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War diaries: Manchester Regiments 11 & 12th battalion

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I am researching 2nd Lieutenant, Wilfred Holt (born c.1888-1889), regimental no. 24795 (originally serving with 12th Battalion, East Lancs Regiment), who died serving in the Manchester Regiment on 16 August 1917 in fighting around the Steenbeek canal. I am trying to pin down which battalion he was in. Would be grateful for any help with this.

 

His death is clearly recorded in the list of casualties for the 11th Battalion in their war diary for that time - and he is mentioned earlier in the diaries for the period as joining them on 18 July 1917. However, in newspaper reports of the time he is mentioned as belonging to the 12th Battalion, as he is in the index for burials at New Irish Farm Cemetery.

 

I have checked the war diaries for the 12th and, yes, he is listed as one of several officer reinforcements arriving on 26 March 1917 at Nortbecourt. I don't know where he had been serving immediately before this (although he was on leave in February to get married) or what the mechanism was for his moving from battalion to battalion so quickly. His medal roll index card does not note battalions.

 

At the moment I think he was with the 11ths at the time of his death - so this was his battalion. What do GWR experts think?

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Hi

ForcesWarRecords have him as 12th Btn, as does CWGC

Gazette

SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZE FTE, 26 FEBRUARY, 1917.pg 2001 - -2002

Manch. R

The undermentioned cadets to be temp. 2nd Lts. (attd.):- 25 Jan. 1917.  Wilfred Holt

 

There is also another

SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 26 JUNE, 1917.  pg 635-4

War Office, 26th June, 1917. REGULAR FORCES. The undermentioned cadets to be temp. 2nd Lts. (attd.). 30 May 1917 : -

Manch. R.—Clarence Beagle. William Frederick Sloane Holt. Owen Turner. John Byrne

 

regrds

Jon

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Hi

Thanks for such a speedy reply.

 

So he must have applied for a commission at some point in the previous year when he was a corporal in the East Lancs Regiment.

 

Interesting that there is a WIlliam Holt too: I think Wilfred had three brothers and all served during the war - but I don't think any had this name.

 

 

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ID: 4   Posted (edited)

Holt is not mentioned in the narrative of the 12th Battalion's history, nor in the roll of honour in the booklet. The booklet also indicates the battalion was away from the immediate combat zone on the day Holt died. I presume that, as you've looked at the war diary, there is also no mention of his death or, indeed, of him being posted away to another battalion.

 

On the other hand, you note that he is listed in the 11th Battalion diary as a casualty. I would have thought that was 100% confirmation that he was serving with them at the time.

 

My guess is that his official posting was to the 12th Battalion, in line with his actual arrival with them on 26/3. I'd further guess that he was quickly booked off to the 11th battalion, otherwise a later secondment would be likely to have been noted in the diary (unless it is one of those diaries that have scant information). There may be something in his service file at the National Archives but you'd need to visit in person. While there, check the monthly Army List for him for the period.

Edited by John_Hartley

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1 minute ago, John_Hartley said:

Holt is not mentioned in the narrative of the 12th Battalion's history, not in the roll of honour in the booklet. The booklet also indicates the battalion was away from the immediate combat zone on the day Holt died. I presume that, as you've looked at the war diary, there is also no mention of his death or, indeed, of him beign posted away to another battalion.

 

On the other hand, you note that he is listed in the 11th Battalion diary as a casualty. I would have thought that was 100% confirmation that he was serving with them at the time.

 

My guess is that his official posting was to the 12th Battalion, in line with his actual arrival with them on 26/3. I'd further guess that he was quickly booked off to the 11th battalion, otherwise a later secondment would be likely to have been noted in the diary (unless it is one of those diaries that have scant information). There may be something in his service file at the National Archives but you'd need to visit in person. While there, check the monthly Army List for him for the period.

Hi

 

Yes, thanks for this too. I found him in a casualty list posted on GWR, and then read the war diary for 11th Battalion that this was copied from. Yes, I am off to the NA in the next couple of weeks: I can see they have his service file so his postings should be easy to sort out. Yes, he's another new officer who lasted just a month in the field....And what you mention about the 12th makes it clear to me that the newspaper reports and the burial record are mistaken - W. Holt are plentiful for Manchester/Lancashire soldier records, so this could be an explanation.

 

I know this might seem a dumb question, but what is the monthly Army List?

 

 

 

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The Army List is pretty much what it says - a monthly book published detailing every officer and to which unit attached. It always runs some time behind the actuality so it may not help but is certainly worth looking at the editions from, say, February 1917 until October 1917. You'll find the regiment appears in the same part of the book in each edition, so it's quite easy to work through quickly.

 

I don't know if you're familiar with the NA but the books are in the open research section, on the first floor, rather than the reading room also on the first, where you have to pass through security, to your assigned seat.

 

The burial record may not, in fact, be wrong. If he was only seconded to the 11th, his substantive position would be with the 12th. The Army List is probably more likely to provide the evidence one way or the other, rather than his service file.

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The NLS has some army lists if it saves a trip to Kew

http://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/88735803

 

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I think the addition of the monthly lists to the NLS site is fairly recent. Or, at least, when I was researching a couple of years back, I think they only had the quarterly ones. Anyway, looks like they have the monthly lists for the relevent period.

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5 hours ago, John_Hartley said:

I think the addition of the monthly lists to the NLS site is fairly recent. Or, at least, when I was researching a couple of years back, I think they only had the quarterly ones. Anyway, looks like they have the monthly lists for the relevent period.

Hi

Just tried to thank you for the NLS link and the info about the printed lists at Kew. Not sure what happened to my post....anyway, here's my thanks again.....

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