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George Frederick Cope RGA 143B


Johnc2020
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I am researching my grandfather ‘s  WW1 involvement having been handed down his 2 medals (British War Medal and Victory Medal). He was in RGA 143b and service number 81428.  Can anyone please let me know what his rank/position was and what/where conflicts he was involved in. Thank you. John (28/11/20).

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Welcome to the forum. His rank will be inscribed on the medal rims. Edit, checking his medal index card, his rank is Gunner

Another edit, I think the 143B is a medal roll reference, not his battery? 

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/campaign-medal-records/how-to-interpret-a-campaign-medal-index-card/

Michelle 

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Yep, your right. I forgot about that. My main interest is figuring out where he was stationed and what WW1 action he experienced, such as battles/sieges. Like many, he never discussed it so possible experienced horrors of conflict/shell shock. It would be nice to learn his story. Thanks for your earlier quick reply.

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I'm not sure how you establish what battery;  despite being the Great Grandaughter of Artillery Soldiers, I'm not great on finding out, I'm  very lucky that their service records survived. 

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A record of his service exists on FindMyPast based around a disability claim he made (denied) but that does include details of his postings and also a copy of his signature 

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2 hours ago, Michelle Young said:

Welcome to the forum. His rank will be inscribed on the medal rims. Edit, checking his medal index card, his rank is Gunner

Another edit, I think the 143B is a medal roll reference, not his battery? 

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/campaign-medal-records/how-to-interpret-a-campaign-medal-index-card/

Michelle 

Thank you Michelle for the update. I believe you are right regarding the medal roll and battery confusion. I’m struggling with this research. It took me ages to establish what RGA stood for! If there is a kind person out there who can fill me in on his military service, please do.  Kind Regards, John  28/11/20

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1 hour ago, Ivor Anderson said:

Thank you Owen for the info. Sadly the link is taking me to their automated fees subscription page. That’s IT Bots for you. If you can give me a breakdown of his service I’d be more than grateful. John  28/11/20

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Hi John and welcome to the forum,

 

57 minutes ago, Johnc2020 said:

Sadly the link is taking me to their automated fees subscription page.

 

If you are resident in the UK then you will usually find your local public library service subscribe to either Ancestry or FindMyPast, and sometimes both. Although normally you have to be on site to access them, with the Covid restrictions, many libraries have come to an arrangement whereby members can access from home. Might be worthwhile checking out the website of your local library service to see what's on offer - if you're not currently a member then most have arrangement to join up on line.

 

His pension and service records are available on either genealogy service.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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30 minutes ago, PRC said:

Hi John and welcome to the forum,

 

 

If you are resident in the UK then you will usually find your local public library service subscribe to either Ancestry or FindMyPast, and sometimes both. Although normally you have to be on site to access them, with the Covid restrictions, many libraries have come to an arrangement whereby members can access from home. Might be worthwhile checking out the website of your local library service to see what's on offer - if you're not currently a member then most have arrangement to join up on line.

 

His pension and service records are available on either genealogy service.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Thank you Peter for your kind guidance, John 28/11/20.

 

1 hour ago, Johnc2020 said:

Thank you Owen for the info. Sadly the link is taking me to their automated fees subscription page. That’s IT Bots for you. If you can give me a breakdown of his service I’d be more than grateful. John  28/11/20

Apologies David for using your surname as your first name. I’m using a phone with a cracked screen and unfamiliar with the layout of this website. Thank you again for your info & guidance.  John 28/11/20.

3 hours ago, Ivor Anderson said:

Thank you Ivor for your info & guidance. John 28/11/20

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4 hours ago, DavidOwen said:

A record of his service exists on FindMyPast based around a disability claim he made (denied) but that does include details of his postings and also a copy of his signature 

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Hi David, would you be willing to give me a simple breakdown of his postings until such time as I can visit my local library to see if I can access the FindMyPast site hopefully without cost. Kind Regards, John 28/11/20

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1 hour ago, PRC said:

Hi John and welcome to the forum,

 

 

If you are resident in the UK then you will usually find your local public library service subscribe to either Ancestry or FindMyPast, and sometimes both. Although normally you have to be on site to access them, with the Covid restrictions, many libraries have come to an arrangement whereby members can access from home. Might be worthwhile checking out the website of your local library service to see what's on offer - if you're not currently a member then most have arrangement to join up on line.

 

His pension and service records are available on either genealogy service.

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

11 minutes ago, Johnc2020 said:

Hi David, would you be willing to give me a simple breakdown of his postings until such time as I can visit my local library to see if I can access the FindMyPast site hopefully without cost. Kind Regards, John 28/11/20

I am aware it is against this sites rules for anyone to copy/paste files off the subscription sites, but if anyone can give me a simple breakdown of where he did service, I would be extremely grateful, as I’m intrigued as to whether it was all in the UK or if he endured conflicts in, for example, France, Germany or Belgium to name a few.  John 28/11/20

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5 minutes ago, Johnc2020 said:

but if anyone can give me a simple breakdown of where he did service

 

Hi,

 

Can't currently get onto FMP to see documents as I exceeded my monthly Norfolk County Library service quota a little bit earlier this evening:)

 

However I can see from his Medal Index Card at the National Archive and via a free account at Ancestry that he only qualified for the Victory Medal & British War Medal.

Those medals were only awarded to someone who served in a Theatre of War.

To have received only those medals means he didn't serve in a Theatre of War until some point on or after the 1st January 1916.

 

28 minutes ago, Johnc2020 said:

until such time as I can visit my local library

 

You hopefully shouldn't need to visit a library to get access sorted out - in fact if they are anything like Norfolk they will discourage it. I suspect it will either just be an e-mail or your local library service doesn't do it.

 

Good luck with your search,

Peter

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47 minutes ago, PRC said:

 

Hi,

 

Can't currently get onto FMP to see documents as I exceeded my monthly Norfolk County Library service quota a little bit earlier this evening:)

 

However I can see from his Medal Index Card at the National Archive and via a free account at Ancestry that he only qualified for the Victory Medal & British War Medal.

Those medals were only awarded to someone who served in a Theatre of War.

To have received only those medals means he didn't serve in a Theatre of War until some point on or after the 1st January 1916.

 

 

You hopefully shouldn't need to visit a library to get access sorted out - in fact if they are anything like Norfolk they will discourage it. I suspect it will either just be an e-mail or your local library service doesn't do it.

 

Good luck with your search,

Peter

Hi Peter, thank’s for the kind update. I had wondered why perhaps he missed out on getting The Star which would have completed the set known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred. Perhaps he was UK based until 1916 then served overseas. Hopefully, I will get a clearer picture of when/where he served once I get access to the genealogy sites or if someone visiting this forum can further enlighten me. Kind Regards, John 28/11/20. I had expected him to be in the RAF just because that’s what my dad did in WW2, so this RGA service has come as a total surprise.

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Hi Paul, your info definitely for my grandad George Frederick Cope (dob 1887), RGA gunner number 81428 as surprised his occupation signaller differs from that on his medal and medal  info card. I’ve already lost 2 relatives in WW2 (one at Tobruk, one at El Alamein) so this would be nice news to know he survived WW1 Middle East (such as Mesopotamia) atrocities.  Am I right thinking 422 Sge Bry stands for 422 Seige Battery and that it would have been attached to a certain Brigade number that formed part of the Egyptian  Expedition Force?  Kind regards & apologies for any inconvenience educating me.  John 28/11/20.

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4 minutes ago, Johnc2020 said:

Hi Paul, your info definitely for my grandad George Frederick Cope (dob 1887), RGA gunner number 81428 as surprised his occupation signaller differs from that on his medal and medal  info card. I’ve already lost 2 relatives in WW2 (one at Tobruk, one at El Alamein) so this would be nice news to know he survived WW1 Middle East (such as Mesopotamia) atrocities.  Am I right thinking 422 Sge Bry stands for 422 Seige Battery and that it would have been attached to a certain Brigade number that formed part of the Egyptian  Expedition Force?  Kind regards & apologies for any inconvenience educating me.  John 28/11/20.

Just established 422 Siege Battery formed part of the RGA 97th Brigade that was in the Egyptian Expedition Force and that, possibly....if this does relate to George F Cope 81428....that he may have seen conflict July 1917 to Oct 1918 in Palestine. I could be, and probably am wrong, so feel free to further educate me.  Thanks, John 29/11/20

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Thank you to everybody who has pointed me in the right direction with regards to my late grandad George Frederick Cope RGA 81428, who per his WW1 medal card details and actual medals I hold was a gunner, awarded The British War medal and The Victory medal. As no Star medal was awarded, I now understand this to because he did not participate in the Theatre of War until after 01/01/16.  GWF members have kindly educated me that at some stage he was in 422 Siege Battalion as a Signaller that was involved in the Egyptian Expedition Force. My own research (possibly wrong) shows 422 were part of the 97th Brigade within the EEF. My next step is to learn the foreign country or countries he served in, any well known conflicts and at what point he changed from a Signaller to Gunner and why that change happened.

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1 hour ago, Johnc2020 said:

at what point he changed from a Signaller to Gunner

 

My understanding is that Gunner was his Rank, Signaller was his Army Trade - therefore he could be both at the same time. Normally he would have passed tests and received a proficiency pay rise.

 

1 hour ago, Johnc2020 said:

My next step is to learn the foreign country or countries he served in, any well known conflicts

 

18 hours ago, Johnc2020 said:

that he may have seen conflict July 1917 to Oct 1918 in Palestine

 

If he was with them when they went out to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force then he would most likely have gone with his unit as part of the build up for Third Gaza, (1-7 November 1917).

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Battle_of_Gaza

 

The Turks then fought a number of rearguard actions to Jerusalem and beyond it into the surrounding hills. The allies kept trying to turn the Turkish lines by thrusts up the coast and via the Jordan Valley to tie up with the forces led by Lawrence of Arabia. The mobile nature of the warfare probably left little opportunity for the guns of the RGA to keep up. The reductions in the EEF strength required by the need to send troops and tanks to France in the late Spring of 1918 to replace losses there put a temporary halt to large scale operations.

When these resumed there were some set-piece battles at Nablus, Sharon and Megiddo in September 1918.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Megiddo_(1918)

The EEF then pushed on across the Golan Heights to Damascus, Aleppo and beyond by the time the armistice with the Turks came into effect on the 31st October 1918.

 

Unfortunately War Diaries for this Theatre of War are not available online from the National Archive or Ancestry.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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40 minutes ago, PRC said:

 

My understanding is that Gunner was his Rank, Signaller was his Army Trade - therefore he could be both at the same time. Normally he would have passed tests and received a proficiency pay rise.

 

 

 

If he was with them when they went out to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force then he would most likely have gone with his unit as part of the build up for Third Gaza, (1-7 November 1917).

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Battle_of_Gaza

 

The Turks then fought a number of rearguard actions to Jerusalem and beyond it into the surrounding hills. The allies kept trying to turn the Turkish lines by thrusts up the coast and via the Jordan Valley to tie up with the forces led by Lawrence of Arabia. The mobile nature of the warfare probably left little opportunity for the guns of the RGA to keep up. The reductions in the EEF strength required by the need to send troops and tanks to France in the late Spring of 1918 to replace losses there put a temporary halt to large scale operations.

When these resumed there were some set-piece battles at Nablus, Sharon and Megiddo in September 1918.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Megiddo_(1918)

The EEF then pushed on across the Golan Heights to Damascus, Aleppo and beyond by the time the armistice with the Turks came into effect on the 31st October 1918.

 

Unfortunately War Diaries for this Theatre of War are not available online from the National Archive or Ancestry.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

Hi Peter, thank you for educating me. This saga of events is all new to me. Infact, prior to yesterday, I had not been aware the BEF or EEF had existed. For some reason I thought the BEF was polar expeditions. I think it is highly likely my late father never knew his dad’s (George Frederick Cope RGA 81428) full war story. It will be a good day when I finally access the findmypast service record and get his precise dates & destinations of service. I have the subscription down on my christmas list. Best wishes & thanks again, John 29/11/20.

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On 29/11/2020 at 19:41, Johnc2020 said:

I have the subscription down on my christmas list.

 

Perhaps Xmas has come early as I have access to FindMyPast again.

 

What I can see in summary is, (and apologies if I have missed or misinterpreted anything).

 

A Derby Scheme man, he enlisted on the 7th December 1915 and was then posted to the Army Reserve the next day. See https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/enlisting-into-the-army/the-group-scheme-derby-scheme/

 

He had his mobilisation medical at St Pancras on the 8th May 1916. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 133lbs. His physical development was rated good and his eyesight was perfect. Like many recruits he needed some dentistry work but that was not sufficient to cause him to be rejected.

 

He was posted for duty at London on the 15th May 1916 and joined his unit as a Gunner at No.1 Depot, Dover. He had previously worked as a Restaurant Car Waiter in the employ of Great Northern Railways, based at Kings Cross .He had married Alice Lilian Brayley at Tufnell Park on the 12th November 1912. Her address was 1 Dalmeny Road, Tufnell Park.

 

He went to the RGA Camp at Portland on the 25th May 1916 and joined the 30th Battery. While at Portland he qualified as a Signaller & Telephonist.

 

On the 19th August 1916 he was posted to (A) Siege Battery.

 

On the 9th September 1916 he was posted to 217th Battery. From the 27th November 1916 to the 18th December 1916 he was in the City of London Military Hospital at Clapton with Lumbago and Influenza.

 

On the 21st January 1917 he was attached to 37 Company, R.G.A. However from the 12th January 1917 he was in the New Zealand General Hospital at Codford suffering with Jaundice. On the 18th February 1917 he was transferred to the Military Hospital, Sutton Veny, Wiltshire, and was now diagnosed with Bronchitis. He was discharged on the 27th February 1917.

 

On the 12th March 1917 he was posted to Portsmouth for local defence

 

He embarked at Southampton on the 23rd November 1917 as part of a general replacement draft to the R.G.A. He landed Alexandria on the 19th December 1917 and reached the General Base Depot at Kantara the next day.

 

He joined up with 422 Siege Battery ‘in the field’ on the 11th January 1918.

 

He suffered from Phelebotomus fever while serving in Palestine in July 1918. See

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

 

On the 16th October 1918 he rejoined 422 Siege Battery. By the 7th December 1918 he was in hospital in Cairo as a result of influenza, rejoining his unit on the 28th.

 

Under the new Army Order regulation he was redesignated as a Signaller with effect from the 18th January 1919. The next day he was appointed acting Lance-Bombardier.

 

He was retained in February 1919 by the Army as a result of his training but received a full bonus as a consequence.

 

On the 4th June 1919 he was attached for duty to Royal Engineers Signals Depot at Alexandria.

 

He had a pre-discharge medical at Alexandria on the 10th October 1919 where he was found to be anaemic and there was evidence of Myrocardial weakness. He also complained of gastric troubles. He was assessed as 20% disabled.

 

On the 14th October 1919 he was sent to the Demob Camp at Kantara. He left Alexandria on the 23rd October 1919 aboard the Teutonic bound for the UK and Demobilization.

 

Discharged to 51 Crayford Road, Tufnall Park, North London on the 4th December 1919, having been transferred to Army Reserve Class Z. He was then aged 33.

 

At a subsequent medical board in May 1920 no remaining disability was found.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Hi Peter,   

I cannot thank you enough for helping me establish the WW1 war record of my grandfather George Frederick Cope (RGA 81428).  It was sad to come across 2 forlorn medals in my mother's drawer with no supporting information as to how he had been awarded them. All his own family photographs & documents were "lost" when he relocated from London to Leeds.  It is good that, come each year the 11th of the 11th month, his great grandchildren will now be able to have a deeper connection to those WW1 events.   I thank you for taking the time to carefully communicate his service record to me, and wish you well during these times of uncertainty.   Kind Regards, John 02/12/2020 

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