The World War Forum (Page 6)

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Posted by: Phil Moore {Email left}
Location: Padiham Lancashire
Date: Sunday 18th December 2016 at 11:13 PM
Dear Alan

I have recently found your site and I think it is a wonderful resource.

I wondered if you might be able to help me in obtaining more information about my grandfather George Nelson - or provide an insight into some of the information already available.

He was born in November 1885, joined the East Lancashire regiment in 1903 and served until 1918 when he is believed to have been killed on or around 26-3-18 in "France or Belgium". His regimental number was 7898 and he rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. His death certificate refers to " E.Lan.R. attd. 4th E.Lanc R SF."

His army record is available online from the "Burnt Records" collection and I have copies of the sheets, some of which are damaged. I am trying to piece together what was happening and when. I am unsure of the areas and dates of action of the East Lancs regiment and wondered if these records are available as regimental diaries or otherwise. It would appear that he did not enter the action until 24-5-17 when he went to France but there is an end date on the record of 4-8-17 and no further information about any later military history presumably because this was when he was commissioned. His medal card contains the end date shown in his military history record, 4-8-17, with "Comm" before it and "2/4th East Lancs." The November 1918 Army List shows Nelson G as a 2nd Lieutenant with the date of (commission) 5-8-17.

His details were for some reason not on the CWGC site until I provided details some years ago.

I would be grateful if you could provide any information which may be of help.

Thank you

Phil Moore
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 19th December 2016 at 12:31 PM

Dear Phil,
George Nelson had enlisted in the East Lancashire Militia before he enlisted in the regular army on 27th July 1903. His brief militia record is available from the website (pay as you go). It shows his duty on enlistment (training). Militiamen who transferred to the regulars received a bounty of £10, so it was worthwhile for a young man to join the Militia first and then join the regulars rather than going into the Army directly.
From 1903, George Nelson served in the 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment at home and in India before having some furlough in the U.K. from March to September 1911. He appears to have married Grace Nield in Blackburn in 1911. He then served in South Africa from 9th December 1911 to 12th January 1914. He remained in the U.K. and from the outbreak of war from August 5th 1914 he appeared to have served in the U.K., apparently with the 3rd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, as a Company Quartermaster Sergeant, at Plymouth where a daughter, Vera, was born in 1915 to Grace Nelson (Nield).
Grace Nelson died at Plympton St Mary in 1916 (GRO Deaths Plympton St Mary April-June 1916 volume 5b page 285). George then married Matilda Swindlehurst on 19th July 1916 at Plympton. As a soldier and widower he would have needed someone to look after his baby child and often such marriages were arranged with women connected to soldiers within the regiment.
George Nelson was sent overseas on 24th May 1917 as a Colour Sergeant but there is no record in the burnt documents of which battalion he was sent to join. It could well have been the 2nd/4th Battalion. He should, under normal circumstances, have trained with an officer cadet battalion for four-and-a-half months before being commissioned. However, he might have been directly commissioned in the field as he was already a senior Non Commissioned Officer and if he had been sent to France to join the 2nd/4th East Lancashire Regiment he could have been offered a commission with them in the trenches in 1917.
The British government journal “The London Gazette” recorded “The undermentioned Wt. [Warrant Officers] and N.C.Os to be 2nd Lts for service in the field” on 14th September 1917. See:
“In the field” suggests a different status from the usual “temporary Second Lieutenant” rank that was applied by the War Office to wartime service. It appears from the “London Gazette” he wasn’t “temporary” he was “in the field”.
He was commissioned into the 2nd/4th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment on 5th August 1917. The 2nd/4th Battalion had been in France since 2nd March 1917. They served with 66th Division until they were disbanded and absorbed by the 1st/4th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment on 19th February 1918, in France, during an Army reorganisation.
The war diary of the 2nd/4th is at:
The war diary of the 1st/4th is at:
They cost £3.45 each.
George Nelson’s officer’s service record will not contain much detail of his time as an officer. An officer’s “book”, as it is called, noted his locations, occupations and his annual “confidential report”, which we would now consider to be his “annual appraisal”, so whether recording this report was achieved while at war is uncertain. However, as his record from 1903 to 1918 has survived at The National Archives at Kew, Surrey, it should contain clearer details of his army career over and above the duplicate copy of his record in the burnt documents. The fuller record can be seen by visiting Kew or it can be ordered by seeking a quotation from The National Archives at:
On 1st March 1918 the “London Gazette” recorded: East Lancashire Regiment: 2nd Lt acting Captain G. Nelson, E Lan Rgt. relinquishes the actg. [acting] rank of Captain on ceasing to command a Co[mpany] [dated] 20th Dec. 1917. See:
He had served as a 17-year-old from 1902 as a private and rose in rank to command a company at war.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Phil Moore
Date: Monday 19th December 2016 at 7:18 PM

Thank you very much Alan - I am very grateful to you. Just one other point.

The documents make reference to C.2.M.S George Nelson and I wondered what this stood for?

Thanks again.

Phil Moore
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 19th December 2016 at 7:51 PM

Dear Phil,
It was C Q M S - Company Quatermaster Sergeant which was an apppointment held by a man with the rank of Colour Sergeant.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Chris Wilson {Email left}
Location: Devon
Date: Thursday 15th December 2016 at 7:34 AM
Hello Alan,

I'd be grateful for any help in uncovering information about Chalres Ellicombe Williams who died in Salonika in May 1917 (his time in WW1, but any other military info).

I believe he joined the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps at the outbreak of war but was later promoted to Lieut. in the 7th btn South Wales Borderers in 1915; he was Captain at the time of his death with this unit.

It looks like there is a service record at Kew, but as this is a community project for remembering the fallen on our village war memorial, I have no funds to acquire this. On the other hand, there doesn't appear to be War Diaries available for units serving in Salonika.

I'd like to know a bit about his time in he army, but I'd also like to know how he met his end. There doesn't seem to be any particular offensives at the end of May 1917 on the Doiran front. Moreover, I have a disrepency with some of my sources saying he died on 26th May and others on 27th May: I'd like to know, for sure, which date it was.

I hope you are able to help.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 15th December 2016 at 1:32 PM

Dear Chris,
It is not possible to fully state his service without seeing his individual record which is held at The National Archives:
His medal rolls index-card recorded he was commissioned in March 1915 into the 9th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment with the additional annotation “SWB” for South Wales Borderers. “The London Gazette” recorded he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion South Wales Borderers on 8th April 1915. This entry was later corrected to antedate the commission to 23rd March 1915. The war diaries for the 7th Battalion South Wales Borderers cost £3.45 from:
The diary of the 9th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment is at:
“Soldiers Died in the Great War”; the National Probate Calendar; C.W.G.C. and his medal card all stated he died of wounds on May 27th 1917, suggesting he would have been under medical care or in hospital when he died.
He was buried at Karasouli cemetery which was created for a casualty clearing station but now contains many graves removed from other places. See:
Charles Ellicombe Williams was the second son of Colonel Raymond Burlton Williams C.B. and Mrs Williams of Pinkhurst, Lustleigh.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Chris
Date: Thursday 15th December 2016 at 2:26 PM

Hi Alan,
Unfortunately, the 7th Btn war diary hasn't been digitised, so can't be bought for £3.45. However, I'm very grateful for the rest of the information.
Best wishes
Posted by: Becca {Email left}
Location: E Yorks
Date: Wednesday 14th December 2016 at 11:34 PM
Hello Alan,
Yes, it's me again. This time I am wondering if you can help with two brothers from a large family of 16. You have already helped me with two other brothers. This time I am looking for anything on Joseph Derrick born 5 August 1887 to Michael and Mary Derrick (nee Hassette)
As far as I know he served with the Yorkshire Wagoners No 674

His younger brother Thomas was born 12 May 1891, and all I have found regarding his military connection in this:- 1911 England Census for Thomas Derrick aboard HMS Racehorse on 2 April 1911
and one record with a number 406?9 date 1919. He died in 1952 so survived the war as did Joseph who died in 1947
I realise this is not much to go on, but I do hope you can fill in a little bit more history in the exceptionally large family.
Kind regards and all good wishes
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 15th December 2016 at 1:40 PM

Dear Becca,
There is no record for Joseph Derrick that shows where he served. He enlisted in the Special Reserve of the Army Service Corps horse transport on 10th January 1914 and was mobilized on 6th August 1914 and went to France and Flanders on 20th August 1914. In France he served with No 2 Reserve Park under the command of GHQ. This would have been 30 Company ASC. He returned to England on 31st December 1915 and was discharged from the Army on 9th January 1916.
A service record for Thomas Derrick can be downloaded from The National Archives for £3.45. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Becca
Date: Thursday 15th December 2016 at 7:35 PM

Thank you again Alan.
All the best to you and yours for the festive season

Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Tuesday 13th December 2016 at 10:21 AM
Morning Alan,
A friend has just sent me a photo of Robert Stewart Palmer born in Torquay, Devon on 3rd March 1902. He is in military uniform, claimed to be a in the "signals"!., but I cannot find any trace of any military record, With his date of birth I wonder if he served in the Great War at all? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 13th December 2016 at 9:02 PM

Dear David,
He was too young to have served in the First World War legitimately as he could have lied about his age only until the 15th August 1915 which was Registration Day recording information about every man and woman aged between 15 and 65 for a new National Register. This register was used for compulsory conscription for men aged 18 years and over, so someone born in 1902 would not have been on the register. The Army service dress uniform of the First World War was worn until 1939, so he might have served after the war. Post-war service records are not in the public domain. The MoD will release information to the next-of-kin or others on application and payment of a fee of £30. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Steve
Date: Tuesday 8th August 2017 at 11:58 PM

Robert Stewart Palmer was my great-uncle. He lived at Widecombe-in-the-Moor. He as in the Army in India in the 1920s, and in the RAF in WW2.

He is one or more of these: 35059 Corporal Robert S Palmer in the Royal Engineers, 2312415 Signalman R S Palmer in the Royal Signals, 343152 Lieutenant R S Palmer of the Gurkha Rifles.

(scbray at hotmail dot com)
Posted by: Bob Sherlock {Email left}
Location: Matlock Derbys
Date: Tuesday 13th December 2016 at 9:52 AM
My grandfather William Alfred Sherlock born 1898 Derbyshire.we have a couple of photos in uniform ww1 but no records of service whatsoever!!!. His age puts him on the cusp of volunteering/conscription. Story is he was refused more than once on medical condition, mystery is why/how the uniform pictures ( single & family group)
Posted by: Joe Freaney {No contact email}
Location: Ireland
Date: Tuesday 13th December 2016 at 7:12 AM
Hi Alan

Looking for information on William Stewart who served with the 10th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 13th December 2016 at 9:01 PM

Dear Joe,
At least four men named William Stewart served in the 10th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the First World War so you will need the man’s regimental number before he can be identified.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill Merseyside
Date: Friday 9th December 2016 at 7:50 PM
Alan, could you in providing details on Pte 11970 John Pailthorpe of the Cheshire Regiment,particularly how he died.

Thank you.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 9th December 2016 at 11:33 PM

Dear Brian,
John Pailthorpe was born in about 1878 and lived in Stalybridge where he became a bobbin carrier at a cotton mill. He had served in the South Africa War (1899-1902) before joining the Cheshire Regiment at the outbreak of war in 1914. He was posted as part of a draft of reinforcements to the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment and spent some time attached to the HQ of 10th Corps. He might have been wounded because he was later posted through an infantry base depot in France to the 10th Battalion Cheshire Regiment. He died of pneumonia at Oakdene Auxiliary Hospital, Rainhill, on 8th July 1918. He was the husband of Mary Jane Pailthorpe of 6, Back Desmesne Street, Stalybridge. His death was reported in the Manchester Evening News on Wednesday 10th July 1918 (via British Newspaper Archive).
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Brian Renshall
Date: Saturday 10th December 2016 at 2:59 PM

Another one put to bed ! Thank you Alan

Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abott
Date: Thursday 8th December 2016 at 11:05 AM
Good Morning Alan,
Today I need help in tracing the service during the Great War of Anthony Cornish Tucker Barrable a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps No 1946. I know he was living in Widecombe in 1911 (as per census) and that he was listed as an "absent service voter" in 1919, but this is the sum total of my knowledge . I look forward to receiving any further information you can ascertain. Thank You.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 9th December 2016 at 7:18 PM

Dear David,
The only record for a private soldier in the R.A.M.C. with the regimental number 1946 related to Alfred Cyril Barrable who enlisted on 23rd November 1914, aged 20, and was discharged no longer physically fit on 16th July 1919, aged 25. He was born at Seaton, Devon, in July-September 1894, the son of Alfred Joseph and Lilian Dolores Barrable. In the 1911 census the family lived at 39 Gore Road, Raynes Park, Surrey, where Alfred Cyril was recorded as a window cleaner.
In 1917 Alfred’s regimental number was changed to 536187 R.A.M.C. That number was allotted to the 5th London Field Ambulance which served with 47th Division in France and Flanders. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, but not the 1914-15 Star, indicating he did not serve overseas until some date after January 1st 1916.

Anthony Cornish Tucker Barrable was born at Exmouth in 1877 and in 1911 was a farm bailiff, married, aged 34, at the farm of Herbert Miles Fowler at Great Cator, Widecombe. There is no military record in Anthony Barrable’s name.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Tuesday 6th December 2016 at 10:52 AM
Good Morning Alan,
Can you help please in piecing together the service history of Willam Pengilly 32312 Devonshire Regiment and of R.A.S.C. EMT/63949. I would like to know especially which part of the RASC he served with and when. I am also interested in his date of demobilisation. Thanks in advance for your continuing assistance.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 6th December 2016 at 5:04 PM

Dear David,
William Pengilly qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for service before December 31st 1915, he would not have gone overseas until some date after January 1st 1916. His regimental number 32312 was a wartime number and during his war service he served overseas as part of a draft of reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment which had served in France and Flanders with the 8th Division from November 1914. Their engagements can be seen on Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail. See:
William would have been discharged early in 1919.
In 1920, the post-war Army ran a recruiting campaign in order to bring it up to strength with men who had experience. The “Western Gazette” of Friday 23rd January ran a large column headed: “Opportunities in H.M. Army. Experience counts – a few years with the Army fits a man to go anywhere or do anything.” The article went on to state that the Royal Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport) had opportunities for some 26 trades ranging from driving to cleaning. Skilled workers could earn from three shillings to sixteen shillings a day depending on rank. Suitable single men aged between 19 and 35 would be taught motor driving (© Local World/ Trinity Mirror via British Newspaper Archive).
The Army medal rolls recorded William Pengilly re-enlisted in the R.A.S.C. on February 23rd 1920 and served until his “service was no longer required” on 25th July 1922. The prefix to his regimental number, EMT, stood for post-war enlistment, mechanical transport.
The British Army of 1920 served at Home, in Ireland and with the Armies of Occupation as well as continuing the clearing of battlefields and salvaging of war materiel.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Gwendolyn Howard {Email left}
Location: Halstead Co91td No 23
Date: Thursday 1st December 2016 at 5:17 PM
Dear Alan,I am trying to find details of the death of my grandfather Gnr James Hayes 1401759 who having served through WW1 was discharged 26-3-1919 but re-enlisted in the Royal Artillery 24-7-1919.
He was posted to India and then on to Basra,Mesopotamia where he met his death of "suffocation by drowning" on 4-5-1922. I have a letter from The War Office stating that his death "was not directly attributable to service and his widow was not eligible for a pension".
I can only assume that he was off duty at the time of his death but would like to know the actual details.
I cannot find any evidence of an official enquiry.
I also have found that he was buried at Basra Mekina RAF cemetery Row A Grave 2 but can you find the further details I seek so that I can close this part of the Family History?
I will of course make a donation to The Royal British Legion.

Kind Regards,
Mrs Gwendolyn Howard.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 1st December 2016 at 7:29 PM

Dear Gwendolyn,
Service records for men who were in the Forces in 1922 are not in the public domain. You can apply to the UK Ministry of Defence who will conduct a search of the records for a fee of £30. See:
With kind regards,
Reply from: Mrs Gwendolyn Howard
Date: Friday 2nd December 2016 at 11:00 AM

Dear Alan,Thank you for your prompt reply and address for further information. I have already contacted this section of the Ministry of Defence and is the source of most of the information sent in my original request. What I couldn't find was the actual cicumstances of my grandfather's death and no evidence of an official enquiry.
My hope was that with your experience of these things you might know of a different route by which this information could be obtained. I still hope that you or another researcher might be able to suggest yet another route I could try.
Kind regards,
Reply from: Ian Willden
Date: Friday 27th January 2017 at 11:34 PM

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