Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

MERLINV12

Guards Training Period - How Long ?

Recommended Posts

MERLINV12

Can someone please tell me what the normal length of training was for the Guards at Caterham ?

 

My GF's Service Record shows him at Caterham from Oct 1916 until posted to France in July 1917, would all of this period have been training ?

 

TIA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Margosh

I am following your searches with interest. My Great Uncle was at Caterham 28/10/16 until posted to France 8/7/17

(KiA 30 November 1917 near Gouzeaucourt, Cambrai. Never found)

 

Margaret

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12

Margaret,

 

Exactly the same Caterham dates !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12

Just to re-ask the original question, just in case some members are only on here at the weekend.

 

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TwoEssGee

I believe it was 3 months basic training.

In his book 'A Private In The Guards', author (and Scots Guardsman) Stephen Graham mentions that new recruits would pass out after this period (page 24).

If you want a flavour of what the training regime at Caterham was like, then his book is available to read free online at:-

https://archive.org/details/privateinguards00grahrich/page/n6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FROGSMILE

12-weeks was indeed the standard at that time.  Depending on the period, it then generally continued with time attached to experienced units in France or Flanders before movement of own unit into the line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12

OK, thanks to Frogsmile & TwoEssGee, so I wonder what GF was doing for the other 6 months he was at Caterham until being posted to France ?

 

He qualified as a Lewis Gunner, but presumably that would of only taken a few weeks ?

 

TIA.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tullybrone

Hi,

 

It’s likely he left the Guards Depot on completion of his basic training and was posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion at Windsor pending his posting to BEF as part of a draft. He would undergo further training at Windsor before posting on draft to The Guards Base Depot in France for additional training before being sent up the line to join a Battalion.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coldstreamer

What he said.  5th btn very likely

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Margosh
1 hour ago, tullybrone said:

Hi,

 

It’s likely he left the Guards Depot on completion of his basic training and was posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion at Windsor pending his posting to BEF as part of a draft. He would undergo further training at Windsor before posting on draft to The Guards Base Depot in France for additional training before being sent up the line to join a Battalion.

 

Steve

 

Would the posting to Windsor have been recorded on his Service Sheet?

My Great Uncle seems to have been at Caterham, and posted to France, at the same dates as the OP's Grandfather. His sheet shows Called up for Service 26/10/16. Caterham 28/10/16. Posted 8/7/17.  I first thought this was rather a long time to be at Caterham but then read his medcal class as D and thought maybe he was there until fit for active service. Then I realised that the D was actually an A slightly on its side! So that guess went out of the window.

I have read other Service Records (not CG) where moves to other home training bases etc are recorded, but no mention of Windsor here. Would that be usual for CG, maybe although at Windsor it still came under the Caterham umbrella? I see he was originally 5 Btn (so training), then 2nd on posting in July 1917. Photo attached, as clear as I can make it.

 

Margaret

 

 

UA Service 2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12
13 minutes ago, Coldstreamer said:

What he said.  5th btn very likely

 

 

1 hour ago, tullybrone said:

Hi,

 

It’s likely he left the Guards Depot on completion of his basic training and was posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion at Windsor pending his posting to BEF as part of a draft. He would undergo further training at Windsor before posting on draft to The Guards Base Depot in France for additional training before being sent up the line to join a Battalion.

 

Steve

 

Thanks both,  but as Margosh asks, would it be "normal" for the period at Windsor not to be mentioned on GF's Service Record ??

It appears that both GF's & Margosh's relative's SR mirror each other up until posting to France.

 

The only mention of 5th Batt is after the end of the war.

Edited by MERLINV12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tullybrone

Hi,

 

5th Battalion was the Reserve Battalion (after July 1915) so a recruit would usually be recorded as 5th CG until posted overseas.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12
3 minutes ago, tullybrone said:

Hi,

 

5th Battalion was the Reserve Battalion (after July 1915) so a recruit would usually be recorded as 5th CG until posted overseas.

 

Steve

 

OK thanks, have double checked his SR and definately no mention of 5th Batt before posting (no gaps in SR beween arriving at Caterham & posting to France), maybe just a lazy clerk/adjutant or whoever was responsible for entering details on SR.

 

Although most sections of his SR are marked as 2nd Batt, at what point would he have actually be posted to the 2nd Batt ??

 

This now opens another avenue in finding a photo of GF, I can now look on Windsor photos, assuming some exist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tullybrone

Hi,

 

My understanding is that in the early days that men were sent on draft from Windsor to a specific CG Battalion.

 

I don’t know whether that changed later on and men were just sent to the Guards Base Depot and posted to a Battalion as required from there. Some men went to an entrenching Battalion prior to a “Fighting Battalion”.

 

Have you looked for men with service numbers near to your relative to see if a pattern emerges?

 

Steve

Edited by tullybrone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12

Steve,

 

Thanks for your contiuned help, GF was indeed posted to the 7th Entrenching Batt for 17 days after arriving at Harfleur, and before joining 2nd Batt in the field.

 

Good suggestion about close serial numbers, will look into that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12

I am hoping I can now answer my own question !  Which may be of use to others (Margosh).
 

I am currently reading a book called "Iron Times with the Guards" The experiences of an officer of the Coldstream Guards on the Western Front during the First World War. Written by G.P.A. Fildes, written just after the war by the officer whose experiences it describes.
 

He states that initial training at Caterham was 12-16 weeks, when completed advanced training took place at Windsor for another 12-16 weeks or longer (both periods dependant on intended rank/role).
 

So a total of 24-32 weeks, plus GF's Lewis Gunner course, nicely fills the period from October 1916 to his posting to France in July 1917.

Edited by MERLINV12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Margosh
6 hours ago, MERLINV12 said:

I am hoping I can now answer my own question !  Which may be of use to others (Margosh).
 

I am currently reading a book called "Iron Times with the Guards" The experiences of an officer of the Coldstream Guards on the Western Front during the First World War. Written by G.P.A. Fildes, written just after the war by the officer whose experiences it describes.
 

He states that initial training at Caterham was 12-16 weeks, when completed advanced training took place at Windsor for another 12-16 weeks or longer (both periods dependant on intended rank/role).
 

So a total of 24-32 weeks, plus GF's Lewis Gunner course, nicely fills the period from October 1916 to his posting to France in July 1917.

 

Well found, that does explain timing (although I have no idea if my Gt Uncle took the Gunner course, it fits). I don’t have that book on my shelf, will have to look it out.

 

Margaret

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
travers61

Merlin V12,

The British Army until 1918 did not send soldiers overseas until their 19th Birthday. I don't know your GF's dob, but maybe part of the delay from end of training to embarkation was waiting for him to be 19 ?

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12
7 hours ago, travers61 said:

Merlin V12,

The British Army until 1918 did not send soldiers overseas until their 19th Birthday. I don't know your GF's dob, but maybe part of the delay from end of training to embarkation was waiting for him to be 19 ?

 

Thanks for posting that, I didn't know that (along with numerous other things of the period :().

He was 20 years old, two months before his posting to France.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12
13 hours ago, Margosh said:

 

Well found, that does explain timing (although I have no idea if my Gt Uncle took the Gunner course, it fits). I don’t have that book on my shelf, will have to look it out.

 

Margaret

 

Margaret,

Link to book  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Iron-Times-Guards-Experiences-Coldstream/dp/1846777453/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1573454348&sr=8-4

 

Available as Paperback, Hardback, Kindle.

 

Michael.

Edited by MERLINV12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Margosh
8 hours ago, travers61 said:

Merlin V12,

The British Army until 1918 did not send soldiers overseas until their 19th Birthday. I don't know your GF's dob, but maybe part of the delay from end of training to embarkation was waiting for him to be 19 ?

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t realised that. My Gt Uncle was 26 so he wouldn’t have been held for age.

 

1 hour ago, MERLINV12 said:

 

Thank you (I don’t need much excuse for buying another book so I will be on to that today!).

 

Margaret

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MERLINV12
54 minutes ago, Margosh said:

 

I hadn’t realised that. My Gt Uncle was 26 so he wouldn’t have been held for age.

 

 

Thank you (I don’t need much excuse for buying another book so I will be on to that today!).

 

Margaret

 

Margaret,

 

I have just got to the chapter on author joining the Entrenching Battalion, so that may be enlightening for both of us.

 

Michael.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coldstreamer
9 hours ago, travers61 said:

Merlin V12,

The British Army until 1918 did not send soldiers overseas until their 19th Birthday. I don't know your GF's dob, but maybe part of the delay from end of training to embarkation was waiting for him to be 19 ?

 

 

 

 

plenty still went though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coldstreamer
On 30/09/2019 at 11:05, tullybrone said:

Hi,

 

My understanding is that in the early days that men were sent on draft from Windsor to a specific CG Battalion.

 

I don’t know whether that changed later on and men were just sent to the Guards Base Depot and posted to a Battalion as required from there. Some men went to an entrenching Battalion prior to a “Fighting Battalion”.

 

Have you looked for men with service numbers near to your relative to see if a pattern emerges?

 

Steve

 

I wouldnt hold too much store in patterns in the latter part of the war 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
travers61
2 hours ago, Coldstreamer said:

 

plenty still went though

 

Yes, always exceptions,  esp if army did not know they were under 19. i did not mean to be so definate in the comment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...