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

Remembered Today:

Pte John Matthews, No242131, Sherwood Foresters


reubenayres

Recommended Posts

post-20468-1176213396.jpg

I'm trying to find out as exactly as possible the circumstances surrounding my grandfather's death.

He enlisted with the Sherwood Foresters 2/6th Battalion on 7th October 1916. On 12th April 1917 he was transferred to the 3/5th Battalion due to illness. I understand that the 3/5th was a home based battalion that did not leave the UK. However, I presume he must have been transferred again to another battalion sometime later because from 30th September 1917 the diary reads as follows:-

30th Sept - warned of draft

3rd Oct - left Saltfeet, landed at Folkestone

4th Oct - landed at Boulougne

5th Oct - landed at Calais

8th Oct - landed at Aberle

12th Oct - landed at Scotch Wood (Belgium)

14th Oct - went up the line

I know from the CWGC and the Sherwood Foresters museum that he was killed on the 17th October and is named (no grave) on the Arras memorial which I visited a couple of years ago.

The diary details don't seem to tally with the Battalion diary for the 2/6th so I presume he wasn't sent back to them.

Would it be reaonable to interpret this as follows:-

Aberle = Abeele

Scotch Wood = Scottish Wood

and that he was therefore at Ypres at the beginning of the First Battle of Passhendaele?? If so, which Battalion, Division, location etc would he have been likely to have been with given these diary details. How can I take this any further forward?

Alternatively, have I misintepreted the whole thing?

Many thanks

Reuben Ayres

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reuben

The service number belongs to the 5th Battalion. I think that the 1/5th were in the Arras are in September 1917 but I will leave that to the many Sherwooder experts on the Board.

Regards

Mel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mel,

The list of N&D TF numbers on the LLT is wrong (the 4th was an Extra Reserve battalion, not a TF one).

The number belongs to the 6th Battalion.

Steve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

242131 is actually a 6th battalion number, awarded from April 1917 to replace the 4 digit number previously allotted (the main site records N&D territorial numbers incorrectly, so I can understand the presumption that the number is 5th battalion).

I haven't actually got the WD for Oct 1917 (every other month bar that one would you believe!) but the other three second line Sherwood Forester battalions of 178 Brigade all record that they were in Souchez camp on the 17th, out of the line and running working parties. 2/6th would have been doing the same, so I agree with you Reuben, that your Grandfather's diary does not match with what the 2/6th were doing (on the 14th when he 'went up the line', 178 Brigade were 'coming down the line' into Divisional reserve).

The chap you need is the resident 6th battalion guru, Mike Briggs, but he's currently in France!

My guess is that, despite his number, he wasn't drafted to a second line Sherwood Forester territorial battalion, but to some other battalion. Which? Well, from what you say about Ypres I have to say that the 11th battalion is favourite. Also, a check in Soldiers Died shows 11 Sherwood Foresters killed on 17/10/17, eight of whom were 11th battalion (and three of which had numbers that should equate to 6th or 7th battalion territorial numbers).

I don't have the 11th Battalion War Diary for the time in question, but it would be interesting to see if it records the arrival of a draft of reinforcements c.8th-14th October.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Steve and Andrew for the information. I had no idea there was an error in the table.

Regards

Mel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither did I until I gave wrong information a while back. ;)

Steve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hadn't but I have now. All it says is:-

Name: Matthews John

Corps: Notts & Derby R

Rank: Pte

Regtl No: 242131

Victory: Roll F/103.B.30 Page: 6004

British: do do

I'm not sure what 'Victory' and 'Roll' mean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what 'Victory' and 'Roll' mean.

'Victory' = entitled to Victory Medal.

'Roll' = the medal roll you need to look at for full details (the MIC is the Index card to the actual roll - which, if accessed, should give you the battalion)

The 'British ditto', means that he also got the British War Medal and the relevant roll.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrew your wish is my command. The 11th's War Diary for 12th October 1917 records the following:-

12/10/17

DICKEBUSCH. The camp was again moved to KRUISSTRAATHOEK. Capt F H FRITH arrived with a draft of 106 men for the battalion.

There was another draft on the 4th October.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Richard - I thought you would oblige!

The 12th October draft looks promising. Forgive my lack of knowledge of the geography of the salient, but is Scottish Wood near Dickebusch / Kruisstraathoek?

And, if the 11th 'went up the line' on the 14th October, I think we've placed him. Would you possibly check what was happening on the 14th?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Richard - I thought you would oblige!

The 12th October draft looks promising. Forgive my lack of knowledge of the geography of the salient, but is Scottish Wood near Dickebusch / Kruisstraathoek?

And, if the 11th 'went up the line' on the 14th October, I think we've placed him. Would you possibly check what was happening on the 14th?

According to my map, Scottish Wood is about 2km east of Dickebusch and about 1km east of the Dickebusch Lake. I hope that helps.

Many thanks

Reuben

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it does. I think we can be fairly confident now that your chap was sent to the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it does. I think we can be fairly confident now that your chap was sent to the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.

Dear Andrew, Richard and everybody,

Many, many thanks for all your hard work and efforts to locate my grandfather. I really am so grateful to you all.

As the final icing on the cake, do we know whether the 11th battalion went 'up the line' on the 14th October?

Many thanks

Reuben.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A bit late, but it looks like you've worked it all out anyway.

Definitely a 6th Battn man in the first instance – he seemed to have enlisted within a bunch of Derby Scheme men. SDGW has him with the 2/6th, but it looks like that little mystery has been solved :D

All I can add is the War Dairy for 2/6th Battn for October 1917, but as Andrew has already said they seemed to be in training anyway

post-4619-1176666483.jpg

cheers

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks to everybody who helped with this. Would it be OK to post again regarding the location of particular battalions around Oct 1917??

Very best wishes

Reuben

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks to everybody who helped with this. Would it be OK to post again regarding the location of particular battalions around Oct 1917??

Very best wishes

Reuben

One small point - If he was killed on 17 October 1917 and is commemorated at Arras - then we would not be in a battalion on the Salient. If it helps - I do not have him in 9th Battalion. I have four men 242*** and they come from 1/6 or 2/6th though.

stevem

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Steve,

That really puts the cat amongst the pigeons. What is the significance of being on the Arras memorial? If it means that he must have been 'somewhere else' other than the Salient, do you know what was going on 'somewhere else' between the 12th and the 17th october 1917 which might help me discover what action he was involved in and which unit he might have been attached to when he died?

With many thanks

Reuben

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I think Steve has put a spanner in the works there. I'll reconsider.

Shame though. The 11th Battalion scenario worked like a peach! :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I've checked the locations of every Notts & Derby battalion for October 1917. None of them are in the Arras sector at that time. They are virtually all in Belgium.

The closest is the 1st line territorials who were near Mazingarbe having a generally quiet time. There were some casualties, but I would have thought this was too far away from Arras for a man who fell there to be on the Arras Memorial (?)

I'm confused now! :huh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Dear.

Well, the things I know for certain are:-

His name is John Matthews No 242131.

He was originally in the Sherwood Foresters 2/6th and later transferred to 3/5th.

He was killed on the 17th Oct 1917.

He is on the Arras Memorial which I have visited with my family.

Where do I go from here?

Reub

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John Matthews No 242131.

I would say that a good way forward would be to consult the Medal Rolls for the Sherwood Foresters, which will list the Battalions that he served with and presumably the last one will be the one he was killed with.

You will find these in the National Archives in WO329/1401. Instead of having to pay a visit you might be able to order a copy of the relevant page.

Both the CWGC and SDGW have him listed as being killed whilst serving with 2/6th Battn....but they certainly weren't in action, unless perhaps he was serving with the trench mortar battery, where they supplying working parties?

Just to add this too. The 2/6th Battn were at Gouy-Servins on the 17th October. That's just down the road from Lieven and not far from Arras (which would be the closest 'Memorial to the Missing'). During October 1917 the 1/6th Battn were fighting in an around Lieven and Loos...?

Clearly his grave was lost, which probably puts him up in the fighting line.

I think that you have to look at medals rolls and work back from there - too many possibilities otherwise :blink:

I might be back down at the NA next month, but not totally sure. If you haven't solved it by then I will gladly look through them B)

cheers

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I've checked the locations of every Notts & Derby battalion for October 1917. None of them are in the Arras sector at that time. They are virtually all in Belgium.

The closest is the 1st line territorials who were near Mazingarbe having a generally quiet time. There were some casualties, but I would have thought this was too far away from Arras for a man who fell there to be on the Arras Memorial (?)

I'm confused now! :huh:

Sorry for introducing the spanner :D

All of my men killed at or near Mazingarbe are buried at Mazingarbe or nearby. The nearest Memorial though would be Loos which is a couple of miles down the road. As we all know though the listing of men's names on memorials was not an exact science! Although I have three men killed in June 1918 near Mazingarbe who are on the Loos memorial. Two of my men killed 3 May 1917 are on the Arras memorial but they were in the Bullecourt area at the time. The other men on the Arras memorial are all from 1916 and when the battalion were based near Arras. You would have thought that the first two would have been on the Vis en Artois Mem at Haucourt! - They were the only two men actually named and mentioned when killed and buried - then the graves were lost.

It may have something to do with the dates they died.

One final point - could he have been attached to another Regiment at the time? As we know, it did happen.

Or - The 46th Div where in that area and he was actually with 1/5th,1/6th, 1/7th, or 1/8th.

stevem

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 46th Div where in that area and he was actually with 1/5th,1/6th, 1/7th, or 1/8th.

The 1/6th were in the front line trenches at Hill 70 on the date in question, but they don't list any casualties

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 1/6th were in the front line trenches at Hill 70 on the date in question, but they don't list any casualties

It is possible that - Loos to the North was Loos Memorial and Loos to the South was Arras Memorial. The Divisional front may have extended south below Hill 70.

S

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...