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Remembered Today:

Was 1st Garr. Bn, Devonshire Regiment unusually healthy?


Old Cove
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Not having access to the war diary, I was hoping to get an idea of the movements of 1st Garrison Battalion, Devonshire Regiment by looking at burials recorded in the CWGC database. The battalion left England for Egypt in September 1915 and thereafter there are a small number of burials in Cairo from November 1915 to August 1916 but then no more until May 1917 after which there are a few in Alexandria during the rest of the year. Would nine months in the Middle East without any recorded deaths be unusual, even for a battalion not in the front line? The LLT says that the battalion moved to Palestine in 1917 but no one from the battalion died there in 1917 according to the CWGC database. Can anyone help with movements data or other explanation?

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OC

A look at the titles of the 4 War Diaries gives the picture that they were used as security behind our lines in Lines of Communication preservation:

WO95/4719. Lines of Communication Egypt.1 Aug 1915 to 31 Dec 1916.(Arrived there on 27 Sep 1915,Diary begun probably in the UK before transit)

WO95/4444.Palestine.Delta and Western Force. 1 Jan to 31 Aug 1917.

WO95/4732. Lines of Communication Palestine. 1 Sep 1917 to 30 Apr 1919.(Fighting had stopped in Oct 1918)

WO95/4459. Palestine and Syria. North Force. 1 May to 31 Jul 1919.(No fighting).

All these Diaries are yet to be digitised.

The few casualties that you have seen might have been largely due to the climate and sickness.

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Thanks Sotonmate. I've now had a look at the total deaths for garrison battalions in Egypt during 1917 and they average about 5 a month. I'm sure your right that these were mainly, perhaps entirely, due to sickness or accident. I think there were 10 - 15 garrison battalions present during this period so 9 months without a death seems like a statistical blib but not impossible. Also the burial locations for Egypt and Palestine/Gaza together suggest that none of the garrison battalions moved up into Palestine until the fighting had ended.

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