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Duties of a lance corporal in a training battalion?


shaner13
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Did a lance corporal have specific duties in a home training battalion?

And would those duties have been different if they had served on the frontline,and been posted back to uk.

Also does anyone know of any books on training battalions?

thanks in advance

shane

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Shane,

Can't help directly but my Father was born November 1900 and it would appear joined his "Home Guard" Battalion aged 16,in anticipation of receiving his call-up papers in November 1918.

By attending Drill Nights,learning the modicum of using a rifle,etc may have prepared my Father,in the "Home Guard" for the rigours on the Western or other Front.Whether his basic drill,etc was taught by men who had served in the War,I do not know.

But had he been required to "join" ,he would have become a member of a Training Battalion,whose N.C.Os.whether acting or unacting ,had "been there",survived and were there to prepare their men for the realities,however harsh.

George

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Lance corporal was responsible for a section or a tent or other small group of men. It was his duty to make sure men carried out their individual duties. Washed, shaved, polished their boots. He would be responsible for reporting a man sick or seeing that the man did so himself. He would report him missing before muster parade. He was the first step on the road to promotion or the last but one in the pecking order, depending on how one looks at it. He could be appointed by the CO and reduced to the ranks by him without formality. It had minimal effect on a man's prospects. Many were made up and knocked back several times before being promoted to corporal. He was addressed as corporal and generally referred to as such. There were many peculiarities in the army and the intricacies of the duties of a lance jack were among the least transparent. Many storemen were L/Cpls and so were some company clerks. Perhaps the most serious aspect was that he WAS a non-commissioned officer when carrying out his duties. In a tent or a hut, his main duty was to make sure none of the men struck him. That was a very serious offence. The most frustrating facet of his appointment was that he could lose it because one of his men did something. If a man was charged with not having shaved or not made his bed up properly, the poor old corp could get the chop as well. A successful lance corporal on promotion to corporal had generally learned quite a bit about handling men.

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Great information,thanks for that.

was a time frame in place from becoming an unpaid lance corporal to fully appointed?

I know in ww1 my g grandfather was an unpaid lance corporal for 8 months till fully appointed,however he was injured and hospitalised in the middle of that period.

shane

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Great information,thanks for that.

was a time frame in place from becoming an unpaid lance corporal to fully appointed?

I know in ww1 my g grandfather was an unpaid lance corporal for 8 months till fully appointed,however he was injured and hospitalised in the middle of that period.

shane

There was no prescribed time, a lot depended on what unit. For New Armies, Kitchener Men, when the units were formed there was a great shortage of NCOs and promotion could be rapid. Almost as fast as demotion. Obviously, an action would clear a path for promotion as would an outbreak of illness.

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A successful lance corporal on promotion to corporal had generally learned quite a bit about handling men.

I`d totally agree with that. It`s not easy being a successful lance jack. It`s a fine line between over- and under-doing the control bit. Where man handling is concerned, a good NCO is a joy to watch.

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  • 2 months later...

My Gt Uncle David Elder Robertson was a L Cpl in 8th Batt Black Watch, 9th Scottish Division. He joined in June 1915 and was in the trenches by October. During his training/post-training that Summer/Autumn, he was based at Bordon Camp, Aldershot. He wrote a number of letters home prior to his death at Arras in May 1917.

Transcript of letter written in dark "school-coloured ink" with ink-nib or fountain pen on unlined thin paper (the writing is very clear and neat, each line is precise as if written on lined paper). David trained with a recruit-training company for the battalion in England at this time and later went to join the battalion on the Western Front as a replacement in late 1915. This letter gives some idea of a L/Cpl's duties and the effects of same .

Please note, I have not changed or altered the text or punctuation of the letter in any way.

26/9/15

Dear Father & Mother

Just a few lines to you. Well you would be disappointed at my non-arrival again. Well we were told plainly by the SM in front of the officers that we get our pass on Friday sure after the manouvres. Well after the manouvres were all past Captain Hamilton Johnston paraded us all in front of him and told us that the adjutant had given him orders that no man was to get a pass until he was under orders for the front, and that we were to thank the last training company for keeping us back because they didn't come back to time. Well I am very downhearted for I could have done fine with a week at home. I am fairly done up with the cold and I am feeling very miserable. We had very bad weather for manouvres and we lay for 20 nights out in the open with 1 blanket for a covering. It was no joke I had charge of a section so I got very little sleep I had to see that they took their turn on guard and I had to be ready for messages at any time. Well it was a great display. There were 5 Batts – the Camerons, the Seaforths, the Scottish Rifles and the RFA you can bet there was some noise from the big guns and all the rest it was the same as real warfare only no casualties for a wonder. After it was all over you could see nothing but soldiers rising from everywhere. There were a good crowd watching and we were a hungry and tired lot after it was all over. We were expecting some real fighting with the Camerons for the Black Watch and them are great enemies they don't like us but we were warned about it. Of course you will know that. You could see nothing but motor bikes tearing along the road keeping up a correspondence they had free scope. Well I was glad when it was over for I was a tired one without sleep. If I had not had a stripe I would have got a sleep all right but I had to look after a section. Well I told them I was handing in my stripe and I was paraded in front of the Captain, and I was fairly put through the mill and asked my reason for it I made the excuse I had no notion of it and he told me I was foolish. He said I was picked out as qualified for the job and that if I changed my mind I would not be long in getting another but I stuck to my decision so he said he would see about it. I am still wearing the stripe till I am told to hand it in but I have heard no more about it. You see they have picked me out to drill recruits on the square. I was to do a parade at night under the SM for advanced drill, and after I came back of my pass I was to be on the square drilling recruits for good. Well my intentions are to get my pass as quick as possible and get out to the front for my heart is set on it. I want to be able to say I have been at the front and done my bit.

(letter ends – final page / pages are missing).

As he was a lance-corporal when he was killed in 1917, it seems that he never got that chance to get rid of his stripe.

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The rank is much like a leading hand in the navy (although the leading hand is equivalent to a Corporal) - the Lance jack is like the meat in a sandwich. He lives with the men but has to apply discipline to them

as well, so one must tread a fine line. Get over officious and they hate you, under and the higher ranks are on you like a ton of bricks. A total lose-lose situation.

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