Author Topic: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON  (Read 910 times)

Offline TheMillsons

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42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« on: December 21, 2021, 10:23:45 AM »
1.   As newcomers to the Forum, we apologize in advance if we are bringing up a previously-explored subject.  However, we have been researching the military past of my wife’s grandfather and are now looking to validate (hopefully) what we have found to date and (better still) add to it.

2.   My wife’s grandfather, Leslie Herbert Millson’s medal index card and medal roll entry show he served in 3 different regiments/corps under 4 separate regimental numbers as follows: 18881 in the Leicestershire Regt; 42416 in the Manchester Regt; and 338878 and WR/205551 in the Royal Engineers.  We think (but haven’t yet proved) he was discharged from the Leicestershire Regiment, possibly because he was under age at the time of his enlistment; therefore, our focus is now on his time with the Manchester Regiment.

3.   Looking at the surviving records of Manchester Regt personnel with regimental numbers either side of Leslie (42395 to 42435 (inclusive), noting 42415, 42417 and 42426 could not be identified by name), they appear to have been mainly mobilized around January/February 1917 and assigned to either 11, 12, 13 or 14 Training Reserve Battalions at Brocton Camp, Staffs.  On completion of training, they embarked for France on 1 June, arriving in Boulogne later that day.  Several records contain the following typed/stamped statement:

 19-6-17.   63 R.N. IBD.   Transferred to the M’chester Regt and posted to the             
                                      2/8 Bn. under AO 204/16 with effect from                 19-6-17
                                      Allotted No.                                 Calais                                                                                   

(We are aware of the role of IBDs.  Individual records show either 2/7 Bn. or 2/8 Bn., depending on where they have been posted).

For regimental numbers 42396 to 42410 (inclusive), the individuals have been exclusively posted to 2/7 Bn while 42413 to 42435 (inclusive) have been exclusively posted to 2/8 Bn (to date, we have been unable to establish where 42411 and 42412 were posted).  Therefore, we have assumed Leslie was posted to 2/8 Bn (of note, what we believe to be his uncle 42414 Richard Ernest Millson was definitely posted to that Bn).  Irrespective of Bn, all of these men appear to have then been posted to their respective units on 22-23 June 1917.

4.   Based on the above, our request is two-fold.  Firstly, we would welcome sight of anyone’s knowledge/records/past research/etc on the Manchester Regiment’s second-line Territorial units to see whether any of it ties up with our conclusions (or, if necessary, correct them) and provide any further details that might enhance our knowledge of what Leslie did or experienced while with the Regiment.  Secondly, while we have already read the material on this Forum about 66 Division and its subordinate formations and units (and many thanks to whoever compiled it for a very interesting read), we would welcome any advice on other sources of information, particularly books, about the Manchester Regiment’s second-line Territorial units. 


Offline mack

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2021, 05:05:50 PM »
hiya guys
theres only his two medal card entries,i noticed that they dont mention which manchester battalion he was posted to,this usually means that after arriving at the IBD with the manchester draft,he wasnt actually posted to a specific manchester battalion.

mack

Offline TheMillsons

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2021, 05:33:52 PM »
Mack,
Thank you.  The typed/stamped entry on other personal records with nearby regimental numbers, which is referred to in our original post, suggests the actual transfers to the Manchester Regt took place at the IBD with regimental numbers allocated and battalion postings decided at or around the same time. Our assumption that Leslie was posted to 2/8 Bn is founded on regimental numbers up to 42410 being posted to 2/7 Bn and those from 42414 upwards being posted to 2/8 Bn. Not enough to be 'proven beyond all reasonable doubt' perhaps, but it looks very much like the type of military bureaucracy I repeatedly encountered during my own many years of service.
Kind regards, the Millsons

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2021, 07:09:40 PM »
Hi Millsons,
Your research seems very thorough and I would normally agree with your 2/8th Bn conclusion.  I also think Mack's point seems a stong option.  The sample of men I checked posted to 2/8th Bn all show this on the Medal Roll.  This may indicate Leslie was in a draft destined for 2/8th Bn (and possiby allocated as such for pay) but he was posted to the RE before he received his posting or left the IBD.  It's possible he was reporeed sick and missed the posting with his draft.  Have you checked the possible dates of the RE number and did he have an engineering job that may have captured the eye of the RE?
Welcome to the forum
Tim
ps The 43000 numbers were allocated in 1916.  You just wonder what logic prevails to use the 42000 series a year later.
pps I've made all sorts of assumptions and hypothese in my research and many have been proven wrong as new evidence came to light.  I still can't stop myself using informed guess work but firm evidence is safest. Frustrating, I know.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 07:11:16 PM by Tim Bell »
Following one Platoon and everything around them....
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Offline charlie

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2021, 08:06:52 PM »
The WR prefix to his RE number indicates that he served with the „Waterways & Railways“ section of the RE. Does anything in his civilian life tie in with that?
Welcome to the forum

Charlie

Offline mack

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2021, 12:52:53 AM »
charlie
i believe he was a carpenter/joiner by trade

mack

Offline charlie

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2021, 05:52:26 AM »
Thanks Mack
His Rank of Pioneer indicates that he wasn‘t being employed in an artisan trade (Joiner, Plumber etc.) on completion of a trade test Pioneers could be elevated to the rank of Sapper which attracted better pay.

Charlie

Offline TheMillsons

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2021, 02:03:22 PM »
All,

Many thanks for your respective inputs.  We thought we had posted a response last night, but we can’t find it now.  Therefore, here goes with a second attempt.

We have looked at Leslie’s RE connection and were aware the WR/ prefix to his regimental number signified ‘Waterways and Railways’; his RE medal roll page is also stamped ‘RAILWAYS’.  We used the same method to determine the most likely date for his transfer to the RE, and this showed it took place, including the assignation of his 338878 number, during the period 18-24 May 1918 at Longmoor Camp, Hants under the authority of Army Council Instruction (ACI) 468/1918.  Of the 35 men identified by name for our sample, 31 were infantrymen, one was from the cavalry and just 3 are recorded as having served in the RE only.  Leslie came from a family of craftsmen, so we accept it is possible that he could have been transferred due to specialist skills/knowledge.  We have yet to find a copy of ACI 468/1918, which might provide more specific guidance.  However, looking at the men’s previous occupations, where recorded, they include a gardener, a tanner and a printer; only 2, a ‘railway servant’ and a fitter’s mate show any form of connection to the rail industry.  On the other hand, 2 (possibly 3) of the men have lowered medical categories while at least 16 have records of wounds or hospitalizations before the end of 1917.  Therefore, our current thinking (albeit not confirmed) is that Leslie and the others were compulsorily transferred on the grounds that they were no longer medically fit for infantry service.  As for his WR/205551 regimental number, the WR/2055XX range of numbers appears to have been assigned in almost the same numerical sequence to our sample group (there are 1-2 exceptions), suggesting they were issued before these men were dispersed among RE railway units.  The earliest recorded date of anyone moving elsewhere is 17 June 1918, again suggesting the WR/2055XX numbers were assigned before that date.

Leaving aside the above (and our original post), we still feel Leslie spent some time with the 2/8 Bn Manchester Regiment.  Firstly, there are family recollections of him having done so alongside a relative who, from our separate analysis of Census records, we believe to be 42414 Richard Ernest Millson who is recorded as serving in that Bn.  Secondly, we have researched other grandparents’ WW1 service in other regiments and studied several hundred records in the process.  As a general rule, we have noted medal roll entries showing transfers between infantry regiments almost always contain Bn details while those related to infantry to corps transfers, eg RE, RA or Labour Corps, Bn details are often omitted.  Therefore, while respecting these surviving records as a good guide, we believe they can’t always be taken as entirely accurate.

Finally, we too were confused about regimental numbers being assigned apparently out of sequence in terms of date.  However, ACI 1499 of 1916 ‘Procedures Regarding Transfers and Postings of Infantry Drafts on Arrival in France’ makes provision for IBDs to have blocks of up to 5000 un-assigned regimental numbers so they can be used for inter-regimental transfers in France.  This should have reduced the risk of duplicated numbers and may explain how some numbers do not follow in strict date order.

Kind regards and season's greetings,

Millsons

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2021, 07:54:07 AM »
Hi Millsons,
With the date of number allocation to the RE in 1918 we certainly have a mystery where Leslie was through 1917.  He may have served with 2/8th Bn and he may have stayed at the IBD prior to returning home where he was later transferred to the RE.  It would seem very unlikely a fully fit infantryman would be posted to the RE in spring 1918.
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Offline TheMillsons

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2021, 10:24:38 AM »
Tim,

That was very much our thought.  Given the shortage of infantry in early 1918, it seems very unlikely Leslie would have been transferred to the RE Transportation Branch without some sound justification, particularly when he has: been transferred as part of a larger group of mainly infantrymen who, in at least several cases, appear to have no obvious prior connections with the rail industry; and, while many of his relatives in the Census records are listed as craftsmen, not necessarily had the skills to be employed in an artisan trade (hence his rank of Pioneer).

Following on from the above, it looks like Leslie either: went to 2/8 Bn in June 1917 along with the others in our sample group as outlined in our previous posts and then spent some time with it before something has happened to render him medically unfit for infantry service but still OK to remain in the Army in a support role; or he remained at the IBD for some reason before whatever happened made him unfit for the infantry etc.

If we felt the medal rolls could be relied upon without question, we would agree the second option could well be the more likely.  However, our experience with another unit where its war diary (fortunately the one we were interested in) records its personnel movements by name has shown conclusively that they do contain errors or omissions.  Consequently, unless anyone has some more concrete evidence, we'll probably have to settle for an 'open verdict' at this time.

Kind regards and season's greetings,

Millsons


Offline themonsstar

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2022, 07:32:23 AM »
ACI  468/April 1918

Offline TheMillsons

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Re: 42416 LESLIE HERBERT MILLSON
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2022, 02:18:09 PM »
Thank you for sight of this cover sheet outlining ACIs issued during April 1918.  This could well tie up with Leslie's transfer to the RE in the following month.  Is anyone able to provide details of how to get hold a copy of ACI 468/1918 itself to see if it details the criteria under which the transfer may have been made?

Thank you again,

The Millsons