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Remembered Today:

5th Battalion Special Brigade-Royal Engineers

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Would anyone have any information on the duties/actions of this unit in general or specifically in August/September 1916 when I believe they were on the Somme.


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Fifth Battalion consisted of four numerically numbered companies, unlike the rest of the Brigade who were numbered alpahabetically. They were equipped with the 4" Stokes mortar which fired phosgene, smoke, Thermite (known then as thermit) and tear gas filled ammunition.

During the early part of the Somme battle, they were employed firing smoke rounds, but from September were issued with tear gas, (or lachrimatory) ammunition.

Terry Reeves

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I suggest you read "Gas" the story of the Special Brigade RE,either the Original 1930s Edition or the recent reprint,which gives details of the Special {Gas} Brigade;Your Local Library can obtain a Copy via the British Library :blink:

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Another book that might be of interest is one published by Pen & Sword, a few years ago, 'Chemical Soldiers'


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