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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Transport Workers Battalions


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Hello! I'm doing a Masters dissertation on the Transport Workers Battalions in WW1, and I'd love to hear from anyone with ancestors in any of those battalions. I've also started a facebook page and group for them. Please note that I am not concerned with the ASC or Royal Engineers transport units, only the following Battalions:


12th TW Bedforshire Regiment
13th TW Bedforshire Regiment
17th TW South Lancashire
16th TW Scottish Rifles (Cameronians)
17th TW Scottish Rifles (Cameronians)
19th TW Scottish Rifles (Cameronians)
20th TW Scottish Rifles (Cameronians)
15th TW South Lancashire
16th TW South Lancashire
15th TW Worcestershire Regiment
16th TW Worcestershire Regiment
16th TW York and Lancaster


I look forward to hearing from anyone with connections to add to my ever growing list!

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Hope you find people to help as I've always had trouble finding details on the TW units other than very vague, general info. 


Pretty much all I have on the 12th and 13th is this:


The 12th and 13th (Transport Workers) Battalions were raised in December 1916 and March 1917 respectively and disbanded in August and September 1919 respectively. Their H.Q.'s were based in Croydon and, although dressed as infantry, they were never armed.

According to a War Cabinet, Port and Transit Executive Committee document from July 1917 (National Archives reference CAB 24/21), the 12th Battalion worked in the ports of Folkestone. Rochester (including Chatham and Sittingbourne) Weymouth and Newhaven, whereas the 13th Battalion worked at Boston, Ipswich, London, Harwich and King's Lynn.


That said, give me a few weeks and I'll look through the enquiries I've had over the years to see if anyone looks promising for you.

Edited by steve fuller
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Thanks Steve, that's kind of you to post the information you had. Happily, I am well into my research and I already know quite a lot about these battalions, their formation and commanding officers, but I've only identified a few hundred men out of the 35,000 or so who served in them. It's those personal stories I hope to unearth, partly to add colour to my narrative but always to honour and remember these forgotten soldiers. I've already found some amazing stories, and some tragic ones. Most of the men drafted into the battalions had served elsewhere before joining the TWBs, and were either transferred over because of their former trades and skills, or because they were no longer fit for service abroad. I am looking forward to adding more names and faces.

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  • 2 years later...

Old thread but if interested I have detailed history of a 12th Bedford man who was working at the docks in Sittingbourne. He and 2 other men got drunk on rum and one accidentally killed Cpl Frederick Edmund Channell of the 3rd Queens. Pte William Mahurter of the 12th Bedfords struck Channell in the face, he fell back and hit his head on a manhole cover fracturing his skull. He never regained consciousness and died the next day.

Mahurter and his 2 drinking pals were with the 12th Bedfords and were working at Ridham Dock. He was convicted of manslaughter and served just 6 weeks hard labour. 

I have lots of details if interested.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm looking for any picture of Captain Edward Pratt who served in 16th Transport Workers Battalion,South Lancashire Regiment as captain in between 1916-1917.

Any advice?.

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