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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.
The two war diaries of the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 each from:
With kind regards,
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,

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,
Posted by: Terry Turner {Email left}
Location: East Yorkshire
Date: Thursday 29th September 2016 at 8:58 PM
Dear Alan,
In 2012 you kindly traced my father's (John William Turner, service numbers, 2206/761293) WW1 whereabouts as a driver in The Royal Field Artillery. With this you told of how my father's 317 Brigade RFA had links with the 63rd (Royal Naval ) Division. When I looked at my own birth certificate from November 1943, I see my father's occupation is given as Leading Seaman Jx 331797, Royal Navy (dock labourer). Could the RN position in WW2 be connected to my father's RN links in WW1? I would appreciate your help in explaining this for me. For example, what was the role of the RN on the Hull docks during WW2? Would my father have been employed by the docks' authorities or by the Royal Navy? He continued working on the docks after the war until he left to work elsewhere about 1950.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 29th September 2016 at 9:37 PM

Dear Terry,
I don’t believe there would be any direct connection between John William Turner serving in the First World War with the Royal Field Artillery with the Royal Naval Division (63rd Division) and then serving in the Royal Navy in the Second World War, unless he had been personally influenced by the Navy’s culture in 1914-1918. I think it would be a coincidence that 317 Brigade RFA had served with 63rd Division in the Great War and your father had served in the Royal Navy two decades later on the docks at Hull.
If he had a Royal Navy official number in the Second World War he would have been employed by the Royal Navy. Dock workers serviced and loaded/unloaded the ships in port. The prefix JX to official numbers related to “seaman” (J) on a lower pay scale introduced in 1931 (x).
Royal Navy service records from the Second World War are not in the public domain and are held by the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence may release information to the next-of-kin for a fee. To apply see:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Terry Turner
Date: Thursday 29th September 2016 at 9:48 PM

Many thanks, Alan, for replying to my query so quickly. It really is appreciated.
Best wishes,
Terry Turner
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Thursday 29th September 2016 at 10:29 AM
Good Morning Alan

Thanks so much for your comments on Fletcher and Hatch. As soon as my friend returns from holiday I will get hold of the Autograph Book and have a closer look at the original writing.
Wondered if you could find anything out about
Private Joe Bennett
1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment
Chester Castle
Wounded at Ypres 11th March 1915
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 29th September 2016 at 7:49 PM

Dear Judith,
Joe is usually a short form of Joseph. There were at least four men named Joseph Bennett who served in the Cheshire Regiment, but not all could have been at Ypres in 1915. One went to France in 1918; Frederick Joseph Bennett served in France firstly with the Army Service Corps from April 2nd 1915; Joseph Bennett, 18372, of the Cheshire Regiment died at Marple, Stockport, on 14th August 1916.
Private Joseph Walter Bennett, 9386, Cheshire Regiment, served in France from 7th October 1914. The Army medal rolls showed he served with the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment and was later medically graded for garrison duties. As can be seen below, the casualty lists referred to him as both J.W. Bennett and Joe Bennett. It has not been possible to find any biographical information about him.
The 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment was in Londonderry (Derry) Ireland at the outbreak of War where it was part of 15th Brigade in the 5th Division. The original Battalion went to France on 16th August 1914 and took part in the fighting at Mons, so Joe Bennett would have been part of a draft of reinforcements.
On 13th October 1914 the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment was engaged with enemy patrols at Festubert, France, and in the fighting up to that date many of their officers had become casualties.
On 16th October 1914 the Battalion was commanded by a Lieutenant and was in contact with enemy patrols at Festubert. In the afternoon Captain Mahony arrived to take command and brought with him 280 reinforcements, which was the first draft to arrive in October 1914. These would have included Joe Bennett who had arrived in France on October 7th 1914. They had arrived in the middle of a fire-fight with the Germans and the next day the Battalion occupied Violaines, a village between Festubert and La Bassée. Captain Mahony died in hospital on October 22nd after being in command for six days.
From November 5th to 20th Joe Bennett and the Battalion were in trenches at Ypres (1st Battle of Ypres). Their billets were at Locre. On 24th November 1914 they marched to Bailleul where they were attached to Second Army as Corps Troops until December 18th when they moved to the village of Neuve Eglise and half the Battalion at a time went into trenches at Wulvergem which was the front line in the Ploegsteert valley of Flanders. Whether Joe Bennett participated in a Christmas truce is uncertain. There was a truce in the area, but the Battalion war diary for December 25th 1914 has half a line saying “In trenches at Wulvergem”. They remained there in January 1915 and the first three weeks of February after which they went into reserve at Dranoutre. On March 4th 1915 Joe Bennett and the Battalion moved into trenches at Ypres with billets at Kruisstraat. On 16th March 1915 the Battalion moved into huts at Vlamertinghe and Joe would have taken advantage of the baths and laundry that were offered there. On March 22nd 1915 the Battalion moved into the line at Tuileries near Zillebeke, with quarters in the Infantry Barracks at Ypres. When in the trenches the companies organised patrols and on one occasion Battalion headquarters was shelled but no-one was wounded. It seems Joe Bennett was slightly wounded during this tour in the trenches and returned to duty as he was named as Joe Bennett, 9386, in a list of 34 wounded casualties dated March 30th and published in the Cheshire Observer on 3rd April 1915. This pre-dates the occasion when he was wounded and returned to England.
On 31st March 1915, the Battalion returned to huts at Vlamertinghe. From there they were in trenches on occasions during early April 1915, including April 5th 1915, until they moved to Zillebeke where they were entrenched during the Battle of Hill 60 (17–22 April and 1–7 May 1915).
On 9th April 1915 a casualty list notified at the Cheshire Regiment depot at Chester Castle included only nine names and they were all different to the list of March 30th except for J.W. Bennett, 9386, “wounded right hand and thigh”. This would have been the occasion he returned to the U.K.. The two lists confirmed that “Joe” and “J.W.” Bennett, 9386, referred to the one man.
It is unclear what happened to Joe Bennett after he had recovered from his wounds as the medal rolls stated only that he was with the Cheshire Regiment on garrison duties.
Joe Bennett qualified for the 1914 Star with dated clasp 5 Aug - 22 Nov 1914 for service at the Front in 1914 with the original British Expeditionary Force; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Tuesday 27th September 2016 at 3:46 PM
Afternoon Alan,
Wondering if you are able to find out any information about:-
Rifleman J
Fletcher 33 (1 or 9 or 5) 2, of 12th Battalion KR F?? B Coy.
73 Dartmouth Street
Edgeworth Cottages
West Bromwich
Sorry that the information is a bit vague but the writing is very faded.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 27th September 2016 at 6:49 PM

This is proving difficult. It couldn't be E. Trinder 3372 12th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRCC) could it?
Reply from: Judith Lowe
Date: Wednesday 28th September 2016 at 10:03 AM

Morning Alan
I am really not sure. I only have a photocopy of the Autograph Book. The original book is in a friends safe and when they get back from holiday I will get it and have a proper look, particularly at the Regiment. This may help us a great deal. Will get back to you on this one.

We are now getting to the soldiers that are really hard to identify, mainly because they did not write their numbers and in some cases their regiments. The only clues are often where they were wounded.

I have a George S?? Hatch ?062 of the 1/10th Manchester Regiment. Wounded $th June Dardanelles.
Any thoughts on this one. Judith
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 28th September 2016 at 7:00 PM

Dear Judith,
There is no record of a George S Hatch serving in the Manchester Regiment. There were two apparently unrelated men named Hatch who served in The Manchester Regiment. One of them was named Samuel Hatch who served with the 1st/10th Battalion Manchester Regiment in the Dardanelles as a private soldier with the regimental number 2062. The “Manchester Courier” of 7th July 1915 listed “Hatch (2062), S.”; of the 10th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the casualty list issued the previous day (© Trinity Mirror via British Newspaper Archive).
The birth of Sam Hatch was recorded in the Stockport registration district in the first quarter of 1893. The 1901 census recorded Samuel Hatch as the eight-year-old son of James Hatch, a self-employed bootmaker, and his wife Elizabeth Lucy Hatch of 240 Chadderton Road, Oldham. Samuel’s birthplace was Heaton Mersey, part of Stockport. In the 1911 census Sam Hatch was recorded as a rope-maker, aged 17, living with his widowed mother and siblings at 7 Guildford Street, Oldham.
Sam Hatch worked at the rope-walk of Hardman and Ingham's “Diamond Rope Works” at Royton near Oldham. Seven men from the rope works served in the 10th Battalion Manchester Regiment which was a pre-war Territorial Army battalion with a headquarters at The Drill Hall, Rifle Street, Oldham. One of the directors of the Diamond Rope Works, the boss’s son Fred Hardman, was a Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion Manchester Regiment before the war. He was awarded the Military Cross and rose to Lieutenant-Colonel after the war. The 10th Battalion raised a sister battalion at the outbreak of war so the original battalion took the fractional title 1st/10th Battalion, while the new battalion became the 2nd/10th. Both battalions were separate from the “Oldham Comrades”, also called the “Oldham Pals”, that were raised by the Mayor and became the 24th Battalion Manchester Regiment.
Samuel Hatch enlisted on 31st August 1914 and would have undergone basic training with the newly-raised 2nd/10th Battalion Manchester Regiment at Oldham until he was sent abroad on 5th November 1914 as part of a draft of reinforcements to the 1st/10th Battalion who were already serving in Egypt on the defences of the Suez Canal, having arrived there in September 1914. The Battalion fought in the defence of the Canal during the brief Turkish assault on 3rd February 1915. In May 1915 the Battalion left for Mudros on the island of Lemnos which was the jumping-off point for sailing to Gallipoli where the Battalion landed about 10th May 1915 at Cape Helles where they took part in the various actions attempting to capture the dominating heights around the village of Krithia. Within a month, Sam was wounded and returned to England.
After he had recovered Sam Hatch was transferred to the 5th Battalion The Cheshire Regiment at some unspecified date. The 5th Battalion Cheshire Regiment was a pioneer battalion for 5th Division from 29th November 1915 and was then with 56th (London) Division from February 1916. The London Division fought on the Somme in 1916 and then The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Battles of Arras in the Spring of 1917. Sam Hatch was apparently wounded again because he was returned to England and discharged from the Army, wounded, on 25th July 1917 (War Badge roll).
Sam Hatch 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.
Samuel Hatch died at Oldham aged 71 in 1964.
The other man named Hatch in the Manchester Regiment was William Hatch of Manchester who served in the 22nd Battalion Manchester Regiment (7th Manchester Pals) and died of wounds in 1917.
With kind regards,

Posted by: Michael Hardy {No contact email}
Location: Sheffield S Yorkshire
Date: Monday 26th September 2016 at 4:11 PM
Hi Alan, I'm trying to find out any information about an Anti Aircraft Gun site in Sheffield during WW1. The site is on a banking over looking Manor Cottage Farm on Manor Lane. In the Zeppelin raid in 1916, the guns didn't open fire due to the foggy weather, but a bomb landed 50ft from one of the guns. I'm trying to find out when the site was first constructed, which regiment was there and how many men were there. I know the guns were moved to Scotland in 1917 ,and during ww2 they never reused the site, but built a new AA site across the road. The WW1 site's massive earthworks were still intact a few years ago, but now has had a large area dug out and other parts filled in, only the circular gun pit still survives.

Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 26th September 2016 at 8:52 PM

Dear Mick,
The first Home Front anti-aircraft defences were administered by the Admiralty. In December 1914, the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve raised the Sheffield Anti-Aircraft Corps who established two positions at Wincobank, on the site of an Iron Age fort on the summit of a steep hill above the River Don at Sheffield in January 1915. These were known as East position and West position and each had nine officers and 32 other ranks.
As air defence became better established its control was handed over to the War Office who administered the Army. In June 1916, responsibility was passed to the Royal Garrison Artillery who, as its name suggests, provided gun defences at coastal garrisons to deter invasion by sea. To deter invasion by air fifty-three Anti-Aircraft Companies of the RGA were authorised to be raised in June 1916.
In Sheffield the RGA apparently closed the Wincobank position and operated anti-aircraft defences at Shiregreen (which seems to be near to Wincobank), High Storrs at Ecclesall Road, Intake and Manor Lane. These were operated by 29th Anti-Aircraft Company RGA at Sheffield as part of Nottingham (Zone Z) Anti – Aircraft Defence Command.
I don’t know the strength of the companies, but Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail, states those Anti-Aircraft companies that served in France had 43 men in total with two officers each commanding one of two gun detachments of 12 men each. Duties included two telephonists, a linesman, four height-finders, four Wilson-Dalby Detector Operators, two Height and Fuze Indicator men, an Order Board Setter, a Lookout man (Air sentry), an orderly and a cook.
Sheffield local studies library has published a list of wartime photographs and cites "Fleming. Lieut. Commander Sheffield anti-aircraft corps" in the Independent War Album part 9. The Sheffield Cit Archives have a printed booklet: "Defence of the city against hostile Aircraft" (SY/295/C1/18, 1916) which contains confidential instructions from J. Hall-Dalwood, the Chief Constable of Sheffield, to members of the City Police Force and ancillary officers regarding their duties in the event of an attack from the air. It is dated 7 February 1916. A 1917 version is held at the Local Studies Library in Local Pamphlets vol. 136 no. 5 042 S.
The National Archives at Kew, Surrey, holds “Provisional War Establishment Royal Garrison Artillery: personnel required to man fixed Anti-Aircraft guns” in Catalogue reference WO33/764.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Michael Hardy
Date: Tuesday 27th September 2016 at 7:56 PM

Thank you Alan for that information, its been a big help.

Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Monday 26th September 2016 at 10:19 AM
Dear Alan
Thank You so much for the information and confirmation of the name about Private G Stockley . Sometimes the writing in the autograph book is hard to read.
Our next soldier that I cannot find out anything about is :-
Private G Brown 7699, 13 NF wounded at Loos 26th September 1915. I don't know what the 13 NF means but he wrote two lovely poems in the Autograph Book.
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 26th September 2016 at 8:43 PM

Dear Judith,
13 NF would be 13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. The only private soldier named Brown with the regimental number 7699 in the Northumberland Fusiliers was named John Brown. There are no biographical details for him. The Army medal rolls showed he served first in the 13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers and then the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He survived the war.
John Brown went to France with the 13th Battalion on 9th September 1915. The Battalion had been raised at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in September 1914. They joined 21st Division and trained at Halton Park, Buckinghamshire, a tented camp set up in the grounds of Halton House which had been offered to the War Office by Alfred de Rothschild. On 14th November 1914 John Brown would have moved into winter billets in one of the towns in the Aylesbury area. He would then have returned with the 13th Battalion to Halton Park on 22nd May 1915 where, by then, huts had been constructed. Their next move was to Witley Camp on Witley Common, Surrey, in August 1915.
On the afternoon of September 9th 1915, John Brown marched out of Witley Camp to Milford railway station to join the troop train to Folkestone and then to Boulogne, arriving on the 10th September and moving into billets in Gandspette near Éperlecques. John Brown remained there for ten days undergoing field training and fitness marches. On 25th March 1915 the Battalion left Gandspette and spent five days route marching through Wittes, Ecquerdecques, and Lozingham to arrive at Noeux les Mines at 11.30 a.m. on September 25th. Before John and his colleagues could have any lunch rations brought forward they were informed they were to march via Noyelle les Vermelles to reach the Lens-Bethune Road and then march towards Lens. After dark they moved into trenches that had been captured that morning on the north side of the Lens - Bethune Road. During the night the trenches were shelled by the enemy firing high explosive and shrapnel. John Brown came under fire for the first time. He and his colleagues were then ordered out of the trenches and told to enter the village of Loos-en-Gohelle which was being continually shelled. The men were told to wait for further orders. In fact, the Battalion was to be used as support for an attack on Hill 70 if required.
At 11 p.m. John and his colleagues set off in the dark to meet up with a Scottish battalion of the 46th Infantry Brigade. “B” Company of the 13th Northumberland Fusiliers was immediately sent up to a trench on Hill 70. The remainder of the Battalion lay down in the rain and cold alongside the Loos – Hulloch road and waited for dawn, under rifle and machine-gun fire throughout the night.
The next morning, September 26th 1915, the 13th Battalion had still received no further orders. The officers knew they were to support an attack and only by seeing a copy of an order to the Highland Light Infantry stating the 13th Battalion would be in support of them did they send two more companies forward.
Later in the morning at 8.45 a.m. the saw a copy of another order to the Highland Light Infantry stating the attack would begin at 9 a.m. preceded by a British artillery bombardment lasting one hour from 8 a.m.. But it was too late. “This order was received too late and before the withdrawal could be ordered our shells were dropping amongst our own men who fell back of their own accord.” (War Diary WO95/2155/2)
From 10 a.m. on the 26th September to 2.30 p.m. the attacks swayed to and fro in Loos. Then the Battalion saw that the enemy was attacking Loos with one battalion and the left flank with two battalions. The left flank gave way and the 13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers retired to a roadside where they mounted another attack before what was left of the fighting force retired back to the captured trenches of the previous day. They were a mixed group of men from many regiments who waited until dark in the trenches on the Lens - Bethune Road. “All that could be collected from the Battalion were withdrawn to “Quality Street” [a lane parallel to the Lens-Bethune road] and waited there until the morning of the 27th when they went to bivouac at Noyelle les Vermelles.
The 13th Battalion spent the next month re-fitting and did not return to the Front line until the end of October 1915. Their casualties on September 26th 1915 totalled 395 all ranks on their first day of battle after being rushed to the Front.
John Brown was among the wounded and he was sent home to England.
Once he had recovered, John was sent to the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. The 2nd Battalion fought at Salonika, on the Macedonian Front, with the 28th Division until June 1918 when the Battalion sailed for France. On 16th July 1918 at Martin Eglise the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers joined the 50th (Northumbrian) Division which was being re-built after heavy losses in France. John would then have seen fighting at the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance in Picardy. The Division was at Solre le Chateau on 11th November 1918.
John Brown returned to England and was posted to the reserve on demobilization of the 50th Division which was completed in March 1919. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Judith Lowe
Date: Monday 26th September 2016 at 8:54 PM

I have spent the afternoon working on names found in the autograph book and your so swift reply about John Brown has just arrived. I really don't know how you do it. So much information and so quickly. Thank you so much.
Posted by: Joe Winslett {Email left}
Location: East Sussex
Date: Sunday 25th September 2016 at 11:19 AM
Hi Alan
My granddad William Joseph Goodsir who died in 1977 spoke about being at the Somme with his brother called Joseph. A very popular name. I have just discovered some more information about him.His regs no was 42678. Driver. RFA. Unit B 95th Bridade.He served from 1914 to 1919. Are you able to provide me with any addition information about him.
Thank you.
Joe Winslett.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 25th September 2016 at 8:25 PM

Dear Joe,
No individual service record has survived for William Joseph Goodsir, so it is not possible to state his service in detail. The Army medal rolls showed he first went to France on 10th September 1915.
The 95th Brigade Royal Field Artillery (XCV Brigade RFA in Roman numerals) served with 21 Division throughout the war. The Division’s engagements can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail at:
“B” Battery remained consistent throughout the war. See:
William Joseph Goodsir qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Joe Winslett
Date: Sunday 25th September 2016 at 8:49 PM

Hi Alan.
Thank you so much for your very quick response. I will certainly look at the Webb sites you have recommended.
Kind regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 25th September 2016 at 9:45 PM

Dear Joe,
I forgot to say that the war diaries of 95 Brigade RFA are available to download from the National Archives for £3.45 each of 4 sections. see:
With kind regrads,
Reply from: Joe Winslett
Date: Monday 26th September 2016 at 10:02 AM

Thank you Alan for that additional information.
Kind regards
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Saturday 24th September 2016 at 10:19 AM
Dear Alan
Thank you very much for the latest information sent to me about Corporal Batchelor. It made fascinating reading.
The next soldier that I am interested in finding out further information about is;-
Private G Hockley ( or it could be Frockley) 12052 1st Worcestershire Regiment. He gave no further information in the book.
Best wishes
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 24th September 2016 at 9:58 PM

Dear Judith,
This was George Thomas Stockley who was a Regular Army soldier who would have enlisted in the 1st Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment when he was aged about 18, in 1910. The Battalion was stationed at Albany Barracks, Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight in 1911. The birth of George Thomas Stockley was registered in Birmingham in January 1892 . He might have been born late in 1891. From the censuses, George appears to have been the son of John and Jane Stockley of Buckingham Place, Tudor Street, St Cuthbert’s, Birmingham. He initially worked as a tube-drawer in a Birmingham foundry.
The 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment went to Egypt between 1911 and 1914 where it was stationed at Alexandria and Cairo. After the outbreak of war, the Battalion embarked on Hired Military Transport “Deseado” (Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, 1911) at Alexandria and sailed for Liverpool. Someone in the Battalion probably recalled the ship’s name because she had been in the headlines earlier in 1914 when on a voyage from Liverpool to Rio one of the ship’s Portuguese passengers, Alberto Olivierio Coelho, 32, walked into the lounge with a loaded revolver and shot dead his wife. He was arrested and at Liverpool Assizes on 24th April 1914 he was sentenced to death.
The 1st Battalion Worcesters docked at Liverpool at 9.15 p.m. on October 14th 1914. Families, who had sailed on a separate ship, were sent home while the men prepared to entrain for Winchester at 4.30 a.m. on the 17th. The train stopped for 30 minutes at Birmingham where the men had hot coffee and sandwiches. How George might have wished he could call in at home. The period October 17th to 4th November was spent at Hursley Park Camp which was established in the deer park of Hursley House near Winchester. There the Battalion joined the 24th Infantry Brigade in the 8th Division. Each man had two days’ leave before departing for France. On November 5th 1914, the Battalion marched to Southampton to embark on H.M. Transport “Maidan” for Le Havre. “Maidan” was an adapted a cargo vessel with converted holds. Water was boiled by the (black) ship’s cooks by injecting steam into vessels of cold water so the tea tasted only of oil from the boilers. They sailed at night but had to spend two days in the outer harbour at Havre waiting for a berth. They disembarked on November 8th and then started marching to the Front over the coming days. On November 14th at 6.30 p.m. they went into the trenches alongside the Estaires to La Bassee road at the hamlet of St. Vaast west of Neuve Chapelle. Neuve Chapelle was held by the Germans and had been fortified. The Worcesters’ trenches were rudimentary defences which were heavily fired on by rifle-fire from both the German front and the flanks. In the first five days in the trenches the 1st Battalion lost 20 men killed and 51 wounded. The trenches were so narrow the stretcher-bearers could not move down them with a stretcher and the wounded had to be carried or supported. The dead were buried by their colleagues at the rear of the trench.
The Battalion remained in these trench lines until March 1915, suffering in the freezing cold and wet of the winter of 1914/1915. They were billeted at La Gorgue some six miles to their rear when not in the trenches which were known as “A” Lines that were along the Rue du Bois to the west of Neuve Chapelle and “B” lines along the Rue de Tilleloy in the north of the village of Neuve Chapelle. The trench lines formed a dog-leg along what is now the D171 (Rue du Bois) crossing the D947 and then onto the D170 (now Rue de Carnin). The co-ordinates ‘50°35'04.8"N 2°46'05.5"E’ identify the centre of their position, which can be pasted into Google maps. There is a later 1915 map that shows the Worcestershire’s trenches of 1914 in the larger of the two lines of red rectangles at:
At 5 p.m. on Christmas Day 1914, the 1st Battalion Worcesters relieved the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment in “B” Lines on the Rue de Tilleloy. The Northamptonshire Regiment had arranged a truce with the Germans which the Worcesters kept. Their war diary for December 25th 1914 recorded: “There was a certain amount of shouting and remarks between the Germans and ourselves, and the Germans sang English and German songs most of the night which were applauded by our men. In spite of the armistice our sentries were kept as much on the alert as usual” (WO95/723/1). Boxing Day was quiet apart from some occasional British shells being fire and the truce ended on the 27th December 1914 when firing resumed between the Worcesters and the Germans.
As a reminder that these were early days of the war for George and the Worcesters, the Battalion came up with “Archibald” which was an improvised mortar tube that fired two-pound tins of explosive. The tins previously had held plum jam. These tins were of Tickler’s plum and apple jam from Grimsby, which became famous, or notorious, during the war. (Tickler had a huge contract with the War office and the men joked the officers got strawberry jam, while the men got the down-market, surplus, plum and apple which could be made from excess crops.) See the Bruce Bairnsfather cartoon:
Early in the New Year of 1915 the Battalion had to endure gales, snow storms, and rain. The trenches were flooded and had to be pumped free of water. At one point the Battalion considered filling-in the flooded trenches so they could not be occupied by any advancing enemy. During this period of wet and cold trench routine, between 19th December 1914 and 4th March 1915 the Battalion lost 45 men killed and 111 wounded.
Casualties averaged one a day caused by rifle and shell fire. Among those casualties on 8th or 11th February 1915 was George Stockley who would have been wounded in “B” Lines, Rue de Tilleloy, Neuve Chapelle. The official casualty list dated 4th March 1915 recorded under Wounded: - “Stockley, 12025, G. Worces.” (“Scotsman” 4th March 1915 © Johnston Press).
George was returned to England with a “Blighty” wound. The 1st Battalion actually went into battle for the first time a few days later when they attacked from the sunken lane at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10th – 13th March 1915). But by then George was in hospital.
No individual service record has survived for George Stockley. However, the medal rolls recorded he next served with the 10th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and the casualty lists again included his name on 4th September 1916. He would have been wounded in August 1916 whilst with the 10th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. “Last Night’s Casualty Lists: Worcesters: Stockley 12052 L-Cpl G.T. (Birmingham)” (Birmingham Daily Gazette, 5th September 1916 © Trinity Mirror).
The 10th Battalion was in the Ypres sector at Dranoutre (now Dranouter) Flanders, Belgium. In July 1916 they had suffered 347 casualties at La Boiselle then in August 1916 they spent some weeks in Brigade Reserve at Daylight Corner (Wulverghem), Flanders, and Airfield Farm. While in trenches at Dranoutre, six men were wounded and two killed between 10th and 14th August 1916, then on 29th August 1916 at 11 a.m. three men were wounded when “The Bullring” was shelled. The “Bullring” was a trench named by the Lincolnshire Regiment after a district of Grimsby where many of the men came from. It was in the area of Kemmel and Dranoutre. Once again, George had been wounded in the daily exchanges of trench warfare and he returned to England for treatment.
His next posting was shown as 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment which would have been the depot unit that administered him while he was in hospital in 1916.
George Stockley was in Birmingham in October 1917. He married May Lowe, the daughter of Reuben Lowe, fruiterer, of 24 High Street, Deritend, at St John the Baptist Church, Deritend, on 27th October 1917. George was described as a 25-year-old bachelor, soldier, son of John Stockley, iron dresser, deceased.
Deritend was a crossing point of the River Rea before Birmingham became significant. It has the only surviving medieval building in Birmingham city centre. An iron dresser was a foundry worker employed in trimming metal castings after they had been removed from their sand moulds.
George Stockley ended the war as an acting Sergeant with the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He probably served with them in France in 1918 when they were with 88th Brigade in the 29th Division fighting in the advances in Flanders. The 29th Division occupied the Rhineland and crossed the Belgian - German frontier at Malmedy on 4th December 1918. They settled in Cologne five days later. Demobilization of the 29th Division began in March 1919, although as a regular soldier, George might have continued to serve in the Army.
George Stockley qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
As a footnote to the start of George’s war, the history of the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment recorded: “The first days of 1915 were notable, so far as Regimental officers and men were concerned, for the opening of short leave to England. Not since the Peninsular days [1807–1814] had it been customary for leave home to be given to troops on active service, and the idea was so novel, to officers and men alike, as to be received with strangely mingled feelings. To many brought up in the old school of duty to their Regiment it seemed little better than absolute desertion to proceed on leave when their Battalion—their Company or Platoon—was going into the trenches, into danger. In January that feeling was general, and the first batches to proceed on leave were almost shamefaced as they left their billets. Later the feeling wore off, and leave home was accepted as part of the nature of that strange new warfare” (http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/bat_1_1915.php).
With kind regards,
Posted by: Mark Parlour {Email left}
Location: Ayr
Date: Friday 23rd September 2016 at 9:21 AM
Hi Alan
I was researching my grandfather, George Percy Wilson Howard (allegedly born 30 Oct 1882 in Manchester) on the web and found your correspondence of Saturday 2nd January 2016 at 8:29 PM with Lesley regarding Thomas Howard born 28 Sept 1882 in Buckingham who had gone AWOL and reenlisted.

There is some talk that my grandfather had done undercover work in France during the war and been accused of going AWOL but exonerated when his role was recognised - but this may be just another colourful story; he had many. It does seem to be similar in some ways to the Thomas Howard story. He died in 1975 so it'll be difficult to find out the truth.

I was certainly impressed by the level of detail in your response to Lesley and I wonder if you might be able to help me.

The documentation that I do have says George Percy Wilson Howard was born 30 Oct 1882 in Manchester (from Passport, medical and death certificates).

His driving license gives his address (on 21 July 1915) as 46 Hampstead Road Dorking. He was not the owner of the house - this was George Upfold (bricklayer) and his wife Alice Sarah Upfold who lived there many years before and afterwards (according to the electoral polls and census data etc.). I have built their entire family tree, too, in case there were any links - but none is obvious; sadly. These were large houses (next door had 4 young nurses lodging) and so could easily been used for troops in 1915.

Interestingly enough, his driving license also recorded a previous conviction - “fined 50/- and 14/6 costs at Stony Stratford PC on 22 May 1914 for driving a motorcycle at a speed dangerous to the public”. Incidentally, Stony Stratford is in Buckingham where Vincent Howard (surgeon) and family lived (Vincent was a member of Stony Stratford masons) and this may be a link to the original Thomas Howard of your earlier correspondence. Of course Stony Stratford, is probably on the main road from London to Manchester, too.

On 21 July 1918, George Percy Wilson Howard married Vera Florence West (1896-1939) daughter of John Andrew West (1867-1934) and Florence Challacombe (1870-1955). There he states that his age is 35; his own occupation is an accountant, and that his father was Thomas Alexander Howard, occupation Director (retired); deceased. Searches for a suitable Thomas Alexander Howard bring up very few possible matches. There’s a shipwright in Liverpool and a Cattle breeder from up north. You would think with names as precise as these they’d be easy to find!

George was a fluent French speaker and may have worked with Michelin in France before the war then in Paris after WWI as an accountant for Pricewaterhouse from around 1920-1925. I have many photos of him in around 1920 walking round the ruined towns of northern France, or on the beach. In 1927 George lives at Ranmore Lodge, Effingham, Dorking (from the electoral register) for a couple of years so there is a strong connection to the area. Of course, Ranmore Common, Dorking is famously where the troops did exercises in 1915. Equally, there is also a very significant historical Howard connection with Effingham. He then lives in Broomfield, Hollingbourne Kent in 1930, Cambridge in 1936, The Priory Mildenhall Suffolk in 1938, and on 29 Sept 1939 at Swaffham, Norfolk.

Anecdotally, it has been suggested that GPW Howard was in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) who were typically based in Hamilton, Lanark (near to where I am at the moment). This doesn't really make sense if he was born in Manchester and lived the rest of his life near Dorking then Norfolk; but anything is possible.

I have various photos of him wearing the Silver War Badge in civvies (naturally) in 1919 and this was only awarded (amongst the Howards of the Cameronians) to a George H? Howard a CSM of the Cameronians. However, there were other SWB recipients called George Howard, belonging to the RAMC and the Artillery etc - who, of course, were definitely in Dorking around 1915. Service and pension records are not helpful: there are only two George Howards: one died; the other from Southampton had all the wrong criteria (I understand that many service records were destroyed by fire) so I’ve looked at the SWB records which I believe are intact.

These are all likely George Howards who were SWB recipients (no George Percy/Wilson Howard!):
Badge Regiment Reg.No Rank Enlisted Disch S/W Os Location
491870 Royal Artillery (RFA) 710984 Sgl/L/Br 10/5/15 8/4/19 S Y Charlton
78773 East Surrey 8896 Pte 13/3/15 1/12/15 S Y Hounslow
447028 Manchester 375482 Pte 3/9/14 2/9/18 S Y (35) Preston
35260 London (4th) 6918 Pte 2/11/16 2/3/17 S N London
161178 London (9th) RAMC 3780 LCpl 21/11/14 14/10/16 S Y London
B284738 Royal Army Med. Corps 779 Pte 1/10/06 23/3/19 S Y Woking
B349808 Cameronian (1st Sc. Rifles) 39538 CSM 5/8/05 19/11/19 S (32) Hamilton

I'm assuming that he was in Dorking as a temporary lodger and was there because of billeting in the town.

The Dorking Museum site suggests that the only regiments in town at the time of (after the Surrey Yeomanry in late 1914) January 1915 were the 179th Brigade of the 60th (2/2nd London) Division of territorials which included units of the London Scottish, the Civil Service Rifles and the Queen’s Westminster Rifles; and the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Field Artillery.

Other web research suggests that the following regiments were in Dorking at that time:
Surrey Yeomanry Nov 1914
60th (2/2nd London) Division of territorials. January – Feb 1915
2/14th (County of London) Bat (Ldn Scottish) & 179th Br/ 60th Div Jan -Feb 1915
2/15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles)

And those billeted in Dorking:
2nd Battalion London Scottish January – 28 February 1915
13th (Reserve) Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders April – June 1915
Royal Field Artillery October 1915 – January 1916
Royal Army Medical Corps 1915 billeted in the Dorking for several months of training

Incidentally, I did find on the web an old photo of 4 army motorcyclists from the Argyles going down a street in Dorking at about the right time…
I have a lot of information about his later life and lots of information about George Howards in the Manchester (Lancashire/Yorkshire/Cheshire intersection sadly!) in earlier life. The correct war story will hopefully link them up!
If you could shed any light on this I’d be most grateful.
Kind regards
Mark Parlour
Reply from: Mark Parlour
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 9:06 AM

Hi Alan
further to my last message, I've managed to get hold of George Percy Wilson Howard's Old Contemptibles Association certificate (as G Wilson Howard) which puts his regiment as 1st Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). However I can't seem to find any matching wartime records on Ancestry.
I do know that he was a recipient of the SWB as I have many photos where he is wearing it.

The ONLY Howard SWB record on ancestry that is remotely similar is for a GH? Howard who was a CSM in the 1st Cameronians. I also have a continuing education certificate from Hamilton School Board 1911 (aged 28) - but it doesn't state it is Hamilton Lanarkshire home of the Cameronians.

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.
kind regards
Mark Parlour
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016 at 5:29 PM

Dear Mark,
The actual War Badge roll entry for “G. H. Howard” shows he was, in fact, J. H. Howard, M.M., 39538, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). He enlisted in the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) in 1905 and served until 1919. He had transferred to the Cameronians in 1917. His service record showed he served as John Henry Howard which was an alias for his real name which was John Schiffman. The 1891 Scotland census shows he was probably the son of John Schiffman who was born in Stralsund, Germany.
If George W. Howard was a member of the Old Contemptibles he must have served in France and Flanders between August and November 1914 and qualified for the 1914 Star with “Mons” clasp which showed the dates: 5th Aug – 22nd Nov 1914. The 1914 Star medal rolls show a G. Howard, 9189, Lance-sergeant, of the 1st Cameronian (Scottish Rifles) who qualified for the 1914 Star and “Mons” clasp. The correct regimental number appears to have been 8198 shown on his War Badge and other medal rolls entry. His medal index card showed him as George W. Howard 9189 and 8189 and recorded his name was included in the War Badge rolls. The War Badge rolls on the Ancestry website indexed him as George W. Howard, South Wales Borderers (sic) 8198, but the entry itself shows him as George W. Howard, Depot Scottish Rifles. He enlisted on 3rd October 1903 and was discharged because of sickness on 8th October 1915. There does not appear to be any further surviving record for him and it has not been possible to identify him with any biographical details or to establish what the initial W. stood for.
The “Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press” of 30th May 1914 reported the cases at Stony Stratford Petty Sessions of May 22nd 1914. They included a George Howard of Dorking, a commercial traveller, who was convicted of riding a motorcycle and sidecar dangerously. It was stated George Howard travelled 25,000 miles a year by motor. (© Johnston Press via British Newspaper Archive). The 1st Cameronians were stationed at Glasgow Garrison at the time. The Battalion went to France on 15th August 1914. The medal card for George W. Howard showed he entered France on 15th August 1914, so he would most probably have been a serving Regular Army soldier or reservist in August 1914.
Unless you have his regimental number from family sources it will not be possible to make a positive identification of his wartime records.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Mark Parlour
Date: Friday 14th October 2016 at 9:05 AM

Hi Alan
Thanks very much indeed for your excellent research - it does all seem to tie up with what I have and I've since managed to download three original documents relating to his awards (Victory Medal and British War Medal) etc. based on a regimental number of 8198.
There's an entry at the right of the medal table that says IVRI 1955 [presumably this can't imply died in 1955??] df 26.2.24 AS d/110.
The individual campaign record for 1914 shows the VM and BM with clasp and roses 3.8.11 df 3.5.28 and the SWB list D/24S72. qualifying date 15 8 14 once again marked AS/D/110. it reaffirms 8198 corporal but also states 9198 above it with L/Sgt 1 Sco Rifles.
The SWB record table confirms the enlistment and discharge dates and his reg no as 8198.
At the moment, as you say, I can't find any service record or pension record as I have for other family members (as these give lots of family and education details) - I wonder if these were lost of have simply not been transcribed yet - a couple of the sites talk about adding new records each day.
My uncle, George's son, did go to Kew many years ago and found a record which also tied up with the enlistment and discharge dates, and rank and regiment, as you suggest.
I'm still not sure why he was at 46 Hampstead Road Dorking as of 21 Jul 1915 - he would have to be lodging with the Upfold family but I can't see any obvious link.
I'll now try and find some records for his time at Hamilton Barracks, Lanarkshire from 1903 to 1914.
Your help has been invaluable. Many thanks!
Kind regards
Mark Parlour

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