Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

1st Bridging Battalion RE


Chris_Baker
 Share

Recommended Posts

A chap I have begun to research is believed to served as an officer with the 2/1st Lowland Field Company RE and later with 1st Bridging Battalion RE. Unfortunately his service record is not public, his London Gazette and Army List entries uninformative and he's not mentioned in the Field Company diary!

I am struggling to find any reference to the 1st Bridging Battalion RE and hope that the Forum can identify it for me. I am particularly interested in the seeing the war diary and no unit is given by the name in the National Archives catalogue (at least, not for Egypt & Palestine).

I have a suspicion that it may have been involved with the crossing of the Auja. See

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Chris

There were very few RE units called battalions, and I have never found any Bridging Battalions, either in orbats or establishments.

However, there were six Reserve Battalions at home. 1st Res Bn was at Chatham, and 5th Res Bn was at Christchurch which was also the Bridging Training Centre. Being home units, of course, there are no diaries in WO95.

Ron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

There did exist Bridging Officers, Bridging Schools and Bridging Depots but the work was carried out by every variety of RE units as part of their normal duties. Standardisation of component parts was quickly developed to make up for the almost total lack of skilled labour available

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

Bridging battalions - briefly, in September 1918 it was decided that the Royal Engineers would form specialized bridging units to erect bridges over rivers and canals for tanks. For their formation and training Christchurch was selected and by early November 1918 it's H.Q. (Bridging Training Centre) and 3 Bridging Bn's were formed and training had commenced. All the senior officers and 1/2 the junior officers had been withdrawn from France - all other officers, N.C.O's and men from reinforcements available at home. Also added to the Bn's were some technical officers and N.C.O's from the Tank Corps. In December 1918 the number of Bn's was reduced to one.

Hope the above helps

Regards

Geraint

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Geraint, it does to some extent. But let me check that I am understanding this properly. These battalions only existed, with one exception, between September and December 1918? And were at home?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if "Lowland" necessarily refers to the 52nd Division - you also seem uncertain. In Work of the RE in the European War Bridging volume it mentions erection of heavy bridges spanning the River Somme and Canal carried out between the 23rd and 28th March 1917 by 23rd and 409th (Lowland) Field Companies of the 1st Division> Not actually sure what the Lowland means in these cases

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2/1st Lowland (later 410 Field Company) RE was part of the 52 (Lowland) Division, that's why they were so named.

To add to Geraint's post, the Bridging Battalions were intended for action in 1919, and as stated, specifically to work with the Tank Corps. However, the action Chris has outlined took place year earlier so that it could not have been that, and anyway they were intended for the Western Front. The only other specialist bridging units in the Eastern theatre of war were two Weldon Bridging sections with the Indian Army.

TR

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris,

If your man was with the 410th in late December 1917 then they were with the 155th Brigade (not the 156th) see http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...896&hl=auja

From the OH

"To cover the crossing of the 155th Brigade in the bend of the river half-way between Hadra bridge and Jerishe, a building known as 'Pink House' on the left bank had been seized on the 18th, and two machine guns installed in its upper storey, which commanded the Turkish trenches about the bridge at six hundred yards' range. While the crossing was in progress a demonstration was carried out by a platoon of the 5/KOSB. which advanced over boggy ground east of the bridge and opened fire on the enemy positions north of the river, drawing considerable fire. Two companies of the 5/KOSB crossed by rafts to cover the construction of the bridge by the 410th Field Company RE. But here also there were serious delays, largely owing to the weight which heavy rain and mud had added to the rafts.

Br-General Pollock-M'Call therefore ordered the 4th and 5th Royal Scots Fusiliers to be towed across on the rafts already in the water, without waiting for the bridge... ... ...

The Attack had, then been a complete success at every point. About daybreak pontoon bridges were thrown at Jerishe and near the river's mouth, but prior to this two field batteries had managed to cross by the bar. The 412th Field Company had assembled a barrel bridge in the Nahr el Baride and floated it down into the 'Auja, but the sodden state of the banks prevented its completion until the morning of the 22ns. The 410th Field Company repaired the stone bridge at Hadra."

I regret that Hadra is just off the right-hand margin of the map shown in the other thread

Terry,

Right at the end of the war there was a Canadian unit (1st Bridging Company, Canadian Railway Troops) brought out to the EEF to help repair the damaged bridges on the Yarmuk section of the line going north towards Damascus

regards

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2/1st Lowland (later 410 Field Company) RE was part of the 52 (Lowland) Division, that's why they were so named.

So why was the 409th (Lowland) Field Company part of the 1st Division?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 409th (Lowland) Field Company joined the 1st Division in December of 1914. (At that time, it was known as the 1st Lowland Field Company, and was one of the two original field companies of the Lowland Division of the Territorial Force.)

This assignment was part of a scheme to transfer field companies from Territorial Force divisions at home to infantry divisions serving in France, thereby increasing the number of field companies in infantry divisions at the front from two to three.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris

Glad that you bought this up as the only Bridging Team that I have seen mentioned

Is the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Team that was at Suvla.

They landed August 6/7th August at "D" (Kangaroo Beach) and were 300 strong.

They were also the last troops to leave on the morning of the Anzac/Suvla evacuation

on Dec. 19th. 1915.

Pals , please keep us updated on this thread.

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Just to add to this thread. One of the lads i am researching from the Village.

TITCOMBE, Driver Frank. Enlisted: Before 12/02/1915, the North Wilts Herald printed a list of enlisted Purton men on this date.

MIC details / Medal entitlement. (Possibly).

17977 Royal Engineers (1 Bridging sect).

British War Medal, Victory Medal, 14 Star.

18/08/1914 Arrived in France (Detail from MIC).

Evidence for inclusion on the Purton Parish list: Name listed in the Memorial book in St Mary’s Church, 1918 voters list for Purton Parish (a NM), Greenhill.

post-21863-012815600 1297254688.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...