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Kathryn Steeman

John Smith RHA Gnr 39257

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Kathryn Steeman

Hello

 

Can anyone tell me what the remarks on RHA 105 Document attached mean and where I can search further to find the memo mentioned, so I can find out if this really is my Grandfather. Have also attached RHA 106 and 110B plus SWB in case they have anything on them that someone else with more knowledge in this field can understand. Still trying to find documents to place him in India before WW1. I see British library has Quarterly muster rolls ( I think this is what they are called) but I can't get access to them. Any ideas or suggestions gladly received, since I am in NZ and can't pop along to take a look!

 

Many thanks

 

Kathryn in NZ

41803_611411_5851-00253 - RHA 106.jpg

41629_636897_10714-00111 - Victory & British medal.jpg

wo329_2970-00039.jpg

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wandererpaul

He’s listed on a casualty list.

 

GSW both arms. Admitted 11 GH (General Hospital)

Boulogne 13 April 1915

F8BAB7FE-51FA-4D21-A83D-7116C20A6875.jpeg

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wandererpaul
Posted (edited)

There are a few John Smith’s (born 1887 +/- 1) and in India when the 1911 Census, for the Military, was taken. Having the most common name doesn’t help. Where was he born? Parents? Married?

 

looking at the SWB record, he was around 18 years old when he signed up, having enlisted in 1905 and given his age of 31 in 1918.

Edited by wandererpaul

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MaxD

The notations are references to administrative documents which will long since have been destroyed.  In any event, they would be unlikely to have any personal identifying information.  The 1914 Star roll he is appearing on is a supplementary roll and there are others with the same reference which makes it look like as if he (and others) was omitted by mistake from the main roll and this is a "catch up" entry in 1924 for an administrative error.

 

Best avenue would be the family information route.  The muster rolls don't have personal info either.

 

Max

 

 

 

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Ron Clifton

"P. U." is "permanently unfit" which is reinforced by the award of the SWB. The indication "5" on the casualty list is a little mystifying as the RHA's batteries were lettered, not numbered, and they didn't have five depots.

 

Ron

 

 

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Kathryn Steeman

Thanks everyone, I have the casualty list entry and the 5 refers to RHA 5th Brigade 8th Division. I have a copy of the war diary which has an entry around the date on the casualty list , which says "O" Battery observation station was set upon by machine gun sniper causing injury to 2 men. I am trying to link this John Smith to the Indian army RHA which had an A & B Battery/Division/Battalion (not sure what you call it) and A was sent to WW1 as Indian Army and B was sent back to England and joined to 5th Brigade, 8th Division which sailed to France Nov 1914. My Grandfather was born 17/4/1890 please see attached his birth cert and death cert. He appears with the family in 1901 census but not 1911 census. I have his younger brother by 2 years, George Walter Smith's attestation copy and am trying to see if this John Smith is the one. My mother said that my grandfather had two tattoos one on each arm. A horses head for RHA on one and "Mother" on the other. Maybe to cover up scars??  I think he lied about his age and the attestation for him says 17 y 6 months but he was only 15 y 6 months. He got married 31/3/1918. Not 100% sure if this is him ? Not made any easier with no middle name and he died when mum was 13, All mum's siblings are deceased except for two sisters in their 90's and memory problems. Have been using Ancestry and FMP but not easy getting anything on Army in India during the 1905-1914 period, or maybe I am not entering the correct info to get the correct data.

 

John Smith's parents were John James Edward Smith and Mary Ann Smith nee McKenlay. His parents got married Jan 30 1890. His father's full name is not on their marriage cert but it is on the birth cert of John Smith's youngest sibling born Dec 1914. Any further ideas to try and confirm yes or no for this John Smith would be appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Kathryn in NZ

COL694079_2018-1-Smith_John death cert.pdf

COL694364_2018-2-John_Smith birth cert.pdf

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MaxD
Posted (edited)

5 Brigade RHA consisted of O and Z Batteries (which was 4 guns of I Battery RHA) RHA.  B Battery RHA didn't get to England from India until Dec 1914 and went to Gallipoli.  A Battery went to the Indian Cavalry Division when it returned from India which does accord with what you say. 

However, there were a number of RHA Batteries in India other than A and B which returned to UK and then France/Gallipoli so what is it that indicates A or B to you?

 

If the John Smith of (guesswork O Battery) 5 Brigade RHA in April 1915 is your man and had been in India pre-war then he had transferred from one battery to another.  Not impossible but without a service record impossible to check.  The muster books don't go into the 20th Century.

The wording in the original war diary for 15 April is not quite the same as yours - is it perhaps a transcription?

Max

 

PS  See this thread for RHA in India 1911:

 

Edited by MaxD
PS added

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MaxD
Posted (edited)

The date that 39257 Gnr John Smith arrived in France coincides nicely with the arrival of 5 Bde RHA so the O Battery connection would seem to add up.

 

Does the address 92 Westminster Road London on his medal card relate in any way?

Can't quite follow the bit about "his attestation" - is that John Smith who lied about his age and got married in March 1918?

Max

Edited by MaxD
query added

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Kathryn Steeman

thanks MaxD, I am new at this research stuff so don't know what things are properly called. I am trying to find Granddad's enrolment form to the Army.The war diary I have is original papers and docs , maps etc. Does the GWF want a copy? it was down loaded after paying for it and it was so big it is in two parts ( 68564 KB and 67127KB)  111 pages & 107 pages It goes from 1914 to Dec 1916. Mum said that Granddad always went on about his 8 1/2 years in India before being sent to WW1 where he was shot at had scar on heel area of foot, the two tattoos and was also mustard gassed which led to his discharge from the army. The war diary has mention of 2 men being gas poisoned. His lungs were always his weak point, mind you didn't stop him from fathering 10 children!! The A & B thing came from history of RHA in India see under " soldiers" forum page 12 , 8th May ,John Smith Gunner 39257 RHA that I asked for info and some of the replies.Trying to find the correct John Smith is a nightmare as no middle name! I don't know if he was telling truth about length of time in India but I think his family might have had previous members in RA so probably this is why he went down that road. He isn't in the family 1911 census but is in the 1901 family census. Mind you some of the people whom transcribed details from originals should get their eyes tested as they list dates wrong on transcribe to what was on original documents say. Any help in connecting India service with WW1 service is most appreciated. Which direction to go or what to look up suggestions most welcome to a research novice! The Westminister address which suburb would this be in? As from all the birth certs of John Smith and siblings, the family was in Mile End 1890-1892 when first 2 born, then Bethnal Green 1894 next one,1897 - 1900 back in Mile End for the next two, 1903 54 Thomas St, Whitechapel next one then 13 Jan 1906 when next born to 1911 census form ( when do they get taken?) 54 Fulbourne Street, Whitechapel. Then 19 April 1912 and 27 Dec 1914 last two born they are listed in Holbrook Road, West Ham.

Kathryn in NZ

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Kathryn Steeman

Hi again MaxD, just looked through the link to "Units in India and Burma". Just got to figure out which one My John Smith was in and when he joined up. I see the British Library has "The Quarterly Indian Army lists" from late 1800's up to 1914 and beyond until mid 1920's when British army over there where no longer called Indian Army. Would any of these IOR/L/MIL/17/5 (the ones I would need to look at would be /72-108) have any info that would help? As said before very much a novice at this so not familiar with these things.

 

Kathryn in NZ

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Kathryn Steeman

Hi Again,

Just been on Ancestry and here are the census forms from 1891.1901 and one I found of possibly John Smith in India. Know he was in RHA but was this for WW1 and not India or is this regiment in 1911 census part of RHA,RGA?? I am not up with the play on military things so sorry if I am asking basic questions!

 

KLNDRG12_285_286-0262.jpg.00520834d9a374646a0c5545ee6e2413.jpgathryLNDRG13_301_303-0110.thumb.jpg.c22bd67156b5e4b4f5dd7c2bfe0997c3.jpgn in NZ

rg14_34978_0045_35.jpg

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wandererpaul

1911 census is for the Leinster Regiment.

 

Need to find the one for the RA/RFA/RHA in India.

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Kathryn Steeman

Yeah I know , but what regiment is Leinster regiment? I put in John Smith Date of birth year and place of birth and this is one that came up. First one I have seen that has birth place correct and right age. Would someone be in one unit before WW1 and then another in WW1? I know to get in RHA was not easy so did you have to prove yourself first or were you selected to go into it at the beginning? Will search again on FMP and Ancestry.

 

Kathryn in NZ

 

 

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Ron Clifton

The Leinster Regiment was an infantry regiment, recruited in Ireland. It is possible that he served in the Leinsters and was transferred into the RHA or RFA, or that he had served in the Leinsters before the war, completed his twelve years, and joined RHA/RFA on the outbreak of war.

 

Ron

 

 

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MaxD

Kathryn

I would really like to be positive but without a man's service record, his family connections are impossible to establish.  You may not know that some 60% of WW1 records were destroyed by bombing in WW2 and if the man's record s not on Ancestry or FMP then it was among the 60% plus that are lost.  (Just seen Ron's post)  The census you found was indeed for the Leinster regiment, an infantry unit not artillery.   It is certainly very tempting to think that John Smith age 20 from Mile End in that census is your John Smith but there are two John Smiths (at least) of the Leinsters in WW1 in casualty records.  As there are no service numbers in the census or personal information who knows whether he transferred or is one of the later Smiths?

In case you didn't see it, I have copied part of the link I gave to the other thread on this forum which shows the RHA units in India in 1911

(there isn't just one census record for the RHA in India, they were done by barracks so if two batteries were in the same barracks then they were on the same census return.)

2983 9th Bde RHA Staff Ambala Punjab

3662 D Bty RHA Bangalore

2970 J Bty RHA Ambala Punjab

2958 N Bty RHA Ambala Punjab

1529 P Bty RHA Meerut

1540 R Bty RHA Meerut

1025 U Bty RHA Dilkusha, Lucknow

1153 V Bty RHA Rawalpindi Punjab

1136 W Bty RHA Sialkot Punjab

673 X Bty RHA Mhow Central Provinces

692 Y Bty RHA Mhow Central Provinces

1164 A Ammunition Column RHA Campbellpore

2987 C Ammunition Column RHA Ambala Punjab

1148 B Ammunition Column RHA Sialkot Punjab

702 E Ammunition Column RHA Mhow

3359 F Ammunition Column RHA Meerut

1037 G Ammunition Column RHA Dilkusha, Lucknow

To find the John Smiths overseas in 1911 use Findmypast, enter overseas/unknown in the search box. With date of birth 1890 +- 2 years that brings up 96 results.  I haven't looked at each one but even if we find an RHA John Smith from Mile End, there won't be a service number so although it would be tempting to say that is the same one who is in O battery in April 1915 - how do we know?

 

You started one of your posts with wanting to find the attestation form for 39257 Gnr John Smith - it must surely be among the lost 60%.  Equally, there are no identifiable RHA John Smiths evident before the war anywhere.

 

It won't be any consolation to know that your experience is very common, the odds are always against finding a service record with personal information.

 

Max

 

PS Westminster Road is south of the Thames, Mile End and the others are north so the address on 39257's card would not seem to fit.  39257 was discharged due to "sickness" which may have been a result of an earlier gas attack.  

 

PPS The Indian Army Lists are lists of officers so not relevant.

 

 

 

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Kathryn Steeman

Thanks Ron & MaxD, your info is very helpful in explaining things to someone whom is not very up with it regarding military things. I was never 100% certain about Gunner 39257. I found, using Forces War record site, J Smith Gunner 27945 of No 59 (Siege) Company, Royal Garrison Artillery whom was awarded the Delhi Durbar 1911 medal, duty location Delhi Incident date 12/12/1911. The "Information" said - Awarded the "Delhi Durbar 1911" medal from the Adjutant General in India. Award was from the Army allotment. Don't know if this regiment is similar? or if this is relevant at all. Got the War medal index card and it shows John Smith was still in RGA in WW1 so possibly not my John Smith. Will have another look at that link Max and see what may appear.

 

Thanks for the help

 

Kathryn in NZ

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Kathryn Steeman

Having problems with where to look and enter the page number on the Ancestry site. You are given all the page numbers but there doesn't seem to be a link to the actual site to enter them into??

 

Kathryn in NZ

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MaxD

Sorry Kathryn - not with you on that query?

 

The Delhi Durbar Medal was a commemorative one issued to commemorate the proclamation of George V as Emperor of India, many thousands were issued.

 

RGA (Royal Garrison Artillery) was another part of the artillery, there was also the Royal Field Artillery and we are now talking dozens of different units in which there are bound to have been a number of John Smiths!  While, like the Leinster man, transfer between one branch of the Royal Artillery and another would not be impossible, again how would we know, without  a service record that we are seeing your John Smith?  

 

27945 Corporal John Smith who at that time was with a different RGA unit was invalided out of the service on 12 Feb 1917  - his service record has also not survived although there are medal records including a Silver War Badge which is where that info came from.

 

What makes sense is the story of 8 and a half years in India and then back to UK for the war.  We need though to accept, unless there is other evidence, that a horse's head tattoo meant RHA - difficulty there is that all branches of the Royal Artillery had horses!  Many batteries of all branches came back for the war.

 

Here comes the "however" - However, and I am sorry to keep coming back to it, we would need to find a John Smith with a service record to be sure he was yours and so far zilch.

 

Let us know what that is you are having difficulty with.

 

Max

 

 

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Kathryn Steeman
Posted (edited)

Thanks for clearing up what Delhi Durbar medal was all about. Definitely sticking with RHA as this is what my mother said it was. John Smith in today's ideals would have been called an abusive husband and father. Very much hit first and maybe ask questions later. Seems to have been the normal thing back then as police didn't really get involved in "family matters" .

Sorry to sound THICK but the Units in India & Burma census link to all the different units, has a page number but not sure on Ancestry how to implement search as the filters and choices are totally different from FMP. Also when you look at something on Ancestry from any list in detail, when you go back you don't go to the last searched you go back to top of page searching, Grrr so frustrating. Thought I might go through all the listed units and look for a John Smith and birth place. Gone through all the FMP census list John Smiths and only one that is of interest would be man in 64th Battery RFA , has right birth year but birth place listed as Battersea, so probably not?  He was in Meerut , India

 

Slowly getting more grey hairs  Kathryn in NZ

Edited by Kathryn Steeman
adding more info

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David Porter
On 01/06/2018 at 13:43, Kathryn Steeman said:

I have his younger brother by 2 years, George Walter Smith's attestation copy

 

Kathryn,

 

George Walter Smith has two service records on FMP. Have you seen his attempt at getting into the Rifle Brigade to join his older brother?

 

GBM_WO97_5936_109_004.jpg.05e3361370c45f9a69bc2afff6c29ab5.jpg

 

Here, his older brother is given the name James, however, we know it is really John. Also a number has been added to help trace him.

The medal card proves that 2798 in the Rifle Brigade was indeed John Smith.

 

30850_A001445-01904.jpg.d628a5c48d7ec03297b2440eafd8e33b.jpg

 

The SWB reference shows that John joined on May 4, 1908 and was discharged on July 12, 1916, due to wounds.

So you can forget all about the RHA and concentrate on the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade from now on.

Start here - http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/the-rifle-brigade-1914-1918/

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MaxD

David's proposal is a first rate piece of lateral thinking!  The address given in George Walter's attestation form is 54 Fulbourne (spelled Fubourne on the attestation) Street.  That street was formerly known as Thomas Street so the family at 54 Thomas St 1891 and the family at 54 Fulbourne St  in 1911 are in the same house.  2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade were in India before the war certainly from 1905.

 

However, joining in May 1908 (the 2798 service number would support that), and RHA could add up with the family history of 8 and a half years in India before the war and could suggest transfer to the Rifle Brigade in India after a couple of years RHA service.

 

Family histories do get a bit mixed up over the years.  I have to say it though - the Rifle Brigade John Smith also doesn't have a surviving service record!

 

Max

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charlie962
13 hours ago, David Porter said:

George Walter Smith has two service records

Well found, David. I have been watching this thread but unable to contribute anything useful.  A very good reminder, particularly with a name like John Smith, that one must  explore all the known family connections first rather than starting in the middle of nowhere, so to speak.

 

But I still wouldn't discard totally the RHA story. It could even be that his father for example was RHA ? Often stories from several generations get merged into one ? But best just kept at the back of the mind for now.

 

Charlie

 

 

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MaxD

Slight complication.  A Private John Smith born 1890 is in the census for 1911 in 2nd Bn Rifle Brigade in Lucknow India  place of birth Nailsworth Gloucestershire.

 

More grey hairs.

 

Max

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Kathryn Steeman

Thanks Max and Charlie, this is wonderful that you have found George Walter Smith attestation with family names and the bit about the two addresses is great as would not have realised this. The second Attestation on FMP do you remember how many you had to go through to find it as would like to down load it? I looked at all the John Smith's and if he went into army 1905-1906 he would have been only 15/16 , is this possible to do?? if not then he lied about age and had to put a couple of years on hence he would have had to given birth date 1888. Found on FMP in 1911 census John Smith age given 23  born London Middlesex  in Fort William, Calentta, India with 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade. Looked through all 96 John Smiths on 1911 census overseas birth dates 1888-1890 and the was only this one that was in London Middlesex. I have the war diary for RHA 5th Brigade 8 th Division and will re look for mention of Rifle Brigade as wasn't really looking at other mentioned groups even though there were a few being added and substracted at various times.

The thing about different names for John, just to add to the mix, Gran and others called him Jack ,Mum said when they were children. He was the only one in his family of 8 siblings Not to have a middle name!  

 

Kathryn in NZ

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MaxD

On FMP military records enter  George Walter Smith, 1893 and place Shadwell, that brings up the two records only.  Found initially by knowing that Shadwell is in the same part of London as Whitechapel and Mile end etc.

 

Max

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