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Sherlock Holmes needed to find any clues in this photograph


Steve Bodie
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Hi

As mentioned in the title, I am struggling to get to the bottom of what regiment etc my ancestor joined.

In the attached photo taken in 1916, the man sitting down with a belt round his chest in the middle row, has just got married and he is Frederick Lewis. He is wearing uniform, but from my untrained eye there is very little to go by....or is there?

As there are a number of Frederick Lewis's when trying to find his Medal card, I am trying to find other clues and am hoping this is one.

Details known about him:

Name: Frederick Lewis

Estimated Birth Year: abt 1894

Father's Name: Frederick

Mother's Name: Maggie

Gender: Male

Where born: Rugby, Warwickshire, England

Civil Parish: Rugby

Ecclesiastical parish: St Matthew

Town: Rugby

County/Island: Warwickshire

Country: England

Household Members: Name Age

Frederick Lewis 33

Maggie Lewis 31

Frederick Lewis 7 -----------------

Rose Lewis 5

Albert Lewis 4

Lewis Lewis 1

Ann Lewis 74

post-43828-1236950153.jpg

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Can you do a close up on the cap badge, held by man on back right?

Bandolier always suggests a mounted arm of the service - cavalry, artillery, Army Service Corps. Lanyard often means RFA etc. The badge could be RA and that might clinch it.

Hang on for more experts...

D

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Looks like an RA capbadge to me! Add that to the bandolier and white(ish) lanyard worn on the left shoulder and you have an RA Gunner. I'll go with Daggers on this one.

Woolly

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SB

Aren't there any details on the marriage certificate?

Mel

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Hi Mel

It says "Soldier" on the marriage certificate and that is all sadly.

Thanks Mike....seems fairly conclusive.

Cheers

Steve

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Well he may have been a soldier but if he was in the RFA he would have been known as Gunner Lewis.

Any medals lying around or have they all disappeared?

Cheers

Mike Tomkinson

Bradford

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Well he may have been a soldier but if he was in the RFA he would have been known as Gunner Lewis.

Any medals lying around or have they all disappeared?

Cheers

Mike Tomkinson

Bradford

Thanks Mike, no sadly no medals left or anything.

not sure I've even got enough to find his Medal card.

All the best

Steve

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He is definately a gunner, the lanyards worn by all the soldiers is the clue. Medal cards are available on www.ancestry.co.uk from this you should be able to find his service number. If he was serving prior to the outbreak of war he may be found in other records such as army pensions. The website mentioned does charge a fee however but if you know someonewho is researching their family tree they may be able to access the information.

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Steve

It should be possible to reduce the 31 MICs for the RFA list of Frederick Lewises to a small number.

The fact that there are three RFAs in the same photograph suggests that they have trained together and have yet to serve overseas - the marriage was probably in anticipation of that.

It seems unlikely to be a second line RFA TF unit - the closest in proximity to Rugby would be the South Midlands RFA TF and there is no MIC for a Frederick Lewis in the 825xxx - 850xxx six figure renumbering range.

If that reasoning is right then we are looking at a regular/service RFA number and entry into the theatre of war in 1916.

So eliminate:

all incompatible middle initials

CWGC casualties

all MICs with only six figure numbers

all remaining MICs with entitlement to a trio.

This process of elimination should then leave you with a handful for number sequencing and identifying the potential candidate.

Regards

Mel

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He is definately a gunner, the lanyards worn by all the soldiers is the clue. Medal cards are available on www.ancestry.co.uk from this you should be able to find his service number. If he was serving prior to the outbreak of war he may be found in other records such as army pensions. The website mentioned does charge a fee however but if you know someonewho is researching their family tree they may be able to access the information.

thanks Phil

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Also consider whether one of his soldier comrades could have witnessed his marriage?

Steve.

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Steve

It should be possible to reduce the 31 MICs for the RFA list of Frederick Lewises to a small number.

The fact that there are three RFAs in the same photograph suggests that they have trained together and have yet to serve overseas - the marriage was probably in anticipation of that.

It seems unlikely to be a second line RFA TF unit - the closest in proximity to Rugby would be the South Midlands RFA TF and there is no MIC for a Frederick Lewis in the 825xxx - 850xxx six figure renumbering range.

If that reasoning is right then we are looking at a regular/service RFA number and entry into the theatre of war in 1916.

So eliminate:

all incompatible middle initials

CWGC casualties

all MICs with only six figure numbers

all remaining MICs with entitlement to a trio.

This process of elimination should then leave you with a handful for number sequencing and identifying the potential candidate.

Regards

Mel

Hi Mel

Thanks for your continued help with this "Hunt".....we're getting there.

I'm really sorry I'm not sure if I understand fully what you mean re:

1. "It seems unlikely to be a second line RFA TF unit - the closest in proximity to Rugby would be the South Midlands RFA TF and there is no MIC for a Frederick Lewis in the 825xxx - 850xxx six figure renumbering range."

2. all MICs with only six figure numbers

3. all remaining MICs with entitlement to a trio.

Cheers for your help

All the best

Steve

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Not sure if someone else mentioned this but does he not have a good conduct chevron on his lower left arm?.. is that 2? years good conduct/service? I would wonder on whether a 5 figure number for a 1914 (or earlier?) enlistment would be a possibility .. maybe I am imagining it ..? .. not sure how the chevrons worked .. doubtless someone can advise (if it exists..). IF he was a regular RFA his number would probably be c.66000 or higher for a 1912 enlistment (at 18..)

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Dave

I had noticed that but I am convinced that it is just a crease. It is the same colour as the crease at the top of the sleeve and it is in the wrong place for a good conduct chevron if the sleeve was straightened.

Mel

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Steve

The photograph is highly unusual for mid war simply because it appears that there are three men from the same unit.

In RFA terms that means that they are either regular/service enlistees that have completed their training together or they are part of a second line TF brigade/battery - either way, they are awaiting posting to F&F.

So, to answer your questions:

1. "It seems unlikely to be a second line RFA TF unit - the closest in proximity to Rugby would be the South Midlands RFA TF and there is no MIC for a Frederick Lewis in the 825xxx - 850xxx six figure renumbering range."

If Frederick was a Terrier then the expectation would be that he would be part of the South Midlands TF - but there is no MIC to support that. The TF RFA was renumbered in the first quarter of 1917 and ther is no MIC for him within the block of numbers that were allocated to the South Midalnds.

2. all MICs with only six figure numbers

These cards are for RFA TF second line units from other regions of the UK so can be discounted.

3. all remaining MICs with entitlement to a trio.

Only those that had entered the theatre of war before 1916 were entitled to a Star - anyone after was only entitled to the pair.

As I have explained there are a number of informed assumptions at work here - they are not infallible but provide the best guide in the circumstances.

Regards

Mel

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Steve

What was the date of the wedding and what was Frederick's middle name?

Mel

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Steve

What was the date of the wedding and what was Frederick's middle name?

Mel

Hi Mel

The wedding was February 10th 1916, however there is no mention anywhere of a middle name............He was living at 14 Plowman Street Rugby........the wedding was also Rugby........

Cheers

Steve

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Steve

Does that include the birth certificate?

Mel

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Steve

Does that include the birth certificate?

Mel

I'm afraid I don't have a birth certificate for him.........................

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Steve

Ok - if there is no middle name on the marriage certificate, we can assume that he may not have had one.

Ironically, it does not make a great deal of difference. Based on the methodology that I have explained, the most likely candidate is Frederick Lewis RFA 113493. He is the only one of the 31 possibles that fits the timeframe perfectly.

Here are a few comparables:

113332 Clarence Bailey enlisted 16/10/15 sent to F&F 15/3/16

113429 Frederick Brampton enlisted 18/10/15 sent to F&F 3/6/16

113997 Robert Chapman enlisted 19/10/15 sent to F&F 8/3/16

They were recruited from different parts of the country. So your Frederick is likely to have enlisted mid October 1915, married February 1916 and sent to F&F from March 1916 onwards.

Mel

Regards

Mel

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Steve

Ok - if there is no middle name on the marriage certificate, we can assume that he may not have had one.

Ironically, it does not make a great deal of difference. Based on the methodology that I have explained, the most likely candidate is Frederick Lewis RFA 113493. He is the only one of the 31 possibles that fits the timeframe perfectly.

Here are a few comparables:

113332 Clarence Bailey enlisted 16/10/15 sent to F&F 15/3/16

113429 Frederick Brampton enlisted 18/10/15 sent to F&F 3/6/16

113997 Robert Chapman enlisted 19/10/15 sent to F&F 8/3/16

They were recruited from different parts of the country. So your Frederick is likely to have enlisted mid October 1915, married February 1916 and sent to F&F from March 1916 onwards.

Mel

Regards

Mel

Hi Mel

Thank you again, I will look into that. Just to let you know, I don't know if you recall but you helped me track a lewis lewis (frederick's brother) I've tracked down who has their hands on his medals.......seeing as I don't own a single artefact from family history, seeing these will be fantastic.

Thanks

Steve

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