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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

I am wondering whether anyone can help with an explanation as to why I can’t find reference to my grandfather’s promotion to Temporary Captain, reversion to 2nd Lieutenant, and re-promotion to full Captain in the Supplement to the London Gazette, other than the obvious one, i.e. that I am not looking properly – though I will accept that one too, if it means someone can help me find the relevant notices.

My grandfather was Norman Hall, 5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. I have found the notice of his appointment to 2nd Lieutenant in the 14 October 1914 edition of the Supplement, and the notice of his appointment to Temporary Lieutenant in the 7 January 1915 edition, but after that I have drawn a blank.

In his diary he says that he learned on 27th May 1916 that he had been appointed Temporary Captain, and in a later diary entry for 17July 1916, he says that he was gazetted Temporary Captain with effect from 8 May 1916, but I can’t find that notice. Where am I going wrong?

Later, having been wounded on the Somme on 9 September 1916, he returned to Britain, and when he recovered he was, on returning to France, re-assigned to the 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers on 22 June 1917, which he found meant that he had to revert to his substantive rank of 2nd Lieutenant for a short time, until he was awarded the substantive rank of Captain.

His diary has the following entry summarising the position when he lost his Temporary Captaincy and was then re-instated:

 

“The following is an extract of the orders issued when I was gazetted temporary captain with the 2/5th LF:

1.       164 Inf Bde A.9870 29.9.16

2.       D.A.Q.M.C. XV Corps A.C.2644 25.9.16

3.       55th DIV A.O. 38/115 24.9.16

4.       164 Inf Bde A.870 29.9.16

 

9/20/739 T.F.3. 15 Sept 1916

Ref letter No. 17650 M.S. of 31 Aug 1916

I am directed to inform you that the recommendation contained therein regarding Temp Capt NORMAN HALL, 2/5th LAN FUS, being now appointed to complete establishment

 

London Gazette Supplement AUG 5th 1917

Temp Capt N. HALL to be CAPT (AUG 5th) precedence from OCT 8th 1916

 

London Gazette Supplement Aug 9th (Times 10 AUG 1917)

Sub Lieut – Temp Capt (Now LT) relinquishes temp rank of Capt on alteration in posting JUNE 22nd.”

 

I understand that the four numbered lines relate to orders at Corps, Divisional and Brigade level confirming his appointment as Temporary Captain.

I am not at all sure, however, what the next paragraph signifies. What does “complete establishment” mean in this context? “T.F.” I presume is “Territorial Force”. What is “M.S.”? And is this paragraph more confirmation of the Temporary Captaincy, or is it do with his promotion to a full Captain?

With regard to the final two paragraphs, I assume that these relate to his appointment as full Captain and reversion from Temporary Captain to 2nd Lieutenant, in that order, though it is seems a bit odd that the latter was only publicised some days after  the notice regarding his elevation to full Captain appeared. The reference to him now being a Lieutenant is also puzzling, as he seems to have gone from Temporary Captain right back down to 2nd Lieutenant, and then straight back up to full Captain.

I am also puzzled by the fact that, when he was finally made a full Captain, it was with effect from 8 October 1916, i.e. backdated by almost a year. Why couldn’t it have been done sooner?

And, as I say, I can’t find the entries in the Gazette for 5 August and 9 August 1917 – which I am sure is down to incompetence on my part.

Can anyone help with this?

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I was going to say how are you searching for him - the website search facility or Google. I gave up on the former years ago, but even Google failed to turn up anything more than the two pages that you have already found.

 

After that I tend to use the Wikipedia yearly indexes to track down the relevant edition \ supplement. The one for 1917 is here:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:London_Gazette_Index/19/1917

 

18 minutes ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

London Gazette Supplement AUG 5th 1917

Temp Capt N. HALL to be CAPT (AUG 5th) precedence from OCT 8th 1916

 

The 5th was a Sunday so unlikely to be a supplement on that day.

 

30 minutes ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

London Gazette Supplement Aug 9th (Times 10 AUG 1917)

Sub Lieut – Temp Capt (Now LT) relinquishes temp rank of Capt on alteration in posting JUNE 22nd.”

 

Sub-Lieut threw me a bit:) I was going through the relevant supplement and was beginning to worry that I might have missed it, so checked out the relevant entry in The Times. From the Times I was able to identify surrounding notices and where it might come in the grand scheme of things - in this case page 8119. Link should take you to the first page of the supplement.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30223/supplement/1

 

As a check I then tried googling the surrounding entries from the London Gazette and couldn't get any to come up - it wouldn't even recognise a "London Gazette 8119 1917" search.

 

Having tried The Times route I then looked at that papers edition of Monday 6th August 1917. This had a condensed version of the Saturday Supplement, (4th August), to the London Gazette - and that has the relevant entry for Capt N. Hall. Using the layout of the running order in The Times I could track in down to page 8009 of this supplement to the London Gazette.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30218/supplement/1

 

Hope that helps,

 

Peter

 

 

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Peter,

Brilliant work!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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tootrock

Having read the above, and noting that many people have trouble with the LG search engine I did a search for myself (I do not find it a problem). Entering "N. Hall" in to the search box (including the inverted commas) came up with 679 hits. By arranging these in date order, and scrolling down to 1916, there he is.

Martin

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2 hours ago, tootrock said:

Entering "N. Hall" in to the search box (including the inverted commas) came up with 679 hits. By arranging these in date order, and scrolling down to 1916, there he is.

 

But wouldn't give you matches for Norman Hall and assumes the OCR software has correctly picked up the N. I used to find wild card searches completely confused the London Gazette Search Engine - so "N* Hall" or "N*Hall" wasn't a practical option. So swings and roundabouts and comes down to personal preference - it also helps for both approaches that OP knew where the entries should be. Even on the two lists I checked in the Times there were multiple matches for "Hall", and of course that means you have to accept that combination of letters will occur within words.

 

Still that's the good thing thing about GWF - different people will bring different approaches to the problem and between us all we tend to get there in the end :)

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Keith_history_buff

Was it the case that FMP were going to launch their own LG dataset about 3 or 4 years ago?

I can see parallels with ICRC, whereby if FMP were to index an improved scan of the records, the FMP search engine would be able to bring back good search results. I am sure that when the original LG OCR data capture was done, it was cutting edge at that point in time, but a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
Posted (edited)

That's brilliant, thank you all of you. I hope that this thread may prove useful to others who may have similar difficulty in finding entries in the London Gazette in future, though I have to say that, even with all your guidance, I would still label it as "difficult", and am not beating myself up too badly for not being able to find the entries without help.

Looking at the edition for 4 August 1917 in particular, I found it fascinating to see many of the names mentioned by my grandfather in his diary, and to glean small hints of what happened to them after he last mentioned them, though there will be room in the published version for only some of this additional information, I'm afraid. 

Do you think that the entry "(now Lt.)" on page 8119 of the 9 August 1917 edition is a mistake for "(now Capt.)", as he never seems to have been a "proper" Lieutenant?

Secondly, looking at the other entries in the Gazette, it seems that it was not uncommon for promotions to be backdated by quite a considerable period of time. Presumably this meant that the individual in question got a back-payment of salary, or at least additional pension rights. But why weren't the promotions given closer to the time they were earned? Was it just that everyone was too busy fighting the War? 

At least two of the comrades mentioned by my grandfather who appear in the pages of the Gazette to which I have been referred had their promotions gazetted posthumously, Captain L.H. Bloy and Lieutenant J.E. Hartington, who died on 29th June 1916 and 13th July 1917 respectively (both promotions are mentioned on page 8009 of the 4th August 1917 edition, and both took effect from 1st June 1916). I presume that the former, at least, never even knew of his promotion, though perhaps John Hartington may have known of his.

Edited by A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
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headgardener
8 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

Was it the case that FMP were going to launch their own LG dataset about 3 or 4 years ago?

I can see parallels with ICRC, whereby if FMP were to index an improved scan of the records, the FMP search engine would be able to bring back good search results. I am sure that when the original LG OCR data capture was done, it was cutting edge at that point in time, but a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

 

Yes. When it was originally scanned it did seem very 'state of the art', but a few years ago I tried searching LG online for the name of someone who supposedly had been awarded the MM. I tried various methods of searching for his surname ('Woodhead') covering a 15 month period, but drew a complete blank so I decided to cross check against the original hard copy indices and found 5 'Woodhead's over the same 15 month period.

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20 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

Was it the case that FMP were going to launch their own LG dataset about 3 or 4 years ago?

 

They did, but it's little better than the LG itself searching which I regard as the Ninth circle of Hell.  FMP only give you a page so you can't scroll back, for example to the title page.

If you search 'Norman Hall Lancashire Fusiliers' it gives you every Hall on every page with Lancashire Fusiliers it does not return the 1917 dates.

 

As an aside FMP has him on the Manchester University Roll matricualting MSc 1909.

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Keith_history_buff

I had a similar scenario to the one above, trying to find the LG entries for Lieutenant Jones of the South Wales Borderers. I had to go to Kew and by looking at the monthly Army Lists, I looked up persons promoted at the same time with more obscure names. That I can recall, in neither case had Jones's detailed been indexed/scanned. It was very painful and tedious, but I got there in the end for George Joseph Jones (6 Apr 1891 - 1975).

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30299/supplement/9831/data.pdf 

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29133/page/3727/data.pdf

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1 hour ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

Secondly, looking at the other entries in the Gazette, it seems that it was not uncommon for promotions to be backdated by quite a considerable period of time. Presumably this meant that the individual in question got a back-payment of salary, or at least additional pension rights. But why weren't the promotions given closer to the time they were earned? Was it just that everyone was too busy fighting the War? 

 

I would have assumed that they were acting, (i.e unpaid), in the rank since the original date. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that there was a budget underneath it all, and that paid for a set number of Lieutenants \ Captains \ Majors for each Battalion. If someone in those ranks was posted missing, or was attached elsewhere on a temporary basis, then their wages would be docked from the battalion budget. Meanwhile someone might have to "act up" in their place. Once someone missing was officially treated as dead, or accounted for in some other way, then the post and the cash could be freed up. Similarly if the attachment was made permanent and backdated, then there would be a ledger transfer of funds crediting the old unit, the acting up officer could be "promoted" and back paid.

 

Happy to be shot down if that is not correct.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
On 26/07/2020 at 14:36, kenf48 said:

As an aside FMP has him on the Manchester University Roll matricualting MSc 1909.

 

You are right, Kenf48, my grandfather graduated from Manchester University (he called it Owens College) with a chemistry degree. The interesting thing is - well, I think it's interesting - at the outbreak of war he was employed in a Chemical Engineering Laboratory, "engaged on the determination of glycerin values, which compound, by the way, proved to be of tremendous value to this Country during the war, as an intermediate product in the manufacture of explosives."

 

On 5 August 1914 his diary entry reads: 

 

Even so quickly The Government Factory at Walton Abbey were pressing us for glycerin.

 

In other words, he probably could have claimed to be in a reserved occupation even when conscription came in in early 1916, but, like so many other young men at the time, he felt that it was his duty to enlist, and did so on 3 September 1914.

 

On 26/07/2020 at 15:37, PRC said:

I would have assumed that they were acting, (i.e unpaid), in the rank since the original date. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that there was a budget underneath it all, and that paid for a set number of Lieutenants \ Captains \ Majors for each Battalion. If someone in those ranks was posted missing, or was attached elsewhere on a temporary basis, then their wages would be docked from the battalion budget. Meanwhile someone might have to "act up" in their place. Once someone missing was officially treated as dead, or accounted for in some other way, then the post and the cash could be freed up. Similarly if the attachment was made permanent and backdated, then there would be a ledger transfer of funds crediting the old unit, the acting up officer could be "promoted" and back paid.

 

Thank you, Peter, for your suggestion. 

I already know from your replies others of my posts that you are a very knowledgeable contributor to this site, and I am a newcomer to the field, so I certainly wouldn't dream of shooting your suggestion down, and it may well have been the case in some instances.

However, it won't work for my grandfather's promotion to full Captain, and I suspect for others of those whose promotions were backdated according to the notices in the 4 August 1917 edition of the London Gazette.

In my grandfather's case, he was wounded on 9 September 1916, while in the role of temporary Captain. He then had a period in hospital, a further period recuperating at home, and a further period on Home Service at Ripon and Scarborough before finally returning to France to join the 1/5th LF on 22 June 1917, at which point he briefly reverted to his substantive rank of 2nd Lieutenant before being gazetted as a full Captain on 7 July 1917, "with precedence from 8 October 1916". He had therefore not been acting up for anyone during the period from 8 October 1916 until he was officially promoted to full Captain.

He certainly did act up for the OC of his Company for quite an extended period prior to learning that he had been made a temporary Captain, as the OC was frequently away acting as an instructor at an Army School, and it may well be that, as suggested, that was why his promotion to temporary Captain was backdated from July 1916 to May 1916 (though actually he had been acting up for about a month prior to May 1916).

With regard to the backdating of the appointment to full Captain, might it just be that for some reason it took someone a long time to act on a recommendation that he be promoted? Is there any clue in the following words, quoted in my first post on this thread?

"9/20/739 T.F.3. 15 Sept 1916

Ref letter No. 17650 M.S. of 31 Aug 1916

I am directed to inform you that the recommendation contained therein regarding Temp Capt NORMAN HALL, 2/5th LAN FUS, being now appointed to complete establishment."

 

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Ron Clifton

M S stands for Military Secretary, the officer in charge of officers' appointments and promotions.

 

"To complete establishment" simply means "to fill a vacancy."

 

Ron

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Keith_history_buff

With regard to your original question of "are all WW1 editions available online", I do believe that all images of every page is online. In addition to OCR transcription errors, I believe there are possibly cases where the OCR software failed to scan parts of pages, and this was never picked up by the trustees of the London Gazette.

If you do know which edition of the LG that you need to read, and this is useful for Jellicoe's Jutland Despatch and the like, you can navigate to the yearly lists of the London Gazette, and then use the link.

 

Wiki index

  Editions of the 1900s

      1917

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:London_Gazette_Index/19/1917#August

 

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David_Underdown

Even allowing for issues with the OCR, you have to realise that different types of entry in the Gazette are formatted differently, so a search on full names "Norman Hall" in this case will usually find you the initial commission, and any gallantry awards, whereas promotions and relinquishments of commission are more likely to be listed as just initials and surname (hence the success of the N. Hall search here). Mentions in Despatches are sometimes different again, eg surname rank initials so can be a bit of a pain to hunt down (though the separate medal cards can help).Pre-war and the very start of the war you occasionally find entries as firstname middle initials surname too, ie if Norman had actually had a middle name he might have appeared as "Norman X. Hall". It's vital to include the full stop after initials too if you use quotes to get an exact match.

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  • 2 weeks later...
A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

I realise that I have been remiss in not responding to the last three posts on this thread. Thank you all three for your contributions, especially Ron Clifton for responding to the two rookie questions asked by me. as follows:

On 28/07/2020 at 08:58, Ron Clifton said:

M S stands for Military Secretary, the officer in charge of officers' appointments and promotions.

 

"To complete establishment" simply means "to fill a vacancy."

 

I thought I would also report that, having seen how people have used the Gazette search engine for finding my grandfather's entries, I have tried out the techniques in looking for  the entries relating to a friend's grandfather, and have been successful, so I now see that, if you try every combination of initials and full names for the individuals in question, you should at least pull up the relevant entries, and if you know the date, or even the approximate date, for any promotions or reversions, that should help too, though I wouldn't like to be searching a name like Smith - Hall is bad enough.

I remain full of admiration for how quickly IPT and PRC managed to find all three entries relating to my grandfather that I had failed to find. Thank you again!

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