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Newbie - have records but what do they mean!?


Guest Craig Leadley
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Guest Craig Leadley

I was absolutely thrilled when a friend of mine managed to find my great grandfather's military records at Kew. I've read through them and they are facinating but a bit bewildering as they seem to jump around a bit chronologically and are filled with regimental numbers, abreviations and unfamiliar jargon :blink: Can anyone help me start to decipher them please?! I have about 40 pages but I hope the following will help to start things off:

Name: Charles Holdstock, he was 46 when he signed up but his record says 39.

Numbers which might(!) be relevant: 19992, 376775, 694984 labour corp,

Joined up 16/10/15 in Hull

Posted to East Yorkshire regiment 18/10/15

Posted to 3rd E.Y. 23/10/15

Posted to 7th E.Y. 4/7/16

Transferred to 762 Labour corp 1/10/17

Posted to L.D.L.C(?) 13/6/18

Posted to 366 R.E. Corp 28/7/18

Posted BEF 16/8/18

Disembarked Bologne 17/8/18

Posted to Labour corp base depot 17/8/18

Posted to 191 labour corp 22/8/18

Can anyone help a bewildered new member!? Craig.

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Hi Craig

He may have given a false age when enlisting in 1915, since 46 was generally well over-age for new recruits, particularly during 1914/15 - although by 1918 many men of this age were in the infantry - and 39 may have been a realistic false age to give upon attestation.

3rd & 7th E.Y. would be respective battalions of the East Yorkshire Regiment. The Regiment grew to 19 battalions during the War.

Transfer to the Labour Corps usually came about as a result of wounds or age; if he was 48 in 1917 it was likely he would have been posted to this unit (either his true age was discovered or he was unfit for further infantry service).

Ian Bowbrick can give you details about this organisation.

He was posted to the British Expeditionary Force in 1918 (i.e. Army in France); thoughout the War the land forces on the Western Front were known as the BEF despite swelling to millions of men. Assuming he did not serve overseas until August 1918, he would have up to then been on Home Service (garrison) in the UK, and would have qualified for 2 campaign medals, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his months of service in France.

Cheers

Richard

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Further to the above, here is a link to the information on the EYR in the Forum Owner's WW1 site:

http://www.1914-1918.net/eastyorks.htm

Looking at it the 7th Battalion served in France, but it does not appear to taken your g-father to France in 1915-16 or else such service would be marked on his papers.

Richard

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Richard, how do you surmise that he managed to serve over a year with 7EY without going to France? I`m not aware that a battalion in France would have had any personnel in UK. What do you think? And wouldn`t the Labour Corps and RE units possibly be in France? Perhaps there are items of info that Craig hasn`t quoted? Phil B

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Hi Phil

It is a conundrum.

Dont really know since we haven't seen the papers, but his service in France should be clearly marked for financial, medal and pension entitlements.

However, I would assume that a very small cadre of some sorts would be left in the UK - maybe it depends on whether he was a cook, butcher etc. with the Battalion HQ rather than a pure infanteer.

Possibly he was appointed to the 7th Btn books but never managed to join them in France - possibility due to his being on attachment elsewhere?

Richard

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Guest Craig Leadley

Thanks to you both, it has certainly given me some food for thought. I will have another read through the records taking into account what you have said and see if there is anything else which can help to build up the picture. A lot of the pages have pretty big chunks of text which are pretty much unreadable because they have faded and/or have not reproduced too well. Also, with 40 pages of records it is difficult to know what is important and what is not with respect to working out where he served - particularly when starting with zero knowledge about the first world war. Makes me feel ashamed of myself given the sacrifices made on my behalf.

My interest in this really came from tracing my family tree. I guess like many people I've just been interested in getting as far back as possible but I'm just beginning to realise that it is all pretty pointless without trying to find out something about the people themselves and the life that they led.

Regarding my g.grandfathers occupation, he was a dock laborour when he enlisted so I don't suppose this counts as having any sort of specialist skills. Thanks again. Craig.

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Guest Craig Leadley

I have a bit more info which may help…

I have 5 pages stamped with ‘MEDAL’ These are:

1. Service and casualty form part 2 which has two stamps on it. Both are faded but what I can read is reserv? “Z” army, dated 25/2/19, Nottingham and a second stamp saying ‘discharged ? class ‘Z’ on re-enlistment, next to this ‘pte 26/5/19

2. Casualty form – active service

29/7/18 M.O. London district labour centre, embarked 3/7/16 joined 7th Battalion.

16 8/16 (as in 8 sixteenths) ? Base details, field, 28/7/16

1 2/17 (as in 2 seventeenths) DOM? 8th Corps classified P.B. 5/1/17

At the top of the pages are the words ‘posted 762 EMPTCOY

3. Service and casualty form part 1 – just has my g.grandfather’s particulars like d.o.b. date of enlistment and nationality. There is a column headed ‘category’ and under this the word BIII

4. Casualty form – active service

Again has my g.grandfathers name, rank etc and the dates 28/5/19 with the word ‘posted’ and 15 June 1919 followed by some very faded type, the only words I can make out are France/3865 (A.C?.?) 25/5/19

5. Service and casualty form part I

Rank: Pte

Army form, number of attestation form or record of service paper: B25 14 7(?)

Labour corp 194?4

Any help at all!?

Craig.

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Craig, I`m no expert in the interpretation of these things, but it looks like he went to France in July 16 to me. I`m sure others will confirm or otherwise.

Richard, I have always laboured under the impression that a service battalion serving in F&F would not have any personnel in UK. (Unlike a regular or TF Bn). I have no evidence, however, so could be wrong. It`s an interesting point and if we don`t get any other comments, I might raise it as a separate string. Phil B

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Craig

The new information would seem to point to his joining the 7th (in France, where they are listed as having served), since it says 'embarked'.

BIII could be B3 - medical categorisation. The meaning behind this is available on the associated Long, Long Trail Site - top left for the link.

Phil B,

I too would have assumed that a whole battalion would go overseas; now it looks likely that he did (in July '16). Purely conjecture on my part that he may have been attached to an overseas battalion as a new draft yet remained in UK, since yesterday the only mention of going overseas was in 1918. Would be interested in finding out whether a 'garrison cadre' or some such was the case, though.

Richard

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