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RE service number


Sjones81

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Can you tell what unit a soldier served with in the RE by his service number?

My great grandads number was: 254358

I only asked because from other topics about RE I've noticed that some have been able to identify what unit they served with by their service number,

Any ideas?

Many thanks

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you must remember the number is where he started and not subsequent postings

is it a WR prefix?

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A fair amount of men in this number range were transferred from the RGA and some from the RFA. There are two possibilities I think, that they were transferred as signallers or to the Special Brigade RE.

TR

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Sorry for sounding stupid but what is WR?

Also I had a great uncle who transferred to the same unit from the 2nd/6th battalion Norfolk regiment. His number with them was 266505 and when he went to the RE it was 530451

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WR is a prefix to some RE men indicating served railways/waterways - as I didn't know the persons name (or correct number) I was guessing more than normal? I take it the man in question is Peacock ?

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Another thing I found out is that on one of the photos of my great grandad and great uncle there is a stamp on the back of it that says 'tank group.signal company.RE. British army of the Rhine' Does that help?

Another thing I found out is that on one of the photos of my great grandad and great uncle there is a stamp on the back of it that says 'tank group.signal company.RE. British army of the Rhine' Does that help?

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As far as I'm aware....

Regular soldiers held a 6 digit regimental number prior to the 1917 renumbering of the Territorial Force so I do not think this will help identify your Great Grandad's unit for you as the roll was already in use (rather than a new block allocation for the purposes of renumbering which started at 400001).

There were many Signal Companies within the Royal Engineers (1 per Infantry Division)

Your uncles number 530451 falls into to the Territorial Force renumbering bracket 530001 - 532000 which was allocated to the Essex (Fortress Company) so he could well have been serving with them during the TF renumbering process. His medal index card also states the Norfolk Regiment and the number 266505, the block allocation this falls into would be for the 6th Battalion Norfolk Regiment (Cyclists).

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The only thing I do know is that they both served with each other and after the war my great uncle intruduced my great grandma to my great grandad. Also they both were in the B.A.O.R after the war had finished.

Do you think that the "tank group.signal company.RE were the "tank brigade signal company"?

That's what is stamped on the back of a group photo we have with my grandad and uncle in it.

Also what were the essex(fortress company)? Were they part of the RE?

Sorry to ask so many questions.

Cheers

Simon

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Would he of been in either the 15th,24th or 32nd essex (fortress company)? Sorry to ask so many questions. If I can start narrowing and eliminating things then I may have a little bit of a chance of actually finding who they served with and where.

?

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The Royal Engineer Fortress Companies were used for coastal defence (ref http://www.1914-1918.net/re_fortress.htm )

The "Essex Fortress Engineers" were an Royal Engineers electric lights company, in 1914 they were employed on coastal defence duties, they were a territorial unit not regular (ref WW1 RE ORBAT http://orbat.com/site/uk_orbats/files/6/RE%20World%20War%20I.pdf)

The 15th, 24th & 32nd were all regular companies therefore did not have a geographic name (they were not called Essex, Durham, Lancashire etc.) they were based overseas:

  • 15th based in Gibraltar (returned to UK Sep 1914 and redesignated 15th Field Coy RE, assigned to 8th Division)
  • 24th based in Malta
  • 32nd based in Gibraltar

I would think Tank Group Signal Company and Tank Brigade Signal Company were essentially the same thing, a Royal Engineers Signal Company within a Tank Group or Tank Brigade.

As previously mentioned by someone else earlier in the thread, just because someone was serving with a particular unit during the TF renumbering process does not mean they stayed with that unit afterwards.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the Royal Engineer Signal Service went on to form the Royal Signals in 1920, so if either were serving with a signal company at this time they were likely 're-badged' from the Royal Engineers to the Royal Signals.

Do you have any idea how long they served in Germany after the war? Could it have been as late as 1921? As that would mean their service records are still with the MoD.

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They both demobbed in 1919. Another piece of info given by a family member is that harry bedding was a morse/wireless operator in tanks. So I presume it was tank brigade signal company? Or am I barking up a wrong tree?

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They were both the same age and were both in the same class at school. If that's the case as I know when harry signed up that means its

More than likely my great grandad signed up roughly the same time.

If I can narrow it down to a unit then I can go from there and hopefully get a clearer picture.

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Simon

I think that that you have been given then information you require - a Tank Brigade Signal Company. I think that there is a reasonable chance that 254588 was in a block of numbers given to RA men in a mass transfer to the Signal Service. Not all of these men went to TBSCs but were distributed across The Signal Service system .

TR

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Are you able to give any other information relating to your Great Grandfather:

Date of birth (even an approximate year)?

Place of birth?

What did the middle initial 'E' stand for?

Whereabouts was he living when he joined up (town, county)?

How did you come by the regimental number 254558 i.e. are you 100% certain this is his number?

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I thonk he was born on 29th December 1898 or 1899.

He was born and lived in penge in Kent.

The 'e' stands for Ernest and I'm 95% certain that that was his service number as he is the only W E Peacock that I found that served in the RE.

Hope this helps.

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There is another W E Peacock that served with the Royal Engineers. There are a number of similarities but no direct match to the info you have provided.

378575 Pnr. William Edward Peacock was born 27 June 1899 in Lee, Lewisham (5 miles from Penge)

He attested in May 1917 and transferred to Class W Reserve 20th October 1919

He served as a telegraphist with the Royal Engineers Signal Service.

His mother lived at 36 Murillo Road, Lee, Lewisham at the time of his attestation in 1917.

Unfortunately the record does not match what you have provided which is a shame.

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He is becoming elusive but I have something to go by with regards to tank brigade signal company. If I go with the same date as when my great uncle joined up then perhaps I can start trawling through the war diaries and maybe by a stroke of luck find something. That seems the obvious next route to take. But I need a lot of luck!!

Thank you all for your help. Just wish he served in a infantry regiment,maybe make it a bit easier!!

Cheers

Simon

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