Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Albert Still - a Barcombe terrier and conscript

The images from Albert Still's service record that appear on this blog are Crown Copyright and are housed in WO 363 at The National Archives. They are badly water-damaged as can be seen. Nevertheless, what remains is more than what survives for a lot of soldiers and I'll do my best to pick out the key points from each of the surviving pages.

The front page of the four-page attestation form gives basic details and shows that Albert attested at Lewes on the 22nd May 1916 and was called up at Chichester on the 15th May 1917.  At the time of attestation he was nearly 29 years old, married, working as an insurance clerk and living at Barcombe.  The word Norfolk can be seen top right and partial numbers can be seen to the left.  By the time Albert attested, conscription had been introduced and he would have been obliged to attest when he did.  He would have had no choice in the regiment to which he was eventually posted.  It is noted on this form that Albert had no prior military service.

Page two shows details of his next of kin - his wife Mabel whom he had married on the 25th April 1909 at the parish church, Chailey - and two daughters born in June 1914 and April 1916. The campaigns' section of this side shows that he spent his entire service between 15th May 1917 and 6th March 1919, at home in the UK. He would therefore not have been entitled to receive any medals.

Page three is a listing of Albert's army career: the 4th Royal Sussex (15th May 1917) Regiment, followed by an immediate transfer to the the 11th Norfolk Regiment on the same day. On the 20th October 1917 he was transferred to No 684 Agricultural Labour Company, then to 695 Company on the 15th December that year. Subsequent postings are blurred but we can see that he was discharged, no longer physically fit for war service, on the 6th March 1919. Defective vision and vertigo are noted as the disability. Albert's character is noted as good and his home address is recorded as 1 Munster Cottage, Barcombe, Sussex.

A blemish-free service is recorded and there's also a couple of numbers visible top left: 291117 and 429342. We can also see that Albert served with D Company of the 11th Norfolk Regiment.

The letter from the Ministry of Pensions notes that 429342 was Albert's number with the Labour Corps and that he had claimed a pension as a result of a heart condition aggravated by war service, and rheumatism attributable to war service.  He was awarded a weekly pension of five shillings and sixpence for 52 weeks from 7th March 1919 and a weekly allowance of two shillings and fourpence for his two children, effective from the 24th March 1919.  His case was to be reviewed after one year.

Army Form B178 notes that Albert's number with the 4th Royal Sussex Regiment was 1560 and that he had originally joined the Territorial Force on the 16th January 1913.  He was presumably discharged then, as a Time expired Territorial and was subsequently conscripted.  This Army Form also notes service in the Machine Gun Corps and a number 49461.