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Remembered Today:

James William Stafferton North Staffordshire Regiment


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James William Stafferton at the start of the war was only 15. He joined the 47th Battalion of the Training Reserve with service number 34343 at the age of 17 in 1917 when he was living in Stratford, London. His Campaign Medal Index card (attached) shows that he was also a private in the North Staffordshire Regiment, regiment number 41613.

He was then transferred to the South Staffordshire Regiment, 2nd Midland Trench Mortar Battery, 1/5th Battalion in 1919 aged 20 as a private but with regiment number 44452.

With regiment number 41613 in the North Staffordshire Regiment is it possible to confirm in which battalion and in which theatre of war he served?

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Thanks C.

Still trying to get to grips with the Battalions, Divisions etc. (Being an ex Sailor.... it was so simple!!)

Can anyone give the dates for allocation of regimental numbers such that it can be determined when James joined the 2nd/6th?

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The fragment of service record for 41613 Stafferton that survives shows he served in the 3rd Norfolk Bn after 47th TRB.

A much clearer record is the record of 41617 aged 18 years and 2 months on conscription on 31st January 1917. Posted to the 47th TRB from there he was posted to the 3rd Bn Norfolk Ret (see LLT a depot or reserve Bn) in December 1917. Posted on active service overseas he embarked Folkestone on the 24th March 1918 and after landing at Boulogne was sent to the IBD at Calais, arriving on the 25th March with a number of other men, including wounded soldiers returning to the fray and probably expecting to be posted to their previous units

The date is significant. The IBD was a melting pot and what went in one end was not the same as what came out the other, apart from 41617, 41603,41643 and 41662 were also renumbered and posted to the 2/6th on 28 March 1918. So that's a draft of at least 60 men which should be listed in the war diary and included Pte Stafferton. Many of these were wounded in the next couple of months and the Battalion was reduced to a cadre in May (which is probably when he was transferred).

Ken

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Ken,

Thanks very much for the information you have provided. It will enable me to build up a picture of his time in the war.

I have identified that there were eleven Staffertons who were awarded WW1 Campaign Medals. There might have been more of the family members in the armed services during the war but at the moment I am concentrating on the eleven gallant men who were awarded medals. All of them were descended from my Great Great Grandfather Richard Stafferton (1813-1897). Five are grandsons of my Great Uncle Samuel Stafferton (1836-1893) who was not alive at the time of the war. Six are a son (my Grandfather Richard Frank Stafferton’s younger brother) and five grandsons of my Great Grandfather James Stafferton (1844-1926) who did live throughout the war period. Ten of them survived but William Charles (1891-1917) was killed in action in Belgium on 12th September 1917 at the age of 26. He was the eldest of three brothers who served in the war, sons of Charles Edward and Caroline Stafferton. (Not William as shown on his records; I will get this corrected.)

Since they joined many different regiments my search is proving interesting but I need all the help I can get from people who have done this before.

Many thanks again.

John

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The fragment of service record for 41613 Stafferton that survives shows he served in the 3rd Norfolk Bn after 47th TRB.

A much clearer record is the record of 41617 aged 18 years and 2 months on conscription on 31st January 1917. Posted to the 47th TRB from there he was posted to the 3rd Bn Norfolk Ret (see LLT a depot or reserve Bn) in December 1917. Posted on active service overseas he embarked Folkestone on the 24th March 1918 and after landing at Boulogne was sent to the IBD at Calais, arriving on the 25th March with a number of other men, including wounded soldiers returning to the fray and probably expecting to be posted to their previous units

The date is significant. The IBD was a melting pot and what went in one end was not the same as what came out the other, apart from 41617, 41603,41643 and 41662 were also renumbered and posted to the 2/6th on 28 March 1918. So that's a draft of at least 60 men which should be listed in the war diary and included Pte Stafferton. Many of these were wounded in the next couple of months and the Battalion was reduced to a cadre in May (which is probably when he was transferred).

Ken

Hi Ken,

Can you clarify the statement: "posted to the 2/6th on 28 March 1918"? What does the 2/6th refer to? Can you spell it out to me as a novice please?

Regards,

John

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The 2/6th Battalion is the second line unit of the 6th Battalion - not long after the outbreak of war the Territorial Battalions were split in to 2 (later 3) battalions. One then become known as the 1st line, '1/6th', and the other as 2nd line, '2/6th'. The 2nd line was originally to hold, train and dispatch men to the to the 1st line however as time went on the 2nd line battalions were used more and more as fighting units rather than just as support units.

Craig

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Hi Ken,

Can you clarify the statement: "posted to the 2/6th on 28 March 1918"? What does the 2/6th refer to? Can you spell it out to me as a novice please?

Regards,

John

Hi John,

As a novice you need to study the parent site the Long Long Trail (LLT) Link top right of this page especially if you are researching a number of soldiers. You need to look at 'Researching a Soldier' and the 'British Army' in particular, the latter explains the organisation and structure of the Army and how it developed through the war. It will give you a feel for the language and some of the jargon we slip into. As Craig says his first unit was a 2nd line TF battalion part of the 176th (2/1st Staffordshire) Brigade in the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division http://www.1914-1918.net/59div.htm though by that stage of the war such distinctions had broken down and men were sent where they were needed.

This Division had the dubious distinction of suffering the highest number of fatal casualties on the 21st March and as noted in the link above when the roll call was taken after the battle fewer than 100 men in the whole Brigade answered. Hence the urgent need to post men from the IBD on the 28th.

It also helps if you tell us what you know like, for example, his full service record is under his South Staffs number and not only answers the questions but shows he was originally posted to the 7th Norfolk Regiment on the 24th March 1918 and then, for the reasons above hurriedly posted to the 2/6th North Staffs on the 28th and when that was reduced to a cadre posted to the 1/6th on the 25th May 1918. [Following the German Spring Offensive and the losses there was a reorganisation of the Army].

He remained with this Battalion until the Armistice and beyond, being compulsorily transferred to the South Staffs on the 24th February 1919 and posted to the 5th or 1/5th Bn. On 20th March 1918 he was posted to the 7th Bn South Staffs and the Trench Mortar Battery.

He was demobilised to the 'Z' Class Reserve on the 13th October 1919.

Ken

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