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Befuddled by War Diaries - Royal Engineers


alastaircox
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I would like to access the appropriate War Diary for the Royal Engineers Signal Company attached to VI Corps.

Could anyone give me some pointers please? I am getting nowhere fast. Would VI Corps Signal Company have been attached to a specific Division? If so are there any pointers as to which one or do I need to trawl through all of those below. I don't mind doing the leg-work on Ancestry but am finding Engineers very challenging!

Thank you if you can assist.

I am looking at the time period March - May 1918.

Order of Battle of VI Corps March 1918

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That helps enormously, thank you Terry. I had scribbled WO95/793 on a scrap of paper from my first attempts at doing this.

Am I correct in assuming that if it is not yet been digitised at National Archives then it will not be available on Ancestry etc?

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Hi Alastair, the Corps Signal Company would have operated at the Corps level. Divisional Signal Companies were allocated to a division and they in turn allocated sections to brigades.

In 1918, the Corps Signal Unit consisted of a Corps Signal Company, commanded by a Major, with 8 officers and 191 other ranks. It had a headquarters, a wireless section and a section attached to Corps heavy artillery. Headquarters included 70 sappers and 10 sappers trained as motorcyclists. The wireless section had 23 sappers and the HA 24 sappers. In 1918, 2 motor airline sections and 2 cable sections provided cable laying via overhead airlines (we call them telegraph poles now), and the cable sections buried or laid cable by horse / vehicle directly over the ground.

Best way of getting an insight into the 1918 Spring Offensive is the free download I use as my primary reference, "The Signal Service in the European War of 1914-1918 (France)" Work of the Royal Engineers in the European War, 1914-19. R. E. PRIESTLEY, m.c, b.a. (Late Major, R.E.).

Chapter X covers the period you are interested in and Appendix IV provides a table of signal establishments provided with an army of two corps each containing three divisions for each calendar year of the war.

Sing out if you have any more questions - today marks the 98th anniversary of my grandfather leaving the divisional signal company headquarters and joining the 11th AIF Brigade signal section in Erquinghem, Flanders.

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That helps enormously, thank you Terry. I had scribbled WO95/793 on a scrap of paper from my first attempts at doing this.

Am I correct in assuming that if it is not yet been digitised at National Archives then it will not be available on Ancestry etc?

Yes you are correct. There doesn't seem any sign that will be digitised in the near future by the looks of it at the either, but do keep an eye out in the new year for announcements.

TR

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Hello Alastair

I discovered Priestley's book some years ago and managed to get copies of the appendices. The whole book, though not priginally intended for the general reader, is very readable and I can thoroughly recommend it. Take a special look at the section on pigeons!

Ron

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