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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Pioneer Leonard HAMBLING

Kevin Tobin

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In the church yard at Churcham, Glos, whilst visiting Alfred Henry HOOK VC's grave, I found the attached Commonwealth War graves headstone.

I have searched Ancestry, CWGC & National Archives online, but the only references I can find for Pioneer WR/336235 Leonard Alfred HAMBLING is CWGC record and Soldiers died.

Surely he should have a medal index card?

The Royal Engineers Inland Waterways & Docks seems an intriguing unit? Does anyone have any info on what they did?


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They were responsible for all engineering works to keep the docks, ports, canals and river running freely for the smooth transfer of the masses of supplies that used water for transport. Very hard and very skilled work!

The following extract describes some of the sort of things they did and come from "A History of Kent"

Richborough, a port on the left bank of the mouth of the Stour river, Kent, England, 14 m. N. of Sandwich, created by the Government during the World War as a base for the expedition of materiel to the armies in France and Flanders. The port was planned in June 1916, primarily to relieve Dover of this class of transport. The site chosen consisted of an expanse of marshland through which the Stour flowed as an insignificant stream. The work of construction was under the control of the Inland Waterways and Docks Section of the Royal Engineers, and involved the reclamation of a large tract of swampy foreshore, the widening and deepening of the waterway, the construction of a wharf and jetty nearly a mile in length equipped with powerful cranes and of docks for the building and repair of certain kinds of craft, the erection of acres of hutments and store-sheds, and the laying of some 50 m. of railway sidings. The work was rapidly pushed forward, the workers at one time numbering 20,000; and eventually a self-contained cantonment arose, having its own postal, police, lighting and other services.

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Thank you to you both.

I wonder how he died? Presumably some sort of accident or illness.

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