Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

tashhh

Pte B Falkner - 2nd and 7th Btn. Norfolk Regiment

Recommended Posts

tashhh

Hi,

 

I previously posted a few years ago, but am back now with more information and knowledge.

 

My great-granddad, Bertie Falkner, of Wellingborough / Irchester, Northamptonshire, was born in 1899. He served in World War I, in the 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment, soldier number 41110. He was awarded the victory and British War medal.

He went on to serve in India with the 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment, number 5765029. He was awarded an India General Service Waziristan Medal with one clasp, 1919-1921. 

 

I have downloaded the 7th Btn. Norfolk war diaries to look through, but would like some more information.

 

I was hoping someone here might be able to help me with the following information:

 

-When did Bertie sign up for the War?

-How long did he stay with the 2nd Bat. Norfolks?

-Was he injured? My granddad told me that he survived a gas attack in WWI, and indeed, he did die in 1950 from lung cancer, and secondary spinal cancer. I am aware there is a link between mustard gas and lung cancer.

-Any details of his service.

 

I have attached the documents I have relating to his military career.

 

Also, he is in a hussar uniform in one of the photos I have of him. Can anybody explain why, or what regiment etc. this is related to?

 

Thanks in advance, 

Tasha.

 

20180602_105138.jpg

2 Battalion Norfolk Reg.jpg

Bertie Falkner, WW1.jpg

BertieFalknerIGS.jpg

BertieFalknerMIC.jpg

BritishArmyWWIMedalRollsIndexCards19141920_122610366.jpg

Medal info.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RussT

It looks like his 41110 7th Bn Norfolk Regiment number was allotted upon his transfer to the Norfolks at "L" IBD Calais on 13/01/1918.

 

When was he born? Records for other men with similar numbers were 18 yr olds being posted overseas from training reserve battalions.

 

The number falls within a range of numbers of men all in alphabetical order, typical for such a transfer of a batch arriving in France.

 

The number range seems to go from at least 41069 Buckman to 41199 Tillyer.

 

Regards

 

Russ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
41 minutes ago, RussT said:

It looks like his 41110 7th Bn Norfolk Regiment number was allotted upon his transfer to the Norfolks at "L" IBD Calais on 13/01/1918.

 

When was he born? Records for other men with similar numbers were 18 yr olds being posted overseas from training reserve battalions.

 

The number falls within a range of numbers of men all in alphabetical order, typical for such a transfer of a batch arriving in France.

 

The number range seems to go from at least 41069 Buckman to 41199 Tillyer.

 

Regards

 

Russ

 

Hi,

He was born in November 1899.

 

Would he have taken part in any fighting on WWI, judging from his number?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RussT

Ok, so that DoB fits

 

Given it seems he transferred to the 7th Bn Norfolk Regiment mid January 1918 you could now look at the war diary (which you say you have) from that date onwards to get an idea of the various activities and events the battalion was involved.

 

Russ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Loader

In the first photo he is displaying a WOUND STRIPE on his lower left sleeve. So he was indeed wounded in action in some way & may have been the gas attack you mentioned. If he was gassed & sent back for treatment he was due a wound stripe or might have been shrapnel or bullet wound. But based on family history odds are it was for the gassing incident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
4 hours ago, RussT said:

Ok, so that DoB fits

 

Given it seems he transferred to the 7th Bn Norfolk Regiment mid January 1918 you could now look at the war diary (which you say you have) from that date onwards to get an idea of the various activities and events the battalion was involved.

 

Russ

 

Thank you for your help, I'm glad I have a timeline of roughly when he served now! I'm reading through the war diaries. I have to say, in surprised he survived, it sounds like it was awful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
2 hours ago, Loader said:

In the first photo he is displaying a WOUND STRIPE on his lower left sleeve. So he was indeed wounded in action in some way & may have been the gas attack you mentioned. If he was gassed & sent back for treatment he was due a wound stripe or might have been shrapnel or bullet wound. But based on family history odds are it was for the gassing incident.

 

I didn't even know this was a thing, thank you! I've just googled it! 

Would that mean this photo was taken before he returned to France?

 

Also, will the MOD still hold his India service records for 1918 onwards?

 

Thank you so much for your help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Loader

His photo with the wound stripe could have been taken any time after he recovered from his injury. He has no ribbons for  his WW1 service so possibly before the end of the war.

Can't help with your other questions re: his India records. Good luck in your search & glad I could help you with the wound stripe info. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JefR

Hi Tasha

 

I note that your GGF, 41110 Bertie Falkner b.1899, went to France at the age of 18 and was assigned to the 7th Norfolks on arrival in January 1918.  Russ tells us that he was one of a group of 130 who were transferred to the Norfolks at ”L” Infantry Base Depot in Calais on 13 January 1918.

 

By uncanny coincidence my father, 49085 Thomas Robinson b 1899, went to France at the age of 18 and was assigned to the 7th Norfolks on arrival in April 1918. He was one of a group of 100 who were transferred to the Norfolks at “G” Infantry Based Depot in Etaples on 7 April 1918.

 

Last week (7th June) I posted my dad’s story on the forum under the title “Most WW1 army service records were lost in the 1940 Blitz - but if the record you want is missing, it might now be possible to reconstruct it”.  It currently appears on page 13 of the forum’s “Topics” list.  To find it you could either start on page 13 and continue to page 14, 15 et cetera until you reach it, or alternatively enter a unique phrase from the title like “1940 Blitz - but“ (including the quotes) into the search box, (top right of the forum screen).  When the item comes up, click on the attachment - % A Draft of 100 v02 excl Web.pdf - and it should throw up my dad’s story as a 39-page document.

 

Then, if you work through the process on pages 6 - 13 I think you stand a good chance of finding service records of men who enlisted with your grandfather and if you get four or five that tell the same story you can assume that your great grandfather’s record would follow the same course.  Russ has already identified the first and last of his draft, 41069 Buckman to 41199 Tillyer,  so it’s just a question of slogging through the remaining 128 to get the names and numbers in between and then interrogating Ancestry or FindMyPast  for service records. A long job I know, but the end-point is worth it!  I’d really like to know how it works out.

 

One thing I think you should do straightaway is get in touch with the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum - I can’t put my finger on the telephone number right now but you can Google it -  they have a Casualty Book listing 15,000 men who served with the regiment and were reported killed, wounded or sick during the war -  up to around 9 September 1918.  It’s not yet online but if your GGF was gassed before that date there’s a good chance that details will be recorded and the museum staff will be delighted to help.

 

If you have any problems just get in touch with me, either here on the open forum or via the email contact address in the 39 page document.

 

Best regards

 

Jef

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JefR

Tasha

With my ancestry subscription about to run out I thought I would give it a final fling and have a quick look for service records relevant to your great-grandfather, 41110 FALKNER B, 7th Norfolks.

 

Service number analysis

First, I identified the men with adjacent service numbers around him from the TNA medal index card database, and found that their Norfolk numbers, just as in my father’s case, had been assigned in alphabetical order.   There are 125 names in this alpha/numeric sequence from 41086 CLAYSON Wm. H.T., to 41210 WYKES Colin F.  I haven’t checked through this list for service records, but that could (should?) be done, it depends how thorough you wish to be.

 

Service records.

Instead, I tried a shortcut I discovered when researching my dad’s story. 

The only surviving service records I found in my dad’s draft of 100 belonged to men who were killed in action, so I looked in the CWGC records to find soldiers with numbers around that of your GGF.

 

You’re in luck, it worked here as well (though there may be more service records of men who survived).  There were 10 service records between 41094 CUTLER, E and 41199 TILLYER Wm Charles. (I didn’t check the pension records).  They are:-

 

41098  DAY, Ernest William 7th Bn

41116  FULLER  Percy Edward   7th Bn

41161  MOORING  Leslie George  9th Bn

41179  RICHARDSON  Raymond Henry  9th Bn

41180  RIGDEN  George James   9th Bn

41183  ROGERS  Harold Douglas  9th Bn

41190  SMITH  Ernest Edward   9th Bn

41195  SWAINSBURY  George  9th Bn

41196  SWIFT  Horace Arthur  9th Bn

41197  TAYLOR  Walter Richard   9th Bn

 

I’ve had a quick skim through these service records, but again I haven’t studied them, that would need to be done to provide more detail of dates etc.   Very broadly speaking, the men seem to have enlisted in January/February 1917, assembled in the 25th Training Reserve Battalion (though 21 and 27 TRBs are also mentioned). Thereafter, there are references to 249th Inf Bn and 51st (Grad) Bedfordshire Rgt.  The following quote from the Long Long Trail website throws more light –

 

51st (Graduated) Battalion  Bedfordshire Regiment
Up to 26 October 1917, this was known as 249th Graduated Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. Before that it had been 25th Battalion of the Training Reserve…..

The whole contingent of 125 seems to have disembarked in France on 10th January 1918 and to have been split up as replacements into the 7th, 8th. and 9th Norfolks on 13th January at the Infantry Base Depot in Calais (as reported by Ross above).

 

Medal Rolls

Consulting the Medal Rolls show how the contingent was divided.  41086 - c41146 to the 7th Bn, c41147 - c41185 to the 8th Bn (see below) and c41186 – 41199 to the 9th Bn of the Norfolk Regiment.

Some of the 8th Bn records also include references to 7th and 9th Bns and once again the Long Long Trail website provides an explanation –

8th (Service) Battalion.
12 February 1918 : disbanded in France, officers and men going to 7th and 9th Battalions.

I hope this is helpful.

 

Jef

 

PS:  previously I’d recommended contacting the Norfolk Regiment Museum, and I still do, but the archives have restricted availability times. It might be best to email to ask if your GGF is in the Casualty Book.  Details are-

Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum
Shirehall
Market Ave
Norwich NR1 3JQ Tel 01603 493650
e-mail regimental.museum@norfolk.gov.uk

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh

Wow, that's amazing, thank you so much for such a helpful, in-depth, and informative post. I will take a look at the service records of the men listed, as you recommended, and contact the museum to see if they hold any further information. It would be great if they did have a record of him in the casualty book!

 

Thank you again for your help, I will keep you updated!

 

 

On 18/06/2018 at 18:00, JefR said:

Tasha

With my ancestry subscription about to run out I thought I would give it a final fling and have a quick look for service records relevant to your great-grandfather, 41110 FALKNER B, 7th Norfolks.

 

 

 

Service number analysis

 

First, I identified the men with adjacent service numbers around him from the TNA medal index card database, and found that their Norfolk numbers, just as in my father’s case, had been assigned in alphabetical order.   There are 125 names in this alpha/numeric sequence from 41086 CLAYSON Wm. H.T., to 41210 WYKES Colin F.  I haven’t checked through this list for service records, but that could (should?) be done, it depends how thorough you wish to be.

 

 

 

Service records.

 

Instead, I tried a shortcut I discovered when researching my dad’s story. 

 

The only surviving service records I found in my dad’s draft of 100 belonged to men who were killed in action, so I looked in the CWGC records to find soldiers with numbers around that of your GGF.

 

 

 

You’re in luck, it worked here as well (though there may be more service records of men who survived).  There were 10 service records between 41094 CUTLER, E and 41199 TILLYER Wm Charles. (I didn’t check the pension records).  They are:-

 

 

 

41098  DAY, Ernest William 7th Bn

 

41116  FULLER  Percy Edward   7th Bn

 

41161  MOORING  Leslie George  9th Bn

 

41179  RICHARDSON  Raymond Henry  9th Bn

 

41180  RIGDEN  George James   9th Bn

 

41183  ROGERS  Harold Douglas  9th Bn

 

41190  SMITH  Ernest Edward   9th Bn

 

41195  SWAINSBURY  George  9th Bn

 

41196  SWIFT  Horace Arthur  9th Bn

 

41197  TAYLOR  Walter Richard   9th Bn

 

 

 

I’ve had a quick skim through these service records, but again I haven’t studied them, that would need to be done to provide more detail of dates etc.   Very broadly speaking, the men seem to have enlisted in January/February 1917, assembled in the 25th Training Reserve Battalion (though 21 and 27 TRBs are also mentioned). Thereafter, there are references to 249th Inf Bn and 51st (Grad) Bedfordshire Rgt.  The following quote from the Long Long Trail website throws more light –

 

 

 

 

51st (Graduated) Battalion  Bedfordshire Regiment
Up to 26 October 1917, this was known as 249th Graduated Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. Before that it had been 25th Battalion of the Training Reserve…..

 

 

 

The whole contingent of 125 seems to have disembarked in France on 10th January 1918 and to have been split up as replacements into the 7th, 8th. and 9th Norfolks on 13th January at the Infantry Base Depot in Calais (as reported by Ross above).

 

 

 

Medal Rolls

 

Consulting the Medal Rolls show how the contingent was divided.  41086 - c41146 to the 7th Bn, c41147 - c41185 to the 8th Bn (see below) and c41186 – 41199 to the 9th Bn of the Norfolk Regiment.

 

Some of the 8th Bn records also include references to 7th and 9th Bns and once again the Long Long Trail website provides an explanation –

 

8th (Service) Battalion.
12 February 1918 : disbanded in France, officers and men going to 7th and 9th Battalions.

 

I hope this is helpful.

 

 

 

Jef

 

 

 

PS:  previously I’d recommended contacting the Norfolk Regiment Museum, and I still do, but the archives have restricted availability times. It might be best to email to ask if your GGF is in the Casualty Book.  Details are-

 

Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum
Shirehall
Market Ave
Norwich NR1 3JQ Tel 01603 493650
e-mail regimental.museum@norfolk.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, that's amazing, thank you so much for such a helpful, in-depth, and informative post. I will take a look at the service records of the men listed, as you recommended, and contact the museum to see if they hold any further information. It would be great if they did have a record of him in the casualty book!

 

Thank you again for your help, I will keep you updated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
Posted (edited)
On 17/06/2018 at 01:29, JefR said:

Hi Tasha

 

I note that your GGF, 41110 Bertie Falkner b.1899, went to France at the age of 18 and was assigned to the 7th Norfolks on arrival in January 1918.  Russ tells us that he was one of a group of 130 who were transferred to the Norfolks at ”L” Infantry Base Depot in Calais on 13 January 1918.

 

By uncanny coincidence my father, 49085 Thomas Robinson b 1899, went to France at the age of 18 and was assigned to the 7th Norfolks on arrival in April 1918. He was one of a group of 100 who were transferred to the Norfolks at “G” Infantry Based Depot in Etaples on 7 April 1918.

 

Last week (7th June) I posted my dad’s story on the forum under the title “Most WW1 army service records were lost in the 1940 Blitz - but if the record you want is missing, it might now be possible to reconstruct it”.  It currently appears on page 13 of the forum’s “Topics” list.  To find it you could either start on page 13 and continue to page 14, 15 et cetera until you reach it, or alternatively enter a unique phrase from the title like “1940 Blitz - but“ (including the quotes) into the search box, (top right of the forum screen).  When the item comes up, click on the attachment - % A Draft of 100 v02 excl Web.pdf - and it should throw up my dad’s story as a 39-page document.

 

Then, if you work through the process on pages 6 - 13 I think you stand a good chance of finding service records of men who enlisted with your grandfather and if you get four or five that tell the same story you can assume that your great grandfather’s record would follow the same course.  Russ has already identified the first and last of his draft, 41069 Buckman to 41199 Tillyer,  so it’s just a question of slogging through the remaining 128 to get the names and numbers in between and then interrogating Ancestry or FindMyPast  for service records. A long job I know, but the end-point is worth it!  I’d really like to know how it works out.

 

One thing I think you should do straightaway is get in touch with the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum - I can’t put my finger on the telephone number right now but you can Google it -  they have a Casualty Book listing 15,000 men who served with the regiment and were reported killed, wounded or sick during the war -  up to around 9 September 1918.  It’s not yet online but if your GGF was gassed before that date there’s a good chance that details will be recorded and the museum staff will be delighted to help.

 

If you have any problems just get in touch with me, either here on the open forum or via the email contact address in the 39 page document.

 

Best regards

 

Jef

 

Hi Jef, 

 

I got in contact with the Norfolk museum, and they found Bertie on the casualty list. Once for a slight facial wound in March 1918, where he was patched up and returned to duty. And then he was recorded as having been gassed, and admitted to Edinburgh War Hospital, on the 13th of August, 1918. Checking this against the war diary, it does state that on the 12th of August: "the Battalion, area, especially the centre, has been bombarded with [can't understand writing - heavies?] all night, and several casualties inflicted. Some gas has been used.".

 

 

Edited by tashhh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PRC
Posted (edited)

 

Hi,

 

I've refrained from commenting previously as you seem to be in good hands!

 

France to Edinburgh in under 48 hours seems unlikely - I'd suggest the War Diary entries for the 6th and 7th August 1918 might be more relevant.

 

6th August 1918.

 

At about 4 am the enemy bombarded the battalion area, a great deal of gas shells being employed. It afterwards became known that the enemy had attacked the Division on our immediate right and had penetrated to their support line to just off our right flank. Steps were immediately taken to establish a defensive flank. B Coy did exceedingly good work in maintaining connection with the battalion on our right and a message was afterwards received from the Battalion and Brigade on our right thanking us for our support and commenting on the splendid spirit of co-operation that was shown.

 

7th August 1918

 

Front Line West of Morlancourt

 

A counter-attack partially restored the situation on our right.

 

Orders have been received that the 35th Brigade will attack the enemy in conjunction with troops on our right on zero day and preparations are being made. The Battalion, in conjunction with the 9th Essex on our left is to make good and consolidate a line immediately in front of and north of MORLANCOURT. This is to take place 2 hours after a general attack by the troops on our right flank. A Coy is to be on the left and B Coy on the right. C Coy were to have been on the right of B, but later orders have been received that the 1/1 Cambs will attack on our right.

 

Late this evening when the Companies were moving into assembly positions, rations and stores for the attack were being delivered, the enemy laid down a heavy gas bombardment, mustard gas being largely used. A number of slight casualties were caused.

 

(My highlights)

 

However Gas was widely used by both sides at this point, with pockets sometimes trapped in cellars and shell-holes or contaminating bedding and clothing, so he may not have been wounded immediately.

 

The Battalion War Diary available from the National Archive is very light on appendices, which have probably gone "walkies" over the years :-(  For some units its in the appendices that you are more likely to find details of actual numbers killed \ wounded \ missing on a daily basis, although seldom down to individual names.

You may have more joy looking at the Brigade War Diary for the same period, as a copy of the each units' war diary was included. There seems to be a greater likelihood that the appendices are still present in the Brigade War Diaries. The relevant diary for the 35th Brigade for July-August 1918 is held at the National Archive under reference

WO 95/1849/2

(I believe to find it on Ancestry you need to lose the /2 but I'm not a expert, having never used Ancestry for that purpose)

 

For additional context, the official Regimental History for both the Norfolk Regiment and the 12th Division are available online, (although the site hosting them is a little bit "clunky")

http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/infantry-histories/library/The-Norfolk-Regiment-1685-1918-Vol-2/HTML/index.asp

http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/divisional-histories/library/History-of-the-12th-Eastern-Division-in-the-Great-War/HTML/index.asp

 

If he carried on serving after 1921 his service records, including those covering his Great War service, would be held by the Ministry of Defence. Under a Freedom of Information request the MoD have released basic details, (surname, initials, dob) for all servicemen born before 1901 whose records they still hold. Unfortunately they've split them over 8 spreadsheets, with no rhyme or reason as to what each one represents. I through someone on this forum had consolidated them all and made it available, but of course now I can't find it. The original release can be seen here:-

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foi-responses-released-by-mod-week-commencing-1-december-2014

 

Finally, its always worth checking local newspapers from the time - they can be an absolute goldmine. If you can't get to the relevant County Archive, then the British Newspaper Archive is well worth a try. If you're UK based then all local Libraries should have unlimited free access, after which its a case of whether the site  has anything from the locality your interested in.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by PRC
Formatting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JefR

Tasha

 

I’m really pleased that the Norfolk Museum found your GGF in the casualty book - they have an excellent service.  Purely for interest what does his entry say?

 

I think Peter (PRC) is quite right.  The medical services were remarkably good, but from the Front to Edinburgh in 48 hours does seem improbable.  I agree with his suggestion of 6th/7th August for Bertie’s gas exposure - it seems more likely.

 

Coincidentally, I figured my dad was gassed on one of those dates too, and he was admitted to the 6th Gen Hospital in Rouen 48 hours later on 9th August, which I thought was very efficient.  If something similar happened to Bertie he could have spent a couple of days in a base hospital near the French coast before crossing the channel, then a train to Edinburgh to arrive on the 13th.

 

I've attached a PDF copy of my dad's story - you'll find a trench map of where the gassing incidents took place on page 20.

 

% A Draft of 100 v02 excl Web.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
On 25/06/2018 at 16:38, PRC said:

 

Hi,

 

I've refrained from commenting previously as you seem to be in good hands!

 

France to Edinburgh in under 48 hours seems unlikely - I'd suggest the War Diary entries for the 6th and 7th August 1918 might be more relevant.

 

6th August 1918.

 

At about 4 am the enemy bombarded the battalion area, a great deal of gas shells being employed. It afterwards became known that the enemy had attacked the Division on our immediate right and had penetrated to their support line to just off our right flank. Steps were immediately taken to establish a defensive flank. B Coy did exceedingly good work in maintaining connection with the battalion on our right and a message was afterwards received from the Battalion and Brigade on our right thanking us for our support and commenting on the splendid spirit of co-operation that was shown.

 

7th August 1918

 

Front Line West of Morlancourt

 

A counter-attack partially restored the situation on our right.

 

Orders have been received that the 35th Brigade will attack the enemy in conjunction with troops on our right on zero day and preparations are being made. The Battalion, in conjunction with the 9th Essex on our left is to make good and consolidate a line immediately in front of and north of MORLANCOURT. This is to take place 2 hours after a general attack by the troops on our right flank. A Coy is to be on the left and B Coy on the right. C Coy were to have been on the right of B, but later orders have been received that the 1/1 Cambs will attack on our right.

 

Late this evening when the Companies were moving into assembly positions, rations and stores for the attack were being delivered, the enemy laid down a heavy gas bombardment, mustard gas being largely used. A number of slight casualties were caused.

 

(My highlights)

 

However Gas was widely used by both sides at this point, with pockets sometimes trapped in cellars and shell-holes or contaminating bedding and clothing, so he may not have been wounded immediately.

 

The Battalion War Diary available from the National Archive is very light on appendices, which have probably gone "walkies" over the years :-(  For some units its in the appendices that you are more likely to find details of actual numbers killed \ wounded \ missing on a daily basis, although seldom down to individual names.

You may have more joy looking at the Brigade War Diary for the same period, as a copy of the each units' war diary was included. There seems to be a greater likelihood that the appendices are still present in the Brigade War Diaries. The relevant diary for the 35th Brigade for July-August 1918 is held at the National Archive under reference

WO 95/1849/2

(I believe to find it on Ancestry you need to lose the /2 but I'm not a expert, having never used Ancestry for that purpose)

 

For additional context, the official Regimental History for both the Norfolk Regiment and the 12th Division are available online, (although the site hosting them is a little bit "clunky")

http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/infantry-histories/library/The-Norfolk-Regiment-1685-1918-Vol-2/HTML/index.asp

http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/divisional-histories/library/History-of-the-12th-Eastern-Division-in-the-Great-War/HTML/index.asp

 

If he carried on serving after 1921 his service records, including those covering his Great War service, would be held by the Ministry of Defence. Under a Freedom of Information request the MoD have released basic details, (surname, initials, dob) for all servicemen born before 1901 whose records they still hold. Unfortunately they've split them over 8 spreadsheets, with no rhyme or reason as to what each one represents. I through someone on this forum had consolidated them all and made it available, but of course now I can't find it. The original release can be seen here:-

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foi-responses-released-by-mod-week-commencing-1-december-2014

 

Finally, its always worth checking local newspapers from the time - they can be an absolute goldmine. If you can't get to the relevant County Archive, then the British Newspaper Archive is well worth a try. If you're UK based then all local Libraries should have unlimited free access, after which its a case of whether the site  has anything from the locality your interested in.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for those excerpts and for pointing me to the more likely dates he was gassed. 

 

I bought the 35th Brigade war diary, which gives detailed outlines of the activities and plans / strategies of the group, but sadly, no mention by name or otherwise, of my great-grandfather. 

 

I was unable to find Bertie in local newspapers, nor on the spreadsheets you linked me to. Is it possible his records are not available? He definitely served after WW1, so I can't see why he wouldn't be there.

 

Thank you for all of your help so far, I really appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
Posted (edited)
On 25/06/2018 at 19:50, JefR said:

Tasha

 

I’m really pleased that the Norfolk Museum found your GGF in the casualty book - they have an excellent service.  Purely for interest what does his entry say?

 

I think Peter (PRC) is quite right.  The medical services were remarkably good, but from the Front to Edinburgh in 48 hours does seem improbable.  I agree with his suggestion of 6th/7th August for Bertie’s gas exposure - it seems more likely.

 

Coincidentally, I figured my dad was gassed on one of those dates too, and he was admitted to the 6th Gen Hospital in Rouen 48 hours later on 9th August, which I thought was very efficient.  If something similar happened to Bertie he could have spent a couple of days in a base hospital near the French coast before crossing the channel, then a train to Edinburgh to arrive on the 13th.

 

I've attached a PDF copy of my dad's story - you'll find a trench map of where the gassing incidents took place on page 20.

 

% A Draft of 100 v02 excl Web.pdf

 

It says he was admitted with "ICT face slt" in March, and "gassed. Edinburgh War Hospital, Bangor? West Lothian" in August. I have attached the page with him on, so you can see for yourself, as you may pick something up I do not!

 

Your research into your dad's career is incredible. All of your research into the 7th's positions and movements, etc., is that all relevant for Bertie? Does all that information apply to him and his activities, too?

 

Thanks!

Casualty List.jpg

Screenshot (199).png

Screenshot (200).png

Edited by tashhh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JefR

Hi Tasha

That’s great.  The casualty book images have turned out well, they’re very clear and take things a step further.

It appears that "I.C.T." is usually defined as “Inflammation of connective tissue” - which doesn’t mean a great deal to a layman like me, but as you have said it was “slight” so it doesn’t seem to have been too much of a problem - probably meriting a well-earned rest at the 3rd Canadian Gen Hospital at Dammes - Camiers some 15 km south of Boulogne.

Following the gassing incident in August 1918, Bertie was treated at the Bangour War Hospital some 14 miles out of Edinburgh near Broxburn (source LLT).  There is no indication that he was treated at a base hospital in France before being shipped to the UK but I think it unlikely that he was sent from the front at Morlancourt directly to Edinburgh.  Most probably the casualty reports from the base hospitals never reached Norfolk, or the clerks who compiled the casualty book missed them.

The average recovery time from mustard gas exposure was around six weeks, but there’s no information here to tell us whether or not Bertie did in fact return to the front as my father did at the beginning of October, but I tend to think that he would have done because he was still with the regiment when it went to India after the war.

Thank you for your kind comment on my father’s story.  You can take it that Bertie’s movements would be the same as my father’s at the Battalion level - at least up to 8th August, bearing in mind that we don’t know when, or if, your GGF returned to duty from the Edinburgh hospital - but obviously at company level, for example the shelling incident on 28th April, he would not be involved unless he had been in “C” Coy.   

Best regards

Jef.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
45 minutes ago, JefR said:

Hi Tasha

 

That’s great.  The casualty book images have turned out well, they’re very clear and take things a step further.

 

It appears that "I.C.T." is usually defined as “Inflammation of connective tissue” - which doesn’t mean a great deal to a layman like me, but as you have said it was “slight” so it doesn’t seem to have been too much of a problem - probably meriting a well-earned rest at the 3rd Canadian Gen Hospital at Dammes - Camiers some 15 km south of Boulogne.

 

Following the gassing incident in August 1918, Bertie was treated at the Bangour War Hospital some 14 miles out of Edinburgh near Broxburn (source LLT).  There is no indication that he was treated at a base hospital in France before being shipped to the UK but I think it unlikely that he was sent from the front at Morlancourt directly to Edinburgh.  Most probably the casualty reports from the base hospitals never reached Norfolk, or the clerks who compiled the casualty book missed them.

 

The average recovery time from mustard gas exposure was around six weeks, but there’s no information here to tell us whether or not Bertie did in fact return to the front as my father did at the beginning of October, but I tend to think that he would have done because he was still with the regiment when it went to India after the war.

 

Thank you for your kind comment on my father’s story.  You can take it that Bertie’s movements would be the same as my father’s at the Battalion level - at least up to 8th August, bearing in mind that we don’t know when, or if, your GGF returned to duty from the Edinburgh hospital - but obviously at company level, for example the shelling incident on 28th April, he would not be involved unless he had been in “C” Coy.   

 

Best regards

 

Jef.

Hi,

 

Thank you for your helpful response. So as per your publication, which states:

 

 The 7th Bn of the Norfolk Regt. had been holding the line in the vicinity of Albert in the Somme region when the weight of the German offensive fell upon them on 21st March, and their losses were heavy. In the ten remaining days of that month 11 officers and men were reported killed, 80 wounded and 212 missing.”,

 

would Bertie have sustained this facial injury during this time?

The 7th bn. war diary has an entry for the 22nd, where it notes “enemy [word unclear] shells fell in the town of Eslavres, and several of our men were wounded.” Is this related? Bertie was listed as injured on the 23rd of March.

 

That’s great that I am able to use your research to discover his movements and make sense of them a bit better. Is it within the realms of possibility that my great-grandfather knew your father?

 

How would I find out whether he was in “C” Coy or which one he was in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JefR

Hi Tasha

 

It is extremely rare that we can be quite certain of the date and time when a private soldier was wounded.  The battalion diary almost never names ordinary soldiers in that context, so we are cast into the realms of inference and probability.   In this case, I think it possible (I might even be drawn towards “likely”), that he was wounded when the town of Estaires was shelled in the evening of 22nd March as you suggest (the unclear word I think is “some”).   It seems that the battalion was camped near to the town, so perhaps some of the men took a stroll to see if there was any egg and chips to be had!

 

The diary tells us that the shelling took place in the evening and we know that his injury was slight and therefore not urgent, so we could speculate that it may have been after midnight by the time he was treated in the Regimental Aid Post or Field Ambulance and the first medical report of his injury might thus have been dated 23rd March, as reported in the Norfolk Regiment casualty book.

 

Could he have known my father?   Well, I guess it’s not impossible.  They did have something in common - they were both 18 years old which was unusual at that time - though it rapidly became commonplace.  I’ve read one estimate that said that half of the British Army in 1918 was aged 19 or less.

 

How could you find out which company he was in?  I’m afraid there is no formal way to do that, but you may find evidence accidentally.  It’s rare, but not unknown, for a man’s company to show up on his Medal Index Card, Medal Role entry, Silver War Badge record or other documentation and if you’re fortunate enough to collect sufficient information you may be lucky - but it’s very much a long shot.  As you know I was able to relate a story that my dad told me when I was very young to an incident involving ‘C’ Coy in the Battalion diary.  I can’t prove it, but I choose to believe it !

 

Good hunting

.

Jef

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PRC
13 hours ago, tashhh said:

I was unable to find Bertie in local newspapers, nor on the spreadsheets you linked me to. Is it possible his records are not available? He definitely served after WW1, so I can't see why he wouldn't be there.

 

First - the "local" newspapers. Are you sure you knew where the family were living at this time - it might be worth while trying to track down the official casualty lists from the period to see what "town" was shown against his name. These towns were actually the location of the next of kin. You may also have to widen the time period of your search - he might not get a mention until he comes home on convalescent leave or even when he returns to the front.

 

Another good check is the Absent Voter Lists from 1918 & 1919. The Representation of the People Act of 1918 not only extended the vote to some women but also removed the property conditions for men aged 21 and over, and lowered the age of voting to 18 for men in the armed forces. As a consequence a massive overhaul of the electoral registers was required, with many of the new voters being absent from their home address - hence the need for a formalised Absent Voters List.

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/finding-soldiers-through-the-1918-absent-voters-lists/

May be worthwhile contacting the Northamptonshire Archives to see if they hold a copy - it may also help give an insight into the rest of the family if he had any siblings who were serving.

 

I suspect his records are in those spreadsheets somewhere - although there is the possibility that with the pressure on storage space they may have been weeded over and over again until there was nothing left. I've got no experience in that field and was hoping someone might join the thread who did.

 

8 hours ago, tashhh said:

How would I find out whether he was in “C” Coy or which one he was in?

 

I second Jef's comments - without a source like his service records or something personal such as letters, notes on photographs, etc, then you are probably out of luck. The Army had no inclination to keep the mimutiae of everyday military life like rolls calls. Added to which with the casualties over the remaining months of the war Companys were reorganised, so even if you could track down his Company at one point there is no guarantee he was with it all the way through.

 

However, on a slight tangent, the Norfolk County Archive has an online picture gallery. This includes at least 68 pictures from the photo album of an Officer who served with the 2nd Norfolks in the meediate post-war years. He seems to be mainly B Company, but there are pictures of other ranks from all over the battalion as part of various sporting teams, as well as locations where the battalion was located. You might want to check through in case you can spot your great-grandad.

 

The 68 pictures come up with a search " Burton, Henry Merceron " -  he's the officer concerned.

https://norfolk.spydus.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/PICNOR/HOME

 

Have fun :-)

 

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
On 27/06/2018 at 19:01, JefR said:

Hi Tasha

 

 

 

It is extremely rare that we can be quite certain of the date and time when a private soldier was wounded.  The battalion diary almost never names ordinary soldiers in that context, so we are cast into the realms of inference and probability.   In this case, I think it possible (I might even be drawn towards “likely”), that he was wounded when the town of Estaires was shelled in the evening of 22nd March as you suggest (the unclear word I think is “some”).   It seems that the battalion was camped near to the town, so perhaps some of the men took a stroll to see if there was any egg and chips to be had!

 

 

 

The diary tells us that the shelling took place in the evening and we know that his injury was slight and therefore not urgent, so we could speculate that it may have been after midnight by the time he was treated in the Regimental Aid Post or Field Ambulance and the first medical report of his injury might thus have been dated 23rd March, as reported in the Norfolk Regiment casualty book.

 

 

 

Could he have known my father?   Well, I guess it’s not impossible.  They did have something in common - they were both 18 years old which was unusual at that time - though it rapidly became commonplace.  I’ve read one estimate that said that half of the British Army in 1918 was aged 19 or less.

 

 

 

How could you find out which company he was in?  I’m afraid there is no formal way to do that, but you may find evidence accidentally.  It’s rare, but not unknown, for a man’s company to show up on his Medal Index Card, Medal Role entry, Silver War Badge record or other documentation and if you’re fortunate enough to collect sufficient information you may be lucky - but it’s very much a long shot.  As you know I was able to relate a story that my dad told me when I was very young to an incident involving ‘C’ Coy in the Battalion diary.  I can’t prove it, but I choose to believe it !

 

 

 

 

Good hunting

.

Jef

 

 

Well thank you for all of your help. I am thinking I will now pay £30 and very much hope they hold his records. At least that will clear up some of the mystery of his post-WW1 career! I'll let you know what I discover!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
On 27/06/2018 at 23:33, PRC said:

 

First - the "local" newspapers. Are you sure you knew where the family were living at this time - it might be worth while trying to track down the official casualty lists from the period to see what "town" was shown against his name. These towns were actually the location of the next of kin. You may also have to widen the time period of your search - he might not get a mention until he comes home on convalescent leave or even when he returns to the front.

 

Another good check is the Absent Voter Lists from 1918 & 1919. The Representation of the People Act of 1918 not only extended the vote to some women but also removed the property conditions for men aged 21 and over, and lowered the age of voting to 18 for men in the armed forces. As a consequence a massive overhaul of the electoral registers was required, with many of the new voters being absent from their home address - hence the need for a formalised Absent Voters List.

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/finding-soldiers-through-the-1918-absent-voters-lists/

May be worthwhile contacting the Northamptonshire Archives to see if they hold a copy - it may also help give an insight into the rest of the family if he had any siblings who were serving.

 

I suspect his records are in those spreadsheets somewhere - although there is the possibility that with the pressure on storage space they may have been weeded over and over again until there was nothing left. I've got no experience in that field and was hoping someone might join the thread who did.

 

 

I second Jef's comments - without a source like his service records or something personal such as letters, notes on photographs, etc, then you are probably out of luck. The Army had no inclination to keep the mimutiae of everyday military life like rolls calls. Added to which with the casualties over the remaining months of the war Companys were reorganised, so even if you could track down his Company at one point there is no guarantee he was with it all the way through.

 

However, on a slight tangent, the Norfolk County Archive has an online picture gallery. This includes at least 68 pictures from the photo album of an Officer who served with the 2nd Norfolks in the meediate post-war years. He seems to be mainly B Company, but there are pictures of other ranks from all over the battalion as part of various sporting teams, as well as locations where the battalion was located. You might want to check through in case you can spot your great-grandad.

 

The 68 pictures come up with a search " Burton, Henry Merceron " -  he's the officer concerned.

https://norfolk.spydus.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/PICNOR/HOME

 

Have fun :-)

 

Peter

 

I am unable to find anything at all that is even similar on those spreadsheets, but I am hopeful that the MOD have his records. I am going to pay for them and fingers-crossed they send me something back!

 

I took a look at the photo gallery, and there is one photo where it COULD be Bertie. It is very pixelated when I zoom in, but there is a similarity between a soldier there, and Bertie's photos. I have only five photos of Bertie, there are no others any other relative has. He is probably 40+ in one, and the other 4 are of him as young man, from WW1 through to what looks like it could be his wedding day. I tried to compare the facial shots to the soldier, ears, jaw, etc., but I fear I may just be being hopeful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JefR

Thanks Tasha for your offer to keep me informed, I would like to know how your service records search turns out.

 

Jef

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JOVE23

As I understand it, if he served post 1920 the MOD should still have custody of his service file.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tashhh
6 hours ago, JOVE23 said:

As I understand it, if he served post 1920 the MOD should still have custody of his service file.

 

I have spoke to them today, and they told me that if they don't have any of his records, they will refund the fee, which is great! So I have completed the application forms, and just need to get a cheque for them. I haven't used one of those in my life, but I assume banks have them?! Haha.

 

I will keep you all posted!!

Also, the centre photo here is one from the 2nd Norfolk collection suggested by PRC.

 

I am unsure. Could this be Bertie? The two either side for comparison are of him.

 

Thanks.

 

maybe.jpg.e05f94322381dd6809def99482769497.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×