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#1 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 07:01 AM

Hello - I am new to this so please forgive if you have seen such requests before.

My grandfather James Mason was born in Widnes (when it was in Lancashire) on 29-2-1896 - he died 3-12-1956. I have confirmed he had no middle name by checking the 1901 census.

I am told he served as a Private in the Great War with the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Somme and Salonika are recalled by one of my aunts as being of significance. She says he was "mentioned in despatches". He had a number of medals which were apparently stolen so I do not know his service number.

I have found 3 entries in medal card records for James Mason and also a number of other articles relating to the Lancashire Fusiliers on the Long Long Trail website.

Medal card of Mason, James
Corps: Lancashire Fusiliers
Regiment No: 53093
Rank: Private

Medal card of Mason, James
Corps: Lancashire Fusiliers
Regiment No: 17110
Rank: Private

Medal card of Mason, James
Corps: Lancashire Fusiliers
Regiment No: 742
Rank: Private...

But I am stuck on where to go next since I don't know how to translate the regiment numbers on the medal cards into Battalions/Divisons/Brigades.

Any help you can offer on a way forward would be most appreciated.

Thankyou

#2 John Hartley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:25 AM

Welcome to the Forum

If you have a read of the "research" section of the Long Long Trail, you should find all the details of what to do next. In short, you will have to pay a visit to the National Archives to take this further.

The cards that you've seen (and can download) are only index cards to the actual "medal rolls" and these are the documents that will tell you the battalion. You would also, first, want to search to see if his service papers still exist on microfilm - obviously you need to confirm which is the right man, if you can (you can also view these, by arrangement, at the Mormon Church's various family history centres.

You also need to bear in mind that, whilst he might have served with the Fusiliers, he might have served with another regiment. Is there anything that makes your aunt certain it was them?

#3 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 10:20 AM

Hello John

Thankyou for your response. My aunt is 85 and not too well - it is especially for her that I am trying to find out more - she has said she would like to know what it was her father did to warrant a mention in desptaches before she dies - I assume such an entry would form part of his service record so I need to try and narrow the search down before embarking on anything in the microfilm department. What little she has told me is as much as she can recall about her father being 'in the war' from days when children were 'seen and not heard' and did not question the way todays youngsters do. So unfortunately only 'Lancashire Fusiliers', 'Mentioned in Despatches' and 'the Somme' and 'Salonika' are all I have to go on.

I have already searched the National Archives and found reference to the First World War 'Burnt Documents' (Microfilm Copies) at The National Archives, Kew relating to James Mason/Lancashire Fuseliers but at this stage have taken it no further.

I have also looked at the National Roll on the Military Genealogy website but the 3 records (2 for Salford and 1 for Manchester which were the 'nearest hits') I viewed did not relate to my Grandfather since two were for men KIA and the third for a Corporal from Manchester. I don't even know where any military records for someone from Widnes would be held which makes searching more difficult.

Interestingly - on the Long Long Trail website - amongst all the information for the Lancashire Fuseliers I have found:

12th (Service) Battalion

Formed at Bury, September 1914, as part of K3.
September 1914 : attached to 65th Brigade, 22nd Division.
July 1918 : left Division, moved to France.
16 July 1918 : attached to 199th Brigade, 66th Division and absorbed by 6th Bn.

65th Brigade 22nd Division wasn't in France for long and went to Salonika - and then returned to France and 199th Brigade 66th Division were involved in the first battles of the Somme in 1918 - so that is consistent with my Aunts memory of things significant so I may go back to the medals roll see if the brigades and divisions can form part of another search set.

Anyway - I will continue trying to validate the findings - could you suggest where in Lancashire (or Cheshire as it now is !!) there might be relevant records that could be searched - The Fuseliers Museum will do searches but want 20 per item so I hope to try and find out more first.

Thankyou and best wishes.

#4 Phil_B

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 10:28 AM

There is no James Mason in the list of MiDs (other ranks) in the LF history. Neither does he appear in the MM or DCM list. Phil B

#5 John Hartley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 10:46 AM

If I was you, I wouldnt be forking out 20 to the Museum just yet!

And, to save you from what could be a very long wild goose chase, you really need to try and pin down his unit if you can, without trying to speculate what it might be.

It's a relatively common name, so this will be difficult. The problem is that, if he joined up late in the war, he could have been posted to any unit - so the odds might be against it being a local north west one. Your aunt may well be remembering family history correctly, but then again.........

I think you have two ways forward. One is to check the "burnt records" (either at Kew or through the Mormon Church). These represent only about 30% of the total (most being totally destroyed in WW2). It would be a matter of trawling through the James Masons to see if you come across one where the information sounds right (location, family members).

The other route is to check local newspapers of the time from where he lived. Do you know if this was still Widnes. If such a thing exists, you be betetr starting with the very local "weekly" paper, rather than a more regional daily or evening one. Again, you'd be looking for a referenc eto him joining up, being on leave, returning home afterwards. These are probably held at wherever the local history library for the area is .

The other thought is that, in 1918, he would have been over 21. That means he'd have had a vote. So, assuming he was still serving in late 1918, he should be listed on the Absent Voters List for the area. Again this should be at the library (or local record office). You should be abale to cross reference any James Masons you come across with the home address' entry in the "normal" voters list to see if other known family members are there.

John

#6 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:15 AM

Thankyou John - I had made a note about the AVL and suspect that ought to be my next move.

Much obliged for your time and help. Best Wishes.



Phil - please forgive my ignorance but what are:

MiDs ??
the LF history ??
DCM list ??

I am guessing that MM is Military Medal ?

Thankyou and best wishes.

#7 steve morse

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:20 AM

QUOTE (Phil_B @ Oct 9 2006, 11:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is no James Mason in the list of MiDs (other ranks) in the LF history. Neither does he appear in the MM or DCM list. Phil B


Hello Phil
Have you got the DCM for all LF in WW1?
My wife's Grandfather, L/Cpl Albert Fletcher won the DCM near Theipval in Sept 1916. He was in the 11th Bn. His service no was 9875 (would that be a volunteer ?)and a 'minor operation' took place on 28 Sept near Thiepval wood. This gives no mention of him but it seems to got the DCM during this action.
I would be obliged if you could check him out for me. We have an illuminated scroll from the local council and two photos - one on joining and one with DCM. He had 5 brothers, some in the LF and all survived the war.
stevem

#8 Phil_B

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:20 AM

MiDs = Mentions in Dispatches
LF = Lancashire Fusiliers (Regimental History)
DCM = Distinguished Conduct Medal.
Don`t worry about ignorance, Denny. We all have that. That`s why we`re here! Phil B

#9 John Hartley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:29 AM

And just to briefly explain the "mention in despatches".

It is just that. The Commander of a theatre of war (let's assume Salonika) periodically writes reports (despatches) to the War Office on how activities. In this there may be a list of men mentioned for generally doing good work. There won't be an description of what each man did and, indeed, it's more likely that they were just all-round conscientious blokes. So, assuming that James was, in fact, "mentioned in despatches", the most you will find is his name amongst a list of many others.

John

#10 Stebie9173

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:40 AM

I've previously posted an index of the Salonika MID London Gazette issues on the Forum.

http://1914-1918.inv...i...c=54624&hl=

Hope you can find him there...


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#11 Stebie9173

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:50 AM

Albert Fletcher's DCM Citation:

London Gazette 14-11-1916

9875 L./C. A. Fletcher, Lanc. Fus.

For conspicuous gallantry in action. He established and worked a signal station by 'himself for forty hours, rendering valuable information and displaying great courage and determination. Later, he rescued a wounded man.

http://www.gazettes-...;selHonourType=


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#12 steve morse

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:53 AM

QUOTE (Stebie9173 @ Oct 9 2006, 12:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Albert Fletcher's DCM Citation:

London Gazette 14-11-1916

9875 L./C. A. Fletcher, Lanc. Fus.

For conspicuous gallantry in action. He established and worked a signal station by 'himself for forty hours, rendering valuable information and displaying great courage and determination. Later, he rescued a wounded man.

http://www.gazettes-...;selHonourType=
Steve.

Thanks. The Gazette must have been having a bad day when I tried! I used every combination I could think of and it did not find him!
stevem

#13 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:53 AM

John, Phil Steve

What an amazing bunch of guys you are!!! - I'm overwhelmed with the quality and speed of responses and extremely grateful for the help, advice and links (which I'm off to explore !)

Have a good day gentlemen and my best wishes to you all.

#14 ian turner

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE (denny26355 @ Oct 9 2006, 09:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have confirmed he had no middle name by checking the 1901 census.


Just be careful in that the 1901 census is not necesarily accurate. No middle name/initial appearing on 1901 does not necessarily mean that was really the case.

There is a James A Mason Lanc Fus, and he was also born 1896, I think? May not be your man, but I just warn not to assume. I would obtain his birth certificate to be surer.

Ian

#15 Stebie9173

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 12:02 PM

Don't worry. The Gazette search is a swine.

I had to find him by cross-referencing the issues with DCMs in with the hundreds of A. Fletchers. Fortunately, you had a date, which helped.

The Gazetting of the DCM would be consistent with a September 1916 award.

Steve.

#16 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE (ian turner @ Oct 9 2006, 12:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just be careful in that the 1901 census is not necesarily accurate. No middle name/initial appearing on 1901 does not necessarily mean that was really the case.

There is a James A Mason Lanc Fus, and he was also born 1896, I think? May not be your man, but I just warn not to assume. I would obtain his birth certificate to be surer.

Ian


Thankyou Ian - I had assumed the census would be accurate. Maybe back the drawing board ??

Best Wishes - Denny

#17 John Hartley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 01:10 PM

Denny

Don't forget to come back and tell us how you're getting on - particularly ploughing through the MiD lists in the Gazette. If he's there. we should be pretty much "game on".

John

#18 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 01:58 PM

QUOTE (John_Hartley @ Oct 9 2006, 02:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Denny

Don't forget to come back and tell us how you're getting on - particularly ploughing through the MiD lists in the Gazette. If he's there. we should be pretty much "game on".

John


Hello John & Friends.

I am absolutely DELIGHTED to tell you that I think I may have found him!!!

There is an entry in 31152 for "Mason 21588 Pte J 9th Bn - South Lancashire Regiment and I am sure this must be him - but I need to re-trace my steps now that I have a service number and probable unit to work from/validate.

I am so very grateful for your help - thankyou - I will let you know my findings.

With very best wishes - Denny

#19 John Hartley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 02:20 PM

Denny

Excellent news. You at least have identified someone who fits a goodly part of the family history - right name, Lancashire Regiment, MiD, etc. South Lancs is probably a better for a Widnes man than the Fusiliers. And I've just checked the War Graves Commission website - this man did not die in the war

I don't know how convenient it is for you to get to Kew, but the Regimental Museum & Archives is at Preston. They have a good collection of war diaries and other stuff and will let you poke around (within reason). Well worth giving them a bizz - and now, of course, you've got someone specific to possibly eliminate or confirm.

I'm chuffed for you and glad to have been able to help a wee bit

John

#20 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 03:13 PM

QUOTE (denny26355 @ Oct 9 2006, 02:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello John & Friends.

I am absolutely DELIGHTED to tell you that I think I may have found him!!!

There is an entry in 31152 for "Mason 21588 Pte J 9th Bn - South Lancashire Regiment and I am sure this must be him - but I need to re-trace my steps now that I have a service number and probable unit to work from/validate.

I am so very grateful for your help - thankyou - I will let you know my findings.

With very best wishes - Denny


Hello John - the 21588 isn't his service number afterall but the regiment number - nevertheless I have made good progress on this so am well pleased.

Will let you know how it pans out - I am in South Wales - so Preston and Kew are both a bit daunting !!!

Keep up the good work - I can see you are a very pro-active member of the forum - folks like myself are grateful !!!

Best Wishes - Denny

#21 Phil_B

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 03:27 PM

QUOTE (steve morse @ Oct 9 2006, 12:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Phil
Have you got the DCM for all LF in WW1?
My wife's Grandfather, L/Cpl Albert Fletcher won the DCM near Theipval in Sept 1916. I would be obliged if you could check him out for me. stevem


"The signallers, too, gained recognition in the award of the DCM to L/Cpl A Fletcher who, having had his lamp smashed by a shell, searched the captured trench till he found a German electric torch which he used to keep up communication with the original front line throughout the operation. Later he rescued a wounded man."

#22 John Hartley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 03:31 PM

QUOTE (denny26355 @ Oct 9 2006, 04:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the 21588 isn't his service number afterall but the regiment number

Yes, it is! (perhaps it's just a matter of terminology - this is the service number he was given when he joined the South Lancs.)

This is the link to the Medal Index Card at the National Archives

Clickety click

Even though we're not 100% sure this is him, it's going to be worth you spending the 3.50 to download it and see what info. is there. It's going to provide clues to going further.

John

#23 steve morse

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 04:44 PM

QUOTE (Phil_B @ Oct 9 2006, 04:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"The signallers, too, gained recognition in the award of the DCM to L/Cpl A Fletcher who, having had his lamp smashed by a shell, searched the captured trench till he found a German electric torch which he used to keep up communication with the original front line throughout the operation. Later he rescued a wounded man."

Thanks. If he had rescued an officer it may have been a VC !! biggrin.gif

#24 denny26355

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 05:11 PM

Attached File  James_Mason_Medal_Card.JPG   88.33KB   5 downloads

Hello Again John

It was because of the medal card archive that I thought it was the regiment number - I went and got it almost as soon as I had finished searching the gazette.

It doesn't seem to tell me anything else apart from the medal entitlement though - unless you know different ??

Best Wishes - Denny

#25 steve morse

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 11:06 PM

QUOTE (denny26355 @ Oct 9 2006, 06:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Attached File  James_Mason_Medal_Card.JPG   88.33KB   5 downloads

Hello Again John

It was because of the medal card archive that I thought it was the regiment number - I went and got it almost as soon as I had finished searching the gazette.

It doesn't seem to tell me anything else apart from the medal entitlement though - unless you know different ??

Best Wishes - Denny


The MIC does not seem to be Lancashire Fusiliers - It looks like 21588 South Lancashire Regiment.
stevem