France that lead to his death.

Thank you in advance.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 23rd October 2015 at 2:54 PM

Dear Danny,
Army service records from the First World War have not survived in full, as the War Office repository was bombed in September 1940 at the start of the London Blitz. Consequently, it is not possible to state the record of Horace Penny in exact detail. What has survived is perhaps not complete.
Horace Penny was born in the parish of St Thomas in the Moors, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, in 1893, the son of Tom and Elizabeth Penny. He was employed as a gardener in 1911 and later by the Crown Locksmith Company of Balsall Heath. On September 4th 1914, he enlisted at the recruiting office at the Technical College in Suffolk Street, Birmingham, during the height of the recruiting campaign called for by Lord Kitchener. Horace was nearly 21, and was 5ft 6ins tall, with a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His mother, Elizabeth, was recorded as his as his next-of-kin in 1914, living at 226, Sherlock Street, Balsall Heath. Horace was initially recommended by the recruiting officer for the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, but he was posted to the 10th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment at Tidworth as a private soldier, with the regimental number 18425. However, Horace was discharged on medical grounds with defective eyesight as unlikely to become an efficient soldier, on September 22nd 1914. Many discharges in September 1914 were for less-than-factual reasons, as commanding officers could afford to choose to keep the best recruits and dismiss those that might not suit their pre-war ideals.
All the subsequent records for Horace Penny were produced after his death in 1918, so there is a wide gap in the available evidence. It is possible Horace walked into his local Territorial Force drill hall and enlisted there. When he was killed he was with the Territorials.
He was in England in 1915 when he married Ellen Green at Birmingham on 16th October 1915. His marriage certificate at the church of St David, Birmingham, stated only that he was a soldier, aged 23, whose address was 12 Court Road, Balsall Heath.
Three years later, when he died, he was identified as Acting Sergeant, Corporal Horace Penny, 240701, of the 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. However, there is no supporting evidence to show he served with them throughout his career, although it is most probable he did. His medal rolls entry stated only that he served with the 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment with the number 240701. Six digit numbers were allotted in January 1917 when the Territorials were all re-numbered as part of a rationalisation of the numbering system and so Horace may have had a four-digit number from the time he enlisted until 1917 when the new numbers were allotted.
The 6th Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment was a pre-war Territorial Force battalion raised in Birmingham in 1908 with a drill hall at Thorp Street. One company had been raised by the employees of the Birmingham Small Arms Company. At the outbreak of war, the Territorial battalions moved to their war stations and the empty drill halls were used to raise sister battalions which took a fractional title, in this case: the 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (second-sixth battalion) intended initially to provide Home defence service and battle casualty replacements for the original 6th Battalion after the 6th went to France in March 1915. The 2nd/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment was raised in Birmingham in October 1914. It trained at Northampton, Chelmsford and Salisbury Plain and on 21st May 1916 it went to France to fight in its own right as a complete battalion with the 182nd Infantry Brigade in the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division. For their engagements see:
The 61st Division captured Vendegies-sur-Ecaillon on 24 October 1918, after severe fighting and the cemetery, which took its name from a roadside crucifix, was made by the 61st Division immediately after the battle. Thirty-one of the 50 burials belong to the 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
The war diary of the 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment is available to download for GBP 3.30 from The National Archives.
Acting Sergeant Horace Penny qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The Birmingham Daily Post published on 11th November 1918 reported some local war deaths: Corporal Horace Penny leaves a widow at 232 Barfoot Street. He joined the army in September 1914 being wounded and gassed four times. He was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Penny of 226 Sherlock Street. Previously employed by the Crown Locksmith Company, Balsall Heath. (é Trinity Mirror courtesy of The British Library Board via British Newspaper Archive)
With kind regards,
Posted by: Charliegw {Email left}
Location: St Thomas Ont Canada
Date: Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 12:04 AM
Hi Alan:
Reading the RFA, 44th Bde, 56th Battery diaries, as well as elsewhere, I have encountered several reference to BRICKSTACKS, both on the British side and on the German side from where the shellfire originated. What do BRICKSTACKS refer to? Are they some kind of topological heap, some manmade architectural structure? Would they be easy to locate on a trench map, on a modern map, say, of the Bethune, France area?
Thanks for your help, Alan, as always.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 1:15 PM

Dear Charlie,
Brickstacks were stacks of bricks. Just as bridges; coal mines and sugar factories stood out in the landscape, so did the stacks of bricks curing in the yards of brickworks. They stood some 18 feet high and 15 feet square. They could be re-built to form defences. The most notorious were at Cuinchy, where they gave their name to a sector of the line. Elsewhere, where a village had been reduced to rubble, the remains of buildings sometimes became known as brickstacks, providing cover for soldiers of either side fighting in close proximity. In war diaries, the names of locations were written in capitals. See
With kind regards,

Posted by: Jim Regan {Email left}
Location: Garden City Ny Usa
Date: Tuesday 20th October 2015 at 2:55 PM
Hello Alan i have been trying information regarding a cousin Thomas Halpin who served in World War One. He was born Apr.5 ,1896 in Kilfinane,Co. Limerick. He was a Private in the Northld Fusiliers and discharged Feb 14,1919. i was wondering if you may be able to provide some information regarding his service in WW1. thank you Jim Regan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 20th October 2015 at 8:02 PM

Dear Jim,
No individual service record has survived for Thomas Halpin so it is not possible to state his wartime service. The Army medal rolls showed he served firstly in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, number 24468; the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and the 22nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, number 87382. He first went overseas with the Royal Irish Rifles. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star, he did not serve overseas until some date after January 1st 1916.
He was discharged under Paragraph 392 (xxviii) which was for soldiers serving on a duration of war engagement. The 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers had been in France since 1914 with the 4th Division. On 3rd August 1917, the 1st Battalion moved to the 36th (Ulster) Division. The 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles went overseas with 36th (Ulster) Division in October 1915, so it would appear that Thomas Halpin went overseas as part of a draft of reinforcements. The 22nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers sailed for France in January 1916 with the 34th Division. The Battalion suffered heavy losses and was reduced to cadre strength on 17th May 1918 and returned to Britain with the much-depleted 16th Division in June 1918. The re-formed 22nd Battalion returned to France at the end of July 1918 with the 48th Infantry Brigade in the 16th (Irish) Division and then fought at The Final Advance in Artois. Unfortunately there is no surviving record for the dates of postings or transfer for Thomas Halpin. The engagements of the 36th Division are shown at:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jim Regan
Date: Tuesday 20th October 2015 at 8:10 PM

Thank you very much.
Posted by: Jonboy {Email left}
Location: Harlow Essex England
Date: Monday 19th October 2015 at 3:17 PM
Hi Alan
Hope all is well with you, im not not sure if you research The Royal Navy or not but thought i would ask this anyway. My Gt Uncle Frederick Walter Jordan Born on the 20th of June 1896, i have a note here saying this could possibly be the same man that served on HMS Pembroke 1, first service date 25th Aug 1915 and the last service date being 27th Feb 1919 he also served on another ship called Hecia. My problem is that i am not sure if this is my Gt Uncle or not.The note i got states he was born Hendon where as my Uncle was born in Harrow but i think the register office for Harrow was Hendon. His Parents (my Gt Grandad) were Albert Edward Jordan and Fanny Jordan (Chimes).I dont know what he did or anything.
Sorry should have said his service No was J43646.
Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 19th October 2015 at 7:57 PM

Dear Jonboy,
The note you have is identical to the index entry on the ancestry website for Frederick Jordan of Hendon. This was the record for Frederick Walter Jordan, born 20th June 1896 at Hendon.
Harrow on the Hill was in the Hendon registration district from 1837 to 1934; then as Harrow from 1934 to 1947 when Harrow moved to Middlesex.
Frederick Jordan had joined the Royal Navy from the Merchant Navy on 23rd August 1915 at Chatham as an Ordinary Seaman. He was rated Able seaman from 14th August 1917. While undergoing training he was recorded as being at HMS Pembroke I which was an accounting base that was used as an administrative device for naval clerks. The sailor could be serving anywhere at the time.
His first ship (18th September 1915 to 30th August 1917) was HMS Boadicea.
He was then at Pembroke I from August to December 1917 before going to Pembroke II which was Royal Navy Air Station at Eastchurch, Sheppey, Kent. From January 1st 1918 to December 18th 1918 he was on HMS Idaho, a patrol vessel based at Milford Haven.
HMS Hecia would have been HMS Hecla, a torpedo boat built in 1878 and modernised in 1912. She served as a destroyer depot ship in the First World War. See:
He was discharged on 27th February 1919. His character was Very Good.
His Medal card is held at the National archives.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jonboy
Date: Tuesday 20th October 2015 at 7:00 AM

Hi Alan
Thank you so much for that i wasnt sure if i had the right man but now i know he is.
Posted by: Jack Thompson {Email left}
Location: Peterborough
Date: Sunday 18th October 2015 at 9:15 PM
Alan. having a real struggle finding details on Joseph Thompson a private in Yorks and Lancaster Reg. Number 19869. Previously with West Yorkshire Reg, No 15239. Born in Leeds he died in France 26th Sept 1915.
Found his details in the U K soldiers died in great war, but cannot find anything on Commonwealth War Graves. Could it be that he was not buried in France and I should be looking elsewhere. Would appreciate if you could point me in the right direction.
Regards Jack Thompson.
Reply from: Tom Burnell
Date: Monday 19th October 2015 at 7:26 PM

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 19th October 2015 at 7:44 PM

Dear Jack,
The soldier who served as Joseph Thompson, 19869, 10th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, had enlisted under an alias at the age of 42. He had entered France on 10th September 1915, which was the same date the 10th Battalion Y&L entered France, sailing at 1030 p.m. and arriving at 1.20 a.m. on the 11th. These men were volunteers who enlisted in Yorkshire where the York and Lancaster Regiment had a depot in Pontefract. They were marched across France for two weeks before being rushed into the major offensive at Loos en Gohelle. Straight from basic training and tired after daily route marching to Vermelles, they went into the attack at 10 p.m. on the night of the 25th September towards the Hulluch to Lens road and Hill 70. They remained in contact with the enemy until they were relieved by the Scots Guards at 3.30 a.m. on the 27th September. Joseph Thompson was listed as being assumed dead on or since September 26th 1915. The Battle of Loos was famous for being the first battle in which the British used cylinder released Chlorine gas as well as smoke screens, both of which blew over the British troops, confusing their advance. There is a commendable thesis on the battle available to download, free, from the British Library Ethos website. You have to register then enter Battle of Loos in the search box and work your way through to the free download at the checkout. See:;jsessionid=AD5CB2F3EAA43CC94EF0D2817E7700A3
There is an appendix to the war diary of the 10th Battalion Y&L which is a contemporary record of the attack in which the Battalion lost 306 men and 14 officers killed or wounded. It is available on the website (subscription required) or from The National Archives (cost GBP 3.30). See:
Joseph Thompson is commemorated on the Loos Memorial as W. Mason as he was baptised William Mason. After the war, the then Imperial War Graves Commission wrote to the next-of-kin of all deceased soldiers to verify the details for proposed memorials. The next-of-kin of Joseph Thompson were listed in The Army Register of Soldiers Effects as his sisters, Mary Jane Richardson and Sarah A. Hemingway. They would have had the opportunity to correct the details for Joseph Thompson. The C.W.G.C. states now he served under the name of Joseph Mason and was the son of Ann Mason and the late William Mason of 31 East Street, Bank, Leeds. This family was recorded in the 1881 census showing William Mason, senior, born 1826, Whitehaven, Cumberland, a carter; Ann, his wife, born 1833, and six children including the youngest child, William Mason, aged 88, and his sisters Mary Jane, 19, and Sarah A., 10. They lived at 33 (sic) East Street, Bank, Leeds.
The baptism register of the Leeds parish church of St Peter, for 1875 recorded that William Mason was born at East Street on 16th December 1872 and baptised on February 16th 1875, the son of William, a crater, and Ann of East Street. East Street was in the Bank area of Leeds which was a slum area on the Eastern edge of the city centre consisting of back to back housing near the River Aire.
By July 1885, William, then aged 12, was attending (or not attending) the Edgar Street Industrial Day School. On July 14th 1885 he was committed to attend the school until he reached the age of 16, as he had breached the day school rules (which was probably non-attendance). The father was described as being of honest and respectable habits. William Mason senior appears to have died in 1885. In the censuses of the following years, William Mason was recorded as being a cart driver, and corporation carter, living in various lodging houses. However, he also spent time in prison and was of no fixed abode. The local newspapers (Leeds Mercury and Yorkshire Post) reported he was black-listed as a habitual drunkard of no fixed address in 1903 and who, by March 1905, had appeared in court 63 times since 1885 for such offences as assault; assaulting a police constable; being drunk and disorderly; stealing; unlawful wounding. On one occasion, when he walked into a police station and made a voluntary confession that he had murdered a woman by throwing her into the river, a police doctor described him as being soaked in alcohol and deluded.
In 1889, William Mason enlisted in the West Yorkshire Regiment militia and was listed with them in 1890. He was identified by his address and his next-of-kin who were named as his brother Thomas and married sister Emily Elizabeth Clayton, all of Richmond Street, Bank, Leeds. In 1892, probably to benefit from the ten pounds bounty for joining the regular army from the militia, William Mason was attested on 24th February 1892 and joined the Cameron Highlanders at Inverness. On May 16th 1892 he began 32 days imprisonment for an unspecified offence. He was released on 17th June and was arrested again on the 30th June 1892 and imprisoned for 22 days until July 21st 1892. He was then discharged from the Army with ignominy on July 21st 1892. There are other records for a William Mason whose mother was Annie of the Richmond Hill area of Leeds, which was also part of Bank, but it is not clear if this was the same man, changing his stated age, to join the militia and then the regular army. It was a common ruse for men who wanted to gain the ten pounds bounty to enlist more than once by changing their stated age as the army did not scrutinise dates of birth.
William Mason, born 1792, enlisted firstly with the West Yorkshire Regiment as Joseph Thompson, at the outbreak of the First World War. He then joined or was posted to the 10th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment and served in France for two weeks in September 1915 before he was posted missing in action on his first day of battle and was assumed dead. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 19th October 2015 at 10:02 PM

William Mason was shown as Joseph Mason, served as Thompson, by the CWGC. He was born William Mason and is now commemorated as W. Mason.
In the 1881 census he was aged 8, not 88. For crater read Carter - driver of a horse and cart, or waggon. The reference to the censuses of the following years, refers to William Mason a cart driver born 1872 and the man who later used the alias Joseph Thompson. Some records state he was: assumed dead; others: presumed dead. Technically, there is a difference which might not have been understood by all Army clerks. The difference is that to presume means there was some previous evidence leading to the conclusion the man had been killed; while to assume meant there was no previous evidence to suggest an outcome. In other words, he could be presumed killed if someone had seem him advancing after an officer shouted: charge! Or he could be assumed killed if, on enquiry, there was no surviving witness to his actions prior to his being reported missing. The family might have had to wait for some months up to one year before the War Office accepted his death as certain in case he had been taken prisoner of turned up in hospital.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jack Thompson
Date: Tuesday 20th October 2015 at 7:51 PM

Alan, thank you very much for your reply which I have to say was astounding, I do admire your ability in being able to research in such detail, I cannot thank you enough. The reason I was interested in this Joseph Thompson and the fact he died in 1915, was that he was born in Leeds and served in the Yorks and then the Yorks Lancs Reg the same as my father. My father Joseph Thompson lived a life on someone elses birth certificate, a Joe Thompson, born in Leeds but I have established that it was not my fathers birth certificate. He obtained this certificate when he was in France because the date on the copy was April 1918 so he either got it at a later date or someone got it for him and I thought perhaps he may have known this Joseph Thompson 19869 and when he needed a birth certificate tried to get his.
This makes me now wonder if the Joseph Thompson Yorks reg 11255 and Yorks Lancs Reg 34186 is actually my father or have I been chasing the wrong man. All I had to go on was a pensions issue certificate BG8155 for Joseph Thompson Yorks Lancs Reg for 5shillings and six pence payable at Shotton Colliery. Although I have been able to trace some military history through ancestry anything before enlistment in 1914 is a mystery. Perhaps like the previous Joseph Thompson my father enlisted under a false name. I may be asking to much for you to look into this but hope you can help.
I have spoken to many people who say they wished they had asked questions before their parents died and I know how they feel, but I will not be satisfied until I know about those missing years pre WW1 during the great war and I also think he served in the home guard in Dover Kent during WW2 and some of the family even think he served in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the 2 wars.. I think he was born in 1895 and I was born in 1946.
Hope you can help but understand if asking to much.
Regards Jack.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 8:22 PM

Dear Jack,
The soldier Joseph Thompson who received a pension of five shillings and sixpence was certainly 11255 Yorkshire Regiment and later 34186 York and Lancaster Regiment. Joseph Thompson 11255 Yorkshire Regiment enlisted at Sunderland and was of a stated age of 19 years and 4 months on 19th August 1914. This stated age might be true or false and suggests he was born in April 1895. A Joseph Thompson, aged 17, born Sunderland, was recorded in the 1911 census as a miner at Shotton Colliery. (From the censuses it is possible he was the son of Richard and Margaret Thompson of Etterick Place, Sunderland.) The only biographical information in the army record is that the next-of-kin of Joseph Thompson was a step-brother named W. Corner who lived at Shotton Colliery at some date during or after The Great War, implying Josephs mother had re-married, to someone named Corner, between his birth and about 1920 when the pension records were written. His pension and medical notes recorded Joseph Thompson married on 16th December 1918 but there are no further details. He was placed in detention for 11 days in December 1918 for being absent for 11 days from 20th December 1918. Perhaps he spent Christmas and New Year with his bride after the war was over? He was back in England at the time, having been wounded. He had been treated at No 3 Canadian General Hospital at Dannes-Camiers, France.
If you possess the original copy of the pension issue certificate then this man may be related as he did receive a pension for 12 months of five shillings and sixpence and a war gratuity. If he were your father, he would have been about 52 when you were born in 1946 and if his wife was of a similar age she might have been in her early 50s. As he married in 1918, a birth in 1946 would have been very late in the marriage. He could, of course, have married a second time.
There was a Joe Thompson who was born in Leeds in April 1895 and went by the name Joe Thompson. He was baptised Joe Thompson on September 22nd 1895 at the church of St Michael on Buslingthorpe Lane, in the Meanwood area of Leeds, the son of Joseph Thompson, a wheelwright, and his wife Annie Louisa of 1, Wharfedale Street, Meanwood Road. The family was recorded in the censuses as Joseph and Helen, or Ellen, Louisa Thompson with four children: Turton Thompson, born 21 February 1889; Faith Ann Collyhole Thompson born 31 July 1890; William Henry born 21 July 1892; and Joe, born 4th April 1895. The baptisms of the other children recorded the mother as Ellen Louisa Thompson, so Annie might have been an error or a familiar name. She was born at Poughill, near Exeter, Devon. After leaving school Joe became an engineering pattern maker and lived with his parents at Ridge House, Meanwood Road, Leeds. On 27th January 1916, he enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service for service on land in London at Crystal Palace and Wormwood Scrubs (not the prison but the open space) which had been the site of an airship base from 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 Naval Air Station and its airship shed was used to train RNAS armoured car crews. Curiously, the Naval Air Service operated Rolls Royce armoured cars intended for rescuing downed air-crew from enemy territory. Joe served as an Air Mechanic Class I and made aeroplane propellers. In February 1918 he was posted to Dunkirk in Belgium. On April 1st 1918 the R.N.A.S became part of the newly-formed Royal Air Force. Joe Thompson served at No 3 and No 4 Aeroplane Supply Depots at Dunkirk until the end of the war. No 4 A.D.S. moved to Guines, south of Calais in 1918. Joe Thompson was discharged in England on 14th January 1919. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He returned home and at the age of 24, and was married immediately on January 19th 1919 to Annie Gankrodger (Gaukrodger), the 28 year-old daughter of Warrington Gankrodger, from Huddersfield, who was an overlooker in a woollen mill and whose family also lived in Meanwood, Leeds. (The name Gankrodger comes from Gaukroger and Gawk Roger which was a clumsy person or a gawk. The origin is specific to the Sowerby area of Halifax.) Joe and Annie married at the church of St Hilda on Cross Green Lane, Leeds. Annie died (1920?) and Joe married again on 15th April 1922 to Annie Elizabeth Swayne. She bore him two daughters Irene in 1924 and Anita in 1932 but no sons appear to have been born.
The Joseph Thompson whose birth was registered in Leeds late in 1915 might have been the same Joseph Thompson whose death was registered in 1916, aged 0 which would account for the fact he cannot be found elsewhere.
The starting point for a search is your own birth certificate from the General Register Office. You can then search for the parental marriage certificate to identify dates of birth of the parents and the names of their fathers and keep working backwards. Army records are so incomplete they are not a starting point for family research, although they often provide clues, and even occasionally specific details. In this case, the details are vague. The surname Thompson is often spelled Thomson and Joseph can be reduced to Joe.
Records of the Home Guard can be requested from the Ministry of Defence (conditions and charges of GBP 30.00 apply). Information contained in the Home Guard records is limited. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jack Thompson
Date: Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 8:58 PM

Alan, many thanks for this info it has been most valuable. I have spent a long time researching this and I noe feel confident that Joseph Thompson 34186 is the history of my father. I did get a marriage certificate for 1918 and he puts his father as deceased. He names his father as Joseph Thompson miners stone worker. Also a W Corner was a witness at the wedding so it all fits. My only baffling point is that the enlistment paper says that he was born in Leeds but he must have been living in the Shotton area, W Corner also lived there. The Joe Thompson that you traced in Leeds is the birth certificate he used. I think if I work on the death of his father and marriage of his mother to a Corner I may make some progress again.
Thank you again for your help and will express my appreciation on the Royal Brithish Legion Site.
Regards, Jack Thompson.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 9:07 PM

Dear Jack,
Thank you for making a donation to the Royal British Legion. It makes all the leg-work worthwhile. I am pleased you have a W. Corner on the marriage certificate as that seems to verify the record. I thought the Joe Thompson might be the man on the birth certificate, which does seem to confirm your father believed he came from Leeds in about 1895. If he applied for the certificate from France, the registrar might have sent the wrong one. I'll keep looking for a Corner marriage.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Becca {Email left}
Location: East Yorkshire
Date: Friday 16th October 2015 at 7:15 PM
Dear Alan,
On 15 July 2010 you answered a request on behalf of my friend Adrian. At our monthly meeting recently he again asked me about his Ancestors.
Apparently he has joined Find My Past, but is still not too conversant with a computer, so is having further difficulties.
He has come up with another George Cunningham shown below
1881 Census RG11 Piece 37 folio 91 Page 35
57 All Saints Road North Side, Chelsea, Kensington, London, England
George Cunningham 43 Army Pensioner , born Edinboro
Wife Sarah J 38 Born Devonport
Dau Isobel M 4 born Sougar, India
Son John Wm George aged 6 months born Kensington

Adrian is wondering who this George Cunningham is, and if he is connected to his family in any way.
I believe this man described as a widower and Army Pensioner, may by a coincidence be related. So who could his first marriage have been to and was it in India where daughter Isobel was born?

4 August 1879 St Mark Notting Hill After Banns
George Cunningham 42 Widower, Army Pensioner 16 Talbot Grove Father Thomas George Cunningham Wine merchant
Sarah Jane Mitchell 36 Spinster Same Address Father William Mitchell Looks like - Court Guardsman
Both signed certificate Witnesses George Edward Wyatt and the mark of Jane Mitchell
Vicar Edward Kaye Kendall

Could you please help Adrian further?
Kind regards

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 17th October 2015 at 4:00 PM

Dear Becca,
The George Cunningham born at Edinburgh and recorded in the 1881 census with a daughter born at Saugor, Bengal, could be the son of Thomas Cunningham and his wife Mary Weir, of Levenseat, West Calder, near Edinburgh. They were married in 1824 at West Calder. No ages were recorded. Their son George was born on 23rd July 1838. In 1861 George lived at West Lothian and was described as a fireman. In the 1871 census he appeared to be with the Royal Artillery at Sheffield Barracks, Sheffield, Yorkshire. When his daughter was born in 1876 at Saugor, Bengal, she was described as the daughter of George Cunningham, acting bombardier, F/4 Battery, 11 Brigade, Royal Artillery and his wife Caroline Victoria. 11 Brigade Royal Artillery went to India in 1874. Isabella Maud Cunningham was baptised at the church of St Peter, Saugor, Bengal, on 6th August 1876. Her mother, Caroline Victoria Cunningham, died of smallpox, aged 24 and ten months, on May 6th 1878 at Saugor. She was buried the next day at the church of St Peter.
There was a marriage of a George Cunningham to a Caroline Victoria Mitchell in the Kensington, London, District in the third quarter of 1872 (GRO Marriages, Kensington, London, Q3, 1872, Vol 1a; page 228). This marriage was on August 3rd 1872 at the church of St Peter, Bayswater: George Cunningham, soldier, aged over 21, the son of George Thomas Cunningham, soldier, to Caroline Victoria Mitchell, aged over 21, spinster, daughter of William Mitchell, coastguard. A witness was Sarah J. Mitchell. George�s second marriage in 1879 was to Sarah J. Mitchell, 36, spinster, daughter of William Mitchell, coastguardsman. In 1879 the father of George Cunningham was described as Thomas George Cunningham, a wine merchant.
Army discharge papers of the time do not always provide biographical details so it is not possible to positively identify army records for Thomas George Cunningham without knowing his regiment. It may be necessary to search East India Company records at the British Library in London, because early 19th Century soldiers often served with the Honourable East India Company Service.
George Cunningham senior of the 25th Foot whom we discussed in 2010 stated he was born at Edinburgh in about 1812. I cannot match a baptism record for him for him, but he might have lied about his age. I note there was a George Cunningham baptised at West Calder in 1815, the son of Peter Cunningham and Janet Boag.
There is a possibility of a connection between the two Cunningham families in the West Calder area of Scotland in the early 1800s but it would be necessary to reconstitute both families through Scottish parish records and censuses to make a definite connection. If the older Cunninghams served overseas they might not be recorded in every census, so it will be a matter of patiently tracing each family backwards.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Becca
Date: Sunday 18th October 2015 at 4:34 PM

Hello Alan,
Many, many thanks for all this information. I shall pass it on to my friend at the next meeting in November, and he will then have to carry out the suggestions you are making, before he can be definite as to whether there is any connection

Kind regards

Reply from: Phil Cunningham
Date: Saturday 6th August 2016 at 11:48 PM

G'day Team,

I was doing further research on my family tree when this link turned up.

I am a descendant of the above Thomas Cunningham, Mary Weir and their son George Cunningham.

There is some confusion between the various George Cunninghams above, this maybe due to the fact that "my George Cunningham" served in the HEIC during the Indian Mutiny. He was part of the 3rd Madras European Fusiliers.
In 1871 / 1872 he was still living in Whitburn / West Calder and remarrying before he immigrated to New Zealand with his family in 1875.

Hopefully that may clear things up a wee bit, if there is anything I can help with, please do ask.

Further to that;

Thomas Cunningham - Mary Weir married Nov 14 1824, West Calder, Scotland.

Their son - George Cunningham - born July 23 1838, West Calder, Scotland.

Kind Regards

Phil Cunningham
Invercargill, New Zealand.
Reply from: Becca
Date: Sunday 7th August 2016 at 8:14 AM

Thank you Phil for this further information. My friend Adrian has been very ill, and not attended our group for a little while, but when he does I shall pass on to him a copy of your letter. He was not conversant with computers at the time I wrote, but is now getting used to one.
What a lovely part of the world you live in. Visited many years ago.
Thank you once again

Kind regards

Reply from: Phil Cunningham
Date: Sunday 7th August 2016 at 9:53 AM

Thanks for the kind words Becca.

If your friends Cunningham's hail from the West Calder / Whitburn area, there maybe some connection.

When he feels upto it maybe something we could explore. Hopefully he gets better soon.


Phil Cunningham
Reply from: Becca
Date: Monday 8th August 2016 at 7:50 PM

Hello Phil
I am delighted to say that Adrian has answered my e mail of last night, so is feeling a little better.
he has said he would like to be in touch with you, so here is his address -
(adriancjul35 at gmail dot com)
Hope you both enjoy getting to know one another
Kind regards

Posted by: Ian Jones {Email left}
Location: Perth Western Australia
Date: Wednesday 14th October 2015 at 2:40 PM
Hello Alan,

I am looking for information on George William MOORE (also known as William George MOORE)
who was born March 1885, Islington, London. Very little is known about George but there is a picture of him wearing what I believe is army uniform with 3 chevrons pointing down on his upper sleeve area (Sergeant?). He his holding a helmet which looks unusual to me and I�m not sure where its from. A friend of mine said he may have been wearing a type of uniform worn in the Mediterranean or Middle East. On his marriage certificate to Eva Maude GROVES it says he was a Soldier/Gunner AFO. There isn't really much else known but am desperate to find out more about his service and if any medals were issued,etc.

I am also looking for Harry Collard Hart, born 7/11/88 in the District of Handsworth in the County of Stafford who I believe joined the Royal Engineers prior to World War One and also during the War. Any information on him would also be much appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Ian Jones
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 14th October 2015 at 10:07 PM

Dear Ian,
Unfortunately, it is not possible to conduct a satisfactory search of the surviving British Army First World War records based on the biographical information you have. Other than fortunate exceptions, it is necessary to know the surname, regiment and regimental number and rank, as that was the form of identification which was used at the time on the majority of the records that have survived.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Ian Jones
Date: Thursday 15th October 2015 at 8:59 AM

Hi Alan,
Thanks. I did manage to find a Regimental No. for Harry Collard Hart - it looks to be 14722 (hard to decipher) so anything on him would be great.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 15th October 2015 at 8:08 PM

Dear Ian,
The Army medal rolls do have an entry for a Harry C Hart, 14722, Royal Engineers, but there was no evidence to show it referred to Harry Collard Hart from the many hundreds of possible Harry Harts. Harry C. Hart was a corporal who rose to the rank of temporary Warrant Officer Class 2. The first medal roll showed he qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Initially, there appeared to be no other record for him. However, knowing that the surviving fire-damaged army records were microfilmed as they were found, without being sorted, I trawled through the Harts in the Royal Engineers and with serendipity discovered a brief medical record for Harry Collard Hart, born Birmingham, Warwickshire, who enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Gosport on 17th July 1905. He was allotted the regimental number 14722. These medical notes were shuffled randomly amongst the file of one Ernest Douglas Hart, Royal Engineers, WR 310088, not related.
Medical records are deemed private for 100 years (2019), but in this case they are essential to the research and as they contained no sensitive material I have included the information.
Harry Collard Hart was born in the West Bromwich, Staffordshire, registration district in the fourth quarter of 1888 (GRO Births 1888, Staffordshire, Volume 6B page 728). He was baptized at the church of St John at Burgess Hill, Sussex, on 24th May 1891, the son of Maurice Hart and his wife Jennette (sic) Caroline Hart formerly Collard (they had married at the church of St John, Burgess Hill, Sussex in May 1885).
The 1891 census recorded Harry as the second child of Maurice Hart, a cutler, and his wife Janette who were born in Brighton. Harry was shown as being born at Handsworth Staffordshire, and his older brother, Maurice A[rnold] Hart (aged 4) was born at Aston, Warwickshire (1886). In 1891 the family lived at Western Road, Brighton, Sussex. In 1901, Harry, 12, was recorded as one of many boarders at the Garrison (?) School, New Shoreham, with a headmaster named Samuel G. Taylor. In 1911, Harry Collard Hart was recorded as a boarder in the house of Francis Charles William Buck, Commercial Road, Portsmouth. Harry was a manager for a timber merchant.
In 1905, Harry Collard Hart, a clerk, stated his age as 18 years and seven months when he enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Gosport on 17th July 1905. He was more likely to have been seventeen, but stating he was 18 and a half would make him of recruiting age. Like most Royal Engineer recruits he spent a year at the R.E. Depot at Chatham. He was then posted to Kilworth on 16th May 1906. This would have been Kilworth Camp, Fermoy, Ireland, which was opened about 1896. Harry must have left the Army and have been placed on the Reserve by the time of the 1911 Census when he was shown as a timber merchants manager. His medical record stated he served in France from the very early date of 15th August 1914, just 11 days after war was declared. This suggested he was probably recalled from the Reserve, or had re-joined the Army, as his war-time regimental number was the same as his 1905 regimental number, which indicated he had stayed on the books. Enlistment for six years with the colours and six in the Reserve was common.
As he served in the original British Expeditionary Force, there should, therefore, have been a second entry in the Army medal rolls for a 1914 Star which was instigated in 1917. There was no corresponding entry. However, further searching found H. Hart, Royal Engineers, with the regimental number 14772 (not 14722) who did, indeed, enter France on 15th August 1914. This entry was the only surviving record to state in which unit he was serving. Sapper Harry Hart went to France with the No 5 Field Company Royal Engineers which served in the 2nd Division which was one of the first to arrive in France. For the Divisional war record see:
His medical paperwork stated his former occupation before 1914 was in business as a wholesale confectioner with Collard Hart and Company, manufacturing and wholesale confectioners, Artico Works, Cosham, Hampshire. Cosham is a suburb of Portsmouth. In the Engineers, Harry rose in substantive rank from Sapper (private soldier) to Second Corporal and became an acting Company Sergeant Major. He was admitted to a Field Ambulance, a mobile hospital of the Royal Army Medical Corps, at La Glanerie, Belgium, on 2nd November 1918, suffering from a temperature. La Glanerie is near Rumes, south of Tournai. He was medically transferred to England on the day the Armistice with Germany was signed: 11th November 1918, and was admitted to Egginton Hall Red Cross Hospital, near Derby, England, on 12th November 1918 where he was diagnosed as suffering from influenza, during the pandemic of 1918-1919. He was discharged from Leicester Dispersal Hospital, being well, on February 2nd 1919 and was transferred to the Z Reserve which was for men who would be re-called if the Armistice with Germany did not hold.
The war diaries of the No 5 Field Company Royal Engineers are available to download in six parts from the UK National Archives at a cost of GBP 3.30 each. Royal Engineers Field Companies were quite small and many R.E. diaries identify men by their names. See:
There are some Australian diaries on the same page.
Harry Hart qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Ian Jones
Date: Friday 16th October 2015 at 1:02 AM

Hi Alan,
Thank you so much for the information it was more than I could have hoped for.
Kind Regards,
Posted by: Tom Burnell {Email left}
Location: Tipperary
Date: Thursday 8th October 2015 at 9:22 PM
Hello Alan.
Just found this page and delighted to see like minded people here. My speciality is Great War Irish casualties from the 26 counties and am happy to help with lookups.
Kind regards.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th October 2015 at 9:35 PM

Dear Tom,
It is very gratifying to know that a three year old post has been resolved and that Paul, after three years, was able to respond in person and promptly to your reply. Both I, and Bob the website manager who works quietly and relentlessly in the background, are always pleased when an enquiry from some years ago is resolved on the Forum. It's what makes it all worthwhile. Thank you for the offer of look-ups. You never know when it will be taken up! Thank you for your kind remarks about the Forum and good luck with your own research into soldiers from the 26 Counties.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Tom Burnell
Date: Friday 9th October 2015 at 6:27 AM

Thank you most kindly Alan, you and Bob are gentlemen.
Kind regards.
Posted by: Tom Burnell {Email left}
Location: Tipperary
Date: Thursday 8th October 2015 at 9:21 PM
Hello Alan.
Just found this page and delighted to see like minded people here. My speciality is Irish casualties from the 26 counties and am happy to help with lookups.
Kind regards.
Posted by: Sheelagh Mcallister {Email left}
Location: Hobart Tasmania Australia
Date: Wednesday 7th October 2015 at 9:23 PM
Dear Alan,

I have three grand uncles who served in WW1

VICTOR JOSEPH MCALLISTER Born in Sandymount in 1884 he was educated at Clongowes [1891 - 1894 and at the old Cecilia St Medical School and qualified in the Royal University in 1907. From 1907 to 1910 he was assistant master of the Coombe Hospital And during the following three years studied gynaecology in Berlin and became FRCSI.

On the outbreak of the first world war, he joined the British RAMC, was attached to the 9th Seaforth Highlanders, and saw service in casualty clearing stations in France and Belgium. At the end of the war he returned to Dublin, was for three years director of the Ministry of Pensions, Hospital Leopardstown, (devoted at that time to shell-shock cases) and then joined the staff of the Mater Hospital, first as Junior and as senior surgeon.

I have been unable to find any military records for him - the above information is from a published obituary in a Cornish newspaper. Having trained in Berlin I suspect he may also have worked in Intelligence

EDMUND JOSEPH MCALLISTER born 18 Apr 1879. served in Boer War (Lieutenant 57 Company Army Service Corps & No. 54 Company ASC in Second Boer War.) and WW1 with Army Service Corps. Awarded DSO. Lived at Tavistock in Devon - his house was named "Arras" which may have something to do with his military career. I would love to see the citation for his DSO. He died Lieut-Col EJ McAllister, DSO with Bar, aged 78 years, in 1957 and was a Reserve Officer in WW2.

ALEXANDER PATRICK MCALLISTER (aka Alister McAllister) born 6 April 1877. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted and went to France on 21 July 1915, a gunner with Machine Gun Corps Regimental Number 669. 2nd Lieutenant with A.S.C. Appointed Temporary Commander of ASC on 4 June 1917. Medal Index Card indicated 15 Star MGC First Battalion Page 37.. Also on" R F R with Motor Machine Gun Corps 103 Battalion/ 32". (Lynn Brock (1877-1943) was the pseudonym of Alister McAllister, an Irish writer. He also wrote 'straight' novels as Anthony Wharton. McAllister was born in Dublin and educated at the National University of Ireland, where he became Chief Clerk. He served in British Intelligence and in the machine gun corps during WW1). He wrote a non fiction book about his war experiences entitled "the/a man on the hill" but I have not been able to track it down.

The fourth brother was my grandfather Charles Bright McAllister born 31 May 1867 who enlisted in 1918 aged 51 as grade 2 corporal with Royal Dublin Fusiliers - served in the Pay Corps due to poor health and eyesight.

I would be most grateful if you could fill in any of the blanks. Thank you so much in anticipation.

Sheelagh McAllister
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th October 2015 at 4:59 PM

Dear Sheelagh,
The service records of officers who served in the First World War are only available on application to or a visit to the UK National Archives. Any other details have to be taken from material that is already published or is available online. The UK National Archives catalogue does not immediately show a record for a Victor Joseph McAllister. See:
The official British government publication, The London Gazette, recorded he was appointed a wartime Lieutenant in the R.A.M.C. from 15th March 1915. He might well have been the regimental medical officer (R.M.O.) of the 9th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders from that time. Each battalion had its own doctor who was often a junior officer or, perhaps, a captain of the R.A.M.C.. Victor J. McAllister was promoted to Captain on 15th March 1916.
The war diary of the 9th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders can be downloaded for a fee of GBP 3.30 from:
Casualty Clearing Stations served each Division of the British Army. See:
Captain Victor J. McAllister relinquished his commission on 15th March 1918 (London Gazette). The Gazette can be searched online at:
I have not found any further military records for him.

Service records for Edmund Joseph McAllister are probably not in the public domain and may still be held by the Ministry of Defence. The London Gazette recorded he was nominated by the authorities of universities to be commissioned in the Army Service Corps (A.S.C.) on May 22nd 1900. He qualified for the South Africa Medal 1901 with 57 Company Army Service Corps. In the 1911 census he was recorded as a captain with 70 Company A.S.C. at Valletta on Malta. He appears to have gone to France on 18th August 1914 with the 4th Division. He was promoted from Major to Lt-Colonel on August 3rd 1915. He was three times mentioned in despatches and was awarded the D.S.O. on 3rd June 1916 for distinguished service in the field. There is no published citation to the award; it was promulgated in a long list of awards dated 3rd June 1916 simply as: awarded the D.S.O.. He served in the Army of Occupation in Germany as Assistant Director of Supplies in 1919 and in the same year was appointed Brevet Lt-Colonel which was a reward for services. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Transport on 15th January 1920, probably at General HQ British Forces on the Rhine. He relinquished his commission on 17th January 1921.

The medal index card for Alister McAllister showed he served in France from 21st July 1915 in the MMGSRA which was the Motor Machine Gun Service of the Royal Artillery. These men were recruited from motor-cyclists and the premises in Coventry of the enthusiasts magazine Motor Cycle was listed as a recruiting office for the MMGS. See:
The medal index-card showed he was appointed to a temporary commission on 4th June 1917. The Gazette recorded he was an officer cadet appointed to Second-Lieutenant in the Army Service Corps on 4th June 1917. The award of his medals was recorded on the Rank and File medal rolls numbered MMG/103B page 32 and MGC/1B page 37. The numbers refer to lists and there is no record of which units he served with. His service record is held at the UK National Archives and can be ordered. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Sheelagh Mcallister
Date: Friday 9th October 2015 at 12:17 AM

Dear Alan,

Many thanks indeed for your prompt reply and indeed the several leads you have given me. I find it very difficult to get my head around the UK Archives and it is a bit tricky from here. However I will have another go following your prompts and see how I go.

This is a fantastic service you offer and I am truly grateful for your kind work.

All the very best


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