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10th Batt South Wales Borderers


gwentpal
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I'm trying to put together a database of soldiers who served in the South Wales Borderers 10th Batt 1st Gwent Pals, from the original men who signed up when the batt was formed to men who served as replacements.

I have been piecing together names from War memorials, Commonwealth War Graves website and various other sites.

I was wondering is there a quicker way of doing this, would there be any complete lists of men anywhere, do the medal rolls in National Archives list men battalion by battalion??

Advice please..

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The 14-15 Medal Rolls is probably the best bet for those original recruits who went overseas with the main body on 4/12/1915.

The other Rolls can be a bit more difficult as soldiers transferred and would be included on the roll of the last unit served with. For example Albert Drew 10/23133 went overseas on 4/12 but is shown on the RE rolls for all his medals (including the Star!).

After 1916 and conscription and following the losses on the Somme the concept of 'Pals' Battalions had ceased to exist so your replacements could literally come from anywhere.

There are 474 10th Bn soldiers on the CWGC Roll of Honour. You could also search on TNA for soldiers with 10/ prefix (that gives you around sixty more) if you can't get up to Kew to view the Rolls a researcher will copy photograph the pages for a relatively small fee.

Have you contacted the Regimental Museum who have an extensive archive?

Ken

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Many thanks kenf48 for your help.

A trip to Kew definately in order then, would the 14-15 medal rolls have all the names together battalion by battalion. Sorry to be a bit dim what is the TNA. Unfortunately at the moment the Borderers museum has only one part time archivist so they xant really help me.

I can see this is going to be difficult tho, I have already noted two men who wouldnt even be on the medal roll, dying before they reached the front. One of the men, Ebenezer Bennett Pvte 20282 dies at home 9th December 1914 aged 53!! barely a month after the battalion had been formed. Surely the first casualty!!

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TNA = The National Archives i.e.Kew

If you go to the Discovery page http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Home/OnlineCollections and enter 10/ South Wales Borderers the first 50 odd names have the prefix.

I've not seen the Rolls for the SWB but the 14-15 Star Roll is probably by Bn. I think you will be very lucky to get them all, not all the recruits would have proved fit enough to have gone overseas, I suspect many will have fallen by the wayside. Nearly all my mother's family enlisted in the SWB, only one record has survived and he transferred to the Cyclist Corps before going overseas!

Ken

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Guest Gordontheguide

Hi Gwentpal.

I have a database of some 13500 names of men who served at any time in the Monmouthshire Regiment. This I suspect is not the complete list, but there was a substantial number of Mons transferred to the South Wales Borderers including the 10th. I will have a look and send them to you, but it may take a little time. Winter is my research time!

The medal rolls at Kew for the South Wales Borderers are extensive so give yourself plenty of time and it will be quicker simply to photograph the pages you want rather than trying to write it. Look in the 14-15 Star Rolls and the Victory and War Medal Rolls.

There is a copy of the War Diary in the Gwent Records Office in Ebbw Vale along with some letters from a Sgt Davies. Long time since I looked at them!

Gordon

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Kenf48

Doh of course the National Archives, I will definately have find time to visit Kew. I didnt realise that a 10 prefix meant the 10th Battalion, just out of curiosity which battalions did your relations serve in?? Were they Welsh or English??.

At least if I can see the original battalion 14-15 medal rolls the missing recruitment numbers should give me some idea of how many failed training.

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Kenf48

Doh of course the National Archives, I will definately have find time to visit Kew. I didnt realise that a 10 prefix meant the 10th Battalion, just out of curiosity which battalions did your relations serve in?? Were they Welsh or English??.

At least if I can see the original battalion 14-15 medal rolls the missing recruitment numbers should give me some idea of how many failed training.

Just out of curiosity, as you asked, my g-father (Alfred 11675) was originally, I believe, in the 4th Bn; one g-uncle and his cousin enlisted in the 8th Bn. the one whose service record survives (Albert) shows enlistment date as 3/9/1914 he's the one who transferred to the 22nd Div Cyclist Corps while they were still in the UK in March 1915. His cousin Harry remained with the 8th Bn and went to Salonica their SWB numbers were 17764 and 17765 so we can assume they joined together. Ironically in spite of the transfer Albert went to Salonica with Harry and was invalided out in 1917, as was my g-father. Another g-uncle served in the RGA and another of the cousins was in the Welsh Regiment at Mametz, he too was invalided out in 1917, he never recovered from the experience and was cared for by his sister until she died in 1950, he then hanged himself.

All were South Wales miners when war was declared, and those who served were about half the male line (i.e. 5/12), the rest remaining down the pit.

Were they Welsh? Probably, they were all the sons of ag labs from Wiltshire whose fathers had jumped on the GWR in the 1880s to use their muscles hewing coal rather than remaining in virtual serfdom on the land. They like thousands of others who came to work in the mines were not steeped in the mythology that seems to be trotted out today to define 'Welsh'.

I believe with a Welsh mother I was eligible to play for Wales and she did teach me the enviable skill of being able to count to ten in Welsh, but now the only Welshman in the family is our poodle who is from the ArgentCymru line of Newport!

Ken

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  • 2 months later...

Gwentpal

How is your database coming along?

My great granddad was also in 10th Battallion SWB but must have been a replacement as he originally was drafted into one of the Bedfordshire Regiments, where he was living. His name was Private Alfred Beard (service number 40400) and he was killed at Lealvillers on 2nd July 1918.

He was born in Wales so perhaps that played some role in his eventual transfer to SWB?

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How is your database coming along?

Hi Pete,

Its coming along slowly, very time consuming but worth the effort. Its been about three months so far and ive got about 1000 names, ive just finished off listing all the men who died on active service, around about 480 men with details from Soldiers Died in the Great War and Commonwealth War Graves so have an entry for Alfred. I dont know if there was a mix up in information but Soldiers who died in the Great War gives his birthplace as Devises, Wiltshire which was in England.

According to the smaller database I have on men who died it seems post 1916 and the Somme many of the Battalion replacements are not from South Wales Borderers Reserves but are transferred in block from other Regiments, I have groups of men fron West Sussex Regt, Shropshire Light Infantry and in Alfreds case the Bedfords, I cant pin any exact dates down yet.

In the main database im listing Names, Service Numbers, Rank, Entry into War, Outcome eg killed, transferred, reserves, Cemetary (if killed and date of death) Birthplace, Place of Enlistment, 1911 Census address and occupation, any service record info; so you can see its quite a lot and theres also the 10th and 11th War Diarys to transcribe.

Ive started the database off with original enlistees so its all lower number men eg service number 20xxx, by this rate it will be a while before I reach 40400 and Alfred altho I'll have a quick look on the census to check his birthplace.

Do you have any information about Alfred that could help fill in some of these blanks. Thsnks

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Gwentpal,

That does sound like a long but worthy project!

I have seen that mixup with the birth place - we have 7 sources that confirm he was born in Cochr Chwith, Machen Lower, Mynyddyslwyn, Newport, Monmouth, including UK census data and registry of births. The Devises mistake has likely come from the 1911 census where Alfred himself has filled out that he was born in Worton. He may not have been aware he wasn't as most of his brothers and sisters were born in Worton. His father moved around a bit between work in Wales and Wiltshire during this period so it would have been easy to lose track!

We are also not sure about when the transfer to the SWB ocurred - when I inquired on here before, some much better informed people than myself suggested his Bedfordshire regiment never left the UK and he must have transfered before embarking to France. Family history is quite hazy so we have very little to go off, other than what records exist out there for both Private Beard and the regiment. My grandmother had always thought he was shot and killed but when I investigated, I found he had been killed in an artillery strike, some distance behind the front lines he had just come out of.

I'll try and fill out what you are looking for on each soldier, for my great grandfather:

Names: Alfred Isaac Beard

Service Numbers: 27496 Bedfordshire Regiment; 40400 South Wales Borderers

Rank: Private

Entry into War: Unsure - I believe he was called up sometime after May 1916, when the Military Service Act applied to married men.

Outcome eg killed, transferred, reserves: Killed

Cemetary (if killed and date of death): Varennes Military Cemetery, Somme, Picardie, France; Burial Plot No III E5 (Died July 2nd, 1918, Léalvillers, Somme, Picardie, France)

Birthplace: Cochr Chwith, Machen Lower, Mynyddyslwyn, Newport, Monmouth, Wales

Place of Enlistment: Unknown - suspect it was Dunstable or Bedford

1911 Census address and occupation: 81 Victoria Street, Dunstable, Bedfordshire; Groom/Gardener (for a veterinary practice).

any service record info: Just have medal card.

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Gwentpal,

If you haven't got this one already -

EVANS, Owen MM 44132 Pte. 10th SWB, died of wounds 30 April 1918 aged 30, buried St.Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.

Born Amlwch, Anglesey - actually, Llaneilian which is the next door parish. Here he lived at Rhiwlas, Pensarn with his wife Sarah and 2 children, working as a farm labourer. He was actually a bit of a poacher as well, and beyond that a bard who wrote Welsh poetry! CWGC note supplied by the family states "voluntary enlistment" and he enlisted December 1915 at Amlwch (Derby Scheme). As a married man born about 1888 he would have been in Group 41, which was called for service by proclamation on 27 April 1916 and ordered to report during the week or so after 29 May 1916.

At this point he became 37345 RWF and likely moved to the Reserve Brigades at Kinmel Park, near Rhyl. These became Training Reserve battalions in September, and his MIC incorrectly shows him as TR 24578 after landing as SWB. The actual medal Roll however confirms he landed with a TR identity, and was then posted (from the Base Depot, likely) to 11th SWBs. He was a stretcher-bearer, and in this role was wounded during the attack on Pilckem Ridge 31 July 1917, and also earned his Military Medal there. He was at least sent to the Base if not back to the UK, and returned via the IBD to his unit. His final move on the Roll was to 10th SWB, probably when the 11th was disbanded Feb 1918.

It is probable he was wounded during the 38th Division's attack on Bouzincourt Ridge above Albert on 22 April 1918 - his obit states he spent 8 days in hospital before dying of his injuries. His headstone bears the epitaph Byth yn angof gan ei fam a'r teulu (Never forgotton by his mother and the family).

Clive

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Gwentpal,

Here are three other Anglesey-connected fatalities with 10th SWBs for your list. I don't have as much information about them as Owen Evans. Anything you can add about them or him would be appreciated.

OWEN, David Griffith Pte. 31325 Born Llanberis, Caernarfonshire. Enlisted Bangor, Caerns. 10th SWB. Killed in action 26 August 1918 near ?Bapaume, aged 21. Vis-en-Artois Memorial. Next of kin resident "Gauntlet", 66 Salem Street, Amlwch, Anglesey. He is also commemorated at Amlwch.

OWEN, Thomas Richard Pte. 27554 Born Llanerchymedd, Anglesey. Enlisted Amlwch. Was attached to 299 Labour Company during 1918. 10th SWB. Killed in action 2 September 1918, aged 23. Vis-en-Artois Memorial. Next of kin: ?family resident Tyddyn Goeden, Coedana, Ang. Also wife's address of Caergwrle Bach, Llantrisant, Ang. is given (corresponds to resident Valley, Ang. in SDGW). A diary he kept (in Welsh) is held at Anglesey County Records Office, Llangefni. It shows he had served on the Western Front prior to 1918 and returned to the UK, then was sent out again early that year and spent most of his time with the Labour Company. Commemorated under Llanerchymedd and Llantrisant parishes. As an absent voter 1918 (regd. about April-Jun.) he is registered under the Coedana address, with his unit details given as "C Co.,HQ, 10th SWB".

WILLIAMS, Hugh Hughes Pte. 25442 Born and enlisted Holyhead. Formerly 32972 in the KSLI. 10th SWB. Died of Wounds 12 June 1918, aged 23. Buried Bagneux British Cemy., Gezaincourt, Fr. Next of kin resident 7 York Terrace, Holyhead. Commemorated at Holyhead.

Clive

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Hi Guys,

I'd just like to say thanks for the information you've provided. Pete, the change of birthplace is duly noted hopefully when I get to researching the block of men that transferred fron the Bedfords something might crop up to give a clue as to when they switched regiments.

Reading your post has jolted my memory, when you said hed been killed by shelling behind the lines it sounded familiar, he was one of a group of men killed or wounded when the Battalion HQ was hit by long range shellfire, im sure that I have some information somewhere about the incident, I'll see if I can dig it out and send it off to you. I dont suppose you've got any pictures of Alfred??.

Many thanks Clive, its great that people like Pete and yourself are willing to provide the extra info. I do have the men in question already listed but only the most basic of details so its all a bonus especially the info on Owen Evans, a relative of mine also won his MM the same day.

A letter written later by his daughter describes how, with the help of a stretcher bearer team they rescued a wounded lieutenant from no mans land, they came under attack from riflefire with some members of the party being wounded, they were then caught in an enemy artillery bombardment and had to take cover in a shellhole until the shelling had stopped, I wonder if this was the same incident.

Regarding Thomas Richard Owen have you ever seen or had chance to read his diary??

I'm currently in the process of working my way thro the 10th Battalion War diary and have reached April 1917, I'll have a quick look at the dates mentioned above and let you know what I find.

Cheers Guys.

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gwentpal,

Re. Owen Evans, I only know that the action at Pilckem is where he was both wounded and earned the MM. I've just checked his entry in the Amlwch memorial volume, and it says he was afterwards hospitalised at Etaples. I'm in touch with his family and hope to have some more details shortly.

Tom Owen: I may have seen the original diary many years ago but can't be sure. He was the son of a gamekeeper on the Trescawen Estate. Extracts from the diary were used in Ifor ap Glyn's book on Welsh-language testimony from the Great War Lleisiau'r Rhyfel Mawr (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanrwst 2008). He was born 1895 and the author suggests he may have been a 1916 conscript: at any rate he was serving on the Western Front by May 1917 because a letter of his was published in a local newspaper then. His diary commences in April 1918 after he returned from the UK (?from leave) and joined or rejoined the 10th SWB. The diary is a bit short on dates, but has some of his personal experiences eg under shellfire, and making new trenches "ready for when America comes into the trenches". Could be a throwaway remark, or maybe connected to the fact that US troops were given trench instruction in the Bouzincourt/Aveluy area by the Welsh Division in 1918?

At one point when the unit was about to go into the line he was asked how much farm experience he had. Being a country worker, he was sent off to a "harvest camp" (presumably under 299 Labour Coy.) to get the corn harvest in. This was in an area which the French had evacuated as being too close to the enemy, so about 200 soldiers, many Welsh, were to be employed to try to harvest some 3,000 acres over a potential 2 months by his account. On 5 August 1918 his diary ended as he was recalled to his unit.

I may have a chance to examine it again before long: if so, what in particular would you want to know from it?

Clive

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gwentpal

Yes, Private Beard was killed in that long range artillery strike. It is described briefly in the SWB war diary for the day, as well as the next day when the victims were buried. There is an interesting webpage here that I got most of my info from on the event as another victim's relative was able to put some good info together on it. It is also mentioned in the book "History of the South Wales Borderers".

If you have any other information, I'd love to hear about it. I'm not really sure where Private Beard was between 1916 and his time at the Mesnil front in 1918. The family paid to list him in the Roll of Honour but it seems they might have guessed which battles he'd been in.

My dad inherited hundreds of family photos and is working through to see which may contain images of family members. He already found one he suspects is a group photo with Private Beard, about eight years before his death, when he was a licensee of a pub in Whipsnade, Beds. From that, I hope he can find some portraits and I'll let you know if we do.

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I've sent you a PM Pete, Cheers.

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Hi Gwentpal,

That does sound like a long but worthy project!

I have seen that mixup with the birth place - we have 7 sources that confirm he was born in Cochr Chwith, Machen Lower, Mynyddyslwyn, Newport, Monmouth, including UK census data and registry of births. The Devises mistake has likely come from the 1911 census where Alfred himself has filled out that he was born in Worton. He may not have been aware he wasn't as most of his brothers and sisters were born in Worton. His father moved around a bit between work in Wales and Wiltshire during this period so it would have been easy to lose track!

We are also not sure about when the transfer to the SWB ocurred - when I inquired on here before, some much better informed people than myself suggested his Bedfordshire regiment never left the UK and he must have transfered before embarking to France. Family history is quite hazy so we have very little to go off, other than what records exist out there for both Private Beard and the regiment. My grandmother had always thought he was shot and killed but when I investigated, I found he had been killed in an artillery strike, some distance behind the front lines he had just come out of.

I'll try and fill out what you are looking for on each soldier, for my great grandfather:

Names: Alfred Isaac Beard

Service Numbers: 27496 Bedfordshire Regiment; 40400 South Wales Borderers

Rank: Private

Entry into War: Unsure - I believe he was called up sometime after May 1916, when the Military Service Act applied to married men.

Outcome eg killed, transferred, reserves: Killed

Cemetary (if killed and date of death): Varennes Military Cemetery, Somme, Picardie, France; Burial Plot No III E5 (Died July 2nd, 1918, Léalvillers, Somme, Picardie, France)

Birthplace: Cochr Chwith, Machen Lower, Mynyddyslwyn, Newport, Monmouth, Wales

Place of Enlistment: Unknown - suspect it was Dunstable or Bedford

1911 Census address and occupation: 81 Victoria Street, Dunstable, Bedfordshire; Groom/Gardener (for a veterinary practice).

any service record info: Just have medal card.

Sorry don't think that address is correct.

Ochr Chwith(Ocherwyth on current maps) is above Machen lower(now Lower Machen) and Mynyddyslwyn being another village to the North East by a mile or two. I can show maps from 1920 to show this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Scalyback - thanks for the correction. You are probably right but I will have it all rechecked. The info came from my dad and I'd corrected stuff like this around the location of death, where the address in France seemed to be a bit all over the place.

I looked at the 1881 census info and that just lists Newport, Monmouthshire which is at least "safe". I will see if we can pin the address down better.

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Scalyback - thanks for the correction. You are probably right but I will have it all rechecked. The info came from my dad and I'd corrected stuff like this around the location of death, where the address in France seemed to be a bit all over the place.

I looked at the 1881 census info and that just lists Newport, Monmouthshire which is at least "safe". I will see if we can pin the address down better.

Pete just prefer you to have somewhere to pin down as "Hwyth" as such. If Ocherwyth then easy as a hamlet on a mountain. Where Newport, Monmouthshire is large ;)

Edit you got any questions on the local area PM me or shout.

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Hi Scalyback,

Thanks for the correction, duly noted and changed. Cheers.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi marechalfayolle,

Many thanks for the link what a great find.

Cheers gwentpal

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  • 2 years later...

hi' I'm trying to find out any info about my granfather Edward Jonea(b1892). I think I've traced him to 10th Btn SWB from a medical record in Forces War Records giving him a service no. 20737.

He joined up with his best pal William Whitcombe in Abercarn (?) whose service no was 20738.

I cannot find any other info as his records must be one of the many burnt.

The Battalion War Diary suggests he was in D company as Bill Whitcombe and his service no, are  mentioned as being wounded during a heavy bombardment on the sector they were in around Ypres .Family history suggests that these two were inseperable until my grandfathers death in 1956 and they never discussed the war with anyone.

Hopefully there might be some info out there

many thanks

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They enlisted, as you say probably at Abercarn, between the 15th and 31st December 1914.  The Battalion formed at Colwyn Bay before moving to Winchester on July 22nd for Divisional training, though they still did not have service rifles.  Eventually they went to France on the 3rd December, both Edward Jones and William Whitcombe went on active service with the main body.

 

Jones was discharged to the Class Z Reserve on 19th February 1919.  His mate was discharged on 30th July 1917. 

 

Ken

 

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hi' I'm trying to find out any info about my granfather Edward Jonea(b1892). I think I've traced him to 10th Btn SWB from a medical record in Forces War Records giving him a service no. 20737.

He joined up with his best pal William Whitcombe in Abercarn (?) whose service no was 20738.

I cannot find any other info as his records must be one of the many burnt.

The Battalion War Diary suggests he was in D company as Bill Whitcombe and his service no, are  mentioned as being wounded during a heavy bombardment on the sector they were in around Ypres .Family history suggests that these two were inseperable until my grandfathers death in 1956 and they never discussed the war with anyone.

Hopefully there might be some info out there

many thanks

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