Alan Greveson's World War 1 Forum (Page 89)

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Posted by: Sue {Email left}
Location: York
Date: Friday 9th November 2012 at 7:26 PM
Hi Alan
I would appreciate if you could find some information on Private George Henry Veale 21326. He was in the 10th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, and died on 19 July 1917. You have been a great help in the past finding out information on my WW1 ancestors, and in appreciation I made a donation to The British Legion. Also I have posted information about 7 of my military ancestors on Facebook's WW1 Wall of Rememberance, and Ancestry are donating £3.00 to the British Legion for every post too.
many thanks once again.
Sue
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 10th November 2012 at 5:53 PM

Dear Sue,
Unfortunately it is not possible to suggest George Veale's service history. An Army medal rolls index card showed he went to France with the DCLI on 26th October 1915. When he died of wounds in July 1917 he was serving with the 10th Battalion DCLI. The 10th Battalion did not go to France until June 1916, when George Veale was already there. His regimental number was typical of those five-digit numbers issued for wartime service only. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded that he enlisted at Falmouth. The 3rd Battalion (depot) of the DCLI was based at Falmouth and then moved to the Isle of Wight, so it is possible George enlisted for training with the 3rd Battalion and was then posted overseas on 26th October 1915. No complete battalion of the DCLI went to France on that date so he must have been part of a draft of reinforcements to one of five battalions of the DCLI that were already in France on that date, being posted to the 10th Battalion at some stage before his death.
The 10th Battalion DCLI served with the 2nd Division, but on 16th July 1917 it was attached to the 66th Division. George died of wounds on 19th July 1917 and was buried at Coxyde. At that time the 66th Division had been taking part in "Operation Hush" which was a planned amphibious landing on the Belgian coast which never took place.
George qualified for the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Thank you for supporting the Royal British Legion.
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Tim
Location: Fordingbridge
Date: Friday 9th November 2012 at 5:41 PM
Dear Allan,

Thank you for trying to obtain information on my grandfather, sad there is none available. Nevertheless, I will be making a donation to the British Legion.

Kind regards

Tim P
Posted by: Tim Percy {Email left}
Location: Fordingbridge
Date: Thursday 8th November 2012 at 7:46 PM
Dear Allan,

I have been following your forum for some time and amazed at the information you are able to find. The one thing that stands out is the bravery of ordinary men in circumstances that none of us can really comprehend.

After speaking to my uncles about my grandfather I decided to do a bit of research on his part in WW1. His name was William Frank Percy, known as Bill, and he was born in 1898 in Bere Regis, Dorset.

In the first instance he served in the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver, Regiment Number 82654. Later he was transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery, Regiment Number 211194.

What I have been told that he enlisted at Dorchester before conscription was introduced.

I know that he was injured France when he was cranking his truck engine. It backfired and he sustained a broken right arm which was patched up prior to his being sent back to England, I was told it was Bristol, where they had to re-break his arm because it had not been set correctly in France. Unfortunately neither did the medics in England and subsequently he had a slightly kinked arm. I am assuming this was the time when he was transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery on his return to France.

After the war he worked as a chauffeur. His employer must have thought a lot of him as he paid for him to go to Harley Street to have his arm straightened, but this medical intervention did not work either, so he spent the remainder of his life with an arm that was not straight. It could not have bothered him, as later he took over running his own farm in the late 1940's.

I have two stories about his war:

1. He woke up one morning under his truck and beside him was a dead German, so he must have been close to the front line at that time.

2. Whilst driving in a convoy, they were being shelled, so he decided to leave the road and drive through a hedge to be safe, I should imagine both of these stories were not far from the truth.

I would be extremely grateful if you could obtain any further information on my grandfather so I can get a better understanding of what he went through in his own personal war.

In my younger days I spent some considerable time with him. He taught me to shoot, drive and many other things that benefited me throughout my life, but not once did he talk about his war experience. The only hint I had of his time in France was that he would reply to me in French when helping him on the farm..

Thanking you in advance

Kind regards

Tim Percy
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 9th November 2012 at 11:33 AM

Dear Tim,
Unfortunately no individual service record has survived for William Percy so it is not possible to suggest his wartime service.
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Rebecca {Email left}
Location: Bristol
Date: Thursday 8th November 2012 at 6:53 PM
Dear Alan, I hope you can help me - again. I'm looking for information on Thomas Lodge Hirst. He was born in 1891 in Yorkshire. His service number was 1279. I can see his records online, but they are hard to understand. I wonder if you could decipher them for me? For example what his wounds were when he was demobbed?

Thank you very much,

Rebecca
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th November 2012 at 10:12 PM

Dear Rebecca,
Thomas Hirst enlisted in the 15th Battalion the Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment on May 3rd 1915. He trained with the West Yorkshire Regiment and the Yorkshire Regiment at Colsterdale Camp, in the Yorkshire Dales which had been donated to the Army by Leeds City Council who were building a reservoir there. Thomas then trained at Pontefract, Yorkshire and Clipstone Camp near Mansfield. On 6th October 1915 he was transferred to the 1st Garrison Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment and consequently missed the departure of the 15th Battalion for a brief stay in Egypt. He went to France on 3rd June 1916 where he re-joined the 15th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. On 8th November 1916 he suffered from shell concussion but he remained in France. He became a corporal and was an acting Lance-sergeant by September 1917 when he was returned to England as a casualty on the Hospital Ship "Highlander". He appears to have suffered "shellcase burn" which would be burns from a hot shell case. Such burns were not trivial. He was treated in the UK and returned to France on 2nd April 1918 and served with the 10th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment for four days before joining his old battalion which had by then merged with the 17th Battalion to form the 15th/17th Battalion. He remained in France until 6th December 1918 when he returned to the UK for demobilization. He was posted to the reserves (demobbed) on 29 January 1919.
The 15th Battalion had served with 93rd Brigade in the 31st Division. In 1916 they fought at The Battle of Albert, including the attack on Serre, and The Battle of the Ancre. In 1917 he may have been involved in Operations on the Ancre, The Third Battle of the Scarpe and The Capture of Oppy Wood.
On his return in 1918, the Division took part in The First Battle of Arras 1918; The Battle of Estaires; The Battle of Hazebrouck; The Defence of Nieppe Forest; The attack at La Becque; The capture of Vieux Berquin, The Battle of Ypres 1918 and The action of Tieghem.
He was born at the end of 1890 or beginning of 1891 at Barnsley and lived at Alverthorpe, Wakefield, with his parents, aged 4 months on 5th April 1891.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Rebecca
Date: Friday 9th November 2012 at 10:18 AM

Dear Alan,
Thank you so much for your speedy reply.
To be able to turn to you - a professional - and get help so quickly, is really wonderful. You have made a great difference to my family history research. It would have taken me years to find out all this.

Many, many thanks.
Rebecca
Posted by: John Connelly {Email left}
Location: Cornwall
Date: Thursday 8th November 2012 at 4:38 PM
Dear alan i hope you can help before my wife goes insane looking for her great grandfather. his name was frederick dowten or dowton he enlisted on 07 07 1902 in the royal field artillary his number was25076 he was medically discharged on 08 11 1916 and awarded british victory medal under list ra / 642. he was in the army in dundalk in 1905 when he married, he was in kildare in 1908 and returned to england in1911. i am looking for enlistment papers or any information you can offer me to help find him prior to 1902. thank you john
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th November 2012 at 6:46 PM

Dear John,
An Army medal rolls index card showed Frederick Dowten was discharged from the Royal Field Artillery on 8th November 1916 from 5C Reserve Depot which was a UK based administrative centre at Charlton Park, Wiltshire. Frederick qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal (indicated by ditto marks). As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service overseas before December 21st 1915, this card provided no evidence other than he went overseas after January 1st 1916. He qualified for the Silver War Badge for being discharged through sickness. His date of enlistment was 7th July 1902. He could have served a minimum of 12 years from 07 July 1902 which could mean he was no longer in the Army from 7th July 1914 a month before war was declared, although he would have been on the reserve and should have been mobilized on August 4th or 5th 1914. Had he been serving as a regular army soldier at the outbreak of war, he would have qualified for the 1914 Star.
A further search revealed a medal card for F Downton 25076 who qualified for the 1914 Star for service abroad after 16th August 1914 with the 26th Brigade RFA. 26th Brigade RFA served with the 1st Division at The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the Rearguard Affair of Etreux
and The Battle of the Marne 1914. Frederick was injured on 30th August 1914 and returned to England from Hospital in France for treatment on 20th December 1914. On his recovery he joined 147th Brigade RFA and was sent to Egypt where he arrived at Alexandria on 19 October 1915 with the 29th Division. The Brigade was then sent to Gallipoli and returned to Alexandria after the evacuation of Gallipoli in January 1916. On 18th March 1916 the Brigade was sent to France arriving at Marseille. They fought on the Somme at the Battle of Albert 1916. On 3rd October 1916 Frederick was admitted to hospital in France and returned to England on 9th October 1916 from Rouen on the Hospital Ship "Saint Andrew". He was suffering from TB caught in the flooded trenches of Gallipoli in November 1915. He was discharged from Norfolk War Hospital at Norwich on 17th October 1916.
He service record was recorded as Frederick Dewton among the "pension" records available on the ancestery.co.uk website. He appears to have been recorded in the 1911 England census as a soldier married to Jane of County Louth, living at Lynchford Terrace, Farnborough. In the 1901 census he appears to be recorded as Frederick Doughton, as a lodger at the home of Ruth Carroll, Warren Street, Clerkenwell, London. He was born at St. Luke's Middlesex.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: John Connelly
Date: Friday 9th November 2012 at 3:26 PM

Dear alan, thank you very much for the information on my wifes great grandad she shed a little tear when she read it, can you please further guide us as to where you got the information also would his enlistment papers be available anywhere which may show his next of kin , religion he was, and possibly where he lived when he joined up. we noted your preferred charity the royal british legion which i am a member of and a donation has been put into the tin in plymouth today, we also got a wooden cross to lay at our local war monument in albaston this sunday morning, wewould be grateful for any further information or guidance you can offer. ps your jokes are great it gave us a good laugh. regardsjohn connelly
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 9th November 2012 at 3:47 PM

Dear John,
There are no surviving enlistment papers. The records of his pension claim are available on the ancestry.co.uk website (subscription required) indexed under the name of Frederick Dewton. Some larger libraries offer free access to the ancestry website.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: John Connelly
Date: Monday 12th November 2012 at 7:11 PM

Dear alan, we trust you have had a reflective rememberance weekend, we both laid our cross at ourlocal war memorial in albaston cornwall. when my uncle died in scotland and his family cleared some persnal belongings my grandfathers wallet he used in the first world war was passed to me, inside the wallet were somestamps and two medals from the first world war, one medal is for the great war for civilisation and the other medal is marked 1914-1915 both are marked cpl r jamieson a @ s highlanders number s-7044 on both medals, can you shed any light on this or help as they are the original medals without ribbons and i wouldlike them returned to a relative of this soldier, i might add that my grandfather served with the a@s highlanders called patrick connolly from 1914 to 1918 they may have been mates, regards john connelly
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 13th November 2012 at 1:06 PM

Dear John,
The medals are two of three that were issued to Cpl Robert Jamieson who appears to have served in the 6th Battalion Princess Louise's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders from 15th December 1914 until he was discharged exactly four years later on 14th December 1918 to the Class P Reserve which was for men "whose services are deemed to be temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the Army". In other words he was sent back to his civilian job which may have involved war work such as mining or shipbuilding, for example. He was discharged at the age of 42 as no longer physically fit for war service. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star; The British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The British War Medal is the one you do not appear to have. The medals were authorised after the war and were generally minted and despatched to soldiers between 1920 and 1922. There is no further military documentation for Robert Jamieson so it would not possible to positively identify him. You could offer the medals on:
http://www.lostmedals.co.uk/

Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Sharon Chase Petgrave {Email left}
Location: Canada
Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 8:35 PM
Hello, do you know of anyone (website) that does research on Canadians who served in the second world war?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 8:54 PM

Dear Sharon,
Canadian Military records are held by Library and Archives Canada. There is access to records of servicemen who died in the Second World War. For other records there are certain access restrictions in place. See:

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.007-e.html

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Sharon Chase Petgrave
Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 9:13 PM

Thank you Alan, I just discovered this website by chance. It is wonderful what you do and I can only imagine how grateful people are for your contributions.
Posted by: Linda
Location: Headley Down
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 8:55 PM
Dear Alan

I am trying to research my late grandfather and have come across some details which I was wondering if you could help me with. He was Private G/9309 Arthur Hatto of the Middlesex Regiment. Would you be able to tell me anything else please.

Thank you
Linda
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 10:04 PM

Dear Linda,
No individual service record has survived for Arthur Hatto so it is not possible to suggest his military record. An Army medal index card showed he qualified for the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The card gave his date of entry into France as 27th July 1915. He was demobilised at the end of the war. His regimental number was prefixed with a "G" which usually indicated wartime general service (enlistment for the duration of the war). He was "demobilised" which also indicated he had served in a general service battalion, as opposed to a pre-war Territorial battalion. Arthur had been born early in 1897, which would have meant he would have been seventeen and a half at the outbreak of war.
Soldiers went to France either with their own battalion or as part of a draft of reinforcements to a battalion already in France. The only battalion of the Duke of Cambridge's Own Middlesex Regiment that arrived in France on 27th July 1915 was the 12th (Service) Battalion. This battalion had been raised at Mill Hill, London, and trained at Colchester before moving to Salisbury Plain. It served with the 54th Infantry Brigade in the 18th Division. The 12th Battalion was broken up in the re-organisation of the Army in February 1918 and the men were posted to other battalions. There is a history of the 18th Division at:
http://www.1914-1918.net/18div.htm

Without an individual service record it is not possible to demonstrate he served with the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. However the weight of evidence suggests that he may have done.
The medal roll for the 1914-15 Star will be held at the National Archives at Kew and may record the battalion he was with when he entered France. The roll is within "Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) other ranks: medal rolls. E/1/3B-4; E/1/3B7. Pages 260B-572B. 1914-15 Star" held in Catalogue reference WO 329/2767 with his entry on E/1/3B/4 page 337. You would have to visit the National Archives to see it, or pay for a researcher to look up the entry. See:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/paid_research.htm

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Linda
Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 10:53 PM

Thank you very much Alan
Posted by: Paul Crook {Email left}
Location: Hampshire
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 8:53 PM
Hi again Alan

One more soldier I would appreciate information on and again I'm not sure if this is the one I want but it is the most likely from the names I can find.

The soldier in question is William Wallace Holman. The only record I can find for this name is that of

Holman, William W Corps: Middlesex Regiment Regiment No: G/61715 Rank: Private

Would you be able to give any more info on him please

Thanks as always

Paul
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 9:47 PM

Dear Paul,
Sorry, but there is nothing more than a medal card which I imagine you have already seen. The G prefix suggests wartime-only service, but there is no clue to the battalion. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal so he did not serve abroad before January 1st 1916. He was born in 1899, so it is likely he was conscripted on or after his 18th birthday in 1917.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Paul Crook
Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 10:55 PM

Thanks once again Alan. You offer an invaluable service and I am very grateful for all your help, as is my father whose relations I have been asking you about recently.

All the best

Paul
Posted by: Andy Jones {Email left}
Location: Mullagh Co Cavan Roi
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 7:09 PM
Hi Alan.
My grandfather, Walter Hopkins, served with the DCLI in South Africa. He was ill on board the hospital ship Simla in Delagoa Bay in 1902, believed to be Malaria. He settled in Dublin where he had been based prior to the second Boer War, married my Gran and produced a large family. I am very keen to find out anything I can about him, his UK family, and his service. He died in the early 1920's in Dublin, having lost contact with his British relatives. My Mum told me many years ago that he was a proud Englishman. I myself definitely have some of his blood in my veins, as I love British Military history (and the great Irish contribution to it. My other Grandad was in the Inniskillings, and my recently deceased uncle Frank served with the Somerset LI in WW2.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 10:04 PM

Dear Andy,
It is not possible to positively identify someone knowing only their name. If Walter served in the Second Anglo Boer War his service record will be held at the UK National Archives at Kew, Surrey. The same records are available to download from the findmypast.co.uk website (charges apply, about 6 GBP). I am unable to provide transcriptions of those records for copyright reasons. Army records are not always a reliable source of years of birth as men often lied about their age and may not have known precisely where they were born. A Walter Hopkins died at Dublin in 1927 aged 53, which would give a year of birth of about 1874. In the 1911 census a Walter Hopkins gave his age as 40, which would give a date of birth of 1871, so already there is a wide range of birth years to consider. Walter would not have been recorded in the 1901 census as he was in South Africa, but his family may have been recorded. I have tried to trace one Walter Hopkins who stated he was born in Walthamstow, Essex in about 1873 with a mother called Mary Ann that lived in Birmingham, but with no luck, possibly because he had moved to Ireland. I haven't identified Mary Ann Hopkins. It is not possible to say whether he served in the First World War - there is no immediately obvious surviving record.
Walter qualified for the Queen's South Africa Medal with the DCLI.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Andy Jones
Date: Wednesday 7th November 2012 at 9:36 AM

Thanks Alan. I think you found him all right, I did manage to find out that Walter was from Walthamstow, but enlisted at Birmingham. That ties up nicely. Thanks again for your help.
Posted by: Madbat63 {Email left}
Location: Rotherham
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 7:07 PM
Hi Alan

My great uncle was in the Royal Field Artillery "C" Bty. 317th Bde. attd. 63rd R.N. Div. He died at Passchendale in 1917 of his wounds. I believe he was in the Territorial Army prior to the war. His name was John William Sawyer, from Hull. I am trying to find out some more information about where he may have fought/been stationed. I know he was in France but have no idea whereabouts. any help/advice would be gratefully received.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 5th November 2012 at 11:06 PM

No individual service record has survived for John William Sawyer so it is not possible to state his wartime service with certainty, particularly as the Royal Artillery underwent many re-organisations. The First World War was an artillery war and the organisation of the guns was frequently changed, with men moving between brigades, or brigades being re-numbered. For a general understanding of the structure of the artillery brigades see Chris Baker's website:
http://www.1914-1918.net/whatartbrig.htm

There is, however, sufficient evidence to suggest John Sawyer's most likely movements. An Army medal rolls index-card showed he went abroad as an acting bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery with the regimental numbers 1423 and (after March 1917) 761233. Medal records recorded the rank and number held by the person when he first went overseas. This provides evidence that John served in the Territorial artillery, as the number 761233 was allotted in March 1917 to the Northumbrian Brigade RFA and 317 Battery was designated the 2nd/3rd Northumbrian Brigade. All Territorial soldiers were re-numbered in 1917 during a rationalisation of the numbering system. So, we know he served before March 1917 as "1423" and after March 1917 as "761233".
John Sawyer qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In addition, he qualified for the Territorial Force Medal. The TFM was awarded to those volunteer soldiers who, before the outbreak of war on August 4th 1914, had already completed four years' service in the Territorial Army; who had served overseas and who could not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad
before December 31st 1915. The TFM is the least well known of the First World War medals as only 34,000 were issued, compared to six and a half million British War Medals.

That provides evidence that John Sawyer was serving in 317 Brigade RFA in March 1917 when his new number was issued. He died while serving with 317 Brigade in October 1917. No members of 317 Brigade RFA qualified for the 1914-15 Star, because that unit first went to France in 1916.
As he had had at least four years' service in the TA before the war, John Sawyer's wartime record is probably similar to 317 Brigade's record.
317 Brigade was designated with Roman numerals as CCCXVII (2/III Northumbrian) Brigade, RFA (CCC= 300, X= 10 and VII = 7). It joined the 63rd Royal Naval Division in France on 5th July 1916, having left England on July 1st 1916. When in France, the 63rd Royal Naval Division fought at The Battle of the Ancre (13th to 19th November 1916) which was part of The Battles of the Somme 1916. In 1917 the Division fought at The Operations on the Ancre (January to March 1917); The Second Battle of the Scarpe (23-24 April 1917) in which the Division captured Gavrelle; The Battle of Arleux (28-29 April 1917) during the Arras Offensive and The Second Battle of Passchendaele (26 October - 10 November 1917) a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres 1917. John Sawyer had died on 20th October 1917 and had probably been wounded that day as he died of wounds at a dressing station. He was at St Julien, near Ypres, when he died. The most likely cause of death was counter-battery artillery fire from the enemy's artillery.
317 Brigade was originally designated as part of the second-line 3rd Northumbrian (County of Durham) Brigade of the RFA. Before the outbreak of war, the 3rd Northumbrian (County of Durham) Brigade of the RFA was based at TA drill halls in Seaham and Hartlepool. These second-line units were raised at the outbreak of war to provide drafts of replacements once the original pre-war Territorials had let for overseas service.
Before the war, the Territorial artillery brigades had regional names, rather than numbers which were allotted during the war.
It seems likely that coming from Hull, John's pre-war Territorial service may have been with the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA which was based at Wenlock Barracks on Anlaby Road in Hull. The Hull artillery became numbered as 316 Brigade. After arriving in France, 316 Brigade (2nd Northumbrian) RFA was re-organised in August 1916 and it appears their 'C' Battery became 'C' Battery 317 Brigade. So, there is some evidence to suggest John was in the pre-war Hull Territorial artillery of the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade RFA at Hull and went to France with them in July 1916 to join 63rd Royal Naval Division. Once in France, 316 Battery was re-organised and his battery became part of 317 Brigade. That did not affect his wartime service as 316 and 317 Brigades fought in the same Division, although that does not confer a precise geographical stability.
Before going to France in 1916, 316 and 317 Batteries had belonged to the 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division of the Home Forces, before that division rendered its number to the Royal Naval Division in France in 1916. At the outbreak of war, Divisional HQ was at Newcastle upon Tyne and took responsibility for coastal defences from Seaham Harbour to Sunderland and Tynemouth. The artillery was based at Newcastle, Gosforth Park and Gateshead. King George V inspected the Division at Newcastle on 20th May 1915 and on 30th November 1915, the Division's HQ moved to Retford in Nottinghamshire. The artillery moved to Retford, York and Doncaster. At the end of May 1916, the artillery left for France, via Heytesbury in Wiltshire before sailing to France to join the Royal Naval Division that was then to be re-numbered the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division on 21 July 1916. For a history see:
http://www.1914-1918.net/63%282N%29div.htm

The war diary of 317 Brigade RFA is held at the National Archives at Kew, Surrey, in catalogue reference WO 95/3102/4. You would need to visit the archives to study it.

Summary: John probably served in the pre-war Hull TA artillery. At the outbreak of war his battery was initially part of the home East Coast defences and was then sent to France in July 1916 where John became a member of 317 Battery RFA which fought at The Battle of the Ancre (13th to19th November 1916); The Operations on the Ancre (January-March 1917); The Second Battle of the Scarpe (23th 24th April 1917), in which the Division captured Gavrelle; and The Battle of Arleux (28th -29th April 1917). He died of wounds on 20th October 1917 at St Julien near Ypres in the build-up to the Second Battle of Passchendaele (26th October 10th November 1917).
I apologise for the history being complicated. Any mistakes are entirely mine.

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Madbat63
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 8:43 AM

Hi Alan
WoW! Thank you so much for your reply, it makes things a bit clearer, i had realised that various brigades etc had been renamed, but it just made everything even more confusing.It's very interesting, just one question, is it possible that he could have been sent to France as early as July 1914? The reason i ask is , that whilst sorting through my grandmother's things we have found a letter written by John, asking that the family don't wast anymore money buying him cigarettes as he can get them at the War Price instead. The letter is dated July1914 and clearly gives the address as France- no town or any other details.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th November 2012 at 5:36 PM

There is no documentary evidence John served overseas before July 1st 1916. If he was in France in July 1914 when he wrote the letter he would have been a tourist as Britain did not declare war until 11pm on August 4th 1914. "War price" cigarettes were those that had been sent to France under bond, and had been exempted from Board of Customs and Excise duty. When sold by the YMCA or other organisations, they could be a third of the price that would be paid at home. As he refers to "war price" the letter must have been written after the start of the war, so the date of the letter may be in question.
Kind regards,
Alan

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