Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Richard Gallagher s-20526 4th Gordons 51st Division


pauldlr

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

Apologies, in advance, as this is a bit long !

Essentially I am hoping for any help to further my research into my grandfather of which I received help with from a research company a few years back...I have outlined below what I know, some further family recollections which may help, and some queries…

I would love to identify where he was wounded/what happened – I can still find no record of him in newspapers which I accessed on-line (distance being an issue) and perhaps this may support my uncles recollection (further down below) that he was actually taken prisoner in the aftermath of a battle in which he had sustained his wounds…I believe the war office casualty lists are online these days with one private company…but to search means I would need to join and pay a subscription of a 100 odd pounds, if indeed he was even listed: the fact he had a wound stripe and was discharged as a result of injuries – may, I guess, have only been notated upon repatriation? in which case, taking a further leap, he would not be listed on a casualty list as it was unknown ? .

History

With the help of the research company a few years back I received some great info, medal cards etc, on my grandfather Richard Gallacher/Gallagher, and have a good outline of where he went- In one instance a record referred to him as Robert in error! Discharge page 1 attached. He received two standard medals.

He was mobilised to begin his full time army service on 16 March 1917 according to his war badge roll

He initially served with the 40th Battalion of the Training Reserve at Stirling (details of this number are lost) and would have went to France sometime after January 1918 as part of the 4th Gordons, which was amalgamated into the 51st. *Would there be any pictures of where he trained/what this training typically involved, life in the trenches?*

Wounded

My mother recalls well the story of him being shot and left beside a haystack– his kilt being able to stand up by itself with the blood frozen it was so cold.

Following being shot, he was either discovered/ or moved by Germans beside a haystack, one German checked him and said ‘Englander no good’ and that, according to my mum, appears the end of it and he returned home. From researchers the fact that he apparently was not taken prisoner suggests that he was wounded during the British advance in the Cambrai area in October 1918 when the Germans were in retreat - otherwise he would most likely have become a prisoner of war.

‘Had the incident taken place during the German offensives of March to May 1918 … there is little doubt that he would have ended the conflict as a prisoner of war.

*Now – I have further info/memories, which I hope someone may be able to help confirm when/where:*

The battle and two awards/medals?

According to my mother – her father told that he was one of only 3 men who survived from his ‘regiment’ or unit I assume. The Bullet that wounded him in the leg having passed through – and killing – a colleague. The other two survivors received medals / ‘something else’ - certainly different from my Grandfather, who only received a letter.

The letter

Richard himself received a handwritten letter saying ‘The queen joins me in welcoming you home’ – this was not the same as the Lithograph print which I showed mum a copy of -which was issued to POWs. she says it was a lot shorter also.’ Unfortunately this letter ,which was on display in a building, was destroyed by a bomb in NI many years later. Mum also recalls he was ‘mentioned in dispatches’ of some sort.

Several years ago there was no evidence found by the research company of any award outside his two medals (including - mentioned in despatches) being made to Richard Gallacher. Ie no entry found in the London Gazette

POW?

According to my Uncle however, he is adamant that my grandfather was actually taken prisoner and was operated on by a German doctor . He mentions there was a polish man in the next bed who gave a loan of a coat to my grandfather.

Pension

Another story recollected by my mum was that when coming home the solders were met by a representative to ‘buy out/off’ their pensions – would anyone know more on this?.

Uniform/Badges:

Would anyone know of what regimental/badges/insignia etc Richard would have worn in his career from 40trn through to the 4th and 51st: eg I was curious to know as to whether his cap badge would have been brass (I found reference to economy badges around 1916 being introduced – would this have been issued when in the 40th TRN or when in the 4th).

If I can add any further info/ask my family questions which would help please let me know; I may not have the answers is all!

Many Thanks,

Paul

post-107593-0-87310600-1393502649_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul

Welcome to the Forum !
There is a lot here to sift through ! A mix of fact and family lore !

A little scan of this and that shows that he has two Silver War Badge Cards but no ref to campaign medals on either one,and I have not yet found the Medal Card.I note that one SWB card was cancelled so it seems that he only got one Badge !

4 Battalion Gordon Highlanders served with 154 Brigade of 51 Division (that is the 51 you refer to as him being "amalgamated" into),in fact it was his fighting Division,a page for which is in the Long Long Trail at top left of this page and linked here:

http://www.1914-1918.net/51div.htm

You will see that 1918 was a fluid year with the Germans seriously attacking a couple of times in the first half and then being pushed back towards war's end. Without knowing when your man was wounded makes it difficult to help positively. 51 Div had heavy losses both in the first German advance (Somme 1918,around 4900 losses) and the second one on the Lys (around 2500 losses),and then later the chaos as they pushed the Germans back.

There is a War Diary that you should try to get to read,unfortunately is is not yet digital and downloadable but it might help with your questions on what Richard S/20526 (on one card) or Robert 20526 (on another) experienced. It's at Kew under reference WO95/2886 and will cover 1918 fully. In fact,once it is digitised you will find that you can download 1918 for £3.36,not sure how far away that is,but it should be this year. Asking for a price for providing the Diary now will give you a shock !

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C7354786

Have you tried the Edinburgh Gazette ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will try the wounded lists and Hospitals lists

I will let you know tomorrow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Paul and Welcome.

I looked at his MIC and found the anomalies you describe. But I wonder if there was an initial mistake with his name and SWB (wound) badge.

To try to unravel some of this, I've attached his MIC and the 2 SWB records to explain the problem that I see.

The MIC refers to Richard GALLAGHER, Pte S/20526 Gordons.

The SWB's refer to:

1) Richard GALLACHER, Pte S/20526, Gord. Hrs. Enlisted 16.3.17. Discharged 22.8.18. Noted "Name erased W.O. Letter sent."

2) Robert GALLACHER, Pte 20526 (no S/), Gordon Hrs. Enlisted 15.3.17. Discharged 22.8.17

There are other MICs for other Richard Gallaghers/Gallachers.

I'm attaching the records for someone more expert in this area to unravel.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

post-87018-0-25552000-1393531715_thumb.j

post-87018-0-86319600-1393531726_thumb.j

post-87018-0-96422700-1393531736_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In relation to the two Silver War Badge cards I have seen both of the SWB Lists and confirm that G/A/207 has not allocated him a badge,along with several other soldiers on the same list.G/A/208 has the issue of his Badge,complete with number on the back of it.

I missed seeing the Medal Card this morning ! Just the discrepancy between the two Christian names used but as far as I am concerned this is for the same man,the dates of discharge,22.8.1919, actually agree, Tom !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All,

Firstly, Many thanks to all for replies and all the help so far …!

I am adding below info, which may aid, and also attaching some other Pictures I have :

Badges/Medals

We have two badges in the family, but no medals at all unfortunately (nor does my mum recall ever having seen any).

One badge is his SWB (pic attached). Researchers indicated that there is an issue with the entry in this roll, for it was later deleted and what appears to be a fresh entry and card made.

The second badge we have - which I recall may be a British Legion badge - has a number on the back of 15735 (I have no Picture I can find of this at moment, but will confirm and take one when I visit home next week ).

Tracing Richards Story

To determine when S/20526 was issued a search was made by the researchers of records of men numbered nearby. … they were all “A4” men who had been mobilised in the first months of 1917 and trained with 40th Battalion.

After Feb 1918 they were split up for various battalions of the regiment…The largest drafts being for the 1st and 4th Battalions

Many Thanks Again,

Paul

post-107593-0-12512600-1393542804_thumb.

post-107593-0-21603700-1393543072_thumb.

post-107593-0-45285400-1393543323_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Paul,

I have copied quite a few of the WO casualty lists for March - June 1918 and November 1918 to Feb 1919. Gallacher, 20526 R (Greenock) appears on a list of Gordons reported missing. The list is dated 18th June 1918, and they usually refer to events that occurred approximately 6 weeks prior to the list appearing. However the casualties in March and April were so massive there was an even longer delay at this time. A forum member, (4thGordons) has all the War Diaries for that battalion and may be able to suggest which battle it was. Usually the casualty lists show men in one battalion together, and quite a few were reported missing so it may well get a mention. One of the men, George Aitken was originally in "my" battalion, the 5th Gordons, and I know he died on 13th April 1918, as a member of the 4th Bn. So I'd suggest this is probably when Richard was wounded and captured. The normal progression is that first the men appear on a "Missing" list and then a "POW" list, if indeed they were captured, or even a "Wounded and POW" list. Unfortunately I haven't yet got around to copying July or August which is when this would probably appear. Later a POW would appear in a "Returned POW" list. So far I've checked up to January 1919 but haven't come across his name. The lists are tedious to search, but I'll keep trying and see if I can find him. Not that that mention is as important as when he was captured. After all you do know he returned.

Hope this helps,

Carolyn

post-5583-0-77319100-1393559307_thumb.jp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stellar work Carolyn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All,

Richards SWB picture attached

Many Thanks,

Paul

A little aside here. I wasn't aware that service numbers were engraved on SWBs. I wondered if some Army Districts did this and not others ? I have seen a handful over the years but they only seem to have had the Badge number.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Carolyn and all,

Brilliant, thank you very much! It appears I have to redo my chapter on my Grandfathers army life...it is great to fill in another part of the Jigsaw!

The debate still rages in the family as to whether prisoner or not - fingers crossed he appears on another list Carolyn..was there an additional list which would have indicated no longer MIA/found or was MIA - dead/prisoner?

I have attached the part of his discharge certificate - date is 22 Aug 1919, not sure if this has any bearing?

I also have two books on the way (F.W. Bewsher and Colin Campbell), hopefully I can find what went on and what the 4th were involved in!

Thanks again for help to date to all,

Paul

post-107593-0-11673400-1393958613_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All,

Went home at weekend, Some pictures of the British Legion badge as promised...it appears another number on the back of this. What was the badge for does anyone know, does the number upon it mean anything?

Many Thanks,

Paul

post-107593-0-64326600-1395102914_thumb.

post-107593-0-98534700-1395102926_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say that the number is his Membership Number.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Tom,

Would any records exist that I could ask about/where could I check for them?

It is a very small badge...I was curious whether it was a badge/membership awarded, for whatever reason, or a society/'British Legion' someone had to join?

Many Thanks,

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Hi All,

I just want to wish you all a merry xmas and happy new year....especially Carolyn

My search continues for my grandads story, and after a break, I now hope to continue in the new year afresh - the RBL were very helpful but a dead end unfortunately..

Best of wishes for 2016:).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Hi All !!!    Another year has passed and so happy new year to all!  - I have been out of touch for a while and getting back into continuing research -  was wondering if more records have come up online which I could be pointed in direction of......

 

Many Thanks to all,

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Hi all again....I have progressed somewhat since previous posts and have been in touch with the museum on foot of same ...a second report in light of all latest info I have.....I will post few more details of same in coming days...and put up for consideration.

 

Hope all well,

Rgds,

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Courtesy of the museum, here is a snippit...this is what it is believed happened..

 

'We had a lengthy discussion about Richard at the museum this afternoon and our shared views, based on our experience of other men for whom we have complete records and his few remaining records, are as follows.
 
Richard suffered a severe leg injury and was incapacitated, unable to join the withdrawal  and was captured when the Germans overran the position. 10/12 April 1918.
 
He was treated by German doctors but was not well enough to be sent with other 
POWs to a camp in Germany and therefore remained in France and never entered the POW system otherwise he would certainly have a detailed Red Cross record.
 
Prisoner exchanges regularly took place but only of men who were considered to be so badly injured as to be at no risk of returning to active service during the war on either side.  We think that Richard was exchanged and repatriated.  This is likely to have happened within weeks of his capture as pressure on German military hospitals was intense and wounded POWs were either taken by train to camps in Germany or were exchanged and repatriated as soon as they were in a stable condition.
 
Richard would then have been taken to a hospital in the U.K., probably Scotland, by around June 1918. He would then, at some later date, have been sent for convalescence to Ireland before being considered fit to be discharged. 
 
Had he been fit enough to return to the regiment at any time, he would not have been discharged until November/December 1919 which is when the majority of the men who enlisted in 1917 were returned to civilian life.'
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since that last update my cousins lad interviewed an Uncle, and video taped it.....I have yet to watch it ...but I am told detail ...Ill see and send onto friends in GH museum....it may / may not mean anything. One consistent thing is he went to a London hospital it appears...and I have the name.....so....I will continue to find the story, with help, I hope here, and from Highlanders to get as best I can his story:) When I see movie I will share what his sons says the story was.

 

Edited by pauldlr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...