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AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

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AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby Jenaheldd » Fri May 29, 2015 9:59 pm

Hello all

I've been trying to trace my granddads WW1 military service without much luck. I have no service number, no medals, no regimental details - only a couple of photos. The cap badge on the image isn't overly clear, but I was told it could be the Honourable Artillery Company, The Royal Fusiliers or the Grenadier Guards. I sent the photo to the HAC museum & they said it wasn't their uniform, but a research/archive person at the Fusilier museum thinks it could be theirs.

The problem I still have is I can't find any reference to a military service for my granddad anywhere.
I don't know for definite, but I'm 99% sure he did serve overseas & I appreciate that the likelihood of finding his service record is slim, but wouldn't he be listed somewhere regardless of where he served?

He was Alexander John Cattle, born 20 August 1898 in Holloway, North London. He's on the 1911 census as a school child, then nothing until 1921 when he's on an electoral list.

Any help or guidance would be greatly received
Thank you!
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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby Jethro Tull » Sat May 30, 2015 8:03 am

I too have an identical situation as you. I have several pictures of a great great uncle, with his name on, in uniform but no details of military service. The cap badge in my picture is not clear enough to see for certain and he also lived in Islington not far from Holloway. I am pretty certain our cap badges are the same. One of the fusilier regiments, judging by the larger size at the top, and the location of where they lived, I think it is most likely the Royal Regt of Fusilers (the London Regt). Might be worth searching the medal index cards for a name in this regt as a start, may not be able prove it is your relative though without more detailed records but it may be a start. Hope this may be of some use.

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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat May 30, 2015 7:44 pm

I'd agree that it's probably the Royal Fusiliers, a.k.a. the City of London Regiment. And I say that rather than any of the other Fusilier regiments as the RF badge seems to have a slightly distinctive shape to the flame - it's altogether wilder than the rather shorter, trimmer badge of (say) the Northumberland Fusiliers.

But neither Ancestry or FMP are helping me with any details about an Alexander or A Cattle of any Fusilier Regiment. Not in service papers, Medal Index Cards nor Medal Rolls.

"wouldn't he be listed somewhere regardless of where he served? " - No. As you appreciate, only some 25 to 33% of personnel records survive. The Medal Index Cards record everyone who served overseas during the war. If someone didn't serve overseas during the war, and their personnel records were burnt, there may be no record at all of their service.

One thing that's not appreciated perhaps, is that when we say "during the war", that's exactly what we mean. If someone served abroad but only in the Army of Occupation - they got no medals, so no Medal Index Card. There are other oddities - family legend said that my grandpa's younger brother had served in WW1, in the Signals. He might have been one of those in the Medal Index Cards but there was nothing to pin him down. Eventually, he turned up in the personnel records when FMP loaded them - no idea why Ancestry didn't have him. But the interesting thing for this thread is what happened to him - being young and / or wearing glasses, he didn't get out before 11/11/18 - so no campaign medal. But he did go abroad afterwards - he'd trained as a wireless operator in the Royal Engineers and went to the Black Sea on one of those rather silly expeditions to interfere in the Russian Civil War. While the Royal Navy seemed to give its sailors campaign medals for getting just a sniff of the Black Sea, the Army seemed more rigorous and although great-uncle Bob landed in what was about to become the USSR, he seems to have been so far away from the action and / or in what was actually Turkey at the time, that he doesn't seem to have acquired any campaign medals. So - he could well have been abroad in uniform but never issued with any campaign medals.

The only other thing I can suggest is my usual point - try and see if there are any Absent Voters Lists for the the area where he lived. He should appear in the late 1919 electoral register and if he was abroad, then he should also have been in the AVL. If it survives, it should give his unit and serial number.

Best of luck - I think you may need it.
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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby brunes08 » Sat May 30, 2015 8:02 pm

It would seem from his date of birth that he was just turning 16 years old when the 1WW broke out. The chances are that if he served, he might not have enlisted until perhaps 1916 when conscription began. He might, of course, have lied about his age as some young men did to enlist. I wondered if it might be a useful exercise to check out local newspapers to see if there is any mention of him. I've found all sorts of interesting articles about ancestors in newspapers. Just a thought.
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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby Jenaheldd » Sat May 30, 2015 10:18 pm

Thank you all for your replies

Doesn't look as though there are any AVLs for Islington/Holloway so I've just trawled through the electoral roles on Ancestry & I can't find Alex or even his father in 1919. I can find his dad on the 1913 lists then nothing until 1921 (don't think he served - he would have been in his 40s at the start of the war). They both lived at the same address from about 1907 so strange theres a period when I can't find either. The address was 170 Marlborough Road, Holloway in case someone has better luck.

I will have a look at newspaper archive over the next few days
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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby Jethro Tull » Sat May 30, 2015 10:38 pm

One note with regards age, do not pooh pooh someone's service based on age. My great great grandad joined the navy in 1885 and was retired in 1919 at 50! I also have a few others of relatively older age too who served. Try searching the pension records too, just in case there was injury or such like, these records o believe were stored away from the "burnt records" of service. May get lucky there.

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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby brunes08 » Sun May 31, 2015 7:53 am

My grandfather enlisted in 1914. He appears to have been economical with the truth about his age. He was a few months short of his 40th birthday but his service records say 34. Never discount anything until you have proved it one way or another.
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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby Jenaheldd » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:25 pm

Think I may have found Alex's brother serving in the navy in WW1, but still nothing for Alex. I will keep searching!
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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby ksouthall » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:31 pm

Alexander would have been too young to appear on the Electoral Roll or Absent Voters List as the voting age at that time would have been a minimum of 21.
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Re: AJ Cattle - did he serve in WW1?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:12 pm

Alexander's birth might have got him in the late 1919 Absent Voters List. But a moot point if they don't survive!

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