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Remembered Today:

Pte 103220 Frederick William Skelsey. Machine Gun Corps?


Brian J Owen
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I am trying to find any information regarding Pte 103220 Frederick William Skelsey Machine Gun Corps, he was my wife's grandfather, born in Leamington in 1897. The family have his Victory Medal, but unaware to the where his War medal is. Looking at his medal card it just states his number and M.C.G. corps, I have checked Pension records and there is no reference to him.

So I have checked soldiers numbers around him, medal and pension records, and came across Pte 103219 Stanley Edward Judd, on one of his pension cards its also written Warwick Reg 24556, can I assume (a) Frederick was also in the Warwick's and (b) how can I find the Battalion that they belonged to as we are trying to locate where he may have served.

Kind regards,

Brian

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16 minutes ago, Brian J Owen said:

can I assume (a) Frederick was also in the Warwick's

Assume nothing [lest = ass u me]

Even presuming is precariousl

M

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20 minutes ago, Brian J Owen said:

The family have his Victory Medal, but unaware to the where his War medal is.

Unfortunately such silver medals were often sold for cash in times of hardship - often then smelted.

Assume nothing = perhaps they may not have been smelted - Medals may have been divided amongst family members, as was sometimes the case, and then gone who knows where. ??

Guess you can still keep looking = Good luck.

M

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Can his service number reveal his MGC Company / Battalion.

Edited by JulianB
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Julian,

no it can’t. MGC men are particularly tricky.

He is listed under his MGC number as wounded on the 21st Dec 1918 HMSO list. I haven’t done a surname search yet.

 

1E581997-0B09-4AA4-A1EB-9130CBCCAFF5.jpeg

Edited by AndrewSid
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Andrew, the MGC Company I'm researching (123rd Coy MGC) has strings of Service Numbers - for example there are lots of numbers starting with 103xxx...... and of course adjacent numbers.  By hook or by crook I've found over a 100 men of the 123rd  (officers are easy - WD!)  

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Julian,

I’ve tried and failed to find a great uncles pre MGC unit so I recognise the issue.

I’ve found this on BNA which you may have. There is another article detailing the death of man of the same name detailng three other serving brothers. The addresses are different sadly but are some time apart.  Your chap may be one of the brothers if you can research the family tree a bit.

First report is of his wounding reported 22 Nov 1918.  The other of the death of a Richard dated April 1915

E3DD3CEC-5C39-4B80-A808-8DF5BC05F388.jpeg

87A3CAA3-FC4E-48D8-BF90-586350E76230.jpeg

Edited by AndrewSid
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He only served in a theatre of war with the MGC. He was posted into the Corps on or around the 5th May 1917 from the Depot of his previous regiment. In the absence of a service record impossible to say where he served prior to the MG Corps, nor is it possible with any certainty to say which Battalion he was serving with when wounded.

You can work through all the names on the casualty list to see if there is any consistency as to wounding, sadly it is easier to look for the dead on the list.

As he was from leamington it is quite possible he was posted into the MGC from the Depot Battalion of the Warwicks.  103224 Dungey was one of the men who transferred into the MGC from the Dorset Regiment, he was killed on the 14th October 1918 (which is about right for the casualty list posted above) and was serving with the 34th Battalion - on the basis you have to start somewhere might be worth a look

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1630544/edward-john-dungey/

Then again, 103217 Benn was also from Warwickshire and again posted to the MGC from the 3rd Bn Warwicks on the 5th May and on completion of training transferred and renumbered  into the Corps on the 22 July 1917.  He went to France with  255 Company on the 12th November 1917. On the reorganisation of the MGC in March 1918 this Company was absorbed into the 47th Battalion (47th (2nd London) Division).  255 Company was raised at Grantham and posted to the 47th Division.

So more digging, at the moment your guess is as good as mine but war diaries are currently free to download from TNA and you may get lucky.

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Gentleman, thank you for all the information, I appreciate it and will attempt to find out more, if you could find an attachment to the  Royal Warwickshire Regiment, it would be much appreciated, many thanks for your comments, 

Regards,

Brian 

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I think I would look at the ten or so men either side of him on his MGC medal roll. It may give you a suggestion of previous unit, or not.I have had a go based on the thread and a quick look at pension records. Note I have bracketed him with ex Warwick Regt men. It will not be definitive but may help.

103217 Benn - pension card states Warwick’s 23999 3rd Bn

103218 Wilcox - not found 

103219  Judd - stated as being Warwicks 24556

103220 Skelsey 

103221 -  Beasley pension card states also Warwicks 24005

103222 - Lamb -not found 

103223 - Gill - previous unit not stated 

103224 - Dungey - previously Dorset regiment 

 

Andy

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12 hours ago, Brian J Owen said:

if you could find an attachment to the  Royal Warwickshire Regiment, it would be much appreciated,

Born in 1897 he would be nineteen and eligible for active service overseas after initial training.

The Warwicks men in the list above numbered in the 24*** series date from February/March 1917.  Say 12 weeks basic training and then posted from the Home or Reserve Battalion (3rd or 4th) to the MGC as stated around May.  Six weeks at Grantham then depending on age either in a reinforcement draft to the BEF and the MGC Depot at Camiers from where posted to an active service Company.  Or may have remained in the UK until November and age nineteen and to France with 255 Company.  

In the absence of a service record as previously noted at this stage of the war difficult to track.

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Apologies for late reply but only just had chance to get on my laptop. thank you again for the latest thoughts and ideas, its frustrating to be so close but so far away.

Would the Royal Warwickshire Reg hold the muster rolls for the 3rd/4th Battalion? i feel there must be a ledger sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere.

How or where can I find MGC1001B64 page 5234 of the medal index card?

Thank you all again,

Regards,

Brian

 

 

image.png

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As far as I am aware the 5234 reference is the Medal roll book reference number so you already have it.  

your next step is the regimental museum or equally likely county records office.  There may be a ledger but for that stage in the war its a big ask.

I trust there isn’t a photo of him anywhere?

Andy
 

 

Edited by AndrewSid
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Hi Andy, thank you for the reply,  most admit I have no idea about interpreting all the references. Do you know if the  Medal rolls areat the N.A.?

As someone mentioned earlier he was wounded would he have qualified for a  S.W.B? Look forward to your comments, 

Thanks again 

Regards, 

Brian 

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Brian,

Silver war badge in the main was for those discharged due to injury or sickness during the war.  A better explanation is below.  He is not on the silver war badge lists on Ancestory. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_War_Badge

The medal roll (BWM & VM) is the one already available on Ancestory and or FMP and the one we have used to look at men around him.  I’m afraid it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know. 
 

Andy

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Andy,

Thanks for the reply, I will keep digging a snippet will turn up, I will ask around the family to see if anyone has a photo, 

Thanks again, 

Regards, 

Brian 

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Medal roll shows when he was discharged, and Class Z reserve - so not Silver War Badge.

41629_636897_11147-00108.jpg

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Thank you for posting roll, I noticed Pte 103209 A.E.Wallis was killed in action 17th August  1917, is there anyway that Pte F.W.Skelsey was serving with this group men?

Is it possible there is a common denominator ?

Would they have belonged to the same unit?

Thanks again,  brilliant,gives me more avenues to explore, 

Regards, 

Brian 

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Wallis was also ex R Warwicks (24575) and was killed with 153 Coy MGC.

as I’ve posted above its clear your man sits well within a group of ex R Warwick men from which we can both date approx entry into the R Warwicks and then the MGC. As Ken has said which MGC unit he went to from Grantham is still unknown. 

Edited by AndrewSid
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Just looked on cwgc and Wallis  was with 153 coy m.g.c when he was killed, 

but as said before assume nothing, thank you all for your contribution, much appreciated 

Regards 

Brian

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The Medal Roll is explicit evidence he was only on active service in the BEF whilst serving with the MGC.  The only ‘direct entrance’ into the Corps occurred on the formation of the MGC in October 1915 when existing battalion machine gunners were brigaded into Brigade Companies.  These men are easily identified as they are numerically grouped with their previous regimental comrades on the Rolls.  After 1916 two MGC officers visited home or Depot Battalions to identify suitable recruits who effectively had completed basic training (approximately 12 weeks) or previously wounded men waiting foot posting to active service battalions of the parent regiment.  Those who were selected for the MGC were posted to the MGC training Depot for further training.  At this stage of the war some were posted to the BEF and others into the Heavy Branch or Tank Corps once qualified as a machine gunner.

 

So to return to the timeline for Pte Skelsey we know he was married. We don’t  know his civilian occupation.  He was either a conscript or more likely a Derby or Group Scheme enlistment who had secured exemption from Military Service from the Local Tribunal until the ‘manpower crisis’ of 1917 and the Military Service (Review of Exemptions) Act 1917.  To be posted to the MGC he would need to be medical category A1.  By all means contact the museum but as noted above they are unlikely to have records of men called up or conscripted around February/March 1917.  Unfortunately for all we know he could have been called up earlier and posted to the Training Reserve where he would hav another number prior the Warwickshire.  He may hacve even been in a home service unit of ,for example the ASC. We simply don’t know.

 

Each draft into the MGC were numbered consecutively so for example six men posted at the same time from the Warwickshire would probably not have sequential numbers or even similar age or service, but the six would be likely to be give sequential MGC numbers.  That is why tracking service in the MGC is so difficult without corroboration. It does however, tell us his date of transfer with a high degree of accuracy.

I ‘m not seeking to dampen your enthusiasm but until corroborated close number analysis in the MGC is at best speculative.  The daily orders of the MGC with the exception of a few fragments on FMP were destroyed by the Luftwaffe in the Arnsude Warehouse firebombing.

In Pte Skelsey’s case it is compounded by the fact he was twice wounded.  If his first wound was a Blighty’ and he was repatriated to the UK his first unit is likely to be different from that in which he was wounded the second time.

It’s sometimes worth looking at other men on the casualty list to see if there is any pattern.  Start off with the dead and officers who are easier to track.

A much easier an less intensive method would be to find the Absent Voter List 1918 for Leamington which should list his unit.

I’d suggest your first port of call should be Warwickshire County Record Office WW1 Database

https://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/WW1Records/items?page=448&q[s]=date_from+asc

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Thanks Ken for your reply, really enjoyed reading your reply, I appreciate your help and advice, thanks again, 

Regards, 

Brian 

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Good afternoon, Pte 103202 John. T Simmons, on his pension record card there is a date of notification of  death (28/4/18),  also written looks like P.O.W.

but nothing on C.W.G.C site for him? Have I missed something?

Regards,

Brian

 

simmons.PNG

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34 minutes ago, Brian J Owen said:

Pte 103202 John. T Simmons, on his pension record card there is a date of notification of  death (28/4/18),  also written looks like P.O.W.

This is his ICRC PoW record https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/5167092/3/2

image.png.1a8a714ff61f49a41815464e74082762.png

Image courtesy of ICRC

Captured 21.3.1918, Unwounded, West Front

The pension card shows in red ink: Remarks: "Man alive C2 Cas 16-10-20"

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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