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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Early days 9th Kings Royal Rifle Corps


Medaler

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Hi,

I am looking for more help please if possible.

Having secured a copy of the War Diary and obtained a copy of "The Annals of.." I am struggling with a lack of information concerning 9th Btn KRRC before they went overseas.

Having gone onto the Long Long Trail and looked them up I have found the following......

"Formed at Winchester in August 1914 as part of K1 and came under orders of 42nd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division. Moved to Aldershot, going on to Petworth in November and in February 1915 returned to Aldershot."

I am afraid that the above is the whole extent of my knowledge on their early days and would appreciate a bit more detail along the lines of:-

The actual date of formation

The date of the move to Aldershot - and the location / barracks (if known)

The date of the move to Petworth

The date of the return move to Aldershot - I believe that they were in Talavera Barracks this time around but would like that confirmed if possible

ALSO

I assume that they struggled for kit just as much as the rest of the units in K1 but if anyone can point me at any specifics for 9/KRRC that would also be greatly appreciated.

If all this is contained in another volume somewhere then the title and author would be appreciated!

Sorry this is such a big list but help with bits of it would also be very welcome, so if you can help, please do not feel obliged to answer all of the above before you reply.

Warmest regards,

Mike

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Is there a specific man you are looking for? If he has a service record it may shed some light.

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Hi Johnboy,

Well, there are actually 2 of them - one with a Service record (R/3635 - I. Baker) and one without (A/2267 - W. Walker). The surviving service record however does not give a comprehensive tally of his movements between the various locations - in fact it only mentions Winchester.

My assumption was that they would have vacated Winchester for Aldershot as a formed body and there gone through a period of basic training in the Battalion, that the move to Petworth was done to assemble the Brigade and the final move back to Aldershot was to assemble the full Division - but that is all just guesswork on my part. I know I may be pedantic but I like detail if I can get it - the Devil is very often in it :-) The actual dates are important. I certainly have info regarding other K1 units that were formed around this time but just a big void specific to 9/KRRC in those early days.

Warmest regards,

Mike

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26/8/14 Beginning on the 26th August and in the early days of September 1914 was formed in historic Winchester the Ninth Service Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. Then no more than a stream of recruits, part of the great swarm of volunteers who were flocking to the colours at the time in such numbers, that they could not adequately be dealt with.

"Even after thirty five years" quotes Corporal G. Morley, D.C.M., KRRC, "Even after thirty five years my first few days in the ranks of my beloved battalion still remain vivid in my memory. The first night of arrival and a sleep on the floor of Winchester Guildhall, followed queues for meals and Regimental numbers amidst a jostling crowd of Blue Lounge Suits and Straw Hats."

After a short period at Winchester the group was transferred to Blackdown Camp where it was introduced to its future commanding officer Lieut.- Col. Chaplin. "I well remember" continued Corporal Morley "our arrival at Blackdown Camp and the apologies made by Colonel Chaplin for the inadequate arrangements made for the reception of the last contingent to complete the Battalion strength. His kindly words on that occasion, gave us I am sure, a confidence in him which we shared as we did our grief at his death ten months later. A truly gallant gentleman! He was an inspiration to us all."

Sarge Syd Martin continues the tale. "It will never be known exactly was the impression on Col. Chaplin and R.S.M. Witley as they welcomed this heterogeneous crowd of men arrayed in various apparel. Some wore Salvation Army tunics with khaki trousers and straw hats, others sported flannel trousers with service tunics and bowler hats; only a few were completely fitted out in service dress.

At Blackdown the men were gradually equipped and by stages initiated into Army discipline and training. They were made acquainted with Squad Drill and the familiar awkward squads will be remembered with amusement. At this stage the ignorance of the lighter side of the service was being good humorously exploited in quite a few ways, as on one occasion when "C" Company cooks held a whip round in order to supply a treat of pie crust for dinner.. It was afterwards learnt that the flour was a ration issue. Competition to gain proficiency, under the guidance of the great soldier R.S.M. Witley, became very keen, especially when it became known that the most advanced platoons would be issued with rifles.

By now, men were beginning to know one another and comradeship's were formed which have stood the test of thirty five years.

The platoon officers were becoming acquainted with the rank and file under their commands and when, after some weeks, the battalion was moved to barracks in Aldershot, it had begun to assume the appearance of a complete body of soldiers. As to dress regulations, the unwary were an easy prey to the ever vigilant Provo Sergeant Gardener.

At Aldershot, training became very intensive; nevertheless it was thoroughly enjoyed in the spirit of universal enthusiasm. The Battalion excelled in sport, particularly in football, boxing and cross country running.

Will post the rest of this tomorrow for you.

Andy.

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Andy,

You are a real gem! - My sincerest thanks for all the typing and the precious info it contains. Absolutely wonderful stuff and just the sort of thing I was looking for.

Many thanks,

Mike

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The surviving service record however does not give a comprehensive tally of his movements between the various locations - in fact it only mentions Winchester.

Andys info is good.

Your mans service record may tell you if he was posted or transferred at any time .

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Mike,

Not a problem, glad that the information is of use to you. 14th Division is something of a passion of mine. There is one book that covers the 9th KRRC solely that being "Celer Et Audax - A Record of the 9th (Service) Battalion of The King's Rifle Corps 1914 - 1918" by the Battalion Intelligence Officer (Eric Barlow) however this was privately printed in 1950 with only 50 copies produced, I have number 16.

Will place the rest of the material here tomorrow for you.

Andy

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Mike,

continued:-

The Battalion excelled in sport, particularly in football, boxing and cross country running. It was well served in this respect by a sportsman's contingent which formed the best part of two platoons in "D" Company. Largely with their help in December 1914 the Battalion football team succeeded in winning the Brigade Championship.

The Battalion was rapidly being licked into shape in the military sense. After firing musketry courses at Ash Ranges it was moved to Petworth, East Sussex, for field training and assembly in this area with other units of the Division. Here long route marches were undertaken, the value of which was to become apparent later when the Battalion went overseas. The residents of Petworth made the men and their officers very welcome and many friendships were here formed. Much interest and amusement was evoked at this time by the forming of a special 'Composite' or emergency unit for quick transfer overseas. It was a memorable occasion, when in the early hours of one morning, the unit was mobilised, equipped with arms and marched to the railway station. Whom of those that heard it can never forget that anxious pleading cry of one Company Commander "Has anybody got a pull-through?" The dismay of the troops left behind was acute, but this was soon relieved by the return of the Special Unit to billets. It had only been a dress rehearsal.

After some further months very hard training at Petworth the Battalion returned to Talavera Barracks, Aldershot. Training was now nearing completion and in a short while was 'standing by' in readiness for embarkation overseas. One should not conclude this brief account of the early days without mentioning the high standard and fine spirit of the recruits who made up the original ninth. Drawn from all parts of the country and from all walks of life they quickly combined to work together as a team. There was present a spirit of keeness, friendly rivalry and real comradeship in which everyone shared and which all who belonged to the Battalion at that time will remember with gratitude.

Andy

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Should you find them useful? I also have details and accounts of the forming and training of the 9th Rifle Brigade (same Brigade) and the 7th & 8th Rifle Brigade.

The 9th RB records from an officer and quite detailed in some parts, state that on their first trip to Aldershot the 9th KRRC and the 9th RB were accommodated in Blenheim Barracks together, and talks about the 9th KRRC quite a bit, not always complimentary I must add although generally so.

Andy

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Andy,

I can't thank you enough for this. It has given me exactly the sort of colour and detail I needed to bring my 2 chaps to life again. One interesting point is that the date of entry on both of my mens MIC's is 19th which I reckon puts them fair and square in that Composite unit who got to do it for real on that date. They travelled by a different route and a day earlier than the rest of the Btn landing at Harvre rather than Boulogne.

I would certainly be interested in the info you have on 9/RB - being as they were in the same Brigade and that their experiences would no doubt be very similar and share a very similar (if not identical) timing. I am however already deeply in your debt for the information you have already provided as I simply could not find anything for myself.

My studies (if I can dignify them by calling them that) are all relative to the lads who failed to return to one small Derbyshire village and who served under 35 different badges - let alone battalions. Getting enough detail for what I want to do for each of them means that I regularly have to rely on people with specialist knowledge that goes beyond the readily available records and stuff available for the general reader. This forum is a wonderful resource for me when I'm stuck and I truly appreciate the assistance that I receive from the other members here.

Again, my sincere thanks,

Mike

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Mike,

Pleasure, although I feel that your men were in the Transport.

"On the morning of the 19th day of May 1915, Major J.A. Horn, Lieut. A. Watson with the Battalion transport and 112 N.C.O's and men entrained at Aldershot for Southampton, arriving at Havre early on the next morning and at Number 5 Rest Camp. The remainder of the Battalion, by two trainloads, reached Folkestone and embarked on the S.S. Victoria for a very crowded passage.

Always a problem when you are doing the research on a war memorial, the mixture of men, regiments and battalions, one of the great things regarding this forum is the help offered by people with knowledge on different units.

Andy

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Transport train arrangements for the 19th

post-1871-0-72694100-1394720060_thumb.jp

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Battalion train arrangements

post-1871-0-28260000-1394720285_thumb.jp

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Hi Andy

You could well be right about that. I know that one of them (R/3635 - I. Baker) was in B Company and enlisted about a week later than my other chap - so I'm guessing they were formed Company by Company making A/2267 (W. Walker) in either A or also in B. There is nothing to actually connect the 2 chaps together as their associations with the village were at different times and they even signed on at different locations.

I had read "with the Battalion transport and 112 N.C.O's and men" as "the Btn transport and a further 112 N.C.O's and men" - according to the other figures quoted slightly later in the diary they do seem to have been a bit under official war establishment. See - you can't even trust me to read things straight when I have them :-)

The different service number prefixes are interesting too. Along with the Y numbers that you helped me with on a previous thread they are certainly confusing. Having found a reference to the "A" prefix men having had previous connections to the reserve I have been hunting through service records. The 1st 4 I found all clearly state that the recruit answered "no" when asked about previous service.

Again, my sincere thanks for the info, it is absolutely what I was looking for.

Warmest regards,

Mike

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Hi Mike,

Yes the Rifle Regiments numbering is certainly complicated, having been looking at them and researching them for years you still get ones that throw a spanner in the works. The same was said for the early B series in the Rifle Brigade, however I have many instances where this series were old soldiers and many more that had no military service. Considering an awful lot ended up in the 8th Rifle Brigade there would not have been so many old soldiers in a K1 battalion and their papers show that most did not have previous military service.

Glad that the information given was of use to you.

Andy

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