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Remembered Today:

Private Edwin Thomas Prosser 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers


british tommy

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Private EDWIN THOMAS PROSSER

63292, 1st Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers

formerly, Royal Field Artillery

who died age 23

on 14 October 1918

Four years' and two months' service in France.

Hello all,

Edwin Thomas is the great uncle of a friend of mine and in July we are off to the western front and as we have done every year for the last seven years we will pay our respects to Edwin Thomas Prosser at Dadizeele New British Cemetery. This year we thought it would also be interesting to try and trace some of his last movements, if it is possible.

The above information is all we have at present, which is copied from the CWG Certificate.

Basically I have gathered from searching previous posts that the Archives ref WO 95/2300 should be the place to find the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers War diary for around the date 14 October 1918. We will also be armed with GPS and Linesman maps.

My knowledge at this type of research is limited and did just wonder if there were any pointers before I start the search. I have dropped on to the Long Long trail to seek guidance but any other advice would greatly received.

Cheers

Lee H

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Such a shame, the War only lasted another month and he'd have survived shot and shell for 4 years and 3 months, virtually start to finish........

There is a Thomas Edwin Prosser, born 2nd Qtr 1895 who might seem to be "your" Edwin, but his father was Alfred and mother Elisa, plus he had a Royal Aero Club pilots licence in 1913, so more likely to have gone for RFC/RAF than RFA, unless there's a series of errors in there...

Name: PROSSER, EDWIN THOMAS. Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Lancashire Fusiliers. Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Secondary Unit Text: formerly Royal Field Artillery

Age: 23. Date of Death: 14/10/1918. Service No: 63292

Additional information: Son of Philip and Elizabeth Prosser, of Barton Rd., Hereford.

Four years' and two months' service in France.

Grave/Memorial Reference: VI. D. 37. Cemetery: DADIZEELE NEW BRITISH CEMETERY

The village of Dadizeele (now Dadizele, popularly Daddies ill) was in German hands for much of the First World War until reached by the 36th (Ulster) Division, and taken by the 9th (Scottish) Division, on 29 September 1918. Severe fighting followed on 1 October, at Hill 41, a little south of the village. Dadizeele New British Cemetery is in fact an extension of the communal cemetery. It was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other burial grounds and from the battlefields of 1918, although there are a few 1914 graves in Plot VI, Row D.

Soldiers Died in the Great War confirms he died of wounds, either incurred that day or shortly before, he had not got far down the evacuation route for severely wounded soldiers.

Name: Thomas Prosser. Birth Place: Abergavenny, Mon. Residence: Hereford

Death Date: 14 Oct 1918. Death Location: France & Flanders. Enlistment Location: Newport, Mon

Rank: Private. Regiment: Lancashire Fusiliers. Battalion: 1st Battalion. Number: 63292

Type of Casualty: Died of wounds. Theatre of War: Western European Theatre. Comments: Formerly 13709, R.F.A.

1901 Census shows the family:-

Name: Thomas Prosser; Age in 1901: 6; Estimated Birth Year: abt 1895; Relation: Son

Father's name: Phillip Prosser; Mother's name: Elizabeth Prosser

Where born: Llanthewy Skyrrid, Monmouthshire, Wales

Street Address: Pontcarrig Cottage, Llanthewy Skirrid, Monmouthshire, Wales

Phillip Prosser, 40; Groom, born Hereford; Elizabeth Prosser, 32, born Hereford; Edith Prosser, 11, born Cardiff; Phillip Prosser, 10, born Abergavenny; Kate Prosser, 8, born Abergavenny; Thomas Prosser, 6; Nellie Prosser, 3; unnamed Prosser, aged 2 weeks.

Hmm, his Medal Index Card shows him as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, then as Private in Lancashire Fusiliers.

It only shows entitlement to the British War and Victory medals, so he didn't actually serve overseas until after 1915.

Perhaps he was kept in the UK with the RFA and the only way he thought he would get over to "do his bit" was to transfer to the Infantry.

Perhaps there was another relative(s) killed and he wanted to have a hand in avenging them?

Perhaps these were cousins?

Name: PROSSER, ERNEST. Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Welsh Regiment. Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Age: 27. Date of Death: 23/09/1916. Service No: 10145

Additional information: Son of Edwin Prosser, of Sunnybank, Llanvetherine, Abergavenny, Mon.

Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 7 A and 10 A. Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Name: PROSSER, ALBERT. Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Welsh Regiment. Unit Text: 18th Bn.

Age: 26. Date of Death: 24/03/1918. Service No: 27806. Awards: M M

Additional information: Son of Edwin Prosser, of Surmybank, (Sunnybank?) Llanvetherine, Abergavenny, Mon.

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 6. Memorial: ARRAS MEMORIAL

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War Diary entry...

Dave

post-357-0-81194200-1306250540.jpg

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...attached narrative as mentioned in the diary extract for the day...

post-357-0-26772400-1306250690.jpg

post-357-0-91545500-1306250725.jpg

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Wow! Such a fantastic and quick response, thank you.

Kevin,

such detailed information so quickly, the pilots license and possible connection to Albert & Ernest Prosser, I do know the family's roots are Welsh the addresses must point to some sort of family connection, could he really of joined the infantry to enable him to get revenge, its all so absolutely fascinating. I will have a chat with Edwins great nephew, he will be thrilled with the information so far, he may be able to do some digging and shed some light on the family connection.

David,

Thank you for posting the relevant diary entries, I will try to locate the movement and area described on the trench maps I have from Linesman.

Lee

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No, no, the chap with the pilot's licence ISN'T your chap, just that was the first that came up with a similar date of birth.....

In the War Diary, it shows 83 Dead, Wounded or Missing.

Your (Edwin) Thomas was among the 17 killed

001 BIRCHALL F 203235 B COY 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

002 CADMAN R 52329 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

003 DOWNS H 203565 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

004 EVERETT AV 1544 B COY 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

005 HARDMAN A 41503 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

006 HARPER R - 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

007 LONGMATE TW 37368 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

008 LUNN D 53996 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

009 MATHER J 53991 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

010 NORRIS W 53920 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

011 PROSSER ET 63292 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

012 RUBENSTEIN J 52606 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

013 SHEEN JF 9575 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

014 TODHUNTER W 65371 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

015 TOOZE AH 49082 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

016 WALL S 53053 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

017 WRIGLEY HC 64926 1ST BN 14/10/1918 LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS

2nd Lt Harper was the officer killed, perhaps from B Company which took some early casualties, perhaps Edwin amongst them, although he might have been wounded later.

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Such a shame, the War only lasted another month and he'd have survived shot and shell for 4 years and 3 months, virtually start to finish........

Hmm, his Medal Index Card shows him as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, then as Private in Lancashire Fusiliers.

It only shows entitlement to the British War and Victory medals, so he didn't actually serve overseas until after 1915.

Perhaps he was kept in the UK with the RFA and the only way he thought he would get over to "do his bit" was to transfer to the Infantry.

Perhaps there was another relative(s) killed and he wanted to have a hand in avenging them?

We have always found it moving that he was so close to getting through it all.

Was it unusual to hold men back, I would have thought they needed virtually every man, especially artillery men, in the fields of France?

Lee

Ah ok, I was getting a bit over excited over the pilots licence, I need to read a little more carefully.

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Just had a look to see if there was anything about men with a similar number in the RFA...

AINSWORTH J 13695 B BTY, 165TH BDE 16/10/1916 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

CRIDDLE H 13699 16TH BTY 41ST BDE 28/08/1918 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

CLIFTON J 13703 8TH DIV AMMUNITION COL 24/06/1917 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

FINCH W 13701 D BTY 177TH BDE 21/12/1917 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

LEAK A 13704 A BTY 74TH BDE 12/05/1917 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

LLEWELLYN T 13715 2ND DIV AMMUNITION COL 21/03/1918 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

PRESCOTT J 13711 150TH BDE 30/06/1916 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

SMITH T 13712 A BTY 74TH BDE 04/09/1917 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

WEBB SG 13714 C BTY 75TH BDE 04/09/1917 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

Can't see any obvious pattern to link him to a specific unit in the RFA, but men with similar RFA numbers WERE in France in 1916, so something must have prompted his change once he got to France.

Just what that was, I can't say, only suggest that perhaps he wanted to get to closer grips with the Germans, but he could do as good a job of killing the enemy in the RFA as in the infantry...

Perhaps Ernest Prosser was a close relation and also Albert had been awarded a Military Medal, so he needed to do something more?

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Hmm, his Medal Index Card shows him as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, then as Private in Lancashire Fusiliers.

It only shows entitlement to the British War and Victory medals, so he didn't actually serve overseas until after 1915.

Perhaps he was kept in the UK with the RFA and the only way he thought he would get over to "do his bit" was to transfer to the Infantry.

If his MIC lists both the RFA and the Lancs Fusiliers then there's a good chance that he first served overseas with the RFA. His Lancs Fusiliers regimental number would suggest to me that he transferred to them in about early 1918 (though that's only an educated guess, someone here may be able to give you a more accurate estimate). That would also fit with the possibility of some earlier overseas service in the RFA, maybe in 1916 or '17.

I'm slightly puzzled by his RFA regimental number (13709) which would appear to indicate that he was a pre-war regular, but that doesn't match his age (23).

Edit; where did the info about him having 4 years 2 months overseas service come from? It doesn't appear to fit the facts that we have here.

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I just had a look at the National Archives web-site, I notice that he has 2 MIC's; one as 'T. Prosser', and another as 'Thomas Prosser'.

Did he receive a 1914 or 1915 star by any chance? His medal entitlement may have been split over 2 cards. If so, the card for the star may indicate when he first arrived overseas.

Edit; it may also show the RFA unit that he first served with.

Re-edit; suddenly the idea of him being a pre-war regular makes more sense, and it may be that he transferred to the infantry when his period of service with the RFA came to an end. But I'm running ahead of myself...... More info please...? Are you certain that his age is correct?

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If his MIC lists both the RFA and the Lancs Fusiliers then there's a good chance that he first served overseas with the RFA. His Lancs Fusiliers regimental number would suggest to me that he transferred to them in about early 1918 (though that's only an educated guess, someone here may be able to give you a more accurate estimate). That would also fit with the possibility of some earlier overseas service in the RFA, maybe in 1916 or '17.

I'm slightly puzzled by his RFA regimental number (13709) which would appear to indicate that he was a pre-war regular of many years standing, but that doesn't match his age (23).

Edit; where did the info about him having 4 years 2 months overseas service come from? It doesn't appear to fit the facts that we have here.

The 4 years 2 months is copied from his CWG certificate.

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Have you checked his 2 MIC's? I bet his medal entitlement is split over 2 cards; the 'T. Prosser' card is probably for a 1914 star, and would list the date of his arrival in France and the unit that he was serving with at the time.

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I just had a look at the National Archives web-site, I notice that he has 2 MIC's; one as 'T. Prosser', and another as 'Thomas Prosser'.

Did he receive a 1914 or 1915 star by any chance? His medal entitlement may have been split over 2 cards. If so, the card for the star may indicate when he first arrived overseas.

Edit; it may also show the RFA unit that he first served with.

Re-edit; suddenly the idea of him being a pre-war regular makes more sense, and it may be that he transferred to the infantry when his period of service with the RFA came to an end. But I'm running ahead of myself...... More info please...? Are you certain that his age is correct?

From his CWG certificate and Kevin's post above stating in 1901 his age was 6, it does appear that he was 23 in 1918.

I will find out exactly which medals his family have.

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Hi all, thanks again for all your interest and help.

I have had a chat with my friend and he has his Great Uncle's Medals, there are 3 of them

1914 star Gunner T Prosser 13709

Victory Medal

1914/18 Great War Medal

Te scroll has T.Prosser as the name.Lancashire Fusiliers.

Apparently the family had a history of working with horses which is why my friend believed he may have originally joined the RFA, but we have no idea what brought about the change to the Lancs Fusiliers.

Lee

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Tell your friend that the medal roll index cards for his medals will tell us what unit he served with when he went to France in 1914, and the date on which he arrived.

The medal roll for the war and victory medals may tell us some more about other battalions that he served with.

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Just a couple of quick thoughts following on from yesterday;

Because he was a pre-war regular soldier, he would have signed up for a particular period of time, and the reason for his transfer to the infantry may simply have been that his original term of service expired at which point he would have been liable to be conscripted. It is also possible that his trade was not specific to the artillery and was simply linked to horses (which were used by all branches of the army), and it may be that particular trade was needed in an infantry battalion, hence his transfer. The likeliest explanation, in my opinion, is that the infantry was running low on manpower as the war went on, and numbers of men were forcibly transferred from corps units to frint-line units. The fact that your man presumably had a trade that was not specific to the RFA would have made him a likely candidate for such a move.

Also, because he must have gone to France in August or September 1914, it seems very likely that he served during the retreat from Mons. If you can find the unit details from his medal index card then you can probably retrace his footsteps during this very dramatic action. It may be that his unit was involved in some very famous engagements.

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Sorry, but I do now have the medal cards but I am having trouble loading them unto the site.Edit, Success, I think!

post-23171-0-22840100-1306324311.jpg

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Looks like he landed in France on 17th August 1914, so he was amongst the earliest British arrivals in France. War had only been declared less than 2 weeks earlier.

I think that 5th Division and Cavalry Division both landed on that day, so his unit was probably part of the Divisional artillery supporting either of those Divisions. He would almost certainly have been involved in some of the earliest engagements of the war (the shooting only started about 5 days after he landed). It's possible that someone here may be able to advise on whether any other units landed on the same day.

Sadly, his MIC does not list his unit. His 1914 star was issued from a 'Supplementary' medal roll (basically meaning that his name was not included on his unit's medal roll when it was first compiled in about late 1917, perhaps because he had already been transferred out of the artillery).

If you check the roll to which the MIC refers (Supp. RFA 102, page 2) it may list his unit. It'll probably be the only way of finding out which unit he was with.

Alternatively, check for service papers, or look for reports in local newspapers. They're often quite good at reporting details of local men in the earlier days of the war.

There'll probably be some interesting details to discover about his service in 1914 if you look hard enough.

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I think that 5th Division and Cavalry Division both landed on that day, so his unit was probably part of the Divisional artillery supporting either of those Divisions.

I just remembered that the Cavalry Division artillery was made up of Royal Horse Artillery units (it WAS a cavalry division, of course....) so your man almost certainly came over with 5th Division. If so, then there are only a small number of units that he could have served with; VIII Howitzer Brigade RFA, XV Bde RFA, XVII Bde RFA, XVIII Bde RFA or the Divisional Ammunition Column.

It's not impossible that he might have been part of another Division and that his unit landed a little later or earlier than the rest of the Division, but there's got to be a high chance that he was in one of the 5 units that I've just listed. In which case it's likely that he would have been at Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne, 1st Ypres, etc.

A little bit of homework could uncover an interesting story.......

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Many thanks Headgardner, it is certainly worth persuing its just knowing where to look, but thats all part of the fun and I shall certainly give it a good go.

Thanks again.

Lee

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Any of those in Post #8 fit with the units arriving in Aug 1914?

8th Div Ammo Column?

... such as...

CLIFTON J 13703 8TH DIV AMMUNITION COL 24/06/1917 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

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A quick question, what would the 'LAU HUS' stand for on under Corps on the second MIC, 18th post?

LANcashire FUSiliers......! B)

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Any of those in Post #8 fit with the units arriving in Aug 1914?

8th Div Ammo Column?

... such as...

CLIFTON J 13703 8TH DIV AMMUNITION COL 24/06/1917 ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY

Good thinking. I don't have Ancestry, so I can't look at the actual MIC's, but from a quick browse of their details on TNA's web-site it seems that most of them have 'L' prefixes to their regimental numbers. That indicates that they were members of locally raised artillery brigades (a bit like 'pals' battalions) so they probably wouldn't have even signed up at the time that our man here was in France. The RFA Brigade numbers listed in your post confirms that they're mostly 'new army'.

Only one of those men looked like he belonged to the number sequence as Prosser, and his MIC listed his unit as 2nd Div Ammo Column RFA, so presumably he also got a 14 star.

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