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Hit a wall with this soldier (John Sharples #26117)


Sean Kennedy
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His service record seems to be one of the ones sadly destroyed so I only have two medal documents,

Medal.jpg.4887ffb162405aa29517c0b9717ff253.jpg41629_625537_9730-00191.jpg.06436836448077256b60b5228ef277ad.jpg

Durham Light Infantry. Volunteer. Must have joined the 19th Bn Bantams in Durham before switching to the 2nd Bn as he qualified for the 1914-15 Star and the 19th didn't enter France until 1916 - qualifies for the British and Victory also.  Placed in the Cat Z Reserve thereafter. 

Anything else I can do? Any other documents I'm missing?

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  • Admin

I cannot add anything else from FMP Military or Newspaper records, sorry.

Of course you can download the relevant war diaries from TNA for free once registered.

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He is on the Daily Casualty List of 15 September 1916 as wounded. (thegenealogist)

RM

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2 hours ago, rolt968 said:

He is on the Daily Casualty List of 15 September 1916 as wounded. (thegenealogist)

..nd if the wounding was serious enough to require return to Base or to UK this normally triggered being struck off strength of Batallion. When recovered he could well be posted to a different Batallion. So might tell you timing of switch 2nd to 19th.

charlie

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2 hours ago, DavidOwen said:

2nd Battalion DLI here https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352356

19th Bn here https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353982 and https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7353982

No doubt an expert may be able to help on when he may have transferred.

I was going to start on the war diaries next. Just trying to see if there is anything else I have missed.

Above all else, I need a (Blyth/Newsham) Northumberland origin and/or a birthdate circa 1894 in order to confirm it is this guy in the photos, ''Uncle Jack'' (my grandma), but really John Sharples. I know he survived the war (and in fact lived until '70s). Unfortunately my grandma's eyesight is failing or she would try and work it out.

Durham Light Infantry cap badge?

1043402639_UncleJackdarkerimage.jpg.246faf909463a1b4f1936eb8063d3244.jpg

671539052_Jackbackleft(Macfadyen151BarrasBrNcl).jpg.38113956416546af19367efbf5e38722.jpg 

The soldier I am looking-up is (I think) the only John Sharples at the DLI who survived. 

It is like two strands I am trying to connect and I am 70% sure it is the same guy but cannot be 100%. (off chance that he was another soldier from our family or the fella I am looking up on line is the wrong guy!).

 

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2 hours ago, rolt968 said:

He is on the Daily Casualty List of 15 September 1916 as wounded. (thegenealogist)

RM

Thanks

9 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

..nd if the wounding was serious enough to require return to Base or to UK this normally triggered being struck off strength of Batallion. When recovered he could well be posted to a different Batallion. So might tell you timing of switch 2nd to 19th.

charlie

Thanks. I was working on theory that it would be more common for volunteers to serve in service bns. Maybe he wasn't a genuine bantam (doesn't look that small?) so was sent to the 2nd? It could be a completely different guy though so who knows?

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Civilian picture of Uncle Jack for anyone interested - x marks the spot,

civ.jpg.57186e28cd4e86aca1d791837bbfaf03.jpg

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The weekly casualty list for Sep 17th 1918 lists 26117 J Sharples as being from Blackburn. See below.

Casualty List.png

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8 minutes ago, ajsmith said:

The weekly casualty list for Sep 17th 1918 lists 26117 J Sharples as being from Blackburn. See below.

Casualty List.png

Wrong guy then. Although there is a Dalton-in-Furness connection with family, not Blackburn!

So what I have is,

Confirmed: two pictures of ''Uncle Jack'' in a Durham Light Infantry uniform (and one in civvies). Uncle Jack written on back of two of the pictures by my grandma.

Confirmed: Uncle Jack is John Sharples., born circa 1894 Blyth, Northumberland, died, Oct 1975. Confirmed from discussions with Grandma and corroboration with ancestry. 

Also, his brother was in the East Yorks. Died at Bazentin Ridge. I don't have his service record but I have managed to reconstruct things. His younger brother James was in the Navy but I haven't started on his career yet,

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54 minutes ago, Sean Kennedy said:

Confirmed: Uncle Jack is John Sharples.,

Plain John or plus a second forename?

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Just to note a few Sharples to eliminate:

John 26117  3 times wounded, Blackburn
James 19967  Missing (kia) , Blackburn
John A 2356 Cheshire, 277482 DLI    born 1882
John E 293007 Cheshire 327641 DLI   born Manchester 1889
John  291984 Cheshire, 327634 DLI   born 1890 from Bolton

Edited by charlie962
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12 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

Plain John or plus a second forename?

John but my family tree - especially on Sharples' side - is awash with James and Johns (and John James), two of whom got called Jack! Confusing! Sometimes Sharpless is spelt Sharpless - especially earlier on. 

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Do we know if Uncle Jack actually served overseas ? (as a miner, he could have been kept back, even if he did wear uniform)

Edited by charlie962
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Just now, charlie962 said:

Do we know if Uncle Jack actually served overseas ?

No - now I have hit a wall on #26117, the possibility now rises that he didn't serve overseas. I just know from the two photos that he served in the DLI.

Sharples(s) is basically a Lancashire name. The father William migrated from Dalton-in-Furness to Blyth/Newsham Northumberland at some time around 1891ish. 

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What does the cord around his left arm on the first picture represent?

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It's a lanyard, for a clasp knife. I don't think at this time the colour of the lanyard had any significance.

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Tried derivatives of ''John'', ''James'' and ''Jack'' ''Sharpless(s)'' to no avail. I'm starting to think that he didn't serve abroad, and therefore didn't get recorded in the medal material (British, Victory and Silver Badge) which usually has them recorded even if the service record has been lost. Yet this is a strange one as,

A/ He would have been circa twenty in 1914, well within military age

B/ It seems, from his photos that he was proud in uniform and also would have been aware that his brother served overseas as a patriotic Kitchener volunteer. His younger brother was later in the Royal Navy. Further, it seems improbable that those four soldiers in the group photo - by quirk of fate - avoided overseas service during say the 1918 comb-outs. But good news if they did I suppose as Uncle Jack lived until 1975 - his brother died at the Somme 1916. In contrast, the great grandfather on the opposite side (Grandma's branch) was the complete opposite: a reluctant Derbyite combed-out in 1918 - I have his entire service record. 

I still think I am missing something though - some piece of the puzzle? I have four pictures of ''Uncle Jack'' and know nothing about him!

One last picture, more for reasons of interest as it does not really tell us anything. I believe that is William his father, and the three dour matrons are his step family. 

476664843_W.SharplesJohnSharplesand3women.jpg.c40884cbd95e7dc400c2207a005a1442.jpg

Edited by Sean Kennedy
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  • 2 weeks later...

No help as yet with his military but this will give you his dob; from the 1939 register.

Name: John Sharpless
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Married
Birth Date: 4 Aug 1894
Residence Year: 1939
Address: 34 West Row
Residence Place: Blyth, Northumberland, England
Occupation: Miner, Coal Filler Below

 

 

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It's worth trying Roll of Honours for those that served at the local clubs which he may have frequented. Our club had a large plaque for those  that died and scrolls for those that served. Also is there any mining rolls of honour around. Our local colliery had a scroll made of all those that served in HMF during the war. Try Woodhorn Museum, I'm not sure what they have but as it's not far from you it's worth a try. Also try the nominal rolls in  John Sheen's books, Durham Pals is one of them. I have it, but some of the surnames are missing. I have seen JOhn's name on here before but don't' know if he still drops in.

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18 hours ago, emam said:

No help as yet with his military but this will give you his dob; from the 1939 register.

Name: John Sharpless
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Married
Birth Date: 4 Aug 1894
Residence Year: 1939
Address: 34 West Row
Residence Place: Blyth, Northumberland, England
Occupation: Miner, Coal Filler Below

 

 

 

Thanks. Yes, I have researched the family tree and have his civilian details. Just to add he died 1975 (circa Nov). Married Wilhelmina Henderson Jan 1919. They had three children, Hannah, William and Elizabeth. A musical family according to my grandmother. 

 

 

17 hours ago, emam said:

It's worth trying Roll of Honours for those that served at the local clubs which he may have frequented. Our club had a large plaque for those  that died and scrolls for those that served. Also is there any mining rolls of honour around. Our local colliery had a scroll made of all those that served in HMF during the war. Try Woodhorn Museum, I'm not sure what they have but as it's not far from you it's worth a try. Also try the nominal rolls in  John Sheen's books, Durham Pals is one of them. I have it, but some of the surnames are missing. I have seen JOhn's name on here before but don't' know if he still drops in.

 

Thanks you. 

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I'm starting to think beyond DLI. Another ancestor was in the 4/W. Yorks where he did his training. He then went into France, the intention being to join the 2nd Bn, but ended up 2 days later in the 9th Duke of Wellington's (West Riding)! During manpower crisis of 1918, men were being siphoned off at base depots into different regiments from roughly the same region. It is not entirely in the realms of possibility that he did his training in the DLI when photos were taken and ended up somewhere else? This would have still been recorded in service record however, if extent, but the medal rolls of my other ancestor are from the second regiment in which he fought (and qualified for the British/Victory). If only the medal rolls survive, his DLI service may have been lost.

Either way, I think it is worth looking beyond DLI

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In fact I am looking at the medal index cards also and there is nothing to tell me that he was in the West Yorkshire there either. I wouldn't know he was in the West Yorkshire if it wasn't for his service record surviving.  That is I wouldn't know if not for the regimental group photo I have in my possession, although it would have confused the hell out of me without the service record.

When researching soldiers, has this scenario appeared? An unrecorded ''regimental switch''?

Presumably a north eastern regiment most plausible destination? Northumberland Fusiliers, Borderers, etc.

 

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