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Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Wednesday 14th September 2016 at 6:29 PM
Good evening Alan
Today I am asking for your help in tracing the service involvement of Sapper Albert John Perkins of Buckland in the Moor Devon, Service No 22749 born in 1893. I know nothing more about him and would be pleased if you could fill in some details for me. Albert had a younger brother John T born in 1902 whom I believe joined the band of the Devonshire Regiment in Devonport before the end of the Great War but how long he served I have not been able to find, Can you help with this young man?.
Best regards
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 15th September 2016 at 12:55 PM

Dear David,
Sapper Albert John Perkins qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star he did not serve overseas until some date after January 1st 1916. There is no record of which unit he was with or in which theatre of war he fought.
There is no Army record of John T. Perkins.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Adrian Cunningham {Email left}
Location: Melbourne Uk
Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 11:29 AM
Hi Alan,
I can't thank you enough for the info you have found for me, as I am eighty one and trying to piece together family history for future generations. I am in a geological soc. here in E York's, and have only scratched the surface, I am so grateful to you for your help.

My main search and request now is to find John Howard, father of Isabella Susanna. ( as posted in my previous message ). she was born in Plymouth, and I suspect that she was born 1840 surname Cook, no father listed on the registered birth details which I have in my possession.

As I wrote in one of my earlier messages, I was told by an Aunt many years ago, that a son of the Howard family had been disinherited because he had acted in an improper manner. The name Howard has been given as a second christian name to the eldest son since this date.

I do so hope you may help with this request, as it has been an illusive and important factor for me in my family history. Be assured I will be making a donation to British Legion after all this info you have supplied.


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 14th September 2016 at 8:10 PM

Dear Adrian,
Isabella Susanna Cook was the illegitimate child of Susanna Cook. Isabella Cook was born on 18th October 1840 and was baptised at Charles the Martyr Church, Plymouth, on December 9th 1840. Her birth was registered with the English General Register Office (GRO) in Oct-Dec 1840.
Thomas Nicholas Were(s) Cook was the illegitimate child of Susanna Cook of Whitecross Street, Plymouth, baptised on September 27th 1837 at Charles the Martyr. There were families named ‘Were’ living in the Charles parish of Plymouth in 1841 and that name “Were” might be an indication of the father’s surname. A Susan (sic) Cook of Whitecross Street died in 1845 aged 27, and was buried on May 14th 1845. None of these three Cooks can be positively identified in the 1841 census.
Visiting Plymouth to study the parish and poor law records would provide more detail, although that might not be practicable.
If Isabella Susanna Cook had become Isabella Howard and married George Cunningham on August 12th 1856 at Manchester she would have been 15 years old; a couple of months away from being sixteen. It is unlikely she married at the age of 15.
There was a 10-year-old pauper named Isabella Cooke in the Kingsbridge Workhouse, Devon, in 1851. An Isabella Cooke with no father’s name on the certificate married Charles Hayman at Blackanton, Kingsbridge, in October 1859. In the 1861 census, Ezelbella (sic) and Charles Hayman lived at Blackanton town. Ezelbella Hayman (née Cooke) was aged 22, born in Plymouth in about 1839 (RG9/1422 folio 9; page 12). The England and Wales GRO births index has only one Isabella Cook registered in Plymouth between 1837 and 1845.
In the 1871 census of Blackanton, Isabella Hayman was aged 31, born Plymouth. Her birth year would be 1840 and her maiden name was Cook(e). In 1881 the family had moved to Plympton. In 1911 Isabella was a 71 year old widow at Plympton. It seems she never left Devon.
When Isabella Susanna Howard married George Cunningham in 1856, she stated she was aged 19 and so would have been born in about 1837. Her father was said to be John, a pensioner, who may, or may not, have been alive in 1856. Neither the statement of her age nor of her father’s name can be verified from the marriage certificate; a father’s name could be invented to cover up illegitimacy and ages could be matched to that of the spouse. However, being 19, she would have needed parental or guardian’s consent to marry when under the age of 21. Note that Rachel Howard was a witness. Isabella Howard was apparently related to Rachael Howard.
The possibility the information on the marriage certificate was accurate should be fully investigated.
In the later censuses, Isabella Susanna Cunningham (née Howard) stated she was born in about 1837 or 1838 at Plymouth. She might have been born in Plymouth or she might have recalled her childhood there, and she might have assumed she had been born there. If her father had served overseas at all, she could have been born anywhere.
It is not possible to identify a John Howard “out of the blue”. If he had served overseas the records might not be in this country. If John Howard had served in Ireland, the records might not be available*. A very large number of men named John Howard served in the Army with few records readily available from the early 19th Century both in Ireland and for the army.
The names Isabella and Susanna can be shortened to Isabel and Susan and the baptism of the child in 1837 – 1840 might have been in the name of any of those four variants.
It would be necessary to identify the births of Isabel(la) or Susan(na) Howard in about 1837 to 1840 with a father named John Howard. It would be helpful to identify the Rachel Howard who witnessed the marriage certificate.
Isabella Susanna Howard stated her father was a “pensioner”. That probably meant Army Pensioner. Her husband, George Cunningham, served in the 25th Foot. Coincidentally, there was a John Howard who had served in the 25th Foot from 1832 to 1850. He was an Army pensioner in the years 1848, 1849 and 1850. He died in 1850. There are too numerous deaths to identify him in 1850 or establish his birth year. The Victorian army usually destroyed the service records of soldiers once they had died. If he enlisted about the age of 18 he would have been born about 1814. Obviously, the name is a frequently recurring one, but it does present a possibility of a connection that would have given George Cunningham the opportunity to meet Isabella Howard whilst he was serving in the Army, rather than in the brief period he spent in Salford before his wedding.
As you are looking for baptism and birth records before General Registration was begun in England and Wales in 1837 (Ireland 1864) there is less likelihood of success with online searching. It might be necessary to travel and conduct research in county record offices.
In the 1871 census of Brightside Bierlow, Sheffield, George and Isabella Cunningham had a brother-in-law staying with them named John William Butler, born Horsley Down in 1828. He was born on 21st April 1828 the son of James and Isabella.
A John William Butler served in the 25th Foot up to 1861 when he took a pension. On December 11th 1854 a soldier John William Butler, living in Salford, he married Harriet Howard, daughter of John Howard, musician, at St John’s Church, Deansgate, Manchester. John Butler was born in 1828 and appears to have died in February 1874 at Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield. Harriet Howard cannot be immediately identified but could have been an army birth somewhere.
An army pensioner named John Howard lived in Salford in 1851. He was born in Ireland in 1802 (age 49) his wife, Sarah, was 29 (born in Ireland in 1822) They had an eight month old son, named William, all living at 59 Union Street, Salford. He may or may not be connected.
With kind regards,

*1) Regarding your earlier query about Irish records there have been two developments since you enquired. The Representative Church Body (RCB) Library has relaunched its online List of Church of Ireland Parish Registers. The list accounts for all Church of Ireland parochial registers of baptism, marriage and burial – noting what survives, the dates covered, and where they are located. Where registers were destroyed in the burning of the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) during the Irish Civil War in 1922, the list records details about abstracts and transcripts and where they are held. It will continue to be free to researchers. See:
*2) On 8th September 2016 the Irish General Register Office's historical birth, marriage and death registers were re-launched online, joining the GRO Index and a collection of church records at:
The Irish GRO records available in Dublin are:
• Births registered in the island of Ireland between 1st January, 1864 and 31 December, 1921 inclusive, and in Ireland (excluding the six north-eastern counties of Derry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone known as Northern Ireland) from 1922 onwards.
• Deaths registered in the island of Ireland between 1st January, 1864 and 31st December, 1921 inclusive and in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland) from 1922 onwards.
• Non-Roman Catholic Marriages registered in the island of Ireland between 1st April, 1845 and 31st December, 1863 inclusive.
• Marriages registered in the island of Ireland between 1st January, 1864 and 31st December, 1921 inclusive and in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland) from 1922 onwards.

Posted by: Phil Barnes {Email left}
Location: Victoria Australia
Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 4:02 AM
Hi again Alan, my wife is looking for more info on her Grandfather during ww1. She has the following info. He joined the army in October 1900 at Aberdeen, service No. 4971 unit believed to be No. 3 Cavalry depot. He was in South Africa 1901/1902 he was awarded the QSA Medal. in 1913 he was a Sergeant in the 5th Dragoon guards Aldershot. In 1918 he was a Sergeant Tailor 2nd Dragoon guards Aldershot. Can you help in filling the gap between 1913/1918, we thought he might not have been on active service because of his age, he was born in 1881.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 11:37 AM

What was his name?
Reply from: Phil Barnes
Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 12:08 PM

Sorry Alan
His name was George Davidson Coutts
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 4:35 PM

Dear Phil,
No individual service record has survived for George Coutts so it is not possible to state his service between 1913 and 1918. There is no identifiable entry for him in the campaign medal rolls 1914 – 1918, so it seems he did not serve overseas and remained at Aldershot. He would have been aged 33 when war was declared in 1914 and so was not disqualified from serving overseas. It is more likely his medical grade kept him in England. In the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902) he served with the 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards and qualified for the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps: Cape Colony; Orange Free State; 1901 and 1902.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Phil Barnes
Date: Wednesday 14th September 2016 at 5:23 AM

Once again thank you very much for your time.
Donation made to the British Legion
Best Regards
Posted by: Andy Jones {Email left}
Location: Wirral
Date: Monday 12th September 2016 at 8:35 PM
Hi Alan.
I am looking for my greatgrand dad who fought in WW1. Our family only has a very small ammount of information about his military service as he didnt talk about it at all. The two peices of info he did talk about was that he fought in the "Middle East" and was injured by machine gun fire. This was all he ever passed on. We have no service number what so ever. I will outline what info we do have below.
George Jones - no middle name.
DOB - 12 March 1894
Place of birth - Bromborough, Cheshire
Pre war job - Box maker at Prices Candle Works, Bromborough Poole.
As per Price's Candles Company Staff Magazine "Lightwave" which have been kept on record by Unilever he was quoted on a roll of honour in the April 1917 addition. It states "G Jones" from the "Case Making" department joined the "Royal Field Artillery" branch of service. There are no other references within these records.
There is a commemorative plaque St Mathews Church in Bromborough Pool which states "Those who went forth from Bromborough Pool village and factory through Dukes Dock Wharf Liverpool".
This is all the information we have on him in relation to his war time service. From all the above i have assumed he would have been part of the CCLXVII Cheshire Brigade RFA which was attached to the 53rd Welsh Division who fought at both battles of Gaza and the rest of the Palastinian campaign from 1917.
Any help you can provide in gaining even the smallest ammount of information would be greatly appreciated. On finding the RFA reference in the Price's Magazine my granddad was knocked for six as for almost 100 years this was the only information we had gained about him.

Best regards
Andy Jones
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 11:32 AM

Dear Andy,
Unfortunately, there is no surviving individual service record for a soldier named George Jones born in 1894, from Bromborough, Cheshire. The Army mainly recorded men by their regimental number, initial or forename; surname, and regiment. It is not possible to identify him by name only in the campaign medal records without knowing his regimental number in the Royal Field Artillery.
Depending on how often “Lightwave” was published, if he had been mobilized in 1917, George would have been conscripted compulsorily and therefore any geographical affiliation to a particular R.F.A. Brigade would not apply because the 1916 Military Service Act did away with local recruitment and allowed for men to be posted anywhere “in the interests of the service”. In April 1917, there were eleven or more brigades of the Royal Field Artillery serving in the Middle East.
Regimental numbers would have been recorded on any surviving medals or Army documentation kept by the family.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Dona Higham {Email left}
Location: Dover Kent
Date: Sunday 11th September 2016 at 11:00 PM
Dear Sir,
Please can you help me?
I am doing my Family Tree, and came across William Davis`s Funeral details, and as he was nevr talked about, I would love to know more about him and his service to his Country..
My Maternal Grandfather was:
William DAVIS, b.191, St,John, Breage, Cornwall, England.
He was one of the first to volunteer from Helston, to serve in the 5th D.C.L.I, and was a stretcher bearer, in France.
He later served as the President of The Lizard Branch, of the Royal British Legion, between 1930-1948. He died at the age of 73 in 1954, in Helston, Cornwall.

With grateful thanks Dona
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 12th September 2016 at 12:47 PM

Dear Dona,
Because there are so few surviving Army records from the First World War that identify soldiers with biographical details it is not possible to positively identify an individual without knowing his regimental number. There were many men named William Davis who served in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.
A likely possibility was William Davis who served in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry as rifleman 2236. There is no individual service record for him so it is not possible to identify him further. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In 1917 he was re-numbered 240306 when all the Territorial Force battalions were re-numbered. The 5th Battalion D.C.L.I. was a pre-war Territorial Army battalion with a headquarters at Bodmin. In August 1914 they moved to Falmouth and then Salisbury Plain. In 1915 they were stationed at Newquay and Falmouth. In April 1916 the Battalion moved to Perham Down and then Tidworth where it became the pioneer (labour) battalion for the 61st Division. The engagements of the 61st Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, the Long, Long Trail at:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Dona Higham
Date: Monday 12th September 2016 at 2:27 PM

Dear Alan,
Thank you so much, for your very quick reply. It is greatly appreciated.

What a shame there are no positive records, to proceed with.

I had previously contacted the Branch of the British Legion, in inquiring, if they had any details of his post as President, but had no reply.

Once again, thank you for your time and touble for helping me.
Best regards Dona
Posted by: Chris {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Sunday 11th September 2016 at 4:20 PM
I'm trying to find details for HE Smith who died in 1916 while with 7 Reserve Battery Royal Field Artillery. I believe he enlisted around September 1914, but had previously served with the RGA possibly in South Africa and was stationed at Shoeburyness in 1901. He died (in Exeter hospital) from an illness induced by an earlier injury which I guess may have been the reason for him being discharged from the RGA in early 1914.

His full name was Herbert Ernest Smith and he was born in Paignton, Devon in 1880; his wife was Henrietta G Smith (possibly nee Browne). From the fact that I can't find a 1911 census record, nor a marriage, but a possible first child in 1913, I guess he may have married in the army.

I am particularly keen to find information relating to his service with the RGA and RFA (possibly also RHA) and details surrounding the cause of his death.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 11th September 2016 at 7:37 PM

Dear Chris,
No individual service record appears to have survived for Herbert Ernest Smith so it is not possible to state his military service. The 1901 Census recorded him in the Royal Garrison Artillery at Shoeburyness. Perhaps co-incidentally, the 10th Company, Eastern Division, Royal Garrison Artillery, had been a Shoeburyness before going to South Africa and in 1901 the 31st Company R.G.A. was also at Shoeburyness.
However, the School of Gunnery was based at Shoeburyness, so Herbert might have been there for only a short period of time. There is no obvious record for Herbert serving in South Africa with the R.G.A., although there were half a dozen Herbert Smiths in units of the Royal Field Artillery.
If he were in the overseas military in 1911 he would have been in the 1911 Census of England which also recorded the military abroad. Had he served in Wales or Scotland he would have been readily recorded in the 1911 censuses of Scotland or Wales. The most likely place for him to be serving in 1911 was Ireland, which was not then partitioned and provided many garrisons and much open space for the army.
The Irish census recorded military personnel by their initials only. So the search would be for Surname: S; forename: H E; age 31.
One such entry was for a soldier in Athlone Military Barracks, Westmeath, (formerly Victoria Barracks), born in England and married, occupation before joining the army was: groom. The Athlone Barracks was the garrison of No 2 Depot Royal Field Artillery, Irish Command, but it is not clear in which unit H.E. S. was serving.
Also, separately listed at the Barracks was Henrietta Gertrude Smith, age 29, born Dublin City; married 4 years; two children; one surviving child, Florence Marion Smith, age 3, born County Cork. Handwritten addition: “Head of family Herbert E Smith shown on Form H”.
Herbert Ernest Smith had married Henrietta Gertrude Browne at Clogheen, Co. Cork, July – September 1906 (vol. 4; page 227). To apply for Irish certificates see:
Florence Marion Smith was born in 1907 in Cork (July – September 1907; vol. 5 page 62).

There is no formal identification of Herbert Ernest Smith in a particular unit. The 50th Battery of the 34th Field Artillery Brigade moved to Clogheen on Tuesday 21st August 1906 (Dublin Daily Express © British Library Board via British Newspaper Archive). It was there up to at least 1908.
The CWGC stated he had served with 7 Reserve Battery 170th Brigade Royal Field Artillery. These were two distinct units. 170th Brigade R.F.A. (CLXX in Roman numerals) was raised in April 1915 at Lytham and St Annes-on-Sea as 2nd County Palatine Brigade R.F.A.. It was part of 32nd Division initially, but actually went to France in the first week of December 1915 where it joined 31st Division. There is no record of Herbert Ernest Smith in the campaign medal rolls, suggesting he did not serve overseas.
7th Reserve Battery was part of 2A Reserve Brigade R.F.A. garrisoned at Preston. Herbert was Battery Quartermaster Serjeant. Herbert Smith died on 21 January 1916. His death was registered at Exeter as Herbert E. Smith, age 36, Exeter Vol 5B page 112). His death certificate should state the cause of death. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Chris
Date: Monday 12th September 2016 at 8:51 AM

Hi Alan,
I can't tell you how impressed I am with the information you have been able to provide, and in such short a time. This really is fantastic, I'm so grateful and I shall certainly spread the word about your website: if you've not yet been proposed as a Rockstar Genealogist, you should be next time.
Best wishes
Posted by: Carole Parkinson {Email left}
Location: Nr Lancaster
Date: Friday 9th September 2016 at 8:08 AM
Hi Alan, I am trying to find my grandad without any success, his name was Arthur Charlton born in 1886,lived in Hunslet Leeds and worked in ironworks.He was married to Clara Puddephatt Whittleston. I have an old photo of him in uniform,and his cap badge looks like Leeds Rifles and a sergeant.There are no details at all,the photo is a small group and a postcard.I think he was drafted in 1916. Thank you Carole
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 9th September 2016 at 12:12 PM

Dear Carole,
The Leeds Rifles were the 8th Battalion of The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). There is no Arthur Charlton listed in the medal rolls that can be positively identified. Because so few individual records have survived it is not possible to identify a soldier by his name without knowing his regiment and regimental number.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Carole Parkinson
Date: Friday 9th September 2016 at 1:03 PM

Thanks so much for your reply Alan, I do know lots of records were destroyed in the blitz. I do know he was in West Yorkshire Regiment 2/8th Battalion that were later merged with 8th battalion Leeds Rifles . Carole
Reply from: Donna Parrett
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 at 4:27 PM

Here are the details for Arthur

Arthur Charlton United Kingdom, World War I Service Records
Name Arthur Charlton
Event Type Military Service
Event Year 1919
Residence Place Naas, Yorkshire, England
Age 33
Military Company/Regiment West Yorkshire Regiment
Military Regiment 5/20431
Military Battalion Class W, 6th Training Reserve Battalion
Birth Year (Estimated) 1886
Birthplace Halifax, Yorkshire, England
Reply from: Donna Parrett
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 at 4:29 PM

Another set exists

Arthur Charlton
United Kingdom, World War I Service Records
Name Arthur Charlton
Event Type Military Service
Event Year 1914
Residence Place Naas, Yorkshire, England
Age 29
Military Company/Regiment West Yorkshire Regiment
Military Regiment 3145
Birth Year (Estimated) 1885
Birthplace Halifax, Yorkshire, England
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 at 4:51 PM

Dear Donna and Carole,
Thanks for identifying him. Those details are from the Findmypast website which is copyright. Under their terms and conditions the details cannot be transcribed on this forum. Findmypast offers pay-per-view which can be used for the first one-page document. The Ancestry website has the second set of documents within the file of William Henry Bennett, 20431 West Yorkshire Regiment, which is why Arthur couldn’t be found. I’ll transcribe that shortly from the Ancestry website. Thanks again, Donna.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 at 6:42 PM

Dear Carole,
Donna has identified Arthur Charlton in the West Yorkshire Regiment from records held on the Findmypast subscription website. Those records are copyright and cannot be transcribed on this forum. Findmypast offer pay-per-view from £6.95 for 60 credits and you would need 40 credits to see all the pages in the two entries under “Military, Armed Forces and Conflict”. See:
The website, which does permit transcription, does not have the same set of documents for Arthur Charlton. There are two pages that I can find, filed with the documents for William Henry Bennett, 20431 West Yorkshire Regiment. The reason for the difference is that from 1996, Ancestry scanned the National Archives microfilms (series number WO 363 and WO 364) just as they were microfilmed, using volunteers from the Genealogical Society of Utah, funded by the U.K. National Lottery. The National Archives stated that the microfilms included files discovered out of order which were filmed and placed at the end of the series. Files may also have been out of order when filmed due to either a misspelling or misreading of a soldier's surname. Findmypast, which is a commercial website required to recoup the expense of digitisation, sorted the files for misplaced documents; put them in the right order and re-indexed them before digitising them. As a result they claim to have 600,000 additional names in their index of soldiers’ records from 1914 - 1918.
From Ancestry: Arthur Charlton lived at 8 Runswick Terrace, Holbeck, Leeds. In the 1911 census Arthur was shown as an iron founder. He appears to have enlisted under a volunteer scheme which encouraged men in the engineering industry trade unions, among others, who were not engaged in war work, to join up. He enlisted on 10th December 1914 and joined the 8th (Reserve) Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Leeds Rifles). This would be the 2nd/8th Battalion (Leeds Rifles). They moved to Matlock on 1st March 1915, and then to Thoresby Park, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, in May 1915. Arthur was promoted to corporal on enlistment on 10th December 1914 and was promoted to lance-sergeant on 29th December 1914. He was reduced to Corporal on 11th June 1915.
On 21st July 1915 he was transferred to the 26th Training Reserve Battalion at Thoresby Park, where he remained a corporal. The Training Reserve had been created to handle the additional volume of conscripted recruits, so it is possible Arthur was a corporal instructor with them rather than a recruit. He was posted to 6th Training Reserve Battalion on 26th August 1916. This battalion was based at Rugeley Camp, on Cannock Chase. On 24th March 1917, Arthur was transferred to the “W” Reserve which was for those soldiers whose services were “deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment”. These reservists returned to their civilian jobs but were liable to be re-called if required. Arthur was discharged from commitment to the Reserve on 10th January 1919. He does not appear to have served overseas.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Carole Parkinson
Date: Sunday 11th September 2016 at 8:31 AM

Dear Alan, A thousand thanks, for all your hard work on finding my Grandad,it all seemed so very complicated and I thought we were at an end with it. I am a very happy lady now thankyou. how do I donate to your charity, Carole.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 11th September 2016 at 11:29 AM

Dear Carole,
I can't take the credit. It was Donna who discovered him and his regimental number. You can donate to the Royal Britidsh Legion by clicking on the link at the top of this page, or you can wait until poppies go on sale next month.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Phil Barnes {Email left}
Location: Victoria Australia
Date: Thursday 8th September 2016 at 7:38 AM
Hi Alan, I thought that you may be able to give me some help in where to look for further info on my Grandfather. His details are 474375 spr Henry Herton Barnes 529 east riding coy RE TF. He went to france in june 1915 and survived the war being demobbed in 1919. he won the MM on the 18th June 1917 during the battle ARRAS. I have been trying to find out why he was awarded the MM but not having a lot of luck and there do not seem to be a lot of records around for that period. Any clues on where I might look further would be appreciated. Many thanks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th September 2016 at 5:57 PM

Dear Phil,
Citations for the Military Medal were not published nationally and were presented to the soldier with the medal presentation. The awards were promulgated in the official publication “The London Gazette” in extensive alphabetical lists under the generic heading: “His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the under-mentioned Ladies, Non Commissioned Officers and Men :—”. The entry for Sapper Barnes was in: The London Gazette; Publication date: 14 August 1917 Supplement: 30234 Page: 8418. [Ladies were nurses]
The men usually received the actual medal much later than when the award had been granted and often the medal ribbon would be presented in the field to help maintain morale. Once published in the London Gazette the medals would be minted and impressed with the man’s name for formal presentation at some later date.
The award of the medal was sometimes mentioned in the local press, but the Hull Daily Mail does not appear to have published it. On Saturday June 9th 1917, the Hull Daily Mail published: “Wounded: R.E. Barnes 474375 Spr H” (© Trinity Mirror, via British Newspaper Archive). Such casualty lists were already dated, as the war diary of 529 Field Company R.E. recorded that 474375 Sapper Barnes was wounded on 9th May 1917 but stayed at duty, when the working party was heavily shelled whilst going up to work on strengthening the wire in front of Shrapnel Trench, near Monchy. No doubt he would have written a letter home to give assurances he was well, before his family read in the paper he had been “wounded” conjuring up all sorts of images other than staying at duty. There are some maps of Shrapnel Trench at:

The 1st/1st East Riding Field Company had lost its regional title and became 529 (East Riding) Field Company Royal Engineers in 3rd Division in 1915. Such Territorial Army companies were much like a family, with perhaps only 250 men, and their war diaries are usually more informative about individuals than infantry battalion diaries.
The war diary for 529 (East Riding) Field Company Royal Engineers for June 1917 records the Company was working on consolidating the Houlette Works (which had been captured on 9th April). The Company sections were working on consolidating East Trench with dugouts and an Observation Post and they had been digging new communication trenches leading to the new Front line. Captured trenches faced the wrong way and had to be consolidated and re-trimmed to face the enemy.
On the night of 17th/18th June 1917 to the East of their base at Tilloy “No 1 Section was working on a new fire-trench starting from the captured Hook Trench and running north. The other three sections were working on the communication trench between Hook and Long trenches. At 12.30 a.m. the enemy heavily barraged all the front line defences in that area until about 3 a.m. when he attacked the positions” [with infantry].
The Engineers had got themselves into a firefight. Picks and shovels were exchanged for rifles. “The Company assisted the 76th Infantry Brigade to resist this attack, which was successfully accomplished.”
The sections in the communication trench suffered heavy casualties: Twelve men were killed and 17 wounded. The complete Company did not get back to camp at Tilloy until 2 p.m. on the 18th June.
There is a map showing Hook trench at:
On 29th June 1917, 529 Field Company paraded on 76th Infantry Brigade’s parade ground at Caumesnil, east of Doullens. Six men of the Company, including 474375 Spr Barnes H.H., were awarded the Military Medal “for act of gallantry in the field in operations of 17/18 June 1918 at Infantry Hill” (National Archives WO95/1404/1, 529 (East Riding) Field Company R.E.; War Diary, June 1917, sheet 5). The awards were presented by Major General J.A.L. Haldane DSO, commanding VI Corps.
Infantry Hill is east of Monchy-le-Preux. It was captured by 76th Infantry Brigade on 14th - 19th June 1917.
You can read about the fighting at Infantry Hill online:
The Company war diary can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 from:
I don’t expect you would find much more information than that without seeing any family archives. Recipients of the Military Medal were entitled to use the post-nominal letters M.M..
With kind regards,
Reply from: Phil Barnes
Date: Friday 9th September 2016 at 6:57 AM

Wow Alan Thank you very much for your information, I did not even know he had been wounded and no one in the family talked about it. I did know him he was a very kind man and loved his shooting and fishing, but he unfortunately died when I was only 12. I am lucky enough to have his MM and other service medals, I also have some of his documents from when he enlisted, but not the citation and being the only surviving relative I would say that it got lost When he died. Would you know if it is possible to get a copy of it at all?
once again many thanks for you help, I shall be making a donation to the british legion in your name.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 9th September 2016 at 12:11 PM

Dear Phil,
I can’t believe that there is a copy of the M.M. citation. The citation would have been worded from the recommendation for the medal. There is the small chance that the recommendation was filed and archived. The most likely file would be the war diary of the Commander Royal Engineers of 3 Division which is National Archives file WO95/1397 held at the National Archives in Surrey. You would need to pay for a researcher to go through the file. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Phil Barnes
Date: Friday 9th September 2016 at 12:36 PM

Once thank you for time and effort. I am hoping to be in the UK next year and I should be able to get to the national archives myself
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 at 11:18 PM

Dear Phil,
Thank you for making a donation to the British Legion. Good luck on your visit to the U.K.
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 8:08 AM
Good Morning Alan, I have now returned from holiday and am collating all the information you have so generously provided for me over the summer. Thank you once again for everything.
The work that the Rainhill Civic Society is doing in trying to trace all the soldiers who wrote in Edith Lidstone's Autograph book while she was a nurse at Oakdene VAD Hospital, Rainhill is very much ongoing. At our recent Heritage Committee Meeting we discussed our progress and I have been asked to contact you and ask if you are willing to continue helping us to locate information about the soldiers that we are trying it hard to locate. If and when we get around to publishing our work we would, of course, acknowledge your help and send a sizeable donation to Rainhill British Legion.
The next soldier that I have been unable to find anything out about is Private W Jones 2698 of the 8th Bn. Notts and Derby Regiment.
Looking forward to hearing your comments.
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 8:32 PM

Dear Judith,
Private W Jones 2698 of the 8th Bn. Notts and Derby Regiment was a young man named Wallace Jones. He is a bit elusive in the statutory records but appears to have been born in about 1898 at Alfrick in the Malvern Hills of Worcestershire. Alfrick was in the Martley registration district and there is no matching birth registration. Wallace stated his father was Harry Jones of Makens Cottages, Alfrick, although it has not been possible to identify him. There was a sister named Annie with the father. The landlord of the New Inn at Alfrick was a Henry Arthur Jones but he doesn’t seem to be related.
Alfrick was a village that earned a place in Thomas Keightley’s “Fairy Mythology” of 1892: Alfrick was “where people sometimes said they were ‘Poake-ledden, that is, that they are occasionally waylaid in the night by a mischievous sprite whom they call Poake, who leads them into ditches, bogs, pools, and other such scrapes, and then sets up a loud laugh and leaves them quite bewildered in the lurch.’ This is what in Devon is called being Pixy-led. We may observe the likeness here to the Puck of Shakespeare and Drayton, who were both natives of the adjoining county.”
Wallace Jones has Poake-ledden this researcher.
In 1914, Wallace Jones stated he worked as a farm labourer and was a farrier’s cold shoer for a Mr Presswood at South Anston near Worksop. In the 1911 census there were two possible farmers at South Anston: William Presswood or George Presswood. Cold shoeing avoids heating the horseshoe.
On 16th October 1914, Wallace Jones was attested at Worksop and was posted to the 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment) which was a Territorial Force battalion, originally intended for home defence. Wallace therefore signed the Imperial Service Obligation agreeing to serve overseas. He was 5ft 4ins tall with a diminutive chest measurement of 24 inches with an expansion of one inch. This was below minimum standards for enlistment. Wallace was probably 16 years old, although he could have been younger. He sailed for France on 28th June 1915, as part of a draft of reinforcements to the 1st/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters which had gone to France in February serving with 139th Infantry Brigade in the 46th (North Midland) Division. The Division’s major engagements in 1915 were The German liquid fire attack at Hooge (30th and 31st July 1915) and the Attack at the Hohenzollern Redoubt (13th October 1915).
Wallace returned to the U.K. on 25th November 1915, wounded or sick, and was sent to the First Western General Hospital which was a Territorial Army R.A.M.C. hospital that occupied Fazakerley Hospital at Liverpool. There is no obvious record of his wounds or sickness. He was granted home leave to Alfrick from the hospital between 31st December 1915 and 9th January 1916. On 9th January he was posted to the 3rd/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. That battalion was at Grantham at the time, moving to Saltfleet on the Lincolnshire coast in April 1916 where it was stationed as a reserve battalion.
Wallace was then transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (M.G.C.), regimental number 106881, on 19th June 1917 when he reported to the M.G.C. Infantry Training Group at Clipstone Camp, Mansfield. On 3rd July 1917 Wallace was posted to the Machine Gun Corps Receiving Depot at Belton Deer Park, which was part of the M.G.C. headquarters established in the grounds of Belton House near Grantham.
On 27th August 1917, Wallace went to France once more. He sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne on August 27th and after passing through a base depot on the French coast he was sent to the M.G.C. Depot at Camiers, France, arriving there on 13th September 1917. From there he was posted to the 111th Machine Gun Company which served with 111th Infantry Brigade in the 37th Division. It is not clear on what date he actually joined 111th Company M.G.C. in the field. They were in action during the Third Battles of Ypres in late 1917 but Wallace’s record only confirmed he was on the strength of 37th Battalion M.G.C. when it was formed in March 1918.
On 4th March 1918, the 111th Company M.G.C. was re-organised and with the other machine gun companies of the 37th Division they formed 37th Machine Gun Battalion. Wallace then served with “B” Company, 37th Machine Gun Battalion.
In the Spring of 1918, the 37th M.G. Battalion had moved from the Ypres sector to the Somme.
Wallace Jones was gassed when a gas shell exploded near him on 12th May 1918. He had gas in his eyes, throat and lungs, and was admitted to 48 Field Ambulance, which was sited at Souastre, before being transferred to No. 5 General Hospital at Rouen on 14th May 1918. On 22nd May 1918 Wallace was sent to England on the Hired Transport “Panama” of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, which had been requisitioned as a hospital ship.
Wallace was treated for conjunctivitis and laryngitis for two weeks at Devonport Military Hospital at Plymouth. He was allowed home leave to Alfrick between 8th and 17th June 1918. On 9th July 1918 Wallace was sent to the Command Depot at Alnwick, which was a convalescent depot where men were exercised back to fitness rather than convalesced. The depot at Alnwick, Northumberland, catered for 4,500 men of the Machine Gun Corps. It consisted of four hutted camps on The Pastures. On 27th October 1918, Wallace was reported for “being incorrectly dressed in Bondgate, Alnwick, out of hours wearing civilian boots.” He received three days’ confinement to barracks.
On 29th November 1918, Wallace left Alnwick and was posted to the M.G.C. receiving depot at Belton Park, Grantham, arriving on 30th November 1918. He was discharged from there on 30th January 1919 with the stated age of 20, suggesting he would have been 15-and-a-half when he had enlisted in October 1914. He was demobilized on 27th February 1919.
Wallace Jones qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
His address on discharge was Fern Leigh House, Coles Green, Leigh Sinton, Malvern. This was altered at some date to c/o Mrs Foscatt, Stourport-on-Severn. In June 1920, his address was Cheap Side House, Alfrick.

As the Heritage Committee has kindly offered to make a sizeable donation to the Rainhill Royal British Legion, I couldn’t possibly decline to help you further!
If you have not already done so, Edith Lidstone’s records are available online, free, from the British Red Cross archives. See:
With kind regards,
Posted by: Joe Freaney {No contact email}
Location: Derry City
Date: Tuesday 6th September 2016 at 11:59 AM
Hi Alan, once again your response re: my previous query on John Mulholland was absolutely fantastic and very much appreciated. I would be much obliged if you could provide some information on another WW1 soldier. Hugh McMullan served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers, service number 5970 and later with the Labour Corps, service number 638651. Hugh received the 15 Star, British Medal and Victory Medal. He entered the French Theatre of War on 19 December 1914. Again, I would love to know when he moved Regiments and possibly why this would have happened. I would also like to know what Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers he was in and possibly Division. Hugh would have been wounded and gassed during the war but thankfully lived long after 1918. There is evidence that at some stage he/his regiment (Royal Irish Fusiliers) would have been responsible for looking after POWs - would this have been the norm as part of a regiment's/battalion's rotation?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th September 2016 at 7:55 PM

Dear Joe,
Hugh McMullan was born at Shankill Parish, Lurgan in about 1895, the son of William and Mary McMullan. He was 5ft 2ins tall, with blue eyes and dark hair. He was a linen weaver and at the stated age of 18 he joined the Special Reserve of Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers on 4th September 1913. His referee was Police Constable Francis of Church Place Police Barracks. The Special Reserve had replaced the former Militia and as there was no Territorial Army in Ireland, it was the only opportunity for voluntary part-time soldiering. Special reservists trained for six months and then committed themselves to three or four weeks’ training each year, and mobilization in the event of war when they would be drafted to battalions overseas. As a reservist, Hugh served with the 3rd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers at Armagh. In May 1914, Hugh McMullan passed his musketry course and was present for annual training at Finner Camp, near Ballyshannon in June 1914. He was mobilized on 8th August 1914, after the United Kingdom declared war on August 4th. The 3rd Battalion moved to Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal and then Londonderry (Derry).
On 28th November 1914, Private McMullan was posted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. The 2nd Battalion was a regular army battalion that was serving at Quetta, India (now in Pakistan) at the outbreak of war. The Battalion sailed for England in October 1914 and arrived at Winchester on 20th November 1914 to join the 82nd Infantry Brigade in the 27th Division. Hugh was posted with other reservists to the 2nd Battalion to bring it up to strength. They landed in France after sailing from Southampton, England, on the night of 18th/19th December 1914.
After 23 days in France and Flanders, Hugh was admitted to hospital on 5th January 1915 with an injury to his left knee, apparently synovitis, an inflammation of a synovial membrane in the knee joint. On 10th January 1915 he sailed for England on the Hired Transport “Oxfordshire”. This was a passenger steamship that had been requisitioned on August 2nd 1914 and became the first Hospital Ship, ferrying wounded men from the battlefields of France and Flanders to England. Hugh remained under the supervision of the Royal Irish Fusiliers depot from 11th January 1915 while he was treated. On 19th May 1915, Hugh returned to the 3rd Battalion which was then at Buncrana, alongside Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal. On 13th July 1915, Hugh returned to France and re-joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was with them for 100 days.
Then, on 21st October 1915, Hugh was admitted to 62 Field Ambulance and then 28 Casualty Clearing Station at Fouilloy, suffering from Bronchitis. Fouilloy is a commune in the Somme département in Picardie in northern France. On 26th October he was admitted to No. 11 Stationary Hospital at Rouen. A fortnight later on 12th November 1915, Hugh was warned he would be posted to the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers which was with 4 Division. He was sent to No.4 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen on 13th November 1915 but on the same day he was re-admitted to 11 Stationary Hospital with his old knee injury. On 5th December he was moved to No.12 General Hospital at Rouen. On 7th December 1915 he returned to No.4 Infantry Base Depot, Rouen, where he would have been put through his paces to get fit for the Front and join the 1st Battalion. But on 30th December 1915 he was admitted to No.12 General Hospital with his knee injury. On 16th January 1916, he sailed for England where he was treated at the Huddersfield War Hospital in Yorkshire. There a picture of the hospital at:
From January 22nd 1916 to January 31st 1916 Hugh was granted leave to his home address at 7, Blacks Court, Lurgan. On 31st January 1916, he returned to the 3rd Battalion at Buncrana. They sent him to the Command Depot at Ballyvonare Camp in Buttevant, County Cork which was a convalescent depot for the rehabilitation of sick and wounded men. He arrived there on 7th February and on 20th October 1916 he was recommended to return to the 3rd Battalion (now at Clonmany, Co. Donegal) for fitness training to get him back to medical category A and return to the Front.
On 28th June 1917, Hugh returned to France and passed through a base depot as part of a draft of reinforcements for the 7th/8th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, a merged battalion in 16th (Irish) Division. He joined the Battalion on 6th July 1917, shortly before The Battle of Langemarck from 16th to 18th August 1917 in the Third Battle of Ypres. On 23rd September 1917 Hugh returned to England where he was treated at the 1st Western General Hospital at Liverpool. This might have been for a gunshot wound in the left leg. His record stated he had been wounded (GSW – gunshot or shrapnel wound) but with no date. He would remain in England for the rest of the war.
From Liverpool he was granted two weeks’ home leave from 24th October 1917 to 2nd November 1917. On 10th November 1917 he was posted to a command depot for convalescence, but the location is unclear.
On 28th March 1918, Hugh was posted to the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers which, alongside the 3rd Battalion, had just moved to Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. The 3rd Battalion then absorbed the 4th Battalion. On 4th May 1918, Hugh left the Royal Irish Fusiliers and was transferred to the Royal Defence Corps. He was posted to 200 Central Reserve Company Royal Defence Corps which was stationed at Dringhouses at York. Dringhouses was a cluster of houses on the old Roman Road out of York. It was surrounded by the vast area of grassland known as Micklegate Stray and Knavesmire, which was, and is, the home of York Race Course. Laid out on the Knavesmire was No.11 Prisoner of War Camp, also known as Racecourse Camp, Knavesmire, York. The Royal Defence Corps duties included guarding P.O.W. camps. On 13th June 1918, Hugh was posted to 199 Central Reserve Company Royal Defence Corps, which, like 200 Company, served in Northern Command which had its headquarters in York.
On 4th July 1918, Hugh was sent to Margate to join the 22nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers which was being re-formed for duty in France. While there Hugh was medically graded B(3) able to march 2 miles, which meant he was fit for duties in garrisons but couldn’t serve at the Front.
On 2nd August 1918 he was sent to Aldershot where he was transferred to the Labour Corps where he was given the regimental number 413898. They sent him to Ripon, Yorkshire, where he was at Northern Command Labour Centre until 20th August 1918 employed by 365 Reserve Employment Company Labour Corps on sanitary duties. On 20th August they sent him to Eastern Command Labour Centre at Sutton, Surrey. The next day Hugh was posted to 586 (Home Service) Employment Company Labour Corps at Bedford. It headquarters were at 91 Midland Road, Bedford. Employment Companies provided men to work in depots, hospitals, and barracks as clerks, sanitary men, cooks, storemen and on other fatigue duties.
On 30th August 1918 Hugh McMullan’s number in the Labour Corps was changed to 538651. A month later it was confirmed that he served as 538651 and not 638651.
On an unspecified date he left Bedford and went for duties at Crystal Palace No.1 Dispersal Centre, London, from where men were discharged to civilian life.
In March 1919 Hugh himself was discharged from the Army at Crystal Palace. On March 19th he was classed as “surplus to requirements having suffered impairment since entry into the service”. He was finally discharged on 8th April 1919 and gave his home address as 36 Blacks Court, Lurgan. He was aged 23 and single.
Conclusion: Hugh McMullan joined the Special Reserve of the Royal Irish Fusiliers and served with the 2nd Battalion in France and Flanders on two occasions: from 28th November 1914 to 5th January 1915 and again from 13th July 1915 to 16th January 1916 although he was in hospital from 21st October 1915 with recurring problems to his left knee. In 1916 he was recovering in the United Kingdom. He returned to France on 29th June 1917 to serve with the 7th/8th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers from 6th July 1917 to 23rd September 1917 when he returned to England, probably after being shot in the knee. Following treatment and convalescence Hugh was medically downgraded and after three weeks with the Northumberland Fusiliers he served in the Royal Defence Corps and the Labour Corps, both of which employed men who had been wounded and could not serve at the Front. In the Royal Defence Corps he would have guarded POWs at York and in the Labour Corps he undertook sanitary and fatigue duties at Bedford and Crystal Palace. As well as an “old knee injury” he suffered a gunshot wound and had D.A.H. which was a Disordered Action of the Heart also called “Soldier's Heart” or “Effort Syndrome”. It was a recognised symptom treated by the medical services and was a result of over exertion, mental stress and tiredness. It wasn’t a disease but was an irregular heart rhythm.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Joe Freaney
Date: Tuesday 6th September 2016 at 8:24 PM

Good evening, Alan. Blown away by the detailed information you have provided on Hugh. Amazing!
Reply from: Joe Freaney
Date: Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 6:21 AM

You suggest that Hugh was warned he would be sent to the 1st Batt, was this some sort of threat or disciplinary action? Thanks.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 10:09 AM

Hugh hadn’t done anything wrong. It was in the form of a “warning order” in that he was told it would happen at a later date. While he was in hospital the 2nd Battalion would have been brought up to strength in his absence and so on his release to the Base Depot he was told he would be going to the 1st Battalion. As it happened, he returned to England and did not go to the 1st Battalion.
With kind regards,

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