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Locating a Regiment/Battalion on a date


DerekB44
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I am compiling a biography of every man on our Parish War Memorials and want to include a piece about where each man was stationed when was killed. I know the date killed, the CWG cemetery, Theatre of War, Regiment/Battalion and service number for each. What I want to do is go a bit deeper into where it happened.

This information is not available on service records, casualty reports, etc.

It occurs to me that if I can pinpoint where his Regiment/Battalion were stationed before the individual was killed I will be able to give a reasonable of account of what was happening and where it happened.

I have looked at the Long, Long Trail Regiments records and found the Battalion in question but in most cases it only takes me to a general area. Such as Le Havre.

The first one I tried was Albert Gloyne Private 30859 Devonshire Regiment 2nd Battalion, Killed in Action24 Jul 1917, Memorial Ypres (Ieper), West Flanders. Perth Cemetery (China Wall) West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

My initial suspicions are that he was killed a Ypres, but I can find no evidence that the Devonshires were there.

About half of the 39 men were in the Devons but with a fair number of Royal Garrison Artillery, Royal Engineers, Somerset LI, Cornwall and Lancs in the mix plus a couple of Navy.

Is there anywhere a record of where Regiment/Battalions were stationed at a time period during the war?

If not are there any other suggestions as to how to get closer to what happened than just France & Flanders.

Thanks

Derek

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Derek

Each Battalion/Unit was required to keep a 'War Diary', a day to day record of their activities and locations. The National Archives have started to put these on-line, downloadable for a fee. Some diaries are downloadable as a single document, others are in parts covering specific date periods.

Those currently available can be found here:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/war-diaries-ww1.htm t=

The Part of the 2 Devons Diary relevant to the date in your post is here:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14017265

Others not yet digitised can be viewed at Kew, but is worth checking on line at intervals as more are added regularly.

Members of this forum may be able to assist if you provide names, service numbers, battalion/regiment and dates.

Dave

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His MIC says 2nd Battalion, but you might want to check the medal rolls. The War Diary for the 2nd Battalion says

24/7/1917 Dominion Camp
25/7/1917 The Battn was shelled all day. Proceeded to take over from 2/W York Regiment in the Railway Wood Sector. "A" and "D" Coys in the front line, "B" Coy and HQ in dug-outs Railway Wood. "C" Coy at Montreal Camp. Casualties during the day were slight.
The 23rd Infantry Brigade Diary might have some more detail ?
Also well worth checking local newspapers, and the records of men from same battalion who fell on same day.
Mike
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Hello Derek

A summary of the movements of battalions involved in 1914, in 1915 at Gallipoli, and for the second half of 1916 on the Somme, may be found in several books by Ray Westlake such as British Battalions on the Somme. You may be able to find more details on Amazon, and be able to find copies at your local lubrary or through the inter-library loan service. This information will not be as full as what is in the war diaries but it normally indicates the nearest village etc on a daily basis.

Ron

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Thanks to Dave, Mike and Craig,

I do not often research military matters having no direct ancestors who served in any conflict other than WW1 (Grandfather 1 of the Burned Records) and WW2 (Father), although there are a few brothers of ancestors did join the army back in the 1850s.

When I last had cause to look at War Diaries many years ago at Kew while looking for my grandfathers regiment nothing had been digitised. Looks like things are moving on, I will follow them up.

The medal rolls are a good idea but living in Devon makes access to Kew a rare event. Thanks for the snippet of the War Diary it looks like I will need to find companies in addition to Battalions.

Could you please explain how to find the relationship between 2nd battalion Devonshires and The 23rd Infantry Brigade. Is there a cross reference list somewhere?

Not having done much Military research I have not come across the Naval & Military Archive before, the 30 day deal does look good value.

Thank you for telling me about it.

Thanks to all for the swift responses, you are most helpful.

Best wishes

Derek

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The medal rolls are a good idea but living in Devon makes access to Kew a rare event.

The medal rolls are also available at the link I posted - they are included in the subscription with the diaries.

2nd battalion Devonshires and The 23rd Infantry Brigade. Is there a cross reference list somewhere?

Every thing you need (and more) is here - http://www.1914-1918.net/devons.htm

Craig

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Hi Ron, Craig and Steve,

Ron, thanks for telling me about the book, I'll see if the library has a copy.

Craig, I did read somewhere that the Medal Rolls were only available in original form at Kew, must be out of date information.

I should have looked harder at the Archive when I checked it out. I will definitely take out a 30 day sub.

Steve, many thanks for the suggestion, I'll assemble a list (35 or so names) and post a few at a time when I have had a look at what the Archive has to offer.

I like to do my own research, its half of the fun in doing this kind of thing.

It is nice to know that there are helpful knowledgeable people out there willing to help when I get stuck.

Best wishes to you all,

Thanks

Derek

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I have been working my way through the War Diaries, thanks for the tip.

I have finished the Devons as far as Europe is concerned, but a few of my casualties were in Salonika, Gallipoli, Iraq and India which are not on the Naval & Military Archive. If I were to post their details here does any one have a copy and could look them up for me?

I have started on the two casualties from the Duke of Cornwall's LI and have an anomaly that I hope someone can through some light on.

Hine, James Ernest

1899 Torbryan

24 Sep 1918, Died

19

France & Flanders

Berlin South-Western Cemetery, Brandenburg, Germany

Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 1st/5th Battalion

Private

37456, Formerly 7/2563, T. Reserve Battn

1/5. DCLI. 37456. Pte

Victory & British

The records I have seen just say he Died. No mention of wounds.

From the war diaries for September 1918 the DCLI 1/5th Battalion a Pioneer Battalion were in Estaires near Lille in Northern France doing road and bridge repair work . They did suffer Gas attacks earlier in the month.

My question is that if his battalion were in France when he died how and why is he buried in Berlin?

CWGC states that this cemetery contains men killed in Germany.

In all other cases that I have seen the Cemetery is within a few miles of the place of death.

Thanks

Derek

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Very possible he was a prisoner of war and died in captivity. Search him on CWGC and then read historical information for that cemetery

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Hi Ellis,

Thanks for the idea.

Yes he was a POW in Ebersdorf. Died on date given in British Casualty report. Burried in Ebersdorf cemetery not one of those listed by CWGC. Must have been moved after the war to Berlin. British casualty report is misleading as it just says Died. T of W France & Flanders so I was looking for a death in active service.

Regards

Derek

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The date on the burial report is Feb 1925.

"Died" generally would mean death by sickness , illness or natural causes. Could have been influenza.

" France & Flanders" is as you say the theatre of war as opposed to say " Balkans" etc

Look on ICRC WW1 prisoners site . Index card for him on there.

There is a photograph of the camp www.gutenberg-e.org/steuer/archive/chapter/13.html

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Thanks to the great help given by people on this forum I have managed to find the approximate whereabouts of 33 of the 40 names I am looking for mostly through the war diaries on the Naval and Military Archive. Thanks for the tip.

The 7 Battalions that I have not tracked down are these below, does any one have the relevant war diary and could please look up the relevant date for me or can offer suggestions as to how to get hold of them, most seem to be un-digitised at Kew.

Many thanks

Derek

All sorted out thanks very much

DB

  1. Devonshire Regiment, 10th Battalion, “D” Company, Bunclark, George, Private, 12006, 10 Feb 1917, Killed in Action, Salonika, Doiran Memorial, Greece
  2. Devonshire Regiment, 2nd/ 6th Battalion (Territorials), Perry, Alfred William, Private, 3159, 28 Sep 1916 Died, Mesopotamia, Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery
  3. Devonshire Regiment, 5th Battalion, Howard, George Henry (Woodward), Private, 2404, 240688, 28 Sep 1915 Killed in Action, Mesopotamia, Basra Memorial, Iraq.
  4. Dorsetshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion , Shepherd, Walter Eli , Private, 15982 - Formerly 18588, Devonshire Regiment, 12 Apr 1916, Killed in Action, Mesopotamia , Basra Memorial, Iraq.
  5. King's Own Scottish Borderers 3rd Battalion attd. 6th Battalion., Stoney, Thomas Ramsay, 2nd Lieut, 31024, 10 April 1918, Killed in Action, France & Flanders, La Clytte Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
  6. Royal Engineers, 72nd Field Coy., Woolacott, William Henry, Sapper, 37243, 18 Apr 1916, Killed in Action, Mesopotamia , Basra Memorial, Iraq.
  7. Royal Garrison Artillery, 275th Siege Bty, Bawdon, Henry Joseph, Gunner, 133005 - Formerly 1858, Devonshire R.G.A., 30 Jul 1917, Died of wounds, France & Flanders, Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
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