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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

Mystery of George's #WW1 wound



A photograph of my great-uncle Tom Diggory, my gran's older brother, always stood proudly on my gran's mantelpiece.


Tom had been wounded in WW1 and the photograph (see left) showed him dressed in his "hospital" or "convalescent blues", the clothes he wore while recovering from the injury he sustained during the Gallipoli campaign. Tom's sad story (recounted in a previous blog post, Remembering - Two of my WW1 ancestors) was known by all the family.


However, what wasn't generally known was that Tom's brother, George, had also been wounded. A discovery I made only recently after deciphering a page of George's military records on Ancestry.


The odd thing about the page, though, was that the notes were in "mirror writing" as though the scan had picked up what was written on the reverse of the page.


With the assistance of a few canny genealogy enthusiasts through one of the family history Facebook groups, we worked out that George had suffered a gunshot wound to his leg.


Mistaken?


But, given that I'd never heard of George's injury before, I began to wonder whether the information I'd read had been not about George at all, but about someone else, whose details had leached through the paper from the other side.


There did seem to be something typed in the section titled "wounded" but (as you can see from the image on the right) it had been all but obliterated by the aforementioned handwritten account showing through from behind.


This week, with Remembrance Sunday nearly upon us, I decided to see if I could solve this mystery by finding out more about George, who'd served with the Lincolnshire regiment.


Searching for more evidence


On the Forces War Records website I found confirmation that he had definitely been wounded. His records note that George was "entitled to wear a wound stripe."


I'd not heard of a wound stripe before, but I learned that it was a piece of gold braid which was stitched length-ways on the left arm of a soldier's uniform to indicate that he had been wounded during the campaign (see left).


The army order, first issued in July 1916, stated that, ‘wounded’ refers only to those officers and soldiers whose names have appeared, or may hereafter appear, in the Casualty Lists as ‘wounded’. It made clear that (unsurprisingly!), "Accidental or self-inflicted wounds or injuries do not qualify."


Sadly, I don't have a picture of George in his uniform - with or without his wound stripe - but I do have a lovely photo of him with his wife Ethel and their family, taken around 1927.




George Diggory with his wife, Ethel (nee Price), and family circa 1927

 

Special Offer for Remembrance Weekend - you can research how war affected your ancestors for FREE on Find My Past from 8th-11th November 2019.


 


4 Comments


Wendy Percival
Wendy Percival
Nov 19, 2019

Ooo, must look out for that, Helen. We love The Repair Shop!

Isn’t it amazing how once you discover something, it crops up all over the place? 😁

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Helen Baggott
Helen Baggott
Nov 19, 2019

Just watching The Repair Shop on iPlayer and today's episode has a toy wearing a jumper with a wound stripe - RAF 2nd WW. Once you know, you know.

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Wendy Percival
Wendy Percival
Nov 08, 2019

Yes, interesting, isn't it, Helen? It made me want to go off and study the WW1 photos I'd got to see if I could spot one! But to be honest, I think the pictures I have were taken just after soldiers had been kitted out and before they'd seen any action.

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Helen Baggott
Helen Baggott
Nov 08, 2019

Lovely, Wendy. I didn't know about the wound stripes.

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