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Tracing My Grandfather's Battalion - King's Liverpool Regiment


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I'm trying to find out in which battalion of the King's Liverpool Regiment my (maternal) grandfather served. His name was William Henry Buckley.

His Medal Index card records him as:

- Private 3138

and then later:
- Serjeant (sic) 265930.

A search of the Museum of Liverpool’s King's Regiment database has a 265930 William H Buckley listed as an Acting WO2 but provides no further detail.

His card shows he was eligible for the Victory Medal, British War Medal and 1914-1915 Star. The theatre he served in was France and the date of entry given as 7 March 1915.

My Mum (now 87) can only remember his regiment (King's Liverpool) but cannot recall his battalion. She says he served in France throughout the war and survived (virtually) unscathed. She thinks he served on the Somme, was a Sergeant Major (WO2) at some stage.

Could anyone please assist with information about which battalion he was in? Once I have details of his battalion I can then start to research where he served.

Many thanks
Nick

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The medal roll also shows his final rank as acting Warrant Officer Class 2. I looks like he would have technically been a Substantive (permanent) Sergeant.

Steve.

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Once I have details of his battalion I can then start to research where he served.

As you are, presumably, new to this, may I suggest you read this link before starting on the research. it'll help you understand what resources are out there and, perhaps more importantly, help you understand the abbreviations and jargon that you will come across

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/

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Hi Nick,

Welcome to the forum.

Both his medal index card and his 14/15 Star roll entry show him as being demobilised with no specific date shown. Unfortunately, his service record doesn't appear to have survived. However, there is a (split) record on Findmypast (see here and here) which indicates that he was sent on a training course, prior to leaving in early February 1919. The relevant part of the document transcribes as:

B A T T A L I O N O R D E R S

by

Lieut-Colonel A.G. Bruce, D.S.O

Commanding 7th Officer Cadet Battalion, Moore Park, Kilworth

D. 10. PART 2. TUESDAY, 4TH FEBRUARY, 1919.

(Last Part 2 Orders issued 3-2-19.)

DISPERSAL OF CADETS WHO HAVE COMPLETED COURSE.

The undermentioned Cadets of "A" Company having completed

a satisfactory Course of Instruction, proceeded 4-2-19 in

accordance with Army Order 1, dated 1st January, 1919, to

Dispersal Centres as under:-

All Cadets except Cadet Parson G.W. "B" Company handed

Greatcoat into Stores before proceeding.

.......

265930 Cadet Buckley W.H. K. Liverpool Regt. Area 3.

Home Address :- 2 Post Office Avenue, Southport,

Lancashire

The war diary for the 1/7th Bn. is available for download from the National Archives in two parts, at a cost of £3.30 each.

Regards

Chris

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Looks as though he Attested 09/11/1914 and was with 1/7th KLR

1/7th Battalion Territorial Forces
04.08.1914 Stationed at Bootle, Liverpool, at the outbreak of war as part of the Liverpool Brigade of the West Lancashire Division and then moved to Canterbury in the autumn.
08.03.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre, transferred to 6th Brigade of the 2nd Division based at Vendin-lez-Bethune. They were engaged in various actions on the Western front including; The Battle of Festubert.
04.09.1915 Transferred to the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division.
11.11.1915 Transferred to the 22nd Brigade of the 7th Division.
07.01.1916 Transferred to the 165th Brigade of the 55th Division and were again engaged in actions on the Western Front;
During 1916
The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Ginchy, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
During 1917
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, attack’s in the Spree, Pond and Schuler Farms area, The Battle of Menin Road Ridge, The Third Battles of the Ypres, and Phases of the Cambrai Operations.
During 1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Defence of Givenchy, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The capture of Givenchy craters.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Ligne west of Arth. The Division used to repair road and railway in the Leuze area and demobilisation began on 03.01.1919

Paul

Edited by spud4210
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Hi Nick,

Welcome to the forum.

Both his medal index card and his 14/15 Star roll entry show him as being demobilised with no specific date shown. Unfortunately, his service record doesn't appear to have survived. However, there is a (split) record on Findmypast (see here and here) which indicates that he was sent on a training course, prior to leaving in early February 1919. The relevant part of the document transcribes as:

B A T T A L I O N O R D E R S

by

Lieut-Colonel A.G. Bruce, D.S.O

Commanding 7th Officer Cadet Battalion, Moore Park, Kilworth

D. 10. PART 2. TUESDAY, 4TH FEBRUARY, 1919.

(Last Part 2 Orders issued 3-2-19.)

DISPERSAL OF CADETS WHO HAVE COMPLETED COURSE.

The undermentioned Cadets of "A" Company having completed

a satisfactory Course of Instruction, proceeded 4-2-19 in

accordance with Army Order 1, dated 1st January, 1919, to

Dispersal Centres as under:-

All Cadets except Cadet Parson G.W. "B" Company handed

Greatcoat into Stores before proceeding.

.......

265930 Cadet Buckley W.H. K. Liverpool Regt. Area 3.

Home Address :- 2 Post Office Avenue, Southport,

Lancashire

The war diary for the 1/7th Bn. is available for download from the National Archives in two parts, at a cost of £3.30 each.

Regards

Chris

Chris, thank you very much for this information. Do you know what this course was for? The Battalion Orders show he was an Officer Cadet at the time; would his successful passing of this course mean he became an officer as a result? His wedding photo dated circa 1921 shows him dressed in an officer's service dress uniform. As the little information we had was that he served as a Pte and then NCO in 1/7 KLR, the photo has always been a bit of an anomaly but it now seems to make sense if he went on, and passed, an Officer training course.

Regards

Nick

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Thank you to all those that have replied. I will follow up the links as suggested. I would be grateful if anyone had any information about which Company of 1/7 KLR he served in as this would no doubt help me trace in more detail the battles in which he took part.

Thank you again,

Nick

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Nick,

I doubt whether anyone will be able to find out which company he was in but I can't see how this would help you anyway. John has already directed you to the 'Long Long Trail' website and you will be able to find details of the 1/7th KLR there and also find the actions they took part in. War Diaries vary in quality and depth of information but that should provide you with a fair bit of detail and, since he was latterly an NCO, there is a chance (a VERY slim one) that he may be mentioned by name.

Good luck.

Ian

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Hi Nick,

If he served post war, you should be able to get a copy of his service record from the MoD - see here. Do any of the dates of birth in the image below ring a bell?

post-113776-0-21135200-1450885561_thumb.

If he received a commission it should have been published in the London Gazette. The website isn't the easiest to search though.

Are there any clues in the wedding photo - cap/lapel badges, etc?

Regards

Chris

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Chris,

With reference to the table you kindly sent none of the DOB seem to match (his DOB was either 28 Sep 1886 or or 28 Sep 1887 in Liverpool (his family hailed from Southport). He died in 1972 in Wantage, Berks.

I've found another b/w photo of him, this time showing him in officer's service dress (with Sam Browne belt) with one 'pip' on each shoulder and the King's Liverpool Regiment badge on his cap and lapels. He appears to have only one medal ribbon on his uniform (too difficult to guess the colours or see the 'bars' on it due to the light). His appearance as a 2nd Lt would fit in with him having been an officer cadet following the course he finished in Feb 1919. I will try now to find him in the London Gazette.

Regards

Nick

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Possibly this man:

War Office,
26th March, 1919.
REGULAR FORCES.
INFANTRY.
Service Battalions.
The undermentioned Cadets to be temp. 2nd Lts. under the provisions of the Royal Warrant, dated 30th December 1918, promulgated in Army Order. 42 of 1919: —

{snip}

L'pool R.
3 Mar. 1919.
Harry Thompson.
Frederick Tranton.
Launce John Stanley-Smith.
4 Mar. 1919;
Stafford Leslie Huxley.
Albert Christopher Hodgson.
George Harold Gibson.
David Redvers Banner.
5 Mar. 1919..
George Joseph Dobbin.
William Henry Buckley.
Arthur James Owen.
Francis Seales Pettitt.
Ben Harold Russell.-
Peter Hutchinson.
George Wylde Browne

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31253/supplement/3983

If the list of Cadets contains any of the names above then that may confirm that this is him.

Steve.

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And this is W H Buckley and a lot of the others above relinquishing their commissions as from 1 September 1921:

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32605/supplement/1177

This was the point when the army had to remove many officers from the Army Lists to revert back to the size of army needed for Peacetime soldiering.

Steve.

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Steve,

Very many thanks for that - I now have copies of the London Gazette showing him being commissioned and relinquishing his commission. As he was an officer post war (1919 - 1921) do you think his officer's file would still exist if I apply to the MOD? If so, do you think the file would have detail of his non-commissioned service in it?

Cheers and happy New Year.

Nick

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There is an index to the WO339 officers papers in WO338. Below is an extract from the WO338-03 part available on the National Archives website as a free but large (88mb) download. This is from the section for the surname Buckley:

post-6536-0-41790100-1451559814_thumb.jp

The numbers on the right are the old "Long number" references before the files were renumbered into WO 339 type references. There is obviously one William Henry Buckley there, but there are no other identifying references. The numbers at left refer to the number of Regimental preference/age, e.g. 32 = 32nd of Foot = Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, 3/33 = 3rd Battalion of 33rd of Foot = Duke of Wellington's Regiment. A P/ number denotes that the file is still held by the MOD. I can't find a corresponding file for this William Henry Buckley in the WO 339 series. That may just mean he served later and the P/ number isn't shown, but it may be that the file was "weeded" to oblivion in the 1930s as some were.

Steve.

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I think there is there a possibility that the 1890 birthdate man may be "yours". On the list of files held by the MOD the days match, i.e. "09-28" (28th September) but not the year.

I note that he has a P/ number 319917 in clk's excel list.

Interestingly, this man served in the latter part of WW2 in the Cadet Force - in Berkshire.

London Gazette 2-1-1945

SPECIAL LIST.
(For service with the Army Cadet Force.)
The undermentioned are granted commns. in therank of 2nd Lt.: —
Berkshire Comm.
25th July 1944: —
William Henry BUCKLEY (319917).
London Gazette 15-3-1949
SPECIAL LIST.
(For service with the Army Cadet Force.)
War Subs. Lt. W. H. BUCKLEY (319917) relinquishes his commn., 14th Feb. 1949.
Steve.
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Steve - that's a really impressive piece of digging, and perhaps too much of a co-incidence for it not to be the same man. It would certainly give me an itch I'd have to scratch, and take the chance of getting a copy of his service record.

Regards

Chris

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Steve and Chris,

Many thanks indeed for these pieces of information. I don't think that that the WH Buckley mentioned in the extract from WO338-03 is 'mine' as the number does not match. However, looking at the London Gazette from 2 Jan 1945, I believe the 2Lt WH Buckley commissioned for service with the ACF in Berkshire is my grandfather. Post WW1 he moved south from Liverpool and established himself in Wantage, Berkshire (where he died in 1972) so the Berkshire link is very logical. Noting that the LG shows him commissioned in 1944 with the number 319917, it would seem that he is the same person mentioned in Chris' Excel table (above) Line 12. (I can't account for family records showing him born 28 Sep 1886 or 1887 but the 1890 birth date together 09-28 (28th September) seem to match). .

That leads me to ask what the table refers to? Would his officer's file be held at Kew or, as he was initially commissioned on 5 Mar 1919 (after 5 year's service in the ranks) would I need to apply to the MOD?

Many thanks

Nick


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Hi Nick,

If you scroll down on this page to "Service personnel indexed data for those with a birth date prior to 1901" you'll see the response by the MoD to a Freedom of Information Act request a forum member made in 2014. Underneath their reply there are a number of downloadable attachments - from which I extracted the table I posted.

When a man continued in service after the end of the war, the MoD retained and updated his service records accordingly, so your grandfathers should be amongst the ones they still hold. Whilst inevitably weeded, my guess would be that it would still contain his basic WW1 enlistment and service statement, as well as records relating to his subsequent service.

In this topic it was suggested that the MoD didn't require a copy of the death certificate. Might be worth checking.

Regards

Chris

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While I believe the man shown in WO 338-03 is likely to be your grandfather, it is probably irrelevant as that number (230449) is a dead end to actually locating records. When you do get his records from the MOD you may well see that number on his file somewhere before being replaced with his P/ number, P/319917.

Both of these numbers are "Officers file numbers". While an officer was never referred to by this number his file had a number to allow the clerks to update the correct file. The officer may never have even known his own file number unlike an "Other rank" who would have it memorised.

Steve.

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