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Remembered Today:

Somerset Light Infantry - Royal Irish Regiment


familyhistoryman

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I am researching a number men from Darwen who in early September 1914 joined the Somerset Light Infantry and commenced their training Taunton but within a few weeks there were all transferred to the Royal Irish Regiment and were based at Fermoy. I am wonder the reason for the transfer as it took place before their initial training had been completed.

 

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This falls within a topic that's been discussed a few times on the Forum - that is, large drafts of men being transferred from various English County Regiments to Irish ones during this period in the raising of predominantly K1 Divisions.

I think this one relates to the raising of the 10th Irish Division - and in particular the 5th Bn RIR. I understand is was a combination of the difficulty in recruiting the required numbers in the Irish Regiments and the excess of men volunteering for many of the English County Regiments. This "problem" was solved in a pen stroke through the compulsory transfer of men from where there was a surplus to where there was a demand.

There is some useful discussion on the topic in this book:

Neither Unionist nor Nationalist: The 10th (Irish) Division in the Great War, by Stephen Stanford, Nov 2014.

Regards

Russ

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, RussT said:

This falls within a topic that's been discussed a few times on the Forum - that is, large drafts of men being transferred from various English County Regiments to Irish ones during this period in the raising of predominantly K2 Divisions.

I think this one relates to the raising of the 10th Irish Division - and in particular the 5th Bn RIR. I understand is was a combination of the difficulty in recruiting the required numbers in the Irish Regiments and the excess of men volunteering for many of the English County Regiments. This "problem" was solved in a pen stroke through the compulsory transfer of men from where there was a surplus to where there was a demand.

There is some useful discussion on the topic in this book:

Neither Unionist nor Nationalist: The 10th (Irish) Division in the Great War, by Stephen Stanford, Nov 2014.

Regards

Russ

 

 

 

 

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Russ

Many thanks for the information. Before I sent my message I did search the forum but my searching skill failed to find anything 

 

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You can very easily search for men who were caught up in this transfer.

Given it was so early in the War, most of the men being transferred from the Somersets would have been born and resided in Somerset - i.e. they were recruits volunteering into their local Regiment - something that was happening at this time up and down the country.

You can therefore very easily and very quickly search for men who were in the R.I. Regiment but who were born in Somerset and then look for service records dated 1914. When you do that, you can find lots of examples - one example for a certain Edward Carter is attached below. He was given the number 5/614 - the 5/ prefix referring to the fact that these men were being transferred to the 5th Battalion R.I.R. (as per his Statement of Service page, also attached). An interesting aside is the men don't appear to have been numbered to the SLI despite them being with that Regiment for at least a week or two - Carter attested to the SLI on the 5th September and was transferred on the 18th September.

614 Carter Att Form.jpg

614 Carter.jpg

In doing a very quick search of the Newspaper archive, this article cropped up from the Taunton Courier & Western Advertiser dated 29/09/1914 stating that 620 men went to the R.I.R. If you were interested you could do a deeper search to see if there were other articles or stories on the matter - I understand many men were not very happy with these compulsory transfers after having responded to the call so early yet were deprived of serving in their local unit.

Taunton News.jpg

I would be interested to learn what the motivation was for your Darwen men for enlisting in the SLI.

Regards

Russ 

(Images courtesy of FMP)

 

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2 hours ago, RussT said:

I would be interested to learn what the motivation was for your Darwen men for enlisting in the SLI.

I think I have answered my own question .... - there was no (explicit) motivation for them to join the SLI.

You can of course also search for records of men born/resided in Darwen/Lancashire for similarly-numbered men to the 5th/RIR in 1914.

In doing so you can find plenty of men from Darwen - an example is Robert Ashworth who was eventually given the number 5/522 in the 5th/RIR.

He didn't traipse off to Somerset to enlist because of some long-forgotten motivation - no, he simply attested in Darwen for General Service (see Question 15 on his Attestation Form below). The wise and the good decided (see the Certificate of the Approving Officer) that men were "needed" in the SLI - so he was no doubt unceremoniously packed off to them in Taunton - evidently with a bunch of other poor blighters from Darwen who are possibly the subject of your interest. Once at the SLI Depot (but not given an SLI number) he was caught up in the mass transfer to the 5th/RIR (numbered 5/522) alongside all the others, most of which would have been Somerset men born and bred - and no doubt struggled to comprehend the Lancashire men :D.

He enlisted and was medically examined at Darwen & his Attestation was approved in Darwen (08/09/14). He arrived at the SLI Depot on the 09/09/14 and was transferred to the 5th/RIR on the 18/09/14.

Russ

(Images courtesy of FMP)

 

Ashworth Att.jpg

Ashwoth - app.jpg

Ashworth - SoS.jpg

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Russ

I know from newspaper reports that on 8th September 1914 80 men enlisted at Darwen and joined the Somersets. The reported referred to them as the “The Darwen Palls.” I have just found reports from one of these men - Joseph Sunter a former journalist” who was describing life of a new recruit. The first of these reports he is in  Somerset and his last report he is in Ireland with the RIR. These reports appeared in the Darwen newspaper in September 1914. When I have transcribed them I will submit them to the Forum

 

 

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That ties in quite nicely - it would be good if you could attach the newspaper report here if you have it - and/or let me know the Newspaper title and Date.

If you search SDGW for RIR men born in Darwen you will find 10 men with numbers these men you would expect to have been allotted upon their enlistment into the 5th Bn RIR. Sometimes they are recorded as being formerly SLI but with no number - reinforcing what I mentioned earlier about them not being numbered during their relatively short time with the SLI.

You can also search the Pension Index Cards for men in the RIR with a Darwen address - this also returns a few hits - again with numbers you would expect. 

I would wager you could put together a decent list of these Darwen Pals with a little bit of effort. It would be a nice case study to follow the experiences and fates of this group of men.

Joseph Sunter enlisted on 08/09/1914 - no doubt in Darwen and was one of your 80 men who went to the SLI. He was allotted the RIR number 5/1011 upon his evident transfer to the 5th/RIR along with other 620 men. He was entitled to the 1914/1915 Star, VM and BWM. He was at some time posted from the 5th Bn to the 6th Bn RIR. He was discharged on 20/01/1919 due to wounds aged 24 (as per his Silver War Badge Record).

Russ

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi

Since posted my request for help with the Darwen men who enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry and were transferred almost immediately to the Royal Irish Regiment I have managed to recover the name of over 50 of these men which I list below. I would be interested to here from anyone would may have additional information on these men

Tony

Names Number Death Bn Transfer  
Armstrong, John Robert 519   5th    
Almond, John 521   5th 2nd  
Ashworth, Robert 522   5th   Discharged 26/21915
Atkinson, Frank 524   5th    
Ainsworth, Archibald Vint 964   5th    
Ainsworth, Joseph 525   5th Cyclist Corp 1699  
Bury, Thomas 549   5th    
Brown, James Ralph Howarth 577   5th RE 354305  
Bettenson, Reginald 578 16/08/1915 5th    
Bone, Reginald Iveson 579 17/03/1915 5th    
Bury, John William 580   5th   Discharged 26/2/1915
Blacklidge, William 581   5th    
Bettenson, Sidney 587   5th    
Chorlton, Wifred 615   5th Labour 447041  
Crompton, Harry 618   5th    
Chew, Hebert 619   5th   Discharged 26/2/1915
Carrick, Joseph 624   5th    
Clarke, Vernon Salmon 626   5th RE WR/285035  
Calvert, Norman 627   5th    
Duxbury, Jack Marsden 630   5th    
Edge, John Francis 677 06/08/1917 5th    
Eccles, Joseph 679 05/09/1918 5th    
Fish, George 688   5th    
Fish, Jim Kay 689   5th Royal Innk Regt 48257  
Frisby, Edgar 691   5th    
Fish, James 693   5th    
Fish, George 695   5th Royal Irish Fus 43006  
Gillibrand, Thomas Lightfoot 709   5th Royal Munster Fus G/685
Holden, Ernest 728   5th    
Hitchen, Walter 729   5th    
Hunt, Walter 779   5th    
Heys, Edward 781 16/08/1915 5th    
Holden, Frank (Francis Benjamin) 782   5th    
Hill. Rowlnad 785   5th Royal Irish Fus G/19171
Holden James Christoher 783   5th    
Holden, John 790   5th    
Jones, Ernest 809 20/01/1918 5th 2nd Bn  
Kay, Andrew     5th RFA  
Kay, Harry     5th RFA  
Knight, Thomas Herbert 817 13/08/1917 6th    
Leach, Jeremiah 846 14/07/1916 5th 2nd Bn  
McCormack, Henry 870 18/08/1917 5th 6th Bn  
Marsden, Harold 871   5th    
Mason, William 850   5th    
Orrell, Roger 895 15/07/1915 5th    
Brady, Patrick 916   5th    
Parker, Richard 937   5th   Discharged 6/11/1914
Roscoe, William Henry 966 07/10/1918 5th    
Seddon, William Thomas 972 05/07/1916 5th 2nd Bn  
Sumner, Nehemiah 973   5th   Discharged 26/2/1915
Sweeney, Reuben 974   5th    
Smith, Robert James 976   5th    
Sunter, Joseph 1011   5th    
Tattersall, Albert 1033 16/09/1915 5th    
Tomlinson, James 1044 05/04/1915 5th    
Walkden, John William 1098   5th   Discharged 5/11/1914
Wilkinson, George William 1103   5th   Discharged 26/2/1915

 

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Nice list - well done.

Two more to add to your list:

576 Henry Barnes, born Farnworth, enlisted Darwen. KiA 03/09/1916. Medal Rolls show just 5/Bn although CWGC, SDGW & SER have him as 6/Bn. He was ex 13105 SLI so fits the pattern.

786 William Harwood, born & enlisted Blackburn. KiA 16/09/1915, 5/Bn. Ex 12654 SLI. Although recorded as having enlisted in Blackburn, I would conclude he is one of the cohort sent from Darwen to the SLI and then on to the 5/RIR. Also fits the numerical/alphabetical sequence.

Roger Orrell was 896

Regards

Russ

 

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There are surviving Service Records for these men, which can be added to your list:

658 James Dickenson, born Blackburn enlisted Darwen, ex SLI, discharged 05/11/1914 unfit

711 John Green, born Blackburn, enlisted Darwen, ex SLI

847 Gilbert Lucas, born Blackburn, enlisted Darwen, ex SLI, discharged unfit 06/11/1914

861 William McCann ex 13089 SLI - only a few pages and one stated born and enlisted in Liverpool - but I suspect he should be on your list

965 John Riley, lived and enlisted in Darwen, ex SLI

1013 Alexander Girdwood Sharples, enlisted Darwen, ex SLI

Regards

Russ

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You can also search within the WO Weekly Casualty Lists as they record the Residence of the casualty's NoK, which is likely to be the residence for the casualty himself.

So searching on "Darwen" and "Royal Irish Regiment" returns a few men already on your list.

I didn't do a rigorous search but I did find this Darwen man not on your list:

629 Christopher Deakin. His Medal Roll tells us he was 5/Bn RIR.

Russ

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Searching within the WFA Pension Index Cards returns quite a few on your list.

But there are also these (searching on "Darwen" and "Royal Irish Regiment"):

941 Peter Quinn (whose PIC tells us his Mother lived in Darwen, so I presume he did too). Medal Roll 5/Bn

1007 Yates Shorrock - Medal Roll 5/Bn

1094 Arthur Whalley - Medal Roll 5/Bn

There is also this man:

1951 Charles Wild. His PIC states he was formerly SLI (no number) - so although his number is above the range, he is perhaps a candidate (he was 5/Bn).

Russ

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Having also had a quick look at WFA/Fold3 pension cards - Possibly a couple to check:

6 hours ago, familyhistoryman said:

Carrick, Joseph 624  

Coming up as GARRICK

6 hours ago, familyhistoryman said:

Orrell, Roger 895

.Coming up as 896

M

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2 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Coming up as GARRICK

His Medal Rolls are as Carrick, which fits the sequence.

3 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Coming up as 896

As I reported 4 hours ago

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1 minute ago, RussT said:

As I reported 4 hours ago

So you did - Better twice than never.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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11 minutes ago, RussT said:
15 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Coming up as GARRICK

His Medal Rolls are as Carrick, which fits the sequence.

Agreed - and, having revisited WFA/Fold3, there is a MIC and there are two more pension records as CARRICK, 624 - one indicating on a PIC Ryl Irish Regt and SLI

M

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Many thanks  to RussT and Matlock1418 for the additional names

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