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From ASC to the Inniskillings


DAgostino

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Hi,

I'm interested in tracing the activities of my grandfather, Albert John Gibbons. He started the war in the ASC (T4/037848) and later enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (A Corps, 1st Battalion 42854). He died in France on Aug 23.

I've done as much research as I can on my own, and I still have some basic questions: I would like to trace his movements in the ASC -- what did he do, and where. Was he in war from 1914? He had an older brother in the Irish Rifles who was captured in 1914 and spent the rest of the war as a POW. He also had a brother who spent the war in the RMC. His brother apparently identified his body when he died in 1918, and attended the funeral at the front.

I would also like to know if his ASC unit was attached to the Inniskillings throughout the war and if I can then use a regimental history to trace his movements.

I would really appreciate any advice anyone might have on where to look next, or really how much information I can expect to get at this point.

Thanks!

Dan

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He would not have been active war until at least 1916 hence non1914/15 star

Says on SDGW died 22/8/1918

Possibly was enscripted ?

The war diary for the Inniskilling is not available yet, but more due this month so might be lucky.

http://www.1914-1918.net/skins.htm

Gives an idea and with a bit of googling might find more.

But if you get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for help.

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Also CWGC has date of death as 22/8/1918. You can build a timeline but in the absence of service records have to look for similar patterns of service.

Although he did not go overseas until after 31 December 1915 his ASC number T4/037848 indicates he was a volunteer in Kitchener's 4th Army so it's unlikely he was 'enscripted', or even conscripted. The T indicates 'Horse Transport'. There is an explanation of the process of recruitment into Kitchener's New Armies on the LLT.

http://www.1914-1918.net/kitcheners.htm

The Medal Rolls (none of which are as yet online) for the Inniskilling Fusiliers may give a date when he went overseas with the ASC though it's unlikely to tell you his ASC Unit. The medal index card (mic) usually lists the units in chronological order, and you know his last unit was the Inniskillings , then the ASC came first.

SDGW shows he enlisted in Belfast, which is odd as he was born in Aldershot, did he enlist in the ASC there and transfer to the Inniskillings later? If he did it's possible he was in the 36th (Ulster) Division with the ASC, but it's equally possible he was with another unit. If his brother was captured in 1914 then was he a regular? How did he end up in the RIR?

It seems unlikely he enlisted in the Ryl Inniskilling Fusiliers in Belfast, conscription was never applied in Ireland, although an unsuccessful attempt to do so was made in 1918, and as he had previously gone overseas with the ASC to have done so he would, technically, have been a deserter. Though we've all learned to never say never!

The 1st Bn Ryl Inniskillings did not join the 36th Division until February 1918 although they were no doubt rebuilt many times from Gallipoli onwards.

The earliest casualty I can find with a 428** number is 22nd March 1918 (42856), there are then about half a dozen throughout the year most in the 1st Bn.which suggests a draft. You could pin it down more if you could find similar service/pension records but that takes time but my guess is he didn't transfer to the Inniskillings until 1918. I'll try and pin it down tomorrow but it can be time consuming.

There is a good online history of the Ulster Division http://www.freewebs.com/denbob/ulsterdiv1918.htm

It's really basic family research, how old was he, what were the names of his brothers where and when did they enlist?

What was his peacetime occupation? Did the Army want to use his skills with horses?

Ken

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A quick look through the Pension Records shows Pte Wiliam Crouch who enlisted in the ASC on 14/12/1914 was "Compulsorily transferred. Benefit of the Service and posted to the 1st Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers" by virtue of an Army Order details not that legible dated 2?/8/1917 the stamp goes on to note "Further service sat Pte. Retains ASC rate of Pay Allotted Regimental Number 1/42120". He was posted to 29th Divisional Depot in France on 28 January 1918 and joined the Battalion in the field on the 2nd February 1918. He was made a POW on 22 March during the German Spring Offensive.

Pte 42920 May was posted into the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers from the West Riding Regiment and transferred to the 7/8 Bn on the 12 March 1918 when he was allotted his new Regimental Number.

So the (speculative) timeline for 42854 is looking like:-

volunteered and enlisted in Belfast, joining Kitchener's 4th New Army (you can try and date the enlistment by looking at similar numbers but rough guess late 1914/early 1915).

He remained in the UK throughout 1915 and some time after that (check medal roll) was posted overseas.

He was working in horse transport where his duties could have included delivering supplies or ammunition, or loading wagons at the base. (his ASC rank on the mic was Private, not driver).

In early 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Bn Inniskilling Fusiliers. [we can't know if this was at his own request or for the benefit of the service but what we do know is the Battalion transferred to the 36th Ulster Division in February 1918 when the Division was being reorganised. We also know 42856 was serving with the Bn when he was killed on 22 March] So my guess is he joined the 1st Inniskillings in France, in the field February/early March 1918 (the war diary won't name him but will list drafts which could be quite large numbers of men). He survived the German Spring Offensive and continued to serve with them until his death which occurred during the Final Advance in Flanders in August 1918.

Ken

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Thanks Ken! this is so very helpful.

In answer to a few of you questions. Albert John Gibbons (B. 1888) was one of four sons of a Private in the Hussars and thus born in Aldershot. When his father died, the boys moved to Belfast to live with their mother -- who promptly abandoned them, but that's another story. Enlisting in Belfast then makes sense. Also, the fact that he worked with horses. I have a pair of his stirrups that my grandmother gave me (he was my great-grandfather, not grandfather as I miswrote).

He had two elder brothers. Joe was in the RIR (7817) and Alfred was in the RMC, although his Medal Roll card says ASC (T4/123579) and AOC (S/12182). I say this because I have pictures of Alfred with a Red Cross on his jacket -- also, family tradition has him as a stretcher bearer at some point. I'm sure I could get all I needed from his Medal Roll card, but I'm afraid I just can't make sense of everything on it. At any rate, for Joe it would make sense for him to be regular army, being the eldest and having had a father in the military.

I have a Princess Mary cigarette box that my grandmother gave me. If Albert didn't enlist until 1915, perhaps it was Joe's and was sent to Belfast since he had been taken prisoner?

Albert was definitely killed on August 23rd. I have a letter from the chaplin, B.T. Bickerson, written from the front shortly afterwards.

I will look for any information I can get from the Inniskillings diary. Meantime, I have another mystery I'd like to solve. I have a postcard showing a man in a pith helmet and a ragged uniform. The picture seems posed to show the state of the uniform. I would really love to know if anyone can tell where this might have been taken. The family tradition is that Alfred (the one apparently in the Medical Corps) was in Syria. I'll add it to my media file later today.

Thanks again Ken!


He would not have been active war until at least 1916 hence non1914/15 star
Says on SDGW died 22/8/1918
Possibly was enscripted ?
The war diary for the Inniskilling is not available yet, but more due this month so might be lucky.

http://www.1914-1918.net/skins.htm

Gives an idea and with a bit of googling might find more.
But if you get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Thanks! I will definitely look for the war diary.

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Dan, were you ever able to check newspapers for were A.J. lived/born?

Forum member FitzroyPC (Nigel) may have a Belfast newspaper photo of A.J. Gibbons, if 18 Coniston Street Belfast rings a bell, the caption may reveal something.

You can contact Nigel www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com or PM though the forum.

Walter

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Hi Walter, I did check and was sent a very touching picture with an announcement of his death from one the Belfast papers. He also sent me some pictures of POW's from Belfast in the camp that Joe Gibbons was in. I am very grateful to Nigel and everyone who has worked so selflessly to keep the memories and details of these men alive.

Dan

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I guessed there was a family military connection, but it does seem a sad story.



It may be the Princess Mary Christmas Gift Box belonged to Joe but it’s almost impossible to establish it’s provenance, they were sent to soldiers who were overseas and in uniform so neither of the other two brothers qualified. A box was reserved for PoWs to be collected on repatriation which may be the reason it has survived.



Although you believe Albert was ‘definitely killed’ on the 23rd both SDGW and CWGC, compiled from Army records, show he was one of 5 men from the 1st Bn killed on the 22nd. To be certain you will need a death certificate which will give his official date of death.



Turning to Alfred he also enlisted in the Army Service Corps. He enlisted on the 17th June 1915 and was allotted the number T4/123579. He was sent to France on the 26th June 1915, such a short period between enlistment and posting usually meant he had a specialist trade or skill. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, Victory and BWM.



All three medals are on the RASC Rolls which normally indicates this was the last unit he served with. He was discharged from the ASC suffering from sickness on the 22nd September 1916 (Para 392 (xvi) Kings Regulations - no longer physically fit for war service). So far so simple, though it does mean he was not in France to identify his brother’s body, or does it?



Also on the card is reference to the A(rmy) O(ordnance) C(orps) S/12182 and a further


reference to the Royal Army Ordnance Rolls with a note '??? (Dub?) sub on' then the RAOC Roll reference followed by ‘Blue ringed Auth(ority) * @ 17d'


This is quite unusual but I believe ‘blue ringed’ means a duplication of cards, so it looks like he served in the ASC, was discharged as a result of sickness and was either, a] swept up by conscription when his sickness meant his physical fitness classification once again enabled him to serve, but we know there was no conscription in Ireland and/or b] was working in the Army Ordnance Department which became the AOC on 28 November 1918. It's possible he went to Syria on his second enlistment, depends what his sickness was that got him discharged he may, for example have recovered enough to have been considered B3 or fit for sedentary duty overseas, but again that begs the question if he was in Syria how could he go to his brother’s funeral in France?



There is no reference on the card, nor is there any evidence he was in the RAMC, essentially he seems to have spent most of his military service in transport and supply. Such duties would not preclude him from being a stretcher bearer during major offensives though that would be unusual, it is however, quite possible that as an ASC soldier he was attached to a Field Ambulance Unit as they took responsibility for moving the Unit around. Sorry, even more mysteries!



As for Joe his service seems pretty straightforward - in the 2nd Bn Royal Irish Rifles, in all probability enlisted 1904 and therefore a reservist when war broke out, rejoined the colours when the Army mobilised and went overseas with his Bn as part of the 3rd Division and captured during the retreat or at one of the early battles. The Red Cross are currently digitising their POW records which should be available later this year. The good news is the war diary for 2/RIR has been digitised and is available from TNA


http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C7352067



Ken


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Dan, i can send 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers war diary pages for around 23 August 1918, if needed you can send an email address by PM me, and if anyone else would like to have a look feel free

to get in touch.

Walter

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Dan, i can send 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers war diary pages for around 23 August 1918, if needed you can send an email address by PM me, and if anyone else would like to have a look feel free

to get in touch.

Walter

Walter, thanks so much. Once I get a second this weekend, and figure out the PM, I'll send you an email.

Dan

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Ken,

Once again, thank you for taking the time to send such a thorough response! As for the mysteries:

My apologies, but I am certain now that I have the incorrect Medal Roll card for Alfred. His granddaughter tells me he was a sergeant in the RAMC and I have a photograph confirming this. I'll add it to my gallery.

One thing I did this year was do high resolution scans of all the photographs and letters in my possession. The detail shown is remarkable, but unfortunately when I upload them they display so large as to be unreadable. Once I reduce them, I'll upload them to my gallery.

I happen to work if a very large research library with an excellent selection of books from the period. If there is anything I can do to help you (reference checks, page scans or whatever), please let me know. I would be more than happy to help. I'm not certain how the PM thing works yet, but if there is some book you've been searching for that you can't find, just send me one and I'll search our catalogue.

Thanks again!

Dan

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Dan sorry should have advise you, PM means post message, you can do this if you click on any members forum name top left of post, another page will appear, then you can send them a message, via the send me a message button.

Walter.

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So your Alfred is Alfred F Gibbons Sgt 44387 RAMC, sent to France 5th October 1915? As noted above the medals (and cards) show the highest rank attained.

Not much else seems to have survived in the online records. The Rolls may give his unit. He was the only Alfred Gibbons RAMC I could find.

Ken

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Albert John Gibbons brother Alfred F Gibbons was 110th Field Ambulance, R.A.M.C. according to the Belfast newspaper, close service number work Ken which i tried a bit last year while researching my G.Grandfather, 41263 R.A.M.C. (then give up), the nearest i got to 44387 R.A.M.C/ was 44141 R. Moreland R.A.M.C. 110th F.A. R.A.M.C. Belfast.

Walter

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Thanks Walter, so that means he was with 36th (Ulster) Division which in turn means if he remained with them, which he probably did, he would have been in the same Division when his brother was killed in August so could easily have attended his funeral - so that's one mystery solved! Now for the tropical uniform!

His date going overseas accords with the main body of the Division, so I guess he was a fairly early recruit, I'll have another look at the numbers but bit busy this weekend.

(Incidentally my g-father in the RFA was attached to the 36th (Ulster) Division too - small world really! - and thinking about it he was sent to Egypt in late 1918....mmm there's a thought)

Ken

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