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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:


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I'm trying to find out about by Wife's Great Uncle - his name was Alfred James RAND.  He was born in Lambeth, London on 11th December 1891.  He was the 5th child of six children of James William Rand (1858-1906)and Annie Jane Rand [nee Thomas] (1860-1916).  On the 1911 Census, Alfred was living with his widowed mother and sister (May) in the home of a Mr George Dundas Price.  Annie was employed as a General Servant and Alfred worked as a Hotel Servant.

From that time onwards I have found out very little except that he was a Gunner (Regimental No. 861116) in the 217th Brigade, part of the 3rd Wessex Regiment of the Royal Field Artillery, and that his name is on the Karachi War Memorial 1914/1918.  He is recorded as follows:  "861116 Corporal A. J. Rand died on 12th November 1918." - though one record I came across states he may have died on 10th Nov.

I have no idea when Alfred joined up - IF it was just before the outbreak of war, I know that units of the 3rd Wessex were on Salisbury Plain at the beginning of August for their annual camp. They received orders to take precautionary measures.  On the 3rd August they broke camp and moved to take up defensive positions at the ports.  The Division was mobilised for full-time war service on the 5th August, and by the 10th were back on Salisbury Plain to prepare for service overseas.  The Wessex Division was ordered to India to replace British and Indian regular army units who were deployed to the Western Front.  They sailed from Southampton on the 19th October, via Malta and Suez, arriving in Bombay on the 9th November and remained in India for the rest of the conflict.

MY problem is that I don't know when he joined up?   whether he was with the Wessex in August 1914 ?   When did he go to India - did he leave England on 19th October ?  Once in India what was he doing there and when  ?  Did he die in action or was it an accident  ?  I have only one photograph of him sitting astride a horse in full uniform in a well manicured garden.

Is there anyone out there who might be able to fill in any of the gaps  ?

Many thanks


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Welcome to the Forum JerryD,


I can tell you that he died in Lahore from influenza (confirmed to be on November 12, 1918) and is buried in Lahore Cantonment South Cemetery.

He had an earlier number of 1602 but this may not have been with the 3rd Wessex Brigade, he may have transferred from one of the London Brigades.

This sort of number for the TF RFA Brigades would be handed out in late 1914 or early 1915, so he was a volunteer not a conscript. 

His six figure number is rather high, the highest being 861281, and you may be looking at a late 1916 transfer or even later.

For example, the man who was renumbered 861119, Cornelius Simpson, was initially 1855 in the 3/Wiltshire Battery and 2/6th Hampshire Battery (A/227). At some point he was renumbered 2694, but there is no obvious reason for this as he looks to have stayed in the same brigade. However, he did not arrive in India until June 11, 1916.

The renumbering to six figures happened at the end of 1916 and is usually derived from the previous number in sequence. This series looks a little more complicated and it will take me quite a while to work out what actually went on here. It is possibly something to do with the formation of Combined Wessex Brigades in early 1917.

The other thing to point out is he only qualified for the British War Medal which means he saw overseas service but not in a war zone.

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