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Old Contemptibles

theodore

master brummie
I'm researching the men of the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment from August to November 1914. I would like to hear from any member who had a relative or who has any information on men from Birmingham (or the surrounding area) who served with the Battalion during this period. These men would be known as the Old Contemptibles after the Kaiser's famous remark about General French's contemptible little army.

Regards

Peter
 

lencops

gone but not forgotten
theodore, Post a message on the Worcestershire Regiment website and ask for info. Len.
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi Len,

Thanks for your reply, I have already been in contact with them. This is a new site for me and I thought I may get some new information about the Birmingham men serving with the Battalion. Birmingham was a major recruiting area for the Worcestershire Regiment. So far not a lot of replies, maybe not many members had a relative in the Worcesters 2nd Battalion.

Regards

Peter
 

lencops

gone but not forgotten
Hi theodore, Your thread re Old Contemptibles covers all the British Army in WW1, you may get more replies if you ask for "2nd Batt Worcestershire Soldiers relatives memories" in a thread or how you would like to word it. Len
 

patb

master brummie
Hello Peter
My husbands grandad.. Reuben Woodward was in the 2nd Battalion Worcershire Regiment, on his medal card the date of entry was 12/8/1914. there is a photo taken of him down the trenches with others in his regiment, this photo was on the bill boards around the parks when there was an exhibition on ww1 at the Birmingham Museum in the 80's and also featured in the Birmingham Mail Dec 5th 1881. the same photo was on the front cover of a book called ''The Old Contemptibles'' published in the 80's, I hope this is of interest to you.

Regards Pat
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi Len and Pat,

Thank you both for the information.

Pat,
I have 7231 Pte. Reuben Woodward on my database, as you say he went to France on 12th August 1914. He was discharged from the army on 10th April 1916. Reported in the Birmingham Daily Post Tuesday January 5th 1915 page 3 to be wounded, reported from base under date November 26th 1914. If you are unaware Reuben is on a list in Worcester Cathedral along with all the names of men of the 2nd Battalion Worcesters who went to France in August 1914. (a list for the 3rd Battalion is also there).
If you can supply me with any further information about Reuben, date of birth, when he enlisted in the army etc. It would be most appreciated. If you have a photograph of him that would also be very welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards

Peter
 

patb

master brummie
Hello Peter,
The Reuben Woodward in my tree was Pte 7382 ? according to the National Roll of the Great War, he was mobilised from the reserve in Aug 1914 and sent to France, there he fought at Mons, The Aisme,Ypress,Neuve Chapelle,La Brass, Loos, Festubert and The Somme, and was wounded 5 times and gassed. in 1920 he was serving in he R.A.F. and holds the Mon's Star,the General Service and the Victory medals.
He was born 29/11/1884 and died Jan/1947. I do have a copy of the photo down the trenches.. but has yet I haven't mastered how to send photo's to this site.
Regards Pat
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi Pat,

Sorry my mistake Reubens number was 7382 (I put part of the number from the chum under Rueben). Thank you for the additional information, it's just what I'm after for the database I'm working on. To date I have 1666 names and any new data is very welcome. If you can scan your photograph in you could send it direct to my email.
Thanks again.
Best regards

Peter
 

sheri

master brummie
Hi I'm not sure if my great uncle was in the regiment you are looking for but I'll give you the info I have - He was Frederick James Bray enlisted in Worcester Hussars (Worcestershire yeomanry) - his regiment was the Household Cavalry which included the Yeomanry and the Imperial Camel Corps. He was killed on the 23rd April 1916 age 23 in Palestine/Egypt. I have his service number if you want it.
Sheri
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi Sheri,

Thank you for your posting but your great uncle was not in the 2nd Battalion Worcesters and is not on my database. His Regimental No. was 325578 if I have the correct Frederick James Bray.

Regards

Peter
 

sheri

master brummie
Hi Theodore, I didn't think gt.uncle Fred. was in the battalion you were looking at - posted just in case as 'm not sure whats what!! And I've got as much info that I could find.
Sheri
 

john bev

master brummie
Hi Theodore,
Just come across this thread. My mom's uncle was Joseph Hanks and served in the 2nd Worcester regiment. He was born in Dodford ,Worcester in 1882 and moved to Birmingham in abt 1886. He married in 1911 . On the CWGC It states he also fought in South africa. he died on the 21st Oct 1914. and is commemorated on the wall at the Menim gate. We have just come back from a visit to Belgium and France visiting various battle sites including Gheluvelt where we found a memorial to the 2nd Worcesters. Any other information about him would be most appreciated.
Regards John
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi John,

The following is all I have on Pte. 7626 Joseph Hanks at present:

Private Hanks was born 1882 in Bromsgrove and enlisted in Worcester. A member of 'D' company he was killed in action aged 31 at the battle of Langemark and is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Served in the South African Campaign. Son of Joseph and Cathrine Hanks, of 7 Court, 3 House, New Summer St., Birmingham; husband of the late Margaret Hanks.

The 1891 census shows he was one of five children living with their parents at 9 Hunters Vale, in the Parish of Aston

He was entitled to the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals, however his MIC states his medals were returned in 1922.

His service number would indicate he enlisted sometime around 1903.

The following is an extract from 'The Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War' by Capt. H. FitzM. Stacke for the day Joseph was killed:

The 2nd Worcestershire advanced at 0500 hours in an easterly direction towards Wallemglem, with the 4th Guards Brigade on their right and the 1st Division on their left. They moved forward from the Pilckem ridge to the crossroad's north of St. Julien where a long halt was made while the 1st Division came up into line on the left. British cavalry reported that the enemy were close in front and intermittent firing could be heard, but trees and hedgerows obscured the view. By 0930 hours all were ready to resume the advance, but the delay of three hours had enabled the enemy's advanced troops to push forward almost up to the position of the halted Brigade.
The leading platoons of the Worcestershire had advanced only a few hundred yards when their movement was checked by sharp bursts of fire from a strong force of Germans in the hedges in front. A confused fight followed, with much firing and many rushes of small bodies of troops from hedge to hedge. In the hand to hand fighting Lt. Haskett-Smith was knocked over and captured. The closeness of the fighting prevented the enemy sending him back, and he was kept in their forward trenches. After it became dark he succeeded in escaping. Reinforcements were hurried up by both sides, and rapid firing became general all along the line. Many men were hit, the advance became more and more difficult, and the platoons were forced to dig cover with their entrenching tools. Away to the left the advance of the 1st Division had similarly held up around Langemarck.
Fighting lasted all day, both sides endeavouring to gain ground. The platoons in the front-line suffering severely. Capt. Nolan R.A.M.C. was killed, and Lieutenant Curtler shot dead while directing the fire of his platoon. Sergeant D.M. Owins took over command and, although wounded soon afterwards, continued the fight most gallantly throughout the day. He was awarded the DCM for this action.
By nightfall all four companies of the 2nd Worcestershire had been drawn into the firing line, which was extended among the hedgerows about a mile north east of St. Julien. Picks and shovels were brought up after dark, and the troops set to work to make their positions more secure. Throughout the night they laboured hard entrenching the position. Firing continued at intervals, and the work was interrupted by several minor attacks, which were all beaten off. The fighting had been heavy during the whole day and night.


I visited Gheluvelt (Ypres and surrounding area) myself earlier this year.

Sorry I can't give you any more details but if you can add anything to the above I would appreciate it.

Do you have a photograph of Joseph in uniform?

Regards

Peter
 

john bev

master brummie
View attachment 70511I have added the Boar War record for Joseph hanks that I could not add to your private message. thanks again for the extract from the Worcestershire Regiment. I had presumed he had died leading up tothe battle of Gheluvelt.
Regards John.
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi John,

Thank you for the additional info you have supplied and good luck with your future researching.

Not sure Pte. 6021 J. Hanks is your man.

1911 census he could still be a serving soldier the reason he is not on census with his wife.

Have you tried this site?

www.worcestershireregiment.com

If I find anything new on Joseph will post on this forum for you.

Regards

Peter
 

john bev

master brummie
Hello Peter.
Thank you very much for all your help. It has certainly given me a lot more information on joseph to be getting on with.
Regards John
 

subotone

'OLDBILL'
John

Joseph Hanks is remembered in the "Roll of Honour of Birmingham Men And Woman Who Gave Their Lives In The Great War 1914-1918"he will therefore be remembered in the Birmingham Hall of Memory.

Regards

Tony
 

john bev

master brummie
View attachment 70645
At a recent visit to the Menim gate Memorial I took this photograph. When you enlarge it I hope It might be of use to anyone who has family or friends on the wall from the Worcester regiment.

Regards John
 

Phil B

Made in Brum
I'm researching the men of the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment from August to November 1914.
Peter
Hi Peter,
I was wondering if you would be interested in my Grandfather who joined the 2nd Bat. Worcester’s on 17th February 1908 and was discharged on the 30th August 1914.
He was Private Albert Edward Bird, number 11042, from Hockley, Birmingham. I have his service record from start to finish.
He had a knee injury while serving in India in 1912 and they eventually had to operate on it in February 1914. He was pensioned out as “no longer fit for War service”. He later transferred to 5th Bat. Just before his discharge.
He was awarded the Silver War Badge to show he had served and done his bit.
Cheers
Phil
 
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