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Trying to find my Grandfather's WW1 war record

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Brenda Report 4 Jan 2015 21:04

all we know is he was in the Army and worked with horses. Im told it will be difficult as lots were lost during the Blitz. The only detials I have are NHS no. Date of Birth etc. Has anyone any ideas of where to start.



GlitterBaby Report 4 Jan 2015 22:50

You might get lucky and find a Medal Card as more of those survived.

Post the basic details such as name, year and place of birth


Brenda Report 5 Jan 2015 16:56

James Arthur Silver 1st December 1897 (although rumour in the family says he changed it to get into Army earlier than legally allowed. His birth certificate shows the birthdate has been tampered with and could read 1 September 1897. Born High Street, Sandhurst. (registered district of Easthampstead)

Really appreciate your help


KathleenBell Report 5 Jan 2015 20:56

There is this record which could be him:-

First name(s) James Arthur
Last name Silver
Service number T/394463
Rank Driver
Badge number 461803
Enlistment date 05-Jan-1915
Discharge date 02-Jul-1919
Unit from which discharged R.A.S.C.
Cause of discharge Sickness. 392 xvia.
Whether served overseas Yes
Badge date of issue 12-Mar-1920
Record set Silver War Badge Roll 1914-1920
Category Military, armed forces & conflict
Record collection First World War
Collections from Great Britain

and this:-

First name(s) James A
Last name Silver
Service number T/394463
Rank Driver
Corps Army Service Corps
Service record Soldier Number: T/394463, Rank: Driver, Corps: Army Service Corps
Archive reference WO372/18
Archive reference description Campaign Medal Index Cards and Silver War Badge Cards
Image link
Country Great Britain
Record set World War One British Army medal index cards
Category Military, armed forces & conflict
Record collection First World War
Collections from Great Britain

Kath. x


Brenda Report 5 Jan 2015 23:59

Thanks Kath, this could be him. Knowing lots of records were distroyed,would I be able to get anymore more information on this person that may help me confirm its my Grandad.

Thanks for your help


KathleenBell Report 6 Jan 2015 00:19

I don't think (but I'm not certain) that the medal cards themselves give any more information that what I posted above.

I couldn't find any full service records for him.

Kath. x


Brenda Report 6 Jan 2015 21:53

Thanks Kath,I have purchased the download of the medal cards but they dont have any more detals. Would you know what the duties of a "Rank Driver" would have been in WW1. As Im assuming it doesnt put this man with horses?



MrDaff Report 7 Jan 2015 17:45

Brenda, most 'drivers' in WW1 were in fact Horsemen - there were few mechanical transports around ! Ambulances, Guns, Supply wagons etc etc were all pulled by horses initially, so yes, a Driver would be someone who worked with horses. In fact, just for interest, they also had 'horse-borne Pigeon Lofts' :)


greyghost Report 11 Jan 2015 17:56

The above records say that James Silver held the rank of Driver in the Army Service Corps. This may explain what that meant -
From wikipedia -

Driver (Dvr) was a military rank used in the British Army and the armies of other Commonwealth countries. It was equivalent to the rank of private.

Driver (rank)
The rank was initially used in the Royal Artillery for the men who drove the teams of horses which pulled the guns. It was phased out after the First World War (when all Royal Artillerymen of the lowest rank were redesignated as gunners). It was also used in the Royal Australian Artillery and Royal Canadian Artillery.

It was also used by all the private-equivalents of the Royal Army Service Corps and later the Royal Corps of Transport, no matter what their trade. When the RCT amalgamated to form the Royal Logistic Corps in 1993 the rank finally disappeared from the British Army.


Brenda Report 31 Jan 2015 22:40

I've tried to find a way of verifying if the records Kath has posted above are my Grandfather, but havent had any luck. When I type in the information nothing comes up on this site, can someone tell me where to find them. Also any ideas how I can verify them -i was wondering if I could research the record holder for birth/death certificate to see if it matches my grandfather, but all records that are coming up on this website are for men that died during the war orjust after.My Grandad died in 1967. I have been unable to bring the above record up and Im not sure if I need to use another search provider.


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 31 Jan 2015 23:49

Ancestry tend to hold the majority of WW1 records for ordinary soldiers. You could always take out a free 14 day trial but remember to phone to cancel to stop your CC being charged.

How can you confirm that the records posted on this thread refer to your Grandfather? Unfortunately no-one can. The records that have been found are a 'best guess'. Kath has looked at those available; the ones she has posted bear the closest relevance to the info you have.

Many of us are in the same position - Because of a photo I know that that 2 of my grt uncles were in the army. However, their service records haven't survived and with a name that is commonly spelt incorrectly, even their medal cards are a difficult to pin down!


mgnv Report 1 Feb 2015 21:09

Although most privates in the RE were given the rank of Sapper, my grandad was given the rank of Driver. A WW1 RE Company had just over 200 men and 50 horses - abt 3 dozen of these men had the rank of Driver. I've got a close up photo of my grandad with Dolly, his favourite horse and the team leader - my grandad and Dolly are both wearing gas masks.

What you will usually find out from a medal card is what theatre of war he first entered - usually it's France & Flanders, but could be other places, and the date he entered that theatre - this is typically a minimum of 6 m after he enlisted.


JoonieCloonie Report 2 Feb 2015 21:37

it probably helps to know that only one James Arthur Silver was ever born :-)

Births Mar 1898
Silver James Arthur Easthampstead 2c 423

(so a birth in December 1897 registered in the first quarter of 1898)

so it is not at all likely that the records found are for anyone other than your James Arthur Silver!


Brenda Report 2 Feb 2015 22:54

Thanks everyone for your help. I really appreciate it