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             The Story So Far! January 2001  
 
 
 

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 medals.

 
 
 
            Doug Vaugh, England 17th March 2001                                    Contact me Doug Vaugh