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bb700

7th S.W.B at Doiran

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bb700

This is my first post so here goes:----

My Grandfather was G.Francis private #15221 South Wales Borderers 7th battalion.

He died in 1946 age 55yrs. My Father was 15yrs old when my Grandfather died so could only remember that he spoke of the Dardennelles. (perhaps he used this area for Salonika as the 7th avoided Gallipoli)

Fact sheet 3-B07-06 from the S.W.B. Museum at Brecon states that " not more than 50 men & 1 officer were left & half suffered from gas" after the attack on DOIRAN.

Information from The Long,Long Trail states only 1 officer & 18 men were alive after the attack.

After the Bulgarians withdrew on the 22nd Sept.the 7th who were now 100 strong after bringing up every available man from the transport lines occupied the Grand Couronne.

My questions are:---

Is there a list of names of the 50 or 18 survivors from the 7th who took part in this attack.

If he was not part of the attack force would he have been in a field hospital or behind the lines as part of transportation. (are there only three options of his whereabouts at this time).

Thanks Mike

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Gardenerbill

Mike,

If your man was in the 7th SWB he would only have been in a field hospital as a casualty, these were separate units, not sure about transportation lines. From my own experience unless you have a personal diary, your man was mentioned in dispatches/received a medal or he died, you cannot be sure of what part he played in a battle, only that he was there. Have you read 'Under the Devils Eye' by Alan Wakefield and Simon Moody? It has whole chapter on the second battle of Doiran and a detailed description of the 7th SWB attack on the Grande Couronne, if not I recommend you get a copy it is the definitive account of the British Salonika Force.

Have you got his medal index card or service records?

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awakefield

Hi Mike

You might be interested to know that the Imperial War Museum holds a collection of photographs of the 7th SWB in Macedonia taken by Lt J S Spier (Collection ref: 7908-25). A number of the photos have been digitised and should be available to view online via 'iwm collections search'.

As well as my book 'Under the Devil's Eye' (thanks for the plug Mark) you might be interested to know of the Salonika Campaign Society, which is dedicated to researching the campaign in Macedonia and commemorating those who fought. The SCS also runs battlefield tours out to Macedonia (Greece and FYROM)usually in May and September each year. Doiran is a key site visited and is one of the best preserved FWW battlefields around. Have a look at the Salonika 1915-1918 Facebook page for photos of what can be seen today. The SCS website, which includes membership details, is also worth a look if you have not done so already.

ALAN

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bb700

Thank you Mr Mark Sheppard & Mr Alan Wakefield for the Info.

I have not seen any medal index card or service record of my Grandfather; the only thing we possess are the Three medals ( Campaign ; 1914-1915 star & Victory medal ) & told by the SWB museum in Brecon that he was in the 7th Battalion.

I will certainly seek out the book `Under The Devils Eye` & check out the IWM photo collection.

Thanks Mike

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bb700

Thanks Mr sheppard , the info. I already know is :----G.Francis PTE 15221 S.W.Borderers (stamped on medal edge) & from the SWB Museum at Brecon that he was in the 7th Battalion.

Finding it confusing researching Medal Index Cards as a newcomer but will get there in the end hopefully.

I`ll put a dozen hours in at first to see what unfolds before I wave the White flag.

Thanks Mike ( have appreciated all information sent )

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Gardenerbill

Something else you could try is a search on Ancestry, but I think you need a bit more personal information e.g. date of birth, full name etc. You can search for free but if you want to view the records you have to register, however you can register for a free 1 month trial. What I did was run a series of searches on the censuses 1901 and 1911, the military service records etc. to see if there was anything of interest. Then registered downloaded all the documents I required and cancelled my subscription before the free month was up.

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FrancesH

I have posted elsewhere about 2nd Lt Ivor Cochrane (later Lt and Capt) on the site and got nowhere, but may possibly have now found the right location to ask questions. Cochrane left a scrapbook of his war service entitled 'Gallipoli and Salonika' which was sold at auction by Strides of Chichester (W Sussex) in 2008. Strides don't keep records that far back (!) and I've not been able to trace it. However, on we go: he was only at Gallipoli (with 2/SWB) for a short while in September 1915 before getting injured (a grenade went off in his hand - 2/SWB War Diary). I can't seem to find a war diary for 7/SWB at the NA. Is it there, ie am I just being thick? If not can anyone give me some idea about what happened? It appears from reading through this thread that the names of any officers who survived Salonika would be very well known. I have been in touch with the Regimental Museum at Brecon who told me he joined 7/SWB only in November 1918. Um, where would this fit in with the Salonika campaign, about which I know nothing?

Incidentally he died in 1940 from a chronic kidney infection 'acquired through war service' (obituary): I am assuming this came from Salonika, although I suppose he could equally well have acquired it at Gallipoli.

All thoughts and suggestions as always very much appreciated.

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FrancesH

Hi Chris

Many thanks indeed! I find it baffling that sometimes when one looks for a war diary it comes up immediately and other times it just ... doesn't. But anyway, thanks to you I can proceed.

F

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kenf48

I have been in touch with the Regimental Museum at Brecon who told me he joined 7/SWB only in November 1918. Um, where would this fit in with the Salonika campaign, about which I know nothing?

On September 30th 1918 Bulgaria surrendered, and a month later the Turks. The 7/(and 8)/SWB did not fire a shot in anger after the 25th September. The two Battalions amalgamated in December 1918 prior to deployment in the Army of Occupation for the countries bordering the Black Sea. Cochrane is not mentioned in the context of the amalgamated Battalion in Atkinson. Atkinson notes the duties of the 7 SWB after the Armistice were 'varied but not particularly exciting '.

Ken

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FrancesH

Thank you Ken! I do know that the weather conditions weren't great and presumably this would have continued to be the case after the Armistice, so perhaps that's how Cochrane picked up his kidney infection. Most grateful for your cogent summary.

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