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Pte Richard Lofthouse


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THe details of three Richard Lofthouses exist on the MIC. One of them served with the Loyal North Lancs Regt as Pte 24566 and then transferred into the Lancs Fusiliers as Pte 48124. I'm pretty certain that this one isn't my grandfather. Searches at the Archives in Kew have shown that he was about 8 years younger than my grandfather who was born in 1880. I think this soldier might have been the father of Nat Lofthouse the famous footballer but I haven't been able to confirm that.

The other two are Richard Lofthouse who again served with two regiments - the Welsh regt (15th Bn I think) as Pte 20304 and then The South Lancs as Pte 63615 AND Richard Lofthouse who served first with The KRR Corps as Pte 11130 and then with the MGC as Pte 20759.

Searches at The National Archives have failed to provide the one piece of evidence I need. Similarly, a search of the archives in Bolton have provided nothing useful.

My grandfather was a married man with a child (my father, now dead, was born in 1908) SO IT IS POSSIBLE (LIKELY ) THAT HE WAITED TO BE CONSCRIPTED. The soldier who served with the Welsh Regt and the South Lancs was awarded the three standard medals while the Richard Lofthouse who served with the KRR Corps and the MGC was NOT awarded the 1914 Star suggesting he joined later. For this reason only I "feel" he could be my grandfather.

I intend contacting the church in Bolton where he was married in the hope he is listed on their parish register or their roll of honour.

I would appreciate any other advice.

harry

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Hello Harry

Copies of the original MICs are now available from the WFA. The back of the three MICs might (and I say might) contain a snippet of information such as an address that could prove to be decisive.

The full details of how to order are on this thread:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...showtopic=67598

Perhaps worth a try?

regards

Mel

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Hello Mel,

Yours was a voice from the wilderness ! God bless you, any lead is a bonus. I've had my face pressed against a brick wall for so long!!!!

Will give it a go

harry

Oooops ! How do I follow this up. Please Mel lead me by the hand on this one. I tried to click on the address you gave me but .....nothing happened !!

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Harry

Do you mean the address or the link? :D

Here is the information from Kate's thread:

I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but you can now order a colour photocopy of the front and back of a Medal Index Card from the Western Front Association if you send them a donation of £5 (make cheques payable to The Western Front Association). The address is WFA, P.O. Box 1918, Stockport, SK4 4WN.

I read about this in "Your Family Tree" magazine back in November and ordered a copy of one particular card which I had downloaded from the National Archives because of the fact that it said "[OVER." in the bottom right-hand corner, which suggested there was something on the back (and so there was! Details of correspondence including the addresses). I only received the photocopy this week, so you may have to wait quite a long time if you order one. Apparently they are planning to make downloads available, but at the moment you have to write to them.

The response time is apparently now much quicker.

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Harry

Do you mean the address or the link? :D

Here is the information from Kate's thread:

The response time is apparently now much quicker.

An exciting breakthrough! I hope !!!!!!!

Above, I have listed details of the three Richard Lofthouses who, I'm sure, are still in the frame in my search for my grandfather. Up to about 10 p.m. last night I was convinced that my best hope was the KRRC/MGC man. I had no specific factual reason to believe this just an "educated guess" based on criteria like "as a married man of 34 with a young child, he wasn't likely to have enlisted voluntarily in 1914 but would have waited to be conscripted" The fact that he was the only one of the three not to have been issued with the 1914 Star seemed significant. I know this is pretty flimsy but........ He had no known involvement with things welsh and as far as I know he wasn't horsey either so the Welsh Regiment and The Lancers seemed less of a possibility.

The thing that really bothered me though was that I had no proof that any of the three actually came from Bolton. Searches at the National Archives and in Bolton had drawn a blank so it was possible that none of them was my grandfather.

Last night I was reading Michael Renshaw's Mametz Wood (Battleground Somme Series) and on p 47 came across this paragraph: "The 16th Welsh Fusiliers were originally recruited at the City Hall in Cardiff. The 10th and 13th were recruited from the mining areas and became known as the 1st and 2nd Rhondda.The 14th Welsh owe their existence to the Swansea Cricket and Football Club and interestingly, the 15th Welsh had well over three hundred recruits from Bolton in Lancashire and were known as the 15th Carmarthanshire."

The Richard Lofthouse I'm now interested in served with the 15th Bn Welsh Regiment before transferring into the South Lancashire Regiment.

If anyone can take me a step or two closer to solving this puzzle I would be grateful.

Harry

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  • 1 month later...

I wanted to add something to my previous posting but couldn't find any tab that would let me do that so I've used the "reply" facility to add this item.

I had hit a brick wall in the search for my grandfather when I wrote to The Welch Regt Museum in Cardiff. They couldn't help in a direct sense: "they don't keep records of soldiers who served in their regiments etc etc etc.....". However, their curator pointed me in the direction of the British Library whohave copies of all the Absent Voters Lists. You might remember that I said that those for Bolton had been destroyed to make much needed space in their archives. I didn't know that the BL kept copies and I'm assuming I'm not the only ignoramus on this website and that others didn't know either.

I'm not too optimistic. Apparently, AVLs for 1916 and 1917 were suspended for some reason but I have got somebody looking at the others.

Hope this is of some use to others in a similar situation to myself.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The AVLs at The British Library for 1915 and 1918 revealed nothing.

I'm becoming disillusioned because I think I've gone down all the possible avenues of research on this one and drawn a blank. That's why I'm posting this message on the Forum. More than anything else, it's been the collective depth of your knowledge and your unfailing willingness to share that knowledge with others that has impressed me most. All I ask now is to look at what I've done and tell me if I've missed anything out, if there are any other areas I should delve into.

So far I've sought to eliminate people with the same name who are on the MIC. I think I've done this successfully leaving just two: the RL who served in The Welch Regt and then The South Lancs and the RL who served in the KRRC and then the MGC. Incidentally I also got the reverse side of the medal cards from the WF Assoc and they were blank!

At first, I thought that he might be the KRRC man because I couldn't understand why a clogger from Bolton would join a welsh regiment when there were so many to choose from in the NW. Mind you I couldn't get too enthusiastic about the likelihood of him having joined the KRRC either and for the same reason.

It was a paragraph in Michael Renshaw's "Mametz Wood" that made me focus on The Welch regiment. On p 47 he is describing Lloyd George's attempts in 1914 to create a welsh army and although the plan was successful in the major cities and the valleys it stalled in the agricultural areas of Carmarthenshire. Because of that more than 300 men from Bolton were were enlisted in the 15th Carmarthenshire Battalion.

I have no proof but I think he might well have been one of them.

What have I done? Well, I've had searches done at Kew. I've spent hours in the archives in Bolton and Carmarthen. I've had a search done of the AVLs for 1915 and 1918 (1914 and 16 don't exist apparently) at the British Library. I've been in contact with all relevant museums including the Welch Museum in Cardiff. I've been in touch with the Anglican Dioceses in Bolton and Manchester. I've searched through the filofax copies of Bolton papers for 1914. I've contacted "History Groups" in Bolton, Carmarthen and Swansea. I've phoned every Lofthouse in the Bolton phone book. I'm at the moment trying to contact Railnews.co.uk to see if they can point me in a direction where I might find something on the trains that carried the volunteers to their training camp in Wales (assuming they went by train of course). And I'm sure I've forgotten other things I've tried!!!!!

Oh I've even written to Pen and Sword Books and they have promised to pass my email on to Michael Renshaw. Someone, somewhere must know something tangible about these 300 men, maybe he does.

I suppose that in many cases one has to admit defeat but I'm loathe to do that if there is some other tack I can try.

Any suggestions?

Harry

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Did your father have any siblings born during the war...if so their birth certificates may offer some information.

Andy

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Did your father have any siblings born during the war...if so their birth certificates may offer some information.

Andy

Thanks Andy for taking the trouble to respond. Unfortunately not. He only had one child, my father Harry, born in 1908.

Your msg has made me think of something else though. I don't know if it's of any significance but when I was going through the voters lists at the archives in Bolton, I noticed that my grandparents were listed together, at the same address, until 1924. After that my grandmother's name vanished ! It looks as if they separated. In fact my father has a half brother, Jack Murphy, (my grandmother's maiden name was Murphy). I can't find anything on him in the BMD lists. It seems as though she met someone and left my grandfather. Maybe Jack was illegitimate and my grandfather showed her the door. I don't know. Nor do I know if it's significant in my search for his Great War service. What do you think? I started visiting my grandmother in the late forties ( my grandfather died in 1940) but nothing was ever said and I don't know if she ever lived with this other guy. Skeletons in the cupboard and all that !

Harry

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Morning Harry,

are you descended from a man that fought for years in the most appalling conditions imaginable? Yes you are , so the search must go on for his story! There are stones unturned. My area of interest is the Worcestershire Regiment. Of the three men and the numbers you Quoted, I dont think any of them were conscripted. Check with the experts from the relevant Regiments. There are 4 Richard Lofthouse's listed in MIC, the one you dont mention was a Lancer. I did look up your Grandfather's date of birth, 1st Quarter of 1880. I was then going to look up the other 3 but realised I have my own research to do (and my daughter's car). What was your grandfather doing for an occupation on the 1908 birth certificate of your father. There may be a Roll of Honour for workers at his place of employment. Get Nat Lofthouse's auto-biography and find out about his dad. Check in depth all 4 men and eliminate 3 of them.

Happy hunting Mike Jones

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  • 2 weeks later...
Morning Harry,

are you descended from a man that fought for years in the most appalling conditions imaginable? Yes you are , so the search must go on for his story! There are stones unturned. My area of interest is the Worcestershire Regiment. Of the three men and the numbers you Quoted, I dont think any of them were conscripted. Check with the experts from the relevant Regiments. There are 4 Richard Lofthouse's listed in MIC, the one you dont mention was a Lancer. I did look up your Grandfather's date of birth, 1st Quarter of 1880. I was then going to look up the other 3 but realised I have my own research to do (and my daughter's car). What was your grandfather doing for an occupation on the 1908 birth certificate of your father. There may be a Roll of Honour for workers at his place of employment. Get Nat Lofthouse's auto-biography and find out about his dad. Check in depth all 4 men and eliminate 3 of them.

Happy hunting Mike Jones

Hello Mike, sorry I have taken so long to reply. I guess I'm beginning to run out of hope. I'm off to The Somme on the 15th April and was hoping to have found something out by then. I sometimes think that my best chance is to meet up with him in Mametz Wood. I'm just joking of course but I given what you suggest my best shot and am left with only two possibilities: the man who served with the 15th Bn The Welch Regt and then the South Lancs and the guy who began his service with the KRRC and finished it with the MGC. As I pointed out in an earlier posting, my first thought was that he was the latter. Why, I asked myself, would a "clogger" (and that was his trade Mike, making clogs and doing a "bit of shoe repairing") join a welsh regt. It was only when I read Michael Renshaw's book on Mametz Wood that I found out that more than 300 men from Bolton joined the 15th (Carmarthenshire)Bn of the Welch Regt in 1914 when that Bn's recruitment drive faltered. I have emailed the author but so far he hasn't responded.

In 1935/36 ish he had a corner shop making and selling clogs. (that came from a chap older than me who responded to a piece I put into The Bolton Evening News recently) Unfortunately, he knows nothing about him before then! I doubt though if he worked for a firm that I could contact as you suggest. If he did I know nothing of it

This though, the fact that he was hale and hearty in the mid thirties, rules out The Lancer. He was KIA so I eliminated him from my research very early on. The RL who served in the Lancs Fusiliers and then the Loyal N Lancs Regt is I'm sure Nat's father. Nat might know something but neither he nor his son Jeffrey will respond to my emails ! I think I explained the reason for this so I wont bore you with it again.

I really have done all the things I should. I would be tempted to give it up and to conclude that perhaps he didn't serve in The Great war. I can't do that though at least not until I track down something on the 300 plus Bolton lads who joined a South Wales Battalion. You can lose one person but 300 plus........... There must be someone out there.....why doesn't Michael Renshaw answer my email. I know it was passed on to him by Pen and Sword Books some weeks ago. At the moment, Mike, I'm pinning my hopes on that.

Harry

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Hello Harry

You have my sympathy for being almost there but not quite and having to deal with the frustration of needing that one final piece in the jigsaw.

Perhaps it is time for a bit of lateral thinking about the service numbers of your two candidates?

The Royal Welsh had two regular battalions and like most regiments on the eve of the war had allocated service numbers up to the 10,000s.

I would guess that your candidate's service number of 20304 suggest a voluntary enlistment beween February-May 1915 ( a numbers expert will be able to provide a far more accurate gauge).

The KRRC had four regular battalions - two in the UK and two in India at the outbreak of the war:

http://www.1914-1918.net/krrc.htm

You don't need to be a mathematical genius to deduce that the service number of 11130 is almost certainly that of a regular. The MGC number of 20579 also points in that direction given that the first 30,000 numbers were immedaitely taken up on the foundation of the Corps in September/October 1915.

I hasten to add that I am not an expert on either of these regiments and this is purely informed guesswork.

I would suggest that you post queries about the regimental numbers for both the RW and KRRC in the units section.

The other thing that you could do is to check the fatalities through the service numbers one hundred each side of 20304 for the Royal Welsh - preferably on the SDGW- to see if a pattern of Lancs enlistment emerges.

My view is that if you can receive confirmation that the KRRC 11130 is a regular's service number (ie pre August 1914) then you are home and dry.

Good luck as always :)

Regards

Mel

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Harry

I have just searched the index for a lead and it would seem that the KRRC Kitchener volunteers were allocated an 'R' prefix as per Andy's post below:

Steven,

Not a KRRC expert but the R prefix was used for the New Armies and ranged from R/1 thru R/58003.

Andy

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A quick look at the Ancestry WO374 records shows:

20333 John Stewart Allen, enlisted 9-2-1915.

15th Battalion Welsh Regiment.

Resident at Bolton, a bleacher by trade, NOK: 35 Moorfield Grove, Bolton.

Joined at Rhyl. Discharged as unlikely to become an efficient soldier on 25-5-1915.

One of the Bolton men you have seen mentioned. Presumably 20304 was attested a few days before this.

It increases the likelihood that 20304 was a Bolton man, I would think.

The file includes a letter mentioning that this man and 20372 Pte Marsden were medically examined at Bolton Recruiting Office, as well as at Rhyl.

Also 20313 Pte John Thomas Bell, enlisted 9-2-1915.

15th Battalion Welsh Regiment.

Resident at 23 Tower St, Bolton, a labourer.

Also joined at Rhyl. Discharged KR 392 iii © 19-3-1915.

These would strike me as two of the men who didn't measure up among the 300 Bolton recruits that went to the 15th Welsh. The fact that 20304 Pte Richard Lofthouse's is number is slap bang on top of this would suggest that this particular Lofthouse was from Bolton also. Obviously two swallowsx don't make a summer and it may be the "other" Lofthouses from Bolton, but it seems to pin him to the right locality. A view of the C-Z records when they come online may add some more weight to the possibility.

Steve.

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Steve

Great detective work (as usual) :)

Regards

Mel

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In a posting I added yesterday (see above) I mentioned that I had even written through Pen and Sword Books to Mike Renshaw the author of Mametz Wood. I asked him where he had found the material that lies behind the point he makes on p.47 that "more than 300 men from Bolton" had joined the 15th Welch in 1914.

Late yesterday afternoon I received a response. Unfortunately, he did the research for the book about 10 years ago and can't remember where that piece of information came from. He thinks it was in a file somewhere at the NA........sounds like the proverbial needle in a haystack. I'm three hundred plus miles from there so it would mean employing a researcher. I'm not sure I could afford the likely cost.

Harry

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Hello Harry

You have my sympathy for being almost there but not quite and having to deal with the frustration of needing that one final piece in the jigsaw.

Perhaps it is time for a bit of lateral thinking about the service numbers of your two candidates?

The Royal Welsh had two regular battalions and like most regiments on the eve of the war had allocated service numbers up to the 10,000s.

I would guess that your candidate's service number of 20304 suggest a voluntary enlistment beween February-May 1915 ( a numbers expert will be able to provide a far more accurate gauge).

The KRRC had four regular battalions - two in the UK and two in India at the outbreak of the war:

http://www.1914-1918.net/krrc.htm

You don't need to be a mathematical genius to deduce that the service number of 11130 is almost certainly that of a regular. The MGC number of 20579 also points in that direction given that the first 30,000 numbers were immedaitely taken up on the foundation of the Corps in September/October 1915.

I hasten to add that I am not an expert on either of these regiments and this is purely informed guesswork.

I would suggest that you post queries about the regimental numbers for both the RW and KRRC in the units section.

The other thing that you could do is to check the fatalities through the service numbers one hundred each side of 20304 for the Royal Welsh - preferably on the SDGW- to see if a pattern of Lancs enlistment emerges.

My view is that if you can receive confirmation that the KRRC 11130 is a regular's service number (ie pre August 1914) then you are home and dry.

Good luck as always :)

Regards

Mel

Thanks as always Mel for your advice and interest. As you are no doubt aware I'm rather new to this research aspect of our passion. I have been going to The Somme and Flanders for years now and walking the battlefields map and book in hand (indeed our next visit begins on the 15th of this month. Indeed the trip clashes with an Everton home game and there aren't many things I'd willingly miss one of those for).

I will do what you say and add the posting. However, I'm not sure I understand your final point. Running the risk of appearing foolish, why will " be home and dry if I receive confirmation that the KRRC 11130 is a regular's service number (i.e. pre August 1914)"?

Harry

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Hello Harry

From the information that you have provided there is no suggestion that your grandfather was a pre-war regular. He was, therefore, either a volunteer or conscript.

Given that the KRRC had four regular battalions rather than the broadly standard two, the allocation of service numbers for pre-war regulars is likely to have been somewhere approaching 20000. We now know that the KRRC allocated the prefix R for Kitchener volunteers - the inference that can be drawn is that 11130 was a pre-war regular and if he was not awarded the Mons Star then it is likely that he was in one of the two KRRC Battalions that returned from India to the UK in November 1914.

The Welsh Regiment had only two battalions and the service numbers allocated to the pre-war regulars must have reached approximately 10500 by August 1914.

Steve's research has confirmed that 20304 falls bang in the Bolton three hundred for the 15th Welsh Regiment thereby presenting a Kitchener volunteer as opposed to a KRRC regular.

It looks as if the Bolton 300 travelled by train from Bolton to Rhyll on or about 9th February 1915 - it would be worth checking the local rag for this date for a possible lead.

I hope that this is not as clear as mud. :)

Regards

Mel

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A quick look at the Ancestry WO374 records shows:

20333 John Stewart Allen, enlisted 9-2-1915.

15th Battalion Welsh Regiment.

Resident at Bolton, a bleacher by trade, NOK: 35 Moorfield Grove, Bolton.

Joined at Rhyl. Discharged as unlikely to become an efficient soldier on 25-5-1915.

One of the Bolton men you have seen mentioned. Presumably 20304 was attested a few days before this.

It increases the likelihood that 20304 was a Bolton man, I would think.

The file includes a letter mentioning that this man and 20372 Pte Marsden were medically examined at Bolton Recruiting Office, as well as at Rhyl.

Also 20313 Pte John Thomas Bell, enlisted 9-2-1915.

15th Battalion Welsh Regiment.

Resident at 23 Tower St, Bolton, a labourer.

Also joined at Rhyl. Discharged KR 392 iii © 19-3-1915.

These would strike me as two of the men who didn't measure up among the 300 Bolton recruits that went to the 15th Welsh. The fact that 20304 Pte Richard Lofthouse's is number is slap bang on top of this would suggest that this particular Lofthouse was from Bolton also. Obviously two swallowsx don't make a summer and it may be the "other" Lofthouses from Bolton, but it seems to pin him to the right locality. A view of the C-Z records when they come online may add some more weight to the possibility.

Steve.

Hello Steve,

I'm so grateful. this I can understand and it really does sound promising. Forgive my amateurish approach but what are the C - Z records and when are they likely to come on line. I feel so optimistic about this line of reasoning that I might even pay a researcher to delve into them for me.

I feel we can rule out the "other" Lofthouses from Bolton. It's a family with links with that town that go back a long way and I have contacted, one way or another, every family with that name in the area. Similarly, the Lofthouses on the MICs have been eliminated. The Lancer was KIA, The man from the Lancashire Fusiliers and then the Loyal North Lancs is Nat Lofthouse's father, and that leaves just the two we have been focussing on: the KRRC and MGC soldier and the man who joined the Welch Regiment.

I suppose there is always a chance that my grandfather didn't serve at all but given the atmosphere of that time and since he was an able bodied individual that's hard to accept.

No Steve I feel good about this and I'm grateful to you for the trouble you've taken on my behalf.

He was a "clogger" by trade, a maker of clogs. He also did some shoe repairing and according to an elderly gentleman who phoned me a week or so ago in response to a piece I put into The Bolton Evening News, he had a small shop, in the thirties, in Emmanuel Street in Bolton. That fits. He lived in number 23 for a long time. Unfortunately, this gentleman knew nothing about him in the 1914 - 18 period

Harry

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Hello Harry

From the information that you have provided there is no suggestion that your grandfather was a pre-war regular. He was, therefore, either a volunteer or conscript.

Given that the KRRC had four regular battalions rather than the broadly standard two, the allocation of service numbers for pre-war regulars is likely to have been somewhere approaching 20000. We now know that the KRRC allocated the prefix R for Kitchener volunteers - the inference that can be drawn is that 11130 was a pre-war regular and if he was not awarded the Mons Star then it is likely that he was in one of the two KRRC Battalions that returned from India to the UK in November 1914.

The Welsh Regiment had only two battalions and the service numbers allocated to the pre-war regulars must have reached approximately 10500 by August 1914.

Steve's research has confirmed that 20304 falls bang in the Bolton three hundred for the 15th Welsh Regiment thereby presenting a Kitchener volunteer as opposed to a KRRC regular.

It looks as if the Bolton 300 travelled by train from Bolton to Rhyll on or about 9th February 1915 - it would be worth checking the local rag for this date for a possible lead.

I hope that is not as clear as mud. :)

Regards

Mel

Thanks Mel. That is CRYSTAL CLEAR. Hope you didn't mind me asking you to explain parts of your first posting. It wasn't you believe me. I put it down purely to my own inadequacies.

I have already checked out the railway slant and drawn a blank but I now have other things to ponder.

Many thanks, not least of all for your patience.

Harru

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It looks as if the Bolton 300 travelled by train from Bolton to Rhyll on or about 9th February 1915 - it would be worth checking the local rag for this date for a possible lead.

At the North Wales end this would be the Daily Post (Liverpool based), but 'Rhyl' would almost certainly mean Kinmel Camp near Rhyl. However - tens of thousands of Brits and Canadians (and probably others) went through that camp so it is unlikely that the Daily Post would have deemed the arrival of 300 Bolton chaps as newsworthy!

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At the North Wales end this would be the Daily Post (Liverpool based), but 'Rhyl' would almost certainly mean Kinmel Camp near Rhyl. However - tens of thousands of Brits and Canadians (and probably others) went through that camp so it is unlikely that the Daily Post would have deemed the arrival of 300 Bolton chaps as newsworthy!

I'm sure you're right Andrew but I'll email them just in case

Harry

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Andrew & Harry

I was referring to the Bolton paper. Three hundred locals joining one regiment en masse, particularly in February 1915, may have been a newsworthy item.

Regards

Mel

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Andrew & Harry

I was referring to the Bolton paper. Three hundred locals joining one regiment en masse, particularly in February 1915, may have been a newsworthy item.

Regards

Mel

Good point Mel but after reading p 47 Of Renshaw's Mametz Wood that was my first thought. One person from the town can slip through the net but 300 plus......!!!!! They have by all accounts. The newspare and the archives have NOTHING on it. Nor have the newspaper and archives in Carmarthen and other Welsh towns and cities.

Harry

Thanks anyway Mel

Harry

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By "C-Z records", I meant the WO364 series service records for men with surnames from C to Z, as the records for men with surnames A and B are the only ones online (on Ancestry at the moment).

I was suggesting that a further look would probably add a few more men (statistically another 20 men) that could definitively pin the Bolton contingent down to those that travelled to Rhyll in February 1915. With a sample of only two the "B" surname men may have been one-offs and not part of the 300, though I rather doubt so.

Circumstancially, 20304 Richard Lofthouse was amongst the 300 men who were gathered together at Bolton and then travelled to Rhyl to be attested and accepted into the Army.

Steve.

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