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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RE Electric Light Establishment, Falmouth


Nooshie
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Hi,

On the 1911 census my Granddad, (who was killed in WW1), is in a barracks at 'The Bar' Falmouth and this is an Electric Light Establishment. Could anyone throw any light, ('scuse the pun!!), on this establishment. Thanks a bunch

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Falmouth was a defended port and had, as part of its establishment, an Electric Light Company, which manned searchlights in support of the Royal Garrison Artillery who defended the port with their guns. A number of these ports also had a RE Submarine Mining Company, who were responsible for laying mines at the entrance to ports. These were to be detonated electrically from shore stations, if an enemy ship appeared. Search lights were (obviously) useful in this respect, although Submarine Mining Companies had disappeared by this date.

If you can be patient with me whilst I find my copy of "Cornwall's Royal Engineers" I may be able to find some more information.

TR

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Terry you are quite correct, the early name for searchlights used to illuminate targets for coast artillery was Defence Electric Light. The name was introduced in the 1880’s. The name was changed in 1940 to Coast Artillery Searchlight. Similarly, the Electric Light Apparatus was the equipment used to supply power to Defence Electric Lights.

Phil

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Many thanks to you both. This is very interesting as we had no idea that our grandfather worked on these searchlights. He was a blacksmith by trade and we know he worked on Thorneycroft engines whilst in the RE. Any more information would be most appreciated. Does anyone know what a Thorneycroft engine was? Thanks again.

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Hello,

Thorneycroft, I suspect no longer in business, was a long established engineering firm based at Basingstoke in Hampshire. I expect they would have been making internal combustion engines at the time of the Great War and I would guess their engines were used to drive generators to power the searchlights. In much later years they made vehicles for the army including, as one of their last products, the Antar tank transporter.

Old Tom

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