Jump to content

Help Needed on research of WW1 RAMC soldier


Recommended Posts

Hi,

I am trying to find out about my Great Grandfather, I'm afraid all I can tell you is:-

Service Number in RAMC: 16107 

Name: William Richmond Thomas

Born: 1881 or 1882 in Monmouthshire?

Unit: RAMC- Family legend says he went to Mons, and he was attached to the Royal Engineers with a service number of W/R 276576 or W/R 126001? .........What would the W/R mean?

Died: 1956  

I have 1 1x1 inch photo and his medal box, but unfortunately no medals! Please see photos 

 

I have no idea where to start so maybe someone here could help/point me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Ian

William Richmond Thomas, Sally Swann Great Grandfather.jpg

William Richmond Thomas WW1 Medal Box.jpg

William Richmond Thomas, Christamas WW1 Tin.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello,

Your great grandfather's service record doesn't appear to have survived the fire bombs in WWII.

Attached is his medal index card which shows he received the British War and Victory medals. Only receiving a medal pair indicates he didn't go overseas until Jan. 1916 at the very earliest. Therefore if he was at Mons it would have been in Nov. 1918.

W/R is Waterways and Railways. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-corps-of-royal-engineers-in-the-first-world-war/ 

I think as his medal box shows RAMC he first entered theatre in that Corps and transferred to the RE at a later date. I don't subscribe to Ancestry so can't check pension records. 

30850_A001543-01934.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am interested by this post, as I belong to a living history group which portrays the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Great War period.  I would have thought that a transfer from the RAMC to the RE would be unusual but presumably something in his civilian job /skills set suggested to the authorities that he would be more useful on railways or canals than as a stretcher bearer or medical aide.

Tony, I'm also very interested to see that he was given a new serial number.  Was that common?  In the Canadian Expeditionary Force men were re-assigned on reaching England, or even in Canada, but the originally issued serial stayed with the soldier throughout his service in the vast majority of cases, which can be confusing.   Each of the 240+ battalions was given a block of numbers to issue, to avoid duplication, but as many units were broken up form reinforcements on reaching the UK, so the block prefix only really tells one which battalion he enlisted in.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter,

I don’t really know the ins and outs but in basic terms and only up to 1920 each regiment issued their own number, if a soldier changed to a different regiment he received a number that belonged to his new regiment.

See here https://www.rlcarchive.org/Help/Enlistment 

Post 1920 block numbers https://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/mm/army_service_numbers.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Tony.  That helps. 

The Canadian Expeditionary Force is/was a military oddity: The Minister of Militia, who hated the snotty-nosed British officers sent over every year to train 'our boys', was himself the embodiment of all the worst traits the Victorian officer corps: vindictive, grasping and stupid.  When War was declared he basically ignored our tiny standing army and started over from scratch, raising the CEF.  One of the few sensible things that was done was to assign, very early, number blocks, so every one of the 660,000 recruits had a unique identifier. There are a few of the older units which had to be 'counselled' to accept the new method and so there are a very few duplicate numbers, mostly men already serving, but by and lafrge the system worked well and is a real boon to researchers. :)

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Blog Comments

    • As a theology student my professor, a much published former Naval chaplain, set us an essay, saying that if we could answer that successfully we would be guaranteed  a good degree "Which of the gospel writers was the biggest liar, discuss."   I got a good mark, but  don't want to be burned for heresy.   P
    • As my father used to say: "Tain't so much Pappy's a liar - he just remembers big."  
    • Brian: First, let me say that I always enjoy reading your blog and your "spot on" comments.  Another fine topic with such a broad expansion into so many different facets.  I had watched this a week or two ago and when reading your blog, it reminded me of this great quote.   There is a great video on the origins of "Who was Murphy in Murphy's Law"   Anyway, about mid way through this video, there is this great quote and I think it sums it up quite well to your statem
    • I've received word from the Curator that she has permission to re-open this summer.   We're already making plans for a November event at the Museum.   Michael
    • I recall I did the same on hot days at Old Fort York back in 1973-74 - wool uniforms, and at 90F they would let you take your backpack off.   Michael
×
×
  • Create New...