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Army records

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Army records

Postby Moonbeam79 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:34 am

Hi I’ve just found out my grandfathers regiment and number, would there be a way to find any other info or pictures?


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Re: Army records

Postby sdup26 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:26 pm

Not sure about pictures, but if you haven't got access to army records on a site such as findmypast, if you're prepared to give your grandfather's details, one of us will be happy to try searching for his records.
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Re: Army records

Postby Moonbeam79 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:09 pm

sdup26 wrote:Not sure about pictures, but if you haven't got access to army records on a site such as findmypast, if you're prepared to give your grandfather's details, one of us will be happy to try searching for his records.


Thanks for your reply, I don’t have access to army records,but this is the info I have
Martin Tonks
1916 1st/5th south staffs
Regiment number 201485
Also units-south Staffordshire
Regiment number 1102,15,5 staff R,pteni
Thanks to anyone who can help


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Re: Army records

Postby sdup26 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:17 pm

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much more than you already know.
Private Martin Tonks, Regimental Number 201485, South Staffordshire Regiment, medals awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal. You can see this on the website of the National Archives: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov. ... r/D5597806 and for a fee of £3.50, you can download a copy of Martin's medal card.
If you'd like 'background information' on the South Staffs, take a look at this website: https://staffordshireregimentmuseum.com
Last edited by sdup26 on Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Army records

Postby phsvm » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:56 pm

It may be worth posting on the Great War Forum as their members are full of information about all aspects of WW1.

They've given me invaluable info, not only about individuals but also about specific roles, troop momements - you name it someone will be able to tell you something.

https://www.greatwarforum.org/
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Re: Army records

Postby MayHam » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:47 am

If Martin died in the war, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission should be able to help.
https://www.cwgc.org/

The Staffordshire Regiment has a museum which may have pictures.
https://staffordshireregimentmuseum.com/research.html

The Royal British Legion may also have information and/or pictures of Martin.
https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-su ... n-near-you

Finally, Ancestry's will index has a Martin Tonks dying in Stafford in 1960. Ancestry also has a 1910 pension record for a William Tonks, son of Joseph & Mary, and brother of Joseph and Martin of Wednesbury. No idea if he is the right one, though.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Army records

Postby Jeanieallergy » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:37 am

Martin's Medal Index Card shows that he was a private in the 1st/5th battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, and first entered a 'theatre of war' on 12 March 1916. The Long, Long, Trail website shows that by then the 5th Staffordshires were in France. By looking at the war diary for the 5th Staffordshires, or contacting the regimental museum, you can find out more details of where they were.

His first service number was 1102; this was probably changed to 201485 when the army service numbers were reorganised in late 1916/early 1917 - prior to that, service numbers were not unique and could be duplicated, even within different battalions of the same regiment, often causing confusion.

Movements of the 5th South Staffordshire Regiment can be found on the Long, Long, Trail website at https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/re ... -regiment/

This states that on 12 May 1915 they formed the 137th Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division. This information is needed to find the war diary on Ancestry. Go to https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/colle ... iarieswwi/ and enter South Staffordshire Regt and 46th Division in the drop-down boxes on the right. You may be able to view this free of charge at your local public library.

Alternatively, the diaries can be downloaded from the National Archives for £3.50 per piece (5 pieces cover the whole period from 1915 to 1919) on the right side of this page: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov. ... h/C4555837

The Ancestry Pension record for a possible brother, mentioned previously, is actually a Territorial Army service record for William Tonks who served in the 3rd South Staffordshire Regiment (Special Reserve) between 1910 and April 1914. He had previously been rejected by the Army for being under height (he was only 5ft 2ins tall). A note on the first page states that he re-enlisted but does not say when or into which regiment. His parents, Joseph and Mary Tonks, and a younger brother Martin are stated to live at 28 Portway Road, Wednesbury. His older brother Joseph lived in Foster St, Wednesbury.

It appears that service records for Martin Tonks have not survived.

You may find a photograph in a local newspaper, especially if he was wounded or taken prisoner, but it's most unlikely that you will find a photo anywhere else.
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Re: Army records

Postby Jeanieallergy » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:48 am

If the above William Tonks was the brother of your Martin, it seems likely that he was killed in 1915:

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casu ... ,-william/
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Re: Army records

Postby Tootingville17 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:00 am

Some further comments to add to Jeanieallergy’s very useful post. Researching military histories can be hit and miss but you can piece together any information you find with what is not mentioned. The medal index card shows Martin was awarded the Victory and British medals, but not the 15 Star or 14/15 Star (as his date of entry into the war was 12 March 1916). It doesn’t mention any other medals, such as Military Medal, or Silver War Badge (which could be received if the soldier was invalidated out of the army).

On the Long Long Trail link Jeanieallergy gave, if you click on the link at the bottom of the page for the 46th (North Midland) Division, it gives more detail of the movements and the key battles the Regiment fought it.

In terms of the war diary, these can be variable in the amount of detail and in particular whether they refer to Privates simply as 'OR' or Other Ranks (eg ‘5 OR killed’). The 1/5th South Staffordshire diary seems to give them a bit of respect by naming the Privates who were killed or wounded, plus their service number. It depends how patient you are – you could look through the whole diary and not find a single mention of Martin, or you could find him specifically named somewhere which is very rewarding. Even if he’s not named, it gives a flavour of what the men went through. The diary lists out what happened on each day, but there can be a more detailed description on separate pages. For example on 1 July 1916 (first day of the Battle of the Somme) the diary has ‘Operations against GOMMECOURT WOOD and VILLAGE’ but a few pages later is appendix 1 with a ‘narrative of events’. Another example of what you can find is Christmas Day 1917 where the entry includes the sentence ‘sat down to a decent dinner enough – but someone started speechmaking & the night became a merry one’. On 11 November 1918, the entry includes ‘hostilities were to cease at 1100 hours today. Everybody took the news very phlegmatically and no outward rejoicing or revelry took place at all.’

I found researching military histories difficult to begin with and frustrating but I now have the mindset that I start with zero knowledge and anything I find is a bonus. It can take a lot of time but I find it rewarding.
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Re: Army records

Postby familyhistorynut » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:27 am

Hi. I've just had a quick look on www.forces-war-records.co.uk and he's on the site. Correct name and number, regiment etc. You can buy a monthly access. Good luck.
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