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Remembered Today:

Did my English Great Grandfather Serve in WW1?


Bruce L
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I'm Australian, so I do not know how to access UK military records and therefore would appreciate some help from the many experts here. My great grandfather, James Frederic Lees, (no "k" in Frederic) served in the Royal Engineers from 1890 - 1911. He was discharged as a Quarter Master Sergeant at age 42.

As far as I'm aware, he did not serve in WW1. I wonder if this is correct? In 1914 he would have still been relatively young at 45 years of age, in addition to having 21 years of military service behind him. You would have thought in those desperate times he may have been of some use militarily to someone - even in a desk job.

I'd appreciate if members could find any record of WW1 service for him.

Thank you.

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Hi

If you can get access to Fold3 HERE (part of Ancestry but seperate subscription, although free trial available) 

Name: James Frederic Lees
Pension Admission or Examination Age: 42
Birth Year: abt 1869
Birth Place: Buxton, Derby
Pension Admission or Examination Date: 13 Jul 1911
Regiment: Rl. Engineers
Rank: Engr. Clerk & Draghtsman 2r Mr Sergt
Regimental Number: 24925
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I would imagine that "2r Mr" is a mis-transcription of "Qr. Mr." i.e. Quartermaster Sergeant.

 

 

Steve.

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I came across his service record, as above, among the WO 363 records on Ancestry, with middle name spelled as Frederick
link
It documents him being awarded a Long Service & Good Conduct Medal in 1908, and being involved with the rescue of shipwrecked passengers in South Africa in 1909, there being mention of 2 people being saved.

I was recently looking into a soldier who served pre-war, and although having agreed to serve 21 years, he left having served 16 years in 1912 to return to civvy street with his newlywed wife. His papers are in the WO 363 dataset. His WW1 service is only documented by a MIC.

It sounds plausible that your great grandfather would have answered the call for former NCOs up to the age of 50 to re-enlist, and to have performed home service duties, which would mean no medal index card as a consequence.

At around this time of year, the weekend nearest to Memorial Day usually sees free access to Fold3, but I have not heard anything this year.


 

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19 minutes ago, Keith_history_buff said:

I came across his service record, as above, among the WO 363 records on Ancestry, with middle name spelled as Frederick
link
It documents him being awarded a Long Service & Good Conduct Medal in 1908, and being involved with the rescue of shipwrecked passengers in South Africa in 1909, there being mention of 2 people being saved.



 

Couldn't resist reading through his service record which includes a 3 page statement from Sergt. Lees concerning the wreck of the SS Maori. The attached image is courtesy of FMP

SS Maori wreck.jpg

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There also original images of some of his 1890-1911 docs on fold3 - including a copy of his death certificate. No obvious sign of WW1 service.

His docs on ancestry have a typed report on SS Maori

Edited by Mark1959
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Many thanks to all for your help. I'd have to conclude from your research that he had no WW1 service as I've always thought was the case.

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