WWI mystery help

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by The_Good_Soldier, Jun 1, 2008.

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  1. I was hoping that someone might be able to give me some assistance regarding a minor mystery concerning my grandfathers WWI service; unfortunately he told me little about his service but I managed to glean the following.

    My grandfather enlisted in 4th LNL, probably 1916, at some stage he was wounded in the left arm, a flesh wound which he talked about almost fondly as it got him out of the line for a while, a subsequently was mustard gassed, although he lived to his early 70's he suffered with chest complaints all his life and this is what finally killed him, but I believe returned to service following this.

    His medals are marked 4 LNL but the badges I have for him are KSLI, I always presumed he was re-badged at some stage perhaps after returning to service following his wound, however the mystery-

    I have 2 sets of ID tags for him, one set is marked 41534 Jackson R 4LNL OK so far, but the other set is marked 619706 Jackson J POW, he was Richard John Jackson and his medals are R.J.Jackson with the former number, so the initials are OK.

    So does anyone have any idea as to the significance of the second set of tags, surely even if he was a POW he would not have had British tags proclaiming the fact.

    The only clue I have is that I recall him telling me that he guarded POW's in WWII could I have "misremembered" and he was actually assigned to this duty in WWI, but again, even if this was the case surely his tags would have his regiment as opposed to assignment.

    And last, but certainly not least, why 2 different numbers.

  2. IIRC I have read that Regimental numbers were exactly that, a number for the regiment you were badged to at the time, so a change in regiment could mean a new number. I can't remember where I read this but I suspect it was on arrse.
    No idea if POW's were given an ID number by their captors though.
  3. The differing numbers is a simple one for WWI. Regimental numbers of a Soldier, could and DID change, as they were Regimental in origin, not Army wide.
  4. ancienturion

    ancienturion LE Book Reviewer

    I don't know the answer to your grandfather but my grandfather also had two numbers during the Great War.
    He joined the East Kent Regiment (family thing) with one number but was later in the Middlesex Regiment.
    According to my old man, gf was wounded a couple of times and, on return to duty after the second, was transferred into the Middlesex Regiment with a different number because his East Kent Bn was so depleted and bodies were needed in the Middlesex Regiment.
    The problem I have is that I have not been able to find out where all this took place and exactly where he served as the memory of family members seems vague and faded with time.
    Public Records did provide info on the medals he had and I do know he was incarcerated in Mill Hill BMH more than once as he had a habit of nipping over the wall to visit grandmother in London.
    I shall stop as I do go on but I think you will find that might be the same sort of reason for two regimental numbers.
  5. Thank you, that makes perfect sense with regard to the number, presumably that would tie in with the KSLI badges; just the POW designation to crack now.
  6. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    He was Labour Corps and Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

    Both numbers are correct.

    Do you have a copy of his medal card?
  7. No I have never had the medal card unfortunately.

    How did you work out he was in the Labour Corps and what would this have implied?
  8. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    You say he was injured but at the moment I can find no record, online, of him having a War Pension. This doesn't mean he didn't get one, it may have been destroyed in the blitz in WW2 or has not been put online yet.

    From your information & from his Medal Card I would think he was infantry & then transferred to the Labour Corps after his injuries.

    Not sure about the dog tags but what are they made of?
  9. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    PM me you email address & I'll send you a copy.
  10. Prince of Wales Regiment? Was there one then? Just a guess, I've no knowledge of this but thought it might be an alternative to Prisoner of War. Looks like Old Baldy is in the know so I'll just shut up now!
  11. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    You have mail. :D
  12. Thank you very much oldbaldy.

    That's fascinating, and now 2 mysteries, the POW designation and the KSLI badges.
  13. PoW - The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales Own) might be a possible one, it grew to 37 battalions during WW1. As the war went on men were posted after returning from injury quite often.
  14. Thanks everyone.

    I've discovered that the Labour Corps actually had POW companies, apparently after a certain date German POW's where not automatically sent to the UK but retained in theatre as working parties supervised by the Labour Corps; so this may be the explanation.

    If I'm able to confirm this I'll update everyone.