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Trooper 227880 William Robert Allan


campbell thomson

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Having an interest in the history of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, I have been contacted by a relative of the above trooper seeking information about him. She has a small hand mirror which belonged to him and on the rear are inscribed the letters 'V.TA.LY' , the words '263rd Brigade' along with his name and army number and the word 'Egypt'.

Owing to the letters , she wondered if it had some connection to the Lanarkshire Yeomanry. William was born in 1865 in Airdrie, Lanarkshire and died in June 1918 in a hospital in Bothwell, Lanarkshire. According to the WW1 Medal Lists he was awarded the War Medal and Victory Medals while serving with the RFA.

I note that the 263rd Brigade RFA served in the Middle East but can see no obvious link between Trooper Allan and the Lanarkshire Yeomanry albeit the LY were also in the Middle East at that time.

Does anyone have any ideas?

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Can you give the link to his Medal Record?

The 6 digit service number might have been issued 1917 as part of the TF renumbering. Do you know if he has a CWGC headstone as I cannot find him listed.

Do you know the cemetery?

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Thank you, Johnboy.

I also checked the CWGC but could find no trace. This was a bit unusual as I have found with members of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry [and others] that if they died at home from any cause during WW1 they either have a CWGC stone or where a family stone was erected, details of the place of burial are still listed on their site.

I will chase this up with the family.

I only managed to get his medal card by entering his Army No. If I included his name and other details, the search was returned 'negative'. It seems that sometimes less gets you more with the National Archives!

What was unusual was his age [58] on the outbreak of the war. I wondered whether he had been a volunteer with the LY before the war [unfortunately I do not have any records of the pre WW1 members of the Regiment] and had been too old to go with them when they were sent to Gallipoli in 1915 After the evacuation from Gallipoli, the LY were sent to Egypt and thereafter replacement troops were sent from the second and third line LY units based in Scotland to make up numbers lost. He possibly could have been with them but was not up to the arduous physical demands of the desert and was transferred as a driver to the RFA.

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Can we be sure we have the right man? Being a driver with RFA would have been very arduous for a man of his age. Did his occupations have anything to do with horses?

If he was considered fit for service in 1916/1918 then it might be expected that he would have signed up earlier in the war?

I am not sure, but, I thought medals were awarded by the Regiment a man went overseas with. This would mean if he transferred from LY it was done in UK?

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William was born in 1865 in Airdrie, Lanarkshire and died in June 1918 in a hospital in Bothwell, Lanarkshire. According to the WW1 Medal Lists he was awarded the War Medal and Victory Medals while serving with the RFA.

What was unusual was his age [58] on the outbreak of the war.

Surely he would have been 48? (or 49). That's certainly old for a front-line serviceman, but not exceptional towards the end of the war. I've come across service papers for skilled horsemen who served well beyond that age.

Beyond the 'LY' stamp on the back of the mirror, is there any reason for believing that he served with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry? Have you seen the MIC, and does it indicate that he was discharged from the RFA? If he'd been discharged for any reason then it could explain his subsequent death not being recorded by the CWGC (assuming that his death wasn't connected to the reason for his discharge).

The 6 digit service number might have been issued 1917 as part of the TF renumbering.

It's an RFA service number rather than a TF number, and falls within their 'regular' numbering system. He wasn't actually serving as a Trooper under that number.
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Surely he would have been 48? (or 49). That's certainly old for a front-line serviceman, but not exceptional towards the end of the war. I've come across service papers for skilled horsemen who served well beyond that age.

Beyond the 'LY' stamp on the back of the mirror, is there any reason for believing that he served with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry? Have you seen the MIC, and does it indicate that he was discharged from the RFA? If he'd been discharged for any reason then it could explain his subsequent death not being recorded by the CWGC (assuming that his death wasn't connected to the reason for his discharge).

It's an RFA service number rather than a TF number, and falls within their 'regular' numbering system. He wasn't actually serving as a Trooper under that number.

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Sorry! My mistake. He would have been 53 when he died. By the MIC do you mean his Medal card? -if so, I will check if it gives anything. There is nothing other than the letters 'LY' to link him with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry albeit there was a Squadron of the territorial Lanarkshire Yeomanry based in Airdrie pre WW1.

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Did he have a son with the same name? Although LY might fit Lanarkshire Yeomenary , what could V. TA stand for?

The man and number are on the Medal Roll so he did serve overseas.

Where did you get Trooper from?

Have you found where he is buried? A death certificate might shed some light.

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He served overseas with the RFA sometime after 1 jan 1916 and, if the info regarding his death is correct, then he was already back in the UK by June 1918. The MIC's are not infallible, but so far there's only evidence of overseas service with the RFA.

As johnboy says, what do the various letters mean? How are they actually set out on the mirror? I'm struggling to think of a way of relating the other letters to the Lanarkshire Yeomanry.

The way I'd approach this is to establish the answers to the following questions, then go from there. Firstly, does the mirror have a date of manufacture? Secondly, are you certain about the date of his death, and are there any more details about the circumstances? Thirdly, what other details are on his MIC?

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I've had a quick trawl through Airdrie war memorials, but nothing's coming up for W.R. Allan. A 'Wm. Allan' is recorded on the town's civic memorial, but otherwise I drew a blank. More info needed, I think.

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Bothwell had 2 drill halls. Langside Road and Green Street but both demolished. Maybe some records of those that attended might exist somewhere?

It seems Bothwell Asylum may have been used as an Auxillary Hospital.

Do you have any names for any brothers or sisters?

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His great granddaughter has little further information. His son [her grandfather] was born in Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. Other than that she has little further information at present

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His great granddaughter has little further information. His son [her grandfather] was born in Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. Other than that she has little further information at present

Any luck on the MIC...? Any confirmation that a man of this name died in Scotland in the 2nd quarter of 1918? (I don't have access to a genealogy web-site, so I can't check I'm afraid)

Edit: alternatively, is there any indication on a genealogy website of exactly where and when this man died?

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