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Posted by: Brian {Email left}
Location: Bromley Kent
Date: Tuesday 6th May 2014 at 1:47 PM
I am writing a small article about my local church's role in WW1. We have a memorial board in he church (38 names) and I am trying to write a small piece on each one.
On 10th January 1916 two brothers Cpl Edmund Catchpole and Lcpl Phillip Catchpole (also called Tennant on CWGC web site) were killed by the same shell (according to our church magazine of the day). They were members of 16th (Public Schools) Bn Middlesex Regiment. I have a idea they were killed when on duty "holding the front line" and not in any specific action. What I would like to be able to do is quote from the Battalion Diary for that day and generally what the Battalion was doing at that time. Has anyone a copy of the war diary and can relate this to me or have they the National Archives reference number (fortunately I can get to Kew easily and for free)


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th May 2014 at 2:38 PM

Dear Brian.
It is WO 95/2431/2 (Nov 1915 - February 1916) and can be downloaded for £3.30 from:

With kind regards,
Reply from: Leif V S Balthzersen Aarhus Denmark
Date: Tuesday 18th October 2016 at 6:08 PM

Dear Brian and Alan, I do not know, if this issue still has interest, but some days ago I bought a book, which actually belonged to Philip Lawrence Catchpole and which after his death was inscribed by one of his surviving relatives (presumably) with a beautiful poem. The antiquarian bookseller, who I bought it from (here in Denmark, oddly enough) had four of his books - three of them inscribed in with the same commemorative poem. If it still has interest for you, I would be happy to pass the inscription etc. for you. Browsing the internet for information about Philip Lawrence Catchpole, I came upon your website.
With kind regards,
Leif V.S. Balthzersen
Posted by: Sue S {Email left}
Location: Ashford
Date: Saturday 3rd May 2014 at 3:45 PM
Hi Alan

My great grandfather Leonard Richardson M2/046487 was awarded the military medal and I understand that he was in the omnibus park ASC
I have the original letter dated the 26th April 1918 which states that following 21 NCO's were awarded this medal for the work performed by the auxiliary omnibus park, has under trying circumstances during the battle which is still in progress been excellent, and the recognition of their services will I feel sure stimulate all ranks under your command to even greater efforts should occasion demand

How do I find out more about this?

many thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd May 2014 at 7:13 PM

Dear Sue,
Throughout the war there were eight or nine companies of the Army Service Corps that were converted to, or established as, omnibus companies providing and maintaining vehicles to transport troops beyond the reach of the railways. In 1918 the 1st, 2nd, 15th, 16th, 18th, 50th, and 51st Auxiliary (Omnibus) Companies were collectively administered by an Auxiliary Omnibus Park under the control of General Headquarters.
No individual service record has survived for Leonard Richardson so it is not immediately possible to state in which company of the ASC he served.
The battle was the German Spring Offensive of 1918 ("Operation Michael"), in which the German army broke-through on a 50 mile stretch of the British line, causing a complete rout of the British who fell into retreat. The Germans took 21,000 prisoners on the first day March 21st . The British had to counter-attack, but the German push petered out by April 5th as they had outstretched their supply lines and had suffered heavy casualties. Further North, the German Spring Offensive continued with the Battle of The Lys (Fourth Battle of Ypres) known as "Operation Georgette" throughout April 1918, where the Germans broke through the Portuguese lines and the British had to rush to fill the gap.
During this five-week period the ASC Omnibus Companies worked round the clock to maintain and drive buses and lorries to transport 211,000 men throughout France, including rushing reserves to the Front. Field Marshall Haig said: "The details of the work they have accomplished, in circumstances of peculiar hardship and difficulty, have been brought to my notice and constitute a record of which every officer and man may well be proud. They must rest assured that in meeting the heavy demands recently made upon them, through long hours of continual duty both on the road and in the workshops, they have contributed in no small degree to the frustration of the enemy's plans."
Consequently, 21 Military Medals were awarded to men of the Omnibus Companies.
The 1914-15 Star medal roll for Leonard Richardson (RASC/2B Page 1695 held at The National Archives at Kew) might show in which company he served. It would then be necessary to study that company's war diary at the archives at Kew.
Very few Military Medal citations have survived, so it is fortunate you have one.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Sue S
Date: Sunday 4th May 2014 at 8:33 AM

Alan thank you so much Grandad was in the 16th Corps, I have the letter from General Haig dated the 6th May 1918 so it is brilliant to be able to tie this all up!

Its my mothers birthday today and she will be so pleased that we now know what happened to her father to be awarded the military medal

Thanks again

Posted by: Tantalum1993 {Email left}
Location: Glasgow
Date: Friday 2nd May 2014 at 4:45 PM
Hi, have stumbled upon your website and am amazed at all the information you can provide, I wonder if you could help me with any details about a Patrick Kelly alias Sweeny? served in PLY7380 death 31.5.16 , HMS Defence, I think he had an alias, would you know any more details, irish birth connection perhaps

KInd Regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd May 2014 at 8:39 PM

Dear Joanne,
Patrick Kelly with the register number 7380 served with the Plymouth division of the Royal Marine Light Infantry. Service records for the Royal Marines can be purchased from the National Archives. See:


HMS "Defence" was sunk on 31 May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Tantalum1993
Date: Saturday 3rd May 2014 at 1:28 PM

Dear Alan,

Thank you very much for your quick response to my enquiry.

I had already downloaded a copy by PDF from the National Archives, but it didnt explain why he had an alias, and why did the R Marines know he had an alias? You had such detailed information regarding other servicemen, I assume that this info was provided on the National Archives documents? This enquiry was for genealogy purposes as Patrick and his parents I had both born in Ireland, and could not trace them on census records, when they came over etc. Thank you again for your reply and keep up the good work, you have a fantastically informative website.

Kind Regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd May 2014 at 1:55 PM

Dear Joanne,
There were numerous reasons why a man had an alias, not all of them being false names for deception. It was common for a man to use an alias if he were illegitimate. In that case his baptismal surname would be that of his mother and one of the alias surnames would indicate the putative father. Another reason was if his mother had been widowed and had re-married when he was young (a Kelly-Sweeney marriage) and the son then chose to go by the step-father's surname and not his baptised surname.
False names were used if a man had deserted and re-enlisted. There were cases of men doing this frequently to be paid the bounty for enlistment. Kipling remarks on the practice in his ballad "Back in the Army Again". Escaping from an unwanted marriage or the police were other reasons. Many such men served under an alias without being discovered. As the Navy knew Patrick Kelly had another name, it is possible it was connected with his parents' marital circumstances.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Harry Moore {Email left}
Location: Chesterfield
Date: Friday 2nd May 2014 at 12:07 PM
Dear Alan, I am thinking of writing a book about my great grandfather and two great cousins in the First World War but I don't have enough info to finish it off. The three people are 19116 William Henry Collins 11th bn Sherwood Foresters,11480 Edward Else 2nd bn Sherwood Foresters and Albert Hunt who served in the Buffs as 6853 and then in the RGA as 46847.
I have nothing to do with enlistments...wounds...etc...and a story from within the family told by my father is that Edward was actually out in India with the 1st Bn before joining the 2nd...with his number could this be true. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Yours sincerely
Harry Moore
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd May 2014 at 8:38 PM

Dear Harry,
Unfortunately, no individual service records have survived for the three men so it is not possible to state their military service. William Collins first went to France on 23rd September 1915. The 11th Battalion Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment went to France on 27th August 1915, so if he served in the 11th Battalion, he would have been part of a draft of reinforcements from one of the reserve battalions. He survived the war and was discharged on 18th January 1919.
An Edward Else was recorded as a 19 year old private in the 2nd Battalion Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment in the 1911 census, at Plymouth, Devon. He went to France on 4th November 1914 with the 1st Battalion Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment (which had returned from India on October 2nd 1914). Company Serjeant Major Edward Else MM was killed in action on 27th April 1917. "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (HMSO 1921) stated he was serving with the 11th Battalion Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment. The CWGC Debt of Honour stated he was serving with the 2nd Battalion Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment. It is possible he was attached to the 11th Battalion when he was killed. He is buried at Loos. He was awarded the Military Medal when he was a serjeant. It was promulgated in the London Gazette on January 22nd 1917 but no battalion was indicated.
Albert Hunt served in France from July 1915 with the East Kent Regiment (possibly the 8th Battalion which went to France in July 1915). He was transferred at some stage to the 4th Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RGA and was appointed an acting-corporal. He was killed in action on 23rd September 1918. He is buried at Lebucquiere commune cemetery extension in a village which was re-gained in the advances of September 1918 when the cemetery was used for a fortnight.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Zynda
Date: Sunday 4th May 2014 at 3:36 PM

Dear Harry,
I am collecting information about the men who are listed on the War Memorial for WW1. Edward Else is on it and I have his links to Albert Hunt and William Henry Collins, also the notice of his death in the Derbyshire Times. I work in Newbold Library and am doing this project in my own time for the people of Newbold to access it in our Local Studies section. If you have any information you would like to share with our community project please feel free to contact me there in person or on 01246 277328.
Regards Zynda
Reply from: Harry Moore
Date: Friday 9th May 2014 at 1:20 PM

Many thanks Alan for your swift reply and all the great info and to Zynda I am at the moment working in London but will definitely get back you reference information you require.Many thanks again
Reply from: Harry Moore
Date: Friday 16th May 2014 at 9:00 AM

Dear Alan, if Edward Else obviously joined up around c 1910 in the Sherwood Foresters would there be another avenue I could go down to trace his signing on dates etc
Many thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 16th May 2014 at 12:22 PM

Dear Harry,
It is unlikely any records of his enlistment have survived. Army records for other ranks fell into four groups: joining up; being a soldier; leaving the army and pensions. His attestation (joining up) papers were apparently destroyed in 1940; muster books and pay lists for serving soldiers only go as far as 1897/8; there would be no discharge papers because he was killed and there might not be a pension record.
If a widow was paid a pension there might be a Pension Record Card. The Western Front Association holds an archive of 6.5 million pension record cards (PRCs) which are not available elsewhere. They charge an administrative fee for a manual search of the records. See:

The regimental museum might have regimental magazines that covered the period of his service.

The war diaries of the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters have been digitised (small charges apply). See:

The war diaries of the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters are in two parts. The first part for 1915-1917 has been digitised, the second part has not. See:

With kind regards,
Posted by: Martin {Email left}
Location: Scotland
Date: Thursday 1st May 2014 at 7:21 PM
Hello Alan
Would first like to say what a great forum you have here 10/10
I do have a tricky one for you tho, I have recently been handed a family ' heirloom' .It is a brass shell dated 1902 and other markings, suspended over what appears to be a cannon ball, set in Brass inscribed ' From Major Jennison, RA to Fred , Nicholls .' As I understand it Fred is my great great grandfather , that part of the family originates from the south, south west .There are many conflicting stories of my great grandad within the family .I do believe he fought in ww1 and died but the rest is a mystery.Hours of searching the internet I can neither link the two names or find a similar object anywhere.Any help would be very grateful .

Kind regards

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd May 2014 at 5:13 PM

Dear Martin,
Unfortunately it is not possible to positively identify military records by a man's name only. It is necessary to know the man's regiment or corps and regimental number. In the case of officers, they are usually identified by their rank, initials and surname with their regiment.
It is therefore not possible to positively identify an individual Fred Nicholls.
Jennison is not a common surname and one possible candidate for a Jennison who appears to have served as a major in the Royal Regiment of Artillery was an H.G.W. Jennison promoted to major in January 1906. He was Henry George William Jennison born 1850 at Brompton in Kent the son of Henry Jennison, who served in the Royal Marines, and his wife Susannah ("Annie"). Henry G.W. Jennison appears to have served with the Royal Garrison Artillery. He joined the Army in 1869. He was the District Officer for Dover Garrison when he retired in 1907. He was active in Dover's community life until 1909/10 and he had moved to Brighton by 1911. In 1914 he returned to Dover to lead the town's recruiting team of retired officers, engaging 87 men by October 1914 through meetings in the town's Market Square. He was invalided out of wartime service through ill-health in late 1916 and died on 7th October 1917 at his home in Brighton.
It is not possible to state with certainty he was the Major Jennison R.A. who presented the shell-case. The shell-case was possibly a competition prize. Shell-cases were frequently used as forms of what was sometimes known as "trench art". See: ei=z8JiU82iDMHb0QW084CYBA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg&biw=1366& bih=675#newwindow=1&q=%22shell+case%22+AND+%22trench+art%22&tbm=isch

Major Henry Jennison appeared to have been connected with the Royal Garrison Artillery. There were six men named Fred Nicholls who had medal-rolls index cards in the First World War. One possible candidate was the one Fred Nicholls who served in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was Gunner Fred Nicholls 120956 Royal Garrison Artillery. He was killed in action on 27th June 1917 while serving with the 285th Siege Battery RGA which had been in France only since 27th March 1917. This Fred was the husband of Ellen Louise Nicholls, of Cherry Orchard, Burnt Hill, Bradfield, Berks. He was a native of Berkshire and was born about 1877. A matching entry in the 1911 census recorded he was a brick-maker and lived at South End near Reading. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was buried at Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery which was used by Field Ambulances to the south of Ypres.

I hope that helps, but it would be necessary to conduct extensive research to provide positive evidence.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Judy B {Email left}
Location: Australia
Date: Thursday 1st May 2014 at 1:48 PM
Can anyone tell me what happened the day Gilbert and others from that Battalion died. I have been told they were decoys . and it was known they were not coming home from this.. Is this true? Any information would be great.. Judy

Gilbert Sloan Wilson
Serjeant Service No: 265054 Date of Death: 09/09/1918 Age: 30 Regiment/Service: Royal Scots Fusiliers 11th Bn. Grave Reference IV. A. 14. Cemetery ST. VENANT-ROBECQ ROAD BRITISH CEMETERY, ROBECQ
Posted by: Trevor Purnell {Email left}
Location: Tillington W Sussex
Date: Thursday 1st May 2014 at 11:07 AM
Hello Alan,

Grateful for your help once again. I am struggling with a Coldstream Guardsman and not getting very far with the related museums and archives.

The soldier is Lance Sergeant William Stoner 11178, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. I know he entered the war early and gained the'Pip Squeak and Wilfred' medals. He was killed in action near Thiepval and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. This is about all I know of his war service. Could you fill in any gaps?

Sincerely grateful

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th May 2014 at 9:55 PM

Dear Trevor,
Sorry for the delay. I'll deal with this.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 7th May 2014 at 12:48 PM

Dear Trevor,
William George Stoner was born at Petworth, Sussex in 1892, the son of William Stoner, a domestic gardener, and his wife Eliza. In 1911, William George Stoner was recorded as a brewery drayman (carter) boarding with an innkeeper at Lowheath, Petworth. His parents lived at Lowheath Cottage.
William's regimental number suggests he enlisted for wartime service at the outbreak of war. He enlisted at Chichester. He probably trained at Windsor with the 5th Reserve Battalion Coldstream Guards. He was posted to the 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards who were in France and crossed the Channel with a draft of reinforcements on 24th February 1915. The Battalion was in the line at Cuinchy. Later, the 2nd Guards Brigade held a recently secured line in the coal mining area between Loos and Hulloch in the Pas de Calais.
The Guards' first major engagement of 1915 was the Battle of Loos (25th September to 8th October 1915). The 2nd Guards Brigade, including 1st Coldstream Guards commanded by Lt-Col A. Egerton, was held in reserve until September 27th when they were tasked with securing the Chalk Pit, which had been gained the day before, opposite the German positions at Bois Hugo just to the North of Loos en Gohelle. The 2nd Guards Brigade had the objective of advancing through Bois Hugo and Chalet Wood and then attack the German's redoubt from the North. They were at the Chalk Pit at 5 p.m. on the 27th September 1915. The Irish Guards were to pass through the Coldstreams to attack Puits XIV.bis, a pit head building with a tall chimney. However, the building couldn't be taken that night and they fell back. (This attack involved Rudyard Kipling's son, Lt. John Kipling, who was killed on September 27th ).
The 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards held the Chalk Pits through the night and at 3.45 p.m. on the next day, 28th September 1915, they were ordered to advance on Puits XIV.bis from the south face of the Chalk Pit, with covering fire by the Irish Guards. As soon as they advanced they were exposed to extremely heavy enfilade machine-gun fire from the enemy position in Bois Hugo. Some men reached the Puits but it was untenable and they fell back to the Chalk Pit.
Lance-Sergeant William G. Stoner, aged 23, was killed in action on the 28th September 1915. He has no named grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Trevor Purnell
Date: Thursday 8th May 2014 at 5:48 PM


Many thanks for your very informative reply. I hadn't noticed that the CG battalion changed brigades just before the battle of Loos. Also thanks for making a link to Lt John Kipling; very interesting to read his story and the desperate lasting effect it had on his father. Once again I am very much indebted to you for your help.

Kind Regards,

Posted by: Cathy {Email left}
Location: Portsmouth Hampshire
Date: Tuesday 29th April 2014 at 4:20 PM
Hello, I am trying to research my grandfathers military history. His name was Amos John Hounsome - I have a copy of his medal card which states Victory, British & 14 Star medals. The medal card states he was a corporal then Lance Corporal in 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade service number 3526. He also had a Silver War Badge. I was able to find from his SWB number that he enlisted on 14th Oct 1909 and was discharged on 16th June 1919 and that he had served overseas and was listed as a Sargeant. His service record doesn't appear to be online anywhere. Can anyone help me trace where he would have been stationed during his army career please. Some family members have suggested he was in India, Ireland and of course WW1 and also that he was a Quarter Master Sargeant. He did survive the war and died in 1960. Any help would be gratefully received.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 7th May 2014 at 10:24 AM

Dear Cathy,
The Army medal rolls index-card stated Amos Hounsome first served in a theatre of war from 7th November 1914 with the 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own). It provides evidence only that he served in the 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade on first going to war. It is likely he served with them throughout his service, but it is not certain. No individual service record has survived for him, so it is not possible to state his service in detail. The highest rank recorded for him was Sergeant on his discharge in 1919. A sergeant might well have acted as a Company Quarter Master Sergeant which was an appointment for someone in the rank of Colour-sergeant.
The 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade was at Fort William in Calcutta, India, from 1908. In January 1912 they formed a guard of honour during the Royal Visit and then moved to Rawalpindi for training in mountain warfare at Baracao. In 1913 they were training at Kuldana, Murree and Rawalpindi. In September 1914 they left Kuldana and travelled to Bombay to sail for the UK (on SS "Somali"). The "Somali" arrived at Liverpool on October 22nd 1914 and the Battalion went to France on the night of 6th/7th November 1914 where they served in the 25th Infantry Brigade in the 8th Division. The engagements of the 8th Division are shown at:

The war diaries of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade can be downloaded (charges apply) from The National Archives website. They are items 4, 5, and 6 at:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Cathy
Date: Wednesday 7th May 2014 at 5:51 PM

Dear Alan,

Thank you so much for your detailed reply to my questions about my grandfather. I will certainly follow up the websites you suggested. Can I ask another question please - would he have received an army pension and if so where can I look into that?

You provide a wonderful service for people like me who flounder in the dark. Thanks again.


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 7th May 2014 at 6:06 PM

Dear Cathy,
No individual service record has survived for Amos Hounsome so it is not possible to state whether he applied for a pension or not. The majority of records were destroyed in the bombing of London in September 1940. Most discharged war-time soldiers received only a lump-sum gratuity. Those who were discharged through wounds or sickness could apply for a pension. They had to undergo an army medical board which would decide on the percentage of disability and award an interim pension. A further board in six months or a year would again assess his entitlement and possibly make a further award. In Amos's case the records have not survived.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Cathy
Date: Wednesday 7th May 2014 at 6:56 PM

Dear Alan

What a shame about his records - still leaves things in the dark so will just have to piece together what we have.

Thank you for such a prompt reply.

Best regards

Reply from: Bill
Date: Wednesday 26th November 2014 at 5:20 PM

Cathy, my name is Bill Hounsome and I research Hounsome men that served in the military. Do you have any photograph's of Amos Hounsome. I believe he served in Gallipoli.


Posted by: Christina {Email left}
Location: Endon
Date: Sunday 27th April 2014 at 11:07 AM
Hi Alan,
A group of us are preparing an interpretation board to accompany work we have done around the war memorial in our churchyard in Endon and which we need to complete before the end of May. We have gathered a number of interesting WW1 photos to use on the board or on the website and we are aware of another but need to trace a copy we can use. It's a group of wounded soldiers gathered on land which has been identified as the well dressing field in Endon. A local organisation does have a copy of the photo but says they are too busy to look for it for us. Can you advise me how I could search for this on the internet please? We have tried google and all the usual routes - are there any other resources you could point me towards?
Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 27th April 2014 at 7:01 PM

Dear Christina,
It would be difficult to search for a specific photograph on the internet. It would be necessary to know that the image had been placed on a website and to search for it you would need to know how it had been indexed or captioned. A hands-on search could be made at Staffordshire County Record Office, Stafford, or at the Imperial War Museum.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Christina
Date: Sunday 27th April 2014 at 7:53 PM

Dear Alan
Many thanks for your helpful advice
Kind regards
Posted by: Vicki {Email left}
Location: Usa
Date: Saturday 26th April 2014 at 10:27 PM
For the World War I draft, upon turning 18 males were required to fill out a draft registration card showing next-of-kin. The library at the World War I monument in Kansas City, MO, looked to see if they had my grandfather's draft registration card -- they didn't. They said it was probably because he lied about his age to join the military. Were there any other W.W. I documents that would show next-of-kin? We can't find any record showing who his parents were.

His name was John George Miller.
Birthdate on military records: November 13, 1898.
Serial number: 1 463 812

Because we can't find any record of him from his birth until he joined the military, we suspect he may have changed his name when he joined as well as lied about his birth year.

Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 27th April 2014 at 7:02 PM

Dear Vicki,
A soldier's next-of-kin was not necessarily his parents. He might state a sibling, another relative, or wife. Draft Registration Cards asked for the name and address of the "nearest relative", which was not necessarily a parent.
Not all individual service records have survived. Those that have survived are held by the National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63138, USA. The starting point for applications is shown at:

With kind regards,
Reply from: Vicki
Date: Sunday 27th April 2014 at 9:23 PM

Thank you for your quick response Alan! Years ago my mother tried contacting St. Louis only to find out that many of the World War I records (including my grandfather's) were destroyed in a fire.

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