23 September 2011

Francis Roloff - Rifle Brigade

I've received a message from Ann Roloff on my Royal Engineers' post about her great grandfather, Francis Charles John Roloff which I reproduce in part, below:

"The card says he was in the Rifle Brigade - am I right in thinking that's what the 'S' stands for, in his regiment number? His rank was Private. But what does the number 10807 correspond to exactly? Can I find out, somewhere, where they were stationed? Also, on the card there is a Victory medal listed, with roll number: M/102 [looks like a]B 18 [[M/102B18]], and page:2430."

I've reproduced the Medal Index Card above and also checked to see if there is a surviving service record in WO 363 or WO 364. There isn't.

The S/ prefix indicates a WW1 enlistment for the Rifle Brigade so we know that he enlisted for wartime service only and wasn't a pre-war regular or a member of the Special or Extra Reserve. The fact that he received the British War Medal and Victory Medal only also indicates that he didn't arrive overseas until 1st January 1916 or later.

The medal index card (MIC) reference number is M/102B 18 which is the reference number for the actual medal roll. His entry appears on page 2430.

The letter M on the MIC reference is the code for the record office, in this case Winchester, and M/102B is the reference for the Rifle Brigade. This code tells us that Francis last served with the Rifle Brigade and that his medals were issued through the Winchester record office. There is no battalion mentioned on the MIC but a check of the original medal roll (housed at The National Archives) may (or may not) reveal that. You can view these rolls at The National Archives or engage a researcher to look at these for you. If you can identify the battalion, you'll then be able to consult the relevant battalion war diary.

As for Francis' number, my data suggests that it dates to around the third week of May 1915. I would also add that there are Rifle Brigade experts who regularly visit The Great War Forum and they may be able to fill in more details for you. The GWF is a fantastic resource and always worth a visit.

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