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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,
Alan
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

Alan
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,
Alan
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:
https://www.findmypast.co.uk/pay
The Ancestry.co.uk 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,
Alan
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,
Alan
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
Phil
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:
http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/170982-arras-second-battle-of-the-scarpe/

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:
http://www.ossett.net/WW1/William_C_Gadie.html
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:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NtOkAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA92&lpg=PA92&dq=capture+of+hook+trench&source=bl&ots=p7_9R9nUu9&sig=eAYXAiwP-9VkqDwVelhDrL12TBI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjY94eb_f_OAhUkAsAKHRiDDMYQ6AEIMzAE#v=onepage&q=capture%20of%20hook%20trench&f=false
The Company war diary can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352048
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,
Alan
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.
Phil
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:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/paying-for-research/
With kind regards,
Alan
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.
Alan

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:
http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War
With kind regards,
Alan
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:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/robmcrorie/12452786543
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,
Alan
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,
Alan
Posted by: Joe Freaney {No contact email}
Location: Derry City
Date: Monday 5th September 2016 at 9:20 AM
Hi Alan

John Mulholland served with the 6 Connaught Rangers, service number 6/4166 and was awarded the 15 Star, British Medal and Victory Medal. Sadly, John died on 10/11/18. At the time of his death, he was listed as being a member of the Royal Engineers, Railways Division. How could I find out when exactly did he become a member of the RE, was it after the 6 Connaught Rangers were disbanded as a fighting force in April 1918 or at another time. Help much appreciated. Thanks.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 5th September 2016 at 5:29 PM

Dear Joe,
The W.R. prefix to regimental numbers was used by the Transportation Branch of the Royal Engineers from March 1918 when they re-organised their numbering system. In 1918, The Transportation Directorate of the Royal Engineers supervised 108,342 men employed on railways, inland waterways and roads. Men already serving on the Royal Engineers railways prior to March 1918 were allotted new numbers with the W.R. pre-fix in March 1918.
No individual service record has survived for John Mulholland, so there is no record of when he was transferred from the Connaught Rangers to the Royal Engineers.
John Mulholland had two regimental numbers in the Royal Engineers. The Army medal rolls for his British War and Victory medals recorded him with the number W.R. 267216 with the previous numbers 4166 Connaught Rangers and Royal Engineers number 248869 which would have been his original Royal Engineers number. The records of his death (Register of Soldiers’ Effects; Soldiers Died in the Great War and C.W.G.C.) showed his number as W.R. 267216. When he died on November 10th 1918, he had a regimental number with a 1918 pre-fix, but he had served with an earlier number in the Royal Engineers before the W.R. number was allotted.
John Mulholland served with No. 44 Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company in the Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers. Broad gauge was 4ft 8 1/2 inches (standard gauge) as opposed to narrow gauge used by the light railways often with Decauville track.
William Fearnley, 14691, Northumberland Fusiliers transferred to the Royal Engineers and was allotted the number 248940. He was later given the new number W.R. 267269. His biography states: “He continued to serve with the Northumberland Fusiliers until April 1917, when he was transferred to the Royal Engineers. He served in the Waterways and Railways section of the Royal Engineers, and by the time of his discharge served as a sapper in the 44th Broad Gauge Operating Company in France.” (http://www.somercoteshistory.co.uk/ww1soldiers.asp)
The CWGC Debt of Honour records Sapper J.W. Sutton served with 44th Broad Gauge Operating Company with the regimental number W.R./267277. The medal rolls recorded him as John W Sutton, Manchester Regiment, 38098, and Royal Engineers 248951 and W.R. 267277.
Another Manchester Regiment man, William Thomas M.M., 15890, transferred to the Royal Engineers with the number 248875, later changed to W.R. 267224. He served with “44th Broad Gauge Company”, Railway Operating Division, and died at Beugny, France on 17th November 1918. His number 248875 was just six digits higher than John Mulholland’s. His W.R. 267224 was eight digits higher than John Mulholland’s W.R. 267216.
Frederick Knight, formerly of the East Lancashire Regiment, 17330, served with the “44th Broad Gauge Operating Company” with the regimental number 248769 and was killed in action on 27th September 1917.
The above examples show Frederick Knight died before the W.R. prefixes were allotted and served with 44th Railway Operating Company (R.O.C.). His number starting 248 was allotted to the 44th R.O.C. by the time of his death in September 1917 and the number 248940 had been allotted to William Fearnley in April 1917.
If the regimental numbers of the 44th Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company were allotted in a logical sequence it seems probable John Mulholland transferred to the Royal Engineers in about April 1917.
Compulsory transfers “in the interests of the service” were authorised through Army Order 204 of 1916. However, at times the Royal Engineers sought infantry soldiers who had skills in civilian life that would be useful. This was a process known as “combing out” and was employed at home and abroad in 1917. John Mulholland’s rank in the Royal Engineers was Sapper which was the rank of a private soldier who had recognised trade skills and who had passed the requisite trade tests either in civilian life or in the Royal Engineers.
On 1st August 1915, the Royal Engineers had three railway companies operating in France. By 1st August 1917, the railway units in France had increased to 105.
John Mulholland died on 10th November 1918, aged 23, at No.12 Stationary Hospital which was established on the racecourse at St. Pol-sur-Ternoise, south-west of Bethune.
There does not appear to be a war diary for 44th Railway Operating Company R.E.. The Royal Engineers Order of Battle for 11th November 1918 showed that in addition to the railway construction companies and light railways, there were some forty-three Broad Gauge Operating Companies employed in France including Nos 40 to 53. Because John Mulholland died in hospital, there is a death certificate that might give the cause of death. It is John Mulholland, 1918, Service Number WR/267216, Sapper, Royal Engineers, GRO War deaths Army Other Ranks Volume E1, page 45. It can be purchased as an “overseas event” from the England and Wales General Register Office using their online service. See:
http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp
With kind regards,
Alan

Additional sources: “Work of the R.E. in the European War. The Organization and Expansion of the Corps 1914-1918”; Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, undated, reproduced by Naval and Military Press.
Reply from: Joe Freaney
Date: Monday 5th September 2016 at 6:04 PM

Thank you for this very informative and fascinating information. It helps to clear up some queries re John's involvement in certain actions. Thank you so much!
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Sunday 4th September 2016 at 7:44 AM
Morning Alan,
Thanks for all the information you gave me regarding Charles Norrish yesterday.
Locally his path crosses that of a Charles Vincent No 3364 of the Wiltshire Regiment, can you tell me anything about this soldier who I believe ended his army service as a serjeant?.
Thanks David,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 4th September 2016 at 6:40 PM

Dear David,
Charles Vincent appears to have served in the Wiltshire Regiment in the Victorian era and there is no readily identifiable record for Charles Vincent in the First World War. A Charles Vincent was recorded in the 1891 census as an 18-year-old private soldier in the Wiltshire Regiment at Le Marchant Barracks, London Road, Devizes, which was the regimental depot of the (Duke of Edinburgh’s) Wiltshire Regiment. Because he was at the depot, he might have been a recruit or undergoing Militia training. The 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment was garrisoned at The Curragh, Ireland in 1891 and the 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment was serving overseas. This young soldier was Charles Vincent born about 1873 at Lea, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, the son of a Cotswold shepherd, Henry Vincent and his wife Rose. Charles Vincent was recorded in the 1901 census as a general labourer at Stoke Damerel, Devonport, with his wife, Susan, and a one month old daughter, Gladys. In the 1911 census Charles was recorded as a farm labourer employed by the Devon and Cornwall Sanitation Committee, living at Treeland, South Brent, Devon. He had married Susan (perhaps née Pryor) in 1898 and they had six surviving children.
Charles might have been the Charles Henry Vincent whose birth was registered in January-March 1874, Malmesbury, Wiltshire (vol. 5a; page 48).
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Gary Wallace {Email left}
Location: London
Date: Saturday 3rd September 2016 at 7:14 PM
Hi, this week I had managed to trace my grandfather through searching the Internet, I found out he was a CSM in the Royal Irish Rifles and served in SA and Flanders where he died, I cannot find any other info on his service records only what someone had written about him,
His name and number was CSM Robert H Wallace 5619 and he was 2nd batt, he died on the 18th August 1917 at the battle of Langemarck.

Regards Gary,

Ps I have manged to find his medal rolls and his pension details and where he is buried, it's just the service record I was wanting to find,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd September 2016 at 10:10 PM

Dear Gary,
Only about 30 percent of Army service records from the First World War have survived. Unfortunately, a service record for Robert Wallace, 5619 Royal Irish Rifles, is not among them. He had originally enlisted with 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Medal nominal rolls). He died at No.30 General Hospital in Calais on 18th August 1917 (Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects).
The 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles served in 74th Infantry Brigade with 25th Division. In August 1917 they were fighting at Pilkem which was concurrent with the Battle of Langemarck during the Third Battles of Ypres. On 10th August 1917, 74th Brigade took part in the renewal of the attack. In a successful action Westhoek was captured, although at the loss of 1291 men killed, wounded or missing. The fighting continued until the Division was withdrawn on 9th September 1917. For the engagements of the 25th Division See Chris baker’s website, The Long Long Trail:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/25th-division/
C.S.M. Robert Wallace qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star, he did not go overseas until after January 1st 1916.
The war diary of 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles between November 1915 and October 1917 is available to download from The National Archives at a cost of £3.45. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353377
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Gary Wallace
Date: Monday 5th September 2016 at 1:11 AM

Thank you Alan for your reply, I will now endeavour to read about the battalion and what they had to go through,

I managed to find his medal rolls for The Boer war and SA I am looking for a needle in a haystack trying to find them if at all they still exist.
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Saturday 3rd September 2016 at 11:38 AM
Hello Alan,
Can you help me understand the service record of the following chap please 110964 Charles Norrish, I know he served with the Royal Horse Artillery before his re-enlistment in 1915, but I don't understand what the Remount Squadrons did? Any help is, as always, very much appreciated.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 3rd September 2016 at 6:12 PM

Dear David,
Charles Norrish, who was 5th 4ins tall, lied about his age when he attested in 1915. He stated he was 48 years old when he was actually 63 years old. However, he was just what the Army was looking for because he was a groom and experienced grooms were in short supply for looking after horses. In May 1915 the Army Service Corps advertised in local newspapers for grooms: “For King and Country. Remount Squadrons A.S.C.. Wanted at Once. Suitable men for direct enlistment into Remount Squadrons. Special Corps pay. Ordinary standards of height and chest measurements may be waived” (Surrey Advertiser, May 1st 1915, via British Newspaper Archive).
The Army Service Corps (A.S.C.) was responsible for supplying all the horses for the British Army and in order to do so they had established four depots at Woolwich, Dublin, Melton Mowbray and Arborfield. Arborfield Cross is near Reading and Wokingham in Berkshire.
Remount is both a verb and a noun. As a transitive verb it means to provide someone with a fresh horse (or mule or donkey). As a noun, a ‘remount’ is a fresh horse for a rider. The Army Service Corps provided the remount service through its depots which were each operated by a number of remount squadrons, each of about 200 men.
The number of horses required, and the fodder, was vast and the A.S.C. purchased animals from all over the world, especially from the Americas, and trained them at remount depots before they were sent to the Front.
Charles Norrish was a groom at the Manor House, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, when he enlisted at Wokingham on 28th May 1915. He stated he had previously served 12 years and five months with the Royal Horse Artillery. In the Victorian censuses he was recorded as being a 17-year-old footman to Ann Fish in 1871 at St David’s Exeter; a coachman in 1891 at Place Cottage adjacent to Place House, Ashburton. In 1901 he was recorded as a domestic coachman at Middle Cator, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, and he was a cab proprietor at Newton Abbot in 1911. He had married Mary Rosamond Irish at Newton Abbot on 12th November 1887. They had nine children. The censuses showed he was born about 1853/54 at Exeter and it is likely his GRO birth registration was Charles Norrish; April-June 1853, Exeter, Devon, vol 5b; page 99. He appears to have been the son of William and Mary Norrish, of St Laurence, Exeter. William was employed as a stable man.
Charles appears to be missing from the 1881 census which might indicate the period in which he was in the Royal Horse Artillery.
Private Norrish joined No 4 Remount Depot A.S.C. at Arborfield Cross on May 28th 1915 and was posted within the depot to No 54 Remount Squadron where he remained until 17th June 1916 when he was posted within the Arborfield Depot to No 61 Remount Squadron. The work of the Remount Squadrons is explained on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-army-service-corps-in-the-first-world-war/the-army-service-corps-remounts-service/
Charles stated his next-of-kin was his wife who was living at Hade House, Widecombe-in-the-Moor. On 26th April 1917, Charles was reprimanded by his Commanding Officer, Lt-Col Badcock for “gross neglect when in charge of a party of soldiers in permitting potatoes to be stolen”. The incident happened at Eversley, to the south of Arborfield. Charles received 14 days’ confinement to barracks as punishment. On a happier occasion, Lt-Col Badcock had presided at the Arborfield Remount Depot sports day. See:
http://www.arborfieldhistory.org.uk/WW1/WW1_Remount_Sports_1916.htm
Charles continued to serve at Arborfield until 12th March 1919 when he was transferred to the Z Reserve, at the age of 66 with the medical category Biii which restricted him to sedentary work in garrisons. The Z Reserve was formed of men who could be recalled if the Armistice with Germany did not hold. Service in the Z Reserve was deemed to have ended on March 31st 1920.
Charles gave his intended address in 1919 as Cator Cottage, Widecombe-in-the-Moor.
Charles Norris appears to have died in 1929, aged 76 (GRO Deaths, Charles Norrish, age 76, Oct-Dec 1929, Newton Abbot, vol 5b; page 155.)
There is a history of Arborfield Remount Depot at:
http://www.arborfieldhistory.org.uk/WW1/WW1_Army_Remount_Service.htm
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Jonboy {Email left}
Location: Harlow
Date: Friday 2nd September 2016 at 4:22 PM
Hi Alan
Hope your keeping well i was wandering if i can take you back a bit to your correspondence to me on the 15th Nov 2012 regarding Frederick Arthur Nicholls born 1893, its a long time ago i know but i have just got round to researching him fully now and after going through your emails to me i took your advice and applied for a Marriage Certificate to to find out just who his Parents were it arrived this week and it states as follows :
Marriage solemnized at The Parish Church at Upton Cum Chalvey on Nov 12th 1917 between Frederick Arthur Nicholls (Soldier) aged 24 residing at 3 Buckingham Gardens (Fathers name James Nicholls) :
Married a Emma Alice Annie Pomfret aged 23 residing at 7 Buckingham Gardens (Father Joseph William).
The problem i have is i am still confused with the 1901 Census which states Frederick living with Parents John and Elizabeth at 3 Buckingham Gardens Upton Cum Chalvey, do you think they could have put down wrong Parents ?? its not something ive come across before though i must admit, this is something i can not get my head round. Any ideas please would be appreciated.
Kind regards
jonboy
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd September 2016 at 7:21 PM

Dear Jonboy,
That’s entirely my fault.
The 1901 Census recorded Frederick A Nicholls at 3, Buckingham Gardens, Slough, with his father James Nicholls, aged 57, employed by Slough District Council, and his wife, Elizabeth (England 1901 census, RG13 piece 1343, folio 26, page 2, schedule 8).
In November 2012, I told you “Frederick was recorded in the 1901 census as living with his father and mother, John and Elizabeth, at 3 (not 8) Buckingham Gardens, Upton-cum-Chalvey. In the 1911 census he was recorded at the same address with his father and mother, James and Elizabeth Lucy.”
The mistake of transcribing James as “John” in 1901 was mine alone. I apologise.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Jonboy
Date: Friday 2nd September 2016 at 7:34 PM

Hi Alan
Sorry i should have picked that up along the way thanks so much but Tree research does get to me sometimes , by the way Luke went back to his old school that opened for a special history day of many things and he gave a 1 hr long speech of WW1 which he said later he couldn't have done it without looking up on your site, he made me so proud the youngsters were mesmerized in what he had to say ,so he sends his thanks.
Kind regards
jonboy
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd September 2016 at 8:59 PM

Dear Jonboy,
Well done to Luke for standing in front of his audience and giving an hour-long talk.
Alan
Posted by: Katharine Hunt {Email left}
Location: High Wycombe
Date: Friday 2nd September 2016 at 12:35 PM
Hi Alan

You have already been really helpful finding out about my grandfathers.

Could you now please tell me something about a great uncle, whom my Granny often talked to me about when I was a child. He was her favourite brother. She used to say that because he was unmarried he volunteered to "go over the top" and was killed to save his comrades. She also talked about his bloodstained bible and damaged cigarette case having been returned. I now wonder how much of her story of volunteering on the battlefield itself was to help her justify his death.

His name is Harold Gardner and he would have been born in New Cross a little before 1888. The CWGC site shows that a bombardier (23854) of this name from the Royal Garrison Artillery in the 19th Trench Mortar Bty died on 1 April 1916 and is buried at Vermelles British Cemetery in grave II G 20. Is this likely to be the same man as I wonder if a bombardier would "go over the top" rather than staying with his artillery.

Could you also tell me whether being buried in one of the main graveyards like this suggests that a soldier died quickly close to the battlefield rather than being taken back to a field station or base hospital. When the cemeteries were reorganised officially after the War did they move bodies significant distances to be near where they were killed or fatally wounded? And how were they able to identify the bodies?

Many thanks.

Kay Hunt
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 2nd September 2016 at 9:02 PM

Dear Kay,
Bombardier Harold Gardner, 23854 Royal Garrison Artillery, appears to have been born at Barking in about 1885, the son of Charles W. Gardner and his wife Kate. The Army medal rolls record he served in 108 Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery (R.G.A.) and went to France on 16th August 1914 with that battery. The 108 Heavy Battery R.G.A. was a pre-war Regular Army battery with four 60-pounder guns. The Battery served with 5 Division in the original British Expeditionary Force.
The CWGC Debt of Honour recorded Harold Gardner served with 19th Trench Mortar Battery and 15 Y Trench Battery (which would have been Y.15 Medium Mortar Battery of 15th Division). The heavier trench mortar batteries were not created until March 1916 and many of them included men who volunteered to establish them and then operate the trench mortars. This was an unenviable task as it involved digging large pits for the weapon every time it was called forward. The operating of trench mortars was notorious for bringing about retaliation from the enemy, so even the infantry in the trenches did not welcome them to the front line as they attracted ever more shelling. Trench mortars were especially targeted by the enemy.
Harold Gardener was killed in action on 1st April 1916.
The story that he went over the top to save his comrades is probably apocryphal as a mortar man would not be likely to climb out of the weapon pit and scramble forward. He probably would not have carried a personal weapon in addition to the trench mortar.
When they were killed in the Front line, men were buried in battlefield cemeteries where their graves might be marked with a wooden cross. They could later be identified by the cross, or if that had fallen, by identity discs carried on a chord from the neck or by their name and number on pieces of equipment or clothing.
After the war, the then Imperial War Graves Commission started creating the now familiar war cemeteries by tidying the larger battlefield cemeteries and at the same time bringing in graves from more isolated places. Plot II at Vermelles, in which Harold Gardener is buried, contains some graves that were brought in from the battlefields to the East of the cemetery after the war ended.
There are some histories that suggest that when the Trench Mortar Batteries were created, they did not accept married men because the job was too dangerous. It is possible Harold’s sister was aware that single men, who had volunteered from the R.G.A., helped establish the new trench mortar batteries.
With kind regards,
Alan

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