Thomas’ Last Military Assignment

As I said earlier, service records for British soldiers in World War I, including the one for Thomas Hall, were destroyed by fire during the German bombing of Britain during World War II. So I have to squeeze as much information out of Thomas’ marriage record as I can. He served in the 1st Garrison Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry (HLI). I found a good record of the stations for the Highland Light Infantry on the Long, Long Trail Website. There were different categories of Battalions in the HLI. From other sources, I discovered that a Garrison Battalion was composed of men to old or not fit for regular war service. Some Garrison Batallions did serve overseas, but others served at home.

The only component of the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry that fit with Thomas in time and date was the 1st (Reserve) Garrison Battalion, which was formed at Fort George around May 1916 and moved to Maryhill in January 1918. Fort George is a large 18th century fortress near Ardersier, to the north-east of Inverness in the Highland council area of Scotland.  The fortress has never been attacked and has remained in continuous use as a garrison.

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August 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm Leave a comment

A New Beginning for Thomas and Sarah

The next record I have for Thomas Hall is his marriage to Sarah Purdie Barnes on September 1 1916. The marriage took place at 2 South Hampton Street in Kilmarnock, Scotland, according to the forms of the established Church of Scotland. Kilmarnock is in the county of Ayr on the west coast of Scotland, not too far from Bonhill and the Vale of Leven. It is also very close to Glasgow.

On this marriage record, Thomas is described as 50 years old, a telegraph manager, a Lieutenant in the 1st Garrison Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, and a bachelor living at The Depot, Fort George. His parents were William Hall, a retired pensioner, now deceased, and Lydia Celina Hall, née Ramsbottom, also deceased. Sarah is described as 34 years old, a hosiery presser, and a spinster living at 15 James Little Street, Kilmarnock. Her parents were James Barnes, a cabinetmaker (deceased) and Sarah Barnes, née Purdie. The minister was William J. Smith from St Karmarnock’s parish, and the witnesses were Alexander Hunter and Agnes Boyd Barnes.

I felt very lucky to have found this record on Scotland’s People. This is a pay-per-use site but I find it very reasonable, and I can use my American credit card to easily buy the credits I need.

August 27, 2012 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry

Cap Badge of the Highland Light Infantry

Although Thomas’ personal service record was destroyed by German bombing in World War II,I did find quite a bit about his unit, the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry (1 HLI). I found good sources for the history of this battalion. Thomas enlisted in 1888 and died in 1917, so I narrowed my research to those years. The sources included:

  • A Google e-book, Regimental Records of the 1st HLI, 1777 to 1906
  • Royal Highland Fusiliers Website
  • The Long, Long Trail, the British Army in the Great War

Raised in 1777 as the 73rd Foot (71st Foot in 1786) and in 1787 as the 74th Highland Regiment (74th Foot in 1816). These two regiments became the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Highland Light Infantry in 1881.

  • The battalion was stationed in England from 1881 to 1895, was in Malta from 1895 to 1898, and served in Crete as part of an international force during the rioting of  1898.
  • The battalion was heavily engaged in Crete and suffered many casualties. It returned to England in 1899.
  • In 1899, the Boer (Dutch) Republics in South Africa declared war on Great Britain and invaded Natal. Questions of colonial territories were complicated by the rich diamond and gold resources in South Africa.
  • The 1 HLI arrived in South Africa in November 1899. The battalion was directed to Ladysmith, which was under siege. It took part in the battles of Belmont (1899), Modder River (1899), Magersfonteim (1899), and several others.
  • After the Boer War, 1 HLI left South Africa for Egypt (1903-1904), Sudan (1904 to 1905), and India (1905 to 1914).
  • At the beginning of World War I,, 1 HLI arrived in France in December 1914 as part of th Indian Corps, serving in the 3rd Indian or Lahore Division. It was in action within days at Festubert. During 1915, 1 HLI was at Neuve Chappelle, St. Julian, and Ypres.
  • In November 1915, the bulk of the Indian Corps, including 1 HLI, was transferred to Mesopotamia to fight the Turks and remained there for the rest of the war. Actions included Tigris, Kut al Amara, Trabes, and Sharquat.

August 26, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

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My Mom Ada


This blog traces the family history of my mom, Edith Porter Duffy. From the time I was a little girl, my mom would tell me stories about her family, who all called her Ada. I only wish I had asked her more questions while she was still here!

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