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Remembered Today:


Phil Wood

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Private 62985 Albert Edward Thomas, 1st Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)

 

According to his gratuity (£3) Thomas served for less than a year before being killed in action on 30 Nov 1917.

Looking at his medal roll entry and index cards it seems that during this short period he served overseas with the King's, then the 81st Coy, Labour Corps (No 48410) and then back to the King's. with whom he was serving when he died (according to the CWGC, his Soldiers' Effects Register entry, Soldiers Who Died).

 

I am at a loss to explain how this fits - this is the first time I have come across a man who returned to a front line unit after being transferred to the Labour Corps. I can only guess that he had a condition that left him unfit for the line, and then recovered; or the definition of what 'fit for the line' meant was changed.  It also seem odd that he fitted this, and his training into less than a year.

 

One explanation comes from another GWF thread:

 

This shows that the 81st Coy, Labour Corps was orginally a King's labour company. So his enlistment may have been into this labour company. The envisaged scenario here being that he was not fit for combat initially (he managed a shop), but after a few months in uniform he was fitter through the delights of drill and labouring work and was sent to fight. However, the transfer of the company to the Labour Corps presumably took place in early 1917 - when Thomas cannot have been serving for more than a few months. Would he have been in France by then in order to qualify for the BWM/VM? Did labour company men go to France sooner than infantry? I guess they didn't need as much training. Did the 16th Inf Lab Coy, Kings serve in France?

 

Or am I misinterpreting the MIC? From the Long Long Trail: The Corps always suffered from its treatment as something of a second class organisation: for example, the men who died are commemorated under their original regiment, with Labour Corps being secondary. 

 

Is the second entry for the King's on his MIC a red herring?  Did he die while serving with the Labour Corps?

 

The King's were in action on the day he died suffering heavy casualties. 

 

I have not (yet) been able to find a diary for the 81st Coy, Labour Corps. 

 

 

 

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This is difficult without a service record (at least on Ancestry) and I don't have an answer to your basic question. With SDGW, Soldiers' Effects and CWGC saying he was in the 1st Battalion of the King's, it looks pretty clear. But his medal roll, although stating the same, shows him in a batch of KLR Labour Co. numbers and Ancestry's listing shows something else:

 

Name:Albert E Thomas

Military Year:1914-1920

Rank:Private

Medal Awarded:British War Medal and Victory Medal

Regiment or Corps:The King's (Liverpool) Regiment

Regimental Number:62985

Previous Units:62985 1st. Lab. C. KLR. Pte, 48410 81st. Coy. Lab. C.

 

His body wasn't recovered so there are no grave registration documents to help out.

 

Looking for near numbers I came up with the service record of 63000 KLR & 47130 LC Edward Crowley which has him joining KLR 3rd Bn on 12th July 1916, 23rd (Works) Bn 12th March 1917, the "Inf.Lab.Co." on 20th March 1917, BEF 28th March 1917, 91st Co. on 14th May 1917, 300th Co. WCLC (Western Command Labour Corps) and 331st Protection Company in the Royal Defence Corps (1918-9).

 

Not much help to you, but searching other near numbers may come up with a man returning to a fighting unit...

Good luck!

Mike

 

 

 

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Well spotted, I hadn't noticed that.  Could lead to confusion with 1st Bn - but where do Ancestry get it from?

 

Looking at the medal roll his entry is in a batch of KLR labour company men -  three pages of them. While Ancestry have failed to index the entry properly there is something to suggest they may have got it right by mistake.

 

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15 hours ago, Langdon said:

Looking for near numbers I came up with the service record of 63000 KLR & 47130 LC Edward Crowley which has him joining KLR 3rd Bn on 12th July 1916, 23rd (Works) Bn 12th March 1917, the "Inf.Lab.Co." on 20th March 1917, BEF 28th March 1917, 91st Co. on 14th May 1917, 300th Co. WCLC (Western Command Labour Corps) and 331st Protection Company in the Royal Defence Corps (1918-9).

 

 

I don't think that the numbers are that helpful in this instance - Thomas had less that a year of service when he died in Nov 17, so must have enlisted more than 4 months after Crwoley, whose number is higher.

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20 minutes ago, Phil Wood said:

 

I don't think that the numbers are that helpful in this instance - Thomas had less that a year of service when he died in Nov 17, so must have enlisted more than 4 months after Crwoley, whose number is higher.

I haven't fully looked at the numbering etc but it should always be borne in mind that there are cases where the war gratuity is reduced due to forfeit of service - it's not common but it can happen.


I'll take a look though and see if I can come up with anything.

Craig

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With a minimum gratuity then (assuming nothing was forfeited) the earliest he could have started his qualifying service was 01 Dec 1916.

 

A record survives for #62986 (Private Tobin). He had enlisted 1/12/15, been called up 7/2/17 and landed in France 3/3/17. On call-up he was allocated to the KLR labour company. Transferred to 72nd(??) Labour Company, Labour Corps in May 17 and renumbered as #43026.

 

Craig

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27 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

With a minimum gratuity then (assuming nothing was forfeited) the earliest he could have started his qualifying service was 01 Dec 1916.

 

A record survives for #62986 (Private Tobin). He had enlisted 1/12/15, been called up 7/2/17 and landed in France 3/3/17. On call-up he was allocated to the KLR labour company. Transferred to 72nd(??) Labour Company, Labour Corps in May 17 and renumbered as #43026.

 

Craig

Thanks Craig. 

 

Tobin's record certainly matches Thomas' gratuity, but Crowley's 63000 enlistment in July makes me suspicious. But I am assuming that numbers were allocated on mobilisation and not on attestment?

 

What I really want to know (and probably never will) is whether Thomas was serving in the Labour Corps when he died? Are the various records that list him as 1st Bn really in error? 

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I couldn't see a record for Crowley  on FMP so can't comment specifically on that one.

#63029 was allocated 8 Feb 1917
#63030 was allocated 7 Feb 1917
 

I am confident though though that a date of July 16 is incorrect for the allocation of the numbers in question - the numbers were allocated only when the men were called up and allocated to the battalion, not before.

 

I can't see any reason why Tobin would have been moved back to the battalion after having been moved out of it - I suspect the reference is an error by the records office somewhere along the way. He may have been serving as Labour Corps alongside the KLR when he was killed but I don't think he was part of the KLR at the time.

Does the war diary add any assistance ?

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252
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The Ist KLR diary entry for the day is a long one, needless to say no ORs named and no casualty figures for ORs. The entry for 1 Dec states that the figures were reported the previous month - if so it was on an appendix that has been weeded out. That said it seems that at least one company was all but wiped out as the Germans recaptured ground taken on the opening day of the Battle of Cambrai.  So lots of casualties but nothing to say Albert Thomas was among them.

 

CWGC records 43 members of the 1st Bn who died that day - all but one commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.  As Thomas is not the exception I guess that strengthens the case that he died a member of the battalion.

 

11 members of the Labour Corps died, 8 of them are on the Cambrai Memorial - but none are from the 81st Coy, a unit that doesn't seem to have lost a single man in the war. 

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59 minutes ago, Phil Wood said:

The Ist KLR diary entry for the day is a long one, needless to say no ORs named and no casualty figures for ORs. The entry for 1 Dec states that the figures were reported the previous month - if so it was on an appendix that has been weeded out. That said it seems that at least one company was all but wiped out as the Germans recaptured ground taken on the opening day of the Battle of Cambrai.  So lots of casualties but nothing to say Albert Thomas was among them.

 

CWGC records 43 members of the 1st Bn who died that day - all but one commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.  As Thomas is not the exception I guess that strengthens the case that he died a member of the battalion.

 

11 members of the Labour Corps died, 8 of them are on the Cambrai Memorial - but none are from the 81st Coy, a unit that doesn't seem to have lost a single man in the war. 

Not much help.

Have you tried the casualty lists for 1917 - the genealogist has transcribed them ( I think you can get a 14 day trial)  - https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/master/?master_event=Military&person_event=Casualty+List%3A+Killed&type=person&source=&search_type=person&fn=albert+edward&phonetic_mode_fn=1&sn=thomas&phonetic_mode_sn=1&kw=&yr=1917&range=0

 

Craig

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Albert appears in TheGenealogist casualty lists on 7th January, 1918, as killed, serving with the King's Liverpool Regiment, with service number 62985.

https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/master/?type=person&source=&search_type=person&master_event=Military&person_event=&fn=A+E&phonetic_mode_fn=1&sn=Thomas&phonetic_mode_sn=1&kw=62985&yr=&range=10&search=Search#

Mark

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Thanks for the idea Craig and the answer Mark.

 

I shall go with him dying while serving with the 1st Bn, KLR, if nothing else it's easier to write up than an unknown death in an unknown Labour Corps unit. However, I remain confuddled regarding the Labour Corps service. I wonder how many men went from Labour Corps to a front line battalion?

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