Alan Greveson's World War 1 Forum (Page 41)

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Posted by: Stephanie {Email left}
Location: Leicester
Date: Friday 23rd May 2014 at 7:40 PM
I am trying to find out what regiment and rank my uncle Alfred William Rathbone, born in Rugby in 1893, served in WW1.
I have a photo of him in uniform but I can't seem to insert it here. He looks like he may have been in cavalry from how he is dressed but other people think Royal Engineers. He survived the war.

Reply from: Graham Caldwell
Date: Thursday 29th January 2015 at 10:20 PM

Hi Stephanie,
Your message is now 8 months old and you may have already solved it, but your uncle is featured in this month's "Family Tree" magazine Jan 2015 on page 76 in the 'Your Q&A' segment, letter sent in by Mrs A Burton, who you no doubt know or are related. In case this information is new to you, your uncle was Cpl 66481 AF Rathbone MSM, Royal Engineers, serving in 14th Divisional Signals Company.

Regards Graham Caldwell
Melbourne Australia
Reply from: Editor
Date: Saturday 31st January 2015 at 1:47 AM

Hi Graham,
Stephanie sends her thanks to you.
She has had trouble replying to you so I have done this for her.
Regards, Bob (circlecity editor).
Posted by: Suemsmith {Email left}
Location: Sheffield
Date: Friday 23rd May 2014 at 10:43 AM
Dear Alan

Would you be able to furnish me with any information about this chap, please -

Roy Darley Clayton

Birth abt 1882 in Wheatley, Yorkshire, England
Death 1 Nov 1956 in Derbyshire, England

Medal Card shows - RAMC - Lt then later Capt
Serving on HS Kildonia Castle from 16.10.15

Lived in Adam Bede Cottage, Ellastone and practiced there as local GP, also medical officer at Denstone College

Awarded 4th Class St Sava of Serbia ?

It is difficult to find anything else about this chap - any help would be appreciate

Many thanks

~Sue Smith
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 23rd May 2014 at 6:19 PM

Dear Sue,
It would be necessary to view Captain Clayton's service record at The National Archives, Kew, or the Army Lists to establish his wartime service. He was born in January 1882 at Broxholme House, Wheatley, Doncaster, West Yorkshire and after Felsted he studied medicine at Edinburgh and Glasgow, qualifying on August 1st 1913. The 1915 Medical register recorded him working in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
The SS "Kildonan Castle" (sometimes recorded as Kildonian Castle) was converted to a hospital ship in October 1915 and sent to the Dardanelles. SS "Kildonan Castle" was off Gallipoli on November 1st 1915. In March 1916 she was decommissioned and converted to an armed cruiser. Lieutenant Clayton would have first served at Gallipoli in October 1915 but it is not possible to say where he served afterwards. Captain Clayton was apparently awarded the Order of St Sava by Serbia suggesting he might have been assisting with the evacuation of Serbia after Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in September 1915. A bombardment on the Save and Danube was launched in October 1915. Belgrade was lost to the Austrians and Germans in two days and then the Bulgarian army invaded Serbia. On land, Bulgaria prevented the British and French land forces moving to the aid of Serbia up the Vardar valley in Macedonia. Hundreds of thousands of Serbian civilians and the Serbian Army, with the British mission, fled Serbia by trekking through the mountains to cross Albania and reach the Adriatic coast. Half the Serbian army, more than 200,000 men, died on the march with an unknown number of civilians. The survivors were then taken to Corfu. Serbia's proportional death rate was the highest of any nation in the war. The Serbian army was re-formed at Salonika in 1916 and joined the French and British in Macedonia. The Serbians gained revenge when the Allied Balkan campaign culminated with the collapse of Bulgaria on 28th September 1918.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Suemsmith
Date: Friday 23rd May 2014 at 9:02 PM

Dear Alan

Thanks so much for this; we will know where to look now!

Trust all is well with you

Best wishes

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 23rd May 2014 at 9:22 PM

Pass, Friend. All's well.
Posted by: David Beresford {Email left}
Location: Lincoln
Date: Thursday 22nd May 2014 at 1:59 PM
Hi Alan,

I'm trying to research my elderly neighbours grandfather. He was Private ( later acting corporal) John Peacock. His number is 12/1273 and he served in the 10th battalion of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was killed in action on 9th April 1917. I have his medal card, but can find no more information whatsoever about him. I know he was born in Burslem, Shropshire and enlisted at Pontefract in Yorkshire, but this is all I can find.

Any information you can find would be greatly appreciated.

David Beresford
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 22nd May 2014 at 5:37 PM

Dear David,
No individual service record has survived for John Peacock so it is not possible to state his military service. An Army medal rolls index card recorded he served in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry with the regimental number 12/1273, where the prefix 12/ suggested he first enlisted in the 12th Battalion KOYLI. The CWGC Debt of Honour and "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded he was killed in action on 9th April 1917 while serving with the 10th Battalion KOYLI. John Peacock 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. Both the 10th and the 12th Battalions had gone overseas in 1915, so John would most likely have been part of a draft of reinforcements.
The 10th Battalion KOYLI spent the early part of 1917 in re-organisation and training after their work on the Somme in 1916. The stage was set for the Battle of Arras early in 1917 and the 10th Battalion KOYLI, which served in the 64th Infantry Brigade in the 21st Division, had been training at Boisleaux-au-mont, on the Cajeul River for the forthcoming attacks on the Hindenburg Line. On April 7th the 9th and 10th Battalions KOYLI moved forward to the trenches from which the attack would be launched. The 9th would attack first, and the 10th was in reserve. The assault was made by the 9th Battalion at 3 p.m. on April 9th 1917 on the Hindenburg Line defences along the Hénin-Héninel road. The enemy's wire was only partially cut and the second wave of the 9th Battalion suffered severe losses trying to take the second objective and find a way through the wire. At 6 p.m. the 9th Battalion had withdrawn to consolidate the first objective immediately to the South of Héninel.
At dusk, the 10th Battalion went forward to reinforce the 9th. Some of them collected the wounded under the cover of darkness while B and D Companies of the 10th Battalion dug new trenches to connect with the captured German position. The trenches were completed at 3.30 a.m. on April 10th and the 9th Battalion was then replaced by the 10th Battalion in the forward trenches. The 10th Battalion lost two officers killed; three officers wounded; with 10 other ranks killed; 54 wounded and 36 missing on the 9th and 10th April 1917 at Héninel.
John Peacock is buried at Cajeul British Cemetery.
With kind regards,
Reply from: David Beresford
Date: Thursday 22nd May 2014 at 10:53 PM

Dear Alan,

Thank you very much for this information, I was beginning to think that no personal record of John Peacock existed. However the information you have provided is fantastic and I can't wait to give this information to John Peacocks grandson.

Many thanks
David Beresford
Posted by: Peter {Email left}
Location: Billingham
Date: Sunday 18th May 2014 at 4:14 PM
Dear Alan I hope you can help me trying to find out if Joseph M Bilton Bandmaster Royal Horseguards (Blue) served abroad in the first world war I think there is a medal index card for him in WO1 his Service No is 1097.
Best Regards Peter.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 18th May 2014 at 5:53 PM

Dear Peter,
An Army medal rolls index-card for Joseph M Bilton recorded he qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal; therefore he served overseas in a theatre of war for at least 28 days. 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. Service records of the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues)
are held at Combermere Barracks at Windsor. An initial search fee of £25 is charged with a possible further £15 charge where copying substantial amounts of information becomes necessary. See:

The National Archives at Kew also hold service records for the Royal Horse Guards in series WO 400 Royal Horse Guards, Series 3, 1886-1919. See:

If Joseph Bilton served after 1919 his record would only be at Windsor.
The Blues' service in France is shown at:

With kind regards,
Posted by: Bella
Location: Esher
Date: Sunday 18th May 2014 at 3:33 PM
Hello Alan,

Trust you are enjoying this temporary sunny weather.

Wondering if you can advise.

Have death certificate of Annie Gascoyne (nee Gosling) (born Yorkshire 1877. Parents George & Eliza Gosling) reg district, Liverpool North 18th November 1941, informant Jeanette Hakin, Daughter.

Would love to try tracing daughter's family if any - is this possible as the next cenus isn't available for some time?

With kind regards.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 18th May 2014 at 6:05 PM

Dear Bella,
Details of living relatives are confidential and those people have an expectation of privacy which prevents any discussion about them on the internet. Any personal information gathered during research would be protected by the Data Protection Act.
You would need to identify the marriage of Jeanette Gascoyne from the GRO indexes. From that marriage date you would need to search births and deaths of any children born with the surname Hakin with the mother's maiden name of Gascoyne. You would then repeat the process for each child and their marriages until you come to the present day. You would then need to search on a website such as for public information such as electoral rolls or telephone directories which might be relevant. Bear in mind that while you might want to make contact with people you believe to be relatives discovered by research, they might not be aware of you, and might not wish to have contact with you. There is some advice at:

With kind regards,
Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Friday 16th May 2014 at 6:44 PM
Hello Alan,First a thank you for your most comprehensive reply to my query on the burial details of airmen.Now just a "quicky! . What is the best way to find out service details of those who survived? It's proving not to be as easy as researching those who fell !, and we want to be as even handed as possible when we hold our Rainhill in WW! event in September
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 16th May 2014 at 9:59 PM

Dear Brian,
First it is necessary to know the man's name or woman's name; regiment and regimental number. Researchers are faced with a chicken and egg problem if you don't know who served by name, you won't be able to find their records, even if the records have survived. Few records would indicate an individual was connected to Rainhill, other than by residence or birth parish. It is rare to find a complete list of local people who served and survived, although they might be named on rolls of honour that included all men of the parish who served. Some churches, employers and local councils did compile rolls of honour of all who served. Women could have served in the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment operated jointly by the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance); medical services, such as Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAINMS), the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve) QAIMNS(R) and the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS); auxiliary army corps (The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was formed in 1917 and was renamed the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1918; it was disbanded in 1921), Royal Navy nurses, Women's Royal Naval Service; munitions workers and so on.
Most individual Army service records from the First World War have been irretrievably lost after the air raid on London on September 8th 1940 which destroyed the War Office Repository. Those records that have survived, perhaps thirty per cent of the original number, are available free to personal visitors at the National Archives at Kew, Surrey. They have been digitised on the subscription websites and Service records are indexed by name, stated year of birth, residence or parish of birth, regiment and regimental number. Other records, such as medal qualifications, might be indexed by the man's initials, surname, regiment and number without any biographical details, making them less easy to identify positively. Records for the Guards regiments are held by the regiment's archives and are available to next of kin for a charge. Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Flying Corps/RAF records are available for a small fee from the National Archives website.
If you are unaware of who served, you could contact your local newspaper asking for people to offer biographical details of their ancestors who served. The local Royal British Legion might be aware of men and women who served.
Local newspaper reports might have recorded the activities of local men and women. They would be held by the local studies library (St Helen's).
The National Archives have a general guide on the subject:

Research can be frustrating and time consuming. If you are starting from scratch, it might be best to start by offering an interview to the local newspaper to publicise your project and inviting their readers to contribute, saving a great deal of effort on your part.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Jim Regan {Email left}
Location: Garden City Ny
Date: Friday 16th May 2014 at 10:23 AM
I am trying to research an ancestor William O'Regan from Kilfinane Co. Limerick Ireland who served in the Royal Artillery during the First World War. i learned he was wounded in France and joined the Royal Defence Corps until the end of the War. i understand his service record was destroyed during the second World War so any information you may have would be appreciated. Thank you Jim Regan
Posted by: Aileen {Email left}
Location: Ireland
Date: Thursday 15th May 2014 at 9:44 PM
I'm trying to find out more about my grandfather who served in the British Army World War 1 based at the Curragh Camp in Kildare, Ireland. I seem to have found two different service nos for him - 294 Army Cyclist Corp and 1913 Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was born in 1889 and died 1929. Any advice would be great fully received. Many thanks.
Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Thursday 15th May 2014 at 7:11 PM
Alan, As I have posted on other occasions Rainhill Civic Society are carrying out research on every man from our village who died in WW1.One of the men died when his plane crashed in France after being shot down.We now know that both he and his pilot are 'not' buried in a military cemetery but in the tiny village cemetery(Latour en Woevre),another airman also from our village died in a field hospital(presumably after crashing) is also 'not' buried in a military cemetery but in a town cemetery. Is this the norm for airmen or is just coincidence with our men ?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:35 PM

Dear Brian,
It was not uncommon for individual graves to be created in village cemeteries in France, especially in connection with isolated incidents such as an aeroplane being shot down over occupied territory. During the war, the British had a policy of not repatriating their dead and so regiments created cemeteries alongside where they were fighting. More-isolated deaths were buried in the local French cemetery which served the local commune. Hence the records describe them as communal cemeteries. Some of those cemeteries had extensions created to accommodate the war dead. After the war, the then Imperial War Graves Commission purchased land from the French and created uniform war grave cemeteries, clearing the battlefields and smaller, scattered, regimental cemeteries and bringing graves into the new cemeteries created in the 1920s.
When Second-Lieutenants Hickes and Jones were killed they would have been attended by the German and Austrian occupying forces of Latour, or any remaining local French residents of Latour, who witnessed the plane crashing and then held a local funeral and burial service. The two men had been flying over enemy territory at the time and their aeroplane came down outside the church at Latour. Hickes, incidentally, had attended Bootham School in York which belonged to the Quakers. The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) were pacifists but the York Quakers agreed to leave war service to an individual's conscience. In 1916 they were to condemn compulsory military service but in 1915, when recruiting was falling-off after the disastrous Battle of Loos in September, they had recorded their ambivalent views at a meeting in Bootham School on October 15th: "Realising that the question of taking up arms is one that must be decided by each individual according to the dictates of his own conscience our warm sympathy goes out to those who feel that their conscience will not allow them to respond to the call that is being made upon them & also to those who feel that their duty compels them to enlist." ("York Friends and the Great War", David Rubinstein, York, 1999, page 6). Of course, 2/Lt Hickes may not have been a Quaker himself, despite attending a Quaker School. He became a medical student and would have been conscripted at the age of 18. He joined the Royal Flying Corps as a cadet on 11th September 1917, aged 18-and-a-half.
By late 1915, some 259 younger members of The Society of Friends from York had enlisted in the armed forces. A total of 419 old boys of Bootham School served in the Great War and 56 of them were killed ("Public Schools and the Great War", Anthony Seldon and David Walsh, 2013, appendix page 256). 2/Lt Hickes died just 12 days after first joining his unit in France.
The Meuse départment of France, which includes Latour, has a First World War commemoration website in English at:

Field hospitals were mobile and could have used French cemeteries during their stay in a local area.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Saturday 17th May 2014 at 12:15 PM

Thank you once again Alan for you very comprehensive reply
Posted by: Karen {Email left}
Location: Evesham Worcestershire
Date: Thursday 15th May 2014 at 7:01 PM
Hello, what a truly fantastic site this is... the answers to many questions so full of information so this leads me to hope you may be able to help me...
I am looking for any information on my Great Grandfather Henry James Powell, born 1888, Breckonshire, Wales. He was a PTE in the Army Veterinary Corps, his regimental number was TT/02381., all i am able to find is the British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Card, this says Theatre of war: 2 and Date of entry therein: 25/04/1915. it also has the following written on it:
Medal roll page
Victory Ravc/101B21 1123
British do do
15 Star Ravc/7B 515

my mother informs me that Henry was in Egypt (she has a story that Henry almost drowned in the Nile - how true this is I dont know) so any information or pointers in the right direction or info on where Henry served and what he did would be fantastic.

thank you in advance.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:35 PM

Dear Karen,
No individual service record has survived for Henry James Powell so it is not possible to state his wartime service. An Army medal-rolls index card indicated he first entered a theatre of war (2) which was the Balkans including Gallipoli, on April 25th 1915. This was the date three divisions landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Identifying his unit from his regimental number has been discussed on Chris Baker's "Great War Forum" and I can't improve on their answers.

From his date of entry it is possible he served with 29th Division, which included the 18th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC, see:
or the Royal Naval Division which included the 19th Mobile Veterinary Section.

It is just possible that the medal roll for the 1915 Star (RAVC/7B page 515) which is held at The National Archives at Kew, might have recorded the unit he was with when he qualified for that medal. You would need to visit Kew to see the roll.
Henry Powel qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Karen
Date: Friday 16th May 2014 at 8:58 AM

Thank you Alan for your time and help. reading through I think it has to be the 29th Division as the dates appear to tie up better.
will keep searching.

thanks again.
Karen x

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