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Where can i find the medical records for the Somme


PhantomMajor
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My Great Grandfather Sergeant 5782 William Henry Willmott of the 8th Battalion Border Regiment, which i believe was part of the 25th division 4th army was seriously wounded at the battle of the Somme although there is no mention of it on his medal index card (not sure if there would be anyway). He was 40 years old and lived in Islington, London and signed up very early on during the war.

 

According to the family history he was brought back to the UK and possibly spent time in a hospital that might have been in South Wales, is there any way of finding more information, i have contacted the Border Regiment museum and they have been quite helpful but their records are incomplete, they have suggested he was wounded on the 2nd and 5th of July or between 10th and 17th of July and there might have been a mention of it in The Times newspaper on the 10th of August but i asked my local library if they had access to back copies of that newspaper and they said they didn't, so i am not sure where to start looking for further information.

 

The picture below is of him and his family and he is wearing his "Kitchener Army post office blue uniform". The hole in the middle of the picture, it opens up to be somewhat bigger is from the bullet that hit him in the chest and went through his wallet and came out under his armpit. apparently the wallet deflected the bullet away from his heart, someone else in the family has the wallet from what i have been told.

 

 

Willmott Family World War 1.jpg

Edited by PhantomMajor
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I assume you've looked on Ancestry to see if his service record has survived? Many records were destroyed in a WW2 bombing raid.

 

Bernard

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9 hours ago, Bernard_Lewis said:

I assume you've looked on Ancestry to see if his service record has survived? Many records were destroyed in a WW2 bombing raid.

 

Bernard

 

according to the borders regiment museum the records were burnt during world war two and every time i visit these ancestry sites they seem to give me a load of information which has nothing to do with who i am looking for.

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Well, some of the records were burnt during WWII. Having said that I've checked ancestry & FMP and can find no record for William Henry Willmott under either of his numbers; 5782 Border Regt. or 244351 Labour Corps.

 

The Border Regt. museum are correct in suggesting The Times of 10/8/1916 as he is listed in there along with a few hundred men of the Border Regiment. There are no more details in The Times, just name rank & number.

 

As a general rule 3-4 weeks from being wounded to appearing in The Times is the normal delay but what with the larger lists of wounded and the confusion of many missing and then showing up in early July 1916 either of your two time slots are still viable. I'd lean slightly towards the 2nd and 5th of July and not after 10th July. (NB see below)

 

Information form his medal rolls and MIC show he arrived in France with the 8th Border Regiment on 26/9/1915. There is always the possiblity that he was posted to another Border Regiment battalion before July 1916.

 

For some reason his BWM & Victory roll says 'Missing' under his name, perhaps it relates to the man below?

 

Your best bet is to get the diary for the 8th Border Regiment which covers Sept 1915 to June 1918, this costs £3.50 and is available for download at The National Archives.

 

You should also be able to read them for free on ancestry in your library.

 

It's quite a big file but you really only need the read the Sept 15 to Aug 16 period (67 pages) and hope to spot his name, as a Sgt. he may get a mention or be named on a typed up list. Very unlikley he'd be mentioned as wounded in July 1916 as there were just too many names.

 

I had a quick look at the diary on ancestry and they had 430 casualties reported by the 3rd July during the operations 2nd-3rd July they were then out of the front line until the 7th when they took over USNA redoubt and then on the 10th two companies took over the front line trenches. There are no more casualty totals given for July 1916 so if there are approx 430 names in The Times of 10/8/16 then it seems probable that a tighter time frame is 2nd-3rd July for his injury.

 

As for medical records, I'm afraid they probably don't exist anymore. If you knew which hospital there would be a very slim chance of finding something more but without the hospital name you have no chance.

TEW

 

 

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While I have no information to assist determining which of the two of the actions the Border Regiment museum has suggested, I have researched the earlier action. The 8th Battalion Borders made an attack on the Liepzig Redoubt, south of Thiepval on the Somme on the morning of July 3rd, 1916, together with the 11th  Cheshires and the 2nd South Lancs of the 75th Brigade, 25th Division  My great-uncle disappeared in the attack and his body was never found. 

If you would like some of my search material, including a summary and location of the attack and copies of the original War Diary pages, please PM me with your email address.

Best Wishes in your search, Peter  

Edited by Peter Shand
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If he was in a south Wales hospital it is a long shot (but not impossible) that his name might appear in an autograph book kept by a nurse. 

 

I've seen several of these. They often have the chap's signature, service number and maybe a comment or ditty for the nurse. Nothing on his medical condition, of course. Often deposited in local archive offices...

 

Bernard

Edited by Bernard_Lewis
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22 hours ago, Bernard_Lewis said:

If he was in a south Wales hospital it is a long shot (but not impossible) that his name might appear in an autograph book kept by a nurse. 

 

I've seen several of these. They often have the chap's signature, service number and maybe a comment or ditty for the nurse. Nothing on his medical condition, of course. Often deposited in local archive offices...

 

Bernard

Dear Bernard,

 

many thanks for that suggestion, how would i go about looking for those as i have no idea where to even start!

 

all help and suggestions are most welcome.

 

 

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As I said, they are often in local archive offices. My local one has at least one, possibly two. When next there (might be weeks away) I plan to dig them out. I'll have a look then for your man but it is a loooong shot!

 

Please PM me a brief note re your man's name, number,  unit etc so don't have to refind this post weeks from now.

 

Bernard

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Many thanks for your personal reply I will read it this weekend along with what TEW has suggested when I  can get some peace and quiet to study my great grand father's information.

 

I looked at the notes that I have and it was suggested he was treated for his injuries at a sanitorium in South west Wales. I know it's not much to go on but it's all I have. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just a thought a large draft of men were sent to the Border Regiment from the Herefordshire Regiment. I believe that several were casualties but that was a later action at Redan Ridge.

Tony P

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