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3rd Battailion Royal Warwicks


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Hi

I'm trying to find any information on my Granddad Thomas Matthews No 1735 3rd Btn Royal Warwickshire Regiment who went to France 24-3-1915

I understand that at some point he was gassed but can anyone tell me where he may have served and in what where his unit was involved in.

He was finally discharged 7-3-1919 "being surplus to military requirements Para 392(XVI..) KR"

Any info would be great to find out.

Cheers

Graham

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Dear Graham,

Your grandfather, a metal dresser, enlisted at Birmingham on 14 August 1914 (ten days after war was declared). He joined the 1/3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. On 20 August 1914 he was posted to Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight and on 24 August he landed in France. He served 15 months in France and Belgium. Due to gas poisoning he returned home and was hospitalized at Graylingwell War Hospital, Chichester (11 May - 30 May 1915). Having returned to France he received a bullet wound to his right wrist on 23 March 1918. He was removed to 29 Casualty Clearing Station and then 24th General Hospital. He returned to England and went to Berridge Road Military Hospital, Nottingham (27 March - 4 May 1918) and then Command Depot, Knowsley Park, Liverpool. On 3 April 1919 his degree of disablement was judged 20% and he received a gratuity of £37 10 shillings. On 7 March 1919 due to his wounds he was transferred to the Special Reserve and he received a Silver War Badge (no.519657). As to his exact theatre of war - one of his documents mentions the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. In all likelihood he was posted to the 1st as the 3rd was based in the UK for the duration.

The 1st Battalion were:

in action at the The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne and at The Battle of Messines in 1914. In 1915 they fought in The Second Battle of Ypres and in 1916 moved south to The Somme taking part in the Battles there over the summer months. In 1917 they were at Arras, in action during the The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, before heading north for the Third Battle of Ypres, where they fought in The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle and The First Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918 they were in action on The Somme, then returned to Flanders fighting in the Defence of Hinges Ridge during The Battle of Hazebrouck and in The Battle of Bethune.

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  • Admin

For the sake of clarity you are in luck as his discharge documents are on Ancestry (and now on FMP I guess).

His mic as you note in your original post shows he first went to France on 24 March 1915 (he was disciplined at Parkhurst on the 5 February 1915 for overstaying his leave so it seems unlikely he went to France on 24th August 1914 as above).

His hospitalisation for gas poisoning accords with the German's first use of gas at 2nd Ypres and therefore suggests he was serving with the 1st Bn. (the medal rolls will confirm). The Battalion was subjected to gas on the 2nd May when they went to the assistance of the 7th Argylls who were in the front line and had been overcome by a gas attack.

The document showing his original posting, first evacuation and convalescence appears to be missing however what is not in doubt is that he returned to France on 26 April 1917 and was posted to the 11 Battalion. On the 26th September 1917 he was 'buried by a shell' and hospitalised in France for a month returning to his Bn on 28th October. Promoted to Corporal on the 1 December 1917 he was posted to the 10th Bn on the 8th February 1918. On the 15th February he was granted leave, returning on the 1st March and just in time for the German Spring Offensive when he was wounded again on 23 March.

The 3rd Bn was the Reserve or Depot Bn, typically wounded soldiers were taken off the active duty Battalion's strength and on the Depot or Reserve strength. They either recovered and were posted back to active duty or if they did not were discharged from that Battalion.

So his service with the 1st Bn (if that's where he was posted) was brief From end/March 1915 (the war diary should show his draft) to his repatriation in May. There is a gap in the record then until his return to France in April 1917. He served with the 11th Bn from April 1917 to February 1918, and with the 10th until 23 March 1918.

1st Bn war diary http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C4554635

10 Bn war diary http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C7353056

11 Bn war diary http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C7354114

or have a look at the parent site the LLT link top left.

Ken

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Graham

To be sure about which Battalion you would need to see what the original Medal Roll shows. It is at Kew under ref WO329/2628 page 716 (1914-15 Star) and the Battalion would be entered there. If he was 1 Battalion he would have been in a replacement draft for losses. The date into war on the Medal Index Card is close to four other RWR Battalions first landing in France. On or about 22 Mar 1915 the 1/5,1/6.1/7 and 1/8 Battalions landed.

As 1 Battalion seems to have been mentioned their War Diary is digital for download in several sections under WO95/1484 from the Discovery database at the NA.

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Accepting, as in post 3 that the definitive answer as to which Battalion he joined when he first went to France can only be gained from the medal rolls these are not online and will require a visit to Kew. The Territorial Battalions mentioned above were part of 48th (Midland) Division and not engaged at Second Ypres where the Germans used chlorine gas for the first time on the Western Front.

However, having had a closer look at the record it shows he was a Special Reserve recruit and 'joined on enlistment' 3rd Bn and then on another document '1st Bn'.

So the evidence strongly favours the 1st Bn. as this Battalion of the R. Warwicks subjected to a gas attack prior to the date he was hospitalised in the UK on the 11th May. On the 25th/ 26th April the 1st Battalion suffered many casualties at the Battle of St Julien and by the 2nd May they had lost nearly 300 men kia.

Ken

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