Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chailey's Somme - 1916

Remembering today, the men of Sussex who laid down their lives in a diversionary attack at Richebourg L'Avoue on the Somme on the 30th June 1916.

The three South Down battalions took part in the attack by the 39th Division and by the end of the day had sustained over a thousand casualties, roughly one third of their combined strength. I have written about this on the Chailey 1914-1918 website in a chapter I called, Chailey's Somme.

Sydney Arthur Brooks, brother of William Jared Brooks of Newick, was killed on this day and Albert Plummer of South Common, Chailey was severely wounded. He would die of his wounds on 2nd July.

The 30th June 1916 was, as some have said, the day that Sussex died, and 93 years on, almost to the hour that the men of Sussex rose from their trenches and walked into well-directed German machine-gun fire, I remember them.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thomas Pateman, 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars

Thomas and Alfred Pateman. both serving with the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars, arrived in France on 15th August 1914.

I think it likely that Thomas Pateman, six years older than Alfred, joined the 4th Hussars in 1900. His number - 4582 - dates either to early 1900 or to around July 1909. In 1900, he would have been about 21 years old and it seems more likely that he would have joined up as a young man in his twenties rather than as a thirty year old. You can read more about army service numbers between 1881 and 1918 on another of my blogs.

Both Alfred and Thomas survived the First World War, Thomas ending the war as a decorated Sergeant Major who had been Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD) and awarded the Military Medal. The "Em" and "Emblem" references in his medal index card above, refer to his MiD.

The medal index card is Crown Copyright, downloaded from the Ancestry.co.uk website.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Alf Pateman - when did he join up?

Alfred Pateman was born in Chailey in 1889 and he was certainly in uniform before the start of the First World War. His medal index card at the National Archives indicates that he was overseas with the 4th Hussars as early as 15th August 1914; an Old Contemptible although he appears not to have claimed the bar to his 1914 Star - the "clasp and roses" so often mentioned on medal index cards of the First World War. But when did Alf enlist?

Alf Pateman's service record does not appear to have survived, but his medal index card gives his 4th Hussars number as 5506. Prior to 1907 all the line cavalry regiments numbered by regiment and so the 4th Hussars had its own series of numbers. Post Army Order 289 of December 1906 however, line cavalry were to be numbered by corps. So one number series for the Corps of Dragoons, one series for the Corps of Hussars and one series for the Corps of Lancers. I've dealt with this topic on a separate post on my Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 blog which looked at Queen's and King's Regulations for the Army. Click the link to read that post.

So the number 5506 was issued twice. Once to a 4th Hussars man when numbering was by individual regiment, and then again when numbering was by line cavalry corps. In the first case, 5506 would have been issued in about 1901 and so we can rule that date out for Alf Pateman as he would only have been about 13 years old. That means he must have joined the 4th Hussars after Army Order 289 had been published, and the number 5506 can only have been issued in the second half of April 1910. So that's when Alf joined his regiment. Fortunately, as his MIC (above) shows, the guesswork has been taken out of the equation regarding the date he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.

The medal index card is Crown Copyright, downloaded from the Ancestry.co.uk website.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Royal Sussex Regiment - Army Service Numbers

There are several men on my Chailey 1914-1918 site who saw service during the First World War with the Royal Sussex Regiment. Although, Essex-born myself, I have a keen interest in the Royal Sussex Regiment and have recently posted a number of articles on my Army Service Numbers blog about numbering in the various Royal Sussex Regiment battalions. I'll be adding to this series or articles in due course, but in the meantime here are the links to the published posts:

Royal Sussex Regiment - Army Service Numbers

Regular and Special Reserve:

1st and 2nd Battalions (from 1881)
3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion (1908-1914)

Territorial Force:

4th Battalion (Territorial Force)
5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion (Territorial Force)
6th (Cyclist) Battalion (Territorial Force)

Initial complement of the South Down battalions (to August 1916):

11th Battalion (1st South Down)
12th Battalion (2nd South Down)
13th Battalion (3rd South Down)
14th (Reserve) Battalion

Service battalions:

Sussex Regiment service battalions August 1914 - August 1916

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day 6th June 1944

Remembering all those who took part in Operation Overlord this day, 65 years ago. Remembering their steadfastness, their courage and their endurance and remembering in particular, those who gave their lives in the battle for the liberation of Europe.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Friday, June 05, 2009

WW1 photographic archive

There's probably no Chailey 1914-1918 connection here but this is worth flagging up for anybody with a WW1 interest.

Yesterday's The Independent carried an article about a collection of photographic plates dating from 1915 and 1916 and depicting Allied - mostly British - troops in France. The Independent published some photographs in the paper; close to 300 have been published on the paper's website. Here's the link:

Gardin-Zanardi WW1 archive

There may of course be Chailey men amongst the subjects but regardless of that, the archive makes fascinating and compulsive viewing.

The photograph of the patriotic British Tommy tattoed with the Royal Family is one of the photos contained in the archive.