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Essex Regiment 1919


Ali Hollington
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Hi,

Been trying to trace one of my relatives who might be:

11336 Pte Albert Edward Pike, Essex Regiment.

According to a SWB medal index card he enlisted 10-2-19 and was discharged 5-12-19 Para 292(xvi) KR.

The roll reference seems to be List K/1982/a the last digit might be 2.

Now family history/folklore has him enlisting under age (born 1901) and then being injured in Ireland, possibly due to a bomb attack.

So, does his regimental number help identify anything?

Regards

Ali

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Hi Ali

There's a couple of things you could try checking. Firstly if was injured/wounded etc in Ireland his local paper would probably have carried a report. The local studies library/record office/archive etc. for the area in question as well as of course the British Library should hold the relevant local papers.

Secondly check with the Essex's regimental museum (see http://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=6780) whether they have enlistment books for the period. In the last 18-24 months or so the Ministry of Defence returned these covering the inter-war years to most of the relevant regimental museums/archives etc. There may be some clue in there - either regarding family/next of kin details and/or the reasons given for discharge that will help.

Finally of course there's the post WW1 service which the Ministry of Defence still hold but will make available for a charge of, I think, about £30, to family members only.

The Essex were based in the Cork area during the Irish War of Independence/Anglo-Irish War etc. but I'm not sure when exactly they arrived there. Cork was one of the most violent parts of the country at the time although the conflict did not really become really ferocious untill 1920 so it seems a little early for any bombing. In any case I'm not sure if the IRA's weaponry at the time i.e. 1919 stretched that far.

Good luck.

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Thanks to both of you for your input.

I'm hoping to get to the NA this side of christmas so hopefully can check the medal roll.

I'll try and contact the musuem tomorrow and report back.

Thanks again.

Ali

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Ali,

The 1st Battalion Essex regiment were stationed in Kinsale Co Cork during 1919, probably at Charles Fort. The following two years saw them also at Bandon as both locations are mentioned in activities concerning the Essex Regiment and local IRA Units during that time. As already mentioned above 1920 and 1921 were the most active years in Cork and in west Cork in particular, but there were some incidents during 1919 as well, unfortunately they never make the local paper unless someone was killed. I will try and get a bit more conclusive information for the Kinsale and Bandon areas during 1919.

I will post again as soon as I have more info.

Regards,

Sean.

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Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't Percival who was ill famed due to the disaster of Singapore in WW2 a young major in the Essex Regt at the time of the Anglo Irish war. Legend has it that he had a personal hatred for Tom Barry, a notorious IRA man who, like Michael Collins, always managed to evade capture.

At the fall of Singapore Barry is reputed to have sent Percival a telegram of congratulations, he certainly had some front.

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Yes,

Major Percival's name shows up quite a few times during the period 1919 to 1922 in conflicts in west Cork and yes, you would be right, there was no love lost between the two men.

Regards,

Sean

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Sean, on one of my visits to friends in Cork city I had the opportunity to visit the small museum in Collins barracks, which was very interesting indeed. The lads told me later over a few scoops in the Belvue bar opposite about an ambush carried out at Dillons cross down the road, do you have anymore information about that, was it regular army or tans that were attacked.

Slan Go Foil

John.

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Hi Guys,

There was a fairly extensive discussion on this subject on an earlier thread.

Cheers,

Michael

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Hi Guys,

There was a fairly extensive discussion on this subject on an earlier thread.

Cheers,

Michael

Michael many thanks for that link, very interesting indeed.

Cheers John.

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For anyone interested in events during the Irish War of Idependence 1919-1921 there are two websites which I've just come across and are worth seeking out. Firstly there's http://www.dcu.ie/~foxs/irhist/index.htm which provides a quite detailed timeline of events during the conflict. Worth checking if you've an idea of when/where an individual was wounded/killed or served during the conflict. The site also has a very good reading list for those wanting to take it further.

Secondly there's http://homepage.eircom.net/~corkcounty/index.html which concentrates on the Cork area but again provides an events timeline, a reading list and links to other sites - a good site for all those interested in the Essex Regt for example.

I cannot vouch for the 100% accuracy for either site nor would I like to stand 100% behind the interpretation of events given on either site. However they are both very good starting points for researchers. They also provide real eye openers, even for Irish people who may think they already the history of this period, as for one thing the timelines illustrate quite clearly just how bad the situation got at times. Not for nothing I suppose that Yeats was inspired to write his apocalyptic poem 'The Second Coming' at this time.

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Normal life has got in the way recently, so I'll hopefully be able to dedicate some time to this next week.

IN the meantime, thank you all for your input.

Regards

Ali

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Sean, on one of my visits to friends in Cork city I had the opportunity to visit the small museum in Collins barracks, which was very interesting indeed. The lads told me later over a few scoops in the Belvue bar opposite about an ambush carried out at Dillons cross down the road, do you have anymore information about that, was it regular army or tans that were attacked.

Slan Go Foil

John.

Hi John,

Two good places of interest, museum at Collins Barracks and the Belvue, you cant go wrong.

Yes that area around the barracks and Dillons Cross in particular was an interface between the local republican units and the army on quite a few occasions.

The incedent you refer to may be the ambush on the night of the 11th December 1920 which culminated in the Burning of Cork City centre. two Crossley tenders left the barracks at 8 pm and headed towards Dillons Cross, there were 26 Auxiliaries (a section of the Black and Tans) in the tenders and they were engaged in combat just before they reached Dillons Cross.

There were deaths on both sides during the ambush but as we know now, it was only one incedent of many around the county which as I said led that night to the burning of Cork.

If you would like any further info on that event, just let me know, there has been a few books published on the events in Cork at that time.

The two links above will give you a lot of information.

Regards,

Sean.

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Hi John,

Two good places of interest, museum at Collins Barracks and the Belvue, you cant go wrong.

Yes that area around the barracks and Dillons Cross in particular was an interface between the local republican units and the army on quite a few occasions.

The incedent you refer to may be the ambush on the night of the 11th December 1920 which culminated in the Burning of Cork City centre. two Crossley tenders left the barracks at 8 pm and headed towards Dillons Cross, there were 26 Auxiliaries (a section of the Black and Tans) in the tenders and they were engaged in combat just before they reached Dillons Cross.

There were deaths on both sides during the ambush but as we know now, it was only one incedent of many around the county which as I said led that night to the burning of Cork.

If you would like any further info on that event, just let me know, there has been a few books published on the events in Cork at that time.

The two links above will give you a lot of information.

Regards,

Sean.

The burning of Cork was mentioned, how much of the area was destroyed ???

Also was it true that the Tans de frocked and beat a priest on Summer Hill ???

The other rumour was that after the ambush the Crown forces were being helped by the landlord of a nearby pub while all the time a cash of arms was hidden upstairs.

Regards John.

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Hi John,

first a correction to my post above, the six volunteers who were involved in the ambush escaped and one of the auxiliaries died of his wounds later that night(name unknown at this time).

About 70% of the commercial centre of the city was destroyed and about six houses in the Dillons Cross area. The name of the pub was O'Sullivans and while the landlords daughter was dressing the wounds of the injured auxiliaries in the bar the arms were in an upstairs room.

The priest had just came of duty from St Peter and Pauls church in the city center and had got the last tram at 9 O'Clock from St Patricks Street. It was heading for Dillions Cross when it was stopped at Summerhill, I have the priests own account of what happened that night but I would prefer to PM or e-mail it to you because of the nature of the incident, however if any member would like it posted I will do so in the right context.

John, I am a bit concerned that we are straying from the original reason for this thread but I could talk about the history of Cork City for ever.

I would gladly post any information that yourself or other members would be interested in relating to that night or any other incident that might be of interest to members.

The information that I have are eyewitness accounts and were obtained from the local archives center here in Cork City and other published works, I also have some photos that were taken in the days after the fires.

A new book published before Christmas covers all the events of that night in full detail, but in the meantime i will e-mail you some info and if you would like anything further from the book just let me know.

Regards,

Sean

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  • 3 weeks later...
Legend has it that he had a personal hatred for Tom Barry, who always managed to evade capture.

At the fall of Singapore Barry is reputed to have sent Percival a telegram of congratulations, he certainly had some front.

In his book Guerrilla Days, Tom Barry was pulled by the Essex while travelling as a doctor of all things, with the 'correct' documents and a crash course in the first year of medical studies. He asked to seperated from the 'rabble' who were also being frisked, in keeping with his new found status. Several officers scrutinised him and had a chat with him and seemingly were not without their suspicions of the travelling doctor. They asked him obvious questions. the mood lightened when he told them he had TB. Along the road came Major Arthur Percival, Barry recalled that Percival's buck teeth made him look vampiric in a bitter mouth. Major Percival in shorts and shirt carrying a revolver removed Barry's hat stood back and stared intently at him arms folded for what must have seemed like forever. Barry pretended to be embarrassed at this point.

Percival said Let him Go.

At some times recently certain sections of the Irish media have attacked Tom Barry for 'economy with the truth' but as Percival disappeared until the fall of Singapore, (he was filmed signing the surrender with a Japanes General slamming the desk in front of him) the detail he gave of the latter seems fairly accurate.

In his book he says the nest time I heard of him was 'his pathetic surrender at Singapore to a much smaller Japanese force.' Whether the Japanese sang a song 'The Boys of Kilmichael' as they marched in to Singapore is another thing. (Not Barry's claim)

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Ali, may I suggest that you may wish to contact the Essex Regiment Museum in Chelmsford, Essex? I have found them most helpful.

You can e-mail the Curator, Ian Hook, on pompadour@chelmsford.gov.uk, and/or write to him at:

Essex Regiment Museum, Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford,

Essex CM2 9AQ, UNITED KINGDOM.

Best wishes,

Noel

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Essex Regiment Museum, Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford,

Essex CM2 9AQ, UNITED KINGDOM.

I shall be heading there meself very soon...

Sorry forgot to say thanks....

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Well, it will be interesting to see the results. I have a couple of records here, showing men who enlisted in the Essex Regiment in June 1904 and November 1904 - regimental numbers 7950 and 8232 respectively. So, at a guess, Ali's Private Pike with a number in the 11000s would seem to have enlisted well before 1919.

Please pass on my best regards to Ian Hook at the Museum. I shall be sending him some more information on various Essex Regiment men in due course.

Noel

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11336 is an August/September 1914 enlistment date. There is no Pike on the list of 1st Essex casualties printed in the Regimental Gazette in 1921. Ian may be able to give you more details.

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Thanks again for all the input towards my quest to find out more about Albert Pike. Hopefully I will have more information by the weekend.

Regards

Ali

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I didn't say which weekend!

I have now checked the SWB medal roll and it just confirms the enlistment dates, his age as 19 (which fits reasonably with my man) and that he didn't serve overseas. I believe Ireland didn't count as overseas service so we haven't discounted the possibilty.

I have also checked at Kew for any service records, as he was discharged prior to the cut off (1921?), both with no success.

Next step is to contact the regiemental museum and see what comes up.

Regards

Ali

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  • 2 months later...
  • 7 months later...

Going back over somethings I found this was left up in the air.

Ian Hook at the Essex Regiment museum responded quickly with a number of informative messages, some of which are below:

"I regret that your man left the Army at an inopportune moment, in that>the entire Army was renumbered in mid-1920, while the 1st Battalion was in Cork Ireland and in 2006 we received from the MOD the Regiment's Enlistment Books recording the renumbering of men serving then. We have 11335 and 11337 but not Pike as he had been discharged.

The 11000 number series was men who enlisted from August 1914 to Mid 1920 as Regulars. As most of this was wartime it tended to be Boy Soldiers enlisting as Band, Drummer, Clerk or Tailor Boys, and these men were not eligible for overseas service until they were 19 (or 18 1/2 from April 1918). Your may not have joined underage illegally as the enlistment of Boys went on, but took place with the permission of parent or guardian. Many Boy enlistments were from Workhouses, Training Ships, Industrial and Approved Schools, either orphans, disciplinary or welfare cases."

So Albert Pike's service is still a bit of a mystery.

Regards

Ali

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Interesting discussion Ali. As an Essex man of West Cork descent I hope we can hear some more

Patrick

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