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Remembered Today:

"Attached" what does it mean and why?


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I am sure the answer is how long is a piece of string but here goes. Why were men attached to another regiment? I am researching an officer who died on 15/9/16 whilst attached to the Post Office Rifles he was in fact a member of 8th Battalion Hampshire Regiment - The Isle of Wight Rifles, who were I believe serving in Palestine at the time of his death. Can anyone clarify why he wasn't with them. I suspect that there are many possible reasons for his being attached to another battalion but rather than hazard a guess I thought I would ask the question.

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When the answer comes Keith, it may also explain the difference between attached and transferred.

My guess at the moment is that it was a temporary posting to fill a gap so maybe involved officers more than OR's.

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As its an officer, it's possible he was attached to cover an absent officer in the other regiment. There is also the possibility that the officer in question was ready to be promoted ie Capt to Maj but there were no immediate 'vacancies' in his own regiment so took up the post in a Regt that did need one, pending a position opening up, as it were back in the Hampshire Regt. Sometimes it's just done to foster good relations & share experience; I had the fortune / misfortune (depends which way you look at it) of having a Parachute Regt Lt as my boss for some time as he was on an exchange programme.

Cheers

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Colin W Taylor

Keith

During larger battles officer and soldier replacements were sent to the unit that needed them the most - not necessarily their own unit or even their own regiment. As such occasions where an officer is attached for service in another regiment can be quite common. There are other reasons, as mentioned above, but I'd suggest the shortage of officers in certain battalions, caused by battle casualties, would be the key driver. He might return to his own battalion or regiment later and cease to be attached depending on the situation.

An officer might be gazetted into one regiment but later desire to be permanently posted to a different regiment, e.g. to be with a family member or friend. As such he might be transferred to that regiment and would cease to hold a commission in the original regiment. However this may not always be possible and the needs of the service came first.

That is how I'd understood things anyway.

Kind regards

Colin

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In some instances i thought it was because an officer had a particular training or background in something lacking in the out fit to which he was "attached". He would train officers and NCOs in the new regiment and then return from whence he came, or not.

Hazel

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In some instances i thought it was because an officer had a particular training or background in something lacking in the out fit to which he was "attached".

Hi Hazel,

Although this is a possibility, I think that during WW1 the main reason for officers being attached to another unit was through shortages due to casualties. Sometimes they would subsequently return to their parent unit and of course at times they would be killed whilst serving with their new unit.

A transferred officer would be a permanent move to a different unit/regiment and would normally be implemented through a request from the officer himself.

These are my own interpretations.

Robert

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Keith

Officers were/are commissioned into a specific Regiment or Corps and unlike other ranks remained as a member of that Regiment or Corps unless they asked for a transfer.

When selection and training of officers became more formalised using specific Officer Training Units on completion and commissioning a 2nd Lt. would be commissioned into their chosen Regt. However on arrival in F&F the situation may be that officers were needed in Battalions of other Regiments so were posted to them as "attached" but still a member of the Regt. he was commissioned into, an Other rank would be "Rebadged"i.e. become a member of the new Regiment.

I assume your gentleman did not die in the same area of operations as his original battalion so he may have been attached to the PO Rifles having returned to the UK, perhaps having been wounded, and then sent to the PO Rifles.

Bill

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Colin W Taylor

Keith

I presume this thread concerns Lt Charles Gordon Potter, 8th Hampshires - he's the only officer that fits the bill - 1/8th Londons history reports a Lt Potter killed but there is no officer of that regiment in the CWGC returns - hence C G Potter being likely to be killed whilst attached.

Kind regards

Colin

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Sometimes one unit could be temporarily reinforced by having a detachment from another one attached to them (possibly for a particular operation) either to bolster numbers or to add some specific capability and the attached detachment might have a junior officer with them - this happened to one of my Gt Uncles, when the operation was completed they all went back to their original unit.

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For TF men their terms of engagement forbid a transfer to a different unit.

This was very restrictive and it seems this was often got round by attaching a man to a different unit - a transfer in all but name.

I understand this legal restriction was removed on the passing of the MSA in 1916.

Russ

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Keith

I presume this thread concerns Lt Charles Gordon Potter, 8th Hampshires - he's the only officer that fits the bill - 1/8th Londons history reports a Lt Potter killed but there is no officer of that regiment in the CWGC returns - hence C G Potter being likely to be killed whilst attached.

Kind regards

Colin

That is indeed the man, I was about to post the name but you beat me to it.

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Colin W Taylor

Keith

I'd presume this is his file at Kew. It will probably determine his 'status'. I'd surmise he was posted to 8th Londons after arriving at an IBD in France. I have not got the war diaries for September 1916 as they are missing from Kew so I'm not sure when he was posted to the POR.

POTTER, Lieut C G

Attached officers often get neglected in rolls of officers for battalions - though they may not have belonged to the regiment in question it is often the only one with which they served and died. C G Potter is consequently not on the Roll of Officers killed in Charles Messenger's book. Attached officers are also not often included in their own regiments history. However a bit of research might be of interest to see if he's related to Frederick John Potter killed in May 1916.

There is also a possibility that he was in the process of transferring from the Hants Regiment to the POR, having been attached to them, but was killed before this was gazetted.

Kind regards

Colin

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Thanks. I have on another thread requested if anyone has a copy of the September diary, as you say it and several other months are missing from the TNA copy. I suppose my particular interest is that the 8th Hants were by this time in the Middle East, I presume that if he had been wounded and sent home he could have been attached to the PRO rather than being sent back to his own battalion.

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Colin W Taylor

Keith

I would presume that as he went to France with 16th Londons as an OR in Jan 1915 that he probably didn't go overseas with 1/8th Hants, at least not initially. It is likely that when gazetted he underwent training with 2/8th or 3/8th Hants and was sent to France as a replacement for other battalions of the Hampshire Regiment and was diverted to a battalion with a more urgent need for officer replacements.

However; there's no firm answer without checking his file.

Kind regards

Colin

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