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Remembered Today:

2/Lt J F LITTLE, Intelligence Corps & RFA – thoughts sought


QUEX

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Researching Int Corps personnel is sometimes a bit challenging. This guy certainly is, and I would welcome thoughts from the cognoscenti as to whether I’m on the right track here.

There’s a medal card (actually two), which has him qualifying for the 14 Star on 13 Aug 1914 as a Lt, Int Corps and later serving in the RFA; he’s on the Interpreter & Int Corps 14 Star roll as 2/Lt J F Little with the same qualifying date and an annotation that his star was scrapped in 1924; there’s an SWB card for a 2/Lt John F Little RFA, with a qualifying date of 30 Jan 1919; and an uninformative pension card for 2/Lt J F Little RFA SR. The only other fact is that he was serving in 4 B Res Bde RFA in Dec 1917, when his name was forwarded as being eligible for the 14 Star.   

There’s no RFA BWM/VM roll reference on either medal card and I can’t find him by searching the BWM/VM rolls. There’s a SWB roll ref on the SWB card, but again I can’t find him on the SWB rolls.

His commission in the Int Corps and his departure don’t seem to have been gazetted – I certainly can’t find it. And unlike many of his Int Corps contemporaries he doesn’t appear in BEF GROs (WO123/199) for the opening months of the war. The only gazette entry I can find is for his departure from the RFA – ‘2nd Lt. J. F. Little is placed on the ret. list on account of ill-health contracted on active service. 5th Feb. 1919.

None of this administrative/medallic vagueness is terribly unusual for Int Corps officers commissioned at the start of the war although J F Little is an extreme case. Little of this has anything to do with ‘secrecy’ – the corps was assembled in a rush, a number of those commissioned departed quickly, voluntarily or otherwise (one author has referred to the ‘Darwinism’ of the corps’ evolution), and there was some administrative over/underlaps between the WO and GHQ which added to the fun.

But I’m happy to believe that a John F Little went to France with the initial tranche of Int Corps subalterns in Aug 1914 and subsequently served in the RFA.

So who was he? 

Looking at the Army Lists shows only one officer with those initials, and he is a gunner, albeit in the rather exotic (to me) Jersey Militia Artillery – Cadet John Franklin Little, from the Victoria College Contingent, Officers Training Corps, to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 7th November 1914’.

This guy was born in Jersey in 1893. His father was a wealthy scion of the publishing Littles, his mother was a daughter of James MacNeill Whistler – this is American aristocracy. His father seems to have lived mostly in Europe and in the 1901 census J F Little is boarding with a family in St Helier – parents nowhere to be seen. Presumably he was at some stage educated at Victoria College. His father dies in 1904 (leaving an estate of $4 million). In 1913 John Franklin Little is studying in Zurich. He seems to have remained a US citizen at least throughout the FWW.

The prosperous, cosmopolitan, background and the familiarity with Europe and European languages is very 1914 Int Corps-ish.  The fact he’s a USCIT doesn’t matter, at least one other 1914 Int Corps subaltern was the same.

So, hypothesis. J F Little is John Franklin Little. He’s commissioned in the Int Corps in Aug 1914 but for whatever reason it doesn’t work out and he departs the Int Corps. He then goes down the ex-OTC route to get commissioned in the Jersey gunners.

Am I missing a very obvious source? Is there an alternative JF Little? Am I simply making it up?

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He has a file still with the MOD under P161827. Correct year of birth too.

little.jpg.66999120c142dde4e86d887afb38b140.jpg

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4 minutes ago, David Porter said:

He has a file still with the MOD under P161827. Correct year of birth too.

Ta - something to look forwards to!

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  • 2 months later...

From our Rolls on our website

www.greatwarci.net

London Gazzette No. 28981 and 30520

LITTLE John Franklin    NA  Second Lieutenant  UK  Royal Field Artillery      OV, Ex-RMIJ Artillery, LG 28981, 30520 
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15 hours ago, 1RGLI said:

From our Rolls on our website

www.greatwarci.net

London Gazzette No. 28981 and 30520

LITTLE John Franklin    NA  Second Lieutenant  UK  Royal Field Artillery      OV, Ex-RMIJ Artillery, LG 28981, 30520 

VMT.

 

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  • 7 months later...

Hi,

did you get anywhere with this Guy - JF Little, with regard to:-

"He has a file still with the MOD under P161827. Correct year of birth too"

 

Mark.

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Hi Mark,

no progress - he's on the long list to be done once the retained files actually make it to TNA.  I'm convinced I've the right guy, but I've no actual evidence to support this.  

 

Q

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