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Remembered Today:

Units from Atherton


dplatt
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Dear All,

Could anyone inform me, please, as to which regiment a man from Atherton, Lancs might have been enlisted in April 1915?

The man in question was a coal miner if that makes any difference.

Thanks,

David.

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David,

unfortunately, there is no cut and dried answer. Atherton lies in or close to the tradtional recruitment areas of the Loyal North Lancs, South Lancs and Lancs Fusiliers. However, given appropriate vacancies, your man could have chosen to join practically any infantry regiment in the Army.

A colleague on this forum is trying to find out more about a relative of his who served in the South Lancs...having lived and joined up in London!

Of course, the Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery were also possible destinations! So the number of solutions is rather high, making it rather difficult to determine which regiment he served in.

The fact that he was a coal miner may - and it is a big may - have influenced the duties to which he was assigned one he was in the infantry. For example, my GGGrandfather was a miner in civilian life, and joined the South Lancs upon outbreak of war. Spring 1915 found him attached to a tunnelling company of the Royal Engineers, along with a number of other suitably qualified infantrymen.

Obviously, men with peacetime experience of mining conditions made better tunnellers than those without. However, there were so many ex-miners in the army that it was impossible to utilise the specialist skills of them all.

Cheers,

Ste

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Atherton lies in or close to the tradtional recruitment areas of the Loyal North Lancs, South Lancs and Lancs Fusiliers.

...and certain battalions of the Manchester Regiment.

Dave.

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And if he was really keen he could have applied to join one of the Guards regiments which didn't have a particular recruiting area, as most of the other infantry regiments did.

Ken

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Thanks or the time.

The only information I have on him is that he became part of The Essex # 45985, was awarded two wound stripes (one of which the family think was due to gassing or some other poisoning) and that he was awarded a Silver War Badge.

No record is shown of him in the medal index cards, the medal rolls for the Essex show nothing but the Silver War Badge application show that he enlisted in April 1915 (aged around 38) and was discharged in February 1918.

WO363 and 364 have yield nothing and, as he was my great grandfather, I would like to know more. There are no family members who are living who were old enough to have memories of his service.

Regards,

David.

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I'm a bit confused. If you know he was in the Essex Regt, do you suspect he originally enlisted in a different regiment, hence your initial question? You ask which regt a man from Atherton may have enlisted in.

Discharged in April 1918 suggests he was sufficiently wounded to no longer bit fit for active service, or through some other ill health.

Cheers,

Ste

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Ste,

You see, I've been spending so much time going back and forth over the facts and recovering the same ground. I'm probably not explaining myself well enough.

Thomas Cook, my great grandfather, served in WW1. My grandmother gave me a photograph of him, she knew he had been poisoned but could remember nothing more. We could see two wound stripes.

I had the photo enlarged and could read the shoulder title 'ESSEX' so I asked the Essex Regimental Museum Curator - Mr Ian Hook. He was able to give me the only Thomas Cook on his files and his number #45985.

From there I chased up his medal roll, which only indicated the Silver War Badge, and his SWB application.

The Queens Lancashire Regiment Museum looked into Soldiers Who Died In The Great War and noted that men numbered 45XXX came from a number of different regiments. So, it seems a good bet that he enlisted into another regiment from his home town of Atherton. If I can find which regiment I may be able to find a little more about him. At least, that's the plan!

Regards,

David.

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Ste,

Now I'm a little confused! Surely you didn't mail me just so that you could wish me 'Good luck'.

Here I was thinking you may be able to offer some help or advice and you mail me back "Thanks, that makes it clearer. Good luck".

Why did you want to know? I ask just out of curiosity!

I'm so glad this forum is used sensibly.

Regards,

David.

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David

My guess is that you are back to the advice that Ste & Croonaert offered earlier - that it could have been any of the north west regiments. You mention that you have not been able to find him in medal index cards. Is this the on-line record or have you looked at the info at the National Archive which will be more accurate (as they are the prime documents)? It should be there somewhere and should give the info. It is, of course, always possible that he did in fact originally join the Essex. Could have been several reasons for this (he was working there; had friends/relatives there and joined with them).

Without wishing to bring the wrath of my fellow north-westerners down on my head, I would speculate Manchester Regiment. By January 1915, it had recruited very well and did move quite a number of soldiers on to other units. We had a thread recently which, I think, involved a number from Wigan.

Sorry we havnt been more help. If you find the index card and have further queries, please come back and ask.

John

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John,

Yes, I have searched on line and at the PRO for the MIC's but only came up with the SWB. Ian Bowbrick thinks it may be due to a split MIC but there are no others showing T.Cook 45985 Essex and I presume the other MIC would, therefore, show the other regiment and another number.

I did pose the question in 'Help from Ian Bowbrick needed.' but didn't get a satisfactory reply. Another member looked up the Medal Roll for the Essex but could not find a mention so she sent me the page showing the request for SWB.

The Manchesters couldn't help and The Essex museum suggested that he came into their regiment later rather than sooner but could not give me a date.

Next step may be to find the colliery at which he was employed and look into which regiments other miners enlisted into - perhaps he went with friends!

Other than that I'm stuck!

Regards,

David.

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Other than that I'm stuck!

David

Yep. Think you might be. Damn nuisance when it happens - but it happens regularly.

Have you tried looking at the local Atherton newspapers of the time? If you find the colliery, then there might be references around late 1914/early 1915, to them joining up. May be later references to when he was wounded - quite often newspapers report so-and-so is home on sick leave after being wounded. Best bet might be from when he was discharged.

John

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David,

do you know your man's religion? Catholic churches in the North West very often listed men from their congregation who had enlisted in the local newspaper.

Dave Risley

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Dave and John,

Thanks for getting involved. I have tried to trace his colliery and have not given up hope there.

At the moment I'm in Kent - living and working, so I'll have to wait until I can take the family up to God's own country before I can chase up the Atheron papers. Then again, I'm quite well situated to look up St Joseph's Sanatorium from where he was discharched - I'll give it a try!

And, Yes! I do know that he was a practising Catholic so that's another route I'll try.

Thanks again for all your help.

Regards,

David.

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David

Was he considerate enough to have any children while serving? If so, his rank and regiment would probably appear on their birth certificates.

Sue

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Don't forget the British Library Newspaper collection. It's presumable nearer to you than Atherton. See http://www.bl.uk/collections/newspapers.html

cheers

Dave

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Ste,

Now I'm a little confused!  Surely you didn't mail me just so that you could wish me 'Good luck'.

Here I was thinking you may be able to offer some help or advice and you mail me back "Thanks, that makes it clearer.  Good luck".

Why did you want to know?  I ask just out of curiosity!

I'm so glad this forum is used sensibly.

Regards,

David.

David,

I asked: A ) becuase I was curious; and B ) Your previous posts hadn't made it clear that you knew he was in the Essex regt. Once you mentioned that he had been in that regt it became confusing. Thanks to your elaboration, it became clear that you realised he probably changed regiments, but hadn't explained that to us. I suspected that but wanted to check, as it wasn't impossible that you hadn't thought through the possibility of changing units - no offence, one can't see the person through the PC :)

I was indeed trying to help, but you already knew what I might have pointed out. I was simply trying to be courteous by acknowledging your kind explanation to my query. 'Good luck' seemed as good - and truthful - sign off as any.

You've probably seen it, but this thread is of general relevance to the 'changing regiment' theme: Enlisting away from home

Cheers,

Ste

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Ste,

I'm sorry for being rude. If you will alow me to make an excuse it's just that I find it very frustrating not being able to find GGF's history - but, of course, that's no excuse because I should not have been rude in the first place.

Thanks for trying. Again, excuse me.

Regards,

David.

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Hi David

My Grandfather was in the 6th Essex Regiment as well. I have had a quick look through the information I had on the regiment and I could only come across a Corpl. Jack Cook who won the high jump in a sports day they held in the desert.

Sorry I can't be any more help but if there is anything else you want checking I will be happy to look.

If you find he was definately in the 6th Essex Regiment then I have quite a bit of stuff on what their war experience was like.

Matthew

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  • 1 month later...

Wayne,

Any help you could offer would be most welcome!

Thomas Cook (Great grandfather.) lived at 3 Chester Street in 1910 and at 22 Argyle Street in 1920. I don't know when he moved from one to the other.

He was a Hewer/Collier at a pit in Atherton, we believe, and he was a devout Roman Catholic. I cannot find out which church he attended though.

His wife was Mary Ellen Fairhurst and he was 36 when he joined up in (April?) 1915. He was discharged as unfit for service in February 1918 from St Joseph's Sanatorium in Cheave.

I cannot find him on the absent voters list and my hope is to find out his service history. As I have already written, he was wounded twice so I am beginning to wonder if he didn't find service in more than two regiments.

Family legend suggests that he served, initially, in a local regiment but there is no one alive who remembers well enough.

I look forward to hearing from you if you find anything in local papers or whatever.

Regards,

David.

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