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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Sgt James Cheetham 42052


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I would be very grateful for any help with any information regarding Sergeant James Cheetham 42052 (my Grandfather)

We believe he joined the Cheshire regiment in 1915 and after basic training on the East Coast was then posted to the Somerset light infantry.

We also believe he served throughout the war as a signaller and returned to England as part of the colour party.

Please excuse my use of “We believe” as during his lifetime he would never speak of his experiences and all medals, service papers etc were lost when his house was sold on his death.

any help greatfully appreciated

Ian Cheetham

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Hello, Ian. Welcome to the Forum.

It does appear that James went overseas with the Somerset Light infantry. This is the download page for his Medal Index Card from the National Archives website:

Medal card of Cheetham, James

Corps Regiment No Rank

Somerset Light Infantry 42052 Serjeant


These cost £3.50 each to download, but will tell you the first few bits of information about your grandfather's service. It holds references to the Medal Rolls for his regiment at the National Archives which should tell you what Battalion he served in. Once you have that information you will be able to follow his route through the War (wounds, illness and other calamities notwithstanding).

A few of the MICs will give battalion details straight away but most have to be referenced to Medal Rolls.

The Cheshire Regiment will not be listed since he did not go overseas until with the Somerset LI.

If you click on the Long, Long Trail link at the top of this page it will give you some research tips to help you research your grandfather's war.

Alternatively, come back and ask.

You can always post an pic (jpeg is best) of the card and we can help you interpret it.

Hope this helps you to get started,


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Wow, brilliant, thanks for such a fast response. Sorry (I am new to the forum) I thought I had attached the medal card to the original post, obviously not!

I live in Frankfurt in Germany so it is a little difficult for me to get to Kew at least until I visit my parents at Christmas.

many thanks once again



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That only really adds a couple of things to our knowledge of James Cheetham.

He was entitled to both the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Since he has no entitlement to a 1914-15 Star (it was awarded simply on the date he went overseas), we can work out that he didn't go overseas until after 1st January 1916. (Though probably reasonably early in 1916, if he joined in 1915)

The blank remarks section doesn't help much. Sometimes it states that he was transferred to a Reserve at the end of the War. Sometimes it gives a reference "SWB List" which means a soldier would have got a Silver War Badge if discharged from the army unfit for further duty.

Beyond that we need to check the Medal Rolls to gain any further information. If you make a post in the "I'm going to the NA", a kind soul might just have a look for you...

They will need the references given next to the Victory Medal.

Service Records are also stored at the NA but only 30% survived WW2, so it's hit and miss a bit. Well, a lot.


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Many thanks, I have posted on "Im going to the NA" hopefully someone will take pity on me.

Incidentally, I speak fluent German so if I can provide any hep with translations etc I would be happy to help members


Ian Cheetham

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I was discussing this forum with my father today trying to discover if he had any more recollections of his father and my grandfather.

Some years ago my father visited the Somerset Light Infantry museum and was helped as much as possible by the staff there. At the time we had no knowledge of the service number of my grandfather and therefore the search did not reveal very much.

However my grandfather had returned the regimental colours at the cessation of hostilities to Taunton where we believe it is displayed in the St Mary Magdalene Church.

Does any member know of this, or maybe have any photographs of it?

kind regards

Ian Cheetham

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  • 3 months later...

Having met my parents over Christmas, my father tells me that my grandfather had a brother that also served in WW1 with the border regiment.

Having drawn a blank (so far) with my grandfather, I downloaded the medal card of Albert Cheetham. I was wondering is it possible to ascertain where he enlisted? I was thinking that perhaps they enlisted together and that may give me a further clue as to which regiment my Grandfather joined.

Any thoughts out there?


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