Author Topic: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18  (Read 14208 times)

Offline CarolineBoo

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HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« on: December 13, 2017, 12:14:25 AM »
When my mother died earlier this year, I found my grandfather's war diary amongst her papers.  He was called Frank Whitehead and was from Shaw near Oldham.  He was with the Manchester Regiment.  He started his diary on December 8th, 1917 while in Marseilles waiting to ship out to Salonika.  He wrote in it every day until the end of the war.   

I have photographed and transcribed the diary and, with my nephew, have been researching around the things he wrote about.  We have created a blog called A Year of War.  It contains the diary entries and our research findings. There are some entries that were difficult to interpret and some questions that we haven't found answers to.  I hope that the blog will be interesting to this Forum and that some of you might be able to help plug the gaps in our understanding and knowledge. 
Best regards, Caroline

The link is http://ayearofwar.com

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2017, 07:33:12 AM »
Hi Caroline,
You have done great work and I look forward to seeing more diary entries.
Please can you tell us the Battalions Frank was with at each stage.
I realise my blog looks rather clumsy when I see the structure you've used!
Well done, welcome and I hope the forum can assist.

Tim
Following one Platoon and everything around them....
http://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/about/

timberman

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2017, 08:07:25 AM »
 Hello Caroline


Welcome to the forum.
Hopefully someone will be able to help with any questions you have.
What a great blog you and your nephew have done and as it has to
do with a soldier of the Manchester's it will be a very welcome addition
to the history of the Regiment.

Thank you for sharing

Timberman

Offline Wendi

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2017, 08:35:10 AM »
Welcome Caroline  ;D

How wonderful you saw fit to honour your Grandfather's Diary in such a beautiful way.

I look forward to seeing your queries, and hope we can help filling in some blanks.

Wendi
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it!  No matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and with your own common sense" ~ Buddha

Offline PhilipG

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 11:57:40 AM »
Caroline,

Welcome to the Forum.

It would seem likely that this soldier would serve with the 13th Bn. Manchester Regiment.    The battalion left for Salonika in October/ November 1915 and returned to France in 1918, arriving at Abancourt 11th July 1918.   Later it was absorbed into the 9th Manchesters.  PhilipG.

Offline CarolineBoo

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2017, 01:35:06 PM »
Thanks so much for your encouraging comments and offers of help. 

The Battalion is one of the things we have been struggling with:

On the inside cover of Frank's diary he wrote "Private Frank Whitehead, 304092, C Company, 8th Reserve Battalion, Manchester Regiment, Filey".   He did his training in summer 1917 at Filey and a couple of other camps around there. 

He doesn't mention any Battalion again in his diary. Our research however led us to believe, as Philip suggests, that he was with 13th - as he does move to France in July 1918. 

Any insights gratefully received!

Best regards
Caroline


timberman

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2017, 01:52:59 PM »
Hi Caroline

He was in the Manchester's but at some stage he transferred
into the Cheshire Regiment with a service number of 69441.

He was entitled to the British and Victory Medals.

Later he was given a SWB badge due to being unfit for active service.

He was in the 13th Bn and then in the 9th Bn but his medals were
issued by the Cheshire Regiment.

Timberman
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 02:02:45 PM by timberman »

timberman

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2017, 02:08:47 PM »
I don't know the answer but someone else may know.

In the medals roll there are a lot of 13th/9th Bn soldiers
that had their medals issued by the Cheshire Regiment.

Timberman

Offline PhilipG

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2017, 02:15:05 PM »
Caroline,

The Official History of the Great War reports:    "The most formidable, the almost unconquerable foe was malaria."   Perhaps this was the reason for the SWB.   PhilipG.

Offline CarolineBoo

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2017, 02:25:23 PM »
This is really interesting!

Frank had rheumatic fever in Salonika and was in and out of military hospitals / field ambulances in Salonika and then in France.  Just after the war ended his unit was in Belgium and he was sent on home leave. The rest of his unit was marching off to be part of the occupying force in Germany. His diary ends the day he gets back to Shaw. 

Perhaps he was then invalided out while on leave?  Would he have been transferred to do more war work with the Cheshires at that point?  He never mentioned leaving the Manchesters - and was always very keen on being with the 'Shaw lads'.

After the war he had various operations in London and Manchester - ultimately having his knee cap removed and his leg fixed.  He walked with a cane for the rest of his life.

timberman

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2017, 02:31:28 PM »

The information I've given you is from his
Medal Index Card and the Medals Rolls both
can be found on Ancestry.

Timberman 

Offline CarolineBoo

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2017, 02:34:50 PM »
Thanks so much for all this information.  It is incredibly helpful of you.   I use Ancestry but failed to find any of this!

timberman

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2017, 02:40:18 PM »
I did struggle with the medal roll until I put in the
Cheshire Regiment, that were I found a lot of
13th/9th Bn soldiers.

Timberman

Offline charlie

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2017, 08:46:44 PM »
Welcome to the forum Caroline.

The 9th Bn War Diary entry for 08.05.1919 records that 27 Other Ranks, retainable personnel and volunteers for the Army of Occupation, were transferred to 1/6th Bn Cheshire Regt. His late discharge date of 04.11.1919 would suggest he was one of the retained personnel.

Charlie



Offline charlie

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2017, 09:38:12 AM »
Caroline,
Your Grandfather was not conscripted, having volunteered under the Derby scheme he was mobilized.
From the Long long trail:

„Men who attested under the Derby Scheme, who were accepted for service and chose to defer it were classified as being in “Class A”. Those who agreed to immediate service were “Class B”. The Class A men were paid a day’s army pay for the day they attested; were given a grey armband with a red crown as a sign that they had so volunteered; were officially transferred into Section B Army Reserve; and were sent back to their homes and jobs until they were called up.“

Charlie