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4th Battalion the Rifle Brigade - J.A Swallow 3460


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My Maternal Grandfather, Jimmy Swallow, served from 1909 to 1919. I am trying to piece together his service record and have determined that he arrived on the Western Front in December 1914. However, the 4th battalion left for Salonika towards the end of 1915 but family rumour and hearsay has never mentioned this. Instead, family historians insist he remained on the front till the end of hostilities.

Can anyone advise me as to how I can confirm where he was.

I would be grateful for any information, or advice as to where to look.

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Hi

Welcome to the Forum. Can you give some more family details for your grandfather, Full name? James A Swallow, d.of b. ,place etc. It helps to widen the search.

Regards Barry

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http://www.1914-1918.net/27div.htm

From the Long Long Trail at top left of this page.4RB were part of 80 Infantry Brigade.

You will see that the unit was in India at the beginning of August 1914 and returned home in Nov 1914 to ship out from Southampton to Le Havre, France in Dec of that year. Your soldier would have been a regular.

The first landing of 4RB in France ties in with his Medal Index Card. They fought there until Oct 1915 and have a War Diary at the National Archives describing these months. Reference on the Discovery Database is WO95/2262/2,but it is not yet digital for download.

The whole Division then landed in Salonika (there were battles there too). 4RB were there from Nov 1915 to May 1919,their War Diary reference is WO95/4890 but it has been missing since 2003. However,under the same reference is the 80 Infantry Brigade Diary so you should still get the picture of the actions of the units within the Brigade.again not digital.

No service or pension papers apparent for James A Swallow,3460, Rifleman, Rifle Brigade.

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Can anyone find an MIC for this gentleman as he does not appear in the Rifle Brigade Medal Rolls.

Andy

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Yes,I found one on Ancestry UK.

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Is there a medal roll reference??

Andy

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OK, Got him in one of the supplementary rolls.

He also served with the 9th & 12th Rifle Brigade

Andy

post-1871-0-70715900-1382823487_thumb.jp

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Thanks so much to you all for responding, I feel I am beginning to make some progress.

James Alfred Swallow was born on the 26th June 1890 in Lambeth, and died in 1971.

I was too young to realise what he had experienced, and sadly he passed away when I was eleven.

From the information provided, how can I determine that he definitely left the western front for Salonika when it appears he also served in 2 other battalions. Would the RGJ museum be of any use in researching Jimmy? Jimmy was a regular who joined up in 1909, where would he have gone initially?

Thanks again to you all for your help.

Ian

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Hi Ian,

I am not so sure that he went to Salonika, I can find no record of him having done so. When the 4th RB went to Salonika about 100 were left behind with the officers left with them following on later to rejoin the 4th RB. After the 4th RB he spent some time in the 9th and ended up in the 12th RB. I would imagine that he went to the 9th RB in late December 1915 or around that timish, however there is nothing to confirm this, but he does not appear in the 19/12/15 roll for the 9th RB. The 9th after the German attack in March 1918 was dissolved, hence I would imagine he was sent to the 12th RB then (20th Division) who were active until the end of the war as quite a few men from the 9th ended up in the 12th.

The 4th RB were in Egypt (Alexandria) with small detachments in Cyprus and Malta for 1909

in 1910 they were still in Egypt but Cairo

1911 still in Cairo but towards the end of the year they were to move to Khartoum

1912 they were in Khartoum

1913 in February they moved to Dagshai in India

1914 still in Dagshai, India until 13th October where they embarked on the H.T. Avon at Bombay for the trip back to England arriving in Devonport on 1/11/14

Andy

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Hi Andy

Many thanks for the information, very much appreciated.

I think this confirms that Jimmy did not go to Greece and stayed on the Western Front.

Can you suggest a way forward for me with this research. If I was to view the Battalion diary in an attempt to ascertain where and what Jimmy experienced, I could not be sure he was in that battalion could I .......does this make sense?

Ian

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Hi Ian,

You are welcome, the problem is when he transferred to the different battalions, have you checked to see if his service record survives.

I have been through the 9th & 12th RB diaries as they can be quite good personnel wise sometimes but an find no mention of him. However the 12th RB diary is downloadable from the Archives, although it has a lot missing for 1917 which was found in another battalions diary and brought to their attention, but hey ho!!! with the Archives and their cavalier attitude to these diaries the missing parts have not been added. All a mad panic to get them on-line for the centenary one suspects, the shame of it is that future researchers and historians will only have what is available on-line to them in all probability, such a crying shame for such slip shod work.

Anyway, any help I can give just yell as I do not believe the 4th & 9th have been digitised as yet, although once again the 9th RB diary has been interpolated with the 16th RB Diary, another fact that was brought to their attention, although they have done a bit of work on this diary.

Andy

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Hi Andy

Apologies for being thick only I am new to all this, but have found it so interesting. When you say downloadable from the archives where do you mean?

I have searched for Jimmy's service record but drawn a blank. I assume it went up in the blitz along with so many others.

Unless you think otherwise, I feel that it will be unlikely that I will be able to confirm which battalion he was in and when. Such a pity as I was hoping to contribute to family history in detailing just where and what Jimmy did.

Thanks again for your help.

Ian

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Hi Ian,

The National Archives have put a lot of the battalion diaries into pdf which are downloadable from the National Archives website. They are trying to get as many on-line as possible for the 100 year anniversary. A great idea if the work was accurate and a great boon for those not able to visit Kew in person, I must add that MOST seem to contain the diary in their entirety, however when you came across vital information concerning a battalion in the box containing another battalions diary this effectively means that they are putting these diaries on-line incomplete. To compound matters, when visiting Kew after the 11th RB diary was brought to the attention of the staff, I took out the battalions diary where the 11th RB details were originally found, and blow me if the material had not been put back in that box again. They must be using staff that have not the slightest clue as to the differences between Regiments, for the 11th RB material was found in a Kings Royal Rifle Corps war diary, so one can only imagine that the word rifle has them all confused, not a great recommendation when they are supposedly the keepers of our, the nations, history.

I tend to agree that without his service record it will be purely educated guesswork with relation to his movements and to accurately pinpoint where he was and what actions he was involved with.

Have a feeling that he did go to the 9th Rifle Brigade in the New Year of 1916, BUT(big word that) when he went to the 12th RB is purely an estimate with what we saw happen to the 9th RB after March 1918.

Anyway, drop me a pm with your e-mail address on and I will send at least the 4th RB diary until they went to Salonica.

Andy

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personal message, you have enough posts to send one now I believe

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Hmmmmmmmmm, not received as yet Ian, will try sending you one.

Andy

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