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Mark1959

WC Winwood Tank Corps

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Mark1959

An interesting one 

Got all that is on the usual genealogy sites, CWGC

200203 H Battalion Tank Corps. Killed Cambrai 1/12/17. Reported missing but later accepted killed

Previous RFA 28718 - this seems to be with the MMGS - had not head of them before!

SDGW suggests also 15381 Worcesters

Can also find a record for March 1915 that says a WC Winwood 3 Bty MMGS was in 14 Gen Hosp. 15257 - him ?

Any further info? One for the Tankies?

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Gareth Davies

8th Bn. 

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Mark1959

Apologies. H on CWGC!

Edited by Mark1959

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Gareth Davies

Yes, same thing. It was H Bn at the time so CWGC is spot on whereas I am wrong.

 

The Bn attacked Gauche Wood and Villers Guislain that day.

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Gareth Davies

He was one of 20 men (1 Offr, 19 ORs) from H Bn killed that day. Another 1 DOW.  43 are listed as wounded.

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Mark1959

Cheers Gareth. 

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Dragoon

Hello

The medal roll for the BWM/Victory suggests only MMG's RFA 28718 and Tank Corps 200203, (written incorrectly as 202003)

I have also seen the record on FMP with a WC Winwood 3Bty MMG's army No 15257, i cannot find a Winwood with that number and to have him as precise as WC Winwood MMG's i think would suggest that this is him, maybe a typo on his number perhaps?

 

Chris  

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Dragoon

Actually 202003 is the correct TC number. 

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pjwmacro

RFA to 3 Bty Motor Machine Gun Service (MMGS) and then into Tank Corps would suggest almost certainly the same WC Winwood. @david murdoch - might be able o shed more light.

 

Regards, Paul

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Mark1959

Thanks for the input everyone. Have PM'd David.

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johntaylor

Hi, If you haven't seen it already I would recommend Rolling Into Action by Captain Daniel Hickey, who served in H Battalion and wrote an excellent account which includes several pages about the action on December 1, 1917.  There's a reprint available from N&MP: https://www.naval-military-press.com/product/rolling-into-action-memoirs-of-a-tank-corps-section-commander/

 

John 

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Mark1959

Thanks John. Very useful. The chap was reported as missing and was not accepted as dead for over 3 months. Not educated on Tanks but is it that common for Tank men to be missing? Ones assumes someone might have a good idea what happened to the tank he was in.

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david murdoch

Mark. I'll post up here so others can see.

It's pretty confusing as the discrepancy between the different records. 

For sure his correct Tank Corps number is  202003. His other numbers and units are rather confusing. He's noted on MIC, BWM/VM and 14/15 Star rolls as previously  28718 RFA rather then MMGS - Certainly 28718 is not an MMGS number. On the Tank Corps 14/15 Star Roll it's common to see the M.M.G.S men referred to as RFA and the hand written  notes on the left actually  Motor Machine Gun Battery numbers. It looks like a  mistake on Ancestry where they not he was 10th RFA (10th MMG Battery) - that pertains to the man above him on the roll. 

There is a small clue hidden in the BWM/VM roll. Where his 28718 number is written in as an amendment. The original MMGS number it replaces is 443. That's a nice low number and fits in range with other original members of 3rd MMG. In addition his date of entry matches several other known original 3rd MMG members. So personally I think he went over as Gunner 443, 3rd MMG Battery. There are only a very few ex 3rd Battery ended up in Tank Corps, as  the battery was not one of those disbanded in November 16 and the personnel rolled into Heavy Branch expansion. Rather just several individuals who may have originally been in 3rd (so had their Star entitlement to that battery) but had then transferred into other batteries which were disbanded /re allocated. 3rd Battery was still in action in 1919 in North West Frontier/Afghanistan.

The 15381 Worcesters number may be his original enlistment number  - at the time 3rd Battery was formed it pre dated the MMGS recruiting drive through "The Motorcycle" - and was still badged RFA. In the original MMG batteries (below 5th) there are much higher numbers of already serving soldiers and also soldiers with motorcycling abilities who had just enlisted and transferred across after a month or two. Given that he was from Pershore, Worcestershire I'd suspect he enlisted in Worcesters in late 1914 as private 15381, then very soon after transferred to MMGS as Gunner 443. He looks to have picked up the  28718  number between then and Tank Corps renumbering. I have my suspicions that the 28718 is possibly an MGC(I) number. There is another Winwood (Ernest Robert) who was 28956, and formerly 26347, Worcs Regt. when scrolling back that roll there is a whole block of   28### numbers - pages and pages of consecutive numbers but a gap of three where 28718 should be. 

Do you have a copy of this record of him being in hospital March 1915 - given that he only arrived in France mid February 1915. I've not found a match for him under any number in  the newspaper casualty records for those months.

41804_626640_12111-00170.jpg

MMGS.jpg

Edited by david murdoch

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Mark1959

Great stuff David

Following is courtesy of the Pershore WW1 Project from a few years ago. This puts him squarely in 3 Battery

Evesham Journal June 12 1915:-- A PERSHORE MAN'S WHIT MONDAY.

A very interesting letter has been received from Gunner W. Winwood, of the 3rd. Batt. Motor Machine Guns, and son of Mr. W. Winwood, fruiterer, Bridge-street, Pershore. He says: ``I was just picturing the people enjoying themselves on Whit Monday, while we were wondering when we were going to get bowled over, but our luck was in, for we did not even get a casualty. It was my turn on the gun that day, and there was me laying under my bike and gun waiting for them to drop one on me. But, thank God, it did not come off. The chap that was feeding the gun for me has been sent back to England with a nervous breakdown, So you can tell what it was like. That was in the morning. Then the enemy was not satisfied at that, they started sending shells over with the poisonous gases, and they dropped one right by the side of us, and then I did not remember any more until next morning when I found I was in a dressing station, where the doctor and two of our men had been giving me different kinds of medicine. The doctor said if I had been left another five minutes I should have been a `goner.' He also said I had a splendid constitution to have stood what I did. I shall never forget that Whit-Monday as long as I live. We are having beautiful weather. We are not wearing our shirts. We are stripped to the skin from morning until night. That was the 42nd. day in the fighting line without a rest.''

 

Evesham Journal, 1 June 1918:-- PERSHORE MAN PRESUMED KILLED.

After six months' suspense, Mr. and Mrs. Winwood, of Bridge-street, have received an official letter from the War Office that it must be presumed that their son, Gunner William Charles Winwood, of the Tank Corps, at first reported missing, is killed. Gunner Winwood joined in September 1914, and was wounded in France the following June. He then sent home his battered cigarette case, which he was carrying in his breast pocket, and to which he attributed the saving of his life. After convalescence he was sent to Grantham, and was there employed for many months as dispatch rider. He was killed in the big fight of last December. An only child, a fine lad, his death is a hard trial for the father and mother. Sympathising letters have been sent by large numbers of residents, to whom they return grateful thanks.

 

Actually he appears on a War Office list on 8/3/1918 saying previously reported missing now believed killed

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Mark1959

This is the record for 14 Gen Hosp 28/3/15

1611002977_14gh1915.jpg.44a3fb28c44e190ef7aa68e65ba19a00.jpg

 

The number is completely wrong. However this morning I have found another record dating from 8/6/15

1698328853_medrec2.jpg.778d2d8f38a48e480f1751400a03060d.jpg

 

This appears to link in with the newspaper report. But we have no sign of this number from rolls etc. There are other William Winwood's in the RFA but none with a number like this; that I can locate. There is no MIC for anyone with the surname Wimword. A bit confusing. On the basis of how many WC Winwood's may have been in 3 Battery MMGS, that  he is wounded at a time we know he was, the chances it is not the Pershore man must be very low. 

And with thanks to the Pershore project here is the lad himself

746931087_WinwoodWilliamphoto2.jpg.06352372a1ed5288dc1ed0a7157ff3df.jpg

Edited by Mark1959

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johntaylor
19 hours ago, Mark1959 said:

Thanks John. Very useful. The chap was reported as missing and was not accepted as dead for over 3 months. Not educated on Tanks but is it that common for Tank men to be missing? Ones assumes someone might have a good idea what happened to the tank he was in.

Hi Mark, it's true that wherever possible, the Tank Corps would recover and bury their dead after action. However tanks were often knocked out in no man's land or behind the German lines where this was impossible.  The attack on December 1 was a desperate attempt to halt the German advance, so I presume a number of the destroyed tanks were inaccessible.

 

In this case it would have been a case of interviewing survivors and other witnesses to try to find out what had happened to those who hadn't returned.  However, in the chaotic moments after a tank was hit it was often hard to tell what had happened to everyone, and equally hard to keep track of fellow crewmen as they made their way back to safety, often across no man's land under fire.

 

In Rolling Into Action, Hickey says he met a crewman whose tank had been "blown to pieces" in the attack on December 1.  "He had lost his reason and was running about covered with oil, and with bits of flesh, which had splashed on to him, clinging to his clothes."  In these circumstances it's easy to understand why someone might be listed as missing, believed killed.

 

Obviously at the time they would have known which tank Gunner Winwood was in, but the problem is these records have rarely been preserved.  War Diaries normally only list the commanders, and while there are surviving crew lists for certain battalions in certain battles, I'm not aware of any for H Battalion at Cambrai.  In these cases it can be very hard, and sometimes impossible, to work out which tank a casualty was in - we've spent eight years trying to do so for Deborah, the Flesquieres tank, with only partial success!

 

The best chance is if the descendants have kept any letters of condolence from commanders or fellow crewmen, which are the best evidence of all. Extracts from these letters (with names) sometimes appeared in local papers, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.  Other than that I can only urge you to leave no stone unturned, and wish you good luck.

 

John

Edited by johntaylor

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Mark1959

Thanks John

Horrific. How lucky my generation has been!!

What all have said I think provides a good outline of this man's service. Many thanks to all.

 

edit

In the 1911 census he is described as a Telegraph Messenger - one presumes he may have obtained motorcycle experience from this occupation. 

Edited by Mark1959

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johntaylor

Hi Mark, the somewhat bland surviving records often mask an appalling reality, and we have certainly been lucky not to experience anything like it ourselves.

 

The point about the 1911 Census is an interesting one - the Census says he was a telegraph messenger for the GPO, which I presume meant he delivered telegrams.  A glance at Wikipedia indicates this was done by bike until motorcycles were introduced until the 1930s, but I'm not sure if this was a hard and fast rule. According to the local paper he became a dispatch rider after serving in the Motor Machine Gun Service, which would have given him plenty of experience of motorcycles.

 

All the best, John

 

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pjwmacro
On 09/01/2019 at 10:30, Mark1959 said:

And with thanks to the Pershore project here is the lad himself

 

Mark

Thanks for sharing the photo. We remember him still.

@delta

@Gareth Davies

Regards, Paul

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delta

Thanks for all of the research on this subject.

Clearly he is Not Forgotten

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