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Remembered Today:

5th Brigade Exp. Force


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Hi just got a copy of the "History of the 2cd Div."by Everard Wyrall. Was all excited I could now follow the progress of g/father in the 2cd Batt HLI who were attached to the 5th Brigade. Straight away in the first couple of pages he states that the the 5th Infantry Brigade embarked at Southampton on the 12th Aug and landed at Boulogne and by the 21st Aug were billeted at Pont-Sur-Sambre.

On g/dads army record it states he embarked on the 26th Aug to the 2cd Batt.

Big help if anyone could clear up for me if the 2cd Batt HLI did go on the 12th or perhaps one company followed later. If that is the case it would pin down which company he was in, which would be a huge bonus because I have photos of all the companies but dont know for sure which one he was in.

I had a lot of respect for g/dad but after reading the through the book that has now gone through the roof. Just has a footnote he was wounded on the 9th Nov and shipped back to England. The book states that the 9th of Nov was a quiete day.

Regards fbdownes

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On g/dads army record it states he embarked on the 26th Aug to the 2cd Batt.

Big help if anyone could clear up for me if the 2cd Batt HLI did go on the 12th or perhaps one company followed later. If

fb.

2/HLI arrived at Southampton on 13th August and arrived in Boulogne (via the SS Lake Michigan) on the 14th. "A","B" and "C" coys were entrenched at Paturages on 24th and at Barzy on the 26th.

Does this help?

Dave.

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Just has a footnote he was wounded on the 9th Nov and shipped back to England. The book states that the 9th of Nov was a quiete day.

On the 9th of November, the 2/HLI was relieved and moved to reserve bivouacs. However, it doesnt look that quiet a day if you look at the OH map below (2/HLI just south of Zonnebeke, centre of scan)

Dave.

post-2-1087084043.jpg

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Units who went overseas where followed almost immediately by the first draft of reinforcements so there may be a difference in dates such as you describe.

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Many thanks to all every little helps. And thanks for the map Dave it shows what quiete days could be like according to history. Well with in shell range, and also rifle shot. I bet the the lads that were there would like to argue the point.

Take care fbdownes

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I have a trio to the same battalion, and his medal index card and medal roll both list him as landing on 27 August. I assume that he and your grandfather were in the first reinforcement draft mentioned by Patrick.

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Hi Terry do you have his HLI army number. Grandad was on the reserve when he was called up. His No was 8544 so I wondered if perhaps the reservists went later than the existing serving soldiers although his army records say he was posted to the 3rd Batt 10th Aug and the 2cd Batt 26th Aug fb

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Hi just to add to this a similar discussion has being going on under the heading 2 HLI. And according to a book 2cd Batt in the Great War by Telfer Smollett who served with the Batt through the war and finished up as O/c of the Batt. The Batt sailed on the 13th arrived on the 14th and arrived at action stations on the 26th.

First reinforcements arived under a Cpt Martin on the 5th Sept consisting of 150 men.

So it looks like men in the Batt were given the date 26th as the first day in action not the date they sailed. fbdownes

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Brian,

According to Telfer-Smollett, the first day of action for the 2nd HLI was the 24th Aug.

At 1.45 am on 23rd Aug, they were ordered to march from Pont-sur-Sambre (where they were resting) to Genly, about 6 miles south-west of Mons, which they reached at 1.30 that afternoon. At 10.00 pm they were ordered to counter-attack Frameries but this order was cancelled when it was found that reports of enemy penetration in this area proved groundless. Shortly thereafter they were given orders to undertake a night march to Paturages, 5 miles away on the left flank of the 2nd Div, and to turn the enemy out at the point of the bayonet. Paturages was reached at 3.00 am on 24th Aug, but no Germans were found and the Bn lay down in the streets to rest. At daybreak they entrenched in front of the town and at 5.00 am German Artillery gave them their baptism of fire. The German infantry began to advance under the barrage but they were held at bay by machine-gun and rifle fire until 8.00 am when ordered to retire.

This action cost the Bn 14 other ranks, killed and wounded. Telfer-Smollett singled out Piper Morrow for having his arm torn away. (Apparantly he survived the wound since he does not appear in Appendix C - Roll of Honour.)

With this retirement began the Retreat from Mons which continued for the 2nd HLI until 5th Sept. It was on the evening of the 5th that they received their first reinforcements.

From this info I would suggest that your Grandfather was part of those reinforcements. They probably departed England on the 26th and arrived in France 27th or so but were unable to join their Bn until the 5th Sept due to the confusion of the retreat. (at one point the entire Bn was nearly captured when almost surrounded at Nouvion.)

Tim L.

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Hi Tim, another one of my brainwaves bites the dust. But if he was a reinforcement does that mean perhaps the reservists did follow the regular soldiers later on the 27th. Because he was listed as being posted 3rd Batt 10thAug he was in Aldershot so perhaps the reservists had further training before going on.

We may never know but it will not help me find what Company he was in anyway.

So we plod on ever in hope. Thanks for the info fb Brian

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Brian,

According to Telfer-Smollett, there were reservists with the 2/HLI from the start. He states that by Aug 26th, the men were becoming very exhausted due to heat and having been continually on the march since the 21st. He further stated that "The reservists in particular found the long marches most exhausting as they had little time to get fit."

So it appears that at least some reservists made it to France with the 2nd on 14th Aug.

Sorry about that Brian, it appears I'm simply creating more questions than answering them for you. I hope another brainwave hasn't just bitten the dirt! :D

Tim L.

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Hi Tim, been away for a couple of days. Your right another brainwave bites the dust. But if was not for your help with the book I would still be chasing them so again many thanks. Keep hold of that book because Idon't think you will ever be able to get another. I have been chasing all over for a copy without even a whisper of anyone even seeing one.

On a lighter note I had my cousin from the States over who had never even seen our G/dad so she was thrilled to see all the info and took back copies to show the family over there so that made my day. Take care fbdownes Brian

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