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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Odd first post


Guest AndyF

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A couple of weeks ago I went on a battlefield tour with our local TA unit, something I try to do every year.

We went to all the usual places around Ypres and Arras but when we went to Thiepval one of the chaps asked me if I'd take a photo of his uncle's name on the memorial. It got me thinking. I've recently aquired a lot of interesting stuff from my late grandfather's estate and amongst it was a death plaque for a Private John Collins of the Manchester Regiment, along with his medals. I have to admit I didn't think too much of it at the time because as far as I know there wasn't a family connection but being at Thiepval (and the Menin Gate the night before) it made me wonder. So many names.

When I got home I looked up Pte Coleman and I was amazed to find that his name is on the same section of the Thiepval Memorial as my friend's uncle.

Still, that's not the point of this post. I have no idea who Pte John Coleman (23829) of the Manchester Regiment was, I just have his plaque and his medals. I would love to know, where do I start?

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Andy

Welcome to the Forum. You already have a good start in that you have a name (although you mention Collins and Coleman), number and regiment. Can I suggest that you click on the link to the Long Long Trail (top left of this page) and then have a read of the Research section. It should tell you everything you need to know, If there is any specific you're not sure of, come back and ask.Someone will often know the answer.

His service number sounds like one of the original Manchester Pals.

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His service number sounds like one of the original Manchester Pals.

However, a quick check on the War Graves Commission website confirms he was killed whilst with 2/Manc ( not a Pals Battalion)

John

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Thanks for the welcome. The 'Collins' was a typo, the name is Coleman.

John-Coleman.jpg

Any ideas anyone? Grandma hasn't got a clue and dad's not much help either.

CWGC says he came from Oldham and that's as far as I can get.

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Any ideas anyone?

Yeah. Follow the advice I gave earlier - it's good advice. You won't find a better "how to research a soldier".

If he came from Oldham, then there may well have been an obituary in the Oldham Chronicle. Oldham's local heritage library has copies on microfilm.

John

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Andy:

From the National Archives doing a medal search-found this:

gordon

Description

Medal card of Coleman, John

Corps Regiment No Rank

Manchester Regiment 23829 Private

Date 1914-1920

Catalogue reference WO 372/4

Dept Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies

Series War Office: Service Medal and Award Rolls Index, First World War

Also from the CWGC:

Name: COLEMAN, JOHN

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: Manchester Regiment

Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Date of Death: 10/07/1916

Service No: 23829

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 13 A and 14 C.

Cemetery: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

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Andy,

S.D.G.W also confirms the Oldham link:

Born: Oldham, Lancs.

Enlisted: Oldham.

It also shows k.i.a.

Other info is as per C.W.G.C.

Regards,

Spud

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Andy,

The 1901 census shows the following residing at 35 Bloom St., Oldham

Annie Joyce, Head age 29 b Oldham

James Joyce Brother 26 b Oldham

John Coleman G Son 15 b Oldham

Annie Coleman G Daughter 11 b Oldham

James Colema, G Son 7 b Oldham

How a 29 year old has a G Son age 14 beats me.

The 1881 census shows aan Annie Joyce residing with her family at 12 Cannon St., Oldham

Father John Joyce age 38 b Galloway, Ireland

Mother Hannah Joyce 35 b Galloway

Sisters, Mary 13, Elizabeth, 14m brothers, Thomas 7, James 6, Richard 3.

There are several Coleman families residing in Oldham on 1881 so would need a little more info to locate the correct one.

Yoe could always get John's birth cetificate to find who hos father was and take it from there.

Hope this helps ypu

Fred

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The 1881 census shows aan Annie Joyce residing with her family at 12 Cannon St., Oldham

Father John Joyce age 38 b Galloway, Ireland

Mother Hannah Joyce 35  b Galloway

Sisters, Mary 13, Elizabeth, 14m brothers, Thomas 7, James 6, Richard 3.

Thanks for all the help chaps.

Interesting there's a mention of Galloway as that's where I come from originally, although it's Galloway in Scotland (I didn't know there was one in Ireland) and I do know that some of the family moved from there to Oldham in the late 1800's.

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Could it be some family member on your grand mothers side?

Arm

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've spent a long time talking with my grandma about this and we've discovered who John Coleman was.

My Grandad and his brother were both born in Oldham in 1916 and 1918 respectively and both married Oldham girls. Uncle Clifford (grandad's brother) married a girl called Mary whose mother was married a total of three times during WW1, 2 husbands killed at the front and one wounded but never recovered properly. He died in about 1920ish. John Coleman was her second husband and I think Auntie Mary's father. I think she gave up on husbands after that because grandma has no memory of a fourth.

A bit of a tenuous family link but a link nonetheless. Mystery solved.

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