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Posted by: Dan Schwitalla {Email left}
Location: Dade City Florida Usa
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 6:02 PM
Hello Mr. Greveson,

I am working on a literary project and came across this man:

Charles Henry Clark Svc no. 16180
Somerset Light Infantry

His death records in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission says he deied 4 FEB 1918 and was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery which is west of London. His records state that he was in "3 S. L. Infy". I am assuming that the 3 was the battalion he was in. If so, this was the Special Reserve battalion dedicated to training and I assume induction of new soldiers. The problem is that this battalion was in Northern Ireland at the time of his death.

Also his ranked was typed in as Pensr. and was changed to Pvt by hand. What does that mean? I am trying to figure out how a 39-year-old man ended from Wiltshire ended up in this unit. It looks like he was not married and had no children.

Any additional details would be most appreciated.

Dan Schwitalla
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 7:53 PM

Dear Dan,
Charles Henry Clark was born in 1878 at Easton Grey, Wiltshire, the son of Henry Clark, a farm labourer, and his wife Hannah. Charles was shown to be living in the village with his parents in the 1881 and 1891 censuses. In 1901 he had moved to London and was living with his uncle, Samuel Clark, at 2 Craven Cottages, Hammersmith. In 1901 Charles was a bricklayer’s labourer, aged 22.
Charles Henry Clark, then a railway platelayer, married Alice Mary Clark (correct) the daughter of Samuel Clark (correct) who was a tinsmith from Gloucestershire (and not Charles’s uncle). The wedding took place on September 20th 1902 at All Saints’ Church, South Acton, London. In 1911 the couple lived at 7, Craven Cottages, Hammersmith. There were no children living with the couple in 1911.
Charles served with the City of London part-time volunteer artillery from 9th November 1899 to 12th December 1904. He could have been in the Special Reserve although the 3rd Battalion of a regiment was also its depot and soldiers “posted” to the 3rd Battalion sometimes were administered by the depot on paper when they had been taken off the ration strength of their own battalion, for example whilst in hospital.
Charles’ date of enlistment was 14th November 1914. He was five feet eight inches tall; had brown eyes and dark brown hair. Charles was attested at Shepherd’s Bush on November 14th 1914 and joined the Depot of Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry) at Taunton two days later on 14th November 1914. After a week he was posted to the 9th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry on 21st November 1914 for basic training. The 9th Battalion was formed at Plymouth in October 1914 and was at St Austell in December 1914 when it became a 2nd Reserve Battalion. It was stationed at Wareham, Dorset, in May 1915; Swanage in August 1915 and Blandford in October 1915.
On 6th October 1915 Charles Henry Clark was posted from the 2nd Reserve Battalion to France where he joined the 8th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry which had been serving in France and Flanders since September 1915 and had suffered casualties at The Battle of Loos in September. Charles was part of a draft of reinforcements. He remained with the 8th Battalion until he became ill in 1916. The 8th Battalion was with 63rd Infantry Brigade in the 21st Division. Charles stated he was blown up by a shell on January 5th 1916 and consequently suffered shell shock. He was hospitalised and eventually returned to the U.K. on 14th March 1916 when he was administered for pay and allowances by the regimental Depot. He was treated for nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) and cystitis. He convalesced at the Command Depot Sutton Coldfield. A Command Depot was a convalescent depot where men went to regain fitness after being in hospital.
Charles was discharged from the Army at Exeter on 7th February 1917, no longer physically fit for war service. He had served two years and eighty-six days. He received a small pension for shell shock; hence he was an army pensioner, which was a description indicating he was no longer serving when he died - not actually his rank as his rank was Private. That was why “pensr” was struck through and replaced with “Pte”.
Charles died after discharge from the army. His sole legatee was his widow, Alice Clark.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was granted a silver War Badge for being discharged because of sickness.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Dan Schwitalla
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 10:35 PM

Thank you, Sir. I appreciate your time and knowledge.

Regards,

Dan
Posted by: Alan Jermyn {Email left}
Location: Falmouth
Date: Wednesday 12th October 2016 at 9:05 AM
Hi Alan ,
Once again l am asking your assistance to find my wife's Grand Father who had been in the army and then re enlisted at the out break of the 1st world war , his regiment I do not know , his name was Frederick Andrew who came from St Mawes in Cornwall , he survived the war and hi initial overseas posting was to Malta ,

Also could you tell me about Charles Borlais who was from St Austell who received a medal for continuing to collect the wounded even though his position had been overrun during the 1st world war , he also survived the war and lived in Bugle ,

Kind regards

Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 12th October 2016 at 8:41 PM

Dear Alan,
It is usually not possible to identify records of a soldier by his name only as few surviving army records contain biographical details. There was more than one Frederick Andrew from Cornwall and many more who cannot be identified by location. However, there was a record of a Frederick James Andrew from Cornwall who did serve at Malta. He was born at St Just, near St Mawes, in 1880 and his father was stated, in 1900, to be Frederick Andrew of Castle Terrace, St Mawes. The record does not prove he was your wife’s grandfather but you should be able to positively identify him from the biographical details given from his record below.
Frederick James Andrew was a pattern maker who enlisted in the Royal Engineers aged 19 on February 20th 1900 at Falmouth with the regimental number 4998. He served at the Malta garrison, which protected the island’s harbours, from 30th April 1901 until he was accidentally injured on 23rd October 1903 when he had the tips of some fingers amputated from his right hand. [I recall from memory that similar injuries occurred on Malta when a man trapped his hand in the cogs of a water pump]. Frederick returned to the U.K. on 25th November 1903 and was discharged medically unfit for further service on 19th January 1904.
Frederick Andrew married Elizabeth Mitchell in 1906.
From the census returns, Frederick appears to have been the son of Frederick and Mary Andrew of St Just. Frederick’s father was a Trinity pilot.
In 1914, Frederick James Andrew, then a [house] painter, of 14 Grove Terrace, St Austell, re-enlisted in the Royal Engineers on 21st December 1914 at Bodmin with the regimental number 61705. He served in a depot company at Chatham until 18th April 1915 when he was posted to 98th Field Company Royal Engineers at Henley and Wendover. This company was training with the newly-raised 30th Division but Frederick did not go overseas when the Division was sent France in November 1915. Frederick was posted to a Royal Engineers Depot Company at Newark where he was medically graded for discharge from the Army on February 16th 1916. However on 27th February 1916 he was passed medically fit to serve in the U.K. only. He was medically graded as B(ii) for service in garrisons. He served with 3rd Reserve Battalion Royal Engineers at Newark-on-Trent. The Battalion was based at Coddington Hall, Southwell, near Newark. Frederick’s Royal Engineers’ trade was as a skilled painter. On 2nd January 1918, whilst on home leave, he suffered an accidental fracture of his right radius (forearm) when he slipped on an icy road outside the St Austell railway station, while accompanied by his wife Elizabeth. The arm healed correctly. In 1918 Frederick served for a short time with the London Electrical Engineers until he was discharged in London on 4th April 1919.
There are no records for Charles Borlais.
There was one Charles Borlase listed in the medal rolls. He served as a private soldier in the mechanical transport section of the Army Service Corps with the number M2/055191. He first went to France on 1st May 1915 and was discharged on 19th March 1919. There is no record of where he served in France and Flanders. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The “London Gazette” of 23rd July 1919 recorded C. Borlace (sic) M2/055191 was awarded the Military Medal. Citations for the medal were not published nationally, so it is not possible to describe the action for which it was awarded. Publication in the Gazette occurred many months after the event.
There was more than one Charles Borlase recorded at St Austell in the 1911 census. The most likely was Charles Borlase, clay labourer, aged 16, the son of Frederick and Elizabeth Borlase of Stenalees, St Austell.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Alan Jermyn
Date: Wednesday 12th October 2016 at 9:39 PM

Hi Alan ,

You got the right Frederick Andrew , and the C Borlase who was my cousins Grand Father was the one who won the military medal , he actually told me about the position being overrun and I asked him why he kept on collecting the wounded , .
he shrugged his shoulders and said " I had nothing else planned
So just carried on as usual "

Thank you so much for your amazing endeavours in such an short space of time , you really bring these men to life, and not just a memory .
Kind regards

Alan
Posted by: Keiley {Email left}
Location: Huddersfield
Date: Tuesday 11th October 2016 at 11:26 AM
I am trying to find information on William Thomas Williams serving with South Wales borderers and injured at st quenton just a month before end of ww1(survived)
We believe he received 3 medals on total but really struggling to find any info
Any help really appreciated
Reply from: Mark
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 6:30 PM

Hi Allan he was born in 1897 his farther was thoms Williams thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 8:01 PM

Dear Mark,
There were numerous men named William Williams or William T Williams in the South Wales Borderers and the only way to make a positive identification is by knowing his regimental number. Very few records that show a year of birth have survived.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Keiley
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 8:47 PM

Hi Alan
Unfortunately we don't have his number, we are trying to get it for his daughter (my husbands nan) could there be any hospital records with him getting injured at st quenton a month before the end of ww1
Thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 16th October 2016 at 10:55 PM

Dear Keiley,
Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, hospital records have not survived and would not be available online.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Keiley
Date: Monday 17th October 2016 at 5:24 AM

Dear Alan
Thank you for your reply
Posted by: Bruce Troche {Email left}
Location: Canada
Date: Saturday 8th October 2016 at 5:26 PM
NOK Of Major Charles Wilfred Hext Supply & Transport Corps

I am at the point in my "collecting life" where I am gradually downsizing (a bit for now) my 40 year old Victorian uniform and headdress collection.

One of the things I have been able to do (with a bit of success to this point) is reunite some pieces from my collection with surviving Next of Kin of the soldiers who so proudly and honorably served their Countries colours.

One of the beautiful Victorian uniforms I have is a uniform to Charles Wilfred Hext Supply & Transport Corps Indian Army which I was able to purchase from the UK a number of years ago.

I recall in the recent past a forum member who was a direct relative of Major Hext and was attempting to find items pertaining to his military service.

I would like to be able to locate this relative and give them first right of refusal to purchase his uniform to reunite it with the family should they wish (before I do offer it elsewhere for sale).

Any chance anyone might be able to direct me to Major Hext's relative in this regard?

Thanks and kindest regards ... Bruce Troche
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Wednesday 5th October 2016 at 8:17 AM
Good Morning Alan
Two more men who wrote poems in the Autograph Book were
1. Private C Russell of the R D F who was wounded at Ypres on 22nd may 1914
2. Lance Corporal a Stevenson of the 1st Northampton Regiment. he wrote that he went to France August 1914 and was wounded at Ypres £1st October 1914 and wounded at Loos "5 September 1915. he did a beautiful drawing of a small dog bouncing up and down on a regimental drum!
I cannot find out anything about them but am sure that you will be able to help

Regards

Judith
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 5th October 2016 at 5:35 PM

Dear Judith,
L/Cpl A. Stevenson was Albert James Stevenson, 6895, 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.
There were two men named Albert Stevenson who served in the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, although the other did not go abroad until 10th February 1915 and would not have been wounded in 1914.
Albert James Stevenson would have been a Regular Army soldier or a reservist as he went to France on 27th August 1914. The 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment went to France on 13th August 1914 with the 2nd Infantry Brigade in the 1st Division. The Battalion acted as a rear guard for the retirement of 1st Division in the Retreat from Mons. They crossed the River Marne on 3rd September and on 5th September one officer and a hundred other ranks joined at Bonnay as the first draft of reinforcements. This draft probably included Albert J. Stevenson, although a second reinforcement of sixty men arrived on September 8th at Rebaix.
On 13th September the Battalion crossed the River Aisne and went into action on the first day of the Battle of the Aisne. There was severe fighting on September 17th. The Battalion was relieved on 19th September and went into reserve until 25th September when they moved into trenches at Troyon. The Battalion war diary states two attacks were easily repulsed on September 27th but the entry for 28th September stated simply “all quiet” and the next few days, including October 1st, have no entry other than “ditto” for all quiet. It is not clear on which date you think he was wounded. On October 21st the Battalion was at Pilkem. The war diary for 31st October is missing although the battalion was heavily engaged at Ypres at the time.
Christmas was spent in billets at Essars.
The war diary for September 5th 1915 is blank. The Battalion was in trenches at Vermelles and were digging trenches at night. There were two casualties wounded on September 2nd. From September 8th to 20th the Battalion was at rest in Burbure.
Albert Stevenson was discharged from the Army on 24th February 1916. He qualified for the 1914 Star with dated Mons clasp; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
*
Could you check the information you have for C Russell as the date is probably wrong and I cannot make a match for C Russell at Ypres at the moment.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Judith Lowe
Date: Friday 14th October 2016 at 3:59 PM

Dear Alan
Thank you for the information about Albert Stevenson. Without the actual Autograph Book as far as | can see it is C Russell but when I manage to get the actual book we may find out that it is not C but another initial??
Two more soldiers of interest are:
1. Private H Fletcher of the 3rd Worcester regiment
2. Private J J Darling of 4th Royal Scots ( Queen's Edinburgh Rifles) wounded at Dardanelles 28th June 1915 in Happy Valley Trench
Hope that you may be able to find some details.
Kind Regards
Judith
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 15th October 2016 at 6:31 PM

Dear Judith,
There were at least nine men named H. Fletcher who served in the Worcestershire Regiment. By eliminating those who served only in battalions other than the 3rd, it can be shown there were four men named H. Fletcher who served in the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment in 1914/15.
The first was Private Harold Fletcher, 12951, who had enlisted on 13th March 1912. He went to France in August 1914 with the 3rd Battalion and was wounded. He was listed as admitted to the 4th Northern General Hospital at Lincoln on November 3rd 1914 (© Johnston Press “The Scotsman” 5th December 1914). He was discharged from the Army on 9th March 1915. He cannot be further identified.
The second was Lance-corporal Henry Fletcher, 13214, who enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment on 16th September 1912 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion on 3rd July 1913. He went to France in August 1914 and had been wounded by 18th October 1914. After he had recovered, he continued to serve with the 14th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
The third was Herbert Fletcher from Defford, near Pershore, Worcestershire, 13184, who enlisted at the age of 18 and went to France in August 1914. He was wounded by a bullet in the left arm during a night attack at Richbourg l’Avou on 16th October 1914. He was treated at the 2nd Western General Hospital at Manchester, and underwent two operations at Bury Infirmary. His wounds healed soundly. He was transferred to the Labour Corps in 1917.
The fourth was Harry Fletcher, 9627, who enlisted on October 26th 1914, aged 31; one year over the maximum age of 30. He was born at Stourbridge on 11th August 1883 and went to France on 19th December 1914 where he served with the 3rd Battalion until he was wounded and returned to the U.K. on 13th March 1915. Apart from any physical injuries he suffered shell shock (described as a “genuine case”) after a shell had blown-up next to him and buried him in his trench at Kemmel. He later served at Devonport, Plymouth, in the Military Foot Police, and then returned to Stourbridge where he was treated for shell shock at the 1st Southern General Hospital, Stourbridge, in 1917.
*
Private J. J. Darling of 4th Royal Scots was John Johnston Darling, who was born in Edinburgh on 3rd July 1896, the son of George and Eleanor Darling. George was a gardener of West Grange House Lodge, Grange Loan, Edinburgh. Grange Loan is a street. The house has since vanished under new development. See:
https://canmore.org.uk/site/52545/edinburgh-grange-loan-grange-house?display=collection&GROUPCATEGORY=5
John became an ironmongery salesman for the Scottish Co-Operative Society in Chamber Street, and in April 1913, at the age of 17, he joined the local Territorial Army unit, the 4th Battalion Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), the Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles, whose HQ was at Forrest Hill, Edinburgh. He was 5ft 8 ins. Tall. He was allotted the regimental number 1531. The 4th Battalion was mobilized for war and went to its war stations on the Scottish coast while training in what became the 156th Infantry Brigade in the 52nd (Lowland) Division.
The Division suffered an early disaster when the train carrying the 7th Battalion Royal Scots to the docks at Liverpool was involved in a multiple train crash on 22nd May 1915 at Quintinshill near Gretna. Three officers and 207 men died, while five officers and 219 were injured in the blazing carriages. Fewer than 70 men survived the “Quintinshill Disaster” unscathed.
John sailed from Liverpool with the 4th Battalion on Hired Military Transport “Empress of Britain” on 23rd May 1915. The Royal Mail Ship “Empress of Britain” was a transatlantic ocean liner built by Fairfield Shipbuilding at Govan in 1905 for the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company. She arrived at Alexandria by 4th June 1915. The 4th Battalion then proceeded via Mudros to land at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, on 14th June 1915. The Battalion then fought in the battle for Gully Ravine (28th and 29th June 1915). Happy Valley was just north of Walker's Ridge, and immediately below Turk's Point. In the spring it had been a mass of flowering shrubs, grasses, and fragrant wild thyme. Throughout June 1915 the incessant attacks and counter-attacks were caused by the determination of the Turks to regain ground they had lost. Five Turkish trenches were in the section nearest the sea and two Turkish trenches in the section furthest from the sea. On the day John Darling was wounded, at 10.20 a.m. on the 28th June an Allied bombardment began. At 10.45 a.m. a small redoubt known as the Boomerang was rushed by the Border Regiment. At 11 a.m. the 87th Brigade, under Major-General W. R. Marshall, captured three lines of Turkish trenches. On their right, John Darling’s Battalion, the 4th (with the 7th) Royal Scots captured the two Turkish trenches allotted to them, but further to the east; near the pivotal point the remainder of the 156th Brigade were unable to get on.
John Darling received a bullet wound to the right shoulder and arrived back in England on 29th July 1915.
The “Daily Record” reported on 3rd August 1915 that J. Darling, 1531, 4th Royal Scots, had been wounded at the Dardanelles (© Trinity Mirror).
After he had returned to England, John received some additional medical treatment at hospital in Edinburgh on 28th January 1916. In Edinburgh he was posted to the 3rd/4th Battalion Royal Scots which was stationed at Loanhead, south of Edinburgh.
On 14th March 1916, John J. Darling was discharged from the Army for the purpose of re-enlisting in the Royal Flying Corps. He was posted with the regimental number 21665 as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class at South Farnborough on 15th March 1916. On May 1st 1917 he was promoted to Air Mechanic 1st Class.
On 23rd March 1918 John Darling was compulsorily transferred to the Tank Corps. He was posted to the Tank Corps recruit depot with the regimental number 309217 on 23rd March 1918 and the next day joined the Depot Battalion. Two weeks later, on 6th April 1918 he was sent to France and on 8th April 1918 he was posted to “Tank reinforcements” which would be the Tank Corps depot at Mers in France.
John was not fighting with tanks as such but was part of the team of mechanics. He served with No 2 Gun Carrier Company from 13th April 1918. “The Gun Carrier Companies, besides doing excellent work as infantry supply companies, kept both field and heavy artillery well supplied. No. 2 Gun Carrier Company carried out some very successful heavy sniping by carrying forward a 6 ins. howitzer, and by moving it from place to place during the night it both harassed and puzzled the enemy. Besides this, several successful gas attacks were carried out with the aid of the gun-carriers, which transported the [gas] projectors and bombs to positions over country which wheeled transport could not have negotiated. By using these machines it was possible to get in three or more "shoots" in one night and to retire out of the danger zone before dawn” (“Tanks in the Great War 1914-1918”, by Brevet-Colonel J. F. C. Fuller, D.S.O.; 1920; page 170).
After the Armistice with Germany, John Darling was posted to the Tank Field Battalion on 7th April 1919. The Battalion was based around Caudry, near Cambrai, employed on recovering tanks still lying out on the battlefield.
John returned to the U.K. on 5th June 1919 and was demobilized on 5th July 1919. He stated his address would be 2, Jordan lane, Morningside, Edinburgh. He qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
John Johnston Darling does not appear to have married. He died aged 50 in 1946 at Morningside, Edinburgh.
With kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 3:53 PM
Afternoon Alan
Thank you for the work done on Bradshaw and Gregory received so swiftly.
The next two soldiers, both without numbers are.
1. Private J G Rockett of the 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment wounded at Dardanelles and in Oakdene 21st August 1915.
2. J P Leigh Acting Sergeant Major of the 1/6 Battalion Manchester Regiment Gallipoli and in Oakdene 5th November 1915,
It will be interesting if you can discover anything about these two soldiers
Regards

Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 10:18 PM

Dear Judith,
J.G. Rockett was Corporal John George Rockett, 16380, of the 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment. As we have seen before, the 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment was raised at Beverley for wartime service on 27th August 1914 and underwent basic training at Belton Park camp, Belton House, Grantham, where the 6th Battalion joined the 32nd Infantry Brigade in the 11th Division. In December 1914, the 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment became the pioneer (labouring) battalion of the 11th Division. They became more used to picks and shovels rather than rifles but often had to work in dangerous circumstances. In April 1915, the 6th Battalion moved to Witley Camp, Godalming, Surrey. They sailed to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force from Avonmouth, the port of Bristol, on 1st July 1915 and arrived at Alexandria on 12th July then Mudros, on the Greek island of Lemnos, in the Aegean on July 16th 1915.
The Battalion then landed unopposed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on 7th August 1915. The strength of the Battalion was 775 although its war establishment was supposed to be 1008. By 3 a.m. the next morning they had got off “C” Beach and came under shellfire from the Turks at Lala Baba causing 12 casualties. Six hours later, at 9 a.m. on August 8th 1915, they were ordered to attack the enemy line Chocolate Hill – Sulajik. During this attack, Turkish snipers fired on the East Yorkshiremen while they were drinking water from a well.
The next day, despite being in a state of extreme exhaustion and hunger, the 6th Battalion was ordered to support a Brigade attack Tekke Tepe. The attack went in rapidly but the speed of the advance had the effect of causing confusion and in the event the men had retired to an embankment by the evening of August 9th. In this attempt to get off the beach and gain some high ground, the 6th Battalion lost 20 men killed; 104 wounded; 28 known-wounded and missing; 183 missing. To get a foothold on the land, the Battalion suffered 335 casualties out of 775 men in the first 48 hours.
The 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment was the pioneer battalion for 11th Division and on August 10th 1915, the men were based at Nibrunsi Point where beach space was cramped so the men had to dig-in on the cliffs. Fatigue parties had to bring materiel ashore as the men worked at night in two shifts between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. to dig trenches south-east of Lala Baba. Men also had to dig a Divisional Headquarters. On August 12th they sank a second well to provide drinking water. Each well was guarded by a junior NCO and six men. Men were also employed on constructing terraces on the cliff to provide paths inland.
John Rockett was listed in a casualty list published in local papers on October 1st 1915 (© Johnston Press).
He had been returned to England and after he had left Oakdene, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment and became an acting Sergeant serving in Macedonia with 28th Division. The Division fought in the occupation of Mazirko on 2nd October 1916 and the capture of Barakli Jum’a on 31st October 1916. Acting Sergeant J.G. Rockett was listed as “missing” in a casualty list published in the local newspapers on November 16th 1916. Then, on 4th January 1917, the Hull Daily Mail reported: “Previously reported missing now reported prisoner of war in Bulgarian hands: East Yorkshire Regiment, Rockett 16380 Acting Sergeant J.G. (Bridlington)” (© Local World/Trinity Mirror).
He was repatriated via Dover on 1st December 1918 with two of his colleagues in the Battalion, Privates Bainbridge 34170 and G. Grady 10473.
John Rockett qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Although the casualty list of 4th January 1917 stated he came from Bridlington, it is more likely from searches in civil registration records that he was the John George Rockett born in January 1893 at Bedlington, Co. Durham, the son of George and Margaret Rockett of Wilson’s Yard, Bedlington.
J.G. Rockett, of Wilson’s Yard, was a local football referee in Bedlington and secretary of the Bedlington Institute Rovers in 1911. He survived the war, married Isabella Turner at Morpeth in 1922 and had one daughter, Elsie, born in 1923.
John George Rockett died, aged 65, at Morpeth on 16th March 1958.
*
J.P. Leigh was 36-year-old Colour Sergeant, acting Company Sergeant Major, John Percy Leigh of Didsbury, Manchester. He was born at Didsbury in 1879, the son of Thomas Redfern Leigh and his wife Emma, of Elm Grove, Didsbury. Like his father, John later worked in the family firm of J.M. Leigh and Son, Ironmongers, Deansgate, Manchester.
“Manchester of To-day” (Historical Publishing Company, 1888) recorded: “J. M. Leigh & Son, General Ironmongers (57, Deansgate): In reviewing the trades and industries carried on in Manchester and the vicinity, the old-established and well-known firm of Messrs. J. M. Leigh & Son comes prominently under notice, as having for many years been closely associated with the commerce of this busy city. The general ironmongery establishment of Messrs. Leigh & Son forms one of the largest and most attractive premises in the busy thoroughfare of Deansgate. J. M. Leigh & Son hold one of the largest stocks in Manchester of general ironmongery, comprising a great variety of household requisites as ranges, stoves, cooking apparatus, fenders and irons, chimney pieces, heating apparatus, culinary utensils &c. This business in every department is conducted in a most spirited and enterprising manner, and employs a large staff of experienced workmen. Messrs. Leigh & Son have been long and honourably connected with this city, and by their well-known integrity have gained the esteem and confidence of a very high class and extensive connection” (Chetham's Library, Long Millgate, Manchester).
J. M. Leigh & Son was John Mills Leigh, and his son was Thomas Redfern Leigh, the father of John Percy Leigh.
John Leigh first joined the Edwardian part-time 2nd Battalion Manchester Volunteers on 22nd March 1901, aged about 22. It is possible he served in South Africa as a J. Leigh of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion qualified for the Queen’s South Africa Medal with Transvaal clasp. As a volunteer he served until 31st March 1908. The next day, April 1st 1908, the Volunteer Battalion became part of the Territorial Army as the 6th Battalion Manchester Regiment. John was allotted the regimental number 179 in the 6th Battalion. He attended annual camps at Ramsey, Peterborough, 1908; Salisbury Plain in 1909 and 1910; Claughton, Lancaster, in 1911 and Gargrave, Skipton, in 1912. He rose to the rank of Sergeant.
He lived with his parents at “Lindeth”, Fog Lane, Didsbury.
He was embodied with the Territorial Force for wartime service on 5th August 1914 when he held the rank of Sergeant. He was promoted to Colour Sergeant on 4th September 1914. Three weeks later he was appointed Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS). The 6th Battalion formed up at a camp at Rochdale and sailed from Southampton on 10th September 1914 for Egypt arriving at Alexandria on 25th September 1914. The Battalion remained in Egypt defending the Suez Canal until May 1915 when it embarked for the Dardanelles on May 3rd 1915, The Battalion arrived off Gallipoli on May 6th and landed at Cape Helles on May 7th 1915. The Battalion then spent some time trying to gain a foothold on land off the beach and made numerous attempts to capture the high ground overlooking the village of Krithnia. The casualty rate was high.
On 8th September 1915 CQMS John Leigh was detached for one month to be an acting Company Sergeant Major for a convalescent camp on the island of Imbros. He was spared the fighting but fell prey to dysentery. He was taken by ship to the hospital island of Malta where he was admitted to St George’s Hospital on 6th October 1915. He was transferred to England on the Hospital Ship “Gasson” on 15th October 1915.
John Percy Leigh was discharged from the Army from the 3rd/6th Battalion Manchester Regiment at Codford, near Salisbury, on 28th March 1916.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Judith Lowe
Date: Wednesday 5th October 2016 at 7:59 AM

Dear Alan
Wonderful to switch my computer on to see the information you have discovered about the soldiers Leigh and Rockett. Thank you, so very much discovered in such a short time.

Best wishes
Judith
Posted by: Howard Barkell {Email left}
Location: Lydford Devon
Date: Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 9:02 AM
Dear Alan

I hope you can give me some information about 19309 Richard Petherick Dorset Regt. Does the regimental number give any clue as to when he joined the Dorsets and what were 5 Dorsets doing when he became a casualty? Those are just two questions that occur to me!

Best wishes

Howard
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 2:58 PM
Dear Alan
Thank you for your latest information about Private Nelson, it made interesting reading. All the soldiers that I have left have no numbers so I don't if any information about them will be found
The first two that I have looked for are
1.Gunner H Bradshaw of the RFA who was in Oakdene Hospital on 31st march 1916 and
2.Private J Gregory of the 2nd Battalion South West Lancashire Regiment who was in Oakdene on 1st September. He signed the book Orford Barracks, Warrington.
Will be interested to see if it is possible to discover anything about these men.
Regards
Judith
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 8:54 PM

Dear Judith,
“2nd Battalion South West Lancashire Regiment” is a misnomer. There was “The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)” and there were two “South East Lancashire” battalions (the 17th and 18th) of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
There was a private J. Gregory who served in the South Lancashire Regiment who is the most likely candidate to have been at Oakdene Hospital not only because he was wounded serving with the 2nd Battalion but also because his wife changed her address to move to Rainhill, and he was posted to Orford Barracks, Warrington, in 1915 pending discharge from the Army.
There were numerous men named John, Joseph or James Gregory who served in Lancashire Regiments including a John Gregory who served in the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment, but he did not see overseas service with them until 30th July 1918. The only J. Gregory who was a private soldier in a Lancashire regiment and appeared in a published casualty list in 1915 was James Gregory, regimental number 1902, 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment who was listed as wounded in a casualty list dated April 1st 1915 published in the “Manchester Courier” on 19th April 1915 (© Local World Ltd.).
James Gregory had enlisted in the Special Reserve of the South Lancashire Regiment (S. Lan R.) on 14th April 1914. Special Reservists were part-time soldiers who undertook six months full-time training followed by a few weeks training every year for six years. James was 19 years old in April 1914, born at “Northwich, Lancashire” in about June 1895. Northwich is in Cheshire. James was a general labourer; 5ft 3ins tall; fair complexion; brown hair and blue eyes. After war was declared at 11 p.m. on August 4th 1914, Joseph was mobilized on August 8th 1914 while undergoing his training at the South Lancashire Regimental Depot which was Orford Barracks, Warrington. On 5th December 1914 he was posted to France as part of a draft of reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment which was serving in the 7th Infantry Brigade with the 3rd Division at Bailleul, France. A draft of 500 casualty replacements (following the First Battle of Ypres) arrived at Bailleul on 11th December 1914. The Battalion was out of the line and re-building itself at Bailleul. On Christmas Eve 1914, the Battalion went into the trenches east of Lindenhoek on the Lindenhoek – Wulverghem line in Flanders. On December 25th 1914 their war diary noted three men had been killed and two wounded on 24th - 25th December 1914; a further two sergeants were killed on the 26th December, so there was evidently no truce.
The Battalion was billeted mainly in Locre in the period December 1914 – March 1915 and spent periods of time in trenches at Lindenhoek; Kemmel and Dickebusch where the casualties were light. March was spent resting in billets at Locre for much of the time but “rest” usually involved working parties and the 2nd Battalion S. Lan R. provided road-mending and trench repairing parties at the end of the month. A likely time for James Gregory to have been wounded was during this period of working parties and it was noted that one man was wounded on Tuesday 30th March 1915 when a party of 100 men were repairing trenches at the front.
James Gregory was transferred to England on 10th April 1915, having had his right leg amputated after being hit by shrapnel or a bullet. On April 11th he arrived in England. He stated his wife, Maude, lived at an address in Birkenhead, but changed her address from Grange Mount, Birkenhead, to 4 Victoria Terrace, Rainhill, perhaps to be near him. His father was John Gregory who lived at 10 Park Street, Northwich (from his service record).
On 26th October 1915, James was posted to the Depot of the South Lancashire Regiment pending discharge from the army. The depot was Orford Barracks, Warrington. James Gregory was formally discharged on 16th November 1915. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was granted a silver War Badge for being discharged, wounded.
After leaving the Army, James gave an address in Birkenhead. In 1920 he had moved to Alma Street, Atherton, Leigh, near Manchester, and in 1921 changed addresses to Bolton Old Road, Atherton; and Stanley Street, Atherton. Then in 1922, his address was Cunliffe Street, Mold, Flintshire, from where he applied for a replacement pay book as “my little house has caught fire.” (Letter to South Lancashire Regiment record office).
A search of the casualty lists published in the newspapers for late 1914 and early 1915 revealed no Gunner H. Bradshaw of the Royal Field Artillery. The Army medal rolls recorded some 86 men named H.; Henry, Harold; or Harry Bradshaw in the Royal Field Artillery so without a regimental number he will prove difficult to identify.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Leslie Jefferson {No contact email}
Location: Belfast
Date: Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 10:53 AM
Dear Alan
I'm looking for as much detail as I can get on the movements of my Father during WW1, George Fenning Jefferson Born 1st March 1896. My Mother was Margaret Anderson of 34 Tennent Street Belfast and to my knowledge when they married they lived at the same address. Joseph Leslie Jefferson (Me) was born at the same address on 4th March 1923. Alan, I always understood my Father was in The 9th Battalion 36Th Ulster Division in the RUR .. That is all that I know Alan , but would be very grateful if you can shed any light on more in-depth detail ref his service.
Thank you Kindly Sir
Leslie Jefferson
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 6:03 PM

Dear Leslie,
No individual service record has survived for George Fenning Jefferson, so it is not possible to state his service in detail. The Army medal rolls for a “George Fleming Jefferson” recorded he enlisted on 9th August 1914 and served with 9th Royal Irish Rifles as a private soldier numbered 14983. The 9th Battalion was raised in West Belfast in September 1914 from the Belfast Volunteers and trained at Ballykinlar until July 1915 when it moved to a tented camp at Seaford, Sussex, England. The Battalion went to France on 2nd October 1915. The 9th Royal Irish Rifles merged with the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on 29th August 1917 to become the 8th/9th Battalion. This battalion was disbanded in France on 7th February 1918. George Jefferson then transferred to the Army Service Corps on 1st March 1918 where he was allotted the new regimental number M/380350. It is not recorded where he served with the A.S.C.. George Jefferson was discharged on 6th February 1919. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was granted a silver War Badge for being wounded.
The “Larne Times” of July 1st 1916 (© Johnston Press) recorded his name and number in a casualty list which would have been published in the weeks prior to July 1st 1916. However, it is not certain he returned to the U.K. for treatment.
The engagements of the 36th (Ulster) Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail.
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/36th-ulster-division/
The two war diaries of the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 each from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=%229+Battalion+royal+irish+rifles%22
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Leslie Jefferson
Date: Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 8:19 PM

Many thanks, Alan, for replying to my query so quickly. It really is appreciated.
Best wishes,
Leslie
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Friday 30th September 2016 at 2:52 PM
Dear Alan
You got the correct Joe Bennett as I have just found out that his number was 9386. very well done.

We are now looking at Private H Nelson of the 6th east Yorkshire Regiment with a possible number of 11174 although I am not 1005 certain about this. Any ideas?

Regards Judy
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 30th September 2016 at 8:53 PM

Dear Judith,
Private H. Nelson was 11174 of the 6th Battalion The East Yorkshire Regiment. He was recorded consistently in the Army rolls as Harry Nelson. The War Badge roll recorded he enlisted on 31st August 1914.
The 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment was raised at Beverley for wartime service on 27th August 1914, so it is possible in that early stage of the war that Harry Nelson came from the Beverley area, but it has not proved possible to identify any biographical details for him. Harry underwent basic training at Belton Park camp, Belton House, Grantham, where the 6th Battalion joined the 32nd Infantry Brigade in the 11th Division. In December 1914, the 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment became the pioneer (labouring) battalion of the 11th Division. They became more used to picks and shovels rather than rifles but often had to work in dangerous circumstances. In April 1915, the 6th Battalion moved to Witley Camp, Godalming, Surrey. They sailed to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force from Avonmouth, the port of Bristol, on 1st July 1915 and arrived at Mudros, on the Greek island of Lemnos, in the Aegean on July 16th 1915.
The Battalion then landed unopposed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on 7th August 1915. The strength of the Battalion was 775 although its war establishment was supposed to be 1008. By 3 a.m. the next morning they had got off “C” Beach and came under shellfire from the Turks at Lala Baba causing 12 casualties. Six hours later, at 9 a.m. on August 8th 1915, they were ordered to attack the enemy line Chocolate Hill – Sulajik. During this attack, Harry Nelson would have witnessed the ungentlemanly act of the Turks shooting at the East Yorkshiremen while they were drinking water from a well.
The next day, despite being in a state of extreme exhaustion and hunger, the 6th Battalion was ordered to support a Brigade attack Tekke Tepe. The attack went in rapidly but the speed of the advance had the effect of causing confusion and in the event the men had retired to an embankment by the evening of August 9th. In this attempt to get off the beach and gain some high ground, the 6th Battalion lost 20 men killed; 104 wounded; 28 known-wounded and missing; 183 missing. To get a foothold on the land, the Battalion suffered 335 casualties out of 775 men in the first 48 hours.
The 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment was the pioneer battalion for 11th Division and on August 10th 1915, Harry Nelson and his colleagues in “C” Company started the arduous task of digging entrenchments in soft sand with no trenching materials. The men were based at Nibrunsi Point where beach space was cramped so the men had to dig-in on the cliffs. Fatigue parties had to bring materiel ashore as the men worked at night in two shifts between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. to dig trenches south-east of Lala Baba. Men also had to dig a Divisional Headquarters. On August 12th they sank a second well to provide drinking water. Each well was guarded by a junior NCO and six men. Men were also employed on constructing terraces on the cliff to provide paths inland. The Battalion’s pioneer equipment eventually was landed on Sunday, August 15th. Consolidation continued until August 21st 1915 when the 6th Battalion was ordered into the attack to gain and occupy the Turkish front line trenches which were some 400 yards away. After severe fighting, the Battalion occupied the first line of Turkish trenches over a length of 300 yards but orders were received to retire to a ravine at Azmak Dere because of heavy casualties. By 10.30 p.m. on 22nd August, Harry Nelson and the Battalion were back in their own trenches at Nibrunsi Point despite having held the front line for some time during Turkish counter-attacks. The Battalion’s losses in the 31 hours of attack and withdrawal were 28 killed; 128 wounded; 49 missing. Two officers were killed and one wounded.
The next morning, as if nothing had changed, the men went about their digging duties. To avoid the heat of the day, they worked from 8.30 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m..
On 28th August the Battalion moved from Nibrunsi Point and took over lines at Suvla Point. For Harry Nelson, the two infantry attacks of August were to be the last of his fighting and he returned to the labouring tasks at hand with working parties of “C” Company, 50-men strong. The focus of their work now moved to road making. By the first week of September 1915, sickness and wounds had reduced by half the 6th Battalion, to just 395 men.
On September 21st 1915, fifty men of “C” Company 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment were working on the construction of a road leading to the North East of Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, towards 34th Brigade H.Q.. A weekly nominal roll of changes, dated 25th September 1915, recorded H. Nelson 11174, and four other men, had been wounded by shrapnel from a shell explosion on September 21st 1915 [probably whilst road building].
Harry would have been evacuated by boat from West Beach, Suvla Bay, and probably would have undertaken soon afterwards a week-long journey by ship to the hospital island of Malta 850 miles across the Mediterranean . From there he would have been returned to England.
Harry Nelson did not fight again and was discharged from the Army on March 20th 1916 because of wounds.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Alan

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