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Remembered Today:

Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles


renny
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anyone know where I can find out more about the draft that was rushed off to France at the end of March 1918 ? I have read Jill Knight's wonderful book but what I really need is a list of the men who formed that draft.

I believe my cousin, Donald Herbert Cook, ( born July 31 1899 ) was amongst those men. All I have to go on is that his old school magazine in 1917 says that he is part of the Civil Service Rifles.

any info anybody has would be great !

cheers

Renny

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I believe my cousin, Donald Herbert Cook, ( born July 31 1899 ) was amongst those men. All I have to go on is that his old school magazine in 1917 says that he is part of the Civil Service Rifles.

The History Of The Prince Of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles, lists a certain COOK D H as one of those 'other ranks'. So it would appear that he did serve in the regiment.

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Hello Mike

wow ! that was quick ! What excellent news. Does it say anything else like which Battalion he was with? I assume as ' other ranks ' that will mean a Private. I will have to try and find the book now. I have been trying to find out more about Don for the last 2 years and got nowhere - I only signed up to this forum this week and I've already had a breakthrough !

many, many thanks !

Renny

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Hello Mike

wow ! that was quick ! What excellent news. Does it say anything else like which Battalion he was with? I assume as ' other ranks ' that will mean a Private. I will have to try and find the book now. I have been trying to find out more about Don for the last 2 years and got nowhere - I only signed up to this forum this week and I've already had a breakthrough !

many, many thanks !

Renny

I haven't come across him in the text yet, so no derring-do I'm afraid. If you want to get hold of the book, try The Naval & Military Press Ltd. You can order/buy the book on line from the url www.naval-military-press.com.

Have you tried locating his Medal Index Card (MIC) at the National Archives? That might (should) give some indication of which battalion he was in and list which medals he was entitled to.

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If he was "rushed off to France" it would have been the 1st Battalion. The 2nd served in the Middle East

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I live a fair way from Kew so I ended up getting an expert to go in and search the records for the three Cooks. He found two of them as they became officers but he tiold me that although he had searched for Donald Herbert he came up with nothing as most 'other ranks' records had been destroyed during the second world war - and I think that includes Medal Index Cards as well. Anyway he said he couldn't find anything.

If I could just find out exactly which battalion he was in I could trace his story through the battalion war diaries.

thanks again!

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Renny

You may be interested that some years ago, I bought the book referred to earlier (The Prince of Wales own Civil Service Rifles) on a website "abebooks" I have had a quick look on this site today and there are several copies available, which may make it more economic than a visit to Kew (though this is fascinating in its own right). Your relative is listed in the index on page 431 but as far as I can see, there is no direct reference to him in the text.

I also obtained my father's war records some years ago. If these still exist for your relative, these may give you some clues as, for example, they gave dates of enlistment, embarkation dates for France, leave etc.

Good luck

Graham

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thanks Graham and Michael. I'll have a look at abebooks. As I said in an earlier post the chap who looked for war records at Kew couldn't find anything for Donald Herbert Cook.

do you think it is worth me getting him to dig out the war diary for the 1st Battalion ?

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Just a note of caution.

He may have enlisted in the Civil Service Rifles but that doesn't necessarily mean he served with them in France- he could have been with them from enlistment through 1917 but taken in a rush in a draft in 1918 and transferred to another regiment. There is only one Donald H. Cook in the MICs and he served in the Machine Gun Corps.

Unfortunately the medal rolls for the MGC don't include dates of entry into theatres but an MGC expert might be able to tell you roughly when this particular Donald H.Cook received his MGC number. Hopefully it will be a 1918 number!

It doesn't appear there is a D. Cook or Donald Cook who served in the CSR from the MICs so it's unlikely he went overseas with them- or at least he might have landed but was immediately transferred. MICs weren't affected by the bombing so except for a few rare cases they have all survived.

I think at this point all you can definitively say is that he served in 3rd Bn in the UK at least through some point in 1917 and probably into 1918.

best regards,

Matthew

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Matthew

thanks for that. I must admit that my theory was only based on guesswork and the fact that the school magazine reports him as joining the civil service rifles. Based on his age ( born July 31 1899) the timing for my theory could fit - just.

Do you know if it is it possible to view medal index cards online ?

And , if so, how do I get an expert to verify the number?

Is it possible that his name doesn't appear in the medal index cards because his war record has been lost/destroyed?

But surely he must have served with the civil service rifles in some capacity to be listed in the official history - or is it possible he was with the csr, sent to the machine gun corps and then back to the csr?

Any advice/ thoughts you could give me would be a great help - I really must get to the bottom of this!

cheers

Renny

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Matthew

by some coincidence I have just come across the following obituary for a West Kent chap by the name of Gillett :

September 16 - KILLED IN ACTION. - Many in this district will much regret to hear of the death of 2nd. Lieut. Fredk. T. Gillett, a popular lad who received his education at North House School, Crawley, and who was greatly esteemed by all who knew him. He was a son of Councillor and Mrs. F. Gillett, of The Pines, Bromley, and was 19 years of age. Since leaving Crawley, he was learning the woollen business at Peebles, Scotland and then he joined the Dragoon Guards at Dunbar on the outbreak of war.

After training at Aldershot he was sent to the Front with a draft in May last year. Two months later he was called out and offered a commission, and, after spending a period of further training at the General Headquarters, was gazetted, at his own request, to the Royal West Kents. He served a year with the regiment and was senior subaltern at the time of his death, which occurred when he was leading his men in an attack on a wood. For some time his fate was uncertain, but a letter from the Lieut-Col. commanding the Battalion conveyed definite news of young Gillett’s death.

In this the C. O. wrote : “ He was killed when with his platoon in an assault on an enemy trench. When getting near the trench the Battalion came under very heavy machine gun fire from a wood on our left, which the Battalion on our left had been unable to get possession of. Your son was shot through the head and killed immediately. I need hardly tell you how I feel his death, as I had always found him a most conscientious officer who could always be relied on to do all in his power to carry out his duties. I have never met a harder worker or a more conscientious officer.” -

The Bromley Town Council passed a vote of condolence with Councillor and Mrs. Gillett in their sad bereavement, and many Crawley people who had the pleasure of young Gillett’s acquaintance will join in this expression of sympathy at his unfortunate death.

I am researching and writing a book about Crawley and the Great War and the North House School referred to here was attended by all the Cook family - in fact they very probably knew each other. Hows that for a coincidence ?

anyway I hope this is of use to you

cheers

Renny

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Renny,

Thanks for the info on Gillett.

Here is the potential MIC for Donald Herbert. The reference needs to be 'translated' and checked on the Machine Gun Corps medal roll, but I fear it probably won't have much additional information. I'd suggest starting a thread asking for estimates when number 146802 in the MGC may have been issued.

The MICs were kept in a separate place from the Service files, so were unaffected by the bombing.

As there doesn't appear to be a D.Cook entitled to a medal with the CSR it strongly suggests he transferred somewhere else prior to going to France. He must have served with the CSR in UK, per your school record and the CSR history, but you only got medals for serving overseas with the regiment you were assigned to at that time. He must have been in a different regiment and his service with CSR wouldn't have qualified him for any medals.

Hope this helps,

Matthew

post-2343-1251162383.jpg

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Matthew,

that's brilliant - I think you're right - it's certainly looking more and more likely.

If I come across any more West Kents I'll be sure to pass it on to you.

many, many thanks

Renny

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