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Remembered Today:

Service Number Changes


johnnie
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I was wondering if somebody might be able to help me.

I am trying to find out when soldiers who had served with Territorial Battalions had there old

numbers changed over to new numbers?

Is there a chance that if a man had been killed during the change over, his new number might not have been

listed on his MIC? Or, if he had been listed as missing, and re-numbered while missing might his new number be

on his grave/CWGC entry, while only his Territorial number is listed on his MIC?

Jonathan

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All TF numbers were changed in early 1917. Problems arise with the 'MIA's' as they can't be officially declared 'dead' until a due process of confirmation has been completed. You have lads from the Northumberland's(including Territorials) who went MIA in late 1916, who remained on unit nominal rolls and in the case of TF lads they were often renumbered as they weren't 'officially' declared as dead.

Now whether all County TFA's followed this procedure I couldn't say, but in among the NF Medal Rolls you do find the odd "Presumed Dead", wherebye even in 1920 the fate of the individual was still unknown. I think that the time period for declaring someone 'dead' who was missing was something like 6months, but haven't got my notes to hand to confirm this.

In the case of the NF you can easily determine who was MIA as the bulk of them(but certainly not all) are listed as "Died". However someone once told me I was wrong and that it was to describe "natural causes", wherebye my answer was if they all died of natural causes on the 1st July 1916 then "I'd eat hay with a cuddy". This was the whole purpose of the introduction of the Red Cross "Enquiry List".

Who are you looking for, if I may be so bold as to ask?

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The man in question is Private William Mitchell, 5/2229.

His MIC states Pres Dead, however I cannot find him on the CWGC or SDGW.

I have however come across the following man:

L/Cpl William Mitchell, 1st/5th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers, 240353, missing 14/11/1916.

This second chap seem to lack a MIC, and I am wondering if he might be 5/2229.

I am wondering if, as he was posted missing at the back end of 1916, the number he is listed with on the CWGC and SDGW is his new number, and that his new number hasn't been added to his MIC.

He is is the correct Battalion, had the same name, and as there is not a MIC for 240353 I cannot think of any other option but to assume that 240353 was the number given to 5/2229.

Jonathan

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5/2229 and 240353 L/Cpl William Mitchell died 14/11/1916 are indeed the same person. He's recorded as being wounded in May 1915, but he's not recorded as missing until June 1917 and commemorated on Thiepval Memorial. By 1917 casualty lists were well behind the actual fatality/wounding/missing date.

Sources to locate him are SDGW; Thiepval Memorial Register; St.Georges Gazette; NF Medal Roll.

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Many thanks for confirming the details. I felt sure it was the same man.

I assume the details you noted about the wounding came from the St Georges Gazette. I wonder if he may have been wounded during the attack on St Julien on the 26th of April as the Battalion had 111 casualties as a result of the action (Westlake, British Battalions on the Western Front). I would have thought these casualties would have been listed during May.

A while back I also carried out some research on a chap called Walter Halford who was also killed on the 14th November 1916 (you sent me details about him). He also seems to have had a similar numbering change as he had been 4/3722 before moving to the 5th Btn where he was 5/6739. His final number, which the CWGC list, was 241974, which would, like with Mitchell, suggest he was re-numbered while being list as missing.

Jonathan

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