Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Grimsby Chums 1916 'Somme'


markt5412

Recommended Posts

I would like to carry out some research on my Great Grandfather; Pte. Christopher Towle of the 'Grimsby Chums'. As I live in London, It would not be a problem visiting the PRO in Kew, however could anyone please give me some pointers as where to start?

From talking to my Grandmother now in her 80's), I know Pte. C. Towle was in the 'Chums' around 1915 . There are also several photos of him in uniform and one of him standing next to my Great Grandmother. Interestingly, my Gran also has a lot of photos of her father at a training camp. Many of the pictures are group shots in front of tents. I am led to believe this could be Ripon in North Yorkshire (?). The only other information I have is that he was then badly injured on the first day of the Somme. My Gran has told me that when her mother received news that her husband was missing she (understandably) refused to accept the possibility that he could be dead. Some 4 days later Pte. C. Towle 'dragged' himself back to the British lines. My Grandfather was invalided out of the Army and died in 1970.

Any information on where to start would be very helpful. Unfortunately I do not know his service number or have much more information. Hopefully I will one day be able to tell my children something about their G.G.Grandfather's sacrifices during the Great War.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark

His Medal Index Card can be found at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...1&resultcount=1 and downloaded for £3.50

You will see from the page his sevrice number, and from the contents of his MIC you will get some more information about his medal entitlement, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He is likley to be this man:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...1&resultcount=1

This is the download page to access his Medal Index card (MICs) which will state his Medal entitlement and probably give details of when he went to France. Obviously, cost is £3.50, but can be looked at for free at the NA.

I know we have some Grimsby Chums experts here, who will be glad to help you, and they may well be eager to see your photos too!

His service record may also exist at the NA, but that is getting ahead of ourselves. If you click on the Long, Long Trail link at the top of the page and look at the section on Genealogy, it will give you an idea of what is available to help you research.

Pop back her and ask more questions when you are ready!

The interest of the people here in the Grimsby Chums will likely also give you information you may not be able to find for yourself...

Welcome to the Forum,

Steve.

(Edit: Beaten to it by Stephen. Never mind, you can never have too much info, eh?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(Edit: Beaten to it by Stephen

It's a rare day when ANYBODY beats Stebie to it :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Mark,

Welcome to the forum. I am not an expert regarding the Grimsby Chums, but do have a strong interest. Chris, a fellow forum member, is far more knowledgeable than myself about the Chums and I have alerted him to your post, he will reply later.

I do know that the Chums were in training at Ripon.

Do you mind if I ask if your Grandfather was originally from the Grimsby area?

You certainly seem to have strong family memories regarding the Chums, but there is something odd about the service number given on the MIC.

I shall let Chris explain. :)

Regards,

Steve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks for all your quick replies! I didn't realise information could be gained from the MIC and will be downloading a copy shortly. I will also check out the Long, Long Trail link tonight. Steve, in answer to your question, my G. Grandfather came from Immingham and was a dock worker before joining up. I will look forward to the service number explaination and thank everyone again for their help.

Cheers

Markt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

Thanks for that information. Hang on for Chris's reply before you download the MIC.

I worked at Immingham with a Jack Towle about 25 years ago!

Steve.

Sorry about the suspense but the Immingham connection, i think, puts a different slant on things (Chris may agree?).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Markt.

Steve has told me about your post and if the man given in the MIC links as Christoper Towle is your great grandfather then the number given by the MIC is as Steve says somewhat strange.

The only man on the MIC's with a matching name is Pte. 13284 Christopher Towle, but this is not a Lincolnshire Regt number that i would associate with the Chums prior to July 1916. The number 13284 suggests a man who enlisted in the Regular Lincs Battalions (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th or 8th Battalions) in the second or third week of September 1914. Fellow Forum member Jim Davies may get you a closer date.

The Chums (10th and 11th Lincs Battalions) were numbered seperately up until the end of 1915, and the numbers run from 1 through to 1990 approx. As the Chums did not get to France until Jan 1916 and had suffered only relatively light casulties up to the 1st July they had been able to replace there losses from their own reserves (11th Lincs). I have not yet come across any soldier who served in the Chums up to 1st July 1916, with a five digit number. Certainly men who were drafted to the Chums after July 1916 have five digit numbers, but i have not seen evidence of it before, but would gladly be proved wrong.

Certainly the Chums were at Ripon, and there are photos of htem in front of tents in Peter Chapmans book on the Battalion, it may be possible to match the backgrounds?

The only real way to find out is to look for his service papers at the National Archives, or if they do not survive download his MIC, as this will have info on it. IF he was entitled to a 1914/15 Star and has a date of entry from 1914 or 1915 then he was not initially in the Chums, more likely a draft to the 1st or 2nd or went out with the 7th or 8th Battalions. If his area of entry is given as Gallipoli ather than France then he is likely to be 6th Lincs initially. Also the MIC will give what are known as Medal Roll reference numbers, and you can look these up at the National Archives, these documents will also tell you the Battalions your g grandfather served in.

It will interesting to determine if Pte. 13284 was your g grandfather and which Battalions of the Lincs he did serve in, but i have a feeling you have more to find out and a very interesting man to research. Keep us posted

Hope those inane ramblings of mine are of use

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris/Steve

Many thanks again for all the information. The possibility that my Grandfather could have served in the 'Regulars' first, is something I had not considered. However, as my Gran was born some 9 years after her father's discharge, it would not surprise me, as her knowledge of his army service is limited. I certainly believe this could be the same Christopher Towle (his father was also a Christopher), and look forward to possibly find more information. Thanks again to everyone for their help, it is more than I could have imagined for my very first post! I will keep you informed of my progress. I will also look out for Peter Chapman's book.

Regards

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris,

There is no No. 1328 on your Chums database, is it possible that the MIC is erroneous? Wouldn't be the first time.

S.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear all, I found out last night that my Grandfather was actually away in the Army for over 5 years. Something my mother remembered him telling her when she was younger, and apparently he was away from home the entire duration of that time. This perhaps adds more weight to the possibility of him serving in a different theater of the war. I will hopefully have more information on pte. C. Towle soon, as my mother will be visiting my Grandmother later this week.

Best

Markt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 'downloaded' MIC card for pte. 13284 Christopher Towle reads:

Campaign: 1914-15

Corps: Lincs Reg

Medals: Victory, British and 1915 Star

Class Z

Theater of war: France

Qualifying date: 14-7-15

I look forward to discovering more when I read the medal rolls.

Thanks for your help.

Regards

Markt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like 7th Battalion to me...

Class Z implies "for the duraton" enlistment - i.e. Service Battalion.

(Class Z Reserve was the Reserve many men went into at the end of the War, in case they needed to be recalled)

7th Battalion went overseas in the few days from 12th July 1915.

He has a rather similar number and history to this chap, Wilfred Gant 13372.

http://www.memorial-lincs.org.uk/html/wilfred_gant.html

Steve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve

Many thanks! I've got a lot further in these 2 days than I would have imagined. It's also interesting to have a history of the 7th (Service), and to know (once confirmed in the rols) where my g. granfather trained and what actions he probably took part in. Certainly my family took him to be one of the 'Chums', but to know he actually volunteered earlier, has been a surprise.

Regards

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve

I agree it looks highly likely that Christopher Towle first went overseas with the 7th Lincs from the date on the MIC, but i have my doubts he was still with them come the the 1st July 1916, IF (and that is the big If) the family story of him taking part on the 1st July and then crawling back 4 days later to the Britsih frontline is correct, then i would hazard a guess that by then he had transferred to the 2nd Lincs. Reasoning being that the 7th Lincs attacked at Fricourt on 3rd July, which was part of an overall generally succesful attack and the German lines were taken, so where would he crawl back to. Surely he would have been found by British troops now occupying the old no mans land and German lines. Other than the 10th Lincs the only other lincs Battalion that i can see him being in on 1st July and crawling back to the British lines four days later is the 2nd Lincs near Mash Valley. My guess (and very likely to be wrong) is he was 7th Lincs, possibly wounded at the Bluff (early 1916) or taken sick and then transferred to the 2nd Lincs before the Somme.

Let us know what the medal rolls say Mark, as it would be very interesting

Regards

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Many thanks to all of you that help me gain information on my gt. grandfather: Pte. Christopher Towle. This weekend I was finally able to visited the National Achieves and viewed his medal rolls. As suspected (Chris), Pte. Towle was in the 7th Lincs, but later transferred to the 8th Lincs. I'm not sure why this would happen, unless he was wounded (was wounded on several occasions), and then sent to the nearest Lincs Battalion? If someone could confirm this, that would be great. What does seem surprising, is that he seems to have seen out the war (one of the lucky ones) , rather than discharged through injuries, as we'd always believed. Also, the Somme story does not appear to be true, unless the 8th Lincs were involved in some way? If anyone has anymore information it would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

john hodge,13815,6th lincolnshire regt.DOW at gallipoli,immington

charles marwood 11754 6th lincolnshire regt,KIA at gallipoli,immington

joel pascoe 1807,8th lincolnshire regt,DOW france,immington

john,w rapson 21575,10th lincolnshire regt,DOW belgium,immington

albert willison 13858,7th lincolnshire regt,KIA belgium,immington

looks like both the 6th and 7th batts numbers are in the same batch as christopher towles

bernard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mark

Glad you found out from the Medal Rolls. An oversight on my part was the fact that the 8th Lincolns were involved on the 1st Day of the Somme near Fricourt. At nightfall they had (or the remnants at least had reached Dart and Lozenge Alley trenches. They suffered approx 250 casulties.

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mark

Glad you found out from the Medal Rolls. An oversight on my part was the fact that the 8th Lincolns were involved on the 1st Day of the Somme near Fricourt. At nightfall they had (or the remnants at least had reached Dart and Lozenge Alley trenches. They suffered approx 250 casulties.

Chris

Chris/Bernard

Many thanks again. It appears there could be some truth after all in the 'Somme' story after all, depending on when C.Towle was transfered to the 8th Lincs. However, it still wouldn't account for him being missing several days before 'crawling' back to British lines, as again this area would have already been in British hands? Perhaps the story relates to an earlier battle? Interesting stuff anyway!

Coincidentally, I have tracked down C.Towle's medals (with a second cousin), and hopefully, with a bit of luck, will wear them at next year's Remembrance march past at the Cenotaph (something I already take part in each year).

Cheers

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started reading this thread just out of curiosity. What a moving story, not just about Mr. Towle, but about how much help you can get on this really very valuble site.

wig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Coincidentally, I have tracked down C.Towle's medals (with a second cousin), and hopefully, with a bit of luck, will wear them at next year's Remembrance march past at the Cenotaph (something I already take part in each year).

Cheers

Mark

Hope the numbers on the Medals and the MIC say the same numbers now!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just stumbled across this thread, thought I'd add my 2 cents,

Enlistment date-I don't think (service records aside) that you'll be able to find a better estimation than Chris' earlier in the thread. The Lincs 13000s numbering appear to be confused but generally appear through Sept-Nov 1914. To two closest men to Towle that I have, enlisted 7th and 8th Sep 1914, (numbers 13244 & 13303), yet men with numbers significantly lower (ie 12740 and 13120) enlisted 15th Sep and 21st Sep 1914.

Relating to where he could have been wounded, does the "Somme wound" have to have occured 1 Jul 1916?

If not that the following actions might be worth looking at

7th Lincs-Quadrangle Support-10th July 1916

7th Lincs-Longueval/Deville Wood 1-10th Aug 1916 (Not an attack but 14 men reported MIA)

8th Lincs- Beaucourt-14-20th Nov 1916. The front here was described (Simpson) as "a series of posts which it was often impossible to reach by daylight....all around the battlefield was pitted with enormous shell holes mostly full of noisome water: it was all a desolate picture". In the above timeframe, 8 men reported MIA.

Jim

PS May want to look at the Bluff action in more detail (both 15th Feb and 2nd Mar), one of the lads I've looked at who died of wounds in the UK, having been wounded in either action (can't work out which). His obituary notes that he was "brought in having laid out for several days..."..

Edited by jim_davies
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim

Many thanks for your help. I'm hoping to find out more during the Christmas period, when I will get a chance to meet some extended members of the family. One in particular (C. Towle's youngest son), may be able to pin-point a certain battle/engagement in which he was wounded/reported missing.

Until starting this thread I didn't appreciate just how much action the men like my gt. grandfather would have seen. It's very possible the story relates to one of the engagements below! I agree, the numbering is confusing, but again it does give a good idea of his enlistment date. Just out of interest, do you happen to know where the 7th Lincs enlisted, and are there any other recourses I can check out relating to the 7th + 8th battalions?

Many thanks again to everyone, it has sparked off a real interest in my family's history.

Mark t.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...