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Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

Article about: I've been intending to post this for a while, and whilst isnt actually about ww1 relics it does start with one. Back when I was smaller in the early 80s I found 2 old medals in an old wardro

  1. #1
    Reg
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    Default Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

    I've been intending to post this for a while, and whilst isnt actually about ww1 relics it does start with one.

    Back when I was smaller in the early 80s I found 2 old medals in an old wardrobe on the farm I lived on, the first was a police reserve medal (black and red ribbon) belonging to my great grandfather A Naylor, the other was a ww1 victory medal to a J Naylor 5000, Royal war regt. The first was easy enough to explain, A Naylor (gt grandfather) had polio as a child and couldnt enlist, but was made a special constable, the second bore the itintial of my grandfather Joseph, born in 1918, so obviously there was another J Naylor in the family before my grandfather, after a few questions family tradition had it that Joe senior (Arthurs older brother) was listed missing on the somme. Arthur subsequently 2 years after his brothers death naming his newborn son after his missing older brother.



    The years passed until I became a bit more curious about Joe senior, so I resolved in 1995 to start a little more investigation. A letter to the Royal Warwickshire regimental museum in Warwick revealed that he died on 25/07/1916, indeed on the Somme....but where? And why was he in the Warwickshire regiment when he had lived in Derbyshire all of his 27 years (never did get the answer to this)

    The letter from the museum also contained a copy of the months regimental war diary, a pic of which should be below... It revealed that the 1/7th were engaged in attacking a stromg point close to Pozieres to asist the Anzacs on the day Joe is listed as missing, and that the attack had failed after stokes mortars fell short and killed some of the attacking force! of the 18 killed that day 7 were killed in a "blue on blue".

    This was as far as I could get with the investigation at the time, studies and other things got in the way until a few years ago when I dusted the old file off and noticed that there was a map reference to the strongpoint that was being attacked, a quick input of this gibberish 57D SE revealed a company in Leeds who would print a copy of the map....So I sent off for it, eagerly awaiting it and dissappointed when I couldnt figure out how to translate the grid reference (being ex mil and only understanding numbers) After a few hrs searching the internet for any ideas I suddeny realised that the instructions on how to take a grid reference were printed on the side of the map Doh!

    The point should be marked on a copy of the map below by a circle and the approximate arcs of fire.

    I took a trip in 2007 to the Theipval memorial and the Ledger Ex-Para tour guide (who even though I was a former crap-hat) agreed to stop to let me take a picture of the position of the strong point and the ground in front of it, picture should also be below. Peaceful enough of course now, and a lovely april sunny day.

    I am satisfied that pinpointing the approximate square kilometer where Joe met his end is the nearest I can get. The family to my knowledge never visited the site before or the name on the memorial (which odly enough faces the village of pozieres) but there are still gaps....hence the reason for the post! If anyone has any information on what the 1/7th Royal war reg got upto before the somme I would be fascinated to know, also there are no known pictures of Joe in uniform. There is quite alot about the 1/8 Royal war birmingham palls, but little on the 1/7th
    Does anyone know if there are any Royal Warwickshire Regiment graves in the nearby British cemetary on the Albert Bapaumne rd? I plan another visit but it wont be in the near future. Any info would be greatly appreciated,

    With thanks and best wishes
    Reg
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  2. #2

    Default re: Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

    This is a great story. I love these kinds of threads.

    I will ask a friend of mine to see if he has any info which might help: the Royal Warwickshire Regt in WW1 is his speciality.

    Cheers, Ade.

  3. #3
    Reg
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    Default Re: Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

    Fantastic...Appreciated Ade! Ive found some ww1 reserved occupation board cards from some of the farm workers in the archives, one for Alf Brelsford, Cowman, dated early 1916 and another several months later after the huge losses on the somme putting severe job restrictions and pressure on him and forcing him to join the local reserves, poiniant! Ill post them when I get time soon.

    Reg

  4. #4
    OKW
    ?

    Default Re: Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

    Hi, your relative had the same job as my grandfather who again was slotted in 1916, not 1914 as family rumour would have, probably a result of the Derby scheme. Possibly your relative ended up in the Warwicks as a result of a sense of adventure in a time when a cowman thought it exciting to travel 20 miles. Recruiting sgt asks where would you like to go, with a bit of theres vacancies with such and such, fine regiment good history etc. My grandfather from Worcs ended up in the Bedford Regt via the Suffolks.

  5. #5
    Reg
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    Default Re: Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

    Have found a pic...will post soon. Reg

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

    Excellent story Reg...& good detective work... I'm sat here awaitng the photo..lol Cheers Terry.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Finding "Uncle" Joe on the Somme

    Nice bit of detective work there, well done.

  8. #8
    Reg
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    Not in uniform, but taken in 1914.

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