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

Remembered Today:

Drafts and Training 1918


31stdiv
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi

Unit war diaries only seem to say how many drafts arrived in a unit on a particular date. I'm thinking that in 1918 the make up of a battalion/brigade/division was very different from 1916. Is more detailed info about the actual men and what training they might have had before arriving with a unit available anywhere?

Thanks

Pen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen,

In haste I am afraid but until an expert comes along you might try this article (and its links) on the associated Long Long Trail site click. It clearly depends on whether your interest is in New Army battalions as the Territorials and the Regular battalions worked differently and I think continued to do so after the introduction of conscription and the Training Reserve in 1916.

To find out about the actual men involved is likely to be difficult. Kitchener's Army by Peter Simkins runs up only until 1916.

Ian

Edited by Ian Riley
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ian

Many thanks, The long Long Trail is a great resource... I can't believe I forgot to look there first. I'll take a good look around the link you have provided tomorrow. New Army units are my current interest. I'm wondering if the Adjutant and Quarter-Master General War Diaries might help. I'll perhaps look in one on my next trip to Kew to see what they contain.

Pen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen,

I am sure there is a book on this aspect of the war beyond 1916 but... . Why not bump the topic up again tomorrow afternoon when it may attract some more attention?

Ian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had a look for books. Aspects of this subject are covered in 'Call to Arms' (Messenger) and 'The Politics of Manpower 1914-18' (Grieves). 'Raising and training the new armies' (Basil Williams, 1918) covers the training methods of 1916-17, whether there was much change in 1918 I'm not sure. By wanting to know about a specific Division (31st) I may be looking for information which simply isn't available/recorded.

Pen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pen,

Although not your Division this quote from the 51st(Highland)Division Pioneer Battalion's History for April 1918 gives an indication of the situation on the front line at that time.

"The Battalion had been reinforced by youths of 19,who behaved like veterans."

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is my belief that the drafts of 1918 were considerably better trained than had been the case earlier. George's 19 year-olds arriving in the 51 Div Pioneer bn would have received at least 6 months training, copmared with the 14 weeks of earlier years. They would have been enlisted shortly after their 18th birthdays. Many, I suspect, would have been 18 years 6 months to 19 - the so-called A4 Boys, who represented a relaxation in the rule that no soldier could be sent overseas to a theatre of war until he reached his 19th birthday. It was on their young shoulders that much the fighting of summer and autumn 1918 rested and they more than met the challenge.

A good firsthand accounty of infantry training methods in 1918 is given in Charles Carrington's Soldier from the Wars Returning. Having won an MC as a company commander during Third Ypres he then took over a training coy of the Royal Warwicks.

Charles M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles,

Thank you for the pointer to Soldier from the Wars Returning

All who may be interested:

The Liverpool Scottish history, in mentioning the efforts 3/10th Bn The King's Liverpool Regiment at Park Hall Camp in Oswestry from mid-1916 onwards, refers to a 'normal' fourteen week period of recruit training but says that 'at times of stress this was reduced to twelve weeks'; this is within the context of late 1916 and 1917.

I am trying to track a draft through at the moment which must have started training in the very last few days of September 1916 and which appears to have been put into 'hurry up' mode in mid-December when an instructor at Park Hall records that 'there is a great rush to classify all the category A men by Christmas'. Consequently, he is on the range at Altcar (80 miles away) with 290 men (presumably their local range at Frant was unable to cope) all day every day (sometimes up until 7:30pm which must have been night shooting). They seem to have had leave for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (at least this Sergeant Major has) but are back on ther range on Boxing Day. At this stage the draft are departing with rail warrants for leave and then appear to be on their way to France on 3 January. I make this, at best, 13 weeks training.

After fifteen days at Etaples, including a day on the 'wood course at the Bull Ring' (can anyone enlighten me as to the nature of the 'wood course' - bayonet fighting seems a favourite as wood clearing seems a bit too tactically advanced?), they go to the (55th) Divisional Reinforcement Camp at Pop and then almost immediately backwards towareds St Omer for two weeks at the Second Army School of Musketry, possibly to act as markers but certainly to fire their classification also.

Ian

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...