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Am I wasting my time ?


Jennyemmett
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Hello all,

I am a complete newby to military research so please excuse anything obvious that I've overlooked. I'm trying to find details of my grandfather, Alexander Middleton who according to family legend, was killed in France sometime during WW1.

My father, born Dec 1914, joined the Army Apprentice College at Chepstow in 1928, discovering only than that he was adopted. Throughout his life, he had no interest in finding out about his real parents, and all we have is his birth certificate, listing his father (Alexander) as being a private in the RAMC (joiner)with a Lambeth address.

I've looked at www.ramc-ww1.com and the CWGC site, but have no idea what regiment he would have been with. Also, perhaps his rank changed since 1914. Is this exercise completely futile ? It's just that now I live in France, I would have liked to have visited his grave.

Thanks.

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Searched the Medal Index Cards at The National Archives Documents Online site, the CWGC site, and Soldiers Died in the Great War - there are a fairly small number of Alexander Middletons, but nothing to pin them to Lambeth, and no RAMC men either. I wouldn't give up quite yet. I would gather together all the Alexander Middletons, and go through them trying to eliminate them. You might also try the death registers - its possible he was killed but escaped the adminstrative processes for both CWGC and SDGW.

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Jenny

Welcome to the Board.

You could only say that you are wasting your time if you haven't met the detectives here. :P

regards

Mel

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There are several A. Middletons with R.A.M.C. connections. One ends up in the R.A.F. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...mp;mediaarray=*

And, of course, he might have switched units before reaching France, so that R.A.M.C. doesn't appear on his MIC. My guess is that A.S.C. is a possibility.

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I have done the same as Greenwoodman with no results.

I do, however, have a speculative idea. There is a RE Alexander Middleton on the CWGC

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_detail...asualty=1585459

Is it possible that the reference to the RAMC on the birth certificate is to the RENG. The reason I ask is that if the civilian occupation was joiner then this is precisely the type of skill to be utilised in the Engineers.

Can someone do a SDGW look up to see if it can be ruled out?

regards

Mel

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Wow,

What a wonderful welcome and great responses, thank chaps. What is SDGW, please, and ASC ? I saw the RENG entry on the war graves site but could only speculate. I know my grandmothers name was Isabella, but haven't found any refernces to next of kin in any entries.

I suspect I'm not looking in the right place....

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What is SDGW, please, and ASC ?

ASC = Army Service Corps

SDGW = Soldiers Died in the Great War (as already searched by Greenwoodman) - originally a series of post-war government publications listing soliders who died and where they came from. Now on CD-ROM

John

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I have had a trawl through the CWGC and cross referenced with the MICs where there is just an initial rather than a first name and the list can be narrowed down to a very small number of candidates:

Name: MIDDLETON

Initials: A

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Devonshire Regiment

Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Date of Death: 22/10/1917

Service No: 18001

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: V. A. 15.

Cemetery: HAMBURG CEMETERY

Name: MIDDLETON, ALEXANDER

Initials: A

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Durham Light Infantry

Unit Text: 18th Bn.

Date of Death: 18/05/1917

Service No: 35860

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 8.

Memorial: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Name: MIDDLETON, ALEXANDER

Initials: A

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Lance Corporal

Regiment/Service: Royal Engineers

Unit Text: 126th Field Coy.

Date of Death: 22/03/1918

Service No: 43900

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 10 to 13.

Memorial: POZIERES MEMORIAL

Anyone for a SDGW look up on these?

regards

Mel

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Mel

Richard has already done a SDGW search (see his post #2).

I've also just had a skim through the Register of Overseas Deaths. Nothing obvious to help.

John

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Thanks for clearing that up John.(the acromyms)

I understand that many service records were destoyed by fire; is it possible that this could explain the lack of relevant matches?

I really appreciate all your help and expertise and I just wish I'd quizzed my father more while I had the chance. Anything he knew would have been word of mouth anyway, and not necessarily true. For example, he once said that his father was killed before he was born, another time, he died in 1917. Qui sait?

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JENNY , try ANCESTRY .CO.UK , SEARCH BRITISH ARMY WW1 PENSIONS , three ALEXANDER MIDDLETON,

could help to get the number down, one did not have to get a pension to be in these records. tony

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Hi Tony,

I already looked at those. One was discharge papers (didn't think that matched the family rumours) and the addresses or other details of the others didn't match. I've actually spent hours on this site trying to find more info but thanks for the suggestion though.

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Sorry - one detail I forgot is that according to my mother, my father had said his father was a stretcher bearer. Don't know if that helps. It might rule out the RAf connection ? Again, it's all heresay.

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Jenny

Have you checked the family records?

The only likely candidate that I can find for the 1901 census is Alexander G Middleton:

Name: Alexander G Middleton

Age: 12

Estimated Birth Year: abt 1889

Relation: Son

Father's Name: George A T

Mother's Name: Anne P

Gender: Male

Where born: Battersea, London, England

Civil Parish: Streatham

Ecclesiastical parish: Holy Trinity Upper Tooting

County/Island: London

Country: England

Household Members: Name Age

Mary A Astley 43

Frances H Keay 23

Susan M Keay 21

Alexander G Middleton 12

Alfred E Middleton 10

Anne P Middleton 44

Elenor D Middleton 9

Elsie Middleton 3

George A T Middleton 40

Kenneth K Middleton under 1 month

Lucy M Middleton 8

Winifred M Middleton 5

There is no marriage record for Alexander G until July-August 1918 when he married Beatrice M Hudson at Lambeth 1d 637.

What was Isabella's surname on the birth certificate of your father?

regards

Mel

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A couple of thoughts. Is "stretcher-bearer" an extrapolation from R.A.M.C.? Because stretcherbearers were usually members of the regiment, rather than Medical Corps.

Was your father's name Richard? Mother's name Walker?

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My grandmother's maiden name was Walker and yes, my father's name was Richard. I've found this info in the Birth Index, but couldn't back track it to Alexander to extrapolate more info..

I've pored through BMD Indexes from 1880 - 1920 to find some matching threads but only found records of marriages of Alexander Middleton and Isabella Walker separately, in Hanover Square 1906. I thought I was on the right track but their refences are different 1d 455 and 1a 765 so I assume they didn't marry each other.

The birth certificate says Alexander was a private in the RAMC so maybe the 'stretcher-bearer' comment was an allusion to this rather than a fact ??

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Hi all,

I'm back again.

Bearing in mind the stirling efforts made by all you experienced researchers, can anyone tell me if there is any chance at all of tracing this Alexander, given the available info ?

I'd be disappointed but can accept if it's futile.

Thanks.

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Jenny

More info to trawl through. WO363/M1239 has a few Alexander Middletons:

1) from Inverarie Aberdeen-joined Machine Gun Corps 31.12.1914 age 27y9m.

2) from Kircudbright -joined Royal Field Artillery on 20.2.1912 age 26y8m.

3) from Sunderland - joined Durham Light Infantry and killed in action.

In WO363/MIS-SORTS 59:

from Motherwell - joined Lanark Yeomanry 11.12.1915. Home service.discharged 12/1917.

So it seems that there are no matches in WO363 for your man,but at least you know what IS there.

Best wishes

Sotonmate

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Jenny

It seems to me that there are two underlying questions.

1 – Did Alexander Middleton marry Isabella Walker?

2 – Did Alexander Middleton die in the Great War?

You stated that your father was adopted. Is it possible that he was born out of wedlock and placed in care. You say that you have trawled the Marriage records and not found a match for them. Could it be because the event never happened.

And that the tale of Alexander Middleton being killed in the war was just a “convenient” story?

This is just speculative, but I think you need to establish the facts.

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Thank you for looking Sotonmate. Would their next-of-kin be included in these records? Would these have been in the RAMC ? Please forgive my ignorance of these things; as I understand it, members of this corps could have been in a number of different regiments.

Stephen, I agree there are these two unanswered, basic questions. Apart from my father's birth certificate stating mother's maiden name, we have no evidence that a marriage took place. How easy would it have been to give false information to the registrar ? The death of Alexander during WW1 was a 'fact' told to my father during his childhood. My father died 4 years ago and there is no direct source of any more information.

My question is, are there any means possible of establishing the facts/identity of my grandfather given the limited information there is? If not, then maybe it's time to call it a day.

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Jenny

No 1 (from Kircudbright) was married to Elizabeth BROWN on 1.1.1909,they had 3 girls(1908,1911 and 1912) and 1 boy(1915). As they all have records there will be next of kin shown on them. From your writings to date I thought I would enter these to close down the WO363 avenue as they seem not to match at all,3 Scots and a Geordie,which is why I did not note down any further details apart from the first one !

My uderstanding of a RAMC man is that he remains in that Regt wherever he is posted,he does not assume the name of the Regt that he is attached to for his medical skills. You did mention about a stretcher bearer possibility,but then all Battalions provided these from their ranks,without any necessary medical skills,merely for the readily available carrying resource. As has already been said they weren't RAMC.

Don't call it a day yet ! Post any further detail,no matter how small.

Best wishes

Sotonmate

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I've just trawled through the postings on this thread and am left gob smacked. Wonderful!!! The level of research knowledge and the equally important willingness to help someone who is floundering slightly proves, if it ever did need proving, the value of The Forum. Ladies and gentlemen, I salute you all.

Harry

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Absolutely.

I have been overwhelmed by the patience and helpfulness of all the responders to this thread. I am a total amateur when it comes to geneology and what I know about military history can be written on the head of a pin with room left for the Lord's Prayer - as I think is apparent!

I am so grateful to everyone for their willingness to help and encouragement to not give up.

Heartfelt thanks to you all.

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Jenny,

It's never time to give up, but sometimes it's a case of remembering rather than rushing, exploring carefully and re-evaluating..

Each of these little bits of information are a step towards a solution, whether they eliminate someone or point towards another research opportunity. If I told you that one name on one war memorial eluded a very determined and able researcher for some 20 years before a single small piece of info turned up, fell into place and all was sweet and light.

Names sometimes got transposed; second names became used as first names, men joined up ander an alias - all sorts of things. Is he down as Myddleton, for instance.

There is an RAMC roll of Honour - a published volume from the period - which might be worth checking.

It is well worth discounting family legend, if this is leading you nowhere - it may be wrong; wishful thinking; confusion - all sorts of things and it may be the information that is steering you away from the truth.

Good luck.

Martin

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