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Remembered Today:

Travel Time/Route


ariedl
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** I hope this is the correct sub-forum for this question, but mods please move if not **

My grandfather was Private John Nicoll, S/26622.I've been trying to find out as much as I can about his service during the first World War, but I've had to have give up on learning where he trained, as I'm not sure which battalion he initially joined (he is listed in the medal roll as 1/6th Royal Highlanders, but I have reason to suspect he may have initially joined the 4th battalion, RH). I haven't been able to find out anything specific about his time overseas, as he only arrived the week of 11 November 1918, and the medal roll does not have any information other than his name, rank, unit, and number.

I'd now like to focus on the time my grandfather spent getting from Scotland to France. I know he was in Dundee on 31 October 1918, as he and my grandmother were engaged on that day, and I know he was in France by 11 November 1918, as he qualified for the Victory Medal. Is it possible to find out anything about the route he would have taken to get there? The few pieces of information I have indicate that he was stationed in Edinburgh, so would that be the likely starting point once he left home (Dundee)?
  • If so, where would he have gone from Edinburgh?
  • Was there a specific port from which he would have left the UK?
  • Where in France would he have most likely landed?
  • To which Infantry Base Depot would someone joining the 1/6th Royal Highlanders have most likely been sent?
  • Would the date given as "joined" in the Battalion's war diary be that which the new soldiers arrived at Camp (in this case, Iwuy), or would it be the date they arrived at the Infantry Base Depot?

According to their war diary, the 6th Battalion received 182 "Other Ranks" on 6 November 1918, so I'd like to imagine that's the group with which my grandfather arrived. My grandmother always told a story about him arriving the morning of 11 November 1918, though, and as there is a group of 7 men that joined on that date, I can't rule it out.

I would appreciate any information on these questions, general or specific. I've tried to use all of the resources I could find, but people on this site never cease to amaze me, so I'd love to find that there was something I've missed.
Thanks for your time!
Alec
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Q and I know he was in France by 11 November 1918

Where did the info come from?

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Q and I know he was in France by 11 November 1918

Where did the info come from?

Sorry, I should have said I know he was in a Theatre of War by 11 Nov 1918, as he is listed on the medal roll as qualifying for both the Victory and British War medals. The roll does not state a date or a specific Theatre, however, so that part is just based on family oral history.

Thanks!

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He would probably have returned to Edinburgh then as part of a draft from Edinburgh Waverly by train to London, probably Kings X by East Coast Mainline but could have gone via Caledonian and LNWR on West coast route to London Euston. The Caledonian Terminus in Edinburgh was adjacent to the Caledonian Hotel now Waldorf Astoria at junction of Lothian road/ Princess Street.

He would have crossed London to either Waterloo for Southampton or from one oft he London stations that served Folkstone, possibly Victoria

Eleven days to reach his battalion must mean he spent very little time in a transit/training camp when in France.

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Wow, thanks for such a detailed response, I really appreciate it! I had to look up Folkestone, of which I hate to admit I had never heard. Was this the port from which most troops left, or only certain battalions? Or was it not divided up so cleanly, and you just left from wherever was most convenient at the time?

Eleven days to reach his battalion must mean he spent very little time in a transit/training camp when in France.

I agree, which is why I was wondering if the date in the medal roll was when he arrived at the IBD, rather than to the battalion's location in Iwuy.

Thanks again!

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Does an address of 495 Strathmartine Road, Dundee relate to your John Nicoll?

Did he have a brother/relative William, born about 1885?

It's an unusual Number to be only 5 figures when from about 1916 the Army had introduced a unique Service Number system to replace the Regimental Numbering system which gave duplicates depending on which battalion men with the same number were in. The "S" prefix was to indicate a Service enlistment volunteering for the duration of the War, rather than a conscripted man, again an indication of service well before 1918.

His Medal Index Card gives very little information and the Medal Rolls you refer to show he was still in the Army in 1920

That makes me think he had previously been in France or elsewhere with the 1st/6th Battalion Black Watch, so he could have been with them from early 1916 (not before otherwise he'd have qualified for the 1815 Star). The 1st/6th was known as the Perthshire Battalion, yet you say he was from Dundee, which would have possible more likely to have been the 4th (City of Dundee) or 5th Battalion (Angus and Dundee) Perhaps he had his basic infantry training in the UK with a Dundee unit but have been posted to 6th to replace battle losses.

There are these 2 Black Watch casualties from Dundee, are either relatives?

NICOLL, ANDREW. Rank: Private. Service No: 200457. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 21.
Regiment/Service: Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) 4th/5th Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 37. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL.
Additional Information: Son of Mrs. Annie Nicoll, of 521, Strathmartine Rd., Dawnfield, Dundee.
NICOLL, LEONARD ORRICK. Rank: Lieutenant. Date of Death: 26/09/1917. Age: 22.
Regiment/Service: Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) "D" Coy. 5th Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 94 to 96. Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL.
Additional Information: Son of W. S. Nicoll, J.P., and Isabella Orrick (his wife), of Orwell Villa, Clepington Rd., Dundee.

Another possible connection, there is a 7773 4th Battalion City of Dundee Ryl Highlanders, John Nicoll who enlisted pre War on 2nd March 1914 aged 24 and 8 months, from 12, Rosebank Street, Dundee who had worked for T L Miller in their Hillside Works.

So, is it likely he had served well before 1918?

Of more concern is that there are no 5 figure 266** casualties in the Black Watch, either 4 or 6 figures, but NO 5 figure ones...

The nearest I could find was

BAXTER, JOHN. Rank: Private. Service No: S/26596. Date of Death: 27/07/1918. Age: 21.
Regiment/Service: Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) 3rd Bn.
Grave Reference: 1265. Cemetery: CURRAGH MILITARY CEMETERY.
Additional Information: Son of Robert and Jessie Baxter, of West Torrie, Callender, Perthshire. Born at Pollockshaws, Glasgow.
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Does an address of 495 Strathmartine Road, Dundee relate to your John Nicoll?

Did he have a brother/relative William, born about 1885?

Kevin--

Thanks for the detailed followup. I was just reading another thread where someone got on to the OP for not posting all of the information they had initially, and realized I've done the same thing, for which I apologize!

I have my GF's demob papers, which show his enlistment date as 3 July 1918, and that he was transferred to the Reserves on 15 February 1919. A short service to be sure. His birthdate was 11 October 1899, in Dundee.

Again, I apologize for wasting your time as you were trying to help me! Thanks again!

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Does an address of 495 Strathmartine Road, Dundee relate to your John Nicoll?

Did he have a brother/relative William, born about 1885?

That makes me think he had previously been in France or elsewhere with the 1st/6th Battalion Black Watch, so he could have been with them from early 1916 (not before otherwise he'd have qualified for the 1815 Star).

I think it was the 1st Bn (and the 73rd Regt. which became 2nd Bn in 1881) at Waterloo :hypocrite:

bill

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