5181626 John J Eldridge MM 2nd Bn Gloucestershire Regiment

Discussion in '1940' started by neil hunt, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    Looking for information on the above named individual:

    1) Service records before and after the actions of May-June 1940,
    2) Citation for his MM...award shown in London Gazette 20th December 1940, same issue that had Lt Julian Fane awarded the first of his two MC's
    3) Any statements from May-June 1940...especially that cover the escape from Cassel to Dunkirk, most likely with the Lt Julian Fane Group...looking to confirm this 110%
    4) A photo of him

    Thanks in advance...
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Re your numbered points -

    1. You need to apply to U.K. MOD for this man’s service records. They are not in the public domain.

    Get a copy of military service records

    2. Have you made an enquiry with the Regimental Museum?

    Soldiers Of Gloucestershire

    3. Don’t understand what you mean by statements? Have you looked in the Battalion War Diary?

    4. Your best bet for a photograph might a local newspaper of the time. He likely got a mention when he was awarded the MM.

    Good Luck

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  3. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

  4. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    Thanks Steve and Kyle

    Have read that thread and many others that mention the 2nd Bn GR in Belgium and France etc.

    The reason for my interest in this soldier...is that he made a Witness Statement I came across in the Gloucestershire Regiment Missing Men File that confirmed, that he saw my grandfather die at Malo-Les-Bains in an Air Raid (unfortunately no date of death given).

    However, I believe that I have been able to trace that Eldridge was with the Lt Fane Group that escaped from Cassel...so one of a very few that got this far from the 2nd Bn, after their actions in the Defensive Shield.

    1) I don't believe that we will be able to apply for Eldridge' Service Record, as we don't know when he died...and even if we did, not being NOK we wouldn't be able to get much in the way of detail. So the reason for my post was a very long shot: in that if someone in his family was doing research, that my post may come up in their search results!...and from there we may be able to access his full Service Record. Or I would get lucky and someone on here, would have more info from this man and maybe the others in the Fane Group.

    2) Am back from Aus for a brief visit to the UK in a couple of weeks time and do have a trip planned to the Museum...also have made a contact locally: Dave Hineson, who may also be able to try to see if he can get them to have a look for some of the details I'm still trying to chase down.

    3) Have seen some statements-accounts made by this man and others from the Lt Fane Group...as well as Fane himself: that provided great information on what they experienced in the escape over 4 nights from Cassel to Dunkirk...Am looking for more from Eldridge especially, as he was the one making the Death Witness Statement...and to hopefully 100% confirm he was with the Fane Group...Already saw a part of an account from Fane, that said that his group was caught in an Air Raid and blown up/out of the house they were sheltering in...on the Beach Front at Malo-Les-Bains on June 2nd.
    If I can confirm that the Witness Eldridge is the Fane Group Eldridge...I believe that we're then closer than ever, to a date of death for my grandfather. Have seen partial accounts/statements in the thread highlighted by Kyle by people in the Fane Group...and have Fane's account up to the point they crossed into the Dunkirk Perimeter the morning of June 2nd...am trying to fill in the blanks and get more details.

    4) Great idea to try a local Newspaper...however, we can't be sure he is a Gloucester man! My grandfather was from North Oxfordshire (Sibford) and joined up at Oxford in 1932. I believe that Eldridge would have known my grandfather quite well and that there is a chance they joined up at about the same time, or were in training at the same time: Eldridge was 5181626 and my grandfather 5181659...However I don't know for sure how the numbers were issued at that time. Comes back round to being keen to see his Service Record...as that will confirm things on that loop as well.
    Have done a search on the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum Website and found two good ones of my grandfather...however, haven't been able to locate one on there for Eldridge...am hoping if I can get at their Archivist to carry out a search, these things will all come together.

    Just thought I would try here...to see if I can head off some of the details earlier and then save some money on a researcher at the museum etc.

    Attached Files:

    • 8.jpg
      File size:
      96 KB
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Apply for his service records
    you will not find them on the internet on pay for sites or anything about him on the internet
    all you need is his date of birth and death cert and the bonus is you have his service number

    you dont need to be next of kin
    so my suggestion sort out
    getting his birth date and death cert

    you will save money by getting his service records for £30
    even if he died less than 25 years ago you get a good profile of his time in the regiment
  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Sorry I wasn’t aware that you had posted in other “related” topics when I responded. That is the downside of posting on multiple topics - it can confuse members.

    Re your response to my point 4 -

    While you are in U.K. you ought to consider visiting one of our local libraries and ask if they allow free access to Ancestry/Findmypast and especially British Newspaper Archive. If they have - especially access to BNA - join the library - they may even give you “guest” status without joining (you may even be staying with a relative that might already have library membership) and just do a name search for him on BNA and he might turn up. Not all local newspapers have been digitised for BNA so a visit to a library in Gloucester area may turn up microfiche copies of their local newspaper.

    Having said all that it might be that a forum member is able to search BNA?

    Good Luck

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  7. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    The Military Medal to John Eldridge was in the London Gazette on 20 December 1940:

    5181626 Sergeant JOHN ELDRIDGE, The Gloucester Regiment

    Page 7174 | Supplement 35020, 20 December 1940 | London Gazette | The Gazette

    I notice two items from Gloucestershire newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive that may be for John Eldridge 5181626.

    I don't have a subscription to Find my past or the BNA so can only give the summaries.

    DECORATED BY THE KING Company Quarter Master Sergeant John Eldridge, of the Gloucestershire Regiment, was among those decorated by the King with the Military Medal at a recent investiture. ...
    Published: Saturday 04 October 1941
    Newspaper: Cheltenham Chronicle
    County: Gloucestershire, England

    FALL OF COLOGNE EXPECTED AT ANY HOUR. by! shrapnel at Blerick, near Venlo. PRESTBURY MAN'S AWARD Holder of the highly-prized military medal is Colour-Sergt.' John Eldridge, whose wife and daughter live at Bank Cottage, High-street, Prestbury. A regular soldier before the war with the Indian ...
    Published: Tuesday 06 March 1945
    Newspaper: Gloucestershire Echo

    Results for 'john eldridge' | Between 1st Jan 1940 and 31st Dec 1949 | British Newspaper Archive

    Results for 'john eldridge' | Between 1st Jan 1940 and 31st Dec 1949 | British Newspaper Archive
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  8. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    Thanks very much for the suggestion of the BNA and then the search results above...have had a quick look at can see a few for him:
    Marriage 28th April 1940...Birth of Daughter in around 1942...then the ones you highlighted above.

    Will look to see how much membership is...as I think access to these and then more searches on others of interest would be very useful and will certainly help if I can open them up fully...the 1945 snippet sounds very interesting.

    Knowing where he married and a place he was living with his wife...then daughter, will certainly help me close in on a date of Birth and hopefully from that a date of death...allowing me to apply for at least the basic Service Record.

    Cheers guys...and sorry for the multiple posts in various threads, has been an ongoing development into fresh info and knowledge, that has led me to almost having all the details together to confirm my grandfathers date of death.

    Drew sent me the link again yesterday to download the Bn War Diary...I that was able to find a few interesting details that tied in well to my Grandfathers Service Record...unfortunately May 1940 was lost and so I missed out on seeing May 10th, when his leave party from the UK would have returned to the Bn.

    However, in it's place was a set of various statements mostly from two Officers who were with the Bn at that time: One that was injured at Tournai and was Evacuated, but the account is mainly compiled by Capt R.E.D Brasington the QM...and he finished off by having a number of the Fane Group make statements, which with info he has written up help to a degree.

    It shows that Lt Fane came through to the UK with 9 men...including Cpl Eldridge 5181626 and that means that I have my final confirmation link to the Death Witness Statement...that this group was basically the only one to arrive back from those that left Cassel on the night of 29/30 May.

    Potentially one of the OR statements may help me confirm that my grandfather was with B Coy and most likely 10 or 11plt...also, I can see that at the point Lt Fane and his group organised themselves on the morning of the 31st, they were 10 men + Fane...meaning the missing man from this group that didn't get home was most likely L/Cpl Archie Bertram Kaye!
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Heres a stab in the dark

    John Eldridge
    BIRTH 8 JUL 1909 • Hempstead, Gloucestershire, England
    DEATH APR 1990 • Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England

    From his birth it would give him enough time to become a Sjt by 1940 and he seems to have lived in the area or at least had roots there all his life. If there was a wifes name then perhaps the 1939 Register might pin her down to Prestbury

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  10. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    Thanks TD...

    Actually he was officially a L/Cpl at the time of the actions in Cassel and escape through Dunkirk...by the end of 1940 he was up to Sgt, I suppose the fact that there weren't many left after Dunkirk and his being awarded a MM...it would explain the jump in rank.

    He was a CQMS by 1942-3 and a Colour Sgt in March 1945. His wife was: Doris Irene Purvey they married on 28/04/1940.

    I think it's likely that he joined up in 1932 as he has a Serial Number very close to my grandfather and he joined up March 32: J.E 5181626 & A.K 5181659. He may have left after 7 years and gone on the Reserve List...as had my grandfather. Unfortunately he was called back up within 6mths.
  11. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    BNA has been very useful today...may have to join.
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
    Name: John Eldridge
    Registration Date: Apr 1940
    [May 1940]
    [Jun 1940]
    Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
    Registration district: Cheltenham
    Inferred County: Gloucestershire
    Spouse: Doris I Purvey
    Volume Number: 6a
    Page Number: 1432

    British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920
    Name: Doris Irene Purvey
    Birth Date: 11 Jul 1913
    Birth Place: Prestbury
    Age: 3
    Document Year: 1916
    Relationship to Soldier: Child
    Form Title: Descriptive Report on Enlistment
    Number of Images: 6
    Other Records:
    Family Members:
    Name Relation to Soldier
    George Purvey Self (Head)
    Elizabeth Mary Tilley Spouse
    Maisey Eleanor Purvey Child
    Winifred Sarah Purvey Child
    Doris Irene Purvey Child

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  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    1939 England and Wales Register
    Name: Doris J Purvey
    [Doris J Eldridge]
    Gender: Female
    Marital status: Single
    Birth Date: 11 Jul 1913
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: 1 Bank Cottages
    Residence Place: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
    Occupation: Domestic Service
    Schedule Number: 82
    Sub Schedule Number: 3
    Enumeration District: ODAL
    Registration district: 326-1
    Inferred Father: George Purvey
    Inferred Mother: Elizabeth M Purvey

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  14. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    Found a few interesting bits on the BNA that I copied...

    Attached Files:

  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Evelyn J Eldridge Jan 1942 Jan-Feb-Mar Cheltenham Gloucestershire

    Doreen A Eldridge Jan 1949 Jan-Feb-Mar Cheltenham Gloucestershire

    David J Eldridge Jan 1949 Jan-Feb-Mar Cheltenham Gloucestershire

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: John Eldridge
    Death Age: 80
    Birth Date: 8 Jul 1909
    Registration Date: Apr 1990
    Registration district: Gloucester
    Inferred County: Gloucestershire
    Volume: 22
    Page: 1842

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Doris Irene Eldridge
    Death Age: 85
    Birth Date: 11 Jul 1913
    Registration Date: Jun 1999
    Registration district: Cirencester
    Inferred County: Gloucestershire
    Register Number: 37D
    District and Subdistrict: 4801
    Entry Number: 273

    Your initial concern was to obtain his service records for which you need a death certificate. I would suggest you obtain the death cert for the John Eldridge above and check to see who registered the death, it might have been Doris who was still alive at the time or one of their children - names as above. This would effectively confirm you have the right man and therefore you can apply for his service records

    Fingers crossed

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  16. neil hunt

    neil hunt Member

    Thanks TD...I have just about enough documentary evidence to be able to confirm the date of death for my grandfather to 02/06/1940.

    I'm still really interested in finding out more about John and seeing his Service Record: should help me see how closely he and my grandfather served from 1932 onward...also the record may contain the Medal Citation, and I'd like to see that. Almost all the Officers that got back received the MC, one Senior NCO the CGM, and several MM's...it looks like most of the rest of the NCO's and OR from the Fane Group were MID.

    Also, as I now know the story far better about the 2nd and their actions in Belgium and France., especially in Cassel..finding out more about John will just add to the file I'm building up.

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