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Somerset Regiments in India

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David  B

HG,

It is probable that Lee has other information that we don't know about, re this persons battalion.

His medal card is 100 percent legible, and the award of the Indian GS medal is stamped on with a large rubber stamp thus

IND. GS. APGN. NWFF. 1919 (roll 17397.36).

The card is also notated 'replacement card'. As we cannot post cards this is about as far as I can go. Could email if you think necessary.

David

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headgardener
HG,

It is probable that Lee has other information that we don't know about, re this persons battalion.

His medal card is 100 percent legible, and the award of the Indian GS medal is stamped on with a large rubber stamp thus

IND. GS. APGN. NWFF. 1919 (roll 17397.36).

The card is also notated 'replacement card'. As we cannot post cards this is about as far as I can go. Could email if you think necessary.

David

Hi David,

It's the unit details that I'm trying to work out. What's the thing about 'attd 17 Spl Bn'? Was wondering whereabouts on the card it was written, might help me make more sense out of it.

I'm always interested in unusual details on M.I.C.'s.

A bit S.A.D., I know.......

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lee greagsbey

Hello All,

Firstly thank you all for your help and input.

rgartillery, I will try to have alook at The Somerset Light Infantry 1914-1919 by Everard Wyrall.

headgardener, He is Somerset Light Infantry 1/4 Battalion att. 17 Spl Bn. on his Indian General Service medal card only, He is Somerset Light Infantry on his 'replacement WW1 medal card' (Again the attd 17 Spl Bn. Is only on the Indian General Service medal card.)

O.K i will upload the WW 1 medal card, WW 1 medal roll & IGS medal card, but the files are to big to upload so i have to work out how to resize them. I will have ago this evening, if not i will see i i can get it done at work, or PM your e-mail and i will happly send you copies.

Many thanks,

Lee.

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lee greagsbey

post-46814-1276193233.jpg

I have tried to attach James Edgar Smith's IGS medal card i hope this works.

Thanks,

Lee.

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lee greagsbey

I have tried to attach James Edgar Smith's WW1 medal card

Many Thanks,

Lee.

post-46814-1276193453.jpg

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headgardener

Thanks for posting them. I've never seen a copy of the IGS roll before.

Well, the '17 Spl Bn' reference seems to refer to the IGS, rather than to the campaign in Mespot, which is what I was trying to work out earlier. Also, I was assuming that it might be a hand-written reference that was possible to misread (not that I was doubting you for a minute, y'understand).

But there it is, and I have no idea what it refers to. 'Supplementary Battalion' is the best that I can come up with; it sort of sounds right (sort of....) and could have referred to some sort of logistical unit, a composite garrison guard or labour unit. I wonder....

Alternatively, is there an Indian army unit that this could be a contraction of? Not my specialist field, I'm afraid. The only 17th's that I can find in the order of battle are the 17th Dogras and the 17th QV's Poona Horse.

A history of the NWF campaign in 1919 should turn something up, I'd have thought.

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lee greagsbey

Hi headgardener,

No worries about posting the medal cards, as for the IGS roll i found it in the national archives in WO100/469-472

Sorry to ask What is the Mespot campaign ?

Dont worry about asking to see the my information i am grateful for your help.

The Supplementary Battalion is a new idea to me, my nan always said her dad was on the horses in the war and when i was younger, i see a photo on him in which he was wearing a bandolier, but i dont know where the photo is now unfortunately. But i have his cap badge, I wounder if the SLI had a mounted battalion ?

I will do some home work on the NWF campaign, and see what i can find out.

I have a copy of the medal roll that i got from the national archives but cant upload, when i shrink it you cant read it PM me your email and i will email it to you as it has a coded reference on it ?

Many thanks,

Lee.

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David  B

There are references in the SLI history to men being posted to special detatchments (but not who they were), mainly on the NW frontier and in modern day Iraq.

It is possible that the 17th was such a detatchment but I have not come across a mention of it so far. (Lots of heavy reading here about 400 pages worth).

David

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Alan Tucker

Possibly but cannot assume he was SLI. The pub was the Martlett. I grew up there for my first seven years and stayed at the village school until I was 11. We moved to Milverton. I now live in the West Midlands. I am helping a local lady by researching the 70 names on the Roll of Honour of those who served/died which is in the church. I have also found 11 more who should have been on it. Four of those named are my ancestors, including my grandfather - 258 Tunnelling Coy RE.

Alan,

Ancestry's take on the SDGW shows 3 John Young (albeit the second christian name) belonging to the Somerset LI. Could any of these be your man ?

Incidentally L Budville is a delightful village - quaffed many a pint in the pub there - had a mate who lived close by.

David

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headgardener

'Mespot' was the soldier's contraction of the name 'Mesopotamia' (i.e. modern day Iraq). Your man got his BW&VM for service there. Then they went to India (post-war, I think - can anyone confirm this for me?). That's when he earned his IGS, and it was therefore in India that the '17 Spl Bn' service occurs.

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lee greagsbey

Thank you rgartillery,

For the references about the SLI men being posted to special detatchments on the NW frontier and in modern day Iraq, also looking in to 17th detatchment for me.

Thank you for the heavy reading.

Thank you headgardener,

For answering my question about 'Mespot' and the infomation about the medals.

Thank you again,

Lee

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headgardener

Just a quick thought regarding '17 Spl Bn'; you may find the answer by looking again at the IGS roll.

There may be a batch of 4/Som LI men who were all 'attd 17 Spl Bn', and the first few may have that unit's name listed in its entirety. Also it might be interesting (perhaps I should put that in parentheses.....) to work out whether a small or large number of Som LI men were attached to that same unit, or to other similar units. Assuming a battalion is 700-1,000 men, a small number of Som LI men might imply that they were instructors, or something like that. A large number might imply some sort of composite battalion. And what ranks were they?

Maybe there are more interesting things to do in life..........

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Matthew B.

The Special Service Battalions

A large number of personnel from various units were detained in India while en-route to England from Mesoptamia for demobilisation after the end of WW1. These men were formed into Special Service Battalions - I think 18 in total - and all bar the 17th battalion were used as either replacement pools for other British regiments in India or on Internal Security duties in India itself.

The 17th, however were deployed as a line battlion to Baluchistan, and became entitled to the IGS 08/35 claps Afghanistan NWF 1919. Read the award criteria for this medal it gets interesting - it covers a lot of ground! (No pun intended.)

The medals were named to their parent regiments, which means it can get confusing. These units only existed as long as they were needed - they were a very temporary, emergency measure.

I hope that helps.

Matthew

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David  B

Well, that seems to have solved that problem. I am surprised that there was no mention of these units in what I would have called the definitive book

on the SLI. I guess that the special service battalions were formed after the cut off date of the books information.

Cheers David

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Guest bilbo_baggins

Hi

What a fascinating thread this is. I had a great uncle who was a private in the 1st Garrison Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry and who died on 8th July 1918 somewhere in India.

I found his medal card and it indicates that he was in the South Wales Borderers before he joined the Somerset Light Infantry which was interesting to find as he was from Bath. From the CWGC I have also found that he is buried in Rawalpindi War Cemetary but apart from that I know very little else about his service or what happened to him.

I do know his full name, which was Arthur Stanley Treby, and the information from the CWGC site regarding where he lived and who his wife was tallies with the rest of the information I have. However, until I found this thread I have had great difficulty locating any information about that forgotten frontier which was Northern India.

I will see if I can track down the books mentioned but if anyone has any other information that can shed any light on where or how he might had died then I would be grateful.

Kindest regards

Malcolm Cottle

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Maureene

Malcolm,

The Garrison Battalions were made up of soldiers unfit for front line duty.

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=149267&p=1435248

1st Garrison Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry
 was formed in Plymouth in January 1917.
 Moved to India in February 1917. Joined Rawalpindi Brigade in 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division.

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

The FIBIS Fibiwiki contains a page North West Frontier Campaigns

http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/North_West_Frontier_Campaigns

If you look in the section "Historical Books online" there are a few which relate to the WW1 period. It would appear that in the period June 1918 to April 1919 there was nothing of interest to report on the North West Frontier.

1918 was the year the influenza pandemic started. I don’t know when it reached India, but apparently millions died. There must be a reasonable chance your great uncle died from this but there were also many deaths from dysentery type disease.

You may be able to locate a burial record. Try Family Search, https://familysearch.org (Select Search, Asia, India Deaths) or the Overseas Army Deaths which are explained in http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Chaplains_Returns

If you locate a transcribed index record on Family Search, you can request a free copy of the full record http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/FamilySearch_Centres

If you find a reference in the Overseas Army Deaths, you can request a copy from the GRO

Cheers

Maureen

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Jezzageorge

I have this lovely 1887 pattern bayonet for the Martini Henry rifle, captured by the Somerset Light infantry on the North West Frontier...)1919 is the year..tag covering part of it I have just noticed)

Interesting date....Jabbi is a small settled area in the tribal lands if I remember correctly..

I grew up in Somerset and so felt very attached to this piece but having lived in Australia for 49 years I feel it is time to pass it on...no paperwork on item...all research was done without keeping any...

p.m me if interested in buying..

FDDDCA1D-9531-4A57-8F78-7FFE1D67B907.jpeg

92E9C54E-92C7-4178-9DC4-CA76A89AA96F.jpeg

Edited by Jezzageorge

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