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ww1 rifles


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my gran father was in the great war a relative give some numbers can someone explain what they are



labour 518070

he was in the irish rifles then royal irish fusiliers then labour

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Hi - welcome to the forum.

I saw your other post too so I would assume these might be service numbers (518070 looks like it) I am not sure about a P-prefixed number

Your thread title might confuse some people because rather than referring to weapons I think it refers to the Royal Irish Rifle Regiment does it not?

Men were often transferred to the Labour Corps if they were physically downgraded (perhaps after a wound or illness) by the war's end a surprisingly large percentage of the army were in the labour corps. So perhaps your grandfather was injured and then transferred.

If you post the name and any other information on him you have I am sure people might be able to offer more information.

You may also get better response if this was posted in the units thread (for Royal Irish Rifles) or under the researching soldiers heading. A Moderator could move it for you.



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thanks Chris .

his name was Owen McConville born in Belfast Ireland 1880 died 1936 joined rifles 1915 was in france about 23r dec 1915 so he could have been injured I remember my father said he was punished one time for not writing home he was to proud to tell them he couldn't read or write my father believes he was tied to a wagon wheel for so long every day how long I don't know

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Hi Liam

There is a Medal index card for Owen, but it seems to be Royal Fusiliers, sorry i think forum rules don't allow me to post medal card but i think Ancestry.com has the medal cards for free access at moment, Not sure if this link will work.

Chris is spot on, men were often transferred to other regiments when they recovered from sick/injured.


Reference: WO 372/12/197826 Description:
Medal card of McConville, Owen
Corps Regiment No Rank
Royal Irish Rifles 8573 Private
Royal Fusiliers GS/102045 Private
Labour Corps 518070 Private
Date: 1914-1920
Hopefully someone else can further the info.
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Found this from the Long Long Trail website who's Admin is a GWF member and founder of this forum.

43rd and 44th (Garrison) Battalions
Formed in France in May and September 1918 from Garrison Guard Companies, for duty at the five Army HQ's. Manned by troops who had been rated as medically unfit for front line duty.


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Hello Liam, and welcome to the Forum!

During the Great War, each regiment or corps had its own numbering system, so each time a man changed regiment, he would be given a new number.

The GS prefix denotes that he was enlisted for General Service, not into a particular regiment as was the case pre-war. Most wartime enlistments were on GS terms, especially after conscription was introduced, so men could be switched anywhere.

Being tied to a wagon wheel sounds very much like Field Punishment No.1, a standard disciplinary measure on active service. If you use the Forum search engine, using "field punishment" you will find several explanations of it.


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