JACK LEWIS'S WAR SERVICE, MEDALS AND MEDAL CARD'Paul Wenlock's comments on Dad's medal card:
1. He would have had two army numbers as the numbering system was rationalised across the army in 1916, therefore the card (and also his medals) will show the pre-1916 number on the Star and post-1916 number on the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
2. He was awarded a Silver War Badge, this is recorded on the MIC under the Star details. You will need to trace the records on SWB Roll RE2626(?) - sorry can't quite make it out. This will give you the serial number stamped on the reverse of his SWB. Unfortunately SWBs weren't issued with a soldier's Regimental number, just the serial number.
3. He would not have been discharged automatically on being wounded, but most likely on the date of the medical board which found he was unfit for further service. In some cases this could be months or years after being wounded. This meant he was paid to the date of discharge (and in some instances discharged to pension). See also National Archives - Medal Cards and Medals
Stephen, a relative on Dad's mother's side, has kindly delved into Dad's war service:
"Very interested to read about your Dad. How
lucky still to have photos of the medals. As regards
perhaps the following link would be helpful in this
I have taken a stab at your Dad's Unit's possible deployments. It would be interesting to know whether your nephew feels that this might be a reasonable scenario.
Territorial units initially saw service in Egypt and
India and other
Empire garrisons such as Gibraltar, thereby releasing
regular units for
service in France. As regards the 2nd Lowland Field
Engineers, there seem to have been at least two
entities; the first line
of the 2nd Company (“1/2nd”) and the second line
(“2/2nd”). Both went
initially to Egypt, later transferring to Flanders.
However, 1/2nd moved
to Flanders a couple of years sooner than 2/2nd.
1/2nd left UK for Egypt in March 1915, whilst 2/2nd
departed May 1915.
Both units were part of 52nd Division, 1/2nd (Lowland) Field Coy being renamed 410th Field Company (though not deployed to 52 Div until Feb '16, i.e. after Gallipoli) and 2/2nd (Lowland) Field Coy being renamed 413th Field Company (- joined 52 Div March '15).
From Sapper Lewis’s medal card, indicating Egypt in May ’15, and that he was a Territorial (i.e. "second line" as opposed to the regular army as first line) we might deduce that he was 2/2nd Lowland Coy RE, becoming 413th Field Company of 52nd Division.
*Deployment of 52nd Division*:
Departs U.K. for Egypt 24 May 1915; arrives at Alexandria en route to Gallipoli 4 Jun 1915; Landing at Cape Helles Jun 1915; Krithia 4 Jun 1915; Achi Baba Nullah 12-13 Jul 1915; Arrives in Egypt from Gallipoli 8 Jan 1916; Kantara 28 Feb 1916; Katia and Oghratina 9-22 Apr 1916; Oghratina 22 Apr 1916; Rumani 4-5 Aug 1916, Rafah 9 Jan 1917
Palestine: Gaza 26-27 Mar 1917; Gaza 17-19 Apr 1917; Gaza (El Arish and Umbrella Hill) 27 Oct-7 Nov 1917; Esdud 9-10 Nov 1917; El Mughar 13 Nov 1917; Nebi Samwil 17-24 Nov 1917; Jaffa 21-22 Dec 1917;
Departs Palestine for France 12 Apr 1918; Arrives at Marseilles 17 Apr 1918;
France and Flanders:The Battle of Albert (first phase of Second Battle of the Somme 1918) 21-23 Aug 1918; The Battle of the Scarpe (first phase of Second Battle of Arras 1918) 26-30 Aug 1918; The Battle of Drocourt-Queant (second phase of the Second Battles of Arras 1918) 2-3 Sep 1918; The Battle of the Canal du Nord (third phase of the Battle of the Hindenburg Line) Pursuit to Mons 28 Sep-11 Nov 1918.
*General Background to Royal Engineers:*
The Royal Engineers carried out a number of different roles for the Army both in the field and along the Lines of Communication. The various specialisms were organised into different types of units, none of which was bigger than a Company in size, and were attached to Divisions or larger formations. The main ones were the Field Companies and the Signals Companies. As they were attached to the fighting portions of the Divisions, these Companies often saw action and took part in the fighting. Because the RE never fought as a separate entity, it has no regimental battle honours; instead its motto is "Ubique" (everywhere).
In 1914, each infantry Division included two Field Companies. A third was added during January 1915, as more units came up to strength A Field Company was composed of 217 men: Major, in command; Captain, second in command; 4 Lieutenants (or Second-Lieutenants), each in command of a section; Company Sergeant-Major; Company Quartermaster Sergeant; Farrier Sergeant; 6 Sergeants, 7 Corporals, and 7 2nd-Corporals; 1 Shoeing Smith; 1 Trumpeter; 1 Bugler; 138 Sappers (the RE rank equivalent to Private); 37 Drivers' 8 Batmen; 1 ASC Driver; 2 R.A.M.C. Privates.
The men were organised into two areas: Mounted (which included the COMS, the Farrier, the Shoeing Smith, the Trumpeter, 3 NCOs and the drivers and batmen), and Dismounted which represented many kinds of trades required by the Army in the field, including in the numbers shown above: 15 blacksmiths, 20 bricklayers, 40 carpenters, 5 clerks, 12 masons, 6 painters, 8 plumbers, plus surveyors, draughtsmen, wheelwrights, engine drivers and so on. As with all other units, the Field Companies relied heavily on horses for transport, and had an establishment of 17 riding horses for the officers and NCOs of the Mounted Branch; 50 draught heavy horses, and 4 pack horses. There were also 5 spare draught horses as replacements. With the exceptions of the Trumpeter and Bugler, all Other Ranks were armed as infantrymen.