26 April 2015

1/6th Northumberland Fusiliers, April 1915

I've often thought that you stand more chance of finding an other rank named in a unit war diary if he was a casualty early on in the war - or at least early in the life of a particular war diary. The theory doesn't always hold good but it does for some war diaries. Remember, the diarists were new to the job, they had no idea how long the war would last, and their object was to record everything that happened. 

The 1/6th Northumberland Fusiliers, a Territorial Force battalion, arrived on the Western Front on the 21st April 1915 and, one hundred years ago today, they suffered catastrophic casualties at St Julien in Belgium. One of my Chailey veterans, Henry G Smith, was amongst those casualties and you can read about him on my Chailey 1914-1918 blog by clicking on his name. He won the DCM on that day but the 26th April 1915 marked the end of the war for him. He returned to England and was discharged physically unfit.

The 1/6th NF diarist diligently recorded the names of all casualties for April 1915 and I have transcribed these details below. There are 493 names in total and their status is as recorded by the diarist at the time. I have organised the other rank casualties in regimental number order; ranging from men who had previously seen service with the Volunteer Force to men who had joined the battalion in April 1915. In due course I may add further detail to this roll.


Lt A R Garton Killed 26/04/1915
Capt H T Hunter Killed 26/04/1915
Lt E Mortimer Killed 26/04/1915
2nd Lt E N Mather Killed 26/04/1915
Lt W B Noble Killed 26/04/1915
Lt E R Bowden DoW 28/04/1915
Capt & Adj F R I Athill Wounded 26/04/1915
Lt R F Burnand Wounded 26/04/1915
Capt N McL Dryden Wounded 26/04/1915
Maj J L Lovibond Wounded 26/04/1915
Lt R W Nicholson Wounded 26/04/1915
Capt G T Parkinson Wounded 26/04/1915
Lt A B Thompson Wounded 27/04/1915
Capt G E Hunter Missing 27/04/1915

NCOs and men

59 Sgt M Campbell Wounded 26/04/1915
166 Sgt H A Parker Wounded 26/04/1915
182 CSM J Boyd Wounded 26/04/1915
185 Sgt C J Daglish Missing 27/04/1915
216 CSM T Ord Wounded 26/04/1915
239 Pte J Henderson Wounded 26/04/1915
270 Pte P E Taylor Wounded 26/04/1915
353 Sgt T Sawyer DoW 28/04/1915
556 L/Sgt R Lamb Missing 27/04/1915
580 L/Sgt A Potts Missing 27/04/1915
751 Pte T Embleton Wounded 26/04/1915
829 CQMS A K Kirsop Wounded 26/04/1915
834 Pte T Scott Wounded 27/04/1915
869 CQMS N B B Brook Missing 27/04/1915
909 L/Cpl James Thomas Campbell Wounded 26/04/1915 - attested 05/04/1909
972 Pte F Finlay Wounded 26/04/1915 RAMC
1000 Pte T Wardle Killed 26/04/1915
1068 Pte A H Byrne DoW 27/04/1915
1092 Pte A Stewart Wounded 26/04/1915 RAMC
1138 Pte H Waller Killed 26/04/1915
1226 Pte J Beresford Wounded 26/04/1915
1231 Sgt A Hoggins Wounded 26/04/1915 - to 1st Can GH 29/04/1915
1232 Pte Ralph Gair Wounded 26/04/1915 - attested 18/04/1910
1238 Pte J Archer Wounded 26/04/1915
1240 Sgt J Fritzpatrick Wounded 26/04/1915 - GSW ankle. Discharged to duty 12/05/1915
1244 Pte C Cook Wounded 26/04/1915
1246 L/Cpl S Carr Wounded 26/04/1915
1264 L/Cpl G L Colquhoun Wounded 26/04/1915
1267 Sgt S Pearson Wounded 26/04/1915
1276 Pte J Allan Wounded 26/04/1915
1284 Pte George Sloan Wounded 26/04/1915  - attested 25/10/1910.
1300 Pte G Atkinson Wounded 26/04/1915
1316 Sgt R Campbell Wounded 26/04/1915
1319 L/Cpl J Gough Wounded 26/04/1915
1323 Drummer G Burns Wounded 26/04/1915
1331 L/Cpl J T Sim Wounded 26/04/1915
1373 Cpl J G Marshall Wounded 26/04/1915
1392 Pte Arthur Elcock Wounded 26/04/1915 -
1411 Pte A Poppleton Wounded 26/04/1915 - attested 10/04/1911
1415 Pte T A Romaines Wounded 26/04/1915
1420 Pte William Robert Scott Wounded 26/04/1915 - attested 14/04/1911
1427 Pte William Rippon Wounded 26/04/1915 - GSW rt hand. Disch 13/09/1916
1428 Cpl A Lester Wounded 26/04/1915
1429 Cpl J S Peacock Wounded 26/04/1915
1434 L/Cpl A McWhinnie Wounded 26/04/1915
1436 Pte H Wansell Wounded 26/04/1915
1439 Pte G Dugdale Wounded 26/04/1915
1446 Cpl T Walker Wounded 26/04/1915
1451 Cpl W C Lackie Wounded 26/04/1915
1452 Pte F Gray Wounded 26/04/1915
1465 Pte J Routledge Wounded 26/04/1915
1469 Pte T C Wilson Wounded 26/04/1915
1471 Sgt R H Chicken Wounded 26/04/1915
1473 Pte R Gough Wounded 26/04/1915
1476 Sgt W Belgian DoW 28/04/1915
1501 Pte G Dobson Wounded 26/04/1915
1503 Cpl H Hetherington Killed 26/04/1915
1504 Drummer B Belgian Wounded 26/04/1915
1509 Pte G Gregson Killed 26/04/1915
1510 L/Cpl W Ward Wounded 26/04/1915
1512 L/Cpl Andrew Shaw Bantock Wounded 26/04/1915  - attested 25/03/1912
1515 Sgt H Waugh Wounded 26/04/1915
1519 Cpl T Leech Wounded 26/04/1915
1520 Pte G Young Wounded 26/04/1915
1533 Pte N Charlton Wounded 26/04/1915
1543 Pte T Morrow Wounded 26/04/1915
1546 Pte A Epstein Killed 26/04/1915
1550 Pte J M Midgeley Wounded 26/04/1915
1560 Pte James Hall Holmes Wounded 26/04/1915 - attested 22/04/1912
1561 Pte J Minns Wounded 26/04/1915
1565 Pte J Jobling Wounded 26/04/1915
1567 Pte T Manning Missing 27/04/1915
1570 Pte J W Purvis Wounded 26/04/1915
1576 Pte G Brough Wounded 26/04/1915
1577 Pte B Evans Missing 27/04/1915
1584 Cpl H G Smith Wounded 26/04/1915
1595 Pte T Curtis Wounded 26/04/1915
1603 Pte W F Brown Wounded 26/04/1915
1604 Pte J Wright Wounded 26/04/1915
1605 Pte F Richardson Wounded 26/04/1915
1615 Pte T Cruddas Wounded 26/04/1915
1646 Pte G Smith DoW 28/04/1915
1653 Pte J H Rockcliffe Wounded 26/04/1915
1664 Pte W Turnbull Wounded 26/04/1915
1679 L/Cpl G H Justice Wounded 26/04/1915 - Died of wounds 15/02/1916
1681 Pte J Williams Wounded 26/04/1915
1684 Pte J Laidlaw Wounded 26/04/1915
1690 Pte N Johnstone Wounded 26/04/1915
1695 Pte R Avery Wounded 26/04/1915
1701 L/Cpl N Silk Wounded 26/04/1915
1710 Pte W H Tilley Wounded 26/04/1915
1712 Pte C Newall Missing 27/04/1915
1716 Pte J McGowan Wounded 26/04/1915
1717 Pte J Snowdon Wounded 26/04/1915
1736 L/Cpl J H Lancaster Wounded 26/04/1915
1737 Pte G McCree Wounded 26/04/1915
1746 Pte F A Diver Wounded 26/04/1915
1751 Pte A T McPhail Wounded 26/04/1915
1752 Pte R Ainsley Wounded 26/04/1915
1754 Pte R Crawley Killed 26/04/1915
1757 Pte J Bennett Wounded 26/04/1915
1764 Pte J Croney Killed 26/04/1915
1766 Pte G Bowes Wounded 26/04/1915
1767 Pte W Williamson Wounded 26/04/1915
1772 Drummer W Black Wounded 26/04/1915
1776 L/Cpl R Hall Wounded 26/04/1915
1777 Pte E Alexander Wounded 26/04/1915
1778 Cpl D B Renton Wounded 26/04/1915
1779 Pte J W Horsley Wounded 26/04/1915
1781 Pte R W Dodds Wounded 26/04/1915
1782 Pte J Leach Wounded 26/04/1915
1803 Pte F W Moor DoW 30/04/1915
1834 Pte V L Scotney Wounded 26/04/1915
1840 Pte C G Brotherton Wounded 26/04/1915
1847 Pte S Gray Killed 26/04/1915
1848 Pte B A Nutt Wounded 26/04/1915
1850 Pte T Joice Wounded 26/04/1915
1852 Pte P Forbes Wounded 26/04/1915
1854 Pte J Sawyer Wounded 26/04/1915
1860 Pte W T Scott Wounded 26/04/1915
1863 Pte W R Miller Wounded 26/04/1915
1865 Sgt T C Crocker Wounded 26/04/1915
1871 L/Cpl T Johnston Wounded 26/04/1915
1874 Pte A H Smith Wounded 26/04/1915
1883 Pte T Douglass Wounded 26/04/1915
1888 Pte J Kirkbride Wounded 26/04/1915
1893 Pte J Horner Wounded 26/04/1915
1901 Pte R Clarke Wounded 26/04/1915
1916 Pte A Graham Wounded 26/04/1915
1922 Pte R Haswell Wounded 26/04/1915
1927 Cpl J Tunmore Wounded 26/04/1915
1930 Pte J Cunningham DoW 09/05/1915
1932 Pte J Rutherford Wounded 26/04/1915
1935 Pte W Gallon Wounded 26/04/1915
1936 Pte T Reeves DoW 28/04/1915
1938 Pte J Hollingsworth Wounded 26/04/1915
1944 Pte T Robinson Wounded 26/04/1915
1945 Pte W Robertson Wounded 26/04/1915
1947 Pte F Higgins Wounded 26/04/1915
1958 Pte J W Marshall Wounded 26/04/1915
1960 Pte J Edwards Wounded 26/04/1915
1969 Pte E Cairns Wounded 26/04/1915
1970 Pte H Rutterford Wounded 26/04/1915
1973 Sgt T Wynne Wounded 26/04/1915
1974 Cpl P Weddell Wounded 26/04/1915
1975 Pte E Lewis Wounded 26/04/1915
1977 Pte M Franks Wounded 26/04/1915
1984 CQMS T Henderson Wounded 26/04/1915
1991 Pte J Bell Wounded 26/04/1915
1993 Pte W Johnson Wounded 26/04/1915
2000 Pte A Nixon Missing 27/04/1915
2017 Pte D Rutherford Wounded 26/04/1915
2019 Cpl J Binning Killed 26/04/1915
2029 Pte N Muller Wounded 26/04/1915
2030 Pte J Buxton Wounded 26/04/1915
2034 Pte W Nicholson Wounded 26/04/1915
2050 Pte G Webster Wounded 26/04/1915
2051 L/Cpl W Anderson Wounded 26/04/1915
2055 Pte J W Hutchinson Wounded 26/04/1915
2061 Pte J Collins Wounded 26/04/1915
2062 Pte T Watson Wounded 26/04/1915
2070 Pte C Charlton Wounded 26/04/1915
2071 Pte T Johnstone Wounded 26/04/1915
2072 Pte G S Grey Wounded 26/04/1915
2074 Pte H Spence Wounded 26/04/1915
2090 Pte J Black Wounded 26/04/1915
2094 Pte J W McKie Wounded 26/04/1915
2095 Pte W Gilbertson Wounded 26/04/1915
2098 Pte J Cregan Wounded 26/04/1915
2103 L/Sgt J Beck Wounded 26/04/1915
2104 Pte M Dodgson Wounded 26/04/1915
2116 Pte J Lovell Wounded 26/04/1915
2118 Pte A Brown Wounded 26/04/1915
2120 Pte S Baggaley Wounded 26/04/1915
2121 Pte H Spraggon Wounded 26/04/1915
2122 L/Cpl C Darby Wounded 26/04/1915
2124 Sgt E Fulton Wounded 26/04/1915
2127 Pte T E Teasdale Wounded 26/04/1915
2131 Pte G Hall Wounded 26/04/1915
2133 L/Cpl S N Carter Wounded 26/04/1915
2137 Pte E Church Wounded 26/04/1915
2147 Sgt J J Martin Wounded 26/04/1915
2148 Pte J Pedan Wounded 26/04/1915
2149 Pte J Flynn Wounded 26/04/1915
2150 Pte L E Franks Missing 27/04/1915
2157 Pte J Thompson Wounded 26/04/1915
2158 Pte H Arthur Wounded 26/04/1915
2162 Pte R W Pattison Wounded 26/04/1915
2164 Pte R Ingham Wounded 26/04/1915
2167 Pte W McAvoy Wounded 26/04/1915
2170 Sgt A Nunnerley Missing 27/04/1915
2177 Pte T Simpson DoW 29/04/1915
2179 Sgt W Jordon Wounded 26/04/1915
2182 Pte S Pearson Wounded 26/04/1915
2184 L/Cpl H Fee DoW 28/04/1915
2184 Pte W R Whitmore Wounded 25/04/1915
2186 Pte W Findley Wounded 26/04/1915
2189 Pte G S Urwin Wounded 26/04/1915
2195 Cpl G P Gray Wounded 26/04/1915
2198 Pte W Mathewson Wounded 26/04/1915
2200 Pte W Wheatley Wounded 26/04/1915
2208 Pte T W Mair Wounded 26/04/1915
2210 Cpl J J Carthy Wounded 26/04/1915
2214 Pte W C Carter Wounded 26/04/1915
2215 L/Sgt R J Richardson Wounded 26/04/1915
2217 L/Cpl A Riley Wounded 26/04/1915
2223 Pte J W Rayne Wounded 30/04/1915
2224 Pte R Jack Killed 26/04/1915
2225 Pte F Hodgson Wounded 26/04/1915
2226 Pte G Gregory Wounded 26/04/1915
2227 Pte J Hanson DoW 28/04/1915
2228 Pte W R Flisher Wounded 26/04/1915
2230 L/Sgt D A Ellis Missing 27/04/1915
2232 Pte R Bolam Wounded 26/04/1915
2234 Cpl S Laws Wounded 26/04/1915
2237 Pte A Raine DoW 29/04/1915
2239 Pte R Stewart Wounded 26/04/1915
2244 Pte H Atkinson Wounded 26/04/1915
2245 L/Cpl F Patrick Wounded 26/04/1915
2246 Pte S Caslaw Wounded 26/04/1915
2247 L/Cpl C G Armistead Wounded 26/04/1915
2249 Pte J W Bowser Wounded 26/04/1915
2251 Pte N Thompson Wounded 26/04/1915
2254 Pte H Rix Wounded 26/04/1915
2263 Pte P Jordan Wounded 26/04/1915
2264 Pte W E Lowley Wounded 26/04/1915
2274 Pte E H Dracup Wounded 26/04/1915
2275 Pte W Easton Wounded 26/04/1915
2276 Pte R F Flisher Wounded 26/04/1915
2280 Pte T Lant Wounded 26/04/1915
2283 Sgt R C Penketh Wounded 26/04/1915
2285 Pte H Richardson Missing 27/04/1915
2293 Pte J Bone Wounded 26/04/1915
2298 Pte E Bell Wounded 26/04/1915
2300 Pte R Charlton Wounded 26/04/1915
2302 L/Cpl J G Cornish Wounded 26/04/1915
2304 Pte J R Golfin DoW 29/04/1915
2306 Pte W B Holmwood Wounded 26/04/1915
2307 Pte J Jarah Wounded 26/04/1915
2322 Pte R B Wilmshurst Wounded 26/04/1915
2323 Pte J A Rutter Wounded 26/04/1915
2324 Pte R Harkness Wounded 26/04/1915
2325 Pte W Cummings Missing 27/04/1915
2330 Pte A Sutton Killed 26/04/1915
2333 Pte T Rice Wounded 26/04/1915
2336 Cpl J Bolam Wounded 26/04/1915
2336 Pte J Ford Wounded 26/04/1915
2339 Pte R Robson Missing 27/04/1915
2341 Pte J W Manser Wounded 26/04/1915
2342 Pte J Heaton Wounded 26/04/1915
2348 Pte W Bulmer Wounded 26/04/1915
2349 Pte J Foster Wounded 26/04/1915
2353 Pte R Kennedy Wounded 26/04/1915
2363 Pte A Ferguson Wounded 26/04/1915
2364 Cpl J N Fletcher Wounded 26/04/1915
2364 Pte G Hall Wounded 26/04/1915
2365 Pte N W Lawson Wounded 26/04/1915
2366 Pte H Goulding Wounded 26/04/1915
2369 Pte C C Jopling Wounded 26/04/1915
2370 Pte E Joyce Wounded 26/04/1915
2374 Pte W Shields Wounded 26/04/1915
2377 L/Sgt J Burns Wounded 26/04/1915
2378 Pte R Beattie Killed 26/04/1915
2382 Pte G Boag Wounded 26/04/1915
2383 L/Cpl W R Davis Wounded 26/04/1915
2384 Pte W Morrison Missing 27/04/1915
2386 Pte J Watson Wounded 26/04/1915
2387 Pte E Brice Wounded 26/04/1915
2389 Pte T Murray Wounded 26/04/1915
2390 Pte H V Everatt Wounded 26/04/1915
2391 Pte A J Bridge Missing 27/04/1915
2393 Pte A Naitby Killed 26/04/1915
2395 Pte F Campbell Wounded 26/04/1915
2399 L/Cpl J W Purvis Wounded 26/04/1915
2400 Drummer F J Simpson Wounded 26/04/1915
2401 Pte M Baptist Wounded 26/04/1915
2405 Pte W R Ditchburn Missing 27/04/1915
2406 Pte T N Hodgson Wounded 26/04/1915
2408 Pte T H Miller Wounded 26/04/1915
2416 Pte A Jackson Wounded 26/04/1915
2418 Cpl P Banks Wounded 26/04/1915
2419 Pte H Hart Wounded 26/04/1915
2423 Pte J W Smith Wounded 26/04/1915
2425 Pte J P Alexander DoW 01/05/1915
2428 Pte W Errington Wounded 26/04/1915
2434 Pte J F Robinson Wounded 26/04/1915
2435 Pte W Hutchinson Wounded 26/04/1915
2435 Pte J Turner Wounded 26/04/1915
2436 Pte A Walton Wounded 26/04/1915
2441 Pte J Younger Wounded 26/04/1915
2442 Pte A M Hutchinson Wounded 26/04/1915
2447 Pte W Diskett Wounded 26/04/1915
2450 Pte B Gillespy Wounded 26/04/1915
2452 L/Cpl J H Hogg Missing 27/04/1915
2461 Pte H Elstropp Wounded 26/04/1915
2464 Pte J Watson Wounded 26/04/1915
2469 Pte J Pentland Wounded 25/04/1915
2474 Pte H Roberts Wounded 26/04/1915
2475 Pte A H Fiddler Wounded 26/04/1915
2478 L/Cpl F Strassenburg Missing 27/04/1915
2480 Pte E B King Wounded 26/04/1915
2489 Pte G Richardson DoW 15/05/1916
2497 Pte B Burns Wounded 25/04/1915
2498 Pte A Heseltine Wounded 26/04/1915
2508 L/Cpl J Lumsden Wounded 26/04/1915
2509 Pte S Old Wounded 26/04/1915
2513 Pte J Cuthbert Wounded 26/04/1915
2514 Pte Goughtly Wounded 26/04/1915
2515 Pte A Goughtly Wounded 26/04/1915
2520 Pte E Maude Wounded 26/04/1915
2523 Pte R Simpson Wounded 26/04/1915
2526 Pte W Bryson Wounded 26/04/1915
2527 Pte A Balckie Wounded 26/04/1915
2532 Pte S E Humphreys Wounded 26/04/1915
2540 Pte A Robson Wounded 26/04/1915
2543 Pte A Curry Wounded 26/04/1915
2545 Pte J Dane Wounded 26/04/1915
2546 L/Cpl W Estell Wounded 26/04/1915
2550 Pte A E McKie Wounded 26/04/1915
2554 Pte E Sanderson Killed 28/04/2015
2559 Pte W Payne Wounded 25/04/1915
2562 L/Cpl T A Bell Wounded 26/04/1915
2563 Pte T Callender Wounded 26/04/1915
2568 L/Cpl H Julsing Wounded 25/04/1915
2569 Pte J Madgshon Wounded 26/04/1915
2571 Pte Patterson Wounded 26/04/1915
2571 Pte D E R Wright Wounded 26/04/1915
2572 Pte S Skee Wounded 26/04/1915
2573 Pte R Tipping Wounded 26/04/1915
2574 Pte F Anderson Wounded 27/04/1915
2575 Pte H Horne Wounded 26/04/1915
2577 Pte S Smith Missing 27/04/1915
2578 Pte L Taylor Wounded 26/04/1915
2582 Pte P McGuiggan Wounded 26/04/1915
2587 Pte S Humble Missing 27/04/1915
2588 Pte J B Minnie Wounded 26/04/1915
2592 Pte S Rudd Wounded 27/04/1915
2593 Pte G Urwin Killed 26/04/1915
2598 Pte T Heaney Wounded 26/04/1915
2599 Pte J Ormondroid Wounded 26/04/1915
2601 Pte E Short Wounded 26/04/1915
2602 Pte J C Allen Killed 26/04/1915
2603 Pte J R Elsdon Wounded 26/04/1915
2604 Pte J Forster Wounded 26/04/1915
2606 Pte C H Thompson Wounded 26/04/1915
2607 Pte T Brown Wounded 26/04/1915
2609 Pte A E Morehouse Wounded 26/04/1915
2611 Pte A Parr Wounded 26/04/1915
2613 Pte A Taylor Wounded 26/04/1915
2618 Pte J Jackson DoW 28/04/1915
2619 Pte G R Freeman Wounded 26/04/1915
2620 Pte R Gilbert Wounded 26/04/1915
2622 Pte D Straughan Wounded 26/04/1915
2628 Pte W Fawcett Missing 27/04/1915
2629 Pte W Martin Wounded 26/04/1915
2631 Pte R King Wounded 26/04/1915
2632 Pte W Miller Wounded 26/04/1915
2694 Pte R R Adamson Wounded 26/04/1915
2740 Pte H Davis Wounded 26/04/1915
2741 Pte C V Elliott Wounded 26/04/1915
2742 Pte T A Foster Wounded 26/04/1915
2743 Pte J R Lonergan Wounded 26/04/1915
2745 Pte J Cole Wounded 26/04/1915
2748 Pte A F P Jennings Killed 26/04/1915
2750 Pte J F Dunn Wounded 26/04/1915
2751 Pte W E Beck Wounded 26/04/1915
2755 Pte T Knox Wounded 26/04/1915
2817 Pte R T Thomson Wounded 26/04/1915
2818 Pte B Pel Wounded 26/04/1915
2820 Pte A S Walsh Missing 27/04/1915
2826 Pte I J Balls Wounded 26/04/1915
2827 Pte W McDonald Wounded 26/04/1915
2842 Pte J M Kirkup Wounded 26/04/1915
2852 Pte I J Rayner Killed 26/04/1915
2853 Pte G S Harwood Wounded 26/04/1915
2854 Pte R Houghton Wounded 26/04/1915
2857 Pte M Glynn Wounded 26/04/1915
2860 Pte W A Ridley Missing 27/04/1915
2866 Pte W Stafford Wounded 26/04/1915
2873 Pte T Little DoW 30/04/1915
2876 Pte J T Welford Wounded 26/04/1915
2877 Pte B Bashton Missing 27/04/1915
2879 Pte W Watt Wounded 26/04/1915
2880 Pte J Lorraine Wounded 26/04/1915
2881 Pte S Shields Wounded 26/04/1915
2882 Pte T C Collins Wounded 26/04/1915
2884 Pte J G Littlefair Wounded 26/04/1915
2885 Pte J G Thompson DoW 30/04/1915
2887 Pte Gallaway Wounded 26/04/1915
2888 Pte R Littlefair Wounded 26/04/1915
2889 Pte G Whitfield Wounded 26/04/1915
2890 Pte J W Brown Wounded 26/04/1915
2892 L/Cpl P M Laws Wounded 26/04/1915
2898 Pte W Brusby Wounded 26/04/1915
2900 L/Cpl T Veitch Wounded 26/04/1915
2901 Pte P Lamb Killed 26/04/1915
2921 Pte C Pringle Wounded 26/04/1915
2922 Pte A Hogarth Wounded 29/04/1915
2973 Pte J McGurk Wounded 26/04/1915
3143 L/Cpl E H Burnley Wounded 26/04/1915
3149 Drummer J Brown Wounded 26/04/1915
3180 Pte J Green Wounded 26/04/1915
3196 Cpl D Amers Wounded 26/04/1915
3198 Pte G Wheatley Wounded 26/04/1915
3206 Pte W Ferguson Wounded 26/04/1915
3223 Pte W Bristow Wounded 26/04/1915
3225 Pte C White Wounded 26/04/1915
3234 Pte B Dunlop Wounded 26/04/1915
3236 Pte J O'Regan Wounded 26/04/1915
3244 Pte T Stone Wounded 26/04/1915
3247 Pte H Gibson Killed 26/04/1915
3250 Pte J Raine Wounded 26/04/1915
3254 Pte J Knott Wounded 26/04/1915
3274 Pte T W Aikins Wounded 26/04/1915
3278 Pte W Davison Wounded 26/04/1915
3291 Pte J H Blackett Wounded 26/04/1915
3293 Pte G W Harrison Wounded 26/04/1915
3302 Pte G Bell Wounded 26/04/1915
3306 Pte J McQue Wounded 26/04/1915
3320 Pte W Sherrington Wounded 26/04/1915
3324 Pte J Hall Wounded 26/04/1915
3325 Pte J Hall Wounded 26/04/1915
3329 Pte C A Carter Wounded 26/04/1915
3343 Pte J McDermant Wounded 26/04/1915
3346 Pte W Armstrong Wounded 26/04/1915
3349 Pte T Young Wounded 26/04/1915
3353 Pte W Dent Wounded 26/04/1915
3356 Pte J F Armstrong Killed 26/04/1915
3356 Pte C M Holden Wounded 27/04/1915
3357 Pte T W Stewart Wounded 26/04/1915
3367 Pte J W Hodgson Wounded 26/04/1915
3370 Pte J W Small Wounded 26/04/1915
3376 Pte W C Robson Missing 27/04/1915
3381 Pte R Ralphs Killed 26/04/1915
3387 Pte R Bezer Missing 27/04/1915
3390 Pte J Connell Wounded 26/04/1915
3391 Pte G Greaves Missing 27/04/1915
3393 L/Cpl D Sturrock Wounded 26/04/1915
3412 Pte T W Scott Wounded 26/04/1915
3419 Pte J J Scott Wounded 26/04/1915
3426 Pte L Grieve Wounded 26/04/1915
3427 Pte W Gibbon Wounded 26/04/1915
3432 Pte J E Harkus Wounded 26/04/1915
3433 Pte J H Robson Wounded 26/04/1915
3434 Pte J Bruce Wounded 26/04/1915
3440 Pte T Urwin Wounded 26/04/1915
3460 Pte A Pearson Wounded 26/04/1915
3468 Pte G Robson Wounded 26/04/1915
3469 Pte R Robson Wounded 26/04/1915
3470 Pte J J Ellis Missing 27/04/1915
3471 Pte F A Robbie Wounded 26/04/1915
3472 Pte H S Wilson Wounded 26/04/1915
3478 Pte H Lane Wounded 25/04/1915
3481 Pte W Lamb Wounded 26/04/1915
3486 Pte W B Lawson Wounded 26/04/1915
3494 Pte D Gibson Wounded 26/04/1915
3495 Pte C Willis Wounded 26/04/1915
3499 Pte G Gibson Wounded 26/04/1915
3506 Pte J Bell DoW 16/05/1916
3508 Pte E H Perry Wounded 26/04/1915
3510 Pte G Carr Wounded 26/04/1915
3526 Pte W Embleton Wounded 26/04/1915
3528 Pte A Batey Wounded 26/04/1915
3537 Pte T Foulis Wounded 30/04/1915
3538 Pte A Williamson Wounded 26/04/1915
3544 Pte F Higgs Wounded 26/04/1915
3553 Pte T Daglish Wounded 26/04/1915
3560 Pte J Reed Wounded 26/04/1915
3570 Pte W Slater Wounded 26/04/1915
3571 Pte W Metcalfe Wounded 26/04/1915
3573 Pte W L Kenyon Wounded 26/04/1915
3583 Pte W Armitage Wounded 26/04/1915
3616 Pte J Campbell Wounded 26/04/1915
3618 Pte T McMulligan Wounded 26/04/1915
3659 Pte F McNeil Wounded 26/04/1915
3674 Pte R Halley Wounded 26/04/1915
3675 Pte W G Gladstone Wounded 26/04/1915
3707 Pte H Powell Wounded 26/04/1915
3803 Pte G Atkinson Killed 26/04/1915

The image on this post is courtesy of Chris Cherry and shows a detail of the brooding soldier at St Julien.

I also provide a fast and efficient military history research service. To find out more click on the RESEARCH tab on this blog.

22 April 2015

From Worcestershire to Cape Helles

13099 Private John Sheppard was born in 1892 or 1893 and enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment on the 23rd July 1912. If his army career followed normal patterns of the time, he probably attested for seven years with the colours and five on the reserve and would have been issued with his regimental number at the regimental depot at Worcester.

The Regimental Depot was the administrative heart of the regiment and would have comprised a small permanent strength of around four officers and 60 men drawn from the two regular battalions as well as around 28 NCOs and men who formed the permanent staff of the 5th (Special Reserve) and 6th (Extra Reserve) battalions. There would also have been admin staff as well as Army Medical Corps and Army Service Corps to carry out duties connected with the regimental district. “The chief work of the depot in peace time,” so stated The Army Book for the British Empire, HMSO in 1893, “is to enlist recruits for the regiment to both the regular and militia battalions, [later Special Reserve and Extra Reserve battalions] and to enter them for training and discipline as soldiers… many a high-spirited lad will resent being ordered about in military fashion when he first joins… it is therefore most desirable that the officers and non-commissioned officers who are to be their first instructors… will set them a good example, give them sound advice [and] cheerfully assist them [my italics] in the work they are called upon to perform in the barrack-rooms…”

After around three months at the depot, John would have been transferred to one of the two home battalions. These postings happened eight times a year and all men posted as part of a detachment would then be enrolled in the same company of the home battalion to continue their training. With eight companies per battalion this ensured that all companies in a battalion had their fair share of new recruits. A 12-week training programme with the home battalion of 20 hours per week (a combination of gymnastics, marching drill as well as musketry) would then have followed and after between 18 months and two years’ service with the home battalion, John would then have been sent as part of a draft to the overseas battalion. This posting overseas took place annually.

We do not know to which battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment John was sent. The regiment had four battalions with, by 1913, the 1st Battalion stationed in Egypt, the 2nd Battalion in Aldershot, the 3rd Battalion at Tidworth and the 4th Battalion in India. Looking at other service records of the time, it seems possible that he would have served with the 3rd Battalion initially, and possibly been posted to the 4th Battalion in India in November 1913, remaining there until January 1915.

What we do know for sure, because his medal index card tells us so, is that he arrived overseas at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915. On embarkation in England, The strength of the Battalion was 26 officers and 931 other ranks and we should assume that the majority of these men took part in the landing at Cape Helles.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, the battalion did not suffer too many casualties during the actual landings. Seven 4th Battalion men are listed with regimental numbers ranging from 6216 (1901) to 12632 (1911). Those lower numbers could have belonged to men who had extended their service to complete 21 years or to men who, having completed their period of reserve service, had opted for a further four years’ reserve service as Section D reservists.

John Sheppard, whose medals I acquired some while back, survived the landings and would go on to serve throughout the war. No service record survives for him but thankfully a single fragment (below) from a list of wounded soldiers does. This shows that he was from Lower Bentley in Worcestershire and that he was wounded on the 22nd November 1917; vital information which I had not noticed before today.

Medal roll records for this man reveal that he served with three battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment, the 4th, 14th and 1st – and it is possible that it was this November 1917 wound which caused him to be discharged as a result of wounds on the 27th June 1918. He may also have been wounded at Gallipoli although the absence of service records makes this pure conjecture at this point in time.

The image at the top of this post is copyright the Essex Regiment Museum and shows the 1st Essex Regiment landing at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 25th April 1915. The list of wounded soldiers and the War Diary excerpt from the 25th April are Crown Copyright, the National Archives.

For help with your own regimental numbering or military research conundrums, check out my military research service.

20 April 2015

1st Lancashire Fusiliers at Cape Helles, Gallipoli

25th April has rightly come to be known as Anzac Day and is the focus for national commemoration in Australia and New Zealand. However, there was also plenty of British involvement on that day in 1915 and afterwards, and perhaps no more celebrated involvement than that of the 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers which won, as reported in the Press, "Six VCs before breakfast" during the landing at W Beach on April 25th.

The following men from the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers died on the 25th April 1915, one hundred years ago this coming Saturday.

2597 Private Thomas Addison
1038 Private Charles Alderton
1774 Corporal Edgar Appleton
2304 Private Samuel Arney
2066 Private Edward Aspinall
2415 Private Walter Atkinson
7072 Private John Attwood
1338 Private Thomas Baines
1469 Lance Corporal Thomas Baison
6178 Private Frederick Balme
1063 Private George Luther Banbury
6412 Lance Serjeant Edward Bell
4610 Private John Bellis
1254 Private Thomas Belsey
2200 Private James Bamford Bennett
2383 Private John Birch
1698 Private John Birch
1888 Private Thomas Blackledge
2010 Private Fred Blundell
3234 Private James Boardman
828 Private John Bolas
2237 Private William Richard Bolton
1934 Private Walter Nelson Bone
1307 Private William Arthur Brace
4468 Private John Henry Bradbury
3410 Private Frank Breakey
8978 Private Martin Broderick
2303 Lance Corporal Bertie Bromley
1150 Private Charles Brown
2504 Private William Paul Bryant
6808 Private James Ulick Burke
1426 Private Samuel Callcutt
4182 Private Benjamin Cameron
1873 Private John Campbell
9032 Private Thomas William Carpenter
373 Private Alfred Carrington
1086 Private Reginald Carter
1190 Private Robert Sidney Cast
2008 Private William Henry Catharell
380 Corporal James Cawley
 Second Lieutenant Ellis Clark
2037 Private Connorton
2038 Private Albert Cooper
2590 Private Philip Cooper
842 Private Thomas Corley
2000 Private William Cummings
1287 Lance Corporal John Dawtrey
1299 Private Joseph Doyle
2689 Private Francis Duffy
396 Corporal Samuel Dunderdale
2034 Private Sidney Dunham
1501 Private Frederick Eatwell
1746 Private Thomas Edwards
1937 Private Walter James Edwards
2194 Private James Elliott
924 Private Charles William Ellis
2260 Private Joseph Ellis
6263 Private Thomas Ellis
2407 Private James Faulkner
1808 Private John Fielding
1531 Private George Fry
6497 Serjeant James Geraghty
2612 Private Sidney Archibald Graddage
1635 Private William Alfred Greaves
1579 Private Ellis Greenwood
1680 Private Edward Arthur Herbert Griffiths
2463 Private Charles Groves
1597 Private James Henry Hancock
2708 Private John Thomas Hanson
1342 Private William Harrington
4879 Private Harrison
1512 Private William Harrison
2243 Private Herbert Haynes
4718 Private Ralph Hill
1166 Private Albert Holloway
1657 Private George Holt
5667 Private Arthur Horner
1427 Private Edward Houghton
1790 Private John Howarth
1517 Private Archibald John Howe
404 Serjeant John Hughes
3329 Private John Jarvis
1149 Private Hugh Jones
2563 Private George William Keates
1384 Private Frank Kelly
7253 Private David Kingswell
2349 Private Harry Knight
2098 Lance Corporal Edward Lawrence
6781 Private George Robert Lee
2715 Private Patrick Lennard
841 Lance Corporal Joseph Lomax
1616 Private Frank Lonsdale
1926 Corporal John Malone
1273 Private William Mann
1884 Private George John Mansfield
2290 Private Guy Carrington Marriott
1239 Private Frank Henry Marsham
Captain Thomas Bowyer-Lane Maunsell
2040 Private Robert John Mellish
1511 Corporal William Frederick Mercer
2527 Private William John Miller
1676 Serjeant Charles Mills
6822 Private William Moss
1487 Serjeant Arthur Henry Muir
1244 Private William Mccarthy
6063 Private Michael Mccormick
7329 Serjeant James Mcfadden
1627 Private John Mcguire
1833 Private Robert Mcloughlin
6058 Private Thomas Patrick Mcnamara
933 Private William Robert Neill
1889 Private John Norris
6616 Private Harry OBrien
1041 Private Hugh Patrick ONeill
1942 Private Maurice ORourke
4658 Private John Ogden
1720 Private Sidney Orders
1671 Private Edwin Orme
1396 Private Sidney Pavitt
1451 Lance Corporal George Pearce
2656 Lance Corporal John Trethowen Pearce
2140 Private William Pennington
 Lieutenant Porter
1907 Private Henry Quarrie
1042 Private Arthur Rackley
1375 Private William Raeper
4292 Private Albert Ralph
2377 Lance Corporal Edward Rimmer
717 Serjeant Fred Rothwell
2128 Private James Ryan
2053 Private Frederick Sarginson
1488 Private Ernest Saunders
1446 Private William Savage
5028 Private William Robert Schofield
2164 Private Henry Seddon
2113 Private James Ernest Sheldon
2542 Private Thomas Shepherd
1715 Private John Silvester
9134 Lance Corporal Arthur Simpson
7604 Private John Slade
2291 Private William Slater
2547 Lance Corporal Harry Smith
789 Private Maurice Smith
1584 Lance Corporal Thomas Albert Smith
748 Corporal William Smith
1554 Private Frederick Charles Streatfield
1506 Serjeant Frank Edward Stubbs VC
2136 Private Harold Taylor
1122 Corporal Joseph Taylor
Captain Aubrey Jocelyn Nugent Thomas
2445 Private Charles Thompson
2162 Corporal Norman Thompson
1151 Private Henry John Thornton
1504 Private Tomey
1485 Private Percy Charles Turner
5620 Private Samuel Upton
944 Private Alfred Waldron
3925 Private Thomas Waters
1849 Private George Wickstead
2599 Private Frederick Wilkinson
1138 Lance Corporal John Wilkinson
1660 Private Luke Williams
Second Lieutenant John Stanley Williamson
2054 Private Lewis Alfred Willsher
6493 Private William Wilson
6520 Company Serjeant Major William George Wilson
2516 Private George Robert Wimbles
9500 Corporal Charles Wooldridge
2554 Private William Thomas Wyatt

The 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers was stationed in Karachi when Britain went to war in August 1914. It returned to England in January 1915 and sailed for Gallipoli via Egypt on the 16th March 1915, landing on W Beach on the 25th April.

The regular battalions had issued number 9999 in November 1903 and began a new number series the same month. The regimental numbers in the list above reflect this with a number range of 373 through to 9500. 

In theory, all of these numbers could date from between 1903 and 1914. However; there will be men here whose numbers belong to the series that ended in 1903 and there may also be men with numbers in the 2000 to 6000 range who were drafts from the Special and Extra Reserve battalions and who joined these battalions between 1908 and 1914. The absence of 3/ and 4/ prefixes on their numbers however, renders them indistinguishable from their regular battalion colleagues.

Note too that 2008 Private William Henry Catharell has a killed in action date of 11th May 1915 recorded on his medal index card, even though CWGC records him as having died on the 25th April.

I've borrowed the image on this post from the Lancashire Landing website which shows survivors of the 25th April landing at a 50th reunion dinner on 25th April 1965. Helpfully, the veterans have been identified as follows:

Standing, left to right

H Hill
W Ward
2629 John Waine
W Walker
T C Dickson
2489 Reginald Danby
W T Smith
H L Lee
W G Campbell
H R Clark
2153 Sidney A Hall
W Elliott
A J Ginn
2424 Samuel E Knott
2332 Herbert Bradsell
A W Wilson
2075 Frank T Godwin
H Plummer
R Daley
D Miner MM
J Duffy
N Jeffreys MM

Seated, left to right

Harry Cavanagh
T Brain DCM, MM
Major Lionel Bassett Lipscomb Seckham MC
H R Clarke
H Carr
Captain R W Moore (RN)
Col George Edward Tallents DSO
Cdr A M Williams CBE, DSC (RN)
Lt Col John Elisha Grimshaw VC
Cdr H R Wilson OBE, DSC (RN)
Capt Charles Alexander Batham DCM
1841 George W Capon MM

I have added regimental numbers and forenames to the list above and would welcome further input on these 50th anniversary survivors to fully identify those for whom I have no numbers or names.

For help with your own regimental numbering or military research conundrums, check out my military research service.

11 April 2015

It's all in the numbers

I have just posted a roll-call of British Army officers and men who died a hundred years ago today on the 11th April 1915. You can see the full roll of 125 men on my WW1 Remembrance blog.

I want to use this opportunity though, to make some observations about some of the regimental numbers that appear in this sad roll call. In general terms, what we have here is a real mix of innocence and experience.

On the one hand we have the regular soldiers; infantrymen who, for the most part have numbers in the 7000s, 8000s, 9000s and low 10,000s (I am speaking in very general terms here).

On the other hand we have a number of men from Territorial Force battalions, most of whom would not have been overseas for very long, and even men from the newly formed service battalions. For instance, 11932 Private Edward Armstrong of the 6th Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) died at home and is buried in Winchester (West Hill) Old Cemetery, while 18810 Lance Corporal J W Campbell of the 16th Royal Scots (the 2nd Edinburgh Pals) also died at home and is buried in Edinburgh.

There are also men of the Special Reserve who died on this day. A good indication of men who had originally enlisted in the Special Reserve are the number prefixes 3/ (for the Special Reserve) or 4/ (for the Extra Reserve). Do note though that this is hardly a fool-proof method as a number of Regiments had four regular battalions, and or three Special/Extra Reserve battalions. Note too, that the prefixing of regimental numbers with a number to indicate a Special or Extra Reserve enlistment was not universally or consistently applied.

In our 11th April 1915 list, the following men were original Special Reserve enlistments:

3/6317 Private Baker, 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
LSR/2165 Private Albert Coppard, 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
3/2019 Private Fryer, 1st Battalion,Wiltshire Regiment
T2/SR/01270 Driver William Perry, H. No, 1 Coy, (Park Royal) Army Service Corps
Z/7 Rifleman Joseph Prestidge, 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade

Note the variety of letter and number prefixes in this single tiny sample. The LSR prefix for the Royal Sussex Regiment was one of those prefixes which certainly was not used consistently.

For me though, the most interesting number is the number 326001 which was issued to a Territorial Force man, Private Joseph Clark of the 1/7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. There is a surviving service record for 326001 Joseph Clark in WO 363 but this man did not originally enlist until January 1916 and therefore could not have been killed on 11th April 1915. Closer inspection reveals that he did in fact die on 11th April 1918; a simple transcription error which appears on the CWGC website only, and one which I have pointed out to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The number 326001 belongs to the new TF series which was issued in 1917 and whilst it is not uncommon to find TF men killed in 1916 bearing a six-digit number issued some months later, to find a six-digit TF number allocated to a man killed in 1915 is unheard of.  I'll expand on this another day.

For help with your own numbering or military research conundrums, check out my military research service.

The image on this post shows deck patients aboard HMHS Dongola, Gallipoli, April 1915 and is taken from the Captain J. Pearson collection photo album, the RAMC Muniment Collection in the care of the Wellcome Library.

3 April 2015

Enlistment and Service in Queen Victoria's army

I want to use this post to talk a little about the enlistment and training process in the late Victorian British Army. I cover this in some of my military history talks and I think it’s useful in helping to understand the typical Victorian infantryman’s career path. I’m going to use some real examples in what follows, and for the purpose of this essay I’m going to assume an enlistment term of seven years with the colours and five on the reserve. The story begins with the man’s attestation, that is, his contract to serve with the British Army for a given period of time. This attestation could take place at regimental depots or it could take place during recruiting drives. This from, The Army Book for the British Empire, published in 1893:

“The enlistment of recruits is as free and as voluntary as possible. In large towns a house or room is hired, so that men desirous of enlisting can go there and obtain from the recruiters, pamphlets and leaflets giving authentic information as to the terms and conditions of service in all the branches of the army, without having to be seen talking with a recruiter in the street or in a public house… Recruiters are forbidden by statute to enlist men under the influence of drink, nor are they permitted to take recruits into public houses to entice them to drink.

“Certain corps being more difficult to provide with recruits than either the cavalry or infantry of the line, by reason of a special standard of physique or of technical qualifications, recruiting sergeants and others are instructed to adopt a regular sequence, so long as these special corps stand in need of men, in recommending corps etc to intending recruits, viz:

a) The Foot Guards, Royal Artillery, and Royal Engineers
b) The territorial regiment of the district
c) The regiments for which special exertions are required to obtain recruits
d) Any corps for which the regimental district is allowed to recruit, as notified from time to time
e) General Service Cavalry, and General Service Infantry ”

It was not uncommon for infantry regiments to recruit whilst they were en route from one station to another and I have highlighted, in another post on Border Regiment recruitment, just how many men were recruited into that regiment in 1906 from outside the regimental district. Having attested, the new recruit was told to report to the regimental depot where he was issued with his regimental number. He would then train at the depot for up to three months before being posted to the home battalion.

The regimental depot was the administrative heart of the regiment and comprised a small permanent strength of around four officers and 60 men who had been drawn from the two (in most cases) regular battalions. There were also around 28 NCOs and men who formed the permanent staff of each militia battalion (which also had its home at the regimental depot) as well as admin staff, Army Medical Corps and Army Service Corps to carry out duties connected with the regimental district.

It was at the regimental depot where the man was knocked into shape. The Army Book for the British Empire has this to say about the regimental depot:

“The chief work of the depot in peace time is to enlist recruits for the regiment to both the regular and militia battalions, and to enter them for training and discipline as soldiers. “many a high-spirited lad will resent being ordered about in military fashion when he first joins… it is therefore most desirable that the officers and non-commissioned officers who are to be their first instructors… will set them a good example, give them sound advice [and] cheerfully assist them in the work they are called upon to perform in the barrack-rooms…”

The italics are mine. Rudyard Kipling, in "The 'Eathen", written in 1895, had another version of events:

The young recruit is 'aughty - 'e draf's from Gawd knows where;
They bid 'im show 'is stockin's an' lay 'is mattress square;
‘E calls it bloomin' nonsense - 'e doesn't know no more -
An' then up comes 'is Company an kicks 'im round the floor.

The young recruit is 'ammered - 'e takes it very hard;
'E 'angs 'is 'ead an' mutters - 'e sulks about the yard;
'E talks o' "cruel tyrants" which 'e'll swing for by-an-by,
An 'the others 'ears an' mocks 'im, an' the boy goes orf to cry.

The young recruit is silly - 'e thinks o' suicide.
‘Es lost 'is gutter-devil; 'e 'asn't got 'is pride;
But day by day they kicks 'im, which 'elps 'im on a bit,
Till 'e finds 'isself one mornin' with a full an' proper kit .

I suspect that Kipling is probably closer to the mark.

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 of 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.

Transfers from the regimental depot to the home battalion were supposed to take place on the following dates: 7th January, 21st February, 7th April, 21st May, 7th July, 21st August, 15th October and 21st November . What then followed at the home battalion was a further twelve weeks’ regulated training programme of 20 hours a week. For instance, the first two weeks comprised 10 hours of gymnastics with appliances, 10 hours of gymnastics without appliances, 16 hours of individual marching drill, turning and saluting, and four hours’ oral instruction. Weeks three and four comprised 10 hours of gymnastics with appliances, 10 hours of gymnastics without appliances, 14 hours drilling in sections in single file, two hours fitting on accoutrements for marching order and kit inspections, and four hours’ oral instruction; and so on.

The typical recruit would spend between 18 months and two years with the home battalion before being posted to the overseas’ battalion, this posting taking place annually. Remember too, that many recruits joined the army at eighteen years old and men were not to be sent overseas until they were at least 20 years old. The intensive training initiated men into army life and ensured that were both efficient soldiers and old enough to serve overseas.

In the image above, we can see that this man (5089 Michael Hooper of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers) attested on 8th June 1894 and joined his regiment at Naas the same day. He remained with the regimental depot for three and a half months before being posted to the home battalion, in this case the 1st Battalion which was stationed at Sheffield. He then served with the home battalion for 18 months before being posted to the 2nd Battalion in Quetta.

Hooper enlisted for seven years with the colours and five on the reserve, although this period of colour service could be extended to eight years if the man was “beyond the seas” and the reserve service reduced by a year to four years.

In actual fact he served for a total of eight years and four months with the colours before being transferred to the Army Reserve in October 1902.

The Army Reserve was essentially a pool of trained men who, having been schooled in all things military, swapped their khaki for civilian dress and went back to Civvy Street. Rudyard Kipling puts this into context nicely in Back to the Army Again, published in 1894, with his reservist fraudulently re-enlisting after having served, in this case, six years with the colours:

I done my six years' service. 'Er Majesty sez: "Good day -
You'll please to come when you're rung for, an' 'ere's your 'ole back-pay:
An' fourpence a day for baccy - an' bloomin' gen'rous, too;
An' now you can make your fortune - the same as your orf'cers do."

Back to the army again, sergeant,
Back to the Army again;
‘Ow did I learn to do right-about turn?
I’m back to the Army again!

A man o' four-an'-twenty that 'asn't learned of a trade -
Beside "Reserve" agin' him - 'e'd better be never made.
I tried my luck for a quarter, an' that was enough for me,
An' I thought of 'Er Majesty's barricks, an' I thought I'd go an' see.

The man would be “rung for” if “so required by a proclamation from Her Majesty in case of imminent national danger or great emergency ” but in the meantime his “’ole back-pay” was deferred pay on transferring to the reserve whilst the “fourpence a day for baccy” was the man’s “bloomin’ gen’rous” daily pay as a reservist.

Although fourpence a day was hardly a fortune, it was still supplementary to whatever the man was earning in civilian employment and many men choose to extend their period on the reserve by signing up for a further four years as a Section D Army Reservist. Michael Hooper did so and so did Old Sildiers Never Die author, Frank Richards. Richards was on Section D when Britain went to war in August 1914 and as a result, found himself in France shortly afterwards.

Michael Hooper though, was finally discharged on 7th June 1910 having served exactly sixteen years in the British Army. The first twelve years had been a combination of colour and reserve service, and the last four years had been as a Section D Reservist. This last period of reserve service could not be further extended and so Michael Hooper was discharged from the army.

During his entire period of army service he retained his original number, 5089 which did not change whilst he was ay the regimental depot and serving with the 1st Battalion and with the 2nd Battalion. Had he been recalled to the army when he was on the reserve he would have been recalled as 5089 Private Michael Hooper. His regimental number would not have been re-issued and when he was discharged, his number became redundant.

I have often wondered whether the Michael Hooper who would later join the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in October 1914 in response to Lord Kitchener’s call was the same man who had previously seen 16 years’ service with the same regiment in England, India and South Africa.

The image at the top of this post shows men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers at the time Michael Hooper would have served with them. Extracts from Hooper's attestation papers in WO 97 are Crown Copyright, The National Archives. The medal index card image is courtesy of Ancestry.

I also provide a fast and efficient military history research service. To find out more click on the RESEARCH tab on this blog.

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