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Thread: WW1 joining up

  1. #1
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    Default WW1 joining up

    I am researching a young man who died at the end of WW1. Is there anyway I could establish from his service number what year he might have joined up ?

    He was with the Lincolnshire Regiment 2nd Battalion and his service number was 49823.

    Thank you Karen

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    Hello Karen,

    Welcome to British-Genealogy.

    Do you want to know purely about his service record, or do you want other information such as parents, siblings, etc?
    Either way, a name, and any other basic details you know such as approximately when/where he was born will be helpful - and in fact, probably necessary, to enable us to be of help.

    Pam
    Vulcan XH558 - “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

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    Hi Pam

    Thank you very much.

    I managed to find out quite a bit about him and his family. I just realised I didnt put his name.

    His name is Pte John Normanton Atherton. He was born in July 1899 in Loftus Yorkshire. He went missing in July 1918 and sadly died on 16 November 1918. I wanted to see when he joined up as the soonest he would have been able to legitimately was July 1917. He also joined the Lincolnshire Regiment which I find a bit odd as a Yorkshireman.

    Sorry I havent used this site before. Im looking forward to using it.

    Thank you Karen

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    Welcome to the Brit-Gen forums Karen
    I had just found your man's record in the UK, World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
    John Normangton Atherton
    Military Year: 1914-1920
    Rank: Private
    Regiment or Corps 2nd Lincolnshire Regiment
    Regiment Number 49823
    Medal Awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal

    60% plus of WW1 service records were destroyed by bombing/fire/water in WW11 so it is a very lucky person who find their ancestors records.
    The Medal Roll Index cards survive as do the above awards but they very rarely have personal information.
    When men joined up they were assigned to whichever company needed them most and could be moved around where and when needed and prior to 1919 their service number could also change to that of their new regiment.
    Christina
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    Super Moderator christanel's Avatar
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    Medal Roll Index card for John N Atherton Lincolnshire regiment shows he received the British and Victory medals only and not the 1914 Star medal or the 1914-15 star so he didn't serve in any theatre of war in those years. Whether this meant he had joined up in the early years I don't know how you would find that out without a service record and it looks as if his hasn't survived.
    Christina
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    William Burroughs

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    Quote Originally Posted by christanel View Post
    Medal Roll Index card for John N Atherton Lincolnshire regiment shows he received the British and Victory medals only and not the 1914 Star medal or the 1914-15 star so he didn't serve in any theatre of war in those years. Whether this meant he had joined up in the early years I don't know how you would find that out without a service record and it looks as if his hasn't survived.
    Christina
    Without wishing to raise any hopes, I know of at least one person on the forum who's quite knowledgeable about service numbers so they might be able to give a little more info, though I can't remember if they only know about WW2 service numbers or about WW1 numbers as well.

    Pam
    Vulcan XH558 - “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

  7. #7

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    Have a look at Paul Nixon's blog on the Long Long Trail about Army Service Nos. He lists a range of Service Nos and the date of attestation of that No, Regt by Regt. From this, with a known service no. and Regt you might be able to identify the dates between which an individual would have attested.
    "dyfal donc a dyr y garreg"

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    From the information you've given and the lack of the 1914/15 star, I'd say its highly likely that he was a conscript (ie joined after 1916) rather than a volunteer. Although early volunteers were often placed in local regiments, such as 'pals' regiments, by the later stages of the war they were allocated to wherever they were needed, as outlined by Christina.

    Fold3 has four indexed records for him under the World War I Pension Ledgers record collection, one of which might state when exactly he enlisted. If you haven't taken one out already, you can take a free trial of Fold3 for (I think) one week.

  9. #9

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    According to the Register of Soldier's Effects, he died in PW camp Marche. That's where he was originally buried ("March German Cemetery"), and then moved to Hautrage after the War. His entry was originally typed as "H" and then changed to "JW". The next form says "JN". The regimental number is always the same.Similarly, his regiment originally typed as "Leicesters" and them changed to "Lincolns".

    What was his home address? I can't find him in the Red Cross POW Database.

    Don't worry about his home address, I found it (3 Arlington St, Loftus) on CWGC.org

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    49823 is a long, long way into the numbers for the Lincolnshire regiment as far as I can tell.
    Certainly, the numbers were issued sequentially up until the start of the war with around 9800 being the highest number to that point.
    To be fair there isn't a way after the start of the war to tell a likely attestation date, although if there is a record of a man with a similar number and attestation date anywhere it might give an approximate idea.
    As you say it'll more than likely just be post July 1917 however based on his age.


    There's nothing odd about a person from somewhere being not in a local regiment, however -this was nearer the norm after the very early stages since men were placed where needed by the army as a whole, otherwise more populous areas (like Manchester, London, etc) would have had hundreds of regiments and Lincolnshire would struggle to make more than a few.
    This practice carries on to this day in fact.

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