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George David RANKIN - Can Somebody Help Please?


Wigwhammer
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Hallo Pals,

I am trying to research my grandfather

George David Rankin

*18.12.1897 24.02.1929

Resident (as per 1911 census) in East Ham, Essex (but in 1914 possibly in Billericay, Essex, where he lived after the war and where my mother was born).

He joined up when he was still under-age (according to family legend, he enlisted 3 times, on the first 2 occasions his father got him out, but told him if he did it again, he’d have to stay in – so that’s what he promptly did). At age 16 he fought in Gallipoli and was evacuated to Malta where he stayed for some while recuperating.

Below I am posting a photo of him in uniform and a transcript of a letter he wrote from hospital to a friend, from which somebody may perhaps be able to glean more clues than I can. (I have no idea who the letter was to or who transcribed it).

I also remember being told he was wounded in battle with some projectile(s) remaining lodged in his lungs, but I have no evidence for that. Either way, my Grandmother (a nurse) was convinced that his death in 1929 was a direct consequence of his war service, but the WO – for whatever reason – refused her application for a widow’s pension. (My Mother had the notice of rejection from the WO, but when she died it was missing).

I have checked what I can on Ancestry, but in their military records there is nobody who is obviously my man, but perhaps somebody can at least identify his regiment and unit from his uniform and the story in his letter – and any hints or tips on how to proceed would be gratefully accepted. As I do not live in the UK, personal visits to museums/archives/whatever are not a viable option....

Thanks for any help you can give.

Colin


Letter Page 1


Letter Page 2

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post-116807-0-69194400-1418984506_thumb.

post-116807-0-42228000-1418984683_thumb.

post-116807-0-99162700-1418984744_thumb.

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no letter has appeared Colin


worth checking on find my past too just in case been misfiled

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no letter has appeared Colin

worth checking on find my past too just in case been misfiled

I had a bit of trouble uploading it, but it should be there now.....

Cheers

Colin

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The first photo shows him wearing a style of belt (Slade-Wallace pattern) that was phased out of use by the army in the early 1900's but which was pressed back into service in 1914 in order to cope with a shortage of kit, so we can state with a high degree of probability that the photo was taken in late 1914 or early 1915. His cap badge shows that he was in the Essex Regiment. Then small silver badge on his right breast says 'Imperial Service', and indicates that he was a member of a Territorial (i.e. Home service) battalion but that he had volunteered to serve overseas. The 'peninsula' that he refers to was the Gallipoli peninsula.

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Essex regiment ?

Darn it rjaydee beat me to it :(

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Thanks for the information so far.

Tis the Essex 29392 Private to the Balkans 10-8-1915. Ralph.

I saw that fella on Ancestry and he was my likliest candidate - but the Balkans??

Cheers

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You could give the Essex Regimental Museum a try , they will have more details on the actions by the Essex regts in Gallipoli. Ralph.

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From Long Long Trail, top left of this page.

Battalions of the Territorial Force

1/4th Battalion
August 1914 : in Brentwood. Part of Essex Brigade in East Anglian Division. Moved to Norwich in late 1914 and on to Colchester in April 1915.
May 1915 : formation became 161st Brigade in 54th (East Anglian) Division. Moved late in the month to St Albans.
21 July 1915 : sailed from Devonport for Gallipoli, going via Lemnos. Landed at Suvla bay 12 August 1915.
4 December 1915 : evacuated from Gallipoli and moved to Mudros, going on to Alexandria 17 December 1915. Remained in Egypt/Palestine theatre thereafter.

1/5th Battalion
August 1914 : in Chelmsford. Record same as 1/4th Bn.

1/6th Battalion
August 1914 : in West Ham. Record same as 1/4th Bn.

1/7th Battalion
August 1914 : in Walthamstow. Record same as 1/4th Bn.

St.albans and Devenport mentioned.

His MIC shows he entered theatre of war 10/8/15. The above says 12/8/15. Perhaps the 10/8/15 refers to landing at Lemnos?

His father is not shown on 1911 Census.

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Thanks to everybody - that's fantastic and what an abundance of information in such a short time!

Ralph: I'll see what I can get from the Essex Rgt Museum's website - it may be a good while before I can pay it a personal (non-virtual) visit.

Sam: Am I right in thinking the Star Medal was for soldiers who were invalided out?

Johnboy: His father - George Johnston Rankin - was (later at least) a Chief Engineer with P&O so he was quite possibly at sea at the time of the 1911 census - he died 1945.

Cheers

Colin

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Sam: Am I right in thinking the Star Medal was for soldiers who were invalided out?

The Star was awarded to those in a theatre of war before 31/12/15 and who did not qualify for the '14 Star.

For more info of medals awarded go to Long Long Trail, top left of this page and put 15 Star in search box.

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"Sam: Am I right in thinking the Star Medal was for soldiers who were invalided out?"

Medal Card has no indication of being invalided out-it merely says "disembodied" so a normal end of service discharge. No Silver War Badge reference so he was fit on discharge.

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Thanks once again to one and all.

I am very grateful for the new insights you all provided so quickly, in particular that George remained in the Army until 1919 whereas I believed that he had been invalided out in 1915/1916. I assume that once he recovered from the typhoid/enteric fever he was sent to the Egyptian/Palestinian theatre for the rest of the war with his and the other battalions of the Essex Rgt as shown on TLLT and posted above by Johnboy.

I have also contacted the Essex Rgt. Museum and sent them copies of the photo and letter. I hope they will be able to confirm one or two things for me and give me a bit more on the activities of his battalion post-Gallipoli - if anything interesting comes out of it, I'll post an update.

Cheers - and happy Christmas to all

Colin

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I assume that once he recovered from the typhoid/enteric fever he was sent to the Egyptian/Palestinian theatre for the rest of the war with his and the other battalions of the Essex Rgt as shown on TLLT and posted above by Johnboy.

No that's not correct as posted on your subsequent thread on this man http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=222418#entry2206930

Ken

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As there are two threads on this man it's getting a bit confusing but George D. Rankin was, according to your original post born on 18/12/1897, when war was declared in August 1914 he would be seventeen in December.

He was ‘embodied’, on 1st December 1914, 18 days short of his seventeenth birthday and in all probability added a couple of years to his ‘army age’.

Men could, and did legitimately enlist in the TF at seventeen for ‘Home Service’. If he had given his true age he would have been posted to the 2nd line 2/6th. One such soldier declared he was 18 in November 1914 and was posted to the 2/6th, when he was discharged for making a false declaration as to age in May 1916 he was just 16 years and 10 months. In order to bring Battalions up to strength many TF units sent soldiers younger than 20 on active service overseas an anomaly the Army addressed early in 1915.

Many of the original men in the 1/6th in August 1914 refused to sign the Imperial Obligation to serve overseas and were moved to the 2/6th. Wartime recruits joining the 1/6th signed the document either on the date of enlistment (embodiement) or the following day.

The movements of the 1/6th Battalion in the UK prior to Gallipoli are described on the Essex Regiment Museum web site.http://www.essexregiment.co.uk/6thessexbase.html

This accords with his account in the letter of ‘leaving St Albans’.

Although still under age for active service overseas he was seventeen when he left Devonport with the main body of the 1/6th to Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay on 12th August. The date entered theatre probably refers to Mudros.

By the 30th September 1915 he had been evacuated to Malta. There is at least one example of a man returning to Gallipoli in November from Malta on recovery from a gunshot wound in August.

The whole Battalion was evacuated from ANZAC on the 21st December and moved to Egypt. Most of those whose records survive remained with the 1/6th and went on to serve in Palestine. There are no casualties on CWGC for the 1/6th Bn with the 5 digit number in the series 239** in Palestine (there are a handful of 36/37*** but these all occurred much later).

So it seems there was some sort of ‘weeding out’ of the Battalion as it refitted and recovered in Egypt and a number of men returned to the UK.

These were posted to the 3rd line units and around April 1916 during a regimental reorganisation (see LLT) probably to take account of conscription posted to the 4th Reserve Bn., along with new recruits and men from the 5th Bn., and renumbered in the 5 digit 239** series.

Where the records survive nearly all of these men were posted to the BEF on 28/11/1916. It seems they were originally destined for the 2nd Bn. but once at the IBD at Etaples they were posted to the 1st and 10th Bns.

Looking at the casualties on CWGC 29392 slots in with the 10th Bn with the caveat it’s not an exact science but it is, arguably informed speculation:-

29354 10th Bn.

29370 10th Bn.

29385 10th Bn.

29386 10th Bn.

29408 10th Bn.

29410 1st Bn.

The war diary for the 10th Bn.which is unlikely to mention him by name but some do, for example casualties can be downloaded from TNA for £3.30

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14053881

It will also confirm the numbers in the draft at the beginning of December.

Ken

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Thanks, Ken, so there is some hope yet and I'll get working on it as my time allows. You've been a huge help.

I'll report any finds here in due course.

Cheers

Colin

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