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Northumberland Fusiliers / 9th Cheshires


JefR
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Pte. Isaac Sillender DCM

My project for the winter will be to write up Isaac's story. I have some key information, but I need to fill in some important gaps and would welcome help. I've searched at Kew but couldn't find his soldiers papers, I didn't look at the medal rolls at the time because I didn't realise then that they might give anything more than the MIC. I know the following:- [source in brackets]

Enlisted: 21st Aug 1914 Northumberland Fusiliers [Army form Z21]

Number: 6860 [MIC]

To France: 10th Sept 1915 [MIC]

Wounded: Dates unknown [Press cutting]

Transfer: To 9th Cheshires - date unknown [DCM citation]

Number: 52273

Promotion: To L/Cpl [MIC]

DCM Action: Messines / Onraet Wood - 7th June 1917. [citation]

Wounded: Dates unknown [Prayer Book note]

Discharged: 17th Feb 1919 [Army Form Z11]

He was wounded three or four times and was at some point treated in the 10th General Hospital, Rouen [Prayer Book note].

I'd like to know where he served and, if possible when and where he was wounded. In the absence of his service papers can anyone point me towards any of the following:-

1) His battalion in the Northumberland Fusiliers - so I can try to find the right diary.

2) How I might find the date of his transfer to the 9th Cheshires.

3) Where I might find the diary of the 9th Cheshires, post June 1917.

4) Whether or not it is possble to find out when and where he was wounded.

5) Hospital records, particularly 10th General (I realise that this is impossible - but miracles seem to happen on this site!)

I'd be grateful for any assistance.

Jef

Chester-le-Street

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Hello Jef, Little I can contribute apart from the fact that the 9th. Cheshires(19th. Div.) went to France Sept. 1915.

There is nothing of import in the "History" of the Cheshires that I can find on a quick read through.

Others more expert will be able to assist I am sure.

Cheers.

Colin

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Jef

So that we can gradually cover all the bases,did you consider that he might have been awarded a pension as a result of his several woundings ? If so did you check the Pension Records as well as WO363 at Kew ? They are in WO364 (Spool 3706 covers his surname) as well as now being on Ancestry UK.

Good luck with the story.

Best wishes

Sotonmate

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battalion may be on the medal rolls

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Nothing showing on Ancestry on either number or name, although there may be a mispelling which wouldn't be unusual.

Walker's Recipients of DCM has him Gazetted on 25. 8 . 1917.

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Just in case you don't yet have it:

DCM Citation, LG 25-8-1917

52273 Pte. I. Sillender, Ches. R.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When in charge of a Lewis gun team, by his skilful and daring action he killed and wounded a whole machine gun team of the enemy which had been passed over in an emplacement, and had opened fire upon us from the rear. His prompt initiative

saved many casualties.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...exact=sillender

Steve.

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Many thanks to everyone for the time and effort you've spent on my behalf, I appreciate it.

Coldstreamer - I certainly hope his Btn is given in the Medal Rolls, I think that's my only chance. I'm hoping one of the NF experts can put their finger on him. My rummage back through previous postings in the forum gives me the impression that the 12th, 13th and maybe 14th Btns all arrived in France on the 9th or 10th Sept 1915 and that one of those is the most likely.

Sotonmate / Ninesergeants - Yes I've checked Ancestry's index for Sillender and all the variations that have turned up in censuses and other documents - Selender, Slender, Zellender etc - No joy.

Steve - You got him, your LG transcript helps because the original citation is very faded

Colin - Thanks for trying

Thanks again guys

Jef

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Jef,

Isaac served with the 12th Bn, NF and he also appears in the British Jewery Book. Not a lot to go on I'm afraid, but local newspapers, especially Jewish ones may have some clues. Was he from Gateshead by any chance? Don't know if this is of any help, but there was and still is a large Jewish community in that area and if he have been known to them.

Graham.

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Jef,

Isaac served with the 12th Bn, NF and he also appears in the British Jewery Book. Not a lot to go on I'm afraid, but local newspapers, especially Jewish ones may have some clues. Was he from Gateshead by any chance? Don't know if this is of any help, but there was and still is a large Jewish community in that area and if he have been known to them.

Graham.

Graham

Many thanks, that's excellent - so he was with the 12th! Now at last I can try to find the diary and see what happened to him. The British Jewery Book sound intriguing, I've never heard of it - does it give anything more than his name?

I have a number of local newspaper clippings that were kept by his wife, mostly describing the presentation of his DCM by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and an inscribed gold watch by the Newcastle Jewish community. None of them has a date or a source but I have traced one to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle Sept 24th 1917. That was when he was in the Cheshires, there is an earlier clipping with his photograph captioned "Pte I Sillender NF of Newcastle (Wounded)" and I'd dearly like to know the date of that. The only clue is the fragment of war news from the next page of the newspaper that's on the back of the cutting. Less than half a column wide. and headed Pozieres..., it says

"The final assaul........

executed by t............

with their accusto.......

were the London........

and Australians j......."

So if I can find a date for the capture of Pozieres by a unit with an "attacking" reputation accompanied by a London regiment and Australians it will give me one of the dates that Isaac was wounded and help to narrow down the uncertainty about the date of his transfer from the Fighting Fifth to the Cheshires.

By way of background, Isaac was my wife's grandfather born and raised in Newcastle, his parents having fled the pogroms in Russia in 1881 or 82. Between the wars he was a founder member of the Jewish Ex-Servicemens Assoc. and for many years standard bearer for the British Legion (Newcastle). During WW2 he was a fundraiser for the Red Cross Prisoners of War Fund.

With best regards and thanks for your expertise

Jef

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Jef,

Don't know if this will really help, but the "Battle of Pozieres" was between the 23rd July and 6th September 1916 and during that occassion the 1st, 2nd & 4th Australian Divisions were included. So if this is an earlier newspaper clipping then it must have been when he was still serving with the 12th Bn.

The 12th Bn,N.F. were serving with 62nd Bde/21st Division and between the 14th & 17th July 1916 had been involved in the Battle of Bazentin Ridge and it's possible he may have been wounded then, but he may have just as easily been wounded during a spell in the trenches as opposed to an attack. By this time the actual dates of casualties were weeks and sometimes months behind the actual event. My suggestion is to go and look at the newspapers in Newcastle Central Library for this period as you may be able to tie things down from them.

I've never actually seen the BJB, which is supposed to be quite a size, someone kindly sent me a list of Jewish NF from it and he was among them.

Graham.

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2) How I might find the date of his transfer to the 9th Cheshires.

3) Where I might find the diary of the 9th Cheshires, post June 1917.

Jef

Cheshires' service number dates the transfer to around mid-1916. Copies of the war diary either at the National Archives or the Regimental Museum at Chester.

John

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Cheshires' service number dates the transfer to around mid-1916. Copies of the war diary either at the National Archives or the Regimental Museum at Chester.

John

Many thanks for giving me the benefit of your expertise - I can build a scenario that fits that mid-1916 date. I have a newspaper clipping that says "Pte I Sillender NF (wounded)" and on the back of it, a fragment of what appears to be a news item mentions "Pozieres" and the "final assault" (see my reply to Graham Stewart today at 12:33am). Pozieres was captured end July 1916 so, if both of our suppositions are correct Isaac could have been wounded somewhere in July 1916 and then after recovery posted to the 9th Cheshires as a replacement. Possible!

Ref your note about Messines - yes it was on the opening day that he won his DCM at Onraet Wood.

Best regards

Jef

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Don't know if this will really help, but the "Battle of Pozieres" was between the 23rd July and 6th September 1916 and during that occassion the 1st, 2nd & 4th Australian Divisions were included. So if this is an earlier newspaper clipping then it must have been when he was still serving with the 12th Bn.

The 12th Bn,N.F. were serving with 62nd Bde/21st Division and between the 14th & 17th July 1916 had been involved in the Battle of Bazentin Ridge and it's possible he may have been wounded then, but he may have just as easily been wounded during a spell in the trenches as opposed to an attack. By this time the actual dates of casualties were weeks and sometimes months behind the actual event. My suggestion is to go and look at the newspapers in Newcastle Central Library for this period as you may be able to tie things down from them.

I've never actually seen the BJB, which is supposed to be quite a size, someone kindly sent me a list of Jewish NF from it and he was among them.

Graham

Your thinking on this mirrors mine exactly. I'd never really studied that clipping in detail before so my response late last night was a case of "thinking aloud" - I think, following your lead, that there is a good chance that it was published late July/early August 1916 and leafing through two or three weeks of newspapers is a far less daunting task than grinding through the two year gap that I was looking at before. I'll do that maybe later in the year.

I'm beginning to think it possible that it was on recovery from that wound that he was posted as a replacement to the 9th Cheshires, say autumn 1916 (see John Hartley posting Today 10:41).

Many thanks for the information on the 12th battalion's whereabouts around that time. Do you know if anything has been published summarising their diary, movements and locations? I'd be interested in that.

Ref the British Jewry Book of Honour - again following your response I did a web search and found a digital version on the "Moving Here" website, but it's very difficult and time consuming to use. There is no search facility, no index that I could find, and seemingly no rhyme or reason behind the regimental lists, they seem jumbled up at random. I spent a couple of hours in the book and didn't find the NF section - I did however find the Cheshire Regt, and it's odd! Isaac is listed there also (page 312):-

Cheshire Regt

9/6860 : L/Cpl Sillender I (DCM) : 9th Bn

Strangely, he's listed with his NF service number and his Cheshire Btn number. Clerical error I guess!

Your help has been invaluable and much appreciated Graham, I'm making great progress here.

Best regards

Jef

Chester-le-Street

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