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Remembered Today:

Private James Mobsby RASC


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I have a James Mobsby b 1880 in Thornton Heath, Surrey to James & Elizabeth.

Census records for 1881 & 1891.

In 1911 he was single, working for the L.S.W.R. in the Eastleigh depot and there are employment records showing annual increases in wages between his entry into the railway service in 1911 up to 1914 then again in 1919 & 1922.

There is a MIC 1914 - 1920:

Name: MOBSBY James

Corps: A.S.C.

Rank: Pte

Regtl. No. 54/158811


Victory Roll: RASC 105 B109 Page: 11035

British Roll: RASC 105 B109 Page: 11035

and a Chelsea Pensioner Service record for service between 1760 & 1913.

I learnt from an earlier query that it wasn't unusual for the railway companies to 'release' employees for war service, taking them back after the war ended, is it the case that they carried on paying their employees? If so did they also get payment from the army?

It is possible that he went on to marry Alice H Gower in Croydon and that he may have died in 1956.

Can anyone help with any more info about his war service?


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Not a lot to go on,I didn't see a service record on Ancestry and I don't recall any unit being shown on the ASC Medal Rolls that I have looked at.It might be worth taking a look at the original Medal Roll in Ledger WO329/2000 at Kew. I note that the original roll seems to be in RASC101/B109page11035 as opposed to RASC105.His number had the S(for sugar)4 prefix.

You might get some idea of his unit if you can track down an Absent Voters List for 1918 for his home area.


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From his records he was serving in the Militia (4th Btn, East Surrey Regt) when he enlisted in the Royal Artillery in January 1898. He stated he was plasterer, aged 19 yrs 11mths.

His records are fairly detailed (lucky you) and state he was discharged in January 1910, after 12 years service.

He joined up again in November 1914, Sgt 279505 Royal Garrison Artillery, and served 2 years in France. He was diagnosed with Ortitis, caused by gunfire and gas, affecting his left ear. He had been treated at Hooton/Horton Hospital in Epsom. His examination took place on 17th Feb'19 in Ripon and he was described as a 'machinist for LSWR.

At the examination he gave his address as 9 Zion Road, Thornton Heath and his age as 38. I can't see any mention of the Army Service Corps but I can't find a MIC for him in RGA.


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Here's his MIC, incorrect spelling, James Mobsby: http://search.ancest...ssrc=&pid=64636

Gunner 4504 promoted to Sergeant 279505. First went to France (1914/15 Star) 21st Oct'15.

I doubt very much the railway company would have paid his wages whilst he was serving in the Army, especially if they had to pay a replacement during his absence. Someone, better qualified than I, may be able to tell you more.

I think he married Alice Gower in March 1919 at Croydon. I also think he died in Croydon in March 1956 but you would need actual certificates to verify these events.

I can only find 1 Alice H (Hester) Gower in the 1911 census, born 1904 and living in Canterbury (too young). It's possible Alice was a war widow. James was quite old for his first marriage, though he had been in the Army for a long time. I can't find any record of James and Alice having children.


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Thanks very much, I'll need a bit of time to assimilate the info but it already clears up a couple of queries; firstly why I couldn't find him in the 1901 census and secondly the gaps in his railway service record.

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I've discovered a lot about Horton hospital from http://ezitis.myzen.co.uk/horton.html which includes the following:

In 1915 the Asylum was taken over by the Army Council and its 2143 inmates were transferred over four weeks to its sister asylums in the area. It became the Horton War Hospital, a general hospital for servicemen from all parts of the Empire wounded during WW1. King George V and Queen Mary visited in July 1916, by which time there were almost 2000 military patients.

In 1919, after it had treated over 46,000 patients, it was handed back to the LCC.

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Thanks for posting that info SRD, it's good to find out a little background information.

I had a 'google' of Ortitis. I knew of Otitis but it turned out to be the same condition.


Ears*: including deafness, ortitis media, tinnitus;

Eyes including conjunctivitis,glaucoma;

Mouth: including gum and tooth problems, ulcers;

Nose including chronic bleeding and/or swelling of membranes.

​*Middle ear infection causing temp deafness, oozing, severe headaches, loss of balance and vomiting. Loud noise can be painful in mild cases and unbearable in chronic cases.

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The "S4" prefix indicates employment in a labour unit of the ASC. If his hearing was causing problems, he still could have been usefully employed as a labourer.

All the best,


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Thanks. So have I got this right; it looks like he was sent to France in the Artillery in 1914, sent to Horton around 1916 then to the ASC before final discharge after his examination in February 1919 when he resumed his job on the railway in April 1919?

Any idea where he may have served in his first term (1898 - 1910)?

And would he have been recalled by the Artillery in 1914 or would it have been a matter of re-enlistment?

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I don't think he was in the ASC. I think that was a different man.

If he'd served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and the RASC I'd expect both regiments to be on the same medal index card. Having said that, there are always ones that are 'different' to the norm and his MIC for RGA has his name as Mobsy.

There are more records for James Mobsby, mixed up with someone else's on Ancestry.

There is no mention of RASC in his service or pension records.

He re-enlisted in Winchester on 23.11.14. He volunteered.

His details are recorded on Army Form D. 400z - Descriptive Return of a Soldier Discharged or Transferred to the Reserve on Demobilisation. He stated he was married, a machinist and employed by GPO Eastleigh. He does not give his wife's name and gives his father as his next of kin. He gives his address as 'GPO Eastliegh'.

The form details he served 4 years & 123 days with the RGA, of which 1 year & 19 days were served in France. He was transferred to Z Class on 25.03.19 in Dover.

He was transferred to 46 Siege Battery on enlistment and arrived at Fort Rowner, Gosport on 23.11.14.

He was admitted to Horton City of London War Hospital on 20.10.17 with something I can't make out, something about his ears and a 3" thick wound. He was discharged from Horton on 25.02.18. He spent 16 days, 4 - 20 Oct'17, in Norfolk War Hospital, Thorpe, Norwich with 'Vcil Rt.finger' and then transferred to Horton.

After his first enlistment he served with 1 Depot EDRA (26.01.1898), 14 Coy EDRA (04.03.1898) & 3 Coy RGA (13.03.1909)

He served at Dover Castle, Sheerness, Colaba (India 25.02.99), Great Yarmouth and Bermuda (1908).

He suffered from of eczema boils, scabies, an abscess insomnia and a sore throat during his first service.

He was rejected for a pension on 25.04.19, the decision was that his Otitis was not caused by his war service.

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Ah, I see, I think.... You say he was rejected for a pension on 25/4/19 but he does appear to have a pension from his earlier service:

James Mobsby

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913

birth: 1879 Surrey

pension: United Kingdom

name: James Mobsby

event: Pension

event year range: 1760-1913

event place: United Kingdom

birthplace: Surrey

estimated birth year: 1879

How would that have worked?

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He applied for a pension because he claimed his disability (Otitis) was caused by his service, this was rejected. This was separate from his pension accrued by his service, he was still awarded that.

All Army pensions were processed in Chelsea, don't get him confused with the ex-servicemen at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.


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