Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Rcahael1918

Royal Engineers soldier abandoned in Gallipoli

Recommended Posts

SapperBoo
On 29/06/2017 at 02:27, John_Hartley said:

We are trying to help Rachael

I find nothing in your summary that I disagree with.  Those with significant experience think 13 Signal Company is the best fit.  However, Guest has looked at the diary for this Company and many others and can find no mention of Santer.  The only War Diary option is to look at other RE diaries, the chances of finding anything are quite small.  One inexperienced forum member (me) is suggesting 13 Base Park Company may be worth a look especially with respect to events on 20 July 1915 but even he thinks this is a long shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy
20 minutes ago, SapperBoo said:

13 Base Park Company

 

If you are so interested in this diary why not download from TNA [£3.50] aprox.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

He seems to have been a prominent member of the public, a Freemason, and Hon. Sec. of the British Legion (Sidmouth Branch) Might be worth following up on local newspapers, obitiuaries, Rolls of Honour etc?

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I don't believe an exhaustive search of the diaries will achieve much for two reasons. Firstly ORs were hardly ever mentioned and secondly some of the diaries are missing. Short of evidence coming from other sources I think this is a forlorn hope. Rachel may well decide to eke out every diary. It would be very time consuming as some can only be accessed at TNA as not all are online (including 13 Base Park Coy RE) and cannot be downloaded.

 

On the available evidence so far, 13th Sig Coy might be the best fit but without a concrete mention it is merely informed speculation and far from the required 'proof'. I would recommend trying to find evidence outside the diaries and I think Skipman's suggestion is spot on. If the family had been mis-informed that he was missing, it may have filtered through to the local press starting in Aug 1914 when he and others enlisted. Given there is a photo of him and others who enlisted, clearly someone had an interest. 

 

Some men were recruited into specialist RE units due to existing specialist skills. The ability to ride a motorbike was something the Signals sections needed for example. Ditto Post Office workers familiar with telephone systems. If it was possible to establish if he had any skills it might help optimise the search. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John_Hartley

Certainly agree with Mike's suggestion. If not already done so, a read through the local newspapers from the beginning of the war until the end of 1916, when he has presumably reappeared, might well produce information. I'd start again in 1919 to try and pick up a local mention of the "mention in despatches" - whilst that's probably related to his later service, a newspaper article may mention his earlier stuff.

11 minutes ago, QGE said:

 

Some men were recruited into specialist RE units due to existing specialist skills

That may well explian why he went to the RE, whilst the others he joined up with went to the infantry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

There's a newspaper report which says CQM E J Santer was " one of the first to join and last to come home. "

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SapperBoo
52 minutes ago, johnboy said:

 

If you are so interested in this diary why not download from TNA [£3.50] aprox.

Because it is not available for download.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves
57 minutes ago, johnboy said:

 

If you are so interested in this diary why not download from TNA [£3.50] aprox.

13 BP Company's war diary is not available on-line from TNA. They were originally 13 Field Survey Company and converted to a Base Park Company on 13 April 1915.  I have a short history of the company and I know exactly where Clive (sapperboo) is coming from and why.  I don't think that it was his unit however. 

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Does a disembarkation date of 29/6/1915 theatre 3A help not narrow down unit?

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy

He is given as Driver , not sure if horse or motor, Would this help narrow his unit down to Signallers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rcahael1918
18 hours ago, ForeignGong said:

Welcome to the forum.

 

His entry is listed as Egypt, 29/6/15, on his MIC. My understanding is this does not mean that he landed there on that date, because Egypt its self was not a war zone and any one only landing in Egypt would not have that destination as "Theatre of War first Served in". He would have had to cross the Suez to the East bank to have the notation "Egypt" as only then he would be in a war zone.

His highest rank held in a war zone is Second Corporal, as the star notation beside that rank on his MIC testifies.

 

He was Mentioned in Despatches as per the London Gazette below, P 7243, bottom RH corner as a 2nd Cpl in the Engineers Signals.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31386/page/7243

 

P7242 has the Title "INDIAN ARMY", so he was serving with them.

P7233 is the Title page for this Gazette and states it is for the Mesopotamia Campaign.

 

Peter

 

 

 

Thanks! This is really interesting! Is it possible to find these despatches? I'd love to find out the context in which he was mentioned, if there would be any more detail available anywhere.

 

There's a newspaper report which says CQM E J Santer was " one of the first to join and last to come home. "

 

Mike

 

Ooh, which newspaper is that from? Can I find it online?

 

Wow, well I'm finally back and I'm amazed to see how this thread has exploded in the course of a single day! Thanks again to all of your for your efforts and help with getting to the bottom of this. All of this stuff is super interesting, and I'm learning a lot! I didn't even know he was a Freemason, though I guess that explains why my nan had a bunch of old books on Freemasonry in the loft!

 

I actually visited the Royal Engineers Museum a few days ago, but since I had no idea what I was doing at the time I wasn't able to find anything out or access the archive. Now I feel like I have enough information to put a proper enquiry in place. There's a lot of stuff to go on here, but am I right to think that it's probably most worthwhile to check out the diaries for the 13 Base Park Company, Royal Engineers (because of the interesting parallels with the story related by his daughter) and 13th Signals Company (because it seems to be the greatest fit for the limited facts we have)? I'd prefer to keep things limited to only a few diaries, so will zone in on these if we agree that they're the most promising.

 

I don't know if he had any special skills beyond being a greengrocer (!), though he could well have. As the newspaper article indicates, he was very quiet about his experiences in the war and didn't reveal much, as far as I know. I don't know who has the family's correspondence and I don't have much to go on from within the family. I do however attach some photos of Jack in uniform. They might help some of you?

 

Santerarmyww12.JPG

10. E J Santer on a horse.jpg

Gladys and Ernest.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SapperBoo

If you are going to the RE Museum I think it is worth looking up the War Diary of 13 Base Park Company but I do think it is a long shot.  His arrival in theatre is a bit late and his Mentioned in Despatches is with the signal service in Mesopotamia.  After withdrawal from Gallipoli I think 13 Base Park Company stayed in Egypt. There is a possibility he changed units.  If you do find anything about the circumstances of his ordeal please let us know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I found it in the excellent British Newspaper Archives in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 23 January, 1920 You need a subscription to view it. Not sure if it's available elsewhere. It gives no details of his service in WW1 but will be useful if you're trying to build a picture of his later life.

 

Mike

Edited by Skipman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy
1 hour ago, johnboy said:

He is given as Driver , not sure if horse or motor, Would this help narrow his unit down to Signallers. 

 

 

Obviously horseman. This would help to tie in with signallers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14276265
On 27 June 2017 at 17:58, Rcahael1918 said:

And instead of being shipped over to France with the bulk of the regular army units, Jack took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, in what is now Turkey.

 

Mrs Posta said that her father had talked very little about his experiences in the war, and only spoke openly about it when she was caring for him before his death.

 

“Just before he died he told me about how terrible it was,” said Mrs Posta. “He talked about how they had to load and unload these ships with horses in the heat. He said how the whole battalion went down with cholera, and they were all put in tents. A lot of them died, and the ones that survived moved on. They left my father behind for dead, and he said if it hadn’t have been for a little Arab boy bringing him water to drink, he would have died.”

 

Jack was listed as missing for six months, but eventually re-joined Allied forces before being sent to India.

 

“He never did say how he got back from Gallipoli,” added Mrs Posta.

 

Reading through the arguments, the discussion is predicated on EJ Santer RE having both served in Gallipoli and being lost for several months behind lines at Gallipoli. However, the initial information does not categorically state that this was necessarily the case. Taking the statements as given, Mr Santer in his old age might have been conflating later events of his war service with his Gallipoli service.

 

  • He served in Gallipoli. But was he simply evacuated intact and uninjured before the end of the campaign back to Egypt, for redeployment elsewhere?

 

  • Hot conditions, unloading horses, cholera, Arab boy, etc. Might this not refer to post-Gallipoli service in Mesopotamia, along the Tigris say, where his six-month separation from his unit occurred before ultimately rejoining it?

 

  • "He never did say how he got back from Gallipoli.” Perhaps because it was simply an uneventful boat back to Egypt; whereas the place he got back from in great hardship was some obscure outpost in Iraq that Mrs Posta had never heard of. Maybe she simply made an error in her place names, meant somewhere in Iraq, but said Gallipoli...

 

 

 

 

265

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy

Is it possible that his battalion was withdrawn whilst he was still in hospital and that was why he thought he had been abandoned?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maureene

For an overview, History of the Corps of Royal Engineers Volume VI: Gallipoli, Macedonia, Egypt and Palestine 1914-18.

Available from usual sources including some libraries (perhaps inter library loan) and also from Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE)

http://www.instre.org/pages/publications/books-for-sale/corps-history.php

 

Cheers

Maureen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
13 hours ago, johnboy said:

Is it possible that his battalion was withdrawn whilst he was still in hospital and that was why he thought he had been abandoned?

I suspect that's possibly the case John - more a case of 'feeling' abandoned rather than simply being abandoned.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SapperBoo
25 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

I suspect that's possibly the case John - more a case of 'feeling' abandoned rather than simply being abandoned.

 

Craig

The word 'abandoned' was used in the title of this topic but the words used by the mans daughter (as reported in the newspaper article) were "They left my father behind for dead"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
michaeldr
44 minutes ago, Maureene said:

For an overview, History of the Corps of Royal Engineers Volume VI: Gallipoli, Macedonia, Egypt and Palestine 1914-18.

Available from usual sources including some libraries (perhaps inter library loan) and also from Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE)

http://www.instre.org/pages/publications/books-for-sale/corps-history.php

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

Maureene,

 

It should be noted that the Preface to Vol.VI (p.vii) points out that though Signals were part of the RE at this time (1915)

 "The history of their work is being produced by the Royal Corps of Signals themselves and will not be found in the present volumes."

 

regards

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maureene

Thanks for the clarification Michael. Apologies for posting incorrect information.

 

Do you know if there was a book produced by the Royal Corps of Signals about Gallipoli?

Cheers

Maureen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy
6 hours ago, SapperBoo said:

The word 'abandoned' was used in the title of this topic but the words used by the mans daughter (as reported in the newspaper article) were "They left my father behind for dead"

 

 

If they had to leave him in hospital then left for dead is much the same as abandoned . He probably thought they had left him without knowing his condition. All these years later it is impossible to know exactly what he meant.

It was his daughter that used the words in the newspaper so perhaps another case of poetic licence?

Edited by johnboy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
michaeldr
21 hours ago, Maureene said:

Thanks for the clarification Michael. Apologies for posting incorrect information.

 

Do you know if there was a book produced by the Royal Corps of Signals about Gallipoli?

Cheers

Maureen

 

No need for apologies Maureene: perfectly understandable with the RE/Signals having been one outfit at the time

I am sure that I have seen the Signals history in a book sellers' catalogue at some time

but I did not buy it and now I can find no trace of it using a web-search 

 

I only mentioned this because there is a school of thought here that this man might have been with the 13th Sigs Coy

 

regards

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jac Cleverley

70306 Serjeant Horace Parker Totterdell, 22nd Corps, Signal Company, Royal Engineers (Brixton, S.W.). He was in Alexandria for a few months before going to Gallipoli - they hung about off the coast watching battles before going ashore. Went ashore in July,I think.  Assigned to the Anzacs at Suvla - later went to France. The sick would have returned to Egypt. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...