Published in 1920, the National Roll was produced in 14 regional Volumes. Manchester City Council has on-line versions for 10,000 names of people who served from Manchester Spinning the Web > National Roll Manchester and 7,500 people from Salford Spinning the Web > National Roll Salford
CWGC – Find War Dead provides some reasonable profiles of men who lost their lives in World War One. The National Roll includes these men, but also those people who served in the war and survived. Searches can be made for individual names, or particular Regiments or Battalions. The search results for 17th Manchesters are very long and difficult to assess – while recognising the huge impact of hostilities on the home city.
Individual searches for the men in III Platoon, 17th Manchester Battalion, produced very disappointing results. The National Roll has very limited coverage of the men that served. Only six entries are included in the Manchester and Salford Volumes, from the total of sixty four members of III Platoon listed in the 1915 Book of Honour Roll. This low uptake was certainly linked to the subscription format for the National Roll and most likely a level of resentment that non-combatants were listed, but not the Pals who had lost their lives.
I understand the National Roll entries were often written by family members. Hence, the accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. A National Health Warning should be applied to the National Roll. Please see The Cost for more reliable profiles. Here’s the III Platoon entries.
Arthur Jones records are consistent with earlier notes, reflecting his capture at Trones Wood.
Ernest Stelfox died in July 1917 – not 1918 – and it is terrible to think of the impact of a newly published ‘history’ book showing such terrible inaccuracy when the Stelfox family opened the book.
Henry Brumfitt had an extensive service in various Manchester Battalions. Henry’s Service records confirm the main aspects of the National Roll entry, although the actions listed seem different to what is expected. Henry was wounded at least three times and continued to return to battle, before being invalided out of the Regiment and losing a leg.
John Bell’s National Roll entry added information to the limited data I had from his Medal Index Card. Apart from his date of discharge being a month out, the Roll seems reasonable. However, he served in the 17th Battalion which was also known as the 2nd City Battalion.
George Lancaster has limited records from his Medal Index Card which solely specifies his discharge date and service with the Manchesters. The National Roll entry is therefore helpful indicating service in the Mediterranean – probably with the 13th Battalion.
Any thoughts on the National Roll are welcomed.