1914/15 Star and Victory Medal

@Berlin_104s - if you're happy to put up his number, rank and name I'll have a rootle around and see what else can be found.
Here you go, shippers!

1411* Rfn Archibald Bown Johnson, B Coy**, 1/5 London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade).

He was a TF soldier and obviously deployed to France in 1915 (his MIC says Sep 15) and I would assume that he would've gone out as a draft from the 2/5 Bn having volunteered for foreign service. Which indicates that he probably wasn't in the pre-war unit, though I don't know when he enlisted. The LRB lost heavily at Second Ypres (St Julien area) and were broken up to work on the LoC, eventually reforming in Oct 15 so seems logical to assume he was posted in as part of that reconstitution process.

He worked in the Colonial Bank in the City which would fit the middle class demographic of the LRB, who were seen as one of the more exclusive units within the London Regiment recruiting primarily from banking, financial and stockbroking institutions. Pre-war recruits had to pay a joining fee!!

* - you'll find that he was also issued the number 300871 as part of the TF renumbering in 1917. A bit academic really considering he was still lying out in front of Gommecourt Wood - but still officially 'missing' at that point. Sadly, his mother (my great great grandmother) never accepted that he was dead and was convinced until she died that he had been concussed in an explosion, lost his memory and was wandering around France trying to get home.

** - from his Red Cross registration form (he was believed captured initially) which is coming with the medals, it says he was in the Bombing Section. I didn't know he was in B Coy until today.

That's all I have and any gaps you can fill will be hugely appreciated, especially by my mother.

I'm off to reread 'Four Years on the Western Front' now, because I think that the author (Aubrey Smith, MM and Bar) drove the waggon carrying B Coy's field cooker!!

Many thanks

Berlin

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Here you go, shippers!

1411* Rfn Archibald Bown Johnson, B Coy**, 1/5 London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade).

He was a TF soldier and obviously deployed to France in 1915 (his MIC says Sep 15) and I would assume that he would've gone out as a draft from the 2/5 Bn having volunteered for foreign service. Which indicates that he probably wasn't in the pre-war unit, though I don't know when he enlisted. The LRB lost heavily at Second Ypres (St Julien area) and were broken up to work on the LoC, eventually reforming in Oct 15 so seems logical to assume he was posted in as part of that reconstitution process.

He worked in the Colonial Bank in the City which would fit the middle class demographic of the LRB, who were seen as one of the more exclusive units within the London Regiment recruiting primarily from banking, financial and stockbroking institutions. Pre-war recruits had to pay a joining fee!!

* - you'll find that he was also issued the number 300871 as part of the TF renumbering in 1917. A bit academic really considering he was still lying out in front of Gommecourt Wood - but still officially 'missing' at that point. Sadly, his mother (my great great grandmother) never accepted that he was dead and was convinced until she died that he had been concussed in an explosion, lost his memory and was wandering around France trying to get home.

** - from his Red Cross registration form (he was believed captured initially) which is coming with the medals, it says he was in the Bombing Section. I didn't know he was in B Coy until today.

That's all I have and any gaps you can fill will be hugely appreciated, especially by my mother.

I'm off to reread 'Four Years on the Western Front' now, because I think that the author (Aubrey Smith, MM and Bar) drove the waggon carrying B Coy's field cooker!!

Many thanks

Berlin

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
Thanks for that, chap-can't beat a decent lead!

Have you seen this pic before?:

1593631746177.png
 
Thanks for that, chap-can't beat a decent lead!

Have you seen this pic before?:

View attachment 486415
I have! A copy of it is on my desk at work but I couldn't find it on-line when I looked earlier today.

ETA: I was looking for my mother as I can't get into my office currently.

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I have! A copy of it is on my desk at work but I couldn't find it on-line when I looked earlier today.

ETA: I was looking for my mother as I can't get into my office currently.

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Go on, give him a like
 
I have! A copy of it is on my desk at work but I couldn't find it on-line when I looked earlier today.

ETA: I was looking for my mother as I can't get into my office currently.

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Good: that means I'm on the right track.

Leave it with me and I'll pull some more bits and pieces together and put it up tomorrow, hopefully.
 
Good: that means I'm on the right track.

Leave it with me and I'll pull some more bits and pieces together and put it up tomorrow, hopefully.
Then can you help me please?
 
@Berlin_104s - the story so far:

This you have already:

AB Johnson.jpg


Archibald first pops up here, on a School Register for 1898:

Colls Road School Infants-1898.jpg


The school in question, Colls Road, went through several amalgamations but still exists.

He next appears in the 1911 Census:

1911 Census-9 Reedham St Peckham.jpg


Note that his mother is absent from the day that the Census was completed:

1911 Census.jpg


Again, you have his MIC: however, note the annotation concerning where to send his medals-unusually for an OR, his MIC provides a contact address, in this case for his Mother. His BWM and VM will be numbered '300871' and his 15 Star as '1411' (Late edit: as is now proven, such is not the case). The anomaly of issuing a dead man a new number is already alluded to-his death wasn't legally confirmed until post-War :


MIC.jpg


The CWGC Register for Thiepval relating to Archibald:

CWGC Register.jpg


and finally (and probably the most emotive), his entry into the Register of Soldiers Effects. These Registers dealt purely with monies that were due to the soldier's estate-reconciling pay and allowances and, post-War, any War Gratuity that was due to the man:
Register of Soldiers Effects.jpg


So far, so good.

I'll have a further sniff around throughout the day as I'm sure that there's other (probably minor) stuff out there.
 
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Copies of the Medal Rolls for his 1915 Star and BW/VM medals:

1915 Star Medal Roll.jpg
BW and VM Medal Roll.jpg


fortunately, the Bn War Diary survives and, more importantly, relating to 1 July 1916 and the immediate aftermath:

Part of the Bn War Diary-1.jpg
Part of the Bn War Diary-2.jpg
Part of the Bn War Diary-3.jpg
Part of the Bn War Diary-4.jpg


This page is of interest as you will see that, at the end of July, a full Divisional Court of Inquiry was held regarding the the battle of 1 July 1916. Also, 3 of the men were recognised by the immediate award of MMs for their actions on that day.

Part of the Bn War Diary-5.jpg


LCpl John Henry Foaden (later A/CSMI Machine Gun Corps) survived the war.

LCpl Louis Victor Alfred Fowle (later 2nd Lt 21st Bn London Regt) survived the war, having been wounded later.

Rfn Arthur Frederick Hamid Edington (later commissioned as a Chaplain to The Forces) also survived the war.

As a point of interest, of the 20 names on the medal roll for Edington, 12 are listed as KiA on 1 July 1916, 1 died of wounds on 9 July 1916 and 4 were KiA before the end of the year.
 
Well, they've arrived (for some reason there seemed to be a bit of dust in the room when I opened the packet). The ribbons (ribands?) are like they're new! I'm having trouble putting the pictures up currently, though - too large!!

@FourZeroCharlie I am completely stunned at what you have managed to turn up - thank you so much!!

Interestingly, the '1411' number is on both the Star and VM - any thoughts regarding that?
 
Here's the pair:


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Detail on the Star:

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Detail on the VM:


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@FourZeroCharlie I am completely stunned at what you have managed to turn up - thank you so much!!

Interestingly, the '1411' number is on both the Star and VM - any thoughts regarding that?
Really?

Curious: I can only assume that, when the Nominal Rolls went off for the physical making an naming of the medals, wiser heads had decided that-as the man was dead- the 'new' Service Number was moot and the trio was named up to the presumed date of death.

ETA: I'll check with a higher authority, a true anorak who lives and breathes this stuff, and get his opinion on the matter.
 
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Finally, some associated stuff relating to 1 July 1916.

An initial Casualty List drawn up some days after the battle. Kinda brings it home when you realise that the figure represents over half (and probably 2/3s) of the Bn strength.

some men would be recovered elsewhere, having been taken PW or not yet located in other RAPs/CCS, and many men would return to service having recovered from wounds,

Even so, that's a helluva day shift for what was no more than 12 hours fighting.

5th Londons - 1 Jul 1916 Casualty List.jpg


An after action report by Sgt Herbert Frost 1/5th:

After-action report Sgt H Frost.jpg


Sgt Herbert Frost (later A/CQMS) survived the war.

and, finally, a revised casualty list:

Revised ORs Casualty List.jpg


Interesting to note that every Coy SNCO was taken off the board to a greater or lesser extent.

And all by supper time on the First Day of the Somme.
 
Really?

Curious: I can only assume that, when the Nominal Rolls went off for the physical making an naming of the medals, wiser heads had decided that-as the man was dead- the 'new' Service Number was moot and the trio was named up to the presumed date of death.

ETA: I'll check with a higher authority, a true anorak who lives and breathes this stuff, and get his opinion on the matter.
Lots of anomalies like that though - they often defaulted to the number you enlisted with.

My Great Grandfather spent the last year of the war in the Labour Corps with a new service number. Medals were marked up as Green Howards with the number he joined with.
 
Lots of anomalies like that though - they often defaulted to the number you enlisted with.

My Great Grandfather spent the last year of the war in the Labour Corps with a new service number. Medals were marked up as Green Howards with the number he joined with.
Thanks for that, chap.

My sage has informed me that (mostly) the Stars were numbered and ranked as to what the man held when he entered a Theatre of War. The BWM and VM would be ranked and numbered at the highest rank and current number when in Theatre.

In the case of Archibald, that makes sense - simply put, the poor bugger was dead before he could reflect in his new number.

Also, as you have mentioned, he has confirmed there are many, many anomalies to that 'rule'.
 
@FourZeroCharlie I didn't copy your post #35 because of the large amount of imagery, but you are very correct in what you say about it being a gruelling 12 hrs for 56th London Div (LRB were in the 169th Bde) who were assaulting along the southern edge of Gommecourt Wood.

They actually broke into the German front line on the southern edge of the wood, but were unable to hold it once the inevitable German counterattack swept in. The Germans had beaten off 46th North Midland Division who were assaulting the northern edge of the salient on the London's left flank (46th and 56th were supposed to behind Gommecourt village and pinch out the salient - 46th Division didn't make it across No Man's Land). The London's were then further hampered because the German's were able to switch their artillery from Serre (further south) - once they'd realised that 31st Division's attack had failed - onto the old No Man's Land behind them effectively cutting the London's off. Reserves and extra supplies of bombs couldn't be brought forward in support and their fate was effectively sealed by mid-morning. They had to stick it out all day - and it was a bright summer day so light until about 2200 hrs - until the survivors could extract back into their old front line; and it was only ever a diversionary attack to distract the German's from Fourth Army's assault further south!

Apologies for the image quality but on the map below I've highlighted the LRB in red and the proposed RV point in blue. Interestingly, the Kaiser's Oak Tree (highlighted in green) marked the far westernmost point of the German occupation in France during WW1.

Gommecourt.PNG
 

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