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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

84th Field Ambulance - William Drake


davidmbrown

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I have come across the attached discharge document for a William Drake. He is shown as serving with the 84th Field Ambulance from 1915-1919 and the document shows a Reg no of 457336.

I have searched the medal index cards on Ancestry and at the National Archives as well as service records, medal rolls, etc. However I can find no one with the name of Drake and reg no 457336 anywhere. I have found a William Drake with a reg no of 2170 who seems to fit the information I have, but the number is wrong.

Does anyone know if there could be any reason for a change of Reg No between the issue of medals in 1918 and discharge from the army in May 1919? Or is there another reason that a medal card seems to be missing?

Grateful for any advice.

David

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David,

He was a Territorial, so it is possibly the same man with his pre- and post- early 1917 numbers.

Have a look at these two Long Long Trail links for a fuller explanation: here and here.

Phil

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Strange that an original Medal Roll only shows the original number 2170,bearing in mind that the Roll was made in the early 1920s when any re-numbering would be known,and ordinarily with other units would show both numbers.

2170 first landed in France on 4 Jun 1915. By that time the 84 FA (aka 1/2 London FA) had already been in France since Jan 1915,so your man was likely in a draft to complete the strength of the unit,which was part of 28 Division's complement. In Nov 1915 the Division left France via Marseille for Salonika and stayed there into 1919. A War Diary is available at Kew under WO95/4910,but not yet digital.

The form you have posted also shows him attached to 2/1 Wessex FA,indeed the second number 457336 was allocated to that FA in 1917. Maybe your documents show elsewhere when he might have made the change of units. 2/1 Wessex (55 Division) stayed in France though ! Their War Diary is digital. If you discover that you know if and when he served with them and you might want to see the Diary the link is:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354872

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I have just realised, 457336 is actually a 1st Wessex Field Ambulance number, not 1/2 London (later 84) Field Ambulance and looks, from the above, that he was attached to 2/1 Wessex FA later on. Therefore they are not directly comparable, as I originally thought.

Phil

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Thanks for the thoughts.

If 457336 was a number allocated to 1st Wessex Field Ambulance is there any route to find out who it was allocated to in order to cross check by that means?. Clearly William Drake was in Salonika until 1919 according to the papers so a later number with 1st Wessex FA doesn't appear to match with the papers which all simply refer to 457336 as a reg no. That is why is seems strange to me that my search of the medal index cards and the National Archive discovery system doesn't seem to bring anything up with that number. Also I agree that it is strange that the medal rolls only seem to show 2170.

I confess it all seems rather odd to me.

David

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David,

I don't have access to the actual Rolls, nor do I know how the RAMC compiled them for Territorials with overseas service both sides of the re-numbering.

However, there are only two medal index cards in the 45733x range, both of which are for SWB.

457330 Wyatt, Norman Edward (service from Nov 1914 to May 1919)

457333 Edworthy, Reginald (service from Nov 1914 to Nov 1918)

There is a standard medal index card for a Norman E Wyatt of the RAMC, numbered 2162

Ditto for a Reginald Edworthy numbered 2167 (with a discharge date that matches the SWB card)

Is it possible that the RAMC did not use the six digit number, unless it was significant?

With your possible suspect being 2170, was he part of a batch attached to the 1st Wessex FA?

Phil

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Phil

Yes, he was with the 84th Field Ambulance and the document has attached to 1st Wessex FA written on it as well.

From your information above and 457333 (SWB) matching a standard index card with a reg No of 2167 it seems quite possible that a number three greater (457336) might match an old number of 2170. Possibly assuming too much but the correlation seems too good to ignore.

As I already believe the correct person's medal index card quotes reg no 2170 I think I will conclude I have enough information to be fairly certain.

Many thanks. As always the responses on this forum are tremendously helpful.

David

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I have now come across another item, which is a postcard sent to William Drake (457336) in Salonica. Interestingly this one does refer to his reg no as 2170, so it is the same person. It solves the question about whether they are the same person, however it still doesn't explain why the medal index cards have reverted to old numbers for a number of RAMC soldiers and yet other index cards refer to the newer 6 digit ones.

Thanks again to all.

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