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Army Service Numbers 1881-1918 and Army Ancestry Research
31st July 2018
Saturday, 7 October 2017
Venereal disease was a huge problem in the British Army. As Alan Ramsay Skelley writes in The Victorian Army at Home, "The incidence of the disease in 1860 was 369 cases per 1000 men. The loss of service was equivalent to the withdrawal of every soldier from the army for eight days or of two full battalions every year in Britain." He continues, "... although the threat it posed in 1899 was considerably less than in 1860, never less than one man in ten, and for most of the period one in five or an even higher proportion, underwent treatment each year."
Hardly any wonder then that a special Army Form dealing with the treatment of syphilis cases was felt necessary to print. I've removed the man's details from the form on this post, but it states that he probably picked up the disease -and almost certainly from a brothel - at the Suddher Bazaar in Bareilly, India on the 3rd March 1912. He would undergo treatment for the next six months.
Also in this man's papers is Army Form 11237, a Medical Case Sheet which in this particular case shows that the man concerned was having his pulse, breathing and temperature checked every half an hour. The results appear to be normal.
The images on this post are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.
Those of us who have studied First World War service will be very familiar with men being discharged under paragraph 392 (xvi) of King's Regulations for 1912 (re-printed with amendments to 1st August 1914). Men who were no longer physically fit for war service were discharged under this regulation and this particular form is essentially confirmation of this by the Medical Board.
These forms were printed in booklets and then detached. A note at the bottom of this particular form shows that it was part of a run of 8000 booklets which were printed in August 1916 (a month or more after the opening of the Somme offensive), clinical pessimism about the number of men who would soon be passing through this particular process.
This particular form was issued for 33179 Pte Ernest Riches of the 10th Yorkshire Regiment who was discharged from Norfolk War Hospital, Thorpe on the 30th August 1917.
The image on this page is Crown Copyright, The National Archives.
Friday, 18 August 2017
This form is an updated version of WO 497 and, in this case at least, dates to 1878. I suspect that it was introduced in this year as the code at the top left hand corner has a jumbled "1878" as the last four digits.
This particular form was printed in a run of 12,000 by Ford and Tilt Ltd and appears to have been used principally for cavalry enlistments. The term of enlistment is stated as eight years with the colours and four years on the reserve.
Monday, 10 July 2017
This particular example attestation paper dates to July 1874 and, in this case, was used for an attestation on the 12th June. This is a two-page document, the second page showing that this man served nearly seevn years in India. There are separate papers in this man's file which detail his militray history and statement of services.
Images are Crown Copyright, The National Archives.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
I suspect that this document is uncommon. Army Form W.3194 appears to be proof of attestation under the Group Scheme or Derby Scheme. This man fell into Group 37 which indciates that he was a married man, born in 1884, when he attested on the 15th December 1915. Apart from this useful information, we also see the man's home address and that he attested at Melton Mowbray. Apart from a postage stamp, the reverse of this form is blank.
An envelope by any other name, Army Form Z.53 was a "cover for certificates and other documents of a soldier on demobization, transfer to the Reserve, or Discharge". This particualr form dates to 1919.