Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Acknown

SPR ERNEST CANNON EAMES RE

Recommended Posts

Acknown

I have conducted a comprehensive review of this man's service and happily, his service record survives: click here (Ancestry). I can find his MIC and Medal Roll, but neither a pension record, nor an absent voters card.

It seems that he joined the Devonshire Fortress Royal Engineers on 04 Nov 15 stating that he was 19 years old; he was really 17. His initial number was 1905, but at some stage, this was changed to 515025. His record is annotated with '2/2' which I believe indicates that he was in the UK-only element of the No. 2 (Exeter) Company initially. It seems he was already a 'fitter' on enlistment. I suspect that he was employed as such in the Army.
Frustratingly, there is no mention of which unit he joined to go overseas. It could have been the deployable element of his initial unit, or a new unit altogether. That said:

  • He went to France 'with his unit' on 14 Mar 17.
  • He was admitted to hospital from 01 to 08 Sep 17. The cause is not recorded.
  • On 24 Nov 17, he was awarded a ‘1st G.C. Badge’. 
  • He took 14 days leave, presumably at home, on 17 Aug 18.
  • He returned to the UK on 11 Jun 19 with 'a cadre' - perhaps part of his unit.
  • He was discharged from service at North Camp, Ripon on 18 Jun 19, whilst he was serving in '568 AT Company'. He was still described as being RE.

Can anyone supply more? Particularly what unit he was in on deployment. Could he have been in the 568 AT Company (ASC) though a sapper?

Best wishes,

Acknown

Edited by Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Ackown

 

.

1. His first good conduct badge was for 2 years service without being subjected to any formal disciplinary action.

 

2. His unit was actually 568 (Devon) Army Troops Company RE. A number of these AT Companies were made up from Fortress company units. There is a War Diary for them in the TNA catalogue.  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=568+Army+Troops+company+AND+WO95. His number was issued in 1917 when the TF was renumbered.

 

TR

 

 

 

Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
clk

Hi Acknown,

 

11 minutes ago, Acknown said:

Could he have been in the 568 AT Company (ASC) though a sapper?

 

My guess would be...link (568 Devon Army Troop Company ( 1/2 Devon ))
 

Regards

Chris

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Terry and Chris,

Great, very many thanks.

Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

As this has proved a fruitful endeavour, I'll post Ernest's father here as well in the hope of more expert advice.

At some stage (undated) Ernest's record shows his NOK as being his father, William Henry Eames of 7th Labour Battalion RE, who was serving in France. I think this is 118838, later 293430, Pnr Eames. If so, he deployed to France on 18 Sep 15, but was discharged on 02 Apr 18 due to sickness. He was awarded a SWB. He was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the BWM and VM. His units are given as the 7th Labour Battalion RE, then the 623 HSE Company Labour Corps, a UK-based unit and perhaps where he was held until discharge.

William was born in 1862. This would have made him about 53 years of age in 1915. My questions:

  • Does that all add up?
  • Any comment on William's age?
  • I have found the battalion's WD on the NA site for Sep 15 to May 17: click here. Can anyone find the one after? And might it be on Ancestry?

Best wishes,

Acknown

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaxD

A couple of answers.  The RE Labour Battalions were initially formed starting in August 1915 from men already serving with labouring experience as well as new volunteers .By November 1915 there were 11 such battalions in France

 

The RE  Labour Battalions in France were incorporated into the newly formed Labour Corps in June  1917 (later than the main formation) becoming numbered companies 700-711 (presumably 7 Bn became 706 Company). Hence no further diary.  (Source - No Labour No battle).

 

His medal card indicates he was a serving Royal Engineer Pioneer when he went to France in Sept 1915 which suggests he transferred or enlisted before the move to France.  His Labour Corps number would have been allocated in the Jun 1917 time frame.

 

Age - perhaps a soldier with pre-war service, accepted as a volunteer.   The source has an anecdote about 5 RE Labour Battalion on formation indicating men of ages 35-50.

 

Max

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Thanks, Max. Like his son, he may have been economical with the truth regarding his age, if he was a volunteer. 

Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaxD

 The 200 HS(E) Companies were formed July/August 1917 so whether he actually made it while overseas into the successor Labour Corps company to 7 RE Labour Battalion or went back to UK before that event we don't know as we don't have his record.  The source says that there are no records remaining of the HS(E) Companies so only by luck would you find where 623  Company was employed in UK.(or a real expert may know!!).  His SWB record that you have doesn't mention 706 (if that is what is was) Company.

 

Whatever, good for him for volunteering for the less glamorous end of the service at 53!

 

Max

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Thanks again, Max. Very good of you.

Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
clk

Hi,

 

Unfortunately I don't have access, but Fold3 appear to have a pension record (link), which might give a pointer to his SWB 'sickness' discharge reason.

image.png.b2e1209ce912df153cadb8594e40c5f7.png

 

Regards

Chris

 

Edit:

I also saw a couple of service records for men who served with the 7th Labour Battalion RE with numbers near to his 118838 number, and were subsequently transferred to the Labour Corps where they were renumbered near to his 293430 number.

 

118852/293435 Hughes - aged 52 in December 1918

118854/293436 Sevens - aged 40 in September 1915

118862/293428 Shirley - aged 50 in January 1918

Edited by clk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Many thanks, Chris.

I have access to Ancestry pension records via WFA and couldn't discover it. Revitalised by your prompt, I've looked again and now found it. It throws up another mystery. William is carded as 293430, Pte, Labour Corps. The DOB's correct as is the address, but he is listed as 'single' (he was married with at least six children) and it states: 'Alias Hains, late RHA, Gnr, 1425'. His ailment was 'functional nervous disease, formally myalgia'. I think it shows that he was awarded a pension from Apr 18 which was reviewed regularly, ending at 60% in Feb 24.

My research so far has him as previously 118838. His MIC has this number and 293430 - RE and Labour. 1425 is a new one. My source mentions that William might have been a Chelsea Pensioner, but lived in Devon. I can't find anything on that.

I've had a look for a 1425 Eames or Haines without success. If anyone can unearth something, I'd be most grateful. I suspect it denotes pre-war service, which he had left before joining up again as a Spr, probably in 1915.

Acknown

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brianmorris547

Acknown

I read the 1916 WDs of the RE Labour Bns recently at Kew and downloaded those for No 1, 6 and & 7. The WD for 7 Labour Bn (WO 95/337/7) only names one man who was awarded the MM and five who were awarded the MSM. Five of the six have numbers 118xxx and the other is a 119xxx.

In the Service Record of 2129 William Henry Groves, Durham Light Infantry is a Casualty List (list number obscure) of REs admitted to hospital in the UK in February 1916. One is 120083 Pnr Eames A (Allan). His Unit is shown as 8 Lab Bn.

The only other Eames I have is 46652 Eames, F C named in the 1916 WD of 152 FC and also in the Times Official Casualty List 23/12/1916 under RE wounded.

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaxD

I had been thinking of much the same scenario, a time served pre-war soldier who volunteered anew in 1915 when he opportunity for older men arose.  1425 won't of course appear on his Great War medal records and, like you I find no record pre-war.   

 

Max

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Very many thanks to everyone. I think that's as far as I need to go for my purposes, unless anyone can help here:

Nevertheless, I have one last question. I assume that the Devonshire Fortress Royal Engineers would have worn a RE cap badge, but is there any chance that pre-war and in 1914, they wore the Devonshire Regiment badge?

Best wishes,

Acknown

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry_Reeves

Acknown

 

Only the RE cap badge although they did become the Devon and Cornwall Fortress Company RE and served in WW2 as such.

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Thanks, Terry. I have group photo of him with a Devonshire Regiment badge. All those in the photo are very young, including the sergeant, and have no medals. I'm pretty sure it's a pre-war or 1914 cadet force photo. That's why I'm trying to discover if Devon had a Cadet Battalion in those times.

Best wishes,

Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaxD

Innumerable references in pre war newspapers to cadets in Devon.  Picking out Western Times 11 Dec 1913 reporting the formation, from four existing companies, three of Devons and one RE, of 1st Territorial Cadet Battalion Devonshire.  Do you know where the photo was likely to have been taken? 

 

Max

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Thanks, Max. Photo is only scrap of original as allegedly, the lads could only afford so many copies! I haven't permission to publish, but I'm almost certain I'm right.

Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaxD

Indeed, the number of references indicates many cadet units, usually affiliated to Territorial Force units.  The unit is likely to have been local to where he lived - where was that, there may be reference to a specific unit.

 

Max

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Thanks, Max. Totnes.

Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaxD

Random mentions in the 1910 to 1919 period (I only have access to the few newspapers on Findmypast, there will be more at the British Library)  Totnes Territorial Cadet Corps, parading June 1916  Camp in August 1918 at Paignton Totnes Cadets called 5th Devons.  Not many reports but enough to confirm there were Devon Regiment badged cadets in Totnes.

 

Max 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Max,

Many thanks, that's really useful.

Acknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ddycher
Acknown
 
The Totnes Cadet Company was recognized by Army Order 225/15
Of 21st May 1915. It was affiliated to the 5th Devons and led by a Capt. Brock, With Lieut Warren and Rev. J. Learmount. Capt (Dr.) W. Chapman attached to the Company. December 1915. It was disbanded under Army Order 493/21
 
I will see if I have anything else and get back to you. 
 
regards
Dave
Edited by ddycher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Acknown

Dave,

That's great, many thanks. It's wonderful to see these stories unfold as we all have a go at them!

Acknown

Edited by Acknown

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...