Military Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

The British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

Read about historical events at the time they were happening. Perhaps you'll discover your ancestor in their local newspaper?

Start searching

Icons

  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Tracking down WW1 records for a Lance Corporal

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Joanna

Joanna Advisor Report 20 Mar 2014 13:09

I'm trying to track down my great-grandfather's military records, and have hit some confusion!

I have him in the 1911 census (and various other record sets) reliably as Harry Breeze, b.1889 in West Derby, Liverpool; worked as a plumber; married Alice Hurst in 1913 in Liverpool. This all matches with family knowledge, too; my aunt has done lots of family research and has the same information.

We also have a photo of him from WW1, wearing the single stripe of a Lance Corporal (is that right?).

BUT. The only Lance Corporal Harry (or even H) Breeze I can find in the Medal Index Cards served with the Royal Engineers, service number 95926. And having looked at this man's attestation papers (Harry Breeze, 95926), it's not him - he's too old, born somewhere else, from the wrong address and area, wrong job, wrong marriage date, and a completely different set of children from my g.grandfather. I've found this man in the 1911 census too, so it's definitely a second Harry Breeze.

I'm mystified! Anyone got any ideas as to where I can hunt next? Or can you spot any breaks in the chain? (I've been told, for example, that my Harry Breeze served with the Royal Engineers, but I haven't yet found confirmation of that so I'm keeping my search broad)

I've done all this online so far; if you have experience of (eg) medal index cards that don't show up in digital records, please let me know.

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 20 Mar 2014 13:42

I take it you have the Harry Breeze who was promoted from Lance Corporal to Warrant Officer Class 2 on the medal card?

Just because he is a Lance Corporal on the photo doesn't mean he was not promoted or demoted at some point so there are other options including this one


Reference:

WO 372/3/53417
Description:
Medal card of Breeze, Harry
Corps Regiment No Rank
Liverpool Regiment 37118 Corporal
Date: 1914-1920
Held by: The National Archives, Kew

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/medal-index-cards-ww1.htm


Roy

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 20 Mar 2014 14:01

And one that served with the Royal Engineers


Reference:

WO 372/3/53420

Description:
Medal card of Breeze, Harry
Corps Regiment No Rank
Manchester Regiment Transport 3503 Private
Manchester Regiment 300965 Private
Royal Engineers 442829 Private
Date: 1914-1920
Held by: The National Archives, Kew

Roy

Joanna

Joanna Advisor Report 20 Mar 2014 14:08

"I take it you have the Harry Breeze who was promoted from Lance Corporal to Warrant Officer Class 2 on the medal card?" Yes, that's him; service number 95926. Quite distinguished, too, so I hope he has descendants who are looking into his history!

And yes, I came across that Corporal Harry Breeze in the Liverpool Regiment and wondered if that might be the man I'm looking for. I haven't yet found anything about him that might prove or disprove it either way (except for family confidence that our Harry Breeze was definitely in the Royal Engineers, but as I say I'm keeping it broad for now).

Any suggestions on where I should try and confirm/deny next? Thanks for looking into this with me!

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 20 Mar 2014 14:17

Have you looked on Ancestry to see if his service record has survived? also assuming he survived the war a possible pension record?

Only abt 30/40% of WW1 soldiers records survive due to bombing in WW2 so you may never find his his service record

Generally is if it's not on Findmypast or Ancestry then it's probably one of the 60/70% that where distroyed

Roy

Joanna

Joanna Advisor Report 20 Mar 2014 14:17

Ah - and as for HB who served with the Manchester Regiment, I'd ruled him out because of the Lance Corporal thing, and also because our Harry was in Liverpool, but I suppose 1) men ended up in non-geographical regiments, and 2) perhaps his rank as Lance Corporal might not have been recorded on his MIC? Would that happen?

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 20 Mar 2014 14:25

The national archives hold all surviving medal cards and are to the best of my knowledge fully digitised

Roy

Joanna

Joanna Advisor Report 20 Mar 2014 14:28

Aha! I've found attestation papers and service records for Corporal Harry Breeze of the Manchester Regiment... and it's not him either. Birthplace is wrong, and he's unmarried at the time of signing up in 1915. Later in his service records the name of his wife comes up - Gertrude Ellen Candle, married in Southport.

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 20 Mar 2014 14:32

First, although there was and still are members of the armed forces who serve in there local regiments in times of war men where simply alocated to where they were needed based on ability so it's never a given that anyone ever served in the local regiment,

The recording on a medal card is the same as recording any event on any document, If you are a PTE or a SGT at the time the entry was made then that is what you are listed as on that document, only a full service record would have the full service details

Roy

DazedConfused

DazedConfused Report 23 Mar 2014 11:29

And men were often moved around if they were one of a few from one regiment which was decimated in action. They would be seconded to another unit.

Many men served in more than one unit.

And the Machine Gun Corps was made up of men taken from many other regiments.

There are many reasons for changing regiments. The above being just an example.

Joanna

Joanna Advisor Report 25 Mar 2014 18:17

I'm now pursuing the idea that perhaps the information about him being in the Royal Engineers is correct, but perhaps he never served overseas? Am I right in thinking that this would explain him not appearing in the medal index cards? (the lack of service record is frustrating, but not surprising, given the number of destroyed records)

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 25 Mar 2014 18:55

You can only work from proven facts

Family recollection is not fact regardless of how confidant they appear to be it is still hearsay.


Things get muddled and confused over time so although family info is of value you need to take that into account


Example, Two people chatting over a cup of tea in the works canteen,

one says to the other so an so did "this and that"

Then a third person appears and joins the conversation

The one who just told his mate that so an so did "this and that" turns to the third person and tells him also that so an so did "this and that" whilst turning to the second man and saying "didn't he",... to which the second man replies YES even though he never saw anything

It is now fact in the mind of the third person that so and so did "infact" do "this and that"

Roy

Porkie_Pie

Porkie_Pie Report 25 Mar 2014 19:36

Going back to your OP

you say he married Alice Hurst in 1913

There are 3 births in west derby for Breeze children with mothers maiden name Hurst Sep 1914 Dec 1915 and Dec 1919

on the birth certificate Column 6 Father's Occupation so his occupation will be listed on all 3 birth certificates, It's possible that his regimental number plus his regiment could also be listed on all 3 depending when he joined and when he was demobbed

Buy the 1915 birth cert and see what it says

Roy

Joanna

Joanna Advisor Report 25 Mar 2014 19:58

Aha - that's an excellent lead that completely hadn't occurred to me, thank you; I'll do that!