The World War Forum (Page 21)

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Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Rainhill
Date: Sunday 31st July 2016 at 8:30 PM
Dear Alan
Thank you so much for the swift and fascinating reply to my question about Private Walters. How do you manage to find out so much so quickly. I have access to Ancestry but seem to struggle finding out much about some of the Oakdene Soldiers, Where else do you suggest I look so I do not have to keep bothering you?
The next soldier that I have been trying to find some information about is Sapper H Varlow 1157 of 1/2nd Field Coy, 1/1st East Lancs Royal Engineers who was wounded at Dardanelles on 4th June 1915.
Any further information would be very gratefully received,
Regards
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 1st August 2016 at 6:21 PM

Dear Judith,
Sapper H. Varlow was Harry (not Harold) Varlow who served in the 2nd East Lancashire Field Company Royal Engineers, which was a pre-war Territorial Army company of part-time volunteers based in Manchester and the surrounding area. A “sapper” was a private soldier in the Royal Engineers who was qualified in a skilled trade.
Harry Varlow was born in 1895 at Winton, Lancashire, the son of James Edward Varlow and his wife, Margaret Widdows, who had married on 14th July 1894 at Christ Church, Patricroft, Eccles. In the 1911 census Harry was recorded as a 16-year-old apprentice fitter with Browett, Lindley and Co. who had a factory making engines and dynamos at Sandon Works, on Clifford Street, Patricroft, Manchester.
The 2nd East Lancashire Field Company Royal Engineers was part of the original East Lancashire Division and sometimes took the fractional title of 1st/2nd Field Company. Early in the war, they lost their local identities and were numbered, becoming 428 Field Company R.E. in the 42nd Division.
Harry was 19 when he went to war. The Field Company was mobilized on August 4th 1914, and on 26th September 1914 it arrived in Egypt where it served with the East Lancashire Division around Cairo with some units of the Division stationed in Cyprus and the Sudan. The Division’s role was to defend the Suez Canal from attack by Turkish forces that could only approach across the desert. To their credit, he Turks achieved the desert crossing, attacking the canal on 3rd February 1915 but the assault petered out and back they went. However, the attack saw the East Lancashire Division’s artillery come in action firing their first rounds of the First World War and marking the first firing in anger by the Territorial Force.
The Division trained with the Australian and New Zealand contingents of the ANZAC forces who assembled in Egypt before being sent to Gallipoli. They also took on some dismounted Yeomanry troops.
The Dardanelle Straits had been closed to Allied shipping by the Ottoman Empire, a move which also sealed access to Russia through warm water ports of the Black Sea. When Russia called for aid from her Allies, the French and British launched a naval bombardment of the Turkish forts along the Bosphorus to open up the seaway. When that failed, a land attack was planned for the invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula from the sea.
The East Lancashire Division sailed for Cape Helles on Gallipoli from Alexandria in Egypt between 1st May and 6th May 1915. 428 Field Company sailed on Her Majesty’s Transport “Toronto” and lay at anchor off Cape Helles on May 9th. Disembarkation started the next day with most of the Company landing on V Beach a day later on May 11th. The Division was tasked with breaking out of the beach and bridgehead to capture the village of Krithia. The first attempts were made as they landed on 6th May and continued to the 8th May 1915. A second attempt was made on 4th June 1915. In some cases the fighting was so close that a Royal Engineer officer was able to throw back Turkish grenades before they had exploded. He won the Military Cross.
Sappers took part in the infantry assaults, carry gun-cotton explosive to destroy wire and emplacements, but they were not a success. According to the Company’s commander, the role of the Royal Engineers at this stage of the war was not fully understood by senior commanders and the 428 Field Company war diary states they wasted a lot of energy carrying materials. By the time the attack came on 4th June the men were already very tired. They attacked Achi Baba and at one stage the commanding officer of the 428 Field Company R.E. was the one man who had advanced the furthest along the Krithia Nullah. He expressed disappointment that the infantry fell back and the advance was not consolidated.
In fact, Harry Varlow never went into the battle on June 4th. The 428 Field Company War Diary entry for Wednesday 2nd June 1915 records the Company was working on the front line trenches at Pink Farm. There were making bombs and barbed wire entanglements. There were three casualties that day, including: “Casualties: 1157 Sapper Varlow Harry – shot above knee while on sentry duty.” (National Archives WO 95/4314 via Gavin Robinson on Flickr) See:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wenham5thlincs/9929021745/in/album-72157635870231396/
Harry would have been evacuated by hospital ship, probably via hospital in Malta. His name was published amongst the 29 wounded and sick of 428 Field Company recorded in a casualty list that appeared in the Manchester Evening News on Thursday July 15th 1915, headed: “In Gallipoli”.
Harry continued to serve after leaving Oakdene as he was re-numbered 440152 which was a number allotted to the 428 Field Company R.E. in January 1917. The later engagements of the 42nd Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/42nd-east-lancashire-division/
Harry Varlow was transferred to the Reserve on 2nd March 1919. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
After the war, Harry married Winifred Kay in 1921. The couple had two daughters [names withheld as they were born fewer than 100 years ago]. Harry died, aged 71, at his home in Smithills, Bolton, on 2nd November 1966.
[Ancestry and The National Archives are my sources for surviving military records from the Great War. In addition to online research and searching techniques, I refer to regimental histories, reference books, and war diaries to research events and locations relevant to each man. The only military record for Harry Varlow was his entry in the medal rolls, but from that, and the details that you had, aided by his uncommon name, it was possible to draw up a partial picture of his experience in the war. Sometimes, of course, I draw a blank.]
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Judith Lowe
Date: Friday 12th August 2016 at 7:25 PM

Wow what a lot of information you have given me here i will need time to digest it all. Thank you very much indeed,.
Judith Lowe
Posted by: Peter {Email left}
Location: Billingham
Date: Sunday 31st July 2016 at 3:17 PM
Dear Alan Hope you are having a great summer.
can you please help with this man Pte James Cunningham service No 19897 KIA 25/10/1916. born 34 Craddock St Spennymoor Co Durham. 13th Service Battalion Forest of Dean Gloucestershire Regiment. grave Serre Road No1 cemetery any information as to were he was Killed.
Best Regards Peter.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 31st July 2016 at 10:23 PM

Dear Peter,
August already!
James Cunningham was born in 1895 and was baptised at St Paul’s Church, Spennymoor, on 23rd September 1895, the son of James and Esther Cunningham. In the 1911 census, James junior was recorded as a fifteen-year-old coal-mine driver underground living with his parents and family at 34 Craddock Street, Spennymoor. A driver looked after the horses pulling waggons of coal on the main road underground. Drivers were usually aged 14 or 15 at a time when the minimum school leaving age was twelve.
During the war, James served with the 13th (Forest of Dean) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment (Pioneers) which was sometimes abbreviated to 13th Glo’sters. It was the labouring battalion assigned to the 39th Division fighting in France and Flanders. The Battalion had been raised as a Pals-type battalion by the Member of Parliament, Lt-Colonel H. Webb, at Malvern in December 1914. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry "Harry" Webb, 1st Baronet (28th July 1866, Hereford – 29th October 1940, Caerleon) was a British Liberal Party politician and Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean (1911–1918) and was Junior Lord of the Treasury (1912–1915).
The 13th Battalion sailed from Southampton for Le Havre on the night of 3rd March 1916, arriving at 6.30 a.m. on the 4th March. It is not clear whether James Cunningham was with the Battalion when it sailed for France, or whether he was conscripted nearer home in County Durham during 1916 and then joined the Battalion in France later in the year, having had no choice in the matter. Given the raising of the Battalion in Malvern, the latter scenario is more likely.
The 13th Battalion fought on the battlefields of the River Ancre during the Battles of the Somme in 1916 and was employed under the supervision of the Royal Engineers’ field companies of the 39th Division in the area of Thiepval and the Schwaben Redoubt. The Redoubt was a fortified German defensive location near the village of Thiepval, overlooking the River Ancre. It had been an objective on July 1st 1916, and yet it was eventually captured on October 14th by the 39th Division.
From the beginning of October 1916, the 39th Division’s Pioneers were billeted at Martinsaart and spent their days and nights under shell-fire, digging new trenches in the recently-captured ground at the Schwaben Redoubt, to aid the infantry in repulsing the enemy counter-attacks which were relentless from 15th to 21st October. On the 25th October, the pioneer companies of the 13th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment were working in the area of Authville. On the night of the 25th / 26th ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies of the 13th Battalion were despatched in the darkness to dig trenches near Schwaben Redoubt, under the supervision of Royal Engineers officers. The Battalion war diary recorded the night was a “Total failure as points could not be located, shell fire was very heavy, and state of ground made any digging impossible. ‘C’ Coy [Company] sustained heavy casualties.” (National Archives, Catalogue reference WO95/2577/1)
James Cunningham was probably amongst those casualties. The 13th Battalion lost 14 men killed plus three who died of wounds in October 1916, with an additional 43 men wounded during the month.
James Cunnningham qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was not married.
Serre Road No. 1 Cemetery was created in May 1917 at Serre - Les Puisieux, so James had probably been buried elsewhere and his grave moved to that cemetery after the Armistice when isolated cemeteries were exhumed and the battlefields were cleared.
James is commemorated on the Spennymoor War Memorial, unveiled in 1922. See:
http://www.newmp.org.uk/detail.php?contentId=8651#listlink
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Peter
Date: Monday 1st August 2016 at 1:03 PM

Thank you Alan for the very descripted information I will donate to the Royal British Legion
Best Regards Peter.
Reply from: Peter
Date: Monday 1st August 2016 at 3:25 PM

Alan
James Headstone has 3 other names on it is this usual to have four in the same plot.
Regards Peter.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 1st August 2016 at 5:53 PM

Dear Peter,
James Cunningham’s body was one of eight bodies of men from the 13th Gloucestershire Regiment who died on 25th October 1916 in the area of Thiepval. The bodies or partial remains of the four men now buried together were found together and were identified by identity discs or other means, such as a name or regimental number on equipment. In January 1922 these eight were exhumed (probably from the battlefield rather than graves) and reburied at Serre Road No 1 Cemetery in two collective graves each of four men. The grave in plot VIII; row C; Grave 21 contains the remains of four named men re-buried in what is known as a collective grave. Jeroen Geurst writing “Cemeteries of the Great War By Sir Edwin Lutyens” (2009) relates that in some cases soldiers were buried in collective graves because distinguishing one body from another was not possible and thus one headstone covers a grave with more than one burial of men who were found together. For a photo of the gravestone see:
https://www.twgpp.org/photograph/view/3566673
James’s father suggested the words “worthy of everlasting love” be inscribed under James’s name.
Collective graves are not uncommon. In the Second World War, air crews that had been shot down were often buried in collective, or joint, graves as were groups of soldiers from the same battalion in the Great War. The familiar CWGC cemeteries were not created until the 1920s and 1930s when many of the dead were brought in from the sites of battles and scattered battlefield burials.
The CWGC archives record in a Burial Return (Exhumations and Reburial) Serre Road No 1 Cemetery, dated 4th January 1922, that the bodies now in James Cunningham’s collective grave were found at map reference 57d R 25 b 3 7. This meant map Sheet 57d, large square R, grid square 25, sub-section square b, point 3 east (300 yards East) and 7 north (700 yards North). From the trench map (57d SE Edition 4, 1:20,000) this translates as 50°03'30.8"N 2°41'16.5"E which can be pinpointed in a field on the edge of Thiepval. Enter 50.058560, 2.687914 into Google Earth or Google Maps for the exact location where the bodies of James and his three colleagues were found.
With kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Debbie {Email left}
Location: Ipswich
Date: Thursday 28th July 2016 at 8:47 PM
Hi Alan, I hope you might be able to help me, My grandfather was Charles Edward LAST, Corporal 57252
believe he enlisted March 1916 and was discharged as no longer physically fit September 1920 due to amputation of left leg. I have a record that he was admitted on 21st August 1918, additional information states gun shot wound of lower extremities; From 49th Field Ambulance; To No 17 Ambulance Train.
Regiment - Royal Field Artillery, Battalion -164th Brigade, 37th Division. Is there any way to find out where abouts he would have been when he received his wounds?
His marriage cert in 1919 stated he was with 10th Royal Fusiliers, his discharge in 1920 also states Royal Fusiliers and mentions that he previously served in The Buffs, and that his first regt/corp was 30th Training Reserve Batt. Many thanks Debbie
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 29th July 2016 at 4:22 PM

Dear Debbie,
No individual service record has survived for Charles Edward Last so it is not possible to state his military service in detail.
His enlistment in March 1916 suggests conscription which was introduced that month. The Royal Fusiliers did have a 30th (Reserve) Battalion based at Oxford in March 1916. From September 1916 there was also a 30th Training Reserve Battalion (with no regimental affiliation in its title) created to train conscripted recruits. The 7th Training Reserve Brigade based at Dover was formed from the 29th; 30th; 31st and 32nd Training Reserve Battalions which in turn had been formed from The Buffs (East Kent); The East Surrey Regiment and the Royal Fusiliers.
It is possible Charles last had sought a deferred enlistment in October – December 1915 under the Derby Scheme and had initially been attested by The Buffs before being called up in March 1916.
Many soldiers changed their battalion or even their regiment once they had crossed the seas because under the Military Service Acts of 1916 the Army could post or transfer them to anywhere they thought was in the interests of military efficiency. Men arriving abroad spent up to a fortnight in a Base Depot where they were inculcated with the fighting spirit before being posted to battalions in need of casualty replacements. Training Reserve recruits often did not know which regiment they would serve in until they were posted overseas.
An Army medal rolls index-card showed Charles Edward Last served overseas as a corporal in the Royal Fusiliers and qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The corresponding medal roll showed he had served in the 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers in France and Flanders from 18th July 1917 to the 2nd August 1917. The 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers had been in France since 4th May 1916, so he would have been part of an intended draft of reinforcements sent to France on 18th July 1917 but probably having his posting changed when he landed on the French coast at an Infantry Base Depot, because 15 days later, on 3rd August 1917, he was posted to the 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He then served with the 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers until 16th May 1918 with the 17th Infantry Brigade in the 24th Division. He would have fought at The Battle of Langemarck near Ypres from 16th to 18th August 1917 and then the German Counter-attack during the Cambrai Operations on November 30th 1917. In 1918 the 24th Division was attacked in the German advance known as “Operation Michael” on March 21st 1918 and the subsequent British retreat involving The Battle of St Quentin; The Actions at the Somme Crossings; The Battle of Rosieres and The First Battle of the Avre.
Following the confusion of the retreat in March-April 1918, on 17th May 1918 Charles joined the 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers which fought with the 111th Infantry Brigade in the 37th Division at the Battle of Albert (21st to 23rd August 1918) where he would have been wounded as he was admitted to the Field Ambulance on 21st August. He returned to England on 25th / 26th August 1918, as recorded on his medal roll.
There is no obvious connection to the Royal Field Artillery unless he was admitted to a Field Ambulance amongst their wounded. 37th Division did have a 124th Brigade (CXXIV Brigade in Roman numerals) but not a 164th Brigade. 164th (CLXIV in Roman numerals) (Howitzer) Brigade RFA was broken up in November 1916.
49th Field Ambulance did serve with 37th Division so Charles would have been transferred from there to the French coast for transfer by ambulance train. The UK National Railway Museum in York, England, is hosting a special exhibition this summer featuring Ambulance Trains. There is a photograph of No. 17. See:
http://blog.nrm.org.uk/ambulance-trains-in-1914-this-is-christmas-and-the-world-is-supposed-to-be-civilised/
and the exhibition is featured at:
http://firstworldwar.nrm.org.uk/
The war diary of the 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers can be downloaded for £3.45 from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354101
It should give specific details of where the battalion was fighting.
As Charles lost a leg it is likely he received a pension and any records might provide additional information. The Western Front Association holds a unique collection of some six million First World War pension records which they will manually search for a fee of £25.00 See:
http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/all-about-the-wfa/wfa-news-events/pension-records.html
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Wednesday 27th July 2016 at 7:30 PM
Hello Alan,
I have a couple of enquiries I wonder if you can help with. Recently you were able to help with the armed service performed by my uncle Thomas Sidney Ashman. I have now found, from village sources in Evercreech in Somerset, an indication that Thomas's younger brother Arthur also enlisted in the Royal Artillery during the Great War. I believe his service number was 116391 and that he served with the Royal Garrison Artillery.
I am also trying to find information about William J King of the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, he had 2 regimental numbers 2053 and later 200320.
I know very little about either of these men who served in the Great War, and as usual I would be extremely grateful for any information you can provide.
Thank You
David Ashman.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 28th July 2016 at 1:40 PM

Dear David,
A medal rolls index-card recorded gunner Arthur H. Ashman had the regimental number 116391 in the R.G.A.. The actual medal roll for 116391 in the R.G.A. recorded him as Arthur Henry Ashman.
Arthur Ashman, who was the brother of Thomas and son of Worthington Ashman, was baptised Arthur Henry Ashman on 27th February 1898 at Evercreech, Somerset. Evercreech was a sub-district of Shepton Mallet Registration District. The birth of Arthur Henry Ashman was registered in the first quarter of 1898 at Shepton Mallet (GRO Births, Jan-Mar 1898, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, Vol 5c; page 442).
Therefore, the Arthur Ashman serving in the R.G.A. would have been your uncle’s brother.
The medal rolls showed he served in 322 Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery. This Battery served overseas in 1917 and 1918 but not on the western Front. The Battery was raised at Prees Heath camp in Shropshire in 1916 mainly from men who had been conscripted. Compulsory conscription started in 1916 with a minimum age of 18 and Arthur would have been aged 18 early in 1916.
322 Siege Battery went to Italy in April 1917 where it served with 95 Heavy Artillery Group until October 1917 when 322 Siege Battery was sent to Egypt. It served in the Middle East with 61 Heavy Artillery Group and moved to Salonika at the end of April 1918. The war diaries have not yet been digitized and cannot be ordered online from The National Archives, despite the “order” button. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=%22322+siege+battery%22
Arthur H. Ashman qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He appears to have married Barbara Julia Cole at Bournemouth in 1947. Arthur Henry Ashman of Wimborne, Dorset, died at St Peter’s Hospital, London, on 21st December 1964, aged 66.

It is not possible to positively state the service of William J. King in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. There were two riflemen named William John King in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and both served with the 4th Battalion at some stage. There is only one, badly burnt, service record for a William John King in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, but it has no regimental number, so it is not possible to prove which one he was. He can be identified as being born in 1882 and lived at 10 Temple Road, Cowley, Oxford, married to Kate Keen at Cowley in 1904, with five daughters. This William John King originally enlisted at Oxford in the 4th Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and later served in India and Mesopotamia from November 1916. The 1st Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was captured at Kut al Amara, Mesopotamia, in April 1916 and was eventually replaced by a provisional battalion made up of reinforcements later in 1916.
William John King, 2053 and 200320, served in the 2nd/4th Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. This was a second-line Territorial battalion in which the men were re-numbered in January 1917, hence his two numbers. The 2nd/4th Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry remained in England from 1914 to 1916 and provided casualty replacements for the 4th Battalion until the summer of 1916 when it served as a battalion in its own right in France and Flanders from 26th May 1916 with the 184th Infantry Brigade in the 61st Division. The Division’s engagements are listed on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/61st-2nd-south-midland-division/
William John King, 200320, qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. It seems probable that he served only in the 2nd/4th Battalion. Perhaps you can compare the other William John King from his age and biographical details?
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Young Buzzard
Date: Thursday 28th July 2016 at 3:17 PM

Thank you Alan most helpful as usual, and thank you for reminding me of my Aunty Barbara whom I had completely forgotten. Oh what it is to be Old?!!!.
David.
Reply from: Martin Burgess
Date: Sunday 28th August 2016 at 8:40 AM

I found this research very interesting as I'm trying to put together the family history of my wife. Her great grandfather was Worthington Ashman of Evercreech. I hadn't picked up that Arthur Henry had fought in WW1. Interestingly enough though, I have Arthur marrying a Beatrice May Baber in 1925.
I realise this is not precisely a WW1 issue, but if David has any more information etc. I would be happy to "compare notes".
I'm not sure if this forum allows the swapping of email addresses, but may be that can be answered.
Kind Regards
Martin Burgess
Reply from: Youngbuzzard
Date: Sunday 28th August 2016 at 9:18 AM

Alan,
Please could you supply me with a contact email address for Martin Burgess I would very much like to ma key contact.
Regards David Ashman.
Reply from: Martin Burgess2 Btinternet Com
Date: Sunday 28th August 2016 at 12:10 PM

Hi Alan,
That's fine by me. Maybe you could let me have David Ashman's as well.
Many thanks Martin Burgess
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 28th August 2016 at 2:04 PM

Martin,
David,
To contact someone else on the forum please see the instructions at the top of the first page. I do not get to see people's e-mail addresses as they are protected by the site editor.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Site Editor
Date: Sunday 28th August 2016 at 9:48 PM

Hi David,
I guessing Martin's email is hidden in plain view by his name.
Remove the spaces, add an @ and then a Dot before the Com.
Bob.
Posted by: A Dream Of War Veteran {Email left}
Location: London
Date: Friday 22nd July 2016 at 1:47 PM
RAF veteran from WW II has fullfilled his dream – he flew his beloved Spitfire once again directly in UK
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-36861707

more pictures: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kvlhlncnhnld0vh/AAB5h9PAFrZmelsyDVUldw_Za?dl=0

Posted by: Youngbuzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Saturday 16th July 2016 at 9:28 AM
Hi Alan,
I am trying to trace the background to Frederick George Willcocks born 14.7.1887/8 in Widecombe in Devon. I don't know if he is the service man who served in 3/4th Devonshire Regiment No 202290 and followed on in to 1/4th Duke of Cornwalls' Light Infantry No 45474. As I said I don't know if this is the same man or if he served in another part of the armed services during the Great War. Can you help please?!.

David.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 16th July 2016 at 6:43 PM

Dear David,
It hasn’t proved possible to positively identify the record as being that of Frederick George Willcocks although circumstantial evidence would suggest it is.
Frederick George Willcocks was born at Widecombe-in-the-Moor on 14th July 1887 (GRO Births Newton Abbot, Devon, July-September 1887 Vol 5b, page 129). The censuses record he was the youngest son of Peter and Louisa Willcocks of Lower Blackadon Farm, Widecombe (also spelled as Blackaton). Peter was a farmer. Peter Willcocks, aged 73, died at Blackaton Farm in September 1915.
Frederick’s three brothers were John, the eldest; Richard and William Herbert and they all worked on the farm. In August 1917, the local paper noted the sale of 30 breeding ewes and rams by “Willcocks Brothers, Blackadon”, which indicated at least two of the four brothers ran the farm at Blackadon in 1917.
The “Western Times” of Monday 3rd April 1916 reported on the Devon County Appeal Tribunal held on Saturday 1st April 1916 at the Castle of Exeter with Sir Ian Heathcoat Amory presiding. The Tribunal was hearing appeals against compulsory conscription: “Frederick George Willcocks, aged 28, un-attested, cowman, working in partnership with his brothers and was responsible for the dairy cows and store bullocks appealed. It transpired that absolute exemption had been granted to a brother and another brother had been rejected. – Appeal refused” (© Local World Limited, via British Newspaper Archive).
It would be logical that the eldest brother, John, had been granted absolute exemption in order to run the farm. Un-attested meant that Frederick had not been attested to join the Army prior to his compulsory conscription and had not yet been mobilized. He could have been called-up any date after the tribunal. At least one other brother had had an appeal rejected, so he too would have been conscripted at some stage.
There is no biographical information in the surviving Army records to establish that Frederick George Willcocks of the 3/4th Devonshire Regiment, 202290, and 1/4th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, 45474, was the Frederick from Blackadon Farm. It is noted that the regimental number 202290 in the Devonshire Regiment was a Territorial battalion number allotted in or after January 1917, which would indicate an enlistment in 1917 or later which must have been compulsory enlistment because it was after March 1916 when conscription was introduced. The 3rd/4th Devonshire Regiment was a reserve battalion, formed in Devon in March 1915, which served only in England and Ireland. It trained and held recruits, who could be posted overseas as casualty replacements, while the battalion continued duties on coastal defence and internal security. The 3rd/4th Battalion was stationed at Bournemouth until March 1917 when it moved to Salisbury Plain and then to Ireland in April 1918. It was part of the Wessex Reserve Brigade.
The Army medal rolls recorded that Frederick G. Willcocks first went overseas as 202290 Devonshire Regiment. His battalion did not go overseas; therefore he would have been part of a draft of reinforcements from the Wessex Reserve Brigade sent overseas after January 1st 1917 and, on landing at an overseas base depot, being transferred to the Wessex Division, and becoming 45474 in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He served abroad only in the D.C.L.I.
The 1st/4th Battalion D.C.L.I. was the original 4th Battalion D.C.L.I. in the Devon and Cornwall Brigade of the Wessex Division. From October 1914, the Wessex Division, including 4th D.C.L.I., was garrisoned in India on internal security duties. The Wessex Division was then broken up and in January 1916, the 4th D.C.L.I. sailed from Bombay for Aden, arriving on 28th January 1916. A year in Aden was the usual end to a tour in India and was considered the most loathsome posting of all because of the heat and conditions. Aden was a British coaling and wireless-relay station on the Suez sea route, overlooked by the Ottoman Empire. In February 1917 the 4th Battalion sailed up to Egypt, arriving at Suez on 13th February. In the summer of 1917 they joined 75th Division and ended the war in Palestine, at Kerkus, south of Haifa, when the armistice with the Ottoman Empire was signed on 31st October 1918.
Frederick George Willcocks survived the war. There were two men named Frederick G. Willcocks in the medals rolls and the one in the Hampshire Regiment died in the war. There is no matching entry in Royal Navy records. It therefore seems likely that Frederick of Blackadon did serve as 3/4th Devonshire Regiment 202290 and 1/4th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry No 45474, but, while the evidence is compelling, it is circumstantial and not proof positive.
There was a medal card for a William H. Willcocks who also served in the Devonshire Regiment and Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, but while this apparently appeared to be Frederick’s older brother, the entry in the actual medal rolls showed he was a William Henry Willcocks and not a William Herbert Willcocks. Frederick’s brother might have been the medal entry shown as Wm H. Willcocks who served in the Devonshire Regiment with the number 345010, which was again a Territorial Army number allotted from January 1917. This William H. Willcocks served in the 16th Battalion Devonshire Regiment which had been formed from the dismounted Royal 1st and Royal North Devon Yeomanry regiments at Moascar in Egypt on 4th January 1917. The 16th Battalion Devonshire Regiment served in the 229th Brigade of the 74th Division and sailed from Egypt for France in May 1918 ending the war in Belgium east of Tournai.
Frederick George Willcocks appears to have married Mary Eliza French in 1922. Frederick died on 17th April 1947 at Ivydale, Ivybridge.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Youngbuzzard
Date: Sunday 17th July 2016 at 7:44 AM

Alan,
Thank you for a most comprehensive response (as usual), there are a number of points I can now following up including the reference to the French family. As all ways you have been most thorough and your help is very much appreciated.
Best wishes
David
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Merseyside
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 8:32 PM
Hi Alan

I am a member of a group trying to find out more about soldiers in WWI who were patients at Oakdene Hospital, Rainhill. Many of these men we have been able to track down and look at their records but some soldiers we have been unable ttrack down anywhere. The first of these men was Private Albert Havard 3862 of 1/6th Btn. North Staffordshire Regiment. He was wounded at Hullock on 13th October 1915.
Any information you can supply will be gratefully received,
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 14th July 2016 at 10:52 AM

Dear Judith,
Albert Havard served in the 6th Battalion The Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire Regiment) from Burton-on-Trent. He went to France on 18th August 1915, by which time the 6th Battalion had been in France and Flanders for five months, so he would have been in a draft of reinforcements. He later served with the Machine Gun Corps as 177564 but there is no further detail on record. That might have been after he had recovered in hospital. He lived at Burton-on-Trent from 1897 to 1970.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Judithlowe
Date: Friday 29th July 2016 at 4:52 PM

Hi Alan

Thank you so much for the information you sent me about Albert Havard. It has filled in some of the gaps I was unable find.

Another soldier that I am struggling to find some information about is:- Private S S Pocklington 3039 of D Coy 6th Durham Light Infantry.
Again any information you can supply will be gratefully received.
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 29th July 2016 at 8:09 PM

Dear Judith,
Private S.S. Pocklington 3039 Durham Light Infantry (D.L.I.) was Samuel James Pocklington, a rifleman with the 6th Battalion D.L.I.. No individual service record has survived for him so it is not possible to state his service in detail. He was born on either the 6th or the 16th October 1888 at Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham, the son of John and Esther Pocklington of Pease’s Row, Bishop Auckland. The terrace was probably named after the Quaker, Joseph Pease M.P., of the colliery owning family. Samuel Pocklington’s father, John, was a coal miner. Samuel’s mother, Esther Pocklington died early in 1893 aged 23 when Samuel was aged four. John later re-married to a woman named Margaret who was ten years his younger. Samuel became a coal miner who worked at Wallsend, Northumberland. He married Alice Petch or Peach early in 1911 and the couple had a baby son, Samuel James, who was aged 11 months in the April 1911 census. Samuel senior enlisted in the local regiment, the Durham Light Infantry, on 26th October 1914 at the age of 26. He served with the 6th Battalion D.L.I. which was a pre-war Territorial Army battalion with a H.Q. at Bishop Auckland. The Battalion was initially housed at Bolden Colliery and then trained at Ravensworth Park, Gateshead, but had moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne by October 1914.
The Battalion arrived in France on 19th April 1915 and served with the 151st Infantry Brigade in the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. In 1915 they fought in the Ypres sector where the Battalion suffered heavy casualties and had to be re-formed before moving to the Somme in 1916. In 1917 they fought on the Scarpe during the Arras offensive. All soldiers in the Battalion were re-numbered early in 1917 and Samuel was allotted the new number 251979 in the 6th Battalion D.L.I.. At some stage, Samuel became a casualty and after treatment he was discharged from the Army on 15th November 1917 through disablement or ill-health.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and he was granted a Silver War Badge for being discharged through wounds or sickness. He appears to have died in 1949, possibly at Shildon, near Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Judith Lowe
Date: Saturday 30th July 2016 at 9:24 PM

Dear Alan
Thank you so much for your swift and informative reply about SJ Pockington.
Another soldier that I have been trying to find some information about is- Private A Walters1751 of the 5th KOYLI. All I do know is that he was wounded on 24th May 1915 (Whit Monday) at Ypres and then spent some time at Oakdene Hospital, Rainhill.
If you could add any further information on this man I should be very grateful,
Regards
Judith
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 31st July 2016 at 3:41 PM

Dear Judith,
Private A. Walters was Rifleman Alfred Walters, No.1751, of the 5th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. The Battalion was a pre-war Territorial Army battalion with headquarters at Doncaster and was established in the heart of the South Yorkshire Coalfield with drill halls at Pontefract, Goole, Conisborough, Featherstone and Castleford.
Alfred Richard Walters was born at Altofts near Wakefield in January 1894, the son of Herbert and Elizabeth Walters. By 1901 the family had moved to South Kirkby, near Doncaster, where Herbert was a coal miner. In 1911, Alfred was recorded as being a 17-year-old pony driver down the pit. He had joined the K.O.Y.L.I.s in about 1912 as a part-time soldier and had become a pit engine driver by the outbreak of war when the 5th Battalion was mobilized.
On mobilization, the 5th K.O.Y.L.I. trained at Gainsborough until February 1915 when it moved to York. The Battalion went to France on the night of 12th / 13th April 1915 landing at Le Havre. They served in the West Riding Division with the 1st West Riding Brigade. The 5th Battalion was commanded by a Pontefract doctor, Lt-Col Charles Carter Moxon under IV Corps commanded by Gen. Sir Henry Rawlinson. Officers of the 5th Battalion were under instruction in trench warfare to the sound of the guns at the commencement of The Second Battle of Ypres on April 22nd when the enemy used chlorine gas against the French Division at Gravenstafel. The men of the 5th Battalion were in reserve in April 1915 and were billeted in the village of La Gorgue near Estaires until 30th April when the 5th Battalion moved into the trenches at Bois Grenier. The Battalion suffered its first casualty on May 2nd when Private H Hepworth was killed.
On 12th May traditional names gave way to war-time numbers and the 1st West Riding Brigade became known as the 146th Infantry Brigade in the 49th Division.
On the nights of May 22nd – 24th the 5th Battalion was in close support of the 4th Battalion who were digging new trenches 70 yards to their front. This was a delicate operation and was completed on the night of the 24th May. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” (HMSO 1921) records that one man was killed on May 24th and 10 were killed on May 25th. The Regimental History (R.C. Bond, 1929) states “The 5th Battalion lost twelve men killed and eleven wounded from shell-fire during the two succeeding days in the new trenches”.
Alfred Walters was hit by a bullet in the right shoulder (National Archives catalogue ref AIR 79/228/21503).
After his treatment at Oakdene, Alfred Walters was discharged from the Army and became an officer’s batman in the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.). He entered the R.F.C. on 5th March 1916 and remained with them when they became part of the new Royal Air Force on April 1st 1918, taking the rank of private, with the number 21503. He served in England and in 1918 was at the No 11 Training Depot Station which was at RAF Station Old Sarum, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, which had opened as a training station at Ford Farm in 1917.
Alfred Walters qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was discharged from the RAF on 14th December 1918 and returned home to South Kirkby. In 1928 he was a coal mine timber-man, aged 32, living on Barnsley Road, South Kirkby. On September 8th 1928 he married Martha Ogden, aged 29, daughter of James Ogden, coal miner, Doncaster Road, South Elmsall, at the church of St Mary the Virgin, South Elmsall.
Alfred Walters appears to have died, aged 66, in 1960. His widow, Martha, died in 1981 at the age of 82.
With kind regards,
Alan
Postscript: Lt Col C.C. Moxon DSO, CMG, MRCS, LRCP, had fought in two wars in South Africa and on the Western Front as a volunteer. Having survived two wars, he died in 1924 as a result of septicaemia following a slight wound received whilst conducting a post mortem examination on a young man who had died of malignant scarlet fever (British Medical Journal, 12th April 1924).
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 31st July 2016 at 3:58 PM

Dear Judith,
When you have further names to research it would be best to start a new post for each man rather then replying to this entry, which would eventually become rather long and less easy to access when it moves down the pages. A new post automatically goes to the top of the page making it easier to find. Thanks.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Brian Moore {Email left}
Location: Brighton
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 8:50 AM
Hello Alan ,
I am trying to find out if one of my ancestors served during WW1 and so far no luck, his name was JOHN EDWARD MOORE born in Brighton in 1889, his father was JOHN MOORE born 1868 and lived at 14, Melbourne Street Brighton . I do hope that you can help me. many thanks .
regards Brian.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 2:31 PM

Dear Brian,
Unfortunately, it is not possible to make a positive identification in military records without more details than you have.
Comparatively few army service records have survived from the First World War and there are none that record a John Edward Moore of Brighton born in 1889. Naval records do have a date of birth but there is no matching record in The National Archives catalogue. Other military records are identified by the man’s regiment and regimental number so it would be necessary to know these from family sources before making a positive identification in the records because the medal-rolls index recorded more than 20 soldiers named John Edward Moore plus about a further 1,000 named John Moore.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Brian Moore
Date: Thursday 14th July 2016 at 11:45 AM

Hello Alan
thank you for your reply re JOHN EDWARD MOORE I have in my possession, his marriage certificate which is dated 25th DECEMBER 1914. can I denote from this,that this might have been allowed because he would have been called up?
regards Brian.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 14th July 2016 at 7:17 PM

Dear Brian,
Not necessarily. And it depends on his faith.
The old Roman Catholic canonical laws of pre-Reformation England provided for closed seasons for marriage ceremonies which included “Conjugium Adventus prohibit. Hilarius relaxant” which meant marriage was prohibited from Advent to St Hilary’s Day, which was from the fourth Sunday before Christmas to January 13th.
Under Pope Pius X canonical law was revised between 1904 and 1916 with the publication of the new Code of Canon Law in 1917. The Catholic church still considers it inappropriate to marry during Holy Week (the last week in Lent) and at Easter (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday). The Catholic rules on when it is permitted to celebrate marriage are no longer found in Canon Law, but in the Rite of Marriage. During the penitential seasons of Lent and Advent, the Church considers the nature of these times special and any marriage ceremonies are expected to be simple. On Sundays of Advent, Lent and Easter, the liturgy of the Sunday mass, with the wedding rites inserted, is used. A marriage ceremony on Christmas Day would maintain solemnity and use the normal readings and prayers of the Christmas Mass of the Day (not Midnight Mass or dawn).
In the Church of England, from 1549 the Protestant church introduced a marriage ceremony in the English language, rather than Latin. In the Protestant church, getting married on Christmas Day was a common practice in the 1800s because it was a day when people did not have to work and so could marry without losing income. Christmas Day was recognised as one of only two public holidays on which no-one had to go to work. It was also a custom for some larger parishes to offer marriage ceremonies and baptisms free of charge on Christmas Day. This was especially so in larger city parishes where vicars offered free weddings to couples whom they knew to be living “in sin”. It was also common practice to have “batch” weddings where vicars married up to 40 couples at one ceremony. These were known as “Penny weddings”, the penny being the fee paid by each couple. In 1848 the Reverend Richard Athill married 24 couples on Christmas Day at Holy Trinity Church, Hull. By the beginning of the 1900s these penny weddings had fallen into decline.
As late as 1919, the large number of Christmas weddings was commented on, with the mining town of Castleford in Yorkshire expecting 60 ceremonies in Christmas Week at both register office and churches, with many on Christmas Day itself, held between Christmas services.
In the post-war 1920s the practice of Christmas Day weddings was declining, not least because the clergy found the day to be too busy and detracting from “the relevance of the Incarnation”. Some vicars started charging higher fees to couples who insisted on a Christmas Day ceremony.
In wartime, planning a marriage on Christmas Day ensured that relatives and friends would be available to attend without causing disruption to their war work. Relatives serving in the forces at Home would probably be able to take Christmas leave. Another aspect was one of economy: the celebratory meal that followed the morning ceremony could be the family Christmas dinner, so avoiding the expense of a separate wedding celebration. Food was not rationed until 1918 when supplies of sugar, meat, flour, butter, margarine and milk were rationed.
From 1871, Boxing Day was declared a bank holiday when businesses would close. Bank holidays (Boxing Day, Easter Monday, Whit Monday and the first Monday in August) were different to a public holiday (Christmas Day and Good Friday), but the effect was to give people two days off at Christmas: an opportune time to marry and celebrate.
Couples were entitled to get married on any day of the year, and, until 1886, the ceremony had to be held at a time between 8 a.m. and noon. In 1865, an extension to 3 or 4 p.m. was considered by a Royal Commission into marriage law. Nowadays, the Protestant church restricts marriages to the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some vicars still decline marriage ceremonies in Lent and on Good Friday.
A Christmas wedding was supposed to bring good fortune, but by 1926, the Christmas Day wedding was being frowned upon by the clergy. At Mansfield Parish Church Canon Marsh refused a couple a Christmas Day wedding because he was too busy. In 1927, “The Scotsman” of December 23rd (© Johnson Press via British Newspaper Archive) reported on the custom of Christmas Day weddings stating that the Vicar of Christ Church, South Hackney, the Rev. Lambert Foxell, had put up his prices to discourage Christmas Day weddings, although he was going to perform one ceremony on the day. The Scotsman reported: “An East End of London vicar’s wife whose husband will have ten couples to marry after the morning service on Christmas Day said the custom was altogether irritating and inconsiderate”. She said: “it makes the day a very heavy one for the clergy who are already pretty hard worked. Our Christmas dinner is delayed; everybody is tired and altogether I feel it is most inconsiderate.”
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 14th July 2016 at 10:53 PM

Incidentally, soldiers were not “called up” until early 1916, or later, when compulsory conscription had been introduced. Reservists who had served pre-war were called up in August 1914 but most of those men had gone to France and Flanders by the end of 1914, many not surviving the fighting of 1914. Until the introduction of the Military Service Acts of 1916, men were volunteers and not “called up”.
Alan
Posted by: Gillian Rutherford {Email left}
Location: Kent England
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 8:18 AM
Hi im hoping you can help. We are trying to find out about my husbands father and where he served in the war. Im afraid we dont have much info.

His name was David John Rutherford and he was in the Royal Engineers. He was a sargeant and his date of birth was 2/10/1933. He lived in Wemyss road Blackheath London.

Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
Reply from: Gillian Rutherford
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 5:28 PM

Hi we have just found some more info on the medals index we believe his regiment no was WR311679 Royal Engineers inland waterways & docks - this must be him as he was a lighterman on the Thames and we know he was on a ferry in the war carrying the troops in the Suez. Hope this helps.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 9:59 PM

Dear Gillian,
The David Rutherford in the Royal Engineers with the regimental number WR311679 had enlisted on 8th February 1915 as a sapper (private soldier) with the regimental number 68267. The WR numbers were allotted when men changed within sections of the Royal Engineers from March 1918. Although Waterways and Railways was the common title, the WR prefix indicated all of the Transportation Branch of the Royal Engineers and included quarrying and road-building as well as railways, inland waterways and docks. David Rutherford 68267 went to France as a first posting on 18th April 1915. There is no record of where he served. A Silver War Badge roll recorded he was discharged because of Sickness on 2th February 1918 under paragraph 2 b of Army Order 265 II of 10th August 1917.
That paragraph stated the discharge was for serving “soldiers still of military age who (i) after service overseas in the armed Forces of the Crown, on account of disablement or ill-health caused otherwise than by misconduct; or (ii) after service at Home, and have been medically examined and finally discharged from liability to further military service under sub-section (5) of Section 1 of the Military Service (Review of Exceptions) Act 1917, as permanently and totally disabled, otherwise than from misconduct” (definition from Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail).
The War Badge roll stated David Rutherford was aged 47 in February 1918 which suggested he was born in 1870/1871.
There is no other record with biographical information to identify this David Rutherford. The records indicated he was a sapper and not a sergeant.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Gillian Rutherford
Date: Thursday 14th July 2016 at 7:16 AM

Thank you for the information Alan but we must have the wrong name. We know for a fact he served in the Suez and we also have some letters he sent home from there and some photos of him in uniform there. This is very frustrating. We will try to glean more information. My sister still has his army jacket.
Posted by: Howard Thomas {Email left}
Location: South Africa
Date: Monday 11th July 2016 at 11:06 AM
Hello Alan

I hope you don't mind me sending you this request for any information you can find for:
Edward Arthur Jones Regn No 18993 attached to the 13th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers at the start of WW1.
I have located his Medal Card and hold a copy of his document.
I have also found his Orders dated 8th July 1918 requiring him to attend No 8 Officer Cadet Battalion. The Orders show he was previously a Sergeant.
Anything else you can find will be greatly appreciated.
How he survived the battle in July 1916 is just amazing.
Kind regards
Howard
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 11th July 2016 at 7:54 PM

Dear Howard,
As Edward Arthur Jones was commissioned from the ranks he was discharged from the ranks on 6th March 1919 to become an officer and his individual file would have been moved to the officers’ records, so I do not have access to it. The file would therefore be held at the UK National Archives at Kew, Surrey. It is Catalogue reference WO 374/38138. You can seek a quote for reproducing it. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C708267
The war diary of the 13th Battalion (1st North Wales) Royal Welsh Fusiliers can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 (6.2 NZD) from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354150
During the war, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were officially known as Welsh and did not become Welch until March 1920, although their archaic title had been The Welch Regiment of Fusiliers from the early 1700s. It required the King’s permission to formally change the spelling, although some battalions had used Welch by tradition. The 13th Battalion had been raised at Rhyl, Wales, on 3rd September 1914. It trained at Llandudno, Wales, from November 1914 until August 1915 when it moved to Winchester in England. The Battalion went overseas to France on 1st December 1915 with the 113th Infantry Brigade in the 13th (Welsh) Division. At that stage, Edward Arthur Jones was a private soldier and he rose through the ranks to sergeant, before being accepted for an officer cadet battalion.
The opening of the Somme campaign in 1916 began with an eight-day artillery bombardment of the German lines, starting on Saturday 24th June. The infantry attack began on July 1st. On the 1st July 1916, the First Day of the Battles of the Somme, the 13th Battalion was resting in billets at Lealvillers, and moved up to the line at Fricourt on July 5th 1916. During July 1916, the 13th Battalion Royal Welsh Fuziliers was in action on the Somme from 5th July to 12thth July at Mametz; Caterpillar Wood and Mametz Wood. After a week’s rest in the rear, the Battalion returned to the line on July 24th at Beaumont Hamel. On July 31st the Battalion was moved North to the Ypres sector in West Flanders, Belgium. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” (HMSO 1921) recorded the 13th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers lost 64 men killed in July 1916, the majority on 10th and 11th July when the Battalion twice attacked at Mametz Wood.
No. 8 Officer Cadet Battalion was located at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, Staffordshire. During his time there, Cadet E. A. Jones would have heard the Cathedral and other church bells of Lichfield ring out at 11 a.m. on November 11th 1918, as quoted by another cadet, John Handley, the protagonist of: “How I Survived the Great War”, who was on a map-reading exercise, sitting on a five-barred gate when the bells rang out.
The official British government publication “The London Gazette” promulgated the commissioning of Cadet Edward Arthur Jones on 4th March 1919 as a Second-Lieutenant in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (regular army). (The London Gazette; 28 March 1919; Supplement: 31258; Page: 4147).
He relinquished his commission on completion of service on 1st September 1921 (The London Gazette; 16 February 1922; Supplement: 32612; Page: 1382).
In 1919 – 1921 he would have served in either the 1st or 2nd Battalions Royal Welsh (Welch) Fusiliers as two battalions and a depot at Wrexham was their peace-time strength. The 1st Battalion served overseas until 1932 while the 2nd Battalion was garrisoned in Ireland during the lawlessness at Limerick in 1920-21.
Footnote: Your remark about survival started me thinking. There were 13 British Divisions on the Somme on July 1st 1916, each with about 18,000 men of which 12,000 were infantry soldiers which made a total of about 156,000 infantry soldiers of all ranks. British casualties on the first day were 19,240 of all ranks killed and 38,230 wounded or missing (total: 57,470). Some battalions fared worse than others and without demeaning the losses of the first day on July 1st 1916, in broad figures across the infantry on that day the odds of being killed were 1 in 8; and the odds of being wounded were 1 in 4. By the time the 13th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers was fighting at Mametz Wood the odds of being killed in July 1916 in that battalion were 1 in 15 (64 killed out of, say, 960). The figures for the 13th Battalion’s wounded at Mametz are not recorded.
Some 13,977 New Zealanders fought at Gallipoli in 1915 (“Bloody Gallipoli”, Stowers, 2005). They suffered 53 per cent casualties, wounded or killed. The odds of a Kiwi being killed at Gallipoli were 1 in 5 while their chance of being wounded was 1 in 2.6: both significantly worse than for the British on the Somme.
In July 1916 at d’Elville Wood on the Somme the South African Infantry Brigade had 3,433 men of whom 2683 became casualties in six days.
In more modern combat, in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, American estimates placed the odds of being killed at 1 in 300 and the odds of being seriously wounded at 1 in 50 (from: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-true-risk-of-being-killed-in-war). British figures of 629 deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan among 220,000 personnel (not all combat troops) would place the odds of being killed at 1 in 349.
Armchair historians have a better survival rate. Figures for Great Britain in 2014 showed the chance any one of 64 million people being killed in a road accident was 1 in 37,361 and the chance of being injured was 1 in 2,955 (gov.uk). All figures are my calculations and are intended for broad comparison.
The Somme was no place to be.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 11th July 2016 at 10:55 PM

Proof reading correction. In paragraph five "The Battalion went overseas to France on 1st December 1915 with the 113th Infantry Brigade in the 13th (Welsh) Division." should read: "113th Infantry Brigade in the 38th (Welsh) Division.
Reply from: Howard Thomas
Date: Tuesday 12th July 2016 at 12:52 PM

Hi Alan!

Impressed and amazed at the speed of response. I've sent a request to Kew as suggested and look forward to their reply.
Just one more question....
Is there a site where I might find a photo of Edward Arthur as a serving soldier/Officer during WW1?
So pleased I found your website.
Best wishes

Howard
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 12th July 2016 at 6:24 PM

Dear Howard,
Positively identifying photographs of ancestors from the First World War is fraught with difficulties, not just on the internet but also with actual photos. The first problem is whether the searcher can recognise the ancestor in a photograph; the second is whether the photograph is correctly captioned or captioned at all. There is no one website that would have specific photographs identifying Edward Arthur Jones and Google Images produces far too broad results.
Numerous museums have boxes of old photographs which cannot be further identified because they have not been captioned. A cap-badge might identify a regiment, but with a regiment such as the Royal Welsh (Welch) Fusiliers having 40 war-time battalions between 1914 -1918, unless the photograph is captioned and dated it is of little value.
The Army did not routinely take photographs of individuals. The photo-I.D. was introduced after the First World War by the British Merchant Navy on their record cards in the 1920s. Photography by individuals serving overseas was officially banned while on active service, although a few personal cameras did get to the Front and French photographers were quick to set up their stalls in the rear areas.
Photographs from the First World War fall into three categories: portraits taken at Home intended for the family when a soldier first acquired his uniform; group photographs taken in barracks; and photographs taken at the front by the few “official photographers”.
Portrait photographs are usually found among family documents. When captioned at the time, the description should be accurate, but if they are captioned later the details might not be accurate. Group photographs taken in the UK while training, or overseas when disbanding, rarely have detailed captions other than naming a battalion or platoon. One such photograph of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry is captioned only with “Yorkshire Lads at Rugeley”. Such a photograph might be of an ancestor’s unit, but when was it taken and can the ancestor be recognised?
Official photographs were released as postcards and The Daily Mail donated £2,500 to charity for the rights to reproduce some of them. This type of photograph had propaganda captions such as “Royal Army Medical Corps picking up wounded in a captured village”. The brave stretcher bearers tend to their wounded comrades but not: “wounded boys lying in the mud crying for help”. The village, naturally, had been “captured” (Daily Mail Battle Pictures, series 5, No 34; Passed by Censor; circa 1916). Official photographs were often staged and might identify a regiment by name but with little other detail that could be considered sensitive to the enemy at the time.
The general lack of official photography for the public to consume was down to Haig’s dislike of the press. Film-maker Charles Urban, who had made the colour film “With Our King and Queen through India” in 1911, had offered to film the war in his “Kinemacolour” system but he was refused permission. Urban then worked for the British Government covertly and did release some colour footage of the Fleet at Scapa Flow. However, by 1918, the Army itself benefitted from some 900,000 aerial photographs being printed every month for intelligence purposes. The paucity of official photography is the reason that so many contemporary periodicals resorted to artists’ portrayals of the supposed action. An example is at:
http://greatwarproject.org/2014/08/22/the-war-illustrated/
One famous “official” image was taken from the film entitled “The Battle of the Somme” (1916) in which an English soldier looks directly at the camera while carrying a wounded man on his back (Imperial War Museum, Q79501). This part of the film was shot by Ernest Brooks, who worked with Geoffrey Mallins. It was taken at New Beaumont Road, the location of an advanced dressing station known as Tenderloin, on July 1st 1916 with the 29th Division. The film was analysed in depth by Fraser, Robertshaw and Roberts (Ghosts on the Somme 2009) who stated the two rescuers could not be identified. One became known as "shirt sleeve man" and the other as "cardigan man". They stated that the Imperial War Museum has a file of claims from 50 families that have apparently recognised the two men as being their ancestor ("Ghosts on the Somme", by Alastair Fraser, Andrew Robertshaw and Steve Roberts, Pen and Sword, 2009; pages 979-99). The film is always cited as being seen by millions of people. Indeed it was, not because of the Battle of the Somme but because it was advertised as “The Tank Film” and no-one at Home had ever seen a tank.
In the case of Second-Lieutenant Edward Arthur Jones, it is not yet known in which battalion of the Royal Welsh (Welch) Fusiliers he served after the war, but in 1919 the actual number of battalions was reduced from 40 to two battalions and the depot. As an officer, there is a likelihood he was photographed as it was the custom to take group photographs, particularly at events such as the summer ball or shooting competitions. The regimental museum might be able to identify any surviving photographs. The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum is at Caernarfon Castle, North Wales. See:
http://www.rwfmuseum.org.uk/
Regimental magazines of the period 1919-21 might have included a portrait to accompany an article that might have featured him. Again, these would be held at the museum. I have not been able to establish the location any photographic records for No 8 Officer Cadet Battalion in the catalogues of the Imperial War Museum and The National Archives.
An American general, when asked why there was no record of a particular event, replied: “Hell, son. I was fighting a war not making notes”.
And so it was with the camera in the First World War.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Howard Thomas
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 7:00 AM

Hi Alan!
Again, many thanks for the speedy response. I must say all your responses are fascinating to read and you've given me the encouragement to carry on digging for further information.
Very best wishes
Howard

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