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Remembered Today:

'24 London'


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Hello all,

Apologies if this is in the wrong place - I couldn't quite decide whether it belonged here or in the individual soldiers section.

I am currently researching the service of a man (and his father, incidentally) who joined what is described, as above, as the '24 London' division of the Territorial force, on 21/12/1914. He must have agreed to fight abroad, as he was wounded 'in an advanced position near Ypres' on the 31st July, 1917 (I am assuming, for the moment, that this refers to the start of Third Ypres, ie. Pilckem Ridge), when his trench was shelled. However, where and when he was fighting in between those dates, I am so far unable to ascertain. It would of course help greatly to know which regiment he would have been attached to - and this would also help me ascertain more certainly where he was on 31st July 1917, and hopefully even find the war diary for that day - although I realise that finding reference to him would be unlikely, the content would still no doubt be invaluable.

To this end, I wonder if any of you could help me identify his regiment. I had been under the impression that the Territorials would have been split up and assigned to different regiments as and when the need arose, but going by this page:


It appears that they did actually move around the battlegrounds together in many instances, even if they were at various points combined with other divisions (presumably when numbers were decreasing in both). The problem is that this '24 London' is rather ambigious, but is the only information I have to go an at present. Again, going by the page above, it would appear that there was a 1/24 London, and also a 2/24 London. Geography is no help - when I first came across the 1/24 and saw that they were based in Kennington, I thought I had found the solution, but as 2/24 were based in Lambeth, actually they both seem equally as likely (the soldier in question was from Clapham).

However, both are listed as 'The Queen's', so does that mean that in reality the division between 1/24 and 2/24 is fairly arbitrary, as they both fed into the same regiment? The thing that confuses me is that again according to that site, despite both being known as 'The Queen's', the two groups appeared to have differing campaign records (one seemingly spending all their time in France and Belgium, while the other seems to have gone to Greece, Egypt and Turkey first). Can anyone help me untangle that, and to understand what 'The Queen's' really represented, and give any tips on how to ascertain which he actually joined?Apologies if that (or any other here) is considered a daft question.

Secondly, by 1915 (source as above), 1/24 are said to have 'became 142nd Brigade in 47th (2nd London) Division'. Again, daft question perhaps, but what is meant by the 47th (2nd London) division? There isn't a 2/47 in the Territorials list, does this refer to a 'mainstream' army regiment which they joined forces with? Similarly, the 2/24 seem to have joined up with the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) regiment, but not until 1918 so for the purposes of researching this man, that is currently unimportant. It seems equally likely that either or both of 1/24 (as 47th, 2nd London) or 2/24 could have been in Ypres on 31st July 1917.

I also have questions about where he would have been treated after his withdrawal from the front line (I know he ended up in Wharncliffe, and from there to 3rd London General, but there is a period of several weeks between his injury and his transfer to Wharncliffe which I find intriguing), but I will post those on the individual board.

Any help gratefully appreciated.


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If you give their names it might be possible to help o find the regiment they were in via the MiC's, unless this is where your info is from?

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24th London were a territorial unit, based (I think) in the Southwark area, and wore the badge of the Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. They became, post-Great war, the 7th (Southwark) Battalion of the Queen's.

The reference to "1/24 are said to have 'became 142nd Brigade in 47th (2nd London) Division'." indicates the First Line battalion (territorial units created duplicate battalions in 1914) was one of four battalions comprising the 142nd Brigade in the 47th Division. This divisions was (pre-war) the 2nd London Division, recruiting from the outer London area. It went to France in 1915 and received a number (47th) to bring it into line with the regular and New Army divisions already there.

The 1/24th spent the war in France and Flanders, whereas the 2/24th was in the 60th Division and would have served in France, Salonika and the Middle East. Go to the Long, Long Trail (top left of the page) link to find out more. I suspect the 1/24th would have been at Ypres in 1917 as I believe the 2/24th were overseas at the time.

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Hi Trevor

My grandfather was in 1/24th Londons (The Queens) and I have just been reading the War Diary for the battalion. They were in the area south of Ypres (Bluff Tunnels, Bluff Crater, Battle Wood - now the Palingbeek nature reserve) until 25th July 1917, when they were relieved and moved back to Westoutre, south of Poperinge. They were still in Westoutre on 31st July, so this doesn't fit with your man being wounded at Ypres on 31st July, unless the date is incorrect.

The 1/24th battalion went to France in March 1915 and spent the entire war there - the history of the 47th Division by Alan Maude gives a good overview of the actions that they took part in.

I am still quite new to WW1 research and also found the structure difficult to understand at first. The 47th Division contained 3 brigades (140th, 141st and 142nd). Each of these contained four battalions - the 142nd brigade was made up of 1/21, 1/22, 1/23 and 1/24th battalions. The 24th battalion were based in Kennington, and most of the men who joined up in the early days came from south London - Lambeth, Southwark, Clapham, etc. They moved to St Albans/Hatfield for training in August 1914, which is where my grandfather and many other men from Luton joined them in early September.


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Thank you everyone for your swift replies, today of all days. I am speaking on this man's family at a historical conference later in the year and while the war element of their story is only one facet, I feel it is going to be an important one - and when I say later in the year, it is actually on Rememberance Sunday (purely coincidentally, as it happens), so as you can imagine I am putting myself under a fair bit of pressure to get this as complete and correct as possible.

Johnboy (and others) - I will copy at the bottom of this post exactly what I have so far. I don't think there is any doubt that this man was in Ypres in July 1917, which I had perhaps naively assumed meant the start of Third Ypres, but it sounds like 1/24 were involved in action prior to that in that month. I have some concept of the location of The Bluff as I have previously researched a man killed there, although I am sketchy on Battle Wood - but would any of those really have counted as "an advanced position in Ypres" (see below)?

Steven14 - many thanks, along with Steve, for helping me get some kind of idea of how the various numberings worked. Glad to hear it wasn't just me who got a little confused. So just to be clear, 1/24 and 2/24 were different battalions, not necessarily at all related to each other, but just both wore the badge of the same (regular) regiment, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey). Is that right?

Anyway, here is what I have if that is any use to Johnboy, or anyone else, who can help.

John Joseph McCarthy, b. 1896. Living in Clapham (with his father, who also joined up - being with the ASC, Mechanised Transport division).

Regimental number would appear to be 721087.

Joined the Territorials on 28/12/14, '24 London' as we now all know.

He was admitted to the Wharncliffe Hospital, Sheffield on 11th December 1917 and was from there taken to the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth. He was 'transferred to base' whatever that meant, on 31/10/17, at which point he seems to disappear from view. I should probably also come clean here and say that when I spoke of him being injured it was in the absence of a better term, and he actually appears to be a pretty heartbreaking case of shellshock.

This is the summary attached to his records from the 3rd London General - "In July 1917, while in advanced position in Ypres...his trench was shelled...he was covered with 'dirt' [the inverted commas are in the original]. Went to Hospital [and] from there to a farm. He was sent back to his battalion. Reported sick...and was again sent to Hospital".

I have his Medal Index Card, but all it shows is that he was awarded the Victory and War medals. There might be a very faint line of writing at the top, but all I can make out is 'France' under theatre. There is nothing at all written on the line below, so it would seem it was incomplete as clearly he was not in France at the end of his service.

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So just to be clear, 1/24 and 2/24 were different battalions, not necessarily at all related to each other, but just both wore the badge of the same (regular) regiment, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey). Is that right?

No - the 1/24th and 2/24th were from the same regiment. Basically, in 1914 the Territorial Force doubled in size; this effectively meant each unit formed a duplicate. The 24th Londons therefore became 2 battalions, rather than one. The original battalion became the 1st battalion (1/24th), and the duplicate became the 2nd battalion (2/24th). Later a 3rd battalion was created - the 3/24th.

Generally the 1st-Line battalions (1/24th) went overseas quite soon - early 1915 in this case - while the 2nd-Lines (2/24th) were a bit later (or not at all in some cases).

Does that help?

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Firstly, your man was definitely in the 1/24th (County of London) Battalion ('The Queens'). His medal card states that he went to France on 16th March 1915, which means that he must have been in the 1/24th rather than the 2/24th or 3/24th.

The 24th Battalion started life as a territorial unit in 1908, and were affiliated (in some way that I still don't quite understand) to the Royal West Surrey Regiment, hence their use of the title 'The Queens' and the lamb and flag ('mutton lancer') badge. They were mobilised on 5th August 1914, but were under strength, and therefore started recruiting large numbers of new volunteers, mostly from the south London area.

In mid-August they stopped recruiting and marched to a camp in the St Albans/Hatfield area. No new recruits were attested until the end of August, presumably because they were too busy setting up camp. They then started recruiting again on 31st August, both in south London and at St Albans - most of the recruits attested at St Albans came from the Luton area, but the majority of men were still signing up in south London.

As the numbers increased, a second-line battalion was created, hence the introduction of the '1/24th' and '2/24th' numbering. I'm not sure how a man would have ended up in the 2/24th rather than 1/24th - possibly it was just a matter of timing, or on level of fitness for service - maybe someone else on the forum can help on this. Eventually, a third-line battalion was created (3/24th).

The first battalion (1/24th) trained through the autumn/winter of 1914/15, and went to France in March 1915. In May 1915 there was a re-numbering, and the 1/24th were incorporated into the 142nd Brigade within the 47th (London) Division, although they still retained their battalion number. To document your man's experiences in WW1, you will need to follow the progress of the 47th Division (see the book by Alan Maude) - this repeatedly refers to the actions of the three brigades (140th, 141st and 142nd), but doesn't make many references down to individual battalion level. For a more detailed insight into what the the 1/24th battalion were doing, you will need to access their War Diary, which gives a day by day account. Casualties at officer level are documented by name, but other ranks are generally only mentioned numerically, e.g. 20 OR killed, 43 OR wounded. The WD is available for download at the National Archives (£3.30 very well spent in my view)

The 2/24th moved to St Albans in March 1915 when the 1/24th left for France. They went to France in June 1916, but then transferred to Salonika (Nov 16) and finally Egypt (Jul 17). The 3/24th remained in England as a reserve unit, firstly at Winchester, then Chiseldon (Swindon) and finally to Norfolk/Suffolk. My grandfather was with 1/24th and was wounded in May 1915. After coming out of hospital in Nottingham he spent time with the 3/24th before returning to his unit in France in May 1916. He was later gassed (Dec 17) and returned to England, and again went to the 3/24th after leaving hospital - this time he did not return to France, and appears to have remained with the 3/24th until demobilised. It is possible that your man may also have gone to the 3/24th after coming out of hospital.

In terms of where /when he was wounded, it is likely to have been in the area of The Bluff, south of Ypres, on the north side of the Ypres/Comines canal. The 1/24th were on the front line here on 7th June 1917 when the Battle of Messines was launched, and they were close to the mine explosions at Hill 60 and The Caterpillar. They were relieved on 10th June and moved back to St Omer for rest and re-training. They returned to The Bluff/Battle Wood area on 15th July, and although there wasn't any major action, the WD reports that they regularly came under heavy hostile shell fire and gas shells. They were relieved again on 25th July. The WD for 17th July reports 1 OR killed, 3 OR wounded, 2 OR shell shock - maybe your man was one of these.

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I am currently researching the war memorial to the 24th Londons in Kennington Park, so I was interested to read this topic.

You are very fortunate that Private J J McCarthy has both his Medal Index Card and Service Record on line, both of which contain a lot of information.

His original number was 3323 and he was re-numbered to 721087

On 28 December 1914, aged 19, he attested and was embodied at the HQ of the battalion at 73 New Street, Kennington - this is now Braganza Street near Kennington Underground station. The following day he was transferred to depot, reserve battalion. On 9 March 1915 he was transferred to 1/24th.

He was in France between 15 March 1915 and 15 November 1917, he was attached to a TMB (Trench Mortar Battery)

He served at home 16 November 1917 to 12 September 1918 - you have the details of various hospitals

He was discharged after 3 years and 59 days being no longer physically fit for war service. Dis 392 (XVI). He was given a War Discharge Badge and certificate, "the badge was to be worn on the right breast or on the right lapel of a jacket but not in naval or military uniform." There is also a record of the King's Certificate.

He received a Silver War Badge, B7646, the reason was "sick", he was aged 22 and had served overseas. The date is given as 16 September 1918. Enlistment 28 December 1914, discharge 12 September 1918.

His record indicates a diagnosis of neurasthenia - the initial description says he has no stammer but a slight tremor.

The incident in July 1917 when his trench was shelled and he was covered with dirt was in the Ypres area rather than Ypres.

He received a pension, 27s 6d for 4 weeks

Incidentally, his Medal Index Card indicates a 1915 Star in addition to the British War and Victory Medals.


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I am currently researching the war memorial to the 24th Londons in Kennington Park, so I was interested to read this topic.

This one? Rather nice, isn't it?


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Yes, that's the memorial to the 24th Londons which now acts as the war memorial for the Kennington area.

Originally there was a metal sculpture of draped flags and a machine gun, possibly in bronze, on the front of the memorial below the Second World War plaque, and beneath that was a metal plaque and band around the memorial presumably with the battle honours and dates. These "disappeared" about 40 years ago.

We had a very attended re-dedication ceremony at the memorial on 20 July 2014 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of its unveiling.


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Hello again all, and once again I am both grateful and impressed.

One last probably stupid question on the whole numbering issue - when you speak of the 24th joining up with the 47th (London) division, does that refer to a 'regular' army regiment or a 47th Territorial unit (I'm guessing the former, as I can't find any trace of the latter, but just want to make sure).

Similarly, am I right in assuming that even after this the men would have continued to be identified (and to identify themselves as) belonging to the 24th London, and to have worn their distinguishing marks - such as the club/ spade/ heart/ diamond arrangement which I came across reference to last night? (I believe the 1/24 wore the spade).

Steve - you seem to have seen a more legible copy of his Medal Index Card than I have, could I ask where? Is it available somewhere other than the paid history site on which I found it (not sure what the policy is on advertising here!), or have you perhaps managed to manipulate the image in some way?

On the subject of the war diaries, would he in fact be recorded as 'wounded'? I simply ask because it doesn't sound from the rest of his records as if cases like and including this were really considered as such - and the word 'sick' seems to be repeatedly and pointedly used instead.

Finally, as far as questions go, and I don't want to labour the point, but assuming Steve is correct (and I have absolutely no reason or inclination to doubt him) and John Joseph was definitely in 1/24, then what was he doing anywhere near an advanced position when he should have been on R and R and/ or training, on July 31st? Thank you by the way Steve for correcting me on the 'near Ypres' line, I must have made an error in my transcription. But this still seems curious to me. Could they 'simply' have got the date wrong - are there other examples of that happening? I would have thought that with daily reports such errors would be unlikely, but that is of course why I am asking the experts. Alternatively is it possible that he stayed behind in the battlefield with another unit for whatever reason - did that ever happen?

Also, many thanks for the 'heads up' on the Memorial in Kennington Park. It both sounds and looks well worth investigating.

Thanks again for all your help, each and every one of you. And sorry for all the questions! I just want to do this man justice.


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The 47th (London) Division was made up entirely of territorial battalions - these links may be helpful to you:



I found your man's MIC in Ancestry but didn't find his service record. Thanks to the post by Moriarty I realised that this was also available, and have now tracked it down (also on Ancestry).

The key document in his service record is Army Form W3436, which is a "Report to be rendered in the case of officers and other ranks who, without any visible wound, become non-effective from physical conditions claimed or presumed to have originated from effects of British or enemy weapons in action".

His form states that his condition arose "In July 1917 (NB - no specific date is given), while in advanced trench in Ypres area. This trench was shelled with 5.9" HE shells. Three shells fell in his vicinity with result that he was covered with 'dirt'. Went to hospital and from there to ? (unable to read - looks like aFarm). He was sent back to his Battn. Reported sick from Transport (? lines) and was again sent to hospital."

This link may be of help:

His Form W3436 also carries the information that he was in D Company, 24th London Battn, 142nd Brigade, 47th London Division.

My grandfather was a sergeant in D Company in July 1917, so they almost certainly would have known each other. During the period 15th-25th July 1917, D Company was located in trenches within Battle Wood, and it is they who the 24th Battn. War Diary states as having come under heavy shell and gas shell fire, even though this was a relatively 'quiet' period for the rest of the 24th Battn. and the 47th Division as a whole.

On this basis, my guess is that the date of 31st July is an admin. error - what document did you find this date in?

Hope this helps.


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Many thanks again Steve, in particular for finally managing to clear up the numbering issue for me once and for all.

Having gone back through the documents and my original transcriptions it appears, rather embarrassingly, that I have made an error of my own with the date of he 31st. Quite where I got that idea from I don't know, but you are of course quite correct that the document only states 'in July 1917'. I shall seek out the war diaries and look especially for the dates in that month which you have already mentioned. Again, apologies for the confusion and many thanks. You do think it is likely he would be recorded within the 'other ranks - wounded' in the war diaries then?

Apart from that I think all my questions have been answered now by yourself and the others here, in one form or another - absolutely invaluable. So thanks once more to all of you.

One final question if I may. At the risk of sounding a bit morbid, I can't help but wonder how close John Joseph may have come to being considered a deserter - seeing as it would appear that the combined impression of those reporting on his situation was that he was merely unable to control his nerves in ordinary situations (as ridiculous as such a claim seems to.us now) and that he had effectively been sent back to his company once already (from the farm - that is how I read it too) and seemingly immediately reported 'sick'. Would he ever have been in danger of such a charge?

Thanks also to Steve for the detail about your grandfather probably fighting alongside him. Isn't the Internet a wonderful place? Did your grandfather make it back from the war?

Incidentally, I believe that as well as the spade/ heart etc icons the 24th would have worn a coloured bar denoting their company. You wouldn't happen to have come across the colour for D company during your research thus far would you?



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Glad to be of help Trevor.

I will post a synopsis of the 24th Battn. war diary for 15th - 25th July 1917 below with details of the numbers of casualties. I don't think your man would have been regarded as a deserter, but definitely suffering from what we understand as 'shell shock' - maybe others on the forum can advise on this point. The use of the abbreviation NYD or NYDN in the casualty figures refers to such cases (see the link in my previous post), although the diary entry for 17th July actually uses the words 'shell shock', in contravention of para. 5.

July 15th: 24th Battn. relieves 18th Battn. in Canal Sub Sector The Bluff, with the right boundary at the Ypres Comines Canal (north bank) and the left boundary at Battle Wood.

July 16th: 3 OR killed, 2 OR wounded, 2 OR wounded at duty (resulting from a direct hit on Battalion HQ during the night).

July 17th: 1 OR killed, 3 OR wounded, 1 OR wounded at duty. 2 OR (N.Y.D.) shell shock.

July 18th: Enemy artillery again very active during the night on front, support and reserve lines. D Company currently located in Battle Wood. No casualties noted.

July 19th: Fairly quiet day but intermittent hostile shell fire during night, more particularly on trenches held by D Company in Battle Wood. No casualties noted, but one 2nd Lt. to hospital (N.Y.D.).

July 20th: 3 OR D Company wounded.

July 21st: Gas shells used during night. 2 OR N.Y.D.N.

July 22nd: No casualties noted

July 23rd: Gas shells used during night. No casualties noted.

July 24th: No entry

July 25th: Battn. relieved and moves to Ascot Camp near Westoutre. A descriptive note about the previous 10 days in the trenches states that "although there was very little machine gun or rifle fire directed at our positions, hostile shell fire was at times very severe, especially on our positions in Battle Wood held by D Company (Capt. Dalziel)"

Yes, my grandfather did make it back, and died in the 1970's when I was in my teens. I remember him fondly, although he rarely spoke about his experiences in WW1. What prompted me to start researching his war was finding a collection of his photographs, badges, buttons, and various battlefield souvenirs when clearing out my late mothers effects - I had no idea that most of these existed until this point.

On the issue of identification patches, the jury still seems to be out - in the only picture I have that shows him wearing such a patch it looks much more like a spade than a heart, and he only ever served with 24th Battn. We may have to wait for other forum members to post pictures of soldiers from the battalions in 47th Division in order to resolve this one! I have posted a picture of the 24th Battn. cap badge and metal shoulder badges for you below.

Finally, on the subject of photographs, do you have any pictures of your man taken around the time of WW1 (not necessarily in uniform)?. I ask because I have several group photographs that include my grandfather but with no other names. As they were in the same Company, there is a chance (admittedly very slight!) that he may be in one of these pictures.



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Thank you once again to everyone for your invaluable help. Thanks to Stephen also for the cap badge photograph - most useful and much clearer than any I had managed to come across.

So just to be clear, when I go to the National Archives I am searching for the diary for the 1/24, the 24 or the 47th? Thanks to all of you, I am finally clear on which division he served with (sorry it took so long!) but I am just not sure which search term would lead me to the appropriate document?

I will also be checking out the 47th book, many thanks for the tip.

Steven, unfortunately I have no photos of this man at all, in fact he seems a tad mysterious either side of the war. Just a thought though, and feel free to say no of course, but I wonder whether you would be kind enough to share one of the photographs of your grandfather with other members of his batallion for me to use in my presentation, to illustrate the men he would have served with, how they would have looked etc, and of course the fact that although we may never know for sure, he may be in there after all?

I will leave that suggestion with you, and no pressure at all. If you feel it would be a nice thing to have your grandfather's service referenced on Remembrance Sunday then I would be very proud to do so and would endeavour to do it in a respectful manner. If you would rather keep such documents private however, I would completely understand.

As this thread seems to have run its course we perhaps shouldn't post any further on such somewhat off topic matters, so I will leave you with my email address - trevornbond@aol.com, and while I hope to hear from you there is no expectation at all.

Either way, thank you all once again for all your help.

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This is the link to the 1/24th Battalion War Diaries:


The diaries come as 3 large PDF files.

I will gladly let you have some photographs of soldiers from the 1/24th - I will contact you by email with these in the next couple of days. I am currently writing up my own research into my grandfathers service in the Battalion, and can let you have a copy of this in due course if you are interested.


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