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Remembered Today:

Roy Evans

South Staffordshire's War Diaries

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Iain Sanders

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the information every little helps. He seams to be quite an elusive guy, missing off the 1901 cencus, i think the only reason would be that he was overseas with the 1/5 Sth. Staffs. They where a TA btn. & i've read somewhere that the 1 in front of the 5 means the men where willing to go overseas, would you know if there is any truth in that.

Cheers Iain.

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AndrewThornton

Iain

You are quite right. In January 1915, the Reserve units were brought up to full establishment and both contingents were re-titled. The Imperial Service battalion became known as the “First-Line”, while the Reserve unit formed the “Second-Line”. Each unit also received a numerical prefix. Therefore, in the case of the 5th Battalion of The South Staffordshire Regiment, the First-Line unit became the “First-Fifth” or 1/5th Battalion, while the Second-Line became the “Second-Fifth” or 2/5th Battalion. In March 1915, a Third-Line unit was formed and these units took over the training and draft-finding role hitherto provided by the Second-Line battalions. Those Territorials who were still on Home Service engagements were posted away to Provisional Battalions.

On 10 August 1914 the War Office had requested units of the Territorial Force to volunteer for Imperial Service, and from the evidence contained in the published histories and contemporary newspaper reports, the commanding officers of those from Staffordshire immediately accepted.

On 21 August, those units in which at least 80 per cent of their members had volunteered were allowed to recruit up to their war establishment, but by 31 August this requirement was reduced to 60 per cent.

The outcome of this process was that in order for the Imperial Service contingents to be fully manned, new recruits would have to be found to replace the men who remained at home. The process of separating the Home Service men from the remainder who had volunteered for Imperial Service began in early September 1914 and in the case of the infantry battalions, the men detached accounted for around a quarter of a battalion’s establishment. The 5th Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment sent 250 men back to Walsall on 5 September. Of those soldiers returned, 65 were either under or over-age, while 70 men had failed to reach the medical requirements. The remainder of the contingent were men who had refused to volunteer for overseas service, although 15 later changed their mind and were posted back to the main unit at Luton six days later.

The need to replace the home-service men with volunteers who had undertaken to serve overseas was therefore acute. The first response by the Territorial Force units was to despatch officers of those units based at their war stations back to their home drill halls to organise recruiting meetings to fill the vacancies. For example, Captain Sidney Lord of “D” Company of the 5th Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment organised a recruiting meeting held at Bloxwich Public Hall. He had thirty vacancies in his company and was reported to have obtained “around 30 men” as a result of his efforts.

Authorisation was first issued on 21 August 1914 to form duplicate reserve units to cater for those men who had opted to remain on home service, these being transferred and their places in the ‘Imperial Service’ units being taken by new recruits who had volunteered for overseas service. Reserve contingents would be formed only when the “Imperial Service” units had reached their war establishment. The Reserve Battalions were to act as reception units for new recruits and to provide drafts for the Imperial Service units. Cadres of officers and senior non-commissioned officers were sent from the main units to establish the headquarters for the new contingents. The lack of suitable accommodation for the new units compelled the Territorial Force Association to seek the permission of supportive local landowners to use the grounds of several estates around the county.

In tandem with the efforts made by the Territorial units themselves, several individuals and organisations offered their time and money to assist in the recruiting effort, “whether asked to do so by the War Office or not”. A number of local recruiting campaigns were undertaken on behalf of the Territorials in Staffordshire, some of which identified the recruits as members of particular contingents within those units. Mirroring the initiative that been launched in Birmingham to form a “City Battalion” from middle class recruits, a rival recruiting drive was launched in early September 1914 by the Mayor of West Bromwich, Councillor C.B. Bache. He proposed the formation of a “Mayor’s Battalion” from non-manual workers living in West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Walsall. Concern was raised that Councillor Bache’s appeal would divert recruits from the Express and Star scheme and he was compelled to clarify his intentions:

"To remove any misapprehensions I beg to say that it is proposed to raise a non-manual battalion for West Bromwich, Walsall and Wednesbury, in addition to the company of Territorials which is joining the 6th South Staffordshires, and who need not be non-manual workers."

This initiative failed to gain the sanction of the War Office and the proposed battalion was never formed. Some of the 110 men who had responded to Bache’s request did eventually enlist in the “Non-Manual” section of the 5th Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment. In addition to the men who had originally signed for the “Mayor’s Battalion”, the 5th Battalion also had a significant contingent formed from former pupils of the Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall who had enlisted in the battalion. The calibre of these recruits impressed Lieutenant-Colonel Fiddian Green, who had taken charge of the Reserve Battalion, as in an address to the Walsall Chamber of Commerce in October 1914 he expressed a preference to enlisting “Non-Manuals” over those men employed in the metalwork and leather industries in the town who were now engaged in war work.

The requirements of the Reserve contingents for recruits necessitated the expansion of the catchment areas for the infantry units of the Territorial Force in Staffordshire in order to complete their establishment. In October 1914, a new recruiting office was opened at Old Hill in order to enlist recruits to form a “Rowley Regis Company” for the Reserve Battalion of the 5th Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment. On 12 October, the first day that the office was open for business, over eighty recruits had enlisted into the company, this first contingent becoming known in the local press as “The Gallant Eighty”. The same unit benefited from yet another recruiting initiative launched by Councillor Bache in West Bromwich, which had previously been the preserve of the local Territorial Force Royal Field Artillery battery. A recruiting rally was held on 24 October at The Hawthorns, the home ground of West Bromwich Albion, following a match against Bolton Wanderers. The intention was to form an “Albion Company” from supporters and local footballers that would serve together with the Reserve Battalion. The appeal met with some success and, by the following Tuesday, it was reported that 42 men had put their names forward and were being sent to Walsall to be attested.

I hope this information is of interest to you.

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Graham Smith

Andrew,

That is superb information.

Where may I ask do you trace all this stuff?

It looks like my library membership will have to get renewed

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Iain Sanders

Andrew,

Once again i have to thank you for the information. That was excellant.

Cheers Iain.

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Iain Sanders
Andrew,

That is superb information.

Where may I ask do you trace all this stuff?

It looks like my library membership will have to get renewed

Graham,

Looks like you'll need more than a library membership to come up with info like that. Andrew has come up trumps with that lot.

Iain.

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Graham Smith
Graham, 

Looks like you'll need more than a library membership to come up with info like that. Andrew has come up trumps with that lot.

Iain.

Iain,

Yes he certainly knows his stuff. Excellent website contributions too.

(Hellfire corner ) B)

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AndrewThornton

The information comes from my MPhil thesis on the Territorial Force in Staffordshire 1908-15, which looked at recruitment and social composition of the units formed in the county. Glad I can share it with everyone.

Most of the information came from local newspapers, as official documents are scarce, other than the fortunate survival of the 1/5th Battalion nominal roll. I have a copy at home but I have been decorating so it is secreted somewhere in the loft at the moment.

If you are researching 1/5th South Staffords men, the best local newspaper sources are as follows:

Cannock Advertiser (Cannock Reference Library)

Cannock Chase Courier (Cannock Reference Library)

County Express (Dudley Archives and Local History Service - original copies held at Coseley, microfilm at Stourbridge) - for Brierley Hill area men

Express and Star (Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies)

Lichfield Mercury (Lichfield Reference Library) - for Cannock men

Midland Evening News (Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies)

Smethwick Telephone (Sandwell Community History & Archives Service, Smethwick)

Staffordshire Advertiser (William Salt Library, Stafford)

Tipton Herald (Sandwell Community History & Archives Service, Smethwick) -for Wednesbury and Brierley Hill men

Walsall Advertiser (Walsall Local History Centre)

Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle (Walsall Local History Centre)

Walsall Pioneer (Walsall Local History Centre)

West Bromwich Free Press (Sandwell Community History & Archives Service, Smethwick)

Birmingham Daily Mail (Birmingham Central Library) - has some information on Handsworth and Black Country soldiers

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richy1968

Hi I would be interested in any mention of the following:-

1st Bn

Lt Francis Lermox Holmes KIA 23/10/1914

Maj J.F. Loder-Symonds KIA 1/11/1914

Captain John Franks Vallentin KIA 7/11/1914

2nd Bn Captain Henry Mitchell Powell KIA 9/12/1914

Many Thanks

Richard

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Roy Evans
Hi I would be interested in any mention of the following:-

1st Bn

Lt Francis Lermox Holmes KIA 23/10/1914

Maj J.F. Loder-Symonds KIA 1/11/1914

Captain John Franks Vallentin KIA 7/11/1914

2nd Bn Captain Henry Mitchell Powell KIA 9/12/1914

Many Thanks

Richard

Richard,

Although your men have a number of entries in the war diaries, Lt Holmes is mentioned only once.

Here is the first page of the date in question, 21/10/14;

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Roy Evans

21/10/14, Page 2

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Roy Evans

Captain Vallentin is mentioned on two dates, 08/10/14 and 18/10/14.

08/10/14

18/10/14

Edited by RoyEvans

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Roy Evans

Major Loder-Symonds is mentioned on 13/10/14, 19/10/14 and 26/10/14. This last date is missing from my diary, I will get another copy during next week but hare are the first two;

13/10/14 page 1

13/10/14 page 2

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Roy Evans

19/10/14 page 1

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Roy Evans

19/10/14 page 2

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dave ricketts

Roy,

Can you tell me what the 1st Battalion were up to on 24 and 25th February 1918?

Thanks a lot,

Dave

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Graham Smith

Dave,

I don't have the full diary of the 1/6th.....Roy has all that stuff :rolleyes:

However my recent xmas prezzie (again via Roy) of the war history places them

at:

Fontaine les Boulans

from 10th to 28th

No doubt Roy will paste a page of what they were up to.

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Roy Evans
Roy,

Can you tell me what the 1st Battalion were up to on 24 and 25th February 1918?

Thanks a lot,

Dave

Dave,

The entry for the 1st Batt'n covering this period is on two pages, here is the first;

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Roy Evans

and the second;

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Graham Smith
:huh: Note to self.......Always read the question. :blink:

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davidfegga
I have just been fortunate enough to get copies of four more South Staffs war diaries. Should anyone want look-ups I now have the following in full;

1st, 2nd, 4th, 1/5th, 2/5th, 1/6th, 2/6th, 7th and 8th Battalions.

Roy

Hi Roy

Could you tell me what the 8th were doing on 16/02/1916, my man was in 'C' company

Dave

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dave ricketts

Gents,

Thanks very much for that. This will save a bit of time when I next go to Kew. (Why oh why can't they stay open 24 hours a day, like Tesco and Asda.)

Cheers,

Dave

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Roy Evans

Dave ®

Glad to help.

Dave (F)

Pleasure but times rather tight this evening give me a couple of days.

Roy

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Roy Evans

Dave (F)

Not quite sure about the exact date but there was quite a lot going on around then. Four pages of the diary cover that period;

1st Page

Roy

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Roy Evans

2nd Page

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