Help with WW1 Military Medal

#22
I have just searched the journals etc on the RASC/RCT site, only thing found was a listing in 1919 of those awarded the MM, straight lift from the Medal Roll so no additional info. A good 25p spent!! Which means that I now have £4.75 to try and turn up something from my dads time.
 
#23
Time for random shots in the dark then? Was his name Farleigh and not Farley? There is a Pte P. Farleigh on the Torquay WWI Memorial; relative or local family spelling which was wrongly transcribed? Your Mr 'Farley's' service number would almost certainly have been given to someone else during WWI. There was even a Sapper with the same number. Not many researchers try to work out the ASC weird service number series either, unfortunately.
I'll stick a couple of posts up for you if that helps. Sometimes hits can be found in other Unit War Diaries too.

Besides Unit War Diaries there were personal diaries, kept by OR's and officers, particularly Officers Commanding.
Personal and private diaries might also be found at the Imperial War Museum or Local Record Offices. The Great War site has a very good guide to War Diaries at WW1 British Army War Diaries.

The ASC in WWI was huge but the difference here is of course the mechanical transport prefix. At least we might assume he was a driver/fitter/electrician probably with a Field army in the BEF. A Territorial/TF man, and from the clues maybe even attached to Artillery. Also, your man could have got another service number which would match up with another record based on his full name, a date of birth, cross-checked with civil BMD and census records.

Another problem: there seem to have been renumberings of Regular and TF ASC into one sequence, possibly as early as Jan 1915. My instinct with the evidence on here so far is veering towards an attachment to the Royal Artillery in some role. Ypres battles involved very heavy artillery bombardments. Men of the ASC were not always with ASC Companies, many were attached to other types of unit in the army as vehicle-drivers-cum-mechanics. Further, could his number have been 13/6297 or 1/36297, the prefix series identifying his company under the 18th May 1915 Army Council Instruction 144.
 
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#24
Among your bloke's service records - if they had survived - there would likely be an attestation form, a conduct sheet, any awards he received, and a record of discharge. There could have been more, including his date and place of birth. Your man might have changed regiments, when he would have got a new service number under the Army Council Instructions. The Territorials got new numbers in 1917 and it's not simple; the renumbering and compulsory transfers of soldiers to other units - out of their original units - caused all sorts of problems and errors. Admin nightmares.

Records can be unreliable, record makers either used the best info they had, or they were simply wrong. We're in whataboutery land now so take this with a pinch of salt...another idea is the absent voters lists.
To show the problems and similarities with records: if your man had died in service for instance: there is a possible hit or maybe a relative: a casualty entry for WILLIAM DONALD FARLEY dated 16/07/1917; 406th Mechanical Transport Coy - Army Service Corps attached to 33rd Siege Bty RGA. The 406th MT Coy became an Ammunition Column for 27th Div (or Brigade) RGA, also for 10 Corps Siege Park, and then II and IV Corps Heavy Artillery.

WILLIAM DONALD FARLEY was almost certainly attached to Divisional Artillery, and what became 27th Div , 4th Army BEF, formed in 1915. He was possibly with 27th Divisional Ammunition Column Royal Field Artillery which were fighting at St Eloi (Belgian village) in March 1915 and at Second Ypres April-May 1915. Both actions were on the Ypres Salient and of course Ypres II saw the introduction of German poison gas, April 22nd 1915. The only problem is that William Donald Farley's parents are down as "John and Emily Farley of Selby".

Just a bit more (and probably useless) info for you above, and to illustrate how difficult and frustrating this stuff is. As I say, take it with a pinch of salt, plus on ARRSE we don't have any physical records or details of your man.
 
#25
Not many researchers try to work out the ASC weird service number series either
Oi I resemble that remark!.
With the M prefix and looking at the medal rolls after, no renumbering there on a large scale. The medal roll for the RASC is one of neatest I've seen it also tells you b8gger all extra!

IMHO keeping the M prefix was a good move. Given at the time you had Driver horse and Driver mech. What would happen if you posted them the wrong way around. Horse trained lad might pass very basic muster with a very crash course. Mech trained will annoy the horse looking for the starter handle.

One I'm trying to find are bicycle mechanics, they are out there as they got recruited prior to the war. However on the onset of war I think they got upskilled and the armoury chaps with the cyclist units done the basic repairs. Anything to advanced was binned, who will miss a few duff bicycles.
 
#26
If the information I have about the battles covered by his edition of the Gazette is correct, I would guess 5th Ypres:

Fifth Battle of Ypres - Wikipedia
That narrows it down to nine divisions or just one army. It's a start!

EDIT one down. 14th Div ASC supply COL. No mention of any medals or action.
Lorries dump, lorries resupply is mentioned a lot, no wonder RLC officers are so dull.
O/Rs are mentioned, going on leave, coming on leave and one chap sent to hospital.

EDIT f8ck it I'm tired That was only one coy not the division.
 
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#27
Oi I resemble that remark!.
With the M prefix and looking at the medal rolls after, no renumbering there on a large scale. The medal roll for the RASC is one of neatest I've seen it also tells you b8gger all extra!

IMHO keeping the M prefix was a good move. Given at the time you had Driver horse and Driver mech. What would happen if you posted them the wrong way around. Horse trained lad might pass very basic muster with a very crash course. Mech trained will annoy the horse looking for the starter handle.

One I'm trying to find are bicycle mechanics, they are out there as they got recruited prior to the war. However on the onset of war I think they got upskilled and the armoury chaps with the cyclist units done the basic repairs. Anything to advanced was binned, who will miss a few duff bicycles.
:) Hat off to you, but it's true, I've not ventured into ASC records, finding ASC men and also artillery a bugger to research without records. And no- the rolls don't help much.

Also I've just seen that 27th Divisional Ammunition Column Royal Field Artillery were sent to Salonika/Northern Greece, in dribs and drabs after Nov 1915. AFAICS the consensus here is looking at Ypres V 1918, so that's buggered the 27th DAC RFA .
 
#28
Time for random shots in the dark then? Was his name Farleigh and not Farley? There is a Pte P. Farleigh on the Torquay WWI Memorial; relative or local family spelling which was wrongly transcribed? Your Mr 'Farley's' service number would almost certainly have been given to someone else during WWI. There was even a Sapper with the same number. Not many researchers try to work out the ASC weird service number series either, unfortunately.

Definately FARLEY, he was my grandmothers brother, and survived the war, together with all of his brothers.
 
#29
To save anyone elses eyeballs and grey matter, I have "speed read" the War Diaries for the ASC Divisional supply columns for:
31st Div
30th Div
34th Div
35th Div
9th Div
29th Div
36th Div

lots of mention of horses, pick up and drop off, pick up more drop off more etc little mention of the OR's with a few exceptions such as Dr (Driver, I thought at first that these units seem to have a lot of Doctors!!).
Next line of enquiry will be to rummage through the DAC War Diaries to see if there is anything there.
 
#30
To save anyone elses eyeballs and grey matter, I have "speed read" the War Diaries for the ASC Divisional supply columns for:
31st Div
30th Div
34th Div
35th Div
9th Div
29th Div
36th Div

lots of mention of horses, pick up and drop off, pick up more drop off more etc little mention of the OR's with a few exceptions such as Dr (Driver, I thought at first that these units seem to have a lot of Doctors!!).
Next line of enquiry will be to rummage through the DAC War Diaries to see if there is anything there.
I did pick one driver up in the 14th. The glee of "Driver X returns from dental work" amused me. Either a horse kick or a punch up somewhere!
 
#31
To save anyone elses eyeballs and grey matter, I have "speed read" the War Diaries for the ASC Divisional supply columns for:
31st Div
30th Div
34th Div
35th Div
9th Div
29th Div
36th Div

lots of mention of horses, pick up and drop off, pick up more drop off more etc little mention of the OR's with a few exceptions such as Dr (Driver, I thought at first that these units seem to have a lot of Doctors!!).
Next line of enquiry will be to rummage through the DAC War Diaries to see if there is anything there.
Evening and good luck.

FYI and apropos of nothing, Field Marshal H.C.O. Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer G.C.B (of Messines) seems to have been claimed by Torquay and Historic England, although sources state he was born in London. Extract from listings: [Torquay location redacted] Family home [mid-late 1800s]... of General Sir Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer. Reference, Ellis CA: An Historical Survey of Torquay, 2nd edition: 1930-: P.474.
 

Trilby

Clanker
Book Reviewer
#32
To save anyone elses eyeballs and grey matter, I have "speed read" the War Diaries for the ASC Divisional supply columns for:
31st Div
30th Div
34th Div
35th Div
9th Div
29th Div
36th Div

lots of mention of horses, pick up and drop off, pick up more drop off more etc little mention of the OR's with a few exceptions such as Dr (Driver, I thought at first that these units seem to have a lot of Doctors!!).
Next line of enquiry will be to rummage through the DAC War Diaries to see if there is anything there.
That's real dedication to the cause, assuming they were hand-written in script of variable legibility like most of the ones I have seen.
 
#33
That's real dedication to the cause, assuming they were hand-written in script of variable legibility like most of the ones I have seen.
A rare typed one is a sight of beauty. I can picture the poor chap carefully stabbing away with one finger on a big type writer.
The army was scaled for them, a very good thread on Great war forum about them.
 

Trilby

Clanker
Book Reviewer
#34
Yes indeed, it's amazing what a difference it makes.

Following up Jack_Prior's tip about the Absent Voter Lists, it appears that, though the 1918 list for Torquay no longer exists, Find My Past have the 1920 list. It's a long shot as he may have been demobilised by then, but it's worth a try as they do sometimes have details of men's units.

Britain, Absent Voters Constituency List | findmypast.co.uk
 
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#35
Yes indeed, it's amazing what a difference it makes.

Following up Jack_Prior's tip about the Absent Voter Lists, it appears that, appears though the 1918 list for Torquay no longer exists, Find My Past have the 1920 list. It's a long shot as he may have been demobilised by then, but it's worth a try as they do sometimes have details of men's units.

Britain, Absent Voters Constituency List | findmypast.co.uk
Good tip, but, 2 of his brothers are there, but not our Willie. One brother Charles was 570th AT Coy RE, the other, Albert was 815 MT Coy RASC. Might try the MT company next.
 
#36
Long shot, but did Willie have a consecutive number with 815 MT Coy RASC, it may not be relevant but sometimes brothers had consecutive numbers. Though it's not that simple.

The British Library has or had over 2 miles of printed British electoral registers - ‘Registers of Electors’ - on their shelves, dating from the 1832 voters registration Reform Act (AoP UK). They're not alphabeticised but Findmypast helped to index the archive. It could be that the BL only holds records from the mid 1940s but there may be older electoral registers in local archives. There are no complete collections of electoral registers at The National Archives.

After the 1940 Arnside Street fire and 60% of records were lost, it would help if other clues such as absent voters lists were easily accessible in county archive offices. The trouble with this stuff, just my opinion, is the commercial machine, plus records useful to families are all over the place. Museums are also overhauling their collections and 'transforming'. No comment.

Torquay's contemporary local papers may have published lists of men joining up, as well as Willie Farley's MM and if he was wounded. Some records don't survive, and don't take this wrong but old newspapers reported former WWI soldiers' court appearances.

Torquay Museum might have a possible lead; some town museums have huge newspaper archives, usually indexed. If any links exist, a good archivist should be able to find relevant details quickly. Also there's Devon Museums - The home of Museums in Devon and South West Heritage Trust.

Late edit, there are three service points in Torbay where you can look at microform copies of historical records for the local area. These are located at Brixham Heritage Museum, Paignton Library and Torquay Library. Details at South West Heritage Trust.
 
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sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
#38
A little initial play around.
If you have a "burnt record", have a punt around for a nearby service number. This works well for infantry however with the (R)ASC the number was given at Grove park and you could be allocated any unit.
The nearest number M2/13695 Keynon has a very complete record that includes RA, bus driving and other units(a very good read)

A @Trilby same ideas I have searched the local papers for him no hints. The main paper for Torquay stopped in 1910.
you know i think that i will try this for mi grandad , not the one who was in the IRA but the other one .
 
#40
Firstly thanks to everyone for all the help and suggestions, however having not managed to identify his unit I posted the same questions on the Great War Forum, within minutes someone posted a copy of his MM Card (I didn't know such a thing even existed), which shows his unit as 1 Field Ambulance 1st Division. So I am now ploughing my way through their war diary, but as it would appear to have been written by someone from the medical profession its F******G hard word!!!
 

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