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Remembered Today:

John Davies Galvin


Lynda Conniff
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Hi I am new to this site and a member of a Facebook group suggested this forum to me. 

I am trying to find out more information about my husbands grandfather. 
He name was John Davies Galvin born 13th June 1899 in Breconshire, Wales. 

He was born illegitimate and his birth name was John Davies but by 1911 he was living with his real father and his wife and then he was going by the name John Davies Galvin. 
He joined the South Wales Borderers WO 329 and his service number was 48822.

He received a British War Medal and Victory Medal. 

I am on Ancestry and have searched the Military records but can only find the medal card record and WW1 Service Medal and Award Award Medal record. 
My husband would like to know what battles he fought in during the 1st World War. 
He was a Sergeant with the 6th Glamorganshire Battalion ( Home Guard) and was awarded appreciation of good service in the Second World War. 
He died on 14th December 1990 and although my husband has photos of him, he has no Photo of him in his uniform. Does anyone know where I could possibly find a photo or a group photo of his unit?

 

I appreciate any help

kind regards Lynda Conniff. 



 

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Welcome to the forum. There is a pension card available on Fold3 (alas, you have to pay for access) in your husband's grandfather's name and service number which doesn't really say much - claims for pensions at the end of the war were pretty routine and very common, they don't always mean wounds or serious disability.

 

The card is dated 11-8/21 and it does say this: "Later service under name of Davies, John" and elsewhere on the card "Welsh Guards A/2731048" and then "Former N 54614". It is, therefore, possible that he had some postwar service with the Welsh Guards.

 

I should stress (a) I'm a total novice at interpreting such cards, and (b) this is all a big jump from just a single, sparse pension index card. 

 

Good luck with your research,

 

Pat

 

NB  If that later service went on into the beginning of the 1920s, then it is possible the MOD still hold whatever is left of his service records. You can apply for them online for a fee of £30 though you'd probably want to find some corroborating evidence before you do!

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Thank you so much Pat for all the information!! I will definitely look into everything!! 
My husband will be thrilled to gain this information!!

kind regards Lynda 

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As John was only awarded the BWM + VM ,indicates that he did not enter the theatre of war before 1st Jan 1916

The war diary's for the 6th Bn South Wales Borderers  can be download for free  from the national Archives during the present pandemic

which should give you a feeling of his war service 

you will have to register first ,This can be done at the same time 

 

I believe the diary's you require  as medal roll  are as follows 

 

swb.JPG.bc2d0d88fc9e743c320b6d530a9b64da.JPG

 

Sorry cannot assist with a group photo of his unit

 

Ray

 

 

N/A LINK

 

 

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At the moment, we only know that he went abroad sometime after 1/1/1916, but, very fortunately, the 6/SWB war diary is unusual in that it mentions other ranks by name and number, so you may get lucky and find a mention somewhere.

 

Edited by IPT
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3 hours ago, Lynda Conniff said:

although my husband has photos of him, he has no Photo of him in his uniform. Does anyone know where I could possibly find a photo or a group photo of his unit?

Lynda,

Welcome to GWF.

 

Individual soldier/small group [soldier plus family and/or sibling(s) and/or mate(s) etc.] photos were privately commissioned in the UK and in some theatres. such as France, but they were not normally taken for Army purposes [certainly not normally for Privates] and are thus not normally found in most Army Service Records and the like for Other Ranks.

 

Most commonly photos are found with contemporary wartime/post-war newspaper obituaries [so not relevant in this case] but may perhaps also be found for other reasons - typically just after enlistment, before mobilisation, before embarkation, whilst on leave, if they had written home to their family and the family had patriotically shared with the press and/or in case of presentation of gallantry award(s) [medals!] etc.

 

So, have you tried looking for them in local newspapers?

British Newspaper Archives might perhaps be able to help - no promises I'm afraid.

I don't have access but also might be available through Find My Past.

Perhaps even at local libraries.

 

Sometimes Royal British Legion and Regimental comrades groups might have photos of old soldiers at reunions etc. - but though medals might be on display I think uniforms would have been long handed-in.  These sort of photos might be in newspapers too.

 

I definitely think local newspapers are probably your best, but sadly for most a long-shot, bet.

 

Just a thought - Good luck.

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
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11 hours ago, RaySearching said:

As John was only awarded the BWM + VM ,indicates that he did not enter the theatre of war before 1st Jan 1916

The war diary's for the 6th Bn South Wales Borderers  can be download for free  from the national Archives during the present pandemic

which should give you a feeling of his war service 

you will have to register first ,This can be done at the same time 

 

I believe the diary's you require  as medal roll  are as follows 

 

swb.JPG.bc2d0d88fc9e743c320b6d530a9b64da.JPG

 

Sorry cannot assist with a group photo of his unit

 

Ray

 

 

N/A LINK

 

 

Wow thank you Ray!! I have been on the National archives and wasn’t able to find anything!! Obviously I missed it but you found these so I will be going back on there. 
kind regards Lynda

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10 hours ago, Matlock1418 said:

Lynda,

Welcome to GWF.

 

Individual soldier/small group [soldier plus family and/or sibling(s) and/or mate(s) etc.] photos were privately commissioned in the UK and in some theatres. such as France, but they were not normally taken for Army purposes [certainly not normally for Privates] and are thus not normally found in most Army Service Records and the like for Other Ranks.

 

Most commonly photos are found with contemporary wartime/post-war newspaper obituaries [so not relevant in this case] but may perhaps also be found for other reasons - typically just after enlistment, before mobilisation, before embarkation, whilst on leave, if they had written home to their family and the family had patriotically shared with the press and/or in case of presentation of gallantry award(s) [medals!] etc.

 

So, have you tried looking for them in local newspapers?

British Newspaper Archives might perhaps be able to help - no promises I'm afraid.

I don't have access but also might be available through Find My Past.

Perhaps even at local libraries.

 

Sometimes Royal British Legion and Regimental comrades groups might have photos of old soldiers at reunions etc. - but though medals might be on display I think uniforms would have been long handed-in.  These sort of photos might be in newspapers too.

 

I definitely think local newspapers are probably your best, but sadly for most a long-shot, bet.

 

Just a thought - Good luck.

:-) M

Thank you so much for all the information!! I really appreciate it!!

At least I know more now , with everyone’s help!! 
Kind regards Lynda

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11 hours ago, Matlock1418 said:

Lynda,

Welcome to GWF.

 

Individual soldier/small group [soldier plus family and/or sibling(s) and/or mate(s) etc.] photos were privately commissioned in the UK and in some theatres. such as France, but they were not normally taken for Army purposes [certainly not normally for Privates] and are thus not normally found in most Army Service Records and the like for Other Ranks.

 

Most commonly photos are found with contemporary wartime/post-war newspaper obituaries [so not relevant in this case] but may perhaps also be found for other reasons - typically just after enlistment, before mobilisation, before embarkation, whilst on leave, if they had written home to their family and the family had patriotically shared with the press and/or in case of presentation of gallantry award(s) [medals!] etc.

 

So, have you tried looking for them in local newspapers?

British Newspaper Archives might perhaps be able to help - no promises I'm afraid.

I don't have access but also might be available through Find My Past.

Perhaps even at local libraries.

 

Sometimes Royal British Legion and Regimental comrades groups might have photos of old soldiers at reunions etc. - but though medals might be on display I think uniforms would have been long handed-in.  These sort of photos might be in newspapers too.

 

I definitely think local newspapers are probably your best, but sadly for most a long-shot, bet.

 

Just a thought - Good luck.

:-) M

Thank you so much for all the information, I really appreciate it!! 
Kind regards Lynda 

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17 hours ago, Lynda Conniff said:

My husband would like to know what battles he fought in during the 1st World War. 

Welcome

 

Pte. 48822 Galvin was born on the 13th June 1899.  At age eighteen under the terms of the Military Service Act he would have been 'deemed to have enlisted' in the Army, you have not given his occupation but as a below ground colliery worker he may initially have secured exemption from military service.

 

If we assume he did not he would have been called up for service within about three months of his birthday in June and posted to the Training Reserve.  At this stage of the war soldiers had to have attained the age of nineteen before they were sent on active service overseas.  It is likely therefore he was posted to a Graduated Battalion, almost certainly the 51st Graduated Battalion. He would lose his Training Reserve number and be allocated a four digit number.

He remained on Home Service, and in the normal course of events been posted to the 3rd Battalion South Wales Borderers shortly before his nineteenth birthday and from there posted to an active service battalion.

 

In the Spring of 1918 the situation was far from normal and on the 21st March the Germans launched their Spring Offensive.  The losses in the BEF were so great that day the Government decreed soldiers, aged eighteen and a half who had six months training in the U.K. could be posted on active service in France and Flanders.  They were quickly mobilised and drafted to France and on arrival at the Infantry Base Depot, at Etaples swiftly posted to the front.

 

As a consequence of this decision a draft from the 51st Graduated Battalion was posted to France on the 1st April, arriving at Etaples on the 5th April 1918, and for record purposes posted to the 11th Battalion and allocated their new number (in the Graduated Battalion they would have had a four digit number without a record* these details are lost).

 

The draft was posted to the 6th Battalion on the 7th April, joining them in the field on the 8th.  The war diary records a draft of 133 NCOs and other ranks.  Pte Galvin was almost certainly in that draft.  Usually new drafts spent a couple of weeks at the IBD and were absorbed into Battalions when the Battalion was out of the line on reserve, given a reasonable time for orientation.  These young men were not afforded that opportunity as the war diary shows.

 

After the losses of the 21st March and the rigours of the retreat on the Somme, the 5th and 6th Battalions of the SWB and their respective Divisions, the 19th and 25th, were withdrawn to the Lys Valley which had long been regarded as a 'quiet' sector of the British Front.   Both Battalions were to be reinforced and refit, the 5th Battalion accepted 400 reinforcements from the Graduated Battalion and the 6th around 160 young soldiers.  They were holding a long section of the line and we can only imagine what these young men felt, no doubt there was excitement but it would all have been very strange, just a week before they were on home service in England, at Stowlangtoft in Suffolk.

 

On the 9th April the Germans attacked in the Lys Valley, 'Operation Georgette'.  Chris Baker who founded this forum has studied this battle in depth and an introduction and links can be found on the Long Long Trail which I strongly recommend you study

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/battles-of-the-western-front-in-france-and-flanders/the-battles-of-the-lys-1918/

including how to research a soldier and information about training and graduated battalions, as well as the movements of the Divisions and Battalions of the British Army.

 

Briefly put as the Germans attacked on the 9th the Portugese line broke and the British Divisions were rapidly ourflanked, the 19th and 25th Divisions were spared on that first day but were rapidly thrown into the line to plug the gaps.  A full account of their actions over the next few days and again in May are described in attachment to the war diary.  It is worth noting the 6th were Pioneers and together ith their Field Companies were the only Reserves left in the 25th Division.  They were initially ordered to take up a defensive position on the River Lys near Le Bizet.  Suffice to say many of the draft that arrived with Pte Galvin (those with 488**/489** numbers) were killed, wounded or missing in the ferocious defensive action that followed over the next few days.  It was a baptism of fire few reinforcement drafts experienced.  My personal view is it was these young men, fit, keen and by now well led who carried the day to Victory in the field in France and Flanders, before the pedants pile in I am ware of other considerations, but your husband should be very proud of his grandfather's courage and fighting spirit especially in those traumatic first days in Flanders.

 

Eventually at the end of May the 6th Battalion came out of the line and were posted out of the 25th Division (where the second diary above ends) and posted to the 30th Division in June where the first diary begins. By now hardened in battle these young men remained in Flanders and took part in the Advance in Flanders and the Final Advance in Flanders until the Armistice on 11th November 1918.  The 30th Division was finally disbanded in September 1919.

 

* Although his service record has not survived in the online record the seven digit Welsh Guards number indicates he re-enlisted and served after 1920.  At the end of the war the British Army had to be rebuilt for peacetime duties across the Empire.  Men were invited to re-enlist and offered a bounty to serve a further one, two or three years, the bounty for three years was £40 or little short of a year's wages prewar for a labourer.

This means his record may still be held at the MOD or by the Guards, the latter were recently transferred I can't recall where but it's on here somewhere.

Also the MOD hold his Home Guard Records.

They charge a fee for both and my understanding is there is considerable delay in family history enquiries due to the pandemic and the need for services to living veterans.

For deceased veterans

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

 

For Home Guard

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-home-guard-service-records

note the caveat these are very brief.

 

Sorry no photo but hth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, kenf48 said:

Welcome

 

Pte. 48822 Galvin was born on the 13th June 1899.  At age eighteen under the terms of the Military Service Act he would have been 'deemed to have enlisted' in the Army, you have not given his occupation but as a below ground colliery worker he may initially have secured exemption from military service.

 

If we assume he did not he would have been called up for service within about three months of his birthday in June and posted to the Training Reserve.  At this stage of the war soldiers had to have attained the age of nineteen before they were sent on active service overseas.  It is likely therefore he was posted to a Graduated Battalion, almost certainly the 51st Graduated Battalion. He would lose his Training Reserve number and be allocated a four digit number.

He remained on Home Service, and in the normal course of events been posted to the 3rd Battalion South Wales Borderers shortly before his nineteenth birthday and from there posted to an active service battalion.

 

In the Spring of 1918 the situation was far from normal and on the 21st March the Germans launched their Spring Offensive.  The losses in the BEF were so great that day the Government decreed soldiers, aged eighteen and a half who had six months training in the U.K. could be posted on active service in France and Flanders.  They were quickly mobilised and drafted to France and on arrival at the Infantry Base Depot, at Etaples swiftly posted to the front.

 

As a consequence of this decision a draft from the 51st Graduated Battalion was posted to France on the 1st April, arriving at Etaples on the 5th April 1918, and for record purposes posted to the 11th Battalion and allocated their new number (in the Graduated Battalion they would have had a four digit number without a record* these details are lost).

 

The draft was posted to the 6th Battalion on the 7th April, joining them in the field on the 8th.  The war diary records a draft of 133 NCOs and other ranks.  Pte Galvin was almost certainly in that draft.  Usually new drafts spent a couple of weeks at the IBD and were absorbed into Battalions when the Battalion was out of the line on reserve, given a reasonable time for orientation.  These young men were not afforded that opportunity as the war diary shows.

 

After the losses of the 21st March and the rigours of the retreat on the Somme, the 5th and 6th Battalions of the SWB and their respective Divisions, the 19th and 25th, were withdrawn to the Lys Valley which had long been regarded as a 'quiet' sector of the British Front.   Both Battalions were to be reinforced and refit, the 5th Battalion accepted 400 reinforcements from the Graduated Battalion and the 6th around 160 young soldiers.  They were holding a long section of the line and we can only imagine what these young men felt, no doubt there was excitement but it would all have been very strange, just a week before they were on home service in England, at Stowlangtoft in Suffolk.

 

On the 9th April the Germans attacked in the Lys Valley, 'Operation Georgette'.  Chris Baker who founded this forum has studied this battle in depth and an introduction and links can be found on the Long Long Trail which I strongly recommend you study

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/battles-of-the-western-front-in-france-and-flanders/the-battles-of-the-lys-1918/

including how to research a soldier and information about training and graduated battalions, as well as the movements of the Divisions and Battalions of the British Army.

 

Briefly put as the Germans attacked on the 9th the Portugese line broke and the British Divisions were rapidly ourflanked, the 19th and 25th Divisions were spared on that first day but were rapidly thrown into the line to plug the gaps.  A full account of their actions over the next few days and again in May are described in attachment to the war diary.  It is worth noting the 6th were Pioneers and together ith their Field Companies were the only Reserves left in the 25th Division.  They were initially ordered to take up a defensive position on the River Lys near Le Bizet.  Suffice to say many of the draft that arrived with Pte Galvin (those with 488**/489** numbers) were killed, wounded or missing in the ferocious defensive action that followed over the next few days.  It was a baptism of fire few reinforcement drafts experienced.  My personal view is it was these young men, fit, keen and by now well led who carried the day to Victory in the field in France and Flanders, before the pedants pile in I am ware of other considerations, but your husband should be very proud of his grandfather's courage and fighting spirit especially in those traumatic first days in Flanders.

 

Eventually at the end of May the 6th Battalion came out of the line and were posted out of the 25th Division (where the second diary above ends) and posted to the 30th Division in June where the first diary begins. By now hardened in battle these young men remained in Flanders and took part in the Advance in Flanders and the Final Advance in Flanders until the Armistice on 11th November 1918.  The 30th Division was finally disbanded in September 1919.

 

* Although his service record has not survived in the online record the seven digit Welsh Guards number indicates he re-enlisted and served after 1920.  At the end of the war the British Army had to be rebuilt for peacetime duties across the Empire.  Men were invited to re-enlist and offered a bounty to serve a further one, two or three years, the bounty for three years was £40 or little short of a year's wages prewar for a labourer.

This means his record may still be held at the MOD or by the Guards, the latter were recently transferred I can't recall where but it's on here somewhere.

Also the MOD hold his Home Guard Records.

They charge a fee for both and my understanding is there is considerable delay in family history enquiries due to the pandemic and the need for services to living veterans.

For deceased veterans

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

 

For Home Guard

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-home-guard-service-records

note the caveat these are very brief.

 

Sorry no photo but hth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much for all this information!!! I have shown my husband and he is overwhelmed with it all!! Going from hardly knowing anything to this!! Very much appreciated!!

 

kind regards Lynda 

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Welcome to the GWF.

As you may have discovered by now, The National Archives are closed to the public.

Battalion War Diaries are usually available in person for free. An online download would normally cost you around £3.50 per item.

But due to the pandemic, available online downloads are free at present.

You are required to create an account first, then you will have access to the available files.

There is a limit of 30 items per month.

The 'Discovery' section is where you want to go: Discovery | The National Archives

Use the 'Register' link in the top right to create an account.

Once you are logged into your account, in the search box type "WO 95 6 Wales" (the spaces are important i.e. "WO[space]95[space]6[space]Wales")

Hope this helps.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Screenshot 2021-03-25 101844.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Tom Lang said:

Welcome to the GWF.

As you may have discovered by now, The National Archives are closed to the public.

Battalion War Diaries are usually available in person for free. An online download would normally cost you around £3.50 per item.

But due to the pandemic, available online downloads are free at present.

You are required to create an account first, then you will have access to the available files.

There is a limit of 30 items per month.

The 'Discovery' section is where you want to go: Discovery | The National Archives

Use the 'Register' link in the top right to create an account.

Once you are logged into your account, in the search box type "WO 95 6 Wales" (the spaces are important i.e. "WO[space]95[space]6[space]Wales")

Hope this helps.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Screenshot 2021-03-25 101844.jpg

Thank you so much Tom!! I will search now. 
kind regards Lynda

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6 minutes ago, Lynda Conniff said:

Thank you so much Tom!! I will search now. 
kind regards Lynda

 

There is a direct link in Ray Searching’s post above.

 

you can register when you check out 

 

They are also available on Ancestry.

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3 hours ago, Tom Lang said:

Welcome to the GWF.

As you may have discovered by now, The National Archives are closed to the public.

Battalion War Diaries are usually available in person for free. An online download would normally cost you around £3.50 per item.

But due to the pandemic, available online downloads are free at present.

You are required to create an account first, then you will have access to the available files.

There is a limit of 30 items per month.

The 'Discovery' section is where you want to go: Discovery | The National Archives

Use the 'Register' link in the top right to create an account.

Once you are logged into your account, in the search box type "WO 95 6 Wales" (the spaces are important i.e. "WO[space]95[space]6[space]Wales")

Hope this helps.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Screenshot 2021-03-25 101844.jpg

Thanks so much Tom!! I really appreciate the help!! Kind regards Lynda

 

3 hours ago, Tom Lang said:

Welcome to the GWF.

As you may have discovered by now, The National Archives are closed to the public.

Battalion War Diaries are usually available in person for free. An online download would normally cost you around £3.50 per item.

But due to the pandemic, available online downloads are free at present.

You are required to create an account first, then you will have access to the available files.

There is a limit of 30 items per month.

The 'Discovery' section is where you want to go: Discovery | The National Archives

Use the 'Register' link in the top right to create an account.

Once you are logged into your account, in the search box type "WO 95 6 Wales" (the spaces are important i.e. "WO[space]95[space]6[space]Wales")

Hope this helps.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Screenshot 2021-03-25 101844.jpg

 

3 hours ago, kenf48 said:

 

There is a direct link in Ray Searching’s post above.

 

you can register when you check out 

 

They are also available on Ancestry.

Thanks so much!! 
much appreciated Lynda

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