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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Private 1109 W C Ringshaw 3rd Essex


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This is the grandfather of a mate, his MIC states he had his medals forfeit 11.2.18 for desertion, his records no longer exist, is there any way to find out what, when and where?

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You will see from the MIC that he first landed in a war zone on 10 Jun 1915 at 2B,this was Gallipoli,and he arrived as part of a replacement draft for losses in 1 Battalion Essex,part of 88 Brigade of 29 Division, which had first arrived on 25 April 1915 when the first big troop landings were made at V Beach. He would have fought there until our troops were withdrawn in Jan 1916 and moved to Egypt. They then moved from Egypt to France in Mar 1916 and fought on the Western Front for the rest of the war.

He had been listed for the 1914-15 Star and it was probably this which was forfeirted for desertion in Feb 1918 because his British War and Victory Medals had not yet been listed for issue,this came after the war was over. The note concerning these two medals on the card "To be submitted on next Supp(lementary) Roll by Rec(ords)s",probably written after 1918, seems to indicate that an application could be made after all but as there are no list numbers on the card we have to assume that he didn't, after all, get them.

If he deserted there would almost certainly been a Court Martial and you might get lucky by someone here being able to suggest one of the CM files in the National Archives (WO154) which will give a summary of the court proceedings in his case. I have dabbled there myself in the distant past but can't specify which section to look in,and there are a fair few ! For one thing you need to know where and when the case occurred in order to look in the right file.

It would be nigh impossible to try to judge when he might have deserted,with no service papers to consult. Given the date of forfeiture of Feb 1918 I would say that something may have happened towards the end of 1917. 1 Essex and 29 Division (III Corps) were engaged intensely at the Battles of Cambrai from November:

20 to 21st - Battle of Cambrai

23 to 28th - Battle of Bourlon Wood,and

30 to 3 Dec - German Counter attack

so they were under considerable pressure and this might have been a reason. Hopefully the CM papers can be identified.He also may have been overdue from a leave period.If that was the reason then a look in an entirely different file would be necessary if he was apprehended in the UK and CM'd here.

Here a page from the Long Long Trail about Cambrai :


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