World War One, Service - William John Lyons

william-ltons-in-army . poster


William John Lyons enlisted in 1915 and, from the above photo- found in Philippa's attic in 2012 - he would appear to have been an Ambulance Driver. [Maybe the 1916 photos of his wife and the 3 children were taken for him to have with him in the army] .He joined up on 14/9/1915. Had he seen the above poster??

William J. Lyons' Medal Roll card
Example of enlistment form he would have signed , in 1915

I do not seem to have a picture of his Victory Medal - yet Adam has this ??

His army number DM2/118592 is known from a medal Adam has and also from his discharge papers - below



The above are his first discharge papers of 30/6/1919 [the original, now in a delicate state, passed down to son Bill 1920 and thence to his son John in 1978]. Below is a 'translation' of parts of it. I think he must then have reenlisted on 1/7/1919, as shown on the Collins docs. below. The above shows that he joined up in Sept.1915, that is, before conscription.

Discharged in consequence of - Having re-enlisted into RASC. NACB under WO Authy 2463 d/2.4.19.
After serving Three years 157 days with the Colours and NIL years 133 days in the Army Reserve.
Date of discharge:  30.6.1919
Scar: above nose, outer side, left knee.


Also September 2007, the firm J Collins Medals Ltd did a search from the medal Roll: this records his rank as, conflictingly, A/CPL and A/Sergeant?, and states that he re enlisted [as did many others on the same date] into the RASC on 1/7/1919 at the end of the hostilities and was discharged 12 November 1919, surplus to Military requirements. Some 60% records were destroyed in the Blitz in 1940, and his must have been amongst these.

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His number belongs to the Army Service Corps. DM2 means he was a Driver[ have seen that DM2 = Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport Learners, discontinued 11/1916, but we think this is wrong]. He was an acting Sergeant in this, and probably received 1s.2d per day in training according to the above photo of a form[ of an unconnected David Bennett who enlisted as a potential driver]..The Transport training centre was at Greenwich Workhouse in Grove Park, Greater London
A = Army Service Corps Old Army Special Reserve : think this means he was trained as a reservist prior to the outbreak of war, and then transferred to be a driver. . . This was a form of part-time soldiering, in some ways similar to the Territorial Force (see below). Men would enlist into the Special Reserve for 6 years and had to accept the possibility of being called up in the event of a general mobilisation and otherwise undertake all the same conditions as men of the Army Reserve. Their period as a Special Reservist started with six months full-time training (paid the same as a regular) and they had 3-4 weeks training per year thereafter. A man who had not served as a regular could extend his SR service by up to four years but could not serve beyond the age of 40. A former regular soldier who had completed his Army Reserve term could also re-enlist as a Special Reservist and serve up to the age of 42.

All regiments had a unit (or more) dedicated to the administration and training of the Special Reservists. For example in most infantry regiments it was the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. In all there were 101 reserve battalions in existence in August 1914. Their job was to provide reinforcement drafts for the active service battalions. Staffed by regular soldiers, each SR Battalion had a complement of 8 officers, 1 RSM, 38 NCOs, 10 Drummers and 40 Privates of the regular army, and the official establishment when all reservists were on duty was a little over 600 (ie smaller than a full-scale serving battalion).

The SR men were mobilised in early August 1914. Between them and the Army Reservists they represented a large proportion of the original Divisions of the BEF that went to France that month. I do not think W.J. went, as he did not receive a 'star' medal, nor does he have a date of entry /theatre of war shown. *Special Reserve* consists of two Sections, which were divided into three categories: .

Section A is limited to 4000men. Those who elected to serve in it are liable to be called out on service in any part of the world. Section A men are not liable for more than 12 months service unless some portion of the *Special Reserve* is put on permanent service IAW the Reserve Forces Act 1882.

Section B men are all other special reservists.

Category (a) consists of men enlisted in the S Irish Horse, KEH, RFA, RGA, RE etc. Term of service is 6 years except S Irish Horse which is 4 years.

Category ((IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif <>) men are men in the Territorial Force who also agree to accept the liability of the *Special Reserve*.

/*Category © men are those who enlist as Mechanical Transport Drivers ASC, Horse Transport Drivers ASC and RFC (M.W.) Personnel for 1 year at a time and are only allowed to re-engage a year at a time. They receive no pay unless called up and service limit age is 50 years. They cannot transfer to any other branch of the special Reserve during their term of serv*ice./

The above is a quick synopsis of the Reserve forces in *1914*. I hope I elaborated the salient points. Note that there was no Section C.

So your Section A and B men were sent immediately to the Regular Battalions as these men had recently (with-in past 5 years) served with the colours. The Section D men were sent to the *Special Reserve* Battalion.

He appears in the Electoral Roll Book for 1918 at 21 Darwin Street, even though not finally discharged till November 1919. But he is also on the Absent Voters List 1919 for 21 Darwin Street with 'DM2/118592 Sgt 635th ASC' beside him. He did bring a German clock home, which was, probably, rescued from Kenton after the 1944 bombing and had pride of place in son’s, Frank’s, home until Joan’s death in 2006 and now it is in the possession of Frank’s eldest grandchild, Giles Richardson. He also brought back presents from the war for at least the 3 eldest children.. There was also a sword in Frank's garage up to 2006- this was thought to have belonged to WJL but this not true: Hazel thinks Frank bought it later in an auction


His medal Card shows he received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, now in the possession of Adam Richardson..

The British War Medal 1914-1920, authorised in 1919, was awarded to eligible service personnel and civilians. 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.
Victory MedalVictory Medal

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.


William John Lyons