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Matlock1418

29th Provisional Battalion, Tollesbury, Essex

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Matlock1418

I am researching a Notts and Derby soldier [think 5th Battn according to his S.No. and SWB] from an Illustrated Post Card [folding picture letter type] sent by him on 1 December 1915.

Is addressed as sent from him at: "19 Pro Battn, Tollesbury, Essex" [Edit/correction = "29 Pro Battn, Tollesbury, Essex"] - he is complaining of the cold & damp whilst on guard at the waterside / in the tented accommodation and also scabies being rife there.  Not a very happy chap!

  • Information on the Unit and Tollesbury (military camp/installation/etc. at that time/mid-1916) sought please.

Matlock

 

Edit: Apologies to all who might have been scratching their heads about a 19 Pro Battn

Edited by Matlock1418
Correction of unit and update of topic title

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jay dubaya

During the summer of 1915 a number of battalions known as Provisional Battalions were formed from the personnel of 2nd and 3rd Line TF battalions not available for posting overseas. They included men of low medical categories and those TF soldiers who had not volunteered for overseas service. Some of the battalions were disbanded but by 1916 there were 41 serving in the 10 Provisional Brigades. In November 1916 the 6th, 8th and 9th  Provisional Brigades were used to make up the new Home Service divisions 71st,72nd and 73rd. Almost all these battalions were disbanded when the Graduated Battalions were posted to the Home Service divisions. On 1st January 1917 the Provisional Battalions became numbered Home Service Territorial battalions in the Infantry Regiments. The remaining 7 Provisional Brigades were numbered from 221st to 227th and later called mixed brigades. They were stationed on the East Coast until the end of the war.

 

Forum member David Porter has put a list of the Provisional Brigades components here, I can't see the 19th listed so not connected to a brigade, but at least we now know that the 19th Provisional Battalion were stationed at Tollsbury. Local papers may be the best avenue to seek out more.

 

J

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Matlock1418
7 hours ago, jay dubaya said:

I can't see the 19th listed so not connected to a brigade, but at least we now know that the 19th Provisional Battalion were stationed at Tollsbury.

 

Thanks for your whole reply but to clarify my earlier error - I should have written 29 Pro Battn, Tollesbury, Essex"

My own check of facts from my evidence, and David Porter, has highlighted my error - sorry to you and all who might have misled, hope I have now put the thread straight.

Matlock

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jay dubaya

No problem, at least it's an error that was spotted and the answer is within David's research.

 

J

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Matlock1418

Article from Mersea Museum:
"Tollesbury in War-time - WW1"  [apparently a 1975 recollection of childhood memories]
Author:    Douglas J. Gurton
Published:    16 January 1975
Source:    Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton
ID:    DJG_WWC
http://www.merseamuseum.org.uk/mmresdetails.php?tot=589&pid=DJG_WWC&typ=selbox&fname=Emailed&ord=box&wds=&hit=102

 

Some brief abstracts from this article:
"... Tollesbury was selected as a training area for infantry. On the 12th December 1914 the Essex Territorial Cyclist Battalion carried out a "sham fight" on the marshes, but this was only a preliminary exercise, within a matter of weeks, units of the Royal Warwickshire and also Hampshire Yeomanry were billeted in the village, and manning sandbag enclosures at The Hard, on the sea walls and at the Pier, relieving to a certain extent the duties of the local Coastguards, Coastguard Auxiliaries (yachtsmen and fishermen) and the local Sea Scouts. Early in 1915 advance units of the Sherwood Foresters Notts and Derby Regiments arrived by train and began preparing The Mount as a military camp.
... concrete platforms for ablutions (soldiers for the use of), latrines and gantries from which bags of straw were suspended for bayonet practices, were quickly constructed
... The Mount was covered by large canvas marquees and bell tents.
... At first the tentage was not camouflaged, but with air raids increasing, this was rectified, but presented an incongruous appearance, with the brown, green and buff squiggles like so many snakes.
... As military training progressed, trenches were dug on the old brickfield and Little Marsh, and signalling exercises were carried cut between soldiers on the Church tower and the newly constructed Water Tower near the railway station.
... By the end of 1917 most of the troops had departed, the last to go were units of the Oxford and Bucks who had their band to play them off at the Railway station ...
"

 

I note there are few references to physical defences.

 

Whilst it is obvious from the OP letter that Tollesbury was a large enough camp to have a recognisable military postal address I wonder what my soldier of interest (Pte.) was up to an a daily basis - "On guard duty" - for what?
I am thinking looking for signs of invasion and/or for Zeppelins and/or as in the whole aforementioned account - for spies?
In the town, port/harbours or out in the marshes?  Static or patrolling?  Alone, paired or perhaps a NCO and section outpost (possibly with their own tent)?

 

Maybe there were Standing Orders or similar for such duties in such places. ???
Still looking for more info on the Tollesbury camp itself.
Likewise 29th Provisional Battalion and especially 5th Notts & Derby men there.

Were there actually any air raids on Tollesbury itself [or immediate area nearby]?
I would also be interested if anyone has got any other, perhaps similar to the above, Home Defence accounts from this area or elsewhere on the east coast please.

Thanks.

Matlock

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Andrew_S_Hatton

thank you for this Forum - which I discovered when searching for information prompted by a picture postacrd posted into another history forum - I wonder if it has any similar pictures to the one mentioned here - this is the second fascinating "find" prompted by that postacard - which I saw here I am not sure if it is necessary to be a member to view the image

 

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Matlock1418
15 hours ago, Andrew_S_Hatton said:

I wonder if it has any similar pictures to the one mentioned here

Thanks for your interest

For anyone who might be interested - Here are the five images off the "The Tollesbury Illustrated Letter Card" published by Holman & Co. Tollesbury

I have given a approximate date of c.1914 (as used/written on December 1915) but this is only a rough estimate - may be earlier (perhaps quite a bit earlier - no motor vehicles anywhere!)

I don't suppose it would have been this quiet in December 1915.

The last image seems to indicate the soldier's true feeling about his posting in far-flung Essex!

Anyone got any photos of Tollesbury Camp? - Highly sought please.

955598139_TOLLESBURYEssexc.1914ChurchStreet.jpg.c78923b42534951ad30830bc218d1ff3.jpg2087434305_TOLLESBURYEssexc.1914CongregationalChurch.jpg.28fe8f764fab3d39b7aea40a09c555f5.jpg1783225850_TOLLESBURYEssexc.1914HighStreet.jpg.82f54fb708f2f87a4ad811098eb1d8c6.jpg376228417_TOLLESBURYEssexc.1914TheSquare.jpg.0a111d3c4cebf3b2fd2dfef43aa55a82.jpg534330940_TOLLESBURYEssexc.1914Woodrope.jpg.ff2325f0a9d54fc870eb81b63ea3cc73.jpg

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Andrew_S_Hatton

Thank you they are mostly familiar - although I am not quite certain of the Woodrope one - but the mud all around at low-tide is very familiar - at Spring Tides the road nearest the waters edge is usually covered by several feet of River Blackwater Estuary water.

Here is the picture of those soldiers at Tolesbury Pier station copyright the owner of the Facebook Group I mentioned - her text follows - there are others of soldiers in Tollesbury in that era - within the group -if an case anyone wants to join & search - I expect Kate Cole will assist locate them

that text :-
 

This postcard has a handwritten date of 1915 written on the back and was presumably photographed sometime after the April 1915 zeppelin bombing of the Maldon district. The "Zeppelin View Hotel" painted on the side of the railway carriage by the 2/8 Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment is a clear ironic response to the Maldon raid.

Tollesbury Pier was the terminus of the extension of the Kelvedon and Tollesbury Light Railway. The station opened in 1907 and was closed to passengers in the early 20s. The Light Railway locally had the nickname of the "Crab and Winkle Line". During the First World War, it was used as a training area for troops. The main bulk of the troops were camped at Maldon.

(This postcard, the postcard of the 2/8
Worcs with the handwritten comment "Maldon Workhouse Scout Section" on the back, and the three patriotic "Greetings from Maldon" postcards all came from a Worcester house-clearance in the 90s.)" https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156036607953782&set=gm.1475266919163708&type=3&theater&ifg=1

Soldiers at Tollesbury Pier 1915.jpg

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jay dubaya

Thank you for posting that image Andrew, what a wonderful one it is. My in-laws lived on Wantz Road in Maldon until recently when the moved down the road to Mundon 

Also thanks to Matlock for updating the thread with some excellent detail

 

J

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