Author Topic: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment Ralph Ball  (Read 10913 times)

leefw

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Hello everyone.

Let me start of by saying that I am completely new at military research so I recently hired a professional military researcher to dig into the history of my Great-Grandfather:

Private 301913 Ralph Ball
1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment (TF)

Formerly
Acting Sergeant 583
2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment


Unfortunately, there was little to find since his service record was destroyed during WWII. However, the researcher called to my attention that his transfer from the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment to the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment may be mentioned in the 1/8th’s war diaries. This forms the basis of my question to this forum.

I am assuming it is not normal for a single soldier's transfer to be mentioned in the war diaries, but the researcher noted that 1/8th men appearing in the SDITGW database with 3019 -- series numbers were quite often showing previous service in the South Lancs, and this may point to a batch of South Lancs men being allocated from base at one time. The researcher did not mention just how many men were transferred, but I am hoping the amount is large enough to be mentioned in the 1/8th’s war diaries.

I would like to be able to confirm the exact date this transfer took place. Also, any given reason for the transfer and where the 1/8 Manchesters were stationed when the transfer took place.

In brief, my Great-Grandfather  went overseas as a reinforcement to 2nd Bn South Lancs, and given the date on the medal index card it is reasonable to assume that he was a recalled reservist rather than a currently serving regular soldier. Sometime later he transferred to the 1/8th Manchesters, but my understanding is that the two battalions were never attached to the same Division.

His medal records strongly imply that there was no overseas service with 1/8th Manchesters prior to the transfer from the South Lancs taking place, so that may date his arrival with 1/8th Manchesters to somewhere between late 1916 and early 1917.

Is it possible for somebody to look over the war diaries and see if this transfer is mentioned? I have no idea just how big a job that entails so forgive my ignorance if this task is massive ...

Hope you can help.

Best regards
Lee Francis Wilhelmsen
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 11:02:59 PM by harribobs »

Offline harribobs

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 11:57:17 PM »
hi lee

and welcome to the group

well.... i think i can see how your researcher came to that conclusion, but i don't think the 300,000 series of service numbers will help you. the complete battalion was renumbered in early 1917 with the numbers from the block 300,000 to 350,000. assuming that both the 1/8th, 2/8th and 3/8th were re-numbered from that block ( we'd be looking at around 3,000 men) so i imagine that Ralph with a s/n of 301913 would have been in the battalion at the time of re-numbering, so that fits with him coming late 1916/early 1917

i have been looking in the 8th's 1917 war diaries over the weekend on a totally unrelated matter and i have not come across any mention of named (by person or regiment) drafts in. It is very rare for a private soldier to be mentioned by name in a war diary, officers from time to time. if i get chance i will have another scroll through but it is quite a big job

we can certainly tell you what the battalion was doing at that time, where they were and the battles they fought in

the 8th batt was part of the 42nd division, the 2 SLR (by 1916) were part of the 21st div so i would of suspected he was wounded or sick and then when he recovered he was sent to the 8th ( this was not uncommon in the later yers of the war) but if your researcher has found a block of transfers, perhaps a number were transfered to beef up the battalion after suffering heavy losses, so maybe we should be looking at the aftermath of a battle that drained the 8th

sorry if this is a bit rambling ;D just my first thoughts, one of our members has a sweet spot for the POWV's and i'm sure she'll be interested

cheers

chris

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leefw

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2007, 08:33:11 AM »
Hi and thank you for the information and your welcome  :D

A bit off-topic for this forum, but I just have a brief comment regarding the 2nd South Lancashire Battalion. According to this page the 2nd South Lancashire Battalion was as you say, part of the 21st Division.

  • August 1914 : in Tidworth. Part of 7th Brigade, 3rd Division.
  • 18 October 1915 : transferred with the Brigade to 25th Division.
  • 26 October 1915 : transferred to 75th Brigade, 25th Division.
  • 21 June 1916 : transferred to 64th Brigade, 21st Division.
  • 30 June 1918 : transferred to 89th Brigade, 30th Division.

However, according to this and this page they joined the 64th Brigade, 21st Division in June of 1918 and left the same month.

So which site is correct? From the extensive listing on the first link I am assuming the latter two are mistaken (however the 1st and 3rd links refer to different parts of the same site :-\)

Can anyone confirm the correct information?

Regards
Lee Francis

PS Does anyone know if the 2nd South Lancashire Battalion have a similar online forum?

Offline themonsstar

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2007, 09:57:57 AM »
Hi Lee
Can you post the code & page numbers from his medal index card cheers MS

leefw

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2007, 11:56:59 AM »
Hi

I can do one better. You can find the full MIC here. His is on the bottom left.

I don't think you remember me, but our paths have crossed before :-).
In the given link to the forum thread above you can read some very, very helpful analysis of the MIC and also see a nice picture of my Great-Grandfather as an Acting Sergeant in the South Lancashire Regiment.

A very good read and I am forever grateful to the people who contributed to gather the information in such a short time. I could have never done it myself.

Regards
Lee Francis

Offline harribobs

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2007, 12:14:49 PM »
i missed that thread on the GWF, ( i was on holiday at the time  ;D )

mack made an interesting point right at the end that was missed by all previously about the star on his cuff

re the a South Lancs forum, i don't know of one

chris
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  to serve as a warning to others."

leefw

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 01:35:41 PM »
Yes, it is an interesting point and it helps to date the picture somewhat since he enlisted as early as the 3rd of May 1906 in the 2nd Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment (assumption, but seems valid judging from the MIC). Hence the low service number (583).

I have tried to find out a bit more about the distance judging distinction, but have not found anything. It would be interesting to find out just where and when this distinction was awarded, and also what significance it carried with it in practice for the soldier in question.
I am assuming it was awarded in England since his MIC states that he only went overseas on the 2nd of February 1915.

Offline harribobs

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2007, 02:05:21 PM »
mack is very much part of the forum here and no doubt he tell you what he knows about it, it would have been a battalion or regimental award i assume and would have been won in UK pre war
“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
  to serve as a warning to others."

leefw

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2007, 02:22:44 PM »
I came across this page. It is the tragic story of a Private Thomas Potts (301820) of the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment.

It states that 'He enlisted into the army at Manchester and his service number confirms this was sometime after the beginning of 1917'.

I compared the service numbers and since his service number (301820) is somewhat less than my Great-Grandfathers service number (301913), is it then safe to assume that my Great-Grandfather was also assigned to the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment (sometime after Thomas Potts) in the beginning of 1917 and not the end of 1916?

Also, I read somewhere that all units of the the 42nd division (127th brigade) embarked at Alexandria by the end of February 1917. So they can't have been in France until February 1917. Or am I totally missing the point?

Regards
Lee Francis
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 02:27:21 PM by leefw »

Offline harribobs

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2007, 07:21:45 PM »
ignore this post, i'm going round the bend



« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 08:17:14 PM by harribobs »
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Offline sphinx

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2007, 08:08:46 PM »
The star on his cuff is NOT a distance judging star.  These were awarded ONLY to the regular army.
The star is  a 5 pointed star, commonly worn from 1 to 6 in number by soldiers in Volunteer and Territorial Battalions to signify 5 years efficient service for esch star.  First appeared in Volunteer Regulations in 1881.
It was commonly seen in WW1 photos.

leefw

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2007, 08:54:18 PM »
Great!

OK, so since he only had one star that means he had between 5 and 10 years of efficient service in Volunteer or Territorial Battalions. That makes sense since he enlisted in May of 1906. So I guess that dates the picture to somewhere between 1911 and 1916.

Regards
Lee Francis

Offline harribobs

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2007, 09:01:00 PM »
lets have a look at him  :D

“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
  to serve as a warning to others."

leefw

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2007, 10:45:47 PM »
I have brought the oldthread in the other forum to life again regarding things that have more to do with the South Lancashire Regiment. I guess it makes more sense to discuss them there.

However, things related to his service in the Manchester Regiment can be added here. I'd still like to find out when and why he was transferred from the South Lans to the Manchester Regiment. ;D

Offline harribobs

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Re: Private 301913 and the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2007, 07:47:33 PM »
However, things related to his service in the Manchester Regiment can be added here. I'd still like to find out when and why he was transferred from the South Lans to the Manchester Regiment. ;D

i'm sorry to say that without his service record, i can't see where you'll find out ???

unless anyone else has any good ideas
“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
  to serve as a warning to others."