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Without Service Number...getting nowhere!


cmcd
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Hi folks, anyone else finding it a nightmare to try and find service records for family that served and survived WW1? I don't have Service Numbers so have tried local resources (library etc) together with online sites but it is proving fruitless (not to mention costly!!!!) I Have also paid a researcher quite a lot in the past, but was told too many soldiers with same name! You would think that having the Regiment and the date and place of birth as keywords for searches would at least offer some info....NOT!

Really feel like giving up trying to find out about my ancestors in WW1.....saddened and dejected..... :( :( :(

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Post all the details you have, including any photos, and we will from there!

I see you had some success with your last query.

Rgds

Tim D

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Sounds like the type of challenge we enjoy.

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Hi Tim, I did have a little success with my last query in that a member kindly identified RFC uniform. They also kindly carried out a search and came back with a service number for William George Murphy, but when I sent off to Kew it turned out to be wrong person so back to square one.

Here goes....Thomas Cummings, Royal Horse Artillery, D.O.B. 31/05/1891, place of birth Port Glasgow, Scotland. (Family story says he was medically discharged after a fall from a horse...don't know if this is true)

William George Murphy, RFC, D.O.B 01/07/1889, place of birth Greenock, Scotland.

Both men survived the war. Not much info I'm afraid, hence the frustration. I have tried a number of local family history sites, put an ad in local paper, tried to get info from Absentee Voters list (local library cant find it! ugh!) tried NA and Find My Past and as I said used a researcher who visits Kew, and so far no joy. Any help on what to try next would really be appreciated. I have attached 2 pictures.

Thanks

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post-61321-0-86172500-1404817584_thumb.j

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A possible to get started for Cummings

post-51028-0-92788600-1404818722_thumb.p

(It does give 1st name as Thomas on the rolls)

Craig

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For the purpose of avoiding any ambiguity and preventing duplication, can you just confirm exactly what it is that you are looking for?

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Hi Craig, thanks for this possible......so the chase is on! I was getting a little down about not finding anything so far but the fact that members here take the time to reply and offer their help makes me want to take up the baton again! :)

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Hi Stephen, sorry I should have said.....I was so busy having a whine in the original post. I am looking to find the service records for Thomas Cummings & William Murphy. Just getting nowhere as I do not have Service Numbers for them only their Regiments and without the numbers the search just seems so long and frustrating. I can not get to Kew so find using NA on-line with just a name, regiment, d.o.b problematic. Hoping members expertise and experience could put me in touch with best way to go forward.

Thanks

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Airmen's records are now online on FindMyPast (your local library may offer free access), so you should be able to try the various possiblities for William Murphy. SInce he survived he will presumably have transferred to the RAF.

It may not help yet, but as http://www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org develops that should help with these sorts of queries, as details added by others will help to rule possiblities in or out.

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Surely the ones causing you this grief are your own family members who didn't preserve the information you need?

There usually exists "someone" such as an aunt, who squirrels away family information.

I assume you have really gone to all relatives who might have something to help piece together your jigsaw?

What about piecing together their lives AFTER WW1? What do you know about that, do their children, grandchildren etc remember any memories or something that happened which triggered reminiscences when they were alive?

You're also challenged in your efforts by trying to seek information from the other side of the world, so is there anyone in your family left in England that could share your burden and problems with?

For your Cummings, it might be that he served with C Battery in 296th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

This chap seems to have a reasonably close number, so they may have known each other during training, although this chap seems to have been posted to a different unit..

BENTLEY, LAWRENCE. Rank: Driver. Service No: 695972. Date of Death: 02/09/1918. Age:37.
Regiment/Service:Royal Field Artillery 57th Div. Ammunition Col.
Grave Reference: II. B. 23. Cemetery: ST. MARTIN CALVAIRE BRITISH CEMETERY, ST. MARTIN-SUR-COJEUL
Additional Information: Son of Charles A. and Ellen Bentley; husband of Agnes Bentley, of 21, Orleans Rd., Old Swan, Liverpool.
Born at Warrington.
As regards 296 Brigade itself, they seem to have sustained some 102 casualties, of whom 16 are shown as C Battery.
Of those, you'll see 10 were killed in September and early October 1917, so the War Diary might have some details of where they were and what happened, as your Thomas may well have been involved.

BANNISTER A 785742 C BTY 296TH BDE 12/04/1917

BUTTERY A 806102 C BTY 296TH BDE 25/09/1917

CAMPBELL CAH - C BTY 296TH BDE 29/09/1917

CHAMPKINS CH 154024 C BTY 296TH BDE 17/09/1918

COOKSON J 159872 C BTY 296TH BDE 30/09/1917

DARBYSHIRE J 806113 C BTY 296TH BDE 29/09/1917

GIMBRETT LJ 960939 C BTY 296TH BDE 07/04/1918

HARVEY WS 806786 C BTY 296TH BDE 11/09/1917

HOLLINGSWORTH G 821234 C BTY 296TH BDE 21/05/1918

JENKINS W 606142 C BTY 296TH BDE 28/09/1917

MASON GH 806193 C BTY, 296TH BDE 01/10/1917

MILLER SJ 806192 C BTY 296TH BDE 23/04/1918

POINTON H 806085 C BTY 296TH BDE 30/09/1917

PRICE F 821588 C BTY 296TH BDE 10/07/1918

ROGERS J 806147 C BTY 296TH BDE 01/10/1917

SIMISTER H 821350 C BTY 296TH BDE 28/09/1917

Family history research is strewn with brick walls that only break down when THEY want to, not YOU!
So don't lose heart, if the information exists, these tracker dogs on here will eventually find it!
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Thanks for all the help and encouragement, it really is appreciated. I know what you mean...if only family would keep in touch and share info. I have tried to find existing family members for George (who was my great uncle) but no luck. Thomas was my grandfather and he died quite tragically in 1939 leaving a widow and six children. His widow, my grandmother could not say his name without crying right up until she died in 1979 so I could never get any information from her. Her children are all gone bar one auntie who does not know anymore about his service in WW! than I do I'm afraid. So unfortunately I have to keep ploughing through the records if I want to try and keep scratching this itch!

I had just thought that with all the extra interest in WW1 this year I might at last find some info but hey ho. The two ancestors I am searching for survived the war, went on to marry and have families so our family are some of the lucky ones. My heart goes out to the poor souls who never returned and their families who had to carry on without them.

P.S. I am in Scotland, not on other side of world ha ha ...I did have a wee chuckle at that :)

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From David's suggestion re. RAF records on FindMyPast, there is a William George Murphy (No. 17436) who married Helena Rose (unknown maiden name) in Bethnal Green on 10th March 1912, and they lived in (what looks like) Dalston or Walston. Does this ring any bells? (There are also a couple of George William Murphys on there as well.)

Cheers

Steve

Edit: No place of birth is given for William George, but the two George William's appear to have been born in London and Middlesex - so neither of these two are a match with your man.

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There is a William Murphy (No. 84783), born 1890 (no birth place given) who married Grace in Greenock 6th June 1917, and lived 6 Roslin Street, Greenock. Although a middle name isn't given in the FMP search engine, on his RAF service papers it does give his middle initial as 'G'. Perhaps this is a better match?

All the best

Steve

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Hi Steve....OMG!.....You and all the members here are amazing! This William Murphy (84783) is my great uncle, I have his birth, marriage records etc and yes he married Grace in Greenock. At last I have this number so I can get his records. Thank you so much, you have made this family history nut very happy.

Kindest regards :) :) :)

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There is a MiC for Thomas Cummings Driver 695979 RFA. Shows he was awarded BWM and Victory Medal.

SWB List RA/4718.

This would tie in with photo of him wearing spurs.

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Hi Steve....OMG!.....You and all the members here are amazing! This William Murphy (84783) is my great uncle, I have his birth, marriage records etc and yes he married Grace in Greenock. At last I have this number so I can get his records. Thank you so much, you have made this family history nut very happy.

Kindest regards :)

Hate to say it...but I told you so!

Well spotted Steve.

:thumbsup:

TD

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Next order of business. Can some of our RFC/RAF experts try and unravel his posting history?

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You're welcome Tommy's Lass - glad to help.

As Tim D says - interpreting his service papers looks like a challenge! :thumbsup:

All the best

Steve

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04 June 1917 - STTHC

18 April 1918 - RD (probably Reception or Recruit Depot?)

03 May 1918 - 1 BTD

Roehampton - 1 Balloon Training Depot (SE Area, No.1 Balloon Training Wing)

BTD - preliminary training of all balloon observers for service at sea.
• Headquarters of No.1 Balloon Training Wing.
Subjects taught: theory of ballooning, rigging and fabric work, compass and chart work, winch, telephone, Morse Code, semaphore, naval signals, hoists and ship recognition. A six weeks course in ship recognition, the theory of ballooning, signalling, rigging, international flags was also given to airship pilots.
Course length: balloon observers - 3 months. Pupils then passed to No.1 Balloon Training Base, Sheerness.
Personnel (for Wing & Depot): officers: 28, officer pupils: 180, WO & NCOs: 43, Corporals: 59: R&F: 577, R&F pupils: 300, women: 53 & women (household): 74
Aeroplanes: none
Aerodrome: no aerodrome, both units occupied Upper Grove House & grounds and, Lower Grove House & grounds, also the Polo grounds & Golf Club of Roehampton Club. Total area was 130 acres.
HASL: unknown
Sheds: canvas balloon sheds: 7.

15 June 1918 - 6 B Bse (probably 6 Balloon Base).

10 February 1919 - HQ Malta

Page 2 appears to say that he was in Bizerta (which was in Tunisia) between 15 June 1918 and 28 March 1919.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/47311/BIZERTA%20CEMETERY

During the First World War, Bizerta was a French naval station and seaport, which was used by the the Royal Navy as a coaling station, operated largely by Maltese civilian labour. This civil cemetery contains French, Serbian and Commonwealth war plots. The Commonwealth plot, close to the main entrance, was made after the Armistice when graves were moved from other parts of the cemetery and from burial grounds near Bizerta.

He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

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Hi again all you beautiful people! I got the service record for my great uncle and was so happy even though I could hardly understand any of it (I just about got the Malta & medals part!) so never thought for one moment that anyone would give up their time to transcribe it! What can I say....again you have come through...thank you Blackblue.

And to Johnboy...thank you also for your time and effort on looking for Thomas Cummings. I will have a look see if that's my guy. Funny you mention spurs....I only have 3 things belonging to my grandfather....his original birth cert, the photo that I posted here, and one spur!

Keep up the fantastic work everyone :) :) :)

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A slightly different slant if you have not already tried. Did Thomas Cummings marry while he was still in the army? A Scottish marriage record might well give details of his rank and unit (occasionally even number!).

There is a little more on William Murphy (84783) in the RAF Muster Roll 1918 in fmp. The Muster Roll is a list of everyone who transferred into the RAF on 1 April 1918, when the RAF started. It gives his trade as "Blacksmith (Lr.)". His RFC rank as Air Mechanic 3rd Class, becoming Private 2nd Class in the RAF. His basic RAF pay rate was 1/6 a day.

Can any RFC/RAF experts say what the "Lr." means?

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