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Remembered Today:

1/17th London Rifle Brigade - Soldier movement timings


GaryS
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Hi All,

Having not found anything in the army records for my grandad I'm trying to find out about his battalion instead ready for a trip to France very soon. As I don't understand battle formations and nuances of war, I wonder if I could run through what I think I know and perhaps you might read through and tell me where I've gone wrong?

Pte William Henry Sawyer 570302 enlisted ? Don't have a date for him going to the Labour Corps 554715 either, his SWB number was LC/2136

I understand his battalion was 1/17th Bn London Regt. 04 Aug 1914 - 01 Feb 1918 and then went to the 140th brigade.

I've been reading his movements as part of 5th brigade, 2nd division from books but I have a few questions, one around his marriage.

According to books 2nd Div. was wholly in France early on but he got married in August 1915, when the books say they landed at Le Havre in March, would he have got leave to marry? To come back to the UK?

If not, why was he there later on, didn't the brigades move as one?

This is all too confusing for me, I'm trying to follow in his footsteps when I go to France soon but am feeling a bit lost. Is there a way I could try and find when he enlisted and later joined the Labour Corps by his army numbers?

TIA. Help much appreciated.

Gary

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Gary,

According to "No Labour, No Battle" the Labour Corps number 554715 was within a batch issued May to September 1918.

As only the six digit London Regiment number is on his medal index card, it is unlikely that he went overseas before early 1917 when the Territorials were re-numbered.

Phil

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Gary

He was in hte "nd London Division (which later became the 47th (2nd London) Division and is a separate unit from the 2nd Division.

The Brigade war diuary up to January 1918 is available to download from the NA.

Glen

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Guys,

I could kiss you :) That's made so much difference, the dates are a great help, thanks you both.

Thanks again,

Gary

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370 Company was a UK Labour Company, based in Hampstead.

I also see that he was a pre-war Territorial, but if I've interpreted his MIC correctly, was retained on Home Service for a long time.

Phil

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Thanks so much, this has made such a difference to the point that I'm worrying if that really is him.I did go to Kew and couldn't find a single thing about Bill, nothing. But I know he was in the 1/17 LRB and that he had a SWB (Many thanks ypres for the SWB entry)..

I know he got married in August 1915, in uniform, but I can't figure out why he wouldn't have been out there in France early because if I read Phil's advice right he was held on home service... Why would that be? His first born was in May 1917 and may have been ill because he didn't survive, would there be any reason that he would be allowed to stay at home?

Phil, I'me amazed you can find out so much just from the MIC, you're like War Historian version of Derren Brown!

Having said all that, I'm going to get on my motorbike and travel to the places I've seen in the War Diary and go to some of the big event places he may have been like around Hill 60 and maybe Bourlon and High Woods if the dates work out. I'd just like you guys to know that just by answering a few questions you've given the search on my Grandad's past a breath of new life, thanks :)

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Gary

He was in hte "nd London Division (which later became the 47th (2nd London) Division and is a separate unit from the 2nd Division.

The Brigade war diuary up to January 1918 is available to download from the NA.

Glen

Glen, I reread this and I'm trying to understand what you said, sorry if I'm a bit thick. So when I read accounts of war the 2nd Division is no good to me for my grandad? Do I need to look for the 2nd London Division and the 47th Division as well as the brigades they were part of?

Sorry, the whole platoon, company, brigade, blah blah just confuses me to high heaven!

TIA,

Gary

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for all your help. I went in my trip and loved every minute, except the rain, and the cow poop on the roads in Belgium, not too good on two wheels.

highlights, Hill 62 museum. Menin Gate Last Post, Peronne Road cemetery for my relative and a great sole meunière in Saint Quentin! Thanks though, you've all helped make it that bit more real, appreciate all the assistance and guidance.

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