Is this a commonly found document or a one off?

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by gmyles, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    This was highlighted on the forum a few days ago and it is a goldmine of useful info for anyone interested in 1/4 Essex.

    Question is, was this book a one off or did every battalion have one.

    And if others do exist, where can I find them.

    Kew? Regimental Museums?

    dbf likes this.
  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    This appears to be a straightforward transcript of the Regimental War Diary.

    Every Regiment/Brigade/Division etc had a War Diary but they didn't normally write them up as a transcript as well. Similar transcripts do exist for other Units. War Diaries are kept at Kew with period copies also kept elsewhere (Bovington Tank Museum, for example, holds many 'second' copies of RAC War Diaries). The Kew copy should be considered the definitive one because other copies don't always include Appendices etc.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I agree, in the main it looks like transcribed WD, but at the end are lists, which are similar to many included in appendices of Regimental Histories - Roll of Honour, and Awards & Decorations.

    In some Histories I have, the lists are broken down by Officer/OR, by theatre or bn, occasionally adding Casualty type (KIA/DOW/Died/Battle Accident) while a few even include date of wounding. CG has a wonderful Appendix which includes for instance all Officers' details - commission type, promotion, award, theatre, bn service - but no Casualty type in the Roll of Honour itself. The GG Roll does include this extra bit of info, as well as place of casualty.

    Some diaries include similar info -
    Roll of honour in appendix here
    and at the bottom of this linked post

    So I assume, for the individual Histories, that somebody had the job of collating this information from official records (*nominal rolls, casualty lists) held by the regiment and I've never seen any of *those documents within the war diaries themselves.
  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    I agree. There are many styles of Regimental History and this one appears very good from a historical point of view because of the raw comprehensive information it contains. It's a pity this style was not part of a standing brief because it would have made our research into our own Regiments of interest so much easier!
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  5. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Thanks everyone.

    Yes the start is just extracts from the WDs, but I have never seen such detailed casualty lists with descriptions of wounds received. The medal lists are also another useful resource.

    Thanks also for helping me figure out that ACC meant 'Accident'. :) RAD also mentioned means "Remained at Duty".

    And yes, if this was the "norm" our research would have been so much easier.

  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thing is, I'm sure that this info was 'there' in some form, as it must have been produced by each unit or battalion out of necessity (for reinforcement purposes), just not required to be filed in the WD appendices. Which we all agree is a right shame.

    However, the War Office would have collated these lists from the unit data, as per DannyM's attachment in link, now archived under TNA series WO 417, also published in a simpler format by papers such as The Times -

    And as our dear Major Joe explained
    So perhaps hidden away in some regimental archives are these very Rolls. That or they've gone on a bonfire.
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles


    I've no idea how standard such paperwork was, but it is useful and I think I'm going to contact the uploader in an attempt to find out where the originals are - especially as I've found that at least one page is missing and a couple of the entries are illegible because of the quality of the copy.

    I've just written to another relative of a 1/4th soldier and managed to inform him of the bodily location of his father's gunshot wound and the date on which it was sustained - which is pretty damned detailed for seventy-five years ago.

    Edit: message sent - will update.

    dbf likes this.
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I've seen an extract of one for the 8th Hussars, but have no idea where the 'original' was or is held. It might be significant that it's in a standard exercise book rather than a dedicated book or form - perhaps some units kept their own version of the official returns for easy reference or checking?
  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Those unofficial-looking typewritten copies of the War Diaries also give named locations in place of the six-figure grid references that feature on the few pages of the standard copies from Kew I have seen - much more helpful in the absence of their original maps.

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