The World War Forum (Page 22)

Forum has 317 pages with 3169 messages
-10  Prev Page  18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26  Next Page  10+

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

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

(Don't forget to save this page to your favorites)