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Remembered Today:

A.J Silk 9965 Wiltshire Regiment 1914


Dave Silk

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I have started today to track down my Grandfathers WW1 experience with the view to seeing if we can visit the area in April with my Son when we are driving to Italy.

I have his medals including 1914/15 Star with above details. I have located his Medal Roll WO372/18/63369 which states 11/12/14 France Qualifying Date ! I cant interpret anymore of use.

Using the Wiltshire Reg site The wardrobe I cannot pull anything else up. Looking at the Diary the 2nd Btn Wiltshires relieved RSF's in trenches France, Pont De Justice on 11/12/14 ?? In searching for this area I can only find reference in the Bedfordshire Reg and they call it Pont De La Justice and a lot of reference to Fleurbaix ??

I remember talk he was injured and he obviously survived.

Any help appreciated.

Regards

Dave

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Dave

The date on the Medal Index Card (which is what you have a copy of) is the date of first landing in France. The original medal Roll,which is at Kew under WO329/1539 page 1308,will give you the Battalion that he landed for. The date suggests that he was part of a replacement draft for casualties,though it does look like 2 Battalion,but you need to see what the Medal Roll says.1 Battalion were also in France at that time.

Arthur was wounded enough to have been discharged as a result of the wounds on 31 July 1916 and he was awarded a Silver War Badge (number on back 51409). He enlisted on 31 Aug 1914.

Once you are sure of Battalion you can read the unit War Diary on the Wardrobe site.

There is no apparent Service or Pension record surviving for Arthur. That would have given a date to the wounds received. I believe that it was too close to the start of the Battles of the Somme for him to have been wounded and discharged inside a month. It could have been at any time from around the Battle of Loos (Sep 1915) forward into the first part of 1916.

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He was awarded the sliver war badge which shows him being wounded. Do you know which battalion he was in- as Sotonmate pointed out above you need the medal roll for that.

Fleurbaix is a village in French Flanders, a very overlooked area of the front line, but well worth exploring

Michelle

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Hello,

checking through the 2nd Bn Wiltshires' diary, they received a draft of 2 officers and 300 other ranks on the 18th Dec 1914 at Bac St Maur. (The battalion was down to less than 500 strong until this)

Mick.

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I have a wounded list dated 16 May 1915.

On it,is a Pte A.J. Silk 9965...There are over 200 men aprox on the list

Gerry

Trying to upload it but item too big

AJ Silk.pdf

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Many many thanks to SotonMate, Michelle Young, Mickleeds, Don Don.

That info is priceless !! I think he must of been 2nd Btn as 1st Btn was in Belgium ?? Ok so 11/12/14 he landed so he could have been in the front line by 18/12/14 that fits nicely. I will look up Bac St Maur.

I have never seen a Silver War badge my Dad had his medals in a draw from when i was a young kid and his pocket watches until I got round to collecting them last month ! Were they actually Silver could it have been pawned or sold my Grand Dad lived in Lambeth after the War where the St Thomas Hospital is opposite the Houses of Parliament. My Dad said they were pretty poor like many in the Depression in teh late 20s and early 30s !!

As far as I knew and Birth record my Grandfather was born in London (The Strand) on 27/5/1888 I am not sure how he ended up in Wiltshire Regiment ? Is there any info on where he enlisted on 31/8/1914 ???

16 May 1915 he was wounded that is great info which ties up with family stories I remember hearing as a kid !! I can try to see where there was heavy fighting etc !! It is a shame no Pension record exists as I presume we could have found out what injury(s) he suffered etc !

Many Thanks Again for your help and information and any forthcoming.

Dave

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The wounded date points to Festubert. Perhaps he chose the Wiltshire regiment when he enlisted?

Michelle

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Thanks Michelle I wonder if he joined with friend(s) etc ? ! The dates certainly tie in for Festubert 15-25 May 1915 ! It is not a Battle name/area I have heard of it seems to have been overshadowed by Ypres and the Somme !! The 2bn Wiltshires were their and he was injured on 16th ! However the Company records don't imply high casualty numbers unless that only means dead and not injured ???

1915-05-15 Regiment. 2nd Wiltshire Location France, Letouret Entry

About 2.30pm 'A' & 'B' Coys moved up into billets at the junction of the RUE-DU-BOIS and RUE-DE-L'EPINETTE from LETOURET. At 10.30pm 'C' & 'D' Coys moved up to where the Battalion was disposed as follows. 'A', 'B' & 'D' Coys in work E3, 'C' Coy in the fields along RUE-DE-L'EPINETTE. Bn HQ RUE-DE-L'EPINETTE with machine guns in the trenches near Indian Village.

1915-05-16 Regiment. 2nd Wiltshire Location France, Rue De L'Epinette Trenches Entry Attack of 2nd Division took place about midnight 20th Brigade (on the left) and 22nd Brigade (on the right) attacked P4 at 3.15am (7 Division) All day long the enemy shelled RUE-DE-L'EPINETTE but the Battalion suffered no casualties. At 1pm 'B' Coy was ordered to proceed to M3 with a party of bombers. This party under Capt D Manners Davis cleared the German trenches from near M3 to L2 with very little opposition. It was unable to proceed further as at this point it was found the trenches were not continuous, and that K3, K4 & K5 were strongly held by the enemy. On being relieved by the 7th /London Regt 'B' Coy returned to work E3.

In would be good if we can Confirm 2nd Btn which I think fits and then narrow down which Company etc gives a real sense of time and place to explore.

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Hello,

if you check the 1st Wilts war diary on the Wardrobe they also received a draft of 110 men on the 18th Dec 1914 !

If you can find out which newspaper the wounded list that Don Don posted is from, it might show the battalion at the start of the article.

Mick.

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Hi.

It just gives the Wiltshire Regiment no number. But If you research some of the soldiers that are listed as wounded you may start seeing a similarity to the batt number.I have used this process with results

Regards

Gerry

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Dave

Further to your comment about possible silver content for sale/pawning. I have read that both the British War Medal and the Silver War Badge were often sold for the silver value by those who didn't actually experience the promise that they would "return to a nation fit for heroes".

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If you decide to stop off in Festubert on your drive to Italy, don't expect too much.

There is not a bar in the village, nor anywhere to get a cup of coffee. There is a ladies' hairdressers, and a butchers, but not much else other than the town hall and the church.

At the crossroads in the middle of the village, park in front of the church and have a look at the war memorial. It is one of those rare ones that say a thanks to the members of the British army who also gave their lives for France. Down the road about 100 yards is the sports hall. The original was a gift from the people of Southport in 1922 after Southport had adopted the village. Numbers of Southport men are still there, either in one of the three CWGC cemeteries in the area, or listed on the Le Touret Memorial four miles away. Parties of Southport children visited the village on a cultural visit each summer from 1922 to 1939, but since then there has been little contact. The Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton (of which Southport is now a part) wrote to their opposite number in the village last year, twice, but has yet to receive a reply.

Bruce

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While researching the Wiltshires.

I came across the entire composition of the BEF which was in France on the 18 August 1914.This was published in all the newspapers on the 16 December 1914

The list shows the 1st Batt Wiltshire Third Division 7th Infantry.

Also I found a LT Col Forbes wounded 14 February 2nd Batt Wiltshire Rgt

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CWGC database shows 3 casualties on 16th for the Wiltshires, all 2nd Battalion, which may assist in confirming...

EDWARDS, DAVID. Rank: Private. Service No: 18215. Date of Death: 16/05/1915.
Regiment/Service: Wiltshire Regiment. 2nd Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 33 and 34. Memorial: LE TOURET MEMORIAL
HAINES, MARK. Rank: Private. Service No: 8552. Date of Death: 16/05/1915. Age: 21.
Regiment/Service: Wiltshire Regiment. 2nd Bn.
Grave Reference: III. D. 16. Cemetery: BETHUNE TOWN CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Jabez James and Alice Haines, of Lower Park Farm Cottage, Devizes, Wilts.
HAWKER, JOHN. Rank: Private. Service No: 19771. Date of Death: 16/05/1915. Age: 31.
Regiment/Service: Wiltshire Regiment. 2nd Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 33 and 34. Memorial: LE TOURET MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Husband of Charlotte Hawker, of 1/55, Cherry Wood Rd., Bordesley Green, Birmingham.
Having enlisted on 31 August, to be in France by 11 December could indicate prior training/service...
Although he seems to have reached the 2nd Battalion by 18 December, he just missed out on qualifying for the 1914 Star.
Being wounded on 16 May 1915, it was obviously severe enough that, even after 12 months care, he was unable to regain sufficient fitness to serve the Army further.
Do the family have any idea as to what those wounds were? Reading the War Diary it could be he was in the party of bombers throwing grenades at the German trenches..
At least Arthur recovered sufficiently to marry in 1920 and have a family!
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If you decide to stop off in Festubert on your drive to Italy, don't expect too much.

There is not a bar in the village, nor anywhere to get a cup of coffee. There is a ladies' hairdressers, and a butchers, but not much else other than the town hall and the church.

At the crossroads in the middle of the village, park in front of the church and have a look at the war memorial. It is one of those rare ones that say a thanks to the members of the British army who also gave their lives for France. Down the road about 100 yards is the sports hall. The original was a gift from the people of Southport in 1922 after Southport had adopted the village. Numbers of Southport men are still there, either in one of the three CWGC cemeteries in the area, or listed on the Le Touret Memorial four miles away. Parties of Southport children visited the village on a cultural visit each summer from 1922 to 1939, but since then there has been little contact. The Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton (of which Southport is now a part) wrote to their opposite number in the village last year, twice, but has yet to receive a reply.

Bruce

As a defender of all things 1915 I will step up and say I like Festubert! If you know where to look there is a wonderful huge old bunker, which housed an elderly lady for many years. There is a fantastic B&B and two fascinating cemeteries in the village.

Michelle

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If you haven't already seen it, there is an online history of the 2nd Bn Wiltshire Regiment here.

The 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment (99th): A Record of their Fighting in the Great War, 1914-1918.

http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/infantry-histories/2nd-Battn-Wiltshire-Regt-99th-Record-of-Fighting-in-Great-War-1914-1918.asp

Mick.

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Just had a look at that Mick, now you have me very interested

Ta for posting it

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Thanks Michelle I will seek some expert advice closer to the time if that's alright and details of the B&b ? Mickleeds I have seen the book in the Wardrobe in hardback but in Chicken and Egg position until can confirm 100% he was 2nd btn. I can't get the link to open beyond the info page I guess I need to subscribe or pay one off to access ?

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Thanks Michelle I will seek some expert advice closer to the time if that's alright and details of the B&b ? Mickleeds I have seen the book in the Wardrobe in hardback but in Chicken and Egg position until can confirm 100% he was 2nd btn. I can't get the link to open beyond the info page I guess I need to subscribe or pay one off to access ?

Hello Dave,

just click where it says "To search the whole of this volume click here" and you can read the whole volume for free.

Mick.

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Hi Dave,

What was his trade ?

If i have the correct man in the 1911 he was a "Liftman" but I cant deciper the industry coloum.

Maybe the choice of the Wilts was (again if I have the right man) that his Mother was from Devizes (home of the Wilts), maybe there was still family in the area, cousins ?

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Hi Grantowi

Now you have me I haven't done any research since late 80s ! I did some family research b4 computers when I worked in London . Looking in my note book I have his mother as Emma Silk (Hiscock) now Devizies rings a bell but I don't have anything written down other than she couldn't read and write. Her husband was William Silk a Newsagent Porter born 1854 ! Children Arthur James and Florence Louise plus 2 others I didn't have details on ! I met great Aunt Flo as a kid and remember stories but as a 8 or 10 year old u don't quite realise how important it is to lock that knowledge into the memory banks to try to pull out nearly 40 years later !

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Grantowi

Just found a note in my book ! William Silk - Emma Hiscock 6.1.1856 - Emma baptism Potterne which is close to Devizes so fits and is definitely reason to join Wiltshire Regt ! Well done ! Thanks !

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In one of the census (1891 ?) she gives Potterne as her birth place but in 1911 she has Devizes

reason I was asking about the occupation, a liftman was also a job working on the railways, lifting the bodys on and off of the boggies (wheels)

It could be another reason why Arthur was in Wiltshire - Swindons railway workshops

Grant

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Heres your 2 missing children:

Alfred William - St Clemments - 4 / 1876

Shows up in the 1881 census then dissappears

Alice Maud - Lambeth - 3 / 1886

Shows up in 1891 census along with the parents and the two that you have.

Shows up in the 1901 census working as a Domestic for the Tabb family at 71, Great Queen Street, St Giles In The Fields And St George Bloomsbury, then dissappears - quite a few marriages with same name over next couple of years

Grant

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Thanks Grant ! I have managed to find bunch of birth and death certificates. On his death certificate I only know he was a House Porter at Royal Automobile Club at the end of The Strand/Aldwych ! Maybe if I can get some information on his enlistment if the details survive it may give his occupation and link as you suggest. His father was a Newsagent in London and died when he was 5 so no connection jumps out.

I have found a piece of paper with my Dads handwriting

Emma Silk 17/9/1915

Alice Maud Tribe 1/12/1915

SQ 126 Grave 367

On reflection I remember my Dad trying to find the grave I believe it's near Manor Park east London .

Obviously 1915 wasn't a great year for the family !!!

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