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GWF1967

"R.H. Harrison" - 36th Coy R.E. Sierra Leone. Help Please

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GWF1967

Hi,

 Could anyone help to identify "Bob" please.

Signed to the back  R.H. Harrison, 36th Coy, Royal Engineers, Freetown, Sierra Leone.  "Bob Harrison, R.E" written on the front.  I can find little online regarding 36th Coy apart from confirming they were in Sierra Leone, as there are a couple of CWGC listings for men who died whilst serving with this unit. 

 I found an MIC on Ancestry for a Sgt/Maj.  R. Harrison, no service number is listed on the card and I can find no good match in the Medal Rolls. This chap is also listed in the 1918 British Army List as R. Harrison. Sergeant Major Machinist. 

 The seller said "Bob" was later Sir Bob, and a Lt Col. this may be taken with a pinch, or a sack of salt.

XXth Brigade RFA (2).jpg

R.H. Bob Harrison. (2).jpg

30850_A001848-01355.jpg

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davidbohl
Posted (edited)

A very informative thesis SIERRA LEONE AND WORLD WAR 1 by Festus Cole here

Bob may have done most of his work early on.

Here's a quote:-

"Much of the effort of the 36th Company, Royal Engineers revolved around construction work and the building of replacements for field guns. By 8th October 1914, they were constructing roads down the west branch of the Pitti river and on the 21st, repaired broken rails for the advance on Edea."

 

There may be an ounce of truth about the Sir Bob, the Army and Navy Gazette, 13th Oct 1900 from the BNA:-

 

749529827_Screenshot2020-05-29at12_04_25.png.01046c6440eda69f06098256ae0af885.png

 

Dave

Edited by davidbohl
clip

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GWF1967
1 hour ago, davidbohl said:

A very informative thesis SIERRA LEONE AND WORLD WAR 1 by Festus Cole here

Bob may have done most of his work early on.

  - There may be an ounce of truth about the Sir Bob, the Army and Navy Gazette, 13th Oct 1900 from the BNA:-

 

Dave

Many thanks for your help and the link Dave. 

 Bob certainly looks like he's done with work in my photo, at least for the afternoon.  I'll have a read. 

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

 

I have had a look at the November 1918 Army List and there is only one RH Harrison, a 2lt MC in the King's Liverpool Regt.

 

This might be of interest, but I don't think he is your man. He ended up as a General , but no WW1 service.

https://www.rct.uk/collection/2501019/lieutenant-colonel-sir-robert-harrison-1837-1931-cb-royal-engineers

 

TR

 

 

 

 

TR

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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helpjpl
davidbohl

Does he look like a man born 1837 ?

BobRE.jpg.895ca6c3ea2b57b94cf99a41b1646198.jpg

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Terry_Reeves

David

 

Nobody is saying he is. The OP has been told that he might be Sir R H Harrison, so this part of the elimination process.

 

TR

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davidbohl

Can't find the Gazette entry for the MSM award to S/Mjr R. Harrison noted on the mic, looked from 1900-1928.

All that came up was a bit early, a Leics Rgt chap

1618073522_Screenshot2020-05-30at15_38_41.png.df98e3f4b7b5b3d5c27460c06bbf6b6f.png

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MaxD
Posted (edited)

 MSM in this case is more likely his appointment title  -  Machinist Sergeant Major - the WO 1 level of that specialism.

 

Max

Edited by MaxD

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davidbohl

Found a couple of pointers to the time frame in Sierra Leone

 

From https://www.reubique.com/27557.htm

 

Sapper ARCHIBALD LINDSAY
Royal Engineers

Sierra Leone (1906-1907)

 

Lindsay's next posting abroad was to Sierra Leone. He departed the U.K. for Africa on the 17thof February 1906 and arrived in the British Protectorate of Sierra Leone on the 27thof February. In Sierra Leone he served with the 36thCompany under the command of Captain C.F.B. Pike, R.E. Other officers in the company at that time included Lieutenants W.G.S. Dobbie and J.R.W. Mansfield. In addition to the 36thCompany, R.E., the Sierra Leone Fortress Company under the command of Major J.I. Lang-Hyde, C.M.G., R.E. also was stationed in West Africa at Tower Hill in Freetown during this period.

Lindsay remained in Sierra Leone for a little over one year, departing for home on the 4thof March 1907 and arriving in the U.K. on the 19thof March 1907. His actual service on the west coast of Africa was allowed to count double towards his pension under Article 1149 of the Pay Warrant of 1906. The shortness of this tour of duty and the extra credit for serving on the west coast of Africa were the result of the pestilential living conditions encountered by Europeans stationed there.

 

And 1914 from Google Books The Great War in West Africa - Page 278 - Google Books Result

1987317156_Screenshot2020-05-30at20_43_46.png.7d1cc8fd2a04ff555200a2d00545423f.png

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Terry_Reeves
Posted (edited)

I have checked the 1911 Overseas census for 36 Company in Sierra Leone and he isn't in that.  The postcard has a divided back  which was introduced in 1902 and will help narrow the date down a bit.

 

As an aside Lt WGS Dobbie mentioned in David's post above, was, in 1918, a Lt Col (General Staff) with Operations Branch at GHQ BEF when it fell to him to send the cease fire signal to all BEF troops on 11.11.18. He later became GOC Malaya  and Governor of Malta 1940-42. His brother-in-law was Orde Wingate of Chindit fame. 

 

I will keep looking.

Edited by Terry_Reeves

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GWF1967
13 minutes ago, Terry_Reeves said:

I have checked the 1911 Overseas census for 36 Company in Sierra Leone and he isn't in that.  The postcard has a divided back  which was introduced in 1902 and will help narrow the date down a bit.

 

 

I will keep looking.

Thanks Terry, and all. 

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davidbohl

1911 Census on FamilySearch picks up a Robert Harrison in R.E, Gillingham.

However it says "plumber", so I assume that is a civilian ?

 

 

Name: Robert Harrison
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1911
Event Place: Gillingham, Kent, England, United Kingdom
County: Kent
Parish: Gillingham
Sub-District: Gillingham
Sub-District Number: 2
District Number: 47
Enumeration District: 32
Registration District: Medway
Age: 23
Marital Status: Single
Marital Status (Original): SINGLE
Occupation: PLUMBER
Institution: ROYAL ENGINEER BARRACKS BROMPTON AND ST MARY'S
Birth Year (Estimated): 1888
Birthplace: Chesire Stockport, Cheshire

 

On a side note the 36th Coy goes back a long way, the newspapers back in 1860 printed "Captain E. O. Hewett, R.E., to proceed to Portsmouth to take the command of the 36th Company Royal Engineers".

 

Dave

 

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MaxD

The trade of plumber is of a piece with his later title as Mechanist Sergeant Major who was the top level over trades such as plumber, pipe fitter, sheet metal worker and welder.

 

Max

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davidbohl

Could this be him then in 1901, a plumber age 14 ?

 

Name: Robert Harrison
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 31 Mar 1901
Event Place: Urmston, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
County: Lancashire
Civil Parish: Urmston
Ecclesiastical Parish: Urmston St Clements
Sub-District: Stretford
Registration District: Barton Upon Irwell
Gender: Male
Age: 14
Occupation: PLUMBER
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Birth Year (Estimated): 1887
Birthplace: Cheshire
Schedule Type: 252
Page Number: 36
Household
Role
Sex
Age
Birthplace
Head
Male
35
Surrey
Wife
Female
34
Cheshire
Robert Harrison
Son
Male
14
Cheshire

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MaxD
1 hour ago, davidbohl said:

1911 Census on FamilySearch picks up a Robert Harrison in R.E, Gillingham.

However it says "plumber", so I assume that is a civilian ?

 

 

The census is of the Royal Engineers  at Brompton  Barracks  his rank is Sapper.

 

Max

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Terry_Reeves

TNA shows that 36 Company personnel are on a supplementary medal for WW1 medals and you are directed to ancestry. The roll number is WO329/2934. 

 

Sierra Leone 36th Company, Royal Engineers miscellaneous: medal rolls. COL/4/3. Pages 1-9. 1914-15 Star

War Office and Air Ministry: Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War. 1914-15 Star: miscellaneous. 1914-15 Star: miscellaneous: medal rolls 1914-15 Star. Sierra Leone 36th Company, Royal Engineers miscellaneous: medal rolls. COL/4/3. Pages 1-9. 1914-15 Star.

Held by:The National Archives, Kew - War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies

Date:1914 - 1920

Reference:WO 329/2934

Subjects:Africa | Air Force | Armed Forces (General Administration) | Army | Conflict | Medals | Operations, battles and campaigns

 

TR

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davidbohl

Could a Sapper in 1911 rise to the ranks of MSM ? Shall I put this chap on the back burner ?

Dave

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Terry_Reeves

David,

 

Put it on the back burner, he would be pushed for sure,. The problem is , that we have no idea if the man on the MIC posted by the OP is the right one.

 

TR

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davidbohl

Still a bit to read about 36th Coy in the British Newspaper Archive, according to the Army and Navy Gazette, after Bermuda they had an unbroken deployment from 1906-1914 in Sierra Leone.

A few more bits attached, and by the way the said postcard is showing as "sold" on that well known selling site, we've already had  a duff postcard https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/281041-id-required-please/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-2881877

 

 

Dave

RE_1899Dec12.png

RE_1899Dec12a.png

RE_1902Aug30.png

RE_1911Nov11.png

RE_1914Jan31.png

RE_1914Jul04.png

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MaxD

Forgive me if this seems rude but you are aware that 36 Coy RE and the West India Fortress Company, later renamed, are different units?

 

Max

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davidbohl

I just picked up on the Fortress Company because it sailed from Liverpool, nothing more really.

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MaxD

My apologies to you!

 

max

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FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)
On 31/05/2020 at 11:01, MaxD said:

The trade of plumber is of a piece with his later title as Mechanist Sergeant Major who was the top level over trades such as plumber, pipe fitter, sheet metal worker and welder.

 

Max


Bang on the money Max!  Not one that we see very often.  I think it was one of the more senior WO appointments if I recall correctly (KRs & RPW), and became WOI in 1915.  It was one of the RE trades that wore the appointment and trade badge of crossed hammer and pincers.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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