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Remembered Today:

How were Roll Calls conducted and recorded?


Derek Black
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Does anyone know how a roll call was conducted both when in the trenches and when out of it? Also in what format were they recorded?

I've only seen war diary entries regarding strength but never a roll call sheet, if they still exist.

Would it have been a case of sgt's/junior officers going down the trench with paper in hand, and when in the rear having a everyone present with names read out and answered?

Cheers,
Derek.

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As far as I know they were listed in a book format with the books being kept by the platoon sgts / officer .

Craig

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I see, so just totted up in a wee book.

Thanks for that Craig.

Cheers,

Derek.

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Hi Derek

The remnants of my Great Uncles battalion (24th Bn Royal Fusiliers) took a roll call in the middle of a field on the 24/03/1918 during the German Spring Offensive.

Regards Andy

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John Lucy mentions a number of roll calls in the period August 23rd to December 1914. Usually when or just after coming out of the line. Sad occasions, on at least two occasions only about forty men left from about 200 or so who went into the line/trenches a few days earlier and this after the Battalion" had received reinforcements to provide some strength to man the line.

I assume they would be similer to the roll call in the Film Zulu but dressed in Khaki and with a back drop of shell damaged villages rather than South African hills and valley.

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Does anyone know how a roll call was conducted both when in the trenches and when out of it? Also in what format were they recorded?

I've only seen war diary entries regarding strength but never a roll call sheet, if they still exist.

Would it have been a case of sgt's/junior officers going down the trench with paper in hand, and when in the rear having a everyone present with names read out and answered?

Cheers,

Derek.

Derek, if you Google 'Somme battle footagefarm seaforth' it comes up as the first hit for me in the links and you can watch a roll call of Seaforth Hrs. No sound unfortunately.

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I see, so just totted up in a wee book.

Thanks for that Craig.

Cheers,

Derek.

My grandads notebook shows several nominal rolls of the bombing platoon he was NCO i/c of. Food for thought as the war progressed and each new roll of names was compiled a cross was marked beside those KIA.

I presume a roll call was taken and manpower strength was passed further up the chain. No idea how frequently roll calls were taken.

The footage Seaforths has directed you to shows an example of one such roll call.

Mike

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Thanks for that vid link, it was good footage.

Mike, what info was in the roll for each man? rank, surname, initial, number?

Cheers,
Derek

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The War Diaries show that when my granddad was captured with four others, a roll call was taken to establish whether the German message they intercepted regarding their capture was true and it transpired the only five men unaccounted for were those in the remote 'F Post' (which Mike kndly posted an image of on Google Earth not so long back). They had to wait until night fall to establish the garrison was indeed missing. I would imagine that roll calls were quite frequent when in the line, to establish if all men were accounted for after German raids and bombardments too.

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Thanks for that vid link, it was good footage.

Mike, what info was in the roll for each man? rank, surname, initial, number?

Cheers,

Derek

All the above info including what role they were to take. Bayonet men, rifle grenade men, bombers.

Was also useful in the fact it included pre and post 1917 numbers enabling me to properly id some men who's names were illegible. Also dating the notebook.

Mike

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I just googled "Somme battle footagefarm seaforth" and the video came up as the 2nd result - the first result was a link to this very thread.....

Cheers

Colin

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My grandads notebook shows several nominal rolls of the bombing platoon he was NCO i/c of. Food for thought as the war progressed and each new roll of names was compiled a cross was marked beside those KIA.

I presume a roll call was taken and manpower strength was passed further up the chain. No idea how frequently roll calls were taken.

The footage Seaforths has directed you to shows an example of one such roll call.

Mike

Cheers Mike for the original heads up on the link in the first place. When I saw Derek's post, I thought it was the ideal/apt place to put it. I wonder if they were of a standard format across the board in the books or whether some had more information than others.

I just googled "Somme battle footagefarm seaforth" and the video came up as the 2nd result - the first result was a link to this very thread.....

Cheers

Colin

Whoops! I guess it was the first hit until I posted the link to it here :D

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Cheers Mike for the original heads up on the link in the first place. When I saw Derek's post, I thought it was the ideal/apt place to put it. I wonder if they were of a standard format across the board in the books or whether some had more information than others.

Whoops! I guess it was the first hit until I posted the link to it here :D

You're most welcome Marjorie.

Don't know if you have received my email but the query on the 'C' on the upper left arm has been resolved.

Mike

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