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Acting Capt William Carroll MC, 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment KIA May 2017


AJT

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I'm trying to find out more about my Great Uncle, who enlisted as a private in Liverpool in 1908, and served with the Royal Irish Rifles, reaching the rank of RSM.

I know the Rifles began the war in Aden, but were shipped to France in autumn 1914 to support the BEF.

He was awarded the MC in 1915.

His service record shows he then served with the East Yorks, commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. When he was killed in action, he was listed as Acting Captain.

I found the Gazette entry which lists his MC award, and have also found his death certificate and a record of his grave.

I haven't been able to find any more about the circumstances of his winning his MC, or about his death, or of his service in either Regiment.

Just wondering if anybody could point me in the right direction?

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Welcome to the forum.

You could look at the War Diary for the 1st East Yorkshires. This was written up regularly soon after the events happened, and Officers are usually named. The amount of information will depend on the writer. The diary is available from The National Archives;-  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353174

It is usually £3.50 but at present it is free, if you register. See the instructions on the yellow line at the top of the T.N.A. page.

If you have any queries about what you find in the diary you can always post on the forum.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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1 hour ago, AJT said:

I haven't been able to find any more about the circumstances of his winning his MC, or about his death, or of his service in either Regiment.

Just wondering if anybody could point me in the right direction?

 

Hi and welcome to the forum.

 

I suspect many of the answers you are after will be in his officers file at the National Archive at Kew. Unfortunately these are not on line and I’m led to believe from posts on the forum that the National Archive copying service is both expensive and variable in quality. In normal times there are several members who offer the same facility – a search of the forum will hopefully turn up who they are.

 

This is the only William Carroll showing up as an officer in the East Yorkshire Regiment.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1136375

 

His Medal Index Card, (literally an index card created at the records office in late 1918 to track the issue of medals), shows that he entered a Theatre of War, most likely France although it is not stated, on the 6th November 1914 with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

His service number was then 5710.

 

Our parent site, the Long, Long Trail, has this to say about the 1st Battalion.

1st Battalion

August 1914 : in Aden. Returned to UK and landed at Liverpool on 22 October 1914.

Moved to Hursley Park and came under command of 25th Brigade in 8th Division.

6 November 1914 : landed at Le Havre.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/royal-irish-rifles/

 

Unit War Diaries can currently be downloaded for free from the National Archive – you just need to register for an account if you haven’t already got one, and even that can be done as part of placing your first order.

The War diary covering August 1914 to January 1918 can be found here:

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352501

 

According to the Supplement to the London Gazette dated 25 August 1915 he was awarded the Medal of St George, 1st Class. (Page 8510) while still 5710 Regimental Sergeant Major 5710, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29275/supplement/8510/data.pdf

These were Russian awards, (page 8504), but may not reflect any particular deed or service in any particular theatre, although were often used to reward men who had missed out on British awards.

 

His MiC doesn’t show a date of commissioning and his name is a bit too common to try an effective search of the London Gazette.

Additionally many officers on the strength of the 1st Battalion of a Regiment would quite often be attached to other units. Thus when William died on the 3rd May 1917 he was actually serving with the 12th Battalion.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/533019/W CARROLL/

 

That unit’s War Diary that includes that period should be this one.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353699

 

A random dip into the monthly Army lists failed to turn him up, (January and September 1916), so I went straight to the May 1917 one. Under 2nd Lieutenants of the 12th Battalion there is a W. Carroll, M.C., with a date of seniority of the 22nd November 1916 – for a Second Lieutenant that is going to be his commissioning date. It’s the noted that he was acting Captain from the 14th December 1916. There is no mention of him being attached from the 1st Battalion, so you may want to check your source for that information.

 

So unless he was wounded \ accidentally injured \ suffering ill-health and as a result medically evacuated back to the UK, it would seem likely that William was with the 1st Royal Irish Rifles until the early summer of 1916 before leaving for an Officer Training Unit. As a warrant officer he may have received his M.C. for service with them, which raises the prospect that it might even be a retrospective one – the Military Cross was only instituted on the 1st January 1915 and the first awards were mainly for acts during the previous autumns campaign.

 

The 12th Battalion (3rd Hull) were part of 92nd Brigade at the time of William’s death – sometimes known as the Hull Pals Brigade.

 

“On 8 April 1917, 92 Bde left the Ancre and moved to the Arras sector where the Battle of Arras began the next day. After a period of training and trench-holding, the brigade moved into assembly trenches opposite Oppy during the night of 2/3 May, under shellfire. The British creeping barrage started at 03.45 and the brigade set off in four waves, in the dark and mist, into severe machine gun fire. 10th Battalion found that in many places the wire had not been cut and had to funnel through the few gaps. This slowed the attack, which fell behind the barrage. All four company commanders were wounded, and the attack became disorganised. It was later discovered that a number of 10th Bn's men were captured having got through the German trenches into Oppy village. The rest of the battalion remained pinned down in No man's land all day, having lost over 100 men. Similarly, 11th Bn was hit by machine guns firing from Oppy Wood and pinned down. The officers, including 2nd Lieutenant Jack Harrison, reorganised their men for a second attempt. This too failed, but Harrison dashed on alone to try to silence the machine gun that was holding up his men. He was killed and later awarded a posthumous VC. 11th Battalion lost 63 men killed. 12th Battalion's attack also failed, suffering 83 killed. The three attacking battalions withdrew from No man's land to their own trenches after dark, where they were relieved by the Accrington Pals while 13th East Yorks brought in the dead and wounded from the battlefield.

 

Casualties in 12th Bn had been so severe that it was temporarily reduced to two composite companies attached to the 10th and 11th Bns respectively.”

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

 

Hope that gets you started,

Peter

 

P.S. The Regular Army Battalions of the Royal Irish Rifles issued service number 5710 between the 3rd January 1898, (5422) and the 14th February 1899, (5810).

https://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.com/2012/12/royal-irish-rifles-1st-2nd-battalions.html

The standard term of engagement was 12 years, most commonly split 7 years in the colours and 5 in the reserves at the time he enlisted, or alternatively a man could sign up for 21 years to get a pension. The 1st Battalion remained in India during the Boer War, whereas the 2nd Battalion did serve in that campaign. Men did move back and forth between the Battalions so may be worth checking the medal rolls for the Boer War, (Ancestry and FindMyPast) to see if he appears.

 

P.P.S. As an officer his service medals  - the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal - needed to be applied for. This was done by a T.B. Carroll, Esquire, of 6 Holford Street, Liverpool.

Edited by PRC
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Thank you so much.

Have dowloaded the pages from the War Diaries - gripping reading, even with the variation in amounts of information.

There seems to be a discrepancy between the medal card [1st Battallion] and his Death Certificate. Death Certificate says 12th Battalion, but I found he was KIA on 3/5/17, so will look up the 12th Battalion diaries

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Thanks so much to you all for the prompt responses and copious information.

I'd found the Gazette entry, and also found what appears to be his enlistment attestation [if that's the right term - attached] from 1908, which ties in with what I know of my family back then - he was a painter living in [what is now] Bootle in Liverpool when he enlistedCarroll, William (19) - Page 1.pdf

I'm fairly new to all of this and still don't quite understand a lot of how the military was structured - e.g. I've still to get my head around the process of attachment from one regiment to another.

I found his medal card [attached], which seems to show he served in both, but I don't really know what the annotations in 'Actions Taken' mean [apart from KinA 3/5/17] so if any of you Old Sweats could translate, that would be great! Meanwhile, I've lots to read!WO-372-4-29807_Royal IR & East Yorkshire.pdf

 

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1 hour ago, PRC said:

This was done by a T.B. Carroll, Esquire, of 6 Holford Street, Liverpool.

Thanks - that ties in with Census data - my Uncle Tom. Can I ask where/how you found that info?

Edited by AJT
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Hi AJT,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

3 hours ago, AJT said:

I found the Gazette entry which lists his MC award,

 

Any chance you could post a link?

 

Regards

Chris

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Thanks again to all.

I found the relevant page of the 12th East Yorkshires' War Diaries - the entry for 3/5/17 refers briefly to a day under heavy shell fire [and an attached list of casualties] - and then says received at 10pm.

The next entry on 5/5 says the battalion was reorganised into two composite companies - presumably because off the heavy losses. Which presumably included William.

It's late now, but thanks to all of you I've found out a lot more; will continue following your leads tomorrow:)

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 23.54.51.png

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1 hour ago, PRC said:

The Regular Army Battalions of the Royal Irish Rifles issued service number 5710 between the 3rd January 1898, (5422) and the 14th February 1899, (5810).

https://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.com/2012/12/royal-irish-rifles-1st-2nd-battalions.html

 

37 minutes ago, AJT said:

and also found what appears to be his enlistment attestation [if that's the right term - attached] from 1908, which ties in with what I know of my family back then - he was a painter living in [what is now] Bootle in Liverpool when he enlisted

 

I think you'll find that is dated 17th November 1898 - the recruiting officer has just used a blank attestation form preprinted for 19xx and overwritten it. That would tie in with the likely period of enlistment identified above.

 

1207280308_822951189_CarrollWilliam(19)-Page1sourcedFold3crop-1.png.d9813eab845f2ddf9af666927aab7514.png

 

I suspect if you check the other pages of the record you will find the other dates fall in line and that he probably doesn't turn up on the 1901 Census of England & Wales.

 

Also he is shown as aged 19 years and 6 months - so born circa 1879. I assume that ties in with the family tree? On the 1911 Census of England & Wales he appears aged 30, a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, stationed at Alexandra Barracks, Maymyo, Burma.

 

Finally did you pick up that he had previously served with the 5th Battalion (Volunteer) Liverpool Regiment. This was actually a militia unit of part time soldiers, although particularly for the younger members it could be a stepping stone to joining the Regular Army.

 

1 hour ago, AJT said:

There seems to be a discrepancy between the medal card [1st Battallion] and his Death Certificate.

 

Nothing on the Medal Index Card to indicate he served with the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, just the East Yorkshire Regiment. Only the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles is specifically listed and that relates to the issue of his 1914/15 Star as it's the unit he was serving with when he entered a Theatre of War. Most MiC's don't show information below Regiment or Corps level.

 

58 minutes ago, AJT said:

I'm fairly new to all of this and still don't quite understand a lot of how the military was structured - e.g. I've still to get my head around the process of attachment from one regiment to another.

 

Once he was commissioned his original enlistment ended - he was discharged. He was no longer on the establishment of any part of the Royal Irish Rifles. His new unit as a commissioned officer was the East Yorkshire Regiment and it looks very much like he was put straight onto the establishment of the 12th Battalion, (think of it as a bit like being on the payroll).  Each Battalion had an allotted number of officers and men that they were budgeted for. There were also reserves of officers both at the Regimental and Army level and they could be seconded\ loaned to fill a shortfall caused for whatever reason. While it was possible for an officer from one regiment to be attached to another, that isn't the scenario that applies here.

 

1 hour ago, AJT said:

I found his medal card [attached], which seems to show he served in both, but I don't really know what the annotations in 'Actions Taken' mean [apart from KinA 3/5/17] so if any of you Old Sweats could translate, that would be great!

 

Beyond the self-evident stuff, practically all the other bits are reference numbers. Some are known - the Medal  box stamped in the top right quarter of the front of the card has a reference B/3 12 against the line 14 Star. If you to find the relevant page of the 1914/15 Star Service Medal Roll, (can be viewed on Ancestry) then that would be it's page reference.  Most of the rest are obscure references to documents that no longer exist and there isn't a ready source to even tell you they were and why they were relevant to this man. It looks like the rank had to be amended on his 1914/15 Star so some of the paperwork references may relate to this.

 

1 hour ago, AJT said:

Thanks - that ties in with Census data - my Uncle Tom. Can I ask where/how you found that info?

 

For officers the address is on the back of the card. You can't see that in the National Archive source you are using, but if you sign up for the very basic free Ancestry account, one of the few document types that you can see in the Military records is a colour image of both sides of the Medal Index Cards. Normally these show date of application and medal issue but in Williams' case that isn't present.

 

Williams' entry in the 1917 Probate Calendar also has him as 12th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, but I note his legal executor, Thomas Boyd Carroll was a Private in His Majestys Forces.

719241533_WilliamCarroll1917ProbateCalendarsourceprobatesearchgovuk.png.bb70250f6d51217eee74bf1b70abfc5c.png

https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Calendar?surname=Carroll&yearOfDeath=1917&page=2#calendar

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

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Thank you Peter for the information and explanations - it really is extremely helpful. [Particularly picking up the date on the attestation]. I'll go back to my census records and check but the address in Byron Street in Bootle tallies

BTW I think I had got my battalion numbers mixed up!

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David_Underdown
9 hours ago, PRC said:

Finally did you pick up that he had previously served with the 5th Battalion (Volunteer) Liverpool Regiment. This was actually a militia unit of part time soldiers, although particularly for the younger members it could be a stepping stone to joining the Regular Army.

Strictly the Volunteer Battalions and Militia were separate things, the Volunteer units became Territorial Force in 1908 and the Militia the Special Reserve. 5th (Irish) Volunteer Battalion were apparently the forerunner of the Liverpool Irish TF battalion. Some history in Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_Irish. Given the surname Carroll and his later Royal Irish Rifles service that makes sense.

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This is the London Gazette notification of the M.C. award  https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29202/supplement/6125    It appears to be an Honours Gazette with no annotations of place and date of action in the pre-publication Gazettes. 

 

Edit to add:-

 

He also received a Russian award, the Medal of St. George 1st Class https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29275/supplement/8510 The awards from the Emperor of Russia begin on page 8504

Edited by HarryBrook
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Hi AJT,

 

17 hours ago, AJT said:

I haven't been able to find any more about the circumstances of his winning his MC,

 

His MC was a King's Birthday Honours Award, so there isn't a citation to go with it. He may have been awarded it for noteworthy  good service over a period of time, rather than for a specific act. If you'd like a copy of his MC index card, it's on p608/2444 of this free download and the MC Register for the Honours awards  (which is basically thresame as the LG) starts on p34/159 of this free download

 

Regards

Chris

 

Edit1:

Same as Harry really

 

Edit2:

image.png.5c46a2c4b5c56903057f4f825845b5e8.png

 

At the end of the diary for May it notes his death:

image.png.d08a532da2b30747cb545bffa902b007.png

Image sourced from the National Archives

 

It might also be worth downloading these files to see what extra context/info you might get - link and link

 

Edit3:

If you would like an image of his grave, it looks like British War Graves may be able to send you one (FOC).

 

 

 

Edited by clk
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1st RIR History p.95: 9th November 1916 (near Le Transloy): "That day the Battalion said goodbye to RSM Carroll who was promoted to 2/Lt. and posted to the East Yorkshire Regt. CSM J. Driscoll was appointed acting RSM until a permanent replacement could be found".

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Detailed biography of RSM W. Carroll from the 1st RIR History by James Taylor pp.344-345 (sounds like he was quite a guy!):

 

122940656_404972960873541_6458329364487854179_n.jpg

123082159_829406051167312_3444125741121964017_n.jpg

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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10 hours ago, David_Underdown said:

Finally did you pick up that he had previously served with the 5th Battalion (Volunteer) Liverpool Regiment. This was actually a militia unit of part time soldiers, although particularly for the younger members it could be a stepping stone to joining the Regular Army.

No - I hadn't picked that up; couldn't really make out what it said on the attestation about previous service, but now I see what it is. Thank you!

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8 hours ago, HarryBrook said:

He also received a Russian award, the Medal of St. George 1st Class https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29275/supplement/8510 The awards from the Emperor of Russia begin on page 8504

Thank you. I had seen the London Gazette entry, but as I am pretty new to this, didn't put 2+2 together and realise that as there was no citation of what he'd done to win it, it must have been an honorary award

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8 hours ago, clk said:

At the end of the diary for May it notes his death:

thanks - I didn't read far enough. This is the list of casualties referred to earlier.

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7 hours ago, Ivor Anderson said:

sounds like he was quite a guy!

Certainly does! Brought a lump to my throat! My family never mentioned him, but I just remember that in my Great Nan's house in Seaforth [Liverpool] there was a picture over the mantlepiece in the front room [which they never used, my Great Nan & her sister living in the back kitchen]. I found out a few years ago that this was William. Thank you!

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