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Hello! My GGrandfather, Heslop Tubman 23740, was KIA at Villers-Plouich, France on April 24, 1917. I have a copy of the War Diaries that discuss this offensive, but I do not know which Company he was attached to.  Is there a source for this information? I think it would help me to understand what he was involved in on the morning of April 24th, and how he died. I visited the area some time ago, but he has no known grave. His name is on one of the walls of the Thiepval Memorial.


Many thanks!



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I cannot answer your question but I note both his Medal Index Card and the Medal Roll show his medals were returned. There is no indication of re-issue. So in theory the appropriate next of kin could apply for his medals to be issued.

There is some info of what I believe to be his attestation etc are you aware of this. All the info fits in apart from service number; trying to find out if East Surreys re-numbered.  Also note note pretty full family trees on Ancestry inc photos

Edited by Mark1959

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Finding the company a man served is matter of luck. Possible sources are:


1. Service papers -  around a 30% chance on average that they survived the WW2 London Blitz.  You might get lucky and find a man’s coy mentioned on one of the various Army forms and/or on correspondence in the file from the man or his family. (Often for a given battalion, or group within it, the odds of finding service papers drops to virtually zero)


2. War Diaries and their appendices – Other Ranks are rather anonymous, but individuals do get mentioned.  Occasionally you find casualty lists which are broken down by company.  It’s always worth checking Brigade as well as Battalion war diaries.


3. Soldier’s Will – often overlooked.  Those that exist were digitised and put online for a fee around 2014.   The Western Front Association had a lengthy article about this explaining what you might find, but unfortunately the link I had is dead – perhaps you can find another.




4. Battalion Histories ... (no use in this case)

In the case of you GGrandfather, I believe source 1 above does not exist and source 2 above does not help.  But source 3 above does exist!!




This would suggest this was found among his personal effects and possibly at the time of a battle field burial.  It’s just possible the will might tell you which company of the 13th Bn. he served in, but it could also contain little detail.

There is another records set that contains a little more background about your GGrandfather, the “Surrey Recruitment Registers”:




Heslop Tubman was one of around a dozen men who all attested under the Lord Derby’s Group Scheme between 1/12/15 and 12/12/15 in South West London (Tooting, Streatham & Clapham) and were all nominally posted to the 3rd Bn. East Surrey Regiment.  He gave his address as 60 Ribblesdale Road (SW16).


It’s likely that your GGrandfather, along with others in that small group, was not called up until some months later, it depended on their personal circumstances.  23739 Frederick Swallow, was one of those dozen men.  Like your GGrandfather he found himself posted to the 13th Bn.  Swallow had attested on 1/12/15 but did not report for duty at the East Surrey Regimental Depot, Kingston upon Thames, until 28 Jun 1916.  Embarking on 6 Oct 1916, he joined the 13th Bn. on 22 Oct 1916 and was taken prisoner almost a 100 years ago on 9/4/1918.


Swallow’s papers alone, are not enough to form a pattern, but it is possible that your GGrandfather went overseas at the same time.


Good luck with your search ...


P.S. Such is the hand of fate that on the day your GGrandfather was KIA at at Villers-Plouich,  Cpl Edward "Tiny" Foster - a dustman from Tooting - won the VC for his actions. http://www.vconline.org.uk/edward-foster-vc/4586740509 https://summerstown182.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/tiny-teds-tooting/


Edited by Chris_B

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Thank you Chris and Mark! What a wealth of information!! I have several letters, dated from the fall of 1916 until 3 April 1917 that we’re written by my GGfather to my GGmother and their three children. Unfortunately, my GGrandfather never mentioned the war. I could tell where he was when he wrote some of the letters by the return address.


I am going to order the will, and I am checking into whether I can still receive his medals. 


Thank you you again for taking the time to help me out!!!

”Lest we forget”





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