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maudson

2nd Norfolks and 7th Berkshires

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maudson

Hi, I am annoyed wth myself for having to appeal for help so soon but I am confused about a man's service. His name was Thomas Alfred Tomlin, born in 1884 in Raunds in Northamptonshire. He is shown on the Ringstead Roll of Honour as in the Royal Berkshires and now serving in Russia. I have found that he was in the 2nd Norfolks (205464) and then the 7th Battalion of the Royal Berkshires (219036). His medal Card seems to show that he was only entitled to the Victory medal but a note states that he was also entitled to BWM also with them.

I have found a mention of the 2nd Norfolks in Russia but not the 7th Berkshires.

 

I guess that all of this is near the end (he married Spring 1917) and after WW1 but any clearer service history or sources would be much appreciated.

David

Edited by maudson

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charlie962

David

 

The R Berks number was issued as a result of compulsory trf from another unit to the 7th Berks on 15/9/18.( eg see svc record for 219030 J E Jones)

 

The R Berks provide the men for  'D' Company of the 2nd Composite Bn that served in Russia 1919. That coy was under Maj A G MacDonald DSO.

 

Charlie

 

Edit- note that Tomlin's employer was applying for his exemption in mid 1917 but dismissed(Find my past)

Edited by charlie962

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maudson

Many thanks Charlie. Now I have something to work with. David

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maudson

I am beginnning to build a picture of Thomas Tomlin's service with Charlie's help but wonder if anyone can give more exactly when he might have enlisted in the 2nd Norfolks (Reg No. 205464) and/or transferred to the 7th Berkshires (219036). I have found a number of other soldiers who made this transfer but cannot yet establish a date).

David

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charlie962
20 minutes ago, maudson said:

and/or transferred to the 7th Berkshires (219036)

This is as I noted above; post 2.  A compulsory transfer

 

The R Berks number was issued as a result of compulsory trf from another unit to the 7th Berks on 15/9/18.( eg see svc record for 219030 J E Jones)

 

Edited by charlie962

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charlie962
18 minutes ago, maudson said:

2nd Norfolks (Reg No. 205464)

The Norfolks number was, I think , issued in early July 1917. He would have probably been posted to 4th Bn at first.

This date fits with the Tribunal I noted above.

 

Charlie

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maudson

Apologies Charlie. I will self-isolate.Immediately

David

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PRC
On 13/03/2020 at 14:32, maudson said:

I have found a mention of the 2nd Norfolks in Russia but not the 7th Berkshires.

 

The 2nd Norfolks were in Mesopotamia, not Russia during the Great War. Post War thery were part of the occupation force and then back to the England via India, briefly, before being posted back to India and then Iraq. Men who stayed in the regular army normally subsequently received the India General Service Medal with the clasp for Waziristan.

 

The six digit 205xxx series was one in use by one of the former Territorial Force Battalions, probably the 4th Reserve Battalion, which was UK Home Service only. But It could also have been the 2nd/4th Battalion, also home service only, which didn't cease to exist until it was disbanded in June 1918.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by PRC
Typo

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maudson

Peter. I can only offer the same abject apology that I gave to Charlie. I am not sure what was wrong with me on Friday. I meant to say that the 2nd Norfolks had been in India - just at the start of the war - and I knew of no other connection of either Battalion to India in his time period. He was with the 2nd Norfolks in the 1918 AVL and with the 7th Berkshires in the 1919 AVL. As Charlies has said he would have been compulsorily transferred to the Berkshires on 15/09/18. I hope I have not blundered again.

David

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PRC
6 hours ago, maudson said:

He was with the 2nd Norfolks in the 1918 AVL and with the 7th Berkshires in the 1919 AVL. As Charlies has said he would have been compulsorily transferred to the Berkshires on 15/09/18

 

So reading through the thread and expanding on what appears to be the case, my thoughts are that:-

 

Mid/late summer 1917, (possibly July) he is conscripted into the 4th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment – possibly either the 2nd/4th or the 4th Reserve Battalion.  Both are former Territorial Force units, so he receives a service number from their allocated range – 205464.

 

At this time and throughout the rest of the remaining period of the Great War, the 2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment was in Mesopotamia, the 7th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment are at Salonika.

 

6th February 1918. The Representation of the Peoples Act, 1918 removes all property requirements for male voters and lowers the age of voting to 18 for males serving in the Armed Forces, (21 for all other males).

 

Returning Officers have to hurriedly prepare new Electoral registers – the last ones were prepared in 1914 for use in 1915 elections. They also have many millions of new voters, many of them stationed away from home. While they try writing to those individuals away from home, I’ve seen a couple of references in papers for both Norfolk and elsewhere that a 40% return rate was high. So the 1918 Absent Voters List is prepared based on these returns and from information supplied by family as part of preparing the full register.

 

While Thomas could have gone out to Mesopotamia to serve with the 2nd Battalion, men did not routinely transfer between units. The most likely route from the 2nd Norfolks to the 7th Berkshire would be that he was wounded \ accidentally injured \ falls ill, is medically evacuated back for treatment and on recovery is put back in the general pool of reserves such as an Infantry Base Depot and is compulsorily allocated  to a new unit.

 

The fly in the ointment with that for Thomas is that while the medical evacuation chain for France& Flanders was the UK, and Palestine and Salonika shared Egypt, for Mesopotamia it was India. And if he was stricken with cholera, malaria, typhoid\enteric fever in Mesopotamia then sending him on recovery to Salonika where those diseases were also rife seems unlikely, (but of course there are always exceptions !)

 

I would posit that he stayed with the 2nd/ 4th Battalion and there was an error in compiling the 1918 AVL.

 

When the 2nd/4th was disbanded on the 18th June 1918 the onus would have been on having a final weed out of men that could be deemed fit enough for front line service. He is one of those selected for overseas service.

 

On the 15th September 1918 he is transferred to the 7th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment – either in Theatre or he is sent out to join them.

 

The 7th Battalion War Diary for the 15th September 1918 records that 4 Other Ranks “rejoin” from Infantry Base Depot. There is no note of any more reinforcements before the Armistice with Bulgaria comes into force at 12.00 on the 30th September 1918.

https://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/research/war-diaries/detail?id=8712&regiment=7&month=9

https://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/research/war-diaries

 

The 1919 AVL is then prepared at a time when things have become more static with the Armed Forces, Prisoners of War have been repatriated and personal communication is flowing more normally. This is reflected in the better quality information on the AVL, along with the increased attention of the need to register for a vote once Lloyd George calls a General Election.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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maudson

Many thanks Peter for your research and ideas. Judging by my recent performance I need to got through it all very carefully before I reply properly. At the moment my head is spinning. I too, have been looking at the 2nd Norfolk and 7th Berkshires War Diaries and struggling!

 

David

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maudson

Peter/Charlie - My feeling is that it was the 2nd Battalion of the Norfolks. I have looked at the Spring 1919 AVL and it has the 2nd there - by the Autumn 1919 AVL it had become the 7th Berkshires. Also the Medal Card and the Medal Roll  have the  2nd Norfolks. As Charlie has said he believes they were compulsorily transferred  to the 7th Berkshires on 15/19/18. I have also found quite a number of men with similar Norfolk numbers to Thomas Tomlin who transferred to the Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire) Regiment but as yet I have been unable to find the date of transfer. It does seem at some point there was quite a large transfer out of the 2nd Battalion.

Apologies if it is all rather confused. I am still working towards clarity - I hope. 

David 

Edited by maudson

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PRC

David,

 

Still struggling to get my head round that - a large draft taken from a front line fighting unit in an active Theatre of War and transferred to another Theatre, as opposed to freed up men from a disbanded home service battalion posted to a fighting unit in a Theatre of War.

 

Strangely if it had been an odd individual then might have been more plausible - there wil always be exceptions.

 

The MiC doesn't mention Battalions and as stated above the 1918 AVL should be taken with healthy scepticism if it is at odds with other sources. Which brings it down to the contents of the Service Medal Roll and whatever else turns up from nearby service numbers. Will be very interested in what you find out.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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maudson

Peter,

 

I will let you know if I find out anything useful - or not. The only thing I would say now is that for most of 1918 the 2nd Norfolks did very little fighting.

 

Thanks again

David

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charlie962
On 14/03/2020 at 16:26, maudson said:

I have found a number of other soldiers who made this transfer

 

13 hours ago, PRC said:

contents of the Service Medal Roll

Here is a sample page. these men probably, like Tomlin, have 2 medal rolls, one fior BWM and one for VM.

This is BWM Roll  5the VM Roll doesn't mention Norfolks, just 7th Berks)

 

But this clearly says 2nd norfolks, not 2/4th, so AVL looks more reliable ? i leave it tp Peter to interpret but i suggest this roll and pages either side may give some leads to follow up for men trf'd 2 Norfolks to Berkshires.

 

1947537260_GWFTomlinNorfolksBerkshire.JPG.a9e8a2c3d86e5fdb753551ec3149c13e.JPG

courtesy Ancestry

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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charlie962
On 15/03/2020 at 18:46, PRC said:

While Thomas could have gone out to Mesopotamia to serve with the 2nd Battalion, men did not routinely transfer between units.

Peter,

I think there were a series of Compulsory Trfs      Norfolks to Berkshires

 

I quoted 219030 J E Jones above as a near service number. A later trf was Thake 33661/54278 whose service record is interesting for the detail it gives about his trfs, ending up in Russia.

 

Charlie

 

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charlie962

I am starting to doubt my own work on near numbers. 

 

Berks No

219030 Jones              Comp trf from  Glos  to 7th Berks  wef 15/9/18. Seems to have gone ill then  Actually joined 7th Berks 9/3/19

219036  Tomlin

219040  Raynsford Luff       Comp Trf from Queens to 7th Berks wef 19/4/19 and new number 219040 allotted

 

So i may have made a big error in date I suggested. Needs more work !!

Edited by charlie962

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maudson

Hi Charlie

 

I wonder if - either he transferred after the 30th October 1918 Armistice of Muldros or, if he had been injured or sick and in India at about the end of the conflict, he sent to the 7th Berkshires on the Russian adventure when he recovered. In the Roll of Honour it shows him in India which I took to be a mistake. Of course this all may also have happened earlier like Jones (219030) and the Roll of Honour, like Peter said, picked it up late or got it wrong. 

Some good has come out of my confusion. I did not realise that some Germans carried on with the fight, thinking that the Armistice only applied to the Western Front.-  and there is an interesting website on W J Grummett who was a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Norfolks and took many photographs. Unfortunately, the 2nd Norfolks War Diary is not the easiest to read.

 

David 

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PRC
2 hours ago, charlie962 said:

I think there were a series of Compulsory Trfs      Norfolks to Berkshires

 

Charlie,

 

Entirely support the statement there was such a transfer, although when I took a look at the MiC's to try and update my database I could only see 219032 to 219036 as coming from the Norfolks and even one of those, 219035 Frederick J Fletcher had the Norfolk details crossed through on the MIC and is not referenced either in the National Archive catalogue or the indexing on Ancestry.

 

I've only looked at three men prior to 219032 but they are ex-Glosters and two out of those three are ex-Royal Highlanders and two out of the three has a reference to the TFEM being awarded.

 

Looking at the MiCs for first three numbers after 219036, we have three ex-Wiltshires, (with 219038 Frank Pearce having his Wiltshire details struck through and not referenced at the National Archive, although they are indexed at Ancestry).

 

Then it seems the next few are ex-Queens.

 

It was beginning to look to me like an IBD or Transit Camp clear out rather than a straight draft - but let me flag that up as speculation. I've potentially chucked in enough red herrings already:)

 

So the query in my mind is even if those individuals were formally posted to the 2nd Battalion, (and if so, where from to get that six digit number), did they ever get to India or were they "redirected" somewhere along the way?

 

I had previously worked on the basis that only those on Garrison Duty received just the British War Medal, but I saw a comment elsewhere on the forum while researching something different  this morning that it was also awarded to men en route to a Theatre of War at the time of cessation of hostilities - which was surely something that was more likely to happen in Theatres futher afield than France&Flanders. Could that be a possible explanation for why the award of the Victory Medal was dealt with on a separate Medal Roll both for those ex-Norfolks who ended up with the Royal Berkshires and, following a quick look of a sample, those who ended up with the South Lancashires?

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

 

 

 

Edited by PRC
Typo

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maudson

Hi Peter,

 

I think that I will have to write up his story as Thomas Tomlin first going into a Norfolks' training battalion and being given a six-figure number, then sent out to the 2nd Norfolks in the Autumn of 1917, possibly to the Armistice on the 30th October 1918. Suggesting that he was then, either transferred to the 7th Berkshires directly, or perhaps was in India after a wound/sickness and transferred to the Berkshires from there.in late 1918 or early 1919.

 

I will make clear that this account is speculative and may be altered later. It is unsatisfactory I know but I need to move on to finish the rest of the men. I am very grateful for all your, and Charlie's, time and expertise.

 

Best Wishes

 

David

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charlie962

Peter (and David), have you looked at the record for Thake that I mentioned in my post 17 above,

 

i haven't been able to do more work as I now only have internet access every few days and then only for an hour or so;

 

charlie

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PRC
21 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

Peter (and David), have you looked at the record for Thake that I mentioned in my post 17 above,

 

i haven't been able to do more work as I now only have internet access every few days and then only for an hour or so;

 

charlie

 

Charles,

 

Wish that I could - but with the Libraries all shut I don't have access to a subscription source like FindMyPast. I'm trying to persuade Norfolk County Council Library Service to talk to the likes of FMP & BNA to see if extending offsite access on a temporary basis is a possibility.

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

 

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George Rayner

Peter

From FMP: it is the last page of what starts as Thakes Service record but I think this is a different soldier. Last digit should be 8 not 9

 

George

 

 

 

 

 

image.png

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George Rayner

Let's try that again!

image.png.4113e9253c5f88bbec14edef2ffac354.png

George

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