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Remembered Today:

Cpl J Alldritt , RFA and RE


Claire Bhela
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Good morning- many years back I started researching into my both my great Grandads WW1 history. With the constant updating of records and a recent family document being given to me I have taken up the challenge again. 
My great grandad was 2nd CPL John Alldritt 311080 R.F.A and R.E. I will attach his medal card and other images- he was also Mentioned In Dispatches. 
I just can’t for the life of me piece together his journey - ive tried Forces records, Ancestry, National Archives. 
I also have many silk cards, and he wrote in one asking after his son, my Grandad who was born 1921- clearly a few years after the war ended. Why was he still in France- was the RE part of a clean up operation? It’s a mystery. 
 

 

Can anyone help me?

Many Thanks 

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He landed in Egypt on 15 July 1915 as #24423 with the RFA and then later was transferred to the RE as #311080.

 

For comparison #24420 was issued on 19 May 1915. #24423 seems to have been issued around late May 1915, which is very late for a man going overseas in July. This suggests either an earlier service number that is unknown or that he had prior military service.

 

Craig

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Good morning Craig- thank you for replying. As far as I am aware, no previous military background. So must be an early service number 

 

claire 

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  • Michelle Young changed the title to Cpl J Alldritt , RFA and RE

Hello Claire

I don't have access to Ancestry but using the free search returns 2 medal rolls for J or John Alldritt 24423

 

image.png.24d3dd698c05d183b5f748cf64a35215.png

 

Tim

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"he wrote in one asking after his son, my Grandad who was born 1921- clearly a few years after the war ended. Why was he still in France- was the RE part of a clean up operation? It’s a mystery. "

 

Do you have the Birth Cert for you grandfather?  It should give the "Profession" of his father. This is not always informative, but often is, and may give a clue to why he was in Germany.

 

Have you checked to see if the MOD have his post war service records

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I am sure that @FROGSMILE will be able to give some colour to the photo above

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This may be unrelated...from an article in The Smethwick Telephone, January 1st 1916.

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0002897%2f19160101%2f038&stringtohighlight=alldritt engineers

It's an article about a QMS Brookson, RE, who appears to have returned from France and is receiving plaudits from his men.

The article finishes with this snippet.

Courtesy of the british newspaper Archive.

 

Snap 2021-05-26 at 11.23.33.png

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Hid medal index card shows he first served in Egypt.  There appears to be a heliograph on the right side of the photograph.

 

TR

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves
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34 minutes ago, corisande said:

I am sure that @FROGSMILE will be able to give some colour to the photo above

I have the original photos- standard sepia, I’m confident that I can add the colour in, but to be honest I quite like it as the original. 
these images are from a family tree book I put together a decade ago- just trying to refresh it. 
thank you tho x

32 minutes ago, sadbrewer said:

This may be unrelated...from an article in The Smethwick Telephone, January 1st 1916.

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0002897%2f19160101%2f038&stringtohighlight=alldritt engineers

It's an article about a QMS Brookson, RE, who appears to have returned from France and is receiving plaudits from his men.

The article finishes with this snippet.

Courtesy of the british newspaper Archive.

 

Snap 2021-05-26 at 11.23.33.png

Wow! What a read! Thank you 

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In my experience the most common explanation for RFA to RE shifts relates to RFA signallers who by 1917 were usually transferred to RE, if still serving with RA units providing signals/telephone communcations. The photograph with heliograph would fit that, as a RFA Brigade HQ signallers.. the 1915 establishment for a RFA Brigade HQ 'telephone detachment; is 1 NCO, 2 gunners, 2 drivers for telephone wagon + 7 signallers, 3 orderlies and 2 horse handlers = 17.

 

Looks to be 17 men in this photo also.. as a first suggestion..

Edited by battiscombe
spelling
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2 hours ago, Claire Bhela said:

Good morning- many years back I started researching into my both my great Grandads WW1 history. With the constant updating of records and a recent family document being given to me I have taken up the challenge again. 
My great grandad was 2nd CPL John Alldritt 311080 R.F.A and R.E. I will attach his medal card and other images- he was also Mentioned In Dispatches. 
I just can’t for the life of me piece together his journey - ive tried Forces records, Ancestry, National Archives. 
I also have many silk cards, and he wrote in one asking after his son, my Grandad who was born 1921- clearly a few years after the war ended. Why was he still in France- was the RE part of a clean up operation? It’s a mystery. 
 

 

Can anyone help me?

Many Thanks 

21E25C91-0CCF-4312-A747-6DD539A7857F.jpeg.d5644d7dc94fca0c685bb5b9ca55e535.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Hello Claire,

 

I think that your photo shows a unit of the Royal Engineers Signal Service (that later became the Royal Corps of Signals).  They are equipped with heliographs mounted on tripods that were especially valued in the Egyptian desert as the presence of Sun for reflection was reliable compared with other theatres of war and the signal flashes could usually be seen at an optimum distance.  In addition there were large expanses of relatively flat terrain that was ideal for such methods of communication.  At the receiving end this sometimes led to simple wooden towers (like short telegraph poles with steps) being erected where the observer could stand to read the signal flashed using binoculars as necessary.  At night Begbie lamps were used instead.  
 

The soldiers in the photo are dressed in typical hot weather uniform of stout cotton khaki drill (KD), but with shirts on top, along with the Wolseley pattern helmet favoured in tropical climes.  In the background you can see some mules that were commonly used by units in Egypt to transport stores, in this case the heliographs and lamps that could be dismantled and loaded on their backs.

 

After WW1 there was an enormous effort to dismantle infrastructure in France and Flanders in which the RE were heavily involved along with ASC, Labour Corps and QMAAC.  Some items were sold locally, some destroyed and some returned to Britain.  I suspect your forebear was involved in that task and/or the necessary communications.

 

54B20554-1F55-4E8A-96C8-4004DE9084D6.jpeg

B1571351-7707-405D-A122-B378EC60DF38.jpeg

F268DCF9-B673-422D-8AA6-31E11B51C279.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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2 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Hello Claire,

 

I think that your photo shows a unit of the Royal Engineers Signal Service (that later became the Royal Corps of Signals).  They are equipped with heliographs mounted on tripods that were especially valued in the Egyptian desert as the presence of Sun for reflection was reliable compared with other theatres of war and the signal flashes could usually be seen at an optimum distance.  In addition there were large expanses of relatively flat terrain that was ideal for such methods of communication.  At the receiving end this sometimes led to simple wooden towers (like short telegraph poles with steps) being erected where the observer could stand to read the signal flashed using binoculars as necessary.  At night Begbie lamps were used instead.  
 

The soldiers in the photo are dressed in typical hot weather uniform of stout cotton khaki drill (KD), but with shirts on top, along with the Wolseley pattern helmet favoured in tropical climes.  In the background you can see some mules that were commonly used by units in Egypt to transport stores, in this case the heliographs and lamps that could be dismantled and loaded on their backs.

 

After WW1 there was an enormous effort to dismantle infrastructure in France and Flanders in which the RE were heavily involved along with ASC, Labour Corps and QMAAC.  Some items were sold locally, some destroyed and some returned to Britain.  I suspect your forebear was involved in that task and/or the necessary communications.

 

54B20554-1F55-4E8A-96C8-4004DE9084D6.jpeg

B1571351-7707-405D-A122-B378EC60DF38.jpeg

F268DCF9-B673-422D-8AA6-31E11B51C279.jpeg

Thank you so much- that’s an amazing piece of information and a real insight into this small picture. 
I really appreciate your help 

 

claire 

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I would note that the 1914-15 star medal roll suggests [as i read it] he was still in RFA when arrived in Egypt. There is another man Kirk with similar REnumber (Kirk- RFA24938 and RE 311083) with same date of entry to Egypt.. but sadly his records do not seem to survive either..

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Hi Claire,

 

A scrap of paper in the service record of 24422 Thomas William Green gives John Aldritt joining 11th Divisional Signal Company on April 28, 1917.

His date of entry to Egypt coincides roughly with that of 58th and 59th Brigades RFA, also of 11th Division. 

 

It also has this on the back . . .

 

Aldritt.jpg.e214dd2d7d8717273808ab4fadbda8cd.jpg

 

Image courtesy Findmypast

Edited by David Porter
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2 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

Do you know when and where he was born ?

Craig

Yes, 24th March 1894, Liverpool. Living on Bostock Street. The whole family where staunch Roman Catholics. Which he renounced when he married Emily Stanniforth Sept 1917. She is from Sheffield, how they met I have no idea, but she was a Protestant. 

After the war he drove Trams in Sheffield. 

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that link to 11th Div is a great find!  The wearing of lanyards on left shoudler is more RFA than RE, as far as I know... but a pity cannot see shoulder badges. The lower photo shows him wearing signallers blue/white arm band.  I note in Chamber's big book of Uniforms & Equipment of the British Army in WWI  he has a quite similar picture [p.176] of  RGA signallers of 87th Siege Battery [in that case RGA] posed behind 2 heliographs, and also carrying signal flags.

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How do you lovely clever people fancy helping me with my other Great Grandad? John Hinchliffe 16507. 
I only have a small blurry picture of him with his Royal Scots Fusiliers hat on, and images of some handmade sports medals - that they made to keep moral up in camp. 
apart from the obv Belgium name on one of the medals- again, we have no idea of his journey. 

many thanks.... again... 

 

claire 

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New thread on John Hinchliffe here to avoid repetition of answers 

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  • 1 month later...
On 26/05/2021 at 15:00, David Porter said:

Hi Claire,

 

A scrap of paper in the service record of 24422 Thomas William Green gives John Aldritt joining 11th Divisional Signal Company on April 28, 1917.

His date of entry to Egypt coincides roughly with that of 58th and 59th Brigades RFA, also of 11th Division. 

 

It also has this on the back . . .

 

Aldritt.jpg.e214dd2d7d8717273808ab4fadbda8cd.jpg

 

Image courtesy Findmypast

Good afternoon David- just trying to tie up all given information on my Alldritts. I appreciate you posting in this image. But for the love of god can I find it- I noticed you’ve used find my past, should that make a difference to ancestry or NA ?!?! 

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Hi Claire,

You can find it on both. For Ancestry, in "UK, British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920" use the Browse this collection section.
Go through the drop down search G > Gr > Gre and navigate to page 155689 of 242472 and the page after that.

Edited by David Porter
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