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Guest lidzy

William Crick - 13th Middlesex Regt.

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Guest lidzy

Hello All!

This is the first topic I've started, so apologies in advance if I have broken some basic rules.

I have, over the few years, tried to piece together basic details of the Great War service of my Great Grandfather, William James Crick. It seems he was a pre-war regular, (I've got a photo of him taken in Middlesex Regiment uniform in Mandalay, circa 1908) though he had left the Army by 1909. I can only assume that when he first enlisted (circa 1902) he used the name of Boyce and that when he later "rejoined" - I suppose he was a reservist - he used his real name. Whatever. I'll never know. Interestingly enough, in SDITGW he is listed as Boyce, his MIC is under the name Crick, and in the old bound index to SDITGW at the FRC he is listed as Crick!!! His death certificate is also in the name of Crick. PHEW!!! Originally he wasn't even entered as "alias Crick" in the search engine at the CWGC, but they changed that when I wrote to them a couple of years ago, asking why I couldn't find a L/7443 William Crick in their records. I suppose I should really ask them to amend their records, and even the gravestone, (I've never seen it) if they do such things, but I'm not sure they would, or if I really would want to cause such a fuss.

Anyway, last week, I got a copy of "The Die-Hards in the Great War" by E.Wyrall, and read to my utter amazement that the day before William Crick died of wounds (22/09/17), his Battalion was involved in a train accident near Achiet-le-Grand, 4 OR's being killed. (they are buried side by side in the Achiet cemetary) I'm hoping, because this was an unusual incident, that the unit diary might give some details - can't wait till my next visit to Kew, whenever that might be. (I live in Sweden!)

Right - here's my question - inter-regimental transfers. William Crick was in the 13th Battalion, but because he received the 1914 star, he must have been in one of the Middx Regt battalions that served at the beginning of the war - 1st, 2nd or 4th. Would it state the Battalion on the 1914 Star medal roll? And does any Middlesex expert know of any likely date for such a transfer?

Many thanks everyone for a brilliant forum - I've read it for ages but only just joined...

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Guest Pete Wood

Well that's completely blown my theory. I'd wrongly assumed that CWGC had made a mistake and that your G Grandfather had served under the alias of Boyce.

If you wrote to the CWGC about this, do I take it that he was registered with them just under the name of Boyce?? Are you therefore saying his headstone is marked Boyce also??

What does his birth certificate state....??

The Medal experts will answer all your questions, and I look forward to hearing their response.

I can tell you that the plaques (and I believe the medals also??) were always made out in the name used by the soldier while he was serving - in other words the alias.

I hope this helps you a little.

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Yorts
William Crick was in the 13th Battalion, but because he received the 1914 star, he must have been in one of the Middx Regt battalions that served at the beginning of the war - 1st, 2nd or 4th. Would it state the Battalion on the 1914 Star medal roll?

Hi,

The MIC or the medal roll for the 14 Star will state the battalion with which he landed with in France.

Rgds,

Alex.

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Guest lidzy

Thank you, Alex, for the info about medal rolls. In reference to the train accident involving the 13th Middlesex regiment, the four men who died that day is as follows:

Pte. William James Boyce, (should be Crick) L/7443 d.of w. 22/9/17

Sgt. Charles William Evans, G/1060. Died 22/9/17

Pte. William Turner, G/35055. Died 22/9/17

Pte. Charles Wilson, G/29772. k.in a. 22/9/17 (it says k. in a. in SDITGW)

I must stress that I have searched out these details in a printed edition of SDITGW for the Middlesex Regiment - someone with the CD might find something I've missed. In "The Die-Hards in the Great War" by E. Wyrall it is stated that the train accident was near Achiet-le-Grand - the men are buried side by side (grave references I.P.15-18) in Achiet-le-Grand Cemetary Communal Extension.

Dying in a train accident (if that's what happened) after (presumably) several years of frontline service brings home the futility of war even more, in a strange way.

Tony Simmons

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Terry Denham

Lidzy

I took the liberty of speaking to CWGC about this name confusion this morning.

The response was as follows (briefly).

They investigated this in 2001 (presumably when you contacted them) and found the following confusing information.

All their records show that his name was BOYCE except the original burial registration which shows 'BOYCE served as CRICK'.

Other sources say the following...

SDGW says BOYCE

The DSS records show 'CRICK alias BOYCE'

No surviving service record

Regimental Association says BOYCE

They have recorded a note saying that they will look at the matter again if a family member comes forward with solid evidence one way or the other(which must include a birth certificate).

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Guest lidzy

Hello Terry!

Thanks for checking with the CWGC. I've considered getting in touch with them for ages, but not really known how to proceed. Their online casualties register

originally only listed the name Boyce, and therefore I was unable to find William Crick. When they informed me that they had found an "alias" (after I asked them to look for a L/7443 William Crick) I was so over the moon that I didn't really consider the fact that he is presumably buried under the wrong name. I have a copy of his birth certificate, his marriage certificate (to the Julia Crick listed on the CWGC record) and his death certificate - all in the name Crick. Should I contact them to see what happens next? It's a shame his service record hasn't survived - he was a soldier pre-war - maybe he used an alias to join up originally. About three years ago I even checked in WO/ 97 (1883-1913) just in case something was their - however unlikely. Of course, I only checked for William CRICK, because I knew nothing of the BOYCE "alias" at that time. Time to do some serious thinking...

Thanks again,

Tony Simmons

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Terry Denham

Lidzy

It will be a fairly simple process.

Email them on casualtyenq@cwgc.org and give them the details of the amendment you seek. Make sure you state your relationship and list all the evidence you have inc the birth certificate.

Ask them how to proceed. They may want you to post the stuff to them or they may accept it by email.

They will be expecting you after my conversation this morning!

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Guest Pete Wood

Tony

Just to confirm, if he served as BOYCE when he was killed, then his plaque will have been named with BOYCE (his alias). There were no allowances made for soldiers serving under an alias (quite a common thing to happen with Australian Troops), even when contacted by the next of kin after the war, which has caused some medal collectors great confusion when they have tried to trace a soldier's records using the name on a plaque.

I don't know about the naming of the BOYCE/CRICK medals though, as I recall forum member Ian Bowbrick told me that some people got two sets of medals (with different names - birthname and alias) - though this was in the case of soldiers who had deserted from one regiment and then joined another using a different name. I think I've got that right. But Ian will correct me if I am wrong.

Pete

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Guest lidzy

Hello All!

Thanks for all the advice and info. I sent an email to the CWGC today stating that my Great Grandad's real name was Crick, not Boyce as they state. I suppose his headstone is in the name Boyce - might mention the name Crick - I've unfortunately never seen it so I don't know. I do have his birth,marriage and death certificates - all in the name Crick. His wife, Julia Crick, is actually mentioned on the CWGC entry.

ANYWAY - I managed to bury my real question under a load of other information - bad posting on my behalf, I suppose. Do unit diaries give dates/numbers (not names, obviously) of transfers within a Regiment? My "theory" is that William Crick served initially (1914) with the 1st Battalion Middlesex Regt. (which he had been in pre-war but left around 1909), and was subsequently transfered to the 13th Battalion. I'd really like to know when. Does it ever state such information on the medal rolls? (his service record hasn't survived and I don't have his medals, plaque, scroll or anything)

Thanks for all the help and advice given up to now,

All the best,

Tony

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Julian Dawson

Slightly off topic, but the mention of the rail accident reminds me of Britain's worst ever rail diaster when 214 men of the 1/7 Bn Royal Scots were killed in a rail crash whilst on their way to Liverpool for embarkation for Gallipoli in June 1915. Survivors say that what they witnessed that day was far worse than anything they saw on a battlefield. Lyn Macdonald gives an excellent and moving account in her brilliant "1915. The Death of Innocence"

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Guest lidzy
I can tell you that the plaques (and I believe the medals also??) were always made out in the name used by the soldier while he was serving - in other words the alias.

Hello All.

Downloaded my Great Grandfathers M.I.C. yesterday , and it was under the name Crick... Where "Boyce" comes from then, I don't know...

Yours in confusion, All the best, Tony

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Guest lidzy

Hello All!

As a follow-on to the above thread, (if anyone is interested...) I have now contacted the CWGC with my Great Grandfather William Crick's birth, marriage and death certificates, a print-out from the 1901 census, his daughter's (my nan's) birth, marriage and death certificates and also my dad's birth certificate, along with a letter of consent from my dad to formally request that the CWGC look into this matter. Oh yeah, and a pdf file with his M.I.C. - all the above in the name Crick, not Boyce as they have got him registered. I'll post again as soon as I hear something from them - it will surely take a while, as I can imagine that they are very busy . I think now that I'll post a request on this forum (in the right area) for some kind sole who might be in the area of his cemetery take a photo of his headstone - I've never seen it.

Take Care, Tony

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Guest lidzy

Hello All!

As an update to the above post, my Dad received a letter from the CWGC today (I used his address in all correspondance because he is the legal next- of- kin) informing us that they have agreed to amend my Great Grandfather's casualty details on their website, and to change the name on his headstone from Boyce to Crick. I'm really happy about this - it might seem pointless to right something that has been wrong without harming anyone or hurting their feelings for 87 years, but it matters to me. They said they'd send a photo once it was amended (which would take a while) - can't wait!!!

All the best,

Tony

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Robert Dunlop

It is definitely not pointless. Your Great Grandfather deserves the best, just like all his comrades. Well done to you and to the CWGC!

Robert

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Guest Pete Wood

Congratulations, Tony.

A big pat on the back to Terry D, and the CWGC also.

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shinglma

Tony

I have been following this thread with great interest. It is terrific that he will be properly commemorated at last.

Congrats to all involved.

Mike S

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Guest lidzy

Hello All!

Thanks to everyone for their advice and for showing interest. I think a special thank you is due to Terry Denham for taking the time and trouble to contact the CWGC in the first place, and for giving me invaluable advice and the confidence to actually go ahead and contact them. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at the speed of the CWGC reply, and the positive outcome - it's so easy to think of any official organisation as a monolithic, bureaucratic entity where no one actually cares about the work that is carried out, but the CWGC is quite obviously not like that. (I'm sure you all knew that already). Thanks again to everyone for their support and advice, and to the CWGC for listening.

All the best,

Tony

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MartinWills
Slightly off topic, but the mention of the rail accident reminds me of Britain's worst ever rail diaster when 214 men of the 1/7 Bn Royal Scots were killed in a rail crash whilst on their way to Liverpool for embarkation for Gallipoli in June 1915. Survivors say that what they witnessed that day was far worse than anything they saw on a battlefield. Lyn Macdonald gives an excellent and moving account in her brilliant "1915. The Death of Innocence"

Railway incidents at the front are less well recorded but did occur. I recently came accross a reference to an incident not too far from Bethune. Someone writing in 1918 said:

...On the way we passed where a German shell had struck a troop train. Thirty seven of the Kings Royal Liverpools the contents of a cattle truck lay buried there by the railway, their graves marked by bloody equipment & shrapnel helmets.

I remember thinking that the cattle truck was slightly short of the traditional "40 men"

Can anyone add any further details, such as exactly when & where this happened?

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