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Remembered Today:

Royal Sussex Regiment automatically transferred to Machine Gun Corps


David Cannon

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Good afternoon!

I have been recently researching records for my Grandfather Frank Cannon born 11th July 1887. I found out that he served in the Royal Sussex Regiment and was automatically transferred to the Machine Gun Corps , along with 5 others from his regiment. 

Frank Cannon (Brighton) 12262

Thomas McDougall (Horsham) 12263

Ernest Kennard (Sompting) 12265

Sidney Alfred Mullins (Sydenham) 12266

James Alexander Goad (?) 12267

Charles Frederick Caldicott (?) 12268

From the records of his 10 children birth certificates; he was a Sergeant in 1916 for the MGC (therefore joining in 1914/15, as it must have taken time to rise to Sergeant) and in 1918 and left in 1919/20. I believe he also served as instructor of the Vickers Machine gun in Grantham for all new recruits. 

I was wondering if anyone has further information on Frank Cannon or the others? Also, did each have service numbers for RSR, then MGC and then RSR again, if returned? 

I know that a lot or records were lost due to the fire, which was really catastrophic for all of us! 

Any information anyone/records/right direction has would be greatly received.

All the best 

David

P.S. From my military days; we were assigned service numbers in chronological order from our last names.

P.P.S. - Picture taken sometime in 1919/20 of Frank Cannon (Seated RHS when looking at picture)

Grandfather Frank Cannon.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, David Cannon said:

Good afternoon!

I have been recently researching records for my Grandfather Frank Cannon born 11th July 1887. I found out that he served in the Royal Sussex Regiment and was automatically transferred to the Machine Gun Corps , along with 5 others from his regiment. 

Frank Cannon (Brighton) 12262

Thomas McDougall (Horsham) 12263

Ernest Kennard (Sompting) 12265

Sidney Alfred Mullins (Sydenham) 12266

James Alexander Goad (?) 12267

Charles Frederick Caldicott (?) 12268

From the records of his 10 children birth certificates; he was a Sergeant in 1916 for the MGC (therefore joining in 1914/15, as it must have taken time to rise to Sergeant) and in 1918 and left in 1919/20. I believe he also served as instructor of the Vickers Machine gun in Grantham for all new recruits. 

I was wondering if anyone has further information on Frank Cannon or the others? Also, did each have service numbers for RSR, then MGC and then RSR again, if returned? 

I know that a lot or records were lost due to the fire, which was really catastrophic for all of us! 

Any information anyone/records/right direction has would be greatly received.

All the best 

David

P.S. From my military days; we were assigned service numbers in chronological order from our last names.

P.P.S. - Picture taken sometime in 1919/20 of Frank Cannon (Seated RHS when looking at picture)

Grandfather Frank Cannon.jpeg

There is a recent thread that covers most of your queries by @kenf48here: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/293771-machine-gun-corp/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-3058638

 

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21 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

There is a recent thread that covers most of your queries by @kenf48here: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/293771-machine-gun-corp/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-3058638

 

Thank you for the above and much appreciated, the thread only covers general information, rather than specific I am asking for.

 

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12 minutes ago, David Cannon said:

Thank you for the above and much appreciated, the thread only covers general information, rather than specific I am asking for.

 

I was thinking it answered the basics of the compulsory transfer David, but I shouldn’t have used the word “most”.

If your subject’s service record has been lost in the Arnside Street fire then you won’t be able to get details beyond any recorded in medal rolls and their linked index cards, plus any pension records if he qualified.

In the photo you posted he is wearing the rank of warrant officer class II and so was probably the company sergeant major at the time the photo was taken.  I think it was 1919 that the RQMS was given a crown within Laurel wreath as his badge to replace the plain crown, so it depends when the photo was taken if that had been his final role.

At that time there were no “service numbers”, that was a later arrangement.  Instead numbers were issued in blocks to regiments (hence regimental numbers) and then chronologically given out to soldiers as they enlisted or joined on transfer.  If a soldier changed regiment he changed number.  There was also a widespread re numbering later in the war so a man often had several numbers recorded on his medal index card.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thanks so much! This is great information......service numbers are a royal pain if not given, but I think the ones listed were for the MGC? Best way of keeping track of a large force.

Anyhow, did you notice anything interesting about his watch?

Yes, if anyone has information please let me know and I will share what I find too. All the best David

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4 hours ago, David Cannon said:

Thanks so much! This is great information......service numbers are a royal pain if not given, but I think the ones listed were for the MGC? Best way of keeping track of a large force.

Anyhow, did you notice anything interesting about his watch?

Yes, if anyone has information please let me know and I will share what I find too. All the best David

His watch appears to be a typical ‘trench type’ with protective cover.  He’s likely to have had three regimental numbers on his medal records.  An initial Royal Sussex Regiment one (only if he served overseas with them), then a Machine Gun Corps one from its early days, and then another MGC one during the reorganisation of numbers towards the end of the war.

79F0E5F2-A652-45E2-95D2-C0A6553F2738.jpeg

CD019DCC-7939-4EC2-9DA1-0EA0C241A1E7.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Yes, his watch has a so-called "shrapnel guard" - a perforated metal cover to protect the glass yet allow the time to be read.

This lengthy article is all about WW1 wristwatches and if you scroll about 2/3 of the way through you will find a section on watches with shrapnel guards.

https://www.vintagewatchstraps.com/trenchwatches.php

As the article points out, the cover would have been useless if it had been hit by shrapnel (or anything else), but it would give some protection to the glass in everyday use.

 

Frogsmile has beaten me to it!

 

 

Edited by pierssc
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Great! Spot on and I would love to retrieve all service numbers. Any help greatly received!

The watch - yes, that's it! Anti-shrapnel protection....would love this watch!

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19 minutes ago, David Cannon said:

Great! Spot on and I would love to retrieve all service numbers. Any help greatly received!

The watch - yes, that's it! Anti-shrapnel protection....would love this watch!

You should find his regimental numbers on the medal roll and index card to which I’ve referred.  If you managed to find birth certificates you will surely be able to find the medal records.  As well as the NA all the genealogical websites have copies.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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25 minutes ago, pierssc said:

Yes, his watch has a so-called "shrapnel guard" - a perforated metal cover to protect the glass yet allow the time to be read.

This lengthy article is all about WW1 wristwatches and if you scroll about 2/3 of the way through you will find a section on watches with shrapnel guards.

https://www.vintagewatchstraps.com/trenchwatches.php

As the article points out, the cover would have been useless if it had been hit by shrapnel (or anything else), but it would give some protection to the glass in everyday use.

 

Frogsmile has beaten me to it!

 

 

Like you I think the shrapnel cover is a complete misnomer, the guard is merely to protect the face of the watch because unlike a pocket watch it’s not protected inside clothing, but instead exposed to scratching and jarring by all the hand movement and general exposure.  

Edited by FROGSMILE
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  • Admin

 

4 hours ago, David Cannon said:

I found out that he served in the Royal Sussex Regiment and was automatically transferred to the Machine Gun Corps , along with 5 others from his regiment. 

Not sure what you mean by 'automatically transferred to the MGC'.

Frank Cannon does not appear on the Medal Roll for the MGC.  The numbers jump from 12260  to 12263 - this means either (a) he did not serve in a theatre of war, therefore no medals or (b) on demobilisation he was serving with another unit - this seems unlikely as the MGC number does not appear on any searches.

Medals were named to the first unit a man served with and their issue was administered by his last unit.  None of the men from the Royal Sussex you have named served in a theatre of war before 1 January 1916 - no 14-15 Star the cut off date for which was 31.12.1915.

We can therefore assume they were on Home Service prior to transfer to the MGC.  Unfortunately the MGC Rolls can be misleading as some show the previous unit whether or not he was in a theatre of war.

A four digit number is usually associated with the Regular Army or the TF however, the men listed had numbers in the 77** series which is consistent with the Army Reserve.  These men enlisted in 1904 and signed up for three years with the Colours and 9 years in the Reserve. Yhe South Downs Batalions (Lowther's Lambs) the 11th 12th and 13th had their own four digit series but I don't think it went up to 7***

There is a medical record for 12262 Mullins which shows he was admitted to 34 CCS on 22.8.1918 which indicates 3 and a half years in the Army and 33 completed months with the BEF.  He was serving with 21 Battalion MGC on admission.

There is a record for 12278 Reeve (Norfolk Rgt ; Border Rgt:) which indicates enlistment 29.5.1915 no date for transfer to the MGC but embarked 25.4.1916 and posted to 98 Company. (33 Division the MGC joined at the end of April 1916.) 12253 Rutter was posted to the MGC on the 16th February 1916 and 12297 Jennings on the 29th February which gives a window for your group.

I note from the photograph no overseas stripes visible together with the apparent lack of medals it therefore seems likely he spent his entire service as an instructor in the UK. Joined Royal Sussex on an indeterminate date, may have been a reservist and posted to MGC February 1916.  One of the early recruits to the Corps as indicated by his number, the MGC (Infantry) began numbering at 3000 most of the lower  numbers were allocated to serving machine gun teams in the Infantry Battalions who were moved into the Corps.

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First stab at a nearby numbers search. (Went a bit overboard as this overlaps into one of my own projects :)

MGC 12258 George B. Bigley was 20796 Royal Fusiliers, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12259 Robert J Holdford  was 6387 Royal Fusiliers, first landed in France 1-9-15.

MGC 12260 Edward A Simmons was 9576 Royal Fusiliers, first landed in France 1-9-15.

MGC 12263 Thomas McDougall was 7857 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12265 Ernest Kennard was 7749 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12266 Sidney Alfred Mullins was 7705 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Medical admission register entry dated 22/08/18. He had been in the Army 3 years 6 months and had served 33 months in the field.

MGC 12267 James A Goad was 7731 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12268 Charles F. Calicott was 7706 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12269 Albert Chivers was 15103 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12270 William R. Carman was 21153 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12271 Ernest Roger Purple was 21111 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War  after 31/12/15. Ernest was from East Dereham in Norfolk and had originally been 18129 in the Norfolk Regiment. He was killed in action on the 5th May 1916. I have very, very tentatively identified him as part of a large draft that went to the 10th Battalion, Border Regiment on the 9th November 1915 and were allocated numbers in the range 21085 – 23208. (Much more work needs to be done on that, so it’s not set in stone).

MGC 12272 Edward Powley was D/55504 & 393251 Dragoon Guards and subsequently 370558 Labour Corps. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12273 Stanley Riches was 21188 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12274 Augustus Frederick Runacres was 21235 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Augustus was from Diss in Norfolk and had originally been 19325 Norfolk Regiment. He was Killed in Action on the 3rd May 1917.

MGC 12275 George Rix was formerly 18376 Norfolk Regiment and 21233 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12276 Alfred Walter Shalders was formerly 18012 Norfolk Regiment and 21238 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. He was from Yarmouth in Norfolk and appeared on a casualty list in the edition of the Norwich Mercury dated March 17th, 1917 as wounded. He would subsequently be killed in action on the 29th September 1917.

MGC 12277 Herbert L Skeet was was formerly 18059 Norfolk Regiment and 21202 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12278 Raymond A. Reeve was formerly 19433 Norfolk Regiment and 21232 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Surviving service records only relate to his pension claim for a knee injury suffered while on drill at Grantham late in 1918. B.103’s (Casualty Form Active Service) that have survived start from late summer 1916 when he was already in France with the MGC.

MGC 12279 Ernest R. Scott was formerly 18307 Norfolk Regiment and 21236 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12280 Thomas Oliver was 81723 Cheshire Regiment. Medals weren’t issued until 1932 so not clear in which order and the Service Medal Roll reference quoted may not be unit specific. March 1918 Medical Admission record had him serving with 12 Battalion MGC but doesn’t reference length of service or time in the field.

MGC 12281 Albert Gower was 8043 Royal Sussex Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12282 Thomas Holland was 8041 King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12283 Alfred Jones was North Staffordshire Regiment 10225 and 68116. First landed Gallipoli 13/07/15 with 7th Bn. 1915 Star issued by MGC, VM & BWM by North Staffs.

MGC 12284 John Callon was North Staffordshire Regiment 15595. First landed Gallipoli 13/07/15 with 7th Bn.

MGC 12285 – No MiC of service record match

MGC 12286 John W. Fenton also Lincolnshire Regiment 11152 & 51958 & 63667 and Leicestershire Regiment 16789. First landed Gallipoli 19-7-15. Looks like Medals may have been issued by the Lincolnshire Regiment. (A note across the top of the card also looks like it refers to the West Riding Regiment).

MGC 12287 Sydney Smith was 14436 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15.

MGC 12288 Frank Hogg was 11107 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15. KiA 16/07/16.

MGC 12289 Michael Narey was 14308 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15 with the 8th Bn.

MGC 12290 Stanley R. Churcher was 15596 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-9-15(?) with the 8th Bn.

MGC 12291 Arnold Robertshaw was 12003 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15 with the 8th Bn.

MGC 12292 Thomas Brown was 13290 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 15-7-15 with the 9th Bn.

MGC 12293 Hubert Pearce was 12734 West Riding Regiment. First landed France 29-7-15.

MGC 12294 Harry Levine was 11766 West Riding Regiment. First landed France 26-8-15 with the 10th Bn. Medical Board papers from 1920 only.

MGC 12295 Alfred Weston was 3/16506 West Riding Regiment. medal entitlement split across two MiCs. First landed France 29-8-15. Medical Admission Register entry from December 1917 does not give length of service and time in field force.

MGC 12296 John Guerin was 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment 7989. First landed France 6-10-14.

MGC 12297 William Praed Jennings was 18633 Lincolnshire Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Surviving service records.

2025721930_WilliamJenningsServiceRecordsourcedFMPcrop2.jpg.ac58e9cc14df70d9b5067df2eb44e4b4.jpg

2126522320_WilliamJenningsServiceRecordsourcedFMPcrop1.jpg.52d62a4e5dc34fe67dbdcb424a747c08.jpg

Images courtesy FindMyPast.

Some tentative inferences at this point.

  • The Royal Sussex Regiment aren’t pre-war Regulars with four digit numbers. Alternative candidates exist for those. Sidney Mullins length of service from the Medical Register shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but would indicate the group enlisted about January to February 1915
  • Likely they served in either a Territorial or Service Battalion which had a unit prefix in front of the four digit number.
  • If I’m right that the ex Norfolk Regiment men transferred to the 10th Battalion, Border Regiment on the 9th November 1915, then that is the earliest they could have been moved on to the MGC. It would seem likely that unless the system was playing catch up, the Royal Sussex men were transferred to the MGC no more than a day of so earlier than the Border Regiment men. The extracts from the records for William Jennings makes it look more likely to have been February 1916.
  • Sidney Mullins 33 months in the field by August 1918 would have him going overseas in April\ May 1916. Edward Roger Purple is KiA on the 5th May 1916. Paperwork for William Jennings also has him going overseas in April 1916.
  • Working backwards through the service numbers may turn up an earlier date that will bracket the period Frank Cannon moved to the MGC – I’m just too "MGC’d" out to give it a go tonight.:)

Hope that helps,
Peter

Edited by PRC
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Apologies if I have missed something but what is either up the sleeve or being held in the hand please?  

C5507092-1749-4BEF-A528-ED8E3F4535AE.jpeg

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5 minutes ago, Alisonmallen62 said:

Apologies if I have missed something but what is either up the sleeve or being held in the hand please?  

It was a common place to stuff a handkerchief back then Alison, but in this case I believe it’s a pair of gloves, although I am not 100% certain.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Ah I see many thanks! 

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23 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

You should find his regimental numbers on the medal roll and index card to which I’ve referred.  If you managed to find birth certificates you will surely be able to find the medal records.  As well as the NA all the genealogical websites have copies.

Many thanks - will investigate all areas. Appreciate your response.

19 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

It was a common place to stuff a handkerchief back then Alison, but in this case I believe it’s a pair of gloves, although I am not 100% certain.

Yes, I was thinking it is the tobacco rolled up and put into the sleeve, whilst smoking...

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20 hours ago, kenf48 said:

 

Not sure what you mean by 'automatically transferred to the MGC'.

Frank Cannon does not appear on the Medal Roll for the MGC.  The numbers jump from 12260  to 12263 - this means either (a) he did not serve in a theatre of war, therefore no medals or (b) on demobilisation he was serving with another unit - this seems unlikely as the MGC number does not appear on any searches.

Medals were named to the first unit a man served with and their issue was administered by his last unit.  None of the men from the Royal Sussex you have named served in a theatre of war before 1 January 1916 - no 14-15 Star the cut off date for which was 31.12.1915.

We can therefore assume they were on Home Service prior to transfer to the MGC.  Unfortunately the MGC Rolls can be misleading as some show the previous unit whether or not he was in a theatre of war.

A four digit number is usually associated with the Regular Army or the TF however, the men listed had numbers in the 77** series which is consistent with the Army Reserve.  These men enlisted in 1904 and signed up for three years with the Colours and 9 years in the Reserve. Yhe South Downs Batalions (Lowther's Lambs) the 11th 12th and 13th had their own four digit series but I don't think it went up to 7***

There is a medical record for 12262 Mullins which shows he was admitted to 34 CCS on 22.8.1918 which indicates 3 and a half years in the Army and 33 completed months with the BEF.  He was serving with 21 Battalion MGC on admission.

There is a record for 12278 Reeve (Norfolk Rgt ; Border Rgt:) which indicates enlistment 29.5.1915 no date for transfer to the MGC but embarked 25.4.1916 and posted to 98 Company. (33 Division the MGC joined at the end of April 1916.) 12253 Rutter was posted to the MGC on the 16th February 1916 and 12297 Jennings on the 29th February which gives a window for your group.

I note from the photograph no overseas stripes visible together with the apparent lack of medals it therefore seems likely he spent his entire service as an instructor in the UK. Joined Royal Sussex on an indeterminate date, may have been a reservist and posted to MGC February 1916.  One of the early recruits to the Corps as indicated by his number, the MGC (Infantry) began numbering at 3000 most of the lower  numbers were allocated to serving machine gun teams in the Infantry Battalions who were moved into the Corps.

Many thanks for your response! What I mean by automatically transferred, is that the regiments transfer the soldiers automatically to the MGC by instruction from above, without any agreement from the soldiers themselves. I did investigate the medal card of the MGC and couldn't find one either. He must have joined the Royal Sussex Regiment sometime in 1914, as one of his daughters birth certificates, December 1914 stated working in Civilian life. On another's daughters birth certificate August 1916, it was stated that he was a sergeant of the MGC.

I know that years later, say during the Second World War, he had a medal ribbon on his civilian jacket and was extremely proud of his service in the regiment and MGC. Two of his sons chose to join the RAF during World War II. :-o) 

I really appreciate all your efforts in the numbering and referencing. It would be really wonderful to receive the actual records, and it was a great tragedy for a huge amount of MGC records to be lost in the fire.

In one of the comments from his daughter (passed away now), was the fact they he had huge veins coming from his forearms, after being at Grantham. So I assume he returned home for some leave, saw the wife and children and then returned. Lest we not forget!

All the very best

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20 hours ago, PRC said:

First stab at a nearby numbers search. (Went a bit overboard as this overlaps into one of my own projects :)

MGC 12258 George B. Bigley was 20796 Royal Fusiliers, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12259 Robert J Holdford  was 6387 Royal Fusiliers, first landed in France 1-9-15.

MGC 12260 Edward A Simmons was 9576 Royal Fusiliers, first landed in France 1-9-15.

MGC 12263 Thomas McDougall was 7857 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12265 Ernest Kennard was 7749 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12266 Sidney Alfred Mullins was 7705 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Medical admission register entry dated 22/08/18. He had been in the Army 3 years 6 months and had served 33 months in the field.

MGC 12267 James A Goad was 7731 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12268 Charles F. Calicott was 7706 Royal Sussex, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12269 Albert Chivers was 15103 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12270 William R. Carman was 21153 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12271 Ernest Roger Purple was 21111 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War  after 31/12/15. Ernest was from East Dereham in Norfolk and had originally been 18129 in the Norfolk Regiment. He was killed in action on the 5th May 1916. I have very, very tentatively identified him as part of a large draft that went to the 10th Battalion, Border Regiment on the 9th November 1915 and were allocated numbers in the range 21085 – 23208. (Much more work needs to be done on that, so it’s not set in stone).

MGC 12272 Edward Powley was D/55504 & 393251 Dragoon Guards and subsequently 370558 Labour Corps. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12273 Stanley Riches was 21188 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12274 Augustus Frederick Runacres was 21235 Border Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Augustus was from Diss in Norfolk and had originally been 19325 Norfolk Regiment. He was Killed in Action on the 3rd May 1917.

MGC 12275 George Rix was formerly 18376 Norfolk Regiment and 21233 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12276 Alfred Walter Shalders was formerly 18012 Norfolk Regiment and 21238 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. He was from Yarmouth in Norfolk and appeared on a casualty list in the edition of the Norwich Mercury dated March 17th, 1917 as wounded. He would subsequently be killed in action on the 29th September 1917.

MGC 12277 Herbert L Skeet was was formerly 18059 Norfolk Regiment and 21202 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12278 Raymond A. Reeve was formerly 19433 Norfolk Regiment and 21232 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Surviving service records only relate to his pension claim for a knee injury suffered while on drill at Grantham late in 1918. B.103’s (Casualty Form Active Service) that have survived start from late summer 1916 when he was already in France with the MGC.

MGC 12279 Ernest R. Scott was formerly 18307 Norfolk Regiment and 21236 Border Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12280 Thomas Oliver was 81723 Cheshire Regiment. Medals weren’t issued until 1932 so not clear in which order and the Service Medal Roll reference quoted may not be unit specific. March 1918 Medical Admission record had him serving with 12 Battalion MGC but doesn’t reference length of service or time in the field.

MGC 12281 Albert Gower was 8043 Royal Sussex Regiment, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12282 Thomas Holland was 8041 King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, first landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15.

MGC 12283 Alfred Jones was North Staffordshire Regiment 10225 and 68116. First landed Gallipoli 13/07/15 with 7th Bn. 1915 Star issued by MGC, VM & BWM by North Staffs.

MGC 12284 John Callon was North Staffordshire Regiment 15595. First landed Gallipoli 13/07/15 with 7th Bn.

MGC 12285 – No MiC of service record match

MGC 12286 John W. Fenton also Lincolnshire Regiment 11152 & 51958 & 63667 and Leicestershire Regiment 16789. First landed Gallipoli 19-7-15. Looks like Medals may have been issued by the Lincolnshire Regiment. (A note across the top of the card also looks like it refers to the West Riding Regiment).

MGC 12287 Sydney Smith was 14436 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15.

MGC 12288 Frank Hogg was 11107 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15. KiA 16/07/16.

MGC 12289 Michael Narey was 14308 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15 with the 8th Bn.

MGC 12290 Stanley R. Churcher was 15596 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-9-15(?) with the 8th Bn.

MGC 12291 Arnold Robertshaw was 12003 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 7-7-15 with the 8th Bn.

MGC 12292 Thomas Brown was 13290 West Riding Regiment. First landed Gallipoli 15-7-15 with the 9th Bn.

MGC 12293 Hubert Pearce was 12734 West Riding Regiment. First landed France 29-7-15.

MGC 12294 Harry Levine was 11766 West Riding Regiment. First landed France 26-8-15 with the 10th Bn. Medical Board papers from 1920 only.

MGC 12295 Alfred Weston was 3/16506 West Riding Regiment. medal entitlement split across two MiCs. First landed France 29-8-15. Medical Admission Register entry from December 1917 does not give length of service and time in field force.

MGC 12296 John Guerin was 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment 7989. First landed France 6-10-14.

MGC 12297 William Praed Jennings was 18633 Lincolnshire Regiment. First landed in a Theatre of War after 31/12/15. Surviving service records.

2025721930_WilliamJenningsServiceRecordsourcedFMPcrop2.jpg.ac58e9cc14df70d9b5067df2eb44e4b4.jpg

2126522320_WilliamJenningsServiceRecordsourcedFMPcrop1.jpg.52d62a4e5dc34fe67dbdcb424a747c08.jpg

Images courtesy FindMyPast.

Some tentative inferences at this point.

  • The Royal Sussex Regiment aren’t pre-war Regulars with four digit numbers. Alternative candidates exist for those. Sidney Mullins length of service from the Medical Register shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but would indicate the group enlisted about January to February 1915
  • Likely they served in either a Territorial or Service Battalion which had a unit prefix in front of the four digit number.
  • If I’m right that the ex Norfolk Regiment men transferred to the 10th Battalion, Border Regiment on the 9th November 1915, then that is the earliest they could have been moved on to the MGC. It would seem likely that unless the system was playing catch up, the Royal Sussex men were transferred to the MGC no more than a day of so earlier than the Border Regiment men. The extracts from the records for William Jennings makes it look more likely to have been February 1916.
  • Sidney Mullins 33 months in the field by August 1918 would have him going overseas in April\ May 1916. Edward Roger Purple is KiA on the 5th May 1916. Paperwork for William Jennings also has him going overseas in April 1916.
  • Working backwards through the service numbers may turn up an earlier date that will bracket the period Frank Cannon moved to the MGC – I’m just too "MGC’d" out to give it a go tonight.:)

Hope that helps,
Peter

Thank you Peter and this was a great piece of work and exactly what I was looking for, as well as some of the other information in the forum. It is all exciting staff and really appreciate your efforts. I am extremely interested in my grandfather Frank Cannon and what happened to him pre /during and post WW1. 

Any further information you research and retrieve, I would be extremely grateful for and appreciate your efforts.

Incidentally, Franks grandfather Patrick Cannon served for 24 years in the third Regiment of foot (I need to double check this regiment), served in Malta and the Crimean, where he was cited for bravery.

He was a Chelsea pensioner at the end of his career and died at just 56 years of age!

All the best

David

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3 hours ago, David Cannon said:

Thank you Peter and this was a great piece of work and exactly what I was looking for, as well as some of the other information in the forum. It is all exciting staff and really appreciate your efforts.

Actually I was so excited* at nailing down a few more of the bulk transfer of men from the Norfolk Regiment to the Border Regiment (and their subsequent fate) that I entirely overlooked that @kenf48 had aleady given you the salient points, plus a date of transfer for 12253 Rutter that most likely narrows your window for the transfer of the Royal Sussex Regiment men down to the period 16th - 29th January 1916. At this point I don't think you're going to be able to get it much closer than that barring personal diaries, paybooks, letters and the like for one of them turning up.

3 hours ago, David Cannon said:

He must have joined the Royal Sussex Regiment sometime in 1914, as one of his daughters birth certificates, December 1914 stated working in Civilian life.

Actually wouldn't that tend to support the January \ February 1915 date inferred from the length of service for Sidney Mullins.

Cheers,
Peter

*And yes, I do need to get out more

 

 

Edited by PRC
Typo
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1 hour ago, PRC said:

Actually I was so excited* at nailing down a few more of the bulk transfer of men from the Norfolk Regiment to the Border Regiment tand their subsequent fate) that I entirely overlooked that @kenf48 had aleady given you the salient points, plus a date of transfer for 12253 Rutter that most likely narrows your window for the transfer of the Royal Sussex Regiment men down to the period 16th - 29th January 1916. At this point I don't think you're going to be able to get it much closer than that barring personal diaries, paybooks, letters and the like for one of them turning up.

Actually wouldn't that tend to support the January \ February 1915 date inferred from the length of service for Sidney Mullins.

Cheers,
Peter

*And yes, I do need to get out more

Thank you Peter and absolutely agree! I think Frank Cannon must have joined 1914, and then transferred as per the above dates. How quick can someone get to Sergeant, is the key? 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, David Cannon said:

How quick can someone get to Sergeant, is the key? 

In a war time army there is no standard period or requirement to pass exams. Time expired veterans who joined up again for the fight, and others who were enticed back for their experience by a one year short service enlistment could be made sergeants effectively from day 1. Among the wartime only service battalions that went overseas in late spring to late summer 1915 most of the sergeants were men who were new to the army and had less than 12 months service. So my personal belief would be that his promotion to Sergeant doesn't really help with length of service.

35 minutes ago, David Cannon said:

Thank you Peter and absolutely agree! I think Frank Cannon must have joined 1914,

Um...I'm consistantly saying he joined up in 1915. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree :)

Cheers,
Peter

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I agree with Peter’s comments regarding promotion to sergeant and enlistment date.

As regards what’s stuffed up his sleeve, if you examine the way it fills out much of his lower sleeve, it’s far too bulky to be a tobacco stash/pouch.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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19 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

I agree with Peter’s comments regarding promotion to sergeant and enlistment date.

As regards what’s stuffed up his sleeve, if you examine the way it fills out much of his lower sleeve, it’s far too bulky to be a tobacco stash/pouch.

Were gloves part of standard kit issued at the time for his rank please as it is new to me though I have seen plenty of photos of officers with them.  Am just interested not trying to start a debate on what’s up the sleeve.  Thank you

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  • Admin

Acknowledging Peter’s observation as to promotion on 11 August 1914  the War Office laid down that NCOs for ‘Kitchener’ formations should be selected from ex Regulars.  Commanding Officers were told, ‘one ex-soldier may be selected and promoted to sergeant for every twenty five recruits and one corporal for every twenty recruits enlisted fo the New Army.  Paid lance corporals May be selected from old soldiers or suitable recruits in the proportion of three lance corporals for every fifty recruits.’

There were still insufficient numbers of NCOs given the expansion of the Army.  Those who joined as ‘Pals’ were reluctant to ‘take a stripe’.  The majority of Battalion commanders therefore selected NCOs from promising or suitable recruits.  The process although random was reasonably successful.  I notice Frank Cannon had been a Telegraph Messenger (1901 Census) so at least had some uniform experience.

Incidentally George Coppard (With a Machine Gun to Cambrai) was only posted to Grantham after he had recovered from a wound and was not very complimentary about the Instructors there, even going so far as to question their parentage.  He claimed they were from the Guards.  In general accounts describe the training and drills at Grantham as hard.  Later in the war, especially after conscription, many of the recruits were young and it seems discipline was of necessity, harsh.  Thousands of soldiers passed through the training school.

You may find this manual of interest

https://vickersmg.blog/product/machine-gun-school-instructors-manual/

as to the apparent lack of medals, there was a move to create a ‘General Service Medal’ for those men who, through no fault of their own volunteered and remained on Home Service’ but the idea was abandoned.

 

 

 

 

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