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Remembered Today:

Medal Entitlement/promotion queries


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Regulars will know of my on-going quest to get the full story on Tom Worthington, 1/6th Manchesters. My new Best Pal, Aliecoco, has just sent me copies of his medal roll stuff and it raises yet more queries about this elusive chap. If his service papers still exist, I may be able to bottom this when I visit PRO at the end of January, but would appreciate any advice from "The Experts" about the following matters.

Without question in my mind, all the information is that Tom was posted missing at Gallipoli, after an attack on 7 August 1915. He never returned.

Local information (from newspapers), together with a listing in 42nd Division Roll of Honour gives his rank as 2nd Lt (the paper suggesting the promotion was the week before he was killed). The medal roll info from Alie records him as "Discharged to Commission 11/8/15". This is then crossed out and overwritten as "Missing 7/8/15". My query here is what is the definition of "discharged to commission". Does that mean his rank would not have taken effect until then and, as he was killed a few days before, his final rank was Sergeant (which is what is shown on the medal roll)? Could he have been holding a rank as "acting 2nd Lt" (this being what I had assumed to be the case, as commissioned ranks in the Bn had become very thin).

The second oddity is that he is recorded on the Medal Roll for the 14/15 Star. The record is then annoted "deleted from 15 Star Roll, authority (illegible) EF/8/8072". There then seems to be a subsequent annotation "Star issued. Issue authorised 31/10/22". The query then is could there have been any reason why his entitlement would have been deleted, when it is clear he served overseas at the right time. I can only think there was some original clerical error that was rectified in 1922.

All views and speculation most welcome.



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I think the most likely interpretation for Tom Worthington's rank is your own, John.

Many battalions suffered severe casualties on the peninsula, to the extent that battalions were amalgamated, officers whisked in from all kinds of units to take over command of battalions, companies, etc. Sgt Worthington was probably summoned to see the CO, told he was being promoted and appointed acting 2nd Lt (still a Sgt, or maybe lower). CO puts in the paperwork, approved by whoever needed to approve it, administrated as discharged to commission on 11th Aug. On that day he would have become a Temporary 2nd Lt. However it was not to be. The acting 2nd Lt seems to be borne out by his entry on the divisional RoH.

There is a fine distinction between ranks in the Great War. There are permanent and temporary commissions - temporary basically for the duration. And for ORs there are regulars and duration men. Then there are acting and substantive ranks - acting when you are filling in as a higher rank than you normally are, substantive when you are promoted to that rank.

Straighforward, innit! :blink:

Incidentally, heading up your way shortly to see my son and to watch proper rugby at Edgeley Park! :P

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Rather than use quotes, as this is a short thread, I will try to comment on previous two items. The 'Discharge to Commission' date is the date of end of Other Rank service. As this is after he went miising, seemingly he never wore the pips. Naturally, paperwork took a few days [miraculously quickly compared with 2003!] and was not complete until after the sad event.

The Medal Roll annotations are because firstly, he was perceived by clerical staff as an OR [officers' roll was separate], then believed to have been commissioned [which would cause different engraving on medal], then confirmed as an OR at date of death. If you look at officer roll, I expect he will appear briefly on that, and then in turn be deleted.

Finally, the distinction between regular and duration OR is artificial: the army regarded all Kitchener men as regulars with fairly unusual [but not without precedent] terms of service. Only SR and TF were different. The only instance I have found was in the 2RWF time-serving regulars being unwilling to allow the duration men to join the Old Comrades Association.

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