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le grand fromage

Royal Munster Fusilier 1st Batt Company designation change

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le grand fromage

In trying to find out which Company my Uncle, Richard Hampson Cheeseman, was in when in the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers (see separate thread) I noticed that in the War diary the Company designations changed from ' A', 'B', 'C' and 'D' to 'W', 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' between March and April 1915 (see attached). Anyone know the why, reasoning etc, was this just Battalion, Regimental wide or across the whole Division, Army?

 

20190813_132641.jpg.87cdd86dee17e48fd34c298d5f7778d4.jpg20190813_132934.jpg.48f71956d2b98a12050932bca0d055cd.jpg

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John Beech

Hi

 

1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers made the same change. I seem to remember reading that they did it because of confusion between 'B' and 'D' Companies when giving orders in action and when communicating. Not sure that this was ordered or became convention and may have been a decision at Battalion level. 

 

Regards

 

John

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Muerrisch

FROM EX MEMBER GUEST.

 

Pre war P,Q,R,S  was once used by 2nd Bn OBLI when the 4 company structure was originally introduced but later abandoned in preference for A,B,C,D and by at least one New Army Battalion - the 11th Bn Manchester Regt at Gallipoli  - in 1915.

 

Here is the survey of the BEF 1914 posted again...

 

A survey of the BEF's first 8 Divisions plus 19th Inf Bde plus 29th Div: a total of 111 Regular Infantry Battalions and 1 TF Bn

94 Battalions used A B C D

7 Battalions used 1 2 3 4 all Foot Guards and, curiously 1st Bn Gordon Highlanders and 1st Bn KOSB (later changed to A B C D)

6 Battalions used W X Y Z

1 Battalion used RF B C LF 1st Bn Scots Guards

1 Battalion used RF F G LF 2nd Bn Scots Guards

1 Battalion used "King's Coy", 2 3 4   1st Bn Grenadier Guards

1 Battalion used A B C I 1st Bn Rifle Brigade

1 Battalion used A B C H 1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry

In summary, stripping out the Foot Guards, and the single TF Battalion (leaving 103 Regular Line Infantry Battalions):

93% used A B C D

5% used W X Y Z

2% used 1 2 3 4

2% used A B C plus another letter (not D)

% Numbers not exact due to rounding. MG

 

Some curiosities:

1. 1st Bn ABCD and 2nd Bn WXYZ fits in all but one example. The anomaly is the Essex Regt whose 1st Bn was WXYZ and 2nd Bn was ABCD. I can only imagine that the 2nd Bn (UK based) had snatched ABCD before 1st Bn (Mauritius) reorganised and took WXYZ to differentate from 2nd Bn.

2. KOSB and Gordon Highlanders using 1,2,3,4 when their sister battalions were using letters. The 1st Bn KOSB using 1,2,3,4 comes from an early (1914) diary entry. By time the Battalion deployed (Gallipoli) it was using A,B,C,D. It raises the possibility that other overseas Battalions used 1,2,3,4 before coming into line.

3. 1st Bn Rifle Brigade's I Coy has something to do with history. I used to know but have forgotten. Peninsula War I believe...

4. 1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry's H Coy. Started the war as D Coy and by First Ypres was H Coy. Curious to know why. I can only think it was so full of Special Reservists they renamed it. My speculation.

 

From Guest

 

Edited by Muerrisch
censored unwillingly at request GWT Team

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Ron Clifton
1 hour ago, John Beech said:

I seem to remember reading that they did it because of confusion between 'B' and 'D' Companies when giving orders in action and when communicating.

That has always been my understanding, but I have never been able to find an authoritative source for it. The percentages quoted in Muerrish's post imply that versions other than A, B, C and D were very much in the minority so it could not have been a general instruction. \the member he quotes, has done a massive amount of research on the infantry of 1914 so his figures should certainly be reliable.

 

Use of A, B, C and a letter other than D may have been motivated by a desire to reserve D for a depot company. The Guards, of course, are a law unto themselves.

 

Ron

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le grand fromage

Wow, only popped out to cut the grass lol. Cheers Guy's, yes I can see the rationale just a bit odd it wasn't army wide. Also a bit odd that when he was wounded in 1918 he was in 'C' Company of the 2nd Battalion RMF, so it was'nt done across the regiment.

 

Thanks again

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le grand fromage

As a small aside, I've just downloaded a list from the CWGC website of 1st Battailion RMF's killed between 25/4/15 & 31/7/15 and noticed the Company designation change didn't necessarily filter through the 'system'. A mismatch of designations both old, new and probably a few typos.

 

20190814_163014.jpg.72b5502b9a0a25ce2eafdd44ddefac96.jpg

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