As well as returning all these dog-tags, we are writing the history books over what all these dog-tags are and the serial numbers that they contain. Blocks of these numbers are not recorded anywhere they we can find. Take the 14's, I have been puzzling over some of these for some time and bits and pieces of information have cropped up. When I first started this the only snippet of information I could find on these was that there was a late WW2 recruiting depot that began with 14200000 to 15000000. However, my tags start a lot lower than that, then someone discovered that :-
14000001 - 14002500 - The Lowland Regiment
14002501 - 14005000 - The Highland Regiment
A rather large gap of 195,001 numbers!
14200001 - 15000000 - Formed February 1942 - General Service Corps (GSC).
The gap could possibly be who ever was fulfilling the role of the GSC before it was an officially adopted unit/name. I have no idea, it would also seem that nobody can tell me with any certainty. All I do know is that I have 400 dog-tags that fit in this gap! Who on earth issued them?
One suggestion I read about was that the Highland Regiment might have the whole gap up to 14200001, which just seems crazy! Why would the Lowland Regiment get 2500 and the Highland Regiment get 197,501 member? I only have four dog-tags to the Highland Regiment and yet none to the Lowland. As for the GSC, well! There is well over 4000 dog-tags covering the whole issuing period, form 14200170 to 14997953!
As well as the biggest query of the 14's, there are a few other anomalies like:-
15004533 Parker JL, although this serial number makes sense the unit does not! It was apparently issued for Indian local enlistments. Now Parker doesn't sound like a very Indian surname from the 1940's, on top of that it doesn't really tie in with the RTR/RAC units that all these dog-tags are connected to. However, there could be an odd situation of him being an NCO that was later transferred.
15751033 Roberts JE - A straight forward problem, that number just shouldn't exist. It could of course be an error and the double three could be an error and may supposed to be a single. I have other tags that certainly contain errors as they have 9 digits!
My favourite mistake being 7659630327 O KANE. I believe this to be Thomas O'Kane 7930327, of course I have no idea why the '65' was inserted into the number after the 7 and then another '6' after that! All the other details match perfectly? Corporal Thomas O'Kane served with the 1st Lothian's and Border Yeomanry. He was awarded the American Bronze Star for his actions with his his flail mine clearing tank while attached to American Units in Europe.
23/09/2017 - last night I came up with the idea of looking up some of the units war diaries that we have dog-tags too and then cross referencing the limited information we got from Forces War Records about some of these soldiers. We have lots of wounded reports, but have no more details other than a rough location and a unit.
I started looking into dates of guys that were wounded from the 4th Hussar's, for no other reason that it was the first war diary to an armoured unit that I found. Sure enough on most of the dates that I had wounded there I could then find reasons as to why. There are many days that like this, where it shows multiple woundeds, our soldier just being one.
"27/05/1942 - 2 RGH in reserve faced South while remainder of Bde faced NW. The enemy attacked from the SW with 120 tanks, 60 of which were diverted on to the Regtl box. The box was overrun and the regt lost nearly 30% of its tank strength. The Regt was ordered to move North at 1000 hrs to pivot on Gds Bde box at Knightsbridge. Regt took up position on ridge East of Knightsbridge and faced South. Unit then replenished and observed 6pdrs in action for the first time. In evening at B.653 repelled attack from the West (25 Mark III/IV).
Lt Ades lost in first action with whole troop at 701. Sqn Leader's tank with rear link was knocked out.
Lt Proctor wounded.
Missing, believed killed -1
Missing believed POW -10
2Lt Summerell . MC
Sgt Yool . DC
Sgt Poole . MM"
7917703 Jones NJ was wounded during that encounter.
This sort of nameless reports was very common and I had many results with the same sort of thing. Until I came across 7941139 L/Cpl J MALONEY of the 4th Hussars, he was wounded on the 21/04/1945. In the war diaries this is the only entry for that date :-
0300 – On information from 2nd Armd Bde that enemy was pulling out, BARNEFORCE advanced to MOTTA. 1100 – B Sqn returned under command 2nd Armd Bde.
1300 – B Sqn moved to 209733 and advanced North with the Grp as reserve Sqn.
1300 – B Sqn still carrying LIR passed through bridgehead made by the Bays Grp to 190730 and made very rapid advance to 189821. An excellent run, and though the enemy were completely disorganised, there were isolated pockets of resistance. Casualties generally were very light and the run did not end until
0200 hours. Casualties: 1 Officer and 1 OR wounded."
With only 1 OR wounded this has to be the same soldier.
Although the above report didn't really say much as to what exactly happened. The next 1/1 it does! 14610922 HTH Jarvis was wounded on the 05/04/1945. The report reads :-
1100 - C Sqn came under command 160 Bde, 53 Div and moved to tie up with 2nd Mons in counter-attack role if required.
1215 - RHQ and Regt, less C Sqn, concentrated in area 7305. A Sqn's scout car hit a mine, injuring the two occupants. Otherwise no contact. Claims:- Nil Casualties:- 1 officer, 1 OR wounded."
So the OR (other rank) would be Jarvis, whos dog-tag is in the post going home as I type! An interesting result, hopefully we can add a photograph to this report soon.
However, as great as these are there is one better and two incredible dog-tags that I am saving until last.. In fact I will give them there own page as they deserve it, this was something that I could never have imagined any of these dog-tags be connected to. However, first 3391711 Trooper E Henigan was wounded in Italy.
0950 hours, force of enemy fighter bombers bombed and strafed area of Echelon and Bde Ammo Pool which had crossed two days previously. Regimental Echelon casualties:-
Tpr C Harris -died of wounds
Tpr Henigen -wounded
1 ammo, 1 diesel and 1 petrol lorries were destroyed, 1 watercart badly holed and several lorries suffered minor damage, mostly to tyres.
Attack was followed by slight enemy shelling and 2 periods of mortaring by "Sobbing Sisters". No further damage. 5 Ammo lorries from Bde pool returned to comd."
Name in person, one of the very few OR's to get a mention by name for being wounded, usually as we have seen its just a number at best.
Although this is a short page the next will be huge!!!