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KernelPanic

Medal index card - "Date of entry into France"?

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KernelPanic
Posted (edited)

My GGF (Walter Mason) was in the ASC HT of the 50th Divisional Train. The Train's War Diary (W095 2825-5) gives its date of arrival in France as April 17th, 1915, and its arrival at it's first destination (Steenvorde) in the Ypres area as April 19th. 

 

My GGF's 1914-15 medal roll says that he arrived April 21, 1915, which coincides with neither date.

 

I have 2 questions: 

 

1) Is the date on his medal roll when he disembarked from the ship and first set foot in France? Or was it when he first reported to his Unit? Given the header on the medal roll, I assume the former.

But either way, he must have crossed the channel using a different route from the rest of the 50th Divisional Train. Could he have been assigned to the 50th Divisional Train after he arrived? If he was assigned before leaving Newcastle, then he must have travelled separately for some other reason.

 

2) What does the (I) mean after his date of disembarkation?

 

Thanks.

WM 1914-15 medal roll.jpg

Edited by KernelPanic

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ss002d6252
Posted (edited)
Quote

 

1) Is the date on his medal roll when he disembarked from the ship and first set foot in France? Or was it when he first reported to his Unit? Given the header on the medal roll, I assume the former.

It will be ether the date landed in theatre or the date he left the UK - i can be either, depending on who filled the records in.

Quote

2) What does the (I) mean after his date of disembarkation?

Probably just meant as a 1, which was the French theatre.

Quote

Could he have been assigned to the 50th Divisional Train after he arrived?

Possibly, men would be moved around as needed.
 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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KernelPanic

Thanks Craig,

 

As far as I can tell from Ray Westlake's book, the 9th Battalion of the DLI left on a date that coincided with his MIC. Westlake notes that the 9th arrived at Folkestone on April 20th, then to Boulogne. Did they arrive on the 21st? Maybe he entered France with the 9th and was assigned to their ASC Coy (470th) in the 50th Divisional Train?

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ss002d6252

The 9th seem to have travelled across on 20th April (following the 6th,7th and 8th who sailed overnight 19th/20th April) - their men's service records record 20th April.
 

image.png.a6b541f7e190a2176f4795f3623fe79f.png


I do wonder if 21st April is a typo as it is certainly lagging behind - a lot of the support troops were sent ahead of the infantry.

Certainly by 21st April the division had been concentrated but there were a few straggler units - it might be worth seeing when they arrived in France. I do know the 2nd FA was at Havre on 20th April.

image.png.4cc5509e9ebc881f32f597a06b964f80.png

 

Craig

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KernelPanic

His arrival date doesn't align with any of the 50th Division disembarkations. If Walter was in the Train HQ (1st) Coy from the start, according to its war diary, 1st Coy travelled from Newcastle to Southampton on the 16th, arrived in Havre on the 17th, and were in Steenvorde with the 4th Coy on the 19th. 3rd Coy arrived on the 21st. For the 2nd FA, their arrival in Cassel (22nd) would be a little early for someone arriving in Boulogne or Havre on the 21st. I'll see if other war diaries align for stragglers.

 

Yes, maybe a typo, or maybe he was delayed for some reason and joined up with the Train in Steenvorde a few days late. Unfortunately his service record is lost, so we'll probably never know.

 

We have two photos of him on horseback in uniform with an ASC cap badge. I assume they were taken early in 1915 before his move to France. For what it's worth, a commercial address on the back of the pictures shows they were taken in the Clacton-on-Sea area. Maybe during training or something earlier in the year. 

Edited by KernelPanic

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WilliamRev

There was a vast amount of paperwork to be written or typed at great speed by hard-pressed clerks, and with medal card/rolls, as with medical records and movements etc, I often think that the clerks put in date that the paperwork arrived at their office, or the date that an officer signed off the records or any number of other things that meant that the date slipped by a few days. I constantly see dates with time lags on documents of all kinds, so I wouldn't get too troubled by it.

 

William 

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KernelPanic

That definitely makes sense. 

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KernelPanic
Posted (edited)

Maybe the mystery is solved.

 

According to the 1914-15 Star medal roll (Roll "C" 857),  6 men whose numbers were very close to Walter Mason (T-977) all ended up in No 1 Coy of the 50th Divisional Train. But they arrived in France on a range of dates between the 10th and the 21st of April, with only one of them (J.W. Hutchinson, T-978) disembarking on same date as the Train (the 17th).

 

The service record of the man who also disembarked on the 21st, (William Punshon, T-980), says he was attached to the 4th Northumbrian (Howitzer) Brigade RFA (later the 253rd Brigade), which arrived in France on April 21st 1915 (see below).

 

So perhaps Walter arrived in France attached to the 4th Northumbrians, and then transferred at a later unknown date to the 50th Divisional Train. Because his service record unfortunately doesn't exist we'll never know when that was.

 

Thanks to Chris Baker (fourteeneighteen) for finding this out.

 

Crown Copyright. Natl Archive Reference WO 95/2820/1

4th Northumb.jpg

Edited by KernelPanic

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