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Please help me identify a Durham Light Infantry solder from his regimental number and initials.


high wood
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I cannot find a medal index card on Ancestry or his service papers on FMP so I am not sure how to take this forward. I am trying to identify a soldier of the Durham Light Infantry with the regimental number: 32107 and the initials R. D. I have tried searching Ancestry by number, no results, and by every conceivable first name beginning with the letter R and a D* for the surname.

 

Edited by high wood
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What’s the source for th various bits of information you’ve given?

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4 minutes ago, johntanner said:

What’s the source for the various bits of information you’ve given?

It is scratched on the slider of his cap badge.

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Can you show us a picture? 

I’m not seeing any matches either: home service only?

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The strange thing about searching by number alone on Ancestry is that it tends to find only the first regimental number not the second or third. You can easily demonstrate this by selecting a medal index card with three numbers, writing the numbers down and searching again using only the second or third numbers.

Equally, the soldiers papers appear to have been catalogued by the last number issued, i.e. the number that he was using when he was discharged and not the number that he was given on enlistment, if indeed his number was changed during his service.

The usual way around this is to look for the soldiers with the regimental number at least ten above and ten below, in order to what happened to them, as they may have been transferred as a bloc.

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In the Durham Light Infantry number block which runs from 32090 - 32120 there are medal index cards for 14 soldiers and nothing for the remaining 17 soldiers.

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1 hour ago, high wood said:

In the Durham Light Infantry number block which runs from 32090 - 32120 there are medal index cards for 14 soldiers and nothing for the remaining 17 soldiers.

I can find a MIC/Medal roll for all DLI men within that number range except:

32098, 32105, 32107, 32110 & 32112

Regards

Russ

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Can’t yet work out who he was but wondered if it might help to find out more about him through a near number search to turn up “when he was” - so to speak.

32108 James Craggs (MiC). Surviving service records. Attested 9th February 1916, a married 25 years old Colliery Cartman living at Meadowfield, County Durham. Called up 14th May 1916 and posted to the 4th Battalion DLI. Stationed at Seaham till the 31st August 1916 and then out to France to serve with the 2nd Battalion, DLI. He joined up with them in the field 20th September 1916. On the 26th he was killed in action.

32109 Luke Horan, subsequently 582586 Labour Corps. (MiC). Surviving service record – one page of his Medical History. Examined at Sunderland 3rd May 1916, he was a 20 year old Labourer born County Mayo. He had rheumatism of the legs and back but was found fit for general service. Also Pensions Appeal Tribunal papers post discharge under his Labour Corps reference. Suffered GSW left hand at Cambrai, November 1917. Apparently a Court of Inquiry had deemed it a Self Inflicted Wound.

32110 No MiC (National Archive) or service records on FindMyPast.

32111 Thomas McGeever, subsequently 040898 Army Ordnance Corps. (MiC) FMP have found part of a casualty list in another mans records that shows he received a GSW to fa(ce)? while serving with 11th D.L.I.

32112 No MiC or service records on FindMyPast.

32113 John Todner. (MiC). Victory Medal and British War Medal only.

32114 Robert Foster, subsequently 45256 London Regiment and G/44791 Middlesex Regiment. (MiC). Another one page casualty list on FMP shows him serving with 22nd DLI. He was Gassed (Shell) Wound, his condition was regarded as severe and he was admitted 83 General Hospital, Boulogne on the 25th July 1917. He would die on the 26th August 1918 serving in France and Flanders with the 1/7th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. He was aged 28. The additional information on CWGC doesn’t mention a wife, so presumed to be single.

32115 William Trueman. (MiC). Victory Medal and British War Medal only.

32116 Thomas S Stephenson (MiC for SWB). Surviving service records as Thomas Stamp Stephenson. Attested 7th December 1915, called up 5th May 1916. Aged 23 and 6 months, married, he was a “Holder Up” from West Hartlepool. Posted to the 4th Battalion.  He was attached for duty with Messrs Irvines Shipbuilding + Drydock Company Limited, West Hartlepool from the 10th July 1916. Recalled to the 3rd Battalion on the 9th October 1917, he was discharged under KR392(xvi) on the 30th November 1917 after breaking his fibula and tibula at West Hartlepool on the 17th July 1917.

32117 F.E Adams. (MiC). Card for an Emblem while serving in France but no other details on card. Probably the MIC is shown as 37117 Frederick E. Adams, Victory Medal and British War Medal.

So a small sample so far but probably looking at a man who joined up or was mobilised end of April \ early May 1916. Probably in his twenties, possibly married and likely from the north-east.

So can eliminate him being part of a group of 18 years called up in 1918 who didn’t get to serve overseas before the end of the war, or part of an older group mobilised later in the war.

So most likely:-

-        Home service only because of health – so possibly on an AVL.
-        Discharged because of health – but then there should be a Silver War Badge issued considering date of call-up.
-        Transferred to one of the Army Reserves for work that was of greater importance for the war effort.
-       Transferred to another Regiment \ Corps while still in the UK. (No SDGW entries found with a "formerly 321xx DLI note - so far).
-        Commissioned?

Cheers,
Peter

Edited by PRC
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2 hours ago, high wood said:

The strange thing about searching by number alone on Ancestry

A complete and utter waste of time using the Ancestry search engine, especially on service numbers.

I would recommend using the National Archives search engine for MICs

Regards

Russ

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This may be a complete red herring so fair warning!

On FMP using 32107 and DLI I got Alfred Budrey.

That appears to be his number on attestation into the Sherwood Foresters. He transferred/moved to DLI and become #33575

Clearly the initials are incorrect and the DLI number is wrong. So this might be best to be ignored but I thought who knows. Stranger things have proved useful

George

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I was up late last night working through the number range 32090 - 32120 and it seems that several of you were too. Thank you for your help, it is appreciated. This is as far as I got before I went to bed.

I am now looking on FMP using first names beginning with R, surname D* and Durham Light Infantry as my search parameters. It could take some time, but I am sure that we will find him.

 

 

Research 010.JPG

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11 hours ago, RussT said:

 

I can find a MIC/Medal roll for all DLI men within that number range except:

32098, 32105, 32107, 32110 & 32112

Regards

Russ

I should have said that using Ancestry I could only find the numbers that I did. I would agree that using the National Archives search is a much better option as it seems to find any service number on the MIC not just the first one.

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Here is the cap badge. I am sure that it is was marked in this way by the original owner and is not an attempt to add value to to a fairly commonplace cap badge.

 

VONK 003.JPG

VONK 005.JPG

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3 hours ago, high wood said:

It could take some time, but I am sure that we will find him.

I wish you plenty of luck !!

There is no doubt in my mind that the DLI number 32107 was allotted to someone - presumably that someone had the initials D.R.

I have compiled numerous lists of men having consecutive service numbers in a given unit for many different units. The lists are anywhere between circa 30 (as here) to many 100s. I think without fail there has always been at least 1 but often many more "missing" in those lists. In your list of 30 numbers there appears to be 5 men "missing". In my experience I would suggest this is fairly par for the course in any random selection of 30 consecutive service numbers.

Peter above has given many of the common reasons for this (besides the obvious lack of a complete set of service files for every man). I can also re-call coming across some units who quite commonly miss off from the medal roll the first (and any subsequent) unit served in overseas - so it should have appeared on the MIC/medal roll (and indeed the medal) when applicable. I re-call the MGC to be one serial offender.

There are a few other "databases" worth searching which might have him even if he didn't serve overseas e.g. the MH106 medical series & WW1 deserters lists. I've looked at them all, but he is not in any of those either I'm afraid.

Regards

Russ

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Russ,

your comments are much appreciated and I too think that R. D. will be one of the "missing". I have been researching named soldier's post cards, numbered cutlery, button sticks, in fact anything with a name or number on it, for many years. There are always items that will not give up their stories that I just put aside for a while and have another bash at when more obscure records are put on line.

The census records have been very useful in identifying  a particular soldier from a home address, though not much use in this case. The Prisoner of War records on FMP have also helped me identify several soldiers that I had almost given up on. 

Peter's advice is very sensible and helpful and is noted. If only the Durham Light Infantry enlistment books were available, we could solve this in no time time at all.

 

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