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Remembered Today:

Pte Herbert Swift, 2nd Notts and Derby


mrfrank
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I've been asked for some assistance in tracking down further details regarding this individual by his granddaughter who lives in the village. This is what I know thus far:

DOB 6th November 1895

Regt Number 12144

Army Number 4961785

Enlisted 8th October 1913 aged 17

From the Red Cross records - Captured 20th October 1914 at Armentieres whilst probably a member of C Coy, 2nd Notts and Derbyshire Regt

1918 Held at Bad Colberg camp

Transferred to the Reserve 7th October 1920

Father Mr S Swift of Hirtley Road, Nottingham.

I've attached an image of his medal group that includes the MSM. This was gazetted on 10th June 1920 and simply says 'in recognition of devotion to duty and valuable services rendered whilst prisoners of war '.

If anyone can add any further details I'll pass them on to the granddaughter. For instance, any further information regarding his military service up to and including the action on the day he was captured. Would there have been a more in depth citation regarding the award of his MSM?

Interestingly, she mentioned that a family story is that he may have 'escaped a firing squad at some point due to his age' ??

Any further information gratefully accepted

Regards,

Mike

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the star and the first medal should be swapped places to be correct and the rosette removed

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entry date given as 24.9.14

see MIC

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His military service from 1913 prior to leaving for France was all in the UK as the 2nd, Batt. were the 'Home Service' battalion of the Regiment from 1902-14.

In 1913 they moved from Plymouth to Sheffield. On mobilisation in 1914 they moved to Cambridge. The Battalion landed at St. Nazaire on 11 Sep. 1914 so Herbert Swift must have joined them in France later.

You can download the Battalion's War Diary which provides a day to day record of their movements and actions here:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352354

Dave

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I don't know about a firing squad, but he did get drunk and pinch a bike;

25 April 1919 - Nottingham Evening Post

SOLDIERS LENIENTLY DEALT WITH At the Grantham Quarter Sessions to-day.' before Recorder (Mr. Go?. Blacklook), Pte.Herbert Swift, 23, and Pte. Leonard Jones, 24, both of the Notts, and Derby Regt. and belonging to Nottingham wore charged with breaking and entering 6, Watergate, Grantham, the occupation of the Halford Cycle Company, and stealing two bicycles and cycle lamp, valued at £27 4s. 6d., and 10s. 6d. in money. Mr . C. Y. L. Calcraft prosecuted, and Mr T. Norton appeared for prisoners, both of whom pleaded guilty. The Chief Constable (Mr. J. R. said he had made inquiries, and found that Swift's home was at 120, Hartley-road, Nottingham. and Jones's at Breedon's-cottages, High -street. Old Basford. The Nottingham police informed him that the families of both prisoners were respectable, and prisoners had not been trouble previously. Mr. Norton said prisoners' excuse was drunkenness.

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Thanks for all the replies thus far. I don't imagine she thought she'd find that out about her grandfather! The newspaper item doesn't say what the sentence was, but I find it odd - given the legal case whilst still serving - that he was awarded the MSM the following year. His discharge certificate even describes him as being 'steady, reliable and sober'!

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In another article, in the Leeds Intelligencer, entitled "ABSTINENCE! A RECORDER'S CONDITIONS OF RELEASE", it is stated that they were bound over to be of good behaviour for two years and as a condition of the recognisances he would order them abstain from going into any licensed house or drinking any intoxicating liouor during that period. He cautioned them that, if they violated that condition they would be arrested, brought before him, and sentenced for this crime.

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Two years! Wonder if he managed it. Considering the offence, I reckon he got off pretty lightly and I'm sure the four years spent a a POW had a bearing on it. Great info though, many thanks.

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The granddaughter has just sent me this image of a testimonial letter that was written by Lt William A Boot MC on behalf of Pte Swift who had acted as his servant/orderly whilst in captivity. I've done a quick check on the officer and it seems he was captured near Thiepval on the 27th Sep 1916 whilst serving with the 6th Bn Yorkshire Regt and was repatriated in early Jan 1919. Can't as yet locate his MC citation. Seems odd that they still employed a servant/orderly whilst in captivity.

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Pte Swift's granddaughter has been following this thread and the reference to Bad Colberg POW camp has provided the link to a photo album that was obviously compiled by him during his time as a POW there and features some of his fellow captives. I've received a few of the images and I'll post them in this thread as they may be of some interest. The first is of the graves of two escaped officers who were executed on recapture or killed 'whilst trying to escape' on 21st May 1918. They were originally buried at Coburg as per the image and were re-interred at Kassel in 1924. They were:

2nd Lt Harold William Medlicott RFC aged 25

Capt Joseph Stanley Walter MC 7 Queen's

The following link provides more information:

http://www.fam.medlicott.uk.com/HEM_files/7_HWMedlicott.html

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Three more images:

1. Presumably of the camp itself from a distance.

2. A private of the 6th Northants whose name I unfortunately cannot decipher.

3. Pte M Gallaher of the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers. I've checked the excellent 'armyservicenumbers' site for the POW lists and there is a M Gallagher listed there who was captured in the action at Etreux on the 27th August 1914 [Regt No 9829]. I'm thinking this is our man here photographed at Bad Colberg in 1918.

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Edited by Mike Frankish
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The granddaughter has now kindly let me have the Bad Colberg photo album to take a look at. There are a large number of images of captive British soldiers (officers and other ranks). I'll open a separate thread under POWs and start putting the images on the forum as they may be of some interest.

Edited by Mike Frankish
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