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James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:45 pm

I am researching my Grandfather James Albert Hall, However his records are so confusing. He served in the Scottish Rifles during WW1. I have found a medal card what through process of elimination I think must be his. If I'm right, his service number will be 33570. I have been unable to find any service record or any further info about this soldier at all.
However I have found a court martial record for a J A Hall, again through a process of elimination I think this could be him.
I just wondering if anyone is able to give me any advice that will give me some idea how to put this information together. Its become so frustrating, but I dont want to give up yet.

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:37 am

A fairly short comment made without looking at the data - in general, "process of elimination" is impossible in WW1 records. That's not to say that it doesn't work sometimes.


Between 2/3 and 3/4 of the service papers were destroyed in WW2.

The biggest list of names of WW1 soldiers is in the Medal Index Cards. However, if a soldier did not go abroad during the actual conflict, he wouldn't get a campaign medal so he won't be in the Medal Index Cards. For instance, he might have been too young to complete his training before 11 November 1918. Or he might have been a lower medical class so remained in the UK in the Labour Corps on agricultural work. All sorts of possibilities.

I have no idea whether this applies to your situation or not but felt it important to warn. If you know that he was in combat, then my worries don't apply.

Sent from my MotoG3 using WDYTYA Forum mobile app

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:21 pm

Thank you so much for your reply. Yes your right, using the process of elimination is just ridiculous and extremely frustrating.

He was born in 1890, so wouldn't have been too young, although we dont know that he went abroad at all as he never spoke of the war. He left my Grandmother and his children in 1936. So we know very little.

I think I will have to assume the records have been destroyed. I know that he served as we have a photo of him in his in his uniform, that's how we discovered the regiment, by his cap badge. That will have to be enough.

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:25 pm

Sadly, Jayne, without a starter, many of us never get much further than you have. The usual starter is a "regiment" and "regimental" number and they can be incredibly elusive.

You may have tried but you should use the on-line newspapers to see if there is any report of JAH - no guarantee that you'll get a number there, of course, but you may find important things.

The other thing is to see whether there are any Absent Voters' Lists for the area where he lived. (See http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/finding-soldiers-through-the-1918-absent-voters-lists/). These documented the (in effect) postal votes that people were given at the end of the war. Unfortunately, they don't always survive, but if they do, they might be the only evidence of someone's number. We knew that my maternal granddad served in the Cheshires (like you, from a photo) but since his name was John Griffiths, we had a wide choice! Fortunately, the AVLs for Cheshire are pretty good and this gave his unit and number. Paternal grandpa, on the other hand, seemed never to have applied for his vote until back home - but I had other evidence there.

I don't know if JAH lived in Scotland but I have no idea where the Scottish AVLs (if any) might be. (In fact, I don't know where the ordinary electoral registers for Scotland are).

See also http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:30 pm

Photo of JAH now on Great War Forum
https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/263 ... s-uniform/

Married 1913. If James had a child whose birth was registered after he had joined up then the certificate may have his army number on it.

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:02 pm

Thanks for all your advice Adrian, I'll have a look a those AVL's. He didn't live in Scotland he was a from Finsbury/Islington.
I have had it definitely confirmed on another site that I at least have the right regiment.

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:32 pm

Ian sorry I only just seen your response,I'll have a look into this too.

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:56 pm

If you are able to confirm that this is the right man, then the medal rolls (as opposed to the index card) state that he was in the 8th Battalion and didn't receive the 1914/15 star, meaning he didn't enter a theatre of war until at least 1916. It's therefore likely that he was conscripted, or possibly signed up under the Derby scheme.

Unfortunately there is no indication of when or where he did first enter a theatre of war, but the 8th moved to Egypt after January 1916 so that seems the most likely. The war diary has not been digitised (TNA reference WO 95/4610), but this book may be of interest:

https://www.naval-military-press.com/pr ... 1914-1919/

Re: James Albert Hall Confusing WW1 Records

Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:09 pm

Aveline thank you so much for all that info. I am going to work along the lines that this is my Grandfather.
I'll look into getting a copy of this book.
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