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Medaler

Hitting a brick wall with a Gordon Highlander .......

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Medaler

Hi,

 

These Gordon Highlanders are a bit off my beaten track, and my usual ports of call have all turned up nothing.

The bloke in question is Cpl Elisha Holmes. Sometimes the service number is given as S/11053 (SDGW) and others SRA/11053 (CWGC).

There is no surviving service record that I can find, but I am trying to nail down his enlistment date and terms of service. From the medal roll it seems he was a member of 10th (Service) Bn, but didn't serve overseas until after 01/01/1916 (no 14-15 Star entitlement or date of entry on his MIC). That would point to him being a later reinforcement draft, rather than a "founder member". He was still around however to become a member of the 8th/10th Bn after their amalgamation.

The first problem I have is this "SRA" prefix on some of the paperwork. Whilst "S" indicates a wartime recruit, I have no real idea what "SRA" indicates, just a theory that it might signify a Special Reserve enlistment. I am also finding the service numbers beyond the prefix confusing as their TF units seem to have been using a very similar numbering sequence. The best I can guess from the surrounding numbers on the SWB roll is that he enlisted in September of 1914. Am I on the right track with that? If I am, then I am struggling to understand why he didn't go overseas until after 01/01/1916. It seems like a big delay. I couldn't find any info at all on their Special Reserve numbering sequence, so have no idea how 11053 would fit (or otherwise).

The good news from a research viewpoint ( but not so good for Cpl Holmes) is that he died of wounds on 15th August 1916. I was going to have a crack at working his enlistment date out from his gratuity, though I have never done that before. The problem here is that Ancestry is not showing me the register page for his entry. I have pointed that out to them, but it leaves me snookered for the moment.

His story seems to be one of those incredibly sad affairs. He was working in the mining industry in Chesterfield, and seemed to have a steady and stable existence with a wife and 4 children. It looks then that, when war war declared, he left all that behind him and traveled all the way up to Glasgow to enlist. Far from being one of these young impressionable under-age boys that we hear so much about, he was around 35 years old at the time. Having paid the ultimate price, the effect on his family must have been devastating. One thing is clear, his wife thought enough about him to pay for an inscription on his headstone, and somehow found the money to pay for it.

I would be grateful for any assistance.

Regards,

Mike

 

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IPT

Great thread title.

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Medaler
9 minutes ago, IPT said:

Great thread title.

 

I think there is little doubt that the wall would come off worst.

Mike

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Langdon
14 minutes ago, Medaler said:

The good news from a research viewpoint ( but not so good for Cpl Holmes) is that he died of wounds on 15th August 1916. I was going to have a crack at working his enlistment date out from his gratuity, though I have never done that before. The problem here is that Ancestry is not showing me the register page for his entry. I have pointed that out to them, but it leaves me snookered for the moment.

 

 

 

I've had trouble recently accessing the Register of Soldiers' Effects on Ancestry - anyone know why?

 

Mike

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AlasdairW

Fraid not, maybe updates? but I'm having the same issues ith  ancestry also with Fold3 website for the same records.

Edited by AlasdairW

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IPT

There is an article in the Belper News of 15th September 1916  which may be of interest.

 

Make what you will of this mangled version;

 

BOLSOVER HEROES. The inhabitants of Stanfree have been profoundly moved by the news of the death of Cpl E. Holmes. Gordon Highlanders, who died on August 15th of wounds received in action. Very popular ? Corpl Holmes formerly worked as' a coal ?er at the Colliery. He joined the Royal Field Artillery in January of (?) year but was subsequently transferred(?) to the Gordons, and had been in France six months at the time of his death. His wife last heard from him several weeks ago when he wrote to say that was sending home a watch which he wished her to have repaired. His widow and five children, the eldest of whom is seventeen, reside at 49. Clowne Road, Stanfree.

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Medaler
1 hour ago, IPT said:

There is an article in the Belper News of 15th September 1916  which may be of interest.

 

Make what you will of this mangled version;

 

BOLSOVER HEROES. The inhabitants of Stanfree have been profoundly moved by the news of the death of Cpl E. Holmes. Gordon Highlanders, who died on August 15th of wounds received in action. Very popular ? Corpl Holmes formerly worked as' a coal ?er at the Colliery. He joined the Royal Field Artillery in January of (?) year but was subsequently transferred(?) to the Gordons, and had been in France six months at the time of his death. His wife last heard from him several weeks ago when he wrote to say that was sending home a watch which he wished her to have repaired. His widow and five children, the eldest of whom is seventeen, reside at 49. Clowne Road, Stanfree.

 

Thanks very much indeed for that.

 

SDGW (my only source on the subject) states "Enlisted Glasgow", so the RFA connection is a completely new thing to me. I can't see any MIC that fits, so he probably never went overseas with the artillery. The plot thickens though, because I still reckon his Gordon's number is a fairly early vintage. It's left me wondering if "SRA" somehow relates to a wartime enlistment with the Royal Artillery - but I am clutching at straws with that one.

 

There could have been a 5th child - that's my fault for not checking freebmd for births after the 1911 Census - schoolboy error on my part.

 

"had been in France six months at the time of his death" puts his entry at February 1916 then. Time to see some action with the 10th before they were amalgamated with the 8th.

 

Their address on the 1911 Census confirms that they were then living on Shuttlewood Road at Stanfree, whilst the later records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives his widow's address as 101, Clowne Road, Stanfree. The 49, Clowne Road address is therefore new to me as well.

Oh, and I'm really glad to hear that the register of effects issue I had may be down to a bigger issue at Ancestry. I may well be able to get at his gratuity when it's fixed.

 

Regards to all,

Mike

 

Edited by Medaler

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wandererpaul

For some weird reason he’s listed as Elisha Holmes too?!

 

https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=QJd2&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&indiv=1&db=UKArmyRegistersEffects&gss=angs-d&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsln=Holmes&gsln_x=1&_F00061C3=Gordon Highlanders&_F00061C3_x=1&MSAV=1&uidh=ea7&pcat=39&fh=0&h=321580&recoff=4&ml_rpos=1

 

the records are messed up though. What has gone wrong with ancestry? You pay a fortune for it and you can’t access their records. Useless.

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KevinBattle

Just an aside, but there often is a change of house number between CWGC and other records, but the same street.

I just wonder if additional houses had been built in the interim, thus causing a renumbering, without the occupants physically moving from one house to another?

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Medaler
54 minutes ago, KevinBattle said:

Just an aside, but there often is a change of house number between CWGC and other records, but the same street.

I just wonder if additional houses had been built in the interim, thus causing a renumbering, without the occupants physically moving from one house to another?

 

It could be the reason, but I know that my own grandfather moved several times within the same street. I never did find out why. It's not as if they were trying to fool the rent man, they were all "pit houses", so the rent man would have been the same.

 

Mike

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Mark1959

As ex-IT and used to running very large databases the likely issue with ancestry is an indexing one. My guess is they are having to re-index the link between the data they use for searching and the pointers that go from there to the actual documents. If their whole system is corrupt then a full re-indexing would take ages and why the data would not available for this long.

However, I have no idea why a major international company do not "mirror" the data. In other words, have an image of the data / system on another server or servers. So if your live one goes down you automatically have another "system" you can switch over to. 

Perhaps we should bang this particular brick wall with a Gordon Highlander

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Medaler

Solved the 5 child issue - Thanks to Freebmd - Ethel Holmes, birth recorded in December 1/4 of 1913. Maiden surname of mother Havenhand.

 

I really must stop making stupid mistakes like that.

 

Mike

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Medaler

Update.........

 

Soldiers Effects is now behaving on Ancestry, showing a War Gratuity of £7 and 10s. I will now attempt the calculations with his date of death confirmed as  15/08/1916. This is going to be an education for me.

 

Regards,

Mike

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ss002d6252
55 minutes ago, Medaler said:

Update.........

 

Soldiers Effects is now behaving on Ancestry, showing a War Gratuity of £7 and 10s. I will now attempt the calculations with his date of death confirmed as  15/08/1916. This is going to be an education for me.

 

Regards,

Mike

£9 10s gross for a corporal gives 19 months service, indicative of service starting in the month from 16 Jan 1915 if he had continuous service (although something looks a little odd to me with the gratuity). Shown as S/11053 on the medal roll.

There are territorial enlistments from Sep 1914

#11057 was allocated  24 Sep 1914
#11056 was allocated  24 Sep 1914


But these seem to be a different numbering sequence - unless Holmes managed a break in qualifying gratuity service somewhere along the line.

EDIT:
There has to be more than one numbering sequence as #S/11060 Hogg (1st Bn) falls in the same medal roll page as Holmes but there was also #11060 Elder (6th Bn).


Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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Langdon
59 minutes ago, Medaler said:

Update.........

 

Soldiers Effects is now behaving on Ancestry,

 

Good to know thanks

Mike

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Medaler
3 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

£9 10s gross for a corporal gives 19 months service, indicative of service starting in the month from 16 Jan 1915 if he had continuous service (although something looks a little odd to me with the gratuity). Shown as S/11053 on the medal roll.

There are territorial enlistments from Sep 1914

#11057 was allocated  24 Sep 1914
#11056 was allocated  24 Sep 1914


But these seem to be a different numbering sequence - unless Holmes managed a break in qualifying gratuity service somewhere along the line.

EDIT:
There has to be more than one numbering sequence as #S/11060 Hogg (1st Bn) falls in the same medal roll page as Holmes but there was also #11060 Elder (6th Bn).


Craig

 

My word Craig, I'm glad your eyes are on this! I have always gone "the old fashioned way" with the SWB roll for cracking enlistment dates, so have never tried your resource before. My old way seems to come unstuck on some Sherwood Forester numbers as bits of their number series seem to be "all over the shop". Not that this is at all pertinent to my Gordon Highlander, but if I can master the maths your work will help me no end in other areas. I do spend a lot of time amongst Foresters, its a Derbyshire thing, you can't escape them. My Gordon Highlander is also a Derbyshire lad !

 

I too had detected that the Gordon's seem to have had 2 sets of similar numbers in use, making it difficult to see which one my man had come under. The vital clue here came from IPT with this completely new info that he had been with the RFA prior to the Gordon's. I think I can say with some certainty that he wasn't a Territorial, as his overseas service with GH  was first with 10th Bn. and then with the hybrid 8th/10th Bn. Getting a date for the issue of S/11053 however would tell me how long he had been with the RFA before moving on.

 

A work in progress this. I need to get my head around it some more now, and will report back when I have.

 

Regards,

Mike

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ss002d6252

Ah ha
The medal sequence has S/11067 Nunn - formerly cavalry from Aug 14. Transferred to the Gordon on 3 June 1915.

So - looks to me that we have Jan - June 1915 for Hughes before he was transferred to the Gordons. This period should account for his RA period.

The gratuity etc seems to match nicely with the article given in post #6.

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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Medaler
9 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

Ah ha
The medal sequence has S/11067 Nunn - formerly cavalry from Aug 14. Transferred to the Gordon on 3 June 1915.

So - looks to me that we have Jan - June 1915 for Hughes before he was transferred to the Gordons. This period should account for his RA period.

The gratuity etc seems to match nicely with the article given in post #6.

Craig

 

Hi Craig,

You will hopefully be pleased to know that I agree with that, so it seems that I have my head around at least one calculation. Your work on these gratuities is really extremely useful. With so many service records having gone up in smoke (or having been lost forever in Ancestry's indexing system) it really is a major step forward in identifying enlistment dates.

 

Many thanks indeed for your help and input with this, and many thanks too to IPT, without whom this would have been a completely unknown part of this mans story.

 

Thanks again,

Mike

 

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Julie

I recently found his medal at my mums.

He was my great grandad.

Elisha is a family name passed down to the first born son and my dads name was also elisha Holmes.

Would be interested in anything you find out.

It has always seemed strange that he served with a Scottish regiment when the family are from north derbyshire / south yorkshire

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ss002d6252
1 hour ago, Julie said:

I recently found his medal at my mums.

He was my great grandad.

Elisha is a family name passed down to the first born son and my dads name was also elisha Holmes.

Would be interested in anything you find out.

It has always seemed strange that he served with a Scottish regiment when the family are from north derbyshire / south yorkshire

During the war the niceties of regional regiments went out of the window and men went where they were sent. Pre war men signed up for all sorts of reasons to regiments from other parts of the country.

 

 

Craig

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Medaler
On 10/11/2019 at 17:01, Julie said:

I recently found his medal at my mums.

He was my great grandad.

Elisha is a family name passed down to the first born son and my dads name was also elisha Holmes.

Would be interested in anything you find out.

It has always seemed strange that he served with a Scottish regiment when the family are from north derbyshire / south yorkshire

 

Hello Julie,

 

How interesting that you have found one of his medals! I actually got involved in this at the time because of the modern memorial that has been tacked onto the school at Shuttlewood. I did a bit of research on it which has left me failing to understand why it was ever commissioned. I think virtually without exception all the men mentioned on it were already commemorated at either Bolsover or Clowne. I also found at least one name that had been missed from it.

 

I have no idea if you are "local" or not, but I have pictures of the memorials if they are any use to you.

 

Regards,

Mike

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