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Remembered Today:

Researching Pte A E Griffiths - Tank Corps


MsPersistant

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As an absolute beginner to this forum...please excuse any clumsy mistakes - although I will endevour to avoid this!

I have been trying to trace back my grandfather Alfred Edward Griffiths to the Great War. He was born in Swindon - September 1896 and served in the Tank Corps - Pte A E Griffiths 309146 - but I have been unable to establish what regiment or division?

Somehow he managed to return safely although he may have been injured - as a tiny tot - I vaguely remember him telling my grandmother that his "plate" was playing up and rubbing his wrist-?

He is long gone now...as is gran and his only child...which leaves me to pick up the past. My grandmother outlived him by about five or six years...but sadly - just before she died - she "put her house in order" and disposed of many papers and belongings. This included my grandfather's medals - I was far too young to realise what a catastrophe this was and only now conjure up a vague memory of the X3 medals and ribbons and did not even get to hold them...so would not have seen any embossing / info on them.

Something in the back of my mind seems to remember Africa being mentioned - but so young then I would have dismissed this as unthinkable as I was naive enough to think that far back in time...ordinary folk did not travel the world.

After the war he became a linesman for the GPO and by the time WW2 came around he was deemed a) too old and B) more useful carrying on this work - as far as I know - he was in the 22nd Hants (32nd GPO) Battalion Home Guard where he was the section comd. possibly "D" Company - Swindon.

That is all I know for now...can any of you wise forum members guide me in the right direction? Swindon has a wonderful book within the library archives - that can be looked at (but not borrowed...quite rightly!) But not knowing where or what he was serving with...I am very lost.

Thanking you in hope of help...MsPersistant!

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You may have to go to the National Archieves in London. You need to check the medal rolls and you might be lucky to see the Battalion your relative was in. The reference will be WO 329 and then you need to find the actual roll for the medal number ie 309146.

Your relative would have been a late entry to tank Corps with that number - was in he another regiment beforehand?

17tankman

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You may have to go to the National Archieves in London. You need to check the medal rolls and you might be lucky to see the Battalion your relative was in. The reference will be WO 329 and then you need to find the actual roll for the medal number ie 309146.

Your relative would have been a late entry to tank Corps with that number - was in he another regiment beforehand?

17tankman

The medal index card is attached (reverse is blank). The reference shown in red next to "Victory" is the one you need to find the medal roll referred to by 17tankman. The list of abbreviations in black is unusual and hopefully a medal expert can explain what they mean.

John

post-21130-1248808003.jpg

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The black writing is for the Territorial War Medal. The qualification for this was roughly:

- Was a Territorial soldier.

- Had volunteered for overseas service before 30th September 1914.

- But did not go overseas to a QUALIFYING theatre of War until after 1-1-1916 (e.g. he could have served in the UK, or overseas somewhere like India) thus not qualifying for the 1914-15 Star or 1914 Star.

- later served overseas in a QUALIFYING (i.e. active) theatre of war thus qualifying for the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

It is a rare medal, but actually fairly "common" to the Hampshire Regiment. See:

http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishgu..._medal_1914.htm

It is a pretty distinctive ribbon that you might well remember!

It is possible that some of the early service could have been on garrison duty somewhere in the Empire, maybe even in Africa?

If you look at the Hampshire Regiment page on the Long, Long Trail many of the Hampshire Regiment Territorial battalions (4th to 8th battalions) saw garrison service in India. For example, nearly all of the 1/6th (Duke of Connaughts) Battalion would have qualified for the combination of TFWM & BWM/VM.

http://www.1914-1918.net/hants.htm

Do you know where he was living at the outbreak of war, as nearly all pre-war territorials were in very local battalions due to the part time nature of the service in Territorial battalions before they went full-time in August 1914. Would it have been hampshire, or was he definitely in Swindon, and thus probably in a Wiltshire Regiment Territorial battalion?

The Tank Corps served mainly on the Western Front, but a few tanks turned up in the battles in Palestine in 1917 and 1918, and in other Middle-Eastern theatres of war.

Steve.

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You may have to go to the National Archieves in London. You need to check the medal rolls and you might be lucky to see the Battalion your relative was in. The reference will be WO 329 and then you need to find the actual roll for the medal number ie 309146.

Your relative would have been a late entry to tank Corps with that number - was in he another regiment beforehand?

17tankman

Thank you very much 17tankman for your prompt reply...how interesting already...I would not have guessed you could know he was a late entry to the tank Corps from the info I gave...and have no idea how he came to enlist? I assumed by the timing - he had simply gone to join up as a result of the Great War commencing.

You have inspired me to take up the search again! Ms Persistant.

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The medal index card is attached (reverse is blank). The reference shown in red next to "Victory" is the one you need to find the medal roll referred to by 17tankman. The list of abbreviations in black is unusual and hopefully a medal expert can explain what they mean.

John

Thank you "johnt" I forgot to mention I had actually managed to get this far and had investigated the medal rolls a long time ago. So I had seen this card about two years ago...but had not actually made much sense of it at all - so eventually put it away in a box and tried various other approaches. I am thrilled at your explanation...I had wondered why there only seemed to be X2 out of the usual X3 mentioned...I did not realise that the third was indicated via the black printing! Thank you so much...I am newly inspired.

Ms Persistant

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I had wondered why there only seemed to be X2 out of the usual X3 mentioned...I did not realise that the third was indicated via the black printing! Thank you so much...I am newly inspired.

Ms Persistant

I think stebie9173 will be able to provide a far more authoritative explanation - but roughly speaking, he would only have been entitled to the third medal (the 1914-15 Star) if he served overseas during that period. It seems he was initially in the Territorials so may not have gone to France until he joined the Tank Corps.

Forgot to mention the other main source of information - if you're lucky his service records may have survived at the National Archives. They are available online at the Ancestry.com site, but so poorly indexed that it is a long job to search through them. I had a quick look and there are plenty of Alfred Griffiths, but none that obviously matched (in terms of date of birth, place of enlistment, unit etc). If you have the time you could do a proper search through the microfilms at Kew, but many of these records were destroyed and it would be a long shot.

All the best, John

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The black writing is for the Territorial War Medal. The qualification for this was roughly:

- Was a Territorial soldier.

- Had volunteered for overseas service before 30th September 1914.

- But did not go overseas to a QUALIFYING theatre of War until after 1-1-1916 (e.g. he could have served in the UK, or overseas somewhere like India) thus not qualifying for the 1914-15 Star or 1914 Star.

- later served overseas in a QUALIFYING (i.e. active) theatre of war thus qualifying for the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

It is a rare medal, but actually fairly "common" to the Hampshire Regiment. See:

http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishgu..._medal_1914.htm

It is a pretty distinctive ribbon that you might well remember!

It is possible that some of the early service could have been on garrison duty somewhere in the Empire, maybe even in Africa?

If you look at the Hampshire Regiment page on the Long, Long Trail many of the Hampshire Regiment Territorial battalions (4th to 8th battalions) saw garrison service in India. For example, nearly all of the 1/6th (Duke of Connaughts) Battalion would have qualified for the combination of TFWM & BWM/VM.

http://www.1914-1918.net/hants.htm

Do you know where he was living at the outbreak of war, as nearly all pre-war territorials were in very local battalions due to the part time nature of the service in Territorial battalions before they went full-time in August 1914. Would it have been hampshire, or was he definitely in Swindon, and thus probably in a Wiltshire Regiment Territorial battalion?

The Tank Corps served mainly on the Western Front, but a few tanks turned up in the battles in Palestine in 1917 and 1918, and in other Middle-Eastern theatres of war.

Steve.

Thanks so much "Stebie9173"...your reply was astonishingly informative. I feel the need to go away and quietly absorb! Wonderful pics of the medal too...felt quite emotional looking at them - that was nearer and more visually depictive than my memory from all those years ago! I will certainly check out the info on the Hampshire Regiment within the Long, Long Road too.

As for your query as to his whereabouts at the outbreak of the Great War - I am guessing he was in Swindon? I have researched and he appears to have been born in Highworth...which was just on the outskirts of Swindon and after the war had ended - he married in 1924 - leaving his family home that was in central Swindon. He then stayed throughout the rest of his life and I was not aware of any travelling to "foreign parts" - however...like many of his generation - they were very modest of their achievements and so I am sadly lacking in any information as to what happened in his life before I came along.

My grandparents must have lived in their home from the thirties and onwards to the end of their lives. During WW2 as I briefly noted in my post - he served as section comd. in 22nd Hants (32nd GPO) Battalian Home Guard - I am guessing this was "D" Company in Swindon and will try to research this as soon I can scrabble together a bit of free time.

Thank you for re-inspiring me...how suprised he would be! Ms Persistant

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I can't see a service record for Alfred Edward Griffiths, but there are a few service records for men with similar numbers.

- Benjamin Leigh started in the Royal Engineers in 1916 and transferred to the Tank Corps (posted to the Tank Corps Depot) on 6th March 1918, No. 309152. He went overseas on 6th May 1918 and was posted to 11th Battalion Tank Corps on 11th June 1918.

- William Kermick Forsyth served in the 1st/14th London Regiment in 1916 and transferred to the Tank Corps No. 309170, exact date unknown but in early 1918. He went to France on 2nd May 1918 and was posted to 3rd Battalion Tank Corps on 16th May 1918.

- Arthur Edward Foss served in the East Surrey Regiment and then the Royal Fusiliers from 13th May 1917. He transferred to the Tank Corps on 12th March 1918, No. 309186, and served at the Tank Depot at Wareham until going back to France on 15th May 1918 joining the Tank Corps Reiforcement Depot in France. He was then posted to 12th Battalion of the Tank Corps on 6th July 1918.

Based on the above it would seem that he probably transferred to the Tank Corps in March 1918, and went to France in early summer 1918, but as to which Tank Battalion he went to I couldn't say!

I hope this helps,

Steve.

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Just to add something. The tank training was from 3 to 6 months and some of the later battalions never made it abroad or if the soldier did make it he was held in a training depot in France and when he had finished was moved up to the front. Also in the tank corps not everyone was in tanks so as not to disappoint. There were supply & repair battalions etc as well in the Tank Corps.

I picked up a nice medal to a Major in the tank corps and assumed he was leading the charge in tanks but after careful research found out he was the Chief Engineer in C Battalion.

Good luck

17tankman

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I can't see a service record for Alfred Edward Griffiths, but there are a few service records for men with similar numbers.

- Benjamin Leigh started in the Royal Engineers in 1916 and transferred to the Tank Corps (posted to the Tank Corps Depot) on 6th March 1918, No. 309152. He went overseas on 6th May 1918 and was posted to 11th Battalion Tank Corps on 11th June 1918.

- William Kermick Forsyth served in the 1st/14th London Regiment in 1916 and transferred to the Tank Corps No. 309170, exact date unknown but in early 1918. He went to France on 2nd May 1918 and was posted to 3rd Battalion Tank Corps on 16th May 1918.

- Arthur Edward Foss served in the East Surrey Regiment and then the Royal Fusiliers from 13th May 1917. He transferred to the Tank Corps on 12th March 1918, No. 309186, and served at the Tank Depot at Wareham until going back to France on 15th May 1918 joining the Tank Corps Reiforcement Depot in France. He was then posted to 12th Battalion of the Tank Corps on 6th July 1918.

Based on the above it would seem that he probably transferred to the Tank Corps in March 1918, and went to France in early summer 1918, but as to which Tank Battalion he went to I couldn't say!

I hope this helps,

Steve.

Here I am again...just in from work and busy as always! Thanks again for this Steve...my usual hunting ground is Ancestry - so I too had tried to look at both service and pension records there...but no luck? I am slightly mystified by this as his pension records must be somewhere as he died in the early 70's. Maybe I have to wait until more info is released? Maybe as I did wonder - I should try to track backwards from his Home Guard posting in WW2 and see if that throws anything into focus?

In a fit of "I wish"...I would like to track down and reclaim his medals back - but think that would be just too much of a whim...I know some people strike lucky - but that does not generally include me.

Thanks for your time...much, much appreciated - Ms Persistant.

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Just to add something. The tank training was from 3 to 6 months and some of the later battalions never made it abroad or if the soldier did make it he was held in a training depot in France and when he had finished was moved up to the front. Also in the tank corps not everyone was in tanks so as not to disappoint. There were supply & repair battalions etc as well in the Tank Corps.

I picked up a nice medal to a Major in the tank corps and assumed he was leading the charge in tanks but after careful research found out he was the Chief Engineer in C Battalion.

Good luck

17tankman

Back again to say a quick thankyou Mr Tankman...for your add-on above! How I wish I had known my grandfather as a younger man...or that there had not been such a yawning chasm of age between us (sixty five years) and then I could have asked him myself 1-1...better late than never though - I am so grateful for your help.

If you ever come across any medals with Griffiths on...let me know :o) Kind regards...Ms Persistant

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