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Norfolk Regiment 8th London Regiment


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I am new to this but am trying to track down some of the movements of my grandfather William Richard Filby during the Great War.

He entlisted in the Norfolk Regiment , 8 Lond R (according to The British Army WW1 Medal Rolls)

and from his medals which i have i know that his number was Pte 2953.

His date of birth was 14th Oct 1897 : 8th London Regiment of the Norfolk Regiment

there are some numbers on the form


and then 2953, 52053, 377858

I also have a series of postcards which he wrote to my gran

eg "Pack up your troubles ..." postcard is dated 23rd September but i cant see the year

he writes "Dearest Kid, Just off to North Walsham, will send full address from there, So Long,Kid ..."

and then another Card " Forget me Not" postmark Worste(ad?) and date 28 Sep xx ? not sure about the year 1917? -

another Card .. "goodbye and may god bless guard and keep you....am going on Draft tonight 7-15 to France xxxx"

then three very fancy cards from France "Oct 30th" : embroidered " Souvenir de France"

"Sep 14th" and one other undated... with very short messages but must have been in an envelope

"Greetings from Somewhere in france" - and "Hands across the Sea" embroidered too

again i have no idea of the year _ any clues welcome . Nice postcards!

then i have a postcard from Le Treport in France of the hotel on the cliffs "No 3 General Hospital" i have found some similar cards online but not mine

i have no knowledge that he was injured but i thnk he might have been gassed?

the next thing i have is his Wedding Photos to my Gran on the 18th November 1918

he survived the war, he survived the second war but died on 21st jan 1946 from influenza

i never met him but would like to know more

in January 1919 according to the last card of that decade my gran was still making "Anti Gas Helmets" somewhere in South London

any way of finding out where he served

when he signed up

when he went to France

etc etc

all help/ideas very welcome


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maybe someone can help by explaining the numbering

does that say anything about hwne he was entlisted

Norfolk Regiment, 8 London Regiment,

2953, 52053, 377858

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Andrew. He first served in the Norfolk Regt no 2954, probably wounded or gassed, recovered and was posted to the 8th Co of London Regt (Post Office Rifles) no 52053, the next number in the same regt was as a result of the renumbering that took place within the army during 1917/18. As there is not a date on the card this denotes he did not go overseas until after 1st Jan 1916. Hope this helps. Ralph.

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ralph ... many thanks, were the Post Office Rifles all part of the Norfolk Regiment

how can you see he was wounded or gassed, i think i heard he was gassed, but how do you work that out

thanks for your time, it helps hugely ... andrew

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Andrew. The Norfolks and the Post Office Rifles two entirely different regiments, I say probably/possibly wounded/gassed as he was not put back in his original regiment but to the PO Rifles to fill in the gaps created by the vast casualties during the war. He might have been in an action that decimated his original regiment (Norfolks) and the authorities placed the survivors where they were then needed, in your mans case, the 8th London. Hope this clears this up. Ralph.

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hello again

i have now scanned this photo that i have: can anyone identify (help identify) it

norfolk regiment or london regiment post office rifles?

also a picture from 1917 or more likely 1918 of William with my Gran

any clues in the uniform

all help ideas greatly appreciated

many thanks


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The last photo has him wearing the Norfolk Regt cap badge, Brittania within a wreath Norfolk in the scroll underneath. Your gran is wearing the same badge.Ralph.

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based on his record is it unlikely that this was taken after the war :

ie : as i have now learnt : after he been posted to the Post Office Rifles

i assumed it was nov 1918 when they got married

but it could well be an engagement picture while he was still with the Norfolk regiment?

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do these embroidered cards give us any clue to his time in France?

both the same small postcard size

i have a third "Hands across the sea"?

are there any similar threads on cards



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I would say Norfolks - a battalion signal section including its officer. Everyone either has a flag, signal lamp, heliograph or despatch riding bike. A bit of telephone cable thrown in for good measure....

His medals were administered by the London Regimental District who showed overseas dates of service of men on their rolls - so worth getting a look at the actual medal roll books at the National Archives.


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many thanks steve,

that fits very well, on his wedding certificate in 1918 william richard filby describes himself as a "signaller",

- his dad on the same certificate is as an "RME Engineer" : Charles Henry Filby :but i have no war records for him..born 1869 died 1950

- what do you base the "norfolks" on - uniform ? badge ? or just the choice between the two (norfolks or post office)

- how exactly would a signal section have been working in combat ? - set routine or very different from section to section ... is this well documented anywhere else?

- any thoughts on the postcards

thanks for any more help with my questions

best wishes Andrew

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The size shape and the positioning of the voids on the badges all suggest the Norfolk Regiment (all except the one sat to the left as we look of the officer - the officer being sat in the middle with shirt and tie rather than closed collar). I would have suggested the Norfolks without the original identification.

The odd man out has a badge that could be Royal Engineers or indeed the Post Office Rifles, both badges being round with a crown on top.

I don't know if you have found this reference to him being in the Met. Police:


also an Alfred Leonard Filby who may be his brother?


R.M.E. could be Royal Marine Engineers?


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thanks ... yes Alf Leonard was his brother : who i knew well but didnt know he was in the met too !! :

can i check this somehow or is that all we have : ie date of birth ?

many thanks for that: we sang Onward Christian Soldiers very loudly at his funeral outside at the grave in the pouring rain in Sutton: will never forget that:

it is Royal Marine Engineers ... can see that on the discharge sheet which is the only record i have found for him

how do i find out more about what he did during the war

he was demobilised on the 28th March 1919 and discharged on the 15th May 1919, his number was 692238


then i have Williams younger brother James Filby : born 20 Jul 1899 :

i have heard that he was wounded : i found this record : also Norfolks : ?

but am not / dont know it was him : how can i link this to his date of birth (if it is him)


many thanks for all the help so far

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100% (plus whatever extra is allowed): The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment), and probably in overcoat & hospital blues (deep blue jacket (just visible between shirt collar and overcoat) and trousers, white shirt, red tie) whilst in military hospital in the UK.




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many many many thanks Steve!

James Filby born 20 July 1899 was then part of the The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

he was wounded, he died in Australia in the 1970s

how do i find out more

when was the earliest he could have enlisted (assuming he didnt lie about his age)

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That was the one I have my eye on, too!

The Norfolks and later Tank Corps James Filby was Killed in Action on 9-8-1918, so that rules him out regardless.

Very tentatively I would guess that G/68235 James Filby was with 8th Battalion of the Queen's.

The following men are listed on Soldiers Died with nearby numbers:

G/68219 Raymond Stephen Daw, DofW 18-11-1918, 8th Bn.

G/68238 Douglas Hubert Francis, KIA 6-11-1918, 8th Bn.

G/68254 Leonard James Hayward, DofW 31-5-1918, 8th Bn.

G/68257 Francis George Hicks, KIA 12-7-1918, 8th Bn.

G/68274 Bertie WIlliam Ketteridge, KIA 10-7-1918, 8th Bn.

G/68279 Francis May, DoW 30-5-1918, 8th Bn.

G/68294 Sydney Thomas James Payne, KIA 30-5-1918, 8th Bn.

Notice how all the surnames are in alphabetical order - you often see this when a large draft of men are transferred at the same time to go overseas. James Filby's surname fits into the sequence too. I would suggest that this may have been a draft sent to France to the 8th Battalion at the same time, possibly as a result of casualties sustained in the German offensives of March/April 1918, but I am getting very speculative here!

Minimum enlistment age should have been 17 and 19 for overseas service, but this was lowered to 18 and a half in early 1918 (which fits with an early 1918 transfer overseas).


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A look into the possible men of this draft reveals the records of G/68226 Owen Richard Denyer who would likely have been part of my theory of a draft.

His service records are here:


The page most revealing about his movements is here:


This shows that he was trained with the 23rd Training Reserve Battalion 245th Infantry Battalion at St Albans and then went to France on 2 April 1918 where he was transferred to the 8th battalion of the Queen's at "J" Infantry Base Depot, joining the 8th Bn. on 7 April 1918.

The war diary for 7 April 1918 notes a draft of 299 men joining the battalion:


I would look for further men of this draft to see if their records mirror this one. If so then I would be comfortable fitting these dates to other men with nearby numbers such as G/68235 James Filby.

EDIT: Also try Arthur Cornelius Doyle, G/68221, who shows the same dates.


The call-up dates also match which starts to suggest that this was a group of 18 years olds who went all through their training together from August 1917 through to embarkation to the 8th RWS, which was often the case at this point in the war.


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