WW1 soldier research

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Kenleyboy
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Some years back I bought a box of books and in amongst the the pages of one of the books were some letters and photos which made very interesting reading . I used to collect books and it wasnt unusual to find the odd letter or photograph or even an old bookmark which was always a nice surprise find . This one however is a little more poignant and is a personal but short account of one soldier by the name of J.W Sheriff and his experiences of the front line in France in the first World War .
In amongst the old photographs are two pages of his diary beginning with his draft on March 6th 1918 until his return home through wounds in July 1918 on the SS Aberdonian and a full neat handwritten copy of the same account taken from the original diaries . I would imagine by studying the neat well written script that he was an intelligent fellow and going by what has been written he strikes me as the type to take things in his stride . This was at the tail end of the War where the long forgotten heroic stance from the small but professional British Expeditionary Force otherwise known as the "Old Contemptibles " fought a gallant retreat against a far larger and well trained German Army on its push through France . The reality of four long years of War and the true devastation of the slaughter on those fields of France was now an all true reality and the eagerness to volunteer had naturally waned and conscription came into force .
I would imagine knowing the reality of the news , the deaths and wounds of friends and neighbours Sons must have been a frightening prospect for many young men due for enlistment . In the short period this young man was at the front he had experienced heavy shelling and shrapnel wounds and a loss of his comrades .
J.W.Sherrif
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My aim would be to return this snippet of history back to the rightful owners but is would prove to be a hard nut to crack . I would want to avoid those chancer collectors claiming to be a relative just so they could have a bit of war memorabilia but Sherrif does not mention his battalion . The only clue I have is his cap badge which I had to magnify and although not the best of detail , the closest I could get was this from a London regiment the Rangers .
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The Diary pages , letters and photographs .
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The list of places from France as noted are as follows : Embarked from Southampton to Havre . De trained at Flavey to Beaumont -en - Beine until finally reaching Albert where he is an observer and notes the Cathedral .
Not a lot to go on which is a shame as I would like to try and research this a ,little further .
The London connection is possible as the books came from that area and the house in the photograph looks typically like a London Victorian house although I realise this could be anywhere .
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Emily
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Those pages are a real treasure!! Congratulations on discovering, preserving and researching them. I wish you all the luck in the world in finding his family. 🥰

p.s. the handwriting is phenomenal. The calligraphy is art in itself.
Live long and prospect
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DaveP
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Great project and good luck.

Cap badge also similar to Kings Royal Rifle Corps.
Dave The Slave
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Like this kind of thing, Paul.
The photos are like those of our own Great Grandfathers who were in the Great war.
Pages of books have always been a pace to put things.
As Emily has said the Caligraphy of the writing is exquisite..
Some good starter info on the Regiment here.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_London_Rangers
Looking forward to seeing how this develops.
May be worth contacting the Regimental Museum of whatever they amalgamated into.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
Dave.
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TheFenTiger
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This might be another rabbit hole. A medal was sold about 2 weeks ago for a private J W Sheriff who was in the Notts and Derby regiment.

https://www.lotsearch.net/lot/two-world ... &view=grid

The badge looks similar

https://www.britishmilitarybadges.co.uk ... ge-11.html
Dave
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Saffron
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Here is your man -

John Warwick Sheriff, Rifleman, service nr 394593, 9th London Regiment, served in European theatre 9 Mar 1918 - 15 July 1918.
Information taken from World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 (unit matches as does date of arrival in France)
He was awarded the British and Victory Medals.

Birth registered 2Q 1899 Paddington registration area of London.

1911 Census he was aged 12 and lived at 16 Acland Road, Willesden (north west London)
His parents were William John Sheriff (a builder) and Deborah Elizabeth Sheriff both aged 40, and he had an older brother Arthur William Sheriff aged 13.

So he was 18 or just 19 when arriving in France, hence not having been involved in the war earlier.

Evan
Dave The Slave
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Saffron wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:34 pm Here is your man -

John Warwick Sheriff, Rifleman, service nr 394593, 9th London Regiment, served in European theatre 9 Mar 1918 - 15 July 1918.
Information taken from World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 (unit matches as does date of arrival in France)

Birth registered 2Q 1899 Paddington registration area of London.

1911 Census he was aged 12 and lived at 16 Acland Road, Willesden (north west London)
His parents were William John Sheriff (a builder) and Deborah Elizabeth Sheriff both aged 40, and he had an older brother Arthur William Sheriff aged 13.

So he was 18 or just 19 when arriving in France, hence not having been involved in the war earlier.

Evan
Outstanding Evan !!
Less than 2 hrs to solve a mystery.
Well done Sir. :thumbsup:
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Kenleyboy
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Saffron wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:34 pm Here is your man -

John Warwick Sheriff, Rifleman, service nr 394593, 9th London Regiment, served in European theatre 9 Mar 1918 - 15 July 1918.

Birth registered 2Q 1899 Paddington registration area of London.

1911 Census he was aged 12 and lived at 16 Acland Road, Willesden (north west London)
His parents were William John Sheriff (a builder) and Deborah Elizabeth Sheriff both aged 40, and he had an older brother Arthur William Sheriff aged 13.

So he was 18 or just 19 when arriving in France, hence not having been involved in the war earlier.

Evan
Unreal!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I had a sneaky feeling this was London and Willesden is my Grandparents home Town . I am blown away Saffron , many thanks indeed for such a sterling effort .
The hard part is tracing his direct family members , I would love to reunite these letters and photos to the family .
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shaggybfc
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I love this kind of 'adventure'. There's no better man than Saffron to help with research. Looking forward to what else you'll discover about this gent and if you find his family. :clapping: :clapping:
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Saffron
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Kenleyboy wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:42 pm Unreal!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I had a sneaky feeling this was London and Willesden is my Grandparents home Town . I am blown away Saffron , many thanks indeed for such a sterling effort .
The hard part is tracing his direct family members , I would love to reunite these letters and photos to the family .
Everybody should know by now that WWI is my thing, so glad to help.

Only having the initials did not help, but fortunately the cap badge gave the Regiment and his diaries gave when he arrived in France, and these plus the "JW" (rather than a single initial) meant I could work it out. (There was actually another J.W.Sheriff that served and I found the records for so it needed the extra information).

A lot of the WWI records were destroyed in WWII and I have not been able to find out any more at this stage.

A family tree on Ancestry (that I have not checked) shows that his parents married in 1896 and only shows the 2 children but no further information about them.

Unfortunately as you say tracing his family forward (if he had any) is harder than working back.

Evan
ps: I edited my previous post with a bit more info.
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Kenleyboy
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Saffron wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:05 pm Everybody should know by now that WWI is my thing, so glad to help.

Only having the initials did not help, but fortunately the cap badge gave the Regiment and his diaries gave when he arrived in France, and these plus the "JW" (rather than a single initial) meant I could work it out. (There was actually another J.W.Sheriff that served and I found the records for so it needed the extra information).

A lot of the WWI records were destroyed in WWII and I have not been able to find out any more at this stage.

A family tree on Ancestry (that I have not checked) shows that his parents married in 1896 and only shows the 2 children but no further information about them.

Unfortunately as you say tracing his family forward (if he had any) is harder than working back.

Evan
ps: I edited my previous post with a bit more info.
I think only two million records survive after the bombing in WW2 so I was thinking this is going to be hard work .
As you say , looking to trace his family if he did have any is the hard part but it is a little more further forward .
Once again extremely grateful for the help in unravelling part of the mystery .
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Saffron
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Glad to say he lived to a good old age.

His death was registered in Newton Abbot, Devon, in the July-Sept quarter 1976 and age given as 77. It gave a date of birth of 1 March 1899, so he was 19yrs and 8 days old when arriving in France.

Edit: More info on death
Death Date: 22 Jul 1976
Death Place: Kingsteignton Devon

He lived at 27 Meadowcroft Drive, Kingsteignton.
There is probate record (dated 1 Sept 1976 registerd in London) showing an estate of only £1,146.
Following up on this might give more information.

Evan
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Kenleyboy
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Saffron wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:16 pm Glad to say he lived to a good old age.

His death was registered in Newton Abbot, Devon, in the July-Sept quarter 1976 and age given as 77. It gave a date of birth of 1 March 1899, so he was 19yrs and 8 days old when arriving in France.

Edit: More info on death
Death Date: 22 Jul 1976
Death Place: Kingsteignton Devon

Evan
I was 11 years old when he passed away , strange how life crosses over and I chance upon these all those years later and the mystery has been solved . Fascinating stuff . :thumbsup:
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Saffron
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The 1930 Electorial register showed.

Name: John Warwick Sheriff
Electoral Date: 1930
Street Address: 12 Chandos Road
Ward or Division/Constituency: Willesden East.

Registered at the same address were Deborah Elizabeth Sheriff (his mother) and Cecil Hoffman Barrett, so I would think that his father had died and Cecil was either his mothers new partner, or one of the parties was lodging with the other.

This suggests that as all women over 21 got the right to vate in 1928 that John probably still was not married at the age of 30/31.

Evan
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Kenleyboy
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Saffron wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:42 pm The 1930 Electorial register showed.

Name: John Warwick Sheriff
Electoral Date: 1930
Street Address: 12 Chandos Road
Ward or Division/Constituency: Willesden East.

Registered at the same address were Deborah Elizabeth Sheriff (his mother) and Cecil Hoffman Barrett, so I would think that his father had died and Cecil was either his mothers new partner, or one of the parties was lodging with the other.

This suggests that as all women over 21 got the right to vate in 1928 that John probably still was not married at the age of 30/31.

Evan
Interesting stuff , Could be that he may never have married .
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