Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Finding my Grandfathers grave after 88 yrs


martin Durcan

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

I am new to GWF and would really appreciate any help I could get in tracking down the records about where my Grandfather would have served.

I would like to attach photos, and will do when I have them pulled together.

I recently posted photos and some of the story up on my facebook, and the reaction to the story has been amazing, one friend from the UK, now living in Ireland contacted me to tell me all her family are buried in the same small Cheriton Road Cemetery graveyard, another dear friend Sue whom we met when diving abroad years ago, told me she passed the graveyard going to school every day as a child.... how many degrees of separation is there really between any of us?

I hope it may stir memories of others, and that I could possibly find out more about my Grandfather,

JOHN THOMAS DURKIN FOUND AFTER 88 YEARS 2ND APRIL 2011.

DETECTIVE SERGEANT SCOTLAND YARD

INTELLIGENCE CORPS & ROYAL FUSILIERS WW1

I have photos that show the culmination of a journey that I have wanted to do for over 40 yrs. Our Granddad John Thomas Durkin died in 1923 as a result of his wounds in WW1 where he served with the Royal Fusiliers attached to the Intelligence corps.

In one of the photos you will see Granddads' wedding notice on the right, it details that Granddad was the first person in the UK to volunteer for service, as he was a Detective Sergeant in CID Scotland Yard as close protection for King George the Fifth and Prime Minister.

He did this 10 hours after war was declared on August 4th 1914, his attestation form showing he signed up on the 5th August

He was sent shortly after to the front in France and served in the Intelligence Corps, where he fought in Mons and other tragic battles until he was wounded and returned home in 1917.

Recently Fiona and my niece Sheena tracked down where he was buried.

On behalf of all our family on April 2nd Fiona and I travelled to London and drove to Folkstone with our dear friends Asha Tanna & Lee Glen. When we arrived we tried to locate the plot, to find it just bare grass. The disappointment was immense,as this was a quest I had planned for years, and been on my mind since I was about 4yrs old listening to my Dad ( John Thomas Jnr) talking about him.

I think JT was a role model for my Dad as he followed his example and during WW2 and served as an officer in the Irish Defence Forces for the duration. Both my grandad and my Father have been my role models also and I serve as an officer in the Irish Defence Forces

Recently other great friends of ours Brian and Sue Marley spent hours trying to locate the grave,to no avail, but left flowers in his memory, for which we are very grateful.

Fiona & Lee through a bit of detective work figured out where it would have originally been. We were all bitterly disappointed to find that it 'just wasn't there'.

Lee prodded the ground with a piece of stick around the area and struck something solid about a foot down. I ran over to Morrison's supermarket and bought a breadknife and garden fork and we dug up a small sod... what looked back up at me was amazing, the letters 'OHN'...a bit more digging revealed 'JOHN' .... this was too good to be true. We dug sod by sod to reveal the complete headstone.

Further to a bit of cleaning we repositioned it in its rightful place, we buried photos and mementos and flowers we brought to place in the plot..and one of Dads ducks!!

We planted white hydrangeas and some poppies, replaced the sods and cleaned up. I placed a Remembrance poppy cross I had bought a few years ago with this day in mind, knowing I would eventually be here to fulfill the promise to my Dad and my Grandad JT.

This was truly an amazing day, one that will remain forever in my memory, and gives both closure and a new beginning.

As we left the grave yard and bid farewell to JT with a tear in my eye, I stopped to admire and reflect on the War monument in the graveyard, that was festooned with wreaths and mementos from service personnel in memory of their fallen comrades, little did they know of the forgotten final resting place of Sgt John Thomas Durkin only feet away.

Maybe now he can be remembered proudly each year as is fitting for the first man to unselfishly step forward to serve upon the outbreak of what was meant to be the War to end all Wars. Grandad finally succumed to his wounds and died 22May 1923

Check out this link to the Folkstone Herald on finding the grave

Thanks,

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Martin

Interesting story

Is this him-

http://www.nationala...pe=1=*

I think the second one has the wrong middle initial?

If the Medal Index Card does not say which battalion you have to look up the Medal Roll at National Archives, it is not online, see-

http://www.1914-1918.net/records.html , under Campaign Records for both.

Some of the battalion's War Diarys are online, see-

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/search-results.asp?searchtype=browserefine&query=scope%3droyal%20fusiliers&catid=31&pagenumber=1&querytype=1&mediaarray=*

They will tell you where he was as the battalion moved around. (see under Operational records above)

regards

Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Martin,

Welcome to the forum! That is quite a story...one for the kids and grandkids! You should be immensely proud.

Take care,

-Daniel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi again

Have you looked at them on Ancestry? I presume that is where you got his service records too?

He has 2, the second being for a Silver War Badge. Funny the first does not indicate a 14 Star, but he should be eligible for it?

Service records do note it.

regards

Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny the first does not indicate a 14 Star...

Isn't it covered by the note beside the Intelligence Corps service "roll on which included (if any) - Intelli/I1/2", Robert?

Welcome to the Forum, Martin. A wonderful story. Although not WW1 related, I've been identifying previously unknown family graves and tidying them up. I can only imagine how excited you've been.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Martin

Interesting story

Is this him-

http://www.nationala...pe=1=*

I think the second one has the wrong middle initial?

If the Medal Index Card does not say which battalion you have to look up the Medal Roll at National Archives, it is not online, see-

http://www.1914-1918.net/records.html , under Campaign Records for both.

Some of the battalion's War Diarys are online, see-

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/search-results.asp?searchtype=browserefine&query=scope%3droyal%20fusiliers&catid=31&pagenumber=1&querytype=1&mediaarray=*

They will tell you where he was as the battalion moved around. (see under Operational records above)

regards

Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Robert,

Many thanks for the very useful info, I just downloaded his medal card, thanks again.

I can see already how much help the forum will be with all of your help.

Yes the first one was him, I am looking at his '1914 Mons Star' right now, so he did receive one.

Does anyone know how would I find the names of the first members of the Metropolitan Police that signed up, and where they served.

Many thanks,

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest asking the Metropolitan Police Museum if records of him survive and are accessible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest asking the Metropolitan Police Museum if records of him survive and are accessible.

Thanks Phil,

I will try and track them down.

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Slightly off topic but such a good story I'm sure no-one will mind

Metropolitan Police Records for the period you are researching are held at the National Archives

http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Metropolitan_Police_Records_of_Service

you should look first in the Register for leavers and then Police Orders

There is an explanatory page on the Mets website here http://www.met.police.uk/history/records.htm

Sadly the Met Police Museum is yet to find a permanent home and while volunteers may be helpful suggest TNA is your best bet.

The Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection also have explanatory leaflets on tracing police ancestors

http://www.fomphc.org.uk/viewpage.php?page_id=40

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I've read elsewhere in the forum that a lot of these folks from the Met who went into intelligence were, on paper at least, posted to 10th Battalion Royal Fusilers. Searching the forum for Intelligence Corps and Royal Fusiliers should find some relevant threads

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slightly off topic but such a good story I'm sure no-one will mind

Metropolitan Police Records for the period you are researching are held at the National Archives

http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Metropolitan_Police_Records_of_Service

you should look first in the Register for leavers and then Police Orders

There is an explanatory page on the Mets website here http://www.met.police.uk/history/records.htm

Sadly the Met Police Museum is yet to find a permanent home and while volunteers may be helpful suggest TNA is your best bet.

The Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection also have explanatory leaflets on tracing police ancestors

http://www.fomphc.org.uk/viewpage.php?page_id=40

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Ken,

Thanks for reading it, and for your advice for tracking other info down.

I believe there may be a reference to him and the others that joined up in a book called 'Forearmed' History of the Intelligence Corps by 'Clayton'.

Thanks,

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Hi just noticed you are in Dublin so you won't be visiting TNA anytime soon I guess!

To answer your original question at post 8 if you ask for a search to be made here

http://www.policeorders.co.uk/

they may be able to show tell you the list of resignations/transfers to the Army which includes your relative, for the 5 August. (when I was serving PO were published twice a week on Tuesday and Friday though no doubt there was a Special Police Order following the Declaration of War). It is a fair bet those who left at the same time also enlisted.

You would then have to research each one individually

I've done a quick search at TNA which shows your relative was in Special Branch and it looks like he died while still in Service as his removal is shown as 1923-05-23. As his service appears uninterrupted from 1899 I wonder if he was seconded to the Intelligence Corps.

Special Branch maintain(ed) units at all ports which would explain why he is interred at Folkestone.

http://yourarchives....Pages_27_and_28

If you look at the Flickr image link from that page you can see he is recorded as 'Died'.

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HI Martin

The second one is his too, they just got his middle letter wrong and as I said before and is stated above, this service/pension record is on Ancestry if you dont already have it. Both the cards are on Ancestry too, and in colour and show the back as well.

And sorry, the card is not the type I am used to, yes it is for the 14 star, with the other 2 added!

regards

Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Discharged suffering from 'obesity and rheumatism', no doubt brought on by the rigours of active service otherwise he would not have had a pension.

Having been grappling with employment issues myself this week I felt a certain empathy with poor old Major Thomas at the Fusiliers Depot seems to have got a rollicking for applying common sense.

There was a Special Branch unit, which has been mentioned on the forum before and probably deserves more research, who were probably employed in continuance of their peacetime brief.

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Warrant 85591. Joined 16/10/1899 as PC H Divn,

Entitled to 1902 Metropolitan Police Coronation (PC H Divn.), 1911 Metropolitan Police Coronation Medal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Martin

I have all three of his Medal Rolls/SWB List. If you want copies I think you need to make up your posts to 10. You can then send me a personal message, on this system, advising your e-mail address.

He was in France from 12.8.1914 to 3.3.1917.

Discharged to Silver War Badge (Number 245392) on 1.9.1917.Aged 40.

His 1914 Star doesn't show 10 Battalion but a few of the Intell pages do show that Bn as the soldier's unit.

Sotonmate

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I am new to the GRF, I would like to thank all contributions to my story, journey of discovery for my Gradfather.

I still have to get used to the process a bit, and your help is much appreciated.

Just to let you know, Granddads medals will be represented in miniature form by my very proud brother, and the the full medals present at a formal State Dinner held in Dublin, and possibly seen by Her majesty during her historic visit to Ireland this week.

It will be the completion of a circle, where JT Durkin was part of her grandfathers body Guard, and now almost a hundred years later, his grandson will attend a State Dinner in honour of the Queen, hosted by President Mc Aleese and have his medals and photos with him.

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very proud of my Brother Jack Durcan, and his wife Sheila, just watched Jack shake hands with the Queen of England and President of Ireland in Dublin Castle on the occasion of the visit of Her Majesty.

What I am even more proud of he is wearing our grandfathers WW1 and Police medals, Grandad was the body guard of her grandfather King George the Fifth, The circle is nearly complete....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...