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Looking up Service Records


Bantamgrandaughter
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Where is the best place to look up service records. I do not really want to pay £50 or so for a year's subscription just to look up one person.

My grandfather (George Henry Farnell) joined the 19th DLI Bantams. He wasn't local to Durham. I would love to find out when he joined, where he fought and when he was injured

Thanks

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All FindMyPast has on him is his MIC and two entries relating to his medical records. His full service record appears not to have survived. Most genealogy sites offer a free trial period.

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Looking at his Medal Roll he served overseas only with 19th Battalion DLI,his service number 23/225. His number prefix is for 23 Battalion which had a connection to 19 Battalion which landed in France in 1916, 23 were not sent overseas but later became a Training Reserve.

If you can add some more information on your GF, birth place,age etc it may be possible to add more here and get some idea of when he landed in a war zone so that you might get some detail about his war.

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Sorry for my ignorance,  but what is MIC

I'll  have to see if i can access his medical records. It's a shame there are no service records.

Thank you for your  help

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4 minutes ago, Bantamgrandaughter said:

Sorry for my ignorance,  but what is MIC

 

The Medal Index Card prepared by the Medal Office as an Index to the Rolls and if you register can be viewed for free on Ancestry or downloaded from the National Archives (TNA)

 

Welcome to the forum a very good place to start researching a soldier is the Long Long Trail (LLT) link top left of this page.

 

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Thank you Sotomate.

My grandfather was born in Hull on 4th January 1892. He worked at a Wood yard. I believe the first bantams sent abroad were mainly miners. The next lot were reputed to be not as strong, I believe.

We always wondered why he joined the DLI I instead of a somewhere local, until my research led me to the 'bantams'.

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Hi,

 

The medical records appear to read as:

 

First name(s): G
Last name; Farnell
Rank: Private
Service number: 23/225
Unit: 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
Admitted to 139th Field Ambulance on 4.9.1918 with an unspecified wound to left leg, and discharged on the same day to 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station

 

First name(s): G H

Last name: Farnell
Age: 25
Rank: Private
Service number: 225
Unit: 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Admitted to 139th Field Ambulance from 90 Field Ambulance on 14.10.1917 with burn to left hand (superficial and accidental). Discharged to 27 Field Ambulance on 29.10.1917
1 year and 5 months completed service - 10 months completed 'in the field'

 

First name(s): G H
Last name: Farnell
Age: 25
Rank: Private
Service number: 225
Unit: 'A' Company, 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Admitted to 139th Field Ambulance on 18.3.1917 with 'dental (denture)?' Transferred to 41st Divisional Rest Station on 19.3.1917

image.png.0f37e550c87235d93630927aa64b2559.png
Image sourced from Findmypast
11 months completed service - 2 months completed 'in the field'

 

Edit:

After registration the 20th Battalion war diaries are available as free downloads from here.

 

Regards

Chris

Edited by clk
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Thank you so much for that.

He suffered with his leg wound all his life, with it eventually contributing to his death  at the ripe old age of 84, in 1976. I'm not entirely sure of the problem, but I remember him having honey put on it, which I found strange, in a hospital.

He kept the dagger that caused the injury to open letters!!

Thanks again

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B

 

So much for the accuracy of the Medal Rolls which are usually thorough in showing which Battalion(s) a soldier served with ! The ref here to your GFs medical treatments all show 20 Battalion so we may have to take that as being right,and forget 19 Battalion ! I can see now that he enlisted in May 1916 and would have been pretty well sent to where the Army needed soldiers to train,so DLI it was. Earlier in the war volunteers could choose mostly where they went but as it got more intense in keeping up with providing fresh soldiers to fill losses the policy changed.

His service was with 41 Division,which was in France for most of the time,except for a short visit to fight in Italy fromNov 1917 to Mar 1918,when they returned to France.

His wounding in Sep 1918 was at DICKEBUSCH in Belgium where his unit was attacking the German lines and were caught by machine gun fire so intense that it caused withdrawal, with losses of 23 soldiers killed,9 officers killed and wounded, and an unspecified number of soldiers also wounded.

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That has confused me now. I wonder why the medical records all show the 20th Battalion.

Some years ago I contacted the DLI Museum with his service number (i have his medals) as that was the only information I had. They gave me the information that he enlisted with the 23rd Battalion (unfortunately no date) but served overseas with the 19th Battalion. 

Was it common to chop and change Battalions. I know very little about the army.

I know he was at the Somme, and I know he was a Signaller, but was hoping to gain more information. Such a pity there are no service records to be found.

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B

 

So for each of his three medical incidents, all mentioning 20th Battalion over an 18 month period, he was admitted to 139 Field Ambulance, which was one of the 3 FAs attached to the 3 Infantry Brigades of 41 Division.

19th Battalion was in 35 Division which had 105, 106 and 107 Field Ambulances.

The "chopping and changing" often came about due to wounds or sickness where a soldier would be taken out of a Battalion or Regiment to recover and on regaining fitness could be sent anywhere there were shortages.

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