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rj.hoare

Nelson Battalion - Mons Star

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rj.hoare

Hi, I am trying to research a new set of medals I have come into possession of, consisting of a Mons Star trio to a Stoker who was with the Nelson Battalion Royal Naval Division. He was subsequently awarded the Royal Fleet Reserve LS&GC, but interestingly or rather confusingly, the details on the LS&GC are recorded as 291546 Dev. B 2000 W H Gillard Sto 1 RFR. Does anyone know what the Dev B 200 after his service number represents?

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HarryBettsMCDCM

Dev would probably refer to Devonport/Devon

"B" refers to his second period of service in the RFR I believe & his RFR Number{as opposed to RN/RND number}.

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michaeldr

You may well have this info already, but in case not

Fevyer & Wilson have Gillard receiving the Clasp, as well as the 1914 Star [both 'to party 17 Mar 1922']

regards

Michael

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bobbluesboy

The 291546 is his RN number,the b ,etc, refer to his RFR serice after leaving the Royal Navy but he was obviously recalled on the outbreak of war in 1914.On the outbreak of war excess men were used to form the Royal Naval Division RND.The Mons star was awarded for the defence of Antwerp which was the first action of the RND.He should be entitled to the bar for the star for being under enemy fire in France and Flanders between "5th August and 22nd November 1914,however he had to apply for this.Was this man a prisoner of war interned in Holland for the duration?Regards Bob. :)

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michaeldr

Bob,

Per Capt. Roy Swales' history 'Nelson at War 1914-1918' this man was not amongst those captured or interned

Capt Swales gives the following

AB Roderick Johnstone PoW at Doeberitz repatriated to Lieth 14 Dec 1918

Junior Reserve Attendant William H. Hall PoW at Doeberitz 'returned to England' (probably as a non-combatant; he was one of three Nelson RNASBR) discharged 'shore' from Chatham barracks Aug 1915

5 Nelson men were interned in Holland

Alfred Neesham

James Wilson

William Wood

John Love

Artur Derbyshire

all 5 remained at Groningen until the end of the war

regards

Michael

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rj.hoare
:D Many thanks to everyone who has provided some information regards Stoker Gillard. There must be a dearth of information available, just knowing where to look is the hardest thing! For anyones interest, I also have a Death Plaque named to a Benjamin Taylor of the Royal Marine Light Infantry. Turns out he was killed in the explosion of HMS Bulwark at Sheerness on 26th November 1914, but whilst there seems plenty of information on WW1 Army personnel, online that is, there is very little available for those who served with other services. Many thanks anyway, it is good to know that there are so many keeping the history of our forefathers so much alive and real.

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per ardua per mare per terram
just knowing where to look is the hardest thing! ... Benjamin Taylor of the Royal Marine Light Infantry ... but whilst there seems plenty of information on WW1 Army personnel, online that is, there is very little available for those who served with other services.

Welcome aboard gwan-dai

Gillard's RFR number shows that he was a class B reservist -- he had served in the Royal Navy, but was not in receipt of a pension. He was the 2000th class B reservist, on recall he would revert to his Official Number 291546

There is a huge amount of information available online for the navy. For a start you can download his pre war service register, click here. That shows that he joined in 1899.

You can also download the official copies of his RND service cards here.

In contast for the army you can only download the medal index card. Also their service records were mostly destroyed whilst almost all the other services records survive at The National Archives, with some at other repositories. Some you will have to travel to look at, but people always have had to do that.

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rj.hoare

Great pice of information downloaded from the National Archuves! Turns out he was wounded in the arm in the Dardanneles and then spent the rest of his service catching dysentry and diaorrhea!! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

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per ardua per mare per terram

Don't forget his service register! He probably missed the Boer War and Boxer Rebellion, but might have served in one of the pre-war colonial wars and got a medal. Those medals will not be on his register, you'll need further research to check those out.

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Herman Joustra
Posted (edited)
On 23/09/2006 at 19:17, michaeldr said:

Bob,

Per Capt. Roy Swales' history 'Nelson at War 1914-1918' this man was not amongst those captured or interned

Capt Swales gives the following

AB Roderick Johnstone PoW at Doeberitz repatriated to Lieth 14 Dec 1918

Junior Reserve Attendant William H. Hall PoW at Doeberitz 'returned to England' (probably as a non-combatant; he was one of three Nelson RNASBR) discharged 'shore' from Chatham barracks Aug 1915

5 Nelson men were interned in Holland

Alfred Neesham

James Wilson

William Wood

John Love

Artur Derbyshire

all 5 remained at Groningen until the end of the war

regards

Michael

To my knowledge there were 7 men interned in Groningen. One for sure was James (Jimmy Miller) who left Groningen for Deventer to work there. I will look up name numer 7 if you want me to.

Edited by Herman Joustra

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michaeldr
9 hours ago, Herman Joustra said:

To my knowledge there were 7 men interned in Groningen. One for sure was James (Jimmy Miller) who left Groningen for Deventer to work there. I will look up name numer 7 if you want me to.

 

Please go ahead and share any information which you can regarding the men interned at Groningen.

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Herman Joustra
Posted (edited)

i just looked it up. Apart from James (jimmy Miller), there also was a W. Aldridge from the Nelson Battalion interned in Groningen (see attachment)88324928_MenfromNelsonBattalioninternedinGroningen.jpg.559042a10d1630a8d433235bf66d3b65.jpg731265993_ServicecertificateMiller4.jpg.4cec03f382e98a6bfe7a40db65fd19eb.jpg

Service certificate Miller, 1.jpg

Service certificate Miller, 2.jpg

Service certificate Miller, 3.jpg

James Miller, geinterneerd in Groningen.jpg

Edited by Herman Joustra

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Herman Joustra

I wonder how they got cut off from the rest of the battalion, like the two men who ended up being prisoners of war in Doberitz. I hope there is information in the book 'Nelson at War' I just ordered. 

 

Like I wrote earlier, Jimmy Miller got the chance to work elsewhere in the Netherlands, in Deventer, in march 1916, where he stayed until the end of the war. Maybe that's the reason only 5 men were mentioned?

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michaeldr

Herman,

 

Many thanks for posting those documents and the extra information

regards

Michael

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Herman Joustra

Well, I found some interesting stuff about these seven. It looks like they stayed together during the retreat.

 

A Dutch Newspaper, Het Vaderland, writes the 11th of October about the refugees and soldiers, Belgian and British, crossing the border. 'There were several soldiers who were wounded and were taken care off by the Red Cross. Among them seven soldiers, left from an entire battalion'. Two days later, another newspaper, de Haagsche Courant, writes an article about the same chaos at the border, saying that 'there were seven that were all that was left of an entire battalion.'

 

That looks to me like the seven from the Nelson battalion, later interned in Groningen.

 

Could it be that they were not really 'somehow cut off', like Swales stated, but that they were sent together to another battalion to help, the Collingwood battalion that suffered most? Because the service record of one of them, William Wood, states "Missing. Nelson battn. sent to join Collingwood". Would only one man have been been sent to Collingwood? Or a group of nine (two men ended up as prisoners of war in Germany), of which seven, including Wood, crossed the border, probably as a group?

Edited by Herman Joustra

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horatio2

If a body of men were to be transferred from Nelson to another battalion (in the case of a notional transfer to Collingwood, not to an adjacent 2nd Brigade battalion but to a battalion in another brigade, passing along a six-kilometer line held by four other battalions) it would not be a random selection of eight able seamen and a sick berth rating drawn from at least two different Nelson companies ('A' and 'C' Coys) but a properly formed unit such as a section of men (about twelve ratings led by a leading seaman or a petty officer). That said, the "sent to Collingwood" notation on his record card is unexplained and is unique to Able Seaman Wood. I consider the 'transfer to Collingwood' theory on the midst of operations to be most unlikely.

There is a large number of scenarios that could have led to the nine Nelsons becoming separated, either as individuals, or together in groups. In the absence of any hard evidence "somehow separated" or "somehow cut off" from the rest of Nelson in the chaos of the withdrawal from Antwerp is the most that can be said. The same applies to the relatively small numbers of men 'lost' from Drake and the other three  battalions of 2nd Bde.

Thank you for the newspaper reports. I must say that  "all that was left of an entire battalion" seems a bit over-the-top. "0.7% of one battalion crossed the Dutch border" would have been more accurate (but less eye-catching) headlines from the cub reporters of the two newspapres. Fake News!!??  That said the report could refer to seven Nelson ratings - or it might not.

Edited by horatio2

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Herman Joustra
30 minutes ago, horatio2 said:

If a body of men were to be transferred from Nelson to another battalion (in the case of a notional transfer to Collingwood, not to an adjacent 2nd Brigade battalion but to a battalion in another brigade, passing along a six-kilometer line held by four other battalions) it would not be a random selection of eight able seamen and a sick berth rating drawn from at least two different Nelson companies ('A' and 'C' Coys) but a properly formed unit such as a section of men (about twelve ratings led by a leading seaman or a petty officer). That said, the "sent to Collingwood" notation on his record card is unexplained and is unique to Able Seaman Wood. I consider the 'transfer to Collingwood' theory on the midst of operations to be most unlikely.

There is a large number of scenarios that could have led to the nine Nelsons becoming separated, either as individuals, or together in groups. In the absence of any hard evidence "somehow separated" or "somehow cut off" from the rest of Nelson in the chaos of the withdrawal from Antwerp is the most that can be said. The same applies to the relatively small numbers of men 'lost' from Drake and the other three  battalions of 2nd Bde.

Thank you for the newspaper reports. I must say that  "all that was left of an entire battalion" seems a bit over-the-top. "0.7% of one battalion crossed the Dutch border" would have been more accurate (but less eye-catching) headlines from the cub reporters of the two newspapres. Fake News!!??  That said the report could refer to seven Nelson ratings - or it might not.


Thank you Horatio, for your thoughts. I think you are right that in the case of such a transfer it would not have been a group composed of men from different companies, A, C and E (the two ‘Nelsons’ in Pöberitz were from E). Still Wood was sent to Collingwood in some way, but when and how is unknown. Maybe he had a special assignment (messenger, escort of an important man?). And ‘sent to join’. Very intriguing.

 

By the way, 6 of the 7 man, were ‘filed under’ Collingwood during internment,  except Aldridge (Hawke).

 

I wouldn’t say ‘all that was left of an entire battalion’ is over the top. Because I think the fact that the rest of the Nelson battalion got away to England was unknown to these Dutch, newspapers. Like the seven men at that time would not have known. By the way, these were only two sentences in otherwise quite lenghty articles, so not very sensational at all.

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horatio2
9 hours ago, Herman Joustra said:

By the way, 6 of the 7 man, were ‘filed under’ Collingwood during internment,  except Aldridge (Hawke).

I had noticed that. I have not checked all the other Hood, Howe and Drake internees (there's a job for you!) to see whether they were also placed in another 1st Bde battalion while in internment but I am pretty sure that the few Drake and Hood ratings were placed in Collingwood and Hawke. This would seem a sensible administrative move in the case of the Nelson ratings who otherwise would have had no Nelson Officer to act as their Divisional officer. It would also explain the "sent to Collingwood" notation.

9 hours ago, Herman Joustra said:

Still Wood was sent to Collingwood in some way, but when and how is unknown. Maybe he had a special assignment (messenger, escort of an important man?).

I still do not buy this, and for another reason. The entry on Wood's record was made by the RND Records Office in London and would have been the result of a report from somewhere. It is vanishingly improbable that OC Nelson Bn or GOC 2nd Bde would have sent, in the middle of a battle, a written report to London on the employment of a single rating. It is, however, very likely that Cdre Henderson in Groningen would have notified London about the administrative arrangements he had made for the care of the 'lost orphans' of Nelson, Howe, Hood and Drake.

 

This has been a fascinating discussion!

Edited by horatio2

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Herman Joustra

Hi Horatio2,

 

It also crossed my mind that it could have been an administrative move. I will check to see where the lads of Drake, Howe and Hood were filed under, while interned.

 

It’s always nice to explore in your own mind what might have happened, to pose possibilities, but in the end I think we will never no what really happened. 
 

That the nine ‘simply’ would have been stragglers is most likely. Certainly in the case of Miller. He was diagnosed ‘shell shocked’ on the 16th of October, a remark ‘signed’ by G. Henderson.

 

I will keep you posted!

Edited by Herman Joustra

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horatio2

Examples of  'lost and interned' ratings of Howe Bn. I think their stories could be repeated  by many others. Left behind by their battalions, they were almost certainly 'swept up' by the 1st Bde later in the day as it headed for the Dutch border.

  • AB William GEARING Sussex 3/135: Howe Battalion Interned 9/10/14 ; Last seen with broken down ammo wagon about a mile short of St.Gillies Waes. In the Stadsarchief records he is shown as Collingwood Bn.
  • AB William F JENNINGS Sussex 1/336: Howe Battalion Interned 9/10/14 ; Last seen walking beside Stretcher, after crossing Pontoon Bridge. In the Stadsarchief records he is shown as Collingwood Bn.
  • AB James MOULTRIE, Mersey 7/186: Howe Battalion Interned 9/10/14 ; Last seen helping an injured man into a motor & is believed to have gone with him. In the Stadsarchief records he is shown as Collingwood Bn.
  • Ord John J NICHOLSON, KX/220: Howe Battalion Interned 9/10/14 ; Was last seen at Beveren Waes. In the Stadsarchief records he is shown as Collingwood Bn.
  • L Sig Charles THOMPSON, Mersey 2/135: Howe Battalion Interned 9/10/14 ; Last seen in trenches.  In the Stadsarchief records he is shown as Collingwood Bn.
  • AB Clement VIDLER, Sussex 5/236: Howe Battalion Interned 9/10/14 ; Believed to have crossed Pontoon Bridge in retreat from Antwerp. In the Stadsarchief records he is shown as Collingwood Bn.

A quick search in my records cannot find a single Howe, Nelson, Hood or Drake internee who appears on the Stadsarchief under his original battalion. Most (30+) are listed as Collingwood, with only a handful listed as Hawke or Benbow. Does this agree with your research, Herman?

Edited by horatio2

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Herman Joustra

You’ve made a fine list, Horatio2!

 

I will check the others this evening.

 

My first impression however agrees with yours. They were predominantly filed under Collingwood, only a few under Hawke and Benbow.

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Herman Joustra

Cannot find the time this evening, will check tomorrow.

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Herman Joustra

Checked the 14 men from the Hood battalion: 13 filed under Collingwood, except James Edward Kidd, B5087, filed under Hawke. The men from Howe, same story. Only Albert Cole, M219 and Fred Errington, KX258, filed under Hawke. The 2 men from Drake, filed under Collingwood. I did not find any filed under Benbow. And like I said before, 6 of the 7 Nelson men are Collingwood, only 1 is filed under Hawke 

 

Why predominantly Collingwood, I wonder.

Edited by Herman Joustra

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Herman Joustra

Here is an interesting story about the retreat, though I think the 1st brigade was supposed to retreat via the Malines gate, because they were relatively close to it, and not the 2nd brigade. The writer mixed these two up, I think. However, very interesting stuff.

Story of sgt Giles.pdf

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horatio2

A Ripping Yarn from "Sergeant Giles". Perhaps the surname has been changed for journalistic or security reasons but I can find no trace of an RMLI OR called Giles with the rank of Sergeant who served at Antwerp. There is only one GILES, Private George Alfred Giles, Chatham11286, who served under fire at Antwerp. He never served above the rank of Private. Perhaps he was 'bigging himself up' to sergeant,

The "Derryman's Experiences" seem to originate with Able Seaman Frank Alexander Graham, Clyde 1/2175, RNVR. An apprentice shipwright, he lived in Port Glasgow but his mother lived in Londonderry. He served at Antwerp in Anson Bn. but not under enemy fire (no Clasp to 1914 Star).

Fascinating insights into Antwerp. Thanks for posting, Herman.

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