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doogal

Officers/Army Lists at the PRO

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doogal

I realise this question is not about the MIC, but the nature of the content makes this part of the forum the closest fit (as far as I can work out):

I've spent some time gong through the Officers lists held at the PRO, and am unsure of the meaning of some additions to entries:

eg An officer listed as being in the 2nd Duke of Wellington's Regiment also has by his entry (2-5). This is directly to the left of his entry:

(2-5) Brown J.W. ...

some have entries like this, whilst others do not - are these indications of what regiment/battalion they are actually serving in? so would this put Second Lt J.W. Brown in the 2/5th Duke of Wellington's Regiment for his active service at the given time?

There are other examples:

an officer listed as being in the West Yorkshire Regiment is

(2-6) Brown H.W.

Would this put him as on active service with the 2/6th West Yorkshires - and so on

I've tried to find the official reference to this in the list themselves, but haven't been successful - can anyone confirm/put me right with the above assumption

with thanks

doogal

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doogal

Hi

I managed to get through to the PRO helpdesk who have confirmed the above assumption is the case.

rgds

doogal

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall
I managed to get through to the PRO helpdesk who have confirmed the above assumption is the case.

Doogal - if you are talking about the notations beside officers names in the WO338 record class (the index to WO339) then you have to be careful with this "assumption" - it may not be correct.

It is quite common for 338 to show things like 3/1 (third bn Royal Scots) when in fact the man's active service was with another battalion of the regiment, or maybe more than one other battalion. He may have been attached (rather than transfered) to a battalion of another regiment, and that will very often not be noted in 338, or he may have subsequently been transferred to another regiment or corps, then again to another, and the first transfer may well not be shown in 338. Sometimes transfers from the original regiment are not shown at all.

In other words WO338 is not a reliable indicator of a man's attachment(s) for active service and the only real use for the notations is to allow quicker identification of the correct file reference for your man. WO338 provides "clues", not "answers".

regards - Tom

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doogal

Thanks Tom,

I thought it was all getting just a little too easy.

I've never researched an officer before - is it now a case of going to the officer's service lists (relevant war diaries have been read). I'm trying to confirm a Lt Brown was serving with the 2/5th Duke of Wellington's Regiment in late March/early April 1918, which would go quite a distance to confirming that my Gt Grandfather was with the 2/5th at this time also. The former wrote a letter to the NOK of the latter.

thanks for your reality check and the pertinent advice

regards

doogal

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall
I'm trying to confirm a Lt Brown was serving with the 2/5th Duke of Wellington's Regiment in late March/early April 1918,

Doogal - the forename initials JW considerably reduce the likely scope of the "Brown" searches so, if you are not entirely confident about identifying Brown you should probably start by pulling the "Brown JW" files from WO338 / 339 and WO374 (your man could well have been a Territorial) and seeing if any of them are identifiable as the relevant man. Many of those files contain summaries of service etc which could tie him down.

You can of course search the Army Lists for the relevant period but you should be very careful about taking them at face value - AL's are a minefield for the unwary and can really throw you off course if you happen upon an out of date entry. Pity that the war diaries were of no help.

One other minor "tip" - which you can ignore if you want :o - when talking about a regiment I'd always prefer to see the "conventional" title rather than the lineage title, which can lead to "confusion" - ie West Riding Regiment rather than Duke of Wellingtons. ............................. That isnt an entirely irrational preference on my part - you learn your lesson after you have spent half an hour trying to understand what someone is talking about when they keep referring to "the Connaughts" having a lot of horses in 1914, and the penny finally drops and you figuire out that they mean the Royal East Kent Yeomanry and not the 88th Foot ! - "Kings / Queens / Princes / Dukes" etc can all conspire to confuse !

regards - Tom

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doogal

Hi Tom,

Once more – thanks for this.

The initials are where the work becomes interesting/entirely frustrating for me – I have been looking for an Lt H Brown for some time, as the person who signed the letter to the NOK – and have worked my way round a series of regimental museums in the last few months to no avail. Apart from the initial J., the Lt Brown I mentioned above would be in the right place at the right time if I could establish he was in the 2/5th Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (2/2 West Riding) – a leap of faith with regards the display of truly appalling typing on the letter puts J right next to H on the typewriter keyboard could make J Brown the most likely “suspect” as the platoon commander I am looking for, and possibly worth further investigation.

I’ve added a link to an earlier posting about this, as I think I’m now moving completely out of the scope of MIC’s.

I hadn’t considered the typo theory on posting, as it is the latest in a long line of theories.

Letter to next of kin

I think the time has come to put a specific post in Soldiers or Units on this subject...

regards

doogal

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Tom Tulloch-Marshall
I’ve added a link to an earlier posting about this, as I think I’m now moving completely out of the scope of MIC’s.

Doogal - now that will confuse me :unsure:

General principles ............. keep things simple .... try to avoid too much speculation until it becomes a last resort ... try to make each successive step a logical progression from the step preceding it (if there isnt one then step sideways and go at another angle) .. dont do more work than you have to !

You may want to consider the possibility that the "copy" letter which you have isnt a "copy" at all ............... it may be a transcript. The point is academic though.

Try the Army Lists for the West Riding Regiment at the time that the letter was written and identify any and all men with the surname Brown (there cant be that many) - then check their files in WO339 / 374, - assuming they exist. I'd think it unlikely that the letter was written by an officer above Battalion level, unless it had originated at the regimental depot.

regards - Tom

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doogal

hi Tom,

Thanks for the good sense.

You are absolutely right.

my over indulgence in speculation comes from many an idle hour spent at work... :ph34r: (should I admit to this indolence?)

I've been through the Army Lists for Febraury and April 1918, (March wasn't present) and have a list of Browns with commissions that I've been working through. I've also trawled the MIC online and have a couple from this, but the details are vague. The West Yorkshire Museum have promised to send me a list of all their Browns also, and I've been in touch with the KOYLI and the DLI (no H Browns here). These all had units in the vicinity of where my Gt Grandfather was KIA. So far, and I think to my benefit, there is a dearth of Browns -

A Lt raised to temporary Captain called H.O Brown from the 5th KOYLI, part of a different, but adjoining brigade, and apparently at their battalion HQ at the time.

A Lt H.W. Brown, in the West Yorkshire Regiment. The Army Lists indicate he was in the 2/6th West Yorkshire Regiment, nowhere near the action I am interested in, but from your earlier pointer, I will now question this further and check him out in more detail.

Lt J.W. Brown in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment - listed as being in the 2nd Duke of Wellington's Regiment, with (2-5) to the left of his entry in the Army List. If the Army List is correct, he was in the right regiment at the right time, and because of the way the regiment had been very recently reorganised would probably have been in one of two companies. But with the wrong initial.

There was one other I discovered, who was West Riding Regiment, but I don't have his details to hand at work.

Thus far, these are the main four possibilities. (The first one being shaky to say the least)

Tom,

I've just read the above, which I think was probably more for my benefit and clarity than anything else - so just to say thanks for your help in keeping focussed

regards

doogal

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