Those who served in both World Wars

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by skywalker, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    My Grandfather Arthur Peake was born in April 1891. He joined the 1st Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on 7/1/1915 and served in France from 14/4/1915 until 9/9/1915. He was posted home due to ill health. (suffered from gas in the trenches) He was then posted to the 3rd Service Battalion KORL.
    Sometime after that he was posted to the Northumberland Fusiliers service battalion.
    In August 1918 he joined the Royal Air Force and was selected for Officer Training and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
    The war was almost over and he was transferred back to the Norhumberland Fusiliers and later demobbed.

    Part of his WW1 service record survived as it was with his WW11 record.

    In July 1940 aged 49 he joined the Royal Artillery and received an emergency commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was attached to various AA "Z" Regiments of the Home Guard. (Exeter Saltash and Bristol) There is a notation against one posting that he was Admin Officer.
    He received various promotions the last being Temporary Major 25/8/1944
    He was discharged as medically unfit 9/5/1945.

    GrandadWW!.jpg Arthur Peake Royal Artillery.JPG
  2. spidge


    He certainly crammed a lot into to his first 54 years - You should be very proud of him!
    DianeE likes this.
  3. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    One of my concurrent research projects is the life of a minor Russian nobleman of the Cossack nobility. In 1914, at the age of 14 he absconded from school and ran away to volunteer with the Russian Artillery in Poland. After some shennanigans his parents caught up to him and dragged him home. He left again in 1916 and joined the Turkestan Infantry, Scout troop, where he suffered a GSW to the leg and was awarded a George Medal (Russian). When he was in hospital he passed the exams for Cossack Cavalry college and was, with the Tsar's permission, accepted onto the officer trainning course. By 1917 he's on the Eastern Front fighting the Austrians, then he takes part in Kornilov's attempted Coup against Kerensky, which aided the Bolsheviks in taking over in Russia. As Royalist he is put on a Bolshevik death list and has to flee Russia early in 1918. He gets to Singapore (after trying to join the French Army in French Indochina) and is posted to Egypt where he gets attached to some Australian Light Horse and takes part in the attack on Megido (which I believe is the last Cavalry charge of the war?). By October he's in London trying to get posted to the Western Front when, much to his chargrin, the Armistice is declared. So he signs on at Cambridge but then he gets tapped on the Shoulder for one of Churchill's little jolly's, the British Siberian Mission, and, now a subaltern in the British Army, he's back to Siberia as an officer translator.

    He's at Omsk at the end of 1919 when the White Army collapses and once again has to flee along the Trans-Siberain railway to get away from the Bolsheviks. On the way he almosts drowns, meets his first wife, nearly freezes, catches typhoid and eventually escapes into Harbin, crosses China and gets back to Singapore. Resigns his commision and knocks about the Far East as a mines engineer and Geologist. Pitches up in Oz to catch up with some old Desert mates, becomes a British Citizen and moves to India. Sometime in the 1930's he drives a car from Calcutta to England the long way, going via North Africa (runs out of water in the desert and nearly dies again). Gets to Paris, divorces his first wife and makes the journery back to Calcutta smashing the time record. Goes to Australia again, Drives down the Stuart Highway in a ford (it wasn't even a road then, mot evena track in places) learns to fly a plane meets his second wife and then back to India. WWII breaks out he goes to England joins the Royal Engineers and is posted to the Western Desert (he's 40 now and they want him for a base job .. but he's having none of it). Joins a RE Squadron attached to 7th Armoured and is involved in some scary stuff, never happiest then if he's right up the front and beyond the leading edge of advance. Indeed he is injured serving with a Guards unit when one of his own men hit him with a Grenade! Wins the MC! Back to Blighty, over to France, assigned 11th Armoured. Shot five times recc-ing Poutanges for a Bailey bridge, goes back to report before passing out! Back in the front line a couple weeks later and goes all the way to Osnabruk where he is killed by a German shell whilst sitting quietly in his Scout Car, having earlier that morning bounced the bridge at Eversheide whilst the Germans were trying to blow it, he and his Sgt got out and stripped the explosives. The Germans blew the railway bridge right along side and all involved speculated that they only had seconds to spare when getting the explosives ripped out.

    His first wife got caught by the Japanese in Manilla was a Tenko-ish POW for the duration! His second wife was with him in London and served with the British Red Cross as an Ambulance driver, Nurse during the Blitz.

    His medal ribbon is quite interesting to behold! Even after he died the story did not end as the first and second wives got into some protracted legal battles with the second wife suffering at the hands fo the first wife! He had always believed that his family in Russia has been wiped out by the Bolsheviks and indeed a number of his family did die at their hands. However, miost survived, many of them to be killed during WWII (his sister was serving as a partisan in the Ukraine and was executed by the Germans). His youngest sister prospered as an Academic Geologist in Soviet Russia and she, and her son, spent her whole lives trying to find out what happened to him. All they knew was that he had disappeared during the Russian Civil War but there were trantailsing rumours that he had been spotted in Australia. After the collapse of the Soviet the sister and her son got in touch with the Red Cross and asked them to track him down but they were unsuccessful (translation of his Russian name stymied them I think). I finally tracked down his family only to find that both Sister and her son had died. I did manage to hook up with a cousin and his great niece and was able to tell them what happened to him whilst also getting a lot of info on his Russian family. A couple of manuscripts from an aunt who laid out the immediate family history surrounding our boys dad and his growing up and everyone else in the family including grandparents! All in Russian (which I don't speak or read but its amazing what one can teach oneself late at night with a bottle of Bushmills to hand;-) ). Going slowly at the moment but hope to finsih the writing up sometime this year, especially as it is the anniversary year of his first flight from Mother Russia!
    Tricky Dicky and Ron Goldstein like this.
  4. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    .In the interests of balance, it is important to point out that there were men who were conscientious objectors in both wars.
  5. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Those who fought in both world wars tended to be A.) Senior officers who were junior officers during the first unpleasantness B.) Just barely old enough at the end of WWI and Just barely eligable at the beginning of WWII or C.) Volunteered far too young during the first war. By and large a conscientious objector didn't necessarily come up against the selection baord until he was deemed of sufficient age to fight thus, anyone of sufficient age to fight in WWI was too old to be eligible to fight in WWII and therefore had no need to be registered as a conscientious objector for WWII. So on balance I can't see that there'd be too many people who were called-up in both wars and who where conscientious objectors. In fact it must have been a very, very short list!
    Chris C likes this.
  6. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member Patron

    I read a story about an American soldier in WW1, who was in the 5th Division in France, sometime in 1918. Not sure what sector his unit was in, but he went inside a concrete reinforced German bunker that they overran. While in there, he scribbled on the wall his name, unit, hometown, and the current date before getting out and rejoining his buddies. Fast forward to 1944, the same guy (still a private), in the same regiment of the 5th Infantry Division, finds the same bunker he went into in 1918 and sees his graffiti still on the wall. So he adds to it, to the effect of "here I am again, with the same unit, in a different war, in the same place, and I hope I never have to come over here again".
  7. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Not quite as short as you might think. In late 1941, under the same Act which introduced conscription for women, the maximum age for male call-up was raised from 41 to 51. This power was not used generally for call-up of older men to fulll-time active service, but was used for compulsory enrolment of a number of such men into the Home Guard, which had ceased to be solely voluntary. Such men were eligible for entering on the Register of Conscientious Objectors. One man produced his WW1 Conscientious Objection certificate to show to his WW2 Tribunal.

    Incidentally, some of the older men who were registered as conscientious objectors in this way were men who had volunteered or accepted conscription in WW1, but as a result of such experience had decided, Never again.
  8. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    I have been researching Home Front battalions of infantry and a Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment from 1940-44. At the end of June 40 the War Office created 60 new infantry battalions to cover the 62,000 killed missing wounded and POW after the B.E.F. retreated. In the three T.A. battalions formed that week that I have looked at all , Lt Colonels, their Brigadier, most Majors, many Captains and some Lieutenants and Sgt majors were all WW1 veterans usually.There seems to have been a large call up as they scraped the barrel for experience to train and lead the new units as every current ex BEF man was then needed "to fight on the beaches" or re-form their dislocated unit.

    Home Defence Battalions, usually the highest numbered TA units and after end of 1941(?) numbered in the 30's, were usually manned by the over aged men i.e. WW1 men who trained up new younger troops who then went to front line units. H.D. battalions at first guarded Vulnerable Points, until the Home Guard were armed and proficient enough to do the job, increasingly from autumn 1940 on wards..

    A couple of things I learned. If the person you are researching is an officer, the Times Digital Newspapers you can usually get access to in the local library will usually get you their promotion path. Sometimes an obituary. Secondly the Territorial Decoration (T.D.) TA Army long service decoration can often give you a clue that they are long service. 20 years in T.A. and war service counts double. Service in the ranks counted half. See WIKI for a longer explanation.
    My own grandfather, born 1896, served in the S. Staffs on the Western Front and re-enlisted in the Royal Engineers in 1940 at the age of 43. he was Y Listed and then discharged medically unfit in 1942, having escaped from St Nazaire by crossing France, then working at Dover in winter 41 building Fan Bay gun batteries, Dover Castle new tunnels (barracks) and in tents at RAF Bottisham and Turnhouse, airfield defences. Those winters in 1940's were b...dy awful. I think it did for him.
  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    On 28/10/39 a photograph was taken of the six members of 1/4th Essex (a territorial army unit) currently wearing the 1914-15 (Mons) star: the C.O, the Q.M., One P.S.M., two regular serjeants and one lance-corporal.

    This fact surprised me, although of this number I believe that of this number only the commanding officer (possibly the Q.M.--would have to check) was still with the battalion when they went overseas roughly a year later.

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