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Remembered Today:

No 4 General Base Depot Royal Engineers 1916.


brianmorris547
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I have read the page on TLLT about British Army Base Depots in France, from Chris Baker's tweet 06/01/2015. I am trying to find a WD for 4 GBD in 1916. The WDs of 30 Div RE have lots of references that reinforcements were received from 4 GBD at Rouen. The only reference that I can find on Discovery is WO 95/4185 but this only covers 4 GBD from August until 27/12/1914 when it was broken up at Le Havre. Can anyone help please.

Brian

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  • 9 months later...

post-105981-0-16211100-1447069705_thumb.Reinforcements from 4 GBD to the various RE Units are occasionally shown on Field Returns or sometimes in the body of the WD, as on this example from 204 FC (35 Div). They are very rare however. I am trying to find where these Base References might be at TNA, if they have been retained. Should anyone spot them please let me know.

Brian

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Hello Brian

There are very few War Diaries for base depots of any kind in class WO95 at Kew. Those that have survived are in files 4185 to 4193 at the end of the block for the L of C in France, and don't include the one you are looking for. The 4 GBD of 1914 that you mention is a different depot: originally there was one such depot per division, serving all the non-infantry troops of that division.

Ron

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Thanks for the reply Ron

I'm trawling through RE WDs looking for any mention of my grandfather 83123 Spr John Morris who was wounded before 05/09/1916. I know that he enlisted into the County Palatine RE in Bolton on 24/03/1915. My research shows that reinforcements were sent from 4 GDB to whichever Unit needed them and a lot of reserve details were separated from their parent Units . I was trying to attack the problem from the other way round. From researching SDGW for RE casualties from 01 to 05/09 and then reading the WDs the best possible so far is 96 FC or the other FCs of 20 Div. I then checked TLLT and identified the Divisions in Action on the Somme in early September and have gone through the RE WDs. My current project has been to identify from the medal rolls all original 30 Div RE and I am currently checking for any service or pension records, to see if any clues emerge. I am also doing the same for all the RE casualties in the same Times list as my gf, 11/10/1916. The long winter nights.......

Brian

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....will just fly by

Two examples of my research into the men of 30 Div RE.

81583 Cpl Samuel Hawe. Service Record shows that on 05/02/1916 he moved from 200 FC (Parent Unit) to HQ 30 Div later moving back and on 17/05/1916 arrived at 4 GBD. On 24/07/1916 he joined 126 FC (21 Div). (I have already checked 126 WD because another 30 Div RE man 81634 Cpl William Eaton who d of w on 18/10/1917 is shown in SDGW as serving with 126 FC).

81576 Spr Arthur Butler. Pension Record shows he suffered a gsw to the leg serving with 201 FC. (Parent Unit).

These are the clues that I am searching for.

Brian

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  • 4 months later...

I thought that I was on to something when I found on Discovery WO 95/4045 which is Lines of Communication, Rouen Base and includes CRE, Chief Ordnance etc. I pulled the file the other week at Kew but the CRE was the Director of Works and not 4 GBD. I searched the box for any maps or plans to show where in Rouen 4 GBD was but only found a plan of the Ordnance Depot in one of the Ordnance files. It was situated on the south of the Seine adjacent to the Quai Jean de Bethencourt on the site of the current Gare de Rouen Orleans.

I noticed in the WD for the CRE 35 Division July to September 1916 (which incidentally names o/r casualties for 203, 204 and 205 FC during this period) five Movement Orders signed by the Major, Staff Officer, Cavalry Reinforcements in respect of o/r RE reinforcements. The first dated 5/8/16 is for 11 o/r RE under 31016 Spr Williamson W, to be at Rive Gauche Station at 1.30pm and report to the RTO. It says "You are ordered to join 203 FC 35 Division". It gives instructions about travelling on the Reinforcement Train. I have never seen one of these documents before.

There is a Gare Rive Droit in present day Rouen. It is possible that Rive Gauche station was on the site of the Ordnance Depot, which was on the Left Bank, the plan shows railway sidings. Many RE reinforcements would have started their journeys to the Front from there. There are more LOC Rouen boxes to check WO 95/4043 to 4046 next time I go.

Brian

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Brian

4 GBD diaries are here and digitised:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=4+general+base+depot.

I am fairly sure that they were in the north of the town in the Bihorel district, on what is now a sports arena bounded by the Rue Herbeuse and Rue Verdun. You will see that it has a distinct elongated oval track with a park at the north east end. It is quite distinct on Google maps.

TR

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Thanks very much Terry, I will check WO 95/4185 when I go to Kew next month and I plan to visit Rouen in May.

On those Movement Orders in the WD of CRE 35 Div, the second one is dated 5/8/16 and is in respect of 8 o/r RE reinforcements under the charge of 85319 Spr Larter A E with orders to join 204 FC of 35 Div. By coincidence these are the reinforcements that I showed in my second post on this thread. Spr Larter is among those named.

Brian

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  • 3 weeks later...

Terry

I checked 4185 again but, as I mentioned in post 1, it only goes up to the end of 1914. In the same box was a file about Cavalry Reinforcements (see above movement orders) which I was also looking for. It names Officers but not o/rs and is basically a record of how many numbers were sent to various units on that day. I checked the other boxes for L of C Rouen, WO 95/4043 to 4046, but no luck.

Brian

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Brian

Unfortunately, as you know, finding the names of other ranks is a matter of pot luck. There are war diaries for Reinforcement Companies R.E. as well, but again they do not mention names.

TR

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  • 2 years later...

I can no longer find the page on TLLT listing the British Army Base Depots in France. I am trying to establish where RE TF Units got reinforcements from. The WD of 475 FC (1/2 South Midland FC - 48 Div) 10/10/1915 records that a draft of 33 men was received without being asked for or without rations. The writer blames the OC No 1 Territorial Base Depot, Madrillet Camp, Rouen. I have also seen a reference to a Sapper who enlisted into 48 Div RE at Bristol in 1915 but only got as far as 48 South Midland Divisional Base Depot in France before being returned to England in January 1916. I wonder if they are the same. I have seen an old thread which says that 48 Div had two, one for Infantry and one for others. I presume that each TF Division had it's own.  Anyway the TF were not reinforced from No 4 GBD. 

EDIT

The WD of 447 FC (50 Div) October 1916 records that reinforcements were received from No 1 Territorial Base Depot, Rouen. Some were men who had previously served in the same Unit before wounds or sickness.

The WD of 56 Signals Co records that non TF reinforcements were received from the Signals Depot, including on 31/03/1916 81899 Pnr Barton J A. James Barton originally enlisted into the County Palatine RE (30 Div). He has no 1914-15 Star so did not go to France in November 1915 with the CPRE.

Edited by brianmorris547
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