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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

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My grandad served with the KOYLI in 1917-18. I know he was a rifle bomber, but also recall him saying that at some time he was a "runner". Can anyone enlighten me on this ?.

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Some who had the job of carrying messages up and down the line and/or back to say battalion HQ often under fire - could be a risky job at times.

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'SS 148 Forward Inter-Communication in Battle'(March 1917) suggested that officers' batmen should act as runners.

As far as First ANZAC Corps was concerned, in early November, 1917, all batmen of officers attending courses at the Corps School were given "training in pigeon duties, map reading, semaphore" and general message work. The training was conducted by the Corps Signal School.

Another Australian syllabus of late 1917 detailed that the main points in training runners would include;

a) Deportment and manners in presence of officers,

B) Powers of observation and recognition of landmarks,

c) How to convey a verbal message and get a receipt,

d) How to work in pairs,

e) Speed, fitness, care of feet, sense of urgency of different messages, comradeship in taking turns for dangerous runs,

f) A knowledge of trench systems, lie of the ground, plan of attack, duckwalks, headquarters,

g) Recognition of staff badges, signs for different headquarters, dumps, etc.

h) Compass points, direction of enemy,

i) Relay stations and discipline therein,

j) Pigeon handling,

k) Simple map reading, especially in trench maps, and

l) Semaphore.

At the time the last two points were covered in detail, and the men on the course were tested by giving them a trench map with routes to various headquarters marked in, and then working them over it by night.

If available, written messages were enclosed in a message envelope (Army Form C. 398) which was signed by the recipient, and the envelope was returned to the sender, confirming the message had been delivered and the time of it's receipt.

Younger, very fit men were often selected. Runners were identified (normally) by a red brassard.

Chris Henschke

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Wasn't Hitler employed as a runner during his time in the List Regiment? I seem to recall that he won his Iron Cross performing this task.

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I guess grandad would have been pretty fit, left school aged about 12 and worked at the Scotgate-Ash quarry at Pateley Bridge in Yorkshire. Quarry was at top of a hill, with an incline railway to the valley bottom. His job was running between the offices at top and bottom with messages !.

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