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Remembered Today:

Date of entry to theatre of war


redorchestra
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Hello,

I'm just looking for a bit of help clarifying the 'date of entry into war' field on the medal index card.

What I want to know is - what does this actually signify? Is this the date the person actually landed in the theatre - i.e. when they disembarked from the ship - or when their unit first went into action?

My person was in the 12th Btn Royal Fusiliers. According to this website, his battalion crossed into France late August/early September, and took part in the battle of Loos. However my man has the date '10th October 1915' on his medal index card, and then 6th October 1915 on his actual medal roll.

First of all - was it normal for someone to join their battalion in the field later? What might have been the reason for that? Sickness etc?

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First of all - was it normal for someone to join their battalion in the field later? What might have been the reason for that? Sickness etc?

Not unusual, he could have been part of a draft sent out to fill up gaps left by casualties for example. Didn't complete training in time to go to France with the main body or as you suggested possibly sick.

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I understand it to be stepped off the ship.

There must be a clerical error on either medal card or roll.

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Evening All.

I have some copies of medal index cards for soldiers that im researching that were killed in France,

but have no mention of the date of which they entered France and the conflict

Regards Andy

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but have no mention of the date of which they entered France

Propbable signifies they entered the theatre of war after 1915 as the main purpose of the date is to establish entitlement to 1914 or 1914-15 Star

Peter

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Overseas service starts from the moment the ship leaves the port of embarkation.

This has puzzled me for some time: without querying the statement, do you have a document you could quote, please?

Many of 'my boys' boarded ship 10th Aug, landed 11th Aug, with 11th on roll, also boarded 12th, landed 13th [second half battalion].

I'd like to nail down an official edict, please.

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Overseas service starts from the moment the ship leaves the port of embarkation.

I didn't know that, I always assumed it was date landed. Whats the reference?

Mick

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Overseas service starts from the moment the ship leaves the port of embarkation.

I concur. My reference is the dates given in the 1914 and 1914/15 Star medal rolls for Royal West Kent units (as opposed to dates inferred in Regimental History) - therefore has to be date ship left port.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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According to his MIC, My Great Uncle boarded the hospital ship Britannic on 22nd Dec. 1915. He was in the RAMC and was a crew member. Her maiden voyage was on 23rd. So I presume it is when boarded ship.

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According to his MIC, My Great Uncle boarded the hospital ship Britannic on 22nd Dec. 1915. He was in the RAMC and was a crew member. Her maiden voyage was on 23rd. So I presume it is when boarded ship.

Then as Chris has pointed out, I think there are inconsistencies amongst records.

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Then as Chris has pointed out, I think there are inconsistencies amongst records.

There are. As an example the 25th RF left UK 10th April 1915 and arrived East Africa 4th May 1915. Having been through the records it would appear that either date could be entered on them depending on who was administering them.

Steve

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I don't know if this is stating the obvious, might help or just cloud the issue further (apologies if the latter!)

My grandfather was with the 2/7th Middx from late '14; my understanding is that this battalion sailed for Gibraltar in February 1915 (not, I would have thought, designated as "a theatre of war"?) and then for Egypt in August. His MIC gives his place & date of entry as Egypt, 1-9-15. So if embarkation date is used it would have to be embarkation for "a theatre of war" not just that of embarkation for leaving England.

Maybe further investigation of MIC's of soldiers serving with Bns which would have had longer voyages directly to a "theatre of war" (like those of the 25th RF given by Steve, as opposed to my grandfather with his Gibraltar "stopover" and those that had the comparatively short trip to the Western Front) where the embarkation dates are accurately known might help shed some light - although I suspect it might show further inconsistencies.

Confirmation of the details, or any further information on the 2/7th Middx's journey to Gibraltar & Egypt, gratefully received.

Nigel S

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As far as the Artillery 3 branches were concerned the date on MIC’s is that when one set foot in a theatre of war. For example of those batteries disembarking at La Havre (the majority). The dates are confirmed by corresponding with the Calais Harbour Master diaries. The recorded official battery entries often differ as the date is that when the Major of a Battery disembarked, and of course there were advance and follow up parties. It cannot be when the ship sailed. Those sailing on long voyages, for example to Salonika or Gillipolli, might call on route at Malta, Gibraltar and Alexandria, but are only shown with Alexandria dates, and again can be confirmed by the harbour diaries.

Rgds

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Thanks for the information. Interestingly enough I consulted the war diaries for the unit at the weekend, and the 'Date of entry into the war' on the medal index card corresponds with an entry of the same date in the diary about receiving new drafts from England, so not sure if this complicates matters further!

Could a unit embark from Folkestone and reach Loos on the same day?

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Could a unit embark from Folkestone and reach Loos on the same day?

My belief is that most crossings were at night and conceivably straddled two dates - with boats held up outside inner harbour for several hours.

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Not to big an issue for those crossing the channel but certainly for further afield. This has made me wonder now about accuracy of recent histories.

Mick

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It was a system that was in use well before the war. A man's record could show his overseas service, say in India, being calculated up to Monday 15th June 1903 and then returned to the Home Establishment the following day ie the day he embarked.

TR

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As has already been mentioned there are inconsistencies and from my experience you have to be careful about how much store you put on the absolute accuracy of "qualification" or disembarkation dates on MICs and Star medal rolls. Sometimes it is the actual disembarkation date and sometimes the embarkation date (very common). I have even heard in some cases that it is the date the unit received orders to move to the port of embarkation, maybe one or two days before embarkation took place. I personally have never come across this on a MIC etc.

I don't know of an ACI, AO, or similar, to back this subject up but would be interested if such guidance exists.

Marc

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Hello,

There seems to be no definite rule for Dis-embarkation dates. It appears record keepers at the time were not sure themselves. For example, the first batch of the 4th Bn. Worcestershire Regiment to arrive on Gallipoli have the date 4.4.15 (In the Medal Rolls Themselves) TYPED in as their date of DIS-EMBARKATION. This entry in the Medal Rolls is dated 19th October 1919 at Warwick. At a later date (Not noted) all have been changed to 25.4.15.. This alteration was done by hand in ink. These men left England March 22nd, one month earlier than their disembarkation date. So it certainly is not the date they left England. They arrived at Alexandria on the 4th April, stayed 7 days. They left on the 11th April, arrived Lemnos 13th April. The date now given for Dis-embarkation, 25th April, they landed at Cape Helles. They landed under fire and six men were killed on that date.

Regards Mike Jones

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I am away from my broadband connection at the moment, so cannot quote chapter and verse (even if I could find the reference - possibly this forum):

I see to recall complaints about an injustice because someone who died on passage to theatre (vessel torpedoed?) did not qualify for medals because he had not entered theatre.

I expect someone who knows of one of the troopship sinkings could test this out by finding a few examples.

HTH (and does not further muddy the waters)

David

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