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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

Remembrance roll call - #WWI

Like most people, I'm sure, my family history's wartime and military research has had mixed fortunes - some successes, occasional frustration over missing records, mystery photographs and many unanswered questions. Here are a few of my WWI discoveries.

Alfred Joseph Saunders - joined the Royal Naval Air Service as ground crew, serving in Vendome, France. (I have no idea about the dog!) I'll be posting more about Alfred's WWI story next week.

Thomas James Diggory – joined the King’s Own Hussars in 1915. He was wounded badly in the leg, an injury which would debilitate him for the remainder of his life. The family always proudly displayed this photograph of him on his horse but during my research I discovered that he only trained with the cavalry and had transferred to the Gloucester infantry. Why did he switch?

George Diggory (above left)- served with Lincolnshire Regiment and was wounded by a gunshot to the leg. In his photograph, a “wound stripe” can be clearly seen worn on his sleeve. I never knew about George’s wartime injury before I began my research as it was never mentioned by the family. Had it been overshadowed by brother Tom’s more serious condition?

Ernest George Shelley (above right) - served with both the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby regiment) and South Staffordshire regiment. He was posted to Boesinghe, near Ypres. Records show he was in the Royal Army Service Corps. According to family lore he guarded POWs. Is that true?

Serving women

Hilda Victoria Griffiths (above left)- served in Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps but I’ve been unable track down any records for her so far. Where was she based and what was her role?

Nora Patten (above right) - joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and transferred to the WRAF in April1918. She served at the Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire, as a “tailoress”. Her husband-to-be, Albany John Ward, transferred to the RAF also in April 1918 (when the RFC and the RNAS merged to become the RAF). Did she meet him at Upavon?

My mystery man

George James Vincent – joined the Motor Machine Gun Service in 1916, which would go on to be incorporated into the Tank Corps.

Although this fabulous photograph was amongst the family collection, for a long while I had no idea who he was.

After much research, I eventually discovered his identity, learning that he was born in Chepstow, was one of seven children and was a solicitor’s clerk before the war.

But there's one mystery I've never so far uncovered – What was his link with my family?

The search goes on!



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