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Remembered Today:

Walter Willis, Rifleman No. 42282 Royal Irish Rifles


jeffdanward
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Walter Willis was born and grew up in the small Suffolk town of Hadleigh. He served with the 11th and 12th Btns Royal Irish Rifles and is recorded as dying on the 3rd July 1918. He was in fact taken prisoner at St. Quintin 28th March 1918. Allocated to Stendal PoW Camp but retained close to the front and presumably used in working parties. He died of dysentery 3rd July 1918 and is buried in Cronenbourg Cemetery close to Strasbourg.

It was a little surprising to find a Suffolk farm boy recruited direct to a staunch Ulster regiment like the R.I.R..But such documents that.exist make no reference to any other unit,except the Soldiers that Died in the Great War records which comment :- Former Tr/13/21891/T.R. Has anyone any idea to what it refers. It looks vaguely Army Service Corps or perhaps a reference to a Territorial unit . Regards Jeff Ward.

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Hi Jeff

Tr/13/21891/T.R.

Is a Training Reserve number. Tr Training Reserve,/13 number of the District/ 21891, the man's unique number/ T.R. Training Reserve.

According to LLT (top left of page) there were only 12 training District's, so maybe the /13/ should be /3/ that being the District number.

Hope this is of use.

Regards.

Tony.

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36th (Ulster) Division was heavily reinforced by drafts of men transferred from English regiments, particularly in 1918. In the absence of any other information I'd bet he was a conscript (given no previous service abroad) who was transferred with a bunch of others from his regiment, almost certainly in April/May 1918 - 12th Royal Irish Rifles was all but destroyed in late March 1918. You will see on the medal roll that he is in an alphabetical group of Englishmen. They may have been in the same draft as far as the Divisional Depot Battalion before being sent to various bns of the Royal Irish Rifles in 36th (Ulster) Division. Researching those men may turn up something useful.

I'm in the process of looking at the evolution of the battalions of the Royal Irish Fusiliers in this regard. The detail of that will not, of course, apply in your research but the gist of it might be useful: http://www.nickmetcalfe.co.uk/the-evolution-of-the-regular-and-service-battalions-of-princess-victorias-royal-irish-fusiliers-1914-1918/ (Part 6 will be posted tomorrow and the other bits as I get them done - it's all taking much longer than I thought it would!)

Nick

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Thanks both of you. I had came to the conclusion that he must have been a conscript. But as he was taken prisoner 21st March 1918 he must have been drafted in some time earlier Regards Jeff Ward

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In 1916 and 1917, men from 9th Sherwood's were also 'loaned' and then transferred to 9th and 13th RIR. August 1916 for the losses to battalions after first week of Somme. When the 11th Division arrive din France from Egypt it was oversubscribed and so men were moved. As well as RIR we had 200 odd men moved to 8th South Staffs. It seems to have been a common practice at the time.

Steve M

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36th (Ulster) Division was heavily reinforced by drafts of men transferred from English regiments, particularly in 1918. In the absence of any other information I'd bet he was a conscript (given no previous service abroad) who was transferred with a bunch of others from his regiment, almost certainly in April/May 1918 - 12th Royal Irish Rifles was all but destroyed in late March 1918. You will see on the medal roll that he is in an alphabetical group of Englishmen. They may have been in the same draft as far as the Divisional Depot Battalion before being sent to various bns of the Royal Irish Rifles in 36th (Ulster) Division. Researching those men may turn up something useful.

I'm in the process of looking at the evolution of the battalions of the Royal Irish Fusiliers in this regard. The detail of that will not, of course, apply in your research but the gist of it might be useful: http://www.nickmetcalfe.co.uk/the-evolution-of-the-regular-and-service-battalions-of-princess-victorias-royal-irish-fusiliers-1914-1918/ (Part 6 will be posted tomorrow and the other bits as I get them done - it's all taking much longer than I thought it would!)

Nick

I'm an idiot for not reading the original post thoroughly enough and replying in a rush. I had not picked up on his date of capture. That puts his arrival in the Bn well before March 1918! Apologies.

My key point stands, however: large drafts were attached/posted/transferred (in various combinations given that those are three different things) from English battalions from August 1916. Steve's comment is much more accurate than my posted assessment.

Nick

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