Author Topic: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18  (Read 11932 times)

Offline PhilipG

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2017, 10:15:42 AM »
Caroline,

The Macedonia campaign by the British Salonika Forces has been described as "the sideshow that ended the war".   Clearly, their contribution to the war effort was hardly known.   Their battle casualties numbered some 23,000, whilst their non-battle casualties were just over 481,000, of which figure 198,000 were cases of malaria.

Upon their return to France, the battalions were asked if they had done any fighting and if they had been "over the top".    The BSF appear to have been a forgotten army - cf. the British 14th Army in WW2. PhilipG.

Offline CarolineBoo

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2017, 01:07:03 PM »
Thanks so much for all your insights and corrections.I had no idea that Frank stayed in the Army until the end of 1919 or that he was transferred to the Cheshire Regiment.

I am so pleased that he didn’t join the Cheshire’s until mid-1919  -  Both because he was really keen on being with ‘the lads from Shaw’ and (selfishly) because I thought you might toss me out of this wonderful and knowledgeable forum on the Manchesters!

I agree it must have been strange fighting in a war zone that was largely discounted and ignored both during the war and afterwards.  I don’t know if any of you have read Lena Ashwell’s book, ‘Modern Troubadours’, she was the suffragist, actress and impresario behind the professional concert parties in WWI.  When she and her party visited Malta to tour the hospitals and perform concerts - she has a lot of interesting things to say about the soldiers stories from Salonika and how they would rather be on the Western Front.  The link to her book, free to download,  is https://archive.org/details/moderntroubadour00ashwuoft

As part of my research I also read the Manchester Guardian archives and The Times - it is amazing how little reporting there was about the war in Salonika.  Though in fairness, much of the time it was more skirmishes than battles and more air fighting than ground combat. It also seemed as though the British role was to distract the Bulgarians while main assaults were conducted by the French and others - but that might be unfair.

Thanks again.  By the way, from tomorrow, we are starting to post Frank’s diary entries daily - on their 100th anniversary of being written.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2017, 07:33:04 AM »
Caroline,
 I was interested in your mention of Lena Ashwell and her book.   My father was in Egypt in WW1 (Lancs. Fus.) and brought back a photograph of Lena and her concert party.   She is wearing the rig of an Acting Petty Officer Royal Navy.     You will be aware that Siegfried Sassoon attended one of her concerts in Kantara and the performance inspired his poem "Concert Party (Egyptian Base Camp)".   I like to think my father was also in the audience at that time.  PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2017, 07:59:29 AM »
Caroline,
Re the missing word in the entry for 10 Dec, he was assigned to „44 Mess“. I‘m sure Philip can explain better than I can the administration on board a ship.

Charlie

Offline CarolineBoo

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2017, 02:20:18 PM »
Charlie
Thanks for letting me know about 44 Mess.  I will correct it.  Thanks also for 'conscripted' v ' mobilized' - I have already corrected that one! 

Do you know if  there is online access to the Battalion War Diary?  This would be great as we get more into the story and Frank goes to the front line.
Thanks again!
Caroline

Offline charlie

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2017, 04:36:56 PM »
Caroline,
The 13th Bn‘s War Diary for its time in Salonika has not been digitized, it is only available to view at the National Archives.

Charlie

Offline Wendi

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2017, 05:33:26 PM »
Hi again Caroline  ;D I see the chaps are doing you proud!

Just an addition to Charlie's comment regarding the war diary. You can via their website ask TNA for a quote to send you a copy of the War Diary for the dates in question or (my be cheaper) to ask a researcher to copy them for you.

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 charlie

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2017, 08:01:29 AM »
I‘ve not used the service myself but users on the GWF seem very happy with the service he provides. He would appear to be a lot cheaper than TNA.

http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/home/4593169540

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2017, 01:18:12 PM »
Caroline,

I have referred to the Official History of the Great War (Vol.2) - Macedonia - covering a period 8th December 1917 to June 1918 when the 13th Manchesters returned to France.   The battalion is mentioned only once in that volume and that is in connection with the transport arrangements involving the battalion's return to the Western Front.  This included the use of the Greek port of Itea as a point of departure, followed by transport by sea, the carrying vessels being of French registration, with the eventual arrival at the Italian port of Taranto.   Rail travel followed. The description of the move indicates "how crippled the Army was with malaria".

It would seem that the 13th Manchesters may have carried their sick men with them to France.   However, one battalion - not named - had to send some 273 men into hospital within a few days of their arrival in France.   It would be interesting to see what the battalion's War Diary reveals.  PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2017, 04:13:16 PM »
Philip,
The 13th Bn WD records the following on 31.07.1918:

„The health of the Battalion has been good until the last fortnight. During the first week of which the sick parade numbered about 40 daily. They suffered from chills and colds due to damp and change of climate. During the last week about 35% of the Battalion has been suffering from a kind of influenza.“

The battalion strength is recorded as 26 Officers and 803 OR, which would make the 35% about 290.

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2017, 05:06:19 PM »
Charlie,

Thank you. PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2017, 01:27:55 PM »
I wonder, please, if I may comment on some of the matters noted in this excellent thread and blog?

I wonder whether or not this soldier was correct in using the prefix "H.M.S" in respect of the troopship Kashmir?  I draw upon my WW2 experiences of travelling thousands of miles at His Majesty's expense aboard commandeered liners.   I take, for example, the Mauretania.  This ship was utilised as a troopship, but bore the prefix "H.M.T.", being an abbreviation, I believe, for "His Majesty's Transport".   I cite another example - "H.M.T. Isle de France".

Mention is made of changing the guard aboard ship.  In my experience in WW2 there was no room whatsoever for such an activity.   Sentries were posted at various places below deck and in my case were regularly supervised at officer level.   Among many inconveniences of travel by troopship during wartime was the need to alter the ship's clocks.   This always seemed to be effected at midnight.  Thus, for example, if the ship was steaming westwards, the clock could be stopped at midnight for one hour and an unfortunate on the First Watch would have an extra hour of duty to undertake.    Was there a good side to travel in WW2 aboard a troopship?   Yes, white bread and eggs.  I wonder if Frank found ship's food to be good and plentiful?  PhilipG.                               

Offline themonsstar

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2017, 07:13:17 PM »
Hi Caroline

I posted these photos in 2010:
http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=4993.0

I was given them at the Surrey branch of the WFA when I was a member, your more then happy to use them, and if you PM me your email I will send you the part of the 13th war diary you are looking for.

Roy

Offline CarolineBoo

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2017, 11:33:38 PM »
All
I continue be amazed at the knowledge of this forum and your generosity.  Thank you.

It is an interesting point about HMT v HMS.  I have seen both used in the articles I have read.  If the consensus is for HMT I am happy to change in the blog (though obviously not in the transcript of the diary).  Thoughts?

Perhaps I have overegged the changing of the guard.  I assumed, possibly incorrectly, that it would involve the change over process. Later in the diary he also mentions 'quarter guard' duties.  When I read up on this term - everything indicated that 'quarter guard' is formal or ceremonial.  This didn't always fit with Frank's description.  Perhaps he was using these terms incorrectly and he was really on sentry duty?

The time changes you mention in WWII are interesting because there is a pre-printed page in Frank's diary that gives the times of different countries to GMT in minutes rather than hours (the exception was North America).  Apparently it was only after WWI that time zones using complete hours were introduced globally.  I am hoping to put these pre-printed pages into the blog with some explanatory text - but still trying to figure out how best to do this.

The photographs Monsster provided are an incredible resource and I am still working my way through them.

I have been on the National Archive and downloaded the 13th & the 9th in France.  By chance I am in London early in 2018 and have requested the 13th documents for Salonika.  I plan to photograph them.  The ones I have seen courtesy of the Forum are incredibly valuable.  Frank is on the front early in 1918 so it will be interesting to find out what the military purpose of some of his forays into no man's land etc are.

Another question if I may - you mention Frank having SWB on his medal record.  What does SWB mean?   There is a reference beside the tag - is this something I can use to find more specific information?

Thanks again!
Caroline
http://ayearofwar.com
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 11:59:18 PM by CarolineBoo »

Offline charlie

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Re: HELLO Frank's Diary 1917-18
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2017, 07:58:54 AM »
Hi Caroline,
I tend to agree with Philip as to whether the Kashmir was HMS or HMT. I‘m not an expert on Naval matters but HMS are warships rather than Transports etc.

SWB is the abbreviation for Silver War Badge. It was issued to servicemen who were no longer fit to serve through wounds or illness.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_War_Badge

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/campaign-medal-records/records-of-the-silver-war-badge/

Charlie