30 September 2011

13390 James Cree, 20th DLI

I'm using this post to illustrate another query, received this morning, and my response to it.

"My granddad, James Cree, served with the DLI in WW1. His service number was 13390. A postcard that I have shows him to be with No 3 Platoon, A Coy, 20 Batt DLI, JE [or IE?] Force. I bought John Sheen's book, Wearside Battalion but there is no reference to JE [or IE] Force and all their service numbers begin with 20. His WW1 Medal Index Card shows him as serving in France from 23 September 1915. Would he have joined 20 Batt from another and have you heard of JE [or IE] Force?"

James's number would appear to date to August 1914 and so he would certainly have been serving with another battalion before being posted to the 20th DLI which wasn't raised until July 1915. His number belongs to the series used by the service battalions, whereas the Pals Battalions - the 18th, 19th and 20th - each started a separate number series from 1, those numbers each prefixed by the relevant battalion number; so 20/1, 20/2, 20/3 etc for the 20th Battalion for instance. You should check the medal roll at the National Archives to see if other battalions are noted but it would be my guess that he first served with one or the other of the 2nd Battalion or the 10th to 15th. The 16th battalion was a reserve battalion and the 17th Battalion onwards either didn't serve in France or weren't there until after James Cree had landed. There are two medal rolls to check: the 1914/15 Star roll and the BWM and Victory Medal Roll. The roll references are on his MIC.

James would appear to have arrived in France as part of a draft for a battalion, rather than as an original member of one of the New Army battalions. Have a look at The Long, Long Trail website, specifically the page which deals with the Durham Light Infantry.

IEF is probably Italian Expeditionary Force as the 20th Battalion served in Italy from November 1917 to March 1918.

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dtgood said...

Sorry it has taken so long for me to say it but thank you for the information regarding my grandfather, James Cree. I have obtained a download of his MIC which shows roll reference 0/1/103 B9 (or possibly 139?), page 1427 for the BWM and Victory medals, and shows roll reference 0/1/16B, page 808 for the 15 Star medal. Do these references enable you to give me any further information regarding which battalions James Cree served with in WW1? Regards, Dave

Paul Nixon said...

Dave, you're welcome.

As I mentioned, you should check the medal rolls at the National Archives to see if battalions are noted. The references you give are the references for the original rolls which are housed at The National Archives in London. You can access these yourself or engage a researcher to do so. Ancestry has just published the Silber War Badge Rolls but you need the rolls for the BWM and Victory Medal (one roll) and the 1914-15 Star (another roll).