Every day on the British Army Ancestors Facebook page I take time to commemorate a British soldier. This post will look at three of the men I have remembered recently. From left to right: Thomas Smith, Herbert Wade, and Frederick Tanner.
Remembering Thomas Smith
19255 Pte Thomas Smith was born in Worcester and was resident in Worcester at the start of the First World War. He enlisted in Worksop, Nottinghamshire in about November 1914 and by the 4th October 1915 he was overseas. Thomas’s medal index card notes that he died of wounds but Soldiers Died in the Great War records that he was killed in action and this is supported by the Soldiers Effects Register entry which notes that his death was presumed to have occurred on or since the 20th April 1916.
Thomas’s wife is recorded as Elizabeth Green in this entry, with all the children’s names listed and a note that an equal share of the money owing to Thomas at the time of his death (£4, 15 shillings and two pence, later supplemented by a war gratuity of £6), was to be “retained until they [the children] reach the age of 15 and have left the care of the Poor law Guardians”.
Herbert George Wade of Church End, Great Dunmow, Essex had already served 21 years with the Essex Regiment and earned himself a long service and good conduct medal into the bargain by the time he re-enlisted with the Army Service Corps in February 1915. By then he was nearly 42 years old.
Herbert had enlisted with the Essex Regiment in December 1889, stating his age 18. In fact he had been born in 1873 and so he was probably just 16 years old. Service with the Essex Regiment had taken him to Cyprus and India, and service in the ASC during the Great War would take him to France and Belgium. He would finally be discharged in December 1918 as “surplus to military requirements” which, although a simple definition of KR para 392 (xxva) at the time, does seem a rather harsh statement on which to draw to a close a man’s army service of nearly 26 years.
23345 Colour Sergeant Frederick George Tanner of the South Wales Borderers was on duty in Mesopotamia when this photograph was taken of him. He served with the 12th and the 4th Battalions but this shot must have been taken when he was with the 4th Battalion as the 12th Battalion, disbanded in 1918, only served in France.
The medal roll entry entry for the British War and Victory Medal notes that Frederick held the rank of acting colour sergeant with both the 4th and the 12th Battalions, but finished the war as an acting company quarter master sergeant. The 4th Battalion insignia can clearly be seen in this photograph: a green rectangle with white vertical stripe on his helmet and a green patch, but this time with a horizontal stripe,on his left shoulder.