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MalcolmC

Durham Light Infantry and (UK) Labour Corps

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MalcolmC

Hello - I am a new member, this is my first posting. I will be using this Forum to try to deepen my knowledge of both my paternal and maternal grand-fathers' military service during WW1. I have quite a lot of information in relation to my maternal grandfather (but I also have a lot of questions!), so I will start with my paternal grandfather Firth Cowburn. He was from Bradford and was conscripted in March 1917 into The Durham Light Infantry (DLI). Most of his military records were destroyed when German bombs hit the National Archives during the second world war. However, I have a medal card that shows he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Additionally, this card lists respectively 'Durh. L.I.' and then 'Lab C' as his 'Corps'. He remained a Private throughout his military service. Until recently, I had assumed that he was only in the DLI but this reference to the Labour Corps puzzles me. So I have two areas that I would like help/advice with:

 

1. Is there any way of identifying which unit(s)/divisions of the DLI he would have been allocated to? Were conscripts from Bradford allocated to a common unit/division in the regiment? I have his (very sparse)  war diary, which he kept from March 2017 to September 2017, and I would like to contextualise this further.

 

2. The Labour Corps conundrum puzzles me. I am not sure what the Labour Corps was or how someone was allocated to it. Would he have first been allocated to the Labour Corps and then to the DLI? The medal card lists the DLI first. I attach a screen shot of the medal card for information.

 

Any suggestions/help on either of these matters would most welcome.

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 07.12.51.png

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Garwood

Hi, No 19935 was in 34 Labour Coy,which was formed from 3rd ILC DLI in May `17 when Labour Battalions were re organised.

`No labour,no battle ` by J.Starling & I .Lee is a great source of info on the Labour units of the time.

HTH.

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ss002d6252

The labour corps transfer looks like a bulk movement of men from the DLI - the labour corps was primarily filled with men who were fit for service but not suitable for front line service. 
 

#19931 Cookson was previously #64441 DLI so a similar in sequence to Cowburn - transferred to 34 Company Labour Corps on 14 May 1917. He had Landed in France 2 March 1917. Cookson was transferred from elsewhere in the DLI, he is not directly showing as having served with a DLI Infantry Labour Company first but it appears he was before he was sent to France.

#19934 Cox was previously #64386 DLI so similar in sequence to Cowburn - also posted to 34 Labour Company DLI but he was already with 3 Labour Company DLI when he landed in France 2 March 1917.

It seems that the men all went to France as a bulk group with 3 Labour Company DLI and landed on 2 March 1917. They were then re-badged to 34 Labour Company.

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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Ron Clifton

Hello Malcolm, and welcome to the Forum!

 

Although the medal index cards do not give battalions, the actual medal rolls do. These are available at the National Archives at Kew, or professional researchers often have microfilm copies. The roll and page references are given on the card.

 

After the introduction of conscription, the links between areas and regiments were mostly broken. Prior to that, men from Bradford tended to join the West Yorkshire Regiment.

 

A transfer to the Labour Corps (which was formed in April 1917) usually indicates a medical downgrading, as suggested in Craig's post, or the man might have been at the higher end of the age bands liable for conscription.

 

Ron

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ss002d6252
4 minutes ago, Ron Clifton said:

Hello Malcolm, and welcome to the Forum!

 

Although the medal index cards do not give battalions, the actual medal rolls do. These are available at the National Archives at Kew, or professional researchers often have microfilm copies. The roll and page references are given on the card.

 

After the introduction of conscription, the links between areas and regiments were mostly broken. Prior to that, men from Bradford tended to join the West Yorkshire Regiment.

 

A transfer to the Labour Corps (which was formed in April 1917) usually indicates a medical downgrading, as suggested in Craig's post, or the man might have been at the higher end of the age bands liable for conscription.

 

Ron

The medal roll, on this occasion, omits the battalion Ron - seems to be a trait of labour corps medal rolls.

Surviving service records indicate that men came from a mixture of DLI battalions in to the 3rd Labour Co (25th DLI).

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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Ron Clifton
6 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

The medal roll, on this occasion, omits the battalion Ron - seems to be a trait of labour corps medal rolls.

Thanks for the info Craig. My grandfather went from 16th Y&L to the Labour Corps, and then to the RE, on whose roll his name appears.

 

Ron

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themonsstar

34 Coy

 

 

Formed as 3rd Infantry Labour Company Durham Light Infantry

2 Mar 17

Arrived France 3 Officers 493 ORs

5 Mar 17

3 Coy DLI (34 Coy) – tos CAIX – 4th Army Diary

16 Mar 17

1 Coy Devons (166 Coy) & 2? Coy DLI (34 Coy) – located TOHARONNIERES – 4th Army Diary

29 Mar 17

2? (3) Coy DLI (33? (34) Coy) – BOUCHOIR – 4th Army Diary

8 Apr 17

3 Coy DLI (34 Coy)  -  Roads – IV Corps Diary

20 May 17

Tos VILLERS CARBONNELS (49 Gp) – 49 Gp Diary

8 Aug 17

15 (49 Gp), 34 (49 Gp), 44 (49 Gp - sos 20 Aug 17), 90 (49 Gp), 156 (49 Gp), 175 (69 Gp) & 707 Coys mentioned – III Corps Diary

11 Sep 17

Det (1 + 76) to TEMPLEUX LA FOSSE – hutting and winter quarter erection – 49 Gp Diary

2 Dec 17

Reorganisation:  Following sos to 5th Army: - 3rd Army Diary

34 Coy – ATHEINS – DGT roads

18 Dec 17

69 Gp – 34?, 44, 88, 156, 175, 199 & 200 Coys – VII Corps Diary

31 Dec 17

Cavalry Corps. (3 ¼ white, 3 Indian, 1 Area) – 5th Army Diary

49 Gp (BRUSLE) – 34, 59, ¼ 707 Coys and 281 Area Coy

                                22 (Khasi), 69 (Garo) & 55 (Khasi) Ind Coys

31 Jan 18

Cavalry Corps. (7 ¼ white, 8 Indian, 2 Area) – 5th Army Diary

49 Gp (LA CATELET) – 33, 34, 59, 74, 155, ¼ 707 Coys

                                 and 281 Area Coy and 26 (Lushai) Ind Coy

28 Feb 18

Cavalry Corps. (7 ¼ white, 8 Indian, 2 Area) – 5th Army Diary

67 Gp (VRAIGNES) – 33, 34, 74 & 708 Coys

9 Mar 18

Units taken over: – XIX Corps Diary

67 Gp – 33, 34, 74, 156, 171, 187, 708 & 715 Coys and 281 Area Coy and 70 (Kumaon) Ind Coy

21 Mar 18

Det 34 Coy – moves from TERTRY to ATHIES – XIX Corps Diary

26 Mar 18

34 & Det 162 Coy – sent to PETIT BLANGY – ammo work – XIX Corps Diary

27 Mar 18

34, 162 & 171 Coys – allocated to XIX Corps for ammo railheads at MONTIERES and AILLY SUR SOMME remainder under the direct control of 5th Army – XIX Corps Diary

26 Apr 18

67 Gp (34, 59, 90, 103, 156, 166? & 193 Coys and 281 Area Coy) – sos to III Corps – ANZAC Corps Diary

28 Apr 18

34 Coy – moves to 61 Gp – ANZAC Corps Diary

5 Aug 18

61 Gp (inc 34, 83, 114, 193 & 708 Coys) – sos to Canadian Corps – ANZAC Corps Diary

6 Aug 18

61 Gp (34, 83, 114, 193 & 708 Coys) – tos – Canadian Corps Diary

19 Aug 18

34 Coy – moves from MONTIERES to AUBERCOURT – Canadian Corps Diary

20 Aug 18

34 & 146 Coys and 166 Coy CLC – sos to 4th Army – Canadian Corps Diary

28 Sep 18

34 Coy – to 47 Gp – ANZAC Corps Diary

5 Oct 18

HQ 67 Gp and 34, 82, 103 & 706 Coys – sos to XIII Corps – ANZAC Corps Diary

12 Dec 18

62 Gp – 28, 33, 34, 35, 44, 62, 81, 86, 103, 161, 173 & 705 Coys – tos - ANZAC Corps Diary

6 Mar 19

15, 34 & 104 Coys – to be disbanded (3rd Echelon) – GHQ Dairy

22 Mar 19

15 & 34 Coys – disbanded (4th Army) – GHQ Diary

28 Mar 19

34 Coy – disbanded - ANZAC Corps Diary

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MalcolmC

Thanks to everyone for such a swift and informative response. I will need to consider what everyone has written and then piece it into the jigsaw (which now has a few more pieces including possible edges and corners!). Once again thank you!

 

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themonsstar

Your welcome and best of luck with your research.

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ajt55

Another one for 34th Labour Corps and DLI.

 

James Turnbull, born roughly 1876/77. Last residence on the 1911 census was 3 George Street, Murton, County Durham. Married to Jane Turnbull (nee Hughes) 

 

20228 34th Labour Corps & Durham Light Infantry, No: 64225. 

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