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Problems locating a service record


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Hi everyone,

 

I am trying to locate the service record of 200371 L/Cpl Alexander Livingston 1/4th South Lancs Regiment who died on 14th May 1917. I have tried all my usual "go to" places but with no luck.

 

Can anyone suggest any other avenues that may produce results?

 

Many thanks as always,

 

Tracy.

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Allan1892

It looks as though his service record was one of many destroyed during the WW2 London blitz.

 

I don't know if you have seen this on Find My Past:

 

Age On : 28
Place of Birth : United Kingdom Latchford, Warrington.
Mother : Margaret J Livingston
Jobs : United Kingdom Bricklayer
Addresses : 3, Pear Tree Cottages, Warrington United Kingdom Parents
Cemetery/Memorial : Vlamertinghe, Flanders. Belgium Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery V.M.17
Father : Alexander L Livingston
Theatres of War : Western Europe :1
Nature of Death : Died of wounds Buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery which is just behind the Hop Store in the village which was a CCS at that time. One must assume he died in the CCS of wounds received.
Place of Death : Belgium Vlamertinghe, Flanders.
Addresses : 177, Knutsford Road, Warrington United Kingdom Parents

 

Nothing else on this record but if you want to see it, the link is:

 

Record Transcription: Lives Of The First World War 1914-1918 | findmypast.co.uk

 

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30 minutes ago, Allan1892 said:

It looks as though his service record was one of many destroyed during the WW2 London blitz.

 

I don't know if you have seen this on Find My Past:

 

Age On : 28
Place of Birth : United Kingdom Latchford, Warrington.
Mother : Margaret J Livingston
Jobs : United Kingdom Bricklayer
Addresses : 3, Pear Tree Cottages, Warrington United Kingdom Parents
Cemetery/Memorial : Vlamertinghe, Flanders. Belgium Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery V.M.17
Father : Alexander L Livingston
Theatres of War : Western Europe :1
Nature of Death : Died of wounds Buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery which is just behind the Hop Store in the village which was a CCS at that time. One must assume he died in the CCS of wounds received.
Place of Death : Belgium Vlamertinghe, Flanders.
Addresses : 177, Knutsford Road, Warrington United Kingdom Parents

 

Nothing else on this record but if you want to see it, the link is:

 

Record Transcription: Lives Of The First World War 1914-1918 | findmypast.co.uk

 

Hi, many thanks for taking the time to look at this for me. Yes, I have seen this thank you as it was my husband and I that put his details onto the Lives of The First World War site when it was open for additions. I was just keen to see his service record to confirm things like date of enlistment, etc. Sadly it looks like we've probably got all we can on him.

32 minutes ago, rksimpson said:

Hi

 

Have you read through this - http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/

regards

 

Robert

Hi Robert, thank you for taking the time to reply, much appreciated. Yes I have thank you. I'm waiting to hear back from the Regimental Museum but I fear that, like Allan said, his records have been destroyed.

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Hopefully you are aware their are two Medal Index Cards for him, one as Livingston and the other as Livingstone. No service records appear to have survived under either spelling. Both show his original service number pre the 1917 Territorial Force renumbering as 1878. The Livingston card has his 1914/15 Star as well as his Victory Medal & British War Medal, but no date of first entry or first Theatre details. The Livingstone card show France, and although the first digit of the date is not 100% clear, I believe it reads 13-2-15 - the date the 1/4th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment landed at Le Havre https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/the-prince-of-waless-volunteers-south-lancashire-regiment/

 

He is on Soldiers Died in the Great War as Livingston, born Latchford, Warrington and enlisted Warrington. Both SDGW andd his Livingstone MiC record him as Killed in Action on the 14th May 1917.

 

A bit of checking of nearby numbers to 1878 may give an indication of whether he was a Pre-War Territorial or one who enlisted in the opening months of the war. The amount of the War Gratuity shown on his entry on the Army Register of Soldiers Effects, available on Ancestry, can also be used by clever people on the forum to give an approximate date of when he enlisted.

 

The Government Probate Service holds a Soldiers Will for him. It probably won't say much other than I leave everything to my mother \ father, but depending on the source it may give an example of his handwriting and signature. It's currently £1.50 to get a pdf copy and from what I've read on the forum, the quality can vary enormously. Sometimes there are also additional details noted on the will about place of death.

https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Wills?Surname=Livingston&SurnameGrants=Livingston&YearOfDeath=1917&YearOfDeathGrants=1917&IsGrantSearch=False&IsCalendarSearch=False#soldiers

 

(It's likely the balance of his pay and the War Gratuity would have been sent to that "legatee"". Those details will be on his Army Register of Soldiers Effects records).

 

If Alexander was having deductions from his pay sent to his mother or father then that opened the way for them to subsequently claim a Dependants Pension. This was a financial dependancy. Brief transcipts of Ministry of Pensions Ledger Cards and Dependants Pension Cards are available on Ancestry, (if they exist), scanned images of the documents are on Ancestrys' sister site, Fold3, which requires a separate subscription.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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sadbrewer

Courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive. 

 

Screenshot_20210514-142059.jpg

 

 

Screenshot_20210514-143101.jpg

Edited by sadbrewer
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4 hours ago, sadbrewer said:

Courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive. 

 

Screenshot_20210514-142059.jpg

 

 

Screenshot_20210514-143101.jpg

 

Those newspaper reports would also seem to indicate he was Killed in Action, (rather than the Died of Wounds shown on the Lives of the First World War webpage).

 

A search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission shows that Lance Corporal Livingston was the only man of the 1/4th Battalion who died on the 14th May 1917. Looks like he was serving in the Ypres Salient at that time and so sadly part of the daily attrition of trench warfare.

 

While the Cemetery at Vlamertinghe may be near the location of a CCS at the time of his death, the CWGC webpage for that Cemetery notes:-

Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery was started by French troops in 1914 and was taken over by Commonwealth forces in April 1915. It was used by fighting units and field ambulances until June 1917, when the land adjoining the cemetery was claimed for a military railway preventing further extension. The cemetery is remarkable for the care with which men of the same unit were buried side by side if they died at about the same time. There is also a very high proportion of graves of Territorial units, in particular Lancashire Territorials, who have nearly 250 graves in plots IV, V and VI. During the early months of 1917, whenever it was possible, the 55th Division brought their dead from the front for burial here.

https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/14400/VLAMERTINGHE MILITARY CEMETERY/

 

The 1/4th Battalion were indeed part of 55th Division from January 1916 onwards.

 

War Diaries can currently be downloaded for free from the National Archive. You do need to sign in with your account - but even that can be set up as part of placing your first order. No financial details are required.

The part of the War Diary for the period February 1915 to December 1915 can be found here:- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352065

And the part covering January 1916 to April 1919 is here:- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354865

 

Unlikely to mention him by names but will give some idea of where they were and what they were up to.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by PRC
Typo
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Matlock1418

Register of Soldier's Effects at Ancestry has him as: Alexander LIVINGSTONE, 200371 £21s 18d 9d was shared 4 ways [Sisters, Mary J, Jesse & Beatrice, and Miss Edith Jones] - as was his £13 War Gratuity similarly shared

2 x Pension cards at WFA/Fold3 have him as: Alexander LIVINGSTONE, 200371 - Sister, Beatrice of 104 Slater Street, Warrington got a Gratuity of £31 11s 6d

:-) M

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4 hours ago, PRC said:

 

Those newspaper reports would also seem to indicate he was Killed in Action, (rather than the Died of Wounds shown on the Lives of the First World War webpage).

 

A search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission shows that Lance Corporal Livingston was the only man of the 1/4th Battalion who died on the 14th May 1917. Looks like he was serving in the Ypres Salient at that time and so sadly part of the daily attrition of trench warfare.

 

While the Cemetery at Vlamertinghe may be near the location of a CCS at the time of his death, the CWGC webpage for that Cemetery notes:-

Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery was started by French troops in 1914 and was taken over by Commonwealth forces in April 1915. It was used by fighting units and field ambulances until June 1917, when the land adjoining the cemetery was claimed for a military railway preventing further extension. The cemetery is remarkable for the care with which men of the same unit were buried side by side if they died at about the same time. There is also a very high proportion of graves of Territorial units, in particular Lancashire Territorials, who have nearly 250 graves in plots IV, V and VI. During the early months of 1917, whenever it was possible, the 55th Division brought their dead from the front for burial here.

https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/14400/VLAMERTINGHE MILITARY CEMETERY/

 

The 1/4th Battalion were indeed part of 55th Division from January 1916 onwards.

 

War Diaries can currently be downloaded for free from the National Archive. You do need to sign in with your account - but even that can be set up as part of placing your first order. No financial details are required.

The part of the War Diary for the period February 1915 to December 1915 can be found here:- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352065

And the part covering January 1916 to April 1919 is here:- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354865

 

Unlikely to mention him by names but will give some idea of where they were and what they were up to.

 

Cheers,

Peter

I realy can't thank you enough for this extra insight. We had downloaded the whole war diary last year when trying to trace Alexander but the additional information you have given is priceless. Thank you.

5 hours ago, sadbrewer said:

Courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive. 

 

Screenshot_20210514-142059.jpg

 

 

Screenshot_20210514-143101.jpg

Oh my.... what canI say? My husband and I were in tears reading this. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to provide us with this priceless item. Thank you.

 

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8 minutes ago, TeeJF said:

I realy can't thank you enough for this extra insight. We had downloaded the whole war diary last year when trying to trace Alexander but the additional information you have given is priceless. Thank you.

Oh my.... what canI say? My husband and I were in tears reading this. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to provide us with this priceless item. Thank you.

Do you know per chance which paper these articles were taken from? I'm struggling to find them in the newspaperarchives.

 

8 minutes ago, TeeJF said:

 

 

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9 hours ago, TeeJF said:

I was just keen to see his service record to confirm things like date of enlistment, etc.

The Headquarters of the 4th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment was at Warrington, where Companies A to D and F were formed.

 

It looks as though Pte. Livingston enlisted at the local Drill Hall in August 1914,(Soldiers Effects), 1877 was allocated his number on the 4th August, the day war was declared. 

 

Pte Livingston landed with the Battalion in France on 13th February 1915. (14-15 Medal Roll). In October 1915 they became a Pioneer Battalion (LLT).  It appears he remained with the battalion until his death.

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9 minutes ago, kenf48 said:

It looks as though Pte. Livingston enlisted at the local Drill Hall in August 1914,(Soldiers Effects), 1877 was allocated his number on the 4th August, the day war was declared. 

 

Just to add to that:-

 

1876 William Shaw landed France 12/02/15, subsequently 403228 Royal Air Force. Statement of Airmans services shows he originally enlisted in the 4th Battalion on the 4th August 1914. Then aged 25 years and 10 months he was born and resident Warrington.

 

1883 Stanley Griffiths. Served with 1/4 Battalion. Landed France 13/02/15. Received Silver War Badge. Surviving Service Record. Joined 4th Battalion at Warrington 4th August 1914. Aged 18 he was then living with his parents at 5 Kean Street, Warrington. Received a severe Gun Shot Wound Left Leg on the 17th June 1915 which would eventually see him discharged in July 1916.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Allan1892

There was also a further newspaper notice, image courtesy of Find My Past

Livingston.jpg

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Allan1892

This report and photograph was in the Runcorn Examiner published on the 26th May 1917. (image courtesy of Find My Past)

Livingston 2.jpg

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On 14/05/2021 at 11:14, PRC said:

Hopefully you are aware their are two Medal Index Cards for him, one as Livingston and the other as Livingstone. No service records appear to have survived under either spelling. Both show his original service number pre the 1917 Territorial Force renumbering as 1878. The Livingston card has his 1914/15 Star as well as his Victory Medal & British War Medal, but no date of first entry or first Theatre details. The Livingstone card show France, and although the first digit of the date is not 100% clear, I believe it reads 13-2-15 - the date the 1/4th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment landed at Le Havre https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/the-prince-of-waless-volunteers-south-lancashire-regiment/

 

He is on Soldiers Died in the Great War as Livingston, born Latchford, Warrington and enlisted Warrington. Both SDGW andd his Livingstone MiC record him as Killed in Action on the 14th May 1917.

 

A bit of checking of nearby numbers to 1878 may give an indication of whether he was a Pre-War Territorial or one who enlisted in the opening months of the war. The amount of the War Gratuity shown on his entry on the Army Register of Soldiers Effects, available on Ancestry, can also be used by clever people on the forum to give an approximate date of when he enlisted.

 

The Government Probate Service holds a Soldiers Will for him. It probably won't say much other than I leave everything to my mother \ father, but depending on the source it may give an example of his handwriting and signature. It's currently £1.50 to get a pdf copy and from what I've read on the forum, the quality can vary enormously. Sometimes there are also additional details noted on the will about place of death.

https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Wills?Surname=Livingston&SurnameGrants=Livingston&YearOfDeath=1917&YearOfDeathGrants=1917&IsGrantSearch=False&IsCalendarSearch=False#soldiers

 

(It's likely the balance of his pay and the War Gratuity would have been sent to that "legatee"". Those details will be on his Army Register of Soldiers Effects records).

 

If Alexander was having deductions from his pay sent to his mother or father then that opened the way for them to subsequently claim a Dependants Pension. This was a financial dependancy. Brief transcipts of Ministry of Pensions Ledger Cards and Dependants Pension Cards are available on Ancestry, (if they exist), scanned images of the documents are on Ancestrys' sister site, Fold3, which requires a separate subscription.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

Hi Peter, many thanks for taking the time to look into this for us :)

 

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On 14/05/2021 at 14:22, sadbrewer said:

Courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive. 

 

Screenshot_20210514-142059.jpg

 

 

Screenshot_20210514-143101.jpg

Thank you so very much for this. The articles are very moving and I have now taken out a subscription with th British NewspaperArchives so that I can ownload all the "originals".Thanks again :)

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I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has replied to my post and given us invaluable information. Who would have thought that in 24 hours Alexander - Alec to his family and friends - would have been transformed from a faceless name into someone whom we have now seen, know he was engaged to Edith, know that he was loved by all who knew him, know how he died and why he was buried at Vlamertinghe. His memory at least has been brought back to life.

 

You guys really are the best....... every time I post a query you come up trumps....... I really can't thank the members of this forum enough xxx

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