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William Nelson Reid, Royal Garrison Artillery?

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William Nelson Reid, Royal Garrison Artillery?

Postby doddie » Sun May 11, 2014 12:12 pm

I am having a bit of a problem establishing the millitary service of William Nelson Reid (born Aberdeen in 1901, father John Reid?). Though probably too young to have served in the First World War I have come across (on Ancestry) a Medal Index Card for a Willam N. Reid serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery. Unfortunately there is no service record to cross reference this with for more details. William is the grandfather of a longstanding friend of mine who now lives in New Zealand. He is adamant that William at some point served with the Royal Scots. To complicate things, a correspondent on Rootschat has come across some details for a William Nelson Reid in the Royal Artillery attestations (1883-1942). There is a date, 17 March 1930 and a soldier number, 801401. 1930 also happens to be the year in which William got married to a Jessie Grant. The March date in the Royal Artillery record does, I presume, refer to a date of enlistment. Does anybody happen to know if more extensive details are available for those who served with the Royal Artillery? To muddy the waters further my friend has told me - of the very little he knows about his grandfather - that he was "gassed during the war". I have a photo of a very young looking William (14 or 15) in uniform with a cap badge that looks like a General Service cap badge (lion and unicorn either side of a royal crest and crown?). It has been suggested that the uniform is a school cadet corps one. I appreciate that this post is a bit vague and muddled but I have simply ground to a halt in my research. All help appreciated.

Regards

Doddie
Last edited by Anonymous on Mon May 12, 2014 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: William Nelson Reid, Royal Garrison Artillery?

Postby brunes08 » Sun May 11, 2014 2:46 pm

For what it is worth, my father's cousin enlisted in the 1WW when he was under age. He said on his attestation papers that he was 18 but was only 15. It was eventually discovered that he had lied and was discharged. He enlisted later when he was old enough but sadly died of injuries received. The point is, he was not the only one, so in your friend's grandfather's case this may be a possibility to consider. There are quite a lot of instances of under age youngsters in the services in the war who were not discovered. In any case, if he was born in 1901, he would have been 16 by the middle of the war and could easily have enlisted normally or been conscripted. Unfortunately some records have been lost so you might have difficulties finding any more for him. At the other end of the scale my grandfather lied by saying he was younger than he was by 6 years. Good luck with your search.


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Re: William Nelson Reid, Royal Garrison Artillery?

Postby junkers » Sun May 11, 2014 10:11 pm

I would suggest that the medal card is not precise enough to confirm or deny the link, however the medal card shows that did not the 1915 Star was not awarded so he is unlikely to have served at the date. It is known that some recruiting staff knew that the recruits were under age. I would suggest that serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery and being gassed do not go together as the Artillery would likely be behind the front line.

I think you also need to confirm his father's name, I assume you or your friend have not looked on Scotland's People for his birth. You could try contacting the Royal Scots, they should have a museum/archive to see if they could help oh his attestation, but what does it say when he got married, i.e. does it list his occupation on the marriage certificate.
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Re: William Nelson Reid, Royal Garrison Artillery?

Postby doddie » Mon May 12, 2014 5:27 am

Hi brunes08 and junkers, thanks for your prompt replies. You have both offered me food for thought. As I live in Edinburgh I have often made use of the local records office and will in fact be visiting again shortly to carry out various research including a thorough check on William. Hopefully this will go some way to clarifying the whole gassed/Royal Scots/Royal Garrison Artillery conundrum. It has never ceased to amaze/frustrate me that because of the number of First World War records that were destroyed that research in this field can be such a lottery. I Personally have cases in which I have come across some relatives who have have multiple pages to view (in one case 70) and others with nothing at all. The 'disappointment' to 'delight' ratio when searching the service records is indeed an unfortunate one. Junkers, your point about the contradiction between someone serving with the artillery and being gassed as well is well made and hadn't occured to me (though perhaps it should). If it does turn out that William in fact joined the Royal Artillery in 1930 and perhaps served during the Second World War I will have to tell my friend that he will have to take up the cause of finding out more as I know that when it comes to accessing records for this period it is usually only next of kin etc. that can be granted such access. In the meantime I will continue to beaver away. Many thanks.

Regards

Doddie
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