26 August 2017

South Wales Borderers - Other Rank PoWs 1914

A message from an online pal last week, advising me that I needn't bother transcribing South Wales Borderers PoWs because they'd already been done elsewhere, reminded me that I should probably publish what I have. I transcribed all of these PoW lists during lunch breaks at the office a few years ago, and I've been drip-feeding them onto this blog ever since.

There are ninety-four names on this list which have been transcribed from a single source held at the Imperial War Museum. Catalogue reference B.O.2 1/300 is a handwritten letter and two page typed list of South Wales Borderers submitted by No 1 Infantry Record Office, No 4 District, Shrewsbury; letter dated 28th January 1919.  My full transcription of this South Wales Borderers prisoners of war roll call of other ranks (not reproduced here) also contains the men's home addresses and whether or not they had been repatriated.

You can read more about this Prisoner of War data source on my 1914 PoWs pageThe image on this post shows PoWs at Minden camp, date unknown.

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

6313 Private W Anderson
10309 Acting Sergeant E Bailey
8592 Drummer S H Bailey
7832 Private W Bates
8376 Private R H Beadles
11003 Lance-Corporal A H Betty
10414 Private P Brian
8713 Private R Burrows
9093 Private J Callan
6231 Private P Campbell
10899 Lance-Corporal F Chipp
9646 Private J E Collman
8587 Private F Courtney
10829 Private H W F Cowdery
8313 Private F Davies
8105 Lance-Corporal S Davies
11006 Private W Davies
10578 Private W Davies
8118 Private E Digby
9290 Private S G Dolling
11739 Pte David Driscoll
9702 Private C English
7925 Private J Evans
10744 Private M G Evans
6220 Private W H Eyles
10896 Private J Flynn
8026 Private W France
9396 Private F Franklin
13228 Corporal J Gilmore
9074 Private F J Goodger
10786 Private S Griffiths
8467 Private A Hall
8842 Corporal A Hall
10296 Private A R Hall
13032 Private L Hancock
9856 Private William Harris
8011 Private S Hathaway
9185 Private G Hawkins
6103 Private J Hayes
10904 Lance-Corporal A A Herbert
7785 Private C S Hiron
10523 Private H C Holland
10809 Lance-Corporal H Hollywell
10921 Private H Hughes
10327 Pte Sidney A James
7255 Private W James
11871 Private O Jenkins
11854 Private H John
6924 Private T Johnson
6323 Private H Jones
7974 Private J Jones
9155 Pte David J Kenvin
6221 Private D Leach
10746 Lance-Corporal C Lewis
7394 Private J Lewis
11054 Private N Lewis
9073 Private A Livingstone
11415 Sergeant H Mellor
8800 Private D Meredith
8868 Sergeant W Milford
6207 Private F Millward
11681 Private J Morgan
10925 Private G Morrisey
6466 Private J Murphy
7889 Private J Murphy
8506 Private E Newcombe
11724 Private J Padfield
9835 Private W J Penington
10628 Pte Thomas G Perry
10917 Lance-Corporal F D Phillips
9165 Private G Phillips
8555 Lance-Sergeant W G Redhead
11749 Private T Rees
9375 Private G Richards
9045 Pte Walter R Samuels
9530 Private E Shaw
10887 Private E Slade
8113 Private J Smith
8950 Private William Smith
7418 Private W Spooner
11113 Private D Sullivan
10755 Corporal H Taylor
7922 Private W J Taylor
9749 Private A Tidey
8873 Private R E Turner
8064 Private T Tweedle
7335 Private R Welch
9536 Private J West
8977 Private W J Wheeler
9100 Private J Willenbrook
7801 Private H T Williams
10562 Private J Williams
8228 Private T J Williams
8743 Private J Wiltshire

13 August 2017

Looking beyond the MICs

If your British Army Ancestor served overseas during the First World War there should be an MIC (medal index card) recording his medal entitlement. And if there's a medal index card there should be one or more medal roll entries. The latter can often add detail not found on the medal index card such as a battalion or unit, a date killed in action, or a date discharged. For some soldiers, this may be all that survives in terms of documented evidence of service. 

It is well-known that the majority of service records - 60 per cent is the figure commonly offered - was destroyed in bombing during the Second World War, hence the need to fully understand and explore what's left. As I often tell people, the medal index card had a specific purpose and that was to record the unit/s a man served with overseas. This information was then used when it came to impressing the correct details on the man's medals. Any service in the UK with other units prior to embarkation should not appear on the medal index card (or medal roll/s) although there are plenty of instances where this instruction was not followed. 

The sentence in bold is important to understand because when looking at a man's medal index card, the first unit that appears on it may not have been the first unit he served with.

I have just completed an interesting research project for man - 'boy' would be a more accurate description - who was captured by the Germans on the opening day of their spring offensive on the 21st March 1918. This soldier's regimental number indicated to me that he must have joined the battalion in late January or early February 1918. However, when I looked more closely, there was compelling evidence to suggest that he was probably a conscript and probably first spent time with one of two - and possibly both - Training Reserve battalions. This would not have been possible without a closer analysis of his regimental number.

Digging deeper to discover this is important because it helps to explain the logical path to the Western Front that this particular man took.  Luckily for him, his time in the trenches was short-lived, and surviving documents held by the ICRC outlined where he was held.

The undated photograph that I have used on this post shows prisoners of war at Stendal camp.

I research soldiers!

3 August 2017

Regimental museums

The Passchendaele commemorations this week have certainly stimulated a flurry of emails to me with requests for research; probably more so than for the Somme centenary last year. What an incredibly moving ceremony at Ypres on the 30th July, and how nice to hear the voices of the men who were there, many of their recollections recorded when they were late-middle aged in the 1960s.

A number of my correspondents have mentioned having been in touch with regimental museums with research enquiries and whilst this post does not aim to be a mouthpiece for these valuable resources, here are a few observations.

1. With the exception of the five regiments  of Foot Guards at Wellington Barracks, and the Household Cavalry museum, regimental archives do not hold service records of soldiers. These are all held by the National Archives and all have been digitised and published by Ancestry and Findmypast. WO 400 (Household Cavalry) records have also been published by The National Archives.
2. Regimental archives MAY have other papers that mention a soldier by name and most seem to offer a research service, often staffed by knowledgeable volunteers. Typical reference material here may be a menntion in Part II Orders, where these (rarely) survive, a mention in a regimental journal, or reference in material submitted by the individual or family members in later years.
3. In my experience none, of the regimental archives that I have come across have gone into the forensic level detail on regimental numbers that I have conducted over the past fifteen years. With the notable exception of the Royal Army Service Corps, I have plotted regimental number patterns and dates of enlistment for ALL regiments and ALL battalions or sub-units within regiments for the years 1881 to 1918 (and did the line cavalry, a good deal earlier than that, too). What you see on this site is a fraction of the research I have undertaken and, for that matter, am still undertaking.

So my advice would be that it may be worth contacting the relevant regimental museum in your quest for information about a British Army ancestor, but don't be surprised if the answer comes back that there is no information to be found and that they can't tell you anything about when his regimental number would have been issued, or whether, if he served in the First World War, your man was a regular soldier, a volunteer, s Derby Scheme recruit, or a conscript; and they can't tell you when he was likely to have proceeded overseas (assuming this information is not recorded on the medal index card) or when he was likely to have been wounded. And when you get that disapppinting response, drop me a line because I will almost certainly be able to tell you something. See the RESEARCH tab on this blog for more information.

Image courtesy The BBC.

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