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    John Mitchell (1894 – xxxx)
    Private, 11446
    2nd Battalion (The Old Toughs), Royal Dublin Fusiliers


    – Victory Medal
    – British War Medal
    – 1914 Star
    – Silver War Badge

    John was born in Dublin in December/November 1894. He was son of William Mitchell and Mary Mitchell and based on the 1901 Census of Ireland, were located at 10 Engine Alley (Wood Quay) Dublin. They were Roman Catholics and his father owned a car and worked as a licensed car driver already as early as 1901. The first car was imported into Ireland in 1899 by Dublin a doctor. In 1904 there was only 34 cars in Dublin (1/2)!

    John had 9 sisters and brothers. Two of them unfortunately died at a young age (1).
    The 1911 Census shows that they moved to 45 Long Lane (Wood Quay) Dublin. John was then 16 years old and was working as a factory boy in tobacco (1).

    John enlisted first on the 12th January 1912 with the 5th Battalion what was known as the Dublin County Light Infantry Militia (2/6).

    Regarding notes from his medical examination, he was 5 feet and 4 ¼ inches tall and weight 112 pounds. His eyes were blue and hair brown (2).

    A year later, on the 2nd January 1913, he enlisted from Gravesend to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers for a regular service. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion as a Private and his service number was 11446 (2).

    When the Great War broke out, 2nd Battalion was stationed in Gravesend, as part of 10th Brigade, 4th Division, commanded by Brigadier-General J.A.L. Halden C.B., D.S.O (3).
    The initial plan was to keep them there if German launched an invasion but when the British Expeditionary Force started to retreat from the Belgian City of Mons, they were sent in (3/7).

    John landed in France 23rd August 1914 as a part of main body of the battalion who was sent in on the “S.S. Caledonia” (3/4).
    Their main objective was to provide cover for the retreat BEF. On the 26th August, they met strong German forces who surrounded them. Many were cut off and were taken prisoners (3/6/7).
    The Battalion, badly depleted, later took part in the Battle of the Marne (5th – 9th September) that finally halted the German advance just on the outskirts of Paris. Then they were engaged on the Battle of the Aisne and Battle of Armentières in the end of the year.
    Also the following year was very hard to the unit and the men who served in it. The Old Toughs took part i the Second Battle of Ypres (22nd April – 24th March 1915). They suffered heavily at the Battle of St.Julien and they experienced horrific German gas attack near Saint-Julien, which they didn’t have any defence against.
    In 1916 the Battalion was transferred to the 48th brigade in 16th (Irish) Division and they took part some of the heaviest battles in the Great War; the battle of Messines, Third Battles of Ypres, 1918 the Battles of Somme. All of them causing heavy cost to the unit and the men who fought in it.
    In 1918 the 2nd Battalion took a hard hit during the German Spring Offensive (The Kaiserchlacht), which began on the 21st of March 1918. Because of casualties in all Royal Dublin Fusiliers Battalions, men from disbanded 8/9 Battalion were absorbed, also amalgamated with the cadre from 1st Battalion and in June reinforcement from 7th battalion was received.
    From 1st June they were transferred to the 94th Brigade in 31st Division and they were used in Lines of Communication until July 1918 transferred to the 149th Brigade in 50th (Northumbrian) Division (3/5/6/7/8).

    When the war was over, during the first month of January 1919, many men were demobilized and one of these soldiers was Private John Mitchell (2/3). However, he was discharged under King’s Regulation paragraph 392 XVI.1a what means he was no longer physically fit for war service. His papers are showing that he was ddischarged on the 16th January 1919 because 30% disability caused by “Synovitis knee” (can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis as well as injury or trauma) (2).
    He was entitled to the Silver War Badge (number B86507), which was posted out by Dublin, Island Bridge Infantry Records office on the 18th February 1919 (9).
    Also papers showing his address as 46 Long Lane, Dublin, he was 24 years and 2 months old and marital status shown single. He served all together 6 years and 13 days (2). Actually it is impressive to serve in the Western Front from 1914 to the end of the war 1918 and survive!
    Unfortunately I do not have details about him after the demobilization but more research has to be done.


    (1) National Archives: Census of Ireland 1901/1911

    (2) Short Service (Three years with the Colours) Attestation Form

    (3) Crown and Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers
    By H.C. Colonel Wylly C.B.

    (4) British Army 1914-1918 Medal Index Card

    (5) The Long, Long Trail – The British Army of 1914-1918 – for family historians

    (6) Royal Dublin Fusiliers – a forgotten regiment

    (7) Royal Dublin Fusiliers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (8) Ireland Unknown Soldiers, The 16th (Irish) Division in the Great War
    by Terence Denman

    (9) Silver War Badge Roll Page B1103, 22.01.1919, Dublin Infantry Records


    John Swan (xxxx – xxxx)
    Private, 16282
    8th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers

    John was entitled:

    – Victory medal (Roll B/101 B6 Page 408)
    – British War medal (Roll B/101 B6 Page 408)
    – 1915 Star (Roll B/7B Page 336)
    – Silver War Badge (B/330)

    John was originally from Dublin as is stated on the Irish Times roles. Unfortunately without the extra information, it is impossible to find out more about him (there is 6 John Swan’s on the Irish Census who age group would be suitable for service during the Great War) (6).

    After the breakout of the war, John enlisted on the 22nd October 1914 to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers 8th Battalion. His service number was 16282 (2/7/8).

    This Battalion was formed as a part of K2 and attached to 48th Brigade in 16th (Irish) Division. They were sent to the Buttevant and later on next year to the Ballyhooley for initial training. In September 1915 they left for a final three months of training at Blackdown near Aldershot in Surrey where the whole Division arrived together (1/3/4/5).
    Training wasn’t accurate; it mainly consisted of route marching and limited target practice. On the 2nd of December, the whole 16th Division was inspected by Queen Mary.
    On the 18th of December 1915, the 16th (Irish) Division was sent to France, where Private John Swan arrived on the 20th December 1915 (2/3/5).

    Beginning of 1916 they spent “Acclimatizing” men for the trauma of trench warfare behind main front line – something, what British troops learned previously “hard way” (5).
    Their first sector became muddy trenches around Hulluch near the French village of Loos (5).

    But the storm was on the way – German launched Battle of Hulluck (27-29 April 1916) hit the whole Irish Division hardly and they suffered massive casualties (5).
    Lots of them by German gas attack, when they released 3,800 cylinders of gas along a 3 km front.
    Hulluch was one of the most heavily-concentrated gas attacks of the war. 16th (Irish) Division suffered 2,128 Irish causalities; approx. 538 were killed. Many of the survivors suffered chronic lung and breathing conditions for the rest of their lives and many died years later as a result of this attack (5).

    Probably John can consider himself as a “lucky one, because he was listed on the 19th May 1916 Irish Times as a “wounded – shock shell” (6).

    After recovery, he was back in front line. As a medal roll shows, Private Swan was posted to the 6th Battalion, part of 30th Brigade in 10th (Irish) Division, what fought at this time in Salonika. During their employment in Balkans, they saw some bitter action and also suffered many casualties because hard winter, hot summer, mosquitoes and disease (1/3/8).

    Meantime John got wounded second time in the end of the year 1916. There is a note on the 6th November 1916 Irish Times, what lists him wounded at this time (6).

    Most likely his last wounds were so serious, that the medical commission found him unfit for a future service and he was discharged on the 20th June 1917. He received as well Silver War Badge (number 196404) – a Great War was over for a one brave Dublin man, who did his part (7).


    (1) Royal Dublin Fusiliers – a forgotten regiment

    (2) British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920

    (3) The Long, Long Trail – The British Army of 1914-1918 – for family historians

    (4) Royal Dublin Fusiliers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (5) Ireland Unknown Soldiers, The 16th (Irish) Division in the Great War
    by Terence Denman

    (6) The Irish Times, 19th May 1916, 6th November 1916

    (7) (9) Silver War Badge Roll Page B1103, 22.01.1919, Dublin Infantry Records

    (8) Victory Medal and British War Medal roll, Dublin Infantry Records, B408


    My very first RDF officer’s find and research. So high level scouting was great suprise and helped with the research a lot!

    Henry Murray “Chippi” Letchworth, M.A.
    (6th February 1889 – December 1964)
    Captain, Commander of “Y” Company
    1st Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers

    Henry Murray Letchworth was born in 6th February 1889 at Exton which is small village in Hampshire, England, he had a twin brother Arthur Gordon Letchworth and older brother George Howard Letchworth.

    His twin brother Arthur served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers and after the war worked as a clerk with the Health Ministry (he died in 1933).

    In his early years Henry lived with his aunt at Newlyn, Adelaide Road, Kingston, Surbiton where he was recorded in the 1891 and 1901 census.

    In his teenage years Henry entered the Haileybury and Imperial Service College, which is known as a prestigious British independent school, near Hertford (32 km from central London).
    1907 he matriculated to the Oriel College, Oxford, where he studied Theology, Henry was also member of the Officer Training Corps which he left in October 1910.
    In 22nd July 1911 he got a 3rd class Honors Degree, 4 years later, on the 3rd April 1915 he achieved a Master’s Degree.
    At the same Henry started working as an Assistant Master on the Beechmont Preparatory School, Sevenoaks and he lived at 3 Ethelbert Road, Canterbury, Kent.

    When the Great War broke out, Henry responded to the King’s call and put his application forward on the 22nd March 1915 to become an officer in the British Army, his candidature was accepted and he was appointed a commission in the Special Reserve of Officers with the 4th Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
    On the 20th of December 1915 the London Gazette supplement confirmed that 2nd Lieutenant Henry M. Letchworth has attested to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

    During his time in Ireland, he was stationed with the 4th battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers in Templemore Barracks.
    Ironically Henry got his first combat experience here, when the 4th Battalion was sent to Dublin during the Easter Rising 24–30 April 1916 where they also suffered casualties, a detachment of 4th Battalion is also reported as being in Dublin Castle.

    In July 1916, 2nd Lieutenant Letchworth was attached to the 8th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, at this time this unit fought on the Western Front as a part of 48th Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division. Their hardest challenge took place on the fields of France and Belgium – the 1916 Somme offensive.

    Henry was sent back to England on the 7th of September 1916 from Le Havre on the HMMS Panama and he arrived back to Southampton on the 14th September 1916. Due to his health condition, the medical board of the 2nd Southern General Hospital in Bristol granted him a leave from 18th September to 17th October.

    Henry joined the 4th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers again on the 26th October 1916, at this time they were based in Mullingar.

    The following year on the 1st of July 1917 Henry was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (25.10.1917 London Gazette).

    At this time, he was attached to the 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, which arrived back from their service in the Balkans the previous year. Most likely this move took place during the reorganisations in October 1917, when the battalion was transferred to the 48th Brigade 16th (Irish) Division or earlier. Unfortunately it is impossible to trace that transfer.

    Henry must have proved himself as a valuable front line officer as from the 15th of February 1918 Henry was appointed to the rank of Acting Captain (19.04.1918 London Gazette), but things took a very different turn on the 21st March 1918.

    The previous year the German High Command had decided to make a decisive attack in the west in the following spring and their target was the British Army in the Somme area. The Germans plan was to destroy British units before American forces could build up their strength. The New offensive was called the "Kaiserschlacht" (Kaiser’s Battle) or known now as the “Spring Offensive”.

    The Germans planned to use their new tactics, which they practised on the Russian front – intense artillery barrage against key points such as machine-gun posts, headquarters, railways, telephone lines, etc. Attacks would be carried out by small well trained groups – stormtroopers, whose main aim was to move forward through gaps in the front and try to surround the main frontline troops.

    The attack started with the artillery bombardment at 4.40 am on 21 March. The bombardment targeted an area of 150 square miles, the biggest barrage of the entire war. Over 1,100,000 shells were fired in five hours.

    In the end, over 320 soldiers from Royal Dublin Fusiliers were killed in this battle and many of them were taken prisoners. I have the privilege to have a copy of Acting Captain Henry Murray Letchworth’s own report of what happened on that day. He was 1st Battalion, Y Company commander at this time. He wrote the following statement on the 16th of January 1919:

    Captain Letchworth became one of the 4 officers and 290 men missing after the attacks. He was captured near Epehy and Lempire.
    The Book “Bluecaps” also indicates what he said in his last message which he sent off at 2.30pm to the Battalion Headquarters:

    Regarding the moment when he was captured, I was able to find out who was the wounded Captain, sadly this man never made it back to Ireland:

    William Kee, Acting Captain, MC, from Meenagrove, Co.Donegal. Officially he served in the 7th Battalion but after commission in 1915 rose the ranks to be Acting Captain and was attached to the 1st Battalion. He was brave man indeed, Mentioned in Despatches twice and Military Cross ( bar posthumously 16th September 1918) for his valour in Somme, he died three days later in Germans hands on the 24th March 1918.

    Captain Letchworth had the fortune (good or bad is a matter of opinion in those “days of death”) to be taken prisoner of war by the German forces and he was first sent to Karlsruhe officers prison camp (Karlsruhe¬Offiziere Camp) in Baden.
    Officers were held in camps reserved only for them. There were living conditions less harsh then the regular soldier’s camps. They had beds, separate rooms for their meals and they were able to be involved in study or sport.
    After his capture, his next of kin address to the Germans was recorded as; Reverend Canon. H.H. Letchworth, 3 Ethelberth Road, Canterbury.
    Also during his time as a POW, he became a life-long friend with the Lieutenant John Herbert Brereton Sewell from 5th Manchester Regiment, who introduced few years later to him new passion of his life – Scouting.

    In late 1918 the war finally ended. One clause of the 11th November 1918 Armistice dealt with the matter of prisoner-of-war repatriation: “The immediate repatriation without reciprocity, according to detailed conditions which shall be fixed.” Overall, these prisoners were speedily repatriated.

    Henry was released from the prison camp on the 19th of November 1918 and he arrived back to England on the 29th of November 1918. At this time he gave his own address as 62 Old Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent.

    He relinquished his rank Acting Captain on the 19th of March 1919 and left army service with the 4th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers on the 23rd of August 1920.

    After the war Henry returned back to teaching and he became Co-Principal at Chafyn Grove School, Salisbury from 1920 onwards.

    During these years, he coached the school rugby team and produced the annual school play. In school his nickname was Slush (what he did not like).

    Four years after he was liberated from the Prisoner of War camp, he met his friend again with whom he was a POW with – John H.B. Sewell was invited to join the staff of Chafyn Grove School. Henry himself, had never been a Scout, but he and his twin brother had in their youth frequently been on camping holidays together. Sewell, who was already District Commissioner for Stockport, quickly enthused him with the ideals and challenge of the movement.
    John H.B. Sewell remained at the school until 1931 from then onwards Letchworth was in full time charge of the 16th Salisbury (Chafyn Grove School) Scout Group.
    At the annual Scout Camp, he was known as Chippi – this name he didn’t mind and which probably dated back to the war.

    When the Second World War broke out he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 25th of November 1942 (Extract from London Gazette 11.06.1943). On 25th of May 1944 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Extract from War Office Orders 21.09.1944).

    He served with the Army Cadet Force, (personal number P275884/1) and rose to the rank of Major when he was appointed as an Officer to the 7th Cadet Battalion, Wiltshire A.C.7.

    Henry resigned on 30th April 1945 from that position and on the 29th of May he relinquished his commission.

    His main passion all of his life had been teaching and Scouting, after he joined the Scouts Organisation in 1923, he remained active with them for forty years.
    His great capability in Training Scouters was soon recognised and in 1928 he became Assistant County Commissioner (Training), and was subsequently active in arranging courses for Scouters. In addition he took on the job of D.C. South Wilts in 1938, remaining there for ten years. He carried much of the burden of maintaining Scouting in the County as well as District during the 1939-1945.
    On returning from his County position in 1954 he became a Deputy Camp Chief attached to Gilwell Park, a rare distinction.

    Papers indicate that he lived at this time at 12 Bourne Avenue, Salisbury. It is an old Victorian house and nowadays it is a nursing home.

    Further details about him show that he did a bit travelling after the war with the Scouting. In the summer of 1955 he went to New York on SS Queen Elizabeth and arrived back in September from Canada on SS Saxonia. He visited the 8th World Scouts Jamboree at Niagra-on-Lake, Canada during 18-28 August.

    Henry Murray Letchworth died on December 1964 after a short illness. He was 75 years of age. His death is registered England & Wales, Death Index 1916-2005 role as October-December 1964, Salisbury district, Wiltshire (Volume 7c, page 531).

    For his service during First World War as a Royal Dublin Fusiliers officer, Captain Henry Murray Letchworth was award the Victory Medal and British War Medal (he applied for his medals on the 3rd of April 1921), however in regards his World War Two medal entitlement at this point it is impossible to confirm if he did receive any awards (Defence Medal and/or War Medal)

    For his devotion and hard work for Scouting Organisation, “Chippi” received during the Second World War the highest award presented by The Scout Association “for services of the most exceptional character” – The Silver Wolf Award. This award in 1922 was an award for Adult volunteers for Services to Scouting and awarded only by the Chief Scout of the World.


    (1) Officer’s service papers from MOD

    (2) British Army 1914-1918 Service Medal Index Card

    (3) The Long, Long Trail – The British Army of 1914-1918 – for family historians

    (4) Family Tree, Genealogy and Census Records – Ancestry.co.uk

    (5) Royal Dublin Fusiliers – a forgotten regiment

    (6) Ireland Unknown Soldiers, The 16th (Irish) Division in the Great War
    by Terence Denman

    (7) 16th (Irish) Division – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (8) Neill’s “Blue Caps”
    By Colonel H C Wylly

    (9) A Forlorn Hope: The Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the Kaiser’s Battle March 1918
    By Sean Connolly

    (10) World War I prisoners of war in Germany – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_ … in_Germany

    (11)Scouting in South Wiltshire 1908-1968. issued by Salisbury & South Wiltshire District Scout Council.

    (12) Silver Wolf Award – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (13) The Scouter, 1954, June


    Michael Graham (1891 – xxxx)
    Private, 19352
    9th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers

    Michael was entitled:

    – Victory Medal
    – British War Medal
    – 1915 Star
    – Silver War Badge

    1915 Star roll and his Medal Index Card show his Christian name initial as “W”. However, his Victory Medal/British War Medal and Silver War Badge roll confirms his first name Michael (2/7/8/9).
    Also his Victory Medal and British War Medal roll misspell his surname “Grehan” (9).

    Michael enlisted on the 15th March 1915 age 24. He served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers as a private and his service number was 19352 (2/7).
    He was listed with the 9th Battalion what was formed in September 1914 as a part of K2 and attached to 48th Brigade in 16th (Irish) Division (3/4).
    At this time, when Michael joined, whole unit was structured together in Buttevant military barracks in Co.Cork. However, shortly after, in June 1915 they were sent to near by to Ballyhooley, Co.Cork and in September to England, where whole 16th (Irish) Division was sent together for last preparations (3/4/5).

    9th Battalion with Private Michael Graham arrived to France on the 19th December 1915 under Divisional command of Irish Major General William Hickie (2/3/6).

    It is impossible to find out which engagements he took part and how long he served on the muddy fields of Flanders. Most likely he was part of the unit when they were in the Battle of Hulluch (27th – 29th April – meantime Easter Rising took in place in Ireland). Next they were moved to Somme Valley and engaged in the Battle of the Somme in Guillemont – Ginchy area, where they suffered massive casualties (6).
    Again highest cost was paid during the Flanders Offensive (3rd Battle of Ypres) from 7th June until 10th November 1917 (04/6).
    Because there was so many casualties, they were amalgamated with the 8th Battalion and formed unit 8/9th Battalion (3/4/6).
    10th February 1918 they were disbanded and the soldiers were transferred to the 1st and 2nd Battalions (3/4/5/6).

    However, most likely Michael wasn’t in France at this time anymore. Like the SWB roll shows, he picked up some disease during his service and he was discharged on the 28th February 1918 because sickness. Usually this kind a conclusion from medical commission followed after being hospitalised in England or Ireland. He was granted Silver War Badge (number 336254). He was 27 years old at this time (7).

    There are 4 Michael Graham’s on the Census of Ireland 1911, who age would be correct. Unfortunately without the extra information, it is impossible to narrow down which one of them is the same man (1).


    (1) National Archives: Census of Ireland 1901/1911

    (2) British Army 1914-1918 Medal Index Card

    (3) The Long, Long Trail – The British Army of 1914-1918 – for family historians

    (4) Royal Dublin Fusiliers – a forgotten regiment

    (5) Royal Dublin Fusiliers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (6) Ireland Unknown Soldiers, The 16th (Irish) Division in the Great War
    by Terence Denman

    (7) Silver War Badge Roll Page B1103, 22.01.1919, Dublin Infantry Records

    (8) 1915 Star Roll, Dublin Infantry Records

    (9) Victory Medal and British War Medal Roll, Dublin Infantry Records

    Anna Jackson

    This is my Great Uncle – do you have his medal ?  It would mean so much to me to be able to buy it from you if you do




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