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WW1 Great Grandad

All this WW1 stuff on the TV has raised my interest in my Great Granddad.

I have his WW1 Valedictory Certificate along side mine, but never really looked into his details before.

I went online tonight and googled him and I ended up downloaded his documents from the national archive, doesn't say a great deal the only ship it mentions is Vivid II. This appears to be Devonport/Drake?

His docs state he was a Stoker 2, but his cert on the wall says Stoker LH.

Does anybody know if the RN archive would have anymore than the National Archive or is what I have, it?

My wife did say my arse was hairy, now I know why!!!


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War Hero
Vivid II was a shore base at Devonport in WW1, now known as HMS Drake. The National Archives was probably the best bet as he was not commissioned, but dependant on what information you would like you could try some other things. If you email Plymouth History Centre (history centres tend to keep local records and archives) they may be able to tell you if they have anything of interest, your local library will have free Ancestry software as well (although this probably won't be much use as you already know his name etc...) Whilst you may not find loads more about his service records it might be interesting to research a bit more about where he was based and stuff, if you are ever in Pompey email the dockyard library and they will find the relevant information for you and get you a pass prepared so you can get in. The Royal Navy Museum is also worth a shout as the staff are hugely knowledgable.

In summary you probably won't find a lot of additional information, but there are places to try and perhaps avenues around the initial information to look into ie) more about Vivid II at the time. I *think* (it was a while ago I researched it) it wasn't a fixed base in that people posted there may also serve on attached ships etc. That may be a lie but it is ringing a bell...
Cheers R3, done a bit more digging and it looks like he was about 35 when he joined (50 odd days before the war ended), so his training would have been his service.

A bit pissed off really as if was given his old pussers money belt and with it the story of how he was torpedoed in the Atlantic. So the story was false and he was a draft dodger, oh how history repeats itself (before anybody else said it)


War Hero
Haha well it still must have taken a lot of courage as he wasn't to know the conflict would be over in 50 days- must have been scary thinking you would be going out there and fighting. Everyone had their part to play as well :)
Still proud he did his bit, my grandad was a steelworker and never went to war, the other was a commando in Burma (not a marine) however he died before I was born.
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War Hero
Hello JFH,

You have all that there is regarding your great grandfathers personal service documents. As Rachel says, you could do an online search to see what life would have been like for Sydney whilst he was at Vivid II in 1918.

I would think that he and his family were counting their blessing when Armistice Day came as Sydney was still on home soil, he truly was one lucky man! Due to the high number of losses he would have been called up. Training was that of 12 weeks, after which, Sydney would have been deemed 'trained and ready to serve'.

You are quite right to be proud of Sydney, although his service was short he still did his bit for King and Country.:bs:


Edited to add: Sydney had a younger brother, Ernest, who was an iron worker (reserved occupation).
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MG Maniac

War Hero
Must admit that all this WWI/II stuff peaked an interest in what my family got up to

Grandfather was relatively easy ... was a boy soldier in the WWI out in South Africa stationed in Cape Town and went on in WWII to be RSM of one of the Battalions stationed in India.

Father however is a bit of an enigma. Unfortunatly I can't ask him as he crossed the bar 10 yrs back and even when he was alive he never talked about it. All I know he was a Nurse in the St John - but there it gets complicated. Seems that Civvy Nurses came under the Military and were attached to what was in effect a MASH unit however St Johns records have all gone and the Military don't keep records on the Civvy Nurses. I've tried trawling the geneology websites but came up blank and St John and the Red Cross don't have centralised records for WWII ... and the local branch (Deal) where he would have started don't have anything that old. What I did find out was a list of all the MASH units that had Civvy Nurses attached and where they served and depending on which one he was with he could have been practically anywhere. That being said the old boy was a deadshot and could hit a gnat at 100yrds with a rifle ... so without anything else I can only surmise he was a Nurse in a MASH unit or as I can't find anything out about him perhaps he was a Ninja Sniper!


War Hero
Being a member of the St Johns Brigade your father may well have spent his service time at Deal, however, I think you'll find that many were drafted to London as their medical skills were in great need due to the blitz. Have you ever thumbed through the local historians book Deal and District at War by David G Collyer? I'm not sure whether David (RIP my dear friend and fellow researcher) gives a mention of the Deal St Johns Brigade in his book but it might be worth you looking. Ropers book shop on Deal High St. will hold a copy. =)

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Lantern Swinger
Cheers R3, done a bit more digging and it looks like he was about 35 when he joined (50 odd days before the war ended), so his training would have been his service.

A bit pissed off really as if was given his old pussers money belt and with it the story of how he was torpedoed in the Atlantic. So the story was false and he was a draft dodger, oh how history repeats itself (before anybody else said it)

The war against Germany was over but they still had operations against the Russians.

Also, could he have been in the MN for the torpedo story?
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