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Remembered Today:

Battle of Piave River


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My Grandfather was in the RE and we believe served at the battle of the Piave River in north east Italy in 1918.

Is there any information on British units which fought in that battle?

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Hello John

The British 7th and 23rd Divisions took part. The RE Companies attached to those formations were involved. It is also possible that some miscellaneous RE units attached to Corps command or GHQ were involved.

You can find the full order of battle for the two Divisions on The Long, Long Trail.

My wife's grandfather Tommy McSloy served with one of the RE units concerned...528 (3rd Durham) Field Company....and was at the Piave.

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There is a fine 7th Div memorial like one on western front opposite the big island name of which can never remember, starts with P. :)

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  • 5 months later...

My great grandfather's brother, Thomas Baines (Army nr:194916) was in Italy when he died.

More details:

- Sapper in the Royal Engineers

- According to Medal Index Card and original notifcation document for War Office he "Died of Wounds" on 15 June 1918

If I am not mistaken this is the day the Austrians launched their attack on the Piave river?

It is extremely difficult to figure out what part of the Engineers he was in....does anybody have an idea how to tackle this problem?

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According to his entry on the CWGC database he was in J Company of a HQ Signals Company.

Question is, which HQ? Sounds like a Corps or Army HQ rather than a Division. No doubt an RE expert among our members will help with this.

The cemetery is on the Asiago front, which as you quite rightly say was attacked by the enemy on 15 June. The British 23rd and 48th (South Midland) Divisions took part in it. There is a summary of the battle here.

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What a good and sad at the same time website. Looks to me as if its easier to get more specific details on the dead of WW1 than those that actually survived!

So one of the ancestors was in "J" Army Corps, Signals Company, RE and another one was in "J" Company, HQ Signals Company.

J is certainly proving to be an interesting one...as all British Corps had Roman numerals and not letters as designation.

All my family members spoke perfect French as well so possible that they would have been at Corps or Army HQ so as to be able to liaise with French - Italian Allies?

I was hoping to put some scanned pictures on the forum today but work is getting in my way...it will have to wait for next week.

Thanks for the help.

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On the back of one of the pictures I have of Thomas Baines there is written "gassed 1918". Considering the Italians commenced their attack on 15/06/18 with artillery bombardements and gas attacks, this leads me to believe that Tommy indeed was killed on the opening day of this disastrous Austrian attack.

The question is now to find out whether he was part of the 48th or the 23rd Division.

As part of H.Q. Signal Company he must either have been in the 23rd Divisional Signal Company or the 48th Divisional Signal Company.

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Not necessarily. A Corps Signal Company was a different unit to the Divisional Signals Company. He may well have belonged to a Corps Signal Company attached to the Corps that was involved in the battle.

If you look at this page of the London Gazette for MMs you'll see the DSCs and CSCs seem to be treated as separate, as indeed were ARmy Signal Companies:

Vale, 36131 Sjt. B, G., " L " Corps Sig. Coy.

Wainwright, 74043 Cpl. (A./Sjt.) H., "S" Corps Sig. Coy.

Warren, 514031 Cpl. C. H., 567th Army Troops Coy.

Watson, 249612 Spr. G., 34th D.S'. Coy., attd. 160th Bde., R.F.A.

Watson, 101124 Cpl. T. S., M.M., 225th Fd. Coy.

Weller, 89100 2nd Cpl. E. F., 157th Fd. Coy.

Wells, WR/263645 Spr. (A./C.Q.M.S.) C. H., attd. 18th Lt. Rly, Trains Crew Coy.

White, 58208 Spr. A. S. H., 25th D.S. Coy.

White, 70918 Cpl. J. E., 3rd Army Sig. Coy.


Note the designations are by letter not Roman numerals...


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I've got this list of letters to Roman Numeral conversions, which mainly came from the REUbique site (an excellent resourecfor Royal Engineers)


C - III Corps

D - IV Corps

E - IX Corps

F - VI Corps

G - VII Corps

L - XI Corps

N - XIII Corps

O - V Corps

P - XV Corps

R - XVII Corps

S - VIII Corps

T - XIX Corps

X - X Corps

Y - XXII Corps

Unfortunately, J isn't on it...


EDIT: Edited to credit source of Corps info.

Edited by Stebie9173
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Thanks for pointing out the difference between Corps and Divisional Signals HQ Company.

I don't know exactly what this means, but on the notification of his death that our family received (dated 01 August 1918), we find the following references:

"C.2. Casualties"

No. 687105

He was also first buried, again according to correspondence from the War Office, in "Monte Di Sunio Military Cemetry" and from their moved to "Cavaletto British Cemetry", both in Italy.

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  • 1 month later...

Considering there was but one British corps present on the day of the Battle of the Piave / Asiago, I guess "J" is for XIV Corps.

The G.H.Q. of the British in Italy was, if I am not mistaken, in the small village of Lodeno.

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The Northamptonshire Yeomanry were at the Piave, they were the only mounted Cavalry unit in the Italian campaign and one of the very few left mounted by the end of the war. does anyone know of any others that were still mounted?

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  • 3 weeks later...

For those interested, Map 34 The Grave Di Papadopoli and Vittorio Veneto from page 481, Chapter XXV, VITTORIO VENETO, "The Seventh Division 1914 - 1918" , by C.L. Kingsford, published by http://www.naval-military-press.com/FMPro?...ameset.htm&-new.




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