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Kenneth Wheeler

L/Cpl. Cyril Vincent Ilsley 2748 2/Lond R

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Kenneth Wheeler

I've had help from several GWF members in the past about my great uncle who was killed at Gommecourt on 1.7.1916. 


I purchased and read the History of the 2nd City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) by W.E.Grey.  Cyril enlisted in the 2/2nd of this regiment on 12.9.1914.

He then saw service in Malta, Egypt, Gallipoli and, finally, France.


My understanding from the regimental history was that after the 2/2nd Londons arrived at Rouen on 26.4.1916, they were subsequently disbanded to other regiments, as part of deliberate war office strategy to fill the gaps

that sixteen months of active service had made in the ranks of the first-line London units. 


I had assumed that Cyril was sent to the 1/2nd Londons; by mid-June 1916 the original 2/2nd Londons had ceased to exist. 


My principal reason for making the assumption that Cyril  had been sent to the 1/2nd Londons lay in the fact that he is listed in Appendix 6: Roll of Honour of the 56th (1st London) Division, Pro Patria Mori The 56th (1st London) Division at Gommecourt by Alan MacDonald (2006) as a casualty of the 1/2nd London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) p.454 


However, from a missing/kia notice dated 1.7.1916 placed in a Basingstoke newspaper by Cyril's father, it states inter alia Lce.-Corpl. Cyril Vincent Ilsley, 1st Queen's (Westminster) Rifles (late 2/2nd London Regt.). # 


So, who do I go along with? The appendix in Pro Patria Mori or the intimate knowledge of a father about his son?  Cyril's parents would have had a written notification that their son was missing (subsequently killed) from the War Office and, I suppose, that notification would have had similar wording to the newspaper notice as per above# . I see no reason why Cyril's father shouldn't have used this information verbatim when putting the notification in the local paper. The WO notification has long since been lost incidentally and I'm not sure how they would have been worded.


Another rider to all of this, is that in the appendix (op. cit., p. 485) listed under 1/16th London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles) casualties 1.7.1916 there is the following entry Cpl. Richard Leslie Brewer 2795 2/2nd Londons att 1/16th  Londons . He served in Malta, Egypt, Gallipoli and France (sic).


Could it be, that like Corporal Brewer, my great uncle was in fact attached to the 1/16th Londons and not the 1/2nd?  An anomaly that I would like an answer to if that's possible.  I think I am more inclined to the 1/16th point of view. Can anyone help, please? 

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Well, for the father's notice, I believe the father was mistaken,  because he enlisted in the 2/2nd London's, his father may not have known he was transferred.

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As the person who supplied the newspaper clipping I should firstly apologise for causing this minor query, that said I realise that for families it isis important to find out the correct dewtails which I know Ken wishes to do. Secondly I shoudl say that I have found the London rgiments to be qwuite confusing at times as there are so many of them with often similar names.

Concerning Cyril, who I researched for the Basingstoke War Memorial, this is how he was described.

Shown as Number 2748 on ALL records except Soldiers effects showing 2738 and 230792.

Medal Card 2nd London Regiment

Victory Medal and British War Medal Roll 2nd Battalion London Regiment

1915 Medal Roll 2nd Battalion London regiment

Soldiers Effects Record 1st/2nd London regiment

Soldiers Died in the Great war 1914-1919 2nd (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission 1st/2nd Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)

St Michael's Church Memorial Book 2nd Royal Fusiliers, London Regiment

Newspaper notice by family 1st Queen's Westminster Rifles (late 2/2 London Regiment)

I personally think it is unlikely that the father would have been wrong when the notice is so specific, that said Cyril was clearly in the 2nd for sometime. It is possible that he was attached to the 1st Queen's for a wihle before his death..

Reading both War diaries may help but since 99.99% od other ranks wee not named in the War diary it is unlikely other than to establish the battalions co responding time lines theeir maybe references to drafts from other battalions to help with the idea he was attached.



Edited by wombleuk
incomplete posting

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