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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

WHICH UNIT?


Ken G
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I wonder if anyone can help me to understand the attached photograph which has been puzzling me for years.

 

The big man hiding behind the large moustache and sitting beside the officer in the second row was my grandfather, 3963 Sgt Frederick Arthur Greenland of 5DG.   He retired from regular service in 1912 and settled in Selby, near York.   He had Queen's and King's South Africa medals and LS&GC, but no WW1 medals.   In the photograph he appears to be a man "in authority", but he is certainly not wearing the uniform of 5DG.   He is clearly wearing other ranks pattern kit, but does not appear to be wearing the badges of an NCO or warrant officer, and under a magnifier the badge on his forearm appears to resemble a Bath star, or officer's "pip".   The cap badge appears to be an eight pointed star over a scroll, similar to that worn by, among others, the East Yorkshire Regiment.

 

My grandfather had a brother, David Moody Greenland, who also served.   He was a SSM in 1st (Royal) Dragoons, but was medically discharged in the same year that my grandfather retired, and died the following year.   I only mention this because whereas his service record has survived, my grandfather's has not, making me wonder whether it was archived with those WW1 service records that were destroyed during WW2.

 

All this leads me to think that between 1914 and 1918 my grandfather returned to the colours, either as a volunteer or as a recalled reservist, and might well have served in a home service battalion of the East Yorks, possibly their 2nd Garrison Battalion, either as a warrant officer or with some kind of local commission.   This would explain the cap badge, the lack of any WW1 medals, and also the loss of his service record.   It might even explain the mysterious badge on his forearm.   Unfortunately neither of the respective RHQs of the Dragoons or the Yorks have been able to help.   I would be grateful for any help in proving or disproving my theory.

 

 

image.png

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His position in the photo, the badge visible on his left forearm, and the fact he holds a walking-length stick all suggest that he is the company sergeant major.  On the opposite side of the officer is another bemedalled veteran who wears a colour sergeants badge and is most probably the CQMS.  The others sat adjacent appear to be a mixture of sergeants and full corporals.  Looking at the group as a whole a lot are very young, a few a little older, and the rest the veterans already mentioned.  All-in-all that fits with a Home Service Garrison Battalion whose members would not have qualified for medals associated with service overseas.  The sergeant major’s metal badge was a quite small, plain gilding metal [edit] crown, and that seems to be what is worn by your grandfather.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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For grenade read crown of course.

 

May we have a better quality scan ....... the Forum has experts who can make a group photo talk, if the photo is good enough.

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Thankyou both for responding.   I'm having trouble getting a better scan, but having now learned that the WO2's badge was small, plain and metal, and not the larger embroidered crown that I'd expected, I've had another look under a magnifier.   I don't think there's any doubt now that it is indeed a crown, so thanks for helping me to sort that out.   Do you have any idea whether such things as nominal rolls, ration returns, pay books and so on were archived, and if so, where and how to gain access to them, and more generally, can you suggest sources of information on the home service battalions ?   

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1 hour ago, Ken G said:

Thankyou both for responding.   I'm having trouble getting a better scan, but having now learned that the WO2's badge was small, plain and metal, and not the larger embroidered crown that I'd expected, I've had another look under a magnifier.   I don't think there's any doubt now that it is indeed a crown, so thanks for helping me to sort that out.   Do you have any idea whether such things as nominal rolls, ration returns, pay books and so on were archived, and if so, where and how to gain access to them, and more generally, can you suggest sources of information on the home service battalions ?   


It’s extremely unlikely that the routine documents to which you referred for a home service garrison battalion will have survived.  They were of little historical significance beyond a certain period of time and would have been weeded (destroyed) long ago.  As Home Service Battalions saw no active service I doubt that they were ever required to maintain war diaries either. 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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On 27/11/2020 at 00:55, FROGSMILE said:


It’s extremely unlikely that the routine documents to which you referred for a home service garrison battalion will have survived.  They were of little historical significance beyond a certain period of time and would have been weeded (destroyed) long ago.  As Home Service Battalions saw no active service I doubt that they were ever required to maintain war diaries either. 

 

They were not. Even 3rd SR, later 3rd, battalion RWF did no more than maintain a scrapbook, a rich mine, in the Archive.

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Thanks to RHQ Yorks, I have references to the East Yorks 2nd Garrison Bn providing airfield guards, coast watching detachments and bearer and firing parties.   It seems the battalion was raised at Hull in 1916, and I now have the names of the officers, but sadly not of the warrant officers.   I've been trying, so far without success, to find connections with drill halls, and I have it in mind to ask the Selby Times to have a look in their archives.   However, I imagine that anything useful would have been cut by the censor.

 

Can I just ask you to confirm that the uniform does indeed appear to be an infantry uniform?

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There's a name, an address or something in the left bottom corner.

It's an important clue and it's nearly legible but it's so small.

The last word might be 'Selby'.

You really need to do a high resolution scan on this image...

 

image.png.606b978d4835bc687e257b99a7181534.jpg

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
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1 hour ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

There's a name, an address or something in the left bottom corner.

It's an important clue and it's nearly legible but it's so small.

The last word might be 'Selby'.

You really need to do a high resolution scan on this image...

 

Good spot.

Given the context, the last word must surely be Selby.

Both lines of text seem to start with an acronym....MIU perhaps?

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16 hours ago, Ken G said:

Thanks to RHQ Yorks, I have references to the East Yorks 2nd Garrison Bn providing airfield guards, coast watching detachments and bearer and firing parties.   It seems the battalion was raised at Hull in 1916, and I now have the names of the officers, but sadly not of the warrant officers.   I've been trying, so far without success, to find connections with drill halls, and I have it in mind to ask the Selby Times to have a look in their archives.   However, I imagine that anything useful would have been cut by the censor.

 

Can I just ask you to confirm that the uniform does indeed appear to be an infantry uniform?


It would be wrong to use the description infantry uniform because service dress was a universal uniform across the army, but the cap badge shape, although blurred does match with the East Yorkshire Regiment, chimes with the family mention of that regiments garrison battalion, and the town of Selby, where the photo was taken.

 

3126BDA1-015E-4DCE-986D-B684AD176458.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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