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  1. #1

    Default Army medical records from WW1

    I have recently visited the National Archives at Kew to research my dads uncle. I was absolutely delighted to discover a number of documents relating to him. The information that i have obtained so far as also opened up other unanswered questions which i would like to try and pursue.

    My dads uncle was Joseph. S. Davis born in the parish of St Margarets Leicester in 1880.

    From the info i have attained at the National Archives he enlisted with the 1st battalion Leicestershire Regiment on November 21 1898.
    His service was declared as follows...

    Home 1898-1900
    Egypt 1900-1900 (7 months)
    South Africa 1900-1902
    India 1902-1906
    Home 1906-1915
    France 1915-1916 (transferred to 8th battalion Leicestershire Regiment)
    Home 16.7.1916- 8.9.1916 (discharged unfit for service)

    I know from visiting the Newarke Museum in Leicester that the 8th battalion were in France for almost a year when they got the call to go and relieve another regiment. It was the Somme . The battle had started on July 1st 1916, Josephs regiment took up positions at Bazentin Wood around the 12/13/14 July. I believe there was 4 battalions (6th 7th 8th and 9th) totalling around 4000 men. It is said that 1000 of them were either killed or injured within the 1st two or three days of the battle. From the documents i have obtained, Joesph was back in England on the 16th July and weeks later declared unfit for army service.
    My quest is to try and find his army medical record to try and establish what actually happened to him.
    Joseph died in Leicester North hospital in August 1919 aged 39. This makes me think that whatever happened to him, he never properly recovered from.

    If anyone could help me in terms of what to do in finding a medical record i would be most grateful.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger Steve View Post
    My quest is to try and find his army medical record to try and establish what actually happened to him.
    Joseph died in Leicester North hospital in August 1919 aged 39. This makes me think that whatever happened to him, he never properly recovered from.

    If anyone could help me in terms of what to do in finding a medical record i would be most grateful.

    I see that the cause of death as well as the date and place are written on Joseph's service records. The hospital mentioned on his papers was the 5th Northern Gen. Hospital Leicester, which was a military hospital between 1914 and 1919.

    Unfortunately, I don't think very many military medical records were kept after the war. However, there is the MH106 series at the National Archives that contains a representative selection, including some for the Leicestershire Regiment.

    Also, in case there are any surviving hospital records for your relative, then it's worth checking the Wellcome Library and The National Archives Hospital Database to find the repository of the hospital records. This page of the database briefly mentions the 5th Northern General Hospital at Leicester in the 'other information' section. If you scroll down toward the bottom of the page, you will see the type of records held and the record office that holds them; in this case the Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office.

    Finally, in case this is of any help, here is a brief guide to medical records from the Great War.

    www.
    scarletfinders.co.uk/125.html

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    If anyone could help me in terms of what to do in finding a medical record i would be most grateful.
    See TNA Series MH 106

    The records in this series are a representative selection of several types of medical records from various theatres of war. They were brought together by the Medical Research Committee and the British Museum during and immediately after the 1914 to 1918 War for use in statistical studies...Following enquiries from the public, efforts to locate the rest of this collection, or to confirm its fate, have proved unsuccessful. It is believed that the reminder of the records were destroyed before the Second World War.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by olliecat View Post
    I see that the cause of death as well as the date and place are written on Joseph's service records. The hospital mentioned on his papers was the 5th Northern Gen. Hospital Leicester, which was a military hospital between 1914 and 1919.

    Unfortunately, I don't think very many military medical records were kept after the war. However, there is the MH106 series at the National Archives that contains a representative selection, including some for the Leicestershire Regiment.

    Also, in case there are any surviving hospital records for your relative, then it's worth checking the Wellcome Library and The National Archives Hospital Database to find the repository of the hospital records. This page of the database briefly mentions the 5th Northern General Hospital at Leicester in the 'other information' section. If you scroll down toward the bottom of the page, you will see the type of records held and the record office that holds them; in this case the Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office.

    Finally, in case this is of any help, here is a brief guide to medical records from the Great War.

    www.
    scarletfinders.co.uk/125.html
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Goodey View Post
    See TNA Series MH 106

    The records in this series are a representative selection of several types of medical records from various theatres of war. They were brought together by the Medical Research Committee and the British Museum during and immediately after the 1914 to 1918 War for use in statistical studies...Following enquiries from the public, efforts to locate the rest of this collection, or to confirm its fate, have proved unsuccessful. It is believed that the reminder of the records were destroyed before the Second World War.
    Thanks to both of you for your input. Someone mentioned about MH106, but i wasnt sure where to go to look at those records.
    Looks like it will be worth me trying the National Archives again.

    I have actually had some success this morning after visiting the records office in Wigston (leicester). I have found a document of when Joseph Davis died in Leicester North hospital in 1919. Its quite hard to read but i can make out that he suffered something of the spine, and can also make out 'paraplegic' . Would like to find if he was an amputee through shelling or possibly suffered a bullet to the spine causing possible paralysis. It is quite shocking to be talking in these terms but this is the reality of war, and finding out such things is important in terms of filling in the jigsaw.

  5. #5

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    Steve

    As the man that you're looking for was with the Leicestershire Regiment, you have a great chance of finding something in MH106 at the National Archives, as this is one of the very few units for whom personal medical cards were retained when all others were destroyed. Go to the main search page of TNA Catalogue here:

    https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/c...search.asp?j=1

    Put 'Leicestershire' (without the quote marks) in as the search term, and in the series code box, put 'MH106'. On the next page you'll find two links to the Regiment. Click on the first, and on the top right of the next page click on 'Browse from here.' You will then find a list of references relating to men's service numbers, and hopefully you might find the number you are looking for - you will need to go through more than one page - just keep going with the 'next' links. They have only recently been catalogued by service number which makes it far easier to find what you're looking for. The cards are often quite detailed, and sometimes have more than one for a man, as a second card was raised once he got back to England. Such a tiny proportion survive, but Leicestershire Regiment researchers are the lucky ones, though they often don't realise the records are there.

    Regards --- Sue (her of the Scarletfinders link above )

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Light View Post
    Regards --- Sue (her of the Scarletfinders link above )
    Hey Sue, didn't know you were a member. Great website, love it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger Steve View Post
    I have found a document of when Joseph Davis died in Leicester North hospital in 1919. Its quite hard to read but i can make out that he suffered something of the spine, and can also make out 'paraplegic' . Would like to find if he was an amputee through shelling or possibly suffered a bullet to the spine causing possible paralysis.
    Tiger Steve, was this document part of his service records? I did notice this on one particular page of his service records that it said...

    discharged
    No longer physically fit for
    War Service
    (K.R. 392 XV1)

    Then some very faint writing below and a then further down a very faint word that looked like disabled (?) tuberculosis. It's difficult to make out clearly and I could easily be mistaking the word.

    On his "State of Sick" form, it says the disease he was suffering from was...

    caries of
    spine
    convulsion
    paraplegia

    Just speculating now as I am not a doctor, but I did read somewhere that "caries of the spine" was a term used for "tuberculosis disease of the spine" and was also known as Pott's disease, and amongst other things could cause paraplegia and convulsions.

    Hopefully you will find other medical records that will enlighten you further.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Light View Post
    Steve

    As the man that you're looking for was with the Leicestershire Regiment, you have a great chance of finding something in MH106 at the National Archives, as this is one of the very few units for whom personal medical cards were retained when all others were destroyed. Go to the main search page of TNA Catalogue here:

    https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/c...search.asp?j=1

    Put 'Leicestershire' (without the quote marks) in as the search term, and in the series code box, put 'MH106'. On the next page you'll find two links to the Regiment. Click on the first, and on the top right of the next page click on 'Browse from here.' You will then find a list of references relating to men's service numbers, and hopefully you might find the number you are looking for - you will need to go through more than one page - just keep going with the 'next' links. They have only recently been catalogued by service number which makes it far easier to find what you're looking for. The cards are often quite detailed, and sometimes have more than one for a man, as a second card was raised once he got back to England. Such a tiny proportion survive, but Leicestershire Regiment researchers are the lucky ones, though they often don't realise the records are there.

    Regards --- Sue (her of the Scarletfinders link above )
    Thanks Sue.
    I have clicked on the link but i'm not sure if i'm going to be unlucky. The regiment number is 5397, and from the range on the opening page you can click on Reg numbers 1-2000+ then there is no links until you reach 8000+.
    Not sure whether i would find anything under an alphabetic listing further into the catalogue.

    Cheers

    Steve

  8. #8

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    If you carry on through the items, you get to the references MH106/2158 to MH106/2172 which have no associated numbers. Although I've never looked through all of these, they comprise boxes each with hundreds of cards in them. So there is a lot there which could well have what you're looking for - it may well be that only a few boxes have been looked at and catalogued with numbers. It would certainly be worth having a browse through although it would be a long job - a camp bed and sleeping bag might be needed!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by olliecat View Post
    Hey Sue, didn't know you were a member. Great website, love it.



    Tiger Steve, was this document part of his service records? I did notice this on one particular page of his service records that it said...

    discharged
    No longer physically fit for
    War Service
    (K.R. 392 XV1)

    Then some very faint writing below and a then further down a very faint word that looked like disabled (?) tuberculosis. It's difficult to make out clearly and I could easily be mistaking the word.

    On his "State of Sick" form, it says the disease he was suffering from was...

    caries of
    spine
    convulsion
    paraplegia

    Just speculating now as I am not a doctor, but I did read somewhere that "caries of the spine" was a term used for "tuberculosis disease of the spine" and was also known as Pott's disease, and amongst other things could cause paraplegia and convulsions.

    Hopefully you will find other medical records that will enlighten you further.
    Hi Olliecat.
    When i went to TNA and found my original information, there was 7 notes to look at. I found those through 'pensions' and 'medal rolls' but i didnt actually find anything from WW1 1914-1919 service history. Today at the Leicester record office, i tried again under WW1 service history and suddenly found 14 notes!!! This was exciting as i was about to find more info than what i attained from TNA.
    7 of the 14 were the same documents that i found from TNA, but although they were the same some of them had additional information on and were in some cases clearer to read than the copies i had from TNA. Not sure whether thats just a printing thing, because like you have said earlier about faint writing, i am not able to see anything below the bit about him being declared unfit for service.
    Very interesting about what you say with the Potts disease. If this is so, could i assume that he probaly did not sustain injury in the battle, but rather suffered serious illness probaly due to the dreadful conditions in the trenches ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Light View Post
    If you carry on through the items, you get to the references MH106/2158 to MH106/2172 which have no associated numbers. Although I've never looked through all of these, they comprise boxes each with hundreds of cards in them. So there is a lot there which could well have what you're looking for - it may well be that only a few boxes have been looked at and catalogued with numbers. It would certainly be worth having a browse through although it would be a long job - a camp bed and sleeping bag might be needed!
    Actually thats quite encouraging Sue. If my dads uncle suffered in the way he probaly did in the remaining 2 or 3 years of life, then i certainly couldnt complain about giving my time to show my interest and justify his war efforts.

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