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General => Armed Forces => World War Two => Topic started by: Jomot on Monday 25 September 17 17:27 BST (UK)

Title: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Monday 25 September 17 17:27 BST (UK)
Pte James Morgan of the Durham Home Guard died on 22 Mar 1943 and is buried with his parents at Durham Road Cemetery, Stockton on Tees.

Records for the Durham Home Guard are available to download from TNA - series WO 409 - but for some reason James' record is not there.  The Research Guide for that series says that all records have been made available, so I cannot understand why he is not listed.  Any ideas?

His Unit is listed as 117 (102 Co of Durham) A.A. "Z" Bty, which I believe refers to the Anti-Aircraft 'Rocket' Battery.   
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: MaxD on Monday 25 September 17 20:25 BST (UK)
117 Anti Aircraft Z Battery was a Royal Artillery unit in UK Home Forces Anti Aircraft Command.  Some of the detachment later in the war were indeed Home Guard (and ATS sometimes).

The National Archives Home Guard records are by battalion so the task is to find which battalion 102 Company belonged to.  Need to do this to check out the James Morgans that do come up but with only battalions against their names.  As a starter, do any of the HQ locations on this link
http://www.home-guard.org.uk/hg/cty-durham.html fit James Morgan?

MaxD
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Monday 25 September 17 20:34 BST (UK)
Hi Max, I was hoping you'd come along  ;D

James was born & died in Stockton on Tees, so the obvious one from the list would be 19th Durham (Stockton-on-Tees) Bn. 
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: MaxD on Monday 25 September 17 20:44 BST (UK)
Date of birth? 

MaxD
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Monday 25 September 17 20:47 BST (UK)
I don't have his exact date of birth unfortunately, but it was the December quarter of 1917.
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Monday 25 September 17 20:48 BST (UK)
Sorry, my mistake - born 26 Nov 1917
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: MaxD on Monday 25 September 17 21:02 BST (UK)
Gloom (hopefully temporary).  Cross checked, no  James Morgan with a 1917 dob but you knew that anyway!

The NA guidance is a mite unclear.  It suggests that record for men with a dob less than 100 years ago (that would apply) can be found but are closed.  May I suggest contacting NA and checking that that is definitely the case and his file is not hidden for another few months.

Need to think a bit more!

MaxD



Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Monday 25 September 17 21:17 BST (UK)
Thanks Max

I've sent off for his death certificate to see if that sheds any more light on anything.  Probably not, but you never know.   Family story is that his rifle back-fired whilst on duty, although I'm not sure I entirely believe that so at least the certificate will tell me a little more about the circumstances.
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: MaxD on Wednesday 27 September 17 14:15 BST (UK)
Worrying away at your man, I looked again at the title of his unit.  I had (southerner that I am) been reading 102 Co of Durham as 102 Company.  A light has clicked on in the furthest recesses of my brain and I now realise that it actually is (as I'm sure you know) 102 County of Durham.

So 102 what.  I see there was a 102 Battalion Durham Home Guard, not listed on the link I looked at earlier.

What do you know, put 102 Battalion, Durham Home Guard and Morgan in the NA search engine and you get a number of hits, among them this closed record http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/b0391e4b88fc4ee8907845212431f1d7
(there is also a James Morgan but with a 1925 dob)

So, today's proposal, hit the "Request a search of closed records" and see what happens.

MaxD
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Wednesday 27 September 17 14:28 BST (UK)
Thanks Max, that may well be the answer!

I was surprised by the closure date on the record you linked to as I was sure the guide had said closure was 100 years from DoB unless you could evidence death (which is not a problem in this instance as he died in service), but looking again it says "Some of the records also include applications for medals, medical forms and general correspondence. The medical forms are closed until 2045 for data protection reasons

Seems a bit OTT if the people concerned are clearly deceased.

I'd already contacted them following your earlier suggestion so I'm currently waiting to see how they respond, and also awaiting the death certificate. 

Thanks again for your help - I'll let you know how I get on.
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Wednesday 27 September 17 14:38 BST (UK)
As a PS, I've just had a look at the "Request a search of closed records" link, and it costs 23.35 with no guarantee that they'll open the record.  The same rule regarding medical records doesn't seem to apply to WW1 records, so I'm somewhat puzzled by this  ???
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: MaxD on Wednesday 27 September 17 15:57 BST (UK)
Presumably the difference has to do with the passage of time.  Best await the response to your query.

MaxD
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Thursday 05 October 17 20:24 BST (UK)
Finally received a response from TNA, although it's not exactly helpful:

"As far as I am aware all the Durham Home Guard records that we hold, including those still closed, have been catalogued on our catalogue Discovery.  I have checked Discovery and can find no record amongst the Durham Home Guard records held in record series WO 409 for a James Morgan who was born on 26 November 1917"   ::)

I also now have his death certificate, but this adds nothing further so it looks like the only option is to pay the 23.35 and hope it's the right James Morgan and that they will open the record  :-\
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: MaxD on Thursday 05 October 17 20:38 BST (UK)
Can only wish you luck!

MaxD
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: verrieres on Tuesday 10 October 17 21:31 BST (UK)
James Morgan was 25 when he was killed when a shell exploded killing him (Morgan) and another soldier Charles Sidgwick (42). The funeral services were conducted for both  in the cemetery chapel.
If anyone has photographs of Morgan and Sidgewicks headstones a copy would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Jim
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: Jomot on Wednesday 11 October 17 02:57 BST (UK)
Hi Jim

James is commemorated on a family headstone rather than a 'war graves' headstone & I thought it was already online, but if not I only live a few minutes away and am there quite frequently as the family plots are all together (his brother was my grandfather).

Durham Road is a large cemetery and the various sections aren't well marked (in fact I'm not sure they're marked at all!) but Charles Sidgwick seems to be relatively close by so I will try & find his grave when I'm next there. 

Can I ask where you got the information about how they were killed, as if it was reported then Id like to obtain a copy.

Thanks
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: verrieres on Saturday 14 October 17 23:40 BST (UK)
PM sent drop me an email and I will forward the news report

Jim
Title: Re: Missing Durham Home Guard record
Post by: verrieres on Saturday 21 October 17 20:02 BST (UK)
Big public thank you to `JOMOT` who kindly braved the rain and wind to photograph the two DLI headstones at Durham Rd .

Brilliant thank you!

Jim