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ARMY BATTALIONS 1918- DISBANDED OR SECONDED?


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  Colleagues-a small procedural problem with a local casualty to which I am sure an astute GWF expert will have a definitive answer. My casualty is Captain Duncan Beresford Tuck, an original member of the 16th Middlesex- 1st Public Schools Battalion. Enlisted  in the first week of recruiting for the battalion and commissioned into the same battalion (He turned down a commission in another service battalion).  He is listed as 16th Midddlesex by CWGC (OK-I know- that can often be wrong)   He was mortally wounded serving with 2nd Middlesex on 26th March 1918 (apparently an accidentally injury during action) and DOW on 30th March.  I have him also as 16th Middlesex,attached 2nd Middlesex.

   Hurst's book on the PSB has the farewell formal order from Sir Beauvoir De Lisle for (I think) 7th February 1918-and the further reference I have is that battalion was disbanded at 10th  or 12th February 1918 (OK-I have not as yet checked the War Diary).

   Now- were men formally transferred to a new battalion or did some of these "disbanded" continue on paper as administrative phantoms, with a transferred officer (in this case) being only "attached".?   It seems a bit too long-standing and deliberate to merely be tardiness by Clerks at Depot.

 

(I have hit this problem before- 13th Essex (West Ham Pals) were similarly broken up and  c.2 companies were transferred to 28th London (Artists Rifles). Transferred but not part of it- these transferred men- the ORs seem to have taken a fair few casualties but are not listed as such for the Roll of Artists Rifles but continued as Essex Regiment)

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Forgive me for a spot of subject creep but I have a similar situation with Edwin John Morrish who went to France October 1915 with the Royal West Kent's as a Private, he was transferred at some point to the Rifle Brigade (Corporal) but was killed 1 June 1918 serving with the 1st/28th (Artists Rifles) Buried as a Rifle Brigade man at Varennes, which holds a lot of Casualties that day of both 28th and other Rifle Brigade men who had been posted. Also some DLI men and a Sapper the same day, is the 28th war diary available?

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I have noticed the same issue before - men from dissolved units still being named under that unit and 'attached' to a new unit. Due to the number of times it happened there must be some guidance somewhere by way of an AO or similar.

Craig

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As I understand it, from looking at many service records, an infantryman "belonged" to a regiment and was posted to a battalion. Movement to another battalion of the same regiment was a posting, not a transfer. A transfer would be to another regiment. 

 

I would be interested to know what officially constitutes an attachment and the difference between that and a posting or transfer. 

Edited by Ken Lees
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On 06/06/2018 at 11:04, tbirduk said:

Forgive me for a spot of subject creep but I have a similar situation with Edwin John Morrish who went to France October 1915 with the Royal West Kent's as a Private, he was transferred at some point to the Rifle Brigade (Corporal) but was killed 1 June 1918 serving with the 1st/28th (Artists Rifles) Buried as a Rifle Brigade man at Varennes, which holds a lot of Casualties that day of both 28th and other Rifle Brigade men who had been posted. Also some DLI men and a Sapper the same day, is the 28th war diary available?

tb,

Your man was transferred to the Rifle Brigade, given a number that denoted transfers from other units and the Training reserve. He was attached to the 28th London's as they were a territorial battalion of the Rifle Brigade. You will see this quite often later in the war as men were attached to one of the Territorial battalions of the Rifle Brigade, say 28th, 17th, 10th or 8th. Hence the headstone is correct as this was his Regiment.

 

Andy

B.4067.JPG

Morrish, E.J., 48482, Posted, 1-6-18.JPG

Edited by stiletto_33853
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Do we know why the same Regiment and Service number is repeated? does it represent a period of service?

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Not sure that I am with you, G/3882 was his number in the R. W. Kent Regiment which would have stayed with him no matter what battalions in that Regiment he was sent to, in this case the 8th, 10th & 11th battalions. His number changed when he was transferred into the Rifle Brigade and that number would have stayed with no matter what battalion in the RB he ended up in. He was not transferred into the 1/28th London's as per the medal roll but attached hence no London Regiment number.

I am sure someone with more knowledge regarding the R.W. Kent's can help with that question.

 

Andy

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My interpretation of multiple identical rows in a man's medal roll entry is that they represent postings back to the same battalion from periods of wounds/sickness on the strength of a home service unit (usually either the Regimental Depot, a Reserve battalion, or a Command Depot), but I've not had time to really chase this through with enough service records as yet.

 

Perhaps such home postings were omitted from the medal roll because only Overseas service was relevant to the eligibility of the medal?

 

Any Pals have thoughts on such a hypothesis?

 

Mark

 

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I suspect you're right Mark - some clerks are more conscientious than others so I could imagine them listing all periods of overseas service even where the man ended up back in the same unit as before. Home service was not relevant and could be safely omitted.

 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252
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When a number of infantry battalions were disbanded in Feb/March 1918, the men who could not be absorbed into other battalions in the division (often by mergers of 1st and 2nd Line TF units) were posted to Entrenching Battalions as a temporary measure. As Ken Lees has pointed out, soldiers (and officers) were posted to a particular regiment, not to a particular battalion, and as the EBs did not constitute a separate regiment, the men in them remained in ("badged" to) their original regiments for pay and records purposes.

 

16 hours ago, stiletto_33853 said:

He was attached to the 28th London's as they were a territorial battalion of the Rifle Brigade.

Not quite correct, I'm afraid. The Rifle Brigade, the KRRC and the Royal Fusiliers did not, at the time, have any TF battalions. The London Regiment was an all-TF regiment though most of its battalions had some form of affiliation to one of those three Regular regiments. It was not until 1929 that the Artists' Rifles became officially part of the Rifle Brigade. (J B M Frederick, Lineage Book of British Armed Forces)

 

Ron

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   Ron- this all makes sense, save that I suspect that the Depot of the disbanded unit may have kept the paperwork "on the stocks". Is it possible that despite the physical transfer of men  away from a disbanded until, that the units continued to exist  for admin.purposes for some time afterwards??  eg that administratively, the Army still had them in abeyance or a main dpot maintained that "battalion" as a pile of ledgers and files.

(I know such quirks happened all the time in the next punch-up-  My Dad ended up in Norway at end of  that war- Stavanger,with British Occupation Forces of 1st Airborne-but always smiled at an army system that still had his depot for pay,paperwork and kit in Tunis.  Similarly, my old neighbour was called up in 1939 into The Buffs and served with distiction with Army Commandos and the Raiding Support Regiment,ending up at Vis. But no matter where he went, he was still on the books of The Buffs at Canterbury)

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I can't remember the details, but the 2nd London Scottish (2nd/14th London) received a draft of a Company-strength from a Gordons battalion, who carried on wearing Gordon tartan and bonnet badges. This was in 1918. I'll look up the details in the LS Regimental History when I get a chance.

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On 07/06/2018 at 10:56, Ron Clifton said:

 

Not quite correct, I'm afraid. The Rifle Brigade, the KRRC and the Royal Fusiliers did not, at the time, have any TF battalions. The London Regiment was an all-TF regiment though most of its battalions had some form of affiliation to one of those three Regular regiments. It was not until 1929 that the Artists' Rifles became officially part of the Rifle Brigade. (J B M Frederick, Lineage Book of British Armed Forces)

 

Ron

 

Andy is correct Ron.

 

Army Order AO 250 of 1916, published 12 Jul 1916, re-affiliated the Artists' Rifles back to the Rifle Brigade - see image following.  With some minor variations, AO 250 1916 also restored most of the other traditional affiliations of the London Regiment battalions to the KRRC, RB, Gordon Highlanders and the local Greater London county regiments.

 

However, the London Regt battalions continued to be administered by the London Territorial Association, but while the links were perhaps looser than a typical county line infantry regiment, there was a great deal of personnel interchange between these LR battalions and the KRRC and RB.

 

Further Army Orders in 1916 tweaked the links between London Irish, LRB and the Shiny Seventh.

 

There is some evidence from the Army Lists spotted by ******************  that suggests the 1st - 4th battalions, The London Regiment, remained affiliated to the Royal Fusiliers for the whole of the period 1908-1916.  See here.  Not being an RF specialist, I have not investigated this further.

 

The Rifle Brigade also had the bonus of having seven TF battalions (18th - 24th [Doh! that should be - 25thThanks Andy!] RB) foisted on affiliated to it formed from the Supernumerary Companies of the old National Reserve.  These were used as garrison troops and had almost no connection with the parent regiment.

 

Andy and I also speculate that 33rd and 34th London Regiment, formed in mid 1918 from some of the remnants of 14th (Light) Division may have been affiliated to the RB and KRRC respectively.  This falls later than the re-organisation into three battalion brigades however.  They seem to have been cap badged to the rifles regiments and their CWGC headstones appear to have used the rifles regiment badges.  So far conclusive evidence in the shape of AO's or ACI's covering these battalions has eluded us.

 

 

KRRC & RB sections of AO 250 1916 (plus also the Gordon Highlanders, RWK & Middlesex Regts.)...

post-20192-1267814761.jpg

 

Read more about this in this post here:

Let me know if you need the rubric at the top of AO 250 that explains the re-affiliations.  I'm sure I've posted it elsewhere on the forum, but cannot turn it up quickly, so it'd be easier just to send it to you!

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

 

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Interesting that the Liverpool Scottish, despite officially being the 10th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment, had been affiliated to the Camerons.

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53 minutes ago, MBrockway said:

Andy is correct Ron.

 

Army Order AO 250 of 1916, published 12 Jul 1916, re-affiliated the Artists' Rifles back to the Rifle Brigade - see image following.  With some minor variations, AO 250 1916 also restored most of the other traditional affiliations of the London Regiment battalions to the KRRC, RB, Gordon Highlanders and the local Greater London county regiments.

Thank you. I did specifically check my copy of Frederick, but obviously the Army Orders are a more authoritative source.

 

Ron

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1 hour ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Interesting that the Liverpool Scottish, despite officially being the 10th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment, had been affiliated to the Camerons.

 

We've covered the London Scottish and Liverpool Scottish quite well in this topic (scroll down past the initial posts solely about matters kilt-ish)

 

 

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Oh Ron, ye of little faith:D (just teasing you Ron)

 

Obviously Frederick is erroneous in certain aspects. Later in the war, after these battalions became Territorial battalions of the RB, you will find page after page in the medal rolls of the RB men being "attached" to them as you can see from the page posted previously, a lot coming from that number range.

As Mark has already posted you also had the 18th to 25th TF foisted on the RB in November 1915, given permission to wear a shoulder flash showing RB surmounted by a "T" although these battalions had very very little to do with the RB being managed by the London Territorial Association with no men or officers of the RB placed into them and used as Garrison battalions. A paper exercise from the recruitment director at the time, they either went into the Guards, KRRC or RB.

 

 

Andy

Edited by stiletto_33853
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