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Robert Gray Bloomfield and Archie Young Summers - Northumberland Fusiliers


Allan1892
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Local newspapers carried reports in January 1917 that two young men of the Northumberland Fusiliers had received commissions. I have tried searching the LG (not the easiest thing to do) to find the official announcement but have failed. I know from a pension card that Robert Gray Bloomfield was a 2nd Lt. in the 3rd Northumberland Fusiliers (the medal rolls show that he enlisted into the 14th Northumberland Fusiliers, service number 10062). Can anyone assist me in when he was 'gazetted' as I would then like to try and trace him back to the war diaries.

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9 minutes ago, Allan1892 said:

Local newspapers carried reports in January 1917

 

The London Gazette notice is actually headed up that he had been commissioned from an Officer Cadet Unit, so presumably the January 1917 report was for him being selected for officer training rather than being commissioned?

 

Cheers,

Peter

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The November 1917 British Army List shows him, (column 937a), on the establishment of the 3rd Battalion, attached to the 20th Battalion.

https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/104129276

 

That Battalion was disbanded in France in February 1918.

 

I skipped forward to the June 1918 Monthly List to see if I could discover where he went to next - but according to the index there is no R.G. Bloomfield.

https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/103576742

No obvious entry on CWGC and the MiC shows him applying for his medals in May 1921. Do you already have some idea of his fate or is it worth searching further through the Army Lists?

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Peter, many thanks for your findings. I made a classic mistake, I assumed that the local newspapers carried their reports after they had been gazetted.

 

Robert Bloomfield (the man I am researching) survived - he died on the 21 January 1958 whilst living in Kent.

 

I have attached an image (taken from a local newspaper) of the two young men, unfortunately the quality isn't very good.

 

Allan

Robert Gray Bloomfield.jpg

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Struggling to find the war diaries that include the 14th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers up to December 1916. Can anyone point me in the right direction please?

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here on National Archives

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_ser=WO+95&id=C14303&_q=14+Battalion+Northumberland+Fusiliers

 

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14054179

Divisional Troops: 14 Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Pioneers).

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Reference: WO 95/2146/2
Description:

Divisional Troops: 14 Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Pioneers).

Date: 1916 Aug 1 - 1917 Oct 31
Edited by jonbem
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1 hour ago, Allan1892 said:

I made a classic mistake, I assumed that the local newspapers carried their reports after they had been gazetted.

 

You do yourself down :) Nothing in the wording of the newspaper piece from January 1917 to indicate they hadn't already been commissioned. And with no date of commissioning shown on the MiC, there wasn't any expectation set that might have called the newspaper information into question.

 

I must admit I am intrigued now.

 

Despite the blurb in the front of the Army Lists about them being up-to-date, I tend to find there can be many month's timelag to reflecting changes. An absence from the June 1918 Monthly Army List I would have thought would normally indicate either he'd the resigned his commission, transferred to the Air Force \ Navy - but then his medals would be issued by the Air Ministry\Admiralty, or there had been an admin error. The MiC shows medals issued, so not a question of him being dismissed the service as a result of court martial.

 

To try and understand it I checked out the Army Lists again.

On the March 1918 edition he is 3rd Battalion attached 20th Battalion and still a Second Lieutenant. (Column 937a). https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/103597274

But in April 1918 he disappears. The 20th Battalion Officer establishment is still listed, so it's not a question of them all being stripped out in error and not shown with their new units. There is no entry for him in the index.

 

Suspect the answer to what happened next will be in his officers papers at Kew. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1148652

 

Cheers,

Peter

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In the British Army of that time a former Northumberland Miner would have been made to feel distinctly uncomfortable in any regimental officers' mess.  I feel very sorry for him.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, Swinesheadvillage said:

There is a SWB issued to 2nd Lt RG Bloomfield, Northumberland Fusiliers, dated 2/5/1918. Address is C/O Mr Charlton, Police Station, Alnwick. Would this explain why he disappeared off the Army List?

 

I suspect it very much does. He was discharged as a result of Wounds, (KR392 (xvi)) and his unit is shown as Northumberland Fusiliers Retired List on the Silver War Badge MiC.

 

From the edition of the Morpeth Herald dated 26 October 1917:-

 

949466572_MorpethHerald26October1917page2RollofHonoursourcedFindMyPast.jpg.8604bdb24eb36bdb41580d4ce93fb256.jpg

Image courtesy FindMyPast \ British Newspaper Archive.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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17 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

In the British Army of that time a former Northumberland Miner would have been made to feel distinctly uncomfortable in any regimental officers' mess.  I feel very sorry for him.

I totally agree with your comment FROGSMILE -- I would add 'are all officers in the British Army at that time really gentlemen?'

 

Derek and Peter -- thank you for the SWB info. I know have a puzzle -- why was his address 'c/o Mr Charlton, Police Station, Alnwick' when he had a wife in son living in the Bebside / Blyth area of Northumberland. (He married shortly after being made a 2nd Lt)

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Hi

 

I wondered about that too, but couldn't solve it. My instant thought was why Mr Charlton, not PC Charlton?

 

I have no knowledge of housing arrangements in the mining areas of Northumberland, but they may be similar to Fletton, where the economy was dominated by the railways and brickworks. Those industries at the time, also owned large swathes of the housing stock, renting them out to employees. When those employees became soldiers, they often used a correspondence address that was more permanent than their rented residential address. Perhaps this is what Robert was trying to achieve.

 

Kind Regards

 

Derek

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15 minutes ago, Swinesheadvillage said:

I wondered about that too, but couldn't solve it. My instant thought was why Mr Charlton, not PC Charlton?

 

 

There was a PC Charlton based at Alnwick police station. A local newspaper (the Morpeth Herald) mentions him several time with the latest I could find being in the issue published on the 13 July 1917. My thoughts are 'was there some sort of recovery facility in the Alnwick area for returning servicemen with shell-shock?' --- something else for me to research I think.

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14 hours ago, Allan1892 said:

I totally agree with your comment FROGSMILE -- I would add 'are all officers in the British Army at that time really gentlemen?'

At the beginning of the war social attitudes would decree that they were, and in fairness they merely reflected the societal strata in which people were commonly separated at that time.  By the latter years of the war so many of them had been slaughtered that the Army had no choice but to seek and find officers from wherever they could obtain them.  Unfortunately the system itself was not well set up to deal with such a profound change quickly, or fairly.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I might have the answer to why he was in the Alnwick area. There was a V.A.D. Hospital set up in nearby Howick Hall for convalescing service men.  I found an interesting site (WW1 V.A.D. Hospitals in Northumberland and Durham (donmouth.co.uk) which includes the one at Howick Hall - it notes

 

'Many other V.A.D. Hospitals were located in similar large houses which had been loaned for the purpose by their owners. For example, Howick Hall in Northumberland was loaned by Albert, 4th Earl Grey, and his daughter Sybil served there as a nurse'

 

Image shown courtesy of the above site.

 

 

Howick Hall VAD.jpg

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9 minutes ago, Allan1892 said:

why was his address 'c/o Mr Charlton, Police Station, Alnwick' when he had a wife in son living in the Bebside / Blyth area of Northumberland.

 

This was for the issue of his Silver War Badge in May 1918 shortly after he left the Army.

 

It is probable that like most couples that married while one was in the armed forces they had no opportunity to set up house together, the wife probably living either with her parents or her in-laws. War time inflation, particularly in rents in major centres of war industries, may also have made it uneconomic to do anything else.

 

You say they married shortly after he was commissioned - was that the January or June commissioning :)

Seriously if it's the latter month then gives you a date after which he went (back) to France. Secondly although legal rights were growing for women, it still seems to be the case that for married women it was the husband who signed the tenancy agreement for rental. Contemporary newspaper reports still have court cases of landlords trying to claim for damages or non-payment of rents from widows who have vacated the property, only to find they were not-liable as they were not a party to the rental agreement. If the couple married in June/July there may simply have been no time for them to find a property and for him to sign a tenancy agreement - and I suspect buying their own property outright was probably out of the question.

 

On discharge he and his wife would probably have needed to wait until any pension came through or he was well enough to go back to work before they could take on a tenancy. So if they were in temporary accomodation or he was unsure of where he was going to live, asking for the badge to be sent care of a safe address would make sense.

 

Possibly if Mr Charlton was still at Alnwick station by the time of the 1921 Census it may be possible to establish if there was a familial relationship to either Robert or his wife.

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

 

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27 minutes ago, PRC said:

You say they married shortly after he was commissioned - was that the January or June commissioning :)

 

 

 

Robert's marriage was registered in the September quarter of 1917, I don't have the exact date but if he was given home leave just after his June commission his marriage was probaly early July.

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I have being reading the war diaries and have found the entry when Robert was wounded. The 20th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, were at Villeret on the 9th and 10th September and the diaries record 'Owing to the heavy shelling by the enemy on Sept. 9th & 10th our casualties were considerable' -- listed amongst the wounded offers was '2nd Lt. R.G. Bloomfield'

 

Image courtesy of National Archives

War diary Sept 1917.jpg

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14940 Pte Archibald(Archie) Summers served with the 12th Bn,N.F., enlisting in early September 1914 and he arrived in France on the 9th September 1915, only to be listed as wounded in the December 1915 edtion of St.Georges Gazette. Oddily the Medal Rolls have no reference to him serving with the 12th Bn, but list the 10th Bn, which could be a clerical error. He too went onto be commisioned as a 2nd/Lt in the N.F. - as previously mentioned, but believe was attached to the Leicestershire Regt.

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