Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:


EmmaDean
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello!

 

I’m brand, shiny new here and I’m really hoping that someone might take pity on my inexperience in all things ‘army’ and help me shed some light on my great-great grandfather, Francis George Woodhouse. I have to say that I have seen some posts, etc. on some of the searches I have done and there are lots of you who are extremely knowledgeable.

 

Whilst I have been able to find some bits and pieces, I am now drawing a lot of blanks and wondering whether there is anything left to uncover!

 
My difficulties start right from when he was born, to be honest. I have recently obtained a copy of his marriage certificate (he married Ellen Maud Britton in Portsmouth in 1901, at which time his occupation is stated as ‘Bombadier R.G.a’) and this states that his father was Thomas Woodhouse. I cannot seem to find any records that connect the two, however.
 
My dabblings in trying to locate information on Francis comes from my research into his son, my great grandfather, Gerald Britton Woodhouse. Gerald was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Sadly, he was killed in an ‘incident’ at Barry Buddon camp in Dundee in 1929. This was reported fairly widely in various media which includes the name of Francis as being Gerald’s father. Francis is stated as being a retired Captain of the Royal Artillery.
 
I think I have found a record of Francis on the 1901 Census as being at the Citadel in Plymouth. He is stated as being ‘Bombadier Royal Artillery’. This also fits with a Census record I have found for Ellen Britton, his soon to be wife, who was also located in Plymouth at that time.
 
I know that Francis was then stationed in India, but I don’t know why. 4 (Gerald being one of them) of their 5 children were born out there. The youngest was born in 1902 and the last to be born in India was in 1907. The family then returned to the UK and their youngest child was born in 1909. I have a record confirming that she was born in Woolwich which ties in with the 1911 Census record I have found for Francis. This states that he was based at Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich in 1911. He is stated as being a Sergeant, 48th Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.
 
I have found what I believe to be his Medal Index Card but, to be honest, I don’t understand most of it with all the numbers and things. I can see that he was awarded the 15 Star medal, the British medal and the Victory medal. I think he retired at the end of 1921. I am confused as this suggests that he was in 77 Bde, which I think is ‘Brigade’? I’m so sorry, I really have very little clue as to how all the different batteries, brigades, etc. worked and, naively, I had no idea it was all so complicated! I have attached a copy of the MIC. I think the stamp might be covering up another number on the Reg Number which I think is ‘9’.
 
Phew!
 
Do you think that there is any other information that can be found or is that likely to be about it?
 
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this and I look forward to hearing from anyone who might be able to steer me in the right direction.
 
Kind regards,
 
Emma

E99624B7-3470-475B-B87B-C9781D49E020.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Welcome to the forum. A read of the Long Long Trail website is a great place to start. There’s information about how to research and interpret records. His MIC shows he was commissioned as an officer in June 1916. Therefore, I think his service papers may well still survive at Kew but are not digitalised. 
Michelle 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

Welcome to the forum. A read of the Long Long Trail website is a great place to start. There’s information about how to research and interpret records. His MIC shows he was commissioned as an officer in June 1916. Therefore, I think his service papers may well still survive at Kew but are not digitalised. 
Michelle 

Thanks Michelle. I have had a tentative look at the Long Long Trail but I find it all a bit overwhelming and I don’t really know where to start! There are so many different brigades, batteries, etc. so if anyone can send me off in the right direction, that would be marvellous.

 

For example, I am looking at records in the National Archives and, what I think are, war diaries concerning the 77th brigade of the Royal Garrison Artillery...but I’m not sure if that’s ‘worth looking at’ - I’m not sure where the 48th battery part comes into it?! Sorry, I really am stumbling around in the dark a bit!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@PRC or @clk are the best men for this and then I’ll endeavour to add anything I feel useful and relevant afterwards (probably tomorrow now).

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

@PRCis the best man for this and then I’ll endeavour to add anything I feel useful and relevant afterwards (probably tomorrow).

Thank you in advance Frogsmile 😃

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome .His MiC  shows|He landed overseas {Mesopotamia} 26/12/15 as Regimental Sergeant Major later promoted to Lt.

Was Awarded  14/15 Srar b\wm and V medal Ithink there is a note that a medal was returned 1921 not that he ritired.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, johnboy said:

Hi and welcome .His MiC  shows|He landed overseas {Mesopotamia} 26/12/15 as Regimental Sergeant Major later promoted to Lt.

Was Awarded  14/15 Srar b\wm and V medal Ithink there is a note that a medal was returned 1921 not that he ritired.

 

Hi Johnboy, thanks so much for taking the time to read my waffle and look at the MIC, and thank you for the insights. I did wonder what the date was next to the Mesopotamia reference.

 

Oh really? That’s interesting...why would someone return a medal??! More questions 🤣

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Medals were often returned because name was spelt wrong. rank or number was wrong.  I have lookedd at it again and am not sure what was returned if indeed it does read returned. If you have access via Ancestry there might be more info on the Medal Roll

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, johnboy said:

Medals were often returned because name was spelt wrong. rank or number was wrong.  I have lookedd at it again and am not sure what was returned if indeed it does read returned. If you have access via Ancestry there might be more info on the Medal Roll

Hi Johnboy,

 

Here’s a copy of the Medal Roll...

 

Chrome.pdf

Edited by EmmaDean
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only info seems to be date he was made an officer. It is a bit indistinct but looks like a date in 1916 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, johnboy said:

Only info seems to be date he was made an officer. It is a bit indistinct but looks like a date in 1916 

🙄🤣 Okay, thank you 😊 I’m confused about the different ranks and the ones he held. I thought he was a Bombadier, Sergeant, Lieutenant and then Captain 🤔 Always remembering that this is from my ‘I haven’t got a clue’ interpretation of what I have been reading from the records I’ve found so far 😂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first line on the MiCreads Regimental Serjeant Major

Second line Lieut [Leiutenant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, johnboy said:

The first line on the MiCreads Regimental Serjeant Major

Second line Lieut [Leiutenant

Ah, okay, thank you 😊 I wasn’t sure what the bit above ‘Lieut’ said and/or meant.

Edited by EmmaDean
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, I cannot read the census . it is feint and small

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, johnboy said:

Sorry, I cannot read the census . it is feint and small

Hmmm...not sure why that is. I’m doing this on my iPhone and it seems fine when I access it 🤔

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am probably a lot older than you and my eyesight is not that goodd. Is it barracks return ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi @EmmaDean and welcome to the forum.

 

Starting with the military side rather than the genealogy, (which I suspect it the real reason @FROGSMILE has dobbed me and clk in:)

 

The 77th Heavy Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery were part of the garrison in India, the Indian Army, and so came under the control of the India Office. In December 1915 they and the 72th Heavy Brigade were sent to Mesopotamia to replace units then besieged at Kut-el-Amara, (and which were subsequently lost when that city was surrended at the end of April 1916). The Mesopotamian campaign was initially run from India and so losses had frequently to be made good from the Indian Garrison troops at that stage of the war, although this would change with the surrender of the troops at Kut.

 

The date of entry into a theatre of war given for the 77th and 72nd Brigades is the 20th December 1915.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/the-heavy-batteries-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

However record keeping is inconsistant - often for units serving outside France and Flanders the dates is actually the date of sailing rather than the date of arrival, so the date shown on the Medal Index Card, (MiC) for Francis Woodhouse of the 26th December 1915 may be a better reflection of when they arrived.

 

He was then a Battery Sergeant Major - a rank that was subsequently classified as a Warrant Officer Class II, (frogsmile will be able to give you chapter and verse on that).

 

The next bit is not so clear, at least to me. Normally the date shown on the MiC, (i.e. 16th June 1916), is the date that the soldier was discharged from his enlistment in order to take up his commission on the following day. I couldn't find the official notice of his commissioning in the London Gazette, so tried the Army Lists. I prefer the monthly ones, but as the information even there can take a little while to come through I went for September 1916. There is a 2nd Lieutenant F.G. Woodhouse serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery in column 564d, but his seniority, (the date of his commissioning), is the 16th June 1916. No problem with the dates matching, it's just not common practice!

https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/109464699

 

For those better than me at searching the London Gazette, the other two 2\Lts in the RGA shown with the same seniority date are a W .J. Barry and a C. Davison.

 

So time to go back a step. By this stage of the war in order to be commissioned, the candidate had to attend an Officer Training Unit, (unless they went through the likes of Sandhurst), for a course normally lasting about 18 weeks. Successful candidates were then commissioned. As far as I'm aware they were at that stage all in the UK, although one was later set up in Egypt. What I don't know is if there was something similar in India. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/training-to-be-a-soldier/officer-training-in-the-british-army-of-1914-1918/

So in theory very shortly after his unit goes to Mesopotamia Francis could have been on the boat to the UK to commence his training.

 

This is where the 77th Heavy Brigade War Diary will come in useful. It will not only confirm when they actually arrived in the Mesopotamia Theatre of War, but may well reference Francis departing for an Officer Training Course.

 

War Diaries for units serving in Mesopotamia are one of the many documents that can currently be downloaded for free from the UK National Archive. You do need to sign in with your account,  but if you haven't got one even that can be set up when you place your first order. Just click sign in and follow the instructions - no financial details are required. Unfortunately the one for the 77th Brigade according to the National Archive catalogue doesn't start until December 1916  - but could be worth checking as there are errors in the catalogue. Also sometimes the documents have been digitised out of month order.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/d2732a64cc7b470286198c3141476172

 

While it's not impossible, it's unlikely that he returned to the same unit where he had served in the ranks. As an officer he is more likely to get a mention than even a senior NCO.

 

I cannot find a service record for him at the National Archive. This may simply reflect that the document, which would normally include his other ranks records, had been repeatedly weeded until there was nothing left. Or it could be because he stayed in the Army to 1921 or later, and so the file was retained by the Ministry of Defence. There is a database on Ancestry showing the records they retained for men born before 1901.

 

As an officer, Francis had to apply for his medals. I note when he did so in August 1920 his contact address was given as Alexandria, so likely he was still serving at that point.

 

Should his records be with the MOD, then the process, (and cost) for applying for a copy can be found here:-

https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records

 

Hope some of that helps,

Peter

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, johnboy said:

I am probably a lot older than you and my eyesight is not that goodd. Is it barracks return ?

Yes, it’s for barracks in Woolwich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, PRC said:

Hi @EmmaDean and welcome to the forum.

 

Starting with the military side rather than the genealogy, (which I suspect it the real reason @FROGSMILE has dobbed me and clk in:)

 

The 77th Heavy Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery were part of the garrison in India, the Indian Army, and so came under the control of the India Office. In December 1915 they and the 72th Heavy Brigade were sent to Mesopotamia to replace units then besieged at Kut-el-Amara, (and which were subsequently lost when that city was surrended at the end of April 1916). The Mesopotamian campaign was initially run from India and so losses had frequently to be made good from the Indian Garrison troops at that stage of the war, although this would change with the surrender of the troops at Kut.

 

The date of entry into a theatre of war given for the 77th and 72nd Brigades is the 20th December 1915.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/the-heavy-batteries-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

However record keeping is inconsistant - often for units serving outside France and Flanders the dates is actually the date of sailing rather than the date of arrival, so the date shown on the Medal Index Card, (MiC) for Francis Woodhouse of the 26th December 1915 may be a better reflection of when they arrived.

 

He was then a Battery Sergeant Major - a rank that was subsequently classified as a Warrant Officer Class II, (frogsmile will be able to give you chapter and verse on that).

 

The next bit is not so clear, at least to me. Normally the date shown on the MiC, (i.e. 16th June 1916), is the date that the soldier was discharged from his enlistment in order to take up his commission on the following day. I couldn't find the official notice of his commissioning in the London Gazette, so tried the Army Lists. I prefer the monthly ones, but as the information even there can take a little while to come through I went for September 1916. There is a 2nd Lieutenant F.G. Woodhouse serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery in column 564d, but his seniority, (the date of his commissioning), is the 16th June 1916. No problem with the dates matching, it's just not common practice!

https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/109464699

 

For those better than me at searching the London Gazette, the other two 2\Lts in the RGA shown with the same seniority date are a W .J. Barry and a C. Davison.

 

So time to go back a step. By this stage of the war in order to be commissioned, the candidate had to attend an Officer Training Unit, (unless they went through the likes of Sandhurst), for a course normally lasting about 18 weeks. Successful candidates were then commissioned. As far as I'm aware they were at that stage all in the UK, although one was later set up in Egypt. What I don't know is if there was something similar in India. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/training-to-be-a-soldier/officer-training-in-the-british-army-of-1914-1918/

So in theory very shortly after his unit goes to Mesopotamia Francis could have been on the boat to the UK to commence his training.

 

This is where the 77th Heavy Brigade War Diary will come in useful. It will not only confirm when they actually arrived in the Mesopotamia Theatre of War, but may well reference Francis departing for an Officer Training Course.

 

War Diaries for units serving in Mesopotamia are one of the many documents that can currently be downloaded for free from the UK National Archive. You do need to sign in with your account,  but if you haven't got one even that can be set up when you place your first order. Just click sign in and follow the instructions - no financial details are required. Unfortunately the one for the 77th Brigade according to the National Archive catalogue doesn't start until December 1916  - but could be worth checking as there are errors in the catalogue. Also sometimes the documents have been digitised out of month order.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/d2732a64cc7b470286198c3141476172

 

While it's not impossible, it's unlikely that he returned to the same unit where he had served in the ranks. As an officer he is more likely to get a mention than even a senior NCO.

 

I cannot find a service record for him at the National Archive. This may simply reflect that the document, which would normally include his other ranks records, had been repeatedly weeded until there was nothing left. Or it could be because he stayed in the Army to 1921 or later, and so the file was retained by the Ministry of Defence. There is a database on Ancestry showing the records they retained for men born before 1901.

 

As an officer, Francis had to apply for his medals. I note when he did so in August 1920 his contact address was given as Alexandria, so likely he was still serving at that point.

 

Should his records be with the MOD, then the process, (and cost) for applying for a copy can be found here:-

https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records

 

Hope some of that helps,

Peter

 

Oh my goodness, this has actually brought tears to my eyes that you have looked into things and written such a comprehensive reply. Thank you so much. I’m going to have to read it through a few times I think as some of it has gone straight over my head as it’s quite overwhelming to get even just a little insight into my g-g-grandfather’s life. Thank you also for the information about the National Archives - I have found a few things which I have ‘purchased’ and shall wade through.

 

I had seen about applying to MOD, thank you 😊 I am sure it is a lengthy process but I think it could be worth it.

 

Now to be really cheeky...any thoughts on the genealogy side?!? 😂😂 I was rather hoping that Francis’ father was James rather than Thomas as I can find records for a Francis George Woodhouse born around the same time to a James and Elizabeth Woodhouse. There does seem to be some confusion (or massaging of the truth...?!) about when Francis was born. For example, I have this evening located a burial record for Francis. He was buried in 1947 and the record states that he was 72 when he died. This would have made his year of birth 1875. However, I have found a record in the 1939 England and Wales register which is clearly him as his household includes his wife, Ellen, and his surviving son. However, that record states his date of birth as being in April 1877...all not very helpful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

The 1920 officers war service book has Mesopotamia 20 Dec 15 to 27 Nov 16. Egyptian Expeditionary Force 12 Dec 17 to 31 Oct 18. Promoted 2Lt. Wounded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, EmmaDean said:


I was rather hoping that Francis’ father was James rather than Thomas as I can find records for a Francis George Woodhouse born around the same time to a James and Elizabeth Woodhouse. 

 

This is another Francis George Woodhouse. Born 29 September 1875 in Clerkenwell to James and Elizabeth and baptised 07 November 1875 at Islington St Mary. Married Eliza Ann Impey in 1898. Children - Francis Eric; Margaret Isabel Anne; Winifred May; Doris. He died 13 May 1967 in Sussex.

England & Wales National Probate Calendar 1967 (from ancestry):

831309170_FrancisGeorge.jpg.03ecd7930cb04072d217f01413bcd833.jpg

 

JP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found 2 entries in the London Gazette for an F.G. Woodhouse (RGA) - in 1920 and 1940.

 

a)  Page 1062 - The undermentioned Lts. are placed on the h.p. list. 17th Oct. 1920:-

     Page 1063 - F.G. Woodhouse

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32088/supplement/1

 

b)  The undermentioned  2nd Lts. relinquish their rank on enlistment into the ranks of the Army:-

     F.G. Woodhouse (late R.G.A). 1st Jan 1940.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34837/supplement/2452/data.pdf

 

JP

Edited by helpjpl
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, helpjpl said:

 

This is another Francis George Woodhouse. Born 29 September 1875 in Clerkenwell to James and Elizabeth and baptised 07 November 1875 at Islington St Mary. Married Eliza Ann Impey in 1898. Children - Francis Eric; Margaret Isabel Anne; Winifred May; Doris. He died 13 May 1967 in Sussex.

England & Wales National Probate Calendar 1967 (from ancestry):

831309170_FrancisGeorge.jpg.03ecd7930cb04072d217f01413bcd833.jpg

 

JP

Thanks JP. This is the Francis George I was hoping he was 😂😂 My Francis George married an Ellen Maud Britton in 1901. They had 5 children - Dorothy M Woodhouse, Gerald Britton Woodhouse, Annie Lilian Woodhouse, Frederick Thomas Woodhouse and Phyllis Kathleen Woodhouse. He definitely lived in the Exeter area. The reports that I mentioned from when Gerald was killed reference that. He died in 1947 and is buried in the same cemetery in Exeter as Gerald. But before any of that? Not a clue...🤷🏼‍♀️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, ForeignGong said:

Hi

The 1920 officers war service book has Mesopotamia 20 Dec 15 to 27 Nov 16. Egyptian Expeditionary Force 12 Dec 17 to 31 Oct 18. Promoted 2Lt. Wounded.

Hi ForeignGong,

 

Thank you so much for this information. Where did you find it?? I’m digging around without a clue 😂 I had wondered about the Egyptian Expeditionary Force because of the reference to ‘E.E.F’ on his MIC. I had no idea he was wounded?

40 minutes ago, helpjpl said:

Found 2 entries in the London Gazette for an F.G. Woodhouse (RGA) - in 1920 and 1940.

 

a)  Page 1062 - The undermentioned Lts. are placed on the h.p. list. 17th Oct. 1920:-

     Page 1063 - F.G. Woodhouse

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32088/supplement/1

 

b)  The undermentioned  2nd Lts. relinquish their rank on enlistment into the ranks of the Army:-

     F.G. Woodhouse (late R.G.A). 1st Jan 1940.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34837/supplement/2452/data.pdf

 

JP

Thank you JP. How did you do that?! I’ve been trying and getting nowhere 😂 You guys are brilliant 🙌🏻 Presumably, the second entry could have been when he retired? He was certainly living in Exeter in 1939 according to the England and Wales Register entry I have found.

Edited by EmmaDean
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...