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Remembered Today:

21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen


Liz in Eastbourne

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Liz in Eastbourne

PS to my last post, I found an interesting thread including reference to Field Punishments 1 and 2 - which seemed to vary but to be a bit brutal by tender modern civilian standards - here. And now I've found that Dennis mentioned a man getting Field Punishment No 1 - being 'tied to a limber wheel in the transport lines, usually about mid-day' for two hours each day for falling asleep on sentry duty (p45). Dennis said they all sympathised with the man as they were not regular soldiers after all and at that time not in the front line. It was before 30th May, so it wasn't Jim Ducker.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Just to add to the misdemeanours and punishments theme, I must say there's been very little on the conduct sheets of the men I have looked up so far, bearing out the proud claims of the Yeoman Rifles' high standards of behaviour. It's only an impression as I've only been able to look up the military records of about 50 recruits, which is a sample of about 5% - isn't it? most of whom were casualties. Some I just haven't found full records for.

However, I was amused to see this entry on the conduct sheet of Charlie Rutherford of A company, C/12576, a Thirsk grocer, son of a Thirsk butcher:

Place: Skipton Date: 26.3.16 Offence: Breaking out of Hospital whilst under segregation Witness: CSM Welch Punishment: 7 days CB

I suppose we'll never know that story.

Charlie was one of the 'Plugstreet' casualties in July: kia 19 July 1916.

There's another aspect of army toughness I wondered about that I've put on another thread Death of army recruits in training. Bob Iley mentioned in A Runner's Story 'some of us' dying after a route march at Aldershot and I found a case of a death at that time, Fred Johnson King C/12371.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Before taking a break from this obsession I intend to post the War Diary for the period 1st to 18th Oct 1916, so as to provide a framework for the year of the original Yeomen who are the subject of this topic thread – from October 1915, when the northern Lords Lieutenant appealed for farmer recruits for a new 'battalion of farmers in the area of the Northern Command' following the decision of Lord Kitchener and the Army Council, to October 1916, after which the original band of men who trained together at Helmsley and Aldershot no longer existed. Some survived till the battalion was disbanded in early 1918, like Dennis, who then joined the Cameron Highlanders; Eden went on till July 1917 (he was the only combatant officer to have served continuously with the battalion form the beginning) when he was sent to Second Army HQ; Hardcastle and others who had been wounded at Flers or Gird Ridge, or in between, returned to other battalions; some returned to the Yeoman Rifles.

I think I mentioned at the beginning the comment in the KRRC War record about 7th October, the Gird Ridge attack:

The bravery of the men was beyond all praise, but that day the Yeoman Battalion ceased to exist.

The diary is scrappy – poor young Adjutant Eden was probably, understandably, overwhelmed by the casualties and his new duties – and doesn't give casualty figures. But there are seven Appendices listed in the margin which may well contain the important information and I haven't yet got those – have you, Mark? I've put in some extracts from Eden and Dennis but anyone who's seriously interested needs to read those books, as there is a great deal more. Here's the first instalment.

War Diary of 21st Battalion KRRC October 1916 (NA Catalogue ref WO/95/2643 Image ref. 251)
(The only thing I have changed, as it is so confusing, is the order of the first two entries as written – the 'Place' column entries were in the correct order, the 'Date' matched it so that 2nd
comes before 1st, and the 'Summary of Events and Information' was written in reverse order. Detail from Dennis and Eden books is quoted in italics.)
DERNANCOURT 1/10/16
The battalion remained in camp at DERNANCOURT.
Appendix I
POMMIERS REDOUBT 1/10/16
The Battalion moved from camp at DERNANCOURT to camp at NE of POMMIERS S26 c –
(Dennis: Were we to have a second go on the Somme like most of the other battalions that had been that way? Yes, we learned on October 1st that we were to go over in support to the two Fusilier Battalions, that 'B' and 'D' would advance from their trenches and that 'A' and 'C' Companies would be held in reserve.)
WOOD LANE 3/10/16
The battalion relieved
[space]
NZ Regiment in TEA TRENCH and WOOD LANE.
(Eden: 'The brigade was to attack from a position slightly to the left and a few hundred yards in advance of the extreme limit which the battalion had reached on September 15th. The battalion was to be in support, as we had expected. Foljambe was, however, a dedicated believer in reconnaissance, so that despite our secondary role in the battle he told me that we would go up the line together the next day and examine the whole layout.'
Dennis: 'The next day fewer than two hundred of us moved up nearer to the line, going about three miles in the footsteps of all who went that way on September 15. The trenches we occupied were known as Wood Lane and they ran from the top corner of Delville Wood to the left. They were very shallow and seemed to run in all directions.')
WOOD LANE 4/10/16
Battalion remained in WOOD LANE area.
( Eden describes how he and Foljambe narrowly missed death from a shell when they were investigating the Gird Ridge trench, and moved forwards to a bank near the front line. )
Dennis describes how six out of twelve men sent to bury the dead from Flers on this day, Wednesday 4thOctober, were wounded or killed. Most were new to the battalion, but 'the corporal with them was one of the originals and he was killed'.)
5/10/16
In the afternoon the battalion took over FLERS TRENCH from 26th Battn Royal Fusiliers. Fairly heavy shelling all the evening and night.
(Dennis: On the Thursday, the battalion moved up to the Switch Line, the first objective on the fifteenth of the last month. It was rather a wide trench with huge, high dugouts on the right-hand side – when in German hands, they had stood with their backs to our line.'
Eden recalls problems with shell shock during this period. Orders were received that this was not to be treated as on a par with wounds in case the symptoms spread
.
Eden and Dennis both relate that the weather was very bad, with heavy rain and wind.
FLERS TRENCH 6/10/16
FLERS TRENCH heavily shelled all day especially in the afternoon.
Casualties 1 officer killed 2 Lt Yeaman D. 7.
1 W.O. "
1 W.O wounded
OR
[space- no figure given here]
Dennis went on a carrying fatigue in the afternoon. 'On our return we found that our part of the Switch Line had received a severe battering; Jerry knew its range, of course…There had been many direct hits and amongst the dugouts blown in was mine. Nug Weston [signaller in the same dugout] was very severely wounded in the thigh – a grand Blighty one*?'

Note: Nug Weston was Andrew Weston, C/12793, of Huthwaite, Notts (D Company, enlisted in Leeds where he was a student). He recovered to serve with 18/KRRC and died of wounds 2 june 1917)

Will return later for another instalment.

Liz

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there are seven Appendices listed in the margin which may well contain the important information and I haven't yet got those – have you, Mark?

Liz

Liz,

No sign of any of these appendices in my copy either I'm afraid!

What I did find though was this ....

post-20192-045249600 1286718814.jpg

... which I am 95% certain is the Nominal Roll for the Trench Raid of 10-11 Jul 1916 that you transcribed above. 2/Lt Law and CSM McEwen are at the head of the list and there are 34 names in total which matches Feversham's report.

All the names in Charlie's report are here with the exception of C/13001 Rfn FAIL(L) who is listed as Wounded in the Report. It's possible he was wounded during retaliatory gunfire while still in the front trench of course.

Looks like another of the misfiles from inept shuffling when the NA outsourced the digitisation of these war diaries - grrr!

All the Service Numbers should be read as being prefixed with "C/" except where Feversham has explicitly listed otherwise - e.g. R/19490 Sgt Robinson 'A' Coy (I note that Charlie is NOT using the serjeant spelling - LOL!)

[Edit: Liz has been following up on this Nominal Roll and Rfn William HOLT did not in fact have a "C/" prefix but the "R/". His SN was R/13078. Looks like a slip of the pen by Charlie. We've checked Charlie's Casualty list in his report on the Trench Raid but the prefix is extremely faint and neither of us can make out whether it's a C there or an R.

Holt enlisted on 22 May 1915 - well before the idea of the Yeoman Rifles came together - and was Discharged due to Wounds on 04 Sep 1917 with a Silver War Badge. I've not checked for a Service Record yet.]

What is also very useful is that each man's company is recorded - gold dust for us researchers!!

Cheers,

Mark

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.... And echoing your judgement that the War Diary was a bit scrappy, there was this slip of paper left by a disgruntled researcher from 1942 ...

post-20192-081878400 1286720105.jpg

Heartfelt eh?! I'm sure we've all been there and got that particular T-shirt - LOL! :lol:

Incidentally Liz, I must just say how much I'm enjoying this Topic and that you really are doing sterling work with these WD transcriptions and the commentary from Eden & Dennis - excellent! It's building into a really vivid picture of a great battalion.

:thumbsup:

Cheers,

Mark

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Liz in Eastbourne

What I did find though was this ....

post-20192-045249600 1286718814.jpg

... which I am 95% certain is the Nominal Roll for the Trench Raid of 10-11 Jul 1916 that you transcribed above. 2/Lt Law and CSM McEwen are at the head of the list and there are 34 names in total which matches Feversham's report.

This is great, Mark - thank you! The only bad thing about it is that it caused me to deviate from my promised course of action and start looking up men whose details I hadn't had before. I am quite sure it is the right Nominal Roll.

I even found men who weren't on the Roll as a result of looking for ones who were - Lance Corporal William Albert Chapman C/12318, from Lund, Beverley, in A Company, KIA 15/17 Sept 1916 as well as Corporal James Joseph Chapman C/12999, a police constable in Hawes, Yorks but originally from Horden, Sunderland, in C Company, who was on the trench raid of 10/11 July. He too was KIA, only two weeks later on 26 July.

But I must finish my original task. I am finding Gird Ridge difficult. Not much in the diary as we said; a lot in the books, from which it's hard to select; and a general feeling of despair and confusion. They couldn't take any consolation as at Flers from thinking it was a success. I am bogged down metaphorically as they were literally.

Yes, that note was very expressive.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

May I add my appreciation to Mark's, Liz, for this thread?

Thank you very much - and Mark too, but he deserves at least half the appreciation himself, since it would never have got off the ground without his mentoring and contributions. And there would probably have been no pictures without him and other contributors! I've sometimes thought there should be an additional subtitle to the thread, 'Educating Liz', since it's taken me through the basics of Forum use and military record searches. Not to mention all the previous work on which this thread is based. But I hope that will make it useful to people who may also be relatively new to all this in searching for the stories of their Yeoman Riflemen. Even though I have not found any more mentions of John Hardcastle, reading the various accounts and finding the stories of all the others has hugely enhanced my understanding of what he must have experienced. It's my bad luck that he was in B Company on which so far we have the least information, though I hope for more. Dennis was in C and D Companies, Eden and Iley were in C; the Countess photograph and various other pieces of info are of A Company.

On another tack, from your researches, can you tell me - were there any more deaths before the battalion left England, apart from the one I mentioned, Fred Johnson King? I'm still wondering if Iley was exaggerating or there really were 'some' deaths at Aldershot after the route march.

Next post I really will tackle Gird Ridge as promised.

Liz

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Liz,

Soldiers Died shows two more:

C/12061 Rifleman (Lance-Corporal) Ernest Reed, born at Bridlington, Yorkshire, "Died" 22 Feb 1916 "Home", Enlisted at Bridlington.

Name: REED

Initials: E

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lance Corporal

Regiment/Service: King's Royal Rifle Corps

Unit Text: 21st Bn.

Date of Death: 22/02/1916

Service No: C/12061

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: C. 257.

Cemetery: BRIDLINGTON CEMETERY

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=407879

C/12185 Rifleman Joseph Mitchell Baines, born at Selby, Yorkshire, "Died" 6 Apr 1916 "Home", Enlisted at Thirsk, Yorkshire.

Name: BAINES, JOSEPH MITCHELL

Initials: J M

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Rifleman

Regiment/Service: King's Royal Rifle Corps

Unit Text: 21st Bn.

Age: 23

Date of Death: 05/04/1916

Service No: C/12185

Additional information: Son of William and Eliza Baines, of 4, Mansfield Terrace, Carlton Miniott, Thirsk.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: In North part.

Cemetery: SESSAY (ST. CUTHBERT) CHURCHYARD

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=409120

Steve.

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Liz

Geoff's Search Engine confirms that the only deaths were the two found by Steve.

Mike

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Liz in Eastbourne

I said I would make my next post the WD on Gird Ridge and beyond. It has depressed me so much spending all this time thinking about what happened to all these men that I have ground to a halt and my insertions from Eden and Dennis peter out in the days following Oct 7th. I've already looked at the burial of the Earl of Feversham on the night of 10th Oct -11th Oct (not mentioned in the WD, unless it's in an Appendix.) But I've gone a bit scrappy myself by association, I think - sorry. In addition I cannot make my spacing stick so apologies if it's hard to read.

On the day of the attack: the much depleted battalion had just received a draft of about 30 exhausted and inexperienced men not even from our own reserve battalion (Eden) and suffered continual casualties on the approach march, which was slowed down by troops and casualties coming in the opposite direction. There was a feeling of foreboding.

Dennis: Most of us could not understand why the Generals running the war could not think of any better time than between dinner and tea to have a stunt.

Eden: Our battalion was much under strength and as the approach march dragged on through the wet and the mud, I was troubled by the casualties we were suffering.

War Diary Oct 7
th
– 18
th
NA Catalogue Reference WO/95/2643

GIRD TRENCH 7/10/16 Appendix III

The morning was normal. Our heavy artillery caused some damage about12 noon by firing very short.

2pm

At 2 pm the 20" & 32" Royal Fusiliers advanced to their objectives but were met with very heavy machine gun& rifle fire. D Coy 21 KRRC (Capt Sheardown) advanced and made a strong point at the most advanced portion of the line at N13 c.22.

B Coy less two platoons advanced behind the 32-R7 but failed to make their strong point owing to their casualties which were very heavy indeed.

Dennis
records that the Fusiliers were mown down by machine-gunfire as they went over the top and the same greeting 'just as deadly' met the riflemen,but he himself had an extraordinarily lucky escape.

He couldn't see what he was doing because his glasses were broken,and his foot had been hit though not disastrously, so he blundered on afraid that he was not keeping up and was eventually rescued by his platoon officer,Darkie Cole, told off for being in the wrong place and going too far. He had not received the correct orders.

(In 1918 he was told by an army doctor that he should never have been in the front line, as his eyesight was so weak and he had other health problems.)

Eden
: 'Unhappily nothing went according to plan. The afternoon attack was probably a mistake anyway. There was no element of surprise and the enemy machine guns took deadly toll of the Fusiliers and of our riflemen also as they attempted to gain ground. To make matters worse, shells from our own heavy artillery began to fall among us…

'
D company had suffered heavy casualties but it had reached its objective …B Company was in much worse plight…

As I continued to explore with Iley the ground where B Companyshould have advanced in support of the Fusiliers, I began to understand the tragic plight of both units. Their losses from machine-gun fire had been cruel, there were dead and wounded fusiliers and riflemen everywhere…

I found Foljambe under our bank when I got back. He gave me orders to report at once to brigade headquarters about the serious condition of the wounded of whom we could not hope to move more than a fraction by our stretcher-bearers. Orders were sent to reinforce our right with the remnants of B and some of A Company, while Foljambe went himself to straighten our intermingled riflemen and fusiliers there and build a defensible position.'
Foljambe was awarded the DSO for his work that night, which Eden says he 'richly earned'.

GIRD TRENCH Night of 7/10/16 to 8/10/16

During the night a communication trench was dug from N.g (or q?)a.4.5. to N13 c 3.2. and the line was joined up as far as possible.

GIRD TRENCH 8/10/16

The dispositions were altered in the evening and the battalion occupied GIRD TRENCH and part of GIRD SUPPORT. In the afternoon an infantry party under an RAMC officer with stretchers helped to evacuate wounded in Battn Hqrs. Moved to FACTORY CORNER.

Dennis:
'Of the twelve Officers and three hundred and fifty Other Ranks who went up the line for the October 7
th
stunt, just six Officers and a hundred and seventy Other Ranks returned – roughly about half of the battalion strength. For the stunt we received three Military Crosses and ten Military Medals.'

9/10/16

Battalion remained in the line and was reinforced by drafts.

10/10/16

In the
evening
night 10/10/16 to 11/10/16 the battalion was relieved by the 17
th
Manchester Regt and 2
nd
Bn Royal Scots.The battalion entrained at FRICOURT SIDING and proceeded to camp above BECORDEL.

BECORDEL 12/10/16

Battalion remained in camp.

BUIRE 13/10/16

Battalion moved into billets at BUIRE.

BUIRE 15/10/16

Battalion remained in billets at BUIRE.

16/10/16

Battalion proceeded by train from EDGE HILL siding to AIRAINES.
Appendix IV

AIRAINES
17/10/16

Battalion detrained at AIRAINES and marched to billets at ALLERY.

ALLERY 18/10/16

The battalionremained in billets at Allery and the day was spent in reorganising companies and specialists.

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Liz in Eastbourne

Thanks, Steve, for posting those details. Rifleman Baines must be the one Iley is referring to along with King as the 'some of us' who died from the effects of the route march.

Geoff's search engine is clearly a must. Thanks for confirmation, PD.

Liz

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  • 3 weeks later...
Liz in Eastbourne

At long last I have started using Geoff's search engine (about time too, you may think) which has ensured that this obsession continues - not that there weren't many incomplete lines of enquiry even before.

I got 451 deaths recorded on CWGC for 21st Bn KRRC, including 15 officers, for the three years 1916, 17 and 18. This includes men drafted in, with, as we would expect, more of the C/12000-13100 numbers among the 1916 deaths and more of the others among the later deaths (am just working those out). Of course it depends on the text on CWGC whether any men who were originally 21/KRRC but died with other battalions are included in a search on '21st Bn King's Royal Rifle Corps' and I think there's only one, an officer, FV Baker, 21st Bn attd 7th Bn, died 22.3.1918. From my point of view this is a drawback as I am interested in the original riflemen who enlisted and trained at Helmsley.

So I tried to search on the original C/ numbers by putting C/12***, or the range by putting C/12000-C/13100, but that doesn't seem to work. Is there a way of doing it?

Of course I can search by putting in each individual number and that, though tedious, is revealing. Just on the first 50 numbers, C12000-C/12050, I find 12 deaths of which five are of men who had been transferred to other battalions and so hadn't shown up on my previous search. These 12 were:

C/12006 ALLAN J 04/11/1916

C/12012 HUGHES F 17/09/1916

C/12015 PARK JR 20/07/1916

C/12017 BAMBER H 21/09/1916

C/12020 BUGLASS GA 06/10/1916

**C/12022 BOWMAN A 10/08/1917 10th Bn

**C/12027 CHARLEWOOD A 25/3/1918 Ist Bn

**C/12031 GOODALL FR 23/18/1917 12th Bn

C/12032 GREENHILL HJ 10/10/1916

**C/12037 HODGSON CA 13/04/1918 9th Bn

**C/12042 JOHNSON E 23/08/1918 13th Bn

C/12045 KIDD JW 15/09/1916

I have not yet researched any of these but they recall others we know of already - John Thomas Hardcastle who died with the 2nd Bn, William Pallister with the18th Bn and Gordon Trenholme with the 12th Bn - and were probably posted to other battalions after recovering from being wounded, or in the case of the 1918 deaths, after the 21st Bn was disbanded in March 1918. GV Dennis actually went to another regiment, the Cameron Highlanders, but this was because he was unfit - he was told later he had been transferred to the 18th Bn in 122 Brigade, until his state of health was realised, and would have been involved in their action on 21st March which resulted in very heavy casualties.

If no one can suggest a more efficient search method I'll continue plodding through.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Hi Liz

Using Geoff's search engine, I've found 32 21/KRRCs killed before 15 September 1916 and am going through their service records at the moment (where available). The figure may be 30, as two appear to have been attached to 1/Rifle Brigade once in France.

Hi again,

I take it these two are L/Cpl Alexander David Litolff C/7968 died of wounds (effects of gas) 9 August 1916 and Rfn James Griffin C/6364, killed on 8 August 1916? Do you not think Rfn Gordon Alexander High R/18152 killed on 8 August is probably in the same group, given the date and the fact that he is buried in the same cemetery as Griffin? I can't find his record apart from SDGW on Ancestry.

The odd thing (to me) is they didn't enlist, train with or embark for France with 21st Bn and though there seems to have been some unclear connection as the words are written on at least one document in their records, the casualty form, I can't see that they ever spent any time with the battalion at all. Their service numbers are obviously not usual Yeoman Rifles ones. Litolff's attestation says 18th Bn KRRC, I found Griffin's too faded to read but maybe someone can decipher it.

Griffin and Litoff have very similar casualty forms. Both have 23rd ( R ) KRRC stamped at the top right with 21st (S) written over the number. Both embarked Folkestone 28.6.16, were attached to 1st Bn Rifle Bde 10.7.1916 and they died at about the same time with 1st Bn Rifle Bde. Could there just have been uncertainty about where they were going when they arrived in France? Which document do CWGC and SDGW take as decisive in such cases? It's surprising to me that they ended up on both as 21st Bn KRRC - can you or anyone explain this to me please? I expect there are all sorts of things I'm missing on the records.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Liz,

No sign of any of these appendices in my copy either I'm afraid!

...

Mark

Yesterday I went to Kew, among other things to see if the hard copies of the 21st Bn KRRC contained the seven appendices for October 1916, missing from the digitised version, which we were hoping would supplement the scanty entries of the War Diary. You have to fill out a special form to see the original of a document which is available online.

A man at the information desk warned me not to get my hopes up as they would almost certainly have digitised everything available. Sadly he was right. There were no appendices. November 1916 was missing altogether and the WD resumes on 1 December.

It's amazing that the Nominal Roll for the trench raid of July 10/11 survived, as it's a small flimsy copy, tied into the back of the 1916 diary and therefore out of order as we discovered on the digital version.

The WD becomes clearer in 1917 and there are some later appendices. The reason for the earlier ones being lost was (according to the information desk man) that some material was thrown away by the official historian (did he mean of the regiment? I should have asked but you will know I expect) whereas, he said, in Canada everything was kept. He said there might be something in CAB 45/132 - 138 about this period. That will be for another day.

Liz

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... There were no appendices. November 1916 was missing altogether and the WD resumes on 1 December.

The WD becomes clearer in 1917 and there are some later appendices. The reason for the earlier ones being lost was (according to the information desk man) that some material was thrown away by the official historian (did he mean of the regiment? I should have asked but you will know I expect)

Liz,

"official historian" I assume referes to the author of the relevant section of the British Official History which in this case was probably Capt Wilfrid Miles.

See here for more info (with the usual Wikipedia caveats!) ...

Wikipedia: History of the Great War Based on Official Documents

The material may not be lost but rather misfiled. The NA is reluctant to admit it, but Pals here report that the digitisation project, which the NA outsourced, resulted in many of the papers being "shuffled". Appendices that were available in the correct sequence are now no longer there and if you're lucky, occasionally turn up interleaved with the wrong material.

There's part of the 6/OBLI war diary hidden in the 12/KRRC war diary for example.

I'll put money on the missing parts of the 21/KRRC WD being more recent digitisation misfiles rather than being "thrown away" by the Official Historian - why on earth would a historian throw material away?!?!?!?

All very exasperating!

Well done on insisting on seeing the originals - I've been told it's a laborious process with much red tape and requiring great persistence and tenacity ;-)

It must have been very moving holding Charlie's report on the raid

:poppy:

Cheers,

Mark

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Hi,

I`m new to the forum and have been researching 3 Brothers from Redcar North Yorks one of whom Rifleman George Scott C/12610 enlisted at Helmsley 30 November 1915 by the Earl Of Feversham his service record is on Ancestry. He was wounded on the 16th Sept 1916 and returned to the UK.

He returned to join the 2nd Battalion KRRC and was posted missing later presumed Dead on the 10th of July 1917 presumably in the action at Nieuport and is commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial. A very similar record to Rifleman Hardcastle with whom you began the thread.

Another soldier I have looked into is Rifleman Leonard Thomas Rowe C/12985 from Hull, again his service record is on Ancestry. Unusual for a Hull man to enlist at Helmsley but looking at this thread there were others in December 1915. He enlisted at Helmsley on 8th Jan 1916 again by the Earl Of Feversham but I`m not sure he actually served in the 21st. He seems to have been posted to the 24th KRRC and later to the 8th Battalion. Rifleman Rowe was wounded a number of times in 1917 and killed in action with the 8th Battalion on December 29th 1917 I`m not really sure were. Rifleman Rowe is commerated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Please excuse any glaring errors in this as I said I`m new to all this.

Tony.

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Liz in Eastbourne

Liz,

"official historian" I assume refers to the author of the relevant section of the British Official History which in this case was probably Capt Wilfrid Miles.

See here for more info (with the usual Wikipedia caveats!) ...

Wikipedia: History of the Great War Based on Official Documents

...

Thanks for that very useful reference, Mark. That clearly is what he meant, and when I saw the name of the main historian I remembered he had mentioned it, but as you say for this period it was actually Capt Wilfrid Miles. I also don't know why a historian would throw out documents but there wasn't chance for a full discussion, as there are always queues for the information desk.

In fairness I must say the NA staff were not unreasonable about letting me see the originals - I just had to explain why it was necessary, which I could understand as the documents are so fragile. I don't think they'd have accepted 'I need to see the real papers to feel closer to Charlie Feversham and young Anthony Eden and the Yeoman Rifles!' even though that was, it's true, a result.

I made a resolution yesterday morning that - to break a developing addiction - I was only going to come on this forum if I got a notification about a topic I was following. I've just come because I needed to acknowledge your post (well, that was fair enough, wasn't it?) and there's a very interesting one below yours from Tony East Yorks about which the system did not notify me! So I shall rush off to Ancestry before replying.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Hi,

I`m new to the forum and have been researching 3 Brothers from Redcar North Yorks one of whom Rifleman George Scott C/12610 enlisted at Helmsley 30 November 1915 by the Earl Of Feversham his service record is on Ancestry. He was wounded on the 16th Sept 1916 and returned to the UK.

He returned to join the 2nd Battalion KRRC and was posted missing later presumed Dead on the 10th of July 1917 presumably in the action at Nieuport and is commemorated on the Nieuport Memorial. A very similar record to Rifleman Hardcastle with whom you began the thread.

Another soldier I have looked into is Rifleman Leonard Thomas Rowe C/12985 from Hull, again his service record is on Ancestry. Unusual for a Hull man to enlist at Helmsley but looking at this thread there were others in December 1915. He enlisted at Helmsley on 8th Jan 1916 again by the Earl Of Feversham but I`m not sure he actually served in the 21st. He seems to have been posted to the 24th KRRC and later to the 8th Battalion. Rifleman Rowe was wounded a number of times in 1917 and killed in action with the 8th Battalion on December 29th 1917 I`m not really sure were. Rifleman Rowe is commerated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Please excuse any glaring errors in this as I said I`m new to all this.

Tony.

Tony - I am so delighted to hear from someone interested in a man with a similar record to John Hardcastle's! As for 'glaring errors', if you look back on this thread you'll find a few of mine, but fortunately there are experts to assist us. You'll see Mark especially has been helping a lot from the beginning otherwise I would not have learned as much as I have about the Yeoman Rifles in the past ten weeks.

If you hadn't presented George Scott it would have been ages before I reached him as his service no. is C/12610. In plodding through the numbers as described a few posts ago, I have only reached C/12200, although we've found a lot more men already from other sources.

He really has a very similar war record to Hardcastle's - he's the first man so far who also died at or soon after Nieuport. Have you found the account on the Long, Long Trail by Robert Dunlop? And this thread, Battle of the Dunes July 1917? It's also very long, but has a lot of interesting information on it, much of which is not generally available. As with the fate of the 21st Bn in Sept-Oct 1916, the 2nd Bn suffered terrible casualties. though many were taken prisoner. However, having gone into the probable fate of John Hardcastle in the four weeks between being taken prisoner and dying, I don't think this was necessarily better than dying on 10 July.

I think he must have been wounded at Flers on 15th September 1916 because the battalion was not in action on 16th or 17th. There's been a lot of discussion on this thread and elsewhere (I think we've supplied the links to the other threads) about the inaccuracy of the dates for casualties of Flers and there are many records with 15/17.9.1916. In Scott's case the Statement of the Services says 16th but the Casualty Form for his 21st Bn service says 15th. Hardcastle's record says 15th. He was then in hospital in Manchester for 92 days, whereas Scott was in hospital in Stourbridge for 44 days and then in the Military Convalescent Hospital in Eastbourne.

He's from quite a different background, isn't he? A clerk from Redcar on the coast, father a 'master painter' from Scotland, two brothers house painters, one a plumber and one an engineering apprentice; Hardcastle from a rural family who'd farmed (and been blacksmiths and publicans) in the Ripon area for generations. There are plenty of non-farming men among the original Yeoman Riflemen though, more than I expected. I see Scott was definitely in A Company as we would expect whereas Hardcastle was probably in B Coy (West Riding).

Have to break off for a moment but will come back re Rowe, and enlistment.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Postscript to my last re your Riflemen, Tony.

I agree Rowe doesn't seem to have served with the 21st Bn, although he certainly attested at Hull on 6 Dec 1915 and was approved by Feversham on 8 Jan 1916. He was posted to the 24th Bn at home 3.4.16, and didn't get to France till August. I don't know why that would have happened - perhaps someone else can suggest a reason.

You say 'Unusual for a Hull man to enlist at Helmsley' but he attested at Hull first and that seems a very usual pattern although there isn't usually such a long gap between the two, even allowing for Christmas. Scott attested at Redcar on 30 November and then seems to have gone straight to Helmsley on the same day, though it wasn't Feversham who signed his form - which is an unusually short gap. SDGW always calls the attestation place the enlistment - I assume that attestation therefore = enlistment. But I've never understood why some men eg. Hardcastle had their forms approved in the same place where they attested and on the same day. Again, maybe someone else can explain.

In A Kitchener Man's Bit Gerald Dennis says he attested in his home town (Hull), on 22nd November and then went to Helmsley with a group of 'about sixty-three men and boys' on 6th December. Unfortunately the bottom of his attestation is torn off or we could check where the approving was done. They didn't receive their service numbers for another week.

Liz

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Liz

Thankyou for the information, you`ve helped me understand a lot better what is on the service record especially the front page, thats what I meant about glaring errors. I don`t suppose that Redcar is too far from Helmsley as the crow flies. I live in Driffield East Yorks and its probably a 35 mile drive to Helmsley a similair distance I`d think. There seems to have been a fair few recruits from the East Riding in the 21st, did men such as Leonard Rowe have a choice in the regiment they enlisted in?. I assume they did and joined in preference to more the local East Yorkshire & Yorkshire Regiments due to the earl Of Fevershams Recruiting etc.

2 of George Scotts brothers also served, Walter in the RN as a Painter (no surprise there) and Charles Laurie in the South Staffs later Labour Corps, both survived the war and from what I have found only one of the daughters in the family had any children and that family lived in York.

I will have a good read of the thread and the Battle of the Dunes thread and see if theres anything I can come up with, although reading it makes me realise how little I knew of a battalion with such local connections. Whilst going through my research into George Scott I checked the other KRRC men on St Peters War Memorial Redcar http://www.ww1-yorkshires.org.uk/html-files/war-memorials-north-yorks-r.htmone of them is Rifleman John Edward Winter C/12566 native of county Durham married and living at Redcar again his service record is on ancestry, another Flers Casualty given as KIA 17th Sept on CWGC. There is a corporal G W Barnett I can find no trace of but whilst looking I came across a Rifleman John William Barnett who I guess is C/12926 from Leeds, wounded at Flers his record is on ancestry.

Tony.

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Postscript to my last re your Riflemen, Tony.

I agree Rowe doesn't seem to have served with the 21st Bn, although he certainly attested at Hull on 6 Dec 1915 and was approved by Feversham on 8 Jan 1916. He was posted to the 24th Bn at home 3.4.16, and didn't get to France till August. I don't know why that would have happened - perhaps someone else can suggest a reason.

Liz

Liz,

24th Battalion was formed in April 1916 made up of surplus companies of the original 21st Battalion who I think were still at Duncombe Park??? The main companies of 21/KRRC proper were by then down in Aldershot. Effectively 24/KRRC began as the Reserve battalion for 21/KRRC (and to a certain extent 18/KRRC). It remained in the North moving to the Northumbrian Coast in May 1916, but it rather lost its KRRC identity after being absorbed into the army-wide Training Reserve late in 1916 and many of its later drafts ended up in more typical NE regiments like the Durham Light Infantry etc.

As to why Rowe spent time in 24/KRRC and did not join 21/KRRC until the battalion was already at the Front: he may have been one of the later recruits of the original recruitment drive so may have missed out on a place in the establishment of one of the main 21/KRRC companies, or perhaps his training was interrupted/delayed by e.g. illness or accident.

I'm currently away from home for a week in a hotel with work after landing the new job :hypocrite: so I don't have all my reference material to hand. I'll do some double checking at the weekend!

Cheers,

Mark

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... there seems to have been a fair few recruits from the East Riding in the 21st, did men such as Leonard Rowe have a choice in the regiment they enlisted in?. I assume they did and joined in preference to more the local East Yorkshire & Yorkshire Regiments due to the earl Of Fevershams Recruiting etc. Tony.

Tony,

The KRRC and the Rifle Brigade are elite regiments regarded at the time in a similar way to perhaps the Paras of today.

Like the Guards regiments they recruited nationally and would have been seen as a cut above the local County regiments of the Line.

One of the reasons the Yeoman Rifles were allocated to the KRRC was to make the battalion even more attractive to the northern farmer stock who had up to then been slower to enlist in the early months of the War - though was principally because this group wanted to deal with the 1914 harvest rather than a reluctance to join up which they did in spades once the harvest was in).

Men travelled considerable distances to make sure they got into the KRRC - my own grandfather went all the way from Tenbury Wells on the Hereford/Worcs/Shropshire border to Winchester.

Cheers,

Mark

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Liz in Eastbourne

Liz

Thankyou for the information, you`ve helped me understand a lot better what is on the service record especially the front page, thats what I meant about glaring errors. I don`t suppose that Redcar is too far from Helmsley as the crow flies. I live in Driffield East Yorks and its probably a 35 mile drive to Helmsley a similair distance I`d think.

<snip>

. Whilst going through my research into George Scott I checked the other KRRC men on St Peters War Memorial Redcar http://www.ww1-yorks...-yorks-r.htmone of them is Rifleman John Edward Winter C/12566 native of county Durham married and living at Redcar again his service record is on ancestry, another Flers Casualty given as KIA 17th Sept on CWGC. There is a corporal G W Barnett I can find no trace of but whilst looking I came across a Rifleman John William Barnett who I guess is C/12926 from Leeds, wounded at Flers his record is on ancestry.

Tony.

Tony, I've often wondered about differences in procedure suggested by different attestation forms so I have resurrected a useful old thread, ' Attested and Enlisted' , to ask a few questions. There was clearly a fair bit of variation even with this one battalion.

It's great to have this local information, and I am looking at the records.

Another Forum pal , in County Durham, is researching the 'thirteen boys from Spennymoor' in C Company mentioned by GV Dennis, and has found eight I think so far. I hope he'll post his info here eventually too.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Liz,

24th Battalion was formed in April 1916 made up of surplus companies of the original 21st Battalion who I think were still at Duncombe Park??? The main companies of 21/KRRC proper were by then down in Aldershot. Effectively 24/KRRC began as the Reserve battalion for 21/KRRC (and to a certain extent 18/KRRC). It remained in the North moving to the Northumbrian Coast in May 1916, but it rather lost its KRRC identity after being absorbed into the army-wide Training Reserve late in 1916 and many of its later drafts ended up in more typical NE regiments like the Durham Light Infantry etc.

As to why Rowe spent time in 24/KRRC and did not join 21/KRRC until the battalion was already at the Front: he may have been one of the later recruits of the original recruitment drive so may have missed out on a place in the establishment of one of the main 21/KRRC companies, or perhaps his training was interrupted/delayed by e.g. illness or accident.

I'm currently away from home for a week in a hotel with work after landing the new job :hypocrite: so I don't have all my reference material to hand. I'll do some double checking at the weekend!

Cheers,

Mark

Hi Mark

Thank you for replying when you're busy with the new job!

Rowe didn't go to the 21st Bn on the front at all, he went to the 8th, but your suggestions remain valid. I've made a lot more progress through the C/ 12*** numbers, not looking them all up yet but checking the ones that might need weeding out. There are for example a couple of men from different regiments with G/12*** numbers, misprints on CWGC, but the ones who ended up in other KRRC battalions are more often men who were posted after being wounded.

However, there's another example similar to Rowe's, Arthur Guy,C/12532, who went to the 24th and then the 8th, and Herbert Boddy, C/12545, who did enlist with the 21st Bn but on 5.4.1916 was posted home, 24th Bn, then to the BEF and the 20th Bn on 17.7.1916, wounded, posted back to the 20th and then KiA 27.4.1917.

I found two deaths of 21st Bn men who went to the 16th Bn after the 21st was disbanded in March 1918, both killed on the same day within a month of joining, that I thought might interest you.

One was Robert Sydney Robinson, C /12720, KiA or D of W on 13.4.1918 (haven't got his Ancestry record yet) and the other Matthew Henry Broadley, one of the Spennymoor men (located with the help of Forum pal Hett 65 ), who was Eden's servant, also KiA on 13.4.1918.

EDIT And a third, Lance Cpl Tom Buckle C/13036, died of wounds 29.10.1918 serving with the 16th Bn (B Coy), but I have not found his record so don't know when he was posted to the 16th. Btw his is the latest C/13*** number of the casualties - I went through to C/13100 and there were no more.

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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