Author Topic: 16th Battalion E Company Platoon 17  (Read 9959 times)

Offline DaveMurphy

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16th Battalion E Company Platoon 17
« on: June 13, 2010, 08:31:20 PM »
16th Battalion E Company Platoon 17

Offline BarkerC

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Re: 16th Battalion E Company Platoon 17
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2021, 05:38:37 PM »
This is a curiosity-led attempt to identify the six sergeants/corporals in the XVII Platoon photo from physical descriptions/ages given in available records.  The six are:

6206 Sgt W Archer.  He could not be found in any military personnel record and so nothing is known about him.

6359 Sgt F Cochrane.  He is Frank Cochrane who was KIA as a sergeant, number 5261, in 59 Company Machine Gun Corps on 17 June 1916, when the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records show him as 34 years old.  His medal index card and medal roll entry give his Manchester Regiment number as 531.  This strongly suggests that he was amongst the very first 16th Manchester enlistments, who were initially given numbers that may have started at 1 and ranged up to 900+.  These were replaced with four-figure numbers in the range 6200-7699, probably once it was decided to raise more than one Manchester Pals battalion and that a co-ordinated regimental numbering scheme covering all the Manchester Pals battalions was necessary.  Frank’s four-figure Manchester’s number, 6359, appears in his Soldiers Died in the Great War (SDGW) entry.  The CWGC records and the pension ledgers/index cards list his wife as Rosa Cochrane and his forenames are given as Francis Joseph in the registration of their 1907 marriage.

7010 Sgt G A Irlam.  He is George Arthur Irlam whose service record survives.  He was wounded on 1 July 1917 and commissioned on 28 February 1917.

7424 Cpl P J Bailey.  He is Percy James Bailey whose service record survives.  He was missing believed KIA as a sergeant in C Company on 23 April 1917.

7423 Cpl H F Norman.  He is Henry Francis Norman whose service record survives and later served overseas as a sergeant in the 1st Manchesters.  Of interest, he and Percy Bailey had been police constables who both enlisted on 16 February 1915 and were given the acting rank of corporal on that same date.  A check of six others who enlisted in the 16th Manchesters and were allocated regimental numbers between 7420 and 7429 showed that Henry and Percy were alone in receiving immediate promotion.

6572 Cpl H Wilson.  He is Harry Wilson who was KIA as a sergeant on 1 July 1916.  No age is given in his CWGC record however he could well be the Harry Wilson whose birth was registered in the 2nd quarter of 1894 at Hendon as he is said to have been born in Kilburn and resided in West Hampstead in SDGW.  The births of no other Harry Wilsons were
registered in Hendon, Hampstead or Paddington – two registration districts adjacent to Kilburn – between 1875 and 1898.


Name           Height           Chest   Weight   Age                   When
Sgt W Archer                                      
Sgt GA Irlam   5 ft 7 in           37 in           137 lbs   35 yr 0 mth   4 Sep 14
Sgt F Cochrane                                            34 yr           17 Jun 16
Cpl PJ Bailey   5 ft 8.75 in   38 in           149 lbs   25 yr 4 mth   8 Feb 15
Cpl HF Norman   6 ft 0.25 in   37.5 in   163 lbs   26 yr 0 mth   8 Feb 15
Cpl H Wilson                                            22 yr           1 Jul 16

In trying to identify those seated on chairs in the second row of the XVII Platoon photo I have numbered them for reference from left (No 1) to right (No 7).  Things are complicated as although No 3 can be seen to be wearing three chevrons, the others are all wearing two.


No 4, the officer, is self-evidently 2Lt Percy John Mead.

No 3, from his position beside and to the right (from 2Lt Mead’s perspective) of the Platoon Commander and the fact that he is wearing three chevrons, is probably the Platoon Sergeant, Sgt Archer.

Nos 5 and 6 from their evident ages are likely to be Sgts Irlam and Cochrane.  Of the two, the oldest appears to be No 5, who is therefore probably Sgt Irlam.

Nos 2 and 7 are both big men so one is almost certainly Cpl Norman.  The third ‘unknown’, No 1, is similar in size to No 5, the man thought to be Sgt Irlam.  Comparing builds in the descriptions tabulated above, those of Sgt Irlam and Cpl Bailey are not dissimilar and consequently No 1 may be Cpl Bailey.

Assuming that Nos 2 and 7 are Cpls Norman and Wilson, is it possible to identify who is whom?  No 7 looks the younger of the two and No 2 is sitting next to the man tentatively identified as the former police officer Cpl Bailey.  As police colleagues who joined up together it could be expected that they might sit together unless otherwise instructed.  This and the younger appearance of No 7 would suggest that No 2 is Cpl Norman and No 7 Cpl Wilson.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 11:25:09 AM by BarkerC »

Offline mack

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Re: 16th Battalion E Company Platoon 17
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2021, 08:43:52 AM »
6206 william archer.29 dudley st,brooks bar,manchester
enlisted 10-9-14
aged 41
previously served 21yrs in lancs fusiliers[time expired 1913]army number 3937
boer war veteran
brass finisher
11-5-15 promoted CQMS
25th battalion 30-8-15
69th training res 1-9-16
4th south lancs 12-12-17[RQMS]
never served overseas,reached the rank of RQMS with 4th reserves,transferred to clZ army reserve 26-2-19

« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 08:45:23 AM by mack »

Offline mack

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Re: 16th Battalion E Company Platoon 17
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2021, 10:20:15 AM »
sgt archer was immediatly given the rank of sgt when he enlisted on 10-9-14,theres only one sgt in the platoon photo and five cpls,the sgt is definately sgt archer,cochrane+irlam are still wearing cpls stripes,both of them were promoted to act/sgt on 11-5-15 the same day that sgt archer was promoted to CQMS,sgt archer isnt wearing any CQMS insignia.


Offline charlie

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Re: 16th Battalion E Company Platoon 17
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2021, 08:59:27 PM »
It is impossible to tell if he is or isn‘t wearing any CQMS insignia, the insignia for a CQMS was three chevrons with a small crown above, the same as a C/Sgt.

In my opinion the photo has been „photo shopped“ there are some very odd shaped soldiers particularly among those standing left of the middle rows.