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Posted by: Frances {No contact email}
Location: Suffolk
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 12:17 PM
Hello Alan I am looking For help in finding out about my Irish grandfather. The only information I have on him is from my late father's birth certificate, my father was born on 25 August 1922 my grandfather's name was Patrick Joseph McCaffrey , he was a Sergeant, no: 7212436, in the Army Educational Corps based at Whittington Barracks Lichfield Staffordshire, family history tells me that he died of pneumonia in about 1924/25 don't know whether he was still in Lichfield. Would a soldier in the Educational Corps have been sent to fight in the war? Any help you can give me would be much appreciated
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 7:17 PM

Dear Frances,
The Army Educational Corps was not created until the 15th June 1920, so its members had not served with that Corps in the First World War, although they might have served in the war with some other regiment.
Records of individual servicemen from the 1920s are not in the public domain and are held by the U.K. Ministry of Defence. The M.o.D will release certain details about deceased service personnel to next-of-kin or general enquirers on application and for a fee of £30.00. You will need to provide proof of death unless he died while still in the army. See:
https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/overview
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Frances
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 8:11 PM

Dear Alan thank you so much for the information you gave me regarding my grandfather Patrick McCaffrey in the Army Educational Corps. My brother in law has found another number which I assume may be a service number possibly from before grandad was in the Educational Corps the number is Y212436 does this number refer to a service number? I would be very grateful if you can help with this extra number, hope I am not confusing you.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 10:48 PM

Dear Frances,
I am afraid that number does not appear in any online records for military service.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Frances
Date: Saturday 9th July 2016 at 7:38 AM

Thank you once again Alan for the information you have been able to give me.
Kind regards
Frances
Posted by: Tony Ring {Email left}
Location: Luton
Date: Thursday 7th July 2016 at 4:03 PM
Hello Alan

I was wondering if you you would be able to find any information out about my Father John Ring, who served at the battle of the Somme, but he would not talk about it.

From what I have been able to research is that:
He joined as a Private to the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers 9th February 1915
I've only been able to find out that he was awarded the 1914-1915 star
He was injured on the 27th of August 1916 at the Somme
His army number was: 3812

I would be very grateful if you could find out any information about him, especially about his war records and if he was awarded any further medals.

Thanks in advance
Tony Ring.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 7th July 2016 at 8:59 PM

Dear Tony,
There is no surviving individual service record for John Ring so it is not possible to state his military service in detail. Most records were lost during the London Blitz of September 8th 1940 when the War Office repository was hit. The only surviving records for John Ring are the medal rolls which showed he initially served in the 8th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers and went to France and Flanders with that battalion on the night of 17th/18th December 1915. Later, on 21st/22nd November 1916, the 8th Battalion, at half strength, was disbanded in France and was absorbed by the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers. The 1914-15 Star campaign medal was awarded to men who had gone overseas before December 31st 1915 and was intended indicate the recipient had served as a volunteer sometime between late 1914 and the end of 1915 before the introduction of compulsory service in 1916 for male residents of Great Britain, but not residents of Ireland where all soldiers served in the British Army voluntarily. Conscripts of 1916 and later could not qualify for a Star medal. Private John Ring also qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The 8th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers served in the 47th Infantry Brigade in the 16th (Irish) Division until 21st November 1916. The newly-merged 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers that absorbed the 8th Battalion served in the 47th Infantry Brigade from 22nd November 1916 until 20th April 1918, when it joined 172nd Infantry Brigade in the 57th Division until the end of the war. See Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail, for battle locations of the two divisions at:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/16th-irish-division/
and
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/57th-2nd-west-lancashire-division/
The 8th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers did not arrive in the Somme département of France until 31st August 1916 when they arrived at 1.20 p.m. at Citadel Camp, Guillemont, Somme, with instructions to relieve 60th Infantry Brigade between Guillemont and Waterlot Farm. At 5 p.m. on 31st August 1916 they moved from Citadel Camp to the support line trenches at Bernafay Wood. The wood was intermittently shelled with tear gas during the night. The shelling with “lachrymatory shells” continued for the next two days. That was followed by their first major engagement at The Battle of Guillemont (3rd to 6th September 1916) on the Somme. On 9th September the Battlion put in an attack on the Sunken Road at Ginchy. These were the Battalions first attacks on the Somme. The Battalion then left the Somme on September 21st 1916 and travelled north to Méteren. A week later they took up the support trenches at Kemmel village and Siege Farm six miles south of Ypres and a about a mile from the front line.
On 27th August 1916, the 8th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers had been en route to Choques and were in billets at Burbure, in the Pas de Calais département, where fresh clothing and baths were provided. There was church parade and divine service at the village church dedicated St. Gervais and Protais, and the band played at Retreat at 6.30 p.m.. Next day they remained at Burbure and entrained for Choques on 29th August, heading to Guillemont.
The previous and last time in August that the Battalion had been in the trenches was on 22nd August 1916 at Loos-en-Gohelle when they organised a trench raid on enemy positions.
It would seem more likely Private Ring was wounded in early September 1916 when the Battalion was under fire on the Somme rather than when it was in billets and attending church and a band concert in the Pas de Calais on August 27th, but that doesn’t mean to say he could not have been wounded on the 27th.
The war diary of the 8th Battalion can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352859
The war diary of the 1st Battalion after it merged with the 8th Battalion can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352858
John Ring qualified for the three campaign medals: the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 7th July 2016 at 9:16 PM

"The Times" newspaper published the daily list of casualties on 13th September 1916. It was two pages long. The list included J Ring, 3812, Royal Munster Fusiliers, wounded. These lists usually appeared in the papers about two weeks after the actual event. (The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Sep 13, 1916; pg. 3; via Times Digital Archive).
Alan
Reply from: Tony Ring
Date: Saturday 9th July 2016 at 3:49 PM

Thank you Alan
You have given me more information than I could find in thirty years
The medals missing are The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Do you know how I can get a replacement for those or is it possible to replace them.
Thanks again .
Kind regards
Tony Ring[
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 9th July 2016 at 5:54 PM

Dear Tony,
It is no longer possible to apply for medals from the First World War. The original medals themselves might still exist with family members, collectors or medal dealers. There is a British website for people seeking lost medals:
http://www.lostmedals.co.uk/
Replica medals are available to purchase and The Royal British Legion suggests some suppliers. See:
http://support.britishlegion.org.uk/app/answers/detail/a_id/1222/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xNDY4MDc5NjQwL3NpZC9EcTE3djVWbQ%3D%3D
With kind regards,
Alan

Posted by: Sally Wilkinson {Email left}
Location: Coventry
Date: Tuesday 5th July 2016 at 3:41 PM
Good afternoon, Alan.

I have been able to find my grandfathers army records, which make interesting reading, but I would like to try and find out where he actually served served on the western Front? Is this possible? I have his number as either 3482 or 240841 and he was Private George Clark (sometimes spelt with an 'e' on the end) from the South Staffordshire regiment. I can see he entered the theatre of war on 28th June 2015 and it is shown as '1' which I believe is the Western Front? He received the Victory medal, The British medal and the 15 Star medal. I would dearly love to try and find out what he got up to, because I have 2 differing family stories handed down. One was that he was a sniper and the other that he was gassed. If you could shed any light on this, it would be a great help.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 6th July 2016 at 6:38 PM

Dear Sally,
No individual service record has survived for George Clark so the only information available is from the nominal rolls for the campaign medals, which all soldiers received in one form or another after the war. The rolls recorded that George had served with the 6th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment with the original regimental number 3482. The battalion was part of the Territorial Force and all Territorial soldiers were re-numbered early in 1917, when George was re-numbered 240841. He went to France and Flanders on 28th June 1915. His war service ended after the Armistice with Germany, in the UK, on 27th May 1919.
The 6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment had gone to France on 3rd March 1915, so George would have been part of a draft of reinforcements, arriving 16 weeks aterwards.
He could well have been a sniper and he could well have been gassed.
One-third of all artillery shells fired by the enemy on many occasions after April 1915 contained gas of some sort, so many men suffered from the effects either mildly or more seriously. The British soldiers were issued with respirators which gave protection and one of the most significant effects of a gas barrage was to slow down and reduce the effectiveness of the enemy by forcing them to operate while wearing the respirators that required slow breathing, preventing exertion on the battlefield.
The 6th Battalion (sometimes shown as 1st/6th) South Staffordshire Regiment served with 137th Infantry Brigade in the 46th Division. The Division’s major engagements are detailed on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail at:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/46th-north-midland-division/
It is not possible to state from medal records how an individual was employed throughout the war in his battalion. That amount of detail would usually come from family sources such as letters and diaries.
The war diary of the 6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment can be downloaded for a fee of £3.45 from:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354507
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Sally
Date: Wednesday 6th July 2016 at 6:52 PM

Hi Alan,
I am thrilled with your detailed research and it will help me with building a more accurate picture of my grandfather's war years.
I will honour your request to donate with pleasure.
Thanks again
Sally
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 7th July 2016 at 9:01 PM

Hi Sally,
Thank you for making a donation. It all makes a difference.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Paul Henderson {No contact email}
Location: Leeds
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 9:21 PM
Hi
Not sure if anyone can help but here goes.
My Great Grandfather was in the RAMC and joined 60 Field Ambulance as part of 20 Light Division. He was gassed on 14th August 1917 and I just wondered if anyone new in what battle he could have been wounded/gassed. He was with 60 FA right up until h was wounded
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 9:41 PM

Dear Paul,
The 20th Light Division fought at The Battle of Langemarck from 16th to 18th August 1917, as part of the second Allied general attack during the Third Battle of Ypres. The war diary of 60 Field Ambulance RAMC can be downloaded from the National Archives for £3.45. See:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353094
That will give a specific location for the Field Ambulance. Artillery bombardment by the enemy often included one-third gas shells missed with shrapnel and high explosive although a Field Ambulance should not have been a direct target as it was protected by the red cross under the rules of war, however gas could not be controlled once the wind blew.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Donna Parrett {Email left}
Location: United Kingdom
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 8:10 PM
Alan,
I have been carrying out research regarding my great grandfather for sometime and haven contact you before I know believe I have tracked him down.
His name was William Wallace and prior to WW1 he was based in Ireland and married an Irish women. Family history states he died in the war and that his son born in Jan 1908 knew his father for abt 11 years.
My research has confirmed that William Wallace 27982 RFA was based in Athlone between June 1905-June 1907 with the 60th Battery Royal Field Artillery and was an Officers Groom as stated on their wedding certificate. From his attestation medical records William was born in Leuchars in Jan 1882.
Searching the CWGC website I found another William Wallace 112051 Royal Field Artillery born in Leuchars Jan 1881.
From Scotlandspeople between 1870-1890 only 2 William Wallace's where born in Leuchars the other was in 1878, he had a short attestation with the Imperial Yeomanry, in 1901 and was discharged in South Africa.
Therefore I am inclined to believe William's 27982 &112051 are the same individual.

William 27982 received the "Mons Star" Victory Medal and the British War Medal he a Driver for the 122nd Battery, 28 Bde in Battle of Le Cateau.
William 112051 was in the 8th Battery 13th bde which was based in Mesopotania primarily Iraq.

Can you therefore help me understand why there are two Medal cards were "Mutt and Jeff" were issued?

The pension record for 112051 suggests an earlier war service.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 4th July 2016 at 3:57 PM

Dear Donna,
This has proved to be an intriguing problem to solve.
William Wallace 27982 enlisted at Dundee on 18th November 1902 stating he was 20 years and ten months old, and born at Leuchars. That would give him a birth date in January 1882. When he left the army on 17th November 1910 to join the reserve, he stated his age as 28 and ten months which, again, would give him a birth date in January 1882. There is no reason to dispute that William believed he was 20 years and ten months old when he joined up. His age eight years later in 1910 would match, being 28 and ten months.
The Army medal rolls for the First World War show William Wallace 27982 served in France and Flanders from 9th August 1914 until November 1915 when his term of engagement as a pre-war soldier ended. This is shown on both his wartime and pre-war records. It was not unusual for a soldier’s term of engagement to end during the war and he was entitled to leave the Army if that did occur. It is apparent he had been recalled from the reserve in August 1914 as he was among the first to cross the English Channel on August 9th, four days after Britain declared war. During 1914-1915 he served with 122nd Battery in the 28th Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
As you say, there were two William Wallaces born at Leuchars about 1882. One was William Bisset Wallace born in 1877 on August 8th to David and Janet Wallace, of Milton Farm, Leuchars. William Bisset Wallace emigrated to Canada in 1913 and died in Calgary, Alberta in 1949 aged 72 (via ancestry.co.uk).
The other William Wallace was born at 3 a.m. on January 1st 1881, the illegitimate son of Janet Wallace, a single woman (born about 1842) who was a paper mill worker living in Leuchars Village (GROS Statutory Births 445/00 00051). His birth appears to be a match to William Wallace 27982.
William Wallace, 27982, was placed on the army reserve on 17th November 1910 having served eight years in uniform. He would be in the reserve for four years to make up the standard 12 years’ commitment. He was recalled from the reserve at the outbreak of war and served with 28th Brigade R.F.A. in France from 9th August 1914 until he was discharged having come to the end of his term of engagement (12 years plus, the regulations stated, one extra year if serving overseas at the time) in France in November 1915, returning to the UK for discharge on 18th November 1915, thirteen years to the day that he signed up on 18th November 1902.
If we now look at the CWGC Debt of Honour, a William Wallace, 112051, 13th Brigade R.F.A., who died on 25th November 1919 aged 39, was identified as the sister of Mrs P. Duffus of 50, William Street, Blairgowrie, Perthshire. This was a formal title as she was Mrs Peter Duffus, recorded in the 1901 census at 50, William Street, Blairgowrie. Peter Duffus had married Jane Wallace at St Peter, Dundee, in 1900.
In the 1881 and 1891 censuses William Wallace, born Leuchars, can be found as the son of Janet (a.k.a. Jessie) Wallace who also had a daughter named Jane B. Wallace (or Jeanie B. Wallace) born about 1875. In the April 1881 census William Wallace is shown as being three months old, living in Leuchars Village with his mother Janet and a sister Jeanie B. Wallace. This concurs with his birth registration.
A search of the birth records showed Jane Burns Wallace was born on September 26th 1875 at Rose Street, Lochee, the illegitimate daughter of Janet Wallace, single woman, employed as a preparer in a jute mill. Lochee is now part of Dundee.
William Wallace and Janet Wallace were brother and sister. Janet married Peter Duffus and lived at 50, William Street, Blairgowrie. Therefore, William Wallace 112051 who died in 1919 at Newcastle had been born at Leuchars on January 1st 1881, as was William Wallace 27982.
It appears that William Wallace 27982 accepted the end of his term of engagement in 1915.
When William returned to the UK in 1915 there were no First World War campaign medals. They hadn’t been created. So the medal records were not created until the period between 1918 and 1920.
There are medal rolls for both 27982 and 112051. We have shown they are the same person. So, William must have re-enlisted after he had returned to the UK in November 1915 and joined 13th Brigade R.F.A. in 1916 or later. He did not qualify for the 1915 Star for overseas service before December 31st 1915 with 13th Brigade, only the War and Victory Medals, so he would have served with them from 1916. Ironically, he could have been compulsorily conscripted once he had returned to civilian life.
The 1914 Star was instigated in April 1917 and the medal roll including William Wallace 27982 was drawn up in March 1918. The British War Medal and Victory Medal were authorised after the war, in 1919. Only then did the army record offices create the nominal rolls for those medals. 28th Brigade would have made an entry in 1918 for William Wallace, 27982, who, having qualified for the 1914 Star, would automatically qualify for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. These latter two were on a roll dated July 1920, even though William was long gone from the ranks of 28th Brigade by then.
In April 1920, 13th Brigade included William Wallace 112051 on the combined medal roll for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for serving with them and noting he had died on 25 November 1919.
The British War Medal and the Victory Medals themselves were not issued until 1920-1921 or later, by which time any duplication could not be corrected as William was dead. The medals would have been sent to his next-of-kin, probably his sister Jane Duffus.
William Wallace 112051 died in 1919 and was buried at Newcastle upon Tyne so his death certificate would probably be the one indexed as William Wallace, Q4, 1919, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, volume 10b page 79.
It can be shown that the two medal records applied to the same William Wallace who served twice in the War, firstly with 28th Brigade and then with 13th Brigade which made an accurate, albeit duplicated, authorisation for the British War and Victory Medals.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Donna
Date: Monday 4th July 2016 at 4:26 PM

Thanks Alan I had most of the research but not the knowledge and skill you have to bring it together, you have helped me solve a 100 year old mystery.
Once again thank you
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 4th July 2016 at 9:40 PM

For the record, as a proof reading correction to paragraph seven, William Wallace was a brother to Mrs P. Duffus, not a sister.
Posted by: Carole {Email left}
Location: Exeter
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 2:03 PM
Hi Alan

I was kindly given your details on the Belfast forum and wonder if you can help. I am looking for details for my Grandfathet Edward Butler born circa 1901. I am told he served in ww1 and Ww2 and survived both. He died in 1984. My mother did not know much about him, save he was born in Belfast and served with the RIR. I do not have any other details and realise it is probably impossible to trace him, but any help/hints appreciated.

Kind regards

Carole
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 6:36 PM

Dear Carole,
There are very few military records that provide biographical details to positively identify a soldier and it is not possible to make a successful search without knowing the men’s regimental number. The initials RIR could stand for There is no surviving individual service record for an Edward Butler in either the Royal Irish Regiment or Royal Irish Rifles, which both had the initials RIR. Medal index cards do exist but they would only identify a soldier by his regimental number. If Edward was born in 1901 he would have been 13 when the war started and not old enough to have served unless he lied about his age. There does not appear to be an Edward Butler born in 1901 (plus or minus a year) in Belfast in the Irish civil registration birth index.
Records of soldiers who served in the Second World War are not in the public domain and are held by the Ministry of Defence. They may release details to the next-of-kin on application and payment of a fee. However, you would need more detail than you have at the moment, either his date of birth or regimental number. See:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records#service-records-of-deceased-service-personnel
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Carole
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 6:48 PM

Hi Alan

Yes he did lie about his age to join up, but not sure of his exact date of birth, hence I cannot apply for his war record (I have attempted this twice and they can't find anything with the meagre knowledge I have. I meant to say Northern Ireland not specifically Belfast, the area of Newtonards seems likely, although I've searched every birth and can't say for sure which one is him. I believe he had a brother called James ( he is a witness at his wedding in Lancaster in 1922) and his father is named as John Butler deceased, so I had assumed he died inWW1, but again, this is merely surmising. Even if I did have his exact date of birth, if he lied about his age when he initially enlisted, then this wouldn't help. RIR refers to the Irish rifles.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 7:59 PM

Just a thought: if his age on his marriage certificate says 21 that did not mean he was 21 but meant he was 21 or older, because 21 was the legal minimum age to marry without parental consent. If his year of birth was calculated from the wedding certificate in 1922 then he might not have been born in 1901. If you know where he lived in 1939, then the 1939 Register which can be seen on the Findmypast.co.uk website (pay as you go from about £6) will show his stated date of birth.
You could also search the Irish Census (free) at
http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/
You could take out a brief subscription to the British Newspaper Archive and search family notices in Irish newspapers. See:
http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/4
Finally, if you know where and when he died I can look up his death index entry which in 1984 might include his date of birth.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Details From 1911 Census
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 9:53 PM

Residents of a house 9 in Glenbrook Terrace (Londonderry Urban (1), Londonderry)

Butler James 68 Male Uncle G Law Catholic
Butler Maria 46 Female G Law Aunt Catholic
Butler Edward 14 Male Nephew Catholic
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 4th July 2016 at 3:15 PM

Dear Carole,
There was an Edward Butler, 10607, who enlisted in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on 24th March 1917. At some stage he was transferred as 29938 Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers (battalion unstated). He was discharged, wounded, on 7th August 1918, aged 20. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. There is no other military record for him from the First World War, but if he served in the Second World War his service record should have been carried forward to 1939-45.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Carole
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 5:15 PM

Hi Alan

Apologies for the late response and thanks, been a hectic birthday week.

Thanks for the census entry for Londonderry, I had never looked in that area before, my Mother was born in Belfast so I had just been limiting my search to Antrim and Down (where my Grandmother was born). This is very interesting indeed, although I can find no birth for him. I have checked the Groni site and all the usual pay per view sites too and can find nothing for an Edward Butler. I did however find an Edward Divine born in Londonderry in 1897 his mother is listed as a Maria Butler (same date as the Edward Butler in the 1901 and 1911 census) and was amazed to see that the father on the certificate (Michael Divine) was listed as living at................9 Glenbrook Terrace when he registered the birth. Fascinating stuff. I will try now to either confirm or dismiss this.

How can I go about finding more about the Edward Butler who enlisted in the 1st Battalion? Any thoughts welcome.

Many thanks for your help, I am very excited about Edward Butler/Divine.

Kind regards

Carole
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 8:10 PM

Dear Carole,
That’s an intriguing find.
There was an Edward Divine, born 1897, Co. Tyrone, who served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. But he stated his mother was named Ellen Mary and he lived in Scotland, so he can be dismissed with some certainty.
There is no individual service record for Edward Butler, born 1897, who served in the Royal Irish Rifles. Service records would have provided some biographical information to help positively identify him.
There is however, an Edward Butler’s name on the Silver War Badge rolls who was discharged, wounded, on 7th August 1918 from Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers (sic), regimental number 29938, who was aged 20 (born about 1898).
A search of the medal rolls showed Edward Butler, 29938 Royal Irish Fusiliers had previously served in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles with the regimental number 10607. He had enlisted on 24th March 1917. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
There are no biographical details to further identify him from the medal rolls, but the entries are unique: there is only one record for an Edward Butler born about 1898 who served in the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.
Unfortunately, there are no dates recorded. If he enlisted in March 1917, he would have undergone basic training for a few months before going to join the 1st Battalion which was with 25th Infantry Brigade in the 8th Division in 1917. The Battalion then moved to the 107th Brigade in the 36th Division on 3rd February 1918 at a time when the B.E.F. was re-organised. The 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles moved from 25th Division to 108th Brigade in 36th Division on 13th November and during the same re-organisation in 1918 it too joined 107th Infantry Brigade on 8th February 1918.
There is no record to show in which battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers Edward served, or when. However, it is noted that the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers served in 36th Division and was in 107th Brigade from August 1917 to 8th February 1918 when it moved to 108th Brigade. Without documentation it is not possible to state when the transfers were made, but it seems possible that during the week 2 – 8 February 1918 Edward might have been posted from the 1st Battalion to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles only for the authorities to transfer him, within the same Brigade, to the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, perhaps simply in order to balance the strength of the battalions.
As he was discharged because of wounds, he would have been wounded some weeks before being treated in hospital at Home and discharged from the Army in the U.K..
Edward Butler qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory medal and was granted a Silver War Badge for being discharged before the end of the war because of wounds. The record of the 36th Division can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, the Long, Long trail at:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/36th-ulster-division/
The most costly battle of 1918 was the German advance of March 21st 1918 (Operation Michael) followed immediately by the Actions at the Somme Crossings 24th – 25th March and the Battle of Rosieres, 26th -27th March 1918. There then followed the fighting on the Lys which ended with the fighting at Kemmel Ridge on 17th – 19th April. Those are the likely battles in 1918 in which Edward would have fought, although when he was wounded is not clear.
It is not certain this is the right Edward Butler, but he does match the regiment and the year of birth.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Lorri {Email left}
Location: Knottingley
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 12:21 AM
Hi I am trying to find out about my great grand father war service, I don't have very much information on him and have been looking for a very long time with no results. I have looked online but no joy. There seems to be a few with the same name but I can't work it out. My mum lived with him and the bits she can remember she has told me.
His name was James Henry Lee born in 1874, lived in Leeds Yorkshire and he said he was in the Boer war and also was in Leeds Rifles. Mum said he had medals she was to get after he died but she never got them.
Mum also said he talked about KOYLI but not sure if he was in this or a brother.
Not much is known other than he was in France he was gassed at some stage and that someone from the Army ? came to his house to say that he had been killed but he wasn't, his unit had come down with measles and it was the other unit that got wiped out and he was fine.
I would be most grateful if you could help me out.
Regards
Lorri
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 6:29 PM

Dear Lorri,
No individual service record has survived for James Henry Lee born 1874 so it is not possible to state his service in any detail. The majority of service records from the First World War were destroyed in the London Blitz of September 1940. The “Leeds Rifles” consisted of two battalions each of a thousand men. These were the 7th and the 8th Battalions of the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment, based, not surprisingly, in Leeds, at Carlton Barracks as part of the pre-war Territorial Army. There are three nominal rolls that might identify James Henry Lee of the West Yorkshire Regiment; however they list three men with the same name in the same regiment. Helpfully, a War Badge roll records a James Henry Lee who was discharged through sickness at the age of 43 in 1917, which would give him a birth year of 1874. The other two men named James Henry Lee were in their twenties.
It therefore seems likely the James Henry Lee who was discharged in 1917 was your great grandfather.
However, there is some contradiction in the surviving records. The nominal roll of the silver “War Badge” was roll number O/65/2 which recorded James Henry Lee with the regimental number 268389 in the 7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment who enlisted on 13th October 1914 and was discharged through sickness on 21st August 1917 aged 43. His previous regimental number was shown as 7363, which appears to be incorrect. The War Badge was issued to James Lee on 6th October 1917. The War Badge was a silver badge to be worn on civilian clothing to indicate a man had served King and Country and had been discharged before the end of the war.
The reason there were two regimental numbers was that in January 1917 all Territorial Force soldiers were allotted new six-digit numbers during a rationalisation of the number system. The regimental number 268389 was in the batch 265001 to 305000 allocated to the 7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.
An Army medal rolls index-card recorded James H. Lee as 268389 West Yorkshire Regiment with the previous number 2686. This card also showed he was named on the Silver War Badge list numbered 0/65/2, which indicates he is the same James Henry Lee, born 1874, but with a different previous number.
The nominal rolls for the 1914-15 Star medal, recorded J.H. Lee 2686 entered France on 16th April 1915 and was discharged with the number 268389. The entry did not state in which battalion he served, but this entry is specific about the two numbers.
The combined nominal roll for the British War Medal and Victory Medal recorded James Henry Lee, 2686 and 268389 served in the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.
There is no entry in the rolls for Lee with the number 7363 mentioned above, so that can be discounted as an error. The weight of evidence is that James’s regimental numbers were 2686 and then 268389.
But, which battalion did he serve in?
Both the 7th and 8th Battalions sailed for France from Folkestone and landed at Boulogne in the early hours of 16th April 1915, so the date on the medal index-card is not helpful. It is possible he served with the 8th Battalion and was posted to the 7th Battalion at some stage. Or the medal roll was wrong in stating he served with the 8th Battalion.
Certainly, his regimental number after January1917 was 268389 which was a 7th Battalion number and he was discharged from the 7th Battalion according to the War Badge roll.
As it was, the 7th and 8th Battalions served alongside each other with the 146th (West Riding) Infantry Brigade in the 49th (West Riding) Division. While the battalions fought in the same Brigade, their wartime experiences were not identical, as, for example on July 1st 1916, the individual companies fought under different conditions until 9 p.m., and one group of 30 men of the 7th Battalion became isolated for two days.
The wartime engagements of the 7th and 8th Battalions can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail at:
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/49th-west-riding-division/
Those engagements up to mid-1917 would have involved James Henry Lee.
James Henry Lee was discharged from the army because of illness on 21st August 1917, so he had probably spent some time in hospital before that date. Perhaps gas was the cause?
The incident about the man calling to say James was dead appears to be justified. A soldier named James Lee, from Leeds, of the 7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action on 14th July 1916. His regimental number in the 7th Battalion was 2986 compared with James Henry Lee’s number 2686.
Few Boer War records have survived and James Henry or J.H. Lee does not appear to be among them.
James Henry Lee qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The medals would have been despatched automatically to his address in 1920/1921.
Had a man moved address in the years between 1918 and 1921 it is possible the medals could not be delivered and they would be returned to the local infantry record office to be held for one year after which they were returned to the War Office Medals Branch to be destroyed at the mint.
The “Leeds Rifles” are well represented on the internet.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Pat {No contact email}
Location: East Yorkshire
Date: Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 9:52 PM
Dear Alan,
I wonder if you can help me sort out members of my grandfather's family, which is causing my a lot of problems.
My grandfather was Frederick born in 1894 in Hull to Frederick Wilson and Frances Elizabeth (Johnson) I believe he enlisted into the Northumberland Fusiliers 35th Battalion.No 86626, and I would like to know more about his time during service, which may confirm that Frederick and Frances are his next of kin.
He had a brother George born 1898. I have traced a George Wilson serving as a gunner No 33097 in the Machine Gun Corps, and I am sure these are the two brothers I am looking for. Would you please be able to prove or disprove my thoughts?
Many thanks
Pat
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 11:11 PM

Dear Pat,
There are no surviving individual army service records that provide biographical information about Frederick or George Wilson, so it is not possible to establish a relationship. The 35th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers did not serve overseas and remained in the UK at Herne Bay and then was at Westlerton from early 1918.
Alan
Reply from: Pat
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 5:48 PM

Thank you. Sorry there are no individual records, so I shall just have to keep on searching.
Are there are records for these men that I may keep on record, just in case I come up with something, which may help in my search?

Kind regards

Pat
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 3rd July 2016 at 6:28 PM

There are no records for Frederick Wilson 86626 Northumberland Fusiliers. There is a medal rolls index-card for George Wilson Machine Gun Corps 33097 which records he qualified for the British War medal and the Victory medal, but that is all it says. Medal index cards are available from the ancestry.co.uk subscription website although many libraries have free access to the website.
Most individual service records were destroyed in the London Blitz in 1940 so they have not survived.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Bella {Email left}
Location: Esher
Date: Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 12:09 PM
Dear Alan,
Just want to mention how the commemorations of 100 years since WW1 have been portrayed.

For me I think it has been done with great dignity and particularly those who re-enacted soldiers going off to war at cities all over the UK which I am sure most of us found greatly moving. I am a little surprised though that the film 'Oh What a Lovely War' hasn't appeared on our screens which is very poignant at any time but particularly now.

Hope you are keeping well.

With kind regards.
Bella
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 2:02 PM

Dear Bella,
The BBC celebrated “Oh What a Lovely War” in 2014, the centenary of the start of the war, so they’ve probably out it on hold for 2018. There’s a brief background film at:
www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zws9xnb
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 9th July 2016 at 3:26 PM

Dear Bella,
You would enjoy this one hour documentary about "The Long, Long Trail" which was the inspiration for "Oh What a Lovely War". It's on the BBC iPlayer Radio at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03nrn9m
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Karen Draper {Email left}
Location: Langton By Wragby
Date: Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 8:06 AM
Hi Alan
What a wonderful memorial to our brave men and women.
My Gran's cousin was killed in WW1. I am off to France
tomorrow to pay my respects but wondered if you could offer any further
information on him?

Private H Grant 14685 Coldstream Guards
Died 11/3/1918 Aged 22

Kind regards Karen
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 2:03 PM

Dear Karen,
The Coldstream Guards keep their own records and will conduct a search on application and payment of a fee of £33. See:
https://www.coldstreamguards.org.uk/histories-of-the-coldstream-guards/archives.html
H. Grant was Harry Grant. An army medal roll recorded he went to France on 15th August 1915 in the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards. The Battalion was raised at Windsor in July 1915 as a pioneer (labour) battalion but soon became the 4th Battalion and served in the Guards Division in France and Flanders from 15th August 1915. The Battalion fought at The Battle of Loos, 1915; The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Morval, 1916; The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Poelkapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele, and The Battle of Cambrai, 1917. The date of Harry Grant’s death did not coincide with any major engagement. He was buried at Fampoux, a commune that was taken by the Germans in their advance on 25th March 1918, two weeks after Harry Grant was killed.
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Karen Draper
Date: Thursday 7th July 2016 at 6:52 PM

Thank you very much Alan.
I went to Fampoux. A very peaceful setting down a narrow country lane.
I found Harry - and said a prayer for him and the other brave men who lie
along with him.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 7th July 2016 at 7:57 PM

I am pleased to have helped, Karen.
Alan

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