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Remembered Today:

Caterham - Irish Guards Training Depot?


sw63

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My Great Uncle, Christopher Gogarty, enlisted in the Irish Guards in January 1915. According to his service papers, he trained at Caterham in January 1915 and was in the 2nd Btn. There are some things about his training dates which don't seem to add-up. If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd be very grateful.

According to Kipling's History of the 2nd Btn Irish Guards, their basic training was done at Warley. The Battalion was established there in July 1915. Kipling makes only one vague & cryptic reference to Caterham "where they tame lions".

How is it that Pte C. Gogarty trained at Caterham, but didn't join the 1st Btn? What was he doing between January and July 1915? His basic training couldn't have lasted 7 months.

His date of entry to France was 16 August 1915, which was the date the 2nd Btn arrived, thus proving he was in that unit.

Thank for any help,

Simon

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My Great Uncle, Christopher Gogarty, enlisted in the Irish Guards in January 1915. According to his service papers, he trained at Caterham in January 1915 and was in the 2nd Btn. There are some things about his training dates which don't seem to add-up. If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd be very grateful.

According to Kipling's History of the 2nd Btn Irish Guards, their basic training was done at Warley. The Battalion was established there in July 1915. Kipling makes only one vague & cryptic reference to Caterham "where they tame lions".

How is it that Pte C. Gogarty trained at Caterham, but didn't join the 1st Btn? What was he doing between January and July 1915? His basic training couldn't have lasted 7 months.

His date of entry to France was 16 August 1915, which was the date the 2nd Btn arrived, thus proving he was in that unit.

Thank for any help,

Simon

Hi Simon

I am not sure if I am able to assist you in specifics regarding your Great Uncle, however I can tell you that Caterham was the Guards Depot, and Pirbright was where Guardsmen went to the Training Battalion for field training. As an ex Irish Guardsman myself, when I joined Caterham had ceased to be the Guards Depot (1960) and in fact Pirbright was then the Guards Depot with the Junior Guardsmens Company just down the road. Caterham by then had become a Guards Barracks where a Battalion would be stationed and carry out Public Duties both in London and Windsor, now flattened and developed!!

In your Great Uncle's day the training that took place at the Guards Depot was of sixteeen weeks duration, and once completed he would be posted to his Battalion, where he would be allocated to a Company dependent on his height!!

I have a book called "The Micks" written by Major Peter Verney, and he refers to the 2nd Reserve Battalion being formed, "with the loan of a number of officers and NCO's from the other Regiments in the Brigade, who were suffering no shortage of key members", and thus the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion came into its own and moved to the barracks at Warley; and really old barracks they were. One time used by the Honourable East India Company and first condemned fifty years before, they were hardly fit to live in. On his first round of inspection the Commanding Officer, detecting a peculiar smell and suspecting the drains, sent off the Quartermaster to investigate. The latter returned. "Couldn't be the drains sir," he said. "There aren't any."

Warley was to be the home of the Reserve Battalion throughout the war. It was to become almost a second home to some for, appart from absorbing the recruits from the Guards Depot (Caterham) and training them for the front, to this place also drifted the convalescent wounded, some to return several times to be fattened at Warley for the front again.

It was at Warley that, on July 15th 1915, they heard that they were to become a Service Battalion, the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, and to join the then forming Guards Division. No longer were they to be concerned with the endless training of men for an impersonal sacrifice; instead they were to be now a breathing entity themselves.

The above is quoted from the book I refer to, and of course further comments about the 2nd Battalion will be found in its pages, should there be any further help I can offer feel free to let me know, hope this helps, regards

Michael

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