by John Goldsbrough

James Goldsbrough and World War 1

At the outbreak of the war in 1914, James Goldsbrough was 37 years old but he still served in the war. I have traced his Medal Index Card which shows that he went to France on 26th August 1915. He served as a driver with the Army Service Corps (ASC) and his service number was T4/040600. The Medal Index Card shows that he was awarded three campaign medals, the 1915 Star, the British medal and the Victory medal.

The Medal Rolls Index, known as the Medal Index Cards (MIC), was created by the Army Medal Office (AMO) towards the end of the First World War. The index was created to enable the AMO to place on one card, all of the details about an individual's medal entitlement, their rank or ranks, the unit or the units they served in, the first operational theatre they served in and most importantly, the original AMO medal roll references. Campaign medals are those medals awarded to individuals who served in the First World War and who met the qualifications laid down for each campaign medal. In general, all those who saw service overseas were awarded a campaign medal. The qualifications for each campaign medal were laid down in Army Orders.

1914/15 Star. Authorised in 1918, the 1914/15 Star was awarded to those individuals who saw service in France and Flanders from 23 November 1914 to 31 December 1915, and to those individuals who saw service in any other operational theatre from 5 August 1914 to 31 December 1915.

The British War Medal 1914-1920, authorised in 1919, was awarded to eligible service personnel and civilians alike. Qualification for the award varied slightly according to service. The basic requirement for army personnel and civilians was that they either entered a theatre of war, or rendered approved service overseas between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Service in Russia in 1919 and 1920 also qualified for the award.

The Victory Medal 1914-1919 was also authorised in 1919 and was awarded to all eligible personnel who served on the establishment of a unit in an operational theatre.

As mentioned earlier James Goldsbrough served with the ASC, the Army Service Corps, the forerunner of today’s Royal Logistics Corp. The ASC were the unsung heroes of the British Army in the Great War - the ASC, Ally Slopers Cavalry - were the men who operated the transport. One of their main bases was LeHavre, established in 1914. I mention this because my fathers second name was Harvey and he said that it was because his father was in LeHavre in World War One.

He appears to have served in France until 1917. Further information about his service in the first World War was obtained when I obtained a copy of my fathers full birth certificate. In that the fathers occupation was described as ‘Soldier, 69 Field Ambulance, T4.040600, Bus Driver'.  So it appears that James may have been an Ambulance Driver.  James had worked with horses in his
civilian life and the following definition of his service number verifies that he must have been driving horse drawn vehicles such as ambulances.
Service numbers - meaning of prefixes. T - Army Service Corps - Horsed Transport.

The Royal Army Medical Corps 69th Field Ambulance was attached to the 23rd Division for the whole of the war.  The 23rd Division was established in September 1914 as part of Army Order 388 authorising Kitchener's Third New Army, K3. The units of the Division began to assemble at Bullswater (68th Brigade) and Frensham (69th and 70th Brigades and RE) in Hampshire in September 1914. The King, Queen and Princess Mary visited the fledgling Division on 29 September. The artillery formed at Mytchett Camp
from November onwards. In early December, as the weather worsened, the Division moved into Aldershot, with CII and CIII
Brigades of the artillery going to Ewshott. More moves were made to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915 and to Bordon in Hampshire at the end of May. In April and May, some of the infantry was engaged on building defences to the south of London.

Between 21 and 26 August 1915 the Division landed in Boulogne and proceeded to the concentrate near Tilques. The 23rd Division thereafter served on the Western Front until late 1917 when it moved to Italy. Jame’s medal record card shows that he went to France on 26 August 1915, obviously with the 23rd Division. In 1917 when the division went to Italy, James must have returned to the UK.