The World War Forum (Page 9)

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Posted by: Cheryl Scott {Email left}
Location: Scotland
Date: Sunday 20th November 2016 at 8:46 PM
Hi, on clearing out my father in laws house following his death we came upon some medals from , i assume, his father. there are 4 medals , one is the bronze mons star, the victory medal and the British war medal. the last has Afghanistan 1919 with the crowned Kaiser head on it. Ive managed to work these out but I cant find any history of the chap, the info on the back of the mons star is 3437 pte R W Scott. 5-D GDS. Im really interested to see if anything could be found out about him from that please as my daughter and I play in a RBL pipe band which is going to visit the battlefields next year, I would like to be able to tell her some personal history . Thank you in anticipation :) cheryl
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 20th November 2016 at 11:10 PM

Dear Cheryl,
This was Richard William Scott. No individual service record has survived for him so it is not possible to state his wartime service. The Army medal rolls recorded he first served with the Princess Charlotte of Wales’s 5th Dragoon Guards and went to France on 14th October 1915. The regiment had gone to France on 16th August 1914 with the 1st Cavalry Brigade, so Richard would have been part of a draft of reinforcements. He ended the war as Private 101313 in the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry). His squadron in the M.G.C. is not identified but Chris Baker’s website, The Long, Long Trail, states that No 1 Squadron was “formed 28 February 1916 for 1st Cavalry Brigade in 1st Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections taken from 2nd and 5th Dragoon Guards and 11th Hussars”. See:
See also:
In Afghanistan, William served with 15th Squadron Machine Gun Corps.
“15th Squadron was part of the 6th (Poona) Cavalry Brigade and was formed from (originally) the MG Sections of the 14th Hussars, 21 Cavalry and 22 Cavalry. It went back to India in July 1918, [although there were some men in Mesopotamia in October 1918]. Most of the Indian machine gunners were replaced by men of MGC (Cavalry) sent out from the UK.” (
The Afghan Medal is the India General Service Medal with clasp for “Afghanistan N.W.F. 1919” (North West Frontier). William was transferred to the Reserve on 21st February 1920.
The British maintained troops on the former North West Frontier of India where the Khyber Pass led to and from Afghanistan, through mountains threatened by rival tribes. The collapse of Russia and the rise of Bolshevism in Russia led to a substantial British and Indian force being deployed in the region to secure the Indian frontier in 1919. The medal bears on the reverse the fort of Jamrud which commands the Khyber Pass eleven miles from Peshawar, now in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The obverse had the head of King George V of Britain with the legend Georgius V Kaisar - I - Hind which was the title "Emperor of India" in the vernacular of the Hindi and Urdu languages.
After 1920, William’s contact address was recorded as Hare Moss, Selkirk.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Cheryl Scott
Date: Friday 25th November 2016 at 10:55 AM

Wow ! thank you so much- you are good ! i struggled to find the ribbon colours :/ !
I'll let my husband see this as well as the children :)
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Sunday 20th November 2016 at 12:10 PM
Hello Alan,
Can you help me to understand the service in the Royal Navy of William James Pengilley No 310762 born in Ashburton 27.8.1887. He seems to have enlisted for 12 years in September 1906 but I don't know if he completed this service or if he left and then re-enlisted at the beginning of the Great War?. Thank you in anticipation for your help.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Sunday 20th November 2016 at 6:55 PM

Dear David,
William James Pengilley left the Royal Navy on 6th April 1908, despite having signed-on for 12 years in 1906. His discharge “Whither and for what Cause” was ‘shore purchase’ which meant he was discharged to shore by purchase. Those men who wished to purchase their discharge and were of good character and could show sufficient cause for the request were allowed to do so.
From the England census, William appears to have been illegitimate, living with a single mother. A “natural born” William James Pengilley, whose mother was Mrs Pengilley, Orley House, Ashburton, Devon, England, had emigrated to Australia. He enlisted on 11th January 1915 and served as a private, 1419, with the 15th Infantry Battalion A.I.F. embarking on 13th February 1915 at Brisbane on HMAT A48 “Seang Bee” (His Majesty's Australian Transport, leased from Lim Chin Tsong, Rangoon). William was wounded at Gallipoli and he was returned to Australia on 29th July 1915. You can view digital images of his service record at:
Click on World War 1 and then World War One Service Records. Name Search by surname; click or tap on “display” results; click on the correct file and then “view digital image” in the top right corner.
With kind regards,

Posted by: Alan Grundy {No contact email}
Location: Lincolnshire
Date: Saturday 19th November 2016 at 4:03 PM
Hello Alan,
I am wondering if you may be able to shed some light on the owner of a Victory Medal which my cousin found at North Thoresby which is near Grimsby in Linc's. He was Private Herbert B Land, Nnumber M2/194472 of the Royal Army Service Corps. This Medal was discovered using a Metal Detector in a field which is going to be built on. Thankyou for your help again.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 19th November 2016 at 10:23 PM

Dear Alan,
No individual service record has survived for Herbert Land so it is not possible to state his wartime service. The Army medal rolls recorded he was Herbert Bert Land. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As he did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star for overseas service before December 31st 1915, he did not serve abroad until 1916 or later. The M2 prefix to his regimental number indicated he was in the Mechanical Transport branch of the Army Service Corps. He would have trained a Grove Park in London before going overseas.
A Herbert Bertie Land was born in 1887 at Kilburn in London and was recorded in the 1911 census as a locomotive fireman lodging with a G.W.R. engine driver at 75 Medina Road, Greet, Birmingham, Warwickshire, the home of Jane Bishop, a lodging house keeper.
Herbert survived the war.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Prescot
Date: Friday 18th November 2016 at 2:21 PM
Dear Alan
Thaks so much for the information about the last two soldiers I sent to you. I received your reply last evening.
Two more soldiers that we are interested in are:
1. Lefe H Thomas 6907 2nd The Buffs. Wounded at Ypres May 2nd 1915

2. Frank L Lilliott?? Lilbolt?? 3rd Rifle Brigade. Very uncertain about this surname.

Any information will be most gratefully received
Kind Regards

Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Saturday 19th November 2016 at 12:46 PM

Dear Judith,
The Dover Express of Friday 4th June 1915 listed Pte H. Thomas 6907 of The Buffs among the wounded (© Trinity Mirror via British Newspaper Archive). This was Lance-corporal Henry Thomas who had enlisted originally in the Royal West Kent Militia at the Barracks, Maidstone, in November 1898. Henry was 5ft 6ins tall; with a fresh complexion; blue eyes and brown hair.
Henry was born in 1880 at Bredgar, Sittingbourne, Kent, the son of William and Susannah Thomas. From the Militia he served with the Royal West Kent Regiment (6452) on Malta from 4th January 1900 to 9th June 1901. He served with the 1st Battalion The Buffs (6907) from 28th March 1903 to 5th March 1910 when he transferred to the Reserve. He re-engaged with The Buffs at their Depot at Canterbury on 5th March 1914. He was with their Special Reserve and was mobilised on 5th August 1914 moving to Dover. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion The Buffs on 26th December 1914 three days after they had returned to England from India. The 2nd Battalion had been stationed in Wellington, Madras, and sailed from Bombay on 16th November 1914 and landing at Plymouth on December 23rd 1914. The Battalion then joined 28th Division at Winchester and sailed from Southampton for Havre on January 17th 1915. They fought at the Second Battle of Ypres 22nd April – 25th May 1915.
Henry Thomas was appointed a Lance-corporal on 16th April 1915, although his official rank remained as a Private. On 3rd May 1915 he received gunshot wounds to the head and breast. He was returned to the UK on 11th May 1915.
He was administered by the 3rd Battalion The Buffs at Dover from 25th August 1915 and he was eventually transferred to the Royal West Surrey Labour Company on 2nd March 1917 before being transferred to the Labour Corps (126725) where he joined 301st Reserve Labour Company at Thetford, Norfolk, on 11th May 1915. On 5th July 1917 he was posted to France and stayed at the Labour Corps Base Depot until he was posted as a corporal to 186 Labour Company. Henry was promoted to Sergeant on 6th November 1918. He was transferred to the Reserve on 25th February 1919. His character was “exemplary”.
Sgt Henry Thomas qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.
Private Frank Lilliott served in the 3rd Battalion The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own) regimental number Z/56, indicating he was a pre-war Special Reservist at the outbreak of war.
He was Frank Lewis (or Louis) Lilliott, born at Notting Hill, London, in 1891 the son of William Lilliott, a paperhanger, and his wife Amy Caroline (née Spinks) of 196, Portobello Road, Kensington, London. Frank became a clerk and at the age of 17 he joined the Territorial Army enlisting in the 10th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Paddington Rifles). The Paddington Rifles were disbanded on 31 May 1912.
Frank Lilliott joined the Special Reserve of the Rifle Brigade and went to France as part of a draft of reinforcements on 27th October 1914. He served with the 3rd Battalion until he was wounded.
Once recovered, he was posted to the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade and then the 9th Battalion Rifle Brigade. He was presumed killed in action on or since 3rd May 1917 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. He qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Paul Crook {No contact email}
Location: Haslemere
Date: Friday 18th November 2016 at 1:52 AM
Dear Alan

Have just discovered some paperwork about one of my relatives but it quotes 11 O.C.B next to his service number. Have you any idea what that could mean.


Paul Crook
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Friday 18th November 2016 at 12:34 PM

Dear Paul,
No 11 Officer Cadet Battalion at Pirbright where cadets trained to be officers.
With kind regards,

Posted by: Judith Lowe {Email left}
Location: Prescot
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 10:08 PM
Dear Alan.
Thank you for the work that you have done on finding information about soldiers Donahoe and Russell. I really did not expect us to find anything about either of them.
Tow soldiers that I also hold little hope of finding anything about are:
1. Cpl W Evans wounded at Loos October 13th 1915
2. Ser. Major: Maurise Iguue???? 87th Royal Irish Fus 27th June 1915

Kind Regards
Judith Lowe
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Thursday 17th November 2016 at 4:41 PM

Dear Judith,
The most probable candidate for Cpl W. Evans was Corporal William Evans, 1695, of the 6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. His name was included in a very long casualty list of wounded men from the Battalion published in the Birmingham Daily Post on 8th November 1915 as “Evans 1695 Cpl W.” (©Trinity Mirror via British Newspaper Archive). He appears to be the only W. Evans in the casualty lists of 1915 that would follow in the aftermath of The Battle of Loos (25th September – 8th October 1915). The fighting in the Loos area on 13th October 1915 was at the Hohenzollern Redoubt (Hohenzollernwerk) near Auchy-les-Mines, the commune adjacent to Loos-en-Gohelle. Following the Battle of Loos the 9th (Scottish) Division had captured the strongpoint and then lost it in a German counter-attack. The British attack on 13th October failed and resulted in 3,643 casualties, mostly in the first few minutes. In the British Official History, J. E. Edmonds wrote that “The fighting [from 13–14 October] had not improved the general situation in any way and had brought nothing but useless slaughter of infantry”.
Corporal Evans had gone to France with the 6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment on 3rd March 1915. After his wounds healed he was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry (54319) where he served in the 11th and 8th Battalions D.L.I.. He survived the war.
He qualified for the 1914-15 Star; The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
It has not been possible to identify a Sergeant-major named Maurise or Maurice in the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Young Buzzard {Email left}
Location: Newton Abbot
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 12:31 PM
Hello Alan,
Can you help, I need information in respect of Ernest Oliver Townsend a private in the Devonshire Regiment Service number 202009. I have been researching servicemen from far and wide only to discover this soldier may have lived in the house opposite mine 100 years ago. Any information will be greatly appreciated . Thank you
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 7:52 PM

Dear David,
Ernest Oliver Townsend was born on 15th September 1889, the son of John and Jane Frances Townsend of Stouts Cottage, Bunhill, Widecombe-in-the Moor, Exeter, Devon. His father was an agricultural labourer and his mother was a monthly nurse. Ernest was recorded at Stouts Cottage in the 1891 and 1901 censuses. John Townsend died in March 1910 aged 63. In 1911, Ernest was living with his widowed mother at Newpark Cottage, Widecombe Ashburton, Widecombe-in-the Moor. He was a general labourer, aged 21.
Ernest married Susan Warren at Widecombe in 1916.
Only a medal rolls entry exists for Ernest in the military records. Ernest served overseas with the 1st/4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment. He did not go overseas until after January 1917, as the details for his service medals showed only his six-digit Territorial Army number which would have been allotted in January 1917 indicating that was his number when he went abroad. The 1st/4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment was in Mesopotamia in 1917 and was stationed at Amara on the River Tigris defences and along the lines of communication. They ended the war based at Baquaba, north-east of Baghdad. Ernest was demobilized on 6th May 1919. He qualified for the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
After the war Ernest returned to gardening and agricultural work. In 1939 he and his wife lived at Windwhistle Cottage, Poundsgate, near Newton Abbot.
Ernest and Susan’s only child and son, Herbert Leslie Townsend was fatally injured when a car was in collision with his motorcycle on a bend in the Cullompton to Exeter road one rainy evening on July 17th 1939. Herbert was aged 19 and had been returning to his lodgings in Exeter after visiting a girlfriend at Cullompton. Herbert died in hospital from his injuries on July 18th. At an inquest the jury returned the verdict the death was accidental but had been caused by the negligence of the car driver, although it was not criminal negligence.
Ernest appears to have died in 1946.
With kind regards,
Posted by: Sean Clemenson {Email left}
Location: London Uk
Date: Tuesday 15th November 2016 at 6:08 PM
Good evening,

My name is Sean Clemenson and I am the Research Specialist & Digital Content Manager for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage & Education Centre. If you haven’t heard of us, we are the custodians of Lloyd’s Register’s library and archive, offering its resources to the public for free. Our purpose is to enhance public understanding in marine and engineering science and history.

Last week, ahead of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, we launched our brand new First World War crowd sourcing project – HEC needs you!

The project aims to uncover any information regarding the 15 members of staff named in our First World War Memorial at 71 Fenchurch Street. Using materials from our archive, the Heritage & Education Centre team have published the employment and military information of the 15 members of staff that are named in our First World War memorial. The severe loss of life during the First World War often means that the individual lives of those that fought are forgotten. However, the team realise that our archived material, whilst offering a unique glimpse into the past, can only tell so much.

Subsequently, we’re contacting any regimental military groups, heritage centres, ancestry groups asking for any information regarding these 15 men:

1. John E Davis – Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery
2. Ernest Grainger – Private, 7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment
3. William Greig – Private, 14th (County of London) Battalion – London Scottish
4. William F Hutchison – Sergeant, 10th Battalion Essex Regiment
5. Clifford J Macey – 2nd Lieutenant 28th Couny of London Regiment, Artists and 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment
6. Archibald MacLean – 2nd Lieutenant, King’s Own Scottish Borderers
7. Reginald J Prescott – 2nd Lieutenant, 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusilliers
8. Joseph E Russell – 2nd Lieutenant, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
9. James H Sandhall – 2nd Lieutenant/Captain, Royal Garrison Artillery
10. Joseph C Smith – Honourable Artillery Company
11. Charles T Squires – 2nd Lieutenant, 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment
12. J Henry A Walker – Private, 7th Battalion, Essex Regiment
13. Maurice G Wells – 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery & Royal Horse Artillery
14. Leslie G West – 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Battalion, London Rifle Brigade
15. Maurice G Boyer – Captain, 116th Heavy Artillery Regiment

If you think our project would be of interest to any of your associates, please do not hesitate to circulate this email. Furthermore, if you would like to find out more about the Heritage & Education Centre’s activities/resources/events, please visit our website. Alternatively, you can also find us on Twitter, Facebook & Vine.

If you'd like to visit the HEC needs you! webpage, please copy this URL into your web browser address bar:

If you have any enquiries about the project please contact me directly via email.

Many thanks & kind regards,
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 15th November 2016 at 11:50 PM

Dear Sean,
The majority of the names you have were those of commissioned officers who service files are held at The National Archives at Kew. See:
William Greig was Private William Greig, 1644, who enlisted in the part-time Territorial Army’s 14th County of London Battalion (London Scottish) on 1st April 1912. William left London and went to France with the 14th Battalion on 16th September 1914 where the Battalion served under G.H.Q. Troops. On October 31st 1914 the Battalion attacked trenches on the Messines – Wytschaete road. From 8th to 13th November they lost two officers and about 70 men. In November 1914, they served under the Cavalry Corps and on November 14th they were placed in Corps reserve with 1st Brigade. At 4 a.m. on 16th November 1914, the day William Greig was killed, the 14th Battalion marched from a wood, at Hooge, to Westoutre, passing through Ypres and Vlamertinghe. It appears William was killed while on the march, understandably as many men were killed by the shelling of Ypres as they marched through.
William qualified for the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
William has no marked grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. He was aged 24 when he died, the son of Robert and Sarah Greig who lived at 183 East Dulwich Grove, London.
In the 1911 England census, Robert and Sarah Greig were recorded at that address with their family of eight children. The father, Robert, was a shirt manufacturer. The 21-year-old William was a Lloyds Register Clerk (Classification of Shipping) the seventh child.
With kind regards,
Reply from: Sean Clemenson
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 3:43 PM

Thank you for the message Alan. I do plan on getting to TNA at some point. By all means if you know of any other individuals/groups who may be interested in our project, please let them know!

The project homepage can be viewed here:
Posted by: Jeremy Dean Thornton {No contact email}
Location: France
Date: Tuesday 15th November 2016 at 10:45 AM

Whilst watching the Remembrance edition of Country File on the BBC on Sunday, at the Arboretum in Staffordshire it was stated that there were 16000 names on the wall of military personnel who have been killed since the end of WW2. This was a surprise to me and therefore I looked up the Ministry of Defence information and they sate just over 7000 killed and list the conflicts.

I realise that this has nothing to do with your WW1 forum, but I wondered if out of interest you had any comments about the difference?

With kind regards

Jeremy Thornton
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 15th November 2016 at 4:46 PM

Dear Jeremy,
The difference in numbers seems to depend on what causes of death in different circumstances throughout the British Commonwealth were taken into account when calculating the figure of 16,000. I have been unable to find a source for the figure of 16,000. Even the qualifying date in not clear.
The official British Government figures describe “UK Armed Forces personnel who have died as a result of Operations in medal earning theatres” since 1945. The total to November 2014 was 7145. That would not include training, or deaths on duty in the U.K. or other locations that did not qualify for a service medal in a theatre of operations.
The Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum commemorates “The men and women of our Armed and Merchant Services who have lost their lives in conflict, as a result of terrorist action or on training exercises since the end of WW2. Unlike the World War memorials in towns and villages across the Nation, there is nowhere else that records over 16,000 names of those who have been killed on duty in recent times”.
There is a misnomer in that the Merchant Navy is not an armed force. A description of the Armed Forces Memorial plaque which is in Westminster Abbey says it commemorates regular and reserve forces, as well as the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Merchant Navy members killed in support of the armed forces since 1945. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary has been added. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet that is owned by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence, whose purpose is to support the Royal Navy in Operations. The memorial plaque at Westminster Abbey was "to remember the sacrifice and heroism in defence of freedom of the men and women who have lost their lives in conflict", whereas the Memorial at the Arboretum includes terrorism and men and women on training exercises. At its opening it was stated a total of 16,000 men and women have been killed in conflict zones since 1945.
The closing date for commemoration by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was 31st December 1947. The earliest qualifying date for casualties being listed on the Memorial is 1st January 1948, although the memorial also lists casualties of the 1947-48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine (Israel). Names are grouped under year of death, within each year grouped under the force in which they served.
It seems unclear whether the memorial names date from 1945 or 1948.
The Royal British Legion describes the Memorial as commemorating men and women who have been killed on duty or as a result of terrorist action since 1948. “On duty” includes areas not in conflict zones.
The standard work on Royal Navy Casualties 1945 – 2008 by Don Kindell which is mainly compiled from original Admiralty documents is categorised by year of death.
It includes the Dominion and Allied navies which were the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Indian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy, South African Naval Force and Royal Norwegian Navy.
These navies broaden the conflicts since 1945 to include India - Malaya - Palestine - China - Cold War - Korea - Canal Zone - Kenya - Aden/Radfan - Cyprus - Malaya - Borneo/Indonesia - Vietnam - Northern Ireland - Oman Dhofar - Falklands - Kuwait/First Gulf War - Bosnia - Kosovo - Sierra Leone - Afghanistan - Iraq.
Note that this includes the Vietnam War. If the total of 16,000 does include the Dominion of Australia prior to 1986, then it could include 974 Australians who were killed in major and minor conflicts between 1947 and 1981 (my arithmetic).
I have used the date 1981 because the constitutional links between Australia and Britain were finally broken by legislation passed by the state, commonwealth and British parliaments which came into force on March 3, 1986, as the Australia Acts. They stated that the British government was no longer responsible for the government of any Australian state and that the Westminster parliament could no longer legislate for Australia.
The number of deaths would be significantly higher than 7,145 if it included the deaths of Crown subjects in the Dominions prior to their gaining independence, and the navies of allied nations included in Kindell’s database.
The United Nations was formed after the Second World War on 24th October 1945 in order to prevent another such conflict. The U.N. Security Council has mandated a military response to an aggressor only twice since 1945 – the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950 and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Now, the U.N. seeks more limited endeavours of “peacekeeping” with numerous qualifications and constraints being imposed after a cease- fire. Milton Leitenberg writing for the Cornell University peace studies programme in 2006 has calculated the number of deaths in conflict between 1945 and 2000 as 40,968,000, rounded to 41 million. See the tables on pages 73 – 79 at:;sequence=1
Whatever the source, the Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire has 16,000 names as a round number. It has space for another 15,000 names in the future.
With kind regards,

Disclaimer: Whilst every care has been taken in preparing this information, the author does not guarantee the accuracy or currency of the content and cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. It has not been my intention to dispute any figures or disparage any commemoration but to try and explain the difference between the figures of 7,000 and 16,000 deaths since 1945.
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Tuesday 15th November 2016 at 7:21 PM

A further note:
There were originally 15,530 names inscribed on the Armed Forces Memorial when it was dedicated.
The BBC website claims a lengthy research programme was undertaken to collate a list of individuals whose names should be included. In a break from tradition it was decided that the list should not be restricted to those killed in battle, but should reflect the special circumstances of serving in the armed forces and the risks undertaken by all service personnel. The research team sifted through the personal records of some six million servicemen and women. The resultant list of nearly 16,000 names is intended to reflect the many ways in which servicemen and women have lost their lives in the course of duty in the last 60 years. The list commemorates those killed in major conflicts but also the victims of accidents and service personnel who lost their lives while carrying out peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. (
How they had access to 6 million personal records is not made clear.
Reply from: Jeremy Thornton
Date: Tuesday 15th November 2016 at 7:43 PM


Thank you for a comprehensive answer to my query, it seems to be a complicated situation.

With kind regards

Jeremy Thornton
Posted by: Brian Renshall {Email left}
Location: Rainhill Merseyside
Date: Monday 14th November 2016 at 8:07 PM
Alan,I have come across a letter sent by a Pte 39112 R.Gaskill to C.L.A. Coy East Lancs Reg Yorkshire Coastal defence which I will précis:

He is making an application for a transfer to his old Regiment the R.Y.A. He says he joined the Territorial Force in 1911 and mobilized at the outbreak of war having overseas service with 2nd E.L.R.Y.A.and earned a discharge in 1916 before being re-mobilized in 1916 when apparently he says he was given to understand he would serve with his 'old unit'.However to his dismay after six months he was sent on approval to 'the tank services' and was not a happy man but was told that if not accepted he would be returned to the R.Y.A..He considered that he had been unfairly treated. The letter was sent from Westborough Soldiers Institute,Scarborough and signed Pte 39112 R.Gaskill.

Can you shed any light on this mans service and what eventually happened to him ? Did he ever get back to his 'old unit' ?
Reply from: Alan Greveson
Date: Monday 14th November 2016 at 11:23 PM

Dear Brian,
There are no records for an R. Gaskill with the number 39112.
The abbreviations in the letter do not initially make much sense, although it is possible 2nd E.L.R.Y.A. was 2nd E.L.R.F.A. – the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade Royal Field Artillery (nicknamed “The Manchester Artillery”) which went to Egypt in May 1915. The Brigade mustered at Chesham Fold Camp at Bury in August 1914.
A Territorial Force (T.F.) soldier initially signed-on for four years. At the outbreak of war he would have signed the Imperial Service Obligation agreeing to serve overseas (which the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade did sign). On mobilisation the part-time T.F. men would be embodied for service under Regular Army terms and conditions of service (embodied into the full-time Regular Army at war). Regular Army terms of service stated that if a man was overseas at the end of his term of engagement he would serve an extra year while abroad. So in 1916, R. Gaskill would have done his five years and was entitled to leave the army, as many such men did. However, there was a catch. In March 1916 compulsory conscription had come into force and if Mr Gaskill was of age, he would be compulsorily called-up again in 1916, having no choice of regiment.
The Tank Corps was formed in July 1917, although before that it was disguised as the Heavy Section of the Machine Gun Corps formed in March 1916. Tank drivers served with the Mechanical Transport section of the Army Service Corps.
In looking for any R. Gaskill within the Territorial Force artillery, I found Gunner R. Gaskell (with an ‘e’) 895, Royal Field Artillery (Territorial) who arrived in Egypt on 4th June 1915 and was “discharged 10/4/16” under Paragraph 392 xxi King’s Regulations (having come to the end of a term of engagement).
This man was Richard Gaskill, but his medal index-card mentions no other regiment or number to indicate any later service. Medal index-cards recorded the details of the man as he was on the day he first went overseas, and don’t always indicate further service, although usually they did identify later regiments.
Richard Gaskill was of 49 Cross Street, Gorton; born in 1892 at Openshaw; who joined the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade Royal Field Artillery on 21st March 1911, aged 19, a baker by trade, working for his father. He was discharged on 10th April 1916, having set sail for Egypt on 16th May 1915 and being allowed to sail home on or about 1st April 1916. He served in the 16th Lancashire Battery of the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade Royal Field Artillery and signed the Imperial Service Obligation at Hilsea, Portsmouth, on 10th November 1914.
Technically, Richard Gaskill was not unfairly treated. He was disappointed, yes, but the Military Service Acts of 1916 compelled every man of military age to serve where the War office wanted him “in the interests of the service”. Had he wanted, Richard Gaskill could have continued to serve with his original unit by extending his term of engagement while on active service. He chose not to and to leave the Army and then find himself subject to the Military Service Acts.
Whether he managed to re-join his Battery is not recorded.
I can’t establish to whom he would have been writing on the Yorkshire Coast Defences in, probably, 1916.
With kind regards,

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