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TOPIC: Michael James Middleton - Somerset Light Infantry

Michael James Middleton - Somerset Light Infantry 2 months 1 day ago #62894

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A couple of years ago I asked for possible info about my wife's grandfather who signed up with 1SLI (service number 6013) on 26 April 1900 and had served or so we thought in SA. We believed all the family medals etc were stolen 20 years. Following advice from the site we sought opinion about his army service which concluded he probably did not go to SA as too young although we had understood from early family history that he had. We have not found his name on the SA campaign medal rolls nor are there any existing service papers. Miraculously the medals were found last Friday! Included was a QSA but crudely inscribed. It so happened that the Britannia Fair was on that week-end and I went along. Contacts all thought the QSA "wrongly" inscribed, but who knew for what motive. I had put on the site, again a couple of years ago a picture of him in his Sergeants WW1 uniform and wearing what seemed to be the QSA ribbon, unfortunately no one replied to confirm. Along with the found medals there is a photo of him in what looks like a very SA/Aussie style uniform which I attach (the one on the left was when in India with SLI around 1904-7). He wears one chevron which I am told denotes 2 years service so would point to 1902; were SLI units serving in SA then? I am now totally confused. Could he have been in SA but not for the qualifying period or outside it and he wanted to "show it"? We have all the correct papers/confirmation of his India, WW1 service, and WW2 Defence Medal and Special Constabulary Medal (photo attached, his are top right). So he was a real "old sweat" but the Boer War episode eludes us. Any ideas or do we accept that he may have faked it?
Best regards to all, David



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Michael James Middleton - Somerset Light Infantry 2 months 17 hours ago #62896

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Middleton,

That must have been an amazing find after all those years and what a relief.

I have searched the medal rolls for Middleton and separately for 6103 but did not found a match in either case. You may want to check the 1901 census to see where he was at that time.

Dr David Biggins

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Michael James Middleton - Somerset Light Infantry 2 months 17 hours ago #62897

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This site ( www.wikiwand.com/en/Somerset_Light_Infantry ) suggest the second battalion of the Som LI were in SA until 1903 and that most of the 4th Battalion came home in May 1902.

One possibility is that he went to SA after the war finished and added the medal himself as he was outside the period of entitlement. I posted details of a group yesterday where the recipient had added the clasp for the Defence of Ladysmith and also the King's Medal to his group so there was certainly a feeling in some men of the need to demonstrate their role in the conflict through the medals they wore.

His service papers would confirm this had they survived.

Dr David Biggins

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Michael James Middleton - Somerset Light Infantry 2 months 14 hours ago #62906

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Many thanks David. I made a slight but important mistake on the posting: he signed up on 26 April 1901 not 1900! The 1901 census taken in March therefore shows him still as an apprentice blacksmith. I think you may be right about the need for some soldiers to show their entitlement if they served outside the qualifying period. Any thoughts on why he was in the "SA" style uniform and/or what is it exactly? On my to do list is to visit the Somerset Country/SLI museum/research centre in Taunton to see if I can find more. Maybe a visit also to Kew in case any papers exist.
Regards,
David

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Michael James Middleton - Somerset Light Infantry 2 months 14 hours ago #62907

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David,

I am not sure about his uniform. Perhaps someone else will be able to comment on that.

I did run a check for his papers on FindMyPast and did not find any but it may be worth a double check to rule out that possibility. I have not heard of any differences between the digitised and papers versions though.

Dr David Biggins

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