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Chanuter

Battalion Affiliation on Medal Card

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Chanuter

A researcher informed me that my Grandfather's KRRC Bn. number was located on his medal card. Does anyone have a clue where this data is, on the medal card? He was a young volunteer at the time (14 years old), in 1916, and joined through Canada as a runaway American. I now have his medal card, but the researcher's indication of an affiliation with the 18th Bn. (Arts and Crafts) is elusive to me. How does one know by looking at a medal card? Many Thanks. 

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Ron Clifton

Battalions are not usually shown on the medal cards, although they are shown in the medal roll itself, to which the cards are an index.

 

Ron

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ss002d6252
12 minutes ago, Chanuter said:

A researcher informed me that my Grandfather's KRRC Bn. number was located on his medal card. Does anyone have a clue where this data is, on the medal card? He was a young volunteer at the time (14 years old), in 1916, and joined through Canada as a runaway American. I now have his medal card, but the researcher's indication of an affiliation with the 18th Bn. (Arts and Crafts) is elusive to me. How does one know by looking at a medal card? Many Thanks.  

What's his name and number.

Craig

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Chanuter

Hi Craig

 

He was: 60577 Rfn. William Dixon Alstrand KRRC

I very much appreciate the response, it may solve an age old family mystery. I have a small format photo of him taken at some point, he looks terrified. On the reverse, in handwriting is "60577 Alstrand Wm. Verified by" Then a stamp: "E. M. Allen Major No. 4 Company Repatriation Camp KRR

Cheers, and Gratitude

-Gary

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MBrockway
Posted (edited)

My researches only place 60577 Rfn William ALSTRAND in the KRRC's 5th Battalion, which was a Reserve battalion based in the UK at Sheerness.

 

His medal entitlement was for the British War Medal only, not the Victory Medal, which strongly suggests he never went overseas before the Armistice.

 

It is possible he was posted to the British Army of Occupation in the Rhineland in 1919, which might perhaps explain a photo stamped 'Repatriation Camp', or alternatively he might have served as part of the establishment of such a camp rather than one its 'customers'.

 

The KRRC's 18th Battalion did indeed serve in the Rhineland Army in 1919 and 1920, but so did several others.

 

There is nothing in William's MIC or his service number that directly points to 18/KRRC.

 

His Service Number is certainly a late war enlistment.

 

Do you have further biographical info on William?  Approx birth date, approx home address etc.?

 

Does the Repatriation Camp photo have a date stamp?

 

The more we have to go on, the more chance of us turning up something useful for you.

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

His medal roll entry ...

 

1943523707_ALSTRANDBWMroll.jpg.6855f208ebddc218b3268431ad5e740c.jpg

Edited by MBrockway

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helpjpl
Posted (edited)

According to US WWII Draft Cards and California Death Index, William Dixon Alstrand was born 26 March 1902 in Chicago, Illinois.

 

US Residents serving in the BEF 1917-1919:

Alstrand, William D.jpg

 

JP

Edited by helpjpl

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ss002d6252
Posted (edited)

#60579 was called up 19 June 1918 so if he served in 1917 he had an earlier service number. These numbers seem to have been issued to 18 year old conscript.

 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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MBrockway
3 hours ago, helpjpl said:

According to US WWII Draft Cards and California Death Index, William Dixon Alstrand was born 26 March 1902 in Chicago, Illinois.

 

US Residents serving in the BEF 1917-1919:

Alstrand, William D.jpg

 

JP

 

JP - excellent find, but this card says he was born in Canada on 26 Mar 1900, that he was a Canadian national, that he enlisted in San Francisco, California, travelled to Chicago and thence to Windsor, Nova Scotia, where he embarked for the UK on 05 Aug 1918.

 

Such a recruit would typically have then reported to the Rifle Depot in Winchester, where he would be issued with a Service Number and uniform and then posted to a training (i.e. 'Reserve') battalion, such as 5/KRRC at Sheerness, where he would receive Basic Training and some unit training before being posted out to a KRRC battalion in theatre. 

 

This training would typically take several months, so if Alstrand left Nova Scotia in early August, it is highly likely he was still in training in England at the Armistice on 11 Nov 1918.

 

I am pretty confident this man went out to Germany as part of the British Army of Occupation in the Rhineland.  18/KRRC were one of several KRRC battalions in this force.  A large number of men joined 18/KRRC in a single draft from the UK in Apr 1918, but smaller replenishments drafts were sent out all the time.

 

Once the peace as formalised in mi 1919 the BAOR began to be reduced.  He is likely to have been demobilized and repatriated in the second half of 1919 or in early 1920.

 

We can rule out any involvement in the North Russia campaign in 1919 as part of the joint KRRC/RB force sent out - this would have included Victory Medal entitlement, which he does not have.

 

Non UK nationals who had volunteered, were generally given the fare back to their home country if they requested it.

 

Nominal rolls for the BAOR units and lists of demobbed men are not easy to find, so we will be very lucky to get any further confirmation for this man.

 

HTH

Mark

 

 

 

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MBrockway
Posted (edited)

Edit - other US records seem to point to his birth year being 1902 and contradict other facts on this card.

 

He appears to have returned to the Berkeley, California area, married Hildur Margaret Blomstad in 1923, been employed by the US Postal Service, been an amateur professional magician, finally dying in May 1983.

 

The summary info from his California marriage record has his birthplace as Illinois.  It is possible he made out he was a Canadian national when volunteering in 1918 to make the process easier (but see the quote from the magic wiki below).  Obviously he would also have to move his birth year back to 1900 to meet the minimum enlisting age.

 

There's a picture of him on an Ancestry member's public page in what certainly could be a KRRC Great War uniform (black buttons), but my free access to Ancestry this weekend does not extend to letting me view it in anything but this thumbnail!

 

c74c1758-7b16-480b-ba47-ff4999bdde09.jpg

 

This magic wiki has some further contradictory info, though it certainly seems to be the same man ...

Quote

William Alstrand

 

Born: Evald William Alstrand, March 26, 1902. Chicago, Illinois

Died: May 6, 1983 (age 81). Martinez, Calfornia

Resting place: Berkeley, California

Flourished: 1930s-60s

 

William Dixon "Poogie Poogie" Alstrand (1902-1983), of Swedish decent, was a San Franscisco area professional, club and stage show magician.

 

Biography

He adopted the name "Poogie Poogie" from the magic words used by his friend William J. Armstrong. Alstand also used those words over and over as a trademark magic word. His classic effect was the Passe Passe bottles, which was written up in Hugard's Magic Monthly.

 

Alstrand was a member of the S.A.M., I.B.M. and Oakland Magic Circle.

 

He served in the Canadian Army from 1916-1918 (at the age of 14 - 16 years old), a short stint in the U.S. Marines from 1919-1921 - and a rather long bit in the California National Guard, from approximately 1923-1938 and then in the USO (frequently under fire) in the Pacific and finally Europe during WWII.

 

Alstrand did school shows in 1960s and in 1979 he was the surprise performer at the annual IBM Ring No. 38 (San Fransisco) Installation Banquet.

 

 

See here: https://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php?title=William_Alstrand

 

Mark

 

Edited by MBrockway
He was a professional magician, not an amateur

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Stebie9173
Posted (edited)

There are a couple of pages of "5th KRRC" men with just the BWM entitlement on the adjacent pages. The rarer names seem to link to men from the USA. There is a "pension record" for 60569 Arthur Shreeves from Chicago - enlisted in Chicago on 13-8-1918 and joined 5th KRRC at Sheerness in the UK on 30-9-1918. Unfortunately the record is rather sparse. Arthur Shreeves has a US citizens in the BEF card as well showing that he came through Windsor, Nova Scotia as well. He seems to be noted as "Colored".

 

There are cards for 60563 Austin Brathwaite (also noted as Colored, from British West Indies), 60572 Charles Esdaile (Colored, B.W.I.) and Wellesley Thorburn (same). I suspect most of this group came from the US on one ship via Nova Scotia some time in August 1918.

 

There are two pictures of William Dixon Alstrand on Ancestry. One with Canadian collar badges (and patterned buttons) and a second in British kit with dark buttons as used by Rifle regiments.

 

 

Steve.

 

Edited by Stebie9173

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Stebie9173
Posted (edited)

Ave_ww1_cane.jpg.7c5fd27e3f0a4dc6a4d926fc3774d0d0.jpg

 

Here is the pic Mark, I can make out a KRRC badge on his cap.

 

I will remove the picture if Chanuter is the owner and you don't want it posted.

 

Here is the Canadian pic:

 

 

Ave_wwi_sneer.jpg

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173

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MBrockway
Posted (edited)

It is in the public domain Steve - I've just found a version sized somewhere in the middle of yours and the thumbnail here:

http://www.alstrand.com/photos_ave/pages/Ave_1915_ww1_cane.htm

Ave_1915_ww1_cane.jpg

The above site seems to have mistakenly placed the KRRC in the Canadian Army.

 

The site may well be Pal chanuter's own site - its author is a grandson of William Alstrand and, as a big Goon Show fan, clearly an A1 chap :thumbsup:.

 

This photo on the same site has him clearly in a Canadian Army uniform - Canadian collar dogs clearly visible:

http://www.alstrand.com/photos_ave/pages/Ave_1915_wwi_sneer.htm

 

Ave_1915_wwi_sneer.jpg

 

Edited by MBrockway

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Stebie9173
Posted (edited)

I am intrigued with the BWM entitlement - the cut-off date for the BWM is of course 11-11-1918 and those serving only in the army in Germany after the war in 1918-1919 were not entitled. One thought is that perhaps he arrived in the B.E.F. in literally the last couple of days of the war, was entitled to the BWM but not the Victory Medal? But I thought France would class as a theatre of war regardless? Or did being in Nova Scotia (i.e. outside the UK) entitle them despite it being BEFORE they got to the UK?

 

Arthur Shreeves records shows only UK service but he is entitled to the BWM.

 

 

My feeling is that the Magic Circle biography is largely correct except for missing out his British Army service in 1918-1919.

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173

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MBrockway

I should add that the KRRC has a particular tradition of attracting US citizen volunteers - partly from its elite regiment status, but, more importantly perhaps, from the regiment's origins as the Royal Americans, raised on what became the US Eastern seaboard.

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helpjpl
2 hours ago, MBrockway said:

 

JP - excellent find, but this card says he was born in Canada on 26 Mar 1900, that he was a Canadian national

 

 

William lied about his place and year of birth to the BEF.

 

US 1920 Census:

WD Alstrand, (17) born Illinois, living with his parent and siblings - Alfred, Clara and Ruth - at 1641 Carlton, Berkeley, California - the same address as 'US Residents serving in the BEF 1917-1919'.

 

He also appears on another 1920 US Census:

William Alstrand, age 18 born Illinois, a Private with the Rifle Range Detachment at Vallejo, Solano, California.

 

Can't find any CEF papers for him.

 

JP

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ss002d6252
Posted (edited)
Quote

I am intrigued with the BWM entitlement - the cut-off date for the BWM is of course 11-11-1918 and those serving only in the army in Germany after the war in 1918-1919 were not entitled. One thought is that perhaps he arrived in the B.E.F. in literally the last couple of days of the war, was entitled to the BWM but not the Victory Medal? But I thought France would class as a theatre of war regardless? Or did being in Nova Scotia (i.e. outside the UK) entitle them despite it being BEFORE they got to the UK?

 

Arthur Shreeves records shows only UK service but he is entitled to the BWM. 

Something in the back of my head says that providing you had left the place of entlistment and proceeded overseas you could qualify for the BWM (in the same way as a UK enlistment had to leave the UK). Can anyone else confirm (or refute ) ?

Quote

 

Officers and men of the British Army, including Dominion and Colonial forces, were required to have either entered an active theatre of war or to have left the United Kingdom for service overseas between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918, and to have completed 28 days mobilised service.

 

 

 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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MBrockway

Steve,

I was following that line myself, but lunch interrupted!

 

I looked at the men on the medal roll either side to a depth of 5-10 in each direction and ALL appear on the US Residents Serving in the British Expeditionary Forces, 1917-1919 data source on Ancestry and all have similar August 1918 dates with the majority embarking through Windsor, Nova Scotia.

 

My next move was to hunt for a service record for one or more of them.  You finding Shreeves is excellent.

 

JP - I drew a blank on a CEF record for him also.  The KRRC had a lot of affiliations with Canadian rifles regiments, so it's possible he volunteered as a Boy soldier in such a Canadian unit and then volunteered into the KRRC on getting close enough to pass for 18 years old.

 

One thing's for sure - he was very motivated to get into the action!  He seems to be quite a character!

 

Mark

 

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Stebie9173

A further piece for the puzzle:

 

Arthur Shreeves (who did get a BWM) has SWB roll entry that confirms he did not served overseas. Not that the service record is ambiguous.

 

 

Steve.

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MBrockway
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Stebie9173 said:

I am intrigued with the BWM entitlement - the cut-off date for the BWM is of course 11-11-1918 and those serving only in the army in Germany after the war in 1918-1919 were not entitled. One thought is that perhaps he arrived in the B.E.F. in literally the last couple of days of the war, was entitled to the BWM but not the Victory Medal? But I thought France would class as a theatre of war regardless? Or did being in Nova Scotia (i.e. outside the UK) entitle them despite it being BEFORE they got to the UK?

 

Arthur Shreeves records shows only UK service but he is entitled to the BWM.

 

 

 

Steve.

 

4 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

Something in the back of my heard says that providing you had left the place of entlistment and proceeded overseas you could qualify for the BWM (in the same way as a UK enlistment had to leave the UK). Can anyone else confirm (or refute ) ?

Craig

 

I agree with Craig - I think the deciding factor is that he/they crossed a sea other than the UK home waters from his/their place of residence, despite the fact that in this case they actually landed in the UK.

 

Any sea voyage during the Great War involved a certain amount of risk of enemy action.

 

Army Order AO 266 of 1919, which authorised the Award of the BWM has this wording:

 

Quote

The medal in silver will, provided the claims are approved by the competent military authorities, be granted to the undermentioned classes who entered on duty theatres of war, during periods and within spheres as defined in Army Order 391 of 1922 or, who left their places of residence and rendered approved service overseas, other than the waters dividing the different parts of the United Kingdom, between 5th August, 1914, and 11th November, 1918, both dates inclusive.

 

Edited by MBrockway

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Chanuter

Hello All,

Firstly, allow me to express such gratitude to all who have responded, I am gob-smacked. Thank You. I had surrendered all thoughts of finding out more about him and his service back in 80s, when the Canadian Govt. replied to my letters that he did not exist. I am so grateful. We were brought up with his stories of the war, and some of his activities. He spoke about combat - disembarking at the French port he pronounced as "Boo-Log-Nee"... but now, it may be a different story.

He was born on 22 March, 1902 in Chicago

At the time of enlistment (1916), he lived at 1641 Carlton Avenue, Berkeley, California

He enlisted at a Canadian recruiting office in San Francisco, CA.

The photos I have of him show him with the blackened KRRC cap badge and maple leaves on the collar.

The Repatriation Camp photo is not dated, unfortunately.

The photos that are posted are in my collection, my brother Dennis is the family tree fellow, who posted the Ancestry pages, and we are both Goon fans (of course, who is not?). The remarkable thing, besides all of you amazing individuals, is that almost everything contradicts the stories we were brought up on. I suppose I could find a way to understand it, but his life was so amazing that it seems so unnecessary to embellish any truth about his WWI service. We were told of his sniping, etc. In any event, I do not know how to thank people such as all of you, you are truly amazing. Just amazing - thank you so much.

Yes, his magic - he was always pulling coins out of our ears!

Gary Alstrand (Chanuter) 

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Chanuter

Hello All,

I have attached the reverse side of the photo posted above, the one with no cap and Canadian collar devices. Perhaps there is something here that I am not seeing. Gratitude to all.

The handwriting states "Rfn Alstrand Wm. Verified by KRR"

Cheers,

-Gary

Reverse Repatriation Photo.jpg

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MBrockway

I'm still hunting for this Major E.M. Allen, in the KRRC.  So far the only chap I have found was in the Hampshire Regiment, but I've only done a cursory search in the 1919 Army Lists.

 

There is of course no reason why the officers of a Repatriation Camp handling KRRC men (presumably among many other regiments) would need to have KRRC officers.

 

The writing really only states that Alstrand is confirmed as being in the KRRC and an officer from any regiment could do this.

 

What is more puzzling is why a man confirmed as a member of the KRRC, a British Army regiment, is wearing a Canadian Army uniform in the photo on the reverse.  He does seem to have rifles buttons, but I'm unsure which Canadian Army units used these - there were certainly some: the KRRC had several affiliated Canadian rifle regiments.

 

Mark

 

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Loader

What an  intriguing story so far! Is it possible that he did join the Canadians but under an unknown alias in which case he will never be found or odds high against it? With all the research turned ups p far it seems unlikely but just might be an option.

 I once had a single BWM to another ret & the medal card actually listed his place of service which was helpful. Too bad this one is not that lucky. In any case he had quite a life. Interesting too about being under fire during his USO service in WW2. That happened many times.

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MBrockway
7 hours ago, Loader said:

What an  intriguing story so far! Is it possible that he did join the Canadians but under an unknown alias in which case he will never be found or odds high against it? With all the research turned ups p far it seems unlikely but just might be an option.

 I once had a single BWM to another ret & the medal card actually listed his place of service which was helpful. Too bad this one is not that lucky. In any case he had quite a life. Interesting too about being under fire during his USO service in WW2. That happened many times.

 

Given his actual age in 1916 - 14 years - it must be highly probable that he used an alias for his (apparent) two years in the Canadian Army.  It also looks like he volunteered for the BEF in San Francisco, not in Canada, so he either absconded from the Canadian forces, or (more likely) his true age was discovered.

 

That would have led to either an Under Age discharge, or he would have realised he would not go out until his 18th birthday and might have been tempted to go AWOL.  My money is on the former.  Although he's clearly quite a maverick individual, he does not seem the type who would desert, which is how the latter would be treated. 

 

I reckon he was weeded out and he returned home to the Bay Area.  There, with the CEF door closed, he tried a BEF route to get to the action!

 

If he'd tried to transfer to the British Army from within the Canadian Army, I guess he would have been obliged to do so under the alias he was using and he would not show up in the KRRC as Alstrand.  I'm not even sure it would be possible to pull off such a transfer anyway.

 

His determination to see some fighting is clear to see.

 

Incidentally, several of the KRRC men on this US Residents Serving in the British Expeditionary Forces, 1917-1919 data source from the mainland USA are listed as Canadian nationality and born in Canada, when most other signs point to their being US born.

 

I wonder if US neutrality before 1917 discouraged US nationals from enlisting in the British and Commonwealth armies?

 

Once the US entered the war in 1917, then conversely US citizens volunteering for service would presumably be expected to join the US Army, so perhaps those wanting to enlist into other national armies were obliged to disguise their US nationality.

 

An interesting perspective I've not encountered before despite several US nationals showing up in the KRRC and the Rifle Brigade.

 

Any other Pals done work in this area?

 

Mark

 

 

 

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Keith Brannen

According to this article,

http://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1679&context=cmh

there weren't any British-Canadian recruiting offices in the US until after the US ending neutrality in 1917 when they declared war on Germany. The first recruiting office began operation in New York in June 1917. Before then, by US law, they were strictly forbidden to do any recruiting in the US. The article doesn't say (at least in my quick read) when the San Francisco recruiting office was opened, but it would have been after the New York office opening. So he couldn't have joined the CEF in 1916 from San Francisco as mentioned by OP.

 

As far as the Canadian uniform photo and the Repatriation camp information, is it possible than on de-mob from the KRR he was sent to a Canadian Repatriation camp to be sent back to Canada and given a Canadian uniform to wear while waiting in the camp? The photo could have been taken to verify he had served and been in a British regiment (rather than a Canadian one) because he was now wearing a Canadian uniform in the camp. On de-mob, did British soldiers have to turn in their uniform?

 

As an aside, I would have thought it more likely that, if he had joined the CEF, he would have used his real name (but as the above article says, he would have had to go to Canada in 1916 to join) and then an assumed name for joining the BEF, if booted out of the CEF. Perhaps the OP can tell us where the information comes from that he joined in 1916.

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