The Manchester Regiment Forum

The Great War => 1914 - 1918 => Topic started by: JonLees on July 10, 2021, 12:57:16 PM

Title: Potential for further details?
Post by: JonLees on July 10, 2021, 12:57:16 PM
Hello all
I was wondering if I could get some advice on what I otherwise suspect is a brickwall.

This is William Lees (1900-1980) only son of William Lees and Mary Antrobus. Born and died Hyde (Orchard Street then Commercial Street) , Cheshire - no middle name. Described as a fitter labourer (heavy worker) in 1939 pre-war register.  I have this photo I was passed nothing else in terms of knowledge. My father has passed and I am the only living relative.

I am told this is a Manchester's cap badge and that the cross rifles on left sleeve mean he was a marksman. I was recently fortunate enough to locate his pension card which indicates his regimental number as 85299, also that he was discharged 8 Dec 1919 on disability referenced as D.A.H, which I've googled to learn is disorderly action of the heart (or soldiers heart and seems associated with stress , fatigue , shell shock), and rheumatism. I also note his pension request was rejected. Perhaps due to not serving long enough. Evidently his birth suggests he would have been 18yrs old when war ended.

Many years ago I have a recollection of seeing medals as a child and of a large framed full battalion scale photograph. However, after he passed I know that was donated to a military museum. I suspect the Manchester's in Ashton.  Years ago I contacted them to see if I could have photo's of those items but they could not locate. Having now his regimental service number I've contacted them again.  Someone thought they could see 2 x oversea chevrons on his right sleeve as evidence of overseas service after Jan 1918 but I must admit I can't see those myself.

Despite some recent success in learning more I cannot locate a medal card or service record, or evidence of action or what battalion he might have been assigned to. I know loss of records is common place. Absence of a medals card might mean to me that he perhaps didn't receive medals (not enough service) but acquired them after the war as some sort of demonstration of service/proof/comfort/respect - a wild speculation of course.

I have uncovered countless ancestors who fought in Boer, WW1 and WW2 and learnt a great deal of their antics, bravery and loss. However, these are Cheshire's, Grenadier Guards , Fusiliers etc. Feel a strong need to document what I can so I can make sure my young daughter knows and understands the enormity of what these people, her direct ancestors, went through. Hence my drive to learn more about William.

I wondered if anyone has access to (or direct me to) information which might permit me to understand a little more about his service?  My current blank on usual sources and if a 2nd blank comes from Museum may well mean I will have to accept I will never know and I admit my hopes are not high.

Sorry that's a long one. Many thanks for reading.


Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: Pete Th on July 10, 2021, 04:43:17 PM
Hi Jon, it's definitely a Manchester's cap  badge. If you have the original photo, can you make out what is written on the shoulder tab (it pixelates when I try to zoom in)? Overseas chevrons were placed on the right sleeve. I can see something that could be two chevrons but is more likely, in my opinion, to be creases.

I couldn't find a MIC or service record. To have been awarded medals, he would have had to serve in a theatre of war so your supposition might be correct. However, in some cases, I have researched soldiers who served overseas but where I couldn't find a MIC. Reasons for this could be lost records, transferred to another regiment or they were re-numbered.

I'm not an expert on demobilisation but I suspect being demobbed so late in December could indicate that he was relatively new to the army (as well as his age). I think demob priority was given to longer serving soldiers.

For info: The Military Service Act (March 1918) the age for serving overseas was lowered from 19 to 18 and six months (as long as they had six months training).

Hope this helps.

Best regards
Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: charlie on July 10, 2021, 05:40:08 PM
Hello Jon and welcome to the forum.
I‘m not sure one way or the other with the overseas service chevrons. To me the „creases“ look too regular to be creases. As he wasn‘t 18 1/2 till the end of November 1918 the only way he could have qualified for medals would have been service in Russia. Maybe the medals you saw as a child were WW2 medals.

I think it more likely that if he did go overseas with the Manchesters it would have been to Germany.
I‘m not 100% sure about the qualifying criterion for the overseas service chevrons but as I understand it, the first was awarded on going overseas and the second after completing 12 months overseas service which if service in Germany after the armistice counted could have qualified him for 2.

Should anyone know otherwise I‘m happy to be corrected.
Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: Timberman on July 10, 2021, 08:30:40 PM

This is from the internet.

The Overseas Service Chevron was created by the British Army on 20 December, 1917 and was awarded for each year of overseas service. It was retroactive to December 31, 1914 and was eligible for award until May 1, 1920.

Overseas service was calculated from the day the soldier disembarked from the United Kingdom. A blue chevron was awarded for each 12 months of overseas service after December 31, 1914 with a maximum of 4 blue chevrons (or 5 if the soldier served in Russia after the war). A single red chevron could be awarded for at least a year or more of overseas service before December 31, 1914 and was worn under the blue chevron(s). The Overseas Chevrons were worn on the lower right sleeve of the uniform jacket. Official wear was discontinued in 1922.

Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: charlie on July 10, 2021, 09:01:25 PM
Thanks Neil, I had read that, either I am thick or it doesn‘t add up (at least to me anyway).
Unless pre-war peacetime overseas service counted no one could have served 12 months before 31st December 1914. If it did only pre war regulars who were serving overseas on or before 1st January 1914 could qualify for the red chevron.
If 12 months had to be served before the award of the 1st Chevron and if qualifying started on 4th August 1914 no one could qualify for 1 Red and 4 Blue unless they served overseas (presuming post war overseas service counted) till 3rd August 1919.
4th Aug 1914 - 3rd Aug 1915 - 1st Chevron
4th Aug 1915 - 3rd Aug 1916 - 2nd
4th Aug 1916 - 3rd Aug 1917 - 3rd
4th Aug 1917 - 3rd Aug 1918 - 4th
4th Aug 1918 - 3rd Aug 1919 - 5th
Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: Pete Th on July 10, 2021, 09:18:09 PM
I read that and was also confused. For example, Sergeant George William Gibbon (Service no. 250051) of the 1st/6th Battalion, Manchester Regiment was a long serving pre-war territorial who first went overseas to Gallipoli in 1915. At the end of the war he had three blue and one red chevron.
Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: Timberman on July 10, 2021, 09:24:11 PM
 This makes more sense.

 Looks like anyone serving overseas from the 5th August 1914  got the red chevron
 Then one blue chevron from Jan 1915 two 31st Dec, then the same for 1916,17,18
 then the 5th one for any time served in Russia in 1919.

 The blue chevrons are from the Great War and were first authorised in 1918, “His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of chevrons to denote service overseas undertaken since 4th August 1914.” For service before December 31st 1914 a red chevron was awarded, with a blue chevron for each year after this. The army listed the following criteria for award:

the date for the award of the first chevron will be the date the individual left the United Kingdom in the case of those who proceeded from home; and the 5th August 1914 in the case of those serving abroad on that date. In the case of oversea troops the date of leaving their own country, or where employed in local operations, the date of crossing the frontier or that on which they commenced to take part in active operations.
Additional chevrons will be awarded for each successive aggregate period of 12 months’ service outside the United Kingdom; the case of overeat troops, away from their own country or within a sphere of active operations.
The qualifying service for additional chevrons need not be continuous. It will include periods of leave up to one month where the individual returns overseas at the conclusion of such leave.
Periods of absence without leave, in prison or detention, in hospital due to sickness due to avoidable causes, or in captivity as a prisoner of war, will be excluded when calculating the twelve months required to qualify for an additional chevron.
Draft conducting officers and others sent overseas on duty of a temporary nature … are not eligible for the award.

Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: charlie on July 10, 2021, 09:39:08 PM
Thanks Pete and Neil, I‘m glad I‘m not the only one confused by Wiki.
Neil‘s second post certainly makes more sense. As I now understand it there was no specific length of time required to qualify for the 1914 Chevron, the soldier just had to be serving overseas before the 31st Dec.
Title: Re: Potential for further details?
Post by: JonLees on July 11, 2021, 11:06:27 AM
Many thanks for input folks.

Its at least good to know for sure its the Manchesters. I shrunk the picture a bit to be able to post. A zoom into shoulder attached. Not but better I fear. IF that was readable would that offer the battalion he was in? I do have the original photo 'somewhere' but I can't as yet find.

Probably of no military relevance but I do have a photo of same period, at least viewing by his appearance, and I've zoomed into a badge he's wearing. Does that ring any bells with anyone? I guess just a post victory badge.

Having viewed examples of oversea chevrons on other picture on line I remain to be convinced they're showing on his tunic. Unearthing the original may be conclusive so off for another hunt.