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Remembered Today:

westkent78

23rd (County of London) Battalion, the London Regiment

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ChrisMead

Good afternoon all.  

 

It is strange that I should have come across this thread now, having looked over a period of years, but still, pleased to be here.  

 

We are just back from a reburial of my great uncles remains: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9281940/british-soldiers-killed-wwi-buried-france/ and would love to know anything more about him possible.  I understand that his service records were destroyed during WW2 so that avenue came to an end so if any one has any references to Private Frank Mead, 700918, 1st/23rd Bn., London Regiment who died on 03 December 1917 I would be very pleased to hear from them.  We have a few pictures and letters but very little else.

 

I am also struggling to find a picture of his cap badge.  Would anyone have this?

 

Very many thanks.

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clk

Hi Chris,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

It must have been a very moving event for you and your family.

 

3 hours ago, ChrisMead said:

I understand that his service records were destroyed during WW2

 

The good news is that Frank seems to have 2 sets of surviving service papers on Findmypast - one under his original 3364 number (link), and one under his (1917)  700918 renumber (link). I didn't compare them, but they may duplicate each other. It would be worth going through them, and coming back with any questions that you may have. If you would like a copy of his will, it is available (£10) from here. His Soldiers' Effects record (link) names his sole legatee as his father (Thomas), and the will may only consist of a very few words along the lines of ' in the event of my death, I leave everything to my father'. If you did decide to get a copy, it would come as a low resolution B&W scan of the original, and be sent to you as an email attachment a couple of days after you ordered it.

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

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ChrisMead

Chris - thank you so much for your efforts.  I had no idea all of this information was so available and I appreciate your reply and guidance.

 

Whilst I understand that you get little for free, it is a shame that they are pay for a period rather than pay for a record, especially when there are three different places to sign up for.  That said, I am excited to see what information I can get back from them when we are able to sign up to them.  Not cheap are they!

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westkent78

Chris,

 

Welcome to the forum, and the 23rd London thread.

 

I originally started this thread in 2004 when I discovered that my grandfather served with 1/23rd London in 1916. My grandfather was posted to 1/23rd in April 1916, just as Frank did. Unfortunately I do not know which platoon my grandfather was in charge of, but there is a small possibility that Frank served under him.  Frank was in A Company when he was training with 2/23rd in the U.K. but I suspect that he may have been placed into B Company when he joined 1/23rd.

 

Frank attested for the 23rd London Regiment on 18th November 1914 at regimental headquarters, 27 St. John's Hill, Clapham. At the time he was living at 13 Elfindale Rd, Herne Hill and claimed to be a 20 year old warehouseman draper, and was an exceedingly tall 6 ft, 1 inches. (that's the tallest I've seen on an attestation to the battalion so far!). He was issued with service number 3364 and placed in A Company, 2/23rd London which at the time was the reserve battalion for 1/23rd. On 19th June 1915 he was transferred to 108th Provisional Battalion. This was made up from personnel of the 2nd and 3rd line Territorial Battalions not available for overseas service and soldiers of low medical categories, 108th being the battalion that such men of the 23rd London went into.  On 21st January 1916 Frank signed his Imperial Service Obligation which meant he was liable to go overseas and was transferred to 3/23rd on 27th Jan 1916 where he would have waited to go on a draft to 1/23rd on 21st April 1916. He reached 1/23rd in the field on 30th May 1916. Frank survived the activities on the Somme in September/October 1916 relatively unscathed, which was quite an achievement as 1/23rd had horrendous losses, although he did succumb to trench fever in mid October necessitating a stay at the No. 12 General Hospital at Rouen. He was back with 1/23rd on 17th November 1916 after a short stint at 8th Infantry Base Depot, escaping being sent to a different battalion from the Base in the process. He was renumbered in Jan-Feb 1917 as 700918 and remained with the Battalion throughout 1917 until 3rd December 1917, experiencing the hardships of Messines in June 1917 among many others. His personal effects: 2 discs, photos, purse, George II Half crown with Apostles Creed on Back, Cards, Canvas wallet. were received by Thomas Mead on 6th May 1917.

 

I have to correct something that you appear to have been told about the day of his death. 1/23rd were not retiring on 2nd/3rd December 1917. They had moved to Sunken Road trench at 6pm 2nd December to relieve 1/6th London and support 1/8th London's attack. This move was completed by 8 p.m. B Company was on the Fontaine-Bourlon road with the other companies in Sunken Road trench. They were holding position that night and for most of 3rd December.  They were under artillery fire. This is what led to the unfortunate loss of Frank, Henry Wallington, and three other 1/23rd men, one of whom was buried in the recent ceremony [700277 Pte. John James Steele, 703752 L/Cpl. Ernest George Inglis, 703904 Pte. Benjamin Stanborough]. An additional 13 men were wounded. The War Diary lists these casualties as occurring on 2nd December, but I suspect they actually occurred in the early hours of 3rd December which is why their date of death was recorded as such.   At 6 pm on the 3rd the battalion moved to the front line positions on the left of Bourlon Wood relieving 1/6th, 1/7th and 1/8th Londons where an additional 1 O.R. was killed and 12 men wounded. 1/23rd retired from the front line late on the night of the 4th December and had fully evacuated it by 1 a.m. on 5th December.

 

As to 23rd London badges, google "23rd London Badge" and the images section should provide you more than enough options.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Matthew

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clk

Hi Chris,

 

1 hour ago, westkent78 said:

As to 23rd London badges, google "23rd London Badge" and the images section should provide you more than enough options

 

For me, those images don't compare favourably with the badge being sported in the photo that appeared on the BBC and Sun websites.

 

image.png.8971009589f954be26e85abe4ed6408d.png

Image sourced from The Sun website - accredited to The Press Association

 

I guess that it could be that of the 108th Provisional Battalion. I know very little about these things. Might it be worth posting in the 'Uniforms, Cap Badges and Insignia' sub forum to see if the experts there can make a positive ID?

 

Regards

Chris

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westkent78

Chris,

 

It's the 23rd London cap badge.

 

Interestingly for some reason that is not the badge that CWGC puts on the gravestones of 23rd London. They use 23rd London's other badge with the regimental motto that appears to have only been used sparingly on related paperwork, at least until the mid 1920s. All period cap, collar and sweetheart badges as well as patriotic postcards I've seen use the 8 pointed star derived from the East Surreys. CWGC in the 1920s must have had a reason for using the badge they do use, but personally I'd have thought the cap badge was more appropriate.

 

Matthew

23rd-battalion-london-regiment_orig.jpg

23rd cap.jpg

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clk

Hi Matthew,

 

Thanks for that. I made out a crown surmounting a pointed star, with a hint of an inner ring containing the 'emblem'. The main thing that I wasn't comfortable with was the shape of the scroll. Every day, a learning day!

 

Regards

Chris

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ChrisMead

Wow.  So many thanks to say - thank you sounds pretty inadequate, but thank you.  Thank you all.  Your continued interest is amazing, as is your knowledge.

 

Thank you for your comprehensive write up for Frank.  The warehouse draiper is a likely family business thing and all of us Meads are pretty tall!

 

I am surprised to hear that Frank was fit enough for the Army, but not fit enough for active service until later.  Presumably the standard was lower later on?  The only envelope we have is the one returned marked killed and my grandfather had addressed him as a Stretcher Bearer - perhaps this explains why he was relatively unscathed for a chunk of the war as possibly an occupation for someone with less than 100% fitness?  

 

I would love to have that George II half crown - I thought that this was likely a mistake as the reign of George II ended in 1760  and whilst the Apostles Creed may have been a talisman it seems like an old coin to have hold of.  Following on, it appears that my great grandfather took possession of Franks War and Victory medals and again I would love to have those.  They are not in the family any longer and I would image long gone.

 

I am embarrassed about the cap badge.  That is my picture of Frank and I should have noticed it.  When I googled it I did see the South Africa Star and discounted it as being wrong.  Plainly it was not. 

 

Chris

 

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Nella
On 27/09/2007 at 17:01, westkent78 said:

Some of you may be aware of this, but for those who aren't, I am compiling a database of all the men who joined the 23rd Londons in the Great War.

I currently have over 3,000 individuals identified and my nominal roll continues to grow each month, but there is definitely a long way to go.

Any information, however insignificant it may seem, is gratefully received.

If you are researching another regiment and come across someone who served for a period in the 23rd Londons I like to hear from you with any details you care to share.

I am also in a position to undertake look-ups in the war diary, regimental history and 47th Division History.

Matthew

Regarding the database for the 23rd London regiment please add ( if not done so already) my grandfather Sargent George Louis Allen No 3042 kind regards Terry

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barnsleyrunner

Can I ask a question about the items returned to Thomas Mead, Frank's father?

 

Would the fact that two identity discs were returned indicate that he was buried by comrades in a temporarily-marked grave, later lost during battle?

 

Would the other personal items - the wallet, half-crown etc, been about Frank's person at death and removed by his comrades to send back home, or would Frank have left them at a rest camp when he went into the line?

 

Thanks

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westkent78

The implication is that he and the others were buried in temporary graves (possibly shell holes?) and their personal effects were 'policed' by their comrades and sent home. The surviving service papers for the other casualties also indicate their effects were returned to their relatives. I'd assume these were taken from their person rather than left behind in a kit bag.

 

Best regards

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barnsleyrunner

Thank you.

 

Were they not meant to leave one tag on the man for future identification if the temporary grave was disturbed by further action, or was it customary to remove both?

 

On another note, I've been reading the 1/23rd War Diary today and they seem that have had a Christmas Dinner on 23rd January 1917. Any suggestion as to why?

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westkent78

Yes they were supposed to leave one tag attached. I wonder whether the discs mentioned in the effects were private id discs.

 

1/23rd was in the Hill 60 Sub Sector on the Ypres Salient at the end of 1916, so not much opportunity to celebrate until they were back in Dickebusch Huts. They had at least a three day celebration- C Coy on the 21st, D Coy on 22nd and A Coy on 23rd. No indication when B Coy had their dinner. Perhaps logistics meant they could only cater for one Xmas dinner a day?

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SallyR

I have come across this thread searching for more information on my ancestor Henry Albert Victor Wallington. I could never have imagined the detail I would find regarding his final days. My extreme thanks to the contributions.

 

If there are any further details regarding his service that could be provided I would be extremely grateful. I know he enlisted on the 10th Feb 1916 from his service record, sadly I could find no personal details (height etc). I am not sure at what point he saw active service but know from above he died on 3rd Dec 1917, sadly just before they withdrew from the front. I have a record of him being buried in Louverval, would this have been a memorial or actually contained his remains?

 

Many thanks in advance.

Sally

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kloughnane

Sally,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Are you aware that Henry Wallington is named on the war memorials at St Andrew's Church on Sandhurst Road, Catford? Along with others, I did some research into this memorial a few years ago and these are my notes on Henry:

 

Wallington, Henry A.V.

Private Henry Albert Victor Wallington, 1st/23rd (County Of London) Battalion, London Regiment, was killed in action on the 3rd December 1917, aged 22. He was the son of Joseph Henry and Edith Wallington of 301 Brownhill Road, Catford. He was born in Peckham and was educated at Hazelbank road School. Prior to the war he was employed as a clerk, but in December 1915 he enlisted in to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps at Finsbury Barracks. He was transferred to the London Regiment and arrived in France on the 16th June 1916. On the day that he was killed the battalion was to the left of Bourlon Wood and their casualties were one man killed and 12 wounded.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France.

 

 

I now need to amend the last line. If you want I can supply you with  photos of the memorials at St Andrew's.

 

Regards,

 

Kev Loughnane

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Michelle Young

His remains have now beeen identified and he is buried in Hermies Hill cemetery. I am hoping to visit next weekend so can get you a photograph.

 

Michelle 

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