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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Harry Goodall Bonner RFA


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Hi Forum

Hope you are all keeping safe during this difficult days.

I wonder if I could request some help with a MiC please.

As I am trying to put together his time in the Army.

No WW1 service record has been found.

His background is as follows. 

Harry Goodall Bonner has two service records on Find My past.

First dated 4 August 1892 London to the serial number 6489 Middlesex Regiment possibly the 2nd, not quite legible.

The second dated 29 August 1892 in Aldershot serial number 93076 to the Royal Artillery.

His age and place of birth match. But his occupation noted as a Plumber in the first service record and Shoeing Smith on the second. I have no trouble with this difference as when he left the army he spent the rest of his working life as a Plumber.

The RA  service record notes his service as 7 years 45 days at Home, 1 year 35 days SA and another 7 year 284 days at Home. Showing him as in the SA Campaign 1899 with a QSA with 4 clasps, Cape Colony, Transvaal, Relief of Ladysmith. He has a QSA medal roll  for the 78th Battery Royal Field Artillery serial number 93076 with the four clasps.

He had previously been discharged in May 1899 and recalled in Nov 1899, presumably for SA. His service record shows him being discharged to Army Reserve “B” on 2 April 1902. Which is interesting as on another page it shows his marriage in 1901 at the Parish Church, Erith, Kent as being “in the Army Reserve”, which I do not understand as the service record show him as still serving. He was recalled again being “re-engaged for section “D” for 4 years” on 29 Sept 1904. And, finally being discharged 28 September 1908.

Comments welcome.

His MiC, which I would like to  attached but not sure I am allowed. If someone could advised whether this is allowed please.The original as it  appears on Ancestry is quite a pale a reproduction. This shows his entitlement to the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. With the Star being awarded to him in the RFA and the BWM and VM to the Labour Corps.

And this is where I falter. The card shows him being discharged in 1916 but my understanding is that the Labour was not formed as an individual unit until 1917. I know that individual battalions formed their own Labour sections but this serial number does not seem to be consistent with that.

Checking with Howard Williamsons’ Great War medal Companion Vol 2 Regimental Numbers the highest number for the Labour corps record there that I can find is 711000 the book notes that this was RFA of 715001 to 71500, but I cannot see this as correct for H G Bonner.

In the book “No Labour No Battle” by John Starling and Ivor Lee in Appendix 6 page 322 they note that a range of numbers for the Labour Corps of 71100 to around 995500 were issued on various date mainly from 1919 onwards.

All these dates seem to be a bit late for this man born.

Also the MiC appears to be completed in Red and Black ink (looks black to me) whereas I would have expected to see Red and Blue ink for this combination, where the Star was issued before the BWM and VM.

I might be (probably am) barking up the wrong tree but would appreciate any help that the forum can give.

Many thanks and keep safe everyone.

David Turner

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Medals issued to who you went to theatre with not who you ended up. Exceptions occur but this is general rule. 

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Hi David,

 

His service up to 1908 is beyond the scope of this forum.

I see from his MIC that he arrived in France on December 22, 1914. This happens to coincide with 27th Divisional Ammunition Column.

27th Divisional Ammunition Column was formed mainly from 1/4th Home Counties (Howitzer) Brigade RFA some 3 weeks previous.

1/4th Home Counties (Howitzer) Brigade RFA was based in the Erith area.

I cannot be exact, but I imagine a number of 199 puts him in the early enlistments in the two batteries, most likely before 1910.

You then have his discharge on June 1, 1916, which seems to be due to age or termination of engagement, as there is no Silver War Badge.

At some point, late in the war, he is enlisted in or was called up to the Labour Corps who issued his Victory and British War Medals.

What is interesting is that his 1914-15 Star is to Farrier Staff Sergeant and the others are to Battery Quartermaster Sergeant, both RFA.

His rank in the Labour Corps is not given.

 

EDIT: Labour Corps numbers like 7143xx enlisted in August 1919 for 1 year in the Chinese Labour Corps.  

 

Edited by David Porter
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This may help

 

1781069906_HG.jpg.feb498e2c6f06629e873194ec59da88c.jpg

 

 

 

note on document medals issued by R.F.A

 

Ray

Edited by RaySearching
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There is a surviving service record (on FindmyPast) for 714381 F J Bowler who was an old soldier that rejoined the Labour Corps on 13/8/1919, ending up with Chinese Labour Corps. He had previously been discharged unfit in 1916 from the L N Lancs Regt;  Worth looking at his record for clues ?

 

Perhaps Bonner earned his BWM and VM for his RA service (which ended 1916) but at the time the rolls were prepared he was LC and thus on their Roll without having any war service with the LC ? -see note re Bowler below.

 

Charlie

 

 

PS Bowler has a service record also for his previous Army service, under number 6717

Note he also appears on a Labour Corps Roll for BWM VM although no wartime LC service.

Edited by charlie962
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23 hours ago, Coldstreamer said:

Medals issued to who you went to theatre with not who you ended up. Exceptions occur but this is general rule. 

Thanks for your help

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22 hours ago, David Porter said:

Hi David,

 

His service up to 1908 is beyond the scope of this forum.

I see from his MIC that he arrived in France on December 22, 1914. This happens to coincide with 27th Divisional Ammunition Column.

27th Divisional Ammunition Column was formed mainly from 1/4th Home Counties (Howitzer) Brigade RFA some 3 weeks previous.

1/4th Home Counties (Howitzer) Brigade RFA was based in the Erith area.

I cannot be exact, but I imagine a number of 199 puts him in the early enlistments in the two batteries, most likely before 1910.

You then have his discharge on June 1, 1916, which seems to be due to age or termination of engagement, as there is no Silver War Badge.

At some point, late in the war, he is enlisted in or was called up to the Labour Corps who issued his Victory and British War Medals.

What is interesting is that his 1914-15 Star is to Farrier Staff Sergeant and the others are to Battery Quartermaster Sergeant, both RFA.

His rank in the Labour Corps is not given.

 

EDIT: Labour Corps numbers like 7143xx enlisted in August 1919 for 1 year in the Chinese Labour Corps.  

 

Hi

I did realise that his earlier service was ot part of this forum. But I included as just background incase it helped to locate him and work out why and perhaps when he joined the labour corps.

Your information about his arrival in France helps me to fill in a bit more of his story.

I agree with you that he may have been conscripted but from what I know of him it is likey that he volunteered.

We cannot work out why there is a different ranks from him.

We do have a photograph of him wearing a farriers leather apron.

Many thak for you help it is very useful.

David Turner

22 hours ago, RaySearching said:

This may help

 

1781069906_HG.jpg.feb498e2c6f06629e873194ec59da88c.jpg

 

 

 

note on document medals issued by R.F.A

 

Ray

Thanks Ray

4 hours ago, charlie962 said:

There is a surviving service record (on FindmyPast) for 714381 F J Bowler who was an old soldier that rejoined the Labour Corps on 13/8/1919, ending up with Chinese Labour Corps. He had previously been discharged unfit in 1916 from the L N Lancs Regt;  Worth looking at his record for clues ?

 

Perhaps Bonner earned his BWM and VM for his RA service (which ended 1916) but at the time the rolls were prepared he was LC and thus on their Roll without having any war service with the LC ? -see note re Bowler below.

 

Charlie

 

 

PS Bowler has a service record also for his previous Army service, under number 6717

Note he also appears on a Labour Corps Roll for BWM VM although no wartime LC service.

Hi Charlie

That is very interesting.

I will go and have a look at it.

Many Thabks

David Turner

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His rank in the Labour Corps as medal roll

is given as WO /C 2 

 

from the Long Long Trail

Warrant Officer Class II: a new rank introduced by Army Order 70 of 1915, becoming that rank from which a man may typically be appointed to Company Sergeant Major or Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. (The Colour-Sergeant could no longer be appointed as a Company Sergeant Major).

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On 21/04/2020 at 21:31, RaySearching said:

His rank in the Labour Corps as medal roll

is given as WO /C 2 

 

from the Long Long Trail

Warrant Officer Class II: a new rank introduced by Army Order 70 of 1915, becoming that rank from which a man may typically be appointed to Company Sergeant Major or Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. (The Colour-Sergeant could no longer be appointed as a Company Sergeant Major).

Hi Ray

Thank you.

I have looked at that on the medal roll and could see WO/C2 but I don't know why the "2" has been crossed thru' and changed to what looks like 43.

But the LLT explaination you have sent does help to explain his BQSM.

David Turner

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