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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

James Henry Needs, KIA with the 6th or 9th Bn. London Rgt?


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I would be very grateful for any help or advice with the following soldier's details. In most cases the evidence states that he was KIA fighting with the 9th London Rgt. However, there are a few bits of evidence which point to the fact that he may have been with the 6th London Rgt. at the time;

James Henry Needs

No. 415058 QVR.

CWGC, SDGW, Regimental History and Death Cert.- Rfn., K.I.A. 10.9.18, 30, 9th Bn. London Regt., “C” Coy. Buried EPEHY WOOD FARM CEMETERY. formerly 5149 11th Lon. Regt.

Medal Roll-

9th London Regt. 8.2.17-18.8.17
6th Lon. Regt. 15.8.18-10.9.18

Soldiers’ Wills- 11th August 1918, 9th (Reserve) London Rgt.

However, a cover page for the above will (dated 6.1.19) is a bit hard to read and ambiguous as to his Regt. (Please see picture attached). I cant tell if it is 6th or 9th Bn., or if it is just a mistake.

Most evidence points to his being with the QVR when he died. Clearly it looks like he went out with the 9th Regt in Feb. 1917. Then, it looks like he was probably wounded and reverted back to the Reserve Rgt for a while before coming back out in August 1918 (where he also either writes his will, or more likely re-writes another one for some reason (He married in 1912, so I don't think that was why).

But my question is; can anyone tell if he ended up in the 6th Bn. as seems to be implied by some of the evidence,

or does he remain with the 9th Bn., which is how he is remembered by the CWGC and on the SDGW? Is there any other way I could find out? If he was merely 'posted' to the 6th Bn, would that be why he is still be remembered as 9th Bn.?




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I would say that this is a 9 superimposed with a 6. (Threatened with severe punishment for superimpositions when I worked on the payroll way back in the old kalamazoo system in the 60s) Ralph.

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Thanks Ralph. So that would imply that possibly he did move to the 6th Bn., unless its a 9 superimposed on a 6 (which was a mistake).

(Had to google kalamazoo... before my time!)

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I thought of it in reverse 9 over 6, but in my experience compiling pay sheets and correcting other peoples errors(n b not mine I might add) :hypocrite: if you wanted to "go over" the figure 9 , the top of 9 would have obscured the down stroke of the 6. Years of adding up pay sheets does come in useful at times. Hope this is clear. :thumbsup: Ralph.

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All clear and very interesting. I like your explanation, very insightful of you!

...Are you sure it was just payroll you worked in, and not MI5's graphology department? :thumbsup:

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The Medal Roll on the MIC is clearly that of the 9th so likely posted to the 6th.

Re the over-write If the 9th was the original would its tail be above the line?

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It looks likely then, that he was quite possibly posted to the 6th bn. I wonder why this was not mentioned on his gravestone, as I have seen in other cases. His parents appear to have paid for the small inscription at the bottom, so there was at least some family input into how he was remembered. He would only have been with the 6th about a month before he was killed, so perhaps this had something to do with it.

Re the 9: Thats a good point! You would think it might be above the line. Your point caused me to look at the document again (see picture below). Other 9s in the same hand are written below the line, though to be fair they are not stand alone digits. I think it does look very similar to the 9 on the date of death line below. Thanks for your input Auditman! Made me look again at the document. Cheers.

I should add that the 9th bn. were in rest between the 8th and the 11th of September. I know men can still be killed while on rest, still, might make it more likely that he was with the 6th if they were in action at the front. I'll have to find out what the 6th were up to on the 10th September.

Incidentally, if you look at the bottom of the document I wonder why on earth the date 6.1.19 is crossed out, and the date 28th April 1914 is added? This is not the case on other wills I have seen.

I guess I dont really fully understand the terms 'posted' and 'attached', and how this affects what a soldier's official regiment is. I presume he is still officially a member of the regiment he was posted from, since he hasnt been transferred. perhaps this answer my questions.

Thanks again for your input.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Chris

Looked at a record I have tried to put together. I have 17 soldiers in or with the 6th London in Epehy Wood cemetery, all bar one having fallen on 10/9/18. Of these 8 were attached from the KRRC (6th London and KRRC are closely related) and 1 from the 16th London. The Battalion was in action at Epehy at that time.

The Battalion had been in action at the end of August so it would seen reasonable that replacements were provided quickly. My understanding is that if transferred a soldier would have been re-rumbered but a posting is like a loan, still "owned" by his parent unit hence the issue of the medals from the 9th Medal roll.

I reckon I should revisit the 9th Medal Roll as I did not identify Mr Needs


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Thanks very much indeed! Thanks too for the info re being posted or transferred.

James Needs wrote or re-wrote is will in August 1918, as mentioned above, so I think perhaps he was injured and as men came back I believe it was likely that they could be posted or transferred on embarkation.

I wonder when the other men you mentioned were attached. Might have a little look onto that. If it was around the same time, might add more weight to the posted/attached theory for J. Needs.

If you want me to send you that page of the medal roll, just send me a PM and Ill get it over to you.



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