Archive for Family Groups and Singles

A Birchall killed on the 1st Day of the Somme

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 5, 2020 by The Dude

A sad little orphan 1914-15 Star. Impressed to Private William Burchell, 17691, of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. William entered France on the 15th of October 1915 and was killed in action on the 1st of July at Thiepval on the Somme. I have some German ball shrapnel from the same area. Thiepval was an abattoir on that day although the Berkshires reached their objectives on schedule. William was 33 on the day he was killed. He is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial. Coincidentally a Sergeant in the Lancashire Regt named identically was also killed at Thiepval on the same day.

An Embroidered Postcard from France

Posted in Paper with tags , , on February 23, 2020 by The Dude

These postcards were very popular, especially with the British troops, during WW1. This particular one has a personal connection being sent by a soldier with the surname of Birchall.

“With my best wishes to you and all in Garston. Yours with kind regards, L. Cpl J. Birchall.”

It is sent to a Nellie Tomas in Garston. Likely one I found in Garston on Ancestry, born in 1900. No sign of a marriage tho so Romeo was unsuccessful.

A Birchall Masonic Medal

Posted in 1919-1938 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on February 23, 2020 by The Dude

Along with the military medals, occasionally drifts a Masonic medal. This one is the 1930 Royal Masonic Hospital Charity Jewel from 1930. It was awarded to Worshipful Brother J. Birchall of the Robinson Lodge (2046) in Maidstone, Kent.

A Birchall in the Liverpool Regiment

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on February 22, 2020 by The Dude

Another ordinary pair of Squeak and Wilfred, the two most common ww1 service medals. These belonged to Private 202702 John Birchall of the Liverpool Regiment.

A Birchall, Died a POW in Germany

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on December 24, 2019 by The Dude

This Death Penny belonged to Sidney Burchell, a Private in the 7th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Regiment. Sydney died from illness while a prisoner in Germany on the 26th of June 1918. This is likely not his actual death date as the POW rolls have him dying on the 20th of June. Sidney enlisted in Chichester, initially as TR/10/6344 in a Training Reserve Battalion, probably the 23rd based in Shoreham, although Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 probably erroneously states the 2nd. Later he became Rifleman A/205284 in the 7th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps, part of the Army’s 14th Division.

Sidney was taken prisoner on 21 March 1918 and held at Camp Stendal, Prussia. He died of kidney infection while in captivity on 20 June 1918 aged 19. [Some current records state he died on 26 June which is likely to be the date of his burial.]

He was buried in grave V.A.11 at the Hautmont Communal Cemetery. Hautmont had been captured by the Germans in the early days of World War 1. The communal cemetery was used by the German troops for the burial of their dead. The Allied prisoners who died in the local German hospitals were buried there too by the authorities of the town.

Sidney is also commemorated on the Lodsworth war memorial.

Another WW1 Birchall Orphan

Posted in Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on December 7, 2019 by The Dude

This lonely little WW1 Victory Medal orphan belonged to M2-033111 Private A.J. BURCHELL of the Army Service Corps. Arthur James Burchell entered France on the 18th of July 1915 and was therefore entitled to the 1914-1915 Star in addition to the BWM and Victory Medal. His M2 prefix on his service number indicates that he was an electrician.

A Birchall Killed In Norway

Posted in Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , , on December 7, 2019 by The Dude

This modest little group belonged to John James Burchall-Ward, 997361, 114 Squadron. John was a Sergeant-Observer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He was killed in action on the 27th December 1941 when the Blenheim he was helping to crew was shot down into the sea at the island of Vaagso in Norway during Operation Archery. He is buried in the Møllendal Church Cemetery in Bergen.

A Birchall who didn’t deploy

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on September 21, 2019 by The Dude

Surprising this week, after a drought of a few months, a plain old garden-variety British General Service Medal (1962). The recipient is Gunner R. Birchall 23381785, Royal Artillery. The lack of any of the 14 possible theatre bars means he didn’t deploy from the UK during his service.

A Birchall Electrician in WW1

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on January 9, 2019 by The Dude

This trio are a 1915 Star, Allied Victory Medal and British War Medal awarded to Private C. Burchell (M2-048414). I haven’t found his first name yet but his army number indicates that he served as an electrician in the Army Service Corps. His record shows he entered France on the 16th of March 1915 and that he was released into the Class Z reserve on the 21st of April 1919. I hope he had a decent war.

A Birchall, dead at Cawnpore

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , , on August 14, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis group epitomises why I collect medals to both my surname and its variants. In the 19th Century, surnames were still quite fluid. With many people still being illiterate in the mid-century (~40% of men), the spelling of the surname often depended on the hearing of the recorder. In this group we have a Crimea Medal with Sebastopol Bar and an Indian Mutiny Meda, the latter impressed to SERGT TIMY BIRCHELL, 82 REGT. On the medal roll for Crimea he is recorded as Birchill. On the Regimental roll for India he is spelled Birchile. Either way, Timothy Birchell, 2232, Sergeant in the 82nd (Prince of Wales Volunteers) Regiment of Foot, served and died at Cawnpore, India on the 16th of December, 1857. The Mutiny medal is typical of many casualty medals, never worn and in almost mint condition.

Another Birchall in Malaya

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on June 4, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomIt has been a good month for finding Birchalls on the intertubes. This GVI GSM is impressed to 23522812 PTE J.BIRCHALL RAOC. Because this is a GVI issue GSM, Private Birchall must have served early in the Emergency, prior to 1956. Interesting side note, it was called the Malayan Emergency because if it had been a war, then insurers would have been able to refuse claims for damage.

NW Europe and Korea Group to a Birchall

Posted in 1939-1945 Service Medals, 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on April 15, 2018 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomIn my never ending quest to find and reunite medals to my family surname, usually it’s months of dross with the occasional excellent find. This group falls into the latter. This group is impressed to W.O. 2nd Class F.Birchall, 5.D.G and Lt. F Birchall, 5.D.G.

Frederick served in N.W. Europe, landing through Normandy with the Regiment in July, 1944. He fought through Belgium, the Roer and into Hamburg in 1945. After returning to the U.K., the Regiment was sent to Korea, where Frederick was awarded an MID as well as a short service commission as Lieutenant.

A Career Navy Birchall in WW1 & WW2

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , , on November 11, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis orphaned British War Medal is impressed to K6690 F.BURCHELL L.STO R.N. Luckily today is Remembrance Day, so the Ancestry military records are free. He was hard to track down because the naming of the medal is in error. It belonged to George Victor Burchell, born in Preston in 1896. He joined the Royal Navy as a boy of 12. He served in both WW1 and WW2, however, all of his service post WW1 was on shore stations like HMS Defiance and HMS Vivid. He had postings on HMS Eagle both in 1918 as well as the next Eagle in the mid 30’s. His trade was listed as jeweller/watchmaker and since most of his berths were at torpedo training establishments, I think he most likely serviced the mechanisms in torpedoes. His rank on the medal was Leading Stoker, his final rank in 1942 was Leading Petty Officer.

A Reunited Orphan Birchall

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on September 19, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis single is a WW1 Victory Medal belonging to William Birchall. It is impressed to 20177 Pte. W. Birchall Essex R. William deployed to the Balkans on the 19th of September 1915. He was discharged on the 30th of March 1917 under category 16, “No longer fit for war service”, in this case because of wounds. William was also entitled to the Silver Wound Badge 152379.

What is fantastic about this humble medal is that I already had his 1914-15 Star from back in 2013 so getting these back together is very satisfying. I am still missing the BWM but my search goes on.

A Birchall Driver in the ASC

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 4, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis lonely little Victory medal was awarded to Thomas Birchall, 2529, a Driver in the Army Service Corps in WW1. I can’t find much on him but I can see by his entitlement card that he was awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal in 1920. Both this and his British War medal are lost to time unfortunately.

A Self-Award For A Victorian Birchall

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on July 19, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomHere’s an odd one. We have our share of military imposters today, slipping into a uniform and slapping on a bunch of undeserved medals in order to gain the eye of the ladies. They call them “Walts”, after the deluded central character in the 1939 book, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”.

Now it appears I have one from the 19th Century. This medal, a Crimean Medal with Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaklava bars is inscribed to Captain Basil Herne Harper Birchill 1854-5-6. Researching Basil tells me that he was a member of the minor gentry from Middlesex. His surname was Diprose at birth but he was able to change his name to Birchall upon the death of Lt Col. Herne Harper Burchell in 1858 (probably due to either a remarriage of his mother or an illegitimate issue). He did indeed serve in one of the County militia, the Royal Bucks. However as far as I can see he never made it to the Crimea. I see a record of him  connected to the British Italian Legion which replaced British troops in garrison on Malta during the Crimean War. And he seemed to be busy in organisations like the Cinque Ports Corps (basically a bunch of rifle clubs) and the Royal Geographical Society. However I sincerely doubt that he left Britain and this medal is a self award. Pompous little classist pommie prick. I would say I’d plant my boot into his nuts if I met him today.

 

Western Front Group to a Birchall

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on May 13, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomA pretty common trio to a English soldier on the Western Front. The group is named variously to PTE. or L/CPL J.BURCHELL 3553 R.LANC.R. John Burchell entered France on the 6th of October 1915 and is therefore entitled to the 1914-15 Star. He doesn’t show up on the CWGC website so it appears he made it through alive.

A Birchall In Victorian Egypt

Posted in 1850-1900 Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , on April 15, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomA nice tidy Anglo-Egyptian War group belonging to one of the Birchall/Burchell/Birchell’s out there. This one is impressed to H.T.BURCHELL PTE. R.M.L.I. Harry Thomas Burchell (No 2473) enlisted in the Chatham Division of the Royal Marines on June 11th 1883. He served until discharged on 6th November, 1894. The Egypt medal has bars for Suakin (1st March to 14th May, 1885) and Tofrek (22nd March 1885). I have another Birchall from the same campaign here.

A Birchall in the Malaya Campaign

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on April 14, 2017 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomIn my never-ending quest to find all the Birchall or similar named groups and singles on the internets, there is this example in the post this week. Named to 23416889 SIGMN.J.I.BIRCHELL R.SIGS., it is a EIIR General Service Medal with a bar for the Malayan campaign against the communist insurgency. This post-colonial bush war ran from 1948 to 1960 and was one of the few successful attempts to keep the communists out of S.E.Asia.

A Birchall with Talent in WW1

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on October 16, 2016 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomInteresting partial group here. These two medals are part of a group belonging to Arthur H. Birchall, 2596. He was enlisted in 1915 as a Lance Corporal in the Durham Light Infantry and ended the war as a Lieutenant Colonel in the same regiment. His BWM and MC are lost to time. Something that is also interesting here is that another partial group of his, sans MC, recently went through the DNW auction house before being snapped up and relisted on EBay at an exorbitant markup.

A Birchall Valour Group from the Hundred Days Offensive

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, 1939-1945 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles, Rare Medals, Valour Medals with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomHere’s a great group coming from my never-ending search for medals impressed to my surname. In this case its a WW1 Military Medal group combined with a WW2 service medal group, named to J.E.Birchall 91004, The Kings (Liverpool) Regt.

It came with a little certificate from his commanding General commending his “…skilful use of his Lewis Gun section during operations against Evillers and Mory Copse on the 23rd and 24th of August 1918”.

The village of Evillers was completely destroyed during this offensive. John Eric Birchall later served in WW2, as evidenced by his Defence Medal and War Medal. This service was as a Lieutenant in the Home Guard. Given his age, it was probably his MM that got him that rank.

A Birchall Sapper in WW1

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on September 5, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis small group is impressed to 8518 SPR W.T. BIRCHALL RE. William Birchall served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. This means he spent a lot of time on trench improvements and likely served close to or at the front. He doesn’t appear on the CWGC website so he survived. The group came with the owners miniatures which is a nice touch since I often find these things as lonely orphans.

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A Birchall in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Posted in 1914-1918 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , on August 24, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomA modest medal, unfortunately an orphan. This medal is impressed to 8846 PVT A. BURCHELL R.W.FUS. Albert Burchell served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and later in The Welsh Regiment. I haven’t been able to find any more information about this man. No attestation papers. But since he doesn’t appear on the CWGC site, it appears he survived the Great War.

Update: From a friend on another site a little more about Albert
Albert Burchell
Rank: Private
Medal Awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal
Regiment or Corps: Welsh Regiment Regimental Number: 267026 Sub Unit: 1/6th Battalion
Previous Units: 8846. R.W. Fus. Pte. Infantry Base Depot., Att. 6th Welch R., 15632. 6th Welch R., 267026. 6th Welch R., Welch R. Infantry Base Depot., 8th Welch R., Att. 37th Div Cyclists, 8th Welch R.

rsz_burchell_medal_2 rsz_burchell_medal_1 rsz_burchell_medal_card

Another WW1 Birchall in the Merchant Navy

Posted in Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on May 3, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis is a pretty humble medal that has had a hard life. This is the WW1 British War Medal, impressed to Frederick W. Birchall. Because of the lack of a unit or service number I suspected this was a merchant seaman award. 10 minutes on the British Archives and here he is. Frederick was born in 1871 in Liverpool and would therefore have been 43 when war broke out. His medals were forwarded to the Merchant Marine Office in Canning Place, Liverpool. He was also awarded the Merchantile War Medal, since lost to time. The War Medal here has the neck of its suspender broken as well as bad edge knocking and bruising. It probably sat in someones junk drawer for a few decades.

rsz_fwbirchallmedal2 rsz_fwbirchallmedal1FWBirchallMedalCard

A Birchall in Heavy Bombers for the RCAF

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on March 1, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_CanadaThis medal is a GVI Canadian Efficiency Decoration awarded to Wing Commander Kenneth Birchall (C1592). Ken was born in Ottawa on the 17th of March 1916. He attended the technical school in Ottawa and went on to become a Pilot-Sergeant in the RCAF, later enlisting in 1939 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

The Ottawa Journal records his promotion to Flying Officer (Temporary)  in January 1940. He went on to complete two tours in bombers over France and Germany and then returned to Canada. He served as the Chief Instructor at No.2 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mossbank in Manitoba. In the 14 June 1945 London Gazette he was gazetted for the Air Force Cross (AFRO 1127/45 dated 6 July 1945).  Ken had completed 1,502 hours flying as of date of award. The award was presented 1 April 1949.

The blurb for the award is as follows…

“Wing Commander Birchall, during the period of his employment as chief instructor at No.2 Bombing and Gunnery School, has produced outstanding results in training efficiency. Through devotion to duty and untiring effort he contributed in great measure to raising and maintaining the efficiency and morale of this station at a very high level. His service has been outstanding for the past five years and during that period he has made a valuable contribution to the prosecution of the war.”

Aside from the missing AFC, Ken would also be entitled to the Victory Medal, the 1939-45 Star, the Air Crew Europe Star, the Defence Medal and the CVSM with Overseas Bar.

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