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Help needed WW1 to trace a sapper in RE

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Help needed WW1 to trace a sapper in RE

Postby daveg » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:46 pm

Evening everyone,

I am trying to find out more information on my granddad, I do have some leads and I am desperately trying to find out his service number.

I know he joined the Sherwood Foresters, maybe around the start of the WW1 but not sure of the year or exact date?

From what I gather he ended up in the 502 Wessex Field Company Royal Engineers, which was formed in 1915-1919.

His name was sapper Thomas George, born in 1885 and from Nottingham.

I do have a book "Narrative of the 502 (Wessex) Field Company Royal Engineers 1915-1919 by Major C.L. Fox MC RE, which gives reference to my granddad stating that he was at Gommecourt in June 1918.

The reason why I am searching for his service number is so that I can find out which service medals he may have been awarded.

I would appreciate if anyone could point me in the right direction or just have some tips which could progress my research a little further.

Many thanks
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Re: Help needed WW1 to trace a sapper in RE

Postby junkers » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:36 am

They should be on ancestry website but I can't find him, so either the file was destroyed when the German bombed the Army Pay Office in 1940 (where the records were) or if he served after 1920 then they may be held by the Ministry of Defence in Glasgow.
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Re: Help needed WW1 to trace a sapper in RE

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:36 am

I'm assuming - so please contradict me if I'm wrong - that the only data you have is from that book, which is why you know his company but not his number.

Too late in the day for me to have a deeper look, but always take a look at for "how to" on this topic.

One thing I would suggest looking at is something called the Absent Voters' Lists. These were effectively lists of postal voters at the end of WW1 when they widened the franchise - the AVLs are a supplement to the basic electoral roll which contain name, unit and serial number for military voters. They don't always survive but FindMyPast has some in Britain, Absent Voters Lists 1918-1921 and they appear to cover various Nottingham constituencies. If you know your granddad's address (if he was still in Nottingham and if he bothered to apply for the vote) then you might be able to find the correct Thomas George in the AVL and find his details. The issue is that the AVLs were indexed by OCR so "Thomas George" might be anywhere on the page, not just a surname, not even sure if they will be adjacent words!

The AVL was the only way I could find my own Granddad's details, so it's worth following up.
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Re: Help needed WW1 to trace a sapper in RE

Postby MaureenE » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:55 am

If he was at Gommecourt in June 1918, he would be entitled to at least the Victory Medal as one of the criteria is
(a) France and Belgium, between midnight 4th/5th August, 1914, and midnight 11th/12th November, 1918. ... cribed.pdf

He would also be eligible for the British War Medal

Given that, he should be on the Medal Roll and have a Medal Index Card entry on Ancestry. The problem is that for the Medal Index Cards, through the National Archives website there appear to be a number of men named Thomas George, Royal Engineers who were awarded medals. Perhaps the Medal Roll on Ancestry may give details of the Company, although I don't know.

There are also Medal Roll downloads from the National Archives if you don't have access to Ancestry, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki pages Medals and Medal Rolls

This link from "Army Service Numbers 1881-1918" gives background information about the service numbers for Royal Engineers ... 81-1918%29

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Re: Help needed WW1 to trace a sapper in RE

Postby Jethro Tull » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:09 pm

I've had a quick go through some of my books, the 502nd Wessex Royal Engineers were allocated numbers from the block 508001 to 510000. This is not guaranteed your chappy fell into this range but may help the online searches.



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Jethro Tull
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Re: Help needed WW1 to trace a sapper in RE

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:59 pm

I love Absent Voters Lists!

It was the 4th one that I came to... Now, you absolutely must check this is the right one because it could just be a coincidence but...

He's (maybe) in the Parliamentary Borough of Nottingham, East Division (i.e. Nottingham East), in the 1918 Absent Voters List

In Manvers Ward, Polling District E, Division I (letter I for India) (don't ask me what these letters mean), number 82 Spalding Road has Thomas George, 183064 Spr (Sapper) 502nd Wessex Field Co RE.

Anyway the 1920 Spring and Autumn Registers have Thomas and Louisa George at 82 Spalding Road, if this helps to confirm if we have the right chap.
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