Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

New Member - Help please re John Griffiths


Livtoots
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello,

My name is Sharon and I am new to this forum (and to researching WW1 and the people that served in the Great War). So can I apologise in advance for any silly questions or for asking obvious things.

Several weeks ago my Mother was given 2 medals that belonged to my Paternal Great Grandfather John Griffiths.

John was born in 1879 and verbal family history has always indicated that he served in WW1 where he survived exposure to gas. I was told that he was discharged from the army and died in 1931 aged 52 of Pulmonary TB.

My mum told me that both the medals had the number 73998 inscribed so I completed 2 searches one on the National Archives (TNA) and then on Ancestry (mum has a subscription).

And I was able to find a medal index card linked to the number on the medals. On TNA the card with the number was accompanied by another 5 medal cards for John Griffiths but these all had different regiment numbers, and in some cases different corps. I have only managed to upload one of these they exceed the kb allowed although I will endeavour to sort this if needed.

I have looked at lot of websites to try and identify what these cards are telling me, but still don’t understand, probably me here! I hoped to find out for example;

  • Why would John have changed corps/regiment No.
  • How can I find which battalion he served in
  • How to identify where he would have entered a “Theatre of War”
  • What does DISC mean on one of the cards – I’m thinking discharged.

Any advice, guidance or steer anyone could provide me with would be really appreciated, and I apologise again for asking what are probably simple questions.

Many thanks

Sharon

post-128400-0-15550200-1463509763_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin
And I was able to find a medal index card linked to the number on the medals. On TNA the card with the number was accompanied by another 5 medal cards for John Griffiths but these all had different regiment numbers, and in some cases different corps. I have only managed to upload one of these they exceed the kb allowed although I will endeavour to sort this if needed.

The other cards will not be for him - the national archives scanned several medal index cards to a page. When you buy a card, you buy the full page of records.

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

He was likely transferred from the Kings Liverpool Regiment to the Labour Corps due to illness or injury.

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow thank you, that is a start. I wondered if all those cards belonged to my G Grandfather. I have spent a fair bit of time on the Long Long Trail, but just can not work out how to develop my search into Battalions he served in or where he might of fought. :( I was also hoping to move onto war diaries.

I am reading the Paxman book and am horrified by the conditions and what these men/women went through.

Sharon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

#13998 with the Kings Liverpool suggests he enlisted at the end of Aug 14 or the first day or two of Sep 14 - #13996 was allocated on 31 Aug 14.

#73998 with the Kings Liverpool suggests he enlisted at the start of March 17.

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at Table 16 of "No Labour, No Battle - Military Labour in the First World War" by John Starling and Ivor Lee:

France: Companies formed from Labour Battalions and Infantry Labour Companies - May 1917

83 Company Labour Corps, service numbers 49201 - 49800, was created from 18th ILC King's.

John Griffiths' Labour Corps service no. was 49296, so my reading is that he served in 83 Company, Labour Corps, having previously served in 18th Bn. King's (Liverpool Regt.)?

P.S. Craig, His Liverpool Regt. No. was 73998

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Looking at Table 16 of "No Labour, No Battle - Military Labour in the First World War" by John Starling and Ivor Lee:

France: Companies formed from Labour Battalions and Infantry Labour Companies - May 1917

83 Company Labour Corps, service numbers 49201 - 49800, was created from 18th ILC King's.

John Griffiths' Labour Corps service no. was 49296, so my reading is that he served in 83 Company, Labour Corps, having previously served in 18th Bn. King's (Liverpool Regt.)?

P.S. Craig, His Liverpool Regt. No. was 73998

Thanks - I misread it (don't know why, especially when I had the MIC in front of me !). I'll edit my response to avoid any further confusion.

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"British Regiments 1914 - 18" by Brig. E. A. James, O.B.E., T.D. gives the movements of 18th (Service) Battalion (2nd City), The King's (Liverpool Regiment) as follows:

Raised in Liverpool by Lord Derby on 29.8.14. To Hooton Park Race Course then Knowsley Park. 30.4.15 to Belton Park, Grantham in 89th Bde. 30th Div. 27.8.15 taken over by the War Office. Sept. 15 to Larkhill. Nov. 15 landed at Boulogne. 25.12.15 to 21st Bde. 30th Div. 24.9.17 1/1st Lancashire Hussars (16 officers and 290 other ranks) joined the battalion: previously VIII Corps Cavalry Regt. Became 18th (Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry) Battalion.

It was very probably at the time of this re-organisation and re-naming of the Battalion that men, including John Griffiths, were transferred to the Labour Corps.

Edit: There is no mention of the transfer of men to the Labour Corps from 18th Bn. Liverpool Regt. in the war diary. Needs further investigation of which Battalion of the Liverpool Regt. he was in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big step forward, folks. Well done!

Bernard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thankyou so much for your help. amazing I could not have done this myself.

I now know G Grandad John;

  • probably enlisted about March 17 - quite late on
  • probably served in 83 Company, Labour Corps, having previously served in 18th Bn. King's (Liverpool Regt)
  • he was in the labour corps when they joined together. possibly after being injured?

would he have served abroad do you think please? how can I find this out?

thanks again

Sharon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Thankyou so much for your help. amazing I could not have done this myself.

I now know G Grandad John;

  • probably enlisted about March 17 - quite late on
  • probably served in 83 Company, Labour Corps, having previously served in 18th Bn. King's (Liverpool Regt)
  • he was in the labour corps when they joined together. possibly after being injured?

would he have served abroad do you think please? how can I find this out?

thanks again

Sharon

He would only have a medal entitlement (excepting a few odd cases) if he served overseas so you can take that he did so as a given.

Do you know when he was born ?

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He would only have a medal entitlement (excepting a few odd cases) if he served overseas so you can take that he did so as a given.

Do you know when he was born ?

Craig

Craig His date of birth is given as 1879 (as in post 1)

so he will have been about aged 38 in 1917 a little bit to old for front line service

regards Ray

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Craig His date of birth is given as 1879 (as in post 1)

so he will have been about aged 38 in 1917 a little bit to old for front line service

regards Ray

I think I need to go back to sleep Ray.

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He would only have a medal entitlement (excepting a few odd cases) if he served overseas so you can take that he did so as a given.

Do you know when he was born ?

Craig

Hi Craig,

yes 1879 is his correct year of birth. I was wondering id he was too old for FL service. I cant work out where the story that he was exposed to gas came from.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1879 is his correct year of birth. I was wondering id he was too old for FL service. I cant work out where the story that he was exposed to gas came from.

He did serve abroad! not before 1916 though, you have the 2 medals to prove it.

BillyH.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"British Regiments 1914 - 18" by Brig. E. A. James, O.B.E., T.D. gives the movements of 18th (Service) Battalion (2nd City), The King's (Liverpool Regiment) as follows:

Raised in Liverpool by Lord Derby on 29.8.14. To Hooton Park Race Course then Knowsley Park. 30.4.15 to Belton Park, Grantham in 89th Bde. 30th Div. 27.8.15 taken over by the War Office. Sept. 15 to Larkhill. Nov. 15 landed at Boulogne. 25.12.15 to 21st Bde. 30th Div. 24.9.17 1/1st Lancashire Hussars (16 officers and 290 other ranks) joined the battalion: previously VIII Corps Cavalry Regt. Became 18th (Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry) Battalion.

It was very probably at the time of this re-organisation and re-naming of the Battalion that men, including John Griffiths, were transferred to the Labour Corps.

Edit: There is no mention of the transfer of men to the Labour Corps from 18th Bn. Liverpool Regt. in the war diary. Needs further investigation of which Battalion of the Liverpool Regt. he was in.

I don't think he served in the 18th (Service) Battalion but the 18th Infantry Labour Company (ILC) of the King's Liverpool. The regiment had at least 27 ILC's numbered 1st to 27th. All were converted to Labour Corps companies numbered 66 to 92, each company having a block Labour Corps number for their men which was in it's entirety between 39001 and 55200. His number, 49296, being in the block for 83rd Coy,Labour Corps which was 49201-49800.

edited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Hi Craig,

yes 1879 is his correct year of birth. I was wondering id he was too old for FL service. I cant work out where the story that he was exposed to gas came from.

A man didn't have to be serving in the trenches to be exposed to gas. A man in the labour corps could often be close enough to the front to be exposed.

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A man didn't have to be serving in the trenches to be exposed to gas. A man in the labour corps could often be close enough to the front to be exposed.

Craig

Thanks Craig, I did think that might be the case. thank you so much all of you. This is bringing his story to life for us.

are there any books you recommend about WW1 and the lives of the men serving

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Thankyou so much for your help. amazing I could not have done this myself.

I now know G Grandad John;

  • probably enlisted about March 17 - quite late on
  • probably served in 83 Company, Labour Corps, having previously served in 18th Bn. King's (Liverpool Regt)
  • he was in the labour corps when they joined together. possibly after being injured?
would he have served abroad do you think please? how can I find this out?

thanks again

Sharon

You can only say with certainty he joined th KLR in March 1917, Hywyn (post 17) is correct he was posted to the 18th Infantry Labour Company not the 18th Battalion. These men tended to be older and in a lower medical category than front line troops. He either enlisted under the Derby Scheme in 1915 and was in the Army Reserve, or he was conscripted. He may have done his initial service elsewhere, on joining the ILC they were not expected to train as infantry soldiers and were posted overseas soon after joining the Regiment. He was probably in a draft that went overseas on the 17 March 1917 from Folkestone to Boulogne.

As noted above the Infantry Labour Companies became part of the Labour Corps when it was formed in May 1917, the men from 18 ILC were posted on 13th May. There is no evidence he was injured prior to joining the Labour Corps. The Companies were often employed within the range of German artillery fire,which might explain him being gassed.

The standard work on the Labour Corps is Ivor Lee's 'No Labour no battle'

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0750956666/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=569136327&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0752449753&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=6Q2FRJ7FP4CP2GNXB6NA

On that page there is a link to a memoir 'Dangerous Work' which was published more recently.

War diaries for the Labour Corps are few and far between, someone else may find the 83rd Company Diary for you but I can't see that it has survived.

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...