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Challenge or impossible ?

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
This from a regimental group on Facebook.

I am taking a shot in the dark here, because I am itching to uncover the story here. I received this postcard with a very detailed inscription on the back. I believe this is a father and his two sons, but only first names are given. My plan is to find the list of names of Cheshire men, and hope I can find 3 men with the same last name, 2 of which being George and Robert (Bob). Any help or clues would be so greatly appreciated!

“Bob and George with Dad March ‘16
George killed Somme
Bob lost leg 1916
Dad discharged unfit 1917
Died 1926 from gas during war”
 

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Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Is it the Lucky family?
In all seriousness maybe the Cheshire regt museum might help? Can't have been many families with 3 members all kia/wounded in one particular Regt.
 
This search is next to impossible, mate.

No surname, service number, Bn number (counting Home Service Bns, the Cheshires fielded about 38 Bns for WWI), DoB/DoD, home information (the family might not have been from Cheshire).

'George was killed at the Somme'? Good luck with that!

. . . though interested to see if anyone else feels brave enough :)
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
This search is next to impossible, mate.

No surname, service number, Bn number (counting Home Service Bns, the Cheshires fielded about 38 Bns for WWI), DoB/DoD, home information (the family might not have been from Cheshire).

'George was killed at the Somme'? Good luck with that!

. . . though interested to see if anyone else feels brave enough :)
I guess it should be relatively easy to check which Cheshire bns were on the Somme from March 16. That should narrow things down a bit. Not that I'm assuming all three served in the same Bn.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
10 Cheshire bns were involved in the battle of the Somme, so that narrows it down a bit..
Serious question though, the picture shows no flashes or signs of formation affiliation - does that imply that the picture was taken during/on completion of training, before joining a bn?
 
I guess it should be relatively easy to check which Cheshire bns were on the Somme from March 16. That should narrow things down a bit. Not that I'm assuming all three served in the same Bn.

The 5th (TF) Bn went over on 1 July 1916 and over 200 never came back.

Certainly the 11th (S) and 13th (S) Bns also served on the Somme: people seem to forget that 'The Somme' battles rattled on until November 1916.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
The following Cheshire bns were involved in the battle of the Somme:
1 (Reg) 1/5 (TF), 1/6 (TF), 1/7 (TF), 9 (Svc), 10 (Svc), 11 (Svc), 13 (Svc), 15 (Svc), 16 (Svc). 18, 19, 20 & 21 (Labour) Bns were also in France in 1916, but I don't know where.
 
10 Cheshire bns were involved in the battle of the Somme, so that narrows it down a bit..
Serious question though, the picture shows no flashes or signs of formation affiliation - does that imply that the picture was taken during/on completion of training, before joining a bn?

More than likely: the lad on the right would seem to be the only one wearing shoulder titles.

The 'shine' of recently issued uniform is present nor are there any Div or Corps insignia.
 

historicus

Clanker
Really interesting thread but got to go with 40Cs always sage advice and say this is next to impossible.

Two points worth raising. First is that there were of course two other major Battles on the Somme in 1918 (hence the Somme 1918 Battle Honour) so what is to say he was definitely a 1916 fatality.

Second and more important is who wrote the annotations on the postcard and when? The handwriting for both sections looks to be the same so by definition it must have been written no earlier than 1926. Having done a fair few searches for WW1 soldiers it is often the case that families can get details mixed up or incorrect, especially if a good deal of time has passed. Even near contemporaneously there was often a lack of knowledge of specific battles and campaigns that took place among the general public and fatalities do get assigned to The Somme or Passchendaele simply because those were the most well known. As an example I did my wife's Great Grandfather. All of the Wife's older relatives swore on their lives he was killed on The Somme. Did some basic digging and no - he was a pre-war territorial in the 22nd London Regiment who died of wounds May 1915 after Festubert.

Of course the postcard may well be correct but if it was me I would want to be a bit more sure before trying to do the massive amount of research involved in trying to bottom it out.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Really interesting thread but got to go with 40Cs always sage advice and say this is next to impossible.

Two points worth raising. First is that there were of course two other major Battles on the Somme in 1918 (hence the Somme 1918 Battle Honour) so what is to say he was definitely a 1916 fatality.

Second and more important is who wrote the annotations on the postcard and when? The handwriting for both sections looks to be the same so by definition it must have been written no earlier than 1926. Having done a fair few searches for WW1 soldiers it is often the case that families can get details mixed up or incorrect, especially if a good deal of time has passed. Even near contemporaneously there was often a lack of knowledge of specific battles and campaigns that took place among the general public and fatalities do get assigned to The Somme or Passchendaele simply because those were the most well known. As an example I did my wife's Great Grandfather. All of the Wife's older relatives swore on their lives he was killed on The Somme. Did some basic digging and no - he was a pre-war territorial in the 22nd London Regiment who died of wounds May 1915 after Festubert.

Of course the postcard may well be correct but if it was me I would want to be a bit more sure before trying to do the massive amount of research involved in trying to bottom it out.
Spoilsport (thanks)
 
I'll just make the observation that Dad's tunic looks newer than the other two and is devoid of pleated pockets.

Does this narrow down the date of the photo and confirm March 1916?
 
This search is next to impossible, mate.

No surname, service number, Bn number (counting Home Service Bns, the Cheshires fielded about 38 Bns for WWI), DoB/DoD, home information (the family might not have been from Cheshire).

'George was killed at the Somme'? Good luck with that!

. . . though interested to see if anyone else feels brave enough :)
If you didn't have a surname or the like do you get results and if so what format do they come in?
 

historicus

Clanker
If you didn't have a surname or the like do you get results and if so what format do they come in?

You can do it on the CWGC website (Link) but the granularity depends on the risks you take with the metadata. So for example, I have run a search using the following search terms: George as a first name (exact match only so no middle names etc), Cheshire Regiment (exact match only), Army, United Kingdom, First World War Deaths, commemorated in France only and dates of death between 1 July 1916 and 1 August 1916. This gives 22 possible hits. You get to see their service number, date of death, the place of burial or memorial and some other details. If you loosen the search terms and take away the exact match setting the numbers increase exponentially.

If you follow the above methodology, to cover all of the Somme 1916 you would need to do the same for the other months of the battle.

If you really wanted to do this the next step in my view would be to look at the Medal Index Cards at The National Archives (TNA) in WO 372 or on Ancestry. I would take each of the surnames identified on CWGC and put them into the search engine on TNA (Link Here) and use Robert/Bob as the first name and Cheshire Regiment in the Corps Field. You would then need to look at every possible medal card (probably at least a couple of hundred) that would match as possibles and hope that they mentioned wounded or discharged in 1916 (as he lost his leg). This would then potentially give you the service numbers and names of the two brothers. From there you could probably do the rest on Ancestry pretty easily for the father.

Using Service Records for those identified on CWGC is largely pointless as so few survived the Luftwaffe bombing of the Arnside Street Record Store in WW2 that you would need to be very lucky to find them.

The methodology outlined above however is fraught with potential problems if the details on the postcard are even slightly off. If for example, George was a nickname or a middle name that he happened to use, most of the above would probably be pointless. Also you may well find the correct medal card for Robert/Bob but not know it if it doesn't mention his wounds or discharge

As Helm mentions above, the museum might be able to help but I doubt it as most museums don't have complete digitised lists of WW1 personnel and without a surname they probably would not be able to assist.

Sorry to all if the above looks like complete gobbledygook but this is not an easy search to conduct given the paucity of data to start
 
Last edited:

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
You can do it on the CWGC website (Link) but the granularity depends on the risks you take with the metadata. So for example, I have run a search using the following search terms: George as a first name (exact match only so no middle names etc), Cheshire Regiment (exact match only), Army, United Kingdom, First World War Deaths, commemorated in France only and dates of death between 1 July 1916 and 1 August 1916. This gives 22 possible hits. You get to see their service number, date of death, the place of burial or memorial and some other details. If you loosen the search terms and take away the exact match setting the numbers increase exponentially.

If you follow the above methodology, to cover all of the Somme 1916 you would need to do the same for the other months of the battle.

If you really wanted to do this the next step in my view would be to look at the Medal Index Cards at The National Archives (TNA) in WO 372 or on Ancestry. I would take each of the surnames identified on CWGC and put them into the search engine on TNA (Link Here) and use Robert/Bob as the first name and Cheshire Regiment in the Corps Field. You would then need to look at every possible medal card (probably at least a couple of hundred) that would match as possibles and hope that they mentioned wounded or discharged in 1916 (as he lost his leg). This would then potentially give you the service numbers and names of the two brothers. From there you could probably do the rest on Ancestry pretty easily for the father.

Using Service Records for those identified on CWGC is largely pointless as so few survived the Luftwaffe bombing of the Arnside Street Record Store in WW2 that you would need to be very lucky to find them.

The methodology outline above however is fraught with potential problems if the details on the postcard are even slightly off. If for example, George was a nickname or a middle name that he happened to use, most of the above would probably be pointless. Also you may well find the correct medal card for Robert/Bob but not know it if it doesn't mention his wounds or discharge

As Helm mentions above, the museum might be able to help but I doubt it as most museums don't have complete digitised lists of WW1 personnel and without a surname they probably would not be able to assist.

Sorry to all if the above looks like complete gobbledygook but this is not an easy search to conduct given the paucity of data to start
Very helpful thanks, I'll pass that on
 

historicus

Clanker
What about newspapers of the period, would the cheshire regiment have come from a local area
death notices might show something up
That is a possibility but I don't think it would help much. The Casualties in 1916 were so high that newspapers tended to do lists of names. It is unlikely to list the deceased George with any kind of linked information about other members of his family that were serving as well. So many people were in uniform by that time that local newspapers would have had a monumental effort to do that for every casualty. It's possible that the family could have put a notice in the local paper I suppose. I don't know how many potential local papers there were in 1916 and if it's a lot then the only way to narrow it down would be to know what part of the county they were from. I doubt many (or any) local newspapers of the time have been digitised and put online so it would be a major flog in local archives.
 
Is there a Silver War Badge roll for the Cheshire Regiment - if so could be used as a cross reference data matching for the fellow that lost a leg

And quite possibly for the fella that was gassed and died 1926 ? (not to sure about that)

Archie
 

historicus

Clanker
Is there a Silver War Badge roll for the Cheshire Regiment - if so could be used as a cross reference data matching for the fellow that lost a leg

And quite possibly for the fella that was gassed and died 1926 ? (not to sure about that)

Archie
Excellent point. @napier - worth adding this to the advice at post 14 above as it would add a validation if likely medal cards for Robert/Bob could be located. Presuming he was discharged after losing his leg he should have received a SWB and this should be shown on the medal card even if it makes no specific mention of wounds. The medal card will give a reference for the SWB which can be checked against the rolls in WO329 at TNA or on ancestry. The rolls should give more detail about the nature of wounds.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Excellent point. @napier - worth adding this to the advice at post 14 above as it would add a validation if likely medal cards for Robert/Bob could be located. Presuming he was discharged after losing his leg he should have received a SWB and this should be shown on the medal card even if it makes no specific mention of wounds. The medal card will give a reference for the SWB which can be checked against the rolls in WO329 at TNA or on ancestry. The rolls should give more detail about the nature of wounds.
Great, thanks both of you
 

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