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Liz in Eastbourne

21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen

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Liz in Eastbourne

Mark

Many thanks for establishing via the Brigade Diary the brief stay at Mametz Wood, which as you say is not mentioned in the battalion diary. I think that's transcribed somewhere on this thread already, and  because it was so skimpy I made great efforts to find the appendices at the NA, without success, as they've been destroyed. 

 

But I ought to have checked Meysey-Thompson's diary, which is at the IWM and I obtained a photocopy years ago.  He was the C/O of B Company (Woolley was in B Company, it is stated on his military record) and his diary does contain this information, with the stay in Mametz Wood overnight  10-11 but actually in the early hours of 11 October.

He says:

'October 10

Spent a fairly quiet day, the weather fine and warm. Relieved about 10pm by the Highland Battalion... A certain amount of shelling going down, but no casualties.  Progress very slow as Turk Trench was packed with casualties going up.  (My bold.)

October 11

Reached Thistle Dump at about 2am. The cookers met us with a hot meal for the men.  Met Ewen, who took me to the TMB headquarters dug-out where I had a welcome warm at a fire and a hot toddy.  After a rest mounted my horse and led the Company back to Mametz wood where we found our camp all ready for us. Off again about 9 o'clock and took an empty construction train down the valley to Fricourt near which we went into quite a good camp.'

So strictly speaking they were there on 11 October.  No mention of any casualties here either.

 

I still don't think Woolley was killed at Mametz Wood.  Like a number of others whose names are on the Thiepval Memorial, his SDGW and CWGC entries do say '10 October.'  But his record says '5/10 October' with no mention of his being found, and SDGW says 'Killed in action'.  Exactly the same is true of Sergeant-Major Brown, who we know died instantly at the same time as Lt Yeaman on 6 October, and Lance-Corporal Matthew Williamson, who was in B Company as well.  It's like the business of the Flers casualties saying 15/17 September - the record keepers didn't know exactly when the missing men had died.

 

There's no mention of any family papers with Woolley's medal and I suspect whoever researched him took the date '10 October' at face value and researched backwards from that, not knowing that the Gird Ridge casualties were often arbitrarily given the death date '10 October'.

 

EDIT  As previously noted, the heading to Woolley's entry on the DNW site says 7 October - much more likely.

 

 

 

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne

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MBrockway

Liz - excellent analysis - I fully agree.

Mark

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Liz in Eastbourne

Thanks, Mark, glad you agree.

I've just edited my post because Brown was formerly B Coy Sergeant-Major, not in B Coy at the time of is death, but it doesn't really affect the argument.

Liz

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Alan24

I've now completed the write up on CSM John Brown.

 

Thanks goes to Provost, Mark B, Mark1959 and Liz who have provided signposts along the way, here and elsewhere. It's what the GWF does best!

 

I think the text is too long to post in one go so here it is in pdf.

 

Regards

 

Alan.

58 John Brown.pdf

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pg6907
On 17/03/2011 at 02:07, Liz in Eastbourne said:

Thanks, David. The Army records have to be checked at the NA, don't they? I shall have to upgrade my Ancestry subscription again for passenger lists and do them all in one fell swoop - though I think, given the RFC/RAF chaps defected form the 21/KRRC before they departed for the Somme, they are a small part of this particular story.

This man on the other hand is altogether mysterious, in terms of his background and what happened to him. EDIT see postscript.

Temporary Lieutenant William Gregson

Sitting on the ground at the front of the photo on the far right.

Gregson.jpg.01721f669c3570f03e24fc7d6fb722d1.jpg

I've gathered information from the London Gazette about the early part of Gregson's military career, and some from his Silver War Badge card about the end of it, but very little else. He had been in the South Staffordshire Regiment, and joined the Yeoman Rifles before Christmas 1915, so presumably at Helmsley:

LG 29397 7 Dec 1915 p 12304
The King's Royal Rifle Corps.
The undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants to be temporary Second Lieutenants : —
Dated 22nd November, 1915.
William Gregson, from The South Staffordshire Regiment.
LG 29426 31 Dec 1915
The King's Royal Rifle Corps.
The appointments and transfers of the undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants, notified in previous Gazettes, are antedated to the 29th September, 1915, but not to carry pay or allowances prior to the dates specified against their names: —
….
William Gregson. 22nd November, 1915.

He was rapidly promoted:

LG 29443 of 18 Jan 1916 Supp of 19 Jan p 818
The King's Royal Rifle Corps.
The undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants to be temporary Lieutenants: —
William Gregson. Dated 25th November,.1915.

.After that I have nothing: there are several William Gregsons on census records but none obviously the right one.

The Silver War Badge card application for Lieut W Gregson 21/KRRC, address Pen-Rhyn, Heaton, Bradford, Yorks, is dated 6.10.16. This suggests that he was wounded at Flers on 15 September, unless the date isn't really the application date but the date when he was wounded, which would have been at Gird Ridge.

Either way it is odd as he is not on the officers' casualty list in the KRRC Chronicle for 1916. That would apply if he'd been wounded earlier too.

The card says:

Action taken: Refusal List/24

Appeal against decision: 5.2.17 50360/6

A list 145

Any thoughts as to what this means? He wanted a Silver War Badge but couldn't have one? This is a record I'll probably have to see.

Liz

EDIT

I have now seen Lt Gregson's service record (ref given by David below) and the explanation is that he never went to France with the Yeoman Rifles at all and was never wounded in battle, so it this would preclude the award of a SWB - wouldn't it? He was however very genuinely unwell and there are reports of several medical boards showing that this dated from an abscess on the thigh in summer 1914 with 'bone trouble' shown by X-Ray so that he could not march long distances.

A War Office letter of 15 Sept 1916 (fateful date for those who had gone to France) states that there is no alternative but to Gazette him as relinquishing his commission on grounds of ill-health and this is said to have been done on 5.10.16 (I didn't find it). He was a farmer from near Manchester and had done a two-year agriculture course at Leeds University, so would have been a good choice for the Yeoman Rifles if he had been fit. He had 'light duties' at home during 1916.

 

Lt Gregson was my grandfather. In Q3 of 1916 he married and in the newspaper announcement was shown as Captain W Gregson. Do you have any details of when he received this promotion?

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Liz in Eastbourne
13 minutes ago, pg6907 said:

 

Lt Gregson was my grandfather. In Q3 of 1916 he married and in the newspaper announcement was shown as Captain W Gregson. Do you have any details of when he received this promotion?

 

I'm sorry, I haven't, and was not aware that he had received a promotion to Captain - all the research I did on your grandfather was years ago and as he didn't go to France with the Yeoman Rifles I didn't pursue the fact that his record said his commission was relinquished on 5 October 1916 when I failed to find it in the Gazette - I often had difficulties with Gazette searches.  I would guess that this  information was correct, though.

Was it a family announcement, or could the newspaper have got his rank wrong?  He evidently wasn't a Captain on any records I saw and it looks as though he had no chance, because of ill-health, to do anything that would have earned such a promotion in 1916. 

I suggest you look through the Gazette yourself and see if there are any entries for him that I may have missed.   Sorry I haven't any more information.

 

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne
On 01/02/2019 at 13:35, Alan24 said:

I've now completed the write up on CSM John Brown.

 

Thanks goes to Provost, Mark B, Mark1959 and Liz who have provided signposts along the way, here and elsewhere. It's what the GWF does best!

 

I think the text is too long to post in one go so here it is in pdf.

 

Regards

 

Alan.

58 John Brown.pdf

 

Alan

I am so sorry I've taken so long to come back to the thread, and hence to comment on this.  It's excellent that you've managed with the help of GWF members to show that 'our' John Brown was certainly not the John Brown who spent time in Winchester jail.

Thank you very much indeed for posting your detailed account of a good man and good soldier - that was a very worthwhile effort on your part.

 

Liz 

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MBrockway
7 hours ago, pg6907 said:

 

Lt Gregson was my grandfather. In Q3 of 1916 he married and in the newspaper announcement was shown as Captain W Gregson. Do you have any details of when he received this promotion?

 

Apologies, but, like Liz, I can find no record of a permanent, substantive promotion to Captain for Lt. W. Gregson.

 

It's possible he was made an acting Captain - an interim arrangement, which would typically not be recorded in the London Gazette.

 

Gregson appears in the October 1916 Monthly Army List as temporary Lieutenant in 24/KRRC.  This was the Reserve battalion linked to 21/KRRC and was at BLYTH.

 

On 01 Sep 1916, it had been subsumed in the Training Reserve.  It was broken up and officially the personnel split between 88th, 89th, 90th and 91st Training Reserve battalions in 21 TR Brigade.  It was not unusual though for officers to be fetched back into the regiment and I suspect even more so where, as with 24/KRRC, the KRRC Reserve battalion in question was obliged to lose its rifles identity

 

Gregson continues in the Monthly Army List indexed to the KRRC pages right through to Nov 1918, but he is not actually listed on the pages indicated.  Nor is he listed under 88-91 TRBs.

 

Despite continuing in the Army List index right to the Armistice, he appears in the London Gazette 1916 Issue 29773, p.9641 (published 03 Oct 1916) as follows ...

 

423983695_GREGSONLtW21-then24-KRRCrelcommduetoillhealthLG1916Issue29773p_9641.jpg.a86a46b1240d00ab380fd8a3d7875b91.jpg

 

This does rather suggest he was still a substantive Lieutenant when he left the Army.  I assume the Army List index entry is purely an error.

 

LG page here: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29773/supplement/9641/data.pdf

 

 

I have made some progress on his Silver War Badge however.  Liz covered this thus ...

 

Quote

The Silver War Badge card application for Lieut W Gregson 21/KRRC, address Pen-Rhyn, Heaton, Bradford, Yorks, is dated 6.10.16.

<snip>.

The card says:

Action taken: Refusal List/24

Appeal against decision: 5.2.17 50360/6

A list 145

Any thoughts as to what this means? He wanted a Silver War Badge but couldn't have one? This is a record I'll probably have to see.

 

He applied for a Silver War Badge on 06 Oct 1916, but was initially turned down.

 

He appealed against the decision, the appeal was successful and he was granted SWB Badge Number 22612, listed on SWB Roll OFF/145, with (I think) an Approval date of 08 Feb 1917 under a stamp of the War Office Adjutant General's Dept 10 (=AG10, who dealt with medals) and Issue Voucher date of 11 Feb 1917 and is in WO 329/3247 or here on Ancestry (sub required).

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

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Liz in Eastbourne

Mark

Thanks for finding the Gazette entry for Lt Gregson 's relinquishing his commission, and the other information. 

 

i can't help wondering if this is a confusion of two William Gregsons, given  pg6907's statement that he married in the third quarter of 1916.   I found on the British Newspaper Archive a Liverpool Post announcement at that time of the marriage of a Capt William Gregson  of the West Lancs ASC  - this must be a different man.  If that's the one who is pg6907's grandfather, then I'm afraid this is another family history confusion and nothing to do with the Yeoman Rifles.

 

Liz

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MBrockway
1 hour ago, Liz in Eastbourne said:

Mark

Thanks for finding the Gazette entry for Lt Gregson 's relinquishing his commission, and the other information. 

 

i can't help wondering if this is a confusion of two William Gregsons, given  pg6907's statement that he married in the third quarter of 1916.   I found on the British Newspaper Archive a Liverpool Post announcement at that time of the marriage of a Capt William Gregson  of the West Lancs ASC  - this must be a different man.  If that's the one who is pg6907's grandfather, then I'm afraid this is another family history confusion and nothing to do with the Yeoman Rifles.

 

Liz

 

That possibility also occurred to me as I found London Gazette entries for the ASC t/Capt W Gregson being promoted to temp Major.  This is definitely NOT our KRRC man.

 

West Lancs ASC is likely to be a territorial and, as it happens, I have researched these units in some depth as a much valued friend had a grandfather in the West Lancs ASC.  If it emerges that pg6907 is actually grandson of the ASC officer, then I'll gladly pass ASC info on.

 

There is also a third officer called W Gregson in the Monmouthshire Regiment, who coincidentally also relinquished his commission due to ill health.

 

Lots of scope for confusion!

Mark

 

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pg6907

I'm also wondering whether there were two W Gregsons. In the newspaper cutting it calls him "Captain W. Gregson, King's Royal Rifle Corps". It goes on to say "A reception was held at the Rossefield School, Heaton, and subsequently the bride and bridegroom proceeded to New Brighton, where Captain Gregson is at present stationed." Their wedding was on 10th August 1916.

 

IMG_20190202_0060.jpg.af17792b3fdd79e56fd80421f0cb3521.jpg

 

This is the original of the photo that appeared in the newspaper.

 

IMG_20181125_0009.jpg.54321639bbe655e2e283aebb2fe025ea.jpg

 

 

And this is their wedding photo. Maybe the uniform will provide a clue.

 

Liz earlier said that he did an agricultural course at Leeds University which would make sense as he later worked at the India Agriculture Service as a deputy director of agriculture in Burma from 1923 to 1938. 

 

I cannot do any research in person as my final employment was in Thailand and I am now retired there. Many thanks for your swift and helpful responses.

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Alan24
2 hours ago, pg6907 said:

 

And this is their wedding photo. Maybe the uniform will provide a clue.

 

That's definitely a 'Cherry Boss' cap badge in the second photo identifying KRRC but not necessarily 21st Battalion.

 

Regards 

 

Alan

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MBrockway

The officer in these photos is definitely King's Royal Rifle Corps, since ...

  • Rifle buttons can clearly be seen in the portrait.
  • The KRRC corded boss 'cherry' cap badge can clearly be seen in the wedding photo.

This means we can rule out the other two 'W Gregsons' (ASC and Monmouthshire Regiment) and focus on Lt W. Gregson, KRRC.

 

Further digging has turned up mentions of him in the 1916 KRRC Chronicle in the Battalion War Record of 24th Battalion.

 

As I mentioned above, 24/KRRC was formed from the Reserve companies of 21/KRRC (Yeoman Rifles).  The battalion then numbered 368 ORs and 4 officers.  This was on 13 Apr 1916 about three weeks before the parent battalion left for France.  It was intended to act as the training battalion to supply replenishments to 21/KRRC.

 

On formation they were based in huts at Raikeswood Camp, Skipton, Yorks.  The parent battalion had been at Aldershot since January 1916.

 

This website has some interesting material on Raikeswood Camp, but nothing on 24/KRRC - Raikeswood Camp Project

 

Gregson was one of the four original officers.  For Liz's benefit, the other three were Lt J. Armour, 2/Lt W.A.J. Willons and 2/Lt H.A. Atwood.  Capt. J. Lesley, also of 21/KRRC, joined on 17 Apr 1916 and Lt.-Col. L.P. Irby, a veteran KRRC officer, took command on 04 May 1916.

 

On 05 May 1916, the battalion moved to Gloucester Lodge Camp, Blyth, Northumberland and became part of 21st Reserve Infantry Brigade.

 

While there, further officers were transferred in from 21/KRRC: 2/Lt D.J. Yeoman, 2/Lt W.C. Coates, 2/Lt (?S.D.) Gardiner, 2/Lt W.H. Beaumont and 2/Lt R.C. Richardson.

 

Their stay at Gloucester Lodge Camp was brief, moving on 18 May 1916 to tents at North Camp, Cambois, Blyth, Northumberland, about 8 miles north up the coast.

 

On 27 May 1916, they received a large draft of 19 officers from the Reserve battalions of the West Yorkshire Regt and the KOYLI.

 

In late May 1916, Major Paget and Capt. G.C. Milward joined from 21/KRRC.

 

Further KRRC officers and new recruits were sent up from the Rifle Depot at Winchester over the next months and by 10 Jul 1916, the battalion strength was 1,271 souls.

 

The battalion sent its first replenishment draft overseas on 10 Jul 1916, but this was to 9/KRRC.  Further drafts followed to various KRRC battalions in France, and even to the OBLI.  Strangely though, despite its raison d'être, I can see no record of the battalion sending any drafts to 21/KRRC (Yeoman Rifles) during this period!

 

On the formation of the Training Reserve on 01 Sep 1916, 24/KRRC was disbanded and the personnel distributed between 88th, 89th, 90th and 91st Training Reserve in the TR 21st Brigade, which was effectively the redesignated 21st Reserve Infantry Brigade.

 

Lt. W. Gregson was transferred to 88th TR Battalion, the erstwhile 19th (Reserve) Bn,, West Yorkshire Regiment, but it is certainly possible he remained cap badged to the KRRC and on attachment.  Certainly he only appears in the Army Lists as KRRC.

 

Mark

 

Liz: the destinations of the other 24/KRRC officers are listed.  Since several of these are Yeoman Rifles let me know if you want me to check anyone else.

 

 

 

 

Edited by MBrockway

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Liz in Eastbourne
1 hour ago, MBrockway said:

 

 

Liz: the destinations of the other 24/KRRC officers are listed.  Since several of these are Yeoman Rifles let me know if you want me to check anyone else.

 

 

 

 

Mark

Very interesting info there...I did a bit of research on WAJ Willans, whom you mention above but spelt 'Willons', here when I got the officer photo in 2010, but my general policy then was not to pursue the careers of officers who did not go to France with the Yeoman Rifles, because it was all getting a bit too unwieldy and my interest was in those who stayed with them and were there before and at the Somme. Of course the thread has gone in all sorts of direction since then but my own interest is more limited than yours - good job you can fill in all this wider KRRC info.

 

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne
4 hours ago, pg6907 said:

I'm also wondering whether there were two W Gregsons. In the newspaper cutting it calls him "Captain W. Gregson, King's Royal Rifle Corps". It goes on to say "A reception was held at the Rossefield School, Heaton, and subsequently the bride and bridegroom proceeded to New Brighton, where Captain Gregson is at present stationed." Their wedding was on 10th August 1916.

 

IMG_20190202_0060.jpg.af17792b3fdd79e56fd80421f0cb3521.jpg

 

This is the original of the photo that appeared in the newspaper.

 

IMG_20181125_0009.jpg.54321639bbe655e2e283aebb2fe025ea.jpg

 

 

And this is their wedding photo. Maybe the uniform will provide a clue.

 

Liz earlier said that he did an agricultural course at Leeds University which would make sense as he later worked at the India Agriculture Service as a deputy director of agriculture in Burma from 1923 to 1938. 

 

I cannot do any research in person as my final employment was in Thailand and I am now retired there. Many thanks for your swift and helpful responses.

 

Thanks very much for the photos - that's certainly the same man on the 21/KRRC officer group photo, so any confusion  (explaining the rank of Captain already at this date yet a relinquishing of commission at much the same time) lies elsewhere. All the evidence Mark has dug up indicates that he remained with the KRRC after 1916, though not with the 21st Battalion.

It is always possible there's something on that officer record at the National Archives that I missed in 2010 -11.

Liz

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MBrockway
1 hour ago, Liz in Eastbourne said:

 

 

Mark

Very interesting info there...I did a bit of research on WAJ Willans, whom you mention above but spelt 'Willons', here when I got the officer photo in 2010, but my general policy then was not to pursue the careers of officers who did not go to France with the Yeoman Rifles, because it was all getting a bit too unwieldy and my interest was in those who stayed with them and were there before and at the Somme. Of course the thread has gone in all sorts of direction since then but my own interest is more limited than yours - good job you can fill in all this wider KRRC info.

 

Liz

 

Liz,

I overlooked four more 21/KRRC officers when drafting this morning: 2/Lt D.J. Yeoman, 2/Lt W.C. Coates, 2/Lt S.D. Gardiner, 2/Lt W.H. Beaumont and 2/Lt R.C. Richardson.

 

I've edited the post above.

 

Errors in name spellings are not unusual in the KRRC Chronicle, so Willans/Willons differences do not surprise me.  All the London Gazette entries and the KRRC medal rolls have him as Willans.

 

The Chronicle does contain factual errors too: the list of those going to the TR bns includes a 2/Lt A.J. Willans, who (supposedly) went to the RFC at Reading.

 

Running a London Gazette search in Q4 1916 or Q1 1917 throws up nothing for an A.J. Willans transferring to the Royal Flying Corps, but several entries for W.A. Willans and W.A.J. Willans transferring to the training Reserve in Sep 1916 with later promotions, while the 18/KRRC strength returns list a 2/Lt A.J. Willans joining the battalion on Wed 04 Oct 1916.  The reference to a transfer to the RFC is thus almost certainly an error.

 

Mark

 

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Liz in Eastbourne

Hi Mark

My replies will be bitty because it's such a lovely day and the seafront beckons!

That 'Yeoman' must I think be DJ Yeaman, who has had a number of mentions, such as this brief biography...I don't think I knew he didn't go to France at the beginning and although everyone said he joined or rejoined just before getting  blown up (along with Sjt-Major Brown) before the Gird Ridge action, I need to check if he got a mention before that.  I may have assumed wrongly he was wounded at Flers whereas in fact it was Yateman.  I remember we had a lot of discussion about that question because the spelling of the name in the list and forget whether the outcome was clear or not.

 

EDIT  it  eventually emerged that Yateman was definitely the one badly wounded at Flers - anyone interested should just search on the two names within this topic.  Dennis is, I think, the only source for Yeaman having been slightly wounded at Flers, leaving and then rejoining the battalion, and he did make mistakes.  Yeaman was certainly with them throughout training, so was rejoining the battalion, but  Meysey-Thompson refers to his death in his diary and says he had 'just joined us from England' whereas Brown had 'just rejoined us after being wounded on the first night at Plug Street,'

 

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne

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Liz in Eastbourne

Just to add a note about another officer on your 24/KRRC list, Mark -Temp. Second Lieut. W C Coates. I think all the mentions of  ‘Coates’ on this thread previously were to Lt J B Coates, seconded from the Royal West Surreys, who left the battalion after he was wounded at Flers.  There was also a Rifleman Coates. 

 

I only later found this man when I found the diary of Captain H C Meysey Thompson at the IWM (a typescript, clearly slightly edited from the original).  He wrote:
 October 12 1916
Practically the only new officer we got was Coates, who had been with us at Aldershot, in B Company, whom we were very glad to see.  He joined Brooksbank who had now got command of B Company.  

 

Because of my focus on the ‘originals’ and 1916 I didn’t follow him through beyond these two Gazette entries:

London Gazette 30608 2 April 1918 Supp 3 April 1918
K.R. Rif. C.
Temp. Lt. W. C. Coates to be temp. Capt.
16 July 1917

LG 30822 of 30 July 1918 Supp 31 July
K. R. Rif. C.
Temp. Capt. W. C. Coates, from a Serv.Bn., to be temp. Capt. 26 Mar. 1918, 
With seniority 16 July 1917
 

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lsh guy
Posted (edited)

Liz; Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your post on the 21st KRRC especially in regards to Maj Hon GWS Foljambe. I am presently researching his military career and personal life. Your post made my job a whole lot easier. Looking forward to doing a better read of your post as it is 31 pages. Would you happen to have what you have on Foljambe in one spot by chance. It will save me a lot of cut and pasting. Looking forward to your reply to my post. Have a great day as mine just got as lot better.

 

Darin 

 

 

Edited by lsh guy
Update

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Liz in Eastbourne

Darin

I am glad you have enjoyed the thread and would be interested to know what is the reason for your research on Foljambe.

 

The research on this thread has taken place piecemeal over more than eight years with the collaboration of other members of the forum, and I have never got round to publishing anything about this battalion except what is on the thread.  So I can't oblige you by saving you the trouble of cutting and pasting my content and certainly not that of other people.  Still, you must admit you're asking a bit much - not only having a lot of research done for you free of charge but wanting the researcher to supply you with a continuous document!  I am sure it won't take long to search this thread on Foljambe and save the results.

 

I do hope you'll credit me (or whoever else supplied the content you use) and the Great War Forum in whatever you are producing about Foljambe and would be very interested to see it when it is done.  You haven't just bought his medals by any chance, have you?

 

Liz

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Tommo21a

Hi Liz,

Not been on here for a long time , changed my name from Tommo to Tommo21a to get back in.

I went to Leeds University to look at the Liddle Collection and took some photo's of some of the docs (group photo's, maps etc 6 in total).

I have re read this thread and can't find any reference to them.

Do you want me to post them ?

If yes, where would you like them posted & how /

Tommo. 

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