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Denise Hopkins

Alfred Hopkins - Company Sergt-major WW1

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Denise Hopkins

Hi I am at a loss with my grand dad's war record. A news paper report - Ripley and Heanor News states that he was promoted to Company Sergt- Major before proceeding with the 11th Division as part of the army of occupation to the Rhine.He was with the Third Army which did so much to counter the final German Offensive and holds a certificate to that affect. It goes on to say that although wounded in the German  retreat the gallant soldier continued on duty until ordered to fall out by his superiors, The only mention I can find is in the London Gazette 8.2.1916 page 1487 - supplement 29467. This is for an Alfred Hopkins - Kings Royal Rifle Corps with the award for the 27.12.1915. I'm noy sure if this is my gran dad as the KRRC appear to be in France at the time but the 11th Division in Suvla Bay.

Please can anyone help?

Thank-you

Denise

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MaxD

The final offensive was March 1918 so if he was with 11 Division at that time and subsequently then he wasn't with any of the KRRC battalions, 11 Div had none.

 

The Gazette entry is for Sergeant Major Alfred Hopkins KRRC receiving a commission as Second Lieutenant. in Dec 1915.

 

That suggests that the KRRC Alfred Hopkins must have been promoted to Sergeant Major before Dec 1915 and thus long before 1918.

 

I wonder if the dates have got messed up over the years.  The one commissioned lived in Gosport after the war?

 

What date was the newspaper report and did it not mention his regiment (11 Div had over 10000 men!)

 

Let's keep plugging away!

 

Max

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little bob

Did C S M  Hopkins live in Gosport Hants?

 

Bob

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Denise Hopkins

Hi Max

Thank-you for the information. No the above Alfred Hopkins can not have been my grand dad as he returned to the Ripley area of Derbyshire after the war. From research it is likely then that my grand dad would have been with the Sherwood Foresters as he came from Ripley?  The Sherwood Foresters were a part of the 9th Service( Battalion), part of the 33rd Brigade part of the 11th Division. This was formed at Derby on 28.8.14 as part of the K1. That would fit in with what my dad told me that grand dad volunteered at the age of 22. 

The news paper report was 24 Jan 1919 and no mention of regiment was mentioned. It's main headlines reads - Marehay soldier's promotion and goes on to say that Mr and Mrs Leonard Hopkins have no fewer than 26 relatives sons and nephews  - who have or are still serving with the Colours.  One son Harry, has been promoted to Company Seargt- Major before proceeding with the 11th Division ... My grand dad was known as Harry either though is name was Alfred. It also mentions how he picked from a French garden a flower and sent it home after the whole family had been killed by the retreating Germans.

Hope this helps.

Denise

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MaxD

Denise

 

Have you got Grandad's exact date of birth?  I am checking though the list of A Hopkins and H Hopkins who served on beyond 1921 with dates of birth in 1891/92 just in case his records are with the Ministry of Defence.  No luck otherwise so far! 

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Denise Hopkins

Hi Max

He was born 1892 not sure exactly when. He got married on the 14th September 1918 before returning to France on the 22nd Sept 1918. This was printed in the Ripley and Heanor newspaper as before and records him as Sergt Alfred Henry Hopkins. Therefore, often referred to as Harry.

Denise

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ss002d6252

This looks like his birth registration.

image.png.f16e7bbb01a82cb9c77739a2dfbca83b.png

 

Craig

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MaxD

I'd thought he was probably the Dec 92 born man and had looked for Alfred Henry and AH and A and Harry with no success.  The post 1920/21 list does have an 7874037 H Hopkins with a 12 Nov 1892 dob, no regiment given, he turns out to be a Tank Corps enlistment from Margate. 

 

Do you have his marriage cert which may have his regiment?

 

Max

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Denise Hopkins

Hi

I will contact my older cousin who may have the marriage certificate and will get back to you. I have been in touch with the local Ripley and Heanor News paper who will run a story on him nearer the Centenary Anniversary of Armistice Day. I have asked them to look through their archives to see if I've missed anything.

No one in the family has his medals so we are at a loss of what may have happened to them. I have checked some sites to see if they are up for sale. Do you know of any private collectors of medals or how I may be able to locate them?

Thanks for all your support.

Denise

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Denise Hopkins

Hi I have spoken with my cousin. Alfred was born on the 6.11.1893 not 1892. His gravestone is incorrect and states that he died at 75 when in fact he died at age 74. Therefore, he must have been born 1893 not 1892. This would have made him under age to sign up ? I remember my dad telling me that grandad signed up underage but didn't make the connection when researching WW1. His wedding certificate does not have his regiment on it.

Thanks again for your support and hope this helps.

Denise

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MaxD

There is no likely birth registration for Alfred in 1893 (or 1894 to allow for later registration).  Has the cousin got his birth certificate?

Als, you mentioned at the outset that he holds some sort of certificate - have you got that - who wrote it - is no regiment mentioned at all?? 

 

We should have pointed out before in case you weren't aware, that some 60% of Great War records were lost to bombing in WW2 so the odds of finding a record that is identifiable to a particular man are only 4 in 10!  No such records appear for your Grandad and medal records have no identifying information so without some solid evidence and the doubt about his birth date as to his unit we are approaching a dead end I fear!

 

Hope the newspaper has something?

 

Max

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clk

Hi Denise,

 

On ‎11‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 21:09, Denise Hopkins said:

He got married on the 14th September 1918 before returning to France on the 22nd Sept 1918

 

Are there any wedding photos? He might be in uniform, showing shoulder titles, or a cap badge.

 

Regards

Chris

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Denise Hopkins

Hi grandad's birth year was still 1982 not 1983 as last mentioned as he died in August 1967 and was born 6.11.1982. Therefore, he didn't quite make 75 years of age.  I'm going to Ripley News tomorrow as they will have a better picture of him - the one in the paper is very dark and blurred. The certificate is mentioned in the paper and I guess medals and everything else has disappeared over time. I will ask my cousin the questions you have asked. I spent last night reading despatches from the western front which should have links with the 9th service battalion ( Sherwood foresters) of the 33rd brigade of the 11th division but the unit is not mentioned in the 100 day offensive or after Armistice Day. Hope this helps.

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Madmeg

Hi Denise,

when in doubt skip a generation.

A quick search on Familysearch for any Hopkins born in England between 1880 an 1900 to father Leonard has turned up an Alfred Henry baptised at odd Road cheshire, 20 Aug 1893. This couple aso seem to have a large number of other children baptised in Cheshire which could match the number they had in uniform in the war. To confuse matters for you there is also leonard and Mary who had children in Derbyshire during the same time period- THIS couple has a Harry while Leo and Eliz did not. The census also shows that some of the children to the derbyshire couple were born in Surrey and that this family lived in Leicestershire in 1891 while Leonard and Elizabeth (of Cheshire) were in Derbyshire by 1891! NB it would appear that there are two couples with father Leonard- or the man was bigamously married! Leonard 1) married to Elizabeth was a colliery station engine driver, Leonard 2) married to Mary was a Debt collector. Both are ghaving childrn in the same time period.

Leonard 1) married Elizabeth (S) umner at Odd Rode in Cheshire 1882- he appears to be the Leonard b c1860 Leek Staffs to to confuse you further) Leonard and mary

Leonard 2) married? mary - unk, gives birth year as 1858 and place as Gloucestershire in census.

This gives you quite a few options and headaches! 

I'' ll have abetter dig later on today and see where this goes.

Edited by Madmeg

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Madmeg

Find my past has the image for the baptism of Alfred Henry at Odd Road- that might give you a date of birth.

Given that all the other children of Leonard and Elizabeth were registered in Congleton Cheshire (until they did move to Derbyshire in c 1898 going by the birthplaces of the later children from the census) the birth reg for Alfred Henry in 1892 in Belper is odd - especially as he was baptised in Cheshire. 

I would suggest that it might be worth checking the GRO index as there are the odd mis- transcriptions on freebmd. I can't get the scan to load from freebmd.

The newspaper may well have got the reference to his army unit completely wrong? Difficult for you as there are so many possible Alfred henrys in the military and born in the early 1890's.

 

Addition- it seems the family moved c 1890/1. Census shows that Edith bc 1891 was b in Ripley- so was Alfred.There are baptisms at Odd Rode Cheshire for the older children up to Alfred- except Edith plus I don't find a listing for her birth on Freebmd either in congleton or belper- I have not checked all cheshire or derbyshire though.  There are baptisms for younger children in Derbyshire.

 

Edited by Madmeg
addition

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MaxD

Madmeg - the newspaper didn't mention Alfred's regiment that is the main problem.  However in terms of finding his date of birth, I'm sure Denise will find your info of great use.

 

Denise - I would not get fixated with the idea that he must have served in the Sherwood Foresters because he came from Derbyshire.  None of the medal cards for Sherwood Foresters called Hopkins with names/initials A, AH, H, reached the rank of Warrant Officer (CSM).  As you've seen from the despatches, 11 Division were (happily) pretty much out of the fighting during the final German offensive in March/ April 1918, in fact the war diary clearly records "no infantry action" every day from 21 March (the start date) and through April.  After the Armistice, the division concentrated at Denain in France and slowly demobilised or lost men to other units, by mid April 1919 there were no more than 70 officers and men of 9 Sherwood Foresters left in France.  The division left France at the end of June 1919, it didn't go to Germany.  The aim of this is simply to suggest that somewhere along the way in the intervening 100 years, what happened to Grandad appears to have become a bit garbled - happens all the time!  Not unknown either for newspapers t get it wrong.

 

Max

 

 

 

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Denise Hopkins

Hi Max

I have just found another news report that states that his parents received an official report that he was amongst the wounded and although he had a commission preferred to be in the sergents' mess. It states he had been in France about a year with The Kings Royal Rifle Corps! The paper was dated June 1st 1917 and his parents received the news a week before. It also states he enlisted nearly 2 years previously. My cousin thinks she's read somewhere that he started with the Sherwood Foresters but they transferred to the KRRC. The plot thickens. I'll subscribe and see what is in the British News Paper archives. So close but so far away!!!

Denise

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MaxD

On the face of it, the one you came across at the beginning, Alfred Hopkins,  seems promising.  He went overseas with the KRRC in August 1914 and as a Company Sergeant Major was commissioned in Dec 1915.  He served throughout with 1st Battalion.  "He preferred to be in the Sergeants' Mess" could well mean that he preferred it when he was in the Sgts Mess.

 

Big BUT -  that man is the one that has the Gosport address on his medal record and he was a pre-war soldier, his number suggesting he joined in 1902/3.

 

Waiting for more newspapers!

 

Max

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kenf48

I suggest you track down the Absent Voters List, which would appear to have survived and is at the Derbyshire Record Office and according to their blog all the County AVLs  been digitised though I can’t find a link. (They were at Ripley Music Festival last year I inviting look ups!

 https://recordoffice.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/records-and-revelling-at-ripley/

 

As the newspaper account of his wounding in 1917 states he had been in France for a year he is unlikely to be 4692 Hopkins who went to France in 1914 and was a pre war regular, and promoted twice as an officer.  There  is also a card showing 4692 was awarded a DCM in the rank of CSM  gazeeted in 1916 so I think you can rule him out. 

 

It’s a possibility that after his wounding  he was transferred again and therefore he is on another unit’s Medal Roll. That was a frequent occurrence, he may even have been ‘attached’ to another unit.

 

Ken

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Madmeg

Again - when in trouble go deeper or wider- The newspaper states that they Hopkins had 26 relatives in uniform- men often joined up together so are there any hints to be found in his family? 

Male children of Leonard and Elizabeth Hopkins- Edward Arthur b1884 Cheshire, Leonard Peter (also as Peter Leonard) b 1885 Cheshire, Alfred Henry b 1892 Derbyshire bap Cheshire and Hubert Ellis b 1899 Derbyshire. 

I'm new to the WW1 game and haven't been able to find military records for the three brothers. Edward was a miner and Peter a Canal boatman - reserved occupations? or not. Hubert a bit young. So there are a lot of nephews to catch up on there. 

If the KRRC man seems possible (although from Kens post probably not- are there relatives in Hampshire that he could have given as his address? My Grandfather's medals were to be sent to two different hotels in Australia and (I think ) Manchester (can't find the image) so the fact that the medals were going to Gosport may not reflect his permament address.

 

Edited by Madmeg
change

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Denise Hopkins

Hi a big thank-you to all. All of the names mentioned are brothers / relatives of grandad Alfred as they were at his wedding. Yes great grandad came from staffs and was an engine driver at the pit were grandad and his brother worked before signing up. Could it be that he was with KRRC and following his return home due to his injuries 1917 then got transferred to thr Sherwood Foresters as that would fit in with the later report of being with the 3rd army, 9th division (Sherwood Foresters) when he got promotion. Paper dated 24 Jan 1919.

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Madmeg
On 12/09/2018 at 04:59, Denise Hopkins said:

Hi Max

Thank-you for the information. No the above Alfred Hopkins can not have been my grand dad as he returned to the Ripley area of Derbyshire after the war. From research it is likely then that my grand dad would have been with the Sherwood Foresters as he came from Ripley?  The Sherwood Foresters were a part of the 9th Service( Battalion), part of the 33rd Brigade part of the 11th Division. This was formed at Derby on 28.8.14 as part of the K1. That would fit in with what my dad told me that grand dad volunteered at the age of 22. 

The news paper report was 24 Jan 1919 and no mention of regiment was mentioned. It's main headlines reads - Marehay soldier's promotion and goes on to say that Mr and Mrs Leonard Hopkins have no fewer than 26 relatives sons and nephews  - who have or are still serving with the Colours.  One son Harry, has been promoted to Company Seargt- Major before proceeding with the 11th Division ... My grand dad was known as Harry either though is name was Alfred. It also mentions how he picked from a French garden a flower and sent it home after the whole family had been killed by the retreating Germans.

Hope this helps.

Denise

Hi Denise

Without wishing to appear rude- but are you certain that the newspaper report refers to your grandfather and not the Harry who was the son of the OTHER Leonard Hopkins?

As it states he was from Marehay which is near Ripley and the other family were from the Woodville area which Google shows as being the other side of Derby it seems most likely that the paper does refer to your grandfather- but as we all know standards of journalism are not always as good as they might be :-). Just a thought- and I've made no attempt to chase up a military record for Harry Hopkins bp Woodville Wesleyan 1897 to Leonard and Mary (or indeed for Harry Leonard Hopkins bap 1894 Dewsbury York to Leonard and Mary Ann Hopkins).

Not trying to introduce red herrings if the newspaper report is good but is it possible that some slack reporter pinched the story for the other family and turned it into a local one? Can anyone find a record for Harry Hopkins of Woodville to see whether he was promoted to colour sgt? Alfred Henry of the KRRC may be a completely different man from Hampshire.

Leonard and MARY Hopkins of Woodville had five sons Harry, George, John, Andrew and Leonard.

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Denise Hopkins

Hi I'm getting confused. The pictures in the newspapers are definitely grandad and the names are all correct. I am seeing my cousin tomorrow who has pics of grandad in uniform. We saw his medals when we were young but didn't pay much attention to them. My cousin remembers that he was asked to stay in the army after the war but he had only been married in Sept 1918 so came out. I can remember my dad saying he had been sergt major and had been very brave in the war. This would have been much easier if we had his war record but I'll keep plugging away.

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MBrockway

The Rifle Depot serving the KRRC and the Rifle Brigade was at Gosport in 1902/3 after the fire of 1894 and did not return to Winchester until 1904.

Edited by MBrockway

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MBrockway

4692 CSM Alfred HOPKINS, 1/KRRC, was awarded the DCM (LG 11 Mar 1916) - "For conspicuous good work.  He has shown a fine example of coolness and gallantry under fire throughout the war."

 

As this is one stop short of a VC I am surprised he's not given the post nominal letters in your newspaper reports.

 

Mark

 

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