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Remembered Today:

300337 Serjeant J Armstrong DCM MM Durham Light Infantry


pearsonica

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A few years ago in 2005 I did a Charity Bike ride from Reims to Paris. We went through the Marne Valley and found these beautiful laid out graves of the First World War. I took this photo of these 4 graves. The first one is 300337 Serjeant J Armstrong DCM MM Durham Light Infantry. If any body is related to him I would be pleased to send them a full copy of this picture. In the meantime I would like to find a little bit more myself about this Chap. These grave stones are really well looked after and the stones are so beautifully carved with their regiments crest.

We stood by the graves in a line and gave them a few minuets silence to remember them.

Next door was the German Graves. Very efficient two to a grave see my bext entry. But we remembered them as well.

Bigs

post-41022-1227355064.jpg

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SDGW records:

Name: ARMSTRONG, James

Rank: Sergt

Number: 300337

Regiment: Durham Light Infantry

Battalion: 1/8th Battalion

Born: Birtley, Co. Durham

Enlisted: Birtley

Died Date: 27 May 18

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of war: France & Flanders

Notes: D.C.M., M.M.

Doug

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  • 2 years later...

Hi, I am a new member and one of the reasons I have joined is to research one of my relatives, Serjeant James Armstrong of the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

Although my research is at an early stage, he was obviously quite an amazing man. He was awarded the DCM and the MM,

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in a raid on enemy trenches he carried out several daring patrols, led the party forward, bombed the enemy and personally captured a prisoner all under heavy machine gun and bomb fire. An important identification was secured."

A newspaper article was written after the war by a German soldier who had encountered James, and he called him the bravest man he had ever known.

There are other stories which exist within the family of his time during WW1, which I would like to try and find some documentation for.

If you still have a copy of the photograph of his grave, I would be so grateful if you could send it to me. We have tried to obtain one before, but have been unsuccessful.

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Little history

Head stone here

Mic can be found here

Looks like he had 2 Numbers another MIC Here number 2580

Name:ARMSTRONG

Initials:J

Nationality:United Kingdom

Rank:Serjeant

Regiment/Service:Durham Light Infantry

Unit Text:1st/8th Bn

.Age:27

Date of Death:27/05/1918

Service No:300337

Awards:D C M, M M

Additional information:Son of William Armstrong; husband of Mrs. Catherine Wormald (formerly Armstrong), of 31, Lower Thomas St., Barnsley. Born at Birtley, Yorks.Casualty Type:Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:I. AA. 1.Cemetery:MARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY

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  • 2 weeks later...

Little history

Head stone here

Mic can be found here

Looks like he had 2 Numbers another MIC Here number 2580

Name:ARMSTRONG

Initials:J

Nationality:United Kingdom

Rank:Serjeant

Regiment/Service:Durham Light Infantry

Unit Text:1st/8th Bn

.Age:27

Date of Death:27/05/1918

Service No:300337

Awards:D C M, M M

Additional information:Son of William Armstrong; husband of Mrs. Catherine Wormald (formerly Armstrong), of 31, Lower Thomas St., Barnsley. Born at Birtley, Yorks.Casualty Type:Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:I. AA. 1.Cemetery:MARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY

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Thank you so much, particularly for the link to the photograph. This is one war grave no one from his family has been able to visit as yet, which makes having the image so much more important.

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Still on the trail of Serjeant James Armstrong, I am told he was also awarded the Croix de Guerre, but I can't find any record of this. Apparently there was a plaque in the old drill hall at Birtley, Co. Durham (which was his home town) which credited him with the MM, DCM and the Croix de Guerre so I am assuming it must be documented somewhere. The hall is now demolished, by the way. The DLI museum could only supply me with the details from the War Graves Commision.

There is also an error in the information given by the WGC, which I would like to correct. Would anyone know where I would find the obituarys of WW1 soldiers, or would I need to go through the local papers of the time? I am very knew to this research, clearly hoping to get better with practice!

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His MM was Gazetted 09/12/1916 http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/29854/supplements/12041 his DCM 30/10/1918 http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/30983/supplements/12809 but I can't find a CdeG entry, as his DCM entry is 5 months after his death, I'd guess he was killed soon after the action he won it for.

Sam

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Name:ARMSTRONG

Initials:J

Nationality:United Kingdom

Rank:Serjeant

Regiment/Service:Durham Light Infantry

Unit Text:1st/8th Bn

.Age:27

Date of Death:27/05/1918

Service No:300337

Awards:D C M, M M

Additional information:Son of William Armstrong; husband of Mrs. Catherine Wormald (formerly Armstrong), of 31, Lower Thomas St., Barnsley. Born at Birtley, Yorks.Casualty Type:Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:I. AA. 1.Cemetery:MARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY

CWGC need to change the error showing Birtley being in Yorkshire.

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Thanks for the information, and to everyone on this site for their amazing knowledge and help.

Were all Croix De Guerre awards listed in the London Gazette? I get the impression from some articles I have read that the records for this award are incomplete.

Some family members still maintain he was credited with this and his MM & DCM on a plaque-surely some verification would have been needed to ensure these plaques were correct? Not sure how (or if) to pursue this one.

The CWGC require proof to correct an error. They require that the certificates provided refer to the casualty in question, and additional evidence to link the certificate or service record to the casualty (memorial card or obituary notice apparently) I don't even think there is a Birtley in Yorkshire, actually.

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1901 census

Name: James Armstrong

Age: 10

Estimated Birth Year: abt 1891

Relation: Son

Father's name: Wm Armstrong

Gender: Male

Where born: Birtley, Durham, England

Civil parish: Birtley

Ecclesiastical parish: Birtley St John the Evangelist

Town: Birtley

County/Island: Durham

Country: England

Street Address:

Occupation:

Condition as to marriage:

Education:

Employment status:

View image

Registration district: Chester Le Street

Sub-registration district: Harraton

ED, institution, or vessel: 5

Neighbors: View others on page

Household schedule number: 145

Piece: 4702

Folio: 103

Page Number: 25

Household Members:

Name Age

Wm Armstrong 37

Sarah Armstrong 31

Annie M Armstrong 13

Hannah Armstrong 11

James Armstrong 10

Margaret Armstrong 8

John Armstrong 6

William Armstrong 4

Andrew Armstrong 1

William Armstrong 32

Agnes Armstrong 42

James Armstrong 1

Robt Armstrong 1 Month

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  • 2 months later...

Many thanks, just waiting for a reply from the CWGC.

1901 census

Name: James Armstrong

Age: 10

Estimated Birth Year: abt 1891

Relation: Son

Father's name: Wm Armstrong

Gender: Male

Where born: Birtley, Durham, England

Civil parish: Birtley

Ecclesiastical parish: Birtley St John the Evangelist

Town: Birtley

County/Island: Durham

Country: England

Street Address:

Occupation:

Condition as to marriage:

Education:

Employment status:

View image

Registration district: Chester Le Street

Sub-registration district: Harraton

ED, institution, or vessel: 5

Neighbors: View others on page

Household schedule number: 145

Piece: 4702

Folio: 103

Page Number: 25

Household Members:

Name Age

Wm Armstrong 37

Sarah Armstrong 31

Annie M Armstrong 13

Hannah Armstrong 11

James Armstrong 10

Margaret Armstrong 8

John Armstrong 6

William Armstrong 4

Andrew Armstrong 1

William Armstrong 32

Agnes Armstrong 42

James Armstrong 1

Robt Armstrong 1 Month

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Not sure whether this has been covered, but his number indicates that he had joined the 8th DLI in May 1914. My database shows 2589 joining on the 15th May 1914.

Paul

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  • 4 years later...

I just found this site today and I'm almost certain I'm the great nephew of James Armstrong. My Nanna, Selina Armstrong (married name Pickering)  had a brother called Jimmy and I can remember my great aunts Margaret (Meggy) and Hannah. My Nanna was born after Jimmy's death but I can remember she always kept a photo of him on the sideboard and I'm sure my mother still had it. I would like to thank everyone who has given information on this site. It has somewhat blown me away.

 

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Hi LEEOI,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

This thread hasn't been active for quite some time, since which there are more records available on line which may be of interest to you. These include...

 

He has a surviving service papers on Findmypast - see here. They should also be available on Ancestry.

 

From WO/397 at the National Archives, his DCM was awarded for his actions on 25th/26th May 1918, East of Soisson.

 

Armstrong.jpg

 

The Battalion war diaries can be downloaded from the National Archives. They will also be available on Ancestry.

 

The CWGC have added "concentration" reports  to their records. These show that he was originally buried in Courville Military Cemetery before being moved to his current resting place.

 

He doesn't appear to have a surviving will. His Soldier's Effects record shows that his outstanding pay, and the war gratuity due as a consequence of his death, were paid to his wife, Catherine.

 

Regards

Chris

 

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Thankyou so much Chris. My mother has confirmed that James is indeed her uncle... We are are both extremely grateful for all this information...

Many thanks,

Lee.

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James has  small mention of his D C M  award in the 

 - Leeds Mercury - Leeds, West Yorkshire, England 31 October 1918

Capture.JPG

 

Regards Ray

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Ancestry war records states only 3 pages, but there are more than that, some very feint and in poor condition, still a lot readable though. Ralph.

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So Selina must have been born sometime after 1901 as she doesn't show in the Census Return, whereas Hannah and Margaret do.

 

His Military Medal must have been awarded prior to the DCM, but no one has yet produced a citation for it, so that may be waiting to be discovered.

Jean Atkinson is still active on the Forum and may be contacting you whilst this is being written!

She'll be able to tell you that she was successful in changing his CWGC entry

ARMSTRONG, JAMES. Rank: Serjeant. Service No: 300337. Date of Death: 27/05/1918. Age: 27.
Regiment/Service: Durham Light Infantry 1st/8th Bn. Awards:D C M, M M 
Grave Reference: I. AA. 1. Cemetery: MARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY.
Additional Information: Son of William and Sarah Armstrong; husband of Mrs. Catherine Wormald (formerly Armstrong), of 31, Lower Thomas St., Barnsley, Yorks. Born at Birtley, Co. Durham.

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Hi Lee,

 

The Brigade diary (here on Ancestry) is also worth at look at for the events of 25th/26th May 1918. It starts with a typed version of the handwritten report on the interrogation of the captured prisoner contained in the Battalion diary, and in some ways less detailed. However, it does contain a sketch map, and the order for the raid which in essence are the instructions of how it was to be executed.

 

Regards

Chris

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15 hours ago, LEEOI said:

I just found this site today and I'm almost certain I'm the great nephew of James Armstrong. My Nanna, Selina Armstrong (married name Pickering)  had a brother called Jimmy and I can remember my great aunts Margaret (Meggy) and Hannah. My Nanna was born after Jimmy's death but I can remember she always kept a photo of him on the sideboard and I'm sure my mother still had it. I would like to thank everyone who has given information on this site. It has somewhat blown me away.

 

Hi Leeo1,I am from Birtley and know James name from research I,m sure there is another conversation about him on this site somewhere check out The north east war

memorials website(NEWMP) and click on towns and villages (Birtley) and he is mentioned there and there are photos of the war memorial that carries his name I,ll see if I

have a photo or anything else in my paperwork.

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  • 8 months later...

Hi I just found this today and James Armstrong was my great uncle. His sister Margaret Armstrong was my grandmother. She was married to Alex Henry who I see is mentioned in various articles too. LEE01 I remember your grandparents Lena and Jack very well. They were fabulous people. I too grew up in Birtley. I'm amazed and excited to see so much information about my family. My uncle Jim who was Margaret's son was named James Armstrong Henry, obviously named after her brother. I think he was born shortly after James died.

Edited by Guest
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Wonder if this is the same J Armstrong taken from BNA Ncastle Daily Journal Mon. 2nd Apr '17

armstrong.PNG

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