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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

needle in a haystack


douglass

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Hi all,

I have just found a relation on rootschat whose grandfather served in the War but she has no clue to what regiment etc etc. all she knows is that his name was James Steel who died in 1924 in London due to the effects of Gas in the War. I have told her to visit the local library to try the local papers of the day for the district he lived in incase he is mentioned anywhere etc. Anywhere else to look?, i think it is a very tall order but you never know.

regards

Douglas

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Hi your relation needs to buy the death certificate for him as a start then post again when you may have more info.

This could be him I can't see anymore.

Deaths Sep 1924 (95%)

Steel James 33 Greenwich 1d 680

Mel

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Douglas,

The only James STEEL who death was registered in London in 1924 was in a chap aged 33 in Greenwich

(greenwich / 1D / 680 / 3rd qtr / 1924)

Here's his family in 1901:

STEEL, Robt Head Married M 39 1862 Fishmonger Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Mary Wife Married F 40 1861 Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Catherine Daughter F 18 1883 Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Maggie Daughter F 15 1886 Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Robert Son M 14 1887 Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Isabella Daughter F 12 1889 Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Jas Son M 10 1891 Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Elizabeth Daughter F 7 1894 Berwickshire Scotland

STEEL, Mary Daughter F 5 1896 Doncaster Yorkshire

STEEL, John Son M 0 (3W) 1901 Deptford

Living at 58, Wellington Street, St Nicholas Deptford, Greenwich

So you might be looking for a Scotish regiment

Grant

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Douglas

There are 102 STEELs in the Medal Index Card series WO372 at Kew, 84 of them have the single Christian name JAMES ! The remainder have a second Christian name. If he has only the one name we have whittled it down already ! If he has two then it will be a very dramatic reduction ! So you need to confirm if he has one or two. If you are thinking then it could further be reduced by only counting the London or surrounding Regiments,think again,they were not that logical !

Next thing you can do is to get a look at the 2 microfilms at Kew which cover a Pension receiver from the Great War. If he died of the effects of Gas he would almost certainly have had pension papers. I am not sure if they are now in Ancestry UK as well,as I don't have a subscription to that. People here do and it might be that they can comment on that. The microfilms have to be viewed at Kew,they are WO364/3930 and 3931. These contain the parts of all the entries for Steel and James,including second names too.

If you have his home details at joining up and afterwards etc it might help the search here.

Sotonmate

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Hi Grant,

yes thats definetly his family, well done. I thought if he was patriotic he would have joined a scots reg but suppose he could have been joined any regiment.

thanks to all for helping

regards

douglass

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Hi. Just to throw a spanner in the works - James is on the 1891 Scottish census as Thomas! Unless his name was changed as he was only 3 weeks old.

Sarah

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Hi Sarah,

i noticed that as well in the 1891 scots census at three weeks old, but no sign until mentioned as james in the 1901 english one.

keep up all the good work (as usual)

douglas

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Hi all,

Got this from great grandaughter-

James Turnbull Steel, lived at 83 Amersham Vale, Deptford in 1913 and later 18 Trim Street, and 339 Evelyn Street both again Deptford.

My father in law looked on the ancestry site and in the medal roll is a James T Steel, Durham Light Infantry, pte.35951 gives a discharge date 11/7/18, enlistment 26/1/16 perhaps this is him as he MAY have been discharged early due to gas?, there is a cause of discharge but i do not know what it means it looks like the following P.392 XVI K.R and undrneath either 2b1 or 921

hope this means something to the more professional member out there.

regards

douglass

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Good work Pals, the needles getting bigger and the haystack a damm sight smaller.

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This chap was from Peckham (about 2 miles from Deptford)

taken from the National roll of the Great War

"J Steel, Cpl, Guards Machine Gun Regiment

Enlisted in Sept 1914, on completion of training was drafted to france and served there with the Grenadier Guards, later transfering to the Guards MG Regt.

Wounded and invalided home in 1918, after being in hospitial for some time was demobed in Mar 1919.

Holds 1914 – 15 Star, General service and Victory Medals.

200 Comercial Rd, Peckham, SE 15"

Grant

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Hi Grant,

thanks for the reply, food for thought, looks like we can possibily eliminate j t steel durham light infantry as there was a J T Steel born there, but not the one we are looking for, willl have to delve deeper on your man.

granddaughter says apart from birth cert the middle name wasnt on any census , marriage death cert.

keep up the good work all

douglas

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Douglas,

Is that the name we're looking for - James Turnbull Steel ?

Next step would be to try for an obit from the local paper, I guess

Grant

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Next thing you can do is to get a look at the 2 microfilms at Kew which cover a Pension receiver from the Great War. If he died of the effects of Gas he would almost certainly have had pension papers.

Sorry but that is just plain wrong. The records in WO 364 are not pensions records but service records. They survived the destruction of the main series in 1940 by the simple fact that they were not in Arnside Street when it was bombed and the reason they did so was because they were being used for pensions purposes and were therefore elsewhere.

They are not a complete set of records for everyone who received a pension; rather they are those records which were being held offsite the night of the conflagration.

They also include many records for men who never received a pension but who made a pension claim which was refused.

If the man in question died of the effects of the war (Gas or whatever) its by no means certain that he would have received a pension. PIN 26 - the real pensions records - are full of men who died apparently from the effects of war service whose pensions claims were refused.

Mike S

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So you might be looking for a Scotish regiment

but then you just as likely might not. He could have been in

an English Regiment/a branch of the Royal Artillery/the Labour Corps/Army Service CorpsRoyal Engineers/

RAMC

or just about any unit.

First principles need to be established which is to identify the correct candidate and then take it from there.

I would be looking at all service records in WO 363 and WO 364 to see if he can be matched up to any personal identifiers. I would also be looking at PIN 26, not to mention National Roll of Honour etc. If none of that works then I would look at AVLs, local papers etc.

Mike S

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Shinglma

Thanks for the correction,I bow to your obviously greater knowledge in this aspect. My point remains that a look in WO364 would be a good thing to do as there is a fair chance that the papers for this soldier are there.

Sotonmate

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Shinglma,

The "MIGHT, be looking for a Scotish regiment" was to suggestion, as all of the other information leads to him being a Londoner, when the family is Scotish.

Maybe the OP hasn't got the knowledge that you have about the service records (just as I havn't the foggist idea where to start with them) or is unable to get to Kew, and is limited to to local papers and the internet for their hunt.

Now with the Scotish connection, the lady might not pass over a Scotish regiment because she is now aware of the fact that he MIGHT have joined one due to his family connections.

Grant

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Now with the Scotish connection, the lady might not pass over a Scotish regiment because she is now aware of the fact that he MIGHT have joined one due to his family connections.

Grant

Grant

I wouldn't disagree with you that Scottish regiments shouldn't be ruled out just because he was a Londoner. Plenty of Londoners served with regiments from all over the British Isles.

I was just trying to suggest - however badly - that his family connections (just like his place of residence) may have not been a factor in who he served with. It would depend whether he had any say in the matter and even then he might have had a heartfelt desire to join a completely unrelated unit/regiment.

Regards

Mike S

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My father in law looked on the ancestry site and in the medal roll is a James T Steel, Durham Light Infantry, pte.35951 gives a discharge date 11/7/18, enlistment 26/1/16 perhaps this is him as he MAY have been discharged early due to gas?,

douglass

I don't think it fits to be honest. His entry on SWB List O/1937/1 gives his details as follows

Enlisted - 26/01/1916

Discharged - 11/07/1918

Age at Discharge - 23

The latter would mean he was born circa 1895 which doesn't tie in with the census information or death registration above.

post-627-1223042683.gif

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The latter would mean he was born circa 1895 which doesn't tie in with the census information or death registration above.

Which means that this is possibly the birth registration for the DLI man (35951):

STEEL James Thomas

Castle Ward

Dec 1894

10b 323

Regards

Mike S

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Hi all.

many thanks for the time and effort you all have put in, Grant sorry for not answering your post but yes he is a James Turnbull Steel, we can discount the Durham fellow and possibily the machine gunner one too?, his grandaughter says he was listed in census etc without the middle name.

we will just have to keep delving in the hope something turns up, any clues if the absent voters list would throw up anything or any other avenues?

thanks again to one an all for their valuable time and effort

douglass

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Douglass

I took a look yesterday for James Turnbull STEELs Service papers in WO363/S3269 and 3270,and also WO364/3930 and 3931,with no result. We may have to assume that his papers have been destroyed in 1940.

Sorry I couldn't bring better news.

Sotonmate

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Hi there,

many thanks for your time and effort, it was much appreciated.

hopefuuly something will be found someday to find our man.

regards

Douglas Steel

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Hi all again,

just looked at sotonmate post 01/10, there are 102 james steels on the medal index card, to narrow it down again I wonder how many were Killed in action ?, i had a look at CWGC but see a lot of J Steel's, as opposed to the ones with james as a christian name, would the Soldiers died in the great war cd rom have a better list with first names just to see what we had left? could we also presume? that if he was a private we could discount high ranking officers?, or Irish and welsh regiments?, i know that men could/would have been sent to any regiments whether english,scots etc etc.

just a thought,

douglass

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