Posts Tagged ‘ soldiers died in the Great War ’
Our military expert Paul Nixon, pictured below, answers your queries.
From Judy Cligman:
‘I am researching Richard Edwards who was married in Hoxton, London on 25 December 1915 and whose profession was given on the marriage certificate as Gunner RFA. I suspect that he was killed in the Great War. I have found two records of soldiers of that name from London in the list of soldiers who died in the war but don’t know whether either of them could be him.
Could either of these regiments be described as RFA?
One is William Richard Edward: L/CPL enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers (City of London regiment) at the Finsbury Barracks.
The other is Richard Edwards: Regiment Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Richard Edwards’ father was given on the marriage cert as Edward Edwards Sapper RE.
I would be most grateful for any pointers you could give me on finding the military records of Richard and Edward Edwards.’
‘It’s unlikely to be either of the two men you mention but there appear to be three possibilities on Soldiers Died in The Great War for men of this name who died while serving with the Royal Horse and Field Artillery:
- 78081 Gnr Richard John Edwards, R and E Neath; KiA 7 August 1916
- 185151 Gnr Richard Edwards, R Seaham Harbour, Durham; E Sunderland; DoW 27 July 1916
- 77935 Gnr Richard Edwards, B Preston, E Manchester; KiA 21 March 1918
B = born
R = residence
E = enlisted
DoW = died of wounds
KiA = killed in action
Of these, we can rule out no. 2 and no. 3 because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records fathers with names other than Edward Edwards. That suggests, by default, that 78081 Richard John Edwards is your man, although I could find no trace of him on the CWGC website.
The marriage records on findmypast.co.uk, however, note that Richard Edwards (no middle name) married Elizabeth M Castleman at Hoxton in the December quarter of 1915. The absence of a middle name means we can also probably rule out Gunner Richard John Edwards as the candidate. Could it be perhaps that he didn’t die during WWI? It might also help to narrow down possibilities if you know where he was born.’
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Our military expert Paul Nixon, pictured, answers your questions.
From Doreen Taylor in Binfield, Berkshire:
‘How can I find military records of my uncle, Alfred James Saunderson, born July 1891 in Thames Ditton Surrey? I have tried to find out if he died in the First World War, as I suspect he did. I have not found his name on the Local Cenotaph. I am very interested to find out what happened to him. I hope you can help.’
‘The good news is that there is no Alfred James Saunderson listed on either the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Roll of Honour website, or on the Soldiers Died in The Great War database, so he appears to have survived WW1. A service record for Alfred Saunderson (no middle name) born in 1891 in Thames Ditton, survives in the WO 363 (burnt documents) series. It shows that he enlisted for war-time service only on 4 September 1914 and was given the number 3299. His record may be viewed at The National Archives in Kew.’
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Our expert Stephen Rigden, pictured, answers your questions.
From Edward James Pace:
‘I’m having problems trying to find details of the death of my grandfather and, naturally, his parents. I have submitted his details in various searches and can get no results:
William Frederick Pace, born in 1876, joined the army in 1893, left the army in 1911 and rejoined in 1914. His service no. was G/27234 and he served in the Middlesex Regiment as a Sergeant.
William married Henrietta Mann in 1904. Their children were William, Thomas, Edward, Alice, Millicent and Emily. He died in 1918 – he was killed or wounded in France/Germany and cremated in England.
One would think that there is sufficient detail to find all about him easily but I’ve had no joy. I’d really appreciate if you can assist me in my frustrations.’
‘With other ranks – NCOs and privates – it is always a good idea to consider possible variations on given names, especially the loss of a middle name. I found that your grandfather died not in France and Flanders but here in the UK – in fact, his death was registered as plain William Pace in Croydon. This is good news in the sense that it means you can use the reference given in the March quarter 1919 civil death index to order a copy of his death certificate.
He appears on the official Commonwealth War Graves Commission website simply as W Pace; he died on 13 February 1919 and is buried in Islington Cemetery. The fact that he died in England also explains why he may not appear in some of the other WW1 record sources such as Soldiers Died in the Great War, available on findmypast.co.uk
Interestingly, the individual I believe to be your grandfather appears on the 1911 census as William Edward (not William Frederick) Pace. He is with the 2nd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment at Guadeloupe Barracks, Bordon, near Aldershot. He is aged 36 and his birthplace is recorded as St Pancras. As you may know, soldiers and their wives and children ‘on the strength’ are on separate ‘military establishment’ census returns in the 1911 census.
In your grandfather’s case, his wife Henrietta (born in Clerkenwell) is shown together with three children William, Edward and Emily respectively born in Thayetmyo (Burma), Kassauli (India) and Alderney (Channel Islands), which shows something of your grandfather’s military career in the years up to 1911.
Your grandfather, however, does not appear to have been born in St Pancras as there is no corresponding entry in our fully indexed births nor, for that matter, an obvious entry for a person of his name born in St Pancras in the 1881, 1891 or 1901 censuses.
Further research shows that he married in July 1905 and was born in Shoreditch to parents Edward Pace, a carpenter, born in Shoreditch circa 1844/45, and Emma Burchell, born circa 1853/54 in Kentish Town, who were married in June quarter 1872 in St Pancras registration district. Hopefully with this extra information, you will be able to start researching your family tree further back in time more successfully.’
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You can now find the complete World War I Campaign Medal Rolls for the Royal Marines on findmypast.co.uk.
The database contains the names of over 75,000 Royal Marine Officers, NCOs and other ranks, and provides a complete listing of all Royal Marines who served in WW1. Added to the transcripts of these records are service details for a large number of men, particularly those killed in action or died of wounds during WW1 and in many cases post-war deaths and WW2 deaths are noted.
The medals covered by the rolls are: the 1914 Star, the Clasp to the 1914 Star, the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Our expert Stephen Rigden answers your questions:
‘My great uncle Tommy Venables was a private in the Cheshire regiment in the First World War. It was stated that he was ‘killed at home’ in November 1916, but no explanation is given, although we believe he drowned. Where can we go to clarify what happened?’ Irene Hartless
Steve says: “Soldiers Died in the Great War shows that Private Thomas Venables died at “Home”. Where the theatre of war is given as “Home”, this usually means that the soldier died either while serving within the UK (for example, in a reserve battalion or in a home service garrison), or else died back in UK of wounds sustained overseas without having been discharged from the army.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website shows that he was buried in Toxteth Park Cemetery. If you have not already visited the memorial there, it is worth doing so in case a headstone gives more detail: however, it has to be said that this is unlikely unless the family met the cost (CWGC headstones are purposely standardised in design). The simplest way to find out the cause of death for a “Home” theatre of war casualty is to purchase a copy of the death certificate using the usual General Register Office (GRO) civil death indexes. Private Venables’ death appears to have been registered in the West Derby district in the March quarter of 1917. This delay (when registration would have been expected in the December quarter of 1916) may indicate that there was an inquest, which would be consistent with accidental death, such as drowning, which would require a coroner’s report. You can buy a copy of the death certificate for £7 online from the GRO’s website http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates or, if you live in Merseyside, you could visit in person the register office, which is located in Liverpool’s Cotton Exchange. The certificate may point you to a coroner’s report (if there was one: try Merseyside Record Office) and that, together with local newspapers, may fill in the background.”
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