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Remembered Today:

M2/081170 Sgt John Weatherstone MM - RASC


Shiny

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Hi All,

 

I'm looking at a relative who won the MM at some point during the war but am struggling with even basic details on him. The details I do have are M2/081170 Sgt John Weatherstone, I know he was awarded an MM but I don't know when or what for and I know it's unlikely to find a reason out.

 

Usually I would try and get a war diary to at least see what the Battalion or unit was up to so I can write some sort of story up about what he was doing and where he's been but I can't pin him down any more than him being Army Service Corps.

 

He has the VM and BWM so I know that narrows the dates a bit but can anyone make any suggestions about what else I can do to see if I can tell his story a bit?

 

Thanks a lot,

 

Michael

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not a citation but local paper has a reference

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000569%2f19180810%2f102&stringtohighlight=weatherstone military medal

might be worth checking papers at the local library as they might have more than there is on line

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Thank you very much Coldstreamer.

 

I was going to put on the original post that I had looked on the British Newspaper Archive and had no luck but decided against it as I hoped this might happen, I'm not sure why I couldn't find them.

 

So these listings say he was MT ASC so a driver, there's something I didn't know. 

 

The entry in the gazette is dated 2nd of Aug 1918, how close to the event is it likely to appear in the gazette?

 

Thanks again for the help,

 

Michael

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Michael

I find the average of 3 to 4 months from action until gazette. Very occasionally less but sometimes more. 

Have a look at this

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record/browse?id=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f007403663%2f00335

Might not seem relevant and a lot is unreadable but is a report on some kind of incident with witness statements. This page refers to 608 MT Company. Go to next page and the 4th witness shuld be familiar. Not relevant to MM but puts in somewhere in 1916 and has his signature. Found it just looking for his number

The link here puts him with 48 (or just poss 40th) Divisional MT Company in France at the time of his MM. It is the index card for his MM

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=S2%2FGBM%2FWO372_23%2F30454&parentid=GBM%2FDCM%2FMM%2F0121922

edit

According to LLT 48 Division went to Italy in late 1917. And as index card is stamped France I am leaning towards the card saying 40th Division. 608 MT Coy according to LLT was 40th Division. Purely circumstantial

 

Edited by Mark1959
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Hi Mark,

 

That is brilliant, thank you so much.

 

If I'm reading it right it sounds like the guard commander was found by the CSM to be drunk on duty and he was ordered to take over.

 

The index card does look like 48 but I would agree with you about the word France pointing more towards 40th.

 

I've learnt more about him this afternoon that I have in months. Thank you all so much.

 

Michael

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The War Diary for 40 Div ASC train is here on ancestry. Cannot see mention of him or MM. 1918 is past page 300. The 48th ASC train diary stops when it leaves France in Oct/Nov 1917 but is at

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_col=200&_cr1=WO+95&_hb=tna&_q=48+division+asc

Still poking around. 

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Thank you very much for all your hard work Mark, please continue to poke!

 

By happy coincidence I will be on a rare visit to Kew tomorrow for about an hour so I'll be able to download any diaries you find.

 

Michael 

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  • 4 weeks later...

@Mark1959 Hi Mark,

 

I managed to get the diary for the 48th Div train at Kew and have started looking at all of this again.

 

Can you tell me why you said to look at Divisional Train diaries, was 608 MT Coy part of the train or working with the train?

 

I'm not doubting you, I'm just trying to learn.

 

Thanks a lot,

 

Michael

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The M2 prefix to his number confirms he was a driver at the time he joined up. He was quite possibly a professional driver in civilian life already, and didn't need to learn to drive (probably lorries). Otherwise his prefix would be DM2  (ie a driver learner).

Number 081170 corresponds to an attestation between early April - mid May 1915 (credits Gardenerbill):

 

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Thanks very much for that and you are correct, he was a taxi driver before he joined up.

 

Based on what Mark said in post 5 about time scales I'm wondering if maybe his action could have been something to do with the spring offensive?

 

Just a thought.

 

Michael

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Thanks for that clarification I'll make a note that he could have been involved in maintenance work as well. Presumably as a driver already though they would have used him as such?

 

Michael

 

 

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Given they were desperately short of drivers at the time, I think it is safe to assume he would have been employed as a driver, could be lorries, vans or cars. 

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OK, thanks

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My suppositions were based on the MM index card. The witness statement he gave etc. Plus looking up 608 Company on LLT. It is a theory to be proved or disproved not a statement of fact. The issue is, of course. that to date we have not found any evidence to decide the truth.

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Thanks John, I really appreciate the help. I am notoriously bad at finding war diaries if they aren't obvious, one's like this where they are buried in a divisional diary always escape me.

 

I'm sure you are correct and when combined with the information Dai Bach y Sowldiwr added about his service number I think he has probably joined up and been posted straight into the newly formed 608 MT Coy and then stayed with them all the way through the war. He doesn't have a 14/15 star and I notice the statement he made says they are based at Bath in 1916 so that would all fit.

 

I read the bit on the LLT website which said Div MT Coy's were involved in loading and unloading trains so what I was wondering was is that why you had said to look at the Div Train's diary rather than a diary specific to 608 MT Coy?

 

I as I said I'm not doubting anything you have said I'm just trying to get my head around how the diaries work as much as finding John in one.

 

Thanks again for the help,

 

Michael

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I think your best bet would be to take a chance on the 608 MT Coy diary, they don't normally mention other ranks, however there is a very good chance an incident that led to an MM will be mentioned along with the recipient.  

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Thanks Gardnerbill, so presumably you think there would be a separate diary for them rather than them being included in the train diary?

 

I haven't managed to find anything unique to them but as I said I am very bad at finding them.

 

Michael 

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Hi Michael,

I am now at home with access to books and PC etc.

On my list of numbers I have:

 

M2/079507 Pte William Hicks attested 23/04/1915

M2/081316 Pte Michael Magee attested 26/04/1915

 

So that puts Sgt Weatherstone's attestation date at around 24th or 25th April 1915, assuming at least a month for initial training, if he joined a new company it would be one of the following MT companies formed in June:

 

301 to 307

346 to 347

370 to 371

373 to 376

 

However he could have joined an earlier one as a replacement.

 

608 MT Coy was not formed until 26/11/1915 but he may have transferred there at a later date, without a service record it is almost impossible to say, but I still think it is worth getting a copy of the 608 diary (and yes all MT companies in the field were required to keep a war diary).

 

An MT company establishment consisted of 76 NCOs and privates, my Grandfather served with the 801st MT Coy and their diary mentions by name 51 NCOs and privates.

 

Here is a link to my website hope you find it interesting:

 

801MTCoy

 

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21 minutes ago, Gardenerbill said:

So that puts Sgt Weatherstone's attestation date at around 24th or 25th April 1915

There are surviving service records for M2/081171, 72,and 74 and they give attestation 30/4/15 at Newcastle  then joining at Grove Park same or next day. Given that Weatherstone (M2/081170) is a Gateshead man I suggest he did the same. They all seem to be civilian motor drivers before enlistment. Some went almost immediately abroad, earning 1915 Star so perhaps no further conclusions from these other service records can be drawn ?

 

charlie

 

ps To me the MM card clearly reads 40th Divl MT Coy (look at all the 8s just below !)

1870252843_gwfWeatherstoneJMMcardextract.JPG.f2609e63949f310bec129902c15c7994.JPG

Edited by charlie962
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Thanks a lot Gardnerbill and Charlie, that helps a lot.

 

That image Charlie has posted is a lot sharper and clearer than the one we were looking at earlier, I would definitely agree based on that it is a 40.

 

I wonder how he ended up being separated from the lads he joined up with, I haven't found a separate card for the 14/15 star which I know sometimes happens so based on the new information about attestation dates you both posted I can only assume he went into one of the units Gardnerbill mentioned and then transferred into 608 MT Coy quite early on after it's formation. He seems to have moved through the ranks quite quickly as well.

 

I haven't really researched anyone who joined a larger corps such as this, most of mine so far have been in specific battalions which have been fairly straight forward to read up on, I'm learning a lot thanks to everyone's help.

 

As Charlie said he doesn't seem to have a record that survived and I can't see a pension card either so no help there.

 

If anyone can help find a diary specifically for 608 MT Coy I'd really appreciate the help. I have Ancestry access and have looked there and the NA website but can't find anything but as I mentioned earlier I do seem to struggle finding diaries.

 

Michael

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Thank you so much @Dai Bach y Sowldiwr that definitely looks like it it me.

 

What was the trick? How did you find it? I have looked on the NA website and Ancestry and had no luck at all.

 

Thank you again,

 

Michael

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@Shiny

When you go looking for war diaries on Discovery, always put in WO95 in the search box to start, then the number of the company, siege battery or division etc. Tick the 1900-1924 box. For ASC companies, that should suffice, producing a very short manageable list.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

 

If you have a big list, you can further add A.S.C. Which should reduce the list further.

(I think A.S.C. is consistently indexed that way, not ASC, or Army Service Corps, but just be aware there could be variations.)

National Archive indexing is infinitely superior to the indexing on Ancestry.

 

Likewise, if looking for a medal index card, use the prefix WO372.

If looking for a Siege Battery put in WO95 and Siege and the number of the SB.

So for 264 SB, enter WO95 Siege 264.

 

For Brigades/Heavy Artillery Groups RGA, I find that entering:

WO95 Brigade Garrison and the HAG/Bde number is sufficient.

The searches are very fast.

Most of the Western Front Diaries have now been digitized I think, so you can further limit your search by ticking the box "Available to download from the National Archive".

 

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
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