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Hindustan Portland


Mike Coombs
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In his RNR record, my great grandfather, George Oliver, enrolled on 10 September 1904 and went for training on (HMS) Hindustan between the dates 8 November 1909 and 6 February 1910. The record states Hindustan Portland and there is even a travel warrant from Portland to Sunderland for 2 shillings and sixpence.

I can't find any record of Hindustan in Portland. Can anyone shed any light on which ship, or shore base, this was?

Mike

 

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HMS Hindustan was a pre-dreadnought battleship.  Your GGF was enrolled in the RNR and served onboard for his initial three month period of sea-going training.

MB

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In that time frame HMS Hindostan was serving in the Home Fleet.

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By 1909 he had completed his first 5-year period of RNR service, so it is unlikely that the draft to HMS HINDUSTAN was his initial three month period of sea-going training (although it was the first draft at the start of his second 5-year enrolment). Sadly, the full record of his first five-years as 444.EA has not survived but I note from his 234.EB record that he trained ashore in HMS VIVID in December 1904 and at sea in HMS BEDFORD (1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet) Dec 1904 to Mar 1905. Those two consecutive RNR drafts seem to be his first as a newly-enrolled ERA.

 

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Noted, thanks for the clarification - I was working on the false premise that his initial continuous training period was aboard Hindustan in 1904 (obviously incorrect once you read his service doc.).

MB

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Thanks very much for all of your comments. Very helpful. I now realise that my great grandfather, George Oliver, re-enrolled every 5 years as a RNR and received a new number each time. I have some more questions:

Horatio1 says that George's full records for his first 5 year term, as EA444 have not survived. Are there any records at all for this period?

George's first 5 year term began in 1904 and his second in 1909. Am I right in thinking that he would not have re-enrolled in 1914 because WW1 had now started?

His service number in his first term started with EA, in the second term it started with EB, and with his 4th term (starting in 1919), it started with ED. Does the second letter denote the term, i.e. A = 1st term, D = 4th term? This would support the fact that he did not re-enrol in 1914 as there doesn't seem to be a record starting EC. 

I still don't understand how George did training at the beginning of his second term on Hindustan Portland. KizmeRD says that Hindustan was a pre-dreadnought battleship but RNCVR says that, in 1909, HMS Hindustan was serving in the Home Fleet, which is correct. Can anyone therefore tell me or guess what the Hindustan was doing between 8 November 1909 and 6 February 1910 when George was doing a second round of 3 months training? His record says Hindustan Portland.

Thanks again.

Mike  

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14 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

Horatio1 says that George's full records for his first 5 year term, as EA444 have not survived. Are there any records at all for this period?

The earliest ERA RNR record to survive is for 669.EA who enrolled 31 Oct 1904.

22 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

George's first 5 year term began in 1904 and his second in 1909. Am I right in thinking that he would not have re-enrolled in 1914 because WW1 had now started?

His service number in his first term started with EA, in the second term it started with EB, and with his 4th term (starting in 1919), it started with ED. Does the second letter denote the term, i.e. A = 1st term, D = 4th term? This would support the fact that he did not re-enrol in 1914 as there doesn't seem to be a record starting EC. 

Correct on all counts!

23 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

Can anyone therefore tell me or guess what the Hindustan was doing between 8 November 1909 and 6 February 1910 when George was doing a second round of 3 months training? His record says Hindustan Portland.

HINDUISTAN was probably using Portland as a temporary base while operating in the Channel. It could be easier to pick up and land stores and personnel via a quick dash into Portland Harbour, than to go into Portsmouth or at Spithead, for example. I can find no detail of her movements on line but her log for the period is at Kew - https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1486317

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2 hours ago, Mike Coombs said:

I still don't understand how George did training at the beginning of his second term on Hindustan Portland. KizmeRD says that Hindustan was a pre-dreadnought battleship but RNCVR says that, in 1909, HMS Hindustan was serving in the Home Fleet, which is correct. 

Both are correct, HMS Hindustan was a pre-dreadnought battleship attached to the Home Fleet and it was based at Portland in Dorset.

MB

Edited by KizmeRD
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Do not get too hooked on Portland. He had to join HMS HINDUSTAN somewhere. When the composition of the party of RNR trainees was known, the staff of the Admiral Commanding Reserves  would have contacted the ship to determine time, date and place of joining. In this case he was instructed to join at Portland. Portsmouth and Devonport were the main bases for the Home Fleet and he could just as easily have been instructed to  join there. He may only have been ashore at Portland for a few hours before joining HINDUSTAN. He could have joined the ship in the harbour by boat, or HINDUSTAN may even have been alongside the Portland Coaling Pier for a few hours.

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Thanks again horatio2 and KizmeRD. You are so knowledgeable and helpful. I don't suppose you know what RG14528 (could be 14538) and RG15626 might be in the 'Remarks' section?

Mike 

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I cannot find those entries in the online view. Can you provide a transcript with the entries in context? At first glance, random reference numbers, probably of little importance.

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In this context, I believe that the two entries on his service doc referencing ‘RG’ may relate to a War Gratuity claim arising from Rheumatic fever contracted during his time on HMS Dongola in India (prior to his service on Blackwhale)

It’s not really my area of expertise, but I’m guessing here that RG stands for ‘Recommended Gratuity’ (maybe even requested gratuity’).
In other words, this relates to a compensation claim for injury or illness caused to him whilst in service. (Paid to him in April 1919).

I think you’ll find that that Dongola was a requisitioned P&O passenger liner that was used in the war as a hospital ship (ironic therefore that he got sick whilst serving onboard a hospital ship!).

MB

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Just now, KizmeRD said:

In this context, I believe that the two entries on his service doc referencing ‘RG’ may relate to a War Gratuity claim arising from Rheumatic fever contracted during his time on HMS Dongola in India (prior to his service on Blackwhale)

It’s not really my area of expertise, but I’m guessing here that RG stands for ‘Recommended Gratuity’ (maybe even requested gratuity’).
In other words, this relates to a compensation claim for injury or illness caused to him whilst in service. (Paid to him in April 1919).

I think you’ll find that that Dongola was a requisitioned P&O passenger liner that was used in the war as a hospital ship (ironic therefore that he got sick whilst serving onboard a hospital ship!).

MB

War Gratuity had nothing to do with illness so it wasn't for that.

Craig

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Perhaps not a war gratuity, but regardless of the exact terminology,  I still think the two mystery references on his service doc do relate to a medical claim of some sort.

When a man was demobbed after them war, he would have been medically examined and given a claim form to complete with regard to any alleged disability arising during his naval service. His service doc records that he was assessed as having a ‘light disability’ (which probably wouldn’t have been severe enough to have  entitled him to a disability pension, but may have resulted in the grant of a one off payment). As I say, it’s not my area of expertise, but the indications certainly point in that direction.

MB

PS I said in my earlier posting that he contracted Rheumatic Fever on Dongola, whilst in India, whereas I should have said ‘whilst in Egypt’.

Edited by KizmeRD
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8 hours ago, KizmeRD said:

I said in my earlier posting that he contracted Rheumatic Fever on Dongola, whilst in India, whereas I should have said ‘whilst in Egypt’.

Yes, he actually served in the Gulf at Basra in HMS DALHOUSIE (and other vessels, including HMS SAWFLY) and was invalided to Egyypt via Bombay in DONGOLA with slight debility on 26 Feb 17. The two "RG" reports seem to be notifications of transfer (movement reports), the one mentioning transfer to England with rheumatic fever seeminglyconfusing as to the the dates. Difficult to untangle and there seems to have been an enquiry as to his "whereabouts".. It seems he was not sent straight back to England, as suggested in the earlier report, but was taken to hospital in Alexandria.

The log of DALHOUSIE has several mentions of ERA G Oliver. -    http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-75-RIMS_Dalhousie.htm

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Well done to @horatio2 for nailing it!

MB

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Well done indeed to both of you. I will do some more investgation over the weekend based on what you have told me. Thanks very much. Mike

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I have tried to deteremine a chronolgy of events and my best shot is as follows:-

11 Sep 1917 PM discharged from HMS DALHOUSIE at Basra to hospital. [Ship’s log]

3 Oct 1916 PM joined HMS DALHOUSIE at Basra from hospital. [Ship’s log]

8 Oct 1916 AM joined HMS DALHOUSIE at Basra from “9 Mess”. [Ship’s log]

4 Dec 1916 PM discharged from HMS DALHOUSIE at Basra to hospital. [Ship’s log]

10 Dec 1916 [DALHOUSIE report]  To hospital, not yet diagnosed (NYD). [RNR record card]

24 Jan 1917 PM joined HMS DALHOUSIE at Basra from hospital. [Ship’s log]

14 Feb 1917 discharged from HMS DALHOUSIE and placed on books of HMS PEMBROKE II (Chatham). [RNR record card]

14 Feb 1917 AM discharged from HMS DALHOUSIE at Basra to Hospital Ship VITA. [Ship’s log]

18 Feb 1917 [DALHOUSIE report]  [To] RN Depot Bombay (invalided) 14 Feb 1917. [RNR record card]

5 Apr 1917 RG 14538 (also Accountant General of the Navy  4 Apr 1917) Debility from Rheum Fever. Trans to England per HS DONGOLA 24 Feb 1917.

13 Apr 1917 RG 15626 (also Accountant General of the Navy  12 Apr 1917) [apparently cancelling RG 14538]. Slight debility. Trans to Egypt per HS DONGOLA ex [hospital?) Bombay 26 Feb 1917. Admitted 21st General Hospital, Alexandria [in the Egyptian Army Barracks at Ras-el-Tin] 10 Mar 1917. (Arrived Bombay per HS VITA [and to hospital?] 22 Feb 1917.

While in hospital at Alexandria from 10 March 1917 he remained borne on the books of HMS PEMBROKE II. I can find no mention of the ship in which he took passage back to England – presumably later in March 1917.

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Just discovered from re-reading his service record that George Oliver emigrated to Australia at the tail-end of 1921 and that he was living in a house in Tennyson Road, Mortlake, Sydney from 1922 on.

MB.

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Thanks you both again, especially horatio2 for the timeline. You must have a good magnifying glass. It's certainly a confusing set of dates and places!

HMS Dalhousie (RIMS - what does this stand for) seems to spend most of its time in Basra. What does it do there? On the first page of the link you sent, horatio2, there is another link "for a list of all 142 ships met by R.I.M.S. Dalhousie in the period covered by the log books August 1916 to December 1918". In what capacity was Dalhousie meeting these ships and what would George's responsibilities have been? Unfortunately, Dalhousie's log starts 4 months after George joined the ship. Will there be earlier logs? 

On 8 October 1916, George joined Dalhousie from 9 Mess. Any idea what 9 Mess is?

Where did you find the records of the Accountant General of the Navy?

George certainly seems to have been invalidated possibly with rheumatic fever from Basra to Bombay (the opposite direction to Alexandria and England) on board HMHS Vita and thereafter to Alexandria on board HMHS Dongola. I have found the logs for both ships. Unfortunately, the log for Vita starts in 1919 so too late. At that time, it was going between Basra and Bombay and sometimes to England so that would possibly fit for an earlier year. The log for Dongola shows the ship arriving in Bombay on 21st/22nd February 1917 and sailing on 28 February so that fits with what you gleaned from the RNR record, arriving in Aden on 4 March and Suez on 9 March. It then sails back to Aden and then Bombay, arriving there on 24 March. The ship did not go as far as Alexandria so George might have been disembarked at Suez and taken to Alexandria by road or sea.

I have tried to attach the logs of Vita and Dongola but they are too large. The Vita record is WO-95-4152-3 and Dongola's is WO-95-4143-8.

Mike

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51 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

HMS Dalhousie (RIMS - what does this stand for) seems to spend most of its time in Basra. What does it do there?

Royal Indian Marine Ship (which she was until transferred to the RN on the outbreak of WW1).  At Basra she was the depot ship attached to the RN shore base, parenting smaller boats operating up-river in Mespot.

51 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

there is another link "for a list of all 142 ships met by R.I.M.S. Dalhousie in the period covered by the log books August 1916 to December 1918". In what capacity was Dalhousie meeting these ships

I think the transcriber actually just means to list the ships which are mentioned in the DALHOUSIE log entries. Nothing more.

51 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

Any idea what 9 Mess is?

No.

51 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

Where did you find the records of the Accountant General of the Navy?

Embedded in the Admiralty records at Kew and very unlikely to be of any interest in this case.

51 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

what would George's responsibilities have been?

He was a skilled man working on machinery. Google 'Engine Room Artificer' - e,g, Wikipedia -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_room_artificer.

51 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

Unfortunately, Dalhousie's log starts 4 months after George joined the ship. Will there be earlier logs? 

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_nq1=dalhousie&_cr=adm 53&_dss=range&_ro=any&_srt=3&_st=adv&_ps=60  From July 1916 but cannot be downloaded.

51 minutes ago, Mike Coombs said:

the log for Vita starts in 1919 so too late.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/39154392863d44759fc3dc33a6d1c1e1  states 1917 June - 1918 Dec. Still too late but might give some clues.

Edited by horatio2
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