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katew

William Bricknell, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

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katew

I wonder if anyone can tell me whether any troops based in India who contracted malaria were sent home to convalesce? My grandfather, William Bricknell was a private with 2/4 battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in WWI serving in India. I have been told that he would have gone out to India in Dec 1914 not returning until after the war ended. He has two regt numbers 4994 - later changed to 201658 - I am told this had to change as, originally volunteers were expected to serve at home, the number was changed to avoid any confusion with regular servicemen with same number - in case of fatality.This Info was obtained from DCLI museum in Bodmin - he would have needed to be resident in Cornwall at the time of joining. I also have his Bible dated 1916 Ferozepore, India.

I've accepted this information until now - whilst looking through newspaper articles I discovered that he was present for his sister's wedding in Topsham, Devon in June 1915, he was their best man and the local museum actually has a photograph of the occasion. He is the only one not looking particularly happy, indeed looks strained and ill - hence my wondering. I know he did contract malaria whilst in India, my mother recounted occasions when he suffered bouts afterwards.

Would he have been sent home for a time? It seems unlikely but I'm having difficulty justifying these conflicting pieces of information

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MaxD

The museum seem to have rather embroidered the reason for the number change.  2/4th was a Territorial Force battalion and in 1917, along with the remainder of the TF, he received a new number. The reason for that is explained here far better than I could:

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/renumbering-of-the-territorial-force-in-1917/

 

His new number is indeed in the block allocated to 4 DLI.

 

Like you, I doubt that he would have been sent back to UK to convalesce, there were convalescence hospitals in India (troops from Mesopotamia were sent there to convalesce).

 

.The difficulty is that while the battalion did go to India in Dec 1914, without his record one cannot be certain that he went then, perhaps he went after the wedding?

 

Max

 

 

 

 

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Steven Broomfield

A Territorial enlistment was for Home Service only, but on the outbreak of war, many (most) men volunteered for Imperial Service. A lot were sent to garrison India in order to relieve regular units for the Western Front. A very good read on the subject is Peter Stanley's book, Terriers in India (Helion, 2018). In it, Dr Stanley states that 889 men were invalidd home in 1915; however, I find it odd that your g-father would have been invalided and then returned, but I guess he might.

 

Regarding numbering, the TF was renumbered after the rules were changed to incorporate Territorials into the 'proper' system - i.e., the right to opt-out was removed and TF enlistments were no longer different to everyone else. I am not sure this was to avoid confusion with Regulars (it might have been, I suppose), but if you look at the Long Long Trail site (link at the top left of the Forum home page), the matter is explained there.

 

Out of interest, the 2/4th DCLI were one of 15 TF Battalions which saw no service outside India - slightly over a third of all sent there.

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katew
22 hours ago, MaxD said:

The museum seem to have rather embroidered the reason for the number change.  2/4th was a Territorial Force battalion and in 1917, along with the remainder of the TF, he received a new number. The reason for that is explained here far better than I could:

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/renumbering-of-the-territorial-force-in-1917/

 

His new number is indeed in the block allocated to 4 DLI.

 

Like you, I doubt that he would have been sent back to UK to convalesce, there were convalescence hospitals in India (troops from Mesopotamia were sent there to convalesce).

 

.The difficulty is that while the battalion did go to India in Dec 1914, without his record one cannot be certain that he went then, perhaps he went after the wedding?

 

Max

 

Thanks for your help with this - maybe he did go out after the wedding in

June 1915 - perhaps that's why he's not looking too happy!

 

 

 

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katew

Thanks both for your replies - I'll try to get hold of the book

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