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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Training before service in France


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Can any of the experts out there help me ?. I believe that my grandfather first served in France with the 2/5th KOYLI (despite having a 2/4th six digit number), and suspect he was assigned to the unit sometime in early-mid 1917. If I have interperated the LLT section about the re-numbering correctly, it was supposed to be implemented from 1st March 1917, with infantry units allocated a batch of numbers commencing 200001. However thanks to help from other forum members, I know several KOYLI men with higher numbers were KIA in Feb 1917 !. Grandads was 205623.

What I am a little confused about now though, is which unit he trained with at home before going to the 2/5th. He was born in January 1898, so he would have been in Class 1 for conscription, therefore not eligible for service overseas until aged 19 ?. From reading the LLT again, I see that after notification of call up, Class 1 guys had the option to enter the army then or await their 19th birthday. I don`t know which grandad decided. Am I right in thinking that when he did actually join, he would have been assigned to a unit of the training reserve, and would that most likely have been the 8th Bn, 2nd Brigade, as I gather this was formed from the 9th East Yorkshire, 13th West Yorkshire and 11th KOYLI training reserve units ?.

Finally, how long would infantry training take from actually entering service to being posted to an operational unit. I`m sure I have seen this discussed before but can`t find the post, seem to recall 6 months as being average training time, but am unsure. I`m trying to get a rough date for grandads joining the 2/5th in France. I guess if he had opted to start training at 18 he could have gone over with the unit in Feb 1917. But if he joined in Jan 1917 at age 19, how long would he be in training before going overseas ?.

Sorry, did`nt intend to write an essay or ask too many dumb questions !. This is all interesting stuff but the WW1 army is still very new, and confusing to me. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

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I can't answer your question in general terms, but my my father, George Oswald Mitchell (G.O.M.), who was a prewar territorial in Bradford, was mobilised on the first day that war broke out, on 5 August 1914. His unit, the 1/6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, spent over eight months training in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire before embarking for the Western Front on 15 April 1915. By contrast, my maternal uncle, James Garner, enlisted in the Army Service Corps as a driver on 15 October 1914 and found himself in France just five days later.


(Jeremy Mitchell)

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the following is what i have researched about my grandfather from joining up to being posted to France,

joined up ,Leeds 26/6/1916

posted to 13th west yorks regt. training camp at Rugeley 5/7/1916

13th changed to training batt. 1/9/1916

posted to BEF Etaples camp France 12/10/1916

postedto 6th batt. KOYLI at Arras 24/10/1916



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