28 December 2016

11th Hussars - Other Rank PoWs 1914

The following fifty men, all serving with the 11th Hussars, became Prisoners of War of the Germans before 25th December 1914.

A number of the men appear on more than one list, catalogued today at The Imperial War Museum under B.O.2 1/157 and 
B.O.2 1/158. The full entries, not transcribed here, also include the men's home addresses. 

6039, later 46125 Private A Allcock 
5767, later 46096 Sergeant J W Allison 
6232 Private H Applegarth 
6040, later 46126 Private C Austin 
7527 Private D Austin 
29742 Private Walter Ayres 
6565 Private Frank G Bangay 
6174 Private B Clarke 
9198 Private F Cockram
1356 Corporal E Garner
6723 Private Phillip Garthwaite 
5704, later 46088 Private Samuel S Gash 
6601 Private C Goodwin 
5731 Private H Groom 
7564 Private C Hall 
5835 Lance-Corporal B Hart 
10016 Private T Hasprey 
9445 Private John Helme 
9597 Corporal Arthur Hinchliffe 
8251 Private P S Huggett 
8245 Lance-Corporal B Jackson 
6992 Private M Knowles 
5674 Private F Lake 
5585, later 46072 Private (Bandsman) T Lazenby 
5077, later 46032 Private Frank Ledger 
2921 Private T Lennon 
9376 Private L Mansell 
837 Lance-Corporal C Massey 
8541 Private R W Morgan 
5738, later 46145 Corporal Thomas F Noble 
8242 Lance-Corporal F Penrice 
8135 Lance-Corporal H Peplow 
5814, later 46100 Private A L Reeson 
1391 Private J Robins 
6391 Corporal R W Robinson 
9195 Private A T Saunders 
5775, later 46097 Private A Sessions 
9373 Private G Shaw 
10865 Private A E Sketes 
9571 Private T Spiers 
5555, later 46065 Private J Stott 
5318 Private J Surridge 
9208 Private W Talbot 
3937 Sergeant F C Taylor 
6015, later 46121 Private Harry Towner 
9576 Private J Ward 
5558, later 46055 Private James Welsh 
9577 Private B J White 
5561 Private E Woodley 
3784 Private C Wright 

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22 December 2016

Section or Platoon Roll Book - Gale & Polden

I recently won this little item on eBay and paid considerably more than the original price of 6d for it. There is no publication date but my guess is that it dates to around the time of the First World War. Its purpose, as explained on the opening page, was to record the names of NCOs and men and to include for each, their marital status, date of enlistment, age on enlistment etc; in fact everything including the man's rifle number and rifle bolt number, as well as details of certificates awarded and classes passed. This being the case, I suppose it's hardly surprising that my copy of this little gem is largely uncompleted. The officer or senior NCO who bought this must have balked at the thought of recording so much detail for all of the men under his charge.

Nevertheless, there are some details which have been recorded and which the vendor on eBay omitted to reveal. 

The middle page here notes "Dining hall fatigue, Sept 27th 1918" whilst the first page notes, "Roll of 9th Platoon / Se", followed by a list of 14 names.

A quick search of medal index cards and service records reveals that these men, at the time this roll was taken, were all serving with a Training Reserve Battalion. For instance, the third man on the list, 34798 A Beresford, was TR/9/34798 Alexander Beresford who enlisted at Warwick on the 22nd May 1917 was posted to the 47th Training Reserve Battalion two days later and finally, by way of the Essex Regiment and two further Training Reserve battalions, found himself in France with the Machine Gun Corps by May 1918.

There is no service record for 34602 T E Deptford but there is a medal index card and medal roll which reveal a similar pattern to that of Alexander Beresford, namely Training Reserve, Essex Regiment and Machine Gun Corps. Thomas Deptford also has the Royal Engineers added in for good measure, although this seven-digit number indicates that he joined the RE from 1920 as this number is from the new army service number series rather than the regimental number series which had operated prior to this time.

Helpfully, the medal roll entry gives more detail and confirms that he too served with the 47th Training Reserve Battalion, then the 3rd Essex Regiment, then the 84th TRB, followed by the 8th Machine Gun Corps, and finally the Royal Engineers.

The ironically named H F Coffin was latterly 137342 Harold Frederick Coffin who was killed in action on the 13th July 1918 whilst serving with the 6th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps. Soldiers Died in the Great War notes that he was formerly 46200 Essex Regiment, and my platoon roll book records that he was 34719, TRB. Note the similarity in regimental numbers to those of Thomas Deptford.

So all in all, a nice item to own, I think, and I would guess that most of these men were probably young soldiers and that the majority went on to serve with the Essex Regiment and then Machine Gun Corps. Preliminary medal card searches reveals this to be the case.

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21 December 2016

Regimental numbers research tip - medal index cards

I'll try and keep this simple.

There are three resources where you can search First World War campaign medal index cards free of charge: Ancestry, Findmypast and The National Archives (TNA).

Ancestry has the best images but the lousiest, most inflexible search. If you are looking for a medal index card on Ancestry you will quickly realise that a) not all of the regimental numbers have been indexed and b) the actual search is not as flexible as it is on Findmypast or TNA. It is possible to just enter LONDON for instance, in the regiment field and see all results returned for the London Regiment. Similarly, if you were to just enter the number 1234 you would see all exact results plus this number with various prefixes: T/1234, MS/1234 etc. You can also use wildcard searching on Ancestry but you have to enter a minimum of three characters. So NIX* would return my surname (and variations) whereas NI* would return nothing.

It is also worth pointing out that the index to the medal index cards on the Ancestry site is Ancestry's own index and so there will be differences between search results here and on the other two sites. Talking of which, there are some real howlers on Ancestry that a good clean-up of data would improve no end.

But no doubt about it, the images on Ancestry are superb; both sides scanned, and scanned to a very high standard. It is no exaggeration to say that I look at these images daily.

You won't find images on Findmypast, and the index is the same index published on TNA's site. Locating the correct man will take you to the results' page which then offers the option to click through to the black and white image on TNA's site - which you'll need to pay £3.45 to view.

In terms of searching on Findmypast, be sure to use the wildcard. If you type LONDON in the regiment field on Findmypast you'll get just two results. However, typing *LONDON* will yield 198,000+ results. Always, always, always use the wildcard when searching on Findmypast - and unlike Ancestry, you can wildcard search on a single character if you wish.

Findmypast has recently clubbed all of its medal collections together under a single search and this certainly makes sense for most users of the service who won't always necessarily know what their ancestor's medal entitlement was. Furthermore, it is possible now to view a man's DCM medal card alongside his DCM citation. Note too, that Findmypast has a comprehensively indexed Military Medal card search.


In my opinion this is the most flexible and quickest search. The home page will invite you to type information in the relevant fields. And here, unlike on Findmypast, typing LONDON will bring up any regimental result which has the word London in the title.

However, the real beauty of the TNA search is the flexibility of the search from the search results' page (above). This is effectively a free search so gone is the need to type in information in specific fields. Simply type the information you want in the single search box. 

As far as I'm aware, it doesn't matter in which order you type the information, and the search results highlight where the information appears.

Use the TNA site to quickly find the card you want and then, armed with that information, view the image on Ancestry. You can view the images on TNA's site but these are inferior black and white images and only the front of the card has been imaged.

16 December 2016

Regimental numbers research tip: British War & Victory Medal roll

With so little information surviving for so many men who served overseas during the First World War, correctly interpreting the information that does survive takes on even greater importance.

The information that survives on British War and Victory Medals varies enormously according to the regiment. Some rolls give very detailed information which may include theatre of war served in, and the dates served (the London Regiment is a great example here), whilst other regiments give very little information (my heart always sinks when I see that a man ended up in the Labour Corps as these rolls offer very little information). Other information also to be found on this particular medal roll might include a comment in the remarks' column such as date of demobilisation. Comments regarding amendment to the medal, or entitlement to the medal are routinely included. After all, this is a roll of medal entitlement, and the ticks and annotations are those of the clerk - on behalf of the officer in charge of records at the particular infantry record office - that the information is correct.

But I want to draw attention to repetition on these rolls. In the example above, Henry Hewson originally served overseas with the 19th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and with the regimental number 31125. He then transferred to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was given a new regimental number 29618, and served overseas with the 6th Battalion. Underneath this entry, on the next two lines, we see "do" or "ditto". This repetition indicates that Henry had broken service with this battalion and returned to England twice. If this had been a London Regiment record, the dates would also have been included:

In the example above we can see that Charles Francis of the 9th London Regiment served overseas until the 23rd November 1914, returned to England and then served overseas again from the 22nd April 1915.

So for me, when I am researching soldiers' service histories, this duplication of line entries is important because it's a signpost that the man returned to England either sick or wounded and may get a mention in a local newspaper or in an official casualty list.  Findmypast, in partnership with the British Library, continues to publish thousands of newspaper pages each week and I continually update my 1914-1918 newspaper listing. I also make sure I check The Times newspaper for official casualty lists. Many UK libraries have digital versions and in my case I access the online version via Essex Libraries. Where dates are recorded on medal rolls I would be checking war diaries to see if that provided any clues as to why the man would have returned to England when he did.  

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14 December 2016

20th Hussars - Other Rank PoWs 1914

The following men, all serving with the 20th Hussars, became Prisoners of War of the Germans before 25th December 1914. In the spirit of Christmas giving, I am also including their home addresses as recorded by the officer in charge of cavalry records (Hussars) when he wrote to Sir Ernest Goodhart in January 1919.

The original documentation is housed at The Imperial War Museum under B.O.2 1/164.

9842 Private E Blackford,  56 Liverpool Road, Watford 
6425 Private E Burns, 33 Conway Street, Beswick, Manchester 
47336 Private W M Death, 166 Wood Street, Walthamstow 
9357 Bandsman G F Foley, 15 Park Street, Windsor 
8167 Private B J Guppy, 10 Alexandra Terrace, Teignmouth 
4826 Private J Harvey, Yellow Road, Waterford 
47322 Private J Hope, 5 London Road, Walton, Liverpool 
4893 Private E Kavanagh, 9 Middle Gardener Street, Dublin 
7254 Lance-Corporal C H Lloyd, Habblesthorpe Farm, Near Leverton, Notts 
4556 Private R Lloyd, 6 Boyne Road, Liverpool 
2798 Private J Logan, Union Jack Club, London 
8869 Private J Lovell, Crown & Anchor Hotel, Wakefield 
47371 Private J P Mason, 19 Honiton Street, Carlton Grove, Peckham, London SE 
47378 Private V H McAuley, 27 Castle Road, Grays, Essex 
5663 Lance-Sergeant C Nunn, 21 Clarissa Road, Chadwell Heath 
804 Lance-Corporal T Ramsbottom, 12 Wooler Street, Scarborough 
11183 Lance-Sergeant T Roxby, 291 Heath Street, Winson Green, Birmingham 
3303 Private E A Vaughan, 2 Suffolk Cottage, Copse Lane, Freshwater, Isle of Wight 
8954 Private R Ward, High Street, Skelton-in Cleveland

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3 December 2016

Regimental numbers research tip: duplicate number series

On this blog you will find lists of regimental number series. Back in 2003 I started to compile a database of regimental numbers and the known dates on which these were issued. I embarked on this mission because I was researching a community in Chailey and quickly realised that for the most part, the only surviving record of military service was a medal card and medal rolls. I felt sure that there was method to the way in which regimental numbers were issued, and so it turned out to be.

I want to use this opportunity though, once again, to talk about duplicate regimental number series. I have covered this topic periodically over the eight years that this blog has been in existence, but it does no harm to cover it again.

First of all, we need to have a picture in our minds of a typical line infantry regiment in July 1881. With the exception of the Rifle Brigade, all regiments have started a new regimental number series. Their designations have also changed and, with the singular exception of the 79th Regiment of Foot, single battalion regiments of foot from the 26th Regiment of Foot upwards have been formally paired with other regiments. Gone are the old numerical "Regiment of Foot" titles and in their place are county titles.  Using my own local regiment as an example, the old 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot and the 56th (West Essex) Regiment of Foot have been formally merged to create the brand new two-battalion Essex Regiment. Men joining this new regiment from July 1881 are issued with new numbers beginning at 1. The numbers are issued when the men arrive at the regimental depot, NOT on the day on which they attest (although in many cases this will be the same day of attestation).

This is our first Essex Regiment regimental numbers series - numbers issued to regular soldiers.

The Essex Regiment also has two militia battalions in 1881. These are the 3rd East Essex Rifles and the 4th West Essex Militia. Both of these battalions have their own regimental series. 

In addition to the regular number series (covering the 1st and 2nd Battalions), a regimental number series for the 3rd Battalion, and a regimental numbers series for the 4th Battalion, the Essex Regiment also has four Volunteer Force battalions, each of these battalions operating its own regimental number series.

So in total, in 1881, the Essex Regiment has seven separate regimental number series being used concurrently.

Fast forward to 1908. There are no changes to regular battalions. The Special Reserve and Extra Reserve replace the militia. The Territorial Force replaces the Volunteer Force. The Essex Regiment is one of several regiments to lose one of its militia battalions. Men transferring into the new 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion from  the old 3rd (Militia) Battalion keep their old militia regimental numbers. Men transferring in from the old 4th (Militia) Battalion as well as new recruits who have never served in the militia before are all issued with new regimental numbers from a new series beginning at 1.

The Volunteer Force has been replaced by the Territorial Force, the old 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th VF battalions being replaced by the new 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions. All of these battalions have their own regimental number series and all begin at number 1 in 1908. In 1910 an 8th (Cyclist) Battalion will also be formed and it will start numbering from 1 as well.

Fast forward to August 1914. The Essex Regiment will start to raise new service battalions. All of these battalions will issue numbers from the series being used by the 1st and 2nd Battalions.

The point is this.  There is massive duplication of regimental numbers in the Essex Regiment and in all line infantry regiments.

1. By the end of 1914 the Essex Regiment has two regular battalions (the 1st & 2nd Battalions) and five service battalions (the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions) all using regimental numbers from the same series.
2. The 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion uses numbers from another series.
3. The five Territorial Force battalions all have their own regimental number series

In theory therefore, by 1914 there could be four men in the Essex Regiment who all have the same number. The number 3000 would have been issued to:

1. A man joining the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion in September 1914
2. A man joining the 5th Battalion in November 1914
3. A man joining the 6th Battalion in October 1914
4. A man joining the 7th Battalion in November 1914

The number 3000 would also have been issued to a regular recruit in 1890. It would also be issued to a man in the 4th Battalion in January 1915 and a man in the 8th Battalion in October 1916. 

This duplication of numbers is evident across all infantry regiments to a greater or lesser degree, and similar duplication of numbers appears in Territorial Force numbers for other Corps. This was the principal reason that the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917 except of course that it still resulted in massive duplication of numbers across regiments. The number 200001, for instance was issued by 56 different regiments, as was the number 200002, 200003 and so on.

On this blog you will find man different regimental number sequences explained, but there are many many more sequences which I have not published. Take a look at my posts on the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders regimental number sequences (see here for the INDEX) and then imagine that same scenario repeating across the majority of the other infantry regiments (excluding Irish regiments which had no Territorial Force battalions). 

I hope this post has been helpful. Use the information here and elsewhere to narrow down the enlistment and/or transfer dates of your own British Army ancestor but remember, if you get stuck:

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2 December 2016

19th Hussars - Other Rank PoWs 1914

Here are some more cavalrymen, a small list of 12 men, captured by the Germans before Christmas 1914; this time men from the 19th (Queen Alexandra's Own) Hussars.

As I have said before, what I call the Princess Mary tin PoW lists are certainly incomplete but they're also a great starting point.  I have augmented the information I hold in these lists by looking at The Times casualty lists and also the Prisoners of War on Findmypast.  There are close to 2.7m indexed records in total and over 69,000 First World War PoW records. This is an ongoing task.

All of these men appear in a document held at the Imperial War Museum in B.O.2 1/163 which is a two-page hand-written letter to Sire Ernest Goodhart from the officer in charge of cavalry records at York. The letter is dated 7th January 1919.

2109 Private J Black,  19th Hussars, 65 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London E13 
46523 Sergeant W A Ducker,  19th Hussars, Fleech Hotel, Canterbury 
9701 Private G E Line,  19th Hussars, 75 St Peters Road, Edmonton 
5985 Private T McGrory,  19th Hussars, 36 Forest Street, Stonefield, Cantyre, Blantyre 
6754 Private C McGuire,  19th Hussars, 74 Everson Lane, Sheffield 
3044 Private N Phelan,  19th Hussars, 25 Burton, Kingston-on-Thames 
2924 Private G J Saunders,  19th Hussars, Petworth, Sussex 
8069 Private J W Seth,  19th Hussars, 5 Cemetery Lane, Shepperton, Middlesex 
3283 S/Sgt Frank Underhill,  19th Hussars, Regents Cottage, Edenbridge 
745 Private J Whitney.  19th Hussars. 77 Cambridge Street, Springfield, Northampton 
46500 Private Thomas Whybourne,  19th Hussars, Manor Farm, Guildford 
9684 Private W L Wills,  19th Hussars, Wyesham, Near Monmouth

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26 November 2016

6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons - Other Rank PoWs 1914

After last week's small list of 10th Hussars PoWs, here's another list of cavalrymen captured by the Germans before Christmas 1914; this time men from the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons.

What I call the Princess Mary tin PoW lists are certainly incomplete but they're also a great starting point.  I augment the information I hold in these lists by looking at The Times casualty lists and also the Prisoners of War on Findmypast.  There are close to 2.7m indexed records in total and over 69,000 First World War PoW records.

2492 Private W H Barnett
Captured 30th October 1914; home address: 606 Harrow Road, London 
2511 Corporal A Bowling
Captured 30th October 1914; home address: 48 Salt Street, Manningham, Bradford
2503 Private G Dixon
Captured 30th October 1914; home address: 4 Imperial Terrace, Woodfield Grove, Sale, Near Manchester 
5637 Private G Downs
Captured 30th October 1914; home address: 19 Sutherland Steet, Leicester 
6453 Private F Eversoll
Captured 30th October 1914; home address: 5 Acacia Avenue, Cardiff 
140 Private J Ferrie
Home address: Mrs McEwan, 50 Albert Road, Townhead, Glasgow 
5705 Corporal C Jaggard
Captured 30th October 1914; home address: 2 Albert Street, Chesterton, Cambridge 
6576 Private J Plain
Home address: 9 Salisbury Road, St Stephens, Canterbury 
5732 Private S Ripley
Captured 29th October 1914; home address: 1 Back Butler's Buildings, Crossgreen lane, Leeds 
5653 Private George H Tudball
Captured 30th October 1914; home address:  20 Keightley Street, Birkenhead 

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19 November 2016

10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Hussars - Other Rank PoWs 1914

The list of 10th Hussars men who had become prisoners of war by December 1914 is tiny. It took the form of a two-page letter typed by Mrs E Mackenzie of the Tenth (PWO) Hussars Association and was sent to Sir Ernest Goodhart on the 19th December 1918. At the time of writing, at least six of the men were still being held in German camps.

At first glance, Corporal Addison looks to be the longest serving man here, assuming that is that the other men's numbers all belong to the regimental number series issued to the Corps of Hussars from 1907. That would place Corporal Addison as a 1907 enlistment, and all the other men a couple of years behind him, enlisting in 1909 and 1910.

On the other hand though - and this is where you need to be careful with line cavalry numbering - the numbers issued to all of the men except Corporal Addison could, in theory, have been issued to the 10th Hussars before 1907. This would make 4238 Sergeant Hawkes the longest serving man (enlisted 1899), with the other men enlisting between 1900 and 1906).

In actual fact, Lance-Corporal Arthur H Hawkes does indeed appear on medal rolls for the Queen's South Africa Medal and King's South Africa Medal and so he is the longest serving man in the list below.

909 Corporal Alfred H Addison 
4686 Private George R Bird 
6545 Private P Cairns 
5568 Private Joseph Cassidy 
5559 Private Arthur G Cater 
5590 Private H Grant 
4238 Sergeant H Hawkes 
5759 Corporal William R Miller 
5422 Private E Reeve

For more information on cavalry numbering and that crucial change from regimental numbering by regiment to regimental numbering by corps, have a look at my post on King's and Queen's Regulations, and in particular Army Order 289 of December 1906 which, for the modern day researcher, really is a vital document that should be pinned up somewhere where it won't be missed. Or alternatively, just bookmark this page.

Pictured above in about 1901, Prince Edward, HRH The Prince of Wales; Later King Edward VII, Colonel of the 10th Hussars.

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12 November 2016

Leicestershire Regiment - other rank PoWs 1914

The following men all appear on a list of Leicestershire Regiment men who were captured on or before the 25th December 1914 and therefore missed out on Princess Mary's gift to her troops.

This list is compiled from a single source at The Imperial War Museum, London: B.O.2 1/256 which is a two-page undated typed list. 

The extract below is an edited version of the full transcription which typically gives date of capture and home address. The full transcription is available for sale as a download or CD for £20. Contact me if you would like to purchase a copy.

I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information. 

7772 Private Joseph Arthur Allen 
6986 Private H Ball 
8051 Private L Bate 
8837 Private J E Beck 
7524 Private W Bent 
 7964 Private G Bevins 
9559 Private B Billington 
7277 Private H Board 
9530 Private H Botterill 
7059 Private T Cavner 
9675 Private F H Chambers 
6472 Private E Church 
6664 Private J W Clarke 
9769 Private J W Clarke 
8283 Private S C Clarke 
7186 Private F Cliffe 
6836 Private A Coleman 
6523 Private W Coleman 
6888 Drummer M Collins 
9253 CSM H Conner 
9902 Drummer G Craffey 
5276 Lance-Corporal R Cramp 
9718 Private J Dakin 
7783 Private W Dawes 
9703 Private G Dodge 
7299 Private A Durrant 
8937 Private R A Ellis 
7321 Private G Fairbrother 
7206 Private H Fall 
7987 Private H B Gilbert 
7593 Private J Goodman 
9498 Private H A Greenhalgh 
10458 G W Gregg 
9426 Private H Hall 
8593 Private J Harding 
8414 Private W Hardyman 
7050 Private H Hemmings 
17966 Sergeant C Hickman 
9613 Private W Holland 
8039 Private F W Hollingshead 
6979 Sergeant J C H Hubbard 
7047 Private S Hunt 
7994 Private G Hunter 
9104 Lance-Corporal A Iliffe 
7306 Private F King 
8759 Private G Lee 
9569 Lance-Corporal J Lines 
5324 Lance-Corporal E Lomas 
9719 Private H C Loseby 
7416 Private C Mann 
6564 Private T Marlow 
7731 Private G Marsh 
8706 Private G Mason 
5520 CQMS L McCarthy 
9673 Private J McGuire 
9155 Drummer G Millard 
9510 Private E Morgan 
7998 Corporal H Mott 
7195 Corporal F P Moylan
9321 Private J Murphy 
7491 Private G Narrowway 
6581 Private G Naylor 
6611 Private G A Newall
9543 Private P Noble 
7034 Private J O'Grady 
8537 Lance-Corporal H J Ormes 
9455 Private A G Pash 
7188 Private W A Phillips 
6622 Private R Randall 
9541 Private G H Sanders 
6570 Sergeant D Shea 
6992 Private G F Shepherd
7673 Private J Smith 
9644 Private J Smith 
7041 Private T L Stokes
7587 Private J Tinkler 
7319 Private G Todd 
9626 Private W H Turner 
7279 Private A E Vokins 
8884 Private E Ward 
6540 Private W Ward 
9739 Private L L Wells 
9704 Private William West 
 6462 Private J L Weston 
6630 Private H Wheldale 
8932 Private H Wiggings 
6990 Private A Williams 
9423 Private A E Woodford 
9765 Private W Wortley

5 November 2016

British Army service & pension records online

I'm going to flag this again because I think the links I posted could be useful.

Last week, over on my Army Ancestry Research blog, I published a list of infantry and foot guards regiments with links to those regiments' surviving service and pension records on Findmypast. I was quite surprised at how many records survive for some regiments and how few survive for others.  

The records cover a wide year range, from 1760 to 1920, although the majority will be for the period 1881 to 1918. Clicking on the British Army infantry and foot guards links I published will take you to the search results but you will need a subscription or pay-per-view credits to actually view the records. You'll also find some of these on Ancestry but Findmypast has a far more comprehensive and better indexed collection.

31 October 2016

11th Royal Dublin Fusiliers - Part II Orders 29th May 1917

Regimental Part II Orders are real gems; the sadness is that so few survive. I think I read somewhere that these were mostly destroyed during the same bombing of London's Docklands in September 1940 which also destroyed 60 per cent of the other rank service records. Some regiments may have copies still, but most do not.

Findmypast has the most comprehensive collection of British Army service records online, and their thoughtful indexing of lists of men found amongst papers in WO 363 has turned up some very useful documents.

The extract below is a transcription of 11th Durham Light Infantry men who proceeded overseas to France on the 28th May 1917 (see the image above which Crown Copyright, The National Archives). I thought I'd manipulate the data and place it in regimental number order to determine when the men had joined up. First though, here are the 86 men:

13538 Sgt Martin,  B Company
18256 Pte Scullion B Company 
20082 Pte Pannell B Company 
23961 Pte McDermot C Company 
24926 Pte Jones C Company 
24942 Pte Ashenhurst B Company 
25096 Pte Jackson A Company 
25102 Pte Reardon C Company 
25368 Pte Chandler B Company 
25434 Pte Ashenhurst C Company 
25611 Pte Ahern A Company 
25637 Pte Douglas B Company 
25962 Pte Hegarty A Company 
26043 Pte Cronin C Company 
26090 Pte Brown D Company 
26224 L/Cpl Conway D Company 
26297 Pte Scanlon B Company 
26354 Pte Kelly A Company 
26546 Pte Lalor A Company 
26596 Pte Jones B Company 
26772 Pte Holden C Company 
26973 Pte Wynne A Company 
26979 Pte Gough B Company 
26994 Pte Doyle D Company 
27023 Pte McDonagh B Company 
27370 Pte Kennedy B Company 
27385 Pte Lynch B Company 
27428 Pte Smalley A Company 
27452 L/Cpl Armstrong D Company 
27640 Pte De Lacy B Company 
27680 Pte Ennis A Company 
27729 Pte Doyle D Company 
27957 Pte Devine C Company 
28269 Pte Lyons A Company 
28270 Pte Murphy A Company 
28406 Pte Kelly C Company 
28407 Pte Byrne B Company 
28607 Pte Douch A Company 
28652 Pte Quinn B Company 
28655 Pte Burke A Company 
28673 Pte Cosgrove A Company 
28683 Pte Hernon A Company 
28684 Pte Cahill B Company 
28716 Pte Devine B Company 
28731 Pte Harte B Company 
28732 Pte Kearns B Company 
28733 Pte Tattersall C Company 
28734 Pte O'Hanlon C Company 
28738 Pte McDonald B Company 
28747 Pte Duff B Company 
28954 Pte Robinson A Company 
28965 Pte Rowe A Company 
28969 Pte Hunt B Company 
28971 Pte Byrne B Company 
29042 Pte Overend C Company 
29043 Pte Smith C Company 
29055 Pte Keatinge D Company 
29058 Pte Duff B Company 
29063 Pte Ryan C Company 
29075 Pte Connolly A Company 
29081 Pte McManus B Company 
29131 Pte McGovern B Company 
29133 Pte Buckley B Company 
29211 Pte Murphy A Company 
29215 Pte Osborne C Company 
29216 Pte Gillor B Company 
29220 Pte Cowell C Company 
29223 Pte Hughes B Company 
29243 Pte Oldfield C Company 
29245 Pte Metcalfe B Company 
29247 Pte Walmsley C Company 
29251 Pte Cullen B Company 
29252 Pte Willan C Company 
29270 Pte Byrne B Company 
29278 Pte Smith D Company 
29289 Pte Skinner D Company 
29291 Pte McDonough A Company 
29293 Pte Dean B Company 
29333 Pte Davidson A Company 
29335 Pte Flint A Company 
29717 Pte Gargan B Company 
29765 Pte McFarlane D Company 
29830 Pte Hepburn D Company 
29831 Pte Fay D Company 
29917 Pte Heffron D Company 
29939 Pte Lightbound B Company

Sergeant Martin is the longest-serving and most senior of the men here. His regimental number tells me that he joined up around the 8th September 1914, but he was certainly not overseas any earlier than 1st January 1916 and it is possible that this posting in May 1917 was his first time abroad.  He later served with the Labour Corps.

The rest of the men have numbers in the range 20082 to 29939. 20082 dates to around the 21st September 1914 whilst 29939 would have been issued over two years later in October 1916. For many of the men listed here, this scrap of information is now all that survives of their service records although First World War medal index cards and campaign medal rolls 1914-1920 have been publsihed online.

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17 October 2016

9461 Pte George Henry Byrom, 1st Cheshire Regiment

Here's an eBay win from yesterday. When this photograph was taken in 1917, George Henry Byrom of the 1st Cheshire Regiment was about 22 years old and had already been a prisoner of war for over two years. 

George was not a regular soldier at all. His regimental number, 9461, belongs to the series that was issued by the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion and dates to the 27th December 1912. His medal index card notes that he arrived in France on the 31st August and he must therefore have been part of a draft for the 1st Battalion which had been overseas since the 16th.

According to his surviving service record, George was captured on the 14th October 1914. A surviving page held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) notes that he was captured at La Bassee, one of 55 Cheshire regiment men who became prisoners of war that day. The ICRC record was compiled at Hameln Prisoner of War camp and dates to 6th February 1915. This photgraph was taken by A Mohn, a photographer based in Nienburg, which in turn was attached to Munster. 

George was repatriated on the 12th January 1919. His name appears on two lists sent to Sir Ernest Goodhart who had been charged with ensuring that all men captured before Christmas 1914 would retrospectively receive HRH Princess Mary's gift tin. George's address is given as 30 Hatherlow Street, Portwood, Stockport, and his next of kin recorded as his mother. A note on the back of my PoW photo also notes Portwood, thus linking the photograph to my PoW list. Hatherlow Street has long since been demolished, but the photograph below shows the street in the background, awaiting demolition in 1967. (The photograph below is courtesy Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council which, although it has disabled "Right Click" on its archive site, has not, thankfully, found a way to disable "Print Screen". Thank you, Stockport MBC).

The Princess Mary tin data also confirms George as a 3rd Battalion man, one of only a handful of Special Reservists captured with the Cheshire Regiment in 1914.

A little bit more about the man. George Henry Byrom was born in Stockport on the 29th March 1895, the son of John Henry Byrom (born c1871) and Mary Ellen Byrom (born c1873), and the brother of Elizabeth (born c1897) and Sarah Byrom (born c1899), James Byrom (born c1902), Richard Byrom (born c1904) and John Henry Byrom (born c1908). The family was Roman Catholic and George's baptism into the Roman Catholic church survives in Cheshire archive records. The 1911 census records George's trade as a "Doffer in Doubling Mill" a doffer being the person who removed the full bobbins from the frames in the spinning mills and replaced them with empty ones. 

After he had been repatriated in 1919, George tried to claim a pension, stating that he had an enlarged heart as a result of "neglect and hardships whilst a prisoner of war in Germany". He also noted that he had been a patient at Uchtermoor hospital in Germany and Amersfoort Hospital in Holland. Notes on his record state, "claims that owing to enlarged heart he has had to give up his ordinary work in mill after five nights". His pension claim was rejected.

George married Elizabeth Pollitt (born 3rd December 1894) in Stockport in 1920 and the couple went on to have three children: George (born in 1920), Elizabeth (born in 1922), and James (born in 1924). When the 1939 Register was taken, George and Elizabeth were living at 11 Gerrard Street, George working as a ring doubler, and Elizabeth working as a ring winder. None of their three children appear with them at this address.

George Byrom died in 1957 at the age of 61, Elizabeth Byrom died in 1974.

If anyone knows of the whereabouts of George's medals and would like to part with them, please do get in touch.

I research soldiers! For assistance with your own British Army project, contact me.

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