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Remembered Today:

HISTORY of the CORPS OF ROYAL ENGINEERS


DaveDocDavies

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Institution of Royal Engineers "official" history of the Great War on the Western Front (for the most part) with a small chapter on Italian campaign. Published 1952.

"Big picture" look at the composition of the Corps, senior commanders and innovators. Order of battle tables. Discussion of the various RE communities: tunnelling, gas-chemical, railway (STD, meter and 60cm) transportation, quarry and port construction over the "three phases of the war" (1914-15), (1916-17) and the (late 1917-armistice).

Rarely is it broken down to the actions of specific Field Coy in a specific action.

Doc D

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Hi,

Does it give individual 'what happen in each month'...I'm trying to find more on-

Name: LAW

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Driver

Regiment: Royal Engineers

Unit Text: 122nd Field Coy.

Date of Death: 20/03/1917

I've written to their museum but was told that they were busy putting some exhibition on!

cheers

mark

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Mark,

if only we could be that lucky :D

No, it does not go to individuals except senior officers, etc.

You will have to do what I did and get copies of the Diaries from the NAA (PRO)

Peter

PS if you nominate a timeframe I will look it up and send you a scan if thats any help

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Peter

Can I be cheeky and ask for information on three men/coy's I'm researching?

THOMAS WILLIAM DAVIES Died 5/3/16 3rd Div. Signals Royal Engineers.

WILLIAM DAWES Died 30/12/1917 96th Light Rly. Operating Coy Royal Engineers.

GEORGE HENRY SWAIN Died 09/04/1918 3rd Special Coy Royal Engineers.

Any information would be apreciated

Regards Doug

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As mentioned above, The history of the RE in the Great War will not give give information about individual soldiers. GH Swain however was a member of 5th Battalion of the Special Brigade. This consisted of Nos 1-4 Special Company's and Z Coy. No 3 Coy, along with 1,2 and 4 Coy's , operated the Stokes 4" Mortars, firing chemical, and smoke ammunition.

His number suggests that he may have been transferred in from a another branch of the Corps, or possibly from the RA. The medal role at the NA may indicate this. Other possibilities are the war diary for No 3 company , or of course his service record if this has survived.

A search of local newspapers may help with personal information. In this case the Wolverhampton Chronicle, Wolverhampton Times , Wolverhampton Courier, and Midlands Counties Express may help.

Terry Reeves

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Terry.

Thanks very much for the information.

I did realise from Peters post that he could not give any information on specific men,I posted the names because it was easier for me to transfer the info from my file. I was aiming for info on what each mans role was in the RE.

Sadly George Swain's or the other two men's records did not survive. Georges M.I.C records only that he served with the R.E. would the medal roll say different? I have looked at everydays page of Wolverhampton's Express and Star 14-18 and most of the Chronicle with no luck. I will try the other papers but confess I have not heard of the Times and Courier.

The information on the Stokes Mortar is brilliant and adds another piece of the jigsaw.

Thanks.

Regards Doug.

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Doug, if the MIC only gives RE as his Regt/Corps, then the medal roll will be of no help. However, my research into members of the Special Brigade lead me to believe he may have been transferred in from another branch of the RE. The medal roll will not show an in-house movement though.

Terry Reeves

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Terry

Thanks for that additional info,it is appreciated.

Regards Doug

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  • 2 weeks later...

Doug,

Pardon the delay in reply, I've been mending a hard drive crash in the home computer. :blink:

The History of the Corps RE mentions up front that Royal Corps of Signals was not a separate entity until July 1920; but, then states the discussion of Signals work from 1914- Armistice would be written by the new corps. Other than mentioning Signals as a part of RE, the growth of manning throughout the war, it says very little. The table of RE Units of initial BEF August 1914 lists 3rd Signal Coy as part of 3rd Division, II Army Corps. At the preparation for the Battle of the Somme, II Corps was part of Fourth Army. If I read the text correctly, II Corps was Fourth Army's flank with Third Army.

Light Railway Operating Coys 96 and 203, along with Train Crew Coy 98, are listed together in Egypt at the Armistice. Volume VI covers Egypt, Palestine, Gallipoli and Macedonia ... unfortunately, I don't have it.

The RE Special Coys deployed offensive gas operations 25 Sep 1915 at Loos using 5500 cylinders from 400 emplacements along a 24.5 mile front. Augmented by smoke from 11,000 candles, 25,000 w.phos grenades and 10,000 motar-fired bombs, the actual gas cloud front is estimated at 1/3 of the front (14,500 yds). After this success, the four original RE Coys (186-189) were expanded to 16 cylinder companies (A through Q) organized into 4 battalions, four mortar companies (1-4) in one Bn (4 inch Stokes mortar armed with smoke, gas or thermite bombs), and Z-Coy (the original flame projector gave way to Livens Projector ... 30lb phosgene bomb). 9 April 1918 marked the commencement of Gen Ludendorf's spring offensive in Flanders ... the text mentions RE personnel served as defending infantry in many locations, as well as building defensive works.

Unless a specific Coy was mentioned in despatch in Division reports to Corps / Army Hdqtrs, it wasn't used for illustartive purposes in the history of the Corps.

Sorry there isn't more detail.

Doc D

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Doc D

Thank you very much for the information.

Regards Doug.

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  • 1 year later...

Doc D

This may be an impossible request...but

John Sharman Fowler who later became first Lieutenant Comdt. Royal Signal Corps.

Could you check for me any references to him in your book, when you have some time.

With many thanks

Isadore

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It is to the very great credit of the Institution of Royal Engineers that all eleven volumes of their history remain in print and available at fairly reasonable cost (£20 a volume or all 11 for £200) and that volume 12 (covering the period from 1980 onward is in preparation with a view to publication in 2007.

The volumes are:

I Early days up to 1860

II 1860-1885

III 1885-1912

IV 1885-1902

V 1914-1919

Vi 1914-1919

VII 1918-1938

VIII 1938-1948

IX 1938-1948

X 1948-1960

XI 1960-1980

XII Available 2007

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Hi Doc,

Does the bit about the Italian campaign go into much detail about the 7th Div bridging the Piave from Salettuol to the Grave di Papadopoli and then from the Grave to the Bund? The 7th Div history says it was an amazing feat of technical skill, resourcefulness, courage and enterprise.

Does that part of the book mention Signals/communications at all?

Thanks

Helen

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