The Archers a military family

Lest we forget
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:25 pm

The Archers a military family

Postby Vossy53 » Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:58 pm

My great grandmother Harriet Archer from Rotherhithe and Bermondsey had 10 siblings one of whom died in early childhood. Neither being particularly unusual in those days. What really excited me was that she had nine brothers, five of who went off and joined the Army as regular soldiers.
One of them Henry, was married young, became a father and a widower when his young wife died in childbirth followed by his little daughter soon after. No wonder he went to the recruiting office in his big brother’s footsteps.
John joined the 16th Lancers in 1882 and attained the rank of Lance Corporal. He served for 5 years before being discharged unfit for service because of a serious heart condition caused by his military service.
James joined The Queens Royal West Kent Regiment in 1884 and was discharged unfit in 1886 because of a leg injury sustained in Ireland.
Henry joined the 16th Lancers and served in the Boer War where he was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal with 5 bars for the campaigns at Paardeberg, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Witterbergen, Relief of Kimberley and also The Kings South Africa Medal 1902. He then served in The Great War until 1916 when he was discharged. He must have been a good soldier because he attained the heady rank of Squadron Sergeant Major before he disembarked for France on 17th August 1914. He was mentioned in despatches in October for his part in the battle at Aisnes and was promoted to Lieutenant on 12th November 1914. He was awarded the 1914 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal.
Charles joined The Royal Garrison Artillery in 1897 having been in the East Surrey Regiment militia. He served as a gunner for four and a half years including two years in India before being discharged as medically unfit for service.
Richard joined the Royal West Kent Regiment in 1900 and transferred to The Yorks and Lancaster Regiment. He served in South Africa during the Boer War as mounted infantry and was awarded The Queens South Africa medal with two bars for the campaigns at Cape Colony and Orange Free State, and the Kings South Africa medal. He was in India for 6 years and then went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in 1915. He fought in the great battles at Ypres, Arras and the Somme as well as other smaller actions. He was shot twice in the left wrist and leg and was discharged in 1917. He was awarded the British War Medal, The Victory Medal and the 1914-15 Star as well as the Silver War Badge for being wounded.
It is possible that some of the other brothers also served because they would have been about the right age to get called up for the Great War. I am unable to trace them so far.
I am so proud of them all and I just had to let our Bermondsey community know.


Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:25 pm

Re: The Archers a military family

Postby Vossy53 » Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:36 pm

Since the above post I have kept on researching and discovered that yet another of the Archer brothers took the call to arms. On 22nd June 1915 docker George Archer followed in his brother’s footsteps and went along to the Army recruitment office where he joined the Army Service Corps for the duration of the war as Private 12382. He was 39 years old, 5 feet 6 and a half inches tall with a 39-inch chest.

He was instantly promoted to lance corporal. He was sent to France as part of the BEF and arrived in Le Havre on 11th July 1915. He was promoted to Acting Sergeant on 19th February 1916. He was transferred to 730 Company the Labour Corps on 1st August 1917 and promoted to sergeant. He remained in France until 30th January 1919 when he was sent to the Shorncliffe Disposal Unit and demobilised. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and Victory Medal. He also received 4 blue chevrons for wear on his right sleeve (one for each year overseas).
Six out of eight brothers from a proud Bermondsey and Rotherhithe family proudly served their Queen and Kings. Some achievement.

Vossy 53

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