30 March 2018

18139 Pte E Trower - accidentally shot by comrade


Other rank casualties mentioned in war diaries are uncommon but nevertheless are extremely helpful when they do appear.

The 13th Essex Regiment war diary reports the following casualties for the 30th January 1916. I have expanded forename initials to full names where known, and added additional information in parentheses. Unfortunately, the Essex Regiment did not expand forename initials on the British War and Victory Medal rolls which is why so many Essex Regiment men can be difficult to trace back. None of these men has a surviving service record.

17948 Pte James Calnan (later 45515, Northamptonshire Regiment)
17252 Pte Richard Bull (KiA with the 13th Essex on 13th November 1916)
17229 Pte John W Smith (later 30214 MGC; later ET/49594 ASC)
17917 Pte C W Kunkel (medal index card gives E W Kunkel, and this is probably Ernest William H Kunkel; later 60927, Essex Regiment)
18203 Cpl George Therin (enlisted 15th February 1915, discharged 25th April 1917; wounds)
18533 Pte Albert Henry Day (DoW with the 13th Essex on 17th August 1916)
17386 Pte R Cook
17296 Pte S F Smith (medal index card gives Frederick J Smith. Enlisted 15th January 1915, discharged 30th August 1918)
18139 Pte E Trower


The regimental number range of these men extends from 17917 to 18533; approximately 3rd February 1915 to the 6th March 1915. All of these men were original members of the 13th (Service) Battalion, The Essex Regiment. Regrettably there is no further detail on how the unfortunate Private Trower came to be accidentally shot by his comrade. He appears to have survived the war, however, and one can only hope that he lived to a ripe old age, recounting in his dotage how some members of his old battalion could be more of a threat than the Germans.

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27 March 2018

Seaforth Highlanders - PoW other ranks 1914


There are just 37 Seaforth Highlanders recorded on this 'Princess Mary tin archive' listing. These are men who were captured by the Germans on or before Christmas Day 1914. I transcribed this collection from original lists held at the Imperial War Museum and have been publishing edited versions on this blog for some while. The men listed here all appear under reference B.O.2 1/261 and B.O.2 1/262.  

B.O.2 1/261 is a single-page typed list of Seaforth Highlander Prisoners of War, sent on 8th January 1919 by Infantry Ofice, No 1 District, while B.O.2 1/262 is a two-page typed list of Seaforth Highlander Prisoners of War, sent on 25th December 1918 by the Seaforth Highlanders Association. Many of the names appear in both lists, some with alternative home addresses.

All of the men listed here were captured whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion and other information recorded, but not published here, gives home address and in some cases, next of kin. Three of these men died whilst incarcerated.

You can read more about this collection on my 1914 Prisoners of War page. 

7099 Private William Barton 
8159 Private William Bell 
7686 Private G Brown 
1343 Private Harold Bruce 
547 Private James Buchanan 
7656 Private Thomas Clarke 
8133 Private A Crawford 
9717 Private R Crawford 
520 Private Robert Davidson 
8738 Private H Day 
7590 Private Martin Fechlie 
3/7917 Private C McD Flynn 
9105 Private H Fraser 
9023 Private Hamish Fraser 
8797 Private John Fraser 
7739 Private William Fraser 
7740 Private Frank Hammil 
7699 Lance-Corporal Andrew Horsbrugh 
Private James Kemp 
1022 Private G Macfarlane 
10670 Private Alexander Macintosh 
9293 Private J McCook 
8295 Private J McCulloch 
9180 Private D McDonald 
1022 Private G Mcfarlane 
972 Private J McIver 
9205 Private Malcolm McLean 
631 Private George McPherson 
772 Private William Monteith 
948 Private T H Poole 
830 Private S H Ring 
647 Private W Shields 
9176 Corporal A Ure 
9503 Private F Venables 
7817 Corporal A Watson 
8274 Corporal J F Watt 
7884 Private R Young

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12 March 2018

Death of a recruit - Scots Guards


In my last blog post I tentatively identified some York & Lancaster Regiment recruits who had appeared in a photograph published in the Navy & Army Gazette in April 1899. That article had been generated as a result of the death of Scots Guards recruit, and I wondered whether it would be possible to find out more about him.

The North Wales Times published the article that I have included on this post, on the 24th March 1899 and it was this report, and others like it which subsequently resulted in the 'riposte' in the Navy & Army Gazette.

The closest I get to identifying the unfortunate soldier is 2585 James Murray who died of bronchitis on Thursday 16th March 1899, according to his entry in the Scots Guards enlistment registers. His date of death is about right, and the register entry shows that he enlisted at Liverpool on the 18th January 1899 aged 20. Originally from Drogheda, James Murray was a fireman by trade. I shall be interested to look at his service record - to be published on Findmypast later this year - to see if his height on enlistment is confirmed as 5 feet, 7 and three quarter inches.

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2 March 2018

Naming the 1st York & Lancs


Here's an interesting diversion to while away a few hours on a snowy Friday afternoon. The photograph above was published in The Navy & Army Illustrated on the 15th April 1899. The article read:

"By the recent sad death of a recruit of the Scots Guards, who died while on parade at Windsor... much attention has been directed to the question as to whether, by the enlistment of "specials", men of deteriorated physique, are not unlikely to be accepted as recruits. That, however, the standard is on the whole high is shown by the accompanying group, who are not picked men, but simply the last joined draft of recruits that came to the 1st Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment as recently as February 21 last. With but one exception, these men had been then only twelve weeks in the Service.."

Given that there is so much information contained within that short paragraph I thought it might be possible to identify some of the men and so set about finding out.

There are 31 men in the photograph and a look through surviving service records shows that the majority of the men with the regimental numbers 5247 to 5275 joined the 1st Battalion from the regimental depot on the 22nd (not the 21st) February 1899. These men had originally joined the regiment between the 3rd October and the 5th November 1898 which means that the longest serving recruit when this photo was published would have been with the regiment for close to six and a half months.

The majority of British infantry of the line regiments had two battalions, one serving at home and one serving overseas. When the new recruit had successfully gone through his paces at the regimental depot, he was posted to the home battalion. These postings happened eight times a year and all men posted as part of a detachment were enrolled in the same company of the home battalion to continue their training. With eight companies per battalion, this system ensured that new recruits were evenly spread throughout the battalion and that each company could expect a fresh intake of new recruits each year. 

Postings from the regimental depot to the home battalion were supposed to take place on specific dates and the 21st February was one of those dates, albeit the date on the men's service records below is the 22nd February; a Wednesday.

The majority of the men who appear in the photo above are listed below. Most enlisted for 7&5 (seven years with the colours and five years on the reserve), but there are also men who enlisted for 3&9, and two boys who enlisted for 12 years' service with no reserve obligation. The men had differing careers, many going on to serve in the Boer War, and some in the First World War. At least three men died during 1914-1918 and at least two men served 21 years. My research into these men has been basic and ends here. My mission has been to provide names for the faces and I think I've done that. If anyone is able to positively match up a name to a particular face, that would be the icing on the cake.  Anyway, here are the names, and I've included men in this list who joined the 1st Battalion before and after the 22nd February 1899.

5240 William Else
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 28th Sep 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 1st Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 8th Jan 1899

5241 Edward Longhorn
Enlisted for 12 years, long service. Attested as a boy on the 16th September 1898 and joined the regiment on the 19th September 1898.

5242 F Clarke

5243 Walter Sargeant.
From Essex. Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 24th Sep 1898. Transfer date to 1st Bn not noted. Later a Section D Reservist and DoW at 4th London General Hospital on 3rd June 1915.

5244 Alfred Butcher
From Essex. Enlisted for 7&5. Posted to 1st Battalion on the 22nd November 1899.

5246 Patrick Keys
Enlisted for 3&9.  Attested 28tth Sep 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 2nd Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 8th Jan 1899.

5247 William Moore
Enlisted for 3&9.  Attested 3rd Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 5th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899.  Discharged medically unfit, date unknown.

5248 Frederick Ellis

5249 Henry R Davies
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 6th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 8th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899.

5250 B Jackson. Served during the Boer War.

5251 T Gowland. Served during the Boer War.

5252 John Watson
Enlisted for 12 years, long service. Attested as a boy on the 3rd October 1898 and joined the depot at Pontefract on the 7th October 1898.

5253 Frederick Pickles
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 10th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 11th Oct 1898. Discharged on payment of £10 on 31st Dec 1898.

5254 Roger Sanson. Attested 8th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 11th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899.  Served 20 years and 193 days earning campaign medals for the Boer war and First World War.

5255 Tom Barker
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 13th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 14th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899. Served a total of 21 years and 31 days, earning medals for the Boer War and First World War.

5256 Sandford Winter
Enlisted for 3&9. Attested 14th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 16th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899. Discharged 13th Oct 1910.

5257 William Cawson
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 14th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 16th Oct 1898. Died of wounds in England on 15th May 1915.

5258 William Layte
Originally enlisted with Norfolk Regt on the 3rd December 1895. Transferred to Y&L on 30th September 1898. Discharged medically unfit on the 7th January 1902.

5259 Charles Beecroft
Enlisted for 3&9. Attested 10th Oct 1898, joined at York on the 10th Oct 1898. Date of posting to 1st Battalion unknown.

5260 Frederick Stevens.
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 10th Oct 1898, joined at York on the 10th Oct 1898. Date of posting to 1st Battalion unknown.

5261 Ernest Abbott
Attested 17th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 18th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899. Served Boer War and later 2nd Bn in India fro
m 28th Mar 1902 until 9th Nov 1906. To army reserve on 13th Nov 1906. Discharged 16th Oct 1910.

5262 E Jenkinson

5263 William Hickey
Attested 17th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 18th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899. Served Boer War and later 1st Bn in UK until 6th Nov 1902 when transferred to the army reserve.  Later enlisted as a Section D Reservist and still on the reserve when Britain went to war in August 1914.

5263 Unidentified

5264 John Ramsbottom
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 19th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 19th Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 8th April 1899. Served in the Boer war. To 2nd Battalion on the 28th March 1902. Granted first good conduct badge on the 5th May 1902. To 1st Battalion on the 20th Nov 1902. Later re-engaged to complete 21 years with the colours. Missing 8th May 1915 and later presumed to have been KiA on this date. Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, aged 37.

5265 Ernest Smith
Enlisted for 3&9.  Attested 19th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 21st Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd February 1899. Discharged 1st October 1909. Served during the Boer War.

5266 Patrick Regan
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 20th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 21st Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd February 1899.

5267 William Walters
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 20th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 21st Oct 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd February 1899. Discharged 19th October 1910. Served during the Boer War.

5268 John Slinn

5269 Unidentified

5270 Unidentified

5271 Unidentified

5272 James Mitchell Wiseman
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 29th Oct 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 1st Nov 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899. Discharged 27th October 1910. Served during the Boer War.

5273 Edward Dickenson
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 2nd Nov 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 3rd Nov 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899.

5275 Thomas Stocks
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 4th Nov 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 5th Nov 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 22nd Feb 1899.

5276 Joseph Cousins
Enlisted for 3&9. Attested 9th Nov 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 10th Nov 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 8th April 1899.

5277 Richard Turner.
Enlisted for 3&9. Attested 8th Nov 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 10th Nov 1898. Discharged 14th November 1898 having made a "mis-statement as to age".

5278 Fred Thwaites
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 7th Nov 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 10th Nov 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 8th April 1899.

5280 George Coe
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 11th Nov 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 13th Nov 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 8th April 1899. Later enlisted as a Section D Reservist (15th March 1911) and still on the reserve when Britain went to war in August 1914.

5289 Herbert Buckley
Enlisted for 7&5. Attested 24th Nov 1898, to depot at Pontefract on the 25th Nov 1898. To 1st Battalion on the 24th May 1899.

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King's (Liverpool Regiment) - Other Rank PoWs 1914


There are only 19 King's (Liverpool Regiment) men recorded in what I refer to as the Princess Mary tin archive. These are men who were captured by the Germans on or before Christmas Day 1914. I transcribed this collection from original lists held at the Imperial War Museum and have been publishing edited versions on this blog for some while. The men listed here all appear under reference B.O.2 1/135 which is a two-page, part hand-written, part typed list sent by the Liverpool Civil Service League to Sir Ernest Goodhart, dated 20th December 1918. Sir Ernest was the man charged by Princess Mary with gathering together a list of men who had missed out on her Christmas 1914 gift. You can read more about this collection on my 1914 Prisoners of War page. 

11343 Private H Clark 
11198 Sergeant A Haines 
9299 Private J Lane 
11404 Private N Leatham 
11587 Private F Lee 
9545 Private T Lynch 
11271 Private J F Martin 
8645 Private M Molloy 
8424 Private J Morrough 
11224 Private R Norris 
9453 Private P North 
8319 Private R Potts 
9480 Private F C Randall 
9257 Private J Singleton 
8322 Private F Taylor 
11313 Private R Thorn 
11738 Private W A Turner 
8476 Private T Walsh 
9285 Private J Walters

The photo on this page is from my collection and shows an unidentified King's soldier wearing his tropical whites in India.

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