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Remembered Today:

LU (possibly WU) Cable Section RE, 1915


Pat Atkins

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Has anybody come across LU Cable Section, RE? I'm interested in Sgt James Pinder, MM, who belonged to this Cable Section; the handwriting on his medal card isn't absolutely clear so it's possible he was in WU Cable Section, but "LU" looks likeliest.

Despite the kind help of Terry_Reeves and BFBSM on this Forum I have been unable to find any clues so far, so don't even know which Corps the section belonged to, far less if any relevant records exist.

Cheers, Pat

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Would the London Gazette have an entry for his MM?

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Can you post the MiC where you got LU or WU from?

James A Pinder Sgt. 72365 is shown with MM on his MiC but nothing re LU or WU or cable section.

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I notice James Pinder MM Royal Engineers landed on 18th Jan 1915 (although I don't see any of the letters on his MIC). His disembarkation coincided with a rather large expansion of RE units in theatre.

The Army Troops Signal Sections were largely supported by TF units and some were among the earliest TF units in theatre - for example

Northern Motor Wireless Section RE (TF)

Western Army Troops Cable Section RE (TF)

Western Army Troops Motor Airline Section RE (TF)

all landed in Oct 1914. The Royal Engineers Signal Companies (Army Troops) were from the following commands:

London District

Northern Command

Scottish Command

Southern Command

Western Command

All had Cable, Wireless and Airline sub-units.

So possibly a conflation of LD (London District) for LU?

There is a good chance the letters refer to some TF area or possibly LC for L of C? In late 1914 and early 1915 the number of RE units in France expanded significantly. Most of the additions (2 Fd Coys per Div increased to 3 Fd Coys per Div) were TF. Similarly the additional Signal Companies (with Wireless, Airline and Cable Sections) were largely TF formations. Some examples of the territorial areas providing RE units from the OH Order of Battle 1914 and 1915

Cheshire Field Coy

1st London Fd Coy

1st Lowland Fd Coy

1st East Anglian Fd Coy

1st Home Counties Fd Coy

2nd Home Counties Fd Coy

1st (The St Helens) West Lancashire Fd Coy

2nd Highland Fd Coy

MG

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Hello Pat

Although my notes may be incomplete, I have no record of either LU or WU Cable Section with GHQ, Army or Corps Troops in France, Gallipoli, Egypt, Salonika or Mesopotamia in 1915.

Ron

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I notice a few pages down on the linked document in Post # 5 there are:

L Cable Section

LC Cable Section

LL Cable Section

LZ Cable Section

Which seem to be tantalizingly close. There are around 50 86 Cable sections with two-letter prefixes, so it is possible that the L prefix series is incomplete and an LU Cable Section did exist. There was for example an NU Cable Section. It is perhaps worth contacting the RE Museum. Interestingly searching 'Cable Section' in the National Archives only produces two returns under WO 95, so most of their diaries do not appear to have survived outside the RE's archives

MG

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Martin

Cable (and airline) sections were not required to keep separate War Diaries: they would be covered by the Corps (etc) Signal Company to which they belonged. Those that survive are probably independent sections in theatres other than France.

There does not appear to be any systematic use of two-letter prefixes. It is indeed possible that there was an LU section, but this should not be inferred because there was an LZ section.

Ron

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LU, Lines Underground as opposed to Air Lines?

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I have a list of 119 cable sections and the formations with which they served . Apart from some of the Indian sections they were allocated as GHQ Troops, Army Troops and Corps Troops. This list is quite separate from the one held by the RE library and neither LU or WU are mentioned in either list.

The section titles were allocated alphabetically and have no meaning other than doubling up as the single letters ran out. There appears to be just one exception in that the Canadian Corps sections were allocated CA, CB, CD, CE, CF, CG, CH.

TR

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Listening Unit?

Until the OP posts something showing the unit it's all guesswork.

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Hello Johnboy

The two-letter section identifiers do not have any significance as initials. Cable sections normally, if not always, laid lines underground so "Lines Underground" would not add any meaning, and would beg the question of where all the other cable sections laid their lines.

We had a similar thread some time back about BP Cable Section. BP does not stand for anything.

Hello Terry

Apart from the Canadians, there were other two-letter designations which were not the same letter doubled. Post 7 gives some examples. It does appear, though, that A, L, N and W were commoner as the first letter than some of the others. I cannot see any pattern in the allocation of these identifiers.

Ron

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Martin

Cable (and airline) sections were not required to keep separate War Diaries: they would be covered by the Corps (etc) Signal Company to which they belonged. Those that survive are probably independent sections in theatres other than France.

There does not appear to be any systematic use of two-letter prefixes. It is indeed possible that there was an LU section, but this should not be inferred because there was an LZ section.

Ron

Ron - that had been my assumption but the RE Museum appears to have war diaries for 85 Cable Sections which seems to be rather a lot just for Other Theatres if they were supporting at Corps or Division level. Order of Battle shows 69 Divisions served in an Overseas Theatre. The dates of some the diaries start in Aug 1914.

Separately, there are few letter-prefixed Cable Sections in the OH Egypt EEF Orbat 1916 and 1917 which seems to support your theory - two per Army Corps. Strangely the History of the Corps of Royal Engineers Vol VI (Gallipoli, Macedonia, Egypt, Paletsine) makes no mention, not even in the orbats although there are lots of Army Troops RE units (all numbered). The only letter-prefixes sections mentioned in the HOTCORE Vol VI were sound-ranging units and less than half a dozen are listed.

I cant see any double-letter prefixed Cable Sections in the OH Gallipoli or OH Macedonia Orbats. MG

P.S. It would be useful to see a n image of the original document.

Edited: Divisions for Division

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I am not disagreeing Ron. As I said, until the OP comes back with a reference/copy of his info we will be non the wiser. The initials he gives may not refer to a unit at all.

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Hello Martin

Nearly all the items in the RE Museum list for Cable Sections seem to be summaries, rather than war diaries in the WO95 sense. Their compilation may have been an RE initiative, bearing in mind the wide variety of tasks carried out by the different kinds of RE unit.

And, incidentally, 69 Division never served outside the UK!

Ron


I am not disagreeing Ron. As I said, until the OP comes back with a reference/copy of his info we will be non the wiser. The initials he gives may not refer to a unit at all.

Yes indeed. I still hold to my belief that the letters did not stand for anything, but I would be happy to be proved wrong if such were the case!

Ron

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I have a list of 119 cable sections and the formations with which they served .

TR

Given the man in question disembarked on 18th Jan 1914, the number of formations he could have been serving with would be quite small.

If might therefore be possible to narrow down the list of 119 if their formations and dates are available.

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Hello Martin

Nearly all the items in the RE Museum list for Cable Sections seem to be summaries, rather than war diaries in the WO95 sense. Their compilation may have been an RE initiative, bearing in mind the wide variety of tasks carried out by the different kinds of RE unit.

And, incidentally, 69 Division never served outside the UK!

Ron

Yes indeed. I still hold to my belief that the letters did not stand for anything, but I would be happy to be proved wrong if such were the case!

Ron

A typo: 69 Divisions served over seas (ex india)*. The point is that there appears to be more Cable Section 'diaries' than there were fighting Divisions.

I have seen sub-unit diaries before - A Sqn 11th Hussars kept one when temporarily detached from the Regiment for example (not as Div troops either), and if memory serves I think I have seen more than a few RE Section diaries before. Given RE sub units often acted independently I would not be surprised if the RE's propensity to keep separate records filtered through to Cable Sections. I may be mistaken but I will see if I can dig one up. MG

Edit: No. 1 Section, No. 2 Section, No. 3 Section and No. 4 Section of the 5th Div Signal Coy kept separate diaries to the HQ Sigs Coy throughout 1914 and 1915. WO 95/1536/1-2. All at some stage also kept them on AF C 2118 (the standard form for a War Diary or Intelligence Summary). They are all consolidated in the same files but were clearly all written (and signed) by their respective OCs.

MG

* Order of Battle of Divisions parts 3A and 3B page 135 Appendix 3 Summary of Division from Great Britain and Ireland 1914-1918 Table B Service of Divisions.

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The General Monthly Return of the Regimental Strength of the British Army lists every regular unit. The edition for August 1914 list all the regular RE units including the Signal Companies.

1st to 7th Signal Companies were stationed in Aldershot, Aldershot, Bulford, Limerick (Carlow), Limerick and Pretoria.

"A" Signal Coy was based in Aldershot

"B" Signal Coy was based in Limerick

"K" Signal Coy was based in Dublin.

The only other regular lettered RE units were A Coy (Depot) to G Coy (Depot), L Coy (Depot) and M Coy (Depot) based in Chatham.

H Coy based in Simla

Nothing appears in the RE Reserves. MG

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Given the man in question disembarked on 18th Jan 1914, the number of formations he could have been serving with would be quite small.

If might therefore be possible to narrow down the list of 119 if their formations and dates are available.

I have already been that route, but there are no cable sections listed.

All single letter sections were formed up by the end of 1914, with one in January1915. The first of the double lettered sections joined their formations on 4.2.15. Bearing in mind that Pat has had trouble deciphering the letters, one possibility is NU cable section which was with V Corps troops on 4.2.15; VII Corps Troops on 1.8.15; VI Corps Troops 16.9.17; 2nd Army 9.11.17; VII Corps Troops 28.12.17.

V Corps formed in two parts, the in HQ England starting on 27 December 1914, crossing to France on 10 January 1915, and the remainder of the Corps HQ forming in France. It took over 27th and 28th Divisions on 18th February the same year. Whilst that does not prove anything, the time frame would seem right.

Incidentally, many of these sections were formed in-theatre.

TR

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They are indeed. Many of these men started with the London group of signal companies. There are other five figure numbers in the 7,000 series which indicate the London Army Troops Signal Company as well as the London Signal Service Training Centre, all pre-war units. Not all men connected with these units went overseas with London orientated units however. Also in the 7xxxx range were Linesmen and GPO telegraphists, some from the (London) Central Telegraph Office which was situated at the corner of Newgate St and St Martin's Le Grand.

TR

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London District (Army Troops) Signal Company RE (TF) was based in Palmer Street, Westminster. A possible candidate. I wonder if LD might be the initials. The unit had Wireless, Cable and Airline Signal Companies according to Westlake.

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U and V cable sections embarked on 17 January 1915 for France. Disembarkation would have been on the 18th. Both joined V Corps on 4 Jan 1915.

TR

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Wow, that's an amazing response - apologies for this late acknowledgement, can only dip in and out of the Forum briefly these days.

I got the designation "LU Cable Section" from a card associated with the award of Sgt Pinder's MM which I'm afraid I'm struggling to attach here - will try again when I next have time. Forum pal BFBSM kindly sent me an image of the card, which gives name and rank and unit but no other details other than it is stamped "France" and the date of gazette was 11-11-16. The handwriting, while generally perfectly legible, is maddeningly hard to discern for the two key letters - the second one could be a U or possibly a W or an M; "Cable Section" is very clear, though. Try as I might, I can't make the final letter either a D or a C. An initial N instead of L might fit, perhaps.

Appreciate how irritating this must be in that you can't see the original - will ask BFBSM if he minds me reproducing it here, and will then try to do so when next here. Sorry about all this!

As has been said, Pinder arrived in theatre in January 1915, and the medal rolls on Ancestry don't give anything additional, not does his MIC. At least one man on the same page as Pinder in the 1915 Star roll was a Londoner, from Clapham, but that doesn't prove a London TF connection of course; having said that I believe the 1914 Star rolls for 5 Signals Company RE were recorded by section, and wondered if a similar recording procedure applied to Cable Sections in the '15 Star rolls.

Thank you all for the contributions, which, as ever, are both interesting and informative.

Cheers, Pat

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