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Deciphering service record - Lion, Collingwood, Bonaventure, Blake - A


jrt55555
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Hello all

New to the forums, but wanted to start off by saying what a great site this is - I spent most of yesterday searching through the various threads and have found a real treasure trove of information. Until yesterday(!) I had never done any naval research but thanks to reading through answers to others' queries I feel like I've already learnt so much (and have realised how much more there is left to learn!)

The reason for me starting my research is that whilst researching my family history I have discovered that my great-great-grandfather, Aaron Shellard, served in the navy from 1910 - 1916 and have obtained his service record from Find My Past (as linked below - please click this for full resolution).

I am now trying to squeeze as much information as possible about my great-great-grandfather's service in the navy as possible! I would be grateful if anyone could confirm/correct/add to what I think I've gleaned so far, which I have set out below, broken down by subject area for ease of reference. The post is quite long but I hope that won't put people off! Any small confirmations/responses on anything would be greatly appreciated - I am excited and keen to dig deeper but am looking for hints on where to look next!

 

1. Signing up - Does the info at the top indicate he signed up at Devonport on 4 July 1910 for 12 years of service (although he was discharged earlier than this)? Is it possible to determine whether this is for the Royal Navy proper, rather than the reserves or similar?

2. Badges - I can see some entries in the 'Badges' column - look like 'G1.3.7.13', 'D1.10.7.13' and 'R1.9.1.14' - can anyone enlighten me as to what these mean? Are the numbers following the G1/D1/R1 dates? Are these good service badges, and were these actually awarded as physical badges (if so what did they look like)?

3. Remarks - He appears to have been discharged on 17 May 1916 - it looks like the reasons states 'Inv.d (invalid?) facial paralysis right side'. He then has stamps in the Remarks column as follows:

'Tn. (taken?) pension 09/06/16 - does anyone have any idea what sort of pension this would have been?

'K.C. No. 597 issued 29/08/18' - reading other threads I understand this refers to the King's Certificate given to those discharged due to injury?

[unreadable] War Gratuity by No. 105 - paid war gratuity - does anyone know if it's possible to calculate how much he would have received?

4. Rating - he is initially listed as Stoker 2nd Class, then I think it says he became a Stoker 1st Class on 10 Oct 11 (it appears to be obscured by some mirror-image wet ink from another page!) - would that sound right?

He then is down as Acting Leading Stoker from 15 April 2015 - what is the significance of the 'acting'? Am I right in thinking this is a sub-class which is a level below Leading Stoker?

5. Dates of service - I'm trying to figure out the exact dates which he served on the various ships, but on 2 occasions he is listed as joining a ship with a 'from' date but there is no end date listed. In both cases, the next entry refers to him being on the same ship but being promoted as to his Rating, so I'm wondering if I should interpret this as he served on those ships from the 'from' date first listed until the 'to' date on the entry below, with the promotion as to his Rating occurring in-between - does this sound right to others? Trying in particular to see if he was on-board the Lion at Heligoland and Dogger Bank - I can see he was fortunate to have missed the Battle of Jutland by a couple of weeks!

6. Ships - His service record shows he served in 5 different 'ships' during his time in the Navy. Cross referencing the descriptions of these on his service record against the dates listed, these would appear to be as follows (according to google/wikipedia) - have I got these right?:

( A ) HMS Vivid II ('served' five times between 1910 - 1916) - the name of the Royal Naval Barracks at Devonport.

( B ) HMS Blake (served 1910) - launched in 1889, the lead ship of her class of first-class cruiser.

( C ) HMS Bonaventure (served 1911) - launched in 1892, an Astraea-class second-class cruiser used as a submarine depot ship from 1910.

( D ) HMS Collingwood (served 1911 - 1912) - launched in 1908, a St Vincent-class dreadnought battleship.

( E ) HMS Lion (served 1912 - 1916) - launched in 1910, the lead ship of her class of battlecruiser.

7. Ships' log books - I would be interested to trace the location and activities of these ships at the relevant times - I have found the following extracts for HMS Lion:

http://www.ajbrown.me.uk/IndividualStories/WSPrince/Lion_at_War.htm

This website lists the following as a source: 'ADM 53/23163 & ADM 53/46843-48 4th June 1912 - 7th Sept 1919' - I assume this a reference number for the National Archives at Kew? If I were to visit the archives, would I be able to view the record myself? Does anyone know if the other ships' log books would be available during the relevant years that he served on them?

8. Medals - I have obtained the below images from Ancestry (again - click for full size).

On the first one, am I right to interpret this to mean he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal? In the column 'how issued or disposed of' does anyone know the significance of the 'S'? I see some people instead have what look like the names of ships here?

On the second one, it would appear he was awarded the Silver War Badge. I understand each badge was stamped with a unique reference number - given the numbers in the left column and his being in the navy, am I right in thinking his badge would his have been stamped 'RN727'?

 

 

9. Other Records - these are the only 3 records I can find for him - are there any other medal/other records I should be checking? I noted above the reference to him receiving a pension, are there any records for these?

Many thanks in advance!!!

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1. Signing up - Does the info at the top indicate he signed up at Devonport on 4 July 1910 for 12 years of service (although he was discharged earlier than this)? Is it possible to determine whether this is for the Royal Navy proper, rather than the reserves or similar? He enlisted on a 12-year RN continuous service (CS) engagement. Place of enlistment is not recorded here. His original engagement papers are held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum (National Museum of the Royal Navy).

2. Badges - I can see some entries in the 'Badges' column - look like 'G1.3.7.13', 'D1.10.7.13' and 'R1.9.1.14' - can anyone enlighten me as to what these mean? Are the numbers following the G1/D1/R1 dates? Are these good service badges, and were these actually awarded as physical badges (if so what did they look like)? G1 = One Good Conduct Badge granted; D = badge deprived; R = badge restored

3. Remarks - He appears to have been discharged on 17 May 1916 - it looks like the reasons states 'Inv.d (invalid?) facial paralysis right side'. He then has stamps in the Remarks column as follows:

'Tn. (taken?) pension 09/06/16 - does anyone have any idea what sort of pension this would have been? Tr = traced. He was probably entitled to an invaliding pension.

'K.C. No. 597 issued 29/08/18' - reading other threads I understand this refers to the King's Certificate given to those discharged due to injury? Yes

[unreadable] War Gratuity by No. 105 - paid war gratuity - does anyone know if it's possible to calculate how much he would have received? See http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=63351#entry554965

4. Rating - he is initially listed as Stoker 2nd Class, then I think it says he became a Stoker 1st Class on 10 Oct 11 (it appears to be obscured by some mirror-image wet ink from another page!) - would that sound right? Yes.

He then is down as Acting Leading Stoker from 15 April 2015 - what is the significance of the 'acting'? Am I right in thinking this is a sub-class which is a level below Leading Stoker? He held the substantive rating of Stoker 1 but was serving an the acting rating of Leading Stoker because there was no substantive leading stoker to fill the billet.

5. Dates of service - I'm trying to figure out the exact dates which he served on the various ships, but on 2 occasions he is listed as joining a ship with a 'from' date but there is no end date listed. In both cases, the next entry refers to him being on the same ship but being promoted as to his Rating, so I'm wondering if I should interpret this as he served on those ships from the 'from' date first listed until the 'to' date on the entry below, with the promotion as to his Rating occurring in-between - does this sound right to others? That is correct. Trying in particular to see if he was on-board the Lion at Heligoland and Dogger Bank - Yes he was - I can see he was fortunate to have missed the Battle of Jutland by a couple of weeks!

6. Ships - His service record shows he served in 5 different 'ships' during his time in the Navy. Cross referencing the descriptions of these on his service record against the dates listed, these would appear to be as follows (according to google/wikipedia) - have I got these right?:

( A ) HMS Vivid II ('served' five times between 1910 - 1916) - the name of the Royal Naval Barracks at Devonport.

( B ) HMS Blake (served 1910) - launched in 1889, the lead ship of her class of first-class cruiser.

( C ) HMS Bonaventure (served 1911) - launched in 1892, an Astraea-class second-class cruiser used as a submarine depot ship from 1910.

( D ) HMS Collingwood (served 1911 - 1912) - launched in 1908, a St Vincent-class dreadnought battleship.

( E ) HMS Lion (served 1912 - 1916) - launched in 1910, the lead ship of her class of battlecruiser.

7. Ships' log books - I would be interested to trace the location and activities of these ships at the relevant times - I have found the following extracts for HMS Lion:

http://www.ajbrown.me.uk/IndividualStories/WSPrince/Lion_at_War.htm

This website lists the following as a source: 'ADM 53/23163 & ADM 53/46843-48 4th June 1912 - 7th Sept 1919' - I assume this a reference number for the National Archives at Kew? If I were to visit the archives, would I be able to view the record myself? Does anyone know if the other ships' log books would be available during the relevant years that he served on them?

Try here:- http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-LogBooksWW1.htm

8. Medals - I have obtained the below images from Ancestry (again - click for full size).

On the first one, am I right to interpret this to mean he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal? In the column 'how issued or disposed of' does anyone know the significance of the 'S'? I see some people instead have what look like the names of ships here? S = medals issued to Self (after discharge)

On the second one, it would appear he was awarded the Silver War Badge. I understand each badge was stamped with a unique reference number - given the numbers in the left column and his being in the navy, am I right in thinking his badge would his have been stamped 'RN727'? Not sure about "RN". Others may know.

9. Other Records - these are the only 3 records I can find for him - are there any other medal/other records I should be checking? I noted above the reference to him receiving a pension, are there any records for these? See Fleet Air Arm Museum for enlistment papers.

Some answers above in italics.

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If you go here: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/advanced-search and type in the name of the ship you're interested in, enter 'adm' in the 'search for or within references' box, and select the date range you want, you'll find most of the logbooks you want. They'll be in the ADM53 series. If you visit the National Archives, you'll be able to order these documents and view them in the reading rooms, and make whatever copies you want. None are available to download so it means a personal visit (well worth the effort).

Dave W

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Thank you very much, Horatio and Dave - I really appreciate you taking the time to help me fill in some of the gaps.

Horatio - I'm particularly grateful for your kind confirmation re the dates of service - it's really interesting and exciting to know that he was on the ship during those battles.

You mention that his original engagement/enlistment papers are held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum - that sounds really interesting, what sort of information would these usually show? Have you been able to confirm that they definitely hold his papers, do they have an online catalogue which can be searched before visiting to show the reference number for their records, or would I have to go and then search once I'm there? Would it then just be a case of turning up and requesting to view the record? I am based in Bristol, so it would only be about an hour in the car :)

EDIT: Looking at their website now, it looks like I can contact them via email re 'service records only' - presumably this would fall under this category? Otherwise it looks like you have to book and pay for research appointments with them (and only during weekdays)?

On the conduct badges being granted, then deprived, then restored, that's really interesting. I assume it would have been deprived in connection with the conduct rating being only 'satisfactory' in 1911? Any idea what sort of behaviour would usually warrant this sort of thing?

Dave - thanks very much for the tips re the National Archives - I'll see if I can locate all the relevant documents and then maybe plan a trip to view them in the near future.

All really exciting stuff - if anyone else also has anything else that they can add I'd be very grateful.

Many thanks

James

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There is now no way of telling what offence resulted in the deprivation of his good conduct badge on 10 Jul 1913. It has nothing to do with the 'Sat' assessment two years earlier in 1911, which is for his 'Ability' in his rating of stoker. However, the loss of his GCB did result in a reduced 'Character' assessment of "VG*" [Very Good, Star] on 31 Dec 1913. VG* was allowed only once in a man's service and loss of a single GCB was one of the punishments which permitted this assessment. If VG* had not been given, his character could have been down-graded to 'Good' with consequent effects years later on eligibility for LS & GC Medal.

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There is now no way of telling what offence resulted in the deprivation of his good conduct badge on 10 Jul 1913. It has nothing to do with the 'Sat' assessment two years earlier in 1911, which is for his 'Ability' in his rating of stoker. However, the loss of his GCB did result in a reduced 'Character' assessment of "VG*" [Very Good, Star] on 31 Dec 1913. VG* was allowed only once in a man's service and loss of a single GCB was one of the punishments which permitted this assessment. If VG* had not been given, his character could have been down-graded to 'Good' with consequent effects years later on eligibility for LS & GC Medal.

Apologies yes, I had of course muddled up the Ability and Character columns. Thanks for the information re the VG* assessment, I hadn't even noticed the asterisk - all very interesting.

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James - the LOGS of HMS LION are contained in PRO/NA files ADM 53 / ?????

46843 27 May 1913 to 18 May 1914

46844 19 May 1914 to 23 Feb 1915

46845 01 Jan 1915 to 30 Apr 1916

The dates for which you require Service LION.

As to BON / BLAKE / COLL - too early for MY info !!

Regards Sadsac

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Thanks Sadsac

I've now gone through the NA's search pages and have made a list of the references if the records I need to look at - including the ones you listed. They have the relevant logbooks for HMS Collingwood and Bonavebture as well.

They also have HMS Lion's medical records for 1916 - Aaron Shellard was discharged shortly after leaving the Lion in 1916 for 'facial paralysis' so wondering whether there might possibly be a reference to him in this record. Not planning on being in London in the near future but next time I am I'll have to organise a visit to look through these items.

I also tried to give the Fleet Air Arm Museum a call but their research department is closed until tomorrow. Will try to give them a call in the week and see I they can arrange to send me a copy of his engagement papers.

Thanks again to all for all the help so far.

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Well I phoned the Fleet Air Arm Museum's research department today a. Spoke with a very helpful member of their team.

She told me to follow up with an email providing name and service number details and she would check whether they do indeed hold the engagement papers I am looking for. She is then going to confirm for me either way, so that, if they are available, I can order a copy to be sent to me.

Here's hoping they come back with something!

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James - as `your man' was aboard the LION during dates of this action here is an award to one of the crew - more such if required.

BURTON Joseph Henry N/E Gunner (T) RN 78B005 Lion

Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty 03.03.15 Gazetted

Dogger Bank Action 24.01.15 DSC

Was in charge of the Fore Submerged flat when a shell burst in the Body Room, bringing down two torpedoes, wounding two of the crew and putting out all of the lights. With great presence of mind he opened one of the air reservoirs to drive out the heavy fumes and remained there while the compartment was filling until ordered to evacuate it.

Sadsac

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Thanks Sadsac

The Fleet Air Arm Museum confirmed that they hold 'my man's' enlistment / engagement papers and copies are now in the post on their way to me - interested to see what if any extra information they contain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just following up on this - the FAAM did send through the copies of the enlistment papers, which were nice to see although I can't say they had any particularly new information not contained on his service record.

Interestingly it looks like his father signed the consent section required to be signed for 'boy sailors', even though he was 22 when he enlisted - surely that wouldn't classify him as a boy soldier?! I assume this may have just been as a 'nice to have' ragther than a requirement.

I also learned that a relative of mine has his medals still, so I need to arrange to go have a look. Will be interested to see if he still has his full set of the trio and silver war badge together.

Thanks to all forum members for your help!

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  • 3 months later...

Hello

I am hoping that somebody may be able to help me here again.

I've made contact with a relative of mine who has inherited my great-great-grandfather's WWI campaign medals. Aaron Shellard served in the navy as a stoker on HMS Lion;

 

However, along with this set of campaign medals, he also has the British War Medal and Victory Medals of my great-great-grandfather's two brothers, who also served during WWI.

What really intrigued me though was that along with these medals he also has the following medal, which a bit of digging has shown to be the Croix de Guerre

I was surprised to find this medal amongst the British campaign medals, although I now understand that the medal was also sometimes awarded to British servicemen. That said, I'm aware that it's also pretty likely that this could have also just been purchased by a family member at some point and added to the 'collection'.

However, I am keen to see whether there might be any chance that this could have been awarded to one of the three brothers whose campaign medals it is with.

The three all have a shared surname, SHELLARD, as follows:

Acting Leading Stoker Aaron Shellard - K7509.

Private Walter Shellard - King's Shropshire Light Infantry, 204119; Gloucesters, 5199 and then 266877.

Private Gilbert Shellard - Labour Corps, 146544

I have tried to search both the London Gazette and the French Journal Officiel online, but can't find anything.

Does anyone have any tips for other places to look or have access to any sources that could help?

Many thanks in advance!

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Hi

I only have Bmd John George SHELLARD on my list which is over 37.000 names. Not saying it is 100% but must be close.

War Diaries may help or local newspaper

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A/Cpl John George Shellard is also the only person with that surname to receive the French Croix de Guerre according to Honour the Recipients of Foreign Awards.

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