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Royal Engineers


Gail
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44 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

You can download the war diaries free of charge from the National Archives website. You have to register first then get the download. The diaries give you the day to day activities of the battalion.

Michelle 

Edit-cross post with Ray 

Hi Michelle

 

Thanks for this. I have download them and a quick glance shows it ends on 31st Oct 1915. Where would he have gone then? Do you think he could have stayed in France If so how do I find out 

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30 minutes ago, Gail said:

This is great since we had this for 1933 and he was still there in about 1951 when we think he moved to 18 mill road Yiewsley then to residential car in 1956(?) Breakspear House Harefield but of course this has now closed and no records

 

His death cert ( if it is the right one)  records say he was a retired soldier but the electroral records say he was a public works council contractor

 

We think he was then buried in Abney park Cemetary or Greenford Park in Stoke Newington but we cant find the actual spot(resting place) 

 

Cant understand why he did not return to Bristol since he had 12 other siblings but like I said my grandad was born 30 years after him

Also we have a record of a J Flowers in the 4th Stationery Hospital admitted with appendicitis on 21/9/15 and discharged to duty 6th October 1915 

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28 minutes ago, Gail said:

Thanks for this. I have download them and a quick glance shows it ends on 31st Oct 1915. Where would he have gone then? Do you think he could have stayed in France If so how do I find out 

As Terry Reeves previous reply

transferred to Royal Engineers late 1915

 

1 hour ago, Terry_Reeves said:

His transfer to the RE would have taken place in late 1915 or very early 1916. Interestingly there are 7 men in his RE number range that all transferred to the RE at the same time some from 1st and 2nd Bn Gloucesters. Given that they all held the rank of sapper leads me to speculate that they might have been battalion signallers who were transferred to the RE Signal Service. Just a guess.

 

TR

 

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15 hours ago, ajsmith said:

His service number indicates he joined the Gloucesters in early 1911. The second battalion, with whom he appears to be serving, were stationed in China at the outbreak of war entering theatre in France in December 1914. What makes you think he was at Horfield?

Hi Tony  What makes you think he went to China?

 

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13 hours ago, RaySearching said:

 

As Terry Reeves previous reply

transferred to Royal Engineers late 1915

 

 

Ah I understand now. So sorry for my lack of knowledge about all the terminology etc 

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The regular British Army did not stay exclusively in the UK in peacetime, but were used in far flung corners of the world, policing the Empire. The 2nd Glosters were stationed in China, as previously stated. 

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1 hour ago, Michelle Young said:

The regular British Army did not stay exclusively in the UK in peacetime, but were used in far flung corners of the world, policing the Empire. The 2nd Glosters were stationed in China, as previously stated. 

Thank you. Another avenue to try to chase! So if Im getting this correct he would have signed up, perhaps gone to china then from Southampton to Le Harve and back at the end of 1915. He then seemed to transfer to the Royal Engineers until 1919. I will need to try and find if he went to China. Thank you so much

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Hi Gail,

I think that Jesse may have been transferred from the Gloucestershire Regiment to 181 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers.

The medal roll (previously linked up thread), shows that 91864 Gardener through to 91873 Beard had previous service with the Gloucestershire Regiment. There are surviving service files for a couple of the men in that range.

91865 Harding - record shows:

image.png.1d51a7a6dd68a901dcf9115f49e3fa33.png

91873 Beard - record shows:

image.png.92b78fdf646379092ae69a83f5f3ec40.png

image.png.374dcd28e12ed213805544945d406dd5.png
All images sourced from Findmypast

2/Gloucestershire were part of 81 Infantry Brigade (in 27 Division). There does not appear to be any reference to the "authority" in the Brigade HQ war diary though. 

There is also a 91870 Lewis who has a hospital admission/discharge record from September 1916 which notes him as being in 181 Tunnelling Company, RE,

Regards
Chris

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13 minutes ago, clk said:

Hi Gail,

I think that Jesse may have been transferred from the Gloucestershire Regiment to 181 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers.

The medal roll (previously linked up thread), shows that 91864 Gardener through to 91873 Beard had previous service with the Gloucestershire Regiment. There are surviving service files for a couple of the men in that range.

91865 Harding - record shows:

image.png.1d51a7a6dd68a901dcf9115f49e3fa33.png

91873 Beard - record shows:

image.png.92b78fdf646379092ae69a83f5f3ec40.png

image.png.374dcd28e12ed213805544945d406dd5.png
All images sourced from Findmypast

2/Gloucestershire were part of 81 Infantry Brigade (in 27 Division). There does not appear to be any reference to the "authority" in the Brigade HQ war diary though. 

There is also a 91870 Lewis who has a hospital admission/discharge record from September 1916 which notes him as being in 181 Tunnelling Company, RE,

Regards
Chris

This is all great and very interesting which I thank you you for. Its all very confusing ***. Its being even more difficult to find where he is buried!

 

Its interesting also in the fact that he was a coalminer prior to enlistment so tunelling sounds about right for him

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1 hour ago, clk said:

Hi Gail,

I think that Jesse may have been transferred from the Gloucestershire Regiment to 181 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers.

The medal roll (previously linked up thread), shows that 91864 Gardener through to 91873 Beard had previous service with the Gloucestershire Regiment. There are surviving service files for a couple of the men in that range.

91865 Harding - record shows:

image.png.1d51a7a6dd68a901dcf9115f49e3fa33.png

91873 Beard - record shows:

image.png.92b78fdf646379092ae69a83f5f3ec40.png

image.png.374dcd28e12ed213805544945d406dd5.png
All images sourced from Findmypast

2/Gloucestershire were part of 81 Infantry Brigade (in 27 Division). There does not appear to be any reference to the "authority" in the Brigade HQ war diary though. 

There is also a 91870 Lewis who has a hospital admission/discharge record from September 1916 which notes him as being in 181 Tunnelling Company, RE,

Regards
Chris

Chris

The WD of 181 TC (WO 95/405/3) records that the Co was formed on 24/08/1915 at Steenwerck. On 26/08/1915, "Co to be raised from 8 Div and 27 Div for 3 Corps work". On 15/09/1915, "Ordered by 27 Div to return all their men - Refused". 

Other ranks, excluding Honours, are not named.

Brian

Edited by brianmorris547
typo
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19 minutes ago, brianmorris547 said:

Chris

The WD of 181 TC (WO 95/405/3) records that the Co was formed on 24/08/1915 at Steenwerck. On 26/08/1915, "Co to be raised from 8 Div and 27 Div for 3 Corps work". On 15/09/1915, "Ordered by 27 Div to return all their men - Refused". 

Other ranks, excluding Honours, are not named.

Brian

Sorry guys have no idea what the above means  So sorry. But i'm learning 

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26 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

Thank you so much

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Hi Gail,

WO 95/405/3 is the reference number for the war diary of 181 Tunnelling Company at the National Archives. It is currently available (after a straight forward no cost registration - click here) to download free of charge - link. After being transferred to the RE, we don't know if Jesse remained with the same unit, or if he was later posted elsewhere within the RE. If he did remain with them, then there are other diaries for different time periods - see here

Regards
Chris

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2 hours ago, Gail said:

This is all great and very interesting which I thank you you for. Its all very confusing ***. Its being even more difficult to find where he is buried!

 

Its interesting also in the fact that he was a coalminer prior to enlistment so tunelling sounds about right for him

Tunnelling was a specialist skill and former miners (and sewer tunnel diggers) were absolute experts at it Gail and so a routine order went out for suitably experienced men to transfer to the RE Tunnelling companies.  There was a lot less military pomp and polishing in such units so they were a not unattractive place to go, especially for more mature and seasoned men.  Once there it’s unlikely that he would have transferred elsewhere unless wounded or disabled by sickness.  There was a special technique used by the experienced former miners when digging tunnels called “clay kicking”.  The tunnellers lay on a plank at 45 degrees, angled away from the working face, and inserted the digging tool, which had a cuplike rounded end, between their legs with their feet.  Turning the tool manually, a section of soil was silently removed, which was then shovelled into sandbags and passed out of the tunnel through a chain of men.  In this way a steady progress could be made and the tunnel advanced quickly and efficiently.  See: 

 

5AD0DBB1-BE21-43D8-B128-101AC0047DE5.jpeg

E90FBA7B-D681-4F40-9D08-E474E407E3EA.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, clk said:

Hi Gail,

WO 95/405/3 is the reference number for the war diary of 181 Tunnelling Company at the National Archives. It is currently available (after a straight forward no cost registration - click here) to download free of charge - link. After being transferred to the RE, we don't know if Jesse remained with the same unit, or if he was later posted elsewhere within the RE. If he did remain with them, then there are other diaries for different time periods - see here

Regards
Chris

Thanks Chris. Just downloaded it for bedtime reading x

56 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Tunnelling was a specialist skill and former miners (and sewer tunnel diggers) were absolute experts at it Gail and so a routine order went out for suitably experienced men to transfer to the RE Tunnelling companies.  There was a lot less military pomp and polishing in such units so they were a not unattractive place to go, especially for more mature and seasoned men.  Once there it’s unlikely that he would have transferred elsewhere unless wounded or disabled by sickness.  There was a special technique used by the experienced former miners when digging tunnels called “clay kicking”.  The tunnellers lay on a plank at 45 degrees, angled away from the working face, and inserted the digging tool, which had a cuplike rounded end, between their legs with their feet.  Turning the tool manually, a section of soil was silently removed, which was then shovelled into sandbags and passed out of the tunnel through a chain of men.  In this way a steady progress could be made and the tunnel advanced quickly and efficiently.  See: 

 

5AD0DBB1-BE21-43D8-B128-101AC0047DE5.jpeg

E90FBA7B-D681-4F40-9D08-E474E407E3EA.jpeg

What a fascinating video. Thank you so much. He certainly worked for a living 

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I think we need to careful that he was a tunneller. The 1911 census shows a man of the same name at Horsfield Barracks, Bristol - a regular soldier which fits with Gail’s description. Do we know what his trade, if any, was before enlistment?

His rank in the RE was that of Sapper, which means he had a trade that the RE recognised on or after his transfer. Had he not had such a trade he would have been graded as Pioneer.  It may be in this case he could have volunteered as a tunnellers mate, a pioneers rank,  and perhaps graduated to sapper later, but we have no proof. 

I am not saying that the tunneller thesis is wrong, but it would be unusual for several men in the same battalion to be transferred consecutively in this particular trade from a regular infantry company.

TR

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think you’re right that there needs to be proof Terry, although if he was genuinely a former miner, then it seems the most likely reason for an experienced former regular infantry soldier to be transferred to the Royal Engineers.  This all assuming that I’ve correctly understood the background of course, as I’ve come to the thread quite late on.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Gail,

I think Jesse's case nicely illustrates the first rule of military history research, which states that you must first of all nail down the family history first. Until you get certain definite facts to nail down his life story, every clue found becomes difficult to prove as there are so many variables to consider.

The first fact that needs to be proven is his date of birth.

23 hours ago, Gail said:

The only thing we know is he was born on 25th April 1886

How exactly do you know that? In your first post, you state "Born abt 1888".
Later you say "DOB 24/41888, He was born in Clutton Bristol".
I can see John & Jemima Flower in 1891 (April 5th) at Paulton, with 2 year old Jesse, which is more in keeping with an 1888-89 birth than 1886.

The reason for being pedantic is to try to find or exclude other life events, as there are marriages in the early 1900s that could be relevant.
Do you have a birth certificate for him, or a definite link to a birth registration? If so, is it as Flower/s, or is it as something else?

 

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37 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Gail,

I think Jesse's case nicely illustrates the first rule of military history research, which states that you must first of all nail down the family history first. Until you get certain definite facts to nail down his life story, every clue found becomes difficult to prove as there are so many variables to consider.

The first fact that needs to be proven is his date of birth.

How exactly do you know that? In your first post, you state "Born abt 1888".
Later you say "DOB 24/41888, He was born in Clutton Bristol".
I can see John & Jemima Flower in 1891 (April 5th) at Paulton, with 2 year old Jesse, which is more in keeping with an 1888-89 birth than 1886.

The reason for being pedantic is to try to find or exclude other life events, as there are marriages in the early 1900s that could be relevant.
Do you have a birth certificate for him, or a definite link to a birth registration? If so, is it as Flower/s, or is it as something else?

 

Hi You have rhe right grandparents since he was born out of wedlock. The oldest of 13 children and he never knew the other 12. His birth certificate is elijah jesse flower but he went through life as jesse and dies as elijah jesse flower(s)  we dont have anyone who knew him and he never married. His grandmother dies when he was at war so had no reason to go back to the gloucester bristol area. I do have this attachment. He then as far as we know stayed in the Yiewsley area and dies in a residential home in 1964. BREAKSPEAR HOUSE  and death cert says retired military. The only other thing us that he us mentioned as a public works contractor in 1933 but we loose him between the end of the war that date. 

IMG-20210913-WA0031.jpeg

39 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Gail,

I think Jesse's case nicely illustrates the first rule of military history research, which states that you must first of all nail down the family history first. Until you get certain definite facts to nail down his life story, every clue found becomes difficult to prove as there are so many variables to consider.

The first fact that needs to be proven is his date of birth.

How exactly do you know that? In your first post, you state "Born abt 1888".
Later you say "DOB 24/41888, He was born in Clutton Bristol".
I can see John & Jemima Flower in 1891 (April 5th) at Paulton, with 2 year old Jesse, which is more in keeping with an 1888-89 birth than 1886.

The reason for being pedantic is to try to find or exclude other life events, as there are marriages in the early 1900s that could be relevant.
Do you have a birth certificate for him, or a definite link to a birth registration? If so, is it as Flower/s, or is it as something else?

 

 

1 minute ago, Gail said:

Hi You have rhe right grandparents since he was born out of wedlock. The oldest of 13 children and he never knew the other 12. His birth certificate is elijah jesse flower but he went through life as jesse and dies as elijah jesse flower(s)  we dont have anyone who knew him and he never married. His grandmother dies when he was at war so had no reason to go back to the gloucester bristol area. I do have this attachment. He then as far as we know stayed in the Yiewsley area and dies in a residential home in 1964. BREAKSPEAR HOUSE  and death cert says retired military. The only other thing us that he us mentioned as a public works contractor in 1933 but we loose him between the end of the war that date. 

 

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44 minutes ago, Gail said:

I do have this attachment

Hi Gail,

To me your attachment, above, about J E Flower's Great War appears to have come from The National Roll of the Great War within which I believe entries were paid for by members of the public [former servicemen or their families]/by subscription and was unlikely to be verified so it may perhaps have contained original errors or have picked them up along the way.

Thus the entry will need careful cross-checking to establish its accuracy - just a caution, not an indication that I have found it to be inaccurate - plenty of work for you.

Wishing you good luck with your research

:-) M

Edit: Does the address, 41 Ranclagh Road, Harlesden, mean anything to you?

Edited by Matlock1418
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flowers.JPG.ed50de6ba1a82963abd373a4b37f83bc.JPG

I think we may have two different sappers here both named flowers, sapper 91872 was  not awarded the MM and bar 

The entry in the above roll of course could be a case of gilding the Lily

Ray

 

 

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39 minutes ago, RaySearching said:

think we may have two different sappers here both named flowers, sapper 91872 was  not awarded the MM and bar 

I too think likely two men - Couldn't find anything under the 9469 & 91872 in the London Gazette

However found these:

MM https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31405/page/7656 

Bar to MM https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31405/page/7648

Spr J E FLOWERS 198847 (Harlesden) - 2nd Div Signal Coy if I have read the LG and this MM card right https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6160053 = John Edward

As for a MiD ??? - that is likely to be another story

:-/ M

Edited by Matlock1418
addit
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Yes,  the only Flower/s in the RE to win the MM is John Flowers:

Name: John Flowers
Regimental Number: 198847
Regiment: Royal Engineers
Battalion: 2 Divisional Signal Company
Rank: SPR
Medals:

Military Medal+Bar

 

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
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12 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

I too think likely two men - Couldn't find anything under the 9469 & 91872 in the London Gazette

However found these:

MM https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31405/page/7656 

Bar to MM https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31405/page/7648

Spr J E FLOWERS 198847 (Harlesden) - 2nd Div Signal Coy if I have read the LG and this MM card right https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6160053 = John Edward

As for a MiD ??? - that is likely to be another story

:-/ M

Oh no im getting so confused again. I presume the address ma have been where he was demobed to and live since its a flat  dont even  know what m and m and bar means 

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