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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

13th Essex - disbanded February 1918


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From "The Long, Long Trail"

"13th (Service) Battalion (West Ham)

Formed at West Ham, 27 December 1914, by the Mayor and Borough. August 1915 : attached to 100th Brigade, 33rd Division. 22 December 1915 : transferred to 6th Brigade, 2nd Division. 10 February 1918 : disbanded in France."

I'm a bit confused about the disbanded February 1918 part.

First of all I suppoose why would they disband when the war was still on?

What would have happened to the men - were they sent home, transfered to other units?

In the case of the 13th Essex I am looking at the MIC of 17155 T W White MM, KIA 8/8/18. CWGC has him 17155 11th Essex. Would it be safe to assume that he was transfered to the 11th after the disbandment of the 13th?


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John without getting into the politics of it all, in early 1918 the armies in France were running low on men. The Government were reluctant to release more men from UK, so Haig had no choice but to disband battalions. off the top of my head I forget how many, but each infantry division was reduced from 12 battalions to 9 - i.e. each brigade lost a battalion.

No Regular of First Line TF battalions were disbanded, so all were either New Army or second-Line TF Bns.

The 13th Essex were in the 2nd Division, and were, as you say, disbanded in feby 1918. I'm afraid I have no idea where the blokes went, but generally they went either to other battalions of the same regiment, or to Entrenching battalions to help with the creation of defences for the anticipated german offensive.

To go from the 13th Essex to the 11th would seem to be logical.

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In early 1918 the manpower shortages following the casualties in 1917 were so severe that it was impossible to maintain Infantry Divisions at full strength. Between January and March 1918 each brigade was reduced from four to three battalions and the men distributed to other units. The War Office required regular and first line territorial battalions to be spared so the disbandments fell mainly to Kitchener battalions like the 13th Essex.

The 13th men went to the other Essex battalions in France : 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th and 11th. From memory I think that those that went to 10th Essex went as a block to D Company.

It would be safe to assume White transferred in February 1918.

White was earlier reported wounded in the Times of 14th December 1916 which means he was almost certainly wounded with the 13th Essex at the battle of the Ancre on 13th November 1916.

All the best


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Cheers Steven, Owen. As always very informative.


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was the action Delville Wood?

- 14th September 1916

The war Diary states 17155 Sgt T White awarded the Military Medal

(auth London gazette 14/9/16), same day Lt Col Papillon got his DSO, Capt Paterson

his MC, Cpl Bellinger the DCM. Sgt Burleigh, Pte Plato and Cpl Bellinger also got the MM

Hope that helps

Kind regards


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