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

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Posted by: Ian {Email left}
Location: Auistralia
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2011 at 5:49 AM
Hi Alan.
Back on the 15th Oct you advised me how to get WW! records for my father , Gerald King. .Following your advice I have been able to download his complete medical records
I then searched the National Archives, using their new "Discovery" program, to find the Badge record. WO 329/3164 " "Territorial Force( London) This is on page 24 of the list.
Viewing is not possible as it has not been digitised. They do however have a service to copy this document, but on application for a price,to provide a photocopy. After applying, and giving full file details. I get a reply to say that it it is not possible to supply a copy as there are various, unspecified, impediments. They suggest that a visit would be the way to go.
Difficult in my case, living in Australia !
This problem may well affect other searchers. The new cataloging system seems to be far superior to the previous one for finding things, but far harder for getting a copy.
Any advice on obtaining copies would be helpful to all of your readers.
Ian King
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2011 at 1:22 PM

Dear Ian,
There are two possible reasons why the National Archives suggested there were "various impediments" to the search. One is that the document wasn't there. The second is that the document is 404 pages long and names are not in alphabetical order. In the latter case, it would be too time consuming to search. The reason the document may not have been available when you asked is that the Silver War Badge lists have been through the process of being digitized for the Ancestry website. Someone probably just ticked the box that said: "various unspecified impediment".

Having said the SWB lists are available on the Ancestry website they have only just gone on the site in the last few days and don't at the moment show up in a name search. You need to search the Military card catalogue to bring up "UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920" and then search by name. To do this you click on the green "Search" tab at the top of the home page and scroll down to "Military". Then use the sidebar to scroll down to "UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914 1920).

The entry for 1497 Rifleman King, Gerald, 5th Ldn Rgt, showed he was issued a war badge numbered 247623 in accordance with Army Order II dated 10 August 1917. He enlisted on 18/1/15 and was discharged 14/7/15 under Paragraph 392 iii/cc Kings Regulations as "sick" aged 27, no service overseas; dated 8th September 1917; Territorial Force Record Office; 4, London Wall Buildings.

The new Discovery Service does appear to be better than the old catalogue search on the National Archives website. My advice to anyone asking for a copy is to understand that staff can copy specific pages if they are given the page numbers but cannot search through large documents to find entries, or copy large documents (such as war diaries).

The National Archives is preparing to digitise war diaries from The First World War. If other readers are not familiar with the "Discovery System" it can be found on the home page of the National Archives website under "Labs".

Kind regards,
Reply from: Ian King
Date: Wednesday 9th November 2011 at 5:03 AM

Many thanks for your advice. Will check the Ancestry .com site

Posted by: Michael {Email left}
Location: Horsham
Date: Monday 7th November 2011 at 5:32 PM
Hi Alan,
You've been so incredibly helpful in the past I hope that you can throw a little light In my search for James BREWER of the 4th Royal Sussex Regiment Regimental Number: 4/1579, 200176. I note that although awarded the MM this is not noted on the campaign medal card - is this normal?

Secondly, would his Name, rank and number be engraved on the rim? I see officers awards were so engrave but what about OR's?
Also, surely there would be a record listing the details of the recipients of the various bravery, etc., awards apart from the Campaign Record Cards?

I also note, which you commented on, that someone has annotated the Campaign record card with a *WO2 with a star * against the entry for the Victory medal - any comment?

Thirdly, I can't find his service records, presumably they were part of the Burnt Collection which were burnt? In fact R. Sus. R. records seem to be mainly among the missing 'burnt collection'? Am I correct in this assumption? I was guessing that the records might well have been filed under Regiment or Unit rather by name or number, as the latter were I presume allocated by the Unit or Regiment?

Finally, I see from the War Diaries that Officers were always mentioned by name but OR's rarely, sometimes if they were awarded or recommended for a Bravery award. (I'm using the War Diaries of the R.Sus.Reg. as a guide here). So were the Officers service records separate from the OR's?

I've been rather long-winded here but thought others might also be interested in the answer to these questions!

Yours Sincerely
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 7th November 2011 at 8:50 PM

Dear Michael,

The Army Medal Rolls Index cards were created only after the first campaign medal of the First World War was instigated by King George V. This was the 1914 Star created in April 1917. The other campaign medals were authorised in 1918 (1914-15 Star) and 1919 (British War and Victory Medals).
Most cards, therefore, date from 1918 or 1919. The card index was for campaign medals and it was not essential for any post-nominal letters to be added after the soldier's name. However, in some cases the letters MM were marked on the campaign medal cards alongside the name.

The award of gallantry medals was noted on separate medal cards by the Army Medal Office at Droitwich. Those cards are in the National Archives in Catalogue reference WO 372/23. They still exist and images can be downloaded from the National Archives website for a fee of two pounds. The Military Medal cards are not included on the website. Gallantry award cards are indexed by surname and first initials, so, like many army records, they will not be shown in search results using the man's forename. See:
Sjt Brewer's card is Image reference 85474 / 12977.
Gallantry medals were cited in Army Orders. These have survived, but not all lists of recipients have survived with them. They are held at the National Archives in Catalogue series WO 123. You would need to visit the archives to see them. The citations for Military Medals were handed to the soldier and few other records exist.

First World War medals were identified with the soldier's name, but they were impressed round the rim, rather than engraved. The Star medals were impressed on the reverse. The difference is that impressing was done with a letter-stamp that punched the letter into the rim of the medal, in the manner of a typewriter, using a machine operated by a foot treadle.

In the case of James Brewer, the medal index card was prepared twice. The first entry, in red ink, was made, probably in 1918, to record his qualification for the 1914-15 Star as a Lance-corporal. The second entry was made in 1919 or later, in blue ink, to record his qualification for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The asterisk by the rank of WO 2 and again by the medal roll number E/2/101B14 page 3058(with ditto lines beneath) showed that the rank of WO 2 was to be engraved on those two medals. The medal roll was the nominal roll prepared by the records offices to list soldiers who qualified for medals for overseas service. Each solider had a one-line entry, the details of which were transcribed onto the index cards for ease of reference at the Medal Office. There were some five million campaign medal cards by the early 1920s.

When the War Office repository in Arnside Street, Walworth, London, was bombed on the night of September 8th 1940, the warehouse was destroyed in flames. Sixty percent of the service records were destroyed. The remaining 40 per cent which were retrieved after the fire are known as the "burnt documents" because they are badly burnt and water damaged. Some 2 million burnt files have survived. The records were stored in regimental order and those of the infantry regiments were at the seat of the fire. Records of the Royal Sussex; Essex; West Kent; Wiltshire and Warwickshire regiments were the worst affected. Commissioned Officers' records were stored separately and have survived at the National Archives. Records for the Guards regiments were kept by the Guards and have survived. The "unburnt" documents are those that were stored in Blackpool and related to men who had been medically discharged. The National Archives says: "In order to supplement the surviving records, non-active files from the Ministry of Pensions at Blackpool relating to Army disability pensions for the First World War were passed to the new War Record Office at Droitwich in 1943. These files concerned pensioners who had since died or claims which had been refused and they were intended to be pulped for paper salvage." These are the unburnt documents which Ancestry called "pension records" to identify them more plainly. Discharged wounded soldiers did not automatically receive a pension. Many took a one-off payment called a "gratuity", for which there was no record.

The burnt documents were the property of the Ministry of Defence and it appears that the MoD later sorted them alphabetically by surname, as this is how they were microfilmed by the National Archives. When the Ancestry website digitised the microfilms they had to identify and index a "landing page" which is the page a researcher is taken to when the mouse is clicked. However, sometimes the essential information to identify a soldier is not on the landing page or is illegible on that page and has not been indexed. Therefore, quite broad searches are required, sometimes using surname only or the first three letters of a surname followed by "?". Forenames (especially Frederick) were often abbreviated or reduced to a diminutive. William appears as Bill or Will or Wm as well as Will and William. There are 190 service records with the forename Wiliam with one "l", some of which have been cross-indexed. Sometimes two forenames are abbreviated such as Geo Wm. There are 2382 "William Brown" service records but the index does not include Wm Brown whose service record does exist under that name.

Scrolling through micro-film can be a form of archival torture. Digital indexing is a two edged sword.

War diaries had a specific purpose. Instructions for keeping war diaries take up four pages of "Field Service Regulations Part II Administration 1909 reprinted 1914". For our purposes the significant paragraphs of section 140 state: "i) To furnish an accurate record of the operations from which the history of the war can subsequently be prepared; ii) To collect information for future reference with a view to effecting improvements in the organization, education, training, equipment and administration of the army for war."
The instructions then suggest the information required to be entered: i) All important orders, despatches, instructions, reports and telegrams issued and received and decisions taken; ii) Daily situation; arrival, departure or halt; on the march, in camp or bivouac or billets..." The amount of detail required is then amplified to include range at which fire was opened; formations adopted; hour at which important occurrences happened with exactitude. Then: vi) Changes in establishment or strength. As regards casualties, the names and ranks of officers, and the number of other ranks and followers, and animals should be noted."
War diaries were kept in duplicate with the original, along with the operational orders etc., being sent in a folder marked "Confidential" to the Adjutant General's office at the end of the month. Many original war diaries were destroyed in the Arnside Street fire. The surviving war diaries are generally carbon copies or diaries that were written up after the war where the originals were incomplete.
The quality of war diaries varies enormously. The reason is twofold: there was a war on. It was not possible to record the sheer amount of information suggested in the instructions. Secondly, the form AF C2118 might have been completed by candlelight in a dugout using a blunt pencil on damp paper with shells bursting nearby. That said, many diaries contain detailed reports typed up after the event. Many diaries do contain names of soldiers, not just officers. In my experience, there are as many which name some private soldiers as those that do not. Some contain nominal rolls or casualty lists or names of men in a patrol. It is a broad generalisation to say they don't contain soldiers' names but the rules stated they were never intended to. War diaries often need a map to understand them better. Map references were given to indicate a series of squares and divisions of the squares; so knowing how to read a map reference and using a wartime map can help a great deal. See:

I hope that explains some of the background to the surviving documents and the problems of searching through them.

Printed histories can be a help too. Many Regiments and divisions printed their wartime histories. Check with the regimental museum or search commercial websites such as The Naval and Military Press.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Michael
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2011 at 2:27 PM

Thanks Alan for such an incredibly detailed resume of the medal and war diary situation; it is most useful and has put me on the right track for the future and probably very helpful for others in a similar position to me.
Thanks again,
best regards

Posted by: Johnblue {Email left}
Location: Skelmersdale
Date: Sunday 6th November 2011 at 6:04 PM
Hello, i am trying to find out any information on my grandfather patrick riding, he was born 1896 in liverpool and his regt numbers on his medal card are l/pool r private 108139 and lab c 609171. thats all the information i have on him. thanks john.

Posted by: Leyther1 {Email left}
Location: Leigh Lancs
Date: Sunday 6th November 2011 at 4:32 PM
Dear Alan

I posted a message a week or so ago but now cannot see it in the list of messages so unsure what has happened there.?
In case it is lost, I am looking for any information on my Granddad who died 40years ago and was given your details from a gent on Rootschat.

I have applied to the MOD but they say it could take 9 to 12months for a reply so if there is nothing to be found, I think I would sooner know now, or if there is, then great, something to look forward to!

My Granddad was JAMES JONES born in 1907 Bolton. He joined the TA aged 16 and we have a picture of him in an army football team that looks taken around 1926. Sadly help on Rootschat has not come up with the regiment as the Sargeants uniforms are not clear enough. It is suggested though through a building in the background of the picture that he was highly likely in India.

All I know is that he served in a Manchester Regiment and was the first to be called up when WW2 broke out. His army number is 3522178. he served throughout WW2 and was shot and had a kidney removed but went back to fight.
During the war he served with the Desert Rats and I know through family that he was on the beaches of Dunkirk.

If you cold find ANYTHING out about him I would be extremely grateful.

Thank you

Posted by: Alison {Email left}
Location: Whitchurch
Date: Sunday 6th November 2011 at 3:52 PM
Does anyone have any news about a Leslie Eate or Eade who trained on Hurricanes at RAF Hullavington in 1940. His father was a doctor in the Indian Army and Leslie gave up training to be a doctor to join the RAF. The weekend he was due to gain his wings he took up his plane, did a victory roll and crashed. He was seriously injured, unable to walk or talk but he survived to be repatriated to India. My mother who became a WAAF working in RADAR was his girlfriend at the time and visited him at the hospitals in Oxford and Buckinghamshire before receiving a letter to say he'd been repatriated, she is now 87 years old and would love to know what happened to him after he was repatriated.

Posted by: John Millichamp {Email left}
Location: Midhurst West Sussex
Date: Friday 4th November 2011 at 4:32 PM
I have been researching my Great Grand Uncle Alfred Harbridge Millichamp over the last few years. I know quite a bit already and have some success locating documents and photos; I wanted to see if there may be anything or anyone else out there that might be able to help. I know that he died in Gallipoli in 1915 as CSM of the South Wales Borderers, he was man who joined the army at 18 and married his wife and had a child all while carrying out his tour of duty. Ho also had a brother Henry/Harry Farmer Millichamp - I know less about him and if there is anyone that can give me more insight into their story I would be so grateful.


John Millichamp

Posted by: Diane {Email left}
Location: Lancashire
Date: Friday 4th November 2011 at 2:42 PM
My grandad Fred Smart was in the Loyal North 6th battallion.I can only find any details on his medal card .Loyal North 14721 and T/386104 .He got Victory and 15star medals Balkans date of entry 25 July 1915.I cannot find any trace of war records for him.I believe he was in a battle where many men died and was found in a pile of bodies only by moving his arm.I have letters from an Alice Hearne 73 Serpentine Lane Calcutta whom I believe was his "adopted mother".How can I find out about this family and my grandads war records?
Thanks Diane
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 4th November 2011 at 9:03 PM

Dear Diane,
Without a service record for Fred Smart it is not possible to trace his wartime service. The medal card for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 14721 recorded that Frederick Smart also served in the Army Service Corps with the number T/386104. It is not possible to suggest which unit of the Army Service Corps he served with or when he transferred. He was discharged to the Class Z Reserve at the end of the war, which indicated he was fit to fight again if the Armistice did not hold.
The date of entry to the Balkans was 25th July 1915 which was shortly after the 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment had first landed at Helles on Gallipoli. The battalion served at Gallipoli until December 1915 and then moved to Egypt before being sent to Mesopotamia. The Battalion served in the 38th Infantry Brigade of the 13th Division. Their war diary for June 1915 - Jan 1916 is amongst some 38th Brigade war diaries in National Archives Catalogue reference WO 95/4032. It can be downloaded for a fee of GBP 3-50 from the National Archives website. See:

The exploits of the 13th Division can be seen at:

For details of the Hearne family you would need to search Indian church records for baptisms, marriages or burials at the British Library in London. See also the FIBIS website:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Diane
Date: Saturday 5th November 2011 at 12:15 PM

Thanks for your quick reply.The lack of war records /does this mean that they have been destroyed or lost?
I'll check the sites that you have sent.Would there be any hospital records?I have a photo of him with some injured soldiers and also a hospital ship.
Thanks again
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 5th November 2011 at 8:12 PM

Dear Diane,
The majority of First World War soldiers' service records were destroyed by fire during the London Blitz in September 1940. Those that have survived are available on the Ancestry website, but there is no obvious record for Fred Smart with the regimental numbers from his medal card.
He may have been hospitalised in Malta; Egypt; Mesopotamia or India. Medical records may not have survived. Those that have survived in Britain are not centralised. If he was treated in Britain, you would need to know the name of the hospital and then search the hospital records database; the access to archives (A2A) database and the national register of archives, to see which county administration may have archived the records. Medical records are usually closed for 100 years. See:

It is not possible to know the service of a hospital ship without knowing the name of the vessel.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Diane
Date: Sunday 6th November 2011 at 6:56 PM

Thanks for reply.I'll have to see if I can find out anything else about Fred.Thanks for your help

Posted by: Ronnie5702 {Email left}
Location: Saffron Walden
Date: Monday 31st October 2011 at 8:09 AM
Hi Alan,

I have been trying to gather information on my Grandfather, particularly his serice time with the Royal Engineers. His information is..

Name: Walter Learmonth Hutchison
Number: 14920743
Date Of Service: 1946/47 - 16-3-1948
Unit: 109 Railway Op Squadron

He has served in Egypt, Palestine and Azzib.

I believe that he is entitled to the Palestine Service Medal and Clasp. I also dont think he is aware of this, it's certainly never been mentioned when we've chatted about the Army. I would love to be able to give it to him as a present this Christmas.

Is it possible that you could investigate this and see if he is entitled or has indeed recieved it already.

Many Thanks,

Ronnie Hutchison
Reply from: Ronnie5702
Date: Monday 31st October 2011 at 12:50 PM

Hi Alan,

May l also burden you with another request please?!?

My wife's Grandfather served around 1946 with the Army Catering Corps. His details are..

Name: Henry Harris
Rank: Sjt
Number: 1080517
Date Of Birth: 20 Nov 1912

I do know that he was discharged from the Army in 1946 but my Father-in-law has no military record of his time and would love to have something to look at to see what he got up to.
Would you be able to gather as much information as possible on him?

Many Thanks,

Ronnie Hutchison
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 31st October 2011 at 3:36 PM

Dear Ronnie,
I cannot research soldiers from after the First World War. Service records from 1946 are held by the Ministry of Defence and they will release certain amounts of information to the individual or to the direct next of kin with the individual's permission. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 31st October 2011 at 3:37 PM

Dear Ronnie,
Unfortunately, I am not able to research soldiers who served after the First World War. The only people who can establish entitlement to a medal are the Ministry of Defence Medal Office. The medal you are suggesting is the General Service Medal with clasp for service in Palestine between 27th September 1945 and 30th June 1948. The Medal Office would have to retrieve your grandfather's service record and they may not be prepared to do that on your behalf without his written permission.
The procedure is laid out on the MoD Website. See

In the first place, you should contact the Joint Personnel Administration Centre in Glasgow to ask their advice. Their phone number is: 0141 224 3600.

The address of the Medal Office is: Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA), MOD Medal Office, Innsworth House, Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, GL3 1HW.
Once you have submitted an enquiry on the relevant forms, the procedure can take many months.
However, the medal office does have a priority procedure for veterans aged over 90 and also gives priority for veterans or their spouses ahead of applications from second generation next of kin. The office says: "If this applies to you, please write to the Medal Office bringing this to their attention."
You can download the application form from:

Kind regards,

Posted by: Michael {Email left}
Location: Horsham
Date: Sunday 30th October 2011 at 8:25 PM
Hello Alan,
You have helped me in past but for this query I have only oral information which is dubious in my mind.

I have a James BREWER, bn 30/06/1893 in East Grinstead, Sussex, said to have "served in Salonika in WW1, rose to Sgt/Major and decorated with Military Cross", unquote. As he would have been only 20 or 21 when he enlisted this seems a little unlikely?

In the 1911 census he appears as a 'general labourer'.

No information on Findmypast site but there WW1 records very patchy and I have no longer access to Ancestry to be able to check WO records, even if they exist, so wonder if you can help at all?

If you can throw any light on this I will be most grateful, even if it is to only debunk the oral history; I know from bitter experience how unreliable such 'history' is; even if there is some truth in the story unfortunately 'things' get embroidered!
Michael Ward
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 30th October 2011 at 10:32 PM

Dear Michael,
Oral history is not always accurate. It needs to be substantiated or disproved by reference to sources of primary evidence.
The Military Cross was awarded to commissioned officers. Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) would have been awarded the Military Medal. Outside military circles that distinction can be easily confused.
There is no obvious individual service record applicable to James Brewer born 1893. A search of some 60 medal index cards for James Brewer or J Brewer returned one that specified the rank of WO2 (Warrant Officer Class II) which was a Company Serjeant-major's rank. This James Brewer deserved further investigation as the card showed he did serve in the Balkans. The same man was listed as Sjt J Brewer in the London Gazette of 19 March 1918 under the heading: "His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the undermentioned Non-Commissioned Officers and Men... 200176 Sjt J. Brewer, R Suss R (East Grinstead)". The word "Serjeant" was originally spelled that way, and in some regiments it is still is. A London Gazette entry was often some months after the event.

The medal index card showed James served with the 4th (Territorial Army) Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment with the regimental number 4/1579. This number was changed to 200176 during the overall re-numbering of the Territorial Army in March 1917. He entered the theatre of war (2B - Balkans) on 8th August 1915 as a lance-corporal and rose to the rank of WO2. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was awarded the Military Medal which granted him the post-nominal letters of MM so his formal style of address was WO2 James Brewer MM.
He returned home on 18th March 1919.

The record of the 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment does not show it served at Salonika. It sailed to the Mediterranean in July 1915 and went to Mudros, on the island of Lemnos, which was the jumping off point for Gallipoli. It left Mudros (possibly August 8th 1915) for the short voyage to Gallipoli and landed at Suvla Bay on 9th August 1915. In December 1915 it was withdrawn to Egypt and remained in Egypt and Palestine until June 1918 when it went to France. It served with the 160th Infantry Brigade in the 53rd Division until May 1918 when it moved with 34th Division to France.

The war diary of the Battalion is slightly scattered in the National Archives catalogue references. Two sections are available to download online; others are at the National Archives at Kew. See:

The London Gazette can be searched online. Select an historic event and Enter 200176 as an "exact phrase" at:

Your local library may provide free access to the Ancestry website for his campaign medals index card. Local newspapers of the time may have recorded his award of the Military Medal. See:

However, East Grinstead library states "The library has the East Grinstead Observer 1886-1914 and 1977-1982 and the East Grinstead Courier 1983 to date." So a wider search of West Sussex records may be necessary.

Kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 30th October 2011 at 10:37 PM

The link above to the National Archives appears confusing. Go to their website and, using quotation marks, enter "4 Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment" in the "search the archives" panel top right to get the results.
Reply from: Michael
Date: Monday 31st October 2011 at 2:24 PM

Dear Alan,
I can hardly thank you enough for having provided so much information on James BREWER - I really though I was on a 'wild goose chase' then thought of you and you really turned up trumps. You have given me so many lead-ins that I am going to be busy for a while I suspect. All I can add is to say, Thanks again Alan.
Best Wishes
Reply from: Michael
Date: Wednesday 9th November 2011 at 8:25 PM

Hello Alan,
I'm in trouble again with my elusive Sjt. BREWER of the 4Bn. Roy.Sus.Reg.

I've downloaded the War Dairies 292/294.pdf & 732/736 which cover Suvla and then Francee but can't find any reference to Egypt which has been rubber stamped on his MM record card. The TNA description does not seem to cover the period you mention, "In December 1915 it was withdrawn to Egypt and remained in Egypt and Palestine until June 1918 when it went to France".

The TNA description seems to cover the whole period but the Egyptian campagn seems to be missing; or am I missing something obvious?
Hope you can help,
Kind Regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 9th November 2011 at 9:09 PM

Dear Michael,
The war diary that is available online is one section of the complete diary. The full sections will be held at the National Archives at Kew. They are:
War Office: First World War and Army of Occupation... WO 95/4323/
160 Infantry Brigade: 1/4 Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. . 160 Infantry Brigade: 53 Division Date: 1915.
War Office: First World War and Army of Occupation... WO 95/4631/
1/4 Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment 53 (Welsh) Division Date: 1916 1918.
War Office: First World War and Army of Occupation... WO 95/2458/
4 Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment 34 Division Date: 1918 - 1919.

You would need to visit Kew to study the dates prior to March 1918 when the MM was awarded.

A shortcut might be to ask the regimental museum if they have a copy of the diary. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Michae
Date: Thursday 10th November 2011 at 12:04 PM

Thanks Alan,
At least I know where to look next. Unfortunately these days I'm no longer in a position to travel to Kew, so it has to be these other avenues; I'll certainly try 'Eastbourne'
Kind Regards

Posted by: Karlphy {Email left}
Location: Ballymena
Date: Sunday 30th October 2011 at 3:15 PM
Hi Alan,

You have given me invaluable help in the past but, since I have no service numbers, you may not be able to help me here. However anything you can give me from your vast knowledge would be appreciated.

Joseph Reid; born 1858/9; lived at 571 Donegall Road, Belfast; served with the 10th Bn Royal Irish Rifles in WW1 and would have been about 55!; he was a gravedigger (I know that the Army used civilian gravediggers on the battlefield).

Alexander Reid; born 1885/6; lived at 571 Donegall Road, Belfast; served with RFA (Royal Field Artillery or Royal Fleet Auxiliary?): he had a false leg!

Any general information you could give me would be very welcome.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 30th October 2011 at 8:40 PM

Dear Karl,
I have not been able to find any specific record for either of these two men. The 10th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles went to France in October 1915 and served with the 107th Infantry Brigade in the 4th Division from November 1915 to February 1916. It then served with 36th Division and was disbanded on February 20th 1918. You can look up the Division's engagements on the "Long Long Trail" website.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Karlphy
Date: Sunday 30th October 2011 at 10:01 PM

Well thanks anyway Alan, I thought that it would be a bit of a stretch. I'll have to dig around a bit more to see if I can find some more info. Karl

Posted by: Leyther1 {Email left}
Location: Leigh Lancs
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 4:16 PM
Dear Alan

I have been given you as a contact who may be able to help me from a gent on Rootchat where I posted a pic of my Granddad trying to identify what regiment he served in.

The pic was of a football team with a trophy (My Granddad was a player) and the Sergeant was in full uniform. Unfortuantely the shot is not close enough for anyone to identify any badges or anything but we did conclude it was highly likely taken in India (from a building in the background). I know it would have been taken around 1925-1930 latest also as Granddad had no tattoos and looks young, and came back from WW2 with large tattoos on his forearms.

Mt Granddad was born in 1907 and joined the TA at 16yrs then served in some Manchester Regiment (Unsure which). At the start of WW2 he was called up and served with the Desert Rats.
At one point he was shot in the back and had a kidney removed before going back to war.

His name was James Jones. Army number 3522178.

I have applied to the MOD for his files (If any) but am told expect to wait 9 to 12months ! : (

Would you be able to see if you can find anything on him or check if a file does exist so I know to expext something next year?

Many thanks in advance
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 9:44 PM

Dear Lorraine,
Thank you for writing to the forum. My area of expertise the First World War and unfortunately I do not research soldiers of the Second World War. Sorry to disappoint you.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Leyther1
Date: Sunday 6th November 2011 at 4:35 PM

Sorry Alan, I just posted my message again as could not find this - so please ignore or delete it if possible. Thank you though for getting back to me, much appreciated


Posted by: Amanda {Email left}
Location: Llandysul
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 3:09 PM
Hi I dont know if you can help but Im struggling with some research on my great uncle George Wright born 1899 in Bolton, Lancashire. I have a photo of him in army uniform with the title' B sub section, 488 siege battery, RGA' According to family members he was gassed in the 1st World War and i know he went on to die as an air raid warden 24 Dec 1940. If you can help with any info from the 1st World War Id be very grateful.Thankyou, Amanda.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 9:39 PM

Dear Amanda,
There does not appear to be a surviving individual service record for a George Wright in the Royal Garrison Artillery with the year of birth as 1899. As he was quite young, it is possible he was conscripted at the age of 18 in 1917. This was the same year the 488 Siege Battery RGA went to France. The Battery served under the command of the 1st Army so it is difficult to say precisely where it was deployed at any given time. The 1st Army took part in the final One Hundred Days offensive on the move across France which led to the defeat of Germany. The 488 Battery's war diary is held at the National Archives at Kew. It is in catalogue reference WO 95/218. You would need to visit Kew to see it.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Amanda
Date: Sunday 30th October 2011 at 9:11 AM

Dear Alan,
Thankyou very much for your help I will certainly go to see the Archives. Thanks for your time and I will be donating to your chosen charity.
Regards amanda

Posted by: Ron {Email left}
Location: Northampton
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 10:08 AM
Dear Alan,
Could you provide any further military information regarding my grandfather Frank Newbould (s/n 7822).
While researching my paternal grandfather I came across your reply to Helen (9th October 2011) relating to a Frank Newbould who served in the West Yorkshire Regiment. My grandfather was also called Frank Newbould and also served in the West Yorkshire Regiment (service number 7822), he was born in Sheffield in 1887.
The 1901 census (Frank age 14) lists him living with his mother, brother and two elder sisters. Some time after that census Frank left home and joined the militia - 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales Own, West Yorkshire Regiment stationed at Whittington Barracks, this was much against the wishes of his family, so much so that his two sisters refused to see him when he visited on leave. The 1911 census records him as being stationed in India at Connaught Barracks, Rawalpindi.
I have a copy of his Medal Card showing he was made up to Acting Corporal and awarded Clasp and Roses but can't decipher much more other than the date 08/09/1914 which was presumably the roll call before being posted overseas.
He was married in 1914 to my Grandmother daughter of Thomas Fry Markwick of the Staffordshire Regiment who was also stationed at Whittington.
He was discharged from the army after the end WW1, and served in the Home Guard during WW2 in Birmingham and died in 1950.
Ron Newbould
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 2:08 PM

Dear Ron,
No individual service record from the First World War has survived for Frank Newbould, 7822. If he served after 1920 his service record may have survived with the UK Ministry of Defence. He enlisted at Sheffield in the 3rd Battalion (Militia) Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment (14th Foot) in 1904 and completed his militia training in November. The Regimental depot was at York. In January 1905 he joined the Regular Army in the West Yorkshire Regiment and in 1911 was serving with the 1st Battalion at Rawalpindi. His militia attestation papers (four pages) are available on the Findmypast website (pay as you go).
When war was declared in August 1914 the 1st Battalion was based at Lichfield (Whittington Barracks?) with the 18th Infantry Brigade in the 6th Division. On August 7th they were moved to Dunfermline and then moved to Cambridge on 13th August 1914. On 10th September 1914 the battalion landed in France at St Nazaire.
The engagements of the 6th Division can be seen at:

The 1st Battalion remained in France until about May 1919. Depending on his original terms of enlistment, Frank could have served a full 21 years. However, his medal rolls index card recorded that he served in the 1st Battalion and was awarded the Silver War Badge (SWB List) which was given to men who had left the service through wounds or sickness. The actual list was numbered O/3416/2 which would be held at the UK National Archives at Kew in Catalogue reference WO 329/3134 "Infantry (York) list O 1-400. Silver War Badge". The roll may show his date of discharge.
He qualified for the 1914 Star with the dated Mons clasp and the rose emblem which was attached to the ribbon when only ribbons were worn. He also qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The war diary of the 1st Battalion is available online (cost 3-50) from the National Archives website. It is within catalogue reference WO 95/1618 "6 DIVISION, 18 INFANTRY BRIGADE: 1 Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment 1914 Sept. - 1915 Nov./ 1 Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment 1914 Aug. - 1919 May/ Brigade Machine Gun Company 1916 Aug. - 1918 Jan.". See:

There are some notes on the Birmingham Home Guard at:

Home Guard service records may be requested by next of kin from the Ministry of Defence. See:

You will need proof of death; date of birth or service number; next of kin's permission (unless you are the direct next of kin); a cheque and completed forms Part 1 and 2. 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. 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.

As Frank was a regular soldier there is always a chance the Regimental Museum in York may have some record of him if he was mentioned in Regimental journals or played in sports teams. They do not hold any service records but may know more about the battalion's time in India. See:

Kind regards,
Reply from: Ron
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 9:25 PM

I can't thank you enough Alan, the information, recommendations and pointers you have provided are brilliant and will help me no-end. One further thing that I didn't mention in my enquiry was that I know that he did not serve out his time in the army as he took a head wound during his service and carried the shrapnel until his death in 1950.

Posted by: Justin Naylor {Email left}
Location: Wakefield
Date: Friday 28th October 2011 at 11:14 PM
Hi alan ,I am trying to find information for a william fairnington who died in ww1 (1917) the only info i can find is that he was in royal scots gaurds any other information would be great , as far as i can find fairnington they all seemed to come from wooler northhumberland but seemed to move over to scotland at some point . Thanks for any help you can give justin.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 29th October 2011 at 12:00 PM

Dear Justin,
William Fairnington served in the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). He was born at Edinburgh in 1897, the son of George and Helen Fairnington. No individual service record has survived for him. He enlisted at Edinburgh and when he was killed he was serving with the 13th Battalion Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment).
An Army medal rolls index card recorded that he qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service abroad before December 31st 1915, he did not serve abroad until after January 1st 1916. The 13th Bn Royal Scots had been in France since July 1915, therefore William would have been part of a draft of reinforcements sent to France sometime in 1916 or later.
The 13th Battalion served in the 45th Infantry Brigade in the 15th (Scottish) Division. The Division took part in major engagements at: The Actions of Spring 1916 (Hulluch and defence of the Kink position); on the Somme in 1916 they fought at The Battle of Pozieres; the Battle of Flers-Courcelette; and the attack on the Butte de Warlencourt. In 1917 they fought at: the First Battle of the Scarpe and the Second Battle of the Scarpe. William was killed on the opening day of the Second Battle of the Scarpe when the Division captured Guemappe. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Justin Naylor
Date: Monday 31st October 2011 at 10:19 PM

Thanks for the information which was very detailed and just what i was looking for . donation on its way to british legion. justin

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