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Information help in Pte James Nolan 25381 Dublin fusiliers


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Nolan Family

Hi

 

I’m hoping someone can help me.

 

My great grandfather James Nolan of Ballyshannon, Kildare fought in WW1.  We don’t know much about his service but an older relative (James Niece) told us he fought on the western front and was injured badly. She seems to think he died of something related to these injuries years after but I’m not sure where to find this out or if he was indeed at the western front. All the information I have is below and I’ll upload photos too.

 

James Nolan, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Pte. 25381 unit 158 from Ballyshannon, Kilcullen, Kildare born 1893 and died 1941 of hemiplegia

 

Thank you for any help you can give

 

Treacy

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8B9CF45B-A014-4088-830F-6579209BB668.png

97C123F3-8DDF-4089-9280-F4E4DFFADE5C.png

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Hi  @Nolan Family and welcome to the forum.

 

Some of the confirmation you are looking for is in the other surviving pages of his service records.

 

Having enlisted on the 8th December 1915 and being posted to the 3rd Battalion the next day, he reported to the Depot at Cork on the 15th December 1915. After his initial training he was posted to the 8th Battalion on the 9th June 1916.

 

Our parent site, the Long, Long Trail, has this on the 8th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

 

8th (Service) Battalion

Formed in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under orders of 48th Brigade in 16th (Irish) Division. Moved to Buttevant, then in June 1915 to Ballyhooley. Moved to England in September 1915, going to Blackdown.

December 1915 : landed at Le Havre.

24 October 1917 : amalgamated with 9th Bn to form 8/9th Bn.

10 February 1918 : disbanded in France,

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/royal-dublin-fusiliers/

 

So for him to have served with the 8th Battalion he would have had to have gone out to France.

 

His record shows him serving in France from the 12th June 1916 to the 8th April 1919.

 

However it also shows he received a wound to the fingers on his right hand on the 20th July 1917. This wasn’t sufficient for him to be medically evacuated back to the UK but he may well have ended up at one of the hospitals on the coast. There would have been an assessment made on his recovery there or at a convalescence camp as to whether he was fit for frontline service again.

 

The surviving records don’t say so but the finger wound may have been the reason for his medical category to be downgraded to B2, as shown on the Protection Certificate. I have come across cases of men being discharged as physically unfit for war service have lost one or more fingers of their right hand – I assume they are right handed and no longer able to pull a trigger or work a bolt.

 

In James case it may be what led to him being transferred to the Labour Corps, finishing the war with the 158 Labour Company.

 

However his injuries may not have been permanent – there is nothing to indicate he was discharged on medical grounds, and indeed the Protection Certificate and the Service Record indicate he was discharged to Class Z of the Army Reserve. Class Z was a temporary system put in place during the period of the Peace Treaty negotiations to allow the Military to start to shrink back to peacetime size, but allow the recall of all the released men in the event that negotiations broke down and hostilities resumed. So James was still deemed fit enough to be recalled if necessary. Following the signing of the Peace Treaty, Class Z was ended in March 1920.

 

Some of my learned colleagues may be able to turn up something in the Ministry of Pensions records that have started to come online over the last couple of years. There are brief transcripts of these on Ancestry and scanned images on Fold 3, both subscription sites.

 

War Diaries can currently be downloaded from the UK National Archive for free. You do need to sign in with an account, but if you don’t have one, even that can be set up as part of placing your first order. No financial details are required.

The Diary for the 8th Battalion covering December 1915 to October 1917 can be found here:-

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352866

It’s unlikely to mention him by name, but will give some idea of where they were and what they were up to. You may find mention of the arrival of a draft during the two weeks after James landed in France

 

Forum members like @corisande and @museumtom may be able advise if there are other sources that cover the Battalion in the period James was with them.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

P.S. for others looking for his service records, FindMyPast have indexed then as John instead of James. I don’t know if there is a similar gremlin on Ancestry.

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FROGSMILE

Superb rendition in your usual fashion Peter.  Admirable work!

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Tawhiri
16 minutes ago, PRC said:

P.S. for others looking for his service records, FindMyPast have indexed then as John instead of James. I don’t know if there is a similar gremlin on Ancestry.

 

Ancestry has him indexed correctly as James Nolan. There is also a pension index card for him on Ancestry, but a Fold3 subscription is required to view the original image. You can, however, sign-up for a free seven-day trial on Fold3 which would give you access to it.

 

 

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George Rayner

The Pension card is not the most informative one I have come across!

 

Courtesy of Fold3

image.png.4d0f0f3169003c1a1fa0b20fa645ec2b.png

George

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George Rayner

Under his Labour Corps number there is another. Fair dealing used to provide a portion from Fold3

 

image.png.6d54dc64afed7085f25bfc3a2fc4d102.png

George

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George Rayner

As Peter suggests he may have been re-assigned to Labour Corps because of his injury. His Record gives three 'conditions'

image.png.d8bedbf63179de67a95bf7283986a8f7.png

Injury to right index finger would preclude pulling a trigger perhaps.

 

Courtesy Ancestry

 

George

 

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Nolan Family

@PRC

 

That is absolutely amazing, Thank you so much for taking the time for this, you've been an enormous help. I had come across the long long trail website which is a powerhouse of knowledge but couldn't identify which Battalion James was in, It will be great to read about it all now and share his story with the family. These men faced situations and events that are unimaginable to me and most people I know so the least my family and I can do is acknowledge this and pay tribute to him.

 

James Niece (my 1st cousin twice removed) is 89 and set us on the trail to find out information. She sent 1 other item, but its dated 1925 so maybe regarding pensions? I don't see his number on this though but the DOB does match...

 

Does anyone know what the DAH is? is it a war related injury do you think?

 

 

Pension record 2.JPG

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Michelle Young

DAH is disordered action of the heart. Certainly attributable to War service.

Michelle 

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FROGSMILE

Prior to the formation of the Labour Corps in

1917, 158 Company had been one half of an Infantry Labour Battalion formed by 10th Battalion the Royal Berkshire Regiment.  The other half of the 10th formed 159 Company Labour Corps.  Thus it’s likely that the unit maintained an infantry style ethos and culture in the way it went about things, albeit formed from older men and ex wounded with some degree of physical limitation.  To get an idea of what these companies did in France and Flanders it is salutary to look briefly at the activities of 159 Company following the German Spring Offensive of March 1918.  On 21 March (the launch of the Germans assault) 159 Company were manning the ammunition dump at Abbecourt, where they stayed until the last moment before arranging for it to be destroyed.  The company then retreated along the canal during which they sustained casualties whilst tearing up up and and bringing back the light railway line [in order to deny its use to the enemy].  Source: No Labour no Battle -Starling and Lee.  Although this wasn’t 158 Company it is very illustrative.

 

NB.  By pure coincidence I was in 158 Company Royal Pioneers (linear successors) as a platoon commander in the First Gulf War, where we carried out all manner of similar Labour tasks in support of the assault elements. Fortunately the Iraqis were nothing like the Germans....

 

 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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FROGSMILE
15 minutes ago, Nolan Family said:

@PRC

 

That is absolutely amazing, Thank you so much for taking the time for this, you've been an enormous help. I had come across the long long trail website which is a powerhouse of knowledge but couldn't identify which Battalion James was in, It will be great to read about it all now and share his story with the family. These men faced situations and events that are unimaginable to me and most people I know so the least my family and I can do is acknowledge this and pay tribute to him.

 

James Niece (my 1st cousin twice removed) is 89 and set us on the trail to find out information. She sent 1 other item, but its dated 1925 so maybe regarding pensions? I don't see his number on this though but the DOB does match...

 

Does anyone know what the DAH is? is it a war related injury do you think?

 

 

Pension record 2.JPG

His regimental number is to the right of ‘unit and regiment’ - RDF - and shows 22487.  He had two numbers during his service.  Initially for the RDF and subsequently for the Labour Corps.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Nolan Family

Thanks everyone for all your contributions, my family will be delighted with all the information. :-)

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corisande
1 hour ago, Nolan Family said:

She sent 1 other item, but its dated 1925 so maybe regarding pensions? I don't see his number on this though but the DOB does match...

 

I think that perhaps we should have a pause here to consider what is going on. The OP has put above a pension card from  a relative, James Niece. In fact that card refers to another JAmes Nolan in RDF, who is shown below

 

nolan2.jpg.9a58f33e1c05fd2e24d10fb9ae8a5aeb.jpg

 

I have not yet delved further, but a fair amount of work is needed to separate the two James Nolan. This nis, as you can see , a common name in Dublin

 

I think the @Nolan Family need to tell us what thatey actually know about James Nolan, before it was "coloured" by information that a family member found on the web.

 

There is clearly some confusion here, and I think we need to know exactly who the OP is trying to research

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

22487 James Nolan is a Dublin man, the only address that appears in his records is Wood Street Dublin.

Although he was discharged with a SWB in 1918.

He is not the same  person as 25381 James Nolan.

 

Edit: Beaten to it by the electric razor sharp lightning quick pen of Corisande.

But I concur.

 

Does the OP have any biographical facts to confirm which (if any) of the two is her relative?

Nail down your family tree first, before adding information from Ancestry which may be irrelevant.

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
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corisande

The record of 22487 James Nolan is on Ancestry

 

There is a wealth of information on him available online SWB, Pension Cards, Medal Rolls. But it will just confuse this thread if we pursue him, until we know which James Nolan the OP is interested in

 

Mind you it shows the dangers of drawing the wrong conclusions from original records, without crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's

 

If both men were actually born on the ssame day as the OP says above , then the coincidence is quite staggering. It is only that, quite rarely for Irish Soldiers, both service records exist, with their home addresses

 

 

nolan3.jpg.eef0bc5a4c4effbed02aaac266d81dd3.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Nolan Family

@corisande

 

Thank you for this, I did state in the pensions e-mail that his service number was not on it which did cause me some pause. My James Nolan is from Ballyshannon, Kildare, This is confirmed information i have which is why i am certain of the first set of documents I uploaded, The last document i queried in the comments was given to me by a family member and i did not upload it originally as it didn't have the number i associate with my James Nolan, I queried it as James had served in the Dublin fusiliers and the Lab corps 

 

@Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

I have nailed down my tree

I added the information as i could not confirm the same number for the pensions records. through the help of people on this site i now have my confirmation

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corisande

Thanks for the clarification. You can therefore ignore that pension card and all information that comes about James Nolan 22487.

 

As I said, we are luckly that both men's service records are available and can clearly which is which :)

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FROGSMILE

That now also corroborates that the ‘correct’ Nolan definitely served with 158 Company Labour Corps after being wounded with the RDF, and subsequently regraded medically.  That aspect of his service is therefore very relevant for the family to understand.  He more than did his bit.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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corisande

And what I started on before I got sidetracked by the other man. Gives an insight into what was going on in his life

 

20 Jul 1917 wounded finger

15 Sep 1917 transfers to Labour Corps

13 Dec 1917 overstayed UK leave by a day and docked 2 days pay

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Nolan Family

@FROGSMILE you’re dead right, it’s very relevant indeed and great to finally get to the bottom of

 

@corisande thanks for this! I couldn’t make out the overstayed entry, it gives a great insight into what was going on, hard to even believe what they went through! 

 

 

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22 hours ago, corisande said:

15 Sep 1917 transfers to Labour Corps

 

@Nolan Family - I don't know if this fleshes out the transfer to the Labour Corps at all. Looks potentially like it might have been part of a bigger clear out of the less fit members of the 8th Battalion. James Nolans' Labour Corps service number was 382882.

 

382881 Robert Paget has surviving service records. While serving with the 3rd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, service number 9/18863, he was sent out as part of a draft which reached 16th Infantry Base Depot on the 12th June 1916. On the 21st June he was posted to the 8th Battalion. Had been previously in France but sent back to England in March 1916 with Trench Foot. After joining the 8th Battalion had spells in hospital being treated for influenza and P.U.O., (Pyrexia of Unknown Origin). Posted to 158 Labour Company in 1917 – date not clear.

 

382883 James Tounsell has surviving discharge records. He too had come from the Royal Dublin Fusiliers – service number 5/23006. He had been posted to the 8th Battalion from an Infantry Base Depot in France on the 9th June 1917. On the 15th September 1917 he was transferred to 158 Labour Company. He had repeated problems with Rheumatism in his right shoulder which on his discharge medical he stated he had sprained through repeated bombing while serving pre-1917 in the Mediterranean. Among the places he was treated was an undated stay in a hospital at Etaples.

 

382885 Joseph Downey has surviving service records. Sent as a draft from the 3rd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers he reached 16th Infantry Base Depot at Etaples on the 8th June 1917. On the 22nd June 1917 he was compulsorarily transferred to the 8th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers with new number 41048. He caught up with his Battalion on the 24th June 1917. On the 5th August 1917 he was admitted to 2 Candian Casualty Clearing Station, being moved on the next day to another medical facility. On the 28th August 1917 he arrived at 16 Infantry Base Depot. On the 15th September 1917 he was transferred to 158 Labour Company, Labour Corps.

 

Hope that is of interest,

Peter

Edited by PRC
Typo
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FROGSMILE

That’s an interesting conclusion Peter.  It has made me wonder if each of the IBDs was allocated a batch of those Labour Corps companies originally formed from infantry Labour battalions, with a view to keeping them up-to-strength with drafts of men who had been medically downgraded.  It would have ensured that each man had received infantry training and thus helped maintain an infantry style ethos within the Labour Corps units concerned, although that’s mere speculation on my part.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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  • 2 weeks later...
Nolan Family

@PRC So sorry!! i missed the notification for this post and have only seen it when i logged back in, Thanks so much for this, it does indeed help to know what the men along side him were going through to give  broader picture

 

Thank you

 

Treacy

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