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Royal Welsh Fusiliers - but when did he enlist?


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Hi all

My great uncle, Caradoc Roberts, fought in 16th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

He was a Wrexham lad but the record shows he enlisted at Queensferry, Flint.

Sadly he died from wounds sustained in the final battles of the Hindenburg line. He is buried in Beaulencourt cemetery in the original set of graves which is consistent with him being taken to a Casualty Clearing Station.

My question is whether it is possible to find out when he enlisted. I know the battalion was raised in Nov 1914 at Llandudno but I think he may have joined up later

I have the War Diary for his unit from the National Archives so can trace his final weeks fighting. But without knowing when he joined the battalion, I don't know whether he fought at Mametz Wood, for example.

I expect I'm missing something blindingly obvious, but I'd appreciate any pointers



Name: Caradoc / Caradog / Caradag Roberts (various spellings crop up)

Regimental Number: 8527 / 201116 (two numbers on his medal card)

Unit: 16th Battalion, RWF

Enlisted: Queensferry, Flint

Died: 9 Oct 1918

Buried: Beaulencourt Cemetery

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I would think that you could try and find men within, say, 100 either side of his first number and see if service records survive for them. If they do survive they should show enlistment date.

I take it your mans service record did not survive?

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Try the SWB listings for RWF men . Not always 100% accurate but will show enlistment dates .

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The numbers around him show late 1915/early 1916 indicating he was most probably a Derby Scheme enlistment/call up.


His number is a 4th Battalion Territorial Force (TF) number. The whole TF were renumbered to a six digit number in early 1917.

He has both numbers on his card showing he went over before this renumbering.

The Medal Rolls show he served with 4th Bn (that'll be 1st 4th) and 16th Bn.

He is on a War Office RWF casualty list dated 27 4 1918 as wounded. My assessment of this list is that it is of 4th Bn men caught up in the German Offensive 21st-23rd March 1918.

I would say that when he recovered from these wounds he was posted to the 16th Bn. His time from landing in France to March 1918 being with the 1st 4th Bn.


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This is great information and thanks to all for your replies. You guys obviously have a lot of knowledge and its great that you share it with newcomers like me.

Ellis1918, I did try checking the SWB listings but couldn't find him. Is there some other way of checking other than the Ancestry records? I can't get to the National Archives for a while.

Johnboy, good idea to check the records of others with similar service numbers. I haven't found Caradoc's service record so I assume it did not survive.

Hywyn: thanks for this information. I found the whole service number thing confusing. For example, searching on TNA for service number 201116 gives lots of results. I had assumed each individual soldier held a unique number.

You clearly have a good understanding of which sets of numbers relate to which units and dates.

Forgive my ignorance but where did you find the RWF casualty list?

Thanks again for your help - its really got me a big step forward in finding out about Caradoc

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Guv-nor Sorry I meant check SWB list for other men with a service number close to his 201*** .

It would indicate to me an enlistment date around Dec 1914. He would only be on the SWB list if he was discharged due to wounds , illness etc.

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He would not have a SWB and unfortunately the SWB records can be confusing, if you have access to Ancestry the Pension Records are far more accurate, though there are always anomalies.

However, acknowledging Hywyn's expertise on this Regiment the pension records show the following men enlisting to the 3/4th Bn in Wrexham.

8718 - Attested 7th February 1916; mobilised 21 March and joined 3/4 24 March (I suspect he was a late Derby Scheme)

8766 - Called up 23 March 1916 attested Wrexham posted 24 March 1916 and joined 3/4 25 March (I suspect he may have been a conscript)

8776 - Called up 24 March 1916 attested Wrexham posted 27 March 1916 and joined 3/4 28 March

If you go to the LLT there is an explanation of first line i.e.1/4th; second 2/4th and the Reserve or 3/4th Bns http://www.1914-1918.net/tf.htm

Unfortunately all three were discharged before going overseas but I think that narrows down his enlistment date and then you have to assume a minimum of 12 weeks training which gives earliest date to France June/July.

In most areas direct enlistment to the TF had ceased by February 1916 but I notice one of the papers has a reference to the Flintshire County Association, which is quite interesting for those of us who have an interest in such things!

EDIT re SWB our posts crossed


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Up to around July 1917 the lists were printed in the Times. After that they were compiled weekly into the War Office Weekly Casualty lists. I extracted all RWF men from the Times and from those War Office lists held at the British Library, London.

I haven't come across another mention of him in lists.


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