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mazzie_1

Ralph Edward Smith of Durham, England

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mazzie_1

Hi

 

I'm trying to find the service no. of Ralph Edward Smith (1889-1957) of Durham, England.

 

He lived at Gilesgate Moor, Durham and died in 1957.

 

He married after the war in 1919 to Maria Franklin.

 

I've seen quite a few Ralph Edward Smith's serving in WWI, but some died during the war so I know they aren't him.

 

Can anybody help please?

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PRC
1 hour ago, mazzie_1 said:

He married after the war in 1919 to Maria Franklin.

 

One route would be to obtain a copy of the marriage certificate.

 

Firstly, while the bulk of the demobilisation had occurred before Q4 1919, (when I see the wedding took), there is obviously a chance that he was still in or at least on demob leave. His occupation box would show his rank and regiment \ corps as a minimum, and sometimetimes much more.

 

The other reason for doing it is to try and find him in the 1918 & 1919 Absent Voters. It can be a bit of a needle in a haystack, particularly if you don't know what he might have called his home address was. The marriage certificate however will give you the address he was living at prior to the marriage, and so is obviously a lot closer to the time those AVL's were being pulled together than details from the 1911 Census. For more on this route see https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/finding-soldiers-through-the-1918-absent-voters-lists/

 

On a different tack - I take it he didn't lose his father or brothers in the war. If he did and there records have survived then worth checking for Army Form W.5080. Usually completed mid-1919 by the next of kin, this is a proforma to be completed detailing all surviving immediate family and their addresses. In the section for brothers it's not unusual for a regiment\battalion or ship to be cited as a care of address.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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mazzie_1

I've just found there are service records for an Corporal R E Smith (RFA 20281) and when I've cross referenced that name it is of a Ralph E Smith.

 

Can anybody see the birthplace given for this soldier please, as my wife's uncle thinks he was in an artillery regiment.

 

Thanks again.

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Mark1959

20281 appears to have resided in Sawley, Derbyshire. He was Ralph Edward.

Edited by Mark1959

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Mark1959

I think he could be 13166 Durham Light Infantry Ralph Smith.

He has a Pension Card. This says he had Cataracts in both eyes, Discharged 7/2/19. The pension card say his address was 7, Providence Place, Gilesgate, Durham. 
In 1911 census a Ralph Edward Smith aged 21 was living at 6 Providence Place with

Edward Thompson 59 stepfather

Mary Jane Thompson 46 mother

Sarah Jame Smith 18 sister

Richard Smith 9 brother.

In 1939 a Ralph E was still living at number 7 with

Maria (wife) and likely children Edith, Sarah, Irene, Doris, Douglas and others. As you have quoted Maria I think it may be right. Her maiden name appears to be Franklin. 

Are these details correct for the man you are trying to trace.?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mark1959

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mazzie_1

Wow Mark.

 

Thanks.

 

That's the address we have for him (7 Providence Place).

 

Thank you.

 

Where do I get a copy of the pension card?

 

Is it Fold3?

 

Thanks again.

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Mark1959

Indeed. 
https://www.fold3.com/image/643595812. Back shows he got a pension for 50% disability so his eyes must have been bad. 

Medal index card here. Shows he first went to France Aug 1915.

Ancestry not working properly in certain areas so will look again in the morning and post other links. Don’t think his service papers have survived. 
Found a record elsewhere saying he was wounded in the hand whilst serving with the 12th Battalion DLI. This seems to have been March/April 1916 near Bethune. Suffering from scabies at the time as well!

Will investigate further. 

Edited by Mark1959

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mazzie_1

Amazing.

 

Thank you

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Mark1959

 

1914/15 Star Roll entry here

British War & Victory Medal here

Note the latter only says 12th. So best we can guess is all his overseas service was with the 12th Battalion DLI. The 1914/15 Roll shows went to France on 25/8/15. All the chaps around him on the roll went same day. 

The longlongtrail says:

12th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Newcastle in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under orders of 68th Brigade in 23rd Division. Moved to Aldershot in November. Moved to Willesborough (Kent) in February 1915 and went on in May to Bramshott.
26 August 1915 : landed at Boulogne.
Moved with Division to Italy in November 1917.

So he went to France with main body of the battalion. We do not know when he came back and so we do not know if he went to Italy unless we can find some other evidence. 

It is noted he went to the general reserve (Z) when he was discharged so in theory could be recalled. This general liability was abandoned in 1920. His eye issues would have made that impossible I think. 

Findmypast has a medical record from 18th General Hospital at Camiers. This is where I picked up his wounding. I think the scabies element may refer to the man above him in the admissions list. He is serving with A Company 12 DLI. The record shows 1 years service and 8 months with the field force. If you take that at face value he enlisted about March 1915. The 8 months is correct as we know he went to France late July 1915, The diagnosis is given as "II VIII Hands". 

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/the-evacuation-chain-for-wounded-and-sick-soldiers/classification-of-wounds-using-by-the-british-army-in-the-first-world-war/ tell you what the II and VIII mean. So he had a wound to the face and another to his hands.He was admitted on 23/4/16. It seems he was passed to 20th General Hospital, also in Camiers on 15/5/16. The reord suggest he was wounded on 31/3/16 at "Bois Frennin" (best guess I can come up with).

He appears on a War Office wounded list issued on 17/4/16, published in papers. This would suggested the 31/3 wounding date is likely correct.  Where he was being treated between wounding and arriving at 18GH is anyone's guess. The long time in hospital suggests a bad wound. We do not know if he was eveacuated back to the UK.

So the next port of call is the War Diary available on ancestry. The entry for the 31/3/16 put 12th in the trenches at the "Calonne Sector". The entry at the top of the page says Bully-Grenay. This puts them near Bethune. The entry for 31/3 shows the unit was shelled heavily that morning - perhaps a 1000 shells between daybreak and noon. Also notes more aircarft activity. 3 ORs (other ranks) wounded - it seems logical to assume Ralph was one of the three. So his wounds were likely caused by shrapnel. If you use the arrows you can see what the battalion did from his arrival in France until the wounding. 

That is as far as I can get with Ancestry indexing playing up. I think we have to assume that anything after this time is open to question.

Hope that helps

 

Edited by Mark1959

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mazzie_1

Brilliant Mark

 

Thank you

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