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

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Posted by: Pete Jenkins {Email left}
Location: East Grinstead
Date: Monday 17th September 2012 at 2:19 PM
Dear Alan,

I have just come across your forum, and am amazed at your knowledge and extent of research.
I have tried in vain to find out any information on my great uncle apart from his medal card. I don't know if you are able to enlighten me any further. We are desperate to know more about him as no one in the family knows much apart from the fact he died at a place called Hell Fire Corner near Ypres.
His name was John Turner and he was a driver in the Royal Field Artillery. His number was 650334, although according to his medal card he has a previous number of 851?
He died on 6/9/17.
I would be grateful for any more information you can give.
Please let me know if you require any payment

Best regards

Pete Jenkins
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 17th September 2012 at 9:23 PM

Dear Pete,
No individual service record appears to have survived for John Turner, so it is not possible to be specific about his individual war record. An Army medal rolls index card recorded he was a driver in the Royal Field Artillery (TF Territorial Force) who had the regimental number 851 when he went to France on 24th October 1915. In March 1917, all Territorial soldiers were re-numbered as part of a rationalisation of the numbering system. John's new number was 650334. The card recorded "DoW 6.9.17": he had died of wounds on 6th September 1917. From those details, it is possible to identify the regimental number 650334 as being within the batch 650001 to 655000 which was allocated to 257 Brigade RFA TF (1st Lowland) and 325 Brigade RFA TF (2nd Lowland). As the number 650334 is early in the sequence, and as John served in France from October 1915, it would indicate he entered France with 257 Brigade Royal Field Artillery and not 325 Brigade .
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour recorded John Turner died on September 6th 1917 while serving with "C" Bty. 86th Bde RFA. This would have been 86 Army Field Artillery Brigade, also known as 86th Army Brigade RFA. The title "Army Brigade" is significant, indicating they had been re-structured to come under Army command and not Divisional command. John was the son of Thomas and Ellen Turner of Edinburgh.
"Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded John died of wounds. It also recorded he lived and enlisted in Edinburgh.
The 1911 census of Edinburgh suggests he was John Turner, aged 16 (born about 1895), a publisher's apprentice, living at the family home in St Leonard's Street, Edinburgh (GRO Scotland 685/05 061/00 001). John would have been 19 at the outbreak of war. So far, so good: that's the easy part.

During the war, the Royal Artillery underwent many changes and men often moved from one brigade to another. Any changes would have been recorded on an individual's service record, the majority of which were destroyed by enemy action in the London Blitz in 1940. In John Turner's case, the surviving information recorded he died while serving with "C" Battery 86th Brigade RFA in September 1917. The 86th Brigade RFA had served in the 19th (Western) Division until 1916 but from January 1917 the 86th was designated an Army Brigade. At the time of John's burial, 86th Brigade was "86th Army Brigade". What was "C" Battery 86th Army Brigade RFA, in 1917, had entered the war as the 2nd (City of Edinburgh) Battery of the 1st Lowland Brigade RFA, part of the pre-war Territorial Force.
John's regimental number and date of entry into France indicated he had served with 257 Brigade RFA TF (1st Lowland). 257 Brigade was given the 257 number during the war. Before the war, it was known as the 1st Lowland Brigade RFA with two of its three original batteries based in Edinburgh: the 1st and 2nd Batteries. So, it appears that John Turner entered the war and died during the war while serving with the same Battery of the Royal Field Artillery. Therefore, the history of that Battery is likely to reflect John's wartime service.

A battery was the man's "family unit". Three batteries (later four) formed an artillery Brigade which was an operational unit of the RFA. The field brigades were allotted to infantry Divisions. Later in the war, some field brigades that had been under divisional command were converted to Army Brigades of artillery under the command of a CRE Commander Royal Artillery of one of the five British Armies in France and Flanders. The field artillery brigades started out with names; they were then given numbers which were later altered to Roman numerals. Many brigades were re-numbered as the Artillery was progressively modernised throughout the war.

John had an original four-digit regimental number typical of the Territorial Army. He entered France on 24th October 1915. This would indicate he served with the 1st Lowland Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, based in Edinburgh, where he lived. At his death he served with what had formerly been the 2nd City of Edinburgh Battery of the 1st Lowland Brigade. It is likely therefore that he enlisted in the 2nd City of Edinburgh Battery either before the war, as a part-time Territorial soldier, or at the outbreak of war as a volunteer. On August 5th 1914, the 2nd Edinburgh Battery was mobilized for its pre-determined wartime station on the Forth coastal defences where it served with 1st Lowland Brigade RFA in the Lowland Division of the British Army until the summer of 1915. In April 1915, the battery lost its name and was given a number: 257 Brigade RFA; while the Division was given the number 52. When the 52nd (Lowland) Division sailed for Egypt and Gallipoli in May 1915, its artillery of the 1st Lowland Brigade RFA remained at home. In October 1915, 257 Brigade moved to France and joined 51st (Highland) Division on 10th November 1915. The 2nd City of Edinburgh battery was designated "B" Battery in 257 Brigade which was given Roman numerals CCLVII on 15th May 1916, and then became 260 Brigade (CCLX Brigade) on 3rd June 1916. It remained with the 51st Division until January 1917.
To distinguish the Artillery field brigades from the Infantry brigades, the artillery brigades were designated with Roman numerals. So, 260 Brigade RFA became CCLX Brigade RFA. While serving with the 51st Division CCLX Brigade RFA was involved in major engagements on the Somme at The attacks on High Wood between 20th and 25th July 1916 and The Battle of the Ancre between 13th and 18th November 1916 at which the Division captured Beaumont Hamel.
On January 28th 1917, the CCLX Brigade RFA was absorbed into the newly-formed 86th Army Brigade RFA and the former "2nd Edinburgh Battery" became known as "C" Battery 86th Army Brigade.
The exact movements of an Army Brigade of artillery are difficult to know without actually seeing their war diary. The war diary of the "86 Army Field Artillery Brigade" covering the period January 1917 to April 1919 is held at the National Archives, Kew, Surrey, in catalogue reference WO95/456. In 1918, 86 Army Brigade RFA was recorded as being with Fourth Army (Major General Budworth).

The 86th Army Brigade RFA was attached to the Canadian Corps in April and May 1917 and then came under command of II Anzac Corps in the Second Army for three weeks at the end of May and beginning of June 1917 when they were covering the Messines offensive near Ploegsteert Wood and Wulverghem.
Hellfire Corner was a notorious road junction in the Ypres salient where the Menin road, the Potijze-Zillebeke road and the Ypres-Roeselaere railway all met. Its name was derived from the constant amount of enemy bombardment it received. See:
www.kinnethmont.co.uk/1914-1918_files/arras-loos-ypres_missing/ypres.htm

John Turner died of wounds and was buried at Voormezeele near Ypres which indicated he had received medical care but had not yet been sent any further to the rear, suggesting his wounds had occurred in the previous day or so. He died on 6th September 1917 during the fighting in that area which became known as the Third Battle of Ypres 1917.

The war diary of 260 Brigade Royal Field Artillery is held at the National Archives at Kew, in Catalogue reference WO 95/2854.
The regimental history of the 2nd Edinburgh Battery was written in 1923 and published in Glasgow as
"War Record of the 2nd City of Edinburgh Battery: First Lowland Brigade, RFA". It is now a scarce book although the British Library, Euston Road, London should have a copy.
There is an unpublished memoir by an officer of the 1st Lowland Brigade held at the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at the Strand, London. See:
http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/vcdf/detail?coll_id=389&inst_id=21

Without an individual record there is very little evidence for John Turner's service, but the history of the 2nd Edinburgh Battery would appear to reflect his time in France and Flanders. Any mistakes are entirely mine.
My work on this forum is "pro bono" and I do not make a charge. I support the work of The Royal British Legion and encourage people to donate to the RBL or perhaps use folding money in this year's Poppy Appeal.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 17th September 2012 at 10:02 PM

One typographical error. In paragraph six "CRE" should read "CRA"
Alan
Reply from: Pete Jenkins
Date: Tuesday 18th September 2012 at 12:34 AM

Alan,

Sad theres no individual service record, but once again, amazing research and information. Thank you so much.
I always give to the poppy fund, but rest assured there will be a folded note this year.
Thank you for all you do

Best regards
Pete
Posted by: Sue {Email left}
Location: York
Date: Friday 14th September 2012 at 11:21 PM
Alan have just come across your website, and spent the last few hours reading the brilliant research you've done for people,
so I hope you can help me with a query about my great uncle Tommy.
Private Thomas Regan 14/1417 1st/13th Battalion Yorks and Lancs Regiment(Barnsley Pals).
Born Barnsley 1887,enlisted 15 September 1915. He died 26 July 1916, but I don't know exactly where, and wondered if you could help.
many thanks
Sue
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 15th September 2012 at 7:19 PM

Dear Sue,
No individual service record appears to have survived for Thomas Regan. As will be shown, an individual record is essential to establish a man's actual service. An Army medal rolls index card recorded Thomas Regan served with the York and Lancaster Regiment with the regimental number 14/1417. The prefix to the number indicated he enlisted in the 14th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. The card recorded he was assumed dead on 23rd July 1916.
"Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) recorded that he was killed on 23rd July 1916 while serving with the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. He had been born at Barnsley and enlisted at Barnsley.
The CWGC Debt of Honour recorded his death on 23rd July 1916 with the 13th Battalion. He had no marked grave and was commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium which is dedicated to the men who lost their lives in the area of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres in northern France.
The book "Barnsley Pals" by John Cooksey recorded that Thomas Regan enlisted at Barnsley on 13th September 1915 and was posted to France on June 24th 1916.
These scant records do not provide conclusive evidence that Thomas Regan actually fought and died with the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment (the Barnsley Pals). They say he did. But there is circumstantial evidence to suggest otherwise.
The 13th (Service) Battalion (Barnsley) York and Lancaster Regiment was also known by its original name of the "Barnsley Pals" because it was raised at Barnsley on 17 September 1914 at the expense of the Mayor and the Town, before being taken over by the War Office in 1915. The 14th (Service) Battalion (2nd Barnsley) York and Lancaster Regiment was known as the 2nd Barnsley Pals and was formed on 30th November 1914. "Service" was short for Wartime Service. These two battalions were up-to-strength by April 1915. When Thomas enlisted at Barnsley in September 1915, the 13th and 14th Battalions had already been formed for a year and were in training at Ripon with the 94th Infantry Brigade in the 31st Division. In September 1915, they moved to Salisbury Plain and then embarked for Egypt at the end of December 1915, moving to France in March 1916.

Meanwhile, recruiting at the Public Hall in Barnsley (later called the Civic Theatre) continued and men were allotted to the "depot", or holding, companies of the 12th (Sheffield), 13th and 14th Battalions York and Lancaster Regiment. Those men allotted to the 14th Battalion were given regimental numbers pre-fixed with 14. This included Thomas Regan, 14/1417. On 30th October 1915, the York and Lancaster Regiment decided to group together these latest recruits from the 12th, 13th and 14th Battalions' depot companies into one new training battalion to be numbered the 15th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. The 15th Battalion did not serve overseas, but trained and provided reinforcements to replace battle casualties of the already-trained battalions serving overseas.

For example, Cyril Sharpe, 14/1414, who enlisted on the same day as Thomas, was among those posted to the 15th (Reserve) Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment that was formed at Silkstone on 30 October 1915. These men trained with the 15th Battalion for a month at Brocton Camp on Cannock Chase in November 1915 before moving to Colsterdale Camp in December 1915. The camp at Colsterdale was at Breary Banks above Masham in the Yorkshire Dales and had been created on land owned by Leeds Corporation where the council had been constructing the Leighton reservoir at the outbreak of war.
Cyril Sharpe was sent to France in April 1916 from the 15th Battalion at Colsterdale and joined the 14th Battalion as a replacement in May 1915. He died on July 15th 1916 and is buried at Laventie, France.
Thomas Regan was posted to France, with others, on June 24th 1916. It usually took at least two weeks for a draft of reinforcements to reach its battalion in the field, as these reinforcements were passed through the 31st Infantry Base Depot at Etaples in France to get them prepared for the trenches. Thomas and the other reinforcements of his draft would have been administratively on the strength of the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment (the original Barnsley Pals) at this time and, in theory, would have joined the battalion in the field in the first or second week of July 1916. At that time, the 13th Battalion was in the area near Laventie, a commune in the Pas de Calais in northern France.
A Charles William Laycock, 12/1761, of the 12th Battalion York and Lancaster was also one of those men who enlisted in 1915 and were absorbed into the 15th Battalion. Laycock was posted to France on the same date as Thomas, June 24th 1916. He too was on his way to the 13th Battalion via the 31st Infantry Base Depot at Etaples where he remained until the first week of July 1916.

A "posting" was a move within a regiment. These men were all members of the York and Lancaster Regiment, but they were posted to different battalions at various times. A posting had an operative date, but did not include travelling time. "Joining" a battalion was the date on which a man physically arrived among the other men of the battalion. Thomas Regan was posted to the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment while he was at Colsterdale Camp in Yorkshire. He then travelled by train and ferry to France where he would have reported to the 31st Infantry Base Depot at Etaples on the coast, yet to "join" his battalion which was serving at the Front, many miles inland.

The 13th Battalion had been in Egypt from December 1915 until March 1916 when it moved to France in anticipation of the attacks planned for July on the Somme. The 13th Battalion's first engagement was on July 1st 1916 at Serre where they suffered 275 casualties while fighting with the 94th Infantry Brigade in the 31st Division.
The Division then moved out of the Somme battlefield and travelled via the towns of Bus, Beaval and Bernaville to Robecq where they took up a quieter part of the line in the area between Neuve Chapelle, Fauquissart, and Fleurbaix in the Pas de Calais after July 14th 1916.
Thomas Regan's medal card showed he was "assumed dead" on 23rd July 1916. He was the only death recorded on that date with the 13th Battalion, although two other men died from wounds at medical units at Merville on the same day. The 13th Battalion lost only half a dozen men during this period in the trenches in the Laventie area after July 14th, indicating they died as a result of the everyday exchanges of trench warfare, rather than a major battle.
"Assumed dead" meant there was no evidence and he would have been reported as "missing" until sufficient time had elapsed to prove he was not being treated in hospital or taken prisoner. It would be unusual for a soldier to be "assumed" dead by his battalion while in the trenches as there would have been evidence or witnesses for his having been killed in the trench or while on patrol. The 13th Battalion at this time was undertaking daily trench warfare routine and would have been in a position to account for all its men at the daily roll call. Not only that, but men who were killed in the trenches were given a burial and their effects would have been sent to their next of kin. If Thomas was with the 13th Battalion on July 23rd, a "quiet" day, why could he only be "assumed dead"?

A clue as to what may have happened lies in the record of Charles William Laycock, mentioned above. Alongside Thomas, he was posted on 24th June 1916 to the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster and on the same date went to France. He was sent as part of a draft of reinforcements destined for the 13th Battalion. Laycock arrived at the 31st Infantry Base Depot at Etaples on 25th June 1916 and spent two weeks there, training. On the 10th July 1916, Laycock of the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster was attached from the base depot to the 7th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment. Although he was on the strength of the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster, he was loaned to the South Lancashire Regiment from the base depot. Laycock was declared "missing" from the 7th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment on the night of the 22nd/23rd July 1916 and his medal card showed he was "assumed dead".
The CWGC recorded him simply as being with the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster. But his service record clearly showed he was "missing" while attached to the 7th South Lancashire Regiment. Laycock also has no marked grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial; the same as Thomas. The 7th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment lost 32 men killed on July 22nd and 23rd 1916, so they were apparently in an attack. They were fighting in a subsidiary attack of the Somme Offensive launched on the morning of 23 July 1916, on the Albert-Bapaume Road. Laycock died, therefore, in the Somme region of France, but he is commemorated on a memorial in Belgium. Although he was on the strength of the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, his record indicated he may never have actually fought with them, having been loaned to the South Lancashire Regiment with whom he died within 11 days. Probably, few people outside the platoon he was with knew his name.

The record for Laycock being declared "missing" is contemporary and is dated 28th July 1916.
Information gathered for the Ploegsteert Memorial was collated by what was then the Imperial War Graves Commission. It was not until 1926 that the Anglo-French Mixed Committee agreed that the Ploegsteert Memorial would be one of four memorials to be erected in France and Flanders. By that time, the records of the dead were gathered from the numerous regimental record offices. Charles Laycock's records were held at York where he was correctly recorded as being on the strength of the 13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. There was no record of a grave, but his death was assumed on 22 July 1916. Records showed the 13th Battalion had been in the Laventie area on that date. As can be proved, Laycock was on attachment on the Somme and had not been at Laventie, although, long after the war, the records suggested he had been. Therefore his name was included on the York and Lancaster Regiment panel of the Ploegsteert Memorial. The memorial was unveiled by the Duke of Brabant on 7 June 1931.
Thomas Regan is also commemorated on the Hoyland War Memorial and on the Hoyland Nether Township Roll of Honour that lists over 1,500 names of those men of Hoyland who served in the Great War. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Without a service record for Thomas Regan, it is not possible to suggest his wartime activity with certainty. None of the surviving records are inaccurate, but they do not tell the whole story. Could Thomas Regan also have been killed alongside Charles Laycock, with whom he had trained and with whom he went to France and who was "assumed dead" on the same date?

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 15th September 2012 at 10:58 PM

Sue,
One proof-reading correction: in paragraph 9 line 2 the date should read May 1916, not May 1915.
It should read: "Cyril Sharpe was sent to France in April 1916 from the 15th Battalion at Colsterdale and joined the 14th Battalion as a replacement in May 1916".
Alan
Reply from: Sue
Date: Wednesday 26th September 2012 at 12:17 AM

Alan thank you very much for solving the mystery of where Thomas Regan fought and died in July 1916. Armed with your information I did some research, and found that 4 other soldiers of the York and Lancaster Regiment died on the 22/23rd July 1916, and are named on The Ploegstreet Memorial along with Thomas Regan. They are 12/1761 Charles William Laycock(who you mentioned), 12/1320 Harry Holmes Clough, 12/1691 George Fish and 14/158 Benjamin Dudley.
I presume they too were all loaned out to the 7th Battalion South Lancaster Regiment. I found out too that 32 men of the 7th Battalion the South Lancaster Regiment died during the attack on the Albert-Bapaume Road on the 22/23rd July 1916. If you think it would be helpful for others searching about any of the 32 men I could certainly send a reply to you with all their names, ranks and service numbers. The names include Captain Roland Gerard Garvin. 13696 Sgt Thomas Brough, 16882 Cpl Hubert Dawson, 17781 Sgt Samuel Hallswoth and 15034 Private Jonathan Percival.
best wishes
Sue
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 26th September 2012 at 8:04 PM

Dear Sue,
Thank you for the offer of the casualty list you have compiled. I am sure it would be of value to other researchers and would be grateful if you could post it in a reply. Thank you for your studious work.
kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Peter Marsden
Date: Monday 11th March 2013 at 3:48 PM

Thomas Regan's service record shows he was age 27 years 275 days, married to Lucy Cowlishaw on the 18 July 1910 at St. Peter's Hoyland and lived at 17 Hunt Street, Hoyland Common.

Enlisted at Barnsley on the 13th September 1915
Absorbed into the 15th Y&L on the 30th October 1915
Forfited 15 days for absence on the 8th March 1916
Awarded 21 days detention on the 25th April 1916
Posted to the 13th Y&L on the 24th June 1916
Joined the 31st Infantry Base Division at Etaples on the 25th June 1916
Attached in field to the 7th S. Lancs on the 10th July 1916
Missing from the 7th S. Lancs on the 22nd / 23rd July 1916

Regards

Peter
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 11th March 2013 at 4:15 PM

Dear Peter,
Thank you for identifying the service record which I had missed.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Sue
Date: Monday 11th March 2013 at 8:30 PM

Peter thank you very much for the extra information about Thomas Regan.
Where did you find this out?
Reply from: Peter
Date: Monday 11th March 2013 at 9:20 PM

His record can be found on the Ancestry UK site, his record also includes a family statement from his wife Lucy which shows Vera's birth 2nd January 1917.

Regards

Peter
Posted by: Albert {Email left}
Location: Gilberdyke Easr Yorkshire
Date: Friday 14th September 2012 at 2:50 PM
My fathers name was Albert William Harvatt a private in the Yorkshire Dragoons no 176480 wood it be possible to get any infomation on his service record
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 14th September 2012 at 7:51 PM

Dear Albert,
No individual service record has survived for Albert William Harvatt, 176480 Yorkshire Dragoons.
From the 1911 census he appears to have been born at Hessle. A birth of an Albert William Harvett (with an e) was recorded in the last three months of 1898. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, he would have been aged 15.
A medal rolls index card recorded he had the regimental number 176480. These six-digit numbers were issued to men of the Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons in March 1917. As he did not have an original four-digit number, the implication is he was not conscripted to serve abroad until after March 1917. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal which proved he had served overseas. Although the Yorkshire Dragoons had two training regiments in the UK, only one regiment served overseas. It was re-formed in May 1916 to serve as the cavalry regiment for II Corps. By October 1917 it served as Cavalry Corps troops. In December 1917 it joined the Lucknow Cavalry Brigade in the 4th Cavalry Division in France. The Cavalry provided dismounted parties for trench duties, and the Division's battle honour was the Battle of Cambrai, during the German counter-attacks of 30th November - 3rd December 1917. In March 1918 the 1st Yorkshire Dragoons regiment was broken-up and became a cyclist battalion under command of II Corps.
The Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons has a small museum at York open by appointment only. It is part of the Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry Museum, Yeomanry Barracks, Fulford Road, York.
See:
http://www.armymuseums.org.uk/museums/0000000030-Queen-s-Own-Yorkshire-Yeomanry-Museum.htm
Kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: David Carrington {Email left}
Location: Craven Arms Shropshire
Date: Thursday 13th September 2012 at 9:53 PM
My grandfather Pvt George Harry Pearson, 165930, served in France with the Lancashire Fusiliers (he was discharged from the 18th bt) and was injured on 25 February 1917 according to his Short Service Record. I am trying to locate where this is likely to have occurred and the campaign/operation it was part of. He died of his injuries - loss of lower lip and fractured mandible - as late as 15 December 1931 at Frisby on the Wreake, Leicestershire. He was in hospital in The Queen's Hospital, Frognal, Sidcup in later 1917, and I believe at the barracks hospital at Preston after his discharge 16 May 1918. Any information would be gratefully received.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 13th September 2012 at 10:18 PM

Dear David,
I can't immediately find an obvious record for George Harry Pearson 165930. Do you have any further information to identify him, such as year of birth; place of residence; place of birth?
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: David Carrington
Date: Friday 14th September 2012 at 9:45 AM

Hello Alan
Many thanks for your prompt reply
My grandfather was born 4 April 1888 at Leicester where he lived until the start of WW1. He married Charlotte Mitchell at St Luke's, Leicester on 28 May 1914. The lived at 2 Haddon Street, Leicester, which is where he was discharged to in 1918. Around 1920 they moved to his family's home village, at Yew Tree Cottage, Church Lane, Frisby on the Wreake, Leicestershire. His short service record is on Ancestry at Pe > Pea > 37992> with 36 images (some are blank pages).
Best wishes
David
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 14th September 2012 at 7:06 PM

Dear David,
Thank you for the additional information. I found his record.
George Harry Pearson enlisted in the Army at Leicester Town Hall on December 4th 1915 under the Derby Scheme. This was a last call for volunteers before compulsory conscription was introduced in 1916. Men who had not already volunteered were told they could "volunteer now and serve later". George would have returned home on December 4th and awaited his call up. He would have continued his civilian job as a hosiery travelling salesman. Leicester was the heart of hosiery industry which was very productive during the war years. For a history see:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66567

George was mobilized for war service on 29th August 1916 when he was posted to the Royal Garrison Artillery with the regimental number 117409 allotted at No 4 Coastal Depot RGA which was at Great Yarmouth. On 7th September 1916 he was returned to the depot of the Leicestershire Regiment from where he was transferred the next day to the Royal Field Artillery No 1 Depot which was at Newcastle upon Tyne. He joined the RFA with the number 165930 on 11th September 1916. On 13th September he was posted to No 1A Reserve Brigade RFA at Newcastle where he remained until 24th November 1916 when he was compulsorily transferred to the infantry. He joined the 11th Reserve Infantry Brigade at Prees Heath in Shropshire where he was compulsorily posted to the 48th Training Reserve Battalion. The Training Reserve had been created in September 1916 to train recruits and despatch drafts abroad if regimental reserves could not supply sufficient casualty replacements. Compulsory transfers "in the interests of the service" had been introduced with the Military Service Acts of 1916 which had brought in conscription.
He remained at Prees Heath until 14th January 1917 when he was transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers where he was posted to a draft of reinforcements destined for the 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers with the regimental number 22734. The 18th Battalion had been raised for wartime service by Lieut-Col G.E. Wike at Bury in January 1915. The 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers (2nd South East Lancashire) was serving in France with 104th Infantry Brigade in the 35th Division. In January 1917, the battalion was so depleted it took in drafts totalling 703 new recruits in just a few days. That was the equivalent of two-thirds of its fighting strength being formed by raw recruits. So many arrived, the battalion re-examined them all and rejected dozens of men who were sent back to the base depot at Etaples or were transferred to the Labour Corps. George Pearson arrived in France on 15th January 1917. Drafts usually spent a week or two at a base depot before joining their battalion in the field. Base depot training was designed to inculcate the "offensive spirit", or fighting spirit. It is not clear which of these drafts of reinforcements included George Pearson.
One possible date for George's arrival with the battalion in the field is indicated by an entry in the battalion's war diary for 3rd February 1917 which recorded: "148 other ranks who had been at Depot Battalion since 11/1/17 joined battalion." Reading between the lines, this entry implied a sigh of relief: 148 of our own men from the depot at Lancashire arrived instead of these drafts from the infantry base depot that we have to inspect and reject. George may, or may not, have passed through the depot, but the dates would be applicable.
On Saturday, February 3rd 1917, the 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was in billets at Lignereuil (west of Arras) in North Pas de Calais. They were commanded by Lt-Col R.A. Irvine, who returned from leave on Monday February 5th. For the next three days the Battalion was on the march from Lignereuil to Nouvillette (14 miles); then to Beauval (9 miles) and then to Naours (6 miles) where they were billeted for a week February 9th to 16th . The time was spent with company parades and "musketry" training for the recruits. The army always called rifle range practice "musketry". On February 17th the Battalion marched three miles to the railhead at Fleselles where they travelled by train to Marcelcave, east of Amiens on the Somme. They marched from there to Wiencourt Camp where they spent two days in huts. On the morning of 19th February they marched to Vlery, south of Rosieres and near the border of the British and French armies. After nightfall on February 20th 1917, the 18th Battalion went into the trenches to relieve the French at Vlery.
The trenches were in a poor condition because a rapid thaw had collapsed their sides and the front line and the communication trenches were two-feet deep in mud. A relief required the men to transport everything by hand up the communication trenches to the front line and the support line under cover of darkness. It took until 11 a.m. on the 21st to get into position by which time the men were exhausted. Two companies were in the front line; one in support and one further back in reserve. These companies also needed relieving in darkness when their turns came.
Over the next few days the Battalion suffered half a dozen casualties each day as the enemy bombarded them with gas and explosive each evening about 7-30 p.m. It was found the only way to bring up the rations and ammunition was to walk over the open ground (not using the trenches) during the night or early morning. The events of the 25th February were recorded succinctly as: "Very heavy bombardment by our guns on enemy back lines and roads during the night of 25th/26th.. 9 other ranks wounded".
George Pearson was wounded on 25th February 1917. He had been in the front line for five days.
He remained in hospital in France until he was returned to the UK on 23rd April 1917 for further hospital treatment while administered and paid by the "D", or Depot, of the Lancashire Fusiliers. His daughter was born four days later at Leicester.
George was discharged from the Queen's Hospital for Facial Injuries, Frognal, Sidcup, on 25th April 1918 and he left the army on 16th May 1918.
He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and was awarded a Silver War Badge and King's Certificate of gratitude for being discharged after being wounded.
The war diary of the 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers is available to download (Cost GBP 3-36) from the National Archives website. It is within Catalogue reference WO95/ 2484. See:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?queryType=1&resultcount=1&Edoc_Id=8199418

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: David Carrington
Date: Saturday 15th September 2012 at 9:35 AM

Hello Alan
Very many thanks for the information about George Harry Pearson. It was far more than I had expected and I am indebted to you for the time and attention you have devoted to answering my question. With the centenary of the war approaching it's a timely moment to reflect on the sacrifice of our forefathers. Mary, George's daughter and my mother, was fortunate in that her dad came back and watched her grow.
Once again, my many thanks for your efforts
Take care
David
Posted by: Chris
Location: London
Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012 at 11:45 AM
Dear Alan,

I wonder if you could find details of my Great (great) Uncle, who was killed while serving with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (DCoy,9th Btn) in World War 1.

The Gentleman in question is 7048 Serjeant Frederick Moore, we know that he was killed in July 1916, near Mametz.

It would be nice to know more about his service, if this is at all possible, and the battles he took part in.

Many thanks in advance

Chris.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012 at 8:24 PM

Dear Chris,
No individual service record has survived for Frederick Moore so it is not possible to be specific about his service. An Army medal index card showed he entered France on 19th July 1915 and was killed in action on 24th July 1916. When he left England he was a lance-corporal with the rank of acting-sergeant. In France he was promoted to sergeant. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The CWGC Debt of Honour recorded that on the day he was killed he was serving with the 9th Battalion The Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The 9th Battalion entered France on 19th July 1915, so it is likely Frederick Moore served only with the 9th Battalion, but there is no evidence for that. As a sergeant he was probably the second-in-command of a platoon.
The best source of evidence for the 9th Battalion RWF would be their war diary which is held at the National Archives at Kew in Catalogue reference WO 95/ 2092. Due to conservation work, the diary is temporarily unavailable until November 2012. It is being prepared for digital viewing in the future.
It is possible to trace the general locations of the 9th Battalion RWF, which would reflect Frederick's likely movements.
The Battalion served in the 58th Infantry Brigade in the 19th (Western) Division. The Battalion had been raised at Wrexham in September 1914 for wartime service. The Division trained at Tidworth, with the winter of 1914-15 being spent in billets in the towns of Andover, Whitchurch, Basingstoke or Weston-super-Mare, before returning to camp at Tidworth in March 1915. Once trained, the Division was inspected on 23rd June 1915 at Tidworth by King George V. The 9th Bn RWF moved by train and ferry to Boulogne, France, where they disembarked on July 19th 1915.

Their initial deployment was for experience in trench routine near Laventie. The Division was involved in a diversionary attack at Pietre on 25th September 1915, as part of the Battle of Loos.
The remainder of the year was spent in trench routine in the front line areas of Richebourg l'Avoue, Givenchy and Festubert in Pas de Calais.
The beginning of 1916 was spent in much the same area, perhaps a little further North near Neuve Chapele. The time was spent in trench routine of working parties; patrols; regular exchanges of artillery fire and rest periods in billets.
May and June were spent mainly in training and preparation for the forthcoming attacks on The Somme. From May 4th 1916 they were at the 1st Army Training Area at Cresques. On May 8th 1916, the 19th Division came under the command of III Corps in 4th Army. On June 5th they took part in Divisional manoeuvres in the training areas before moving to the area North of the town of Albert at the end of June.
The 19th Division was in the area facing the upwards slope towards Ovillers - La Boisselle on July 1st 1916. The Division captured La Boisselle on 3rd July 1916. Their next major engagement was during one of the three attacks on High Wood on the Somme, on 22 July 1916, followed by The Battle of Pozières Ridge, which is the official name for the military operations which took place after 23 July 1916 at Bezentin-Le-Petit. Frederick was killed there the next day. The CWGC says: "It included the many subsidiary attacks towards Munster Alley (to the south-east of Pozières), High Wood, Guillemont and Delville Wood undertaken by the Fourth Army. Failure to breach the German line on 23 July (and gain the Thiepval-Ginchy ridge) resulted in a series of costly small scale attacks. The bitter fighting exemplified the remorseless and exhausting nature of attritional warfare".
Frederick is buried in a grave in plot 5, row K, grave 10 at Flatiron Copse Cemetery. Most of the graves in this cemetery were moved there from other smaller cemeteries, after the war. See:
http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/61700/FLATIRON%20COPSE%20CEMETERY,%20MAMETZ

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Chris
Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012 at 9:01 PM

Dear Alan,

My sincere thanks to you for taking the time to reply, the reply is both poignant and informative.

I will try to review the archives when they become available as you mention.

Is it common for the individual service record to no longer exist? It seems such a pity that details are no longer available for some individuals.

Thank you once again for your time and reply.

Chris
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012 at 9:38 PM

Dear Chris,
Individual service records were maintained by regional army record offices until after the war. The records for men who were killed or who left the Army prior to December 31st 1920 were then stored centrally at the War Office repository at Arnside Street in Walworth, Southwark. There were perhaps some seven million men who enlisted for wartime service. The War Office repository was destroyed by a German air raid on the night of 8th September 1940 and most of the documents, including service records, were destroyed. Some two million personnel files were salvaged, but they were badly burned and water-damaged. These are the surviving records, and are known as "the burnt documents". They were contained in 33,000 boxes and were eventually transferred to the Public Records Office for safe keeping. The PRO is now the National Archives who have micro-filmed the records onto 20,000 reels of microfilm (there are 52 reels of "John Smith"). Those microfilms have since been digitally reproduced by the ancestry.co.uk website, along with an additional 750 thousand records held by the Ministry of Pensions at Blackpool, which escaped The Blitz. The digital records have been indexed which makes them easier to search by name, regiment and regimental number, or even address and year of birth. It is from that search that I ascertain whether a record is obviously available or not. That said, there may be inevitable mistakes in the indexing of the records and there are certainly records that are only partially indexed, by surname only, or even question marks if they have been badly burned or are otherwise illegible. There is only about a 40 per cent chance of finding an individual record. Even then, the amount of detail they contain is variable. In Frederick's case, the surviving evidence implies he served only with one Battalion from its inception until he was killed, so the Battalion's history would reflect closely his service. We tend to research individuals in isolation, but, of course, a serjeant in D Company would have been a prominent character within the Battalion, in the Serjeants' Mess and a very influential NCO within his platoon. For that reason, the Battalion's war diary would be of interest.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Chris
Date: Thursday 13th September 2012 at 9:22 AM

Good Morning Alan,

I never knew so many records had been lost as a result of the Blitz, amazing.

To our knowledge (which is limited), Frederick served in the Army for some time prior to the War, and was then called up once the War started, we know that he was responsible for training troops in England, and was deployed to France.

As is so often the case very little 'detail' exists, in terms of letters, or detailed bits of information regarding to Frederick as an individual.

I am very grateful for your considerable effort, I must say I would love to find out more, so I will try to obtain Regimental records if possible.

Can you offer any tips in obtaining these? I forgot to leave an email address for you, which may have made communication easier (I do not expect of course that you use up your limited time on my query).

Again thank you so much,

Regards

Chris
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 13th September 2012 at 9:16 PM

Dear Chris,
If Frederick served as a soldier before the First World War he could have served with the regular army or the part-time Territorial Army. Any individual record of service would have been included in the records that appear to have been destroyed.
Pre-war, there were far fewer battalions of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The regimental museum may have some records, such as nominal rolls, which might help identify him. See:
http://www.rwfmuseum.org.uk/

The war diary for the 9th Battalion RWF is kept at the National Archives at Kew, Richmond, Surrey. You would need to visit Kew and apply for a reader's ticket to access the reading rooms and order the document. It is "War Office: First World War and Army of Occupation WO 95/2092/ 19 Division 9 Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers Date: 1915 1919." See:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/visit/

Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Chris
Date: Friday 14th September 2012 at 8:34 AM

Thank you Alan,

Very much appreciated.

Regards

Chris
Reply from: Lisa
Date: Saturday 29th December 2012 at 6:24 PM

I too have spent time researching Fred Moore as he is also my great great Uncle.

I can confirm that prior to the war he was a regular and was in the RAMC.

In 1914 he was in the UK training troops.

In 1915 he was apparently one of a handful of officers and NCOs to survive the battle of Festiburt.

He was certainly in the trenches during April 1916.
Posted by: Richard Atkinson
Location: High Wycombe
Date: Saturday 8th September 2012 at 4:22 PM
I am trying to piece together the history of my grandfather, Horace Atkinson, who served in the Royal Field Artillery in World War One. Any offers of help, information, or suggestions for lines of research, will be most gratefully received.

My father, who was 6 when the war ended, was fairly insistent that Horace was in the artillery, probably as a driver, as his pre-war job had been as a driver, and, after the War, he worked for Lord Beatty (he of Jutland fame) as a horse trainer.

Horace's medal card indicates that he served in the RFA, with the serial number 127194.
I have it in mind from somewhere that he served in 245 Brigade RFA. This would make sense, as he lived in Bramley, Leeds. I also suspect that I may have seen this information on the Absent Voters List for Leeds, but cannot find my notes and the list is no longer online.

However, Alan's 11/11/11 (and I have only just realised the significance of that date) response to Sydney Marsh, which also discusses 245 brigade, would suggest that Horace's service number would be wrong.

Any ideas please?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 8th September 2012 at 6:31 PM

Dear Richard,
I understand Leeds City Council is re-designing their website and hopes to have their absent voters' database on line again soon.
Horace Atkinson's regimental number does not relate to any particular Brigade of the RFA. 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 after January 1st 1916.
The six-digit RFA regimental numbers beginning 1271 appear to have been wartime numbers allotted in an alphabetical sequence by surname from December 1915, implying they were allotted by a reserve brigade or a training depot. Once they left the training depot, men could be posted to any Brigade as part of a draft of reinforcements. The original pre-war Territorial Army men of the 245 Brigade would have had four-digit numbers and would have been re-numbered in 1917, in the number range 775001-780000. But, as Horace was not one of those men, he would not have been re-numbered. Therefore, his regimental number doesn't indicate in which Brigade he served; 245 or otherwise.
There is no surviving individual service record for him, so it is not possible to say which Brigade he was with.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Richard
Date: Monday 10th September 2012 at 7:09 PM

Many thanks for the reply. I have asked my mother to have a look at the AVL and this time I will take proper notes! I am just arranging an armistice day remembrance cross for my great uncle, who was gassed at Cambrai in 1917 and died of the effects later. I include a donation to the British Legion, and am happy to increase the amount as a gesture of appreciation for your help.

Best wishes

Richard
Posted by: Margi {Email left}
Location: Liverpool
Date: Friday 7th September 2012 at 11:03 PM
Hi i was wondering if you could help me to find a photo of my ggg uncle vincent e hammond from knighton powys, he died killed in action 18/11/1916 somme, burried in beaumont hamel somme france grave 29 section a, i started doing my family roots and vincent was a brave man who died in ww1, he was in 11th battalion border regiment private 27767, formerly of th hereford reg 4421, i have all the information of him but i would dearly love a photo to compliment him, it started when i found his bible in my nans things and its gone on from there, thank you for taking time to look at this,
margi
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 8th September 2012 at 2:33 PM

Dear Margi,
You would be very fortunate to discover a photograph from sources other than your own ancestors' and relatives' family archives. The army did not take photographs of soldiers for identification purposes in the First World War. As he died, there is a possibility local newspapers of the time may have published an obituary with a picture. These would be held by the local studies library for the town in which he lived. You would have to search through the papers about the time of his death.
The Imperial War Museum and Regimental museums often have collections of group photographs, but few of them are captioned with the men's names, so it would be a question of knowing what he looked like to be able to identify him in a group photograph.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Margi
Date: Saturday 8th September 2012 at 7:45 PM

Thanks very much for replying to me, the problem i have is that i was adopted out at 6mnths and over the last 12 yrs i have reserched and found all my roots and vincent was the start of it all, i go often to his grave but a photo would be a fitting tribute to one of the very brave, thank you for all your help
margi x
Posted by: Leyther {Email left}
Location: Leigh
Date: Friday 7th September 2012 at 11:24 AM
Dear Alan

You kindly helped me a week or two ago with some information and I have since donated to the Legion as my way of thanks. : )

I was wondering if you could now help to "pad out" and tell the story better according to the records of my partners grandfather who served in WW1 please?
I have his records downloaded from Ancestry but they are not always easy to understand and your expertise was invaluable with my Great Grandfathers records and helped us follow his progress a lot easier.

This man is EDWAD HAYES, serving in the Army Service Corps, number 120382. He resided at Manchester Rd, Tyldesley on his records and was 24years old in 1915. His Mother as next of kin was Mary Alice Hayes.

Could you spare the time to have a look at this please and maybe see if there is anything else showing for him?

Many thanks
Leyther Lorraine
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 7th September 2012 at 8:34 PM

Dear Leyther,
Edward Hayes was five feet tall and did not meet the minimum height requirements for serving in the infantry. Consequently, he joined the Army under a Special Enlistment on 6th September 1915 where his civilian occupation could be performed in uniform, without the need for basic recruit training. He was a motor driver in Manchester and became a motor ambulance driver in the Army Service Corps.
He joined the Army at Manchester and was sent the next day to the Mechanical Transport training depot at Grove Park, a former workhouse at Greenwich. See:
http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Greenwich/

He remained at Grove Park until 2nd October 1915 when he was posted overseas. He sailed on SS "Queen Alexandra" from Southampton to Rouen on the night of 3rd/4th October 1915 and was attached to 568 Mechanical Transport Company which formed 15th Motor Ambulance Convoy (MAC), that had been formed in August 1915 and then operated in the area of the First Army (General Sir Henry Rawlinson). He was probably involved at Vimy Ridge in May 1916. The 15th MAC war diary is held at the National Archives at Kew in catalogue reference WO 95/249.
On 15th June 1916, Edward was posted to the Base Mechanical Transport Depot at Rouen for two weeks while he was awaiting a new posting. On 30th June 1916 he joined the 17th Divisional Supply Column which was on the Somme - the day before the opening of the Battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916. The supply column did include motor ambulances. The 17th (Northern) Division fought at The Battle of Albert in at Fricourt and The Battle of Delville Wood on the Somme in 1916. In October 1916 Edward was granted a week's leave. In early 1917, the 17th Division fought in the Arras Offensive.
On 31st August 1917, Edward was posted to the 69th Field Ambulance (a mobile medical unit) which saw service in the Ypres Salient during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) with the 23rd Division and where at least three other members of the 69th Field Ambulance were killed.
The 69th Field Ambulance was selected to go to Italy in November 1917 with the 23rd Division concentrating at Mantua and Marcaria on 16 November and taking over the front line at the Montello on 4 December, 1917. Edward was granted leave from 8th June 1918 to 21st June 1918. His leave was marked 14 DRA which would appear to be XIV Corps Divisional Rest Area. The Division was involved in major battles at Vittorio Veneto (26 October - 4 November 1918) including the passage of the Piave (26-28 October) and of the Monticano (29 October). The 23rd Division then went to XIV Corps Reserve and when the Armistice took effect in Italy on 4 November, they were between the River Livenza and River Meduna. They then moved to the west of Treviso on 11 November. The war diaries of the 69th Field Ambulance are held at the National Archives at Kew in catalogue reference WO95/ 2179 (France and Flanders) (this diary is currently not available until 31 October 2012) and WO95/ 4234 (Italy).
Edward was sent to the Base Mechanical Transport Depot (Italy) on 18th February 1919 ready for returning home and demobilization. He was demobilized from Heaton Park, at Manchester, on 27th May 1919. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Leyther
Date: Saturday 8th September 2012 at 11:34 AM

Thank you Alan - it is really good how you can link it all up like this with your knowledge and understanding, and then make it easy for us to follow :)
We read some of the details you mention but could not link or understand them like you can. You have done another great job.

I have just obtained my granddads WW2 records after waiting 10 months...and although I can read a lot of it, it does not flow. Is there any way you could decipher them for me if I posted them to you? or do you specialise in WW1 only?

Thanks again Alan
Lorraine
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 8th September 2012 at 2:22 PM

Dear Lorraine,
Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to research the Second World War as well.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Leyther
Date: Saturday 8th September 2012 at 6:15 PM

Thank you Alan - I shall see if I can find a WW2 person who is as good as you with WW1 : )
Posted by: Sandra {Email left}
Location: Hull Yorkshire
Date: Tuesday 4th September 2012 at 6:51 PM
Hello Allan
I am trying to find my fathers war record Thomas Mabin born 3rd July 1917 Edinburgh his No 30620 I know he was in Hull Yorkshire 1n 1939 I have a letter sent to his father 22nd Jan 1945L/SGT The royal scots Gun shot wound
Burma 8th Jan 1945 he came back to Hull after the war and married my mam he once said he had lost all his kit going to India I think he may have been on a ship that sunk I hope you can help me again thankyou sandra
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 4th September 2012 at 9:13 PM

Dear Sandra,
Unfortunately I cannot research soldiers from the Second World War as their records are not in the public domain and are held securely by the UK Ministry of Defence. The MOD will release certain amounts of information about a deceased person depending on whether you are the direct next-of-kin, or not. You can apply for a search using the different application forms for next-of-kin, or with permission of next-of-kin, or as a general enquirer. See:

http://www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html

You will need proof of death (copy of death certificate); the soldier's date of birth or service number; and next-of-kin's signed permission (unless you are the direct next-of-kin), known as form Part 1. You then need a completed form Part 2 (search details), and cheque for payment. The next-of-kin form (Part 1) is for completion by the next-of-kin of deceased service personnel (or enquirers with the consent of next of kin). Look for "Service records publications" under "Related pages" and follow the instructions. Otherwise use a general enquirer's form. The Part 2 form is entitled: "Request forms for service personnel Army" found under "Related Pages". A cheque for GBP 30 should be made payable to "The MOD Accounting Officer" and sent to Army Personnel Centre Secretariat, Disclosures 2, Mail Point 515, Kentigern House, 65, Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX Scotland with all the paperwork.
Searches take several months to complete.
Kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Sandra
Date: Thursday 6th September 2012 at 7:22 PM

Hello Allan,
Thankyou for your quick reply and the helpful imformation
best wishes Sandra
Posted by: Zoe {Email left}
Location: Essex
Date: Sunday 2nd September 2012 at 5:14 PM
Hi Alan,

I saw how helpful you have been on your forum and wondered if you might be able to help me. My aunt's grandfather died in 1919 on his way back from the war. Unfortunately he and her grandmother were not married and they had a daughter. He was not named on the birth certificate and she lost all her mother's papers in a house move. She has a photograph of him and a miniature on a chain that her grandmother treasured. She desperately wants to know who he was and has asked me if I can find him. I know it is a long shot without a name but I have a service number and I thought if I could pin down the Regiment and battallion I might be able to find him.

I have a photograph of a man in army cavalry uniform with a Royal field artillery badge on his cap, two good conduct stripes on his arm lower left sleeve and above this crossed machine guns with the kings crown in cloth. He is wearing riding boots, jodpurs and a riding cap and is holding a riding crop. He has a white? braid on his shoulder and RHA? on his eppaulette. His tunic looks like it is tropical weather uniform.

I took the photograph to the imperial war museum and they said it was pre ww1 so they couldn't help.

On the rear of the photograph it says:

Fair Complexion:
Brown Eyes:
Dark Hair:
This is for the miniature
89138

I found a few people with this service number but only two are RFA. I saw something about a 5 digit division number and wondered if the number was not his service number.

I can send the photograph to you by email if necessary.

Is there anything you can help with.

Best regards

Zoe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 2nd September 2012 at 9:22 PM

Dear Zoe,
Unfortunately, it is not possible to positively identify a man from what may or may not be a pre-war regimental number. If the photograph has been identified as being pre-war, there is no guarantee the man served in the First World War with the same regiment or regimental number. Regimental numbers allotted prior to August 1920 are not unique identifiers. The number 89138 was allotted to 15 different men in the First World War, four of whom served in the Royal Artillery but none in the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA). Of the two who served in the Royal Field Artillery both survived. There is no military death listed in 1919 with the regimental number 89138.
It is not possible to search pre-war records by regimental number only. Sixty per cent of First World War records that provided biographical information were destroyed in 1940, so the likelihood of identifying someone is slim. As there is no biographical information about the man, without a definite name and number it is not possible to identify him.
Kind regards,
Alan

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