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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Joseph Bell


Northengeezer

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In the course of researching my family tree I have found that my great-grandfather, Joseph Bell, served in the Manchester Regiment in WW1.

The info I have is as follows..................Joseph Bell WW1 Service record enlistment age 33 Reg no: 6484 Machine Gun Corps Batt Manchester Regt.

Born in Thurlwood Cheshire in 1883, at 33 years old he would have enlisted in 1916.

At the time of enlistment he was widowed and lived in Salford.

I would be grateful to receive any information about him in particular and the Manchester Regiment in general.

As a bit of an aside to this, it turns out his future son-in-law (my grandfather) lived 2 miles from him and also fought in WW1 but for the Borders Regiment, was shot in the knee at the battle for Menin Road Ridge in 1917, was captured and spent the last year of the war in 5 POW camps!

My grandad survived, here's hoping Joseph did too.

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14 minutes ago, Northengeezer said:

Reg no: 6484 Machine Gun Corps Batt Manchester

Welcome to the Forum !

From where did you get his number and regimental details?

I'm not seeing anyone in the medal database under those details - perhaps he didn't serve overseas.

Regards

Russ

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OK - I now see from his Service Record that he was later with the Machine Gun Corps under number 88057 with whom he did serve overseas - entitled to the VM/BWM pair.

He was discharged (to Army Reserve Class Z) on 23/11/1919.

Regards

Russ

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Russ

I subscribe to a website called Family Search and another member found those details for me, I assumed the 4 figure number to be his service number, wrongly it seems.

A naughty boy eh, that's definitely piqued my interest, where can I get hold of a copy of his service records??

Allan

Thanks for the tip, unfortunately I don't subscribe to either of those website, but It seems I may have to.

When I was researching my grandfathers war record I approached the Borders Regiment museum in Carlisle and got loads of info off them, does The Manchester Regiment not offer a similar service??

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34 minutes ago, Northengeezer said:

I assumed the 4 figure number to be his service number, wrongly it seems.

No you were correct - it's his number allotted to him on joining the 5th Bn Manchester Regiment in Jan 1917 and before he was transferred to the MGC.

Russ

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2 hours ago, RussT said:

I now see from his Service Record that he was later with the Machine Gun Corps under number 88057

 

3 minutes ago, Northengeezer said:

So what's the 88057 number Russ??

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2 minutes ago, Northengeezer said:

So you didn't go through your career with just one service number then??

You do now but not back then.

You got a different number every time you transferred Regiments/Corps (sometimes even within a Regiment).

I have a record for a man with 9 different numbers !!

Russ

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51 minutes ago, Northengeezer said:

Thanks for the tip, unfortunately I don't subscribe to either of those website, but It seems I may have to.

A allan has noted you may be able to access one or other of the sites at your local library service, or they both offer a free trial (don't forget to cancel

51 minutes ago, Northengeezer said:

When I was researching my grandfathers war record I approached the Borders Regiment museum in Carlisle and got loads of info off them, does The Manchester Regiment not offer a similar service??

Regimental museums like the GWF are run by volunteers.  The Manchesters have a regimental museum http://www.themanchesters.org/museum.htm

However the service record shows he enlisted under the Derby or Group Scheme on the 7th December 1915.

 If you are new to researching soldiers of the Great War we recommend you look at the Long Long Trail website this link explains the Group Scheme

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/enlisting-into-the-army/the-group-scheme-derby-scheme/

He obtained exemption from military service until the 5th January 1917 and the 'manpower crisis'  of early 1917. Posted to a reserve or TF regiment of the Manchester Regiment he did not go on active service with them but was posted to the MGC and renumbered on the 9th March 1917. Posted to the BEF on the 6h May 1917 and to the MG Base Depot at Camiers. Posted 50 Company MGC on the 16th May 1917. Various other postings in the MGC until December 1918 when e was disciplined for striking a superior officer.

 

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He appears to have been wounded on the 14th October 1917 in any event he was back at Camiers on the 25th October 1917 and was posted to 194 Coy on the 17th December, which on the reorganisation of the MGC in February 1918 became the 23rd Battalion where he remained until the end of the war. 

 

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There's a family story of him being on crutches for the rest of his life so that might explain it.

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rheumatism eh, he worked on barges before joining up so very fit and active, a couple of years living in mud will do that to you.

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From his service record, It states that he is Class A, and at 5th Manchester Regt. He lived in Salford and was employed as a dockworker. He had served in the regular army. The 21st Lancers are listed and it states that he was discharged in 1903.He joined them on 17th June 1902.  By the time he enlisted, his wife had died. He took his oath at Salford and was attested on the 7th Dec. 1915. he was on the Derby Scheme, a halfway house between volunteering and conscription.  From there he was sent home, called the Army reserve. He was called up, or mobilised 6 months later (this was common). His four digit number is a Territorial Force number that belongs to the 5th Manchester Regiment. This is were things can get tricky for researchers. All TF Battalions started their numbering systems from the 1st April 1908. Each one had its own method of issuing their numbers. For example the 1/5th Battalion issued their numbers in blocks, to each of the 8 companies. The numbering system was sequential and went on when the 2/5th battalion was created, and also the 3/5th. The 2/5th was to provide drafts of men for the 1/5th. However, the 2/5th Manchesters also provided replacements for the other Manchester Battalions. The way they got there is a story in itself. Each TF battalion followed the same pattern. 1/5th, 1/6th, 2/5th, 2/6th, 3/5th, 3/6th etc. In 1916 the 3rd line units were merged, the 3/5th, 3/6th and 3/7th became the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, the 3/8th, 3/9th, and 3/10th formed the 8th (Reserve) Battalion. 

Machine Guns - At the beginning of the war each battalion was issued two machine guns. 1 Officer, 1 SNCO and a crew of 14 men. Gallipoli showed, as in France, that machine guns were a key factor in defence and attack. When the units returned from Gallipoli, machine gun companies were formed. You'll see these listed as by their Division and Brigade. For example, The Manchester Brigade was renamed the 127th Brigade. The Lancashire Fusiliers the 125th etc. The Manchester MG, would be 42nd 127th MGC. This was kept until early March1917 when the Machine Gun companies were merged into the Machine Gun Corps. This is when the men where reallocated service numbers. 

Regarding his medical history, he has a hospital admission form for October 1917, (page 32.) He has VIII (1) Right forearm and IX (1) Left toe, the 1 denote a simple flesh wound, although it comes under Gunshot wounds, these could refer to other injuries. 

Hope this helps. 

Regards

Ginge

 

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Thanks for that Ginge, a lot for me to digest, his time in prison in particular.

An interesting fact is he was a dock worker in Salford, my grandfather Thomas Davies was also a dock worker at the same port and lived in the same part of the city as Joseph.

Thomas married Joseph's daughter Elsie so clearly met her from his relationship with Joseph.

I notice from your bio you also have an interest in the Borders Regiment and Thomas served in this regiment during the conflict.

I've got a bit of info for him already, his service number, the fact he got wounded in the conflict and spent time in a number of POW camps and a few other bits and bobs so that's something I'm going to look at too.

The issue I have with Thomas is there are two spellings to his surname, at birth it was DAVIES and at some point he himself dropped the “E” from it to DAVIS, which is my surname...................confusing eh.

 

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Thanks for that Don, I'm just waiting for my membership to be approved but looking at what the other guys have said, it doesn't look like he actually saw any active service with the Manchester's, similarly with the 21st Lancers as what looks like a fickle 19 year old, joining, leaving, joining :glare:.........................unless of course in my family history research I find a reason.

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