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Remembered Today:

4th (Reserve) and 5th Bns Ox and Bucks Light Infantry


Liz in Eastbourne
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Ken

Extraordinarily interesting info from the war diary and newspaper item - thank you,  I suspect he was moved from that hospital to the one in the picture on the other thread, as it seems to have been in Richmond, Surrey.

I don't understand what's happening with the numbers -  the MIC gives 203022 for the 5th, 6957 for the 4th (Reserve), so was this just an error by the British Jewry Roll of Honour (presumably including men who served and survived, as he did), confusing two men with some similarities of service? I will ask my friend but this name was what the family used in the 1911 census; he was born in Russia (Bialystok, now Poland) in 1895, but the family had been in London for about a decade to judge from children's birthplaces.

I shall go back to see if more info is available!

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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On 11/25/2016 at 22:46, kenf48 said:

Sorry to throw a spanner in the works but the 2/4th Bn was not the same as the 4th Reserve Bn which as cited above was formed from the 3/4th Bn in April 1916. 

 

In the example I posted the soldier was in the 4th Reserve Bn on the day he landed in theatre, two days later he was posted to the Queen's.  A man had to belong somewhere, most Roll entries show only active service Battalions but there are plenty that show Battalions that did not go overseas. If the photo was taken in the UK, and one army hut looked much like another, it could just as easily  have been at Catterick Camp as Salisbury Plain.

 

We don't know if he served in the 2/4th, he may have done but there is no documentary evidence that he ever did.  

 

The assumption he served or landed with the 2/4th is based on speculation that a clerk made an error and meant to type 2/4th in the Rolls.  This is pretty shaky ground, a cursory glance of the Rolls shows where a man entered theatre with the 2/4th this is shown.  There are also entries for the 3rd Reserve Bn. in the Rolls.  As we know that neither the 3rd nor the 4th Reserve Bn went on active service overseas it seems more likely his entire active service in France was with the 5th Bn.   

 

We don't know when he went to France except it must have been after the 31st December 1915 and before April 1918 when the 5th Bn was reduced to a cadre, although replacements arriving at these Battalions right up until they were reduced, (200 men from other regiments joined the 5th on the 31st March 1918).  

 

The fact the four digit number is shown on the medal roll strongly suggests Pte Lynn entered theatre before the renumbering in March 1917.  The six digit number is in the series allocated to the 4th Battalion. This process made no distinction as to 1/4;2/4 or 3/4.  A man was designated as TF as shown on the LLT here .

 

What is interesting is where he went when the 5th Bn was finally disbanded on 20th June 1918 and formed the 18th Gloucestershire Regiment.  The small cadre that remained after April was meant to train American soldiers, but that didn't happen, as noted in the OP the photo shows an 'imbalance' of ranks.  Was it taken in France and these men formed a training cadre?  There is a note in the war diary that when the 5th Battalion returned to the UK 'the various cadres came together', was he in one of those?  


Joseph Lynn enlisted on the 23 July 1915 and was discharged from the OBLI on 25 March 1919 as a result of sickness.  He is in the Silver War Badge Roll (it's an SWB mic) which confirms he served overseas.  His enlistment date makes it even more likely he joined the 3/4th Bn.

 

Incidentally and while we're speculating, there's an entry in the 5th Bn war diary that says 'eight NCOs returned from a Pioneer course', including L/Cpl Lynn I count 8 NCOs! (as suggested at post 3). That would be too easy.

 

Ken

 

That makes sense to me Ken, because once the 2/4th deployed to France the 3/4th (which presumably previously held all the Home only TF soldiers) became the ONLY reserve battalion for the two deployed battalions, 1/4th and 2/4th and so could be simply titled as just 4th (Reserve) Battalion under the reorganisation of the reserve that took place.

 

As any men joining the 4th (Reserve) battalion after that point would have been sent out to theatre under the later war system, whereby they went to an infantry reinforcement depot before being sent, as needed, to a battalion requiring swift reinforcement, then as you say they would stay on the books of the 4th (Reserve) battalion until arriving with and formally taken on strength by their new unit, in Lynn's case the 5th Battalion.  

 

It is difficult explaining all this in a simple way that those not familiar with the arcane procedures of the army will understand, so no wonder Liz has been confused.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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But I do get it now and much appreciate all your efforts! And oddly we have ended up where I imagined it before, with one 4th (Reserve) battalion and all Pt Lynn's overseas service with the 5th Bn.  Does it still bother people that the reserve Bn is mentioned on the VM roll, though?

Re the timing of that photo, I think it's before he went to France just on the strength of the look of Pte Lynn's face compared with the hospital one...younger, not marked by any suffering.  His granddaughter also says now that her aunt said it was taken in the UK.

 

Liz

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There is some understandable confusion. In the beginning there were:

 

1st Bn - Regulars (based in India)

2nd Bn - Regulars (based in Uk in Aldersot)

3rd (Special Reserve) Bn  - Special Reserve (based in Oxford but with a designated War Station in Portsmouth)

4th Bn (TF)  - Territorial Force based in Oxfordshire. War role was Home Defence.

1st Buckinghamshire Bn TF - Territorial Force. Ditto.

 

Forget the Buckinghamshire battalion as they are not relevant for this thread.

 

When war was declared

1st Bn  - India. Went to Mesopotamia

2nd Bn - UK - deployed to France on 14th Aug 1914 with BEF

3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion went to Portsmouth and in Sep 1914 became simply the 3rd (Reserve) Bn as it consolidated Regular Army Reservists with Special Reservists and recruits as well as time expired men who re-enlisted. It s function was to two-fold: to provide a garrison battalion in Portsmouth and to send reinforcement drafts to the Regular battalions. This dual role of the Reserve battalions can sometimes cause confusion. The Reserve Battalions each expanded to 2,000 men to fulfill this dual role.

4th Bn (TF) -  All TF battalions were duplicated before they deployed overseas, forming the so-called 'second line' units of the TF

In early 1915 they became

1/4th Bn TF - deployed to France on 30th March 1915  

2/4th Bn TF -  formed to take the place of the 1/4th when it went to France. Its role was Home Defence and to supply drafts to the 1/4th Bn TF. 

 

Then in May 1915 the 2/4th Bn duplicated itself before it went overseas, forming another Battalion. The TF were then numbered

1/4th Bn TF - already in France since March 1915 with the BEF

2/4th Bn TF - to France in May 1915 with the BEF

3/4th Bn TF - formed in May 1915 to take on the role of the 2/4th Bn: Home Defence and providing TF drafts to the 1/4th Bn TF and (now) the 2/4th Bn TF.

 

Then in August 1916

3/4th Bn TF changed its name and simply became the 4th Reserve Bn TF. Its role did not change. It was still providing drafts to the 1/4th  Bn TF and and the 2/4th Bn TF

 

Separately the OBLI raised New Army battalions of which the 5th (Service) Bn was the first. The Service Battalions were originally supported by the 9th (Reserve) Bn which provided drafts to the Service Battalions of the new Army...so in simple terms;

 

Regulars:    3rd (Reserve) Bn provided drafts to 1st and 2nd Battalions

Territorials: 4th (Reserve) Bn TF provided drafts to the 1/4th Bn TF and 2/4th Bn TF

New Army:   9th (Reserve) Bn provided drafts to the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th (Service) Battalions of the New Army

 

Then in Sep 1916  the 4th Reserve Bn absorbed the 1st Reserve Bucks Bn (the feeder Bn to the 1/1st Bucks Bn) and became part of the South Midland Reserve Brigade. 

 

Up to this point the task of providing drafts to the Regulars,  TF and Service Battalions were essentially separate. After Conscription was started in Feb 1916 it all changed (hence the consolidation in 1916). As the demands of the Regular and Service battalions were typically outstripping supply, the TF ended up having to send men to the Service battalion, so the lines between the TF and the Service Battalions became blurred.

 

The fundamental reason behind this complex background is that a man joining the TF did not (originally) have to serve overseas unless he signed the Overseas Service Obligation. He could choose whether he wanted a Home defence role or to serve overseas -  hence the formation of the 1/4th and 2/4th Bns from the original 4th Bn TF. The 1/4th (or 'first line) was for overseas service and the 2/4th Bn TF was for Home Defence. When enough men in the 2/4th Bn volunteered for overseas service, it split again.  When Conscription started this choice disappeared as all able bodied men within the prescribed age group were eligible  to be conscripted. The differentiation between the TF and the Regulars and Service Battalions was no longer necessary.

 

This is how a man originally in the 4th Reserve Bn (TF) ends up in the 5th (Service) Bn.

 

It is understandably difficult to follow the metamorphosis of a typical Infantry Regiment as it expanded the TF and Service battalions. The OBLI was slightly more complicated as the Buckinghamshire element was nominally separate. 

 

Clear as mud? MG

 

 

 

Edited by Guest
1916 for 1915
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On 27/11/2016 at 09:06, Liz in Eastbourne said:

Ken

Extraordinarily interesting info from the war diary and newspaper item - thank you,  I suspect he was moved from that hospital to the one in the picture on the other thread, as it seems to have been in Richmond, Surrey.

I don't understand what's happening with the numbers -  the MIC gives 203022 for the 5th, 6957 for the 4th (Reserve), so was this just an error by the British Jewry Roll of Honour (presumably including men who served and survived, as he did), confusing two men with some similarities of service? I will ask my friend but this name was what the family used in the 1911 census; he was born in Russia (Bialystok, now Poland) in 1895, but the family had been in London for about a decade to judge from children's birthplaces.

I shall go back to see if more info is available!

Liz

 

Perhaps he was moved to Richmond to be closer to home, we don't know. We do have evidence he was at Warneford Hospital Leamington Spa in November 1917.

970e1899260f62cd4e35f92129aba28e.jpg

 

The newspaper article is attached.

 

To recap my understanding of the timeline:-

 

Pte Joseph Lynn enlisted in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Territorial Force on 23 July 1915.  He was posted to the 3/4th Reserve Battalion, or 3rd Line Unit. 

(The Battalion was formed at Oxford in May 1915).

 

He was allocated the four digit number 6957 on enlistment.

 

He did not go overseas before the 31st December 1915 (No 14-15 Star).

 

On the 8th April 1916 the 3/4th Battalion was renamed the 4th (Reserve) Battalion OBLI.  This unit is shown on the medal roll.

 

A photograph in the family's possession is believed to have been taken in the UK, it is dated after the 6th July 1916 as evidenced by the wound stripes visible on the uniform of two soldiers in the photograph.  His cap badge shows the OBLI.

 

The medal roll for the BWM and VM shows the four digit number 6957.  (The only reason for recording this number is to ensure it is shown on the medals as the number he held when he first entered theatre.)  An asterisk on the mic referring to this number evidences that this is the number shown on his medals.

 

March 1917 the TF was renumbered put simply because so much duplication was causing confusion.  He was allocated the six digit number 203022 this was the number he held when discharged. There is a link to the LLT and renumbering the TF infantry on my previous post.

 

This means that if the family are correct and the photograph was taken in the UK he must have gone to France after July 6th 1916 and before renumbering in March 1917.

 

On arrival at the IBD in France he was posted to the 5th Bn OBLI.

 

The family state he was wounded at the Battle of Arras 9th April 1917 - 16 June 1917.  (The 5th Bn suffered heavy losses on the 3 May 1917.)

 

On November 30 1917 he was a patient at Warneford Hospital,Leamington Spa.

 

He was discharged from the Army as a result of sickness on the 25th March 1919.

 

These facts are documented, except where they rely on family lore, which there is no evidence to doubt.

 

Ken

 

 

Pte Lynn.jpg

 

Edited by kenf48
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5 hours ago, QGE said:

....

 

 

 

Clear as mud? MG

 

 

 

 

Martin

Thank you...I must admit my heart sank when I saw the length of your post but it doesn't contradict the understanding we'd arrived at, just fills it out, I think/hope?

 

Liz

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Ken

Thank you very much indeed for the timeline and the newspaper article, which is a terrific find.  Poor chap, as if Arras wasn't enough! 

Liz

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