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Researching Officers - A Practical Example....


Stebie9173
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Prompted by "Norfolk"'s questions on researching officers, I've finally decided to put some of my thoughts down on paper/electronic dot thingies regarding officer research. In doing so I hope others will chip in with assistance and even a bit more information on "my" men.

At the moment, I think I will attempt to run through the research process on 3, or maybe more, men (if anyone is listening by then!):

- "Lieutenant Colonel" Hubert Podmore (Our starter for ten, a straightforward "classic" officer casualty and a relatively "easy" research, though interesting in both the man, and some of the research points).

- Lieutenant Colonel Robert William Beacham (a ranker promoted from private to Lieutenant Colonel in 20 years).

- One further man, who I can't make my mind up on at the moment, but I will choose I think dependent on the gaps we still have to fill!

Anyone interested?

Steve.

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Righto, I'll pretend people are paying attention and get started...

So, Hubert Podmore.

We'll start with just a name as a lot of us "Regimental" researcher types unfortunately do...

Fortunately, I've picked a fairly uncommon name. Amazing that.... ;)

There can't be many people called Podmore, can there?

Hmmm....

1901 Census, 1345 Podmores; Birth, Marriage, Deaths as far as Ancestry have got: 2,790.

CWGC : 45 casualties (WW1 37, WW2 8)

Oh, well. It might be a bit harder then!

Anyway, hitting CWGC:

http://www.cwgc.org/debt_of_honour.asp?menuid=14

I'll search for Surname: Podmore, Initials: H

That gets us:

No Surname Rank Service Number Date Of Death Age Regiment/Service Nationality Grave/Memorial Ref. Cemetery/Memorial Name

1 PODMORE, HUBERT Lieutenant Colonel 31/12/1917 30 Middlesex Regiment United Kingdom I. C. 7. HARINGHE (BANDAGHEM) MILITARY CEMETERY

2 PODMORE, HARRY Private 38978 21/03/1918 33 Lincolnshire Regiment United Kingdom Panel 23 and 24. POZIERES MEMORIAL

and no prizes for selecting:

Name: PODMORE, HUBERT

Initials: H

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Regiment/Service: Middlesex Regiment

Unit Text: 12th Bn.

Secondary Regiment: Northamptonshire Regiment

Secondary Unit Text: late (Major), 6th Bn.

Age: 30

Date of Death: 31/12/1917

Awards: D S O, 3 times Mentioned in Despatches

Additional information: Son of George and Matilda Podmore, of Charney Hall, Grangeover-Sands, Lancs. Scholar of Rugby and Trinity College, Oxford.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. C. 7.

Cemetery: HARINGHE (BANDAGHEM) MILITARY CEMETERY

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_detail...?casualty=94031

So far so good.

I'll start putting the information togther in the next post as we have a grand total of one source so far.

We have a few interesting items to chase - a change in battalion (at least one), a DSO, 3 MIDs, and some college information already.

Steve.

P.S. Would you find it better to see a picture now, or a "reveal" when we get to the later sources?

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Yep. I have a wealth of information for the first two, though there are limitations to both men's officer careers when viewed from the perspective of the NA files only. Beacham's OR career is covered in great detail, his officer career less so, and I lose complete track of him after the war until his death (he no doubt returned to civvie life with his officer pension and carried on with life a little more comfortable than when he enlisted...)

Steve.

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Back with the plan! How far I delve tonight will depend on who keeps listening, though one is a good start. Thanks, Wulsten!

Using the list I posted on the other topic, "Soldiers Died in the Great War" (SDGW) is next, though Podmore is obviously in ODGW.

I use Findmypast for SDGW, but others no doubt have printed and CD formats.

Here he is (I'm not going to deliberately hit too many dead ends on these first couple of men to keep it reasonably simple)

Name: PODMORE, Hubert

Regiment, Corps etc.: Northamptonshire Regiment

Battalion etc.: 6th Battalion

Last name: Podmore

First name(s): Hubert

Initials: H

Decoration: DSO

Rank: MAJOR (TP)

Date died: 31 December 1917

How died: Killed

Supplementary Notes: (ATT 12TH MIDDX)

So we have an agreement on dates, and 6th Northamptons, attached 12th Middlesex which helps clarify the CWGC details. His rank is shown as temporary Major, not Lieutenant Colonel, of which more on rather later... He is shown as Killed rather than Killed in action. A typo or more significant? We'll see...

Summary so far:

Hubert Podmore,

Son of George and Matilda Podmore, of Charney Hall, Grangeover-Sands, Lancs.

Scholar of Rugby and Trinity College, Oxford.

6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.

MID three times.

Awarded the D.S.O.

Temporary Major.

Lieutenant Colonel.

"Killed" on 31st December 1917.

Buried at HARINGHE (BANDAGHEM) MILITARY CEMETERY.

Grave reference : I. C. 7.

Steve.

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That was the "easy bit" for an officer casualty. I'm fully aware that we can hit the stops well before this on certain men. The options for obstacles are, among others:

- No full names on CWGC.

- Mispelt names on CWGC.

- Missing from SDGW.

- Misleading battalion details (e.g. the Reserve battalion, confusing details where attachment to other regiments is involved, or just plain wrong!)

- No personal information (bit of a swine when linked with a J W Smith!)

Any other examples from the floor?

Steve.

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Steve

Good idea this, I'll pop back later

Glyn

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Well done Steve, keep it coming I like this insight into research strategies. From a willing student (who you have helped many times before).

Regards

Ron

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Right. Next step:

Medal Index Card:

Search at:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...amp;queryType=1

In this case typing in Hubert and Podmore into the search boxes gets us our man straight away.

Medal card of Podmore, Hubert

Corps Regiment No Rank

Middlesex Regiment Captain

Northamptonshire Regiment Major

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...p;resultcount=1

It's not always that straightforward. Sometimes we will need to use only surnames and trawl. The search will take two characters followed by a * as a wildcard, which helps when I'm not sure on spelling (e.g. a war diary entry is unclear or even wrong). The same applies to the regiment. A fair few of the Northamptons are actually listed as "Northumberland Regiment", a few even fully as Northumberland Fusiliers, or sometimes the Norfolk Regiment.

This gives him as a Captain in the Middlesex Regiment and then a Major in the Northamptonshires. No mention of Lieutenant Colonel.

Now - a confession here. I don't have a copy of his Medal Index Card downloaded. It's not something I habitually do.

My transcript from onscreen at the NA, two and a bit years back reads:

Podmore,

Hubert, D.S.O.

Capt. 12th Middlesex.

Major. 6th North'n R.

VM/BWM Roll Off/149, Page 8.

1914-15 Star Roll, 149, Off/Page 4.

Theatre of War : France.

Date of embarkation : July 1915.

Emblem.

Remarks: EF/7/964.

So the date of entry could be for either the 6th Northamptons OR the 12th Middlesex, both of 54th Brigade, 18th Division.

The Emblem entry confirm that he should have been awarded an MID.

The EF/7/964 is, I believe, and orphan reference that we may never locate.

Updating our known "facts" list:

Hubert Podmore,

Son of George and Matilda Podmore, of Charney Hall, Grangeover-Sands, Lancs.

Scholar of Rugby and Trinity College, Oxford.

Embarked to France in July 1915 as a Captain with the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment.

Captain, Middlesex Regiment.

6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.

MID three times.

Awarded the D.S.O.

Temporary Major, Northamptonshire Regiment.

Lieutenant Colonel.

"Killed" on 31st December 1917.

Buried at HARINGHE (BANDAGHEM) MILITARY CEMETERY.

Grave reference : I. C. 7.

The list has some assumptions in it now as regards order of service. Some of them wrong!

Steve.

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Steve, checking the find my past site, it got listings of casualties overseas to officers and o/rs i take it this was the info used to compile cwgc and sdgw info ???

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Great idea. Following along this side of the pond too.

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Great thread.

What I appreciate about Steve is his lateral way of thinking - as seen in the help he gave me earlier today !

I'll come back tomorrow with some input on officer problems !

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Great idea Steve - thanks for this.

For some reason I had always assumed that only OR's had a MIC (not sure why I thought this but I did) - I now know different!

Neil

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Next in line from the list I posted (See http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...c=83986&hl= ) - Times Online:

As has been mentioned a few times before on the Forum, this can be accessed through local libraries.

From the Times 10-1-1918

post-6536-1192567490.jpg

That pretty well says that he was in the Northamptonshire Regiment from the outset, and not the Middlesex Regiment. We'll have to see what proof we can find....

You can see from the purple highlights that the Times online is a bit hit and miss - it picked out the HUBERT in his name, but the PODMORE only in his father's name. That seems to be the way that the search works - it doesn't like capital letters much at all.

We also get some decent details of his schooling, and the fact that he was accidentally killed by an explosion of ammunition.

Steve.

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Officers can have MICs - usually in three cases.

- A casualty who would have had his medals sent to his Next of Kin.

- A surviving officer who applied for his medals.

- Mentions in despatches would also have an MIC each.

Steve.

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It's not the Times Online - that's the modern editions.

You can access the Times Digital Archive through a number of county libraries, often using the library card number as a login. See this topic:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...c=77035&hl=

Steve.

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Searching for "H. Podmore" in the Times from 1900 through 1939 gets us 12 hits:

1. University Intelligence, 19-12-1905. Oxford, 18-12. Elections to Trinity College. Open classical exhibition, H. Podmore of Rugby.

2. 1909, MA to G C Podmore. May be related?

3. University Intelligence, 28-10-1910. BA to H. Podmore, Trinity College.

4. 12-4-1911, from the London Gazette of 11-4-1911. UNATTACHED FOR THE TERRITORIAL FORCE. H. Podmore (Late Cadet, Oxford University, Senior Division, Officers Training Corps) to be Second Lieutenant, for service with the Rugby School Contingent, Junior Division, Officers Training Corps (Mar. 31).

5. 30-6-1913, from the London Gazette of 29-6-1913. UNATTACHED FOR THE TERRITORIAL FORCE. Officers Training Corps. Rugby School: The following Sec.Lts. to be Lts. - H. Podmore (July 13).

6. 12-3-1916, An unrelated OR, Cheshire Regiment, DoW.

7. to 12. Unrelated but I find it worth extending the dates beyond death just in case of memorial entries, etc.

Speaking of which:

Searching for Hubert Podmore gives us two hits.

31-12-1928 and 31-12-1938, Memorium entries.

post-6536-1192578306.jpg

Note that I haven't listed the obituary yet! Having searched for H. Podmore & Hubert Podmore, with the fairly rare name I can search for Podmore alone and get a manageable amount of hits.

Between 1900 and 1927 (ten years after his death) gives us a "managable" 86 hits! (which I won't list). Some interesting ones:

B. Podmore (Merton) & G. C. Podmore (Trinity) mentioned at Oxford in the 1900s.

1903 : Birth of a son to the Reverend Claude Podmore, in Kettering, Northamptonshire (giving us a possible link to the county).

1910 : Oxford, 30-7-1910. Honour School of Literae Humaniores, Class III, H. Podmore, Trinity.

1910 : Death of Frank Podmore, with a George Podmore and Austin Podmore (brothers) mentioned as mourners. This George could be Hubert's father.

1912 : 2 x scholarships awarded for students from "Mr Podmore's School, Grange over Sands", again in 1915 x3, 1916 x 1.

23-6-1917 : Obituary of Sec. Lt. Wilfred Garland, educated at Mr. Podmore's School.

7-1-1918: Short "family posted" and paid for obituary:

post-6536-1192579421.jpg

10-1-1918 : The previously posted full Obituary.

18-12-1919, Engagement of Mr William Palin Elderton to Enid Muriel, daughter of Mr & Mrs George Podmore of Charney Hall, Grange over Sands. (i.e. Hubert's sister).

19-1-1920, Marriage of Enid and William.

31-12-1920, An In Memoriam, as above. Also, 1921-1926.

4-3-1921, Birth of Enid's son. (Not in the announcement but this son, Hubert's nephew, was also christened Hubert).

Note that the Times search hasn't picked up all his promotions, nor his entry in the casualty lists for his wounding at Trones Wood, nor even an entry in the casualty lists for his death. Very hit and miss, as you can see. Also some that should have been picked up by the longer search parameters were not picked up until the shorter one was used. Ok for "Podmore" but not helpful for "Wright", etc.

Steve.

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So, we've added a good deal more information there (additional/revised information in italics):

Hubert Podmore,

Known as "Podders" (probably a school nickname) and Bertie (no doubt by his mother!)

Son of George and Matilda Podmore, of Charney Hall, Grange-over-Sands, Lancs.

Scholar of Rugby - First Class scholarship, head of Collins House, member of the Cricket XXII and running VIII.

First holder of the Lee Knowles Leaving Exhibition

Entered Trinity College, Oxford - open Classical exhibition, December 1905. Gained a B.A., October 1910. 1st in Mods, 3rd in Greats

A cadet at the Oxford University, Senior Division, Officers Training Corps.

Returned to Rugby as a master, probably between October 1910 and March 1911.

Second Lieutenant in the Rugby School Contingent, Junior Division, Officers Training Corps, from 31-3-1911. promoted Lieutenant, 13-7-1913.

Embarked to France in July 1915 as a Captain with the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. (This "fact" from the MIC may well be erroneous)

"Gazetted as an officer in the Northamptonshire Regiment", September 1914

Belonged to a battalion under an "OR" (Old Rugbeian)

Embarked to France in July 1915 as a Captain with the Northamptonshire Regiment.

Captain, Middlesex Regiment. (This "fact" from the MIC may well be erroneous)

6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.

MID three times.

Awarded the D.S.O. in May 1916 for gallantry during a night attack by the enemy

Wounded at Trones Wood

Temporary Major, Northamptonshire Regiment, gazetted July 1916

Wounded in August 1917

Returned to France in December 1917

Lieutenant Colonel.

Accidentally Killed by an explosion of ammunition on 31st December 1917.

Buried at HARINGHE (BANDAGHEM) MILITARY CEMETERY.

Grave reference : I. C. 7.

Remembered at a memorial service at St Paul's Church, Grange, on Thursday 10-1-1918.

We're starting to get a good picture now.

We could leave it there as a basic outline, taking the obituary as read, as it is fairly extensive. there are a few questions still to be answered.

- Was he a Captain in the Middlesex?

- Where and when was his DSO? Is there any more info on that?

- Can we find his MIDs?

- Was he a Lieutenant Colonel or a Major?

- When were his promotions?

- What role did he have within his battalion(s)?

- When exactly did he move to the Middlesex?

- What about his family?

- Can we find out exactly how he died?

- Where is he remembered?

To be continued....

(This is all fairly standard stuff. Stay with us, though, there are some more interesting points of research later on.)

Steve.

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Steve

Still following with interest mate.

This thread should be made a 'sticky topic' (by the guvnor) to avoid it dissappearing at a later date.

Keep it coming mate

Glyn

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This is first class, Steve. Amazing stuff. Keep going. I'm also taking notes. Are you going to write an instruction book on this for publication? Many thanks, Elaine

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