Here's some feedback about the Pension Records lookups we have conducted for a wide range of individuals:
David, You have solved a 94 year old mystery, now I have a Regimental number and a Battalion, I should be able to find his correct grave site if any.
The mothers name and postal address is correct. To get the correspondence to his mother in 1919. the correct address today would be "Church cottages, Church Lane".
This leaves me with the problem of whether to present the history buffs at Pettistree with the evidence, They may feel obliged to amend their War Memorial with the expense that will involve. And is the existing name (L/cpl James Clements KIA 1917) properly remembered elsewhere?
Again on behalf of my family thank you for your diligence in finding my great Uncle, I will certainly pass on the news of your valuable research tool to my customers in the Suffolk Regt Museum.
This must be one of the best presents I have ever received.
This confirms that it is indeed my uncle's name (Dad's brother) that is on the Vis-en-Artois memorial in Flanders and was killed in September 1918. For years I have been only 90% sure it was him, as I have no relatives alive on my Dad's side and when he died in 1969 (I was 9) I was told my Dad was an only child.
In fact, due to genealogical research over the last 25+ years, I found he was one of 13 siblings but most either had no children or died young. Robert was some 70 years older than me which, for an uncle, is probably getting onto towards a record but my whole paternal line is full of big generation gaps. My grandfather would have been 151 this year and great grandfather some 188 years old. I do have someone in Bolton, who is the step-daughter of Robert's younger sister still alive, who remembers the family going to Belgium and France in the 1950's in the vain hope of finding his grave, which was the trigger for my realising that he may have been killed in WW1. But the only medal she has from him has no markings on it.
It was the Bolton Local Records Centre that eventually suggested his medal number from the CWGC and he may well be the same person but nothing survives at Kew from his call-up papers etc. so could never confirm the address. Nine House Lane Bolton is where my father was born and his family lived until at least the 1940's. Now I have this as fact I can continue an original plan to visit the cemetery and environs. Just a shame his body was never found, as so many of those young men suffered. My next port of call may well be finding an expert from the WFA who can work out where he died. [You may use the gist of this in the magazine if you want].
I very much appreciate the work you and your colleagues have done in holding onto these very important records
Thanks again and best regards
James (via facebook)
Thank you WFA for saving these records. I have now found that my Grandfather (William Henry/Harry LUCAS 1st then 13th Essex Regt although a Dorset man) suffered a GSW resulting in 20% disability at Gallipoli in 1915-16 after which he was casevac'd via Malta to UK. He subsequently resumed service and went to the front again, being taken prisoner on 1st Dec 1917 at Cambrai. His assessment of 20% disability was made in 1920. I have also found a record for my wife's grandfather (George SEAL SLI and Labour Corps) who suffered a GSW to his left hand. He was granted a Gratuity of £16 10s It was so easy to use these records - Thank you
Many thanks for the Pension Card images.
Of the names I asked you to look up, only the two you found were killed in action. James [redacted - Ed]was wounded, but was able to carry on with life after the war, so perhaps was not sufficiently affected to justify a pension. Similarly the two relatives [names redacted - Ed]. So two out of five is quite good going!
However, the request for a pension by the 'guardian' of an illegitimate child by Charles [redacted - Ed] was unexpected and opens up a whole new can of worms!! And a lot more research! If anyone in the family knew about it, they kept very quiet!!
If a good story evolves, I will keep you in touch.
Once again, many thanks
Thanks for the fast turnaround in finding these records.
At last I have confirmation of my grandfather's service in WW1. All I knew was that George Smith served with a Thomas Carter, who became brother in law to George's brother.
After searching the medal records for two matches of regiment, I was left with these two. The addresses given matched George's brother on his marriage certificate and that of his future wife.
Many Thanks to you and WFA for saving such important documents.
Fae J. Jones WFA Member 4208
Thank you so much for the excellent result from my enquiry about the pension records for my Grandfather, George Collins. I have been away on holiday, hence the delay in replying. I have found the records both moving and revealing.
My Mother, Florence Collins, knew nothing about her Father and he never actually saw her. I only found out this year after further enquiries with the CWGC that he had been buried twice, once by the Germans at Mont Notre Dame CCS in May 1918 then after the war at Vailly sur Aisne British Cemetery. I have been engaged in this search since I was 16 and that was fifty years ago! As there are no surviving Attestation papers or other documents, this really is a very valuable resource. For instance, it gives dates when soldiers were declared as 'Missing' and this is particularly interesting as it can be matched up with local newspaper reports etc and War Diaries.
I realise how fortunate we are to have such information as so many soldiers never had a grave and it must have been so difficult to account for soldiers in those circumstances.
I do thank you and the WFA for all the wonderful work you are doing to to preserve this archive and making it available to us.
Thank you David - as you suspect, the Allwood records are not those of my grandfather Ernest William Allwood of the 1/8 Sherwood Foresters. However the Kitchen records you have sent are those of my grandmother's brother John Randall Kitchen. No need to refund £3 - put it towards the WFA costs.
Here is the story of John Randall Kitchen. I would be happy for the WFA to make what use of it they wish.
He was born in Mansfield in 1894 to Charles William Kitchen (on the birth certificate described as a bar bottler!) and Sarah Kitchen nee Hopkinson. His father was originally from Lincolnshire, his mother from Mansfield. My mother has some photographs of him before the war, dressed rather smartly and working in an office - apparently a promising young man.
He enlisted in October 1914, joining the 2/8th Sherwood Foresters, so would have had his baptism of fire in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916. He was promoted to Company Sergeant-Major of C Company before the Battalion went to France in 1917 - we have a photograph of him in what I take to be his CSM 'uniform', taken no doubt before they went over. He is recorded in the Battalion War Diary and in the history of the Battalion as being wounded in May 1917. A shell landed under the table at which Company HQ were sitting!
When the Battalion was disbanded in February 1918 he was transferred to C Company of the 2/6th Sherwood Foresters and was killed in action when the 2/6th (and the remainder of 59th Division) were virtually wiped out in the German offensive on 21 March. It appears from the Battalion War Diary that a fierce action took place in Tank Avenue, Bullecourt, as C Company contested the German advance. I have 2 conflicting reports of his death. The first I obtained from a website, the Roll of Honour of the Leeds Modern Boys School. This website appears no longer to exist. The entry is for an old boy of the school, 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Pollard. An eyewitness report said that the officer was wounded by a German officer but he continued to assist CSM Kitchen, also wounded, until they were both shot again, and killed instantly.
The other account is from the local Mansfield newspaper which quotes a letter to his family from Private L Shelley of the Foresters.
"-----a splendid soldier------will be greatly missed by all who knew him well. He was only with us a few months, and we all took a great liking to him. I was only 10 yards off when he fell. I rushed up to him and asked him where he was hit, but received no answer. I could find no wound on him. It was a machine gun bullet that killed him." Private Shelley says he was himself gassed on 22 March.
According to his younger brother, my great uncle Baden, he was courting a girl from Rochdale, whose father "had much livestock". I imagine he must have met her when convalescing from his 1917 wound.
John Kitchen's mother, living at 100 Union Street, Mansfield, was awarded a war pension of 8 shillings per week. There is a sad sequel to this story. Charles Kitchen, by then a brewer's drayman, was killed in 1919 when his dray was hit by a tram in Mansfield. He fell off the dray and a barrel of beer fell on him. His terrified horse then trod on his head. So Sarah Kitchen and her remaining children, including my grandmother, had to contend with the loss of a son/brother and a husband/father within a 2 year period.
I have joined the WFA by the way, partly because I just might find out more about what happened to the 2/6th at Bullecourt and to my grandfather, who was wounded in 1917 I think, but who survived.
Norman Bonney, WFA No 2980
I promised to provide feedback on the information revealed and the service.
It is interesting how expectations change during the period from application to delivery of the end result. I had expected a 'nil return'. The amount of information was a little disappointing on the face of it but, given my father's service records etc., are lost, this morsel of official documentation is valuable beyond the content it carries.
The service was absolutely wonderful. Little work by me, much work by you and your colleagues!
Just to let you know how delighted I am with the results of your search.This has certainly added to the information I have about my Great Uncles and indeed, has pointed me to several different parts of the country to progress my research further. Once I have digested this info I will review my other family members and may possibly contact you again for further research.
Thank you for your kind assistance and well done to the WFA for securing these valuable archives.
......Finally, please accept the £15 (refund offered but turned down) as a donation to the good work you are doing. And I did take your advice and have completed the online application form to join the WFA over the weekend (and have paid the appropriate subscription fee)!
Once again, very many thanks for your efforts on my behalf and best wishes for your future endeavours on behalf of other relatives.
Many thanks for your reply.
I completely understand the position - and an extra few weeks is no problem for me.
Regardless of the success of the new "Buchanan search", my enquiry already has had a very positive outcome. Papers supplied for Hugh McNamara have finally enabled me to cross-refer his service number to a Glasgow address - after 17 years of trying ! But I will summarise that on some feedback I will send separately.
As you suspected, the papers supplied for Gilmour was not the man in question. However, I see below that you will also search the officer records - and reply in about two months time.
The search for Captain John Gilmour, a high scoring Sopwith Camel ace from Helensburgh is rather more speculative on my part. Although a wealthy young man, he did fall on hard times during the 1920s - and his wartime injuries may have resulted in a pension application.
Meantime, many thanks for your continued help on the Buchanan - and Gilmour searches.
Claire Reilly (this from Australia.....)
I've been away for a week, so have only just got your email. Many thanks for sending me the results of those searches you did. It was very interesting seeing the pension cards, which are another confirmation of what I had found out about these relatives.
Had I not just last week done a search on Patrick Doyle to see if he had also served in the war and been lucky enough to find his Medal Card,.... then the information you sent would have provided something new, as until last week we had no idea what had become of Patrick Doyle
Incidentally, there is an incorrect reference on the bottom of the pension card with John Doyle as the claimant,.... the father of Patrick Doyle and step-father of Patrick Reilly. I thought I'd tell you so perhaps you can add a sticker or something in case of future inquiries.
At the bottom of the card in red letters is 13/D/11813........ and beside this is Andrew Doyle, 9200, R.Dub. Fus. There is no such person as Andrew Doyle. The reference here should read Andrew Reilly, 9200. R. Dub. Fusiliers (I've done a lot of research on my husband's uncles, and I know for a fact that Andrew Reilly's service Number in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers was 9200. Also you can see this on the claimant card you sent for Andrew's mother, Ellen Doyle, as the Claimant , where Andrew Reilly is the 3rd person listed , as is his service number......... you can see why they made the error , as there were both Reillys & a Doyle listed).
As for John Doyle, (also known as Jack Doyle, or Skurt Doyle) he was captured during the retreat from Mons in 1914 and spent the rest of the war in Limburg POW Camp in Germany. We believe he was discharged from the army about 1919 and that he'd been in the army since about 1905 and we just assumed that he would have been entitled to a pension after the war.
As regards the 3 pounds refund,.... little though it is, please put it towards your WFA funds,..... a small contribution from a grateful researcher. It was well worth asking you to look up those records, if only for further confirmation and in allowing me to add to my data on these family members.
I'll look forward to receiving the records in the post. Once again, many thanks for your prompt help.
Keep up the great work.
Thank you for the information, much of which I already had but it was very interesting to see how much pension Pioneer Greig's mother received after his death. 10s per week doesn't seem much for someone who won the MM and gave his life for his country but I suppose it was worth a bit then.
I'm very impressed with the service provided and pleased that the WFA have taken over looking after the Pension Record Cards. If one organisation can look after the Records properly, it's the WFA.
Many thanks for your help.
Many thanks for the pdf's of my Dad's record cards. Another small step in my efforts to discover something of his service in WW1, which is proving to be a difficult and slow process.
I am aware of the Chelsea pension records and Silver War Badge records on the Ancestry website but have drawn a blank there.
I will be very grateful if you can explain the meaning of the entry "S.B.A 16068" on the small record card and point me toward any searchable resource for this record?
I have now joined the WFA.
Thank you for your help.
What a service! Delighted with the results. Thanks a million. Spent many hours since trying to progress things.
I have a letter from the man who served in the MGC which said that he wished he was back in the Rifles again. I was never able to sort this out because even his discharge papers and medal roll show that he only served with the MGC. So a mystery was solved when I saw a mention of the Scottish Rifles on the card.
The man who was killed with 1st RIR is the reason that I wrote his battalion history. Depending on an old aunt at the time, I was told that he married Katie Devereux who was bridesmaid at my granny's wedding. I was also told that there were several miscarriages but no children. She supposedly died in the flu epidemic. I could not find any marriage certificate. I have learned that you can't entirely depend on family lore.
So it was a surprise for me to see that his wife's name was Mary and that he had a daughter Alice. I have sent off for the child's birth certificate. On Ancestry I found that she died in 1918. I then went to the Dublin Cemetery online and got details of her and who else was in the grave. The owner and occupants of the grave were Katie Devereux's parents. So it turns out that the wife was Mary Devereux, a sister of the woman I thought he married. I have then been able to find the Devereux family on the Census records for 1901 and 1911.
Hopefully, with a bit of luck, I may be able to track down a living relation who might have a photo of the soldier.
Just as I had despaired of ever finding more information, along come these fantastic cards that have opened up a whole new avenue of research for me.
Thank you so much for the attached and for doing a full search. I had nothing at all on this man, so this is a great help. My wish was to get him a CWGC headstone, but I'm no nearer to that but do at least have something to go on.
I hope you can find a way to have this data digitised and indexed and made available to researchers. You never know, there may be a misfiled document somewhere (I happened to find one when the NA burnt records were put on ancestry, the NA search found nothing!)
One thing I've learnt is to never give up on research. Today we found a photo of a Great Uncle of the 17th Londons - never knew it existed!
No, I'm not currently a WFA member, I did not not renew my subscription as, although the journals were good, I did not have time to read them.
Thank you so much for these, they're great!
It's really good to have been able to positively identify three more guys, especially since I already found Harold Smith (known as Harry to his friends) and can now distinguish between Harold and Harry Smith. It must have been confusing to not only have those two but also two John Beaumonts in the same draft!
All the best
Thank you kindly for the Pension Record Cards.
I must admit that I found the card for Herbert Smith a little disappointing, as I was hoping that his card may have shown the date of his injuries, nature of injuries etc. Still, at least it confirmed his battalion, as regrettably his service records were destroyed during the Second World War and, as a result, I've had great difficulty in pinning down his exact battalion.
As for the Fisher cards, they certainly make for interesting reading. Most of the information supplied confirms what I already know but, strangely on three of the cards, their father's name is entered as William James Fisher. How this came about I haven't a clue, as their father was named George Fisher, and he outlived his wife Mary Ann, who was recorded as the boys mother and dependant. It's possible that the William James mentioned on the pension cards was an uncle with the same name however, as he died in 1941, it's much more likely that the name recorded was in-fact their younger brother.
I'm unsure myself on the entitlement criteria for a war pension, but I would imagine that only a wife, or the deceased's parents were eligible to make a claim, which suggests the possibility of something being amiss. As all the people concerned are long since deceased, we will probably never know why the younger brother was claiming to have been their father.
As for feedback: - considering the number of cards you must hold, and the conditions under which they are held, I'm amazed to have received a reply so soon and whilst some of the information poses more questions than answers, I would certainly use the service again.
Thank you for this record card.
This gives a new address to add to my list where my grandfather live. Unfortunately to date I have not been able to find any pension payment receipts or documents.
I am still hopeful that you may find something from the other numbers and pleased you got a result.
Thank you very much for your research and these records - I am especially delighted with the information on my paternal Grandfather, Frederick Williams, as information on his WW1 service has been very scarce. In neither case have I been able to locate their records amongst the 'Burnt' papers, so any additional material is worth having. I am hopeful that a more detailed study of the dates, places and numbers on Frederick's documents will help me progress further. With Walter, I am lucky that his final battle was in Palestine and there was a nine page report in the Battalion War Diary giving a very detailed account of the action.
I thoroughly recommend your service and believe it will be of great assistance to many people - once it is online, then it may allow more speculative searches but the present service is exceptional and well worth the investment.
Thanks again for your efforts and I will certainly look at the possibility of WFA membership again.
Thanks very much for those cards, they all add to what I have already. I think the service you (WFA) are providing with the cards is excellent.
I am attaching a PDF version of William Leyland's military history that I have found out and, if the editors are interested, I can forward it in word format for possible use.
I visited both Grandfathers' areas of involvement in 2003, 2006 and 2012 and donated a copy of William Beckett's military history to the RE Museum in Chatham last December
Thanks for the documents relating to my grandfather.
He died in 1961 when I was only 7 and was of that generation that never talked about the war. I remember him as a man who suffered with a bad chest and the story was that he had been gassed at some point (as indeed was one of his brothers). The disability on the document appears to be nephritis, which was not uncommon in the trenches. I gather there is no proven link between being gassed and developing nephritis. However, this has been really useful in plugging another gap in family history.
Thank you very much.
Thank you for sending me the images. I was curious to find what information was available and am therefore very glad that you were able to find it.
I had a slight hope that one or other of the records would solve a couple of mysteries but unfortunately not.
John Surtees Hunter was my grandfather, who died in 1921 when my mother was 6 years old. He suffered from mustard gas poisoning and my mother remembered seeing blisters all over his body. However, my grandmother had to struggle to get a widow's pension and I subsequently discovered from his death certificate that the cause of death had been recorded as a cerebral tumour and cardiac failure.
My grandfather had enlisted in the Royal Artillery, took part in the first few days of the Somme bombardment, then transferred to the RFC and ended up at the Engine Repair Shops at Pont de l'Arche near Rouen. I have his RAF service record, which lists various periods of hospital treatment in late 1918 and early 1919. I recall being told that he had been in contact with water contaminated with mustard gas, rather than having been gassed and was curious to find out how this might have occurred.
William Bowman Wintrip was my great uncle, who my father told me had been gassed and also died in 1921 when my father was about 6. I always assumed he had been single, but when the 1911 census became available, found he had been married. Subsequent research revealed he had had two children, both of whom had died by 1918. I could find no trace of his widow and assume she must have emigrated to Canada in the 1920s, as several other members of her family ended up there. I was hoping that there might be further information in the pension record.
Nevertheless, finding further information in new sources is always interesting and I am grateful for the service you provide. I am interested in a wide range of family history topics, so could potentially join many different organisations but will consider joining the WFA.
A further release of First World War Pension Records by Ancestry
Understanding the Ledger Indexing
Release of Naval and Mercantile Marine Pension Records by Ancestry
Pension Records: Famous, Infamous, Extraordinary and Ordinary
'One Hell of a Row': A War widow's pension