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Remembered Today:

Labour Corps? Pte. Gilbert Shellard


jrt55555

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Hello

I've made contact with a relative of mine who has inherited my great-great-grandfather's WWI campaign medals, but he also has the medals of my ancestor's two brothers.

One of his brothers was Private Gilbert Shellard, 146544 Labour Corps.

I hadn't come across the Labour Corps before and a bit of searching reveals that Labour Corps men are apparently one of the hardest to trace (great, I thought!). I understand that the Corps was set up in 1917 and was for manual labour, both home and abroad. Usually for men unable to qualify to fight?

I'd be grateful if anyone could help with any pointers on how to research where he may have served, whether he was overseas for example? It would be great if there was any way of determining his location at any points in time.

Any help/information would be appreciated!

The only records I can find for him are the following medal cards (my relative has his BWM and Victory Medal) - click for full size:

41629_625537_9813_00030_1.jpg

30850_A001402_00089_1.jpg

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If he had not served overseas, he would not have been awarded the medals. From that point, it might be worth searching for numbers either side of his on the CWGC website. They will give you the unit details of any casualties. Once you have the unit details, that opens up the possibilities of determining where he served.

The book "No Labour, no battle" by Starling and Lee may also help.

Regards,

Mike

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If he had not served overseas, he would not have been awarded the medals. From that point, it might be worth searching for numbers either side of his on the CWGC website. They will give you the unit details of any casualties. Once you have the unit details, that opens up the possibilities of determining where he served.

The book "No Labour, no battle" by Starling and Lee may also help.

Regards,

Mike

Thanks Mike

You are of course right re the medals, so at least that confirms he served overseas.

Thanks for the CWGC idea, however unfortunately there aren't any hits for Labour Corps men with service numbers within 1,000 of G Shellard's....

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Hi Mike,

The next thought (apart from the book I mentioned) is to try searching for surviving service records close to his number - on Ancestry or FMP. I don't know if you subscribe to either which is why I mentioned CWGC first.

Another thought is searching the London Gazette (free - my kind of price!) - to see if there were any gallantry awards either side of his number. I am not sure if that will directly give you unit details, but it may open other avenues that will lead to them.

One final, and probably stupid thought. When the medals were inherited, did anyone bother to look for any paperwork? - If your great-great-grandfather had an obituary printed after he passed, it might mention his wartime service.

As you can see, I am no Labour Corps expert, just passing on what my approach would be, in the hope that I might think of something new for you.

Warmest regards,

Mike

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Thanks, Mike

I have an Ancestry subscription and some FMP credits so I'll give the service record search a try, along with the Gazette.

Not a stupid suggestion at all re the obituary but unfortunately I don't think there is anything like that for Gilbert. He never married or had children so has no direct descendants and my relatives memories/recollections about him are pretty hazy really. Nobody knew much about him nor his involvement in WWI. Apparently he is rumoured to have been involved in a spot of bare knuckle fighting around the Bristol area...!

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Well, I have found a death record on Freebmd for a Gilbert Shellard in the Bristol area - born May 1886

The death record is June 1/4 of 1973 Vol 7b, page 202.

To slightly mis-quote the National Lottery - "It could be him!"

If you do look for an obituary, that may help help narrow down the dates to search.

Cheers,

Mike

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In the absence of an expert, or someone with access to 'No Labour etc' no doubt one will be along soon but in the meantime the Labour Corps number dates from around April 1917. It appears to be in a sequence allocated to the 3rd Labour Bn at the end of the month as a consequence of Army Order 85/17 see 146512 Habgood and 146594 Brewer.

Unfortunately this appears to be the Depot and from there men were posted elsewhere which is where it gets difficult. It's probable he was serving in another Regiment prior to this transfer, though of course as the medal records show he went overseas with a Labour Corps unit.

Ken

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