9 September 2012

"No medals - No service overseas"

Here's an interesting medal index card; interesting because it's a medal index card for a man who neither served overseas (and so received no medals) nor received a silver war badge.  As such, this card is something of a rarity but in the absence of a surviving service or pension record, it's still possible to sketch an outline service career for this man.


The HLI number is easy enough.  It belongs to the series issued to the first recruits to the 15th Battalion, Highland Infantry (1st Glasgow Pals) and dates to mid September 1914. 

The Training Reserve was formed on 1st September 1916 and the TR/2 prefix indicates either the 12th or 18th Training Reserve Brigade and probably either the 52nd TRB in the 12th Brigade (originally the 13th (Reserve) Battalion, HLI) or the 78th or 79th TRB in the 18th Brigade (originally the 19th and 20th (Reserve) Battalions, HLI respectively).

The Labour Corps was formed on 21st February 1917 but this number appears to date to some while after the formation of this corps and may have been part of a batch allocated to the 461st Home Service Employment Company in October 1917.

I can't explain the 30th London Regiment number.  The 30th was formed on the 1st January 1917 and drew six-digit numbers from the block 800001 to 820000.  However, John Cameron's number is a five-digit number and therefiore does not fit the pattern I would have expected it to do.

The Royal Defence Corps number dates to after the Armistice was signed.

All in all, an extensive service record spread over four years, and quite unusual to see it thus recorded.

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4 comments:

Richard G said...

Hi Paul,

My grandfather was also in the Highland Light Infantry and I have tried (in vain up till now) to ascertain both his enlistment date and which battalion he served with - his service record did not survive.

His name was (Pte) John Gilchrist service number 53048. I know he joined in Glasgow and family hear-say suggests he fought in France at Arras and Paschendale.

Could you shed any more light from the service number?

Many thanks

Richard

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Richard

He's a relatively late entry into France - post Jan 1917 at least and possibly a good deal later than that. Unfortunatley my database thins the later the war progresses and so I can't narrow it down any more than that. He was awarded the British war and Victory Medals.

Paul

Richard G said...

Hi Paul,

Many thanks for taking the time to reply and the opportunity to draw on your expert knowledge. As with a lot of the family history research I've attempted, this information throws up more questions than answers! My grandfather was 18 in August 1916 and what we do know (or thought we knew) is he joined up before he was at full service age. The five-digit service number does suggest pre-1917. Can you clarify what you mean by a 'late entry into France' - do you think he didn't join up until 1917 or that he didn't enter the Theatre of War until later in 1917? If the former why did he have a five-digit number and if the latter, I'm curious to find out where did you source this information.

Regards

Richard

Paul Nixon said...

Richard

He could well have attested before his 18th birthday but the number certainly dates to the time I'd indicated, and by dates I mean that the number would have been issued to him post Jan 1917 and that he'd have arrived overseas later than this. Are you confusing the issuing of five-digit numbers with the 6-digit TF numbers which were issued in 1917? Five-digit numbers were nothing new and were being issued to the HLI from 1905. These were simply a continuation of the series which had begun at number 1 24 years earlier in 1881. What I'm saying is that 53048 is a high number and indicates a joining-the-regiment date of 1917 or later.

All of the information that I use to track army numbers and enlistment dates comes from my own database which has been compiled by going back to original source material such as attestation and discharge papers, medal rolls etc.

Paul