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Leave from Macedonia


Nell
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Hello all. I'm trying to trace the movements of an officer serving with the York and Lancaster Regiment. It seems from information I have that he was in England on leave for approximately 2 weeks between late December 1916 and mid January 1917 but just before that date he was definitely serving in Macedonia and by March he was in Salonika. Given the distances involved, does anyone know whether officers were given home leave at this period? As a long serving career soldier his army record no longer exists so I have only these few records. It would be a big help to know whether it is feasible to suggest that he might have been in England for this short period.

Many thanks for anyone who can help.

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As a long serving career soldier I would have thought it would exist. Are you certain it doesn't?

Regarding leave from Macedonia/Salonika I know of a Private soldier of the Cameron Highlanders who was on home leave from Macedonia. He was on his way back, when he succumbed to flu, and is buried at Taranto.

Mike

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War diaries record the movements of officers, so that would be one place to check. Ancestry has them online now. Also, as Mike said, although his service records will not be on line, they may still be held at Kew.

Hazel C.

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I don't think that Salonika WDs are on Ancestry UK yet, they seem to cover only Gallipoli and Dardanelles up to 1916. Reference on the Discovery database is:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7360887

LIkely only on paper at Kew also.

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Nell,

I have studied two war diaries for units based in Macedonia. The 9th East Lancs arrive in Salonika with 22nd Division in November 1915 the first mention of leave in the war diary is on the 11th of December 1916 when 7 other ranks go on leave. At this time the only route home was by sea through the Mediterranean with the threat of U boat attacks to Marseille then by train through France and across the channel, few were lucky enough to go on leave.

In 1917 a new rail and road route was opened through Greece with a short sea voyage across the Adriatic to Italy and from there by train through Italy, France and across the channel. As a result much larger numbers began to go on leave.

The 801st MT Company ASC arrived in November 1916 their first man goes on leave 31st October 1917. As a generalisation leave seems to have began after 12 months in the field.

It took 2 to 3 weeks to get home for 2 weeks leave and 2 to 3 weeks to get back, so men could be away from their units for up to 7 weeks.

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Thank you all so much for these helpful replies! I've been through the regimental records and I understand from them, from Kew and from MOD that as the officer concerned served throughout WWII his service record is still not available to view by anyone (online or on paper) except next of kin and as far as I have been able to find, he didn't write any memoirs or diaries. So I'm left with speculating about whether or not it was possible that he could have been home over those dates.

Thanks Gardnerbill - I had thought the journey must have taken about that length of time which is why I wondered about it but it looks as though it may have been just about possible at least. This is a detail I hoped to confirm as part of my PhD research. I'm wondering whether you would be kind enough to let me reference the diary you are researching as proof that soldiers were going on leave at this date, from Salonika? If you would be prepared to do that, I could give you my university email and obviously would credit you and this site in my thesis.

Many thanks to all for your help.

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Nell

Found these notes I made on Leave references in the 9th East Lancs War Diary they only go up to the end of March 1917 as my Grandfather was transferred to the ASC in April 1917, there would almost certainly be more leave references later in the diary.

11/12/1916 7 O.R. proceed on leave to U.K.

04/01/1917 (Dec. 28) 5 O.R. proceed on leave to U.K.

16/01/1917 1. off. (Lieut. C.J. Sharp) & 6 O.R. return from 1st leave party. 3 O.R. reported detained in Preston (smallpox outbreak).

30/01/1917 Capt H.V. Leonard and 9 O.R. proceed on 14 days leave to U.K.

03/02/1917 6 O.R. return from 2nd leave 1 O.R. to HP in England.

24/02/1917 Col. C.P. Foley & 7 O.R. proceed on leave to U.K.

04/03/1917 4 O.R. returned from 3rd leave party. 1 absentee

18/03/1917 6 O.R. proceeded on 1 months furlough to U.K. under G.R.O. 717.

Note: Col C.P. Foley is Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Foley the battalion commander.

The Lancashire Regiments museum at Fulwood barracks has a typed copy of the 9th East Lancs war diary and I have photographs of most of the pages. If you send me a personal message with your email address I can send you copies of the pages with the leave references above.

It is probably worth posting a request on the Salonika and the Balkans sub forum, there may be some other forum members who can give you information about leave in other units.

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PART EDIT

Thank you all so much for these helpful replies! I've been through the regimental records and I understand from them, from Kew and from MOD that as the officer concerned served throughout WWII his service record is still not available to view by anyone (online or on paper) except next of kin and as far as I have been able to find, he didn't write any memoirs or diaries. So I'm left with speculating about whether or not it was possible that he could have been home over those dates.

Hi,

If the officer concerned died over 25 years ago his file will be open to any interested party - whether or not a relative.

Regards

Steve Y

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Thanks Steve, you are right about the 25 year rule of course but MoD told me even if they still had any records they would only contain very basic details of his service, which I already have. I am still trying though in case this is not correct.

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Just for completeness I did a bit more study of the 9th East Lancs war diary for Nell and found an entry which I believe is the first leave party of the battalion a year after it arrived in Salonika:

20/11/1916 Lieut. C.T. Sharp and 10 O.R. proceed on leave to UK.

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Mods, please can you move this to the 'Salonika and the Balkans' sub forum, there may be other forum members who have not seen it here and might be able to help.

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