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William Arthur Johnson - any clues from uniform please


keithmroberts
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I am trying to find the war service of the above named. He was born in 1869 give or take a year, but the family legend is that he persuaded the recruiting officer to accept him at the same time as his son George William Johnson.

In the photograph the younger man with an ASC cap badge is the son George William Johnson T15396 ASC later Pte 64089 11th Battalion Welsh Regiment. The latter went to Salonika as part of 22 Division in late 1915. It seems that the son went out to Egypt initially in March 1915. Somewhere along the way he was transferred from 3 Company 29th Reserve Park to the 11th Battalion Welsh Regiment.

The photograph shows father and son together, and the family believe that they met up in Salonika.

My problem is the father - no cap badge, just a corporal's stripes. Can anyone make deductions about his regiment from the uniform please?

Keith

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Sorry William Arthur was born in London, and in 1911 was a van salesman living with his family in Middlesborough.

I suppose that might have led to the ASC, but would the uniform support that?

Keith

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Not a lot to go on ................ economy pattern SD [the pockets etc]. Headdress ....... soft. So "into the war but how far?"

Probably not a hot country [sD again]

Probably not mounted duty: no bandolier. So probably not RA, ASC, Cavalry etc, and not Transport section of infantry either.

I have run out of steam!

But does the scrawl say

SALONIQUE ?

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That's my reading of the scrawl, and the family recollection, at about 3 generations on, is that the two met in Salonika, It seems likely given that the younger one's MIC records Egypt in spring 1915, and 22 Div never returned from Salonika during the war. Medal roll attached.

Winters on the salonika front were pretty cold, so would the full service dress rule that out? I always do distrust family stories, but....

Keith

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The younger man's service in Salonika is supported by the only other bit of evidence the family admit to - a returned envelope - unfortunately the date seems to be impossible to spo as someone has at some time liberated the stamp, and with it the date..

Keith

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Just looked up the ASC unit - 29 Reserve Park was in Salonika until march 1920.

I still find Michael Young's book a challenge given that I use it about once a year.

Keith

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Keith,

You may have worked this out but, To me the missing stamp does not matter as a partial date stamp is immediately to the left of where it was, also on the very left of the envelope is the same date stamp which is also partially readable, combine the 2 and I read it as Middlesborough 9.45 am 27 Dec 18(?)

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

From the picture, the father is wearing an '03 pattern belt and his puttees are tied at the top, although his cap badge is missing I would suggest he was ASC Mechanical Transport and his history of being a van salesman would tend to support this. The son is definitely ASC from his cap badge, but wears breeches '03 bandolier and puttees tied at the bottom, therefore mounted and ASC Horse Transport.

Tomo

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Thanks Tomo

The record for the son, 29 Reserve Park fits with Horse Transport.

I'l try again for the father.

Keith

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  • 1 year later...

Hi gaffa,

That I can't answer. My copy of the Michael Young book on the ASC has gone on one of its peregrinations around the house and does not appear visible at present. This happens often with my books I'm afraid. However if it provided more detail I would probably have included it in my earlier post. The British Salonika Force was supplied pretty much entirely from the port of that name, (now Thessaloniki), and there were many base units and hospitals close to the city.  It is I think more than likely that the Reserve Park was close to the port, but to confirm that you need some other source. I don't think you will find a unit war diary at Kew, but there may be some higher level war diaries that can help. The official History states that there was only the one reserve park for horse transport in 1918, (in a note to the Order of Battle), so it would surely be within a few hours travel of the port. There are a couple of members here with some pretty deep knowledge of the Salonika campaign so you might be lucky, but the fallback is, somewhere near the city and port of Salonika.

 

Keith

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