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Remembered Today:

Is this the same soldier?


A footsoldier
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Any thoughts on this are very welcome:

Soldier 1. Thomas Frederick Buckingham James was baptised on 18 August 1899. In 1911 he is living at 29 High Street Caerleon aged 11. The local paper reports the burial of Frederick Buckingham James, late of the 3/4 Welsh  Brigade RFA,  in his local churchyard on 15 May 1920. The church record of 15 May 1920 shows the burial of Frederick Thomas Buckingham James of 29 High Street Caerleon aged 20. There is a pension index card for Signaller Thomas Frederick Buckingham James RFA, of 29 High Street Caerleon, discharged with a pension on 14 May 1919, reg number 156898. This is all the same person.

Soldier 2. There is a medal index card is for Gnr Thos F B James RFA number 742051. The medal roll also lists Gnr Thos Frdk B James RFA. T, number 742051. 742051 was a number allocated to the Welsh3/4 Brigade RFA.

It seems unlikely that there were two Thomas Frederick B James in the same brigade. It looks very much like soldier I and soldier 2 are the same person, but the numbers are different. Is this possible as the pension index card and medal records show a different number? Could his number have changed to 156898 by 1919? I understood that six figure territorial numbers stayed with a soldier.

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I would conclude he is the same man.

Men joining the 4th Welsh Brigade (TF) in early 1915 were numbered with initial low numbers - most commonly 4 digits long and were re-numbered with 6-digit numbers when the TF were re-numbered as a whole.

James had the 4-digit number 1976 and the 6-digit number 742051 - and his medal roll (& MIC) reflects those numbers.

For reasons I can't remember (or, more likely, for reasons I don't fully understand) some of these men were allotted service numbers from the so-called regular number series when they served, I understand, with such a unit.

James was evidently allotted the number 156898 as indicated on his Pension Card records.

John Larvan (and no doubt others too if you were to look wider afield) had a similar experience (see image, courtesy of Ancestry) - he was originally numbered 1498, re-numbered to 742056 but was also allotted 156887 along the way. Like James, his Medal Roll is under his 742xxx number (i.e. 742056).

Regards

Russ

 

 

Larvan.jpg

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David Porter is the expert on RFA numbering and I know he will be able to explain this "mess" :o with some of the RFA numbering that went on at this time - I've tagged him here in the hope he might pop a long and give us all chapter and verse !

@David Porter

 

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Thanks Russ, this happened a lot, it is a mess which seemed to have not been foreseen.

Welcome to the Forum A footsoldier,

The 156xxx numbers were issued to a block transfer of about 400 men from 68th Divisional Artillery to 4A Reserve Brigade RFA on September 8, 1916. As these men were transferring to a Regular unit they were all issued with a Regular number from the current batch or batches allocated to 4A Reserve Brigade RFA. These men would be posted overseas as necessary and would be, in the most part, no longer part of the Welsh Divisional Artillery. From late November 1916 there was a process set in motion to renumber the Territorial Force artillery with a unique six figure number which they would carry forward in whichever artillery unit they served in after January 1, 1917. This renumbering did not apply to those still serving in Regular units on January 1, 1917.

However, around the middle of 1917, an instruction was issued such that all men on Territorial Force attestations should have a new TF number. This prompted another round of renumbering to those serving with Regular units (apart from those enlisting under the Derby Scheme who were on Short Service attestations). These new numbers were issued piecemeal as and when the records came before a clerk and sometimes not until they were discharged to Class Z reserve. So the records were moved over to the TF Wing at Woolwich. Depending on how switched on the Record Office was, such a man may have only known the one number throughout his whole active service overseas. But having two new numbers issued caused an awful lot of confusion for many. One mother heard her son had been killed but was not informed by the War Office and made an enquiry. She was told there was no casualty for the number she provided. His records were held under another number and it was many months before they admitted the awful truth.

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A big thank you to RussT and David Porter. Your comments are really helpful. This soldier lies in an unmarkd grave and is not commemorated by the CWGC. I hope that it is OK if I use some of David's comments in making a case to the CWGC.

 

@David Porter @RussT

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I did wonder if he was a possible Non Com, as there doesn't seem to be anything in Soldiers Effects (Ancestry) or indeed CWGC. He died over a year after discharge and you need to link reason for discharge to cause of death for there to be any chance of a commemoration. The problem is that the discharge seems to tie in with demobilization rather than for wounds or sickness which would prompt a Silver War Badge (which he did not get). So the Pension Ledgers/Cards need to be looked at in order to get a reason for a pension award or if he actually got one. 

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He received the victory and war medals which I assume indicates service in a theatre of war. He was discharged due to a heart condition on in May 1919 and died a year later at home. His condition was accepted as at least partly due to his war service. 

@David Porter

1910271352_pensionindexcard.jpg.bb1daaef0e1006085c0974028be7b90b.jpg

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It might not add anything at all, on the other hand, it might link the second number to the man...

Have you looked at the Absent Voters List to see if one survives for Caerleon?

Monmouthshire (Abertillery, Bedwellty, Ebbw Vale, Monmouth and Pontypool divisions) lists are held by Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale.

Newport (Monmouthshire) lists for 1918-1919 and 1921-1923 are held in Newport Reference Library.

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