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Rick Back

Rifleman George Henry Back - 1st/12th Battalion (The Rangers) London Regiment - killed 1st July 1916

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Rick Back

Hi,

 

I am try ting to get confirmation of whether this George Henry Back is my missing Great Uncle.

 

My father knew nothing about hi until I uncovered his existence through the 1911 census.

 

i need to know this man's age at death and any information about who his parents were if possible.

 

Many thanks

 

rick

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IPT

The effects register has his father as Henry G.

 

Are you looking at the family living at 80 Oaklands Grove Shepherds Bush? That would be my best guess.

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Rick Back

Hi,

 

The family at 80, Oaklands Grove is indeed our family. My grandfather is Charles Frederick Back. I think he must have served in the Great War too but alas I have no information on him either but he did survive. 

 

Is it possible to find my great uncle's date of birth as I want to find out how old he was when killed? He must have been very young.

 

Many thanks

 

rick

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IPT

Hi Rick,

 

George Henry Back was christened 11/12/1898 at St Augustine, Paddington.

 

Charles Frederick Back has some surviving service papers. He enlisted in 53rd (Young Soldiers') Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment April 1918. He didn't serve during the war, but he did go abroad in March 1919 as part of the army of occupation. Father Henry George Back, 17 Norwood Road, Southall.

 

Edited by IPT

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Rick Back

Hi,

 

Many, many thanks for such a wealth of information. 

 

Are there any sources where I can find out how George died?

 

For instance, is there a 12th Battalion war history? Or is there a Rangers museum who I could contact?

 

Rick

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Rick Back

Hi,

 

I also have a photo of a young man in army uniform who no one can identify. If I post this tomorrow would you see what you think about the possibility that it could be George? Perhaps there might be a clue in the photo for you.

 

many thanks again

 

Rick

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IPT

It was the Battle of Gommecourt. 1/12th London were attacking the German Fetter trench with 1/4th London. There were heavy casualties.

 

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IPT

There's a detailed account in "THE WAR HISTORY OF THE 4TH BATTALION THE LONDON REGIMENT (ROYAL FUSILIERS) 1914-1919"

 

CHAPTER X - THE 1/4TH BATTALION IN THE BATTLES OF THE SOMME, 1916. The Attack on Gommecourt (p.139) - https://brian.carnell.com/wiki/the_war_history_of_the_4th_battalion_the_london_regiment_royal_fusiliers

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GemmaD

Hi rick, 

 

my my great uncle was a rifleman in the London regiment the rangers 1/12 battalion. Do you have any group pictures? I'm looking for some not had much luck as of yet.

 

Gemma 

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Rick Back

Hi Gemma,

 

i do not have pictures at all. I am afraid my great uncle was lost on the battlefield and lost to his family. Do you have any group photos?

 

rick

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Drew-1918

Hello Rick,

 

You mentioned, further up, that you had a picture no one could identify. Would you be able to post that here or have you managed to work it out by now?

 

Regards,

 

Chris

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Rick Back

Hi,

 

am going to Kew on Tuesday to try to find more out about my great Uncle - George Henry Back - especially his service record.

 

He he was killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme at just 17. He was truly missing as completely forgotten in our family and lost on the battlefield too. I feel I must find out about him to give him some respect.

 

 

Can anyone tell me where his birth certificate was done - I'd like to get a copy of this. I am hoping I might find out about his unit at Kew. What else cold I look into there?

 

ideally I want to get a photo of him - however poor it might be.

 

thanks

 

rick

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MaxD

National Archives have his medal card https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D1102179 although you can download it from their site.  His service record does not appear on Ancestry or FMP which indicares it was lost in WW2 so it won't be at Kew.

 

His medal card is also on Ancestry and FMP (which links to the National Archives), his medal roll entry is on Ancestry although you can see it at Kew https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C4437142

 

His entry in the Register of Soldiers' Effects is on Ancestry showing a war gratuity of £4 indicating enlistment in the month from May 1915..

 

His birth registration is likely to be the Hampstead district one here (going from the info given by IPT above ; https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl

 

Kew will have the war diary (so does Ancestry) https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354939 covers the period but you can also download it from the NA site.  This will cover his service (see below*). 

 

With the downloads you will have most of what survives   His medal roll adds the information that he arrived in France on *10 January 1916.  The effects register is a National Army Museum publication, not at Kew.

 

Always fun to go to Kew but the downloads are quicker and unless you live next door cheaper.

 

Max

 

 

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MaxD
Posted (edited)

You should look for the minute by minute account in the diary of the 1 July 1916 action in which getting on for half the battalion were casualties (ie killed,wounded or missing), there were 173 men missing.  The account includes a sketch which you can relate to the map and present day image here:

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=15&lat=50.1268&lon=2.6491&layers=101464792&right=BingHyb  (bottom half of square K 10)

 

Max

Edited by MaxD

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Rick Back

Thanks Max that gives me something to go on. If i go to Hampstead will I be able to get a birth certificate in the day?

 

rick

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voltaire60

    There are 2 good accounts of The Rangers for 1st July 1916:

 

The Rangers' historical records from 1859 to the conclusion of the great war / Ambrose Vincent Wheeler-Holohan and G. M. G. Wyatt.

 

Holohan, Ambrose Vincent Wheeler-.

[S.l.] : Privately printed 1921

 

       Pro patria mori : the 56th (1st London) Division at Gommecourt, 1st July 1916 / Alan MacDonald.

MacDonald, Alan 

[United Kingdom?] : Iona 2008

xvi, 700 p. : ill, maps ; 23 cm.

 

 

     The first is the "official" history written by an officer of the regiment-good on officers, useless for Other Ranks (other than those that won awards).  

 

Pro Patria Mori is a detailed ( and I mean VERY detailed) account of the 56th London Division at Gommecourt on 1st July 1916.

 

     The basic facts are that Gommecourt was just north of the main Somme front and the 56th Londons were used as a diversion  to draw in the Germans there- done so at huge cost for all the battalions involved. Many, many men were lost in the German lines and their bodies not recovered- the idea was that the London battalions hould try to hold the German trenches for as long as possible.

 

   I cannot find a Red Cross POW  card for him, which suggests he was known to have been killed on the day.

 

It is just possible that your man was a student at the Polytechnic-part-time-which fielded one company of The Rangers-  this was part-time evening classes, usually for clerks and shop workers as that was also the main recruiting base of the The Rangers- the West End. 

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MaxD
3 hours ago, Rick Back said:

If i go to Hampstead will I be able to get a birth certificate in the day?

 

Don't know what the Register Office there offers as a service, I'd suggest contacting them.  A pdf copy from the GRO ordered on line comes in 4 days (holidays excepted!

 

Max

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Rick Back

Hi,

 

bought Pro Patria Mori as suggested above and George Henry Back quoted as son of Robert Henry Richard Bache of Tottenham. This is not my family. Is this correct or did MacDonald get this wrong?

 

Rick

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MaxD

The Effects Register gives Henry G as the father of 2775/471183 George Henry Back 12 London Regt (as IPT posted earlier).

 

I am not acquainted with the book.

  Max

 

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