The World War Forum (Page 1)

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Posted by: Laura Hartley {Email left}
Location: London
Date: Monday 29th April 2019 at 11:29 AM

I have my great-great grandfather's Royal Marines service record and I would really appreciate someone who knows what they're looking at helping me decipher a few things. His service years are 1889 - 1902; 1914 - 1918. I'm particularly interested in the war years. Is there anyone able to help me out?

Reply from: Laura Hartley
Date: Monday 29th April 2019 at 11:36 AM

Forgot to include his details: George Staniforth, b. Sep 1870, Rotherham, Yorkshire. Reg no. 3934 (Royal Marines Artillery division - portsmouth)

Posted by: Lesley Morgan {Email left}
Location: Australia
Date: Friday 26th April 2019 at 5:41 AM
Dear Alan,
It's while since you last helped me, I do hope you are still providing this wonderful service.
I have another soldier in the family,

Alfred Brown, dob:23/5/1892 Forfar, Scotland
He joined the Canadian 3rd overseas Battery, Siege Artillery 27/9/1915 no: 302854
I have his personnel file on my Rawcliffe Family Tree, but I am have some difficulty in interpreting the abbreviations, & in particular I need to know if he was in England in Apr-May 1918. The entry is a bit ambiguous.

QC Unit | Rejoined from leave | Field | 23-10-17

A A G | Absorbed into 1st Brigade CGA(How) on reorgan. | 20-3-18
of Can Sge & Hist? Art. | |
SOS on transfer to England for commission in the R A Force
& posted to Can Art Reg Dep Witley | 23-5-18

The remarks column is very hard to decipher, but I am trying to work out if he was in England, & possibly in Blackpool for training or bet. postings in the period Apr-May 1918.

It would also be great to know where he served in France & for which time periods. The reference to the RAF is intriguing.

Many thanks for any help you may be able to give.

Kind Regards
Reply from: Alan
Date: Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 4:37 PM

Dear Lesley,
I have retired from research, but as you are in Australia, I’ll make an exception. First of all, some history of the units in which Alfred Brown served: his unit was organized at Montreal in September 1915 as the 3rd Overseas Battery, Siege Artillery, under the command of Major E. G. M. Cape. The men were recruited and mobilized at Montreal. The unit left Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, on 18th December 1915 aboard SS Missanabie and arrived at Plymouth, England, on 27th December 1915. The unit strength was six officers and 154 other ranks. In England they moved to Dover Garrison at Dover Castle. On 24th February 1916 the 3rd Overseas Battery was re-designated as the 107th (Canadian) Siege Battery whilst training in England. The 107th departed for France on 16th June 1916 and arrived in France on 19th June 1916. They took up billets at a farm called Ind Der Hoop at Vlarmatinge, Belgium.
The Battery took up gun positions at a farm at Dickebusch, Belgium and, went into action for the first time on 28th June 1916 targeting Hollebeke Chateau. Later in the war, in 1918, they served in South West France.
On 29th January 1917, the 107th Battery became the 3rd Canadian Siege Battery within the 1st Canadian Heavy Artillery Group. A year later, on 12th January 1918, it was designated 1st Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery (1 CGA). The 1st CGA was demobilized at Montreal in May 1919 but Alfred Brown had remained in the U.K. in May 1919 for hospital treatment to a recurring illness that first emerged in France in June 1917.
The remarks column on the service record is not significant for our purposes as it records Army forms, references and initials which were the authority for the individual entry. The date in the right-hand column is the date of the event. The date in the left-hand column is the date the record was written. The rank Gnr (Gunner) is sometimes shown in part of the remarks column.
It should be noted that Witney in Surrey was a headquarters of the Canadian Artillery in England during the war and whilst the records of a man were kept there (and his pay and allowances came from there) the man need not physically be there. Being held in reserve or in a composite brigade, or at a reinforcement depot, was like saying he served in the Metropolitan Police without stating in which part of London he was working. In England, he would have been in training, doing camp fatigues, or attending instruction.
It is possible the posting to England in 1918 was recorded after the event, as the record suggests Alfred was Struck off Strength (SOS) of 1st Brigade CGA in France and Belgium on 23rd May 1918 and was Taken on Strength (TOS) of the Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Depot (CARD) at Witley Surrey, England, the same day. The first entry for this move was written by clerk at AAG – the Assistant Adjutant General’s office; while a second entry was written by 1st Brigade CGA on 3rd June in the field (in France and Belgium). To move to England from the field of battle in France or Belgium would require moving back to the French coast, staying in a base depot and waiting for a crossing to England; a move that would take a few days in total.
The entry you have mentioned above reads: [from] O.C. Unit (officer commanding 107th Battery) [gunner Brown] re-joined from leave, in the field, 23.10.17. The remarks column states this was recorded on Army Form B213 (Weekly Field Return of the state of the unit: detailing wounded, transferred, promoted etc.) Part 2 Orders (Pt II O number 64), d (dated) 7.11.17.
The next entry is: from AAG (Assistant Adjutant General’s office) [107th Battery] absorbed into 1st Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery (Howitzer) on reorganisation of Canadian Siege and Heavy Artillery, 20.3.18.
AAG recorded Struck off Strength on transfer to England for commission in the R.A. Force and posted to Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Depot, Witley, 23.5.18. The remarks column shows the B213 was dated 18.5.18., so in theory Alfred could have been Struck off Strength in France in the week preceding the 18th May. The unit’s war diary for May 14th 1918 recorded 12 men to date from the 3rd Siege Battery had gone to England for commissions in the RAF.
Alfred was Taken on Strength of CARD (Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Depot) at Witley, Surrey, from 1st Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery on 23rd May 1918. On the same date he was “On [illegible] to CDD RAF. The illegible looks like “Conc” which could be “concentration”, being a course.
He did not remain with the RAF for more than a month, as he was Struck of Strength [of CDD RAF] to Cmp Bde CRA which was a Composite Brigade Canadian Reserve Artillery at Witley on 18th June 1918. In 1918 it took 11 months to train as an RAF officer and there is no record at the England National Archives of an RAF Officer named Alfred Brown born in 1892. He was probably unsuccessful in his application to the RAF and was returned to his unit. On 18th June 1918, the Composite Brigade recorded Alfred was Taken on Strength, so he returned to, and remained with, the Canadian Artillery.
He returned to France, but his service record gives two dates for this: the first entry stated “proceeded overseas to CFA (Canadian Field Artillery) 29.11.18 (November) from the Composite Brigade of reserves in England. The second entry has the date as Composite Brigade Struck off Strength Overseas Gnr [rank: Gunner] 29.10.18 (October). The authority for this was dated 4th November 1918 “Pool”, so it is probable he arrived back in France in October and went to an Artillery pool of reserves.
The second entry was on a record marked “Copy” and “Temporary replacing original” and had been written-up in the same hand, and not as events occurred. It stated he was Taken on Strength of his unit, 1st Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery, from an Artillery Pool on Christmas Day 1918. At the end of the war the 1st CGA was stationed at Cuesmes, a village next to the Belgian town of Mons where they undertook educational and recreational classes.
On 1st April 1919, Gunner Brown proceeded to England from (or with) 1st Brigade CGA, as the 1st Brigade was on its way home to Montreal. In England Alfred was admitted to the 9th Canadian General Hospital at Kimnel Park, Middlesex (London) on 23rd April 1919 and to the specialist hospital at Etchinghill, Kent, on 3rd May 1919. He was Taken on Strength of the Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Depot at Ripon on 1st May 1919 from 1st CGA. In other words, while he was in hospital the Depot at Ripon, Yorkshire, became responsible for his records and pay. A note stated he was taken on the strength of M Wing at Ripon Depot from 1 CGA on 4th June 1919 and that order No 158 “as far as this man is concerned is cancelled” which might have meant he was not sailing for Montreal with the rest of 1 CGA. He was then on the strength of S Wing at Witley on 15th June 1919 pending return to Canada. On 23rd June 1919 he moved to L Wing at Witley.
He was absent without leave from Witley from 10 a.m. 5 June 1919 to 10 a.m. 11th June 1919 and forfeited six days’ pay. He was Struck off Strength of L Wing, Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Depot, Witney, on 25th July 1919, and travelled to Glasgow.
Gunner Brown sailed for Canada on SS Saturnia from Glasgow on 25th July 1919 arriving 4th August 1919. He was on the strength of District Depot No 4, Dispersal Station F, at Montreal from the day he sailed and was demobilized at Montreal on 7th August 1919.

For instructions to see the War Diaries of 3rd Overseas Battery Siege Artillery and 1st Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery, enter Canadian War Diaires in a search engine.Usually the first result will be the right one.
Follow the instructions and link on that page to go to the search page. Using the drop-down menu to the left of the first search box select Finding Aid Number. Then enter 9-52 in the top box and then the title of the unit (3rd Overseas Battery Siege Artillery or 1st Brigade Canadian Garrison Artillery) in the second box beneath. Submit and then “view all” images. The typed diaries are very academic about target grid references and numbers of rounds fired.

Gunner Alfred Brown trained in Canada from September to December 1915. He trained in England from December 1915 to June 1916. He served in the field in France and Belgium from June 1916 to May 1918 (with leave in October 1917). He was in England between May and October 1918. He was in a reserve pool of Artillery men in France in November 1918 and re-joined 1st CGA in December 1918. He went to England in April 1919 and sailed for Canada in July 1919. He was demobilized on 7th August 1919.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan
Date: Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 10:46 PM

Notes: Vlarmatinge, Belgium should read Vlamertinge, Belgium.
Could he have been in England and Blackpool in April/May 1918? – possibly, as his record does not state any date for departure to England from Flanders in 1918, which is unusual. He suddenly appears at Witney, Surrey, England, on 23rd May 1918 with no travel dates recorded. His pay and allowances details (those boring looking pages) do appear to show he was once at a base depot somewhere in Flanders (3 CSB) in April 1918, and twice was in Brussels afterwards.
In the penultimate paragraph “Diarires” should read “Diaries”.
Being absent without leave from a base camp in England after the war had ended was not unusual. Men were bored and frustrated since the war had ended. Six days suggests a trip to see his mother in Scotland perhaps? A small price to pay.
Reply from: Alan
Date: Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 11:29 PM

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Reply from: Lesley Morgan
Date: Thursday 2nd May 2019 at 1:50 AM

Dear Alan,
How can I thank you enough for such a comprehensive record of Alfred’s time in the CGA.
So it is possible that he may be the elusive relative I have been searching for, but I am aware that there is no certainty.
I will look at the War Diaries, many thanks for your assistance in navigating the system!

Enjoy your retirement, you will be missed
Kind Regards

Posted by: Gillian Ereira {Email left}
Location: Dagenham
Date: Wednesday 20th February 2019 at 7:35 PM
Hello - I would be very grateful for some help with information about my granddad Robert Ernest Jones - Service No. 22995 WW1 King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment 7th Battalion (WIA). I found a medal in a drawer at home and have found out these details because they were inscribed around the edge. I know he was injured during the war and he only had one arm and I have been trying to find out how, when and where this happened. I know he suffered a lot with ill health throughout his life. He was born in Camberwell, London in 1898. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
Posted by: James {Email left}
Location: Portsmouth
Date: Thursday 27th December 2018 at 1:05 PM
I am seeking information regarding James WARD b.1915 in Portsmouth. He served in the Second World War and was attached to the Dorchester Regiment. A photo shows his cap badge and a Sphinx on each side of his jacket neck collars. He was the son of James WARD and Rose nee BAKER. Any information would be most gratefully received. Many thanks.
Reply from: Christine B Moore
Date: Sunday 3rd February 2019 at 1:06 PM

Sorry no information.
Posted by: Brenda {No contact email}
Location: Newark
Date: Thursday 13th December 2018 at 9:56 AM
Does anyone have info about L/24569 Sgt Thomas Dickman who served in WW1 in D Battery 170 Brigade RFA and was wounded in May 1917 in the Third Battle of the Scarpe ? My father was awarded the Military Medal for rescuing his sergeant in this battle and I would be grateful if anyone knows if this was the man he rescued. Thomas lived in Barrrow in Furness,and I believe that he died in 1922.
Posted by: Molly Meehan {No contact email}
Location: Cardiff
Date: Tuesday 20th November 2018 at 8:22 PM
Dear All

I'm trying to find any information relating to my father, John Henry Desmond, who was in the royal artillery in WW1 - all I know is that he served 3 yrs (1915-1919) in the 254 Battalion. I'm the only remaining family member and would really like to know more about him of anyone can help or direct me to where I can get any information?

Many thanks

Reply from: James
Date: Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 7:38 PM

Hello Molly,

It appears the 254th Battalion that you refer to regarding John, will probably be the (City of London) Regiment.
254th (City of London) Regiment, Royal Artillery, volunteer field artillery unit of the British Army between 1863 and 1971.
The 1st London Artillery Brigade or City of London Artillery was a volunteer field artillery unit of the British Army, part of the Territorial Force and later the Territorial Army, that existed under various titles from 1863 to 1971 and fought in World War I and World War II.

As you are his next of kin you could apply for a war record which will probably cost you £30 through KEW WAR RECORDS. You have to fill in an ONLINE FORM with his details and you should get a response. Good Luck. James.
Posted by: Martin Waite {Email left}
Location: Stroud
Date: Sunday 4th November 2018 at 7:54 PM
Hi Alan, I am trying to find out a little more about Lt - Col Charles Carter Moxon mentioned below. Any information that you have would be very much appreciated.

Thank you.

Reply from: James
Date: Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 8:22 PM

Lt. Col. Carter Moxon was attached to the KINGS OWN YORKSHIRE LIGHT INFANTRY:
1/5th (into 5th) Battalion.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Carter Moxon 04/08/1914 to 01/11/1917 Transferred to another active battalion.

There is further information with the following; but there may be a fee.
Record Details for Charles Carter Moxon - Forces War Records
First Name: Charles Carter. Surname: Moxon. Rank: Lieutenant Colonel ... To view the record for Charles Carter Moxon you must be a Full Access Member.

He was in the New Years Honours in 1.January 1918 op.cit 24 Supplement to the London Gazette.

He was also Commanding Officer of the Wiltshire Regiment:
3/4th (into 4th Reserve) Battalion
Captain Francis Ludlow Wood 15/03/1915 to 31/12/1915 Replaced
Captain Albert Joseph Randell 01/01/1916 to 31/08/1916 Replaced
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Carter Moxon 07/11/1917 to 11/11/1918 Remained CO.

Further Info:
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Carter Moxon DSO CMG. 5th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, attached to 4th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment.

There is a photo of him as well. If you want this you will need to get in touch with me. OR you
could try the following site yourself: (this is the War Museum).
It is likely he was a boxer and or a rugger player as his left ear is 'cauliflowered'.
Posted by: Christine Barbour Moore {No contact email}
Location: Uk
Date: Sunday 14th October 2018 at 3:09 PM
Want to ID insignia for WO Class 1 Royal Engineers WW1.
My Grandfather Stanley Corsellis Randall MM.

Have his cap badge and another insignia. Think it went on the sleeve not sure though. Has Lion on the right and Unicorn on left. Crown top centre. Different to the cap badge.

How do I send picture please?

Grandpa’s picture is on your photos forum.

Kind Regards

Reply from: James
Date: Tuesday 12th February 2019 at 8:39 PM


Distinguished personnel, your grandfather.

What you describe is his 'badge of office' it is worn on his right sleeve of his uniform. Please read this for further information:In the British Army, there are two warrant ranks, warrant officer class two (WO2) and warrant officer class one (WO1), the latter being the senior of the two. These ranks were previously abbreviated as WOII and WOI (using Roman instead of Arabic numerals). "Warrant officer first class" or "second class" is incorrect. The rank immediately below WO2 is staff sergeant (or colour sergeant).[2] From 1938 to 1940 there was a WOIII platoon sergeant major rank.[20]

In March 2015, the new appointment of Army Sergeant Major was created as the most senior warrant officer in the Army. The creation of the appointment of command sergeant major was announced in 2009.

A warrant officer (WO) is an officer in a military organisation who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, and a non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer, often by virtue of seniority.

Stanley was also awarded a M.M. Very distinguished gentleman, you must be a proud granddaughter.

Hope this has been a help Christine.

Posted by: Robert Stapleton {No contact email}
Location: Brighton
Date: Sunday 23rd September 2018 at 2:46 PM
Hi Alan. I am trying to establish details of my great uncles death in WW1. His details that I know are
Richard Thomas Luck b.1895 in Brighton died 18th Feb 1918 in France. We think he was in 19th siege battery RGA
Reply from: Jacky
Date: Sunday 14th October 2018 at 9:00 PM

Gunner LUCK, R T
Service Number 54835
Died 18/02/1918
19th Siege Battery. Royal Garrison Artillery
Disembarked in France 25 May 1915
Earned the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His War Gratuity payment was made to his father, Richard. This amounted to £14/10, indicating that he had about two and a half years service.
Have saved my links to the information if you can't access it. Happy to reply by email if that would help
Posted by: Martin Burgess {Email left}
Location: Chalgrove
Date: Monday 25th June 2018 at 7:14 AM
I'm trying to find out if my grandfather and my great uncle ever actually served together as they were in the same regiment, namely the East Lancashire Regiment at the same time although joining up at different times and being discharged at different times.
My grandfather was Joseph Burgess born 27/1/1879 in Stockport. He joined up around 1898 and was demobbed around 1923. His regimental number was 5656, and he had attained the rank of honorary Lieutenant and Quartermaster by the time he was discharged.
My great uncle was John Burgess born during 1873 in Stockport. He joined up in 1891 and was discharged in 1911 having attained the rank of Sergeant Major. His regimental number was 3218.
I have quite a bit of detail from Alan about my grandfather's service, so if anyone has further detail on John Burgess service, I would love to know more as well as if the two of them ever actually served together.

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