In this section we want to add the stories of soldiers who served in the Birmingham Battalions. If you would like to submit a story for inclusion on these pages, please let us know.

178 thoughts on “Soldiers”

  1. Hello all,

    I am trying to find out about my great grandfather Samuel A Wilkes Pte. 201218 in the Royal Warks. All I know is that he died sometime in 1918. Can anyone tell me how to find out more?


    1. Dear Jen,
      Samuel died on 20th September 1918. The Commonwealth War Graves page for him is The button at the bottom takes you to a certificate you can download which also has a photo of the cemetery. The following is another article & phioto about the cemetery
      There is a site called the Long Long Trail. The following is the 10th Warwicks page This gives the Division & Brigade they were in & you can then follow those further in the site to find out where they were & what battles they were involved in.
      The 10th wasn’t a Pals regiment, but was formed earlier. I haven’t any more information about them, but you might find the Regimental Museum useful.
      The following is the link to his medal index card It is £2 to download. It should give the date he forst entered a theatre of war & which country that was. The numbers next to the names of the medals refer to the actual medal rolls which are in the National Archives (TNA) in Kew. These may not have any more information than you already know. The Reagimental War Diary should be in th TNA also & may say something about the action at around the time Samuel died.
      Best wishes,

  2. Your article on the 14th Battallion movements in France, refers to one wounded soldier in the trenches in early January 1916 following a german mortar shell hit. I believe that was my grand uncle who was hit by mortar shell on the 6th January, had his leg amputated on the 16th January and who died on the 24th January.

    1. Idon’t know whether I will be able to get any information about this particular soldier, but if you give me his name I can have a look. I also have a book on the 14th and will look up the date of his injury and see what the battalion were involved in at the time. Pauline

    2. Hello,
      I have just found your comment again & I don’t think I replied to it at the time, for which I apologise. I have been looking up in my books to see if I could find any reference to this incident you refer to, but none refer to that actual mortar hit. If you would like to send me your postal address to my email address at I can send you a photocopy of what your grand uncle would have been doing with his battalion in the time running up to his fatal wound. If you let me have his name & if you have it his number, I can see if I can find out anything else about him.
      Best wishes,

  3. Hi Pauline,
    My grandfather, Albert Thomas Smith ( army number 15/491) served with the 15th Battalion. I have his medal card and know that he was mentioned in despatches and received the Belgium Croix de Guerre but I don’t know why. I have the entry in the London Gazette, (15th April 1918) but it gives no details. I believe that,often, the details were never released. Do you have any suggestions about where I might look?


    1. Dear Dave,
      I was puzzled by your grandfather’s army number as those with two numbers with a slash in between normally belong to a battalion which was originally a territorial battalion. However, I looked up his medal card & see that originally he had the number 491. As he is down twice on the medal card with that number I think he must have been discharged at some time & then rejoined. I have a book called the Birmingham Battalions book of Honour, not one you can easily get hold of. A subscription was made to record the men of Birmingham who joined the pals battlions. It also has lists of many of the firms in Birmingham who list workers who joined up, whatever regiment. I have not looked through these so far to see if I can find your grandfather, but i will do. We have a CD with these lists on which obviously makes it much easier but I can’t find it at the moment. however, I was lucky with the list of the 15th as Albert was on the first page! He is listed as a non-combatant, a Sergeant, & a cook. It is possible he remained as a cook during the war as those men were at the battlefields & it would not necessarily mean he would not have been in a position to undertake acts of heroism. However, as he is listed twice on the medal card it is possible that he transferred to a fighting unit at some point. My book has photograps of each platoon and the one your grandfather is in is one of the clearer ones so you may be able to recognise him. If you send me your postal address in an ordinary email to I will send you a copy of the list of names & the photo. I have a photocopy of an old book on the 15th RWR and it says that on 24th March 1918 they received orders to leave Italy to entrain back to France. On 12 April they camped south of the Nieppe Canal. I find it difficult to follow it all, but there was serious fighting for several days, the engagement seems to have taken place in the Foret de Nieppe, and although the other places mentioned seem to be in France the forest is in Flanders. I can only think that at that point the lines overlapped the countries. I don’t know how long it took for an award to be gazetted but it does seem as if Arthur must have won his award during that fighting. Either that or he won it quite a long time previously. In the book it does say that the whole of the 5th Division, of which the 15th was a part, were commended for many acts of bravery during these few days in April. I will also send you a copy of the pages in the book covering this period. I haven’t been able to discover how you find out about the Belgium Croix de Guerre. The following is the best description I have seen It might be worth contacting the Belgian Consul. Their web page is at The other place which may have some information as it is an unusual award is the regimental museum which is at
      Best wishes,

  4. Hello

    I am researching my Grandmother’s Brother, David Charles Flavell. David, whom I was named after, was in the 15th Bn.Royal Warwickshire Regiment – “B” Coy according to the CWGC web site.
    It states that he died, aged 20, on Friday, 26 october 1917. The web site indicates his number as 242262, however his medal rolls index card also indicates that he also had the number 19347, whilst still in the RWR. I have several post cards from him which were passed onto me from my Grandmother, one a cartoon of injured Tommies being tended by young nurses and another of Holywood Barracks in Belfast.
    Would it have been possible for David to have been injured and sent away from the front to recover in Belfast, only to be sent back and issued with a new number? Also,
    how can I find more information on where he would have been fighting on the day he was killed.

    Many thanks


    1. Dear Dave,
      I have an old book about the pals Battalions but unfortunately I cannot find your great uncle in there. From the CWGC site he was obviously in the 15th, B Co when he died so I checked there first. I have checked all the names in the book & he doesn’t appear in any of the the Pals regiments. He could have started off elsewhere & been transferred to the 15th later.

      He was only 20 in 1917 so it is possible he wasn’t old enopugh to sign up at the beginning of Kitchener’s campaign. His first number in the RWR is 19347 which is quite a high number which also leads me to think that he might have joined after the initial forming of the Regiments. Because of this he is not on any of the platoon photos.
      I have not come across the name before & as I found 3, or possibly 4 other Flavells in the Pals regiments I thought they might have some relationship with you. They are:
      H S Flavell 1186, Platoon IX C Company 15th Battalion RWR
      A V Flavell 1460, Platoon I A Company 15th Battalion RWR
      [the fact that these bare also in the 15th seems to make it more likely they may be related as Dacid Charles was also in that regiment]
      The book I have was sponsored ny some of the employers in Birmingham & they also published lists of men from their firms who served. There are 2 Flavells in these lists. The first is:
      Arthur Flavell, who is possibly the AV Flavell above, who worked for the City of Birmingham Gas Department in the County House & Wednesbury Section. This firm doesn’t list the regiment the man joined.
      The second is Private W Flavell who worked for Grainger & Smith Ltd, Town Mills, & he was in the Labour Corps.
      The first 2 of these men are pictured in a platoon photo & if you would like I can send you copies of these photos, & copies of the lists in which the other two appear.

      Holywood Barracks in Belfast: some sites which should help with this question:
      This next one doesn’t look promising but if you read through all the posts there are quite a few bits of useful info.

      As David has 2 different numbers, both from the RWR I think he must have been discharged & then re-joined, so it is possible that he was declared unfit at some time when he was in the hospital & then rejoined later. This was not uncommon. Many men felt guilty at leaving men with whom they had a very close bond, or being at home when friends & relatives were still in battle that they made great attempts to get back to the front.

      I have 2 books with information about the 15th & I will copy the parts relating to the time at which your man was killed. If you would like this &/or the info referred to above please send me your postal address in a personal email to

      I have looked up the Flavell family on the 1911 census & 1901 & they were at that time also living in Bell Green, Coventry. I can also send you a copy of those if you are interested.

      Best wishes,

  5. Hi I am researching along with my father my grandfather who was in Birmingham Pals. We have a photo of him in Sutton Coldfield so assume from that he was either in 14th or 15th(1st or 2nd City Battalions). He served in France but was discharged with trench foot, later serving in the Royal Dorsets. His name is Frederick Sidney Haycock. His number at the end of the war was 118060 Pte F Haycock, whether this was the one he first signed up with, I am not sure. He was an employee of the Birmingham Gazette newspaper prior to joining up. You mention the Birmingham Battalions book of Honour. Would it be possible to look him up for us(it would be great to get a definitive battalion number), another possibility is my father goes to look at a copy which I believe the Birmingham Midlands institute holds. I look fwd to hearing from you.

    1. As you will see from the medal index card which is at your grandfather doesn’t seem to have been in the Royal Warwicks. he was first in the Royal Dorsets & then a machine gunner. It is possible he was attached to the Royal Warwicks as part of a machine gun team. If you download the index card £2.50 it may make things clearer. It tells you the order of the regiments he served in, the medals etc, & the date of his first entry into a theatre of war. The other numbers on there relate to the actual medal rolls which are in the national Archives (TNA)in Kew. They may give you some more info. The following gives information on where the Royal Dorsets were during WWI although if you don’t know which battalion it won’t be specific to Frederick. The following is from the same site but relating to the machine gun corps & the following is the site for the machine corps old comrades assoc I have a relative who was in the machine gun corps & I contacted them & received some very helpful information. This was many years ago now so I can’t guarantee there is still someone there who would do that but it may be worth a try. According to wikipedia convalescent camps were built on Sutton Park in WWI so that would be a possible reason for Frederick being there. What exactly is the photo of? Hope this is some help to you.

      1. Hi It has been some time but I would like to return to this thread. The photo (which I will email to you) shows him and 7 other men in uniform in front of a building which say Nutshell (which we have learned was in Sutton Park). We also have a photograph of him wearing the uniform and cap badge of the pals. So it does not appear to be invalidity which is his reason for being in Sutton Park. This is why it is a mystery, as he obviously was ‘transferred’ or moved somehow to the Royal Dorsets.

        1. Hello,
          I have just replied to Phil Haycock who was enquiring about this same man I presume from your comment. I have given him quite a lot of information which I hope will help.

          Best wishes,

  6. Dear Sir / Madam, I am asking on behalf of my Wife Kathleen. Her Great Uncle 1188 Company Sergeant Major William Baker.MC,DCM served in B Company, 16th Battalion,(3rd Birmingham Pals.)We have been unable to trace his movements after he retired. Is there any way we can find where he went, Pension details perhaps? Any help would be appreciated, Best Regards, George Henderson.

    1. Dear George,
      I am having difficulty finding William Baker in my lists of men in the 16th RWR. The book I have gives the lists of the men who joined the pals Regiments originally & there are men who served in these regiments who must have joined later or been transferre & who do not appear in these lists. However, there is a soldier with the number 1188 listed in the 16th Battalion A Co I Platoon, but his name is H Burton. His medal index card states that he was in the RWR & was first a private & then a Sergeant. This is very odd.

      Wm Baker’s medal index card is at:

      This shows that he was originally a private, then a company sergeant major, then a warrant officer class 2. This medal index card can be downloaded & will give you the numbers of the actual medal rolls & the date when he first entered a theatre of war. He did extremely well to get so far up the ranks during the war. At the time when my lists were compiled another men was company sergeant major in the 16th RWR so William must have been appointed later on during the war. I looked up the Warrant Officer class as I didn’t know what it was & the most comprehensive seemed to be that in Wikipedia which is at:
      The following has some info on how to research MC & DCMs:
      Theoretically you can look these things up in the London Gazette & I did this for one of my relatives but today I don’t seem to be able to find the way to search this. The page I had originally bookmarked as the search page some time ago is no longer valid, & I was having difficulty searching.

      I have looked up WIlliam on the Ancestry site to see if his military records survive but it seems that they don’t. [they were bombed in WWII & many were lost] Find my past now has a list of DCMs & I found a William Baker on there but the page with the record on would not load. I’m not having much luck with this! I have emailed them but a note on their contact page says that due to adverse weather conditions their helpline staff has been severely reduced & they may be a while answering my query. I will get back to you on this.

      Where did you get the information about him being in B Co 16th RWR? Do you have his medals?

      It might be worth contacting the museum to see if they have any information.

      Sorry I can’t be any more help. I will get back to you when I hear from Find My Past

      Best wishes,

    2. My Uncle, Stanley Holt was a Birmingham Pal. His service number was 1187, which is one away from your relative. I suppose they must have been standing next to each other on day of enlistment – what a coincidence?
      I have seen another query on these pages when a Flavell No. 1186 was mentioned. My relative was in the l5th Battalion. He was killed in june 1916 aged just 17.

  7. I wonder if you can help me.I am trying to find out more about my great grandfather who served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment during the second boer war and again in World War One.His name was Private William Butcher.Service number 2857,he was posted missing in action/died 16/5/1915 at the battle of festubert. I know where his memorial is in touret.What we would like is a photo of him or someway of finding out more about his service in the Second Boer War.I hope you can help us shed some light on our great grandfather.
    Many thanks.

    1. Dear Stephen,
      I don’t know if you have the medal index card for William, but if not it is at It is onoy £2 to download. It should tell you the date he first entered the theatre of war. The other numbers are the actual medal rolls which are in the National Archives in Kew (TNA). They sometimes give some more information. As he was a member of the regular army I do not have any other information on him but it might be worthwhile contacting the museum which is at The following is the web address for the Royal Warwickshire pages of the site “the long long trail” You will see that the 2nd battalion which William was in formed part oif the 7th Division. From the bottom of the page you can follow the 7th division & find out where they were during the time that William was fighting. The TNA also holds a lot of battalion war diaries. Their website is if you want to check to see if they have the one you would want. If you do plan to go to Kew it is worth downloading their relevant fact sheet as this can save time when you get there.
      I’m sorry I can’t be more help,
      Best wishes, Pauline

  8. Hi Pauline,
    i am researching my grandfather William Rowe who lived in Birmingham and who fought in WW1. My father says that he joined right at the start, lying about his age to get in, and that he had three medals which my father remembers seeing as a child.The only William rowe I can find by looking at the medal cards only had two medals.Are there ever errors in these records or am I wrong in assuming he would have joined the Royal Warwickshires? Were there any other regiments that it was common for Birmingham men to join?
    Grateful for any advice you can give me
    Sue manford

  9. Am reserching my wifes family her grandfather Charles Mathew Webb was a private No: 328498? and served in RWR I have some of his medical records can anyone offer any more information on him please

    1. Dear Geoff,
      Charles Medal index card is at It only costs £2 to download it. It shoukd have on it the date he first entered a theatre of war. The other numbers on there relate to the medal rolls themselves which are in the National Archives (TNA) in Kew. You will see that he transferred into the Army Service Corps Motor Transport & the army number you have relates to that service. At that time you were not issued with an army number but a regimental number so Charles had 2 numbers during his service. His Royal Warwicks number was 8787. Did you get the medical record you mention from Ancestry? There are quite a lot of records for Charles on there. You are very fortunate. Most of the WWI records were destroyed as a result of bombing in WWII & those that survived were damaged by the fire. The ones relating to Charles are badly damaged but there is some very interesting info there & I have only had a look at the first few pages. If you haven’t got these records go into Ancestry at then on to ‘search’ then ‘military’. I just typed his full name into the search & only one record came up. He is indexed as having the service number 8789 whereas the TNA has it as 8787 but it is the right man as further through it gives his other service number. If you want to find out about the Army Service Corps the following is a good link Best wishes, Pauline

  10. I am trying to find my grandfather, my aunty his daughter says that he was in the Warwickshire regiment during the first war, and was a prisoner, after the war he was found in a German hospital, He was born in Rugby 1845. He changed his name after disput with his farther, he added the U in his surname.

    Les Osborn.

    1. Dear Les,
      I have looked up John Osborn on the WWI medal index cards which are online. There were 2 in the Royal Warwicks, the other had another initial. The address is* It is only £2 to download the card. There is nothing to prove that either of these was your grandfather unless you have some record of his regimental number for instance.
      I have an almost comprehensive list of those who joined the Pals Regiments & there is no J Osborn, or Osbourn. The regimental number given for John Osborn on the medal card is also rather a high one for him to have been in a Pals regiment. it may be worth you contacting the museum. I don’t know if they have a complete list of soldiers. their web address is I have looked him up on the Ancestry web site as they have the remaining WWI soldiers records but he was not listed there. (these were bombed in WWII & many were lost).
      I also looked him up on the 1911 census in case that gave any clues but couldn’t find him. it was then I realised that if he was born in 1845 he would have been 69 at the start of the war & therefore wouldn’t have been eligible to fight. If you do have any more information & think I my be able to help further please contact me again.

  11. Hi Pauline,

    I wonder if you can help me in my search to find out about my great grandfathers WW1 service? I have no medals, photos or service history to help, just basic information on him. The only anecdotal information I have is that he was gassed though this may not be true. His name was Herbert John Barham and was born in 1887 in Suffolk. He is believed to have lived at 88 Berners Street, Nechells, Birmingham in 1912. He’s not on the 1918 absent voters list for that address. The medal roll has a Private 305521 Herbert J. Barham, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Who I’m told would not have gone overseas until March 1917 or later and served with 8th Battalion. I wonder if this is my great grandfather? Do you have any records or documents that mention Herbert? Perhaps the Birmingham Roll of Honour?

    Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you.

    1. Dear Paul, I have found Herbert on the 1911 census in Berners Street, though he says he was born in Aston. I am sensing a separate email with the census details attached, I hope. I will look further into him to see if I can fins out anything else & get back to you. Best wishes,

    2. Herbert is not in the National Roll of the Great War, Birmingham Section. This is s book which was published by subscription & gives details of soldiers who fought, not necessarily died. However, probably no one at the time had a lot of money to do this & maybe didn’t want to anyway. Although there are thousands of names in there, in all the years I have been doing this I have never found anyone I was looking for whose name appeared in this book. He is not in the Roll of Honour Book either. I have looked on the off chance, but since you said he was in the 8th Regiment I didn’t expect him to be there as the Pals Regiments were the 14th, 15th, & 16th. At leasy we now know he didn’t join up in a Pals Regiment first. I have had difficulty finding out what the 8th Regiment did. my favourite site for finding out where abouts in the field of battle different regiments/ battalions etc were is ‘The Long Long Trail’ which enables you to find out which Brigade etc they were part of & follow them through. however I couldn’t find the 8th RWR.
      I wonder if it was the 1/ 8 battalion which I believe is a Territorial Battalion, but they went out before 1917 I think. There is some info on . The site mentioned above has the 1/8 listed. The following also does not list the 8th as a batt. in WWI. (There was definitely one in WWII).
      I have looked at the medal index card to see if there was any more info there. Presumably you are aware that there are 3 listings for Herbert J Barham there wjich seems odd, I wouldn’t have thought it was such a common name. You thought he was born in Suffolk. Is there a chance he is the Barham listed in the Suffolk Regiment? Men didn’t always join the Regiment you would expect. Where did you get the info that he was in the 8th Warwicks?
      I have looked on Ancestry to see if his service records survive, but unfortunately not. The following is the web address for the museum, perhaps they can help you. I am sorry I can be of no more help, but hope you do manage to find out some more information later. it seems odd that you have the info that ge wouldn’t have gone abroad til 1917 as he would have been 27 when war broke out & would therefore have been conscripted before that unless there was some particular reason for him not being accepted at that time.
      Good luck,

  12. Hi Pauline :
    I recently discovered that my grandfather had a brother that served in the RWR – 2nd/6th Bn. , service no. 240420 . I don’t know much about accessing military records in the U.K. and was wondering if you could tell me anything about him . Thanks very much for this site .
    James Johnston

    1. Dear James,
      Can you give me his name & I will see what I can do. Thanks for your comments about the site. We do hope to extend it when we have the time.

  13. Hi Pauline :
    My great uncle’s name was William Ernest Billers . He was born in Aston (which I assume is a suburb of Birmingham ) in the year 1898 . He had four brothers and two sisters . His fathers name was Charles and his mothers name was Elizabeth ( nee Forrest ) . I really appreciate your help with this . I didn’t have any contact with my grandfather so this is like ” opening a very large window ” for me . Thanks again .

    1. Dear James,
      I have looked your grandfather up on the 1911 census & have sent a copy of the transcript ina an email. There is something wrong with the site at present & it won’t load the image of the actual census so I haven’t been able to check the reliability of the transcript. It is the only Wm Billers that comes up in the search & the parents are correct, but it says he was born in London. Is this the right man? i am having terrible difficulty finding his medal index card. I have looked under all sorts of different permutations of search terms. Usually if you have the details is it simple but the only William Billers I can find on any site has the regimental number 2291, but he is in the RWR. I can’t find him in my records but that is not surprising as the 2/6 Batt was not a pals regiment. These battalions which have two numbers were (I think) territorial regiments which then went overseas. That would fit if your great uncle is the man in the census as he would have been too young to fight at the beginning of the war & such men often joined the territorials. I don’t know whether the museum would be able to help. Where have you got the information about his regimental number?
      If you go to the following site you can see where thr 2/6batt was during the war. In the top half of the page you will find the regiment & it tells you which division etc that batt was in. If you go to the bottom of the page there is a link to the divisions.
      I’m sorry I haven’t been able to be more help, its very frustrating. If you have any more info please let me know. You can email
      Best wishes,

  14. I have a cap badge for the 3rd Birmingham Battalion-can someone please tell me if that Battalion served on the Ypres Salient

    1. Dear Robert,
      If you go to the following site you will find the 3rd Birmingham Batt (16th Royal Warwickshires) listed in the top part of the page. This tells you which Brigade & Division they were in at which times. If you go to the bottom of the page there are links to the relevant divisions so you can follow which engagements they took part in. You are fortunate to have the cap badge as these are quite hard to come by.
      Best wishes,

  15. Hello I came across the Birmingham Pals site quite by accident and wondered if you could help me too! I have downloaded my grandad’s medal rolls index card already. I found it after looking for weeks. I had guessed he was in the R. War. R in WW1 working from what little family history I already knew. His medal card had his address on it luckily (Bedworth Hill, Bedworth) as it says his medal was returned by the Police because he had moved but it caught up with him eventually. I cannot find a service record so I guess it did not survive. He has a common name being Samuel Baker and his regtl. no given as 241582 and also 60714, he was a Private. I have no idea where he lived before the war or was he was born. Has anyone come across him? I wondered if B2 on the roll means 2nd Battalion which is not a Pals regiment but thought it was worthwhile getting in touch. Many thanks.

    1. Dear Margaret,
      The B2 on the medal index card does not refer to the 2nd Birmingham Pals but is part of the reference number for the actual medal roll which is in the National Archives (TNA) in Kew. These sometimes give you more information. You are very fortunate to have his address as the vast majority have nothing on that second side. He has a very high regimental number & I think it unlikely from my experience that he was in a pals regiment. I think it likely that he was in one of the regular regiments. At that time all regiments had their own numbers & if you changed regiments you were given a different number. The fact that Samuel had two numbers for the same regiment I think would mean that he was wounded or sick & was discharged from the regiment, & he then re-joined – either because he recovered completely or because they were getting more desperate for men at that time. Men who were discharged for these reasons often felt very guilty that they had left their friends over there & were desperate to get back & do their bit. I don’t know if the regimental museum would be able to help. They are at
      I have a subscription to a site which has the 1911 census. If you are able to give me more details about Samuel, when he was born, any other members of family, additional details of address etc, I will try to find him on that census. There are a lot of Samuel Bakers around. If you would prefer to email me directly it is
      Best wishes,

  16. Dear Pauline
    Thank you for the information you gave me. Unfortunately I do not know any more about my grandad such as where he was born etc.. His medal roll index card is where the paper trail ends so far (yes I think I was very fortunate to find it because it had the address on it where he settled after the war and where my mum was born after he had married my grandma in 1923). I am going to Kew at the beginning of April to have a look to see if there is anything else but I don’t hold out much hope. Sadly I do not know anything about his life before WW1. The age given on his marriage and death certificates suggests he was born about 1885 but as you say there are lots of Samuel Bakers. Many thanks again for taking the time to reply. All the best.

  17. Regarding Margaret’s question on 3 March 2011. The service number 241582 is part of the block of numbers issued to the 6th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regt. This took place in Feb 1917 when the Territorial Force was renumbered. Thus he could have served with either the 1/6th, 2/6th or the reserve 3/6th Battalions.

    Terry Carter

  18. To answer Robert Stell’s question, did the 3rd Birmingham Battalion serve at Ypres… Yes it did. Along with the other two Birmingham Battalions and the rest of the 5th Division. They took part in actions against the heavily fortified position known as Polderhoek Chateau around October 1917.

    Terry Carter

  19. My Great Grandfather Alfred Turner was in the 14th Battalion RWR and was killed on 14th April 1918.

    I believe he had only been in the army a few months when he died.

    The only thing that puzzles me is that he was 34 so why wasn’t he called up earlier? Could it have been something to do with his occupation (He was a bootmaker) or could it have been because he had a young child (my grandmother was born in 1914).

    By the way, great to see the site back.


    1. Dear Mark,
      I have looked up your grandfather on the Commonwealth war graves to get his regimental number, & then on the medal index. I was hoping the medal card would give the date of his entry into the field of battle, but unfortunately in this case it didn’t. The CWG says he was 32 when he died. Have you seen this record? I have checked my list of all the Birmingham Pals but Alfred is not on it, but with such a high number I wouldn’t expect that. Because of losses all units had men posted into them as the war went on. I’m afraid I don’t know why he was enlisted so late on. I suppose as a bootmaker he might have been employed making military boots, or on the other hand he may just have been ill for instance. In the beginning quite a few men were rejected by the army as they weren’t fit enough, too many were malnourished at the time. As time went on they had to be less choosy. However, that’s something you are never going to know for certain. I have 2 books with information about the 14th & if you’d like me to photocopy the information from around the time your great grandfather died please send your postal address privately to
      Best wishes,

  20. I am trying to locate information about my Grandfathers WW1 military record. He was born in Aston so I think he is most likely to have been in the local regiment but have no real evidence to support this.

    Family legend states that he joined up under age, was punished for hitting a sargeant by being tied to a canon wheel when it was fired and I know he was gassed.

    His name was Ernest Crook and he was born in 1901 but probably lied about his age.

    Do you have anything that would relate to my grandfather. Thank you Mark

  21. I am trying to find out information about my grandfather.his name was james bateman and he served in the royal warwicks his army number is 1493.i know that he was wounded three times during the war.if you can help that would be great.many thanks tony

    1. Dear Tony,
      I have found your grandfather’s medal index card online. If you don’t already have a copy of this, let me know & I will give you the web address. It states on there that among other medals he was given the silver war badge. This was given to me who were unable to go back to the front after being wounded as the nature of their wounds or disability made then unsuitable to serve. There was so much nastiness among many ordinary people if they thought that a man was being a coward in not fighting. The badge gave them something to wear to show they had been wounded in combat. The following page gives a good account & a photo
      Your grandfather doesn’t appear in the lists I have for men in the Pals Regiments. He was in France on 21.11.1915 according to his medal index card. He must have been in one of the regular battalions but I have no way of checking which one. Do you know if he married or had a child during 1914 or 1915? Sometimes marriage or children’s birth certificates will have the regiment & battalion listed as part of the information on the man’s occupation. Sometimes men joined a territorial battalion earlier on, & then would serve in either a regular battalion or some Territorial battalions went across as a unit. I have checked ancestry to see if his army documents have survived, but it seems not; many were lost in WWII.
      ve you much help. Please contact me again if you think I might be able to do something else.
      Best wishes,
      Do you have any more information about your grandfather? If so please let me know as that might give me some other channels to check. You might like to look at the regimental website which is at
      Sorry I have not been able to gi

  22. My Grandfather was in one of the Pals Battalions during the Great War, however I’m not exactly sure which, and I was hoping you might be able to steer me in the right direction. My main research hurdle is that I live in Australia (where he emmigrated to after the War), so apart from hardcopy oral history record of his experience I found in the Australian War Memorial, I’ve only had access to what I can find online.
    His name was Harold Leslie Britt and his orginal service number was 15 /1305. He enlisted during 1915 and lied about his age, as he was only 16 at the time, though his DOB was 19th March. I also believe that in France he was in the 13th Brigade / 5th Division (based on details from his oral history). In 1916, he transfered to Stokes Mortars during their intial formation, which it seems was attached at the Brigade level, not Division or above (do you know if this is correct??). Also, I’ve read that the Stokes Mortar batteries were still part of the Infantry Corps, as opposed to the Artillery. However, what we believe to be his discarch papers (they’re VERY faded), indicate he was transfered to the Royal Artillery Corps, Service No: 78/420, as a gunner. Do you know if that may have been the case, or am I on a wild goose chase??

    Appologies for the confusing nature of my request. Any assistance, pointers etc you could give would be very much appreciated. Also, I’m more than happy to arrange a copy of his oral history and send it over if that’s of interest. I adored my Grandfather and cherish the hours I spent listening to his stories. Documenting his history is my way of honoring his memory and the cherished memories I have of him.

    Kind Regards

    1. Dear Matt,
      Your grandfather was in the 15th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which was also the 2nd Birmingham Regiment. He was in C Company, XI Platoon. I am sending an email with a copy of the platoon list & one with the platoon photo. I have had a bit of a job with the attachment so if it doesn’t work I will try again by a different method, or if necessary copy & mail them to you. The information is from the ‘Birmingham Battalions Book of Honour’, a book put together by subscription by the people of Birmingham.
      There is quite a good account of the mortars at –
      A more interesting one maybe from your point of view is the following –
      The site that the above is on is one of the best sites for information on WWI It’s called ‘The Long Long Trail’ If you go to their page at you can find out where the brigades etc where & whether your grandfather was in those brigade while in the Warwicks. If you go down to the 15th battalion it tells you which brigades etc they were part of & by going right down the page it gives the brigades & their whereabouts at different times.
      I have also sent you an email with his medal index card which is online. It seems from that that he was only in the Warwicks, but rose to the rank of Corporal. I have looked to see if his service record is online but it seems as if it must have been lost when the buiklding was bombed in WWII. MAny of the records were lost.
      If you can scan the records you say you think are discharge records it might be worth sending an email to the Imperial War Museum in London to see if they can help you. I am sure they would also be very pleased to have a copy of the oral history. They do have a lot if individual information like that which is available for research. Their web address is I would be very interested myself if it is not too much trouble for you to send a copy. We have researched several men during WWI for ourselves & for others, & for some reason my son & I are quite gripped by this & have researched even people tenuously related to the family, some have more detail available than others but somehow every one was in a different place, a differnt role in the war & it all gives an increased picture of the whole.
      Good luck with the rest of your research, & please email again if you think I can help further,
      Beat wishes,

  23. My Grandfather Thomas A Robinson was born in Birmingham in abt 1888. His father was called William.

    I know Grandfather was a soldier (I’m guessing he was in a local regiment but have no idea which one.) and ended up in Ireland during the troubles. Thereafter he met and married my grandmother and moved to Ireland when he left the army. Sadly no one alive anymore who knew him so cannot ask questions.

    Can you ID him in your records based on the little info above or point in in a direction where I can obtain more info


    1. Dear Martin,
      I am sorry but I haven’t been able to find your grandfather in any of the records I have been able to look at. There is a Thomas Arthur Robinson, father John William, whose record is online, but I can find nothing in there to indicate that he was ever posted to Ireland. Do you know who your Thomas married? You imply that Thomas was in the army when he married. If so his marriage certificate would normally tell you his regiment & regimental number in the employment section. If he was in Ireland when he married, in army service, his marriage would probably be in the army marriages section of the General Record Office index. If you haven’t already used these indexes you can access them via or You do have to pay for these searches & for the certificates themselves. If you know when he married but haven’t the certificate you can ask the local registry office to search, again you will have to pay for this. I’m sorry I can’t be more help. If you have any more information & think I might be able to help further please email again.
      Best wishes,

      1. Hi Pauline
        Sorry I didn’t reply but got sidetracked on ancestry front.
        Believe he was a Thomas Arthur. Married oct-dec period 1919. Don’t believe still in British army at time. Marriage cert doesnt mention anything re army but lists his father as William and Williams occupation as “fitter”. Believe from Aston part of Birmingham.
        Suspect was British army but then ended up in Irish (black and tans??) at time of Irish troubles.
        Have relative going to look at gravestone to see if it lists birthdate as I don’t have so searching a bit difficult timeline wise.

  24. Hi Pauline,thanks for looking i know my grandfather was wounded three times.these wre recorded in the Birmingham Post of the day.would they help me if i coulod get hold of them.Any other suggestion on how i can find out which battalion he was in.many thanks tony

    1. Dear Tony,
      The Birmingham Post is very likely to say which battalion he was in. They were very concerned about the raising of the Birmingham Battalions & listed the names & address of men who signed up each day. I think if they reported injuries they would include the information you want. They have the Birmingham Post (as far as I know a full set) in the Centrel Reference Library in Birmingham. They are on microfilm. However, as far as I know they are not indexed, & they are tiring to read off the microfilm. The details for the library are at I have tried to search their catalogue to find out if there is any indexing of the Post now, but I can’t find anything there. It would probsbly be best to phone. I notice, too that the archive section is not open every day at the moment. Th Post itself will have an archive, don’t know whether they will hold copies back that far, or whether they will be indexed, but again, might be worth ringing them. Their home page is If you can’t get to Birmingham, there is the Colindale newspaper library. This used to be in london but was moving to Boston Spa, I don’t know when, There was also talk about digitising the papers but I don’t know how long this would take or which papers may have been done.
      Hope this is of some help. Do you have any idea of the dates your grandfather was wounded?
      Wishing you all the best in your search,

  25. Hi Pauline,i don;t have the dates he was wounded but i have the dates he was mentioned in the Birmingham Post.i will give them a try thanks again for the help.tony

  26. I am looking to find out if my great grandfather was enlisted during WW1.
    Unfortunatley there was some falling out in the family and as of 1922 we have no record of my great grandfather until his death in 1942, and the family never spoke of him.

    My father has remembered his father had a royal warwickshire regiment pin that he kept in a box. We know my grandafather never fought in WW2 (he built spitfires in Coventry) and was too young for WW1.

    My great grandfather was Henry Edward Smith, born Smethwick 1878. He married Emma Schulze (German) in 1904 at St Catherines. They mainly lived at 60 Pershore Street Birmingham and Henry worked for the family business.

    In 1918 Henry was sold the family business (to avoid the family loosing it due to the trading with the enemy act) in 1921 it was taken back by his brother in law Fred Schulze.

    Henry would have been of age to fight in WW1 and we do not know of any reason why he wouldn’t fight- no illnesses we are aware of. I have been unsuccesful in finding any service records for Henry, I also looked for his brother Oliver Roland Smith and have not found anything.

    If anyone can help track records I would be very grateful and it would solve the mystery as to why my grandfather had a royal warwickshire regiment pin. I see the Birmingham Post may be a source of information, but as you say the library archives are in the process of moving. Any other advice appreciated, it was suggested that I check local rolls of honour for Henry so I am looking to track them down too.

    1. Dear Sarah,
      I have looked up the WWI medal index for your great grandfather & his brother. Unfortunately this does not include second names. There is only one Oliver R Smith who was in the Essex Regiment. This may mean this is not your great uncle, but on the other hand, sometimes men in Birmingham are found to have joined unlikely regiments. There are unfortunately 42 listed men named Henry E Smith. There are no military records online for them but that doesn’t mean they didn’t fight in WWI, as these records were bombed in WWII so many don’t survive. As there is nothing in these records relating to these two men there is no way of finding out their regiment or their regimental number & therefore no way of knowing which of the 42 smiths is yours, if any. Do you know whether Henry & Emma had any children born during WWI? If they did the birth certificate for these children would have his occupation & if he was enlisted it would probably have his regiment & maybe his regimental number.
      As your great grandfather married into a german family it is possible that the men in this family were interned during the war. He may therefore could have been left to run the company. I don’t know if that would have been sufficient reason for him perhaps not to have been called up as the firm was involved in food production.
      I’m sorry not to be able to give you any positive help.

      Best wishes,

  27. Thanks Pauline, I know I struggled to find any records.
    Henry and Emma’s last child was born 1912 so sadly there wouldn’t be information there.

    There were 2 brothers (of Emma), Arthur Schulze (who was in Devon I believe around WW1) and Frederick Schulze who funnily travelled a lot and was drafted into the American Army in 1917 (I do not know if he ever served- he was not a US national- that I know of!)

    Perhaps he did run the business, but it was not officially in his name until 1918.

    Well I’ll keep looking for information, thanks again.

  28. Hi, I am trying to research my Great Grandfather, Harry/Henry Allen.

    His medal roll card has him as Harry, rather then Henry. This information tells me that he was serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and I have been told by family that he joined one of the PALs, but I do not know which? Are you able to help me find out which Battalion he was in and the activity/movements of his Regiment?

    His RWR number is 17778. I believe he was invalided home from Ypres. He has a second number of 53559, which is for the Royal Defence Corps. Would he have been issued a second number if he was unable to return to the front and, therefor, have to remain in the U.K.?

    Any guidance would be much appreciated.

    1. Dear Paul,
      I have looked up your great grandfather in my records but I don’t have him listed as being in one of the Pals Regiments. However, I note from his medal index card that he wasn’t given the 1914-15 star so he can’t have joined until late 1915 at the earliest. He will have been too young or too old probably to join originally. The fact that he has such a high regimental number also indicates this. By the time he joined there had obviously been casualties so he may have been sent to a pals Battalion, or he could have joined one of the regular RWR Battalions, I’m afraid I have no way of telling. It may be worth you contacting the Museum
      I have also looked on Ancestry to see if Henry’s military record survives but I couldn’t find him there unfortunately.
      If Henry was invalided from Ypres he was involved in some of the hardest fighting of the war. The Warwicks were involved in much action in Ypres & the Somme. There are many books about this & any would give you a very good idea of what your great grandfather was involved in as overall everyone was involved in the same sort of experiences in that field of battle.
      The fact that he was later in the Royal Defence Corps means that either he was still recovering from a wound, or possibly the effects of gas, but was well enough to do other work. The RDC was “initially formed by converting the (Home Service) Garrison battalions of line infantry regiments. Garrison battalions were composed of soldiers either too old or medically unfit for active front-line service; the Home Service status indicated they were unable to be transferred overseas. Eighteen battalions were converted in this way”. I don’t know whether men were put into the RDC or whether they volunteered.
      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, but hope this helps to fill in some of the gaps.
      best wishes,

      The role of the regiment was to provide troops for security and guard duties inside the United Kingdom; guarding important locations such as ports or bridges. It also provided independent companies for guarding prisoner-of-war camps. The regiment was never intended to be employed on overseas service.

  29. I have a copy of my Aunt’s birth certificate, dated December 1899 which gives her father’s (my grandfather’s) profession as Private, 2nd Warwickshire Regiment of Foot. I have tried looking in every military site but nowhere can I find any record of my grandfather or where he served, despite my father telling me he was in South Africa at one stage, which I presume was the Boer War. His name was John Wildman. Are you able to point me to any information.

    1. Dear Karen,
      I have looked John up on the website in the British Army Service Records 1760-1915 section. There are 2 John Wildmans listed there who were born in Birmingham. The 2nd one in the list joined the Royal Warwickshires but it doesn’t say which regiment. He joins in 1892 & leaves a few years later but is recalled to the regiment to fight in the Boer War. It says his wife is Mary Ann nee Robinson. You must have his wife’s name so will know if that is the right man. If it is you can find the record on the site I’ve listed above. If you haven’t a subscription to find my past you can just buy a few credits. There are only 4 pages on this record so it won’t be expensive. Alternatively some public libraries allow members to use these sites free.
      Hope this is your grandfather, I would be really interested to know,
      Best wishes,

  30. I am researching names on our local WW1 memorial in Cornwall. Specifically I am trying to find out some details of 34782 Private Philip Philp of 16th Batallion, RWR. He died on 5th November 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. He originally enlisted in the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry.
    If there is any information on the circumstances surrounding his death, I’d love to know it.
    Many thanks in advance.
    Derrick Parsons

    1. Dear Derrick,
      I have tried without success to find out something about the time Pte Philp died, but unfortunately my books have very little information from that particular time.
      .Sorry I can’t help,
      best wishes,

  31. Hi Pauline,
    I’m trying to prove if my Grand Uncle Albert Rhodes was killed in WWI. On ancestry I have record of # 10149 for Royal Warwickshire Regiment, he entered on 6 july 1915. It looks then like he was given another # 29175 for machine gun corps infantry so Idon’t understand why he would have changed regiments. He was killed on 7 nov 1918. His father was Arthur Rhodes of aston, birmingham. Is there anywhere I could get a photo or info. on him, many thanks, Julie Coyle, Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland

    1. Dear Julie,
      Since you didn’t know your great uncle was in the machine gun corps I have wondered how you knew that this was your great uncle out of the many Albert Rhodes who served in WWI. Having worked on the assumption that this is your great uncle I can tell you that he did die during the war. If you look at this is the record of his death on the Commonwealth War Graves site. If you click the certificate button it gives you a certificate which you can print out free. If you click on the name of the cemetery it brings up details & also the buttons at the botton enable you to see the plan of the cemetery & where the grave is.

      You will see from the 1st page that it says his father actually lived in Aston Street, Glasgow. If this is not an error on their part it does beg the question as to why he joined the Royal Warwicks, but his father could have moved later, or indeed it may be that Albert came down from Scotland. As to the Machine Corps, men volunteered or were volunteered for this corps. Groups of Machine gunners were then attached to the different regiments. Some sites which may help you to know more about the machine gun corps. & also There are other things come up in a google search.

      I have also looked on Ancestry for Albert on the censuses, by entering in his dob +/- 5yrs & also his father’s name & there is only one match for them, & this is in Birmingham. I couldn’t find them in 1911 though so maybe my this time they had all moved to Scotland?

      Sorry I can’t provide a photo but hope all this will take you much further with your research.
      Best wishes,

      Albert wasn’t in one of the Pals Regiments so must have joined one of the regular Warwickshire regiments. Their museum may be of help

  32. I have details about my great uncle, Harry R A Bird, who was wounded in subsidiary attacks at High Wood from 20-25 July as part of the battle of Bazentin Ridge which began on 14 July 1916. He was taken to the ambulance station at Sailly-le-Sec called Dive Copse. He died in the dressing station on 29 Aug 1916, about a month after being wounded and his grave is in Dive Copse Cemetry.
    He was a corporal in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 15th Bn. which at the time was part of the 13th Brigade of the 5th Division of the XV Corps of the British Fourth Army during The Battle of The Somme.
    I would be interested if anyone knows of any of their relations who were involved in these battles and might have known Harry.

    1. Dear Geoff,
      I am afraid I don’t know of anyone who would have been with your great uncle at the time. I don’t know if you have seen the following, which gives an idea of what the dressing station was like:
      Main dressing station Dives Copse is a collection of marquees joined end to end in rows. Letters A-F(R) G-L(L) + 1 mortuary. Accommodation 1,700 stretcher cases expanding to 2,500 using bell and operating tents and two church army huts. Each block has an antechamber, operating theatre and collection chamber
      I copied it from the following page:
      Have you seen Terry Carter’s book on the Birmingham Pals? There are photos of individuals in the 3 Pals regiments through the book which you might find interesting. You might be able to get a copy through your library. Otherwise, I have a copy of that book & if you send me your postal address to I will send you a copy of the pages around the day Harry was wounded.
      Best wishes,

      1. Dear Pauline,

        Many, many thanks for all this. Very interesting and useful. I have been waiting to see if anyone else would reply saying a relative of theirs was there too. I still wait in hope.
        Thanks again,

        Geoff Bird

  33. Hi, my great uncle was Serjeant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, having been a Policeman in Birmingham. He was originally from Bristol, and eventually returned there. His name was George William Summer(h)ill – the h was left off his service record, and medals. His regimental number was 12105. He had been involved in arms training in the UK, but eventually headed for France in 1916. We believe he was involved in the Battle of the Somme, and was badly wounded, but recovered after a period in St George’s Hospital Tooting. Can you shed any more light on which Battalion George served in, and in which area he was involved when injured. Any information you have would be very welcome. My wife teaches WW1 history at senior school,and we have visited the Somme area on many occasions. Thanks Phil

    1. Dear Phil,
      Without knowing when your great uncled was wounded I can’t really give you any idea as to where he was at the time. I can’t find him in the lists I have of men in the Pals regiments, but that doesn’t definitively mean he wasn’t there. He could have been posted to a Pals Regiment later on. My lists only cover the original volunteers to the Pals. As he was a sergeant he could have been put into one of the regular regiments if they had already lost men. It might be worth contacting the museum
      The following is also a good site. Called the Long Long Trail it has a large quantity of WWI material. The Warwickshire page is at . You can follow the different regiments through as it tells you which brigade etc they were in, then you can follow that to find the battles they were involved in.
      The best source of material on the Birmingham Pals is ‘Birmingham Pals: History of the 14th, 15th and 16th (Service) Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (The pals series) by Terry Carter’
      I have looked at his medal index card which indicates that he wasn’t in active service til after 1915 as he wasn’t awarded the Star. He was also not awarded the Silver War Badge so he must either have been in hospital until after the war ended or well enough to go back to his regiment later on.
      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. If you have any more information which might give me a clue as to where he was wounded please get back to me.
      Best wishes,

  34. Hi,
    On behalf of Alresford Historical and Literary Society I am researching the stories of our local war dead. One such is:
    SLOPER, FRANK ERNEST (“Ernest”), Private 32850, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Died 25.10.1917, aged 23. Com. Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium, Panel 23 to 28 & 163A (cwgc)
    Killed in action. Dearly loved son of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Sloper, late of Beauworth. (Hampshire Chronicle 08.12.1917)
    Born Milton Hill, Berks. Enlisted Alresford, Hampshire. Formerly 18534, Hussars. Killed in Action. (UK, Soldiers Who Died in the Great War 1914-1919)
    Personal Army Record not available.
    1901 Census shows birthplace Woodham, Hampshire, living in St. Mary Bourne, Whitchurch, Hampshire, with parents Frank and Mary Ann Sloper – father a carter on a farm.
    1911 census shows birthplace as East Woodhay, Hants. Like his father and younger brother Edward William he was working as a carter on a farm, living together with parents and three sisters in Beauworth, Hampshire.

    Can anyone tell me any more? Has the War Diary survived ? Can anybody tell me what the battalion was doing on the
    25th October, the day before the attack on Passchendaele?
    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Glenn Gilbertson

    1. Dear Glenn,
      On 25th October the Battalion was preparing for a big push on 26th October. I have a couple of books which both state the same. I wonder if frank Sloper died of wounds on 25 October. As far as I know the War diaries are in the National Archives in Kew. Sometimes war diaries do mention the names of soldiers who are wounded or killed, so it would be worth checking the archives. As for an account of what was happening on the 25th – the 14th battalion were also involved in this same battle so you may get additional context from that.
      Sorry I can’t help more,

  35. I am researching a soldier of WW1 named Lewis Young. His service records were destroyed during the blitz of London. His service number was 17408 Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was killed July 1917 aged 20 years. I would like to know when he enlisted into the Army – so that I can trace where he would have been fighting during the war.

    1. Dear Ann,
      I see from the Commonwealth War Graves site that Lewis Young was in the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment. This was a regular regiment, not pals one, & I don’t have the information you are looking for. The regimental museum may be able to help, or point you in the right direction. Their web address is
      Best wishes,

      1. Pauline
        Thank you for your comments. The Royal Warwickshire Regiments Museum have been very helpful, and I now know a lot more about Lewis.

  36. Can i say for start what a great site this is,
    My Uncle was PTE William John Greaves S/n 1296 D coy born 3-8-1891,
    I am hoping you help me to find out which battle he was wounded in, I have copy
    of a postcard his youngest brother my uncle Frank kept a record of William sevice
    He wrote Will in France from Nov 1915 to Sept 1916 which i take it means the Somme,
    Will was discharged on the 22-1-1918 of wounds, Is their any way i could find where Will was for that seventeen months, I have been told he never got back to full health he died 1944, I was 4 years old then,
    Today my wife gave a copy The Birmingham Pals by Terry Carter,
    Would it be possible to be put in touch with him on page 196 there`s a photo of a
    SGT W J Greaves 1296 D coy, I am sure the photo is not my Uncle Will, I have photo
    copy photo of Will taken at Codford 1915 when Will was 24, When Will was discharged
    in 1918 he was a private, I had a GREAT UNCLE, SGT WILLIAM JOHN GREAVES
    S/n 58707 8th Mountain Battery in the 1880s to about 1905 he was born in Birmingham in 1863, It would great if the photo turn`s out to be my Great Uncle.
    I hope am not asking to much my Mother was Will Sister she two other Brothers,
    Herbert Greaves who made it though the war went on to serve in WW2, & Sidney
    Greaves who was killed in 1917 We are going for the first time to TYNE COT this
    summer, I am trying to make sure that they not forgotten,
    Best Wishes,
    Vic Miles.

    1. Dear Vic,

      I have looked at William’s medal index card. If you haven’t already seen it, it shows that he first entered a theatre of war on 21.11.1915. If also shows that in addition to the usual 3 medals he was also awarded the silver war badge. This was awarded to men who had been in the forces but were not able to fight again. It was made because of the problems some men had because men not in uniform were thought to be cowards so they were given the silver war badge as a badge of honour in a way. If you don’t have his medals there are pictures of them online. His medal index card is on

      I have looked William up on Ancestry to see if his WWI records are there but unfortunately they must have been among those destroyed during WWII. Without this I am afraid I am unable to tell you where he was. If William John Greaves was in hospital for that lost time I don’t know how you could find out.

      Terry Carter’s book is the best way of finding out what William’s regiment was doing during the time he was with them. I don’t know if Terry would know where he was likely to be transferred as a casualty. There were a lot of hospitals & other places made into hospitals & some specialised in certain problems.

      Terry email address is I hope the photo is of your relative, in which case it must be a relative that gave it to Terry in the first place.

      I have a book which was printed by subscription listed men who joined the Pals, by platoon. I have found William in the list. There is a photo of each platoon & this particular photo is quite clear so if you have a photo of William you should be able to see which one he is. I have tried to attach a picture to an email but I think it must be too big but if you send me your postal address to I will copy the list & the photo.

      Best wishes,

  37. hi pauline, i’ve just been looking through some of the answers you have given to one you say you have a book that list men and the firms they worked grandfather james bateman worked for bsa before he joined as did his brother.could you tell me if he is your book and what info if any there is.his service number was 1493.many thanks anthony saunders

    1. Dear Anthony,
      BSA have submitted a page in my book, they formed their own company. The title states – Roll of the B.S.A. ” O ” Company, 6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire
      Regiment (Territorial force), who were in the employ of the Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited and were mobilised for active service on August 4th, 1914.
      Unfortunately there are no Batemans listed. I see from his medal index card that he wasn’t deployed in a theatre of war until 1915 which makes it likely that he joined up after the 1914 date my BSA list was compiled. It is possible that BSA provided another unit later, or your grandfather could have joined one of the other RWR battalions. Unfortunately, unless the particular WWI records have survived, or the soldier died, it is very difficult if not impossible to find out exactly which od =f the regiments a man belonged to. I am sorry not to be able to be of any more help. I found this on an internet search – The principal BSA archive is held at Solihull Library. Further BSA material can be found at Birmingham City Archives. These might be worth looking into. There may be some staff records.
      Best wishes,

  38. Hi i am new to this site and dont know if im porting in the correct part or no so forgive me if im in the wrong place.

    I am trying to find infor and possibly pictures if there are any left. My great grand father george william milward was private 20301 in the 15th battalion of the R war R in 1916 i have found his medal index card and a few documents on ancestry can anyone tell me where is best to try an find more information on him?

    thank you in advance

    1. Dear Roxanne,
      When you say you have found a few documents on ancestry I don’t think you realise how fortunate you are. So many of these documents were lost in the WWII bombing that very few people get to see the records of their ancestors. I don’t know how carefully you have looked at these records, & I have only glanced at them myself, you can sometimes get quite a good picture of their service. Although you say George was in the 15th RWR which was a Pals regiment he is not listed in my book of Pals volunteers. His army number is too high for him to have been an original volunteer, he may have been too young. His medal index card shows that he was only given 2 of the usual 3 medals, not having been given the 1915 star, another indication that he joined up after the Pals battalions were formed. Unfortunately the card doesn’t show when he first entered a theatre of war but hopefully that information will be legible in the ancestry records. Because of losses men who joined up subsequently were transferred into these regiments to maintain fighting strength. I don’t know if the regimental museum would have any information in this instance. their website is
      If you want to find out what life was like for them & the places he would have been in as a member of the 15th RWR the best book is by Terry Carter. Birmingham Pals: History of the 14th, 15th and 16th (Service) Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
      Best wishes,

  39. hi i am trying to find out about the 15th battalion from 1916- about 1917/18 as i am looking for information on private george william millward 20301. I have only found a few records of his time in the war on ancestry and 1 on the national archives. I also want to find people who had relatives in the battalion that same time that may have war diaries or pictures that could mention him. I know he had to file an accident form when him and a private mel got injured when making tea and toast over a fire.

  40. we have a transcript of a newspaper report circa 1955 which is reporting on the death of the last of ” THE FIGHTING FAIRS “Robert Fair , who was wounded in Mons
    There were eight sons of corporal James Fair , originally he was in the 52 light infantry in Dublin , serving in India , and it quotes him being a drum major in the original Birmingham volunteers
    his eight sons were private James Fair, wounded in France
    private Patrick Fair, THE RIFLE BRIGADE
    SGT Thomas Fair , THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT , wounded and transferred to his regiments depot at home
    private George Fair , THE ROYAL WARWICKS , who was in the trenches in France
    corporal John Fiar , twice wounded with the ROYAL WARWICKS
    AB Harry Fair , took part in the bombardment of the Turks at the Dardenelles , and was later rescued when the ship was torpedoed
    gunner Willam Fair , THE ROYAL WARWICKS , who was invalided home from France early in the war , but returned to continur fighting
    and the last surviver of them all, being Robert Fair
    there appears to be details on the fighting Fairs in the newspaper report , probably the Birmingham Mail /Post , which the family are unable to corraborate and we wish to find any information about them , their particular regiments , or where they were in action
    If you can offer any information at all on the Fairs , or offer guidance or help , or know of anyone who will research it all on my behalf I would be really pleased
    kind regards


    1. Dear Bryan,

      You can look up on the national Archives website to find the medal index cards for these men. The web address is*&queryType=1
      You can see the details for free but to download the index card is a couple of pounds. The index cards are available on for free if you have a subscription. However I do find it more difficult for a search to find the correct person on ancestry & usually use the national archives site first. Once you have the regimental number you can put in the regiment name & service number in the keyword box & it should then bring your man up at the top of the list. It may be worth you joining ancestry for a short time in order to look all these men up. Ancestry also has the WWI army pension & service records on but WWII bombing damaged the these & the greater proportion was destroyed altogether.

      It is worth searching on the internet for the regiment you know these men were in as some of them have links to archive information or old pals groups. The Royal Warwickshire museum is at

      Birmingham Central Reference library has a local history library & they have microfilm copies of the Birmingham Post & Mail.

      The following is the best site I have found for WWI generally. You are able to go to a particular regiment, then follow through to the brigade etc & find out which battles that regiment was involved in during the war.

      Best wishes,

  41. lloking for some more information on the following gentleman if anyone knows anything or knows of any photos.

    name: alfred cooper
    born. 1891 birmingham
    regiment : 2 Bn royal warwickshire regiment
    reg number: 1479
    rank: corporal
    death: 1916 died in france and flanders, died in action

    1. Dear Roxanne,
      I have been trying to look up Alfred on the Commonwealth War Graves site to see if there was any more information that might help me to find any more information for you. However, I have tried several times & I cannot find Alfred on there. On searching just with ‘cooper’ & royal warwickshire only 2 men come up, neither with the inital a.

      The 2nd RWR is a regular regiment & I don’t have information on the men from those. The 2nd Birmingham Regiment is the 15th RWR. Hope that makes sense. There is a regimental museum which may be able to help you.

      The following website is the best that I have found to tell you where a particular regiment was during the war. The following is the web address for the RWR. You look at the regiment you are interested in, this also tells you which division & brigade they were in, so you then follow the links with that. This then tells you which battles they fought in & sometimes there is other information online relating to the different battles.

      Hope this is of help,


  42. The Birmingham Central Library War Memorial. There is a marble tablet sited in the existing Birmingham Central Library dedicated to members of the Library Staff who gave their Lives during the Great War, at least 1, Henry Wilfred Checketts served in the 14th Battalion (1st Birmingham Battalion) The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Can any one tell me if there is provision for this memorial to be moved to the new Library when it opens, if not any idea who I can contact to find out? Barrie

    1. Dear Barrie,

      Sorry, I have only just found your comment. Have you contacted the Central Library staff in the local studies department? In think it’s floor 6. They have quite a bit of military material up there & should be interested in the fate of the memorial. You might be interested in the following . I do hope there are plans to transfer it, it’s important that these memories are not lost.


  43. My Great Great Uncle, Claude Orton Tongue served with the RWR Birmingham Battalion Labour Corp. Reg No 222219, I am hoping someone can find more information regarding him. Prior to the war he was a Dentist Assistant so am wondering if that is what he did during the war. His medal index shows he went to France in Nov 1915. His brother (my Great Grandfather moved to Australia & New Zealand which is where I am.

    Thank you

    I would very much like to know where he served in France.

    1. Dear Wayne,

      Sorry I am so behind with my answers to queries. There has been very little information about the men in the labour corps but I have just started reading a newly published book No Labour, No Battle: The Labour Corps in the First World War [Hardcover] J. A Starling (Author), Ivor Lee (Author) I persuaded my local library to buy it as it is a bit expensive. It is very interesting. The labour corp men dug trenches before the first troops arrived in France, they were also involved in laying track for rail trucks to be able to move supplies around the battle area, they could be used as stretcher bearers – virtually anything from what I can gather from what I have read so far. Some of these men were conscientious objectors but most were men who weren’t fit enough to fight. Some of them had already been invalided out of the army & then signed up again for the labour corps. I am sure that they had to work as hard physically as the fighting soldiers, but if someone was a bit slower or less able because of age or previous wounds then they could be a danger to the rest of the men in their unit. A lot of the labour corps men were foregners. There was a large chinese contingent, for instance. When my husband & I went to France last year we visited a graveyard for chinese men killed while in the labour corps. These units usually had allied men in charge.

      I’m not clear how you are sure that he was with the RWR while in the labour corps.From his medal index card it seems to me that he was in the RWR, then I would imagine he was sick or wounded & then joined the labour corps. I don’t think he would necessarily be attached to the RWR.

      I have just looked on Have you looked on there? You are very fortunate that Charles Orton Tongue’s military record is one of the few that survived fire during WWII. I haven’t read it through, there are 12 pages.

      Hope this helps,

    2. Dear Wayne,
      I have found some lists in the back of the book I wrote about last time. The men writing the book have researched the regimental numbers. According to these lists the approximate date that your uncle joined the labour corps was between June & September 1917. Unfortunately their references don’t say which company the men with this particular set of regimental numbers were attached to. There are quite a few photos in the book showing men of the labour corps working in different settings. It is against the copyright for me to copy these for you. if you would like to look at this book your library might get a copy for you. Our library allows you to make suggestions for purchases if they don’t have a book you want, & I was fortunate that they bought one in. the full details are No Labout, No battle: military labour during the first world war. john Starling & Ivor Lee. Spellmount, The History Press. 2009.
      978 0 7524 4975 3. It is for sale on Amazon, the cheapest being £17.15
      The following is a website about the book & the research

  44. Hi,
    Our great, great grand father Walter Wesley Peers served in the Warwickshire Regiment in WW1. Just wondering if he was in one of the Pals battalions as he was from birmingham and would have joined up when he came of age. He worked at Bsa and died at a early age in 1939, when his children were still young, so sadly little is known about him. I think he was born in 1898. His son Ron, our great, great uncle lives in Hall Green.

    1. Dear Ruby & Dylan,

      I am sorry, but your great grandfather doesn’t appear in my records of the Birmingham Pals. There is a Walter W Peers in the WWI Medal Index Roll which you can see on Ancestry. He is in the RWR, regimental number 1625, he was a private. He was first in France in 1915 so he had enlisted at the time the Pals regiments were formed. I can’t guarantee he was not in a pals regiment, but it is also possible that he was in one of the regular regiments of the RWR. You could contact the regimental museum & see if they have any information.

      I also can’t guarantee that this Walter was your great grandfather. I have looked on ancestry for the WWI soldiers records but there are no records for a Walter Peers. They must have been among those lost in WWII. There is therefore no data that could tie this man – or not – to your Walter unfortunately. I have looked up the 1911 census & there is only one Walter Peers on there born in Birmingham – mother Annie, father Albert, a plumber, & a brother Ernest. However, on the 1901 census there is again only one Walter Peers born Birmingham, the same person, but this time he is down with the middle initial P, so again unfortunately it’s difficult to be certain.

      I’m sorry I can’t help further,
      Best wishes, hope you do find out some more,

  45. Dear Pauline
    I wonder if you could please help me. My Grandfather was in the Royal Warwickshires and his number on his medal card is 201369. I am researching him for a family history book and there is a story passed down through the family that when he was at the Somme he had just learned of his younger brothers death and in desperation and grief he volunteered to go over the top on raids. Apparently he killed a German in the trenches and stabbed him with his own spiked helmet. He recieved a commendation for this, and there was a story published in the Birmingham papers. When after the war he returned to work at Dunlops he was known as Spike Holtom ever after. Do you have any idea how I can find out if this story is based in fact? I can find no trace of the story in the Newspaper Archives, and all I have is a photo of William at the Somme in 1918 I belive. He looks so young and scared that I can’t imagine him ever doing such a thing but his son tells me he once showed him a book that he had brought home with him with a picture of the German in it. Any help or advice would be very welcome, I never met William, he died before my birth and I would so love to pass on the memory of him to my children. Many thanks Maria

    1. Dear Maria,

      My apologies for not replying sooner. I have looked up you grandfather in my Pals records but as I expected he wasn’t listed. His regimental number is much higher than that usual in the Pals. I see from his medal card that he didn’t receive the 14 or 15 star so he must have joined later. He could still have been in a pals regiment, having been enlisted in there later. Alternatively he might have been in one of the regular regiments. It would be worth trying the regimental museum.

      The war diaries are kept in the National Archives in Kew. If he really did do what he is rumoured to have done there is a chance it might be recorded in there, particularly if he got a commendation. The TNA do fact sheets which are available online to help you when you visit. I presume you know the date of the younger brother’s death to search from. When it comes to reports in the papers, it is likely that even if this incident happened it might not have been reported as it is rather gruesome. However, I wonder if you checked the papers far enough in advance. It would take a while for the information to get back home from the front. What a pity you don’t still have the book with the photo in.

      Sorry I can’t offer more specific help,
      Best wishes,

  46. Dear Pauline,
    both my Grandfather and a cousin of his were called Alfred Edward Gordon. According to the Birmingham Pals book someone of that name was awarded a Meritorious Conduct Medal. The address is wrong for my Grandfather as he lived in Harborne. The only thing I can find on Ancestry is a 1915 medal for presumably Grandad’s cousin as the regimental number is the one quoted in the book. No mention of the MCM. Can you please suggest where I can find out about my Grandfather.
    Thankyou, Ann

    1. Dear Ann,

      Sorry to be so long replying. I have had difficulty finding out about a meritorious conduct medal. Do you know which page in th Birmingham Pals book this is mentioned. it might help me to search further. All the references to a military medal are for the meritorious service medal & that is for long service. Unfortunately the Pals book hasn’t an index. The regimental war diaries are in the National Archives. If someone was awarded something I think it would be mentioned in the diary. If you know the rough date from the Pals book you would be able to do a search around that time. The TNA have fact sheets on their website to help you when you go there to search the records.

      Hope this may prove to be of some help,
      Best wishes,

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