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Rifle Brigade Chronicle, 1890-1922 (and divisional histories)

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helpjpl

Hello Major Dave,

I'd be so grateful if you can do a lookup for my great uncle Lieutenant Reginald Edward Porter, RAMC, who was attached to the 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade and died on 26 October 1914.

Best wishes

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lostinspace

Sure - for starters, he is listed in Ray Westlake's "British Battalions in France and Belgium, 1914" as the Medical Officer for the battalion (17th Bde., 6th Div.) when they embarked on SS Lake Michigan for France on the 8th of September and notes his death on the 26th of October - "Relieved by 2nd Essex (24th) and to billets at Fleurbaix. Later, during evening, marched to Bois Grenier. Attached to 18th Brigade. Moved into line east of La Guernerie (25th) then in evening to Flamangerie Farm. Relieved 2nd York and Lancaster in front line. Medical Officer, Captain Porter killed (26th)." Westlake included the information found in the various war diaries for his book so I would guess that's probably all that the war diary has to say about your relative, I'll look through the Chronicles and see if I can find anything else.

Regards,
Dave

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lostinspace

jpl,

The war-record of the 3rd Battalion R.B. (from the Chronicles) shows that your great uncle was wounded on the 18th of October in the attack on Perenchies - "At 9 a.m. after an advance across the open , the attack was held up in front of a prepared position, pretty strongly held. "A", "D" and half of "C" Companies on the road running south from the railway halted south of Le Fresnell, about a mile short of Perenchies; "B" and half of "C" Companies were thrown right back facing almost north because our left, being absolutely in the air, and meeting with great opposition from rifle and machine-gun fire, had to drop back. Our position was overlooked from the ridge in front and we had no infantry supports behind us and not much artillery. The situation remained practically unchanged all day, while we waited for the 4th Division to come up on the left, where the Germans were trying to outflank us. Captain Leslie was killed, Lieutenant Porter (R.A.M.C.) and Lieutenant Landale wounded; thirteen N.C.O.s and Riflemen were killed, fifty-one wounded and two missing.". He must have stayed with the battalion even though wounded as the Chronicle then mentions his death - "In the Bois Grenier trenches, Captain R.E. Porter (R.A.M.C.) was killed, and Lieutenant L.C. Somervell (R.A.M.C.) took his place.", it doesn't specifically state the date of death as the account doesn't show individual dates from the 26th of October through the end of the year.
In addition I found this from the "Bond of Sacrifice" - https://archive.org/stream/bondofsacrificeb01clut#page/316/mode/2up , you probably already have this info but just in case...... It states that your great uncle was mentioned in despatches but I can't find it in the the war-record for the 3rd Battalion, might have a look in the London Gazette or French's despatches.

Dave

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helpjpl

Major Dave

Thank you so much for the speedy response giving details for the dates 18-26 October 1914 which I didn't have - despite several years of searching.

I found the listing in "Bond of Sacrifice' a while back. It states that Reginald was mentioned in Sir John French's Despatch of 14 January 1915 but I can't find that despatch on Google.

I came across this on Sword Forum International - From More Words At War: Recollections of French Interpreter Edmond Barbier, quoted in The Great War Magazine, May 2006:

“We remained for some days at Chapelle d’Armentieres. While passing through Armentieres I had managed to buy two pipes. Porter, a young medical officer attached to one of the battalions being short of a pipe, I gave him one. He was killed two days afterwards in the yard of the Brigade Headquarters next to our billet. When he was brought in and his personal effects were being inventoried it gave me a queer sensation to see among them the pipe I had so recently given him.”

It would seem that Barbier's recollections are incorrect and Reginald was not killed at Brigade HQ.

Very best wishes

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lostinspace

I don't know that you should totally dismiss the quote (above), it's very specific and it could be that the war diary was written up much later than the events it describes (the Chronicle certainly was), a lot of confusion in October of 1914 so it's quite possible that your great uncle was at Brigade H.Q. for some reason and was killed by shell fire.
I did a quick search in the L.G. but all I could find were two pre-war notices - the first showing his appointment as a (probationary) Lieutenant dated 26 July, 1912, and the second confirming that appointment dated 31 January, 1913. I used to search quite a lot in the Gazette but they changed their format and what used to be a difficult site to search is now almost impossible.

Dave

I do have one more suggestion (if you haven't already done so), it might be a good idea to access "The R.M.A.C. in the Great War" and see if Barbara can help.

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helpjpl

Major Dave,

Many thanks for all you help.

I was in touch with the 'RAMC in the Great War' site in 2012 and sent them some stuff. Their contact form is currently offline but will keep checking the site to see if any new information is added to Reginald's profile.

Do you know how I can find out the location of Brigade HQ on 26 October 1914?

Very best wishes

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lostinspace

The 17th Brigade war diary might have that information or perhaps the 6th Division war diary, it's really hard to tell. I'm not sure but they might be downloadable off the National Archives web site (for a small fee of course), can't guarantee that the H.Q. location will be provided but I think it would be worth looking at, you never know what you might find.

Dave

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helpjpl

Hello Major Dave,

I really appreciate all your help. There are 23 people on my family tree who perished in the Great War and it bothered me that the closest relative, Reginald, was the one I had the least detail for. I Googled the book you mentioned, 'British Battalions in France & Belgium:1914' and, in addition to all the information you gave me, now know where Reginald was throughout October 1914.

Very best wishes

PS Reginald's sister was a widow when she died in 1924 leaving my father, aged 2, and his 3 siblings orphans - which is why I know so little about Reginald.

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lostinspace

Have you seen this? http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/details?Uri=C1062513 It appears that your great uncle's service record has survived. The information is not digital and you would have to go to Kew to access it but.......

Dave

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stiletto_33853

3rd Rifle Brigade diary

post-1871-0-46928400-1403528062_thumb.jp

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lostinspace

Stiletto,

Thanks for the above information, Westlake (as well as the CWGC) seems to have made an error, your snippet shows the date as 27th Oct. not the 26th and between 9 and 11 pm if I'm not mistaken, does the rest read - "4 ncos and men killed, 9 ncos and men wounded."? Westlake doesn't mention that either, his last entry for October is Lieutenant Porter's death on the 26th.

Dave

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helpjpl

Hello Major Dave,

Reginald's date of death is recorded as 26 October 1914 by the CWGC and his father had a memorial plaque put in Castle Acre Church with the same date so I'm using that date on my family tree - for the time being.

Visiting the National Archives has been on my 'to do list when funds allow' for several years. I did get a quote from the NA for Reginald's service record to be printed and sent to me but it was very expensive - apparently there are dozens of pages. Not sure why there are so many when he was killed only a couple of months into the war.

Thanks again and best wishes

post-105192-0-18088500-1403550825_thumb.

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lostinspace

jpl,

I think his service records are the key to all the "little mysteries", hopefully they will explain exactly what happened to him from the time he was wounded on the 18th to the date of his death on the 26th/27th of October. There is a CWGC cemetery called Desplanque Farm in the vicinity of Chapelle d'Armentieres, and according to the information on their web-site the farm was first used as a dressing station in October of 1914 by units of the 6th Division, and later on as an observation post, it's possible that your great uncle was assisting there on the 26th/27th; on the other hand it's strange that he should be so far away from 3rd Rifle Bde., as they were apparently taking casualties a mile or more to the south-west (at Flamengrie Farm, southeast of Bois Grenier.) at the same time.
Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with your continued search.

Dave

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helpjpl

Thanks Major Dave,

I shall start saving and will let you know if Reginald's service record provides the answers.

I have just one faded photo. (L-R) Reginald, my grandmother, elder brother George Richard who died unmarried in 1949. The photo went to India with my grandmother in 1916 then on to Tasmania and came back to England with my father in 1928.

Very best wishes

post-105192-0-18144600-1403642023_thumb.

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lostinspace

jpl,

A very handsome trio, thank you. I'll keep my eyes open for anything pertaining to the 3rd Rifle Brigade or Lt. Porter.

Regards,

Dave

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stiletto_33853

Jpl,

I will be at Kew on Friday, work permitting. Although I have a lot to cover on that day I will see if I can photograph his papers for you, no promises but if time permits.

Andy

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helpjpl

Lieut-General Andy (stiletto_33853),

That would be absolutely wonderful. So kind of you. I'm keeping my fingers and everything else crossed.

Very best wishes

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rpggotme

I'm researching all the men from Souldrop Bedfordshire commemorated on the village war memorial. Do you have any information on Rifleman 2053 Edward Prigmore 4th Battalion Rifle Brigade, died of wounds 2nd March 1915; where the Battalion was prior to his death, any operations they were involved in around this time.

Thanks

Ron

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Simon_Fielding

Hi helpjpl and RifleBrigaders;

A very interesting thread and moving too...

I have a contact email for a researcher who will photograph an officer's file if you still need help.

I'm new to the RB after I found out my great grandafather's elder brother served in the 3rd Bn - no. 1560 - enlisted Sept 14, to France Feb 15 transferred to 718th Coy Labour Corps Oct 17, demob Feb 19.

FMP has his file so I have plenty to go on really.

Does the Chronicle have much on enlisted men?

Best

Simon

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Guest
On 19 May 2010 at 13:32, lostinspace said:

Stumbled onto this site yesterday, full text Great War related books including histories of the 9th, 18th, 20th, 25th, 33rd, 42nd and 56th Divisions. Spent most of the afternoon looking through the collection and probably just scratched the surface. Not sure that the files can be downloaded but you can use the PDF function to copy individual pages. Hopefully everyone interested will be able to access http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000545832

Regards,

Dave

 

For anyone needing to access the PDFs on Hathitrust.org from the UK you need to make you iPad or PC appear as if it is in the US. This can be done in about 5 minutes and for FREE by downloading tunnelbear. I have just done this from my iPad and the app simply tunnels to the US. One then clicks on the link above and the Hathitrust thinks the user is in the US. I have now got access to hundreds of useful digitised books that were previously inaccessible. Happy tunnelling. MG

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charlie962
13 hours ago, QGE said:

downloading tunnelbear

Great, but how safe is this ? can it attract a virus ? or even a drone overhead? Forgive me but I am rather simple on this sort of thing. I know everybody else seems to do it but they always forget to tell you when it goes wrong.

charlie

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MBrockway
14 hours ago, QGE said:

 

For anyone needing to access the PDFs on Hathitrust.org from the UK you need to make you iPad or PC appear as if it is in the US. This can be done in about 5 minutes and for FREE by downloading tunnelbear. I have just done this from my iPad and the app simply tunnels to the US. One then clicks on the link above and the Hathitrust thinks the user is in the US. I have now got access to hundreds of useful digitised books that were previously inaccessible. Happy tunnelling. MG

 

tunnelbear gets good reviews, but the free version seems to be capped at 500MB of data per calendar month, so we'll have to ration those hundreds of digitised books over the year!

 

You can 'earn' more data allowance for the free version by tweeting about the company, if that's your bag.

 

I'll certainly be trying this out - the 3rd Ypres volume of the OH is already on my download list, plus the rifles stuff of course.

 

I've been trying on-and-off to download from Hathi for nearly a decade.  Got close with using proxy servers, but it was never very stable and large PDF's kept getting corrupted.  tunnelbear certainly looks an order of magnitude easier than the routes I've been trying - thanks Martin!

 

Mark

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Guest
32 minutes ago, MBrockway said:

 

tunnelbear gets good reviews, but the free version seems to be capped at 500MB of data per calendar month, so we'll have to ration those hundreds of digitised books over the year!

 

You can 'earn' more data allowance for the free version by tweeting about the company, if that's your bag.

 

I'll certainly be trying this out - the 3rd Ypres volume of the OH is already on my download list, plus the rifles stuff of course.

 

I've been trying on-and-off to download from Hathi for nearly a decade.  Got close with using proxy servers, but it was never very stable and large PDF's kept getting corrupted.  tunnelbear certainly looks an order of magnitude easier than the routes I've been trying - thanks Martin!

 

Mark

 

It provides access but no download unless you are one of the partner institutions and they astill ask for a login. Tunnelbear at least allows one to view the pdf and the text only version...not quite as close as I would have liked but still better than before.... 

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