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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Great Uncle and battalions


Yarnold66

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My Great Uncle attested in late November 1915 and intitially joined the the 2/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion Territorial Force, Royal Sussex Regiment (no.3806).

Would I be corrrect in assuming that a history of delicate health would dictate him joining a second line home unit?

Later he was transferred to the
13th (Service) Battalion (3rd South Down), Royal Sussex Regiment (no.G/17969). Finally he joined and died of wounds serving with the 7th (Service) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

I am also trying to calculate at what date he was transferred from the 2/5th to the 13th. From his church obituary I know he sailed for France on 16th August 1916. 

Many thanks for any help.


 

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Since the 1/5 Bn was serving overseas then he would go to the 2nd line unit as it was training men for service with the 1st/5  at least that is how it was supposed to work. I think later things changed for the training of new recruits. In any case his later service overseas & death his health must have been improved a lot if he was not all that fit when he went into the army.

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18 hours ago, Loader said:

Since the 1/5 Bn was serving overseas then he would go to the 2nd line unit as it was training men for service with the 1st/5  at least that is how it was supposed to work. I think later things changed for the training of new recruits. In any case his later service overseas & death his health must have been improved a lot if he was not all that fit when he went into the army.

Same question also posted here -

 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252
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On 11/06/2018 at 11:57, Yarnold66 said:

My Great Uncle attested in late November 1915 and intitially joined the the 2/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion Territorial Force, Royal Sussex Regiment (no.3806).

Would I be corrrect in assuming that a history of delicate health would dictate him joining a second line home unit?

Later he was transferred to the
13th (Service) Battalion (3rd South Down), Royal Sussex Regiment (no.G/17969). Finally he joined and died of wounds serving with the 7th (Service) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

I am also trying to calculate at what date he was transferred from the 2/5th to the 13th. From his church obituary I know he sailed for France on 16th August 1916. 

Many thanks for any help.


 

 

The men who were apparently in this draft  are proving elusive in the the records, the medal rolls indicate there were 71 from the 2/5 (G/17952-G/18023).  The only record I have found to date is that of 3766/17981 Gordon Richard West.  Pte West enlisted on the 20th January 1916, this confirms your great uncle, Arthur Powell, attested under the Derby Scheme and was probably called up in his Group.  Some biographical data might help.  

 

Pt West's records show he embarked Folkestone on the 13 August, 1916 and disembarked Boulogne the same day.  On the 14th August he arrived at 40 Infantry Base Depot at Etaples where he and his comrades would be 'hardened up' for front line duty.  On the 1st September 1916 Pte West was posted to there 13th Royal Sussex under the auspices of Army Order 204 and Army Council Instruction 1499 of 1916 (essentially giving authority to transfer men from the TF to Regular or Service Battalions).  He was renumbered on that date and posted to the 13th Battalion on that date, joining them in the field on the 2nd September.  The war diary for the 13th shows a draft of 25 men arriving on that date.  On the 3rd the Battalion was involved in an attack and Pte West was wounded which even for the Western Front must be some kind of record!  The diary also records a draft of 70 other ranks arriving on the 5th September when the battalion was out of the line.  It's impossible to say which of the two your great uncle was in, however the evidence is that your great uncle was in the same draft and posted around the same time.  

 

As noted above the 2/5 Battalion was a training/reserve Battalion and did not serve overseas, it is quite common for the rolls to show home service battalions as a man had to be attached somewhere.   Once he had joined the BEF he was posted where needed, in fact this group were lucky they remained in the same regiment.

 

Under the Derby Scheme there was an element of choice and it may be the local Territorial Association was having a recruitment drive.  Voluntary direct enlistment to the TF effectively ceased at the end of 1915 prior to the introduction of the Military Service Act.  It may be he was posted to a unit of the TF because of his medical category but he was considered fit enough to join the 13th Bn on arriving in France.

 

Ken

 

 

Edited by kenf48
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Hi Ken,
Many thanks for you very comprehensive reply - my apologies for not replying sooner. To have narrowed his arrival with the 13th to one of two dates is great.
I also found that very few service records survive for men from the 2/5th who were transferred to the 13th. Much against the odds his medical records are among the 2% that survive.
They make for painful reading: ''Gunshot wounds VIII (4) left scapula, IX (1) left leg, left foot and left thigh, severe.' Namely - 
Severe gunshot wounds, resulting in a compound fracture of the patient's left shoulder blade and simple flesh contusions and wounds to the left leg, left foot and left thigh. I know he had a history of TB and had made four failed attempts at enlisting before being accepted. I imagine sepsis and a history of delicate health weighed against his recovery.
Thanks again,
Phil

 

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