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Private 5120 George Frederick LAW, Royal Welsh Regiment


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On behalf of a pen pal in Australia, I am looking for information about the above named soldier, her great uncle. I know from his MIC that he arrived in France/Flanders on 2nd November 1914 and died 15th February 1915. He is buried at Wimereux Cemetery.

George was born at Devonport in July 1895 and enlisted at Birkenhead, Cheshire. CWGC shows that he was in the 3rd Btn, Royal Welsh Regiment, however SDGW shows 1st Btn. Both sites show his age at death as 21 years. In fact he was 19, so presumably must have lied about his age when he enlisted? The LLT site would suggest that he must have been 1st Btn as the 3rd did not leave the UK.

I think that he must have been regular army, given his arrival date overseas. Would this be a correct assumption?

Does his service number 5120 give any indication as to his date of enlistment?

According to LLT, the 7th Division, of which the Regiment was a part, went to Belgium in October 1914. Is it likely that George was sent as part of reinforcements during the 1st Battle of Ypres?

Any help or guidance would be very much appreciated.


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You probably already have the info below but posted just in case

Name: LAW, George Frederick

Regiment, Corps etc.: Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Battalion etc.: 1st Battalion.

Last name: Law

First name(s): George Frederick

Initials: G F

Birthplace: Devonport

Enlisted: Birkenhead



Number: 5120

Date died: 15 February 1915

How died: Died

Theatre of war: France & Flanders

Supplementary Notes:


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Law arrived France and Flanders 2nd Nov 1914 as a reinforcement for the badly twice mauled 1st Battalion. He was a special reservist, and his number [rather too low for a soldier of 1st bn.] confirms this. His age is fine for SR. I confirm his death date. Although almost certainly entitled to the bar to the 1914 star, it was never claimed by his next of kin.

Regarding 3rd [sR] battalions in general: their role was not to fight as units, but to provide well-trained reinforcements to the two regular battalions. 1RWF had many SR men in their ranks in October and November 1914, because the 2nd bn. had snapped up most of the [better trained] regular reservists by being first in the queue.

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I hoped you would see this - I am so grateful for your help.

Best regards,


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My Aussie friend received the following information from the CWGC -


Unit: 3rd Bn.

Regiment: Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service No: 5120

Age: 21

Cause of Death: Died of frostbite

Date of Death: 15 February 1915



Plot I. Row D. Grave 8.

Additional Information: Son of William Henry and Florence Law, of 202, Peel St., Tranmere, Birkenhead.

I am intrigued by the cause of death. I appreciate he was there from November - February so no doubt it was very cold in the trenches but was this a common cause of death? My first thought was that he may have been wounded and remained in no mans land for a long period before he could be recovered but in that case I would have expected death cause to be shown as DOW? His burial place would indicate that he died in hospital rather that 'on site'.

I am now wondering whether the poor lad ever saw any action, or whether he just slowly froze to death in the trenches.

Any more thoughts or observations would be gratefully accepted.

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