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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

rosewlsg

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I'm at the writing stage for the book on the Singapore cenotaph so details are popping up and causing some confusion.

Keith White Adcock was an engineer with the Municipal Engineers Department of the Singapore Municipality (1911-1916), prior to that he'd worked in Leeds as assistant to the sewerage engineer of Leeds Municipality. His medal card has RE (TF) in the Corps section, which TNA has transcribed in their abstract to his record as 'Royal Engineers Transport'. CWGC has 'Royal Engineers'.

The London Gazette of 19 Sept 1916 has this entry under the heading 'London Electrical Engineers':

Q.M.S. Keith White Adcock, Singapore R.E. Vol., to be 2nd Lt. (on prob.) 20th Sept. 1916.

The questions I have are:

1. Can RE also mean 'Requirements Engineers' or was that not around in 1916?

2. Is it likely that he transferred from Electrical to Transport?

3. Does the TF refer to 'Technical Force' or something to do with Territorials?

I should add that under (beside) 'Theatre of War' on his medal card it reads 'From Singapore'. I find that unusual, but as I haven't got into the details of the rest of the records I don't recall if it appears on anybody else's.

He died of pneumonia in Colchester on 30 Oct 1918. There's no officer record for him at TNA that I could find, so the above is all the information I have for his military service except that he was a volunteer during his time here, first with Singapore Volunteer Artillery and then with the Singapore Volunteer Engineers. He's also listed on Hitchin's war memorial in Hertfordshire, where he's buried, and on the Singapore Cricket Club war memorial.

Rosemary

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I would think that TF is 'territorial force'...

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Yes, that is probably him. Missed him out on the search, possibly with a few others. I'm back in Singapore now so I'll have to do up a list and get someone to go to TNA to copy the records. Thanks Robert.

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SDGW describes him as 'Royal Engineers' Addnl Information 'Territorial'

So as a former Singapore Volunteer he was enlisted/appointed in the TF, or more accurately a TF Unit.

His Probate is also on Ancestry address 23 Chiltern Road Hitchin Herts and shows 'Lieutenant London Electrical Engineers'.

His father George was a Wesleyan Minister and beneficiary of his estate of just over £1000. The London Electrical Engineers were a Company within the TF formation of the Royal Engineers.

So I suggest the answer to your questions are:-

1. R.E. means Royal Engineers

2. No

3. Territorial Force

The reason he has 'from Singapore' on his mic is that his medal entitlement appears to be the British War Medal, this was awarded to men who left their native shore anywhere in the British Empire i.e. in his case, 'from Singapore'. The mic shows no entitlement to the Victory Medal which means he did not enter a theatre of war.

So originally in the Singapore Volunteers (RE) transferring to the RE (TF) in the UK as 2nd Lieut., then served in a home based capacity in the RE. QMS to a commission was a traditional route for promotion from the ranks, though no doubt his professional qualifications helped.

The probate shows he died in the military hospital at Colchester which was a major army town/barracks so was probably serving there when he contracted pneumonia.

According to the LLT the Mechanical and Electrical companies were responsible for machinery including underground boring which would fit with sewage engineer I guess but you need an RE expert to define the duties of the London Electrical Engineers.

I assume you have his departure from the UK on 17 November 1911 on the P & O 'Malwa', can't find him on the 'incoming'.

Ken

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The reason he has 'from Singapore' on his mic is that his medal entitlement appears to be the British War Medal, this was awarded to men who left their native shore anywhere in the British Empire i.e. in his case, 'from Singapore'. The mic shows no entitlement to the Victory Medal which means he did not enter a theatre of war.

So originally in the Singapore Volunteers (RE) transferring to the RE (TF) in the UK as 2nd Lieut., then served in a home based capacity in the RE. QMS to a commission was a traditional route for promotion from the ranks, though no doubt his professional qualifications helped.

Hi Ken

This is really useful information. I read a query on another thread asking if there was a transfer from SVC to Territorials units, so this seems to answer that question. Also, I was thinking that he hadn't entered a theatre of war so it's good to have that confirmed. I'm still learning how to read a medal card.

I'd found the will and the Malwa, thanks. Two other men on the Singapore cenotaph arrived on that ship, Guy Hatton Sugden and William Stanley Eames. They travelled 1st class as cadets in the Straits Settlements Government Service, but Keith travelled 2nd class as an engineer for the municipality. That social distinction still held true into the 1950s. He returned to England via Hong Kong, Hawaii, San Francisco and New York. His father had been a Methodist missionary in Africa. The papers of the time here reported CoE cathedral news, but not much on the non-conformists apart from weddings. I have to check if he has a plaque in the Wesleyan church here.

Thanks, you've been a great help.

Rosemary

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The London Electrical Engineers were indeed a Territorial Force unit of the Royal Engineers, and exisated before the war as well.

Ron

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Thanks for the confirmation Ron.

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