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14 hours ago, KizmeRD said:

Charles/Andy - thanks for the replies to my question. Even if OSB was centrally allocated, I would hope that attempts were made to post officer candidates to locations within reach of home, so as to permit a brief spell of leave, if possible.

The War Office was not that accommodating.  You might be lucky and this might happen.  In contrast, my great uncle from Hertfordshire was posted to No. 9 OCB at Gailes in Ayrshire!

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1 hour ago, QUEX said:

Later printed versions are 'Form Number 10'.  Used by MO5(a) and its later incarnation MI6(c) for potential Int Corps officers (also interpreters and censors to an extent).  Interview in WO, formal assessment of languages, and character references - the latter obtained by sending forms to the names supplied.  Commissions via this route did not require attendance at OCB - these chaps are not being recruited as leaders of men.

Thank you, I wasn't aware of this and would be most interested to know more.  Is there official chapter and verse on this saying they were exempt from an OCB course?

 

I have been researching a course of 30+ men who were attached to No. 2 OCB for admin purposes while they attended a course in the Persian language at Cambridge over the winter of 1916/17.

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23 hours ago, JMB1943 said:

The grades of most candidates seem to average at “Good”, and some candidates are actually described as “Average Cadet”.

 

1) Does this mean “holds his own in the class” or is this an example of damning with faint praise? 

(Perhaps I should be less cynical!)

2) Will the scope of your thesis allow you to assess the relative subsequent success, or lack thereof, of the high-fliers identified at the OCB level?

 

From what I have seen so far, 'Good' is probably the modal/median response.  I should be able to quantify the frequency in due course.

 

Re 1) good question, I don't know.  Possibly both. I have certainly read a few with more detailed comments where there is a degree of damning with faint praise

 

Re 2) that's what I intend to do.  I have found a few reports (I'd estimate at 5% or less) where the cadet clearly excelled.  I due course I will look them up to ascertain their fates, gallantry awards etc.  Some of the OCBs have rolls of the fallen and gallantry awards both pre and post the OCB course

 

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4 hours ago, Charles Fair said:

Thank you, I wasn't aware of this and would be most interested to know more.  Is there official chapter and verse on this saying they were exempt from an OCB course?

 

I have been researching a course of 30+ men who were attached to No. 2 OCB for admin purposes while they attended a course in the Persian language at Cambridge over the winter of 1916/17.

Charles,

 

never seen 'chapter and verse', like many aspects of the Int Corps documentation is slim - that's why I'm asking in another thread about Gen v Spec List.

 

But they don't - usual procedure if MO5a/MI6c give them the OK is MS are asked to gazette them and AG4 to issue travel instructions for BEF - increasingly from late '15 they go through an 8 week course in UK run by GHQ HF intended to fit them for service in the Int Corps.  Best published work on this subject is Ch3  of Jim Beach's 'Haig's Intelligence'. Western Front centric, obviously, and biased to second half of war but still gives a good idea of the evolution of officer management in the Int Corps.

 

[of course you get guys coming into the Int Corps who have already been commissioned through the OCB system, but that's obviously a different thing to going through OCB to secure an Int Corps/Gen List commission]

 

V interested in the ref to language training (for some reason the Persian and Cambs thing rings a vague bell). There's generally no ab initio language training - you rely on getting people who speak the language and giving some instruction in specialised military vocabulary and jargon.  The example of Vedova in late '15 that sparked this exchange is a classic example of the type from Levantine official or mercantile circles that you use for Turkish, Arabic, etc.  

 

I don't think the Int Corps and the associated interpreters and censors are unique in this - pretty sure I've seen guys commissioned in other specialities e.g. RE(ROD) without going through OCB.  But of course policy may vary over time.

 

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Thanks, I have been meaning to dig out the Beach book to look at that.  I think I have a pdf of his PhD thesis somewhere.

 

The Persian Language course was to train interpreters to serve with the South Persian Rifles.  It seems there was at least 1 interpreter for each unit.  The SPR were raised by Brigadier-General Sir Percy Sykes, a regular soldier who had travelled extensively in Persia. He was also a scholar, having written four books on the history and geography of Persia and his travels there by 1915.

 

Between 6 September 1916 and 26 April 1917 23 cadets were attached to B Company 'for a course of study in the Persian language under Professor EG Browne’ of Pembroke College. Another 10 cadets on this course were billeted with C Company in Emmanuel College.  Edward Browne had matriculated at Pembroke in 1879 and was appointed a Fellow in 1887. He was ‘an Oriental scholar of international repute’ and had travelled in Persia in 1887-8. There he ‘mixed with Persians, mystics, dervishes and Kalandars, gaining their confidence in a way hitherto unparalleled.’ (Source: Cambridge Alumni Database.) Browne was University Lecturer in Persian, 1888-1902 and Sir Thomas Adams Professor of Arabic, 1902-26. 

 

It seems the OCB system and the associated admin apparatus of SD3 in the War Office acted as a de facto 'clearing house' looking for specific skills in the potential officers either already in the OCB system or being lined up for it.  Not just languages, but also skills like photography for RFC/RAF photographic officers.

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Charles,

 

thank you - that's a new one to me.  Every day's a school day.

 

Have you looked at 'History of the Directorate of Organisation' (TNA WO162/6) which has lots about the evolution of personnel management? - couldn't swear to it having anything about the OCB system, because I've never looked for that, but it is a treasure trove. There's also 'Interim report of Major General Money's committee on Organisation Directorate' (TNA WO33/3129) - I know this talks about something called AG2(o) that maintained a card index of officer's qualification, but I have yet to see it.

 

 

Q

 

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Yes, I've looked at both of those, very helpful.  I need to go back and revisit so I can see how it related to the SD3 branch of the WO.

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Andy may have some info on S/5708 Rfn Egbert Fred VEDOVA, 7/RB, above.

 

His MIC shows he was commissioned into the Interpreter & Intelligence Corps as an Interpreter.  He relinquished his commission from the General List on 16 May 1919.

Commissioned 27 Nov 1915: LG Issue 29389, 30 Nov 1915, p.12039

Promoted to t/Lieutenant 01 Jun 1917: LG Issue 30373, 06 Nov 1917, p.11576

Relinquishes commission 16 May 1919: LG Issue 31571, 26 Sep 1919, p.11989

 

S/5079 was Rfn Lionel Homer Christian VEDOVA, 7/RB, who was KiA 02 Jul 1915.  They both went out on 20 May 1915, so were 7/RB originals.

 

Lionel's MIC mentions his father Oscar MF Vedova, with a correspondence address of the British Embassy in Constantinople, but his SDGW entry has residence as Smyrna.  Enlistment was London.

 

QUEX's form for Egbert from WO M.O.5(a) lists his father as Prof. Victor A Vedova in Smyrna. 


Nevertheless, with the same unusual surname and consecutive RB service numbers, it looks like they were relations (cousins?) who enlisted together into 7/RB.

 

Egbert's language proficiencies point to a Greek background rather than a Turkish.

 

I was hoping to get a date on when Egbert left 7/RB to give Charles a timeline for repatriation > training > commission.  Unfortunately the 7/RB War Diary for July 1915 is not in the Ancestry set.  Andy may have the missing month :ph34r:  No mention in any of the other months between May 1915 (Embarkation) and Nov 1915 (Commission).  The only date on the form from WO M.O.5(a) is 15 Oct 1915.

 

Mark

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stiletto_33853

Hi Mark,

Are you back at home after the holidays, I will try ringing you tomorrow.

I believe the following will give you the information you seek, and yes Greek was his strong point, both speaking and able to write in Greek, Turkish he could speak well but not write.

DSC08123.jpg

DSC08118.jpg

DSC08111.jpg

DSC08113.jpg

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17 hours ago, Charles Fair said:

Yes, I've looked at both of those, very helpful.  I need to go back and revisit so I can see how it related to the SD3 branch of the WO.

And I need to trawl them again for anything Int Corps related.

 

Looking at my notes I can find only one reference to SD3 for the officers I've looked at so far.  HDG ADDISON (TNA WO339/56043) - joins 5 OCB in Mar 16 (don't know where from). In Sep 16 SD3 ask OCB for his status. It emerges that he had been commissioned 2/Lt Gen List on 8 Aug 16 - this was for service with the Home Defence Int Corps on the authority of GHQ HF.  That's it.

 

HD Int Corps was a pure GHQ HF affair - MO5a/MI6c dealt with personnel for overseas Int Corps (plural).

 

Edit to add to an ambiguous late night post - my reading is that Addington is going through 'normal' OCB process and is somehow 'poached' by GHQ HF. Not the Int Corps greatest bargain, career ends in court martial in Constantinople.

 

I'll keep an eye open for SD3 and OCB and flag up anything I find

 

Q

 

 

Edited by QUEX
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40 minutes ago, MBrockway said:

Andy may have some info on S/5708 Rfn Egbert Fred VEDOVA, 7/RB, above.

 

His MIC shows he was commissioned into the Interpreter & Intelligence Corps as an Interpreter.  He relinquished his commission from the General List on 16 May 1919.

Commissioned 27 Nov 1915: LG Issue 29389, 30 Nov 1915, p.12039

Promoted to t/Lieutenant 01 Jun 1917: LG Issue 30373, 06 Nov 1917, p.11576

Relinquishes commission 16 May 1919: LG Issue 31571, 26 Sep 1919, p.11989

 

S/5079 was Rfn Lionel Homer Christian VEDOVA, 7/RB, who was KiA 02 Jul 1915.  They both went out on 20 May 1915, so were 7/RB originals.

 

Lionel's MIC mentions his father Oscar MF Vedova, with a correspondence address of the British Embassy in Constantinople, but his SDGW entry has residence as Smyrna.  Enlistment was London.

 

QUEX's form for Egbert from WO M.O.5(a) lists his father as Prof. Victor A Vedova in Smyrna. 


Nevertheless, with the same unusual surname and consecutive RB service numbers, it looks like they were relations (cousins?) who enlisted together into 7/RB.

 

Egbert's language proficiencies point to a Greek background rather than a Turkish.

 

I was hoping to get a date on when Egbert left 7/RB to give Charles a timeline for repatriation > training > commission.  Unfortunately the 7/RB War Diary for July 1915 is not in the Ancestry set.  Andy may have the missing month :ph34r:  No mention in any of the other months between May 1915 (Embarkation) and Nov 1915 (Commission).  The only date on the form from WO M.O.5(a) is 15 Oct 1915.

 

Mark

One of the things I've become aware of is the sizeable British official and commercial presence in the Levant - many from families long present in the region.  Quite a few examples of brothers/cousins from these families ending up in intelligence and/or interpreting jobs.  And I have to think in a couple of cases mercantile families with a widespread presence round the Med constituted ready made collection networks.

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9 hours ago, stiletto_33853 said:

Hi Mark,

Are you back at home after the holidays, I will try ringing you tomorrow.

Still in Argyll Andy.  Home next week. Look forward to speaking - happy New Year!

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Thanks both for the extra detail on this interesting case.

 

Egbert was repatriated on 11 Jul 1915 - nine days after Lionel's death.  His presence must have been a comfort to the family.  At least Egbert was spared the Hooge liquid fire attack and counter-attack at the end of the month.

 

The signature for the first two entries in Egbert's Service History is Major H.R. Addington, KRRC, who is one of the 'dug out' officers manning the Rifles Depot listed in the 1920 KRRC Chronicle article on same.

 

The KRRC and the RB definitely attracted recruits returning from Britain's world-wide sphere of influence - Rhodesia, Ceylon, Canada, USA, Burma etc.

 

Mark

 

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

Here is a just-readable Confidential R778549312_CondidentialReportIOCOTCPD.Aylward.jpg.c1f1565677af5d4002b7ce26f67b6294.jpgIMG_20190913_0003.jpg.a947e785c798c074c04b672eca2ba119.jpg1590980598_BWMLieut.P.D.Aylward.jpg.593b34f9b4259325ad6b3843309b4eed.jpgeport from the Inns of Court OTC for a quite elderly Solicitor, Percy Danford Aylward: subsequently WiA in 1918.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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14 hours ago, QUEX said:

Looking at my notes I can find only one reference to SD3 for the officers I've looked at so far.  HDG ADDISON (TNA WO339/56043) - joins 5 OCB in Mar 16 (don't know where from). In Sep 16 SD3 ask OCB for his status. It emerges that he had been commissioned 2/Lt Gen List on 8 Aug 16 - this was for service with the Home Defence Int Corps on the authority of GHQ HF.  That's it.

Thank you for this.  Addison is listed here in Blunderbuss, the magazine of No. 5 OCB. (No. 1, July 1916).  He doesn't appear elsewhere in it. It doesn't say where he came from unfortunately.

IMG_8057.JPG

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14 hours ago, QUEX said:

One of the things I've become aware of is the sizeable British official and commercial presence in the Levant - many from families long present in the region.  Quite a few examples of brothers/cousins from these families ending up in intelligence and/or interpreting jobs.  And I have to think in a couple of cases mercantile families with a widespread presence round the Med constituted ready made collection networks.

 

A few of them ended up on the Persian language course at Cambridge.  Having some knowledge of a language from the region presumably demonstrated aptitude.

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5 hours ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

Here is a just-readable Confidential Report from the Inns of Court OTC for a quite elderly Solicitor, Percy Danford Aylward: subsequently WiA in 1918.

Kim, many thanks for this.  I see his file reference on TNA website

 

Andy, thank you for the three posted today.

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On 16/12/2019 at 15:59, EastSurrey said:

T.Mc.C.Weir Argylls WO374/72948

 

Michael - I managed to look at most of these earlier today.  Weir's was of particular interest.  It seems he was commissioned in Nov 1915, thereby missing the OCB system.  (Its just possible he could have attended a month long post-commissioning course at a School of Instruction in the UK before these were phased out.)

 

However, he attended a course at No, 1 School of Instruction for Officers at Brocton Camp Staffs for two months between May - July 1918.  Its a post-commissioning course.  It is clearly for lieutenants/captains to give them the skills to be effective company commanders.  (NB the word 'syndicate' which implies a lot of TEWTS.) 

 

The form itself and some of the commentary is similar to that used by the Senior Officers School at Aldershot which equipped Majors and newly appointed Lt-Colonels with the skills to command a battalion.

 

One thing I will be looking at is continuation training for junior officers once they had passed out from an OCB.  How did the OCB system relate to in-theatre training?  Was this thought about in a 'joined up' way?  SD3 at the War Office would have developed policy in this area.

IMG_0640.JPG

Edited by Charles Fair
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