Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Convalescents - Chailey Heritage 1918

I've been sent the link to the picture above which I presume, although I don't know for certain, was taken at Chailey Heritage. Does anybody recognise the buildings or, for that matter, any of the people pictured?

The only identified person so far is Horace Wilfred Dexter, wounded on 12th April 1918, who sits third from left on the front row.

My thanks to David Dexter for the photograph. Click on it for a larger version.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Which Mitchell is Albert Mitchell?

From the main Chailey 1914-1918 site:

"There are a two Albert Mitchell / Hussars possibilities noted at The National Archives: 6561 (later 45282) Private Albert Mitchell and 8214 Private Albert Mitchell and further research is necessary to positively identify him."

At the time of writing this, I hadn't seen the medal cards for the two men. Now that I have done so, I am a little closer, but only on the supposition that Albert joined the army as a young man. I'll explain.

Army service numbers can provide enormous clues in helping determine when a man joined a particular regiment. I've studied these in depth and I have a separate army service numbers website.

We know that Albert was born in 188o. 6561 could have been issued to a 4th Hussars man at some point between 1902 and 1906 or in September/October 1910 by which time the numbering system for cavalry of the line had changed. Up until December 1906, cavalry regiments numbered individually by regiment; after that date they numbered by corps.

8214 can only have been issued when this corps re-numbering had taken place, and the number itself dates to January 1912. Albert would have been close to 32 years old at this time and I think it unlikely, albeit not beyond the realms of possibility, that he would have enlisted for a regular terms of enlistment which would have taken him up to the age of nearly 40 (assuming a 7&5 term of enlistment).

In the absence of more concrete evidence therefore, I'm going with the deduction that Albert was number 6561 and that he enlisted probably in 1902 or 1903 when he was 22 or 23 years old. If he is that man, he arrived in France on 27th August 1914.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

G/7968 Pt John Gadd, 9th Royal Sussex

I don't have a lot of information on G/7968 Pte John Gadd. His army service number suggests that he joined the Sussex Regiment as a war-time enlistment, probably around the beginning of October 1915. His medal index card appears to confirm this as he received the British War and Victory Medals only and therefore must have arrived overseas on or after 1st Jannuary 1916.  The medal roll for these medals confirms that he served with the 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

John Gadd survived the war.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

1st July 1916

Remembering today, all those who laid down their lives on the opening day of the Great Push, 1st July 1916. Frederick Samuel Cottingham of South Common, Chailey was one of those men.

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