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Slingo

Norfolk Rhapsody at Gaza

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Slingo

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Together with my 4th cousin we found out that our ancestors fought in the same battle / 2nd & 3rd Gaza as adversaries.

My Bohemian great uncle with the k.u.k. Gebirgshaubitzdivision von Marno / battery 2/6  and my cousins great uncles with 5th Norfolk Regiment and Norfolk Yeomanry ( King's Own Royal Regiment ).

Though we already have a big picture we still do not know where both were during the battle and what their duties were and in addition their whole service record during WW I. Data as follows:

Theodore Laurence Randall (1885-1969) 74374 RAMC corporal; 1078 sergeant in the Royal Engineers 5th Norfolk Regiment ( he also was deployed to Gallipoli before )

Reginald George Randall (1890-1973) Norfolk Yeomanry ( The King's Own Royal Regiment ) labour corps . 2568 acting sergeant   320403 Lieutenant

 

Thank you very much for your kind help.

All-in-all it is almost unbelievable to find one's kin in the same melée ...

 

beste Grüße,

Gunther

 

 

 

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Mark1959

I think you have some of the details wrong. The RAMC man is not the same man as 1078 in the Norfolks that later became 281946. 

So TL Randall shows a qualification date for his 1914/15 Star as 6/8/1915 and Egypt as the area. Looking at details of 1/5th Norfolks they embarked from Liverpool on 29/7/1915. They went to Mudros and thence to Gallipoli. He however seemed to go to Egypt. That needs investigating.  The unit war diary says they landed at Lemnos on the morning of 6/8/1915. It also states the ship thy left Liverpool on was HMT Aquitaine - one of the great Cunard liners.

His Medal Index Card show Theodore was discharged to the Z Reserve on 25/2/19.

Although records would suggest a birth date of 5/10/1885 his birth seems to have been registered in the last quarter of 1884.

A medical record puts him in Genoa, Italy with 7th ALG Royal Engineers in early April 1918. He had contracted a venereal disease. Not sure what ALG is. His rank is given as Quarter Master Sergeant.

Edited by Mark1959

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Slingo

Dear Sir,

Though I do not have indeep knowledge on British service regulations I already noticed the two service numbers.

One of the brothers already had lived in Egypt before the war ( R G Randall ).

ALG perhaps may mean Advanced Landing Group - that he was with a party that had to organize things in advance in Egypt ?

Thank you very much.

I'll see to the questiones raised.

viele Grüße

Gunther

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Slingo

herewith the original forms I found

what do they tell ?

 

kind regards, Gunther

Reginald G Randall service form.jpg

Theodore L Randall medal.jpg

Theodore L Randall RAMC.jpg

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Slingo

herewith the forms on Reginald George Randall:

 

kind regards,

Gunther

 

excuse me, Theodore is here, Reginald above

Reginald G Randall service form.jpg

Reginal G Randall medals.jpg

Theodore L Randall service form.jpg

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PRC
4 hours ago, Slingo said:

Theodore L Randall service form.jpg

 

That service medal roll shows 281943 Sapper Donald J. Gillies has a SWB. The Silver War Badge were issued to men who left the army honourably before the official end of the conflict, most likely because of wounds or ill-health. The record card, similar to the Medal Index Card, includes the information that he enlisted on the 11th December 1915.

 

It would be nice to assume that Theodore transferred to the Royal Engineers on that date, most likely in the UK. If his 1915 Star was issued by the Royal Engineers then that might be seen as confirmation.

 

I have some ideas but the first step would be to check which Regiment actually issued his 1915 Star before I cause too much confusion. (Sorry I don’t have an Ancestry account, so can’t check it out myself).

 

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by PRC
Formatting issue

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seaJane

Peter,

not my area of expertise but would the issuing regiment be identifiable from the preview of the MIC in the National Archives catalogue?

Tentatively,

seaJane

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PRC
58 minutes ago, seaJane said:

Peter,

not my area of expertise but would the issuing regiment be identifiable from the preview of the MIC in the National Archives catalogue?

Tentatively,

seaJane

 

Hi SeaJane,

 

The relevant card is in post #4 and is a tad confusing :-)

 

5 hours ago, Slingo said:

 

Theodore L Randall medal.jpg

 

 

The medal roll references both start with the prefix "RE", implying Royal Engineers. But there is an asterisk against the entry for the Victory Medal and the British War Medal and a matching asterisk against the Norfolk Regiment. The asterisk would normally imply the regiment that issued the medal but that could leave us with a scenario where he went fron the Norfolks to the Royal Engineers to Norfolks - plausible but difficult to reconcile with a Royal Engineers Service Medal Roll for his Victory Medal and British War Medal.

 

I suspect the 1915 Star will also have been issued by the Royal Engineers but I don't want to speculate further until that gets nailed down as even typing that out made me furrow my forehead!

 

Cheers,

Peter

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seaJane
1 hour ago, PRC said:

a tad confusing

You said it! :wacko:

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rob carman

You may have already seen this but , if not, I hope it goes down well....from page 96 of Storey, Neil R. 2017. Norfolk in the Great War from Old Phoographs.  Amberley Publishing, Srtoud, UK.  ISBN 978 1 4456 5436 2, about 14 UKpounds when I bought my print copy.  There is an e-book version (different ISBN).  I can organize a higher resolution scan if you want.

 

Rob.

 

 

 

Capture.JPG

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Slingo

Dear Sirs,

 

 ALC: maybe it meant ELC - Egyptian Labour Corps

 

Royal Engineers Territorial Army: I do not know of the composition of the 5th Norfolk battalion or the Norfol Yeomanry/King's Own Royal Regiment.

Theodore went from 5th Norfolk to the REs; Reginald was with 1/1st Norfolk Yeomanry, discharged to the ELC and again with 12th Norfolk Yeaomanry battalion

formed out of 1/1st from 7.2.1917 onwards.

 

So: were there any RE territorial platoons attached t 5th Norfolk or 1/1st Norfolk Yeomanry or were RE units always indipendent units fighting under a command of XYZ ?

 

kind regards, Gunther

 

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rob carman

Theo's low number (1048) and his rank (already a Sgt in 1914) suggest he was a pre-war 5 Bn Territorial, possibly from  F Company (Cromer, detachments at Holt, Melton Constable and Sheringham).  

He was not renumbered with a 245000 to 260000 series 5 Bn  Norfolks number.  The LLT site says the TF renumbeing order was issued 3 Dec 1918 and was meant to be effective from 1 March 1917.   

Rob.

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PRC

The birth of a Theodore Laurance Randall, mothers’ maiden name Wills, was registered with the Civil Authorities in the Erpingham District of Norfolk in the October to December quarter, (Q4), of 1884.

 

Erpingham Civil Registration District included the town of Cromer.

 

The birth of a Reginald George Randall, mothers’ maiden name Wills, was registered with the Civil Authorities in the Erpingham District of Norfolk in the April to July quarter, (Q2), of 1890. By the time Reginald died the published record included dates of birth – that for Reginald is shown as the 9th May 1890.

 

The 6 year old Theodore L Randall and the 10 months Reginald G. Randall, both born Cromer, Norfolk were recorded on the 1891 Census of England and Wales living at West Street, Cromer. This was the household, (and probably shop), of their parents Robert L, (aged 31, a Watch & Clock Maker, born Holt, Norfolk) and Clara M., (aged 36, born Norwich, Norfolk). Also in the household were their other children Winifred W, (14, born Norwich), Mabel J., (9), Wilfred W, (8), Sybil C, (4) and Harold R, (2) – all born Cromer.

 

By the time of the 1901 Census of England and Wales the family had moved to 21 Mount Street, Cromer. Father Robert L Randall, (43) is now shown as a Watchmaker, Gas fitter & Cycle Agent. Of the children in the household the 25 year old Winifred W., unmarried, is now recorded with the surname Weir and her relationship to Robert is recorded as Step-daughter. Daughter Mabel J, (19) is an Elementary Treacher. Sons Theodore L, (16) and Reginald G, (10) were still probably at school, as neither are shown with an occupation. The family has expanded with the addition of sons Raymond E.R., (6) and daughter Erind H., (3) – both born Cromer.

 

On the 1911 Census of England and Wales the 20 year old unmarried Reginald George Randall, an employed Printer, was recorded as a Boarder at 21 Moncrieff Street, Rye Lane, Peckham, South East London, Surrey. His old brother, Wilfred William Randall, a 28 year old Elementary Teacher, was recorded as the married head of the household at 43 Oglander Road, Peckham, South East London, Surrey, which possibly explains why Reginald had moved to this area of London.

 

Their parents were still living at 21 Mount Street, Cromer. Robert Lawrence Randall, (51, Electrician & Dealer) and Clara Mary Randall, (56) have been married 30 years and have had 8 children, all then still alive. Amongst those still in the household was the 26 year old unmarried Theodore Lawrence Randell, who worked as an Electrician.

 

From 1907 onwards, (i.e. the year following his 21st birthday), a Theodore Laurence Randall was recorded as entitled to vote in Parliamentary and Civil Parish elections as he rented one furnished room on a first floor of a building on Mount Street, Cromer. His “landlord” was an R.L. Randall, of 21, Mount Street, Cromer.

1907 Source: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DRTQ-LMR?i=275&cc=1824705

 

At that time in order to qualify for a vote there were property qualifications – essentially you had to be a householder. To gain an increased say in how things were run it was a fairly common practice for the (male) children to be given a rentbook for their bedroom on turning 21. This was a practice available to practically everyone except the working class, who, living quite often in overcrowded accommodation, could not afford the luxury of allowing one person exclusive use of a room.

 

Theodore disappears from the Norfolk Register of Electors after the 1911 edition, but pops up again on the 1915 edition, (prepared in the autum of 1914). He was then entitled to vote in Parliamentary, County Council and Civil Parish elections as he was the (male) householder of a dwelling house at 44 Church Street, Cromer.

1915 Source: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-68KQ-7P4?i=577&cc=1824705

 

This is possibly because a Theodore L Randall married a Nellie B Thompson at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk in the January to March quarter, (Q1), of 1913. There are a number of children born in the Erpingham Civil Registration District with the surname Randall, mothers’ maiden name Thompson, but they are all in the 1920’s and 1930’s. A marriage or birth during the time he served would have meant that the related certificate would have shown as a minimum his rank and regiment\ corps and can sometimes include specific unit and service number details.

 

There is nothing in the pre-war ships passengers lists for the UK to indicate that Theodore or Reginald spent anytime outside the UK – that doesn’t mean they didn’t, but seems unlikely.

 

However the UK General Registrars Office index of overseas marriages of British Nationals reported to the British Consulate records that in the period 1916 – 1920 the marriage of a Reginald G Randall was reported to the Cairo Consulate. His bride also had the surname Thompson.  By cross referencing the Consulate report page number,(Page 956), it would appear his bride was a Margaret E. Thompson. Copies of these marriage certificates can be ordered in the same way as for those who birth marriage or death occurred in the UK.

See: How to order a certificate for an event which took place overseas  in the FAQ section at https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/most_customers_want_to_know.asp

 

Depending on when the marriage took place then this should show rank and regiment\corps as a minimum. If the couple returned to live in Norfolk then some of those children registered with surname Randall, mothers’ maiden name Thompson in the Epingham District may be theirs.

 

The Officers Service Records for Lieutenant Reginald George Randall at held at the National Archive under reference WO 374/56173

The catalogue entry shows them as commencing in 1915 and going through to 1920, but as they will also include his other ranks service paper then the earlier date may refer to that period. (Records cannot be viewed online but several memners of this website offer a copying service.).

Source: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C726294

 

(Although the picture of the Randall family in Neil Storeys’ book indicates he was already serving in 1914.)

 

War Service to follow.

Edited by PRC
Typo

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PRC

War Service for Reginald.

 

I don’t have an estimate for the likely enlistment date of Reginald. The caption for the picture in the Neil Storey book indicates he was with his unit in 1914. That seems unlikely to be the 1/1st Kings Own Royal Norfolk Yeomanry, the only unit of that Regiment that would see service overseas. Most likely it was the 2nd/1st, a home service only unit that would have also trained new recruits that could be then sent out as replacements drafts, or less likely one of the equivalent home service only units of the Norfolk Regiment.

 

I say this because Reginald wasn’t with the 1/1st when they landed at Anzac Cove on the 10th October 1915, or even with them during the evacuation from Gallipoli during December 1915.

 

The Long, Long Trail then states that:-

22 February 1916 : Eastern and Southern Mounted Brigades formed 3rd Dismounted Brigade, on Suez Canal defences. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-yeomanry-regiments-of-1914-1918/norfolk-yeomanry-the-kings-own-royal-regiment/

 

The MiC for Reginald states he landed in Egypt on the 23rd March 1916 with service number 2568. I believe that’s probably as a draft of replacements from the 2nd/1st Battalion.

 

July 1916 : brigade moves to join Western Frontier Force,
7 February 1917 : formally converted to infantry and became 12th (Norfolk Yeomanry) Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment. Placed under orders of 230th Brigade in 74th (Yeomanry) Division.

(see Long, Long Trail link above).

 

As part of them formally moving into the Norfolk Regiment they were renumbered into the six digit series starting 32****. This was when he became service number 320402. So he was certainly on the strength of the Battalion at the start of February 1917, making it possible that he was with them and the 74th Yeomanry Division when it began to assemble.

 

The LLT has the following for that Division:-

 

On 14 January 1917 the GOC Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Sir Edmund Allenby, gave orders for the reorganisation of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dismounted Brigades of Yeomanry – at the time all were serving on Suez Canal defences – and for their conversion and redesignation as the 229th, 230th and 231st Infantry Brigades. These Brigades were then organised as a Division, which began to assemble on 4 March 1917 near El Arish. It was, strictly, a Division of the Territorial Force. The Divisional artillery did not join until July 1917 by which time the Division had already taken part in its first action, the Second Battle of Gaza. It remained in action in Palestine until April 1918, taking part in the following engagements:

 

1917

The Second Battle of Gaza (17 – 19 April 1917)

The Third Battle of Gaza (27 October – 7 November 1917, including the Capture of Beersheba on 31 October and the capture of the Sheria Position on 6 November)

The capture of Jerusalem (8 – 9 December 1917)

The defence of Jerusalem (27 – 30 December 1917)

 

1918

The Battle of Tell’Asur (8 – 12 March 1918)

 

Whether he was with the 12th Battalion or even the Division during those actions will depend on when he was commissioned. I struggled to find details of this in the London Gazette.

 

Checking the Active Service List in the March 1918 Army List did turn up one R G Randall, and it was under reference 1634. When I looked that up I found him in a section titled “New Armies”, a Second Lieutenant commissioned 15th April 1917. There is a symbol beside the entry which decodes that he was serving with the Egyptian Labour Corps.

 

On the November 1918 Army List he was still recorded as a Second Lieutenant with the Egyptian Labour Corps although it does now appear in the section for the Labour Corps, (reference 1589r).

 

While he may have been commissioned on the field for an act of valour, the more likely scenario is that he’d left his unit, attended an officer training course and was commissioned at the end on the 15th April 1917.

 

The best guide to his career will probably be in his officer file, but for now seems likely he didn’t take part as a combatant in either 2nd Gaza, (17th-19th April 1917) or 3rd Gaza, (1st-2nd November 1917).

 

For more on the Egyptian Labour Corps see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Labour_Corps

 

It notes “The Egyptian Labour Corps was described in February 1918 as organised into Companies of 600 men with a Subaltern commanding officer and two junior officers. Three to six of these Companies formed a Camp under an officer commanding Egyptian Labour Corps of an Area. The officers were at first drawn from Arabic speaking Anglo-Egyptians and afterwards NCOs and privates were recruited from British units and trained in Arabic.”

 

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by PRC
Typo

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PRC

If anyone with fuller access to Ancestry could check out which unit issued the other brothers 1915 Star - Royal Engineers or Norfolks - and his rank on that roll, that would be very helpful. I only have a free account, so can't see the rolls.

 

Soldier concerned was Theodore L Randall 1078 Norfolk Regiment and 281946 Royal Engineers..

 

Thanks,

Peter

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