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gwentpal, 27 June , 2014 in Unit War Diaries
I wonder if anyone can help me.
My Great Great Uncle was James Waring Private 19354 of the South Wales Borderers and who was KIA on April 11 1918. As a family we visited his grave at Brown's Road Military Cemetery at Festubert on Saturday which was the 97th anniversary of his death. My assumption was that he had died as part of the Battle of Lys. At the cemetry there were other - but not many SW Borderers - as well as soldiers from Liverpool who died that day. We had assumed his body was moved to Festubert at a later date but I'm puzzled as to how he and other Borderers seem to be some distance from the reported location of the soldiers that day which I understand was further north closer to the Belgium border.
I would be grateful if any light could be shed on:
Events of April 11 and where he was in fact likely to have died that day?
Other battles he was likely to have participated in?
His service record in general?
Why did a man from central Lancashire end up in the SWB and not a Lancashire or Liverpool regiment?
I took my two sons (6 and 9) and mother (his great neice) who have learnt that he was a weaver pre-war, was unmarried with no children but have no knowledge of his army career beyond his death.
Thanks in anticipation.
James Waring enlisted in the 1st Btn in March 1915, he was posted out to France as part of a replacement draft on 18th May 1915, no much time for training perhaps he had previous experience, although i dont think he was a returning reservist as they'd all returned to the colours earlier. He only served with the 1st Btn, spending some time attached to the 7th Entrenching Btn and at the time he was killed attached to the 3rd Brigade Trench Mortar Battery.
As regards to location, the 1st Btn had left Belgium on the 8th April 1918, the Battle of the Lys started whilst the men were still moving south, on the afternoon of the 11th April the men received orders to man the La Bassee canal defences east of Bethune. Unfortunately both Atkinson's 1914-1918 History and the Battalion War diary record the three days spent at Bethune as very quiet, i've just checked the diary from Jan 1918 to April 1918 and there are no casualties mentioned so it seems the adjutant wasn't recording the numbers of dead and wounded. There is a possibility that the trench mortar battery he was attached to were in action elsewhere. A week later the Btn was involved in heavy fighting around Festubert. Browns Road Military Cem where James is buried is only 8 kilometres away from Bethune so it makes sense that he is buried there.
In answer to your other questions -
"Other Battles", it would take me a long time to list the fighting that the 1st had been through since landing in France as part of the BEF. if you go to the top left of this page and follow the link to Long Long Trail, have a search on there for 1st Btn South Wales Borderers.
"Service Record", I've had a look at Ancestry but i cant find one for James so it look as if it was amongst the millions of records burnt during the Blitz, search this forum of Long Long Trail for Walworth Road or Arnside Place fire.
"Recruitment", This could have been down to any number of factors, Lancashire was a big recruitment area for the Borderers, i have more men from Lancs in the 10th Btn than any other region in England. The main South Wales Borderers recruitment and reserve Btn, the 3rd was based at Hightown in Liverpool. James enlisted before the introduction of conscription so he chose the South Wales Borderers, did he have any Welsh relations?, perhaps the Borderers were on a recruitment drive in his local area, the recruitment officer could have been ex Borderers who pointed undecided men in the direction of his old regiment or James could have just fancied the Borderers, prior to WW1 they still held the record for the number of Victoria Crosses won by a Regiment.
I hope this has been of some help to you. Gwentpal
Thank you so much for your detailed response. It will make my mother (his Great Neice) very happy. She had a memory of her Grandmother (James's mother) keeping an old piano and a squeezebox belonging to 'Uncle Jimmy' killed in the War. Sadly none of her brothers or sisters, cousins could recall such memories so he was in effect lost and forgotten to history. It feels great to have 'recovered' his memory.
Thank you again.
I'm wondering if you can help. I am looking for information on Pte John Jones, number 21666. Any information would be most welcome.
I'm wondering if you can help. I am looking for information on Pte John Jones, number 21666. Any information would be most welcome.
Hi I have had a quick look at ancestry and his medal role shows he served with the 11th and 4 battalion he landed in France 14th December 1915, I can't see any other info on him at the moment but I hope that helps a little
Sorry there's not much i can add;
John Jones enlisted in the 11th battalion sometime in mid January 1915. A lot of the service numbers around 216?? that i have found in the 10th seem to have enlisted in Newport South Wales, any idea where he lived??. He followed the same path as most of the other men on this thread, firstly off to training in North Wales, the 11th were billeted at Old Colwyn before the Coed Coch camp was constructed on the Wyn estate. Moved in August to Winchester before landing in France on the 4th December 1915 (not the 14th).
As mike says the medal rolls show he served firstly with the 11th battalion and then with the 4th battalion. The 4th Btn never served in France and Flanders but had gone straight out to Gallipoli and seen action there before serving in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Kurdistan. To be transferred to another South Wales Borderers Btn in a different theatre of war i would have thought John would have been wounded at some point and had returned to Britain to recover. He would have been posted to 3rd Btn (wouldnt show up in medal rolls as it was the reserve Btn) at Hightown before being drafted out to the 4th Btn.
I'm afraid i cant suggest a date that he would have gone out to the 4th, although the 11th disbanded in Feb 1918 the men were divided up between battalions in France and Flanders so i would have thought he'd gone before this happened. I've never looked at the 4th battalion War Diary, the Diary is available to read on Ancestry if you are a member. It might mention dates for drafts being sent out.
Sorry i cant be of much help.
Thanks, Dont mention it.
Why do people post on this forum looking for information, then never bother to return to see if they have an answer????.
I'm trying to trace 2nd Lt PH Turner, 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers, killed 6/7/1915 and commemorated at Twelve Tree Copse, Gallipoli. He was an old boy of Merchant Taylors' School but, unusually, there is no record of his loss or service in the School magazine. Any details of the events of that day would be most gratefully received.
Merchant Taylors' School
Hi Guys, - would anybody have any information about William H Lewis - 20610 - 10th South Wales Borderers please.
Believe he was treated for pneumonia in April 1916 and discharged in the October of that year.
Searching for enlistment and details of death at home,
Enlisted 17th Dec 1914 and discharged 8th August 1916 according to his Silver War Badge entry.
Soldiers Effects Register notes died post discharge but no date given.
Where was he from?
Hi Hywyn, - don't know, there's a W H Lewis - 6010 - South Wales Borderers on the memorial in Abertillery, South Wales, just guessing they got the service number wrong.
William Henry Lewis was the guy I briefly mentioned to you who doesnt seem to appear on CWGC and seems to be a candidate for the In from the Cold project.
I have his death certificate which records him dying from Pulmonary Tubercolosis in June 1918, he was buried in Abertillery New Cemetary which im guessing is Brynithel Cemetary. I also have his obituary from local paper but am up to my eyeballs decorating the house for Xmas so wont be able to mail it for a few weeks.
The family lived at 16 Pantypwdyn Road, Abertillery.
As Hywyn states he enlisted in Abertillery on 17th December 1914, discharged in August 1916 he was still receiving a pension when he died, his service record is in the pension papers on Ancestry.
It does sound like his service number is incorrect on the memorial.
I see that 7 members of the 10th South Wales Borderers fell on 08th November 1917 and are commemorated at Ploegsteert, I assume there's no known grave and wish to convey information to the family of William Parry - 21373.
Anything on the incident would be appreciated.
If your kind offer still stands i would greatly appreciate 'look ups' for the following 2Bn personnel please:
PHILPOTT Captain Francis Other - WIA during Attack on Scimitar Hill 21 August and awarded Military Cross, later 4SWB.
PERKINS Pte Frederick John - Tsingtao, WIA during the Gallipoli landings 28 April and twice more, 15 May and 17 June.
HARRIES Pte Willie - drowned from on board Royal Edward on route to Gallipoli.
DYKE Pte Wilson JC - Tsingtao WIA, Gallipoli.
Anything you might find would be received with pleasure.
There was a commemoration in Burnley last August for the Royal Edward, 35 from the town died on the ship.
I am researching my family history but cannot trace my grandfather George Thomas and I was wondering if there is any mention of him in the Diaries.
At the time of his marriage 10th April, 1917 his occupation is a Private in the 10th South Wales Borderers and his address listed as Heaton Park Barracks in Manchester. However by the time his first child was born on 1st September 1917 he is a Private in 1st Labour Battallion so I wondered if he had been injured and reallocated to the Labour Corps.
Any help would be most appreciated
Sorry for the delay in replying but work has been pretty hectic lately.
I've found 16 men called George Thomas who served in the South Wales Borderers but only 3 who subsequently served in the Labour Corps, of these men I would say that Private 23098 George Thomas is your man, his Labour Corps number is 447139.
He enlisted on March 9th 1915 somewhere in the Western Valley of Monmouthshire quite possibly Ebbw Vale, but without the names of parents or siblings I cant track him down on Census. In my battalion notes I do have mention of George being wounded on the Somme, probably taken from one of the local papers of Monmouthshire.
I am intrigued by his address being Heaton Parks Barracks, Manchester as i have never seen this location mentioned in connection with the 10th Battalion, was this address on his marriage certificate?
His wounds probably were the reason he was downgraded and transferred to the Labour Corps, he was then discharged from the Labour Corps on 6th December 1917, but i cant find him listed on the Silver War Badge Register.
There is no mention of him in the War Diary, very rarely were wounded other rankers listed, the exception being the 5th Btn South Wales Borderers whose diary lists all men wounded by name, all thanks to the Adjutant.
Sorry i couldn't be of help.
Great stuff, Gwentpal!
As you say his Labour Corps service number is incorrect on the Medal Index Card, I was looking for George Thomas 447139 not 347139. Things have become a little clearer now.
The 10th Battalion SWB were unique amongst the Borderers Btn's in being the only outfit formed on the lines of a 'Pals Battalion'. In late 1914 David Lloyd George called for the formation of a Welsh Army Corps and a committee was formed to oversee recruitment, one of the committee was Sir Frederick Mills, who was General Manager of the Ebbw Vale Iron Coal and Steel Company. Mills decided he would form a battalion for the Welsh Army from among his employees at Ebbw Vale and Cwm in the Western Valley of Monmouthshire. He had seriously underestimated the number of employees who had enlisted in the first months of the war so by Jan 1915 recruiting was opened in other Monmouthshire towns. Every town was allocated blocks of numbers and i know that Pte Harry Skinner 23097 was recruited in Ebbw Vale and Pte Charles Pritchard 23100 was recruited in Abertillery so George Thomas as Pte 23098 was more than likely recruited in one of these two towns.
He lands in France on December 3rd 1915 and is still serving with the 10th when he is wounded on the Somme and sent back to Britain to recover.
Using his correct Labour Corps number he appears in the Silver War Badge registers, he is discharged from Western Command Labour Corps because of wounds on the 6th December 1917, Silver War Badge number 300221.
Taken from the Long Long Trail website;
"Sir Alfred Keogh, the Director of Army Medical Services was highly concerned by the availability of beds in UK hospitals. To increase these he established 4 large convalescent camps at Blackpool, Dartford, Epsom and Eastham. Early in 1916 it was decided to create Command depots for the rehabilitive training of soldiers too fit for convalescent camps but not fit enough to be returned to depot"
Western Command Labour Corps depot was at Heaton Park Barracks, Manchester, George was sent here to recuperate but never fully recovered from his wounds, first being transferred into the Labour Corps before finally being discharged on the 6th December 1917, he was never sent back out to the Western Front.
I don't know enough about the Labour Corps to be able to tell you when he was transferred from the SWB, perhaps if you another post in the Soldiers forum with his name and LC number someone with more knowledge about them might see it.
Hope this fills in some gaps.
Has George Broadhurst been mentioned before please. Believe his service number was 20111 and he would have been invalided out in 1916. Looking for his home town.
10 February 1916: Lance Corporal George Broadhurst, 10th South Wales Borderers. La Croix Barbee. He stepped on a primed live grenade that was dropped on the floor of a billet. In the explosion both his feet were injured. Albert Medal First Class.
Whitehall, 'June 27, 1916.The KING has been graciously pleased toaward the Decoration of the Albert Medal ofthe First Class to Lance-Corporal GeorgeBroadhurst, of the 10th Battalion, South WalesBorderers, who is serving in France, in recognitionof his gallantry in saving life: —On the 10th> February, 1916, a member of aclass which was being instructed in bombingdropped a live bomb, -picked it up again andthrew it to a corner of the room. Broadhurstimmediately placed his foot on the bomb witha view to minimising the effect of the explosion.He was severely wounded in both feet. Byhis brave action he undoubtedly safeguardedhis comrades.
George Broadhurst appears to have been employed by the Great Western Railway Co., a packer in the engineering department at Portskewett
His parents lived at Shipton Oliffe, near Andoversford [Gloucestershire], see the report in the Gloucestershire Echo of 18.7.1916.
As the Albert Medal First Class was quite a rare medal to be awarded one would think that information would exist on the majority of winners, but as in most cases there is very little to be found on George Broadhurst.
His service number appears to suggest that he was an Eastern Valley man as i've a block of Newport recruits ending in 20110 and Pontnewydd recruits starting 20113 but nothing against 20111 and 20112.
He enlisted 16th Jan 1915 and was discharged 16th September 1916 because of his wounds.
I've tried many times to locate him on 1911 census but have had no luck, there is a George Broadhurst who appears on the census as serving in India? with the Manchester Regt, it makes sense that a man with military exp would have the foresight to stand on a grenade to prevent injuries to others but this is purely conjecture
I'm sure when i asked in the South Wales Borderers museum the curator mentioned something about Swindon and the Great Western Railway?.
The Great Western Railway reference ties in with the info by HarryBrook.
With his fathers name as supplied by HarryBrook i've tracked him down in 1911,
George Broadhurst 5 Ashbrook, Ampney St Mary, Cirencester.
Not much help for his enlistment address sorry.
Thanks for that, I'll go back to the South Wales Daily News, believe it was dated 01 July 1916.
Regards the service numbers 20112 may have been W J Little.
LITTLE, WILLIAM J. - served 1914-1918 - honoured on the English Baptist Church Roll of Honour, Siloh Baptist Church, Tredegar
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