The World War Forum (Page 22)

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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

Posted by: Sharon Meek {Email left}
Location: Llanelli
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 10:17 PM
I am looking for information on James Thomas born 1895 Radnorshire, Parents Rees and Amelia. James served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the EEForce, he never spoke of his time in the war but kept postcards of Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jaffa, Torino, Pompeii to name but a few, he finished his time in Constantinople. Would I be correct in that he probably served on the Western side?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 11:01 PM

Dear Sharon,
There were numerous men named James Thomas who served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the First World War. You would need to know his regimental number to identify him further before making a positive identification in any surviving military records.
With kind regards,
Alan
Posted by: Sharon Meek {Email left}
Location: Llanelli South Wales
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 4:33 PM
Hi I am trying to find information on John Powell Jones born Brecon 1887, Parents David and Elizabeth, he joined the Welsh Regiment and I was told he spent time at Pembroke Dock then in August 1918 he sent a postcard with his regimental number of 77875 on his photograph his shoulder titles seem to have a number which ends in what looks like 29.

Regards Sharon
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 7:18 PM

Dear Sharon,
There are no records for a John Powell Jones with the regimental number 77875 in the Welsh Regiment or any other regiment. Most individual service records were destroyed in the London Blitz of 1940 and the surviving records relate mainly to soldiers who served overseas, so it is possible he had remained in the U.K..
With kind regards,
Alan
Reply from: Sharon
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 10:10 PM

Hi Alan

Thank you for your reply, I wonder if you would be able to tell me about the Shoulder title on John Powells Uniform, you can only see part of the title but it looks as though it ends in what looks like a number 29, you can see the 9 clearly He is wearing the cap badge of the Welsh Regiment and you are correct he didn't serve abroad.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 8th July 2016 at 10:49 PM

Dear Sharon,
I am sorry but I am not able to help with the shoulder title.
With kind regards,
Alan
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

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