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Remembered Today:

SUFFOLK REGIMENT IN WW1


Mole

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Can anyone help me to identify which Batallion  my father belonged to please? His name was Private Ernest William Bull.  His Suffolk Regiment Number was 235349.  Grateful for any help you can offer

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thanks for the info and prompt reply.  What does MIC stand for please? I do have his war medals and 3 of them refer to the Suffolk regiment and 1 when he was in the Army Veterinary Corps where he was a Corporal with his service number now 7815543.  This medal is the regular Army medal for long service and good conduct but I have no date for this.  What I dont know is how long you have to serve to get the long service and good conduct medal - do you know please?  Also I don't understand the significance of his new service number. He served in the Pioneer Corps in WWII as Batman to the Commanding Officer stationed at Winchcombe, Glos in 1943 building the accommodation for the impending arrival of the Americans prior to D-day.   

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M

 

You can get a copy of a service record from Army Records Glasgow:

https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records

as it seems that your father served beyond 1919 and these papers are not yet in the public domain.

The AVC number was a post WW1 one.

MIC = Medal Index Card. Copy available online at National Archives or Ancestry UK

 

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Many thanks for the info confirming that the AVC was post WWI.  I have a photo of him in his full Gordon Highlander regalia but I have no reference to when he served there. I assume it was post serving in France with the Suffolk regiment as I have one medal which is a Territorial Voluntary Overseas medal. Could this have been a PAL regiment?

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That 4th medal is the Territorial Force War Medal, which is mentioned on his MIC. Appears to have been issued in Nov 1930, whilst he was serving with the AVC.

I believe that implies he was serving pre-ww1:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_War_Medal

 

The MIC also gives his later AVC rank as Farrier Corporal rather than plain Corporal.

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1 hour ago, Neil 2242 said:

11th Battalion Suffolk Regt, later Gordon Highlanders, later Veterinary Corps according to his MIC and medal roll on Ancestry.

ernest bull.png

 

Hi and welcome to the forum.

 

Note these would have been the units he served with overseas. The 11th Battalion, a wartime Service Battalion, had been in France since the 9th January 1916.  His Medal Index Card shows he only qualified for the Great War related Victory Medal and British War Medal, a combination that would indicate that he did not enter a Theatre of War until on or after the 1st January 1916.

 

While at first glance that would seem to tie up with the arrival of the 11th Battalion, in fact that six digit service number was one issued at the start of 1917 as part of an Army wide renumbering of other ranks serving with Territorial Force units. As the 11th wasn't a part of the Territorial Force, he had to have been serving with another unit at that time and probably subsequently sent out as part of a draft to make good losses.

 

Our parent site, the Long, Long Trail records that the number block 200001 to 240000 was issued to the 4th Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment - by that stage of the war it was just the 1/4th and the 4th Reserve. Given how far into the block 235349 falls, it wasn't issued as part of a renumbering but subsequently, so he may not even have been recruited \ conscripted until 1918 - btw when was he born?

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/renumbering-of-the-territorial-force-in-1917/renumbering-the-tf-infantry-in-1917/

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

 

However that is at odds with the criteria for the award of the Territorial Force War Medal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_War_Medal

 

Hopefully his service record will clarify dates and with whom he actually served - by that stage of the war it seems very few drafts sent out from a home service training units like the 4th Reserve Battalion actually ended up with a fighting Battalion of the same Regiment.  That raises the prospect that he may never have physically served with the 11th Battalion, being redirected on arrival in France to the Gordon Highlanders.

 

Also I'm not aware of the Army Veterinary Corps having any Territorial Force units, so assume he joined the Regular Army at that point. I'm told there is a document of Ancestry listing all the service records retained by the Ministry of Defence for servicemen and woman born before 1900. If his time with the AVC was a separate period of service than then file held by the MoD may not hold any of his Great War era records.

 

Apologies that that is taking away some of the clarity provided by earlier posters, but hopefully flags up some of the potential pitfalls to be aware of.

 

Peter

 

 

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To add a little something-from Ancestry

UK, World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 for E W Bull

Territorial Force War Medal

Various Regiments

Piece 3270: Departmental Corps, Royal Air Force      !!!!!!!!

 

image.png.111ceeb836625293979d5895cd17d3c3.png

 

Dated November 1927 (could be 1921 but looks less likely)

 

George

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And it's surprising how many Ernest W Bull's there are!

 

George

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Dear Mole,

 

Well some good news (and some bad news) – you can safely disregard some of what I’ve written above.:)

 

After I’d finished being doom and gloom I decided to try a method that can sometimes pay off, looking at men with nearby service numbers to see if there are any discernible patterns that might possibly also apply to your father.

 

Near number searches, going ten either side, brings up quite a mixed bag.

 

235339 No match

 

235340 Herbert King

               Medal Index Card (MiC) shows discharged from the Depot 29th October 1919 as no longer physically fit to serve (Kings Regulations Paragraph 392 XVI)  

               – cause ‘Eyzema”.   

               Enlisted 5th October 1914.

               Silver War Badge* (SWB) Roll (On FindMyPast aka FMP). Aged 23 on discharge, had seen service overseas. No surviving service records.

              (*The Silver War Badge was a Badge issued to other ranks who had been honourably discharged. The vast majority of those who received it was on

              grounds of no longer being physically fit. And before anyone shouts, yes an officer could claim it, and yes those discharged before it was introduced in 

              1916 frequently had to lodge a request for one).

 

235341 Leonard C Rogers

 

              MiC shows also 29115 Coldstream Guards and S/42169 Army Service Corps (ASC). Also received Silver War Badge. Both the Coldstream Guards and the 

               Army Service Corps appear to have recorded the issued of his Victory Medal and British War Medal (VM & BWM) – MiC notes that the ASC ones are the 

              duplicate.However dates on the MiC, in pencil, show enlisted 2/4/19, discharged 24/11/19, which would seem to be an error.

              No surviving service records.

 

235342 Richard S. Patston

             MiC shows he received the 1914/15 Star having landed in France on the 17th March 1915 with the 6th Battalion, London Regiment, service number

             20360. Post war he stayed in and was renumbered 6653144 in the London Regiment. The London Regiment was a Territorial Force unit. He reverted to

             being a part time soldier on the 28th March 1919.

            An admissions book for the 4th Stationary Hospital has an undated admission for him suffering with Gas Blister wounding while serving with the 11th

            Suffolks. He was however moved on to Base by Ambulance Train 3 on the 12th August 1918.

            No surviving service record.

 

235343 Sidney G Gower.

             No surviving service record.

 

235344 Gerald Mortimer Haynes – also received the SWB.

              Surviving Discharge Records show he was from East Dereham, Norfolk and that he enlisted there on the 24th September 1914 in the 2nd/5th Battalion,

              Norfolk Regiment with service number 3065. By the time of the Territorial Force renumbering he was given service number 240169, (possibly 240469 or

              240769). In January 1918 he was posted to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. He was posted to France as part of a general draft, leaving

              Dover and landing Calais on the 15th April 1918, marching into Infantry Base L at Calais on the same day. The next day, 16th April 1918, he was posted to

              the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment and given Service number 235344. He served in France from April 1918 to May 1918, suffering shrapnel wound to

              the left thigh and back on the 29th April 1918 at Kemmel while with ‘B’ Company. By the 2nd May 1918 he was on a Hospital ship returning to the UK.

 

235345 Walter L Allen

              FMP has a tendency to turn up snippets from other soldiers records, usually the backs of recycled memo \ scrap paper, and posts them as another mans

              “service records”. In Walters case what appears to be part of an earlier draft of his VM& BWM Service Medal Roll was used in this way. It appears to show

             Walter serving with the 9th and 11th Battalions, but it is not clear in what order.

             No surviving service records.

 

235346 – No match

                FMP does have an admission record for 235346 Bertie Jackson, 11 Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, at the No.4 Stationary Hospital in 1918 suffering from

                “V.D.S.C.”(?). He was moved on to Base on 20 Ambulance Train on the 15th June 1918.

               However the nearest MiC match is for a 235246 Bertie Jackson.

                No surviving service records for that soldier.

 

235347 Arthur J Humm

             No surviving service records.

 

235348 William G. Barrett – subsequently 666410 Labour Corps. Medals issued by the Labour Corps.

            No surviving service records.

 

235349 Ernest William Bull

 

235350 Bertie J Lamb – also received SWB

              FMP transcription of the SWB Roll shows enlisted 25th March 1912, discharged 15th March 1919 as no longer physically fit to serve (Kings Regulations

              Paragraph 392 XVI) – cause Gassed. Age 26 on discharge, had served overseas. No surviving service records.

 

235351 Thomas Cowley – also received SWB

              FMP transcription of the SWB Roll shows enlisted 7th December 1914, discharged 24th January 1919 from the Depot as no longer physically fit to serve

             (Kings Regulations Paragraph 392 XVI) – cause Wounded. Age 35 on discharge, had served overseas. No surviving service records.

 

235352 William Hodson – also received TFWM

              Soldiers Died in the Great War records that William was Killed in Action on the 1st October 1918 while serving in France & Flanders with the 2nd 

              Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. He was born on Stoke on Trent and enlisted Newcastle. It is noted that he was formerly 2563 North Staffordshire Regiment.

              No surviving service records.

 

235353 Bert Geice Small – also received SWB

             There are surviving discharge records. Bert Geice Small enlisted at Lichfield Staffs on the 9th October 1915 and joined the 3/6th Battalion, North Staffs. He

             was a Miner from Norton Canes, near Cannock, Staffordshire. He was transferred to the 2nd/6th on the 3rd January 1916 and then attached to the 29th

             Provisional Battalion from the 15th May 1916. On the 22nd December 1916 he was transferred to Class W (T) of the Army Reserve – effectively he was

             being sent home to resume work as a Miner. He was recalled to the 5th Reserve Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment on the 12th April 1918. He

             was posted to Infantry Base Depot K on the 3rd September  1918 with the intention of joining the 1/6th Battalion. North Staffordshire Regiment. Instead

             he was compulsorily transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment on the 5th September 1918 and issued with service number 235353. He joined up

             with his new Battalion in the field on the  8th. He received a shot wound to the left hip on the 23rd September 1918 near Bourlon Wood, France.

             Following a medical assessment in February 1919 he was discharged as physically unfit. He would die as a result of his injuries on the 4th December 1919

             and is buried at Norton Canes.

 

235354 Thomas Isbill –

              MiC shows 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment but VM & BWM medals issued 29724 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. He enlisted 15th February 1916 and

             was discharged on the 21st October as no longer physically fit to serve (Kings Regulations Paragraph 392 XVI) – cause Hernia.

 

235355 No match

 

235356 No match

 

235357 No match

 

235358 No match

 

235359 No match

 

Seems like the numbers were being issued almost randomly and nothing to do with the individual serving with a Territorial Force Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment but more that they had come from a Territorial Force Battalion of another Regiment. Which raises the possibility that you father had done his earlier service in the Territorial Force with another Regiment altogether – most likely the one local to the area where he was living. However the timeline set out in the service papers for 235344 Gerald Mortimer for the transfer to the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment on the 16th April 1918 could be one that applied to your father and the other men who have been identified serving with the 11th Battalion.

 

There will be a little bit more for each of those individuals on Ancestry - if nothing else the VM & BWM Service Medal Roll which is not available elsewhere.

 

As you can hopefully see, individuals didn’t routinely move between units. The most likely scenario is that a man would be wounded \ accidentally injured \ suffer health issues and be medical evacuated back to the UK. On recovery he would be sent via a Regiment Depot to a home service only Battalion for refresher training and physical fitness assessment. If these proved satisfactory he would be sent back to a Theatre of War, going through an Infantry Base Depot and from there being posted wherever the need was greatest.

 

This may be one route by which your father ended up with the Gordon Highlanders.

 

Hope some of that helps,

 

Peter

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Not sure if this reply was sent so am sending again. Many thanks for the info confirming that the AVC was post WWI.  I have a photo of him in his full Gordon Highlander regalia but I have no reference to when he served there. I assume it was post serving in France with the Suffolk regiment as I have one medal which is a Territorial Voluntary Overseas medal. Could this have been a PAL regiment?

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Once again many thanks to all of you for your comprehensive and very valuable responses.  Now that I have had time to digest the info the picture is becoming a bit clearer. 

 

My father was born on 5 July 1894 near Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk and died in 1956.  As his birth place was Suffolk it seems logical that he first joined the Suffolk Regiment.  Being 20 at the outbreak of WWI he could have joined before or during the outbreak.  To clarify his war medals they are as follows:

 

the first 3 on his clasp all refer to 235349 Private E W Bull Suffolk Regiment and these are:

 

medal 1 - the Great War for Civilisation 1914-19

medal 2 - 1914-18 medal (there is a man on horseback on the medal but no inscription)

medal 3 Territorial War medal for voluntary service overseas 1914-18

 

The 4th medal on his clasp refers to 7815543 Corporal E W Bull RAVC and this is the regular Army medal for long service and good conduct (as indicated on the archive he was a farrier in the RAVC)

 

The MIC medal roll indicated he was in the Suffolk regiment, the Gordon Highlanders and the RAVC so my supposition is that he first joined the Suffolk Reg (not sure where the Territorial bit comes in - maybe he was in the TA before the outbreak of the war) and obviously served overseas and I think from further information I have dug out that the 11th Suffolk Battalion that he was in was in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916 (part of the 4th Army Front) in support of Lieutenant Colonel Cordeaux's Grimsby Chums Lincolnshire Battalion but the Suffolks lost 15 officers and 512 other ranks.  I think he was repatriated to the UK and was re-deployed to the Gordon Highlanders - for how long and whether he ever saw service I do not know.  When he was deployed to the RAVC again I do not know.  I think he continued his regular army service up to the outbreak of WWII.  He was then in the Pioneer Corps as I mentioned previously.  I was born in Winchcombe Glos. in Oct 1945 and he came to live with us towards the end of the war.  Some of the information you have given me ties in with what my eldest sister now 93 has told me about my dad being a farrier in the army but with no detail. We lived in the Packhorse Inn no. 2 cottage which was formerly the Ostler's cottage and at the bottom of the garden was a large shed which used to be the cobbled floor stables.  I remember round 1950 he used to take me and my brother up to a farm above Winchcombe that had 3 huge shire horses.  

 

With the information you have given me I will try to get his army records from Glasgow wrt WWI and possibly pre and post WWI and his Pioneer Corps service during his Pioneer Corps service.  It is possible he might have had continuous service from pre WWI up to the cessation of hostilities in WWII 

 

Maurice

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Is this him?

 

image.png.c4fe1dd4ac95d2319e05bbcfa7da3640.png

Courtesy of FMP

Bury Free Press 30 January 1915

 

George

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11 hours ago, Mole said:

I think from further information I have dug out that the 11th Suffolk Battalion that he was in was in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916

 

Would be interested to know what that information is - the service number 235349 seems unlikely to have been issued until April 1918 at the earliest, but could simply mean he had another earlier service number, and as George has pointed out he could also previously have been serving with the Suffolk Yeomanry. The 1/1st went to Gallipoli, then Egypt & Palestine before being rushed to France in May 1918. The 2/1st were a home service only unit and went through a number of changes as a result of mergers and demergers. The 3/1st mght be one to bear in mind. When it was disbanded in early 1917, the men went to either the 2/1st or the 4th Reserve Battalion of the Suffolk Battalion.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-yeomanry-regiments-of-1914-1918/suffolk-yeomanry-duke-of-yorks-own-loyal-suffolk-hussars/

 

It should also be br borne in mind that there was a Battle of the Somme in 1918.

 

If he was in the 11th Battalion by the time of the attack on the 1st July 1916 there is a good deal of information about them on this website

http://www.curme.co.uk/p.htm

Cheers,

Peter

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once again thanks for your various informative responses.  The Bury free press article of 30 Jan 1915 refers to Woolpit, near Bury St Edmunds, so the Ernest Bull mentioned in the article could well be my father as he was from the Woolpit area.  It says he was in the Loval Suffolk Hussars so the question is what is the latter and could he have been in them before the start of WWI? As he was awarded the Territorial Force Medal for voluntary service overseas 1914-18 (235349 E W Bull Suffolk Regiment) he must have been in the services before the outbreak of WWI. Could he have then been transferred to the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment and then to the Army Veterinary Corps at a later date (7815543 Farrier Corporal E W Bull RAVC)?

 

Maurice

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on further research I have just discovered that rather than Loval Suffolk Hussars that should read Loyal Suffolk Hussars.  I have also found his Gordon Highlander regiment number 26854 Private E W Bull 1914.  So does this mean he was in the Gordon Highlanders in 1914?  So I am still missing his service number for the Hussars. 

Maurice

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Hello Maurice,

 

No doubt you've already discovered that the Loyal Suffolk Hussars was a cavalry unit in the Territorial Force so this looks like where he may have joined the TF before converting to the Regular Army (11th Suffolks) later in the war.  The Long Long Trail has a useful set of information about this unit: https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-yeomanry-regiments-of-1914-1918/suffolk-yeomanry-duke-of-yorks-own-loyal-suffolk-hussars/.  It is likely though that the only real way to untangle exactly when he joined which unit is from his service papers held at Glasgow - hopefully they will be able to give you at least a set of dates when he joined each of them.  

 

Just going back to his medals. medals 1 and 2 are the British War Medal and the Victory Medal respectively.  They were awarded to every member of the Forces who served overseas during the war so about 6 million of each were issued.  The third, the Territorial Force War Medal, is much rarer with only about 34,000 being awarded. 

 

These first three medals were awarded a couple of years after the Armistice. 

 

The fourth will be the Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct.  That was awarded after 18 years' service in the Regular forces and where there were no blemishes on the individual's service history.  Given your father's date of birth and likelihood that he joined the regular army during the war that is likely to have been awarded sometime in the 1930s.  Depending on which King is shown on the front would give a clue as to when it was awarded: if it is George V that would imply it was awarded before the end of 1936, while if it is George VI that should imply it was later.  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_War_Medal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_Medal_(United_Kingdom)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_War_Medal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medal_for_Long_Service_and_Good_Conduct_(Military)

 

Good luck with Glasgow,

 

David.

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many thanks David.  His regular army long service and good conduct medal has the head of George V on it so was awarded pre-1936. I believe he was in the Duke of Yorks own Loyal Suffolk Hussars pre-1914.  Possibly in B company stationed at Bury St Edmunds.  Hopefully if I can get his service record from Glasgow I will be able at long last to complete his profile pre, during and post WWI.  I have his regiment numbers for his service in 11th Bat Suffolk Regiment, Gordon Highlanders and the RAVC and hopefully it will complement the Glasgow info.  Does anyone know if the Loyal Suffolk Hussars had individual service numbers?  Likewise I should be able to get info on his Pioneer Corps service during WWII.

 

regards Maurice

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  • 1 year later...
On 15/10/2020 at 08:34, George Rayner said:

Is this him?

 

image.png.c4fe1dd4ac95d2319e05bbcfa7da3640.png

Courtesy of FMP

Bury Free Press 30 January 1915

 

George

Hi George sorry for the long delay in replying.  Thanks for this - it does indicate that he was in the Loyal Suffolk Hussars but what does the list of names refer to in the newspaper cutting -ie what is the context of this list of names please? 

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Not Sure if this has been posted but details of the Suffolk regimental Museum who may be of assistance

 

Address: The Keep Gibraltar Barracks, Newmarket Rd, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 3RA

Hours: 
Closed ⋅ Opens 9:30AM Wed
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10 hours ago, Mole said:

-ie what is the context of this list of names please? 

It is a continuation of a list of West Suffolk individuals serving in the armed forces under  general headline of Defenders of the Empire. Our County and the War serving King and Country.

It is listed in village or town sets alphabetically.

George

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On 15/10/2020 at 08:34, George Rayner said:

Is this him?

 

image.png.c4fe1dd4ac95d2319e05bbcfa7da3640.png

On 31/12/2021 at 20:46, Mole said:

Hi George sorry for the long delay in replying.  Thanks for this - it does indicate that he was in the Loyal Suffolk Hussars but what does the list of names refer to in the newspaper cutting -ie what is the context of this list of names please? 

 

Courtesy of FMP

Bury Free Press 30 January 1915

OK thanks for the clarification.  I now have another question - in the Suffolk Regiment he had a number 235349 - would this still be his number in the Hussars or would he have had a separate one?

George

Hi George sorry for the long delay in replying.  Thanks for this - it does indicate that he was in the Loyal Suffolk Hussars but what does the list of names refer to in the newspaper cutting -ie what is the context of this list of names please? 

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23 hours ago, George Rayner said:
On 31/12/2021 at 20:46, Mole said:

-ie what is the context of this list of names please? 

It is a continuation of a list of West Suffolk individuals serving in the armed forces under  general headline of Defenders of the Empire. Our County and the War serving King and Country.

It is listed in village or town sets alphabetically.

George

 

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Sorry I thought I had replied to this but dont see it.  Thanks for the clarification - it provides the context of the list of names.  Would he have had a Hussars Regiment number?

On 15/10/2020 at 08:34, George Rayner said:

Is this him?

 

image.png.c4fe1dd4ac95d2319e05bbcfa7da3640.png

Courtesy of FMP

Bury Free Press 30 January 1915

 

George

 

On 31/12/2021 at 21:38, adrian 1008 said:

Not Sure if this has been posted but details of the Suffolk regimental Museum who may be of assistance

 

Address: The Keep Gibraltar Barracks, Newmarket Rd, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 3RA

Hours: 
Closed ⋅ Opens 9:30AM Wed

thanks - yes we had planned to visit the museum but Covid intervened

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  • 1 year later...
On 17/10/2020 at 10:25, David26 said:

Hello Maurice,

 

No doubt you've already discovered that the Loyal Suffolk Hussars was a cavalry unit in the Territorial Force so this looks like where he may have joined the TF before converting to the Regular Army (11th Suffolks) later in the war.  The Long Long Trail has a useful set of information about this unit: https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-yeomanry-regiments-of-1914-1918/suffolk-yeomanry-duke-of-yorks-own-loyal-suffolk-hussars/.  It is likely though that the only real way to untangle exactly when he joined which unit is from his service papers held at Glasgow - hopefully they will be able to give you at least a set of dates when he joined each of them.  

 

Just going back to his medals. medals 1 and 2 are the British War Medal and the Victory Medal respectively.  They were awarded to every member of the Forces who served overseas during the war so about 6 million of each were issued.  The third, the Territorial Force War Medal, is much rarer with only about 34,000 being awarded. 

 

These first three medals were awarded a couple of years after the Armistice. 

 

The fourth will be the Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct.  That was awarded after 18 years' service in the Regular forces and where there were no blemishes on the individual's service history.  Given your father's date of birth and likelihood that he joined the regular army during the war that is likely to have been awarded sometime in the 1930s.  Depending on which King is shown on the front would give a clue as to when it was awarded: if it is George V that would imply it was awarded before the end of 1936, while if it is George VI that should imply it was later.  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_War_Medal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_Medal_(United_Kingdom)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_War_Medal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medal_for_Long_Service_and_Good_Conduct_(Military)

 

Good luck with Glasgow,

 

David.

hi David I think I gave you the wrong email address as it is a new one but hopefully I will see you down the allotment soon

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