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Angela_T

J H Riley 8903 3/KRRC & 84338 Royal Fusiliers

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Angela_T

Both of my Grandfathers saw active service in WW1 and I have been trying to find out a little more about where they would have been (and when). 

 

One Grandfather, John Henry Riley (1888 – 1948) was a regular with the KRRC (Rfn E Co 3rd Bn 8903 per his letter to parents dated 3/10/1912), and attested on 15 July 1908, serving in Malta and India (Dagshai & the 1911 Delhi Durbar) before WW1. According to his Certificate of Discharge, as below, he was discharged from the Royal Fusiliers (84338 GS/84338) on 14 July 1920 after serving 10 years 276 days with the Colours and 1 year 89 days in the Army Reserve.

 

It is likely that John (also known as Jack) was transferred from the KRRC to the Royal Fusiliers when he moved to the Army Reserve, or is it more likely to have been at some earlier point?  I have quite a bit of information from the “Annals of the KRRC” and “A Brief History of the KRRC 1755 – 1948” as to where the 3rd Bn served, but do not know the point at which John left that Bn. Is it possible to find out which Bn of the RF he was in and when he moved from the KRRC?

 

I have downloaded the 3/KRRC WD covering the period December 1914 to October 1915. I believe they were posted to Salonika after that, are any Bn diaries available re Salonika?

 

I was often told that Grandad John had been gassed in France/Flanders during WW1 which seems to tie in with the history of the 3/KRRC. It is fortunate that his certificate of discharge is still in the family, as from what I can tell, his Service Record was destroyed/lost in WW2.

 

I also attach a photo, probably taken to commemorate his wedding in August 1915 is attached. This is the only WW1 photo I have of him.

 

Thank you for your help.

 

Angela

 

 

JH & Eliz Riley 2.JPG

John Henry Riley Army Discharge certificate.pdf

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clk
Posted (edited)

Hi Angela,

 

His WW1 overseas service appears to be:

 

image.png.b77279b617a01d468eeb773e6e0ffb3f.png

Image source: Ancestry.co.uk - British War Medal and Victory Medal Roll

 

In the image 1(a) is the theatre code for France & Flanders, and 2(a) the code for Greek Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria.

 

Forces War Records have a transcribed 'hospital' admission/discharge record which reads:

 

First Name: J

Surname: Riley

Age: 29

Rank: Lance Corporal

Service Number: 8903

Years Service: 11 years

Months With Field Force: 3 years

Ailment: Gas shell. W.

Date of Admission for Original Ailment: 22/11/1917

Date Transferred to Other Hospitals: 22/11/1917

Notes written in the Observations Column: W noted in Disease column = Wound, can be put forward as an eligible candidate to be awarded a wound stripe. Casualty Clearing    Station Mendighem.

Religion: Roman Catholic

Regiment: King's Royal Rifle Corps

Battalion: 2nd Battalion 

Archive Reference: MH106/240 -Representative Medical Records of Servicemen from 149th Field Ambulance

 

The original record image is available from Findmypast - link here.

 

My guess would be that the date of 22nd November 1917 would tie back to him leaving theatre on 29th November 1917. Presumably he was passed further down the evacuation chain from 149 Field Ambulance (initially to the Casualty Clearing Station  mentioned), and left France for the UK for further treatment/recuperation. Then after he was assessed as being capable of returning to front line duties, he found himself back in theatre on 3rd April 1918.

 

I would also guess that he was wounded in October 1916 as a 3rd Battalion man, and as a consequence he left theatre - not returning until August 1917 as 2nd Bn man.

 

There are a couple of KRRC specialists on the forum. Hopefully they will pick up on your post, and may be able to provide some more info.

 

Regards

Chris

Edited by clk

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Angela_T

Thank you for this, Chris

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ForeignGong

There is a medical file for him on FMP, Admission and Discharge Book for 149 Fld Amb, 8903 L/Cpl J Riley, 29 years old, with 11 years service,  3 years with Field Force, Gas Shell Wound 22 Nov 1917, Under other hospitals it states ATS500.

In your photo he is wearing the Delhi Durbar ribbon.

 

Peter

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MBrockway
2 hours ago, clk said:

Hi Angela,

 

His WW1 overseas service appears to be:

 

image.png.b77279b617a01d468eeb773e6e0ffb3f.png

Image source: Ancestry.co.uk - British War Medal and Victory Medal Roll

 

In the image 1(a) is the theatre code for France & Flanders, and 2(a) the code for Greek Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria.

 

Chris

 

3/KRRC went out to France on 20 Dec 1914, so he went with his battalion then.  Prior to the war, they were stationed in India split by company across several locations.  In your lovely photo, you'll see he has his 1911 Delhi Durbar medal ribbon up.

 

3/KRRC left Marseilles bound for Salonika (Macedonia) on 18 Nov 1915.  They arrived on 05 Dec 1915.  Thus that first 'gap' in his service is merely the time onboard ship travelling out to the Macedonian Front.  The went via Alexandria, but did not land in Egypt.

 

3/KRRC were in Macedonia for the rest of the War, so it is likely he left 3/KRRC on 12 Oct 1916 due to wounds or sickness.  The latter was more common on this front with malaria being a major problem.

 

When he returned to active duties and transferred to 2/KRRC on 24 Aug 1917, 2/KRRC were training at LE CLIPON, which is just to the west of DUNKIRK.  The battalion was rebuilding after the very heavy losses at the Battle of the Dunes in Jul 1917.

 

When he was wounded on 22 Nov 1917, 2/KRRC had just come out of the line just N of PASSCHENDAELE.

 

According to the OH Medical History, Nos 12, 46 and 64 CCS's at PROVEN/MENDINGHEM handled gas cases from 3rd Ypres from the whole salient.

 

When he once again returned to active duty on 03 Apr 1918, this time with 18th (Arts & Crafts) KRRC, 18/KRRC had just been relieved from the line at BUCQUOY and were at ORVILLE just to the SE of DOULLENS.  The fighting in the Kaiserschlacht had seen the battalion reduced from 900 OR's to about 80.  On 04 Apr they were in camp at SCHOOL CAMP near WATOU and received a large draft of reinforcements that, while still below strength, allowed the battalion to at least revert back to full four company structure.  Presumably Riley arrived during this stage.

 

They did not come back to full establishment until May.

 

When Riley was transferred to 44/RF on 05 Oct 1918, 18/KRRC were in Divisional Reserve in huts N of the MENIN ROAD approx 2 km ESE of GHELUVELT.

 

44th Royal Fusiliers was a Garrison battalion acting as Army Troops and formed of men medically unfit for front line fighting.  This suggests Riley had sustained further sickness or wounds.

 

HTH

Mark

 

 

 

 

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Angela_T

Thank you for all of this fascinating information, Mark.

Kind regards, Angela

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Angela_T
7 hours ago, ForeignGong said:

There is a medical file for him on FMP, Admission and Discharge Book for 149 Fld Amb, 8903 L/Cpl J Riley, 29 years old, with 11 years service,  3 years with Field Force, Gas Shell Wound 22 Nov 1917, Under other hospitals it states ATS500.

In your photo he is wearing the Delhi Durbar ribbon.

 

Peter

Peter, thank you for your reply.

Kind regards, Angela

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MBrockway
14 hours ago, Angela_T said:

I have downloaded the 3/KRRC WD covering the period December 1914 to October 1915. I believe they were posted to Salonika after that, are any Bn diaries available re Salonika?

 

 

3/KRRC's Salonika war diaries are in WO 95/4889 at the National Archives, but unfortunately they have not yet been digitised.  The only option is to go to Kew in person and inspect them.

 

Mark

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Angela_T

Thank you, Mark

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