i Guestbook - The Wardrobe housing The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum


Please do not use this Guestbook for archive enquiries.  If you would like information from museum staff regarding past regiments or family research, please look through 'Research Centre' then click on the Enquiries section.

The guestbook is provided for visitors to contribute their views about the site, and to share items of regimental history.

Apart from comments on the site all messages should have a link to our Regiments:–The 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment; The 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment; The 66th (Berkshire) Regiment; The 99th (Lanarkshire) Regiment; The (Royal) Berkshire Regiment; The Wiltshire Regiment; The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment; The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment; The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and the people who served in them.

Information about The Gloucestershire Regiment should be directed to The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Custom House, Gloucester GL1  2HE.

The Guestbook is moderated. All items are sent to the site administrator who will decide if they are suitable for inclusion. There may therefore be a delay of a few days before your message appears.

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Andrew Clements

I am researching the army career of my grandfather, 6348 John Clements, 2nd Wilts Regt, and am puzzled by the fact that his regimental number suggests he joined the regiment in mid-1903, when he would have been just fourteen years old. I understood that the minimum age to join the army pre-WWI was 18 years. Did “Boy Soldiers” exist at the turn of the 20th Century, and if so, what was their role within the regiment? Also, what criteria would have been used to decide whether or not a Sergeant was allowed to have his family accompany him on a long overseas posting (in John’s case, three years in China)? Did the “rank” of Bandsman confer special privileges, or was there some sort of random selection system, like a lottery? Can anyone enlighten me, please?

Curator's Comment:

Dear Andrew, Starting with the question of wives accompanying the husbands. If we take 1660 as the beginning of the professional Army in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries a certain number of wives were permitted to accompany their husbands and as a result the accompanying spouses and the offspring would be of the official ration strength of the Regiment. If the husband died in action or from a dread disease the family would remain of the ration strength for a short period and often within that period the widow would find another regimental soldier to re-marry and thus remain on the Ration Strength. In the same centuries every Infantry Regiment had a specific number of Junior Drummers and the youngest age for this appointment was 14. Often sons of serving soldiers would be the source of many Junior Drummers. Bandsman played music for the Regiment so they would have to be able to read and play music. Once battle had been joined the Bandsmen secondary role would often be stretcher bearer. Michael Cornwell, Guest Book Coordinator

Lynne Hardy

Last year I visited Myanmar. I went to the war graves cemetery just outside Yangon. My grandfather, who was in the Royal Berks 2nd division, is remembered there. I also went to Mandalay near where he died. Near the top of Mandalay hill is a stone memorial tablet to commemorate the taking of Mandalay by the 2nd div. Would you like me to send you some photos of these two places for your records? The Mandalay hill memorial stone needs some TLC, but the cemetery was beautifully kept. I love this website and the museum, thank you to all involved.

Curator's Comment:

Lynne, thank you for the offer of those photographs of you visit Yangon and Mandalay. Yes we would very much appreciate any images you can send. If you email me at Researcher3@thewardrobe.org.uk, I'll see that they become of the museum collections and will eventually become part of the online collection at the next web update in Nov/Dec 2014. Yours Aye Michael Cornwell, Guest book Administrator

Alison Phillips

My greatgrandfathers brother was killed in Action on 12 March 1915. According to the CWGC website he was in the 2nd battalion Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) Army number 11996 name of Sydney Crow. How he came to be in the Wiltshire Regiment I don't know as he was from East Ham in London but I do have a a photograph of him in his uniform. If you wish and if it's possible for me to do so I could send this photo to you electronically via email to add to your collection.

Curator's Comment:

Dear Alison We would love to have a digital copy of the photograph your great grandfather's brother. If you e-mail it to Researcher3@thewardrobe.org.uk we can accession the image and eventually have it appearing on the web site, though please be aware we usually update the newly accessioned items once a year, usually in December. As you may appreciate many men joined the Army in 1945/15 as a result of the recruiting campaign by Lord Kitchener, the one with him pointing his finger at the intended audience with the words "your Country needs you". The recruiting campaign was so successful that many men found themselves in Regiments that had little or no geographical association with where they lived. Michael Cornwell, Guest Book Administrator


This is my last attempt to try and make contact as nothing else seems to work.On the 31st Dec 2013 I used the web site to make an inquiry Inquiry #20140101-861 paid twenty five UK pounds and not heard a thing since. Really disappointed in the service and would like to know if there is at least some hope or no hope of ever hearing again. Thank you S J ALLEN Nova Scotia. Canada

Curator's Comment:

Dear Simon, I am sorry to hear that you have had to resort to using the Guest Book to obtain an answer. As it happens I am going into the Museum today, as a volunteer worker and will try to ascertain what has happened. Rather than post a detailed response on the guest book I will email you direct. Michael Cornwell, Guest Book Administrator

will paice

have just used web site for the first time and i am amazed at all the information on the Berkshire regt,i live in Reading,Berks and have recently started to study the history of the Berks in ww1 and have visited some of the areas where they fought,Trones and Delville woods being some of them.Thanks to this website i am going to have a much better understanding of the role my county regt had in the great war.I would really like to visit the museum soon,is it by appointment or turn up when open? thanks ......Will

Curator's Comment:

Will, Thank you for your comments. The opening times of the museum are on the Home page of the web site and you may turn up any time you like within those hours. Be warned Car Parking within the Close is limited and you will have to find a place either within Salisbury or use one of the Park and Ride facilities. There are very limited spaces within the wardrobe, usually reserved for the work force within the building which includes the Regimental Office staff. However if there is a space it will cost you £6. If there is something specific you wish to research within the archives and artefacts from the Reserve Collection you will need to book ahead and the lead time suggested is 3 to 4 weeks. Please email the curator or the assistant curator. Michael Cornwell, Guest Book Adminstrator

anne washtell

Hello I am researching my grandfather, Amberline Sheen. I know he was in Wiltshire Regiment No 9129. I found the information below in the war diaries but he is listed as Sheen, Arthur when, in fact, his name is Sheen, Amberline. Can this information be changed at all please? 1916-08-23 Regiment. 1st Wiltshire Location France, Leipzig Salient Entry Our front and support trenches were shelled at intervals during the day. Lieut Strawson was wounded in the arm in the morning. 2nd Lieut Watkinson was wounded in the eye. Our guns bombarded the enemy trenches during the day and the following night. Recommendations for Awards 27.8.1916 22495 Cpl Vine, Bert. This NCO at the Leipzig salient the assault on the enemy's lines on the evening of Aug 23rd was one of the first to reach the trench, where he did great execution with his rifle and bayonet. He was wounded 3 times, but carried on until the trench was consolidated and was of the greatest assistance in organising parties. This NCO on the preceding evening, when it was essential to patrol the enemy' wire did so by himself in full moon light under heavy shell-fire, and has always shown extreme coolness. 10070 Sgt Gibb, George. In the assault on the enemy's lines at the Leipzig Salient on Aug 23rd, this NCO showed the greatest dash and gallantry, and when the trench was taken, displayed the greatest coolness in arranging the consolidation, and in blocking the trench. 11123 L/Cpl Slade, Herbert. This NCO acted as an orderly throughout the operations at Leipzig Salient from Aug 23rd to Aug 26th, and continuously carried messages under terrific shell-fire and would always volunteer, whether it was his turn or not. He has taken part as orderly in all the operations of Regt since the beginning of July. Military Medal. 16173 Pte Posbans (Jack). During the assault on the enemy lines at the Leipzig Salient on Aug 23rd, this private although extremely young and with no previous experience of trench warfare, showed the utmost gallantry and initiative and when his senior NCOs became casualties, he did the work of a Sergeant in organising various parties, and showed a fine example to all around him. DCM. 9129 L/Cpl Sheen, Arthur has taken part in the operations of the Regt since the beginning of July, and during the operations of the regt since the beginning of July, and during the operations between 23rd and 26th Aug, at the Leipzig Salient he behaved with extreme coolness and gallantry as orderly, and in addition had a great share in repulsing an enemy bomb attack. 3693 Pte Coles, Harry. During the operations at the Leipzig salient between Aug 23rd and 26th this man showed great gallantry as an orderly, continuously volunteered to carry messages under very heavy fire. [signed] G W Brown OC C Coy.

Curator's Comment:

Dear Anne Whilst appreciating your detailed facts it is not a simple as it may at first appear. What neither of us can prove beyond doubt, unless you have his attestation paperwork, is the name under which your grandfather was attested and for the Service record his names (Forenames and Surname) were recorded as those given at his attestation. Regrettably most of the Service records from the First World War were destroyed in a WW2 bombing raid over London. We are not disputing your fact but for reasons of archival accuracy we cannot changed the entries without the documentary proof of the names given at Attestation. People attested gave different Forenames and/or Surnames for a multitude of reasons. We will of course mark your entry and details and if we receive archival evidence to amend the entries we will. Michael Cornwell Guest Book administrator

Chris Newnham

Hi Admin, Could you please change the spelling in the poem on: http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/regimental-identity From: A moth-eaten rag, on a worm-eaten pole, It does not look likely to stir a man's sole, 'Tis the deeds that were done 'neath the moth-eaten rag, When the pole was a staff, and the rag was a flag. “A moth-eaten rag on a worm-eaten pole It does not look likely to stir a man's soul, Read more at http://izquotes.com/quote/290142 As you can see, this error is made many times around the net. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tg8xIiEfFL0C&pg=PA118&lpg=PA118&dq=sir+edward+hamley+flag&source=bl&ots=pMuL4fn2HM&sig=lqPfVZ_NtT3gJf94V1EIiL-WV64&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Xv_kUpi9Ma-M0wXZqIC4CQ&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=sir%20edward%20hamley%20flag&f=false

Curator's Comment:

Chris Thank you for pointing the error out I can only assume that the individual who wrote that section did so at lunchtime on a Friday. You may need to be my age to understand that particular comment. it has been amended Michael Cornwell Guest Book Administrator.

Tim Bowers

This is a long shot. On 6th May 2005 Alan Pitcher posted here regarding Pte William Edgar Curnuck. I am researching the Newbridge Mon. War Memorial for the National Museum of Wales. Pte Curnuck is commemorated on the memorial (although his name is incorrect). Is there any way to contact Alan Pitcher as I would very much appreciate a copy of the letter which he mentions. Tim Bowers

Curator's Comment:

Dear Tim Due to Data Protection we obviously cannot give you his email address. However as you have expressed a wish to contact him, I will cut and paste the contents of this entry together with your contact details in an email to him and leave it up to Alan. Here's hoping you both exchange information. Yours Aye Michael Cornwell Guest Book Administrator

wesley ellaway

hello was looking in your collection and came across a picture of my grandfather. is there a chance of buying a copy of this photo it was SBYRW : 9013 he is 2nd guy in John Allan Ellaway 22658324 r. berks. r.

Curator's Comment:

Dear Wesley, There is every chance and it can be done electronically. Go back to the Museum Home Page and just under the Museum's name you will see a Menu Bar, move your cursor on to the "Research" Menu Tab and another menu will drop down. Move your cursor to "The Collection"and then left click. Once on the Collection page, scroll down until you see an entry box which has the word "Keyword" above it. In that box merely type in 9013 and then select search; when the image appears click on it and this time you should see a magnifying glass symbol under the picture. When you get the enlarged version you will see that it has watermarks on it but if you scroll down to the bottom of the enlarged image page you will see an option to order an electronic version or to have it burnt onto a CD. Make your choice then click on "Add to Basket". Once that has been completed you then need to go to the Shop Tab and go through the process of paying for your ordered photograph. Yours Aye Michael Cornwell Guest Book Administrator.

Andrew Radgick

Could you tell me anything about the 12th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment during WWI please, as information on it seems very scarce. What sort of work did it do, and where?

Curator's Comment:

Dear Andrew, I am afraid that the guest book is not a place for answering enquiries; it is a place where visitors to the web site may leave comments on how they found their visit to the Web site. Enquires are answered by submitting an enquiry through the Research Header and there is a charge for answering those enquiries. To save you a little time we will not hold much on12th Battalion the Royal Berkshire Regiment because they became part of the Labour Corps in the Great War. Michael Cornwell Guest Book Adminstrator