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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Grandad's battlefields - Northumberland Fusiliers and MGC


Guest grandadwill

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Guest grandadwill

Hi,

My brother and I want to tour the battlefields where my Grandfather fought but have no idea which they are.

Can anyone help us identify which Battalions he was in so that we can see from the war records of the battalions which battles they fought?

He was William Joseph Phillips and joined the Northumberland Fusiliers (Pte, 44855) in about December 1916 (we have his will form) and transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Pte, 144894) at some unknown point before being discharged in Feb 1919. His war record does not appear to be extant according to ancestry.co.uk.

We also know he was wounded (leg) and believe he was gassed.

His medal card (Victory and British) has no other details. I have asked for a quote to digitise the roll (101B91 - 7335), but I understand that for MGC it is unlikely that I will see extra info.

Thanks

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grandadwill

Welcome to the Forum !

I don't see either a service or a pension record for your GF on Ancestry UK,no surprise as quite a lot were destroyed by the Luftwaffe in 1940. That,combined with the medal issues being the province of his last-served unit the MGC,which I don't think recorded first war zone unit details,makes it harder to find where to begin tracking his war experiences.

There are members here with NF knowledge and they may be able to help from the service number,but bearing in mind that you think late 1916 was a join date then there would have been many calls on reinforcements from quite a few of the NF Battalions,so not likely that it can be said that a bloc of numbers went to a particular Battalion.

You might have to consider tracking newspapers of the time for his home area,where it might inform useful detail,and if he was of voting age at war's end then if you can find an Absent Voters List for 1918 for his home area then that might give you the MGC unit.

The ledger you require for the original medal roll page is WO329/1758 page 7335,so just one page is required. You could ask here in the Look Ups Section and someone may photo it for you,but a single page shouldn't cost an outrageous fee if you left it to the NA to do !

Good luck with a difficult task.

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Hi,

The MGC War & Victory Roll will not give you any more details than you already have.

post-1302-0-11655400-1398287746_thumb.jp

His MGC service number would suggest that he transferred to the MGC in April 1918.

Steve

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Guest grandadwill

Thank you very much sotonmate for the info. Your knowledge is really impressive.

And thanks Steve, you have saved me 3:50 (the quote for printing the page in question)!

I will follow up your suggestions and let you know if I get anywhere.

Chris

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Chris

Just to make it easier (not !) it was around the first couple of months of 1918 when the MGC expanded into Divisional Battalions from the MG Companies attached to each Infantry Brigade,so movement may have been somewhat bewildering,though it is also seen that the three Brigade Companies from a Division amalgamated into the Battalion for the same Division. It is likely,as Steve has identified the number as an April 1918 issue,that your man came in from the NF at that time and would probably have had training before front line duty.

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Chris

In situations like yours, what I recommend people try is to start with the CWGC search, enter Regiment and First World War in the search fields then the mans service number less the last digit number, the system will then show you every entry with those digits at the start of the service number, you can then check each entry for their Battalion, so e.g. I tried 4483, 4484, 4485,4486 and 4487 and got he following.

44876, 44872, 44867, 44865, 44864, 44858 44844 and 44835 are all listed as 1/5th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers, the last man listed as formerly 19th Bn.

It's not exact though, there were 2 that didn't fit the pattern, 44846 and 44848 were both listed as 19th Bn.

Then check the National Archives Medal Card Search http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/medal-index-cards-ww1.htm enter Northumberland in "Corps" and the exact numbers next to his MGC number (not NF number) working downwards or upwards one at a time (there is no wild card like CWGC), this may show a pattern of men near his MGC number who were also NF and you might find he was one of the Bn Machine Gunners transferred to the MGC en masse.

Then check Ancestry with anyone close to see if their Service/Pension records survived, it's not an exact science, but worth trying.

Edited ton add: - Just saw in Steve's post #3, he has the medal rolls for the MGC, maybe he can give you some names to try on Ancestry rather than trying the NA's MIC's.

Sam

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