Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Charles Fair

Schools of Instruction for army officers 1915 - predecessors to the OCB system

Recommended Posts

Charles Fair

Hello all

I am currently researching officer selection and training, with the aim of assessing the effectiveness of the Officer Cadet Battalion (OCB) system.  The OCBs were a pre-commission course of 4 months which were set up as a result of an ACI in Feb 1916.  However, the OCBs were preceded by a number of 'Schools of Instruction' for officers.  The Schools of Instruction were set up in the UK from about November 1914 and operated until Feb/March 1916 when a number were used as a basis for OCBs.  These Schools gave a 4 week course to newly commissioned officers.

 

I am trying to establish how many Schools of Instruction for officers there were, and how many men attended these Schools.  Please see the attached image which is my best estimate to date and which has been created from about a dozen sources.  (Please note that I have not included the GHQ Officer's School at Blendeques in France which was set up by the Artists' Rifles and which is relatively well documented.)  It would appear that a minority of those men commissioned in 1914/15 went on such a course.

 

I would be most grateful for any facts and sources which could help me to improve the estimate:

1. Numbers shown in red are my guesses, so could be some way off the mark.  (Numbers in black are definite and have been given in a source - usually a published history of an OTC.)

2. The schools in the orange band may have existed: I have seen some tantalising hints, but nothing conclusive.  It would be good to confirm or eliminate these.

3. Are there any Schools missing from this list?

4. Are there any extant personal accounts by officers who attended one of these Schools?  (I already have those by HEL Mellersh [Oxford], Emmerson papers in the IWM [Cambridge], Billie Neville [Sandhurst School] and Cameron Stewart [Glasgow])

 

Thanks in anticipation!

Charles

 

 

Screenshot 2019-02-25 21.11.14.png

Edited by Charles Fair

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gunner Hall

The Durham O.T.C was formed in 1908 and some 2,400 members died in the Great War.  I'm afraid that I don't know if it ran a "school of instruction"

 

BTW,  have you seen the COMEC occasional paper entiled " UNIVERSITY OFFICERS’ TRAINING CORPS AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR By Edward M. Spiers ?

 

Its available online at http://www.comec.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/occasional_paper_no_4_no_crop.pdf  It has a comprehensive list of refences,.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair

Thanks Gunner Hall.  I was aware of Durham, and as far as I know there is no published history of that OTC.  With the exception of St Andrews, I think I have seen all the Senior Division OTC histories that I know about.  I may have to look at the archives - if they exist - of the Military Education Committee and OTC of each University.

 

I've seen the COMEC paper.  Its very helpful and I have already looked at many of the sources therein.

 

The trouble with these Schools of Instruction is that they were short-lived, and were not constituted as a unit in themselves (as were the OCBs).  There is not a lot surviving in the historical record.  Hence the need to look at University archives as well as references in personal accounts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JimE

I was interested to see that you have Inns of Court Officers School of instruction listed.

I had thought that this OTC trained their men as ORs at Berkhamsted.

In the early part of the war they were selected directly for commissions from the OTC until in early1916 men transferred first to an OCB before commissioning. No14 OCB was run by the Inns of Court at Berkhamsted

The only reference I can find to a School of Instruction is to a "School of Instruction for Officer instructors in Cadet Battalions" set up on 22nd January 1918 at Berkhamsted,. At the same time No 14 OCB left Berkhamsted for Catterick.

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair

Thanks Jim - I think you are right on this, and I have conflated the two. The Inns of Court seems to have been entirely pre-commissioning training whereas the schools of instruction were post-commissioning.

 

A few days ago I had a look at the Military Education Committee minutes and reports in the U of London archives.  The London OTC ran 10 courses for a total of 1,100 officers.

 

The Instructor's School of Instruction is interesting, and an implicit recognition of the need to have high standards amongst the instructors.  The first (only?) CO of this had previously been the CO of No. 7 OCB in Moore Park in Ireland.  I know of instructors from No. 4 OCB who went there for 4 weeks.  Other than these few snippets, info on it is scanty.

Charles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair

I found evidence of another School of Instruction in the file of 2/Lt JM De Lacey WO 339/51895.  It was the Tynemouth School of Instruction, address as per this sheet in his file.  I suspect it was run by Durham UOTC, though I will need to confirm by digging in the Durham archives.  De Lacey was a former Durham UOTC cadet.

 

This is the first time I have come across this form, and I must have looked at circa 1,800 officers files by now.  Has anyone else coma across one of these?

983910819_TynemouthSchoolofInstruction.JPG.14f9aa9697481113efc6c361f17710cf.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair

The Leeds School of Instruction ran for 12 months to early 1916, and about 880 officers passed through.  (Info from the Leeds University Senate minutes and University Record - in Special Collections, Brotherton Library, U of Leeds.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Charles,

WO339/54406, Adams, L. H., 1st Rifle Brigade, KIA 22/4/18

Chelmsford School of Instruction

DSCN6455 copy.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

WO339/55147, Haldane, J. O.

1st Rifle Brigade

Chelmsford School of Instruction

WO339:55147, Haldane, T. O., KIA 9:8:16.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Charles,

Another one of your Tynemouth Schools, same date.

WO339/51886

Andrews.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Graham, WO339/51898

Tynemouth School

Graham 2nd RB.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Knowles, S.

WO339/55244

Norwich School of Instruction

DSCN4466.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Muerrisch

I am sorry that I cannot help, certainly with the level of detail sought.

However, I am interested in the earliest commissions, those of regular warrant- and non-commissioned officers, in the field but not "in the field", seemingly selected in peacetime, so swift was the process, September and October 1914. The next batch, December 1914 and January 1915 were, I believe, Inns of Court junior ranks who arrived "from the front" to "the front" in other ranks' uniform.

 

Any in-depth information, going beyond the LG and War Diaries, of the processes would be most welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Chapman, D. M.

WO339/51892

Tynemouth School

DSCN2015.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Duncan C. E., 3rd Rifle Brigade

WO339/51896

Tynemouth

 

DSCN1930.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MBrockway

Charles,

Are you aware there is a short run in the London Gazette Special Reserve appointments in June 1915 where the School of Instruction the cadets are to attend is listed?

 

LG Issue 29183, 04 Jun 1915, pp.5396-7

 

Courses at ...

  • Liverpool - 11 Jun 1915
  • Scarborough - 08 Jun 1915

 

1018260803_SsofI5396a.jpg.4318df4ac9fef3b13402a1a963521321.jpg

1620755527_SsofI5397a.jpg.219e6b0b4025947e635ddeb1a825da32.jpg

 

 

LG Issue 29185, 04 Jun 1915, pp.5500-02

 

Courses at ...

  • Norwich - 11 Jun 1915
  • Harwich - 12 Jun 1915
  • Chatham - 12 Jun 1915
  • Bury St Edmunds - Jun 1915

 

1203420396_SsofI5500a.jpg.1d9b81cc638e6b9730d649cc484a26a1.jpg

294655708_SsofI5500b.jpg.a41701830aa8bee7a3d02402f457810d.jpg

1308190504_SsofI5500c.jpg.984916622ecbac1252a33dcae9807f2e.jpg

1201521848_SsofI5501a.jpg.b1fbb4d566b167e639ebd0d96966bfe2.jpg

472779116_SsofI5501b.jpg.0d47640b7330a1e8ee1b86e74ecb3e2f.jpg

65638926_SsofI5502a.jpg.b1c4a0f384478198964ba7621b09b088.jpg

 

 

LG Issue 29187, 08 Jun 1915, pp.5609-10

 

Courses at ...

  • Tynemouth - 15 Jun 1915
  • Oxford University - 14 Jun 1915 
  • Tenby - 14 Jun 1915

 

  • 727806325_SsofI5609a.jpg.f97a3ada3740155f1a133745f7e60723.jpg

734053489_SsofI5609b.jpg.6c21a6498f496948ffd55edf2e47f8bf.jpg

444702991_SsofI5610a.jpg.aea62999d80d30c3e8cec76139d93758.jpg

1675847429_SsofI5610b.jpg.6855d4ccf0af9dde4a99ea967ac3c964.jpg

 

This level of detail only seems to be in these three LG issues in June 1915.  I could find no others in the rest of 1915.

 

Certainly some names for your officers' files shopping list :thumbsup:

 

This appointment of an RF Captain as Commandant of a (sadly unnamed) School of Instruction may give you a lead to another one ...

LG Issue 29304 , 21 Sep 1915, pp.9327

 

339924155_SsofI9327.jpg.ce90e08e4d7deac217a751d83a3edada.jpg

 

Hope that helps!

Mark

 

 

Edited by MBrockway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MBrockway

This snippet from The Times suggests there was *possibly* a School of Instruction at Chelsea Barracks ...

 

1367796498_ChelseaSofITimes22Jan1916p.5.jpg.82d1c753ced6d697c9e727cb3fa294da.jpg

Source: The Times, 22 Jan 1916, p.5.  (c) Times Newspapers

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Salter, F. G.

WO339/54470

Norwich

Salter, 339:54470.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Mallinson, J. W.

WO339/49258

 

Chatham School of Instruction

Mallinson.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair
On 28/01/2020 at 20:54, Muerrisch said:

I am sorry that I cannot help, certainly with the level of detail sought.

However, I am interested in the earliest commissions, those of regular warrant- and non-commissioned officers, in the field but not "in the field", seemingly selected in peacetime, so swift was the process, September and October 1914. The next batch, December 1914 and January 1915 were, I believe, Inns of Court junior ranks who arrived "from the front" to "the front" in other ranks' uniform.

 

Any in-depth information, going beyond the LG and War Diaries, of the processes would be most welcome.

Have you seen Roger Deeks' 2017 PhD Thesis from U of Birmingham? "Officers Not Gentlemen: Officers Commissioned from the Ranks of the Pre-First World War British Regular Army, 1903-1918".  He identified over 7,000 such officers, from an estimated 10,000 who were commissioned.  NB the important distinction between 'ranker officers' and 'temporary gentlemen'.  it should answer your question.  If not, DM your email address and I can send it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair
On 29/01/2020 at 23:27, MBrockway said:

Charles,

Are you aware there is a short run in the London Gazette Special Reserve appointments in June 1915 where the School of Instruction the cadets are to attend is listed?

 

LG Issue 29183, 04 Jun 1915, pp.5396-7

 

Courses at ...

  • Liverpool - 11 Jun 1915
  • Scarborough - 08 Jun 1915

 

G Issue 29185, 04 Jun 1915, pp.5500-02

 

Courses at ...

  • Norwich - 11 Jun 1915
  • Harwich - 12 Jun 1915
  • Chatham - 12 Jun 1915
  • Bury St Edmunds - Jun 1915

 

LG Issue 29187, 08 Jun 1915, pp.5609-10

 

Courses at ...

  • Tynemouth - 15 Jun 1915
  • Oxford University - 14 Jun 1915 
  • Tenby - 14 Jun 1915

 

This level of detail only seems to be in these three LG issues in June 1915.  I could find no others in the rest of 1915.

 

Certainly some names for your officers' files shopping list :thumbsup:

 

This appointment of an RF Captain as Commandant of a (sadly unnamed) School of Instruction may give you a lead to another one ...

LG Issue 29304 , 21 Sep 1915, pp.9327

Mark - many thanks, no I hadn't spotted that, in fact hadn't thought of looking in the LG at all.  I suspect these, and the other ones suggested by Andy may have been schools put on by the Military Districts. I have no idea as to whether they offered courses similar to those from the UOTCs.  Very helpful thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair
On 30/01/2020 at 00:11, MBrockway said:

This snippet from The Times suggests there was *possibly* a School of Instruction at Chelsea Barracks ...

 

Source: The Times, 22 Jan 1916, p.5.  (c) Times Newspapers

Yes, there definitely was a Chelsea School of Instruction which in fact ran before 1914.  It provided a 2-3 week course in how to instruct drill, map reading and possibly musketry of officers of Junior and Senior Division OTCs, and probably the wider TF.  I have come across it in various OTC officer's service records, as well as in school magazines where they descibe their officers and senior cadet NCOs going there.  One Capt Tryon Grenadier Guards was chief instructor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MBrockway
35 minutes ago, Charles Fair said:

  One Capt Tryon Grenadier Guards was chief instructor.

That sounds like George Clement TRYON (1871-1940), who later went into politics rising to Minister of Pensions and later Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.  I believe he had retired c.1906, but was 'dug out' for war service.

 

He was the son of Vice Admiral George TRYON famous for the loss of HMS Victoria in 1893.

 

George's uncle was Richard Tryon (1837-1905), Rifle Brigade, whose sons (George's cousins) Richard R. Tryon and Henry Tryon, both fell in the Great War with the Rifle Brigade, Henry with 8/RB at Flers/Courcelette, so Andy may have something to add.

 

Another uncle was Henry Tryon, 1/RB, who was killed at Sebastapol in 1854.

 

A more distant cousin was George Arthur Tryon, who was killed in action with 4/KRRC four days before the Armistice.


Forgive me drifting off topic, but it may be of interest to you.

Mark

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Trevor-Jones, J. E.

WO339/52828

Oxford School

 

Re Tryon, previously wounded in November 1915 on a patrol, leading to Drake being awarded the VC for covering his officers body. When men from the 8th RB went out to bring the two men in Tyron's body was found covered by Drake who was riddled with bullets but Tryon survived.

Trevor Jones, J., WO339:52828.jpg

Drake, A.G., [V.C.], S-107, 8th RB, 23-11-15.JPG

Edited by stiletto_33853

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Hindley, H. C.

WO339/52104

Grafton Academy

 

DSC09378.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...