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Posted by: David Ashman {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 7:37 AM
Hi Alan,
I think I need a little help in sorting out the service record of a relative I only found out about yesterday, thanks to a contact made through your forum. Robert Overill served in the tank Corps no 205370, and is listed elsewhere as having served earlier in RFA 3rd Batt service no 466 and/or as a private in the Motor Machine Gun Corp no 5422. Can you clear up if this is the same man in each case, and also the final rank he achieved before Demob?
Thank you.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 8:25 PM

Dear David,
Robert Overill enlisted at Kilburn on 12th September 1914 and was posted to the 12th Battery Motor Machine Gun Service of the Royal Field Artillery, with the regimental number 5422.
He was 26 years old, 5ft 10ins tall and had a dark complexion with grey eyes and brown hair. Members of the M.M.G.S. were volunteers many of whom were motorcycle enthusiasts. The motor machine gun batteries were a new concept at the time. Robert was appointed an acting Lance-corporal on 24th September 1914.
Robert was sent overseas to France on 16th February 1915 and was then posted to 3 Battery M.M.G.S. (commanded by Capt. F.E. Soames) in V Corps on 19th February. This unit served in 28th Division, I think. The next day he was promoted to Bombardier. This was his first promotion, as Lance-corporal was not a War Office substantive rank, but a locally-made appointment. An appointment could be made or withdrawn by the commanding officer whilst a rank had to be approved by the War Office.
On 19th March 1915 Robert was in a dug-out in the trenches near Ypres with a grenade in his hands. The fuse of the grenade exploded with a blue flash and badly injured both his hands. The grenade itself did not explode. An inquiry concluded it was an accident. He was treated in hospital in France and returned to England on 13th April 1915 where he was further treated at Spalding Hall Hospital, Hendon.
Once he had recovered Robert became an instructor in England. He passed instructor’s courses as 1st Class in Hotchkiss gun; Vickers machine-gun and a third (illegible) gun, possibly Lewis.
On 16th August 1915 Robert was at an M.M.G.S Depot (unidentified) and was promoted to Corporal. On 1st December 1915 he was formally transferred to the new Machine Gun Corps (Motors) which absorbed the M.M.G.S. batteries of the Royal Field Artillery. His new regimental number was 466 in the Machine Gun Corps. A headquarters for the M.G.C. was established with a training depot in the grounds of Belton House, near Grantham. Robert was promoted to Sergeant on 3rd December 1915.
On 19th April 1916, Robert was appointed acting Sergeant Major with “A” Company, Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps, Bull House Farm Camp, Bisley, near Woking, Surrey. This was the headquarters of the Heavy Section under the command of Colonel Swinton. The Heavy section was a cover title disguising the fact this was where the first experimental tanks were on trial. They were actually driven by volunteers from the Mechanical Transport section of the Army Service Corps. The A.S.C. formed 711 Company A.S.C. to act as the workshops.
On 27th May 1916 he reverted at his own request to acting-Sergeant. (Whilst this seems unreasonable, it is likely that with the creation of the new units there was some confusion over the “establishment”, which was the number of men in a unit and the number of allocated ranks for Non Commissioned Officers. To tidy up any over-establishment or over-expenditure in pay, Robert might have continued in his post but had to revert to sergeant. To ensure there was no suggestion of demotion through disgrace, he reverted “at his own request”).
On 26th June 1916 the Heavy Section moved to Elveden Camp, near Thetford, Norfolk, where the Heavy Section started to raise the first six companies of tanks and their crews. On 14th July 1916, as a sergeant once more, he was posted to “Park Company” M.M.G.C. (a variation: Motor Machine Gun Corps) at Thetford. I would suggest “Park” in this sense was a military tank park, the word used in the military sense of storage or holding area. Robert then moved to M.G.C. (Heavy Section) Training Centre, No 2 Camp, Thetford, on 11th September 1916, as a sergeant. The first four tank companies went to France in August 1916 where the first tank action was at Flers on 15th September 1916. The Heavy Section HQ remained in England and in November 1916, The Heavy Section M.G.C. was re-named the Heavy Branch.
In October 1916, Robert got married.
On 11th November 1916, Robert was promoted to paid Company Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 2) in 2nd Battalion Heavy Branch M.G.C..
On 24th February 1917, Robert was posted as Company Sergeant Major to “A” Company, Depot Battalion, Heavy Branch M.G.C.. On 27th July 1917, the Heavy Branch M.G.C. became the Tank Corps. Robert was re-numbered 205370 Tank Corps. On 15th June 1918, as a Company Sergeant Major he moved to the Tank Corps Depot and on 25th July 1918 he was posted to Reserve Unit Tank Corps, Worgret Camp, Wareham (a.k.a. Wareham Camp), as a Company Sergeant Major. Two months later on 25th September 1918 he was appointed locally as paid acting Regimental Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 1). In August – September 1918 he was on attachment to Bovington Camp, Wareham. These were all tank training camps. On 18th September 1918, the Tank Corps record office notified the Worgret Camp commandant that the acting appointment of R.S.M. for Robert Overill was approved. The reason Robert had been made acting R.S.M. was because the camp commandant at Worgret, Lt-Col W. Pepys, considered Robert’s predecessor unsuitable after a few weeks. He had been acting Warrant Officer Class 1 Frederick Measures who was discharged as medically unfit in August 1918 and later died of heart disease on 8th January 1919. On 23rd January 1919, Robert was an acting R.S.M. at the Tank Corps Depot. On 1st February 1919 Robert volunteered to stay on for another year at the Depot. He reverted to his substantive rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 (Company Sergeant Major) on 24 October 1919. His Royal Warrant was sent to his home address, Prospect Cottages, Ditcheat, Somerset, in January 1920. Robert was demobilized in the rank of Company Sergeant Major on 30th March 1920 and was discharged from the Army on 27th April 1920.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star (France 56 days); the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. For background on the Machine Gun Corps and the first tanks see Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail:
With kind regards,
[Service record from with additional images viewed before the landing page which the ‘view image’ button takes you to.]
Posted by: Jacky {No contact email}
Location: Shropshire
Date: Monday 29th August 2016 at 2:30 PM
Alan, firstly many thanks for your help in the past, which has been invaluable.
I wonder if I might ask to pick your brains again for a couple of minutes, please?
I'm researching a soldier who was KIA with 16 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 24th August 1918, and hoping that you might be able to tell me where to look so I can find out what the Bn were involved in at the time. This would be a great way to add detail to the soldier's story. Many thanks, Jacky.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 29th August 2016 at 2:44 PM

Dear Jacky,
The war diary of the 16th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers can be downloaded from The National Archives website for £3.45. See:
The 16th Battalion served in the 38th (Welsh) Division. See Chris Baker’s website, the Long Long Trail for their engagements.
The Division was fighting in what became known as the Second Battle of Bapaume on April 24th 1918.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Jacky Cooper
Date: Monday 29th August 2016 at 8:35 PM

Many thanks, Alan, Much appreciated!

Posted by: Donna Parrett {Email left}
Location: Bath
Date: Friday 26th August 2016 at 3:32 PM
Can you help me understand the uk soldiers effect record for Wallace 112051 please?

28/10/8 was transferred to vote 108 19/12/1922 what is vote 108?
9/9/6 was authorised to John A Moore on 19/7/1920 Could funeral cost be made from soldier effects?

What does see 31 miso / 2655 mean?

Any help will be appreciated
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 26th August 2016 at 7:38 PM

Dear Donna,
I haven’t come across this before, but I note that it recurs elsewhere in the registers when a soldier had been discharged from the Army and died after the war had ended, as opposed to being killed during the war. It suggests the soldier had already received some of the money due to him.
This is my interpretation:
The registers of soldiers’ effects are accountancy ledgers. They record the money owed to a soldier, which consisted of his balance of pay, plus a service gratuity or a war gratuity. The money usually went to the man’s sole legatee, who was often his widow, or a parent if he was unmarried; sometimes it was paid to siblings.
The War Office was funded by the Government and the amounts of money in any particular fund were “voted” as credits from the Treasury as “Army Votes”. This is a governmental use of the word “vote” meaning a sum of money granted by a majority of votes. Estimates of money required by the Army were submitted to the Government in annual Army Estimates. The government then decided the maximum strength of the army and also its finances in the annual “Army Vote A”. Supplementary estimates could be issued by the Treasury out of the Consolidated Fund and used for expenditure authorised by Parliament. The Consolidated Fund is the Government's general bank account at the Bank of England.
The war gratuity was introduced in December 1918 as a payment to be made to those men who had served in the war, depending on rules laid out in Army Order 17 of 1919. A sum of money had to be voted to provide a fund for these gratuity payments.
There had also been a service gratuity, depending on a man’s length of service, which was paid before the introduction of the war gratuity. For this a man was provided with a Post Office Savings Account into which the payments were made. Again, a sum of money had to be set aside for this scheme.
William Wallace died on 25th November 1919 after he had been discharged from the Army.
The CWGC listed his relative as a married sister, Mrs P. Duffus of Blairgowrie. Someone, probably John A. Moore, applied for any outstanding payments, after William Wallace’s death.
The accountancy columns in the effects’ register showed William Wallace had been due a total of £38 0s. 2d for his war service, including war gratuity. This was recorded in the credit column. So, on paper, £38.0s.2d had been debited from the fund which was set up to finance the payments, and that would have been known as “Vote 108”, which would be the Army fund used to finance the Postmaster General’s accounts for making the payments through the Post Office. However, William Wallace had apparently already received a large proportion of the £38 before he died and this was shown as “charges” of £28.10s. 8d against his credit, which would have been the sum of the payments already paid to him via the Post Office whilst he was alive.
Accountants have to balance the books, so those charges of £28.10s. 8d which made up part of the £38, had to be transferred back to the account, and that account was “Vote 108”. The balance of the outstanding funds owed to the late William Wallace was £9. 9s. 6d, which was paid to one person on 19th July 1920: John A Moore, who might have been a relative or even a solicitor handling the deceased’s estate.
A dead man could not apply for the rest of the money owed to him. Paragraph 33 of Army Order 17 of 1919 stated: “In the case of deceased soldiers in respect of whom Army Form O1815 (or equivalent report) has already been rendered, and of men who have died since discharge, Army Form W5070 will have been forwarded by the War Office to the Paymaster for insertion of the gratuity or balance of gratuity due. A recapitulation of the credits notified each day on Army Form W5070 will be forwarded to the Secretary of the War Office, Imperial Institute, London, SW7 with the relative forms. The charges against Army Votes in these cases will be made by the War Office direct.”
So it can be seen that charges (and credits) were made against “Army Votes”, which is another way of describing an Army bank account number 108.
The House of Commons voted the money in parliament. It was transferred from the Treasury to the War Office who allocated it to the Army as “Vote 108” which was the allocation of funds set aside to finance the wartime payments. The funds passed to the Postmaster General to pay the soldier through the soldier’s Post Office Savings Account.
The register containing William Wallace’s entry was entitled the “25th Part of List 534”, with the individual record number 911044, which would be shown as 534/911044. Some soldier’s entries have “see also” followed by such a number indicating they had more than one entry in the numerous volumes of the registers.
In cases where a soldier died after the war ended and was owed money, there is a note which read: “see also 3/misc/2655” which relates to an entry in a miscellaneous list. The registers themselves are held at the National Army Museum. Whilst the Ancestry website has digitised some of them, it is not clear where the miscellaneous files are held or if they have survived with the original registers. The National Army Museum is currently being re-built and cannot answer enquiries until November 2016.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Donna Parrett
Date: Friday 26th August 2016 at 7:50 PM

Thank you Alan, once again a very informative post
Posted by: David {Email left}
Location: Sydney
Date: Friday 26th August 2016 at 2:51 AM
Dear Allan my enquire is about imperial war plaques how do i find out wether my 2 uncles were entitled to the award because both were killed in was killed in france in 1918 and the other in galipolli in 1915.Regards David
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 26th August 2016 at 3:09 PM

Dear David,
All soldiers who were killed in the First World War were acknowledged after the war ended by the issuing of a plaque and scroll to their direct next-of-kin. See:
With kind regards,
Posted by: Alison Pirouet {Email left}
Location: Chesham
Date: Thursday 25th August 2016 at 9:47 AM
I am trying to find out about Major A.C. Poole (believe to be Arthur Edward), who was a military knight, based at Windsor Castle in 1911. Could you help please, information seems to be a little hard to find
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 25th August 2016 at 8:02 PM

Dear Alison,
Arthur Edward Poole was the son of the Rev Thomas Poole and his wife Mary. The Rev Poole was the perpetual curate of Firbeck-cum-Letwell on the Yorkshire-Nottinghamshire border between Doncaster and Worksop. Arthur was the couple’s third son, born in 1850 and baptised on 21st May 1850 at Letwell. He attended the Blue Coat School (Christ’s Hospital) and then went up to Cambridge University. In May 1873, when he left Cambridge, he joined the 10th Royal Hussars which at that time was stationed at Lucknow in India. He served in the ranks for nine years to become Quarter-master Sergeant. The 10th Royal Hussars was a sophisticated regiment with the Duke of Clarence; at least three lords; and a sprinkling of “honourables” in the Officers’ Mess. In 1879 there was an outbreak of Cholera in which the 10th Royal Hussars suffered 40 fatalities. “The London Gazette” recorded Quarter-master Sergeant Arthur Edward Poole was appointed Quarter-master and honorary Lieutenant on 2nd December 1882. The Regiment was at Lucknow in 1882 and sailed for England in 1884 but was halted at Egypt because of unrest in the Sudan. The Sudan or Soudan was defined as an area south of the Sahara and north of the jungle forest. It is a dry grass land that stretches from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. The 10th Royal Hussars took part in the fighting against the rebels of Osman Digma at El Teb and Tamaii. This was part of the Suakin expedition in the Sudan by the British Army between 1883 and 1885. Lord Kitchener was there in this period leading the Egyptian Army contingent. The uprisings were part of the unsettled local response to increased British involvement in Egypt following the opening of the Suez Canal. Suakin was Kitchener’s headquarters and his force survived a lengthy siege there. Arthur Poole was responsible for making the most of the men’s comforts throughout the Hussars’ involvement in the campaign. He qualified for the Egypt Medal with clasp “Suakin 1884” (19th February – 26th March 1884). The medal was presented personally by the Prince of Wales when the regiment was back in England at Shorncliffe Camp in 1884. Arthur was also presented with the Bronze Star of His Highness the Khedive of Egypt for service near Suakin. Arthur was promoted to Captain in 1892.
Arthur had married his wife, Mary, at Lucknow in 1881 (?) and their first two children were born at Lucknow. They were Florence Mary Mildred (1882) and Maud Gertrude Eleanor (1884). In 1885, Thomas Frederick Alexander Poole was born at Shorncliffe Camp. Beatrice Margaret Isabel Poole was born at Hounslow Barracks in 1888. A year later, the 10th Hussars moved to the Cavalry Barracks at Fulford Road, York. (It is now a police headquarters).
Hugh Edward Algernon Poole was born at York in 1889.
While at York, the 10th Royal Hussars took part in many parades; steeple-chases, regimental balls; and sports tournaments that were reported in the local papers. Two more boys were born at York: Charles William, born at York in 1891and Richard Lionel, born York 1892. In 1893 the Hussars moved to Ireland, where a daughter, Evelyn Gladys was born at Cahir, Co. Tipperary in 1894. In 1896 the 10th Royal Hussars presented the musical ride at the week-long Royal Military Tournament in Dublin. In 1897 they were stationed at Newbridge, Co. Kildare and then returned to England in 1898 where they were at Bulford Camp, Salisbury Plain. (In June 1898 it was reported in the Taunton Courier that soldiers in line battalions were henceforth forbidden whilst in uniform to walk arm in arm with a female in the street).
In November 1899 the Boers in South Africa declared war against Britain. The 10th Royal Hussars fought in the Second Anglo-Boer War at Colesberg and the regiment participated in the relief of Kimberley in February 1900. Arthur qualified for The Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps: Paardeberg; Dreifontein; Johannesburg; Relief of Kimberley.
However, by now Arthur was 50 years old and the fighting and climate of South Africa affected his health and he was invalided home in 1900. His wife, Mary, had died sometime between the census of 1891 and the census of April 1901 when Arthur was recorded as a guest of Francis Gregson, 2 Lowndes Street, Belgravia, London. The children all attended private schools in England: Christ’s Hospital (boys) (a.k.a. Blue Coat School); Forest School, Walthamstow for boys; The Royal School for Daughters of Officers of the Army at Chalcombe, Somerset; Jane Allanson’s ladies’ school, York.
On returning to England from South Africa, Arthur was taken onto the staff of the 1st Army Corps under the command of Sir John French at Aldershot where Arthur became the Camp Quartermaster in May 1901 and was promoted Honorary Major on 29th November 1901. He retired from the Army on 26th May 1905.
Major Arthur Edward Poole, retired, was appointed a Military Knight of Windsor on January 1st 1906. The Military Knights of Windsor were once known as the Alms Knights and were called informally the “Poor Knights”. They are retired military officers who receive a pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle. Their ceremonial duties involve support for the Order of the Garter and the services of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. By 1911, Major Poole was the secretary of the Windsor Hospital. He lived at 17 Castle Yard with three of his children, Charles William, born at York in 1891; Richard Lionel, born York 1892 and Evelyn Gladys born at Cahir, Co. Tipperary in 1894. The Hospital adjoined a workhouse and later became part of the Edward VII Hospital. In 1911 Arthur was presented with the Coronation Medal (George V).
In the Great War (1914-1918) Major Poole served in England on the staff of the Army’s Western Command until 1919. One of his sons, Hugh Edward Algernon, served as a Lieutenant in the 11th Hussars and was died of wounds at Zillebeke, near Ypres, in June 1915.
At the age of 80, Arthur Poole was the senior Military Knight at Windsor where he died on June 28th 1930 at his home in Castle Ward, Windsor.
A snapshot of the Poole family life is recorded in a Christmas Diary dated 1899 held at Goole Museum. It is at:
During his time, Arthur Poole was a keen sportsman, enjoying cricket, shooting and swimming.
With kind regards,

Additional sources: “The London Gazette”; British Newspaper Archive; “X Royal Hussars Gazette” Vol. x; No 2, September 1930.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 25th August 2016 at 10:28 PM

Proof reading corrections: "At the age of 80, Arthur Poole was the senior Military Knight at Windsor where he died on June 28th 1930 at his home in Castle Ward, Windsor." should read "Castle Yard" not "Ward". In the previous paragraph, delete "was" from: "Hugh Edward Algernon, served as a Lieutenant in the 11th Hussars and was died of wounds at Zillebeke, near Ypres, in June 1915."
Reply from: Alison Pirouet
Date: Friday 26th August 2016 at 5:53 AM

Many thanks

Much appreciated,
Posted by: David {No contact email}
Location: Austrailia
Date: Tuesday 23rd August 2016 at 4:40 AM
Dear Allan,i had two uncles killed in ww1 are they entitled to a memorial plaque,and if so how do i find out how to get them. One was killed in france and the other in galipolli one with SWB and the other with The Welsh RegtRegards David
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 23rd August 2016 at 12:05 PM

Dear David,
The bronze memorial plaques were issued to the next-of-kin of all soldiers who were killed during the war. Therefore the plaques would be in the possession of the family. Copies are not available.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Donna Parrett
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 at 4:01 PM

Is their records on who the Memorial plaques and medals where sent to?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 10th September 2016 at 4:52 PM

Dear Donna,
The memorial plaque and medals would automatically be sent to the man’s next-of-kin which the man would have nominated when he enlisted. In the case of William Wallace the CWGC Debt of Honour recorded him as the brother of Mrs. P. Duffus, of 50, William St., Blairgowrie, Perthshire. However, there was also the unidentified John A. Moore who was named in the Register of Soldiers’ Effects.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Kay Hunt {Email left}
Location: High Wycombe
Date: Monday 22nd August 2016 at 1:34 PM
Hi Alan - again!

You very kindly found out lots of info about my Dad's father.

Please could I now ask about my mother's. Charles John Wood, born I think in Gravesend Kent on 6 Feb 1884.

He enlisted very young and served in the Indian army as a driver, probably in the Royal Horse Artillery. I think his army no was 14909. He was called up as a reservist in 1914 and served in France until the end of the War. He was great friends until their death with someone he met when he enlisted - Frank Luadaka driver no 14918, I think, in case this helps identify him.

He married Kate Alison Lillian Gardner (born 8 March 1888) in New Cross London, probably before 1913 when my aunt was born.

Many thanks

Kay Hunt
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 23rd August 2016 at 11:28 AM

Dear Kay,
The early service record for Charles John Wood, 14904, Royal Horse Artillery (R.H.A.) is not very explicit about the dates when he served with is his various batteries so I have had to fill in the gaps where possible. He enlisted in London on 16th February 1901, stating he was 19 years old and had been born in Maidstone, which might or might not be correct if he enlisted under age. He was a machinist. He grew from 5ft 4ins to 5ft 6ins with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He was enlisted for seven years with the colours and five on reserve, at the R.H.A. Depot at Woolwich. On 2nd April 1901 he was posted to “W” Battery R.H.A. which had been raised for the Second Anglo-Boer War and was based at Woolwich in 1901. The Battery had taken part in the State funeral procession of Queen Victoria on 2nd February 1901.
On 8th February 1903, Charles was posted to “L” Battery R.H.A. which served in India, stationed at Trimulgherry, Secunderabad. He would have arrived in India a couple of days beforehand. He was a horse-driver riding one of the battery’s bays which hauled the guns. Charles lengthened his service on 27th March 1904 while at Trimulgherry and he was still there in 1905, according to his conduct sheet which recorded he had been drunk in barracks twice.
Charles qualified for good conduct badges in 1904 and 1906 (two in total) and his military character was “very good”.
On 11th February 1906 he was posted to “S” Battery R.H.A.. I have not located precisely where that battery served. It was at Lucknow on 13th November 1907. It might have been at Barkachha, Uttar Pradesh, on 21st January 1909 when his conduct sheet was signed off. His seven years would have been extended by 12 months because he was serving overseas. It was at this point that his 8 years’ service with the colours would have ended and he would have returned to England to remain on the Reserve for four years. Back in England, on 3rd August 1912 at Woolwich, Charles extended his service in the Reserve by agreeing to continue for a further four years on the “D” Reserve from 16th February 1913 when his 12 years was completed from 16th February 1901. Accordingly, when war was declared in 1914, Charles was re-called to service with the Royal Horse Artillery on 4th August 1914.
He sailed to Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast, arriving on 5th October 1914 with 14th Brigade (XIV Brigade) R.H.A. which served with 7 Division. The Division had been raised from various units of the regular army brought home from garrisons in the British Empire. It was intended the Division would relieve Antwerp, but by the time they arrived it was too late. They covered the withdrawal of the Belgium Army to the West and after that was completed they found themselves at Ypres where they defended the Belgian town against the German advance which came to a standstill and saw the beginning of trench warfare. This was known as “The First Battle of Ypres” (19 October – 22 November 1914). The Division suffered heavy losses and had to be re-formed by February 1915.
On 5th February 1915, Charles was posted to the 3rd Cavalry Division ammunition column with 4 Brigade (IV Brigade) R.H.A. and during 1915 he spent some time at Saint-Sylvestre-Cappel, a commune in the Nord département in northern France, where his conduct sheet showed he was absent from a few parades. He remained with 4 Brigade ammunition column in 3 Cavalry Division until 12th March 1919 when he left Dunkirk to cross to Shorncliffe and was discharged from the Army in England. The engagements of the 3rd Cavalry Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail:
A war diary for Divisional Troops, 3 Cavalry Division, 4 Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, can be downloaded for £3.45 from The National Archives. See:
Charles qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
It is not clear whether he served in South Africa during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902). He enlisted fifteen months before the war ended but his name does not appear on the South Africa campaign medal rolls.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Tuesday 23rd August 2016 at 4:55 PM

Dear Alan

Yet again you have been really informative. Thank you so much.

I don't think Grandpa served in S Africa; the family stories don't mention this at all. But I do think he was under age when he joined up, as you suggest. I wonder if he grew 2 ins taller because he was under-age on enlistment or just because he probably ate better in the Army. It certainly led him to love cricket!

Many thanks

Posted by: Allen Parks {Email left}
Location: Suffolk
Date: Saturday 20th August 2016 at 7:17 PM
Hi Alan, I am trying to find out about my father who as far as i know joined up as a boy in 1916, is name was
Arthur parks, as far as i know he lived in wheatley hill County Durham so i assume he joine one of the
Yorkshire Regiments, i know he died in 1943 when i was just over a year old is it possible for you to find any
thing about him for me,
Regards Allen B. parks
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 20th August 2016 at 9:22 PM

Dear Allen,
Unfortunately, there are very few surviving army records that have biographical details, such as location. There is no service record that identifies an Arthur Parks in Wheatley Hill so it is not possible to identify Arthur Parks in other military records by his name only. There is no record in the First World War campaign medal rolls of an Arthur or A. Parks in a Durham or Yorkshire infantry regiment. It would be best to know from family sources in which regiment he served, or his regimental number, to enable an effective search of the surviving records.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Adrian Cunningham {Email left}
Location: Melbourne East Yorks
Date: Saturday 20th August 2016 at 1:24 PM
Hello Allen,
My friend Becca contacted you in 2010 on my behalf, re George Cunningham born 1811, in Currie Scotland and his son also George born 1837 Templemore Tipperary. Both were soldiers in the 25th Regt. K O S B's.
Thank you, I now have the discharge info for both of them. If anyone is connected to the above I am pleased to be contacted.

I am now trying to find brothers and sisters of the above father and son, I am using Find my past site.but can't locate where to obtain this information, help needed.

Further to the above, George Junior ( 1837) married Isabella Susanna Howard (born in Plymouth Devon circa 1837/40. ref. 1881 census ) her father being shown as John Howard pensioner on the marriage certificate. Parish birth register for Plymouth lists only one person born within this time scale with the name Isabella Susanna Cook, mother listed but no father. If anyone wishes to follow this connection pleased to hear.

One last mention, I am in possession of a metal tea pot, handed down to my family, inscribed:-
From Mrs. Fleming to Mrs. Howard 25th December 1864, in commemorating nearly 50 years connection with the 37th regiment. This came from the above connection with the Howard family.

Thanks and regards,

Adrian Cunningham.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 20th August 2016 at 7:35 PM

Dear Adrian,
Records of Scottish ancestors can be searched in the old parish registers on the Scotlandspeople website (purchase credits for a few pounds) See:
Start the search by looking for baptisms within the same parish with the same surname and then the same parents’ names. The detail of the entries will vary, but father’s occupation is a useful indicator as well. If you identify when George’s parents married prior to 1811, that will set the time frame.
As George was a soldier and would have served anywhere in the world a search of army births could be more successful than a search of Irish records.
Researching Irish ancestry without travelling to Ireland is difficult because of the lack of 19th Century census records and limited access to parish registers. Only the 1901 and 1911 censuses are available. There is a restricted amount of birth, marriage and death records. Civil registration for births and deaths start from as late as 1864. Marriages start from 1845.
There was a strongly held Presbyterian belief that a child should be named in the presence of God by being baptised and named in church before the congregation. Consequently, civil, or legal, registration of the birth with the local register office was often made before the church naming ceremony and therefore many civil or legal birth records were indexed simply as “male” or “female” child with the only the surname. Where a male or female birth was legally registered, identifying the parents but not the child by name, it makes later identification difficult without an actual matching baptism record to provide the given name of the child.
Consequently, church records have to be searched alongside any civil registration entries. Church records fall into three main categories: Roman Catholic; Non-conformist and Church of Ireland.
The National Library of Ireland has microfilm copies of almost all pre-1880 Roman Catholic parish registers on the island of Ireland.
Most local Roman Catholic parishes do not permit research on their original records. Callers will normally be referred to the heritage centres whose records are now almost all on
The Representative Church Body Library is the official archive of record for Church of Ireland records that survived the burning of the Public Record Office in 1922. A full list of its holdings is at
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has freely available microfilm copies of almost all surviving records of all denominations for areas now in Northern Ireland, as well as a good number for areas in the border counties of Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim, Monaghan and Louth.
Some Presbyterian records are only available locally or from the Presbyterian Historical Society. See
Commercial websites will have some surviving Irish records but not all. For researching the siblings of ancestors before the 1860s you would need to study parish registers and knowing their religion would help narrow the search. There is a full list of which Irish records the Findmypast website has. See:
As a soldier, George Cunningham, born 1811, could have served in garrisons overseas for a quarter of a century before returning to the UK. If his wife travelled with him his children might not have all been born while he was posted to Ireland. The Findmypast website does have the ability to refine a Record Set in the birth, marriages and deaths search pane. Type: “British Nationals Armed Forces” in the “Record set” box. There are separate sets for births/marriages/deaths. Set the year of birth to, say, 20 years either side of George’s year of marriage.
Army birth marriage and death certificates can be purchased online from the G.R.O. in the usual manner, ticking the “certificate type” box under the heading “For overseas events which were registered with the British authorities”, on the first page after login.
Details from the Findmypast website are protected by their copyright and can't be reproduced on this forum.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Adrian Cunningham
Date: Tuesday 23rd August 2016 at 11:38 AM

Hi Alan, ( got your name right this time, fingers not as nimble as they used to be )

Thank you for your in depth answer to my letter, some of the info I already have, but there is also a lot of new for me to look up.

With regard to my reference to the John Howard ( my G Grandfather, pensioner,) and father of Isabella Susanna listed on her marriage certificate. I was told by my Aunt before she passed away that there was some connection ( however remote, ) with the then Duke of Norfolk's extended family, and that somewhere along the line, a son was disinherited. The connection to my family comes from the Mrs Howard inscribed on the tea pot mentioned in my first letter, and monogrammed spoons ,handed down to my family. Since 1856, the eldest or second son had Howard as their second christian name.

I have been trying to trace this connection for some time now, without success, and would hope that you or someone out there might be able to help.


Adrian Cunningham.
Reply from: Adrian Cunningham
Date: Thursday 8th September 2016 at 1:40 PM

Hi Allan,
With reference to the marriage of George Cunningham to Isabella Susanna Howard, ( Manchester Cathedral 1856. father John Howard ). On the Marriage certificate the address where she was living, was Oldfield Road Manchester, ( no house number stated ). I have looked at 1851 and 1861 census, and cannot find any reference of her stay there. Are there any other ways to solve this problem ?.

Regards Adrian.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th September 2016 at 6:01 PM

Dear Adrian,
Addresses given on marriage certificates were often addresses of convenience and did not reflect where a person lived. The address for Isabella Howard was Oldfield Road, Salford, not Manchester. The 1851 census of Salford was not originally digitised by The National Archives because it had been so badly damaged by a flood. Efforts have been made to recover it. However, it is by no means certain Isabella Howard lived on Oldfield Road. Usually a wedding was in the bride’s home parish, but in this case the marriage was in Manchester Cathedral which was the Collegiate Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George and the parish church of Manchester, not Salford. A couple was entitled to be married in the Church of England parish in which one of them lived. They could also get married in a church where one of them had a "qualifying connection" such as where they were baptised; or where their parents or grandparents had been married; or their former home town. The couple each had to have the banns read out in church for three consecutive Sundays during the three months before the wedding. Banns are an announcement of the intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of the couple lived as well as at the church in which they are to be married if that was another parish. Banns might have to be read in three churches. Vicars charged for reading of the banns and to spare the cost of the banns being read in both parishes, couples often designed to live in the same parish, staying with friends or lodging with relatives for the period in which the banns were read.
George Cunningham gave an accurate address as he was in barracks in 1856. It might have been easier for Isabella to come to him, rather than for him to travel to her parish. Isabella might have lived in Salford or she might have been staying near the barracks for the wedding. Oldfield Road was round the corner from the barracks. The choice of the Cathedral might have been through the regiment using that church.
The 1851 census for Salford was damaged by flooding and was not digitised by The National Archives. The local family history society has done some work on this census. See:
The 1851 census for Oldfield Road, Salford, can be searched by street name on the Findmypast subscription website. There is no-one called Howard in the alphabetical index. The Ancestry website also has the damaged 1851 Salford census.
In 1856 George Cunningham was a soldier in the 25th Foot staying at the Infantry Barracks, Salford, which were on Regent Road. In 1851 when George enlisted the 25th Foot was in Madras, India. In February 1855 the regiment received orders to return to Britain and was recorded as stationed at Manchester by December 1855.
Isabella Howard stated she was 19 and would have been born in about 1837. Her father was named as John, a pensioner, probably an Army or Navy pensioner. A relative named Rachel Howard signed the marriage certificate with her mark as a witness.
Prior to 1856, Isabella would probably have lived with her with her father John, wherever he was serving if he were in the Services. After 1856 she might have travelled with her husband.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th September 2016 at 7:27 PM

Dear Adrian,
In 1850, the 25th Foot was garrisoned in Madras. In 1854, they were at Cannanore (Kannur). They returned to Manchester in 1855. The birth of George and Isabella Cunningham’s first child was at Salford on June 3rd 1858. George James Cunningham, named after George Cunningham’s father, was baptised at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Salford, on 25th July 1858. The baptism entry showed he was the son of George and Isabella Cunningham, of 3 Bombay Street, Salford. Father: 25th Regiment Infantry. Bombay Street, Salford, seems to have been demolished. The birth of a child proved only that the mother was present and it can’t always be presumed that the father was present at the place of birth. Their second child was born in Malta: Mary Louisa was born on June 11, 1863, in Malta. The 25th Foot moved to Gibraltar by November 1858 and on to Malta where they were stationed in 1863.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 8th September 2016 at 10:20 PM

Dear Adrian,
These are the apparent birth locations of George and Isabell’s children, from
I’ve just realised Mary Louisa was a twin. I have either verified with parish registers or checked with BMD entries that they are correct.
George James was born on June 3, 1858, in Salford, Lancashire. (verified)
Mary Louisa was born on June 11, 1863, in Malta. 25th Foot. (correct)
Sarah was born on June 11, 1863, in Malta. 25th Foot. (correct)
Charles Stanley was born at 8.30 a.m. on 3rd January 1868 at Newcraighall, parish of Liberton, Edinburgh, Scotland; father George Cunningham, clerk, and wife Isabella Howard married 1856 Manchester (GRO Scotland, Statutory Births 693/00 0008 via (verified)
Hugh Howard was born on May 21, 1870, in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Baptised 6 July 1870, St Phillip, Sheffield. (verified)
Henry Edward was born in July - September 1873 at Penistone near Barnsley, Yorkshire. He was baptised on December 10th 1875 at St John the Baptist Church, Penistone, son of George (and Isabella) railway clerk, of Willow Bridge. (verified)
James was born Oct – Dec 1875, in Retford District, Nottinghamshire. (correct)
There was a stated birth on of John William Cunningham born on August 7, 1869 at Gibraltar but I can’t verify this. The timescale seems wrong between Charles born in 1868 in Scotland and Hugh born in Sheffield in 1870. Why would a clerk be in Gibraltar?
You may already have this, but I hope it helps.
Could you please post any new queries as a new message and not as a reply so they will then appear on the front page where I can see them. Thanks.
Posted by: Kay Hunt {Email left}
Location: High Wycombe
Date: Friday 19th August 2016 at 11:36 AM
Hi Alan
Your site looks amazing!
Please could you help me find out about my grandfather's WW1 service. He was Alfred George Jordan born I think in Fulmer (or poss Stoke Poges) Bucks c 1895. I think he joined up in 1915 under a Short Service Attestation 100306 in the Army Service Corps, living then at 2 Coburg Villas Farnham Royal Bucks. I have some faded photos of him and colleagues playing snowballs alongside their large lorries which I have always understood were taken in France. If they are of any interest I can of course send you copies.
He survived the war and was married in Stoke Poges on 19/11/18.
Many thanks.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 19th August 2016 at 11:59 PM

Dear Kay,
Alfred Jordan enlisted in the Army voluntarily at Whitehall, London, on 25th May 1915. He was aged 20, 5ft 10ins tall, and was a motor driver, of 2, Coburg Villas, Farnham Royal, near Slough. He had probably responded to advertisements in the local newspapers: “Wanted – Motor Drivers – and Motor Mechanics for Mechanical Transport Section Army Service Corps. Pay 6 shillings per day”. That pay was about the same as the average weekly wage in pre-war 1914; while an infantry private soldier was paid just one shilling a day in 1914.
Mechanical transport was comparatively new to the Army, which relied on horses. The first army petrol lorry was put on trial in 1904. The Army expanded its mechanical transport rapidly to carry heavier war materiel such as ammunition. At first, lorries were requisitioned from private companies that had invested in purchasing motor lorries under a pre-war Government subsidy scheme. The Government paid part of the cost of commercial lorries provided they met military specifications and on the understanding the vehicles could be requisitioned in time of national emergency. This meant the army didn’t have to maintain unnecessary fleets of lorries in peace-time, but could call on supplies of vehicles immediately war broke out. In 1912, one thousand commercial lorries were registered under the Subsidy Scheme which paid their operators £110 a year. In the same year, 1912, new mobilization plans included for the first time the use of petrol lorries by the A.S.C. from railhead to re-filling points. At the same time the plans called for the creation of Divisional ammunition parks operated by the A.S.C. under the supervision of a Royal Artillery officer who ensured the lorries were loaded with the right ammunition and the correct fuses for the intended destination.
As the war progressed military vehicles were developed and the Army Service Corps (A.S.C.) expanded its Mechanical Transport (MT) section. However, it was not the vehicles that were in short supply but men who could operate them. So, already being a motor driver meant Alfred would be willingly recruited by the A.S.C. in 1915. Most transport in the First World War was horse-drawn. The MT Companies drove motor ambulances and omnibuses but many of the heavier vehicles were attached to each Division’s Ammunition Column for carrying ammunition from the Divisional rail-head to what were known as re-filling points from which the supply lines spread out like a fan to the ammunition dumps or stores of the units nearer the front.
On May 26th 1915 Alfred was at Grove Park, London which was the No 1 Reserve MT Depot, where recruits first attended. The premises were in the former Workhouse on Marvels Lane.
On May 29th 1915 Alfred was moved to Chatham, which was probably Chatham Dockyard where the Royal Engineers were based. He remained there until 18th June 1915 when he was moved to “Burnham”. His record does not state which Burnham this was. There was a Burnham near Slough; one on the Essex coast and one on the coast of Somerset. It was a year before Alfred served overseas, and on 22nd May 1916 he sailed for France aboard SS “Princess Clementine” from Southampton to Le Havre where he was attached to 497 MT Company A.S.C.. This company served under the command of V (5) Corps. It formed and operated 61 Ammunition Sub Park. In military terms a “park” is a store established in the area of combat operations. Each Corps had its ammunition park (stockpile) and each division had its own sub-park, which was operated by an MT Company of the A.S.C.. The ammunition was manufactured in the U.K. and was transported to docks on the French coast. From there, or from large stockpiles inland, it was moved by railway to rail-heads nearer the Front. The MT Company then carried the ammunition forward by road in motor lorries to the point where it could be handed over to the horse-drawn transport of the divisional ammunition column.
For V Corps engagements see Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail at:
The war diaries of 497 MT Company can be downloaded from The National Archives in three parts at £3.45 each. See
An MT Company had some 340 men with 45 three-ton lorries and sixteen 30-cwt vehicles. Transporting ammunition was arduous work as the roads could be pitted with shell-holes; movement by night was without lights; and the vehicles offered no protection from shrapnel or bullets: they had solid tyres and the cabs were often open with no windscreen and covered only by a canvas tilt (cover).
Early in March 1918, 497 MT Company was absorbed by 302 MT Company during a widespread re-organisation of sub parks and ammunition columns. The merged MT Company then became the Divisional Mechanical Transport Company for the 61st (2nd South Midland) Division; it was still doing the same job, under Corps command, but had changed its structure. It would then be known as 61st Div[ision] MT Company. At the same time, in March 1918, Alfred was granted the appointment of unpaid Lance-corporal with 61st Division MT Company. The engagements of the 61st Division in 1918 are shown at:
The National archives online index appears to show only one war diary for 302 MT Company under “Corps Troops: 61 Divisional Supply Column (302 Company A.S.C.)” for November 1918 to May 1919. See:
Alfred was granted leave to the U.K. from 5th November 1918 to 19th November 1918, during which time he married Millie Curtis on his last day of leave. Following the Armistice with Germany on November 11th 1918, Alfred returned to France on November 20th 1918 and served there until 12th April 1919. He returned to England on 13th April 1919 and was released from the Army on 12th May 1919. His address on release was 2 Fairleigh Villas, Queen’s Road, Slough.
Alfred qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He afterwards lived at 2 Park Villas, Stoke Park, Stoke Poges, and he died there on 29th July 1948.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Saturday 20th August 2016 at 5:45 PM

Hi Alan

You are simply wonderful. Such detailed info, and so quickly provided. Thank you so much.

I'll be sending a donation to the British Legion, which seems the least the family can do in return for your finding out so promptly about Granddad.

After the war Alf Jordan worked as a chauffeur for Sir Noel Mobbs at Stoke Park (now a major golf course). Sir Noel founded Slough Estates - now a major property company - on land used by the government after WW1 for storing disused military vehicles. After selling the vehicles he and his partner converted the factories and turned the area into the first industrial park.

Kay Hunt
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 20th August 2016 at 6:00 PM

Dear Kay,
Thank you for donating to the Royal British Legion.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Saturday 1st October 2016 at 3:43 PM

Hi Alan

You have already been fantastically helpful. Can I now please ask you for yet more info?

This time it is about my G Uncle Albert James Curtis - 8461 - who was buried at Neuve Chapelle Farm Cemetery (plot H2) on 14 March 1915. He was a private in the 2nd Royal Berks engineers, brought back from India at the start of the war. He was born on 19 Nov 1889 in Reading to Richard and Rachel Curtis.

I understand there two British cemeteries at Neuve Chapelle and a huge memorial for Indian soldiers killed throughout the front, the location chosen as this was the site of the first major battle featuring Indian troops. I am intrigued as to why there are 2 British cemeteries so close together, each to just a few dozen soldiers, esp as they seem to have died over the space of a few days at the farm cemetery and an even longer period at the other. If they did not all die on the same day was it likely that they survived injuries for a few days - rather than being transferred to a clearing station? Or were their bodies perhaps not able to be recovered by their colleagues immediately? I understand that small cemeteries like these generally contain bodies initially buried by their comrades and reinterred after the War by the CWGC.

As always I shall be fascinated by any info you can offer.

Best wishes

Kay Hunt
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 2:47 PM

Dear Kay,
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle was fought between the 10th and 13th March 1915 by the British 7th and 8th Divisions; and the Indian Corps of 3rd (Lahore) and 7th (Meerut) Divisions. British and Indian casualties amounted to 11,652 all ranks killed or wounded. It was the first large-scale organised attack undertaken by the British Army during the First World War.
Once the initial fighting had ended the regiments could bury their accessible dead in battlefield cemeteries, although many of the bodies could not be recovered immediately. Neuve Chapelle Farm Cemetery was started in March 1915 by the 13th Battalion London Regiment (13th (County of London) Battalion (Princess Louise's Kensington Battalion) known as “The Kensingtons”. The graves were dug in the corner of a field at the farm that was in the location of the 13th Battalion’s positions during their advance and attack on the village which was put in on March 12th 1915. The Battalion’s war diary noted: “March 12th; 2.30 p.m. Ninth hour of intense [enemy] bombardment. Can it go on for ever?”
Battlefield cemeteries were prone to being damaged by shellfire both at the time and in subsequent years, and in the German Spring Advance of 1918 the Germans shelled and attacked Neuve Chapelle which was then being held by the Portugese, who also have their own cemetery there. Graves in the village churchyard were destroyed by shelling.
On 12th August 1920, when the Neuve Chapelle farm cemetery was visited by an inspection team, there were twenty-four locally made crosses that marked graves of named men and graves of unknown soldiers; of which two could be identified as being of the 13th Battalion and one was “presumed Kensington battalion”.
Two years later, the farm cemetery was inspected again on 28th February 1922 when a further thirteen bodies were identified. These bodies were identified as named men of the 13th Battalion London Regiment although their actual graves no longer existed individually. They were marked collectively by a special cross. The work of the identification teams was conducted with dignity and meticulous care to establish such identifiers as cap or regimental badges; pieces of equipment marked with names or numbers; or identity discs. Using regimental maps and lists of names, the number of buried bodies could be established even if individuals could no longer be identified. If they had a list of 13 men and found 13 bodies then the men could be named in a collective grave even if they could not be individually identified. They were buried alongside their comrades.
The 13th Battalion lost 45 men killed, or died of wounds, in the period from 9th March 1915 to 17th March 1915 at Neuve Chapelle. Twenty of them were killed on March 12th when, after eleven hours of intensive bombardment by the Germans, the Kensingtons were ordered to support the Royal Irish Rifles and the 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment in an attack into the heart of the village to capture the German trenches “at all costs”. The war diary stated the 13th Battalion attacked at 5.15 p.m. and lost about 50 men killed or wounded in the advance which was thwarted by “murderous machine gun fire”. They were forced to return quickly to their trenches. The 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment lost 86 men killed in March 1915 at Neuve Chapelle.
Before the war had ended, the Army’s, or more formally, the War Office’s “Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries” undertook the task of identifying battlefield cemeteries and scattered burials. The Directorate established Graves Concentration Units whose task it was to use maps and lists of names provided by regiments to identify graves. If no individual identity disc was found, the Concentration Units noted fine details such as tattoos or numbers on equipment to help make positive identification. Between the Armistice of November 1918 and the end of September 1921, the Concentration Units found and exhumed 204,650 bodies and re-buried them in cemeteries set aside for the purpose. These graves were initially marked with crosses; not headstones.
The War Office Directorate of Graves Registration handed over the cemeteries to the Imperial War Graves Commission starting in 1920. After the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 the Commission formally negotiated with the French and Belgian authorities and landowners for permanent acquisition of land for the war grave cemeteries. At the end of the war there were 2,400 battlefield cemeteries in France and Belgium. Some of the smaller or isolated burial grounds were concentrated into larger war cemeteries to serve a given area. By February 1921 the Imperial War Graves Commission had certified and checked the records for 1,400 of the cemeteries, so there was still much work to be done in the 1920s when the number of cemeteries in France and Belgium was reduced. The Imperial War Graves Commission contacted relatives in 1921 and asked them to provide confirmation of the details of the dead, by returning verification forms, and offering a paid memorial inscription for the war grave headstone and a free entry in the cemetery register.
After 1921 the formal search for bodies ceased but some 38,000 more bodies were discovered by farmers and others between 1921 and 1924. After 1921, through to the 1930s, the IWGC constructed and laid out the now-familiar war cemeteries of identical white headstones arranged to represent battalions of men on the parade ground. The Farm cemetery became one of those war graves cemeteries where the graves were laid out in neat plots and the original crosses replaced with headstones. Today, there are 60 men commemorated at Neuve Chapelle Farm Cemetery of which 35 are named.
During the battle in March 1915 another burial ground was started at Moggs Hole in the village of Neuve Chapelle by units of the 8th Division who took part in the attack on the German trenches. This cemetery was used until November 1915 and includes five graves of British soldiers that were destroyed when shellfire hit the village churchyard where they had been buried.
In 1960 the Imperial War Graves Commission adopted the name of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
There are 463 cemeteries and grave locations listed by the CWGC in the Pas de Calais département of France which includes Neuve Chapelle. Some of them are single graves in village churchyards. The reason two regimental cemeteries could be kept in the same village depended on the attitude of the local landowners, the desire to commemorate the fighting in that location and the availability of War Graves Commission gardeners to maintain the cemeteries.
Albert Curtis served with the 2nd Battalion Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire) Regiment who fought alongside the Kensingtons. Between 4 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. on 14th March 1915 they took up renewed positions in forward trenches in the village of Neuve Chapelle and came under heavy shellfire, although the fighting was “much quieter” by 5 a.m. on the 15th March. The war diary of the 2nd Battalion Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire) Regiment can be downloaded for £3.45 from:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 4:42 PM

Very interesting. Once again, many thanks.

There is a vivid account of fighting destroying recent graves in All Quiet on the Western Front and soldiers using the coffins as protection. Almost unimaginable horror.
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Sunday 6th November 2016 at 1:56 AM

Hi Alan

Once again I'd like some help please. I now find that my grandma's eldest brother too was killed in WW1.

Richard George Curtis pte 16455 Royal Berks regt 3rd Bn is buried at Portsmouth Highland Road Cemetery. He died on 22 February 1915. He had previously served as a stoker in the Royal Navy from 18 Aug 1892 to 18 Aug 1904.

Richard was born in Reading in 1876 to Richard James and Rachel Curtis and married Kate in Reading in 1907.

Was he injured in France and died on return to England for treatment? Or was he serving near Portsmouth?And was it normal for men who had previously served in the navy to enlist in the army in WW1?

Once again I would be most grateful for any information you can provide.

Kay Hunt
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 6th November 2016 at 3:52 PM

Dear Kay,
Richard George Curtis did not fight in the First World War.
The 3rd Battalion of any regiment was its depot battalion that remained in the U.K.. The physical depot was a barracks, whilst the men who formed the 3rd Battalion itself could be based at the depot or elsewhere, making room for more recruits in the barracks. The peacetime 3rd Battalion of Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire Regiment) was based at Reading, the town where Richard Curtis lived, but the Battalion had moved to Portsmouth, on the coast, in August 1914. While undergoing training, the men could be employed on coastal defence duties.
The Register of Soldiers’ Effects stated Richard Curtis did not qualify for war gratuity when he died in February 1915, because he had enlisted fewer than six months earlier. So he would have volunteered in late 1914.
The Register of Effects recorded he died in the 5th Southern General Hospital at Portsmouth. He would have died while training at Portsmouth. For details of the hospital, see:
When he enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1892 he stated his date of birth was 2nd August 1873, although in the 1911 census he stated his age was 33 (born about 1878). Richard Curtis had enlisted in the navy for 12 years, so his service would have ended in 1904: a decade before the First World War.
Prior to the outbreak of war the defence of the British Isles was the responsibility of the Royal Navy and the country had a very small standing army. At the outbreak of war, the Royal Navy was up to strength and did not require recruits, whereas Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, had to create the New Armies for which 2.5 million men volunteered.
Richard’s stated age at death was 36. His death certificate can be ordered online for a fee. It is probably England and Wales General Register Office; Deaths: Richard G. Curtis; male; birth year 1879; age 36; Death Jan-March 1915; Portsmouth; Hampshire; Volume 2B; page 1009. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Sunday 6th November 2016 at 5:32 PM

Dear Alan

Once again you have come up trumps. Thanks so much for your research. Whatever the Q you always know the answer.

His birth certificate show he was born in 1878 - so he enlisted in the navy age at 14 not at 19 as he said. What a life these young boys must have led! The family lived almost opposite the Huntley and Palmer biscuit factory; seeing the world may have seemed preferable to that (and with at least 4 other children at home) or working as a drayman like his dad.

Many thanks.

Kay Hunt
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Friday 18th November 2016 at 4:21 PM

Hi Alan

Once again can I ask for help. This time it's about Frederick R Colson Pte 2391 a musician in the Welsh Guards from 1914 - 20.

He married a widow during the war and when she died in 1929 he married a great aunt. Many thanks.

Kay Hunt
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 18th November 2016 at 7:22 PM

Dear Kay,
Service records for the Welsh Guards are not in the public domain. If your ancestor served only in the First World War his records may be held by the regimental archivist. If your ancestor served after 1920 you would need to apply to the Ministry of Defence. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Kay Hunt
Date: Saturday 19th November 2016 at 2:08 AM

Many thanks - as always, a very prompt reply. I'll try the regimental archivist.

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