When I originally volunteered to contribute to the this series I planned to submit two posts: the first about a Tommy who fought on the front line and died of his injuries, and the second about a Tommy who remained on home soil doing a very different type of war work. Unfortunately, my research did not go to plan.
The person I had hoped to write about was my father’s paternal grandfather, Frederick James Newing. Frederick was a domestic chauffer for most of his working life, and I have always been told that he spent the war driving military vehicles on to transport ships at a port somewhere in Kent. The only item we have in our family collection related to Frederick’s war service is the photograph on the right. We found it in a box of miscellaneous family photos and it is unlabelled. My dad thought the two men pictured might be his granddad, Frederick, on the left, and his great uncle Harry, Frederick’s brother in law on the right. However, as both men passed away when he was a child he couldn’t be sure.
Unfortunately, despite searching extensively through the Soldiers Records (the so-called burnt records) on the Ancestry website and the First World War Army Medal cards on The National Archives website, I could not find anything about Frederick. It surprised me, as he has been very easy to track through the rest of his life. However, I know this is how research can sometimes turn out.