12 March 2018

Death of a recruit - Scots Guards

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

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

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

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2 March 2018

Naming the 1st York & Lancs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5242 F Clarke

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

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

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

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

5248 Frederick Ellis

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

5250 B Jackson. Served during the Boer War.

5251 T Gowland. Served during the Boer War.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5262 E Jenkinson

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

5263 Unidentified

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

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

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

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

5268 John Slinn

5269 Unidentified

5270 Unidentified

5271 Unidentified

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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17 February 2018

1911 census revelations

Some while ago I wrote a post called Unpicking the 1911 census in which I demonstrated how men of the 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment had been enumerated. I continue to unpick the 1911 census myself and have set myself the task this year of completing a full transcription of all men serving overseas in 1911. I began this project some while ago, one of several uncompleted transcription or editing tasks that I aim to complete in 2018.

The 1911 census of the British Army is important because it is a virtual census of a large portion of the 1914 British Expeditionary Force. Men enumerated in 1911 would, for the most part, still be serving - or on the Army Reserve - in August 1914, and understanding how the census was compiled can add useful information about soldiers for whom no service record now survives.

For the most part, and talking about infantry only for the time being, men tended to be enumerated in two main ways: by company, or in order of longevity or seniority. Officers may or may not be enumerated separately.

In the screen shot below, I have added regimental numbers by searching for the men on my British Army Ancestors website. It's  a very easy process. I looked for the man with most unusual name - in this case, DULIEU - and typed in WILLIAM DULIEU RIFLES. That gave me his regimental number 3573. I then typed DERMODY RIFLES which gave me that man's number, 4430.

You can see that I have also added regimental numbers for some other men; the point being that I wanted to prove my theory correct, that these men had been enumerated in order of seniority, or longevity, or regimental number order; call it what you will, they all amount to the same thing. 

I had thought this regimental number precedence probably was the system in play when I noticed senior NCOs interspersed with privates, and so I'm feeling rather smug that I proved myself correct.  Better still, some of these men have surviving service records in WO 97 (and WO 363 and WO 364). 4487 Hugh Bonar is a case in point here. He joined the Cameronians in 1892 and was discharged as Time Expired in 1913 having completed 21 years exactly. He was appointed lance-corporal in March 1905 but reverted to private in November that year at his own request.

The photo above shows officers of the 2nd Battalion, Cameronians in Malta in 1913.

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10 February 2018

North Staffordshire Regiment - PoW Other Ranks 1914

There is only a single entry in the 'Princess Mary tin' prisoner of war collection that I found and that is 8501 Private George Raven of the 1st Battalion who was captured in October 1914. The entry additionally adds that his home address was 221 Windmill Street, Carlton Hill, Nottingham and that he returned to his home on the 6th November 1918.

Between September 1914 and February 1914, 352 non-fatal North Staffordshire Regiment casualties, officers and men, were reported in The Times casualty lists. I know this because I have transcribed all 78,460 non-fatal casualties reported up until the 27th February 1915. 

George Raven was recorded as J Raven and reported missing in a War Office list published on the 2nd November 1914 and then reported in The Times on the 4th December 1914. In the same issue, 6780 Pte H Appleby (recorded as J Appleby) was also reported missing:

Harry Appleby must have subsequently turned up, almost certainly wounded, as he was discharged in April 1916. I couldn't find a record for him in the ICRC collection and there is no indication on his medal index card that he was a prisoner of war.

There are two officer casualties who were reported as wounded and prisoners of war but George Raven appears to be the only North Staffordshire other rank who was captured by the Germans before Christmas 1914. The ICRC website records that he arrived at Hull as a repatriated prisoner of war on the 27th November 1918 (which sounds more plausible than the 6th November date on the Princess Mary tin list.

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29 January 2018

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) - Other rank PoWs 1914

The 32 men on this roll call of Scottish Rifles soldiers captured by the German on or before Christmas Day 1914 appears on two lists now catalogued and held by the Imperial War Museum:

  • B.O.2 1/294 is a three-page typed list, compiler and date unknown.
  • B.O.2 1/296 is a three-page handwritten letter and list from the Prisoners of War Relief, The Cameronians, dated 27th December 1918. 

8447 Lance-Corporal Henry Ash 
8448 Sergeant Alfred Ash 
9519 Private H G Austin 
6102 Private R Beats 
8522 Private T Blackwell 
10669 Private G Brooks 
Sergeant George Buckley 
8498 Sergeant E J Buss 
10871 Private P Byrne 
8383 Private W F Carey 
7732 Private J Conroy 
11132 Private D Cruickshank 
8745 Private F G Dawson 
8287 Private J Fergus 
10948 Private J B Galvin 
7689 Private D W Gilchrist 
9209 Private/Piper C Gullan 
8592 Private H Leavens 
7744 Private Alfred George Mackie 
8512 Private E Mann 
10865 Private J Mason 
13286 G B McGuire 
9653 Private R Murphy 
11083 Private R Neild 
8190 Private W Potter 
10879 Private J C Roberts 
8669 Private E Smith 
7629 Private J Stewart 
7193 Colour-Sergeant D Taylor 
9530 Private S Wood 
10803 Private J Wray 
9530 A B Wray

The first two men on this list, Alfred and Henry Ash, were presumably brothers who enlisted together, were possibly captured together, and may have been incarcerated together as well. There's probably a decent research project there for someone, and I'm sure that the ICRC website has more details on when they were captured and where they were held. Any errors in the transcription of these banes are mine.

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23 January 2018

Gloucestershire Regiment - PoWs 1914

The Gloucestershire Regiment men in the list which follows were all captured by the Germans on or before Christmas Day 1914. Those who survived the many years in captivity, would belatedly be sent Princess Mary's gift tin once they had returned to England. Most, if not all of these men should also have records on the International Committee of the Red Cross site.

Today, this list is catalogued at the Imperial War Museum under B.O.2 1/175 and B.O.2 1/176 and for most men also includes their 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.

2120 Private W H Allen 
9186 Private F Apperley 
6708 Private F Aston 
7862 Private Cyril Benfield 
6513 Private H F Bennett 
386 Private W Bond 
6088 Private T Bridge 
7272 Private A Chapman 
9411 Private F Chappell 
9895 Private Bernard H W Chittenden 
6577 Private J Cole 
7688 Private G Cook 
7975 Private George H J Cook 
1266 Lance-Corporal H W Cross 
9710 Private W M Davis 
9591 Private Francis Charles Day 
7810 Private J Ellaway 
9845 Private T A Gardener 
7203 Private E W Green 
6067 Private J A Hanson 
2597 Private James Hartland 
6427 Private W Hatherall 
7005 Private Alfred Hobbs 
8313 Private John Hooper 
7658 Private F W Howell 
21 Private R H Jay 
623 Private J Keveren 
7853 Private J Kingscote 
8061 Private T Lawrence 
9829 Private A H Legg 
8028 Private Harry Leonard 
9657 Private J Monaghan 
6245 Private E Monk 
9587 Private W H Morgan 
7222 Private C Portlock 
7860 Private H Robins 
9059 Private T E Rolf 
9665 Private Frederick Saunders 
8119 Private J Simpkins 
7279 Private M Sullivan 
6634 Private George Thompson 
7865 Private John Trump 
8482 Private C Venn 
6714 Private J T Windridge 
588 Private E Woodland

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13 January 2018

Are regimental numbers unique?

Are regimental numbers unique? I am asked this question often enough to unapologetically publish another post on this topic. The short answer is No, regimental numbers are not unique. As I wrote last September, 

"A typical line infantry county regiment [pre 1908] could expect to administer one regimental number series for its regular battalions, and a separate number series for each militia battalion. Volunteer Force battalions also each had a separate regimental number series and later, so too would EACH Territorial Force battalion... and with some battalions running multiple number series to boot."

You can see this very clearly demonstrated if you run a simple number search on my new British Army Ancestors website. The site is free to use but if you want to view any of the returned results - usually a service record or a medal index card - you'll need to pay The National Archives or Findmypast.

Running a search of 1234 Essex Reg* (use the wildcard to widen or indeed restrict results) returns eight results, all for different men with the regimental number 1234 who served with the Essex Regiment.  There are Territorial Force men here, militia men, career soldiers; all serving with the regimental number 1234 which would have been issued from different number series or number blocks at different times.

Queen's & King's Regulations

For the majority of line infantry regiments, regimental numbering started at 1 on the 1st July 1881. The regimental number was issued to the man when he presented himself at the regimental depot, and he kept this regimental number at the depot and if he was posted between regular battalions (usually the 1st and 2nd Battalions). 

Infantry regiments were to number to 9999 and, when they approached this number, were to to seek permission from the Adjutant General to commence a new series. The extract above is from Queen's Regulations 1884.  In 1904 the rules changed and infantry regiments were told they could number to 19999 before seeking permission to start a new series. This was further relaxed by Army Order 453 of 1914 which gave line infantry regiments permission to number to 39999, which was just as well with the influx of men to the colours from August that year. 

But the point is that as well as seeing duplicates across the various battalions in a regiment - and my 60 second regimental numbering overview goes into more detail here - duplicates also occur because of this need to start new number series. The Essex Regiment was a fairly typical steady recruiter of regular soldiers, an average of around 320 men signing up each year between 1881 and 1911. It only used the number 1234 once for a regular enlistment and that was in January 1884.  Regiments with more than two regular battalions though, got through their allotted numbers more quickly and thus we see, for instance, the Northumberland Fusiliers reaching 9999 on the 2nd December 1903 and commencing a new number series starting with 1. For this regiment's regular battalions, the number 1234 makes an appearance in December 1885 and again, nearly twenty years later, in May 1905.

The image on this page shows Private Dore, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment; winner of the Rifle Championship Cup at Aldershot in 1899. Judging by the three chevrons on his lower left sleeve he had been in the army for at least 12 years when this photograph was taken. The photo was published in Navy & Army Illustrated on the 2nd September 1899.

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5 January 2018

Naval & Military Press - Winter Sale

Make the most of this seasonal offering from Naval and Military Press with their traditional winter sale - 20% off everything and the facility to spread payments over four or twelve months. I have bought many books from Naval & Military Press over the years and can be very easily tempted to buy more. View the full range by clicking on the links above or the image.

31 December 2017

3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

This post will look at regimental numbering in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI). Thanks to AHJ for planting the suggestion.

The Special Reserve was formed in 1908, replacing the militia. Serving militiamen were given the option to join the Special Reserve, remain as militiamen or take a free discharge. Men transferring to the militia were given a bounty of £2 rendering them liable for foreign service in a time of emergency. These men also retained their original militia numbers.

Thus, for example, Daniel Firth was given the number 9546 when he originally joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion on the 25th June 1906. He opted to transfer to the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion in June 1908 and retained his old number, 9546.  Men joining the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion for the first time were given new numbers beginning at 1 which were prefixed with the number 3/. This prefix was inconsistently used, as it was in other regiments, for that matter.

By March 1909 number 3/353 had been issued; 3/594 by February 1910, 3/727 by June 1911, 3/907 by March 1912, 3/1237 by July 1913, and 3/1369 by March 1914.

Recruitment into this battalion increased dramatically by August 1914 and so we see 3/1567 issued on the 15th August and 3/2149 issued on the 2nd September. By the end of the month, over a thousand men had joined the battalion with the number 3/3204 issued on the 26th September 1914.

The regimental number series continued to be used well into 1915. For instance, 3/3683 was issued on the 26th October 1915 and 3/3691 on the 20th November 1915. This is the highest number I have come across in this series although do beware other numbers masquerading as 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion numbers. 

For example, 18849 Harry Bennett joined the KOYLI on the 30th August 1914. This regimental number belonged to the series which had originally been the preserve of the two regular battalions. Harry was originally posted to the regimental depot on the 30th August and then to the 3rd Battalion on the 27th October 1914. His regimental number on his attestation papers includes the number 3/ prefix and yet this number does not belong to the 3rd Battalion series which, as noted above, may not have made it beyond 3/4000.

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24 December 2017

A 2017 retrospective

As another year draws to a close, here's what I achieved in 2017.

In addition to the blogging and the tweeting (I'm not sure how I can easily count the number of tweets I sent) and the research enquiries, I also continued with my own research projects. Having already transcribed all non-fatal casualties reported in The Times newspaper for September and October 1914, I set myself a target to complete the months November 1914 to February 1915 inclusive. A week ago I finished this stage of the project and now have a database of over 75,000 names. I will probably transcribe March 1915 in 2018 but with then call it a day on this particular project - perhaps.

I acquired several hundred books, - necessitating the purchase of another five bookcases - and which included some very useful runs of chronicles and annuals to the Rifle Brigade, King's Royal Rifle Corps and Sherwood Foresters. I still have some gaps though and I shall be looking to fill these in 2018. 

So what else is in store for 2018?

I see more of the same on the blogging and research fronts, with the focus on British Army Ancestors. I will also be continuing my transcription work on the British Army in 1911 (UK and Irish census returns) and looking at other sources of information on the BEF of 1914. I also have two other smaller indexing projects which I hope to complete.

In October 2018 I will lay a wreath at The Menin Gate Memorial for my great uncle, John Frederick Nixon whose 100th death anniversary occurs on the 3rd October.

For now though, I wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and I look forward to continuing the work in 2018.

The photograph on this post shows men of H Company, 1st Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) rugby team in India in 1910, one of many photographs of the British Army acquired this year.

12 December 2017

10th Middlesex footballers 1917

Here's another football team from the 10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment; this time with a date. .

The names on the reverse of the card read:

Wilson, Popple, Birks, Lyon, Manning, Magnoni, Sharp
Elson, Mitchell, Buttery, Nichollson
Stubbs, Popple

I searched for these men using my British Army Ancestors search engine and come up with the following results:

Wilson [not positively identified]
1976, later 290399 Pte John Popple or 2018, later 290420 Pte William Popple
Possibly 290376 Pte Albert Birks (formerly 113719 Pte, MGC)
1413, later 290165 Pte Charles S Lyon
2305 L-Cpl, later 290597 Pte Arthur R Manning OR 2472, later 290713 Cpl Leonard D Manning
2178, later 290508 L-Cpl Bertram G Magnoni
2354, later 290628 Pte Albert G C Sharp

Elson  [not positively identified]
2050, later 290437 Pte Charles Mark Mitchell
Buttery  [not positively identified]
1331, later 290117 L-Cpl Ernest M Nicholson

2648, later 290824 Pte Alfred W Stubbs
1976, later 290399 Pte John Popple or 2018, later 290420 Pte William Popple

The 10th Battalion was in Lucknow between June and October 1917. A partial service record exists for Charles Mitchell which gives his stations as follows:

In the cases of the men above, I used their six-digit Middlesex Regiment numbers to identify them. Numbers in the range 290001 to 315000 were issued to men in this battalion in early 1917 and so they are easy to find in a search of service records and medal index cards (and all of these men would have been entitled to receive medals). For instant results, go to British Army Ancestors  and simply type 290* middlesex* in the search box. Over a thousand results are returned, the vast majority of these being men from the 10th Middlesex Regiment.

3 December 2017

10th Middlesex footballers

I picked this photo up on eBay in the week. It's undated but the reverse gives some great detail which has enabled me to identify most of the men. Here's the reverse:

So clearly these are men from a detachment of the 1/10th Middlesex Regiment in Chakrata. My guess is that this photos dates to 1917 onwards and the 10th Middlesex Regiment - a Territorial Force battalion - was re-numbered in 1917 with numbers in the range 290001 to 315000. It stands to reason then that these men would have regimental numbers beginning with 290. And so it turned out. Here's my transcription and follow-up research:

Pte Gilham (D), L-Cpl Tindall (B), Cpl Bullen (B), Pte Cave (D)
Pte Fairbrother (B), L-Cpl Buttery (A), Sgt Hurford (C)
Pte Brocks (B), Pte Ruel (B), Pte Scales (B), Pte Brothwell (D)

Pte Gouge (B), L-Cpl Dale (A)

2527, later 290755 Pte Albert J Gilham/Gillham (D Coy)
L-Cpl Tindall (B Coy)
290720 Sgt Edward William Bullen (B Coy)
1309, later 290104 Pte Alfred Cave (D Coy)

2565, later 290783 Pte William J Fairbrother (B Coy)
1510, later 290197 Sgt Edwin Buttery (A Coy)
2299, later 290592 Sgt George Hurford (C Coy)

2513, later 290746 Pte William J Brocks (B Coy),
2476, later 290716 Pte Edward F Ruel OR 1055, later 290064 Pte William C D Ruel (B Coy)
Pte Scales (B Coy)
1632, later 290240 Pte Arthur Brothwell (D Coy)

1649, later 290253 Pte Richard Gouge (B Coy)
1726, later 290292 L-Cpl Raymond Dale (A Coy)

So apart from Tindall and Scales I have identified all of the men on this card and, what's more, I've added faces to the names on my British Army Ancestors website. I also used the site to search for them in the first place, typing in their names, a partial regimental number and the regiment name, like this:

This search criteria then returned the result I was looking for, and enabled me to upload the photo:

To me the photo is also interesting in that it demonstrates the powerful part that fate could play in an infantryman's life. Whilst this group was posing with their football in north India, thousands of others were dying on the battlefields of the Western Front.