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Remembered Today:

Private Albert Butcher - More Information needed


Sparks7882
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Good morning all.

I am new to this so any assistance would be great. I have had the honour of being handed down my Great Grandfathers WW1 Victory Medal - On the side is engraved his name and his number. 5478 MGC which I am led to believe is the Machine Gun Corp. I have done a little research to which I have found his Medal Card which states not only the above number but also he was in the Middlesex Regiment under number 16191.

Can anyone tell me anymore about him? None of my family who would know are still alive so im trying to patch everything together. I know that he was known as "Jack" too which wasn't uncommon apparently?

Thank you so much in advance as its going to mean so much to be able to put a face or record to his medal, to find out where he fought too.

John

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Welcome to the Forum, John

You've already found what's probably the key document - the Medal Index Card. This link will tell you more about what that actually is and what it means (lots of other good research tips as well) - http://www.1914-1918.net/soldiers/research.html. The link will tell you how to use the information from the Card to work out his actual unit. It should then be possible to find the official war diary for that unit and you'd be able to track his general service.

I'm assuming you found the Card through Ancestry? They also have other document sets which include men's service files. Most of these were destroyed in the 1940s in afire so you've only about a 30% chance of finding one. There are also what are known as the pension papers - service files for men being considered for an army pension having been, say, wounded. If neither of these exist for Albert it's going to be pretty much impossible to find personal details about him.

It'd be worth looking in the local newspaper for wherever he lived to see if there was a mention of him. Particularly in small communities, there can be snippets that a man had enlisted , was home on leave or had been invalided home wounded/sick. Finding a photo is going to be very difficult if there isnt one still in the family. Newspapers usualyl only published photos if a man had died.

Have a read through the article that I've linked to. It should give you lots of ideas. And please ask if there's anything in there that you don't follow.

John

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Thanks John

Am looking at the link you gave me and its given me a great deal of information.

Am I ok in attaching what I got via the National Archive? Just it has different soldiers details on there.

What I can decipher is that he was awarded 2 Medals, Victory & the British medal, there is only the 1 Medal we have for him and its the Victory.

Could you tell me if I am able to request a replacement British medal for him just so the set is together?

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"replacement British medal" not available from the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Possible to get an un-named replica from certain firms.

Kath.

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Hi John

Check out this post about putting up images of medal index cards (MICs). http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=139717

From that I think you are OK to post the image, but it would be better if you just posted the part of the image that relates to your man to avoid confusion!

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I have had a look at the Service Records on Ancestry and I can't see an obvious one for Albert Butcher, though I don't know any other details and it may be just that I am missing them (if they survive of course). His medal roll entry (on Ancestry) doesn't state a date of discharge so it is possible he served on after 1921 and his records may therefore have been retained by the MOD.

The Machine Gun Corps number dates from the very early days of the Machine Gun Corps - the numbers below 30000 were all issued to men newly transferring into the M.G.C. in very early 1916 mainly from various Machine Gun Sections of infantry regiments. Many of these transfers were done in groups and men who transferred together were numbered together - there certainly seems to be a batch of ex-Middlesex Regiment men with 547X and 548X numbers.

There is, for example, L/16216 (Middlesex Regiment) and 5481 (M.G.C.) Sydney Tidman who enlisted into the 5th (Reserve) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment in September 1915, transferred to the Machine Gun Corps training Centre at Grantham in January 1916 and embarked overseas on 24 February 1916. Private Tidman was later brought back to the UK later in 1916 due to being under age. Unfortunately, the records don't state what Machine Gun Company he was posted to when he went overseas. However, these were the movements I expected to see when I searched for records. Private Tidman did not serve with a battalion of the Middlesex Regiment in France despite what is said on the medal cards of these men.

I strongly suspect that the above dates will also apply to Albert Butcher's early days in the army.

Steve

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Thank you all so much for the information. I find it fascinating that the information is right at our fingertips and how important it is to never forget. Im only 32 and I have already been teaching my 4 year old the meaning of poppies and she loves looking at the Medals of my Great Grandfather Albert.

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