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Natasha

Hi All, 

 

I am Natasha, and I am new to the forum. 

 

I wondered if anyone might be able to help me. 

 

I am currently looking into my family history, and I have found I have a great great uncle who served in World War 1. 

 

His name is George Carpenter and he served in WW1 in the 12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. I know his number was G/5841 and I am aware he died during the Battle of the Somme on the 26th September 1916. My husband and I visited the memorial at Thiepval last year which was an incredibly humbling experience.

 

My reasoning for asking if anyone might be able to help is that I know George was c.24 years old when he died. The one thing I am missing in my search is a picture. I have a relatively small family and I have exhausted asking all members for pictures - nobody appears to have one!

 

I don't think it was mandatory for men to have a picture before they went away to serve, but if anyone knows of anywhere I might be able to search for one, I would be extremely grateful.I trawl through WW1 picture websites and often eBay - just in case, but I fear I will never find one!

 

Alternatively, if anyone has any further useful information on the regiment, or knows of a relative of someone else in the same regiment (who may or may not have pictures), I would love to hear other's experiences of researching similar things.

 

Otherwise, perhaps someone here has further information on the battalion which might be of interest to me, and I would be grateful if you could perhaps post a link to some further reading etc. I have found looking into George's life (and the small amount information I have gathered about him) has been a very touching experience.

 

Best Wishes to all,

 

Natasha.   

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RussT

Hi Natasha

 

Welcome to the Forum

 

Some have had success finding a picture of their relative by trawling through local newspapers (many of which are archived on-line). A family member may have submitted one a few weeks after his death. Where was he from?

 

Regards

 

Russ

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Natasha

Hi Russ, 

 

Thank you very much for replying! 

 

He was from the Bermondsey / Southwark area - would you have idea where I would start with that sort of search?

 

Thank you so much for your help! 

 

Best, 

 

Natasha 

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RussT

A few options

 

FindMyPast has digitised copies of many newspapers (your local library may have access if you don't subscribe)

The British Newspaper Archive (ditto)

A library local to those places you mention he was from should be able to help with the names of the local newspapers of the time, and they may even have copies e.g. on fiche through which you can trawl (I've done that and was lucky)

 

Russ

 

 

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PRC

Hi and welcome to the forum.

 

I see from his record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website that he died on the 26th September 1916 whilst serving with the 12th Battalion.

 

His Medal Index Card, (literally that, an index card created post-war at a records office to control the service medal documentation) shows that he first landed in France on the 25th July 1915.

 

Our parent site, the Long, Long Trail has this to say about the 12th Battalion.

 

12th (Service) Battalion

Formed at Mill Hill in August 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of 54th Brigade in 18th (Eastern) Division. Moved to Colchester and then on to Codford in May 1915.

26 July 1915 : landed at Le Havre.

13 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/the-duke-of-cambridges-own-middlesex-regiment/

 

So sounds likely that he was with the 12th Battalion throughout his time in France & Flanders.

 

The Official Regimental History is split over two volumes and is titled for the Battalions nickname “The Die-hards in the Great War”. I believe the period you are interested in is all covered by Volume 1 which can be read online or downloaded from here:-

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b742713&view=1up&seq=15

 

The 18th Division in the Great War by G.H.F. Nichols is also available on line. There appears to be almost an entire chapter on the battle on that day.

http://access.bl.uk/item/viewer/ark:/81055/vdc_100022557085.0x000002#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=106&z=-0.2617%2C0%2C2.5234%2C1.6311&xywh=-1307%2C0%2C4275%2C2691

 

The action of the tanks in support of the attack is briefly covered here.

https://sites.google.com/site/landships/home/narratives/somme1916narratives/26-september-1916---supporting-ii-and-canadian-corp

 

Doesn’t look like there was any missing persions enquiry made of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

53 minutes ago, RussT said:

FindMyPast has digitised copies of many newspapers (your local library may have access if you don't subscribe)

The British Newspaper Archive (ditto)

 

I second Ron’s comments. All the major Genealogy sites have a Newspaper option, usually as a bolt on or as part of a premium package. You can also subscribe to the British Newspapers Archive (BNA) directly. However if you are resident in the UK then you will find your local public library is very likely to have a subscription to the BNA and that will give you free unlimited access while onsite. I would always recommend trying the BNA out at the Library first, as the software used to convert the scanned images to text is, to put it kindly, quirky, and takes a bit of getting used to.

 

I would always recommend trying out the online sources first. By their very nature they will be word searchable which is important because you are making the assumption that there is a picture to find. There may well be a reason why you could not track one down in the family.:)

 

Like Russ I too have spent many a happy hour scanning through micro-fiches and micro-film, and there are many pictures to be found. But if you do go a physical archive to look for just one individual  then you need to be aware that if a picture does exist it could crop up at any point. Soldiers like your great, great uncle who were probably originally recorded as missing, would at some point have been officially treated by the Army as dead. Usually this was in the first twelve months. (A clue to that date may come from the Army Register of Soldiers Effects - a financial ledger - which is available on Ancestry. A formal declaration that he was dead  should have triggered the release of the balance of his pay to his next of kin). So the point at which the family might hand over a picture to the newspaper might be then. Or it might crop up because another extended family member has died \ gone missing \ been wounded \ had a senior promotion \ been awarded a medal or has been mentioned in despatches, etc, etc. To help another forum member I’ve just been going through newspapers from the start of 1919 and have noticed there is another glut of pictures as families post pictures asking for information from returning “chums” who were taken prisoner in the action in which their loved one went missing. And there is also no reason why the picture might not appear before he died.

 

Hope that helps and good luck with your search.

 

Peter

 

Edited by PRC
Typo

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mancpal

Natasha,

using his name and service number have you tried searching ancestry to  see if his service records exist?

 

Simon

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