Perhaps not the whole story so far, just a little snippit of it,
anyway please do read on.
Hugh, my brother and I planned a completely selfish trip to the
Public Record Office at Kew,
just outside London. Most of my trips have been undertaken with
a long list of wants and wishes for many other people, this is aside
from the tasks I have on my own extensive list. So for a change
we set off at seven in the morning, unhindered by anything other
than our own requests. Arriving at Kew in plenty of time to relax
over a pot of tea, pondering the day ahead waiting for the record
office to open its doors. We already had a list of tasks and several
PRO references, however this time we had not pre-ordered any documents;
this is something we normally do to save time by having documents
ready to view when we arrive.
As some of you may have noticed the latest pages presented on this
site have had a slightly military slant and have been focused upon
the South of Ireland Yeomanry,
the South Irish Horse
and the 7th (SIH) Battalion Royal Irish Regiment. I did remind Hugh
that we were going to post biographical details for some of the
officers and men, thus fulfilling my need to maintain at least some
connection with genealogy. The South
Irish Horse pages grew, like most things of substance, from
small beginnings. In this case three family photographs. Two of
these photographs had the name Frank
Vaugh on the back and the other had the name of his brother
Gordon, the date 1917 and
the name Bethune, a small French Village, also written on it's back.
These are two of the three sons of Wilton
Vaugh. Through some devious research, standing in a local bookshop
browsing the military section, we discovered the uniform to be of
the pre First World War period and the badge, visible on one of
the photographs, to belong to the South Irish Horse. Subsequently
we have discovered that the one marked as Gordon,
is in fact an as yet unidentified member of the South Irish Horse.
Anyway back to the present, our main task at Kew was to consult
the three medal rolls, one for the 1914
Star one for the 1914
- 1915 Star and the final one for the Victory Medal and British
War medal combined. The hope being that these rolls would, like
many other British Army records, be arranged by regiment. Our aim
is to produce a nominal roll which is as complete as possible. Understanding
the complexities of the record arrangement is the subject of a whole
web site and beyond me at present. See amongst the list of links
at the foot of this page for guidance in this matter. There are
two approaches which can be taken, start with a name and consult
the microfiche name index in WO/389 this gives individual details
on a card, or as in our case start with a regimental name and find
the actual medal rolls themselves.
We were in search of the SIH in the 1914
Star medal roll, the reference was found in quick time and the
documents ordered, one each for officers and other ranks. While
we waited for the documents to arrive, normally around half an hour
at Kew, we started on the more difficult task of locating the 1914
- 1915 Star medal roll. The SIH does not appear in the normal
regimental list. Being a Special Reserve Cavalry regiment it normally
falls after the cavalry but before the yeomanry. Suffice to say
the SIH was not in the list, so on to plan "B" always a good thing
to have a plan "B" and in almost all cases plans through to "F"
are a good idea. Fortunately we had a couple of names to go on so
we were able to locate these in the microfiche index in WO/389.
After a little bit of cross referencing we located the SIH amongst
the Royal Irish Regiment in WO/329/2668 this was ordered and the
SIH found in the latter half of the document bundle. As they were
all together we ordered photocopies for later transcription.
The final series of records to look at covered the Victory Medal
and British War medal, these again were identified through a cross
reference and the relevant documents located. There are eight volumes
of documents each with a thousand pages and between five and seven
men on each page. The eight volumes cover all the battalions of
the Royal Irish Regiment with the men of the SIH amongst them, the
SIH men being identified in two ways, one because their regimental
numbers normally fall in the range 25000 - 26000 and the other is
the previous regiment is noted on the entry. One of the most remarkable
discoveries on the day was the sheer number of men who were commissioned,
no less than forty seven from the one hundred and seventy nine on
the 1914 Star medal roll.
The results of this trip can be seen in part on the medal roll page
linked from here.
We have two more trips planned and I might even get around to writing
about them in the near future, time permitting that is .
If you are still wondering about the strange WO/389 and the WO/329
references above, visit the Public
Record Office web site here, follow the link to start your research
and then the link to Leaflets, one of them gives details about campaign