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

Remembered Today:

Oxford & Bucks (OBLI) survivor of Kut?


pf23942
 Share

Recommended Posts

 

I am trying to trace any military records concerning my wife's grandfather.  His name was Robert HARVEY, born 13 June 1891 in Coventry.  His parents were Henry and Maria HARVEY.  He wasn't married during WW1.

The story passed down in the family was that he served in the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry (OBLI) and was a survivor of the siege at Kut end-1915/early-1916.  It seems strange that he joined the OBLI rather than the local Royal Warwicks regiment???

From my researches it would appear he had to be in the 1st batallion to have served in Mesopotamia.  Unfortuantely 'Robert Harvey' is a common name and so far I have found 4 possibles in the OBLI.  Their service numbers are - 202446, 28074, 2741, 21372

 

It would be much appreciated if anyone can help identify our Robert Harvey and shed any light on his service record.  There is no mention in the family of his being a prisoner of war, which makes me wonder if he joined the 'reconstituted' 1st batallion after Kut mid-1916??? 

After the war he returned to Coventry, eventually passing away in 1945, at the early age of 53.

 

As mentioned any information or guidance would be much appreciated.

 

Mike D

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin
3 minutes ago, pf23942 said:

 

I am trying to trace any military records concerning my wife's grandfather.  His name was Robert HARVEY, born 13 June 1891 in Coventry.  His parents were Henry and Maria HARVEY.  He wasn't married during WW1.

The story passed down in the family was that he served in the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry (OBLI) and was a survivor of the siege at Kut end-1915/early-1916.  It seems strange that he joined the OBLI rather than the local Royal Warwicks regiment???

From my researches it would appear he had to be in the 1st batallion to have served in Mesopotamia.  Unfortuantely 'Robert Harvey' is a common name and so far I have found 4 possibles in the OBLI.  Their service numbers are - 202446, 28074, 2741, 21372

 

It would be much appreciated if anyone can help identify our Robert Harvey and shed any light on his service record.  There is no mention in the family of his being a prisoner of war, which makes me wonder if he joined the 'reconstituted' 1st batallion after Kut mid-1916??? 

After the war he returned to Coventry, eventually passing away in 1945, at the early age of 53.

 

As mentioned any information or guidance would be much appreciated.

 

Mike D

 

 

Kut would make him 1st Bn.

 

It appears #21372 served with 1st Bn, based on the medal roll - I can't find a medal roll for 2741 & #202446 was Reginald.

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28074 was 7 Battalion OBLI but first served overseas with 8 Royal Scots Fusiliers.

21372 as Craig says, 1 Bn, but later served with 2 Garrison Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers in India.

As 21372 didn't serve in a war zone in 1915 and the Battalion had heavy losses at Ctesiphon at the end of Nov 1915 the question is could he have been in the reinforcement draft to reach them in time to surrender at Kut on 29 April 1916 ? Or was he in the draft pipeline which was intended for 1 Bn.in Jan 1916, but put into a Lines of Communication force until becoming 1 Battalion in July 1916. This Battalion later went on to fight in Russia into 1919, but somewhere along the way he transferred to the NF.

War Diaires may have some answers, but then might not due to the problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If he was Robert Harvey of "Whitmoor", Binley Road, Coventry he enlisted about 20 November 1915, see list of recruits published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph of Monday 22 November 1915.

Harvey, Robert, Coventry Evening Telegraph, Mon. 22.11.1915.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He was not present in his parents' household in the 1911 census but Henry and Maria Harvey (transcribed as Harve on ancestry) were living at "Whitmore", Binley Road, Coventry.

Looking at the medal roll for 48777 Robert Harvey, 2nd Garrison Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers, previously 21372 1st Bn. Ox. & Bucks. L.I., he was discharged under King's Regs. 392 (xviii) - "at his own request after 18 years service", so apparently not someone who enlisted in 1915.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No one of that name in the list of survivors of captivity in the Bn. history, although it's known not to be complete or wholly accurate, having been compiled from lists maintained by the warrant officers in captivity.

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Thanks very much for all of the replies, particularly Harry Brook.  Robert and family did live at Whitmoor on Binley Road Coventry.  So he enlisted around 20 Nov 1915.  Spooky to think it's almost exactly 101 years ago!

 

Do you think it would be possible for him to enlist in late November and then go thru basic training, and the be shipped out to Mesopotamia in time to be in the siege at Kut??  It sounds doubtful to me??

 

Is there any way I can track him more precisely based upon his enlistment date?   I recall reading somewhere that service numbers give a clue as to when soldiers enlisted.

 

Many thanks again for your help, much appreciated....

 

Mike D

Edited by pf23942
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin
3 minutes ago, pf23942 said:

 

Thanks very much for all of the replies, particularly Harry Brook.  Robert and family did live at Whitmoor on Binley Road Coventry.  So he enlisted around 20 Nov 1915.  Spooky to think it's almost exactly 101 years ago!

 

Do you think it would be possible for him to enlist in late November and then go thru basic training, and the be shipped out to Mesopotamia in time to be in the siege at Kut??  It sounds doubtful to me??

 

Is there any way I can track him more precisely based upon his enlistment date?   I recall reading somewhere that service numbers give a clue as to when soldiers enlisted.

 

Many thanks again for your help, much appreciated....

 

Mike D

Training would not normally be less than 3 months.


Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

I'd say he attested most likely on 15 Nov 16 - these men seemed to have then reported to the depot on or about 22 Nov 15.

A quick look through some records shows:

#21369 was attested 15 Nov 1915
#21373 was attested 15 Nov 1915
#21374 was attested 16 Nov 1915
#21376 was attested 20 Nov 1915

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not heard of  drafts for Regiments in Mesopotamia sent directly from England. My understanding is that drafts to Mesopotamia were sent from British Army troops in India.

 

Cheers

Maureen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Thanks to Craig and Maureen for your comments.  I thought the 1st batallion was reformed after the losses at Kut mid-1916??

 

Craig, looking at the number sequence above one of the Harvey's I found, #21372, fits neatly in the gap. However Harry Brook says he was discharged after 18 years service in the Northumberland Fusiliers.  I think there are some photos around of him in the army during WW1, I'll have to try and locate them to see what they show.  I notice on the medal card for #21372/#48777, it says dis(charged) - would this mean he left the army at the end of WW1???

 

Robert married in 1925, in Coventry, and the wedding photos show him in civvies so this doesn't seem to tie-in with him being in the army from 1915 to 1933'ish. 

 

Thanks again for your help.

 

 

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin
Quote

I notice on the medal card for #21372/#48777, it says dis(charged) - would this mean he left the army at the end of WW1???

Yes.

 

#21372 was certainly issued in Nov 1915.

If he was discharged 1918/19 but only born in 1891 then he couldn't have had 18 years service for discharge. On the information so far I think the discharge reason is erroneous.

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

From the surviving service records:-

 

Pte 21378 Dumbledon Attested 19. 11. 1915.
Posted to 9th (Reserve) Bn 1/12/1915
Home service to 22/5/1916 
Posted to the Indian Expeditionary Force and the 1st Bn 23/5/1916


The service record of 21375 Mitchell has more detail and shows the draft:-
Embarked Devonport 24/5/1916
Disembarked Karachi 14/6/1916
Embarked Karachi 19/6/1916
Disembarked Basra 24/6/1916
The ship for the last leg is named looks like "H.T. Barfeeta"(?)

The next entry is January 1917 which says 'With unit in  field Census'

 

The Basra disembarkation dates coincide with the reformation of the 1st Bn in Mesopatamia.

We don't know for certain your man was in the same draft but it seems likely.  He certainly wasn't at the Siege of Kut which ended on 29 April 1916.

 

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Thanks again for all of your messages.

 

I've just had a look at the medal roll myself for the Northumberland Fusiliers, Robert Harvey - 48777 (ex OBLI #21372) and the remarks say Dis 392 (xxviii).  This appears to me that he was demobbed, and by 5th July 1920 (being the date on the award roll).  So in my mind this puts him as being favourite for our Robert Harvey.

 

So to recap, it seems likely that Robert enlisted around 20th Nov 1915 (#21372), received basic training approx 3 months, and was probably sent out to Karachi/Basra mid-1916 to join the reformed 1st batallion OBLI.

 

Does anyone have any clues when he transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers (#48777) and why??

 

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

L/Sgt 48778 William Winchester (previously 17527 OBLI) suffered dysentery while serving with the OBLI and was hospitalised and evacuated to India 31/7/16.  He returned to Basra on 31/10/1916 but was hospitalised again and designated 'permanent base' in February.  On the 1st April 1917 he was posted to the 2nd Garrison Bn Northumberland Fusiliers. He remained in Mesopotamia on various duties until 1919 when sent back to the UK for demob.  

 

I'd suggest your man followed a similar path following sickness or injury, obviously the dates wouldn't necessarily match, until joining the Northumberland Fusiliers on or around the same date.  Dysentery and other tropical diseases were endemic in theatre.

 

My understanding of 392 (xxviii) which, as noted in this thread post 15 was not in the 1914 Regs, was 'discharged on demobilisation".

 

Ken

Edited by kenf48
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...